Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Whole Lotta Nuttin'

I was over mucking around on Crackbook, bored outta my tree, when I decided I would watch something on the idiot box. This being Saturday night, nothing's on. Wondering what to do with my ridiculously under-stimulated self, it came to me. My blog! So, what wise words have I to share? What interesting stories? What profound thoughts have I been a-pondering? Bupkis, boys and girls, that's what! I'm just going to prattle on about stuff so that I can say I have actually been on this poor, neglected blog.

Let's stick with the neglected theme for a moment, shall we? Alright-y then. The Cannonball Read II. Yes, I signed up. And for awhile I did a half decent job of sharing my adventures in reading with y'all, my bloggy friends. However, my resolve quickly dissolved and the reviews fell by the wayside. But I did not quit reading. Oh no, I read my little heart out. Here is what I have read and not reviewed:

The Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, books 1-12
They started out solid; your average supernatural mystery type books and quickly spiraled recklessly toward pure, unadulterated porn. They were fantastic!

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, books 1-7
I believe I actually managed to review a couple of these. These books kicked some serious ass. There was a brief time during The Fiery Cross when I could put the book down, but that didn't last long. I cannot wait for the next one. Is it out YET? No? How 'bout now?

The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare, books 1-3
I bought this set for my daughter. I try to read whatever she's reading so that I can curb any errant thought processes resulting from her reading material (see Twilight, although, she hasn't really needed any explanations from me, she's smart when she wants to be). Anyway, back to the topic at hand. These books were pretty good. There was a particular plot line that made me squick a little, but it played out alright. And yes! I am very articulate this fine evening.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
I was surprised by this book. It was given to my daughter as a Christmas gift and so, naturally I expected a book for a teen. Not so much. It was alternately funny and heart-breakingly sad. A quick but good read.

Well, let's see, I'm up to 23, right? I also reread the Sookie Stackhouse novels, so that's another 11. And I think that's all of 'em.

Ahhh, True Blood, how I do love you. However, I think my husband may have been right, Mr. Ball tried to cram a little too much into this season. Also, if we're sorta, kinda, maybe, a little bit trying to stick to the books, shouldn't Eric and Sookie have spent the better portion of this season gettin' it on? I was seriously disappointed when I realized that wasn't going to happen. Anna Paquin married Stephen Moyer in real life and on screen they have zero chemistry together. Anna Paquin and Mr. Skarsgard, on the other hand, ooze chemistry. Or maybe it's just Alexander Skarsgard. You know what? It's probably that. Perhaps they will get their groove on next season. From my lips to Alan Ball's ears.

Hmmm, what else? Oooh! How about movies? I watched Valhalla Rising recently. Beautiful scenery, great acting, freaking MESSED up story. It's been along time since a movie left me dumbfounded but this one did that and then some. And the Expendables. I love me some mindless, 'splodey, action movies. And we watched The Princess Diaries and Men in Tights with the kids, which was awesome! And nothing else is coming to mind right now even though I've watched a tonne of movies this summer. I guess that says it all, don't it?

Finally, I'm crushin' on this little hottie right now, Eric Balfour. Thanks to a fun show I've been DVR'ing all summer, Haven. In case you haven't caught it, it's about an FBI agent who finds herself in a little town in Maine riddled with strange events the locals have pegged "The Troubles". It's based on the short story by Stephen King, The Colorado Kid aaaand it's filmed in the lovely Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, which I'm sure you know, is close to home.

Alright, boys and girls, I'm outta here! Hopefully, I'll be back soon!

Oh wait! Wait! Come back! Last year, my daughter and I started watching The Vampire Diaries together (anybody else notice that I seem to like my vampire stories? Yeah, me neither!). When the season ended I wanted to read the books the t.v. show is based on. Let me save anyone inclined to read the books some suffering, don't. It ain't worth it, man! They are fantastically bad. Not in a cheese-y bad way, just bad. Absolutely sucked! Seriously. And there are six of them (40!). And yes, I read them all, because I can't start a book and not finish it. Although I probably should have. Time I'll never get back, folks, time I'll never get back.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Here! It's Finally Here!

What? You ask. Well, my sister's blog. I've finally succeeded in harassing her enough that she started one of her own. So, I ask you as a favour between friends, go! Visit The Rantings of an Awkward Genius, I promise she will have you laughing your butt off in no time (as long as she blogs at a reasonable hour!). And if she doesn't? I cannot be held responsible. It's not like I twisted your arm or anything. Or hers. Okay, maybe I twisted hers a little. But only because I think her brand of funny should be shared. Have I built her up enough? Do you think it will hurt when she falls off that mile high pedestal I've put her on? C'mon, my expectations aren't that hard to meet! Also, writing in any form offers a reprieve that is difficult to find elsewhere and who doesn't need that once in awhile? I know all of my bloggy friends understand. So? What are you still doin' here? Go! Read! Enjoy! And be nice, or I'll beat you up (she is my little sissy, after all)!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Divinely Uncoordinated

As you are aware, or would be if you read this post, about three and a half months ago I started a new job. My new job is fabulous. The people I work with are awesome as well. Which is why, when I was invited to a gathering of my co-workers hosted by the doctor that owns the practice, I was happy to go. I was duly warned by one of my co-workers that the doctor likes to dance. And he likes the company of his employees while bustin' his move. I took the warning in stride, because really, who doesn't like to cut a rug once in a while? So, I shouldn't have been surprised when the little party came equipped with a dance instructor. I was, however. The nail biting began when I was informed that participation was not optional.

I enjoy dancing. I have been known to let loose and get my groove on. And the more alcohol I've consumed the groovier I get. But, seeing as this was a work function and I am the newest addition to the team, I had not ingested nearly enough liquid courage to take dance lessons in front of 12 or so of my newly acquired co-workers. Better yet? The dance being taught was the Samba. Have I mentioned before that I am the klutziest person I know? That I have very little rhythm? That I am divinely uncoordinated? Oh yes, hand to God. And participation was not optional.

I lined up opposite my husband (spouses were invited), said a prayer to the god of dance and fiercely concentrated on the feet of the little man instructing us. I tried. I really did. If I had of been in the comfort of my own home, or even a private lesson and perhaps a month to practice, I may have been able to execute and combine the 3 steps he taught us. I imagine what I produced looked something like I had suffered a seizure standing up. To add insult to injury, my husband is like liquid on the dance floor. Particularly any version of Latin dance. The instructor congratulated me on my husband's capacity. My co-workers were awed by his grace. My only saving grace? His suave effectively hid my ineptitude.

You think this would have been the end of this nightmare. You would be wrong. The other doctor at the practice was also in attendance. Being a little bit older, perhaps a little more mild mannered, his choice of dance was a little different. In fact, he was obliged to provide his own Cd with the music required for his lesson. Don't worry. I make it sound as though he taught us the Waltz and insisted we only touch at the arms, that isn't the case. No. The truth is much worse. He taught us the bunny hop. While the family in the link is very cute, I beg you to imagine doing this with a group of people you have known for approximately 8 weeks. Also, the family in the link are holding each other at the shoulder, we held each other at the waist. Why was I not informed of my options? You understand my unease. Aaaand, I'm, heavy. Bouncing around is not conducive to comfort when you are blessed with breasts. Especially when you are ill prepared.

Let's add it all up, shall we? Near strangers + divinely uncoordinated me + unfairly coordinated husband + big boobs + dance lessons = incredible embarrassment. Thankfully, my embarrassment seems to be my own. Mr. Sprite is (usually) remarkably good humoured; he was unfazed by my lack of grace. My co-workers were equally accepting; none of them were horrified by inelegant display. Shocking, isn't it? That no one but myself was put off. It always comes as a bit of a surprise when I am reminded once again that the world doesn't revolve around me. But, know this: I will practice those three steps until I have perfected them and I will don a garment capable of keeping the girls in check. And next time, I won't be so god damned uptight.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Scent of A...

I went in to the house from the deck the other weekend and the smell of the spaghetti sauce I had been cooking and the laundry I had been washing hit me. I had a second to think how homey it all smelled when I was transported approximately 18 years into the past. Suddenly I was in my mother's kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. The memory was so strong I heard the voices of friends I hadn't spoken to in ages; the pale green walls of my own kitchen morphed into the forest green of the apartment in Toronto all those years ago and the ceramic tiles beneath my feet became linoleum. The emotional stew that bubbled during my entire teenage life accompanied the other sensory memories as well, but this post isn't about those.

The relationship between scent and memory is fascinating. So fascinating, in fact, I went hunting for a scientific explanation. About 10 minutes into my research (which was about 7 1/2 minutes longer than I remained interested), I was easily led astray by thoughts of scents that evoke strong memories. For lack of a better idea for a post (and God knows, I am severely lacking of late), I thought I'd share some with you.

Oscar de la Renta perfume unfailingly brings back the time my Mom spent every morning painstakingly curling her hair and applying mascara before going to work at the restaurant. A routine that often included an entire pot of coffee and several phone calls (all to the same three or four people. Everyday.) but no less meticulous for the time it took. My mother had the most mesmerizing eyelashes of anyone I had ever known. Icy blue-grey eyes set in the creamy, freckled face with the startling long black lashes framing them.

For a couple of short years in my life I lived on the island of Newfoundland. While there, it was fashionable for young ladies to wear their hair in such a way that paid tribute to the biggest of '80's hairdos. I'd spend hours curling my then bone-straight, nearly waist length hair, then teasing it all so that it often stood just shy of a foot off my head and fixing it in place with at least a half of a can of Salon Selectives hairspray, Extreme Hold. To this day, a whiff of the previously mentioned hair product brings me back to my bedroom in the drafty old house; arms burning with the strain of an hour spent holding the curling iron in my hair.

My Dad is a denim and leather kind of guy. So much so, that I was convinced I would never see him wear anything but (except for those little blue shorts with the white stripes down the side that were the cause for much embarrassment during my childhood, but they are a story of their own). For the first twenty or so years of my life my Father's daily uniform consisted of a pair of blue jeans (sometimes black ones, but not often) a brown leather belt with a huge brass buckle, a t-shirt and a black leather vest, adorned with buttons collected along the way (he had plenty of flair). As a result, the scent of worn leather fills me with images of my Dad when I was little. They are usually accompanied with the sense of awe I felt over just about everything he did or said (have I mentioned I'm a 'Daddy's Girl'?).

Finally, jet fuel. It's not the only scent that reminds me of my husband, there is also Joop cologne; shoe polish; and orange air freshener, but jet fuel is one of the strongest. As an airplane mechanic, he regularly brings the scents of his trade home with him but that is one that leaves a lasting impression. One day, very early in his career, he arrived home from work, I went to give him a kiss and was brought up short. The stench of him was breathtaking. I swore and asked him what he'd been doing and why did he stink so bad. He laughed and told me he'd been crawling around inside the wing of a plane, which is where the fuel is stored. It was empty at the time, but, you know. He was probably highly flammable, he was going to shower and could I please wash his uniform in cold water and line dry it instead of use the dryer. Just in case.

How 'bout y'all? Does the smell of chocolate chip cookies remind you of your Grandma's lovingly made cookies as a kid? Does the smell of stale beer and cigarettes remind you of that night you've tried so hard to forget? You spill the memory beans and I'll work on flexing my writing muscle and maybe I'll write more often.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Almost There

Well, my other half has been gone for two months. Tomorrow, he returns. I'm here to tell you, it's a good thing.

I'm not an incompetent person. Military life is what it is and I have adjusted accordingly. I'd be lying if I didn't say that the deployments are, on occasion, a relief. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. I wish I could say that simply missing my husband and the comfort of a complete family unit are my chief complaints when he is away. It's not the case, though. And this particular deployment has been trying in the extreme. It wasn't all bad, I can't say that. There were some definite high points, but my limits have been tested. When life shows her teeth, I withdraw. It may not be healthy, but it's a fact.

And that's my excuse. The reason for my absence. I'm not quite comfortable enough to relay the events that have been so cataclysmic, but they were such that even my need for social interaction was severely crippled. I have however, in my way, dealt. Am dealing. And tomorrow, Mr. Sprite will return. The world is once again tilted at approximately 23.5 degrees and has resumed orbiting the sun. Tad bit melodramatic, aren't I?

Let me tell you about the good stuff.

I am no longer in the employ of Narcissus. I was recommended for a position (something that has never happened to me before and was an incredible boost to my ego) at a local ophthalmologist's office. I emailed a resume, met with the office manager and the HR manager and was hired in short order. So now, I am officially a Ophthalmologists Medical Assistant (in training). This job is awesome! My co-workers are, so far, fantastic.

My daughter plays hockey. Her team this year was not a good one. They won only one game and tied another. The end of the season tournament was designed in such a way that even my daughters team could win a medal. I'm not sure how that works, haven't tried to figure it out. It's not the sport I enjoy, it's watching my kid have a blast doing it. Anyway, after putting a little more than 800 kilometers on my car over 3 days of the Easter weekend with my son and my father (who visited for a week, one of the highlights) in tow, the last game was a welcome sight. Strangely, our girls were to play a team that had beat us 15-0 at the beginning of the year. We took our seats in the stands to bear witness to the trouncing that was about to take place. But our girls rallied! 3 periods passed and no one scored. Everyone played well, but our goalie and defense played their asses off (my daughter plays defense. Surprised? I think not). Officials decided the two teams would play a 3 on 3, 10 minute overtime period. My daughters defense duo was chosen to play the second lineup (is that what it's called? I'm not concerned enough to research it; you get what I'm saying). I was proud. And so they played the overtime period and still no one scored! The officials then decided a shootout was in order. Each team picked 5 girls with the best shot and my little girl (not so little, she'll be 14 in a month) was chosen! I was bubbling over with pride at this point. And my father, who was happy just to be able to see her play, had a perma-grin from ear to ear. I should also point out that the tension in the arena was palpable. Our team, a team that had done so poorly all season, played hard that day. Harder than they'd ever played and the cheers in the stands for our girls was deafening. The game they had played so far was vindication enough, victory wasn't even necessary. But our hope was renewed and we shouted every encouragement we could. Ten girls were lined up against the boards waiting for their turn to shoot the winning goal. The opposing team got the first shot. It was evident that the players knew the stakes; formerly sure footed and quick skaters looked like it was their first time on skates; the best puck handlers were rarely able to control the puck (one of best forwards took a shot that went about 10 foot wide of her mark). Our third shooter scored! The crowd literally went wild! But the other team still had a chance. Then, with my daughter at center ice and them with one more shot, my daughter pushed off. I will be honest and say the following description contains it's fair share of parental pride, but it doesn't make it any less accurate. She handled the stick and puck like they were God given appendages, she skated like she had been born to do it. She took the shot and I marveled at how picturesque she looked with one foot slightly off the ice and the stick held out in front of her. I looked at the net. Did it go in? The force of the puck hitting the back of the net over the goalies right shoulder told me it had! My girl skated around the back of the net and came out with her stick high above her head, cheering when her team mates piled on top of her. The weight of 16 girls confirming she had just secured the bronze metal for them. And in the stands I was surrounded by parents who were jumping and hugging. I screamed cheers so loud I could barely talk the next day. My father looked like the cat that caught the canary. Even my son, who abhors hockey, jumped and shouted. It was truly amazing.

Like I said there were some high points.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Dark Little Corner

My, that sounds uplifting don't it?

I'm back from vacation and my vacation had only one shortcoming; it was too damned short! I hung out with my cousin and her wacky boyfriend. It's often been said that she and I are the light and dark versions of one another. She's light (blond hair, blue eyes) and I'm dark (Brown hair, brown eyes). Are personalities are similar as well. Not in the way that mirrors every fault you have causing you to despise the person for acting as a constant reminder that you are less than perfect and may be something worse but in the comfortable, chummy way. I can be goofy and honest, two things I have a hard time being, and she can be the same. We mesh well. We have a lot in common. More than I knew.

A conversation began and evolved into another thing entirely. From aspirations, then literature, on to religion and finally ghosts. Yes, I believe in ghosts. And yes I am painfully aware of how that belief contrasts the lack of faith I have discussed previously. Hypocrite, who me? Here's the thing, and maybe you'll laugh but I can live with that, I have experienced something called Old Hag Syndrome. And apparently my cousin has also.

Occasionally I'll awake from sleep and not be able to move, not a finger or a toe. It's damn near impossible to draw breath because there's something on my chest. Something holding me down and sucking the life out of me. It's fucking scary. Occasionally, when I have finally been able to draw breath, I let it out in a scream of sheer terror. When I told my cousin and her wacky boyfriend this (Ha! look who's calling who wacky!), my cousin very simply stated "That's the Old Hag". Who....what...huh?

Old Hag was described as a witch that rides the chest of her sleeping victim and sends him/her nightmares (oh yes, the nightmares). When the victim awoke, they would be unable to move or breathe. That's the Coles notes. You can skip around Wiki for hours finding all sorts of interesting variations (I did) but that's the gist. Science explains that when a person is sleeping, a function of the brain paralyzes them so they don't act on their dreams (mine's broken, I sleepwalk all the damned time, there's nothing like waking up in the middle of the night in the middle of the living room). If a person wakes before that function has been turned off completely they experience a moment of sleep paralysis. The modern explanation. A likely story.

I honestly can't tell you which I believe. The scientific explanation sure does sound pretty and when it's daylight, it's easy to accept. But if you've ever felt the Old Hag, you know the terror is hard to logically explain away.

Old Hag isn't the only reason I lean toward the existence of the paranormal but it's a big part of the whole. In my short life I've seen and felt some creepy shit, but I'll save that for another post. So, tell me; do you? Don't you? I want all the dirty details.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You Know You Want It!

He he! I am leaving for the T-dot in 2 days! I’m a wee bit excited, in case you hadn’t noticed. My cousin, my sister and I are going to have a good time. There will be dinners at fancy-like restaurants, manicures and pedicures, visiting, and drunken debauchery. I’m sure we’ll throw some shopping in for good measure. And a little more drunkenness, just because.

The only downfall is my return. Not because I don’t want to come back, but because two days after I return, the military is sending my husband on course for two –TWO- months! So I will be up here (you can’t see me, but I’m on my tippy toes with my hand way above my head) and then I will violently fall all the way down here (now, I’m flat out on the floor). I can’t even savour the sweetness of my vacation for a few extra days. That makes me pouty.

Also, my vacation was, unbeknownst to me, well timed. It gives me the opportunity to escape from the 7th circle of hell that has become the relationship between my daughter and me. I realize she’s a teen and teens are mildly psychotic and possibly suffer from multiple personalities but that doesn’t make it any easier. But I can’t get into that here and now because I run the risk of my head exploding.

Alright, enough of that.

So, here I sit on the eve of my 32nd birthday and I am going to spend time with two of the most important women in my life. My cousin, who I was estranged from for about a decade for unfortunate reasons, but thankfully we are back and just as strong and I wonder how I managed without her, and my sister, who was possibly the bane of my existence until I turned 24, when I realized everyone’s human and she maybe realized I wasn’t the control hungry bitch she had accused me of being. In other words we both matured and became very good friends. Don’t ask us to live together again, though. We will kill each other inside of a week. So even if all we three did for 6 days was hang out and drink and talk and just generally enjoy one another’s company, it would be a memorable birthday.

My only wish is that I could bring the hubby with me. I know, it kind of ruins the girls only theme but I am fortunate to be very good friends with the man I married (and when we remember that, we knock it out of the park!) and he’s also good friends with my sister and my cousin. It would be so much awesome! But not too much, they could never be too much.

Aww, look at me gettin’ all sappy. But there it is folks – the short list of “cannot do without” people in my life. And I didn’t even know I was going to go there. I just wanted to brag about justified absence from my place of work and my impending drunkenness. A nice surprise, I must say. Blog posts that write themselves. Fancy that!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Hound of Hell

I am the receptionist for an insurance/investment/mortgage firm as well as a real estate company. I don’t have much on my plate. I mail out mortgage letters once a week. I fax out group insurance requests once a week. I occasionally design business cards and marketing material for both companies. If I am lucky, I get to work on a mortgage. Once in awhile I am required to enter a new listing into the MLS database. I answer the phone. And as infrequently as I can manage it, I file. Before this I worked as a teller in a bank. I was much busier and made better money.

Even though a retarded monkey could perform my job, I try to take pride in what I do. To be honest I adore designing the business cards and marketing material. I’m an amateur but it’s fun nonetheless and the people I do it for appreciate it. Sorry, a little off topic. I try to be unfailingly professional. I am only human and once in a blue moon some dorksnorkle slips under the radar and manages to piss me off enough to make me forget myself. That being said my crimes against professionalism pale in comparison to some of the shit I have seen while I have worked here. I write about them today because there have been 3 such events in a very (unacceptably) short span of time. The same person is guilty of all three.

We received mail from a courier today addressed to one person. Another person entirely opened it.

While talking to a bill collector on the phone (yes, collector), a request was made by the collector for the name of the party he was talking to. The name was given several times and when it was apparent the language barrier was making the conversation difficult, the question was posed: “if you ask for information, then clean the crap outta your ears and listen”.

Finally, because this person is a very serious control freak, one requiring extensive psychiatric therapy in my humble opinion, completely ignored one of the boss’s clients. Why would she do such a thing? What could possibly be considered reason enough to ignore the client of the man that signs your paycheques? Because I was on lunch (which incites misery each and every fucking day, as if I am not entitled to it or rather the jealousy because Dani and I eat together every day), the real estate agent on duty greeted the potential client (in her eyes) when they entered the building. Upon discovering he was in fact a client of my boss's she looked to my co-worker for help. My co-worker simply shrugged and left the real estate agent to fend for herself. Having no knowledge of the boss’s whereabouts or what his schedule was she took the gentleman’s name and sent him on his way. When the name was relayed to my boss and his anger at having his scheduled client sent away was apparent, my co-worker hung the real estate agent out to dry. And the fuck of it is; she thinks her childish little display of passive-aggression was justified.

To add insult to injury: this woman’s mood swings makes the character Linda Blair played in The Exorcist look downright fucking playful. I am often left flummoxed, wondering what I could’ve possibly done to warrant the death stare and knife edge-like tongue.

When did professionalism and respect in the workplace become an option?

When I leave this place (and I will, it is only a matter of when now) it won’t be because of Narci , Dirk Diggler, or any other minions. It will be because of the soul sucking female in his employ.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hello, My Name is Eyvi.

My time management skills leave a lot to be desired. My follow through is not as strong as it could be, either. Also, I have an undeniably addictive personality. In addition to that, escapism is my drug of choice. What am I trying to say? The Cannonball was probably a bad idea for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love having a reason to read. But I hate writing the reviews. I’m not very good at them and they get in the way of the next book. I am 10 reviews behind. 10!!! And so, because I feel guilty for being so behind on my reviews I avoid blogging altogether. Every time I log in I think I should be writing a review, and then whatever I was going to write drowns in the pool of guilt. So I avoid my blog. This means I am missing out on y’all. Well, the ones I’m not friends with on crackbook. And of those I am friends with; I am missing out on what it takes you more than 400 characters (or whatever the limit is) to say. This all makes sense in my head.

Not to worry though! My blogging friends aren’t the only social circle I have been avoiding. I’ve neglected everyone else as well. This weekend I tried very hard to remind my family that I am still there and I still care and I am willing to participate in family life in between pages and chapters and books. I decided if I couldn’t spare my company (because you can do a lot of things in tandem with reading but talking to people isn’t one of them), then I would demonstrate my love via the culinary arts. I made Spaghetti sauce, chili, cream of potato soup and molasses baked beans. My husband is required to expand very little energy feeding the family this week and it’s all healthy!

So what’s my point besides sharing my faults? Putting one of the many dark areas of my mind on display? What? That isn’t enough? You want blood, too? I don’t have much of one really. I just wanted to share and thought at least I’m blogging something. Right? Right.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Where'd I Put That?

You know what? I’m at work right now. I probably have some semblance of work I could be doing. But I’m not going to. Want to know why? Besides the fact that the work is really just some make work project my boss gave me because he sees me sitting here at my desk, Facebooking and reading Pajiba on the fucking spy-cam he had installed over my desk (it’s for “security”)? I haven’t posted in a month of Sundays and I miss you yahoos and I know that if I don’t pay y’all at least a wee bit of attention you may just up and hop the fence. Which, I can’t have. I’ve grown accustomed to your affections, I’m afraid.

I’ll explain my absence. I have developed an alarming case of apathy. Yup, my give a fuck is fubar’d. Seems no one knows how to fix it either. Could be that I hold the secret to refilling my well of interest. Could be. I can’t really be bothered to go looking right now. It’s a vicious circle, folks. - No. Not that kind of circle. Pig! – I suspect the time of year has a great deal to do with it. Truth be told, I’ve known for awhile that my so called seasonal depression is not really seasonal. I’ma do a little Scarlet and deal with that tomorrow.

The good news is that I have read 4 books (none of which I have written a review for. D’oh!). Three of which are young adult novels. You see, I have a thirteen year old daughter, so there are piles of this shit lying around my house. And ‘shit’ is a generous description, but you’ll understand when I get around to writing the reviews. I feel compelled to read them because I should know what my daughter is reading. It’s trash, seriously. There are good books out there, I know there are, why do we keep ending up with crap? I shouldn’t complain too much though because while she was happy to read Twilight, she was more excited to begin reading the Sword of Truth series and several Stephen King novels. And you naysayers can keep your opinions about the Sword of Truth series and Stephen King to yourself, ya hear? But feel free to lay into Twilight.

More bad news? I have completely fallin’ off the weight loss wagon. Dani and I went to the local grocery store to supplement our lunches today. With what? Barbecue chips and brownies... ...with chocolate chips. It may or may not have anything to do with PMS. It has absolutely nothing to do with helping me achieve my weight loss goal. I can’t tell you exactly what that is, ‘cause I don’t want to ruin your image of me. You know the image where I’ve got a body like Brittany Spears before she flipped her bicky and showed the world her cooter. That being said, it wasn’t the trip to the grocery store that was my diets demise. No, the defeat of the mighty diet can be traced back to Christmas. I took a vacation from my attempt at a healthier lifestyle. Because, really, what fun is Christmas when you’re counting the calories in your rum and eggnog and turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy? So, yeah, I’m just hoping I haven’t exhausted the supply of will power I had.

Hmmm. More good news? I want to end on a high note like George Costanza. It has been gorgeous weather wise in my corner of the world. Gorgeous! Yesterday it was plus 15 (59, my Ameri-friends) in the sun. Here in Canadialand during the winter months that is something to sing Hallelujah about. Today, it is plus 5 (41!), the sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky. Loverly. Sadly, it’s supposed to start raining tomorrow, turn to snow tomorrow night and then snow off and on until Wednesday. Oh! That high note? Lemme see... ... all the snow is good for skiing. Maybe I should start skiing? You have no idea how amusing that thought is!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Loss for Words

That would be the reason I haven't posted much lately. I'm not lacking for topics but I seem to be having trouble putting it to words.

That isn't going to stop me tonight, though.

It's No Whining Wednesday and true to form I had plenty of reason to whine today. But I tried not to. Mr. Sprite was promoted last year and because the Department of National Defense here in Canada takes the motto "hurry up and wait" very seriously, Mr. Sprite has only just been scheduled for his leadership training. He's scheduled to leave for 2 months of training two days after I return from Toronto. Sucks, no? But in the interest of adhering to the rules, I tried to look at the brighter side.

1. Queen size bed all to myself!
2. Lots of one on one time with my children (this can also be viewed as a bad thing).
3. Rent all the movies I wouldn't get to see when the hubby is home.
4. Eat the things the hubby doesn't like.
5. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and by that I mean we are guaranteed at least one week of really fantastic sex when he comes back!

See? Not so bad, right? Tomorrow I'll tell you all the reasons it sucks ass. That's gonna be a much longer list!

On the very bright side: I am going to Toronto in 43 days! You have no idea how much I am looking forward to 6 days of my cousin and my sister and very little responsibility. You may envy me, I don't mind. We've decided we're going to have dinner in the revolving restaurant at the top of the CN Tower, we may go skiing (I am hopelessly un-athletic, so this may prove to be dangerous, hilarious and pathetic all at once) and we are definitely going to drink more than our fair share. Expect drunken shenanigans.

That's all for tonight boys and girls. Stay outta trouble!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cannonball Read II - Book #6: The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind

Warning: If you have not read this book, leave now. It's about to get all spoilery up in here. If you like Terry Goodkind and don't think you can handle someone questioning him, you should also leave now. If you cringe at strong language, you too, should head for the exit and perhaps not come back, cause let's face it, I can make a sailor blush.

What the fuck, Terry Goodkind? What the hell is this shit you are trying to pass off as literature? OK, so maybe this might pass as literature, 'might' being a stretch. But for you, Terry Goodkind? For you? Oh no, Sir. No, if you expect your devout fans to accept this steaming pile of dung, not only have you apparently pissed away all of your talent but you seem to have lost your ever lovin' fuckin' mind too!

*deep breath*

Sorry, let me explain.

I bought The Law of Nines for my husband for Christmas. My husband and I have both read The Sword of Truth series and loved it. My husband had mentioned what a talented writer he thought Terry Goodkind to be. So, upon seeing this new book on the shelf I thought I should pick it up, because my husband liked Goodkind for both his imagination and his ability. I was even a little excited to see what kind of "electrifying new direction" (this is what it says on the inside flap of the dust jacket) he might have taken. It promised "Longtime fans and new readers alike will not forget...THE LAW OF NINES". Because it ruined any good fucking will I had for Terry Goodkind? Sorry, back to the review. Now, Mr. Sprite is still thoroughly engaged with the books I bought him for his birthday, The Outlaws of the Marsh, and I needed another book before I started the next Diana Gabaldon one and I knew I would have it read in a jiffy, so read it I did.

The Law of Nines begins with Alex, a young man celebrating his 27th birthday, standing on a street corner waiting for the light to change when he notices a plumbing truck careening toward him. It's then that he realizes there is woman (whom he doesn't remember seeing before now) waiting for the light as well and she doesn't seem to have noticed the approaching danger. He grabs her arm and yanks her out of the trucks path in the nick of time, saving her life. Then he invites her into the gallery where his paintings are on display. He's an artist, he paints trees and stuff. In the gallery she calls him by his name, he's shocked! But wait, she must have been to the gallery before and seen his paintings. When he pointed out his, she remembered the name, right? Well, turns out.... ....this is your last warning... ...go now if you don't want to be spoilered... ...she's from another world. She's from a world much like Alex's world but her world has magic and his doesn't.

We just slipped outta thriller folks, and put on a nice comfy fantasy. That's okay. I can handle that, because I've read Terry Goodkind's brand of fantasy and it kicks all kinds of ass.

The girl disappears into thin air again and we're left with Alex pondering his sanity because he's 27 and his Mom lost her shit when she turned 27 and she's been institutionalized and heavily medicated ever since. So he goes to see his grandpa because grandpa is also a little loopy but harmless and he always makes Alex feel better, or some shit. Grandpa has something for Alex. It seems Alex has inherited approximately half of Maine! Why, because it's his 27th birthday (grandpa thinks it has to do with the 7, something about the 7) and because he's a Rahl. Yes, you read that right. And yes, I also got all warm and tingly, like any good Goodkind fan should. But it's not what you think, my friends and what it is is not freakin' pretty.

This book is essentially a continuation (1000 years in the future) of The Sword of Truth. But there is no sword and no one names Alex the Seeker. But he has a pretty knife that has a mate with the letter R for the house of Rahl carved in the hilt. Oh and the mysterious woman? Yeah, the hints dropped that she's a confessor would sink a fucking boat, but he never comes right out and says so. Which would all be a-okay, if Terry Goodkind wrote this book in the same style as the others. But he didn't because of that "electrifying new direction" we read about on the dust jacket. Mr. Goodkind wanted to write a thriller! So we have what is either a continuation of the last book or a blatant bloody knock off of the first book of The Sword of Truth with choppy, clipped writing. Examples (the following examples are not only short sentences but entire paragraphs! For emphasis, I suppose): "He looked like a man stepping out of a nightmare." or "The world seemed to rush back in." or "Her voice was as captivating as her eyes." and one more for good measure, "It was as wicked a grin as Alex had ever seen". And this is only the first seven pages! The entire book is like it! It's horrible. It's disheartening.

Don't even get me started on the climax. Honestly, it isn't worth it.

Please, Mr. Goodkind, I implore you; do not change your writing style! Your fall from grace need only be a short one if you go back to fantasy. Hell, I'm not opposed to you beginning a new chapter in The Sword of Truth, but do it right! Oh! But don't let your political ideals and objectivist beliefs seep into the story like you did in Confessor. That was glaringly obvious. Preachy too.

Cannonball Read II - Book #5: Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Voyager, the third instalment in the Outlander series, has Claire discover that Jamie may not have died in battle at Culloden. Confirmation forces her to face the most difficult of decisions: should she leave her grown daughter in the hopes of seeing Jamie again? The decision is made at the 11th hour at Brianna’s behest – Go or I do! So Claire does. She travels through the stones and across Scotland to seek out Jamie. She finds him right where she expects to and one of the most adorable scenes every committed to paper unfolds. When they finally determine they are both real and not a figment of the others imagination, they get on with familiarizing themselves with each other again and not just in ‘that’ way! And of course the adventure begins. I know it wouldn’t make for very interesting reading otherwise, but these two sure do seem to find their share of trouble. There’s a brothel, a fire, bigamy, a kidnapping, long lost jewels, slaves and voodoo! They cover Scotland, France, the West Indies and more!

Again, Diana Gabaldon does not disappoint. I am so in love with these two characters I may follow them even if they led a normal quiet life. I usually encounter some form of disappointment in the portrayal of a beloved character this deep into a series. So far, I’ve no cause to complain, Diana Gabaldon has done a fantastic job of not deviating from what we’ve come to expect of the people in her story. And while the sheer volume of excitement is a wee bit unbelievable, her use of historical detail is always accurate.

I have only two complaints, one being her verbosity. I hold to my belief that she could have used a braver editor. The second, and this is no fault of the authors, only my apparently unreasonable expectations, I wanted Brianna to go back in time too!

There, now I’ve written this review as I promised myself I would before I began the fourth book, Drums of Autumn. My procrastination has had a palpable effect and I am dying to begin the next one (although Spot has made me just the teeniest weary).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cannonball Read II - Book #4: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Ah ha! I didn't think I could count Coraline toward Cannonball Read because it weighs in at a very feathery 162 pages, but I checked the Facebook page and Woo hoo! Nicole has graciously allowed a length of "150 pages or so"!

I had seen the movie Coraline having not known it was based on a book. It was visually stunning and incredibly creepy. I enjoyed it thoroughly. You understand then, how happy I was when I came across the novel at a local used book store. I read it one afternoon while my husband drove us to and from an away hockey game.

Coraline's family has just moved into a new apartment in a house that has been divided into apartments. Coraline is an explorer and having met the other eccentric inhabitants of the house, one of whom warns her to steer clear of the dangerous well, she "set off to explore for it, so that she knew where it was, to keep away from it properly". When the weather prevents her from exploring outdoors her father encourages her to explore indoors, "Count all the windows and doors. List everything blue. Mount an expedition to discover the hot water tank. And leave me alone to work." She discovers 153 blue things, 21 windows and 14 doors, one of which will not open. It is behind this door that adventure lies. Behind this door is the other mother and near perfect copies, creepy copies with button eyes, of all of the tenants in Coraline's divided house. The other mother has promised Coraline happiness, heavenly food and the attention her emotionally absent parents fail to give her, but at a cost.

Coraline is the adventurer just about every kid wants to be. She exhibits the courage every kid wishes they had in but she still experiences the fear they know they would feel. When she realizes her parents are gone, the police won't help and her neighbors are useless, that she is utterly alone, despite being terrified, she fights back.

Neil Gaiman paints the picture perfectly. He does a fabulous job appealing to children and parents alike. He had begun writing Coraline for one child and ended it 10 years later for another. The eldest read it when it was completed and when Neil said he hoped she wasn't too old for it, she responded by saying "I don't think you can be too old for Coraline." I'd have to say I agree.

Cannonball Read II - Book #3: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

It happened. I was afraid it might and it did. I forgot. Not what the book was about but the specifics of this particular entry in the Outlander series that would make a review relevant and coherent. I wiki'd and read other reviews, I asked Dani all to little avail. The story has become a whole, it would seem I may be unable to view its parts going forward. Which begs the question - I understand I may have used that phrase in the wrong context but to be quite honest, I don't understand how the other context works and old habits die hard and can a phrase not evolve/adapt? Commence freaking out- Where was I? Oh yeah, begging the question; how will I treat the remainder of the series? We shall see.

Outlander concluded with Claire in Jamie's arms and the very strong hint of pregnancy on her lips, everyone firmly in the 18th century. So you can imagine my surprise when Dragonfly in Amber opens to find Claire in the 20th century. She has just returned to Scotland and has her 20 year old daughter Brianna, in tow. Claire has returned intent upon revealing that the man Brianna thought her father, Frank Randall, was not and her biological father was in fact an 18th century Highlander. In her attempt to convince Brianna of the truth Claire has recruited the help of an historian and family friend.

Clarie's return to the 20th century is explained by way of a lengthy flashback. We learn that Jamie and Claire attempt to change the course of history and save the lives of many highlanders by doing every thing they can to prevent the Jacobite rebellion. When they fail, they return to Jamie's home, Lallybroch, in hopes of avoiding the battle and weathering the subsequent hardship endured by the Scots. Jamie is forced however, to support the attempt on the throne. Knowing what Claire has shared with him of recorded history and the results of the battle, Jamie begs Claire to return to her own time because he knows she is pregnant and wants to ensure the safety of her and the child.

Suffice it to say, the writing is fantastic albeit a bit lengthy. I don't mind the more than 750 pages, but I don't think an editor with a slightly heavier hand would have hurt the tale any. I continue to love/hate the many characters both old and new and when I finished Dragonfly in Amber, wild horses could not have kept me from Voyager, the next installment in the Outlander series.