Thursday, September 28, 2006

New blog address

Now that I'm no longer a DC BiblioGoddess, I thought I'd create a new page to chronicle our adventures in Maine:

The creepy way my mind works

I was getting dressed this morning and noticed some stains on the front of the sweater I was planning to wear (muddy Molly paws, no doubt). I was going to throw it away but then decided that if there's some sort of nuclear holocaust or government coup after which we'll become refugees and need to flee to Canada, I'll need all of the extra clothing I can get.

Time to up the meds, what do you think?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Happy Villain Strikes Again

And makes me laugh out loud in the office. Part of today's hilarity:

Dear Contemptible Germs Currently Relocating To My Sinuses:

Party crashers! Freeloaders! Parasites! Aspersers! Viruses of mass destruction! Losers destined to fail and die!

I have battled your kind before and let me tell you, you will not win.

You are nothing more than a stupid, small-time sinus infection. I have fought and won battles with invaders far superior to you, such as mononucleosis, chicken pox, pneumonia, and even a case of gangrene. You think you can take me? You are stupider than you look!

Bring it! I’ve got an immune system that will kick your ass from here to my toenails, and just for fun, I’m also on a broad-spectrum antibiotic, in case you think you might fool me looking like a virus. I have you covered on every front. You might make my bones ache, my temperature spike and my nose run like a spigot, but by this time next week, you will either be long gone from my system, or you will be dead matter being expelled regularly.

You picked the wrong girl to infect with your insidious plot to overthrow my body. You will never know victory. You are already doomed.

And if you aren’t nice and reasonably quick to depart of your own volition, I swear, I will sneeze your little babies all over Jean’s keyboard and they will then be dwelling in the body of that horrible woman I work with, who looks like Yoda. How would you like to know your kids are in that mess?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.Kindly leave. Now. Or you will die a horrible death, and your children will die a far worse death.

I have spoken.

Monday, September 18, 2006

We're on the market

If you know anyone looking for a very much refurbished condo with a backyard in Northwest D.C., please send them our way. It's a sweet location, just across from Glover Park, and a few blocks from Wisconsin Avenue. The building is one of the few in the city that has no restrictions on dogs. (Ask me about the folks upstairs with the pack of Australian shepherds.)

Pleeeeeeze, buy our condo!

Monday, September 04, 2006

SRP #10 and #11: Death

Death: The Time of Your Life

by Neil Gaiman, Chris Bachalo, Mark Pennington (Illustrator), Mark Buckingham (Illustrator), Claire Danes

Vertigo Comics, 1997: 96 pages.


Death: The High Cost of Living

by Neil Gaiman, Chris Bachalo (Illustrator), Mark Buckingham (Illustrator), and Dave McKean (Illustrator)

Vertigo Comics, 1994: 103 pages.

While reading the Sandman series for the first time last year, I was particularly interested in Dream's big sister, Death. No Grim Reaper with a scythe and black robes was this ankh-wearing harbinger of the ever-after. She was a remarkably upbeat goth girl who is probably the most well-balanced and mentally healthy of all the Endless. Apparently, I wasn't the only one enamored of the character, and thus Death was the first Sandman character to be featured in a spinoff comic. Me being late to the Sandman scene, just discovered these gems.

And gems they are, indeed. The two are companions to one another, and the second featues characters we met in the first. But it's probably not necessary to read one before the other. Also, I'm pretty sure that two of the characters we actually met somewhere in the Sandman-verse.

It's difficult to discuss the plot, because there are many characters who have an impact on the doings, twists and turns in the storylines, and plots that weave around one another to join in the climax. But one of the aspects of these comics that most impresses me is the way in which Death, and death, is shown to be something that we should not fear, something that often gets missed in American society. Death is a normal part of life, just another phase in human existence. I think that's one of the points Gaiman is trying to make in his portrayal of Death. It makes for an engaging character that I want to read more about.

Summer Reading Program Totals:

Books read: 11
Total pages read: 2132

Knitting up a storm

In anticipation of our move, I've been trying to use up all of the odd bits of yarn, particularly the low-rent items by knitting a lot of hats and scarves. The end results are depicted here, including a new SnB umbilical hat and a matching child's scarf with checkerboard stitch on the end. I have also completed a new drop-stitch, self-fringing shawl, in KnitPicks' Crayon yarn. It's soft and warm, though the draping isn't quite right because I made it a bit too big. Here are the visual depictions:

Sunday, September 03, 2006

SRP #9: In the Shadow of No Towers

In the Shadow of No Towers

by Art Spiegelman

Pantheon: 2004, 42 pages.

The first half of the book was good, relevant to what one would think the book is all about, judging by the title and introduction. Spiegelman's artwork is slightly insane, as if you're looking through the eyes of a schizophrenic. The style is certainly appropriate considering the book's subject matter, and the tabloid-size pages meet the needs of this size-y subject.

However, the work lost it completely at the halfway point, where it veers off into a history of comics in the United States. Interesting, yes. But the divergence was unnecessary and really detracted from the 9-11 portion of the book.

Summer Reading Program Totals:

Books read: 9
Total pages read: 1933

Saturday, August 26, 2006

SRP #7 and #8

by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

Harper Collins, 2005: 80 pages.

The more of Neil Gaiman's work I read, the more I wonder what living inside his head is like. Demented and cool, I would guess, judging from the muddle of worlds, stories, and characters to be found in Mirrormask. In these pages, Helena, the juggling daughter of circus folk, is drawn into an alternative universe of her own, well, drawings. Meanwhile, a princess from that other world inserts herself into Helena's life, which isn't so fabulous at the moment. The story is brilliantly told through words (not just what they say but also their arrangement, typeface, etc.) as well as pictures. But not just ordinary illustrations; McKean's artwork leaves you with a feeling of queasiness as you look into a world that's not quite right, as if you're viewing it through the eyes of someone who is actually seeing through hallucinations. The artwork and storyline lead to an ambiguity similar to that of Neverwhere, where you're not sure if the protagonist is in another plane or is just plain mad. And that is one of the book's charms. The pairing of Gaiman and McKean strikes again.


Blue Shoes and Happiness
by Alexander McCall Smith

Pantheon, 2006: 240 pages.

I'll try to be footloose and spoiler free in my review. Smith returns to Botswana again for another sojourn into the world of Precious Ramotswe and the various characters, and I mean that in the non-literary sense, around her. The mysteries solved this go-round included frightened workers at a game park, a blackmailed cook, and a nurse concerned about her employer's practice of medicine. The personal storylines include a misunderstanding over feminism, a shoe fetish, and high blood pressure. BSaH was much like the earlier books in this series: funny, touching, full of wisdom and insight into Botswana culture. I was a little disappointed, however, that we didn't get to see more of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni or the foster children. However, Mr. Polopesi was featured in more depth as was Phuti Radiphuti. This was an enjoyable, light read, and one I recommend.


Summer Reading Program Totals:

Books read: 8
Total pages read: 1891

One more week!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

SRP #6: Adoption Nation

Adoption Nation
by Adam Pertman

Basic Books, 2001: 272 pages.

AN provides a thorough portrait of the current state of adoption in the United States, while interspersing historical tidbits that help to illustrate how the current system developed into what it is today. What impressed me most about the book is the fact that the author, despite being the adoptive parent of two children, shows the system warts and all. He is honest about the role of the profit motive in adoption in the United States, which for many years existed as a baby-selling enterprise. He talks about the religious (and not in a good way) motives of some of the major players in the adoption business, undue influence on political processes that have negatively affected all players in the adoption "triad," the impact of racism in determining which children are more adoptable than others, etc. But that's just the stuff that I find most interesting. The good news is that adoption in its current form is changing the face (quite literally) of the American family for the better.

Summer Reading Program Totals:
Books read: 6
Total pages read: 1571