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|Monday, September 24th, 2012|
|Have not posted in months
Been a crazy summer. I had to move again, this time to Milwaukee, WI. Been distracted with lots of things, so have not even been visiting LiveJournal all this time. But I had to share this:
I GOT A JOB! Ok, just a month long contract (doing data entry) but there's potential for rollover and it's been than unemployment!
I start next week.
|Saturday, April 28th, 2012|
|Had my first date in a long, long time today
It went very well! Met Karen at a Panera halfway between us. We had a nice meal together, long talk, went for a walk, visited an Asian market, went back to Panera for dessert and a couple rounds of Fluxx. Had a great time.
Meeting her again next weekend, going to go see The Avengers!
|Monday, February 6th, 2012|
|Losing another home. Scared to death.
Just found out the landlord may be evicting everyone in the house next month. (I say *may* because I don't know how long it will take, or when he will start the procedure.)
I have no idea what I'm going to do. I may wind up living in my car. If you can call that living.
|Sunday, November 13th, 2011|
Well another convention has come and gone and this one was badly needed. Commuted 20+ miles each way 3 days in a row, but it was worth it.
I attended a couple informative panels on writing and books, and got some helpful advice from the panel authors afterwards (and an autograph!). I took part in a craft workshop to make ink stamps which will help improve my cloth board game creation process. I got to see/hear my favorite female vocalist Heather Dale again (she always moves me to tears). Saw/heard filker Tom Smith live again while attending my first-ever masquerade show (he was the half-time entertainment). Also saw/heard filker Frank Hayes perform for the first time since an I-Con appearance back in New York OMFG years ago. And there was a general FuMP.com-oriented concert Sunday, including more Tom Smith, Luke Ski and others. Got a group of folks to try and enjoy my Robot-opoly board game. Got my second-ever game commission, paid in advance in full, so I'll be working on a wooden Byzantine Chess set starting this week. Visited a few parties--the chocolate one and the Klingon one were especially nice (and at another party a geek-oriented webcam girl gave me her business card.... um, yeah... would have preferred being asked out than being asked to give her money I don't have.) I managed to attend the dead dog filk latter part of Sunday afternoon for about an hour-ish before fatigue told me to head home. (I'm supposed to be napping now so I can function at roller derby practice tonight, but driving gave me an nth wind.) I also managed to get through Saturday dressed as a mad scientist, wearing a 100% polyester lab coat and somehow I did not sweat to death in it!
Swag... Picked up my own copy of the game Chrononauts, a couple CDs, a "book fairy" postcard, a funny art print from the art show (a dragon being cheered by warriors because it has a barrel of beer strapped around its neck like a rescue dog), a decent pair of steampunk goggles (tho still needs adjusting for my schnozz), several paperback books, a hand-held marshmallow catapult for my best friend (I keep calling it a wooden phaser), and the usual slew of freebie business cards and bookmarks, as well as a little sample produced before my very eyes by the three-dimensional "printer" on display at the Art Show (essentially, the machine is like a hot glue gun crossed with a computer that builds objects according to a computer program).
Didn't get to see or do everything I wanted to (does anyone ever at a con?), but I got a lot of what I wanted, and made some new friends, too. But please God let me find work soon so someday I can stop commuting and actually STAY OVERNIGHT AT THE HOTEL!! (Preferably with a lady.... I'm just sayin'.)
|Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011|
|Book review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Sky's the Limit
Again, I apologize up front for this post's length without a working text-cut.
It's been a while since I read a Star Trek book. This particular one is an anthology, put out in 2007 as part of the celebration of TNG's 20th anniversary (anyone else beside me feel old from that statement??). The book covers the full 15 years of continuity, from just prior to the TV series' premier, to just after the events of the movie Star Trek: Nemesis. The book's title quotes Captain Picard from the final episode of the TV series.
I am pleased to say this was a good collection. Every major character from the show gets focused on, even the oft-forgotten Dr. Pulaski from season two, as well as a brief guest appearance (just like on the show!) of Guinan. There were a few stories I felt were somewhat lackluster. A few annoying, easily-fixed continuity errors were made in two or three tales. At least one story makes references to other recent TNG novels that are supposed to all share the same continuity (much like the Star Wars expanded universe novels), novels I have not read but know enough about to recognize confusing references. However, this book was overall very good. I will just list a few of the stand-outs:
"Acts of Compassion" by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore. Set during season one, Security Chief Tasha Yar and Dr. Crusher go into Cardassian space (we never even heard of the Cardassians until season four) to meet up with a Cardassian doctor with Starfleet patients in need of aid he cannot provide. Tensions run high from the ongoing behind-the-scenes war between the Federation and the Cardassians at this point in the saga's timeline, and our heroes and their patients are put at risk when violent conflict breaks out among the Cardassian ship's command staff over allowing the presence and aiding of enemy combatants. The whole story is like a darker version of the episode of M*A*S*H where Hawkeye, Trapper and company had to retrieve U.S. wounded from a Chinese army doctor behind enemy lines.
"Thinking of You" by Greg Cox - Set during season five, this story is the gem of the book. Our favorite Starfleet neurotic Reginald Barclay gets the spotlight here, with a little help from the notorious Ensign Ro Laren. This time Barclay is afraid of telepaths, which doesn't help when he's forced to work a politically-delicate and dangerous assignment for Lwaxana Troi! And in a holodeck no less!! Greg Cox is becoming a new favorite Trek author for me; the man clearly knows his Trek continuity and has a sense of humor (I've read some of his Trek novels, and having read this story, I'm definitely going to pursue more). Cox actually has Barclay wearing a 24th Century equivalent of a tinfoil hat. Seriously. Laugh-out-loud funny.
"Friends with the Sparrows" by Christopher L. Bennett - Set after Star Trek: Generations, this story focuses on Data who is having a seriously difficult time managing his new emotions while under pressure to help with translating the language of the Tamarians (the aliens from the series who speak in mytho-historical metaphor only and are otherwise impossible to understand). Data has to have his emotion chip altered so he can think like a Tamarian in time for negotiations, with armed conflict a possibility if the negotiations fail. Clearly, a bad time to be having intense emotional problems! Bennet's written excellent Trek before, and he continues to do so here.
"Four Lights" by Keith R.A. DeCandido - Set during the final months of the Dominion War (after Star Trek: Insurrection), Picard and the Enterprise-E rescue a Cardassian officer from a ship in distress... and the Cardassian is none other than Gul Madred, who once horribly tortured Picard during the TV series. I always wondered how Picard would act if he met Madred again, and this story explores the idea very well.
"'Til Death" by Bob Ingersoll & Thomas F. Zahler - Set just prior to Star Trek: Nemesis, Riker is grievously wounded on a planet once occupied by the Fabrini (originally seen in the original Trek series). Kept alive by a mysterious and short-term-use-only medical device Dr. Crusher finds in an ancient Fabrini hospital, Riker must come to terms with his impending death and the wedding he and Deanna Troi are supposed to be having soon, while finding a way to protect Crusher from the alien scavenger that has murdered him. Obviously, Riker lives, but the story's a great character study of Riker.
"On the Spot" by David A. McIntee - Set just after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, Worf inherits Data's cat Spot. While this story plays for some laughs at first, it quickly turns into a mystery as a bizarre alien starts causing increasingly dangerous and deadly malfunctions about the still-under-repair Enterprise-E. Both Worf and Spot - yes, Spot - must save the day. This was a fun tale, although the end of the mystery was a bit of a let-down--I can't tell if the alien's identity is connected to another Trek novel I have not read, or if the author just decided to be ambiguous or rush the end of the story. It felt kind of tacked-on without any depth or meaning. Otherwise, as I said, a fun story.
|Monday, October 17th, 2011|
|Book review: "Laugh Lines" by Ben Bova
Did I say this book was a "vast improvement?" I spoke too soon.
"Laugh Lines" is essentially an omnibus of 2 of the author's novels and half a dozen short stories. The author thinks they're all funny.
The *author* thinks this. I as the reader disagree. Ok, there are a few chuckles here and there, and some of what Bova writes of is interesting to be sure, but the book's title is totally misleading.
The first novel in the book is called "The Starcrossed" and is what Bova calls a "roman a clef", a thinly veiled retelling of a true story. Bova once served as a science consultant for a new TV series in the 1970s, a series written by Harlan Ellison. Network and production company executives ruined the project and the show was canceled after only a few episodes. The whole process of getting a TV show made and put on the air, and all the bullshit that people suffer to make it happen, and all the bullshit that kills the whole thing, is a fascinating revelation. This book actually had me feeling sorry for Harlan Ellison, which is something I never thought could happen. The novel itself is set in the near future with some technical advances and society changes, but not much. It's an interesting barely-sci-fi story about making a sci-fi tv show... but it's not all that funny.
The short stories depict: a secret organization that comes up with crises for the news media to feed to the public, an explanation for the end of the Apollo Moon program that would satisfy any conspiracy buff, the trials of getting a supersonic zeppelin made (apparently based on a real engineering concept never developed), a dragon that aids a mobster flunky (this was kinda funny, but not terribly so), a deal with an angel (as opposed to a deal with the devil), and a bizarre and totally ridiculous outcome of an earthquake prediction system.
The second novel, "Cyberbooks," attempts to do for the publishing industry what "The Starcrossed" did for the entertainment industry. Written in the late 80s when the internet and electronic books were just around the corner, the novel follows the invention of an electronic book and how it threatens to send the literary world into chaos. I could not even finish this one--not because electronic books are already here, but because the characters and developments depicted are so totally ridiculous and over-the-top (the bad guys in the story would twirl their mustaches if they had them) I just could not get into the story and lost interest about mid-way through. I just didn't care anymore.
I've already moved onto another book. Bye bye Bova.
|I lost my job
A week ago I was told my job was going so well they wanted to keep me on longer. Then I had a bad week where ongoing computer problems combined with stress from my superior who urged me to work faster and faster in spite of the problems. And I had the nerve to politely, professionally say something to the manager.
And I lost my job because of it, and they told the agency I was a poor performer and was unprofessional. They lied so they wouldn't have to deal with me.
|Wednesday, October 5th, 2011|
|But plants ARE alive!! (or, Another Book Review)
Just finished "Go Quest, Young Man" by K.B. Bogen (the 'K' stands for Karen apparently). I almost didn't... several times.
The basic plot follows a journeyman sorcerer fresh from the magic academy who falls accidentally into a quest he'd much rather not be involved in. Said quest involves a duplicitous sorceress, an aging knight with mysterious expertise, a bunch of very angry warrior women, a fussy but friendly octopus, a swarm of annoying "damselflies" (little female fairies with a knack for melodrama), an ethical dragon who plays poker, an inept thief and a mysterious sudden ability by the journeyman to create giant sandcastles.
The book is clearly intended to be a light comic fantasy. Light it certainly is.
According to the author's dedication this was her first novel. it shows. Whether it's due to her writing ability, a lack of proper editing or something else at the publisher level (the book was published in 1994 by TSR of D&D fame, if that's any indication), the book has numerous flaws. There are a couple of jumps in plot continuity between chapters. Early on in the book there's much repetition of phrases and frequent repetitions of the same pieces of information as if the reader hadn't been exposed to them a couple of pages ago. The usage of modern cursing seems a tad out of place for a medieval fantasy tale. Many plot and character threads are totally unresolved by the book's end. And at one point the following piece of narrative appears:
"It was as if the plants were alive--and aware of their presence."
Ms. Bogen, I should like to point out that PLANTS ARE ALIVE. Need I say more, really?
The book also suffers from the simple fact that while there are many mishaps, pitfalls, surprises and weird happenings, not a lot of what happens or what is said by the characters qualifies to me personally as "funny." There are a number of puns, mostly in the chapter titles, reminiscent of Robert Asprin (who is likely the "Robert A." Ms. Bogen thanks in her dedication), and a handful of verbal gags. But that's about it. The rest is very dry, as if the author couldn't decide between writing a comedy and writing a serious coming-of-age story. A good comedy can be supported well by serious events for contrast, but the serious stuff here is dry, repetitive and sometimes downright dull. I can see how some elements are *meant* to be funny, and would definitely be with better delivery or if the author had cranked up the overall gonzo factor. As it stands, the book made me laugh out loud only once, and I almost gave up on the book many times. I finished only in the vain hope that it would get better. Granted, the book's last 50-ish pages were better (it's almost as if the author were polishing her skills as she wrote the book but then did not bother to go back and fix what was written before), but still overall this novel was a let-down. The only other positive thing I have to say about "Go Quest, Young Man" is that on the inside of the back cover is a blurb about the author with a photo of her. Must be a Glamour Shots picture. Damn, she was sexy and gorgeous lady in 1994. I just wish the book had been as great.
I've already started reading "Laugh Lines" by Ben Bova, and it's already a vast improvement.
|Wednesday, September 28th, 2011|
|Book review: Blood Lite (ed. Kevin J. Anderson)
Normally I do not do horror. I'm squeamish. I don't care if it makes people think I'm a wimp or overly sensitive. Reading, hearing or seeing people getting terrorized, tortured and generally dismembered/disfigured/disemboweled should be an X-rated experience instead of so-called "porn." That being said, I can handle the milder stuff. Alien and Aliens, the original Jaws (minus the opening scene), and horror that is mostly gore-free and leaning more towards dark fantasy (films like Fright Night and Soulkeeper leap to mind). And funny spoofs of horror like Young Frankenstein and Ghostbusters are welcome, but then they're more comedy than horror anyway.
So it was with some mixed feelings that I picked up and read "Blood Lite," an anthology of humorous horror stories. I was drawn to it mainly by the big names listed on the cover, mostly known for fantasy, dark fantasy and humor. I also mistakenly assumed it was all about vampires, which reminded me of the unpleasant experience of reading Poppy Z. Brite's anthology of "erotic" vampire fiction "Love in Vein", which turned out to be not at all erotic. But "Blood Lite" covers a wide range of horror entities and themes: vampires, ghosts, werewolves, zombies, demons, Frankenstein, cannibals, slasher killers and others.
I am pleased and somewhat surprised to say that more than half the stories in the book were enjoyable. I won't review all of them here (especially since I still can't seem to get LiveJournal's cut function to work properly), but I will briefly describe th real gems of the book along with a couple I had serious problems with (I'm definitely not a horror-convert, this will be one of the few horror-related books I ever read).
"Hell in a Handbasket" by Lucien Soulban (wow, even the author's name sounds creepy!) - Satan's domain is turned upside-down and inside-out when someone mysteriously leaves a baby in a basket at the gates of Hell. Hijinks ensue. This story had me laughing out loud a lot. Some gags in the story might seem to some as being old, hackneyed and overused. Soulban makes them work as timeless classics in my opinion, however, to the point where sometimes I could guess the punchlines and be rewarded with the groaning and laughter that comes with being right about such things. A fine tale that explores what passes for practical jokes in the eternal afterlife.
"A Very Special Girl" by Mike Resnick - A horseracing bookie in a world where magic is everyday has to help his lovestruck zombie henchman retrieve money innappropriately given to a demoness by said lovestruck zombie henchman. Think Guys and Dolls with classic horror movie tropes. Reminded me strongly of a Spider Robinson story from his anthology "By Any Other Name" (only that tale dealt with gangsters messing with a time machine).
"Elvis Presley and the Bloodsucker Blues" by Matt Venne - Told by a dying Elvis, we learn how The King of Rock'n'Roll not only became a vampire but a vampire hunter, a secret life splendidly blended in with Elvis' real-life history. What makes this tale such a treat is that it's written in the first-person and Venne has captured Elvis-speak to a T. I haven't had this much fun reading or hearing Elvis-speak since Bruce Campell's performance as an aging Elvis in "Bubba Ho-tep."
"The Sound of Blunder" by J.A. Konrath and F. Paul Wilson - A spoof of Ray Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder," two bumbling mobsters accidentally use a book of magic spells (during an attempt to steal it, sell it and pay off their angry boss) to travel to the era of the dinosaurs where they proceed to wreak evolutionary mayhem. Slighty gory moments and one of the two mobsters is horribly annoying (though it's clear that he's a dimwit who should probably be pitied for not being in a supervised care facility), but overall this spoof of Bradbury's tale is just too ridiculous not to enjoy.
"Day Off" by Jim Butcher - Harry Dresden (of the Dresden Files series, both books and television), looks forward to a day off from his wizardry work, but fate has other plans for him in the form of dark wizard wanna-bes, werewolves with psychic fleas that make them extra horny AND angry, a hopelessly perky apprentice with a penchant for accidents around alchemy, and a Girlfriend Who Is Going To Show Up Any Moment Amid All Of This Insanity. Classic funny day-gone-wrong story. Also the first Dresden story I've read, tho I loved the short-lived tv series. I have got to get around soon to reading the first Dresden book.
And now, two tales I found especially disturbing. I don't normally like to speak ill of stories in anthologies, but these stood out.
"Mr. Bear" by Joe R. Lansdale - A man traveling home to his family gets sidetracked, coerced and kidnapped by a psycho celebrity with blood on his hands who ultimately must kill his new "buddy" in order to keep him quiet about his deadly exploits. This is a story type I've heard of before, so what's the twist? The psycho celeb is Smokey the Bear. The world painted by the author is perfectly normal, only Smokey the Bear is a real live talking bear that's taken as completely normal. What bothers me about this story aside from the basic plot is how Smokey is characterized. He comes off sounding like a stereotype of an African-American criminal, complete with dialogue that is borderline-close to ebonics. I hope the author did not intend this. It may be just my imagination. But I found the depiction almost as uncomfortable as the general plot.
"A Good Psycho is Hard to Find" by Will Ludwigsen - Two former camp counselors who survived a Friday-the-13th-style summer camp attack by a chainsaw psycho find the only way to keep their romance and sex life alive is to kindle their adrenaline by becoming chainsaw murderers themselves. This was just plain sick and disturbing. At the climax of the story they stalk and accidentally kill their first victim, a 10 year old boy, and the story ends with them continuing to pursue their sick thrills, even to the point of speculating on getting married and celebrating by torturing and killing the potential wedding guests in unknown ways.... I can kinda vaguely see how this story is meant to be comedic, but I really wish I had not read this one. Makes me feel shaken and sick to my stomach. In fact, the only reason I am keeping "Blood Lite" is for the aforementioned funny gems, otherwise I think I would have thrown this book away after reading Ludwigsen's story.
I'm going back to straight comedic fantasy next. I think I need it.
|Thursday, September 22nd, 2011|
|Book review: Babylon 5: Legions of Fire, Book II: Armies of Light and Dark, by Peter David
Spoiler alert here for anyone still making their way through Babylon 5 on dvd. Stop reading now if you don't want spoilers. You have been warned.
It's been a few years since I last read Book 1 in this series, so a number of characters and events mentioned at the start of this second installment made me feel slightly lost. Thankfully, much of them got explained, though some not as early as I would have liked. The book series details the events on Centauri Prime after the end of the Babylon 5 tv series' main arc, and must eventually culminate in the death of Londo and G'Kar as shown on the show.
In spite of having to try to remember all the characters and events of book 1 (some I *did* thankfully remember) and a very grim tone throughout (especially in the first half), this was an enjoyable read. Vir is the central character, and we see his innate decency at war with his grim determination to free his world from the Drakh by any means necessary... and some of those means are pretty nasty. Peter David really knows how to write Babylon 5 characters, especially the way they speak in dialogue. He does it with the same skill he applies when he writes Star Trek characters.
In addition to Vir, we see Londo, Londo's ex-wife Mariel, G'Kar, Garibaldi, Galen the techno-mage from Excalibur (the events of that short-lived series gets some major mention in this book, including a major plot development that leads right into the events of A Call to Arms and the series Crusade), and we even get brief glimpses of Sheridan, Delenn, Lochley and even Lou Welch (one of Garibaldi's loyal security officers from the 1st and 2nd seasons). And the whole series of books is based on an outline written by J. Michael Straczynski himself, so one might actually consider these books to be canon!
I am going to make sure I do not wait years more before I read the 3rd and final book in this series.
|Thursday, September 15th, 2011|
Computer will be fixed soon. It was a software crash, not a hardware failure. Still gonna be costly, but no more so than the price I thought I'd have to pay for a hardware fix. (Why a software fix should cost so much, I do not know. Makes me slightly suspicious, but nothing I can do about it now). And I can't even have my data extracted from the drive without the fix being performed, so it's gonna cost me no matter what.
*sigh* Maybe it's time to switch to Windows. Lots of help for that to be found...
|Book review time: E.Godz, by Robert Asprin & Esther Friesner
I apologise for the lack of a cut for length here. Every time I try cutting the text to hide it, LJ keeps moving the cut to the *top* of the post, out of order. Can't figure out how to stop that.
Just finished a book that I was sure was going to satisfy my funny bone. Asprin and Friesner are both well known for their humor, and certainly the book has plenty, much of it specifically smacking of Friesner's style. However, despite the humor, I found the story itself a bit of a let-down.
The book focuses on two siblings who have a lifetime of mutual animosity between them. They are the son and daughter of a woman who founded the world's first and only magic-oriented corporation. The business helps provide networking, legal assistance, financial services and other benefits to Old Time Religions and other faiths on the fringe of mainstream Judeo-Christian society, including sources of real actual magic. Specifically, the book follows the siblings as they scramble to gather support from major clients to back their mutual claims for control of the company when their mother sends out a false notice about a terminal illness.
The story bothers me on multiple levels. This is a picture of an extremely dysfunctional family. The mother had her kids raised with no fixed home in their early years (she was always on the go, learning new magics and making contacts prior to founding her company), then had them raised by nannies instead of doing any hands-on mothering, and then send them off to boarding schools. The mother is not a motherly character in any way, and her treatment of them as children when she did interact with them was largely responsible for the sense of competition and misplaced animosity between brother and sister that festered well into adulthood.
But while the mother bears much responsibility for this sorry state of familial affairs, the siblings are as much to blame themselves, at least as adults. The narrative clearly shows the siblings are aware of their mother's faults and how they factor in their unhappiness as adults, but at the same time as adults they are now responsible for what they do with their lives. Instead of doing their best to take control of their lives, find happiness, make the best of things, have a little *agency*, they just wallow in self-pity and misplaced contempt for each other.
Now, to the credit of these two characters, the story shows them gradually waking up to the truth about their feelings and their lives, and by the end they've managed a happy reconciliation. However, some of the revelations seem a bit forced and out of left field. Rather than responding to the news of their mother's alleged impending death, the siblings immediately start plotting and planning to take over the company. I could understand their unhappiness with their mother being at odds with any concern they might still feel for her well-being, but their immediate plotting and scheming comes off as damn, damn cold hearted, and then their realizations later that "Oh no Mom is dying" seems a bit forced. There *are* some nice gradual steps here and there, but not enough to balance out the harsh first impression.
And at the end, after the siblings find out Mom's dying is a ruse on her part to manipulate them (and it's made clear to the reader at the start of the book that the mother carries out the ruse with the intention of getting her kids to bury the hatchet so that they don't ruin her precious business with their conflicts), they confront her only to find out that she has always loved them dearly, and all "ends well." Again, this feels forced, contrived, and dare I say unrealistic, even fake.
I admit, part of my discomfort about these characterizations is closely tied to my own history of conflict with family members. Maybe someone else who has read this book has come away with a different opinion. But even if I felt that the characterization and developments weren't contrived and illogical, they cut too close to home. I finished this book mostly out of determination to see how it turned out and to not let my personal demons interfere.
There is one other issue I have with the book, specifically with regard to Esther Friesner. Sections of the book feel a bit preachy about faith and religion, how important it is for people to have faith in some higher power to fulfill their lives. This feeling is not always present, but it comes up often enough to feel less like a statement about what faith means to the people who have a personal need for it, and more like a statement that says "everyone needs faith and should be fulfilling it, you hear me reader, I'm talking to you, get religion, you won't be complete without it." I got a similar uncomfortable feeling from another Friesner novel, Star Trek: The Next Generation: To Storm Heaven. It's the only Trek novel (that I can remember) that I never finished, and I never finished it because Friesner got awfully preachy about religion in that one, too, and had the TNG characters uncharacteristically going along with it with surprising bias. And some of the author's ideas on religion and respect between religions (specifically, the idea that one group of people might practice another group's religion on their own, and be doing it "wrong", and the fact that it is being done "wrong" is an *offense*??? Can we say BULLSHIT??) are even disturbing. I suspect I have found Friesner's personal mouth-squid.
Overall, while I am glad I gave the book a try, and enjoyed some of the laughs, this one's going up for offer on PaperbackSwap.com.
|Saturday, September 10th, 2011|
|New book reviews
A week after I moved, my computer died. I think it's the power source again. I hope to have it fixed soon. In the meantime, without the distraction of the net (though I can do things on my housemates' computers or at the library, somewhat), and with time to kill on my new job during breaks or the random piece of downtime, I have been reading again. When I was unemployed and stressed/depressed, reading became a chore for me. Now that things are picking up, and in order to fill the time until my Mac is fixed, I am finally reading books steadily again. In the last 5 weeks I've read 3:( Read more...Collapse )
Due to long-term stress and little news to share other than mostly the same old bad news, I've not bothered to post anything in some time. Recently however my life turned upside down again, only this time things are a bit improved. First off, I have a job finally this past week! Ok, it's just a temp job for a month or two, maybe longer. No idea if the company, which is very nicely run as far as I can tell and is far far less uptight than employers back on the east coast (welcome to the Midwest!), may want to hire any of us temps permanently. But I am enjoying the feeling of having a job at long last... even if it does mean wage garnishment from the debts my crazy ex stuck me with. I am trying to play catch-up on the most imminent and critial of expenses (car insurance, car registration, getting my AAA road assistance membership back, getting my computer fixed which died a week after I moved, and then hopefully tackling my taxes!).
Also, I moved at the end of July, narrowly avoiding homelessness by mere days. A friend from my SCA group took me into her already slightly crowded household, and while certain noisy and argumentative children (and some adults) added to my pre-job stress, I am getting used to the place and the people here. Batavia, IL is a nice little town.
I've gotten more involved with the SCA group, the local women's roller derby league as a penalty box manager, and I've made new friends (some intimate ones too!). I even live just 3 blocks from my new local library, how cool is that!
Here's hoping I am finally on the road to getting my life back together!
|Wednesday, August 24th, 2011|
|Monday, February 14th, 2011|
Well another convention has come and gone, my fourth since moving to Illinois. Gone now are the days of getting only one weekend a year to relax and escape reality, now I have 4 or 5 opportunities! I'm living the dream! This one was my first ever four-day-long convention, running from Thursday evening through mid-Sunday afternoon.( Due to length, the account of my experience is behind this cut.Collapse )
ETA: I just realized I never wrote about my experience at WindyCon this past November. Memories of lots of specific details have already faded, but I mostly had a great time. I met my current ladyfriend Heather there (and she's been a wonderful presence in my life since then!). I FINALLY made serious contact with the local SCA (DucKon's contact proved to be a false start - now I'm involved with a couple of local groups almost every week, and I've been to my first local event). I got to see the exquisite Heather Dale perform live again, and she remembered me from the house concert in Buffalo last March. Shopping was good, filk concerts were good, open filk circles were bad. The rest is a faded blur now. Current Mood: Exhausted but happy
|Saturday, February 5th, 2011|
|Amazing how much TV you can watch without a TV service...
2010 was the Year of the DVD for me. Shortly after signing on with Netflix last January, I wound up spending a lot of time cocooned when things went bad in Buffalo, and I continued to do that the first several months in Illinois (though not as much as I was then in a safer place). I had little access to TV in Buffalo, and none here in Illinois... and yet, looking back over the year, I am amazed at how many television shows I managed to watch seasons of, or whole series, via Netflix and my local library and sets borrowed from friends, and all this in addition to movies:
Doctor Who (both classic and new), Batman: The Animated Series, Smallville, Quantum Leap, The Flash, The Tick (both live and animated), The Adventures Of Briscoe County Jr, The Venture Bros, Stargate SG-1, Farscape, Babylon 5, Crusade, Chuck, The Big Bang Theory, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, Star Trek (the original series remastered), Star Trek: The Animated Series, Burn Notice, The Muppet Show, The Greatest American Hero, Knight Rider, Torchwood, True Blood, Reaper, Hidden Histories, Ancient Inventions, Danger Mouse, Star Blazers, Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Dresden Files, Sanctuary, Warehouse 13, Max Headroom, Medieval Lives and Barbarians
Not to mention attempts at watching Seaquest DSV, The Thin Blue Line, Wonder Woman, Superboy, Beauty And The Beast and Scarecrow And Mrs. King - some of these I got a few episodes into and then lost interest, and some I couldn't even finish watching the pilot episode :P
Not to mention compilations or samples of The Cosby Show, Family Guy, The West Wing and Mythbusters
I could actually get used to not having TV service... and I never thought I'd say that!
|Saturday, January 1st, 2011|
|Here we go again
A new year has begun. I am praying this year brings better things. I want a job. I want to build new relationships that I can count on. I want a start to the end of the debts Janet stuck me with. I want to be sure I can keep a roof over my head. Most of all, I want things to not get worse than they already are.
2010 can suck my anus. Here's hoping 2011 is a vast improvement.
|Wednesday, December 15th, 2010|
|Another literary meme to pass along
A literary meme, via robling_t
: "The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, underline what you've read more than one, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt."
Personal score: 15 (tho I admit I'm not 100% sure about Charlotte's Web)
I have re-read a few books, just not ones on this list. And I don't know whether to be embarrassed that most of the books from this list that I have read were read only because they were required in high school! If it were up to me, I'd have read only maybe 5 or 6 of these.( Read more...Collapse )
|Saturday, December 4th, 2010|