Sunday, September 7, 2014

Garden Notes

It's that time of year where things are producing nicely (seriously, my cherry tomatoes are still trying to take over the world), but things don't necessarily look so great any more.    I pulled up SO much crab grass this morning.

I also spent some quality time with the climbing rose and pulled out all the deadwood.   (Check out the picture here from May for contrast).

At this point, we're in the slow decline until frost, when I can pull things out, and put everything to bed for winter.

The Creeps - John Connolly

Read for the RIP IX Reading Challenge.

Were it not for a well timed trip to Northshire Books, I would not have known this book was out.   It’s the third book in a trilogy about Samuel Johnson’s multi-dimensional adventures, after the small English town he lives in becomes the fore-front in an invasion from Hell.

In this last book, something worse than Hell is trying to invade Biddlecombe, as Samuel’s mortal enemy, Mrs. Abernathy, has made a deal with the Shadows in order to get Samuel in her clutches.

Getting Samuel involves the reopening of the town’s department store, which has been shut for decades, and reopens as a Christmas wonderland, complete with evil wooden elves, a homicidal Miss Muffet, and various other children’s toys turned very bad.   Samuel’s best friend, Nurd, the only slightly evil demon, is also back.   It’s sarcastic fun (complete with snarky footnotes), and I’m a little sorry that this book means it’s over.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

RIP IX Reading Challenge 9/1/14 - 10/31/14

Hard to believe it's that time of year again, but it's nearly Fall, so it's time for the RIP challenge.   I've actually started, after a well timed visit to my favorite independent bookstore, where I was able to scour the recommendations, and supplement what I already had available in the following categories: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror and Supernatural.     Per usual, I will be doing Challenge the First, which involves reading four books from any of those categories.

The Word for World is Forest - Ursula K. LeGuin

This is the kind of book you can point to when some sneering literary writing only nitwit tries to tell you that genre fiction can’t address larger themes or important messages.

In this book, the planet of New Tahiti (as the Earth human refer to it) already has an indigenous population of humans that happen to be short of stature and covered with green fur (I haven’t read a LeGuin book in a while – there is a set universe, but I can’t remember how the various worlds of humans are related).    They view the Earth colonists as humans like them, but the Earth colonists don’t share that view, and when they basically enslave the local population and start raping their women, well, you can imagine what happens.    They may have been a peaceful people before, but anyone can learn to kill when pushed to their breaking point.

At its heart, this is a story about humanity, and relating to people that are different than you.    I didn’t read it because of what’s been happening recently in Ferguson, MO, but it definitely made me think about that more.     That’s what good genre fiction will do – make you see the world around you in a different light, and maybe help you frame up difficult issues in a way you hadn’t thought of before.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Knitting Notes

So I really want some good boot socks.    And since I have calves of large size, I'm only going to get them by making them myself.   So here's my attempt: Purl Soho's Little Cable Knee Highs, in Knit Picks Stroll Tweed in the Down Heather colorway.

These are toe up, which is admittedly not my preferred sock making style, but I do want the dang things to fit, and this seems to be the best way to do that.   So far, so good - I'm just about ready to turn the heel. 

Dead in the Family - Charlaine Harris

I have to admit, this book felt a bit weird to me.    It almost seemed like one long transition piece.    There was some set up to deal with the fall out from the fairy war, and those that were trapped on Earth when the gates were closed.     There was some set up with the Weres and regular people starting to oppress them.     And there was some set up with the vampire king that conquered Louisiana, but is still in Utah.

And that was that.     There was an ending, of sorts, but there’s a whole lot that’s still hanging out there, needing to be wrapped up.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fort Knox State Historic Site, Prospect, Maine

This is another park I'd visited when I was a kid because my aunt and uncle live nearby.     It's really fun to wonder around with kids.   I went with my cousin and her three oldest boys (the oldest I think was seven at the time) several years ago, and watching them wander through the fort was a a ton of fun.

The other feature of this park is the observatory at the top of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge.   It does cost more than the standard park entrance fee, but if it's a nice day, it's worth the extra price.