Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another Award? Seriously, You May Need a Recount.

Yep, you read that right. Cynica Sarcastamos saw fit to bestow the Awesome Blogger award on me. This means I am required to tell you, my devoted followers 7 things you didn't know about me. So here we go boys and girls, this is gonna be quick and dirty.

1. My first serious boyfriend was a crack addict and a criminal. I thought I could fix him.

2. I moved out of my Mom's house when I was 16 years old.

3. I was an obstinate teenager (see 1 & 2). I'm an obstinate adult (ok, so you knew that).

4. I am afraid of the dark. Seriously. You want to cause me irreparable damage? Throw me in a dark room (especially an unfamiliar one), and lock the door. I will curl into a ball and cry like a baby while imagining unspeakable horrors in the dark.

5. I have never broken a bone. I am tough as nails.

6. I like my steak served blue. Google it. When you are done tossing your cookies, don't yell at me. I am not going to make you eat it. If you didn't toss your cookies, congratulations, you earn one brownie point.

7. I am a lucid dreamer. Which means I can control my dreams. While I sleep, I am the coolest, happiest, most successful me. Is there any wonder I like to sleep?

Good Gawd, that was difficult. I must admit though, while I am a crazy embarrassed by these crazy awards, I am also pleased as punch.

Now, it's your turn. You didn't think I was going to suffer through this alone, did you? Oh no, my friends, misery loves company!

1. never passing this way again
2. Anna von Beaverplatz
3. Platitude Paradise
4. An Oreo in Trouble
5. Girl with Curious Hair
6. Welcome to Stabbymart
7. Xtremely Boring/Ragey

And because I'm feeling rebellious (even though misery loves company, but remember how lonely I'll be), I am not going to insist you follow the rules and post 7 things about yourselves (Although, I love to learn more about y'all). I'm also not going to insist you nominate 7 more bloggers, because that shit is hard. I don't want to hurt any one's feelings!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cannonball Read II - Book #2: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

My second effort for the Cannonball Read was Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. The book is about a young girl named Meggie and the secret her father has hidden from her entire life. Meggie’s father, Mo, is a reader; when he reads out loud the story comes to life. Literally. In doing so, Mo has managed to read several less than desirable characters out of the novel Inkheart, including the black hearted Capricorn (get it?), his devout minions, and the fire-eating Dustfinger and his trusty marten. The catch? For every character or object Mo reads out of a story something from our world must inexplicably replace it. Mo is forced to tell Meggie that this is the explanation for her mother’s disappearance and subsequent absence from the previous nine years when it becomes apparent that Capricorn will stop at nothing to possess the copy of Inkheart that Mo owns.

Sounds like a solid idea, right? I thought so as well and in different hands this story could have been much different. Much better. I understand Inkheart is Cornelia Funke’s sophomore effort and her first novel, The Thief Lord, was highly praised. I can’t imagine why and I’ll never find out. I wouldn’t go so far as to say she can’t write, I just didn’t enjoy her writing. I am sure she is adequate technically, but she failed to pull me in. The characters felt one dimensional. I couldn’t have cared any less about whether they managed to rescue Meggie’s Mom. I never once truly feared for anyone’s safety. Dustfinger’s actions left me impassive. The story was repetitive. Capture, rescue, escape, betrayal, repeat. The entire novel fell flat. Sadly, I won’t read the other two in the series, Inkspell and Inkdeath. I am so apathetic; I won’t even write another paragraph.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flu Assessed

My daughter came home from a weekend away with a fever and chest racking cough. My first thought? Swine Flu, of course. Now, I’m not an overprotective, hypochondriac type normally, but three of her friends had already been diagnosed and her symptoms were very literally the first 5 symptoms listed on Public Health Agency of Canada’s website and so I thought it a good idea to get her to a damned doctor. Imagine my dismay when I discover the medical community has far different ideas from my own.

I get up bright and early Monday morning to be sure I am the first voice my Doctor’s receptionist hears that day after a night of listening to my poor kid hack up a lung. Her coughing was so bad in fact that when she finally stopped, around 4:30 am, I had to check on her. This, after 2 tablespoons of a cough suppressant. Back to the Doctor’s office. The receptionist informs me they are not seeing possible cases of the H1N1, I have to take my daughter to the Flu Assessment Clinic set up at such and such an address for patients such as my daughter. Is there a doctor there, I ask. Oh yes, of course, I’m told. And so, I wait until noon (when the clinic opens), load my sick child into the car, cursing all the while because I am expecting a clinic full of hypochondriacs and real sick people causing a ridiculously long wait when my child could see her family doctor, be in and out in no time and be back home, snuggled up on the couch watching movies and drifting comfortably in and out of healing sleep.

At the Flu Assessment Clinic, we are greeted by security guards (yes! Security Guards!). My daughter asked me why the clinic needs security guards. Fucked if I know, babygirl, was my reply. They block the inner door whilst insisting we sanitize our hands and don the facemasks provided in the vestibule before permitting us to enter the Clinic. Then we are instructed to take a number. Luckily, we were the second people to arrive and so our wait was a short one. We are called into one of the patient’s rooms, where a Nurse introduces herself, pulls out a carbon form (triplicates! who in the holy hell are they all going to?) and proceeds with the questionnaire. We answer all of the questions, she dutifully checks off our responses on the form. Perhaps we’ll see the doctor now? No, no such luck. She then tells us my daughter may or may not have the regular seasonal flu, possibly H1N1 and it might be a regular run of the mill cold. All of which I knew myself and I said as much. She smiles and says they stopped doing the swabs because they were too time consuming. Just watch out for this and that and keep her home from school for the rest of the week. Apparently, Google is giving away nursing degrees, because that's what Google said. They did nothing. Waste of Time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just An Excuse

Let’s play a little catch up, K? I’ve been crazy busy because the military hates me and seems to think my husband doesn’t need to be at home right now. Seriously, he was gone a week, home a week, stir, add lime, repeat. A couple more times, just to make sure you’ve got the taste. So, in the mean time, rather than making up for lost time and building up the reserves for when he’s gone again, guess what hubby and I have been up to? We’ve been catching up on the first season of The Legend of the Seeker. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Doesn’t really surprise me. The Legend of the Seeker is a television series based loosely on The Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind. Absolutely, gloriously full of cheese! It’s fantastic! I love that my husband is nearly as nerdy as me (in fact, it could be argued that he created this particular facet of my nerd) or is content to go along for the crazy ride with me and let me enjoy the gratuitous helping of Craig Horner abs.

I am desperately trying to complete my second book for the CBR II, Inkheart. Not a terribly bad book, just not a terribly good one either. I won’t say anything more lest I spoil my review!

After all the hype surrounding the fundraiser last week, work is painfully quiet. Aside from taking two telephone calls trying to explain why the bank requires an inspection done by an accredited appraiser before they will release funds to continue construction on my client’s house, instead of accepting the inspection done by the municipality. So, since my client seems to be opposed to asking the municipal employee himself whether or not he is accredited, I have called to ask myself. He has yet to return my call. Also, the same client’s lawyer called and left a message for me to call him yesterday, I returned his call this morning and now I’m waiting for him to return my call. Nobody is calling me back. Literally. It’s been like this all week. I might get a complex.

Has anyone round these parts noticed I’m a bit of a Daddy’s Girl? I’m here to tell you that I am. I won’t go into great detail but whenever I have to confront my Father with what I deem to be a controversial subject (read: anything I think will make him mad) I get very, very nervous. I would endure unspeakable tortures before raising my Father’s temper without just cause. And the cause is somewhat subject to interpretation depending on how brave I happen to be on any given day. I have abandoned entire crusades in the name of peace between my Father and I. Well, one crusade in particular really. It happens that this particular situation of which I speak came to a head a couple of months ago and it took me a couple of months to gather the courage to talk to my Dad about it. Ready, willing and able to defend my stance, I broached the subject. Turns out, I got myself in an unnecessary tizzy. I usually do, by the way. My Dad has a short fuse, but the blast is hardly ever as bad as I remember it. In fact, this go ‘round there was no blast at all. Someone please remind me I have a tendency to blow things out of proportion next time (my husband does, regularly). But it wasn’t the lack of blast that was a relief, it was the response itself. Sorry to be so vague, but the story is a long one and to make you understand a five minute conversation, I’d have to tell you damn near my life story.

Monday, November 9, 2009

CBR II - Book #1: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I finally finished my first book for the Cannonball Read 2. Let me ask you this. Who picks an eight hundred page book to read in a week while her husband is away, she is a part of planning 2 fundraisers, is working full time and has two children with various extra-curricular activities? Me, that’s who! In case you were wondering; yes, I am a bit of a sucker for punishment.

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander was recommended to me by a co-worker. It didn’t really sound like my idea of a good time because I don’t normally enjoy Harlequin Romances. In my stubbornness to stick with what I knew, I perceived the way this was presented to me as a Harlequin. That conversation ended badly, but I decided to read the book anyway. Turns out, I’m glad I did.

As the Second World War winds down, Claire reunites with her husband after a ridiculously long separation caused by their serving in said war, she as a nurse and he as a soldier. While enjoying a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands, Claire and her husband, Frank Randall, witness a modern day druid ceremony at a set of standing stones. When the ceremony has concluded, being a bit of an amateur botanist, Claire is drawn to a flower amongst the stones. But Frank’s attention has grown short and he wants to get back to whatever it was he was doing back in town. Genealogy, probably; Frank has just discovered information pertaining to his several times great-grandfather, Jack Randall, a Captain in the English Military during the eighteenth century. Just in case it isn’t abundantly clear, Frank bored me to tears and I am grateful he only occupied a very small portion of the beginning of the book. So, Claire resigns herself to returning for the flower later.

Return she does. And this is where the going gets good. When she returns to the stones, Claire finds she can hear a ‘buzzing like bees’ that intensifies as she draws closer to one stone in particular on which she rests her hand. Claire is overcome. When she recovers she believes herself to be in the middle of a re-enactment or filming of a period movie, because of sounds of battle nearby and attempts to find her way back home. It becomes clear to Claire that things are not as they should be. Her surroundings are the same, yet different. Claire hasn’t quite figured it out yet, but you and I have (and if you haven’t maybe you should read this after you do), our little English nurse has been hurtled back in time. She encounters an English army man who could pass as Frank’s twin. But he’s not Frank, not by a long shot. No, this is the infamous Captain Jack Randall and, taking in her clothing, pegs her a whore and attempts to have is way with her. Before much damage is done she is rescued by a Scotsmen who then brings her to his travelling party. It is here she meets the absolutely adorable Jamie Fraser (oh darn! Am I being obvious again?). His shoulder has been dislocated in a scuffle with the English. Being a nurse during the war, Claire wrestles the young man’s shoulder back into its rightful place.

And so begins the adventure and romance of Jamie and Claire. They are met with resistance that takes many shapes, including themselves. They are forced to marry to protect Claire from Jack Randall and then realize they’ve fallen in love. There is sex, lies and no videotape (cause it’s 1743, silly) but a good helping of violence. And time travel! And some of the difficulties that come with it.

Diana Gabaldon has done a fantastic job of painting the mid-eighteenth century life in Scotland. My knowledge of Scottish history would fill a thimble, if I am lucky, but she makes it believable. The characters are real. They are heroic, without being untouchable. They have flaws. I dare you not to feel despair when Jamie leaves Claire at the stones. Tell me your gut doesn’t wrench when Jamie talks of his imprisonment. Tell me you aren’t able to affect a near perfect Scottish accent when you’re through reading Outlander, which is a bonus really, because when is a Scottish accent not cool?

This book is a far cry from Harlequin (unless Harlequin has evolved since I last read one) and I would recommend it as a romance, and an adventure with a little sci-fi-ishness thrown in for good measure.