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This was the month for Marion's romance/gothic/"issue" stories. I enjoyed some of these far more than I thought I would.

10/31/2011    Shatner Rules (audiobook) by William Shatner with Chris Regan

11/01/2011    Castle Terror by Marion Zimmer Bradley
11/04/2011    Bluebeard’s Daughter by Marion Zimmer Bradley
11/06/2011    Drums of Darkness by Marion Zimmer Bradley
11/15/2011    Dies the Fire (audiobook) by S.M. Stirling
11/17/2011    Quadrophenia Director’s Cut (cd box set book) by Pete Townshend et al.
11/20/2011    Parable of the Sower (audiobook) by Octavia E. Butler
11/20/2011    Can Ellen be Saved? by Marion Zimmer Bradley
11/25/2011    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (audiobook) by Douglas Adams
11/26/2011    Souvenir of Monique by Marion Zimmer Bradley
11/28/2011    Hunters of the Red Moon by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Paul Edwin Zimmer
11/30/2011    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (audiobook) by Douglas Adams

"Castle Terror" was pretty damn good. It would've made a great Hitchcock movie. "Bluebeard's Daughter" was not as good; "Drums of Darkness" was fun, and could easily take place in the Colin/Clare universe. "Souvenir of Monique" was OK.

"Can Ellen be Saved?" was absolutely terrible. The dialog was abysmal -- it sounds like the dialog from some awful "ripped-from-the-headlines" Movie of the Week in the early '70's. Hehe. I don't blame Marion. I suspect there was little she could do with the source material.

Once done with the romances, I picked up "Hunters of the Red Moon." I kept having flashes of deja vu while reading the first three or four chapters, but after that, I didn't remember anything. I suspect I read the beginning back in the day, but abandoned it before finishing. I really enjoyed it, and don't understand why I never finished it on my first attempt. I kind of miss short, complete novels like this that can be easily read during a single sitting. Everything has to be 100,000 words or more these days. 45,000-word gems like this don't get published anymore.

On the audio front, I went from the Shatner memoir to a couple of post-apocalyptic books. Stirling's "Dies the Fire" was pretty terrible. It mostly consisted of Fan Service -- the only successful survivors of the Death of Technology are Celtic minstrels and SCA nerds. M-hm.

In sharp contrast, Octavia Butler's grim masterpiece, "Parable of the Sower," is absolute genius. I stared "Parable of the Talents" right after, but decided to take a detour into something lighter, so I started in on the Douglas Adams-narrated audios of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books. Lots of fun, but I do need to get back to Butler's "Parable."

I only have a handful of Bradley left: The Survivors, Warrior Woman, The Heirs of Hammerfell and a half-dozen "collaborations" from the '90's. And, of course, the lesbian romances from the '60's. I will probably read those last.
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Started (and finished) the month reading MZB's epic 1979 novel of gay life/circus life in the middle of the 20th century, The Catch Trap. She really nails it. This is possibly the finest thing she ever wrote, and as I've spent the last 18 months reading close to everything she ever published, I'm in a decent position to make that declaration. This should be on everyone's short list for The Great American Gay Novel. Read it.

I took some detours during the month reading a bunch of "Locas" stories by Jaime Hernandez, inspired by the publication of what might possibly be the last "Locas" story ever, in the most recent L&R: New Stories volume. **SIGH!** I love Maggie.

The Evolution of God was interesting, if a bit too insistent in its final chapters about convincing us that, even if it's all made up, religion is still "true" in some sense. Right. Ready Player One is the YA geek novel du jour. It's read by Wil Wheaton, which helps, but it's still a long, crappily written excursion into someone else's D&D campaign. If the mere presence of 80's geek culture touchstones will set your synapses a-tingle, give it a try. I was about a decade too old during the '80's to get moist over Thundercats and John Hughes movies today.

10/02/2011    The Bloom County Library Volume Four: 1986-1987 (gn) by Berkeley Breathed
10/11/2011    Love And Rockets: New Stories no.4 (gn) by The Hernandez Brothers
10/13/2011    Wigwam Bam (gn) by Jaime Hernandez
10/15/2011    Chester Square (gn) by Jaime Hernandez
10/16/2011    The Evolution of God (audiobook) by Robert Wright
10/15/2011    Whoa Nellie! (gn) by Jaime Hernandez
10/20/2011    Locas in Love (gn) by Jaime Hernandez
10/20/2011    Dicks and Deedees (gn) by Jaime Hernandez
10/21/2011    Ghost of Hoppers (gn) by Jaime Hernandez
10/23/2011    The Education of Hopey Glass (gn) by Jaime Hernandez
10/25/2011    Ready Player One (audiobook) by Ernest Cline
10/25/2011    Space: 1999 Spider’s Web (audiobook) (nv) by William Latham
10/25/2011    Diary of a Sex Addict (na) by Scott Alexander Hess
10/29/2011    The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley
10/30/2011    The Bloom County Library Volume Five: 1987-1989 (gn) by Berkeley Breathed

Apart from some major reads, I started and ended the month with volumes of Berkeley Breathed's Bloom County Library. Volume 5 is the final volume. I'm looking forward to the Outland collection when it finally shows up. So much for not going in for '80's geek culture...

Currently casting about for something substantial to read. It just might be time to dive into MZB's "Gothics." I've got a couple of them already as e-books. I'll see how far I get trying to read them. The Star Trek: Typhon Pact miniseries is also staring me down. Haven't read any Trek for a while, so it might be time.

Currently listening to William Shatner read the latest volume of his ghostwritten memoirs, Shatner Rules. Is the fact that they're ghostwritten the reason he sometimes doesn't seem to know how to pronounce the names of people he's talking about? Anyhoo, it's somewhere between entertaining and annoying. At least it's short!
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On the way home from the airport yesterday (coming home from OctobearFest in Denver) I stopped by the comic shop to pick up my hold -- it had been a couple weeks since I was in.

The new Love & Rockets was in my hold -- Vol. 4 on the now-once-a-year schedule. It's not often enough, but I'll take what they can give me.

I read the Jaime parts last night -- I always read his chapters first.

It was absolutely amazing. It's the continuation of the Maggie story from last year's volume, with an ending that reduced me to tears. I re-read last year's opening parts of the story, and re-read the new stuff again tonight. It's one of the most amazing things I've read in ages.

It's hard to explain -- on the surface, it's pretty ordinary, kind of soap-operatic stuff, but Hernandez gives us a portrait of Maggie that starts when she's 11 (around 1976) and finishes in the present day -- she looks to be in her mid to late 40's by the end (if not older.) But he manages to give his characters the kind of rounded, complete lives that nobody else even seems to attempt. And he makes it look effortless. I guess there's a reason it takes him 2 years to come up with ~130 pages of art & story.

I've been reading Jaime Hernandez's stories about Maggie and her friends for well over 20 years now, and he just keeps getting better. He may never tell another Maggie story (this has all the hallmarks of being some kind of ending) and if he doesn't, that will be OK, because he nailed this so completely and utterly, that I really don't need for him to ever do any more. It's complete and perfect.

How often does that ever happen?

I'll say it again: if Jaime Hernandez were writing prose, it would garner awards and be taught at every university that has a "Chicano Studies" program. I hope they're using his graphic novels as texts somewhere, because his body of work is as good, and as significant, as anything I read when I took a couple Chicano Studies classes back in the mid-80's. Jaime Hernandez is simply one of the finest graphic novelists in the world.

L&R

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Rockets-New-Stories-Vol/dp/1606994905/

Ikea!

Oct. 2nd, 2011 09:15 am
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I'm gonna put more bookcases along the wall to the left. You can't have too many bookcases. I also need to find a new screen for the fireplace -- even though in the 16 years we've been in this house we've never built a fire here. But it could happen someday.


Lots of wood colors. I like it. Need an end table and a reading lamp between the couch and the bookcase.


Let's see... Ikea sectional, Ilea rug, Ikea bookcases, Ikea footstool.


The Ikea bear shelves used to be downstairs, but I thought this was the right place for it.


Something needs to go behind the sofa. I need a credenza and maybe a floor lamp.
But damn, those floors look great!
John says the runner rug looks like the cross-section of a tree that had been fed LSD...
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Not a bad month, all in all. I also managed to get in lots of workouts in September, so I feel like it was successful!

09/04/2011    Night’s Daughter by Marion Zimmer Bradley
09/07/2011    The God Delusion (audiobook) by Richard Dawkins
09/10/2011    Star Trek Movie Classics Omnibus (gn) by Wolfman, Schmidt, Barr, David/Cockrum & Janson, Chee, Sutton & Villagran, Fry & Starr, Purcell & Starr
09/11/2011    Star Trek Debt of Honor (gn) by Claremont/Hughes & Story
09/11/2011    Star Trek: The Next Generation The Gorn Crisis (gn) by Anderson & Moesta/Kordey
09/15/2011    The Ruins of Isis by Marion Zimmer Bradley
09/17/2011    The Green Brain (audiobook) by Frank Herbert
09/18/2011    Star Trek: The Next Generation Forgiveness (gn) by David Brin/Scott Hampton
09/24/2011    John Byrne’s Next Men The Premiere Collection Vol. 1 (gn) by John Byrne
09/25/2011    John Byrne’s Next Men The Premiere Collection Vol. 2 (gn) by John Byrne
09/25/2011    Dragon in the Sea (audiobook) by Frank Herbert
09/26/2011    John Byrne’s Next Men The Premiere Collection Vol. 3 (gn) by John Byrne
09/27/2011    John Byrne’s Next Men (2011) 1-9 (gn) by John Byrne
09/29/2011    Galaxy Quest Global Warning! (gn) by Scott Lobdell/Ilias Kyriozis

 I've liked Byrne's Star Trek comics from the last couple years, but never read any of his "superhero" stuff. I was missing out! Next Men is great. Highly recommended.

Currently reading MZB's massive mid-20th century circus historical, The Catch Trap. I really like it. Marion apparently worked on this book for at least a couple decades before it was eventually published in 1979. An excerpt was published in 1961 in the Mattachine Review! (If you don't know what the Mattachine Review was, then shame on you -- I'm taking away your Gay Card.)

I'm getting close to the end of my Marion Zimmer Bradley read. I've only got the "gothics," her "lesbian" pseudonymous potboilers, and a couple random items (Hunters of the Red Moon & sequel, and Warrior Woman) left on the stack. And her last solo Darkover novel, The Heirs of Hammerfell, which I can't seem to get into. Oh, and several "all-star" collaborative novels with Marion's name on the cover from the '90's (Glenraven & sequel, Black Trillium & sequel, Tiger Burning Bright.) I tend to discount these as being bona-fide MZB works, but I suppose I'll read them eventually -- especially the Trillium sequence, since I'm a fan of all three writers involved in that project.

I'm between audiobooks at the moment. Think I'll queue up Ready Player One when I get back to the gym (been battling a cold for a few days, so I haven't had the energy for a workout. Tomorrow, I promise!)

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My first GST entry.




ETA: Can you see me now?
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This guy took some great shots of the Flaming Lips show Saturday night. You can see me, Ron and John up in the balcony in the left-corner of this shot:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gonzoshots/6162589499/

Check out the rest of his Flickr set. He captured the mood perfectly.
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Wayne Coyne is, like, a genius, and a Flaming Lips concert is like the best performance art piece you've ever seen, because it's  performance art where the audience gets to be in on the joke.
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The next installment in my boring series of posts...

Going to the gym every other day seriously cuts into my reading time -- but it gives me nearly 2 hours every other day to listen to audiobooks.
So I guess it all comes out in the wash.

08/05/2011    Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Ravens of Avalon (audiobook) by Diana L. Paxson
08/13/2011    Girl Crazy (gn) by Gilbert Hernandez
08/14/2011    The House Between the Worlds by Marion Zimmer Bradley
08/15/2011    Last Call (audiobook) by Tim Powers
08/16/2011    In the Steps of the Master by Marion Zimmer Bradley
08/17/2011    The Bible Repairman (ss) by Tim Powers
                           A Journey of Only Two Paces (ss) by Tim Powers
08/23/2011    Endless Universe by Marion Zimmer Bradley
08/28/2011    Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword of Avalon (audiobook) by Diana L. Paxson
08/31/2011    Fuzzy Nation (audiobook) by John Scalzi

I'm now finished with the "Avalon" series by MZB & Diana L. Paxson (unless & until Paxson writes another one.) This is a perfect example of the law of diminishing returns: by the last one, I just didn't care any more. Jumping all over the timeline didn't help much, with books set from about 2000 BCE to around 500 CE, it was kind of hard to perceive it as a proper "series." The last one, set around 1000 BCE was particularly unsatisfying. To discover that Excalibur was not only 1500 years old at the time Arthur wielded it was unlikely enough, but to also learn that it was the FIRST iron sword EVER forged. And that the first iron ever smelted was in Avalon. Well, yeah. Kind of takes "small universe syndrome" to ridiculous extremes.

Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation -- the "reboot" of Piper's Little Fuzzy -- was better than I expected. I can't say how much of that was due to the reader; I suspect a lot. Wil Wheaton did a superior reading. Without trying to give every character a distinctive accent, he was able to give each character a CHARACTER. Wheaton could carve out a great little sideline reading for audiobooks.

Currently reading Night's Daughter by MZB, to be followed by The Ruins of Isis. Currently listening to The God Delusion by Dawkins, read by Dawkins and his wafe Lalla "Romana" Ward. It's awesome. Not sure what I'll listen to next.
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I've been going to the gym again this month, making it almost every other day... which sucks up a pretty big chunk of time. That's why I haven't had as much time to read this month.

But I did finish a couple books, as well as a couple audiobooks. Treadmill time is good for something besides toning my thighs. I also went through some graphic novels. Citizen Rex is very weird. I'm not sure I get the point, but like anything from the Hernandez Brothers, it's absolutely worth the time & effort.

Fuzzy Ergo Sum I wrote about when I was reading it. Ancestors of Avalon, it turns out, is a sequel to The Fall of Atlantis. It was kind of weird reading the one while simultaneously listening to the sequel. It spoiled the ending of Atlantis -- but then it's written in a kind of oblique style that left me grateful the sequel explained what actually happened in concrete terms.

07/09/2011    Fuzzy Ergo Sum by Wolfgang Diehr
07/17/2011    Priestess of Avalon (audiobook) by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Diana L. Paxson
07/21/2011    The Virgin and the Volcano (ss) by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Elisabeth Waters
07/23/2011    Citizen Rex (gn) by Mario Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez
07/25/2011    Marion Zimmer Bradley's Ancestors of Avalon (audiobook) by Diana L. Paxson
07/30/2011    The Fall of Atlantis by Marion Zimmer Bradley and David R. Bradley
07/31/2011    The Bloom County Library Volume Three: 1984-1986 (gn) by Berkeley Breathed
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I've loved exactly 5 new "mainstream" bands in the last couple decades. They are, in roughly the order I discovered them:

Material Issue
The Flaming Lips
Death Cab for Cutie
Fountains of Wayne
Fleet Foxes

Material Issue is sadly defunct (it went when it's lead singer committed suicide in 1996. RIP Jim Ellison) Never saw them live.

However, the next 3 months are gonna be genius: Fleet Foxes at Red Butte Gardens on Friday the 22nd. Death Cab for Cutie on August 22nd at the E-Center (I can't get used to calling it the "Maverik Center".) Flaming Lips on September 17 at Saltair.

Damn!
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Finished Wolfgang Diehr's Fuzzy Ergo Sum today, the sequel to H. Beam Piper's original Fuzzy trilogy.

I want to be careful here. It wasn't bad -- but, on the other hand, I can't really call it good, either.

Here are some positive things about the book:
1) It was a fun, lighthearted read. It was just the right length -- I honestly find most books these days to be too long. Seriously, every idea doesn't deserve 1200 pages.
2) The cover art. Fuzzies riding golden retrievers.
3) Continuity with Piper's books is excellent. Diehr even manages to deploy appropriate references to other Piper stories set in the same universe. This isn't just some work-for-hire hackery pounded out for the advance. It reads like the work of an ardent fan who just wanted to have more Fuzzy stories.
4) Effectively captured AND updated the mid-20th-century feel of Piper's writing so that it was consistent with Piper, without going out of it's way to be retro-cutesy. Well done.

Some of the drawbacks:
1) There were kidnappings, surprise revelations of unknown offspring, sunstone poaching, a duel, romance, underworld crime lords battling each other, organ transplants... Lots and lots of stuff happening in the book. Sadly, all of the above involves Hagga (humans) not Gashta (fuzzies.) For being a book in the Fuzzy series, there was precious little action that involved FUZZIES. I hope Diehr's next Fuzzy book has more fuzzy content. Which beings me to...
2) Huge cliffhanger ending. No, scratch that. Very little ending whatsoever. A couple of threads were wrapped up, but lots and lots of threads were left dangling at the end. So hurry up and write the next one, before Scalzi locks down the Fuzzy franchise.
3) I'm gonna have to challenge Diehr to a duel if he can't learn to spell "Pancho." "Poncho" is a loose cloak with a slit for your head, worn to keep the rain off. "Pancho" is the first name of Lt. Commander Ybarra. It was spelled correctly once or twice in the book, and wrong another dozen or so times. There were numerous other typos, but this was the one that annoyed me.
4) This is the work of an ardent fan who just wanted to have more Fuzzy stories, not the work of an experienced writer. The book has some structural problems (not that Piper's didn't) that I hope Diehr will smooth over in later books.

Off to read John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation now, the re-imagined updating of Little Fuzzy. I fear I'm in for a lot of smart-ass "updating."
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Kinda slow one:

06/04/2011    City of Sorcery by Marion Zimmer Bradley
06/08/2011    SMiLE: The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece by Domenic Priore
06/09/2011    The Firebrand (audiobook) by Marion Zimmer Bradley
06/14/2011    Adventure in Charin (ss) by Marion Zimmer Bradley
06/19/2011    The Forest House (audiobook) by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Diana L. Paxson
06/24/2011    Under the Ivy: The Life & Music of Kate Bush by Graeme Thomson
06/30/2011    Lady of Avalon (audiobook) by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Diana L. Paxson

I still have a couple of Darkover books queued up: The Heirs of Hammerfell (The last book Marion wrote on her own) and Exile's Song (By Marion & Adrienne Martine-Barnes) Heirs of Hammerfell is not particularly well-regarded. Previous desultory attempts to read it have ended in failure; as have attempts during June. I might have to save that one for later, as well. Exile's Song is pretty good, as I recall. I read it when it was first published in the mid-90's. I'm also still working on The Fall of Atlantis - about halfway through that one.

I have to make a note about the audiobook of The Forest House. I listened to most of it with a version ripped from a 1990's book-on-tape. Whoever read that one was the WORST audiobook reader I've ever tried to listen to. It was like she thought she was reading for 6-year-olds, with lazy goggle-eyed emphasis in all the wrong places. Appalling. 3/4th of the way through, I bought the Tantor Media version released last year. Much, MUCH superior! I wound up buying the Tantor versions of 6 of the "Avalon" books, and look forward to listening to all of them. I hope they do a version of Mists, using the same reader as Forest House and Lady. That would be awesome.

The Brian Wilson and Kate Bush books were enjoyable reads. I have several Star Trek books I want to get to, too.

Fuzzys

Jul. 1st, 2011 06:08 pm
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I just got the new Fuzzy book.

No, not THAT one (which I have, but haven't read yet):



THIS one:

This one is a continuation of the original Fuzzy books by H. Beam Piper, not a "reboot," like Scalzi's just-published Fuzzy Nation.

With the virtually-simultaneous publication of Diehr's and Scalzi's Fuzzy books, readers now have THREE somewhat distinct Fuzzy universes to choose from.

The original Little Fuzzy was written in the late '50's, and eventually published in '62. It took a while for it to find a home. Before it was even published, Piper sold the sequel (Fuzzy Sapiens) to the same publisher (Avon) and quickly wrote it. His publisher was so pleased by the sequel, she asked Piper for a THIRD Fuzzy book about the time the first one was published, which Piper wrote and turned in.

The usual round of publisher musical chairs ensued, and the new editor at Avon rejected Fuzzies and Other People. With the second book already bought by Avon, no other publisher was interested in the third book of a trilogy begun at another publishing house. Piper took his own life a short time later, convinced he'd never sell another story.

Fuzzy Sapiens was published in 1964 under a misleading title & cover blurb that deliberately obscured the fact that it was the sequel to a Hugo-nominated book from the year before. Publishing is weird...

Anyway, interest in Piper's work experienced a massive resurgence in the late '70's, when Ace Books began a campaign that brought every story Piper ever published back into print over an 8-year period.

The two original Fuzzy books sold like gangbusters when reprinted with awesome Michael Whelan covers. With the manuscript to Fuzzies and Other People believed destroyed, Ace commissioned a sequel and a side-quel from William Tuning and Ardath Mayhar, who produced a very enjoyable pair of books, Fuzzy Bones and Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey, respectively.

Just as the Piper boom was winding down, the manuscript for Fuzzies and Other People turned up, and was duly published. It is incompatible with Tuning and Mayhar's books in some fundamental ways, creating the first branching of the Fuzzy mythos.

Almost 3 decades on, the Fuzzy resurgence is rolling again, with the simultaneous publication of TWO new Fuzzy novels.

John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation is a reboot of the series. It essentially retells the story of Little Fuzzy, filtered through an early-21st-century worldview, in contrast to the mid-20th-century tone of the original.

Wolfgang Diehr's Fuzzy Ergo Sum is a sequel to Piper's three originals, and a quick flick-through leads me to believe that it appropriates some ideas from Tuning's book along the way.

I'm going to try and read both books over the 3-day weekend. I re-read 4 of the 5 earlier Fuzzy books a few months back (Golden Dream is still in my to-read pile) so I think I'll start with Diehr's book first. Reviews forthcoming.
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So, after sitting through the post-credits teaser at the end of Green Lantern, John leans over to me and says "That's what his mom & dad get for naming their kid Sinestro."

I said "Maybe he's just left-handed..."
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I already posted most of my May reading when I posted my after-vacation list. Since getting back, I've only finished 1 book:

05/22/2011 Thendara House by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Currently about halfway through City of Sorcery, and still listening to The Firebrand in the car.

Work has been really busy, and we went to Dt George the weekend of the 21-22 for an event in Kayenta.

Last weekend I got started on an extensive home improvement project. I moved all the living room furniture out to the patio (it won't be coming back into the house, it's all really old and hammered anyway.) Then I moved my bedroom out to the living room and pulled up the carpet to get to the original 1964 hardwood floors which run throughout the upstairs. The floor's in beautiful condition -- really amazing. So we're going to repaint the walls, spruce up the floors (a bit of sanding and then a couple coats of polyurethane) and I want to find someone to do a modular closet for me. I'm liking this process!

When we finish that, we're going to go through the same process with Ron's room. Then the living room. Finally, probably next year, we'll have the kitchen re-done. Not sure how extensive that will be, but I have a year to think about it.

That is all.
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The almost-2 weeks in SXM (we had to go a day late and come back a day early because of Democratic Party commitments) were stupendous. The tan is virtually perfect -- the exact color I was going for.

So, I spent about 10 days over the last fortnight lying on Cupecoy Beach absorbing the sun. How did I keep myself entertained, you ask?

Here's how:
05/01/2011    Star Trek: Indistinguishable From Magic by David Mcintee
05/02/2011    Star Trek: SCE: Past Life by Robert Greenberger
05/03/2011    Star Trek: SCE: Oaths by Jeff Mariotte
05/03/2011    Space: 1999: Survival by Brian Ball
05/04/2011    Star Trek: SCE: Foundations I by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
05/05/2011    Star Trek: SCE: Foundations II by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
05/07/2011    Star Trek: SCE: Foundations III by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
05/07/2011    Zandru's Forge by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Deborah J. Ross
05/08/2011    Conan: The Sword of Skelos by Andrew Offut
05/08/2011    ST: TNG: Slings & Arrows III: The Insolence of Office by William Leisner
05/09/2011    ST: TNG: Slings & Arrows IV: That Sleep of Death by Terri Osborne
05/10/2011    ST: TNG: Slings & Arrows V: A Weary Life by Robert Greenberger
05/11/2011    ST: TNG: Slings & Arrows VI: Enterprises of Great Pitch and Moment by Keith R. A. DeCandido
05/13/2011    A Flame in Hali by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Deborah J. Ross
05/13/2011    Conan: The Road of Kings by Karl Edward Wagner

The first one was finished on the flights down; the last two on the flights home. The rest were mostly read on the beach. I got into a rhythm of reading a chunk of a "primary" book each day, with breaks for something smaller -- like Star Trek novellas originally published as e-books. The Trek novellas were mostly read on the iPad back in the condo before/after the day at the beach. The "primary" reading was paperbacks. As usual, I took about three times as many books as any sane person could read. By next year, I plan to have a Kindle, The backlight screen on the iPad is impossible to read outdoors, but I understand the Kindle's e-ink screen is very readable in directly sunlight. By putting everything on the Kindle, I should be able to free up half a suitcase I usually fill with books…

Deborah J. Ross's Clingfire trilogy is really wonderful. She did an excellent job weaving the original plot & characters of the books with existing action & characters from Hawkmistress and Two to Conquer, which are contemporaneous with Zandru's Forge and A Flame in Hali, respectively. I suspect Marion herself couldn't have done as well – chronology was never Marion's focus. Ross's Darkover books are damn-near perfect. I hope she gets to keep writing them for many, many years to come.

With the completion of the Clingfire trilogy, I'm now done with my "re-read" of the entire Darkover series begun in April of last year, with the exception of Thendara House, City of Sorcery and the truly awful The Shadow Matrix. I also haven't read most of the Darkover anthologies, aside from Marion's own contributions. I'm working on the Renunciate books, and should have them finished soon. Shadow Matrix has defeated me in three attempts to read it. I might try again one day, but not any time soon.

I started Matthew Hughes's' The Damned Busters: To Hell and Back Book 1 (Kindle on the iPad) on the last leg of yesterday's marathon fly home. I love the first chapter, and look forward to reading more.

All in all, a great vacation!

Edited to add: I "gifted" a copy of The Clingfire Trilogy to the small cache of books left in the condo on the island. So, if you ever stay in room 171 at the Sapphire Beach Club and need something to read, check the cupboard by the kitchen table. It's almost certainly better reading than the "inspirational romance" (Finally a Family) that some previous tenant abandoned there.

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Didn't post at the end of April because I was on my way to Sint Maarten on the 30th/1st.

April was a busy, busy month, so my reading was kind of light. But I did finish The Mists of Avalon, which is like a million words or something.

04/07/2011    Chapterhouse: Dune (audiobook) by Frank Herbert
04/15/2011    The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
04/20/2011    Love from the Shadows by Gilbert Hernandez

After finishing Chapterhouse: Dune, I tried to listen to Hunters of Dune by KJA & Brian Herbert. It's boring awfulness defeated me after about 2 trips to/from work. Seriously an awful, awful book. Just long, rambling and pointless. So I suppose I'll never know what happened to Duncan on the no-ship. Oh well.

Currently listening to MZB's The Firebrand on audio, but the copy I "downloaded" was missing three 90-minute segments, so I'll read those chapters before going back to the audio. I'm not really into this like I was into Mists, but it's pretty good.
daddytodd: (Default)
OK, so there advantages and disadvantages to a pod of bubbas at the clothing-optional beach in Sint Maarten.

Advantage 1: Bubbas. On the beach!
Disadvantage 1: They each come with a wife/girlfriend. All of whom appear to have big, fake boobs.
Disadvantage 2: the Bubettes all immediately doff their tops. The bubbas are all too chickenshit to take off their board shorts. Weak.
Disadvantage 3: They blast their loud Jimmy Buffet music from their villa overlooking the beach so they can hear it over the crashing of the waves. Bubbas, isn't that whole Parrot Head schtick more for your parents' generation? Seriously, I'm too young for that shit, and I'm a decade and a half older than any of you.
Disadvantage 4: The bubbas all wear their straw cowboy hats into the surf. Surprise, bubbas, I can still tell you're losing your hair.
Disadvantage 5: PDA with the women on the beach. Yeah, I know her tits cost you a lot of money, but can you please feel them up in private?

On balance, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. Bubbas, next year, please go back to Cancun. They have an Olive Garden and Domino's in Cancun!
daddytodd: (Default)
It was a slow month. Well, not slow, exactly -- since I finished "Heartlight, I've been reading "the Mists of Avalon," which is astoundingly long. I'm just over halfway through "Mists." If I ever have a weekend where I can sit down and do some reading, I might even finish it. But it won't be this weekend...

03/03/2011    Heartlight
by MZB
03/07/2011    Out of the Frying Pan (ss) by Elisabeth Waters (a Lythande story by MZB's secretary and occasional collaborator.)
03/12/2011    God Emperor of Dune (audiobook) by Frank Herbert
03/25/2011    Heretics of Dune (audiobook) by Frank Herbert

Currently reading:
The Mists of Avalon by MZB
The Fall of Atlantis by MZB
Thendara House by MZB
Chapterhouse: Dune (audiobook) by Frank Herbert. This is the last one that Herbert wrote before his death. There is a 2-book sequence, based on Herbert's outline for the "final" Dune book by Brian Herbert and KJA, "Hunters of Dune" and "Sandworms of Dune." These books are not well-regarded, but I wanna finish the Frank Herbert-outlined sequence. I have the audiobooks for these, so I'll listen to them after "Chapterhouse." Then I'll put Dune away and very likely never visit it again. Ever.
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