Thursday, September 28, 2006

Erin participates on the web! Yay!

Hi there!

So, I signed up for Socktoberfest! I'm very excited because I haven't done any knitalongs before. This one seems very laid-back, which is good, plus, it combines two things I enjoy -- socks and beer. Well, the beer isn't mandatory, but I think it will make things more fun.

My goal for Socktoberfest is to finish my stripey socks (I have 2/3 a sock at the moment) and to finish one sock out of a pair of Jaywalkers.

Here's my button for Socktoberfest (gee, that's fun to type). Oh look, it showed up up there. I'll figure this out eventually.

I hope to figure out how to link it and get it into my sidebar soonish.

Here's the link for Socktoberfest:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006



Here I am.

You know, there are only so many times I can say I'm starting over on this blogging thing before even I start to not believe it anymore.

But, I'm a big optimist, so I'm not quite there yet.

So here's my problem, broken into small managable bits, as well as my proposed solution:

1. I'm lazy.
  • Well, I don't quite know what to do about this. I've tried to combat this by making my desk / computer area as pleasant as possible, but I still have a hard time sitting in front of the computer when it's summertime. We'll see what my excuse is come fall.

2. I'm busy.

  • I am, really. I've got plenty to do at work, plus I have a big, not-quite-work-related project that is due very soon, and I feel kind of guilty if I spend any non-work computer time doing anything other than this project. My solution? Don't work on the computer at all! It's brilliant, but it doesn't really get any work done, now does it?

3. I don't know what to write about.

  • This is a problem. I'm most attracted to knit and craft blogs and I love the idea of participating in knitalongs and swaps, so that may be where this thing is heading. I might also post cat pictures.

Well, that's it for now. I'm heading back to Texas for some vacation and (drumroll, please) my high school reunion. I am highly ambivalent about this event, but am consoling myself with two thoughts. My best friend will be there and I think there's an open bar.

Since my parents go to bed extremely early, I'm hopeful that I'll get some posting done while I'm there.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Although the actual heat wave seems to be over, it's still plenty hot and humid here. This kind of weather seems to just suck the life right out of me, and the will to post goes right with it.

I had a fun but busy weekend, with two roadtrips in two days. I had a great time, but it's now late on Sunday and I certainly don't feel rested, refreshed, and ready to face a new work week.

I didn't even get to sleep in this weekend (overly dramatic SIGH!)

Oh well, at least there was plenty of shopping and good food. That makes up for a lot.

I haven't forgotten about my book list, and I've got a bunch of titles to type in as soon as I feel up to it.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


It's been a very busy week here at chez P. There were fireworks, barbecue, and too much work for a three-day workweek. There was also Sharpe (#3, Sharpe's Company) and Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (truly awesome in just about every way), so that more than made up for the work part. There was also knitting, and cocktails, and Thai food, and the sad news that several of my favorite people are moving away. I guess since more of my college friends are moving to the East Coast this is nature's way of balancing things out. Well I say poop on you, Nature!

I think there were also hairballs, although HRH has not yet disclosed their location yet. I heard the horking in the middle of the night and declined to investigate. I know they're out there, I just don't know where. It's making me a little nervous. Such is life with a cat.

At least the weather is good, which is nice because my apartment is unairconditioned except for a small unit in the bedroom, so I'm always glad for balmy weather. The last few nights I've actually been able to sleep under the sheets, which doesn't happen much in the summer months.

And now it's Sunday evening, and I have to contemplate the dreadful thought of Monday and a full week's worth of work. I think I'm going in to New York on Thursday, so that will be nice. I've run out of bagels, so it's time to make another stop at H&H. I never used to be a bagel snob -- I'm not really much of a food snob at all, but I really do feel that their bagels have spoiled me on any other pretenders to the name. They're so good it should probably be illegal. I got some when I was down in NY with my parents and ate the last one this morning. At least I only have to do without for a few days.

Other than my impending bagel-acquisition trip, there isn't much to look forward to this week. As I start to plan out my next career move, I really find myself questioning what I want to do with my life. I sort of fell into this field by accident, and I like it well enough I guess, but I really always thought it wouldn't be that hard to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Turns out it's really difficult. I'm at a crossroads, and if I want to make a change, this is my chance, but I'm afraid to commit to my current path AND afraid to step off onto a new one. I just want someone to tell me what do do. Unfortunately, that someone has to be me, and I don't know what to say.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Here I am

Photo removed due to author cowardice and general unsightliness. You'll just have to imagine how cute I am.


No, cuter than that.



No, not quite that cute.

There you go.

I'm baack!

I've been thinking, and I'm back, and I only deleted one post, about that thing that happened that I'm not going to talk about anymore.

The big question that has stopped me from posting lately (aside from my crippling and inherent laziness), is what kind of blog do I want to have.

So, what kind of blog do I want to have?

I can't mommy blog (not a mommy)

I can't cat blog (the cat won't sit still in those costumes long enough to get a picture. I'm kidding -- or am I???)

I could blog about work, but I like having a job and I'd like to keep on having one.

I could go all TMI and tell you about the salacious details of my life, but there aren't any.

I could blog about crafts, but I'm a little nervous about putting all the things I make up here for the world to see.

I could blog about cooking, but there's nothing exciting about the sandwich I plan to have for dinner tonight.

I just don't know.
I don't know what I want this blog to be.
I don't know what I want to be, and I think that might be part of the problem.


I really need to make some changes in my life, of that I'm sure, and I've decided that one of them will be blogging.

I'm trying to make a comittment here, to tell you (if there are any yous out there) about my life.

So, here's something to start:

This weekend, I was visited by my fabulous friend Jen. We went to a free They Might be Giants concert, which rocked. And then we shook John Flansburgh's hand, which rocked even more. We were still giddy 24 hours later. We ate much fine food and many tasty desserts. There was shopping. There was a viewing of The Great Muppet Caper. I knit a baby hat. We discussed the sad decline into soft-core p*rniness of the once awesome (but grammatically-challenged) Anita Blake series.

And the best part is that the fabulous Jen will shortly be moving to the glamorous and exciting East Coast, so there will be many more excellent adventures to come. Many of my friends from Texas are setting up house up and down the Atlantic seaboard, which is wonderful, because it will be so much fun to visit them all. It was lonely out here by myself.

And then! Today! I bought a salad spinner! And some Drain-0! I tell you, the excitement never stops around here.

All in all not a bad long weekend. And there's still tomorrow to go.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Time for a rebranding

It should be pretty obvious by now that this isn't the world's greatest blog. Between the lackluster posting and the lackluster writing, we're really a little dull around the Passimenterie household right now. So we're going on a hiatus, to learn some html, to do some writing for work, and to think about what we've done (and what we'd like to do).

So stay tuned for something that will hopefully be, if not new and different, at least more frequently updated. And hopefully prettier.



Sunday, May 14, 2006

More books.

What, so now after I post how crappy you are, you decide to work? Typical.

Anyway, while I've been offline, I've been doing lots of reading. I think the high volume is largely due to how much I don't want to deal with real life right now. Books are much nicer.


14. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
15. The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic (A Walk in Austin) by Kinky Friedman
16. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
17. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
18. Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro
19. Under the Duvet: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families, and Other Calamities by Marian Keyes
20. The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
21. The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes
22. Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes
23. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
24. The Family Trade by Charles Stross

Comments on each to follow. Off to go watch Grey's Anatomy. TTFN.

I hate my computer THIS MUCH!!!!!

Five exclamation points worth, that's how much. Internet explorer is being a real b*tch tonight, just when I finally got motivated to write a post again. For some weird reason, it's being really selective about the links it chooses to open.

I hate you computer. I hate you and all your stupid machinery. You have been nothing but trouble since I bought you, and I'll be in debt until October to pay your non-functional and stupid self off. What a worthless hunk of junk!

Aw baby, I didn't mean it, come on, give me another chance. I'll type really nicely, I promise.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Books, books, and more books (and a deep, philosophical thought)

More for my 2006 list:

10. The Devil in Music by Kate Ross -- Loved this one as much as I loved the previous two, despite the potentially spoilery printers' error in my copy (two chapters were reversed in order). Now I just have to find the last of her four Julian Kestrel novels, which seems to be out of print at the moment. I'm kind of glad it might be difficult to find though. It always sucks when you finally find an author that you really enjoy, you read all their books, and then you realize that there won't ever be anymore. It's really a shame. I do enjoy rereading books, but even though that's fun, you never get quite the same thrill as you do when you're reading something for the first time.

11. Chicks in Chainmail by various authors, ed. Ester Friesner -- With a title like this, how could I resist. This compilation of short stories riffs on that classic of bad fantasy covers, the buff babe in an itsy bitsy teeny weeny chainmail bikini. Most of the stories had a humorous slant, and I really enjoyed them -- most fantasy is too male-centric for me, and the girl-power attitude of these was great, if occasionally a bit heavy-handed. Still, it's way past time that the ladies got their due, and I'd happily pick up any of the sequels if I see them at the bookstore.

12. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig -- Being a big fan of the Scarlet Pimpernel (both the book and the thoroughly awesome movie starring Anthony Andrews), I had to pick this up. The story of a grad student's search to discover the true identity of British spy and swashbuckler the Pink Carnation, the book is both chick lit and historical fiction. I was initially a little disappointed in it. Being a connoisseur of pink-jacketed literature, I was pretty sure I knew where both the present-day story and the historical one were going, and I wasn't entirely happy about it. But then Willig did exactly what I was hoping she'd do, plot and character-wise, and I started really enjoying myself again. The characters were fun and I'll definitely have to check out the sequel.

13. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson -- The story of the 1893 Columbian Exposition and the mass murderer H. H. Holmes, this book has been on my list for a long time. While the overly dramatic writing style (cliffhangers abound) and fictionalized murder scenes bothered a friend of mine who reads lots of true crime, I actually thought they worked pretty well. The melodramatic style is sort of appropriate to the time and place where the story is set. It's very penny dreadful, in a good way. The murder bits were appropriately grisly, but maybe all those Patricia Cornwall novels have desensitized me to the violence -- it's nothing worse than Kay Scarpetta runs across. Except that this was real, of course, and that 's what makes it really horrifying. The 1893 Exposition was a major event for Chicago and the country, and it was really interesting to see all these different threads of American culture that have ties to it. From Ferris wheels to Frank Lloyd Wright to Walt Disney and the belly dance, the fair's influence is still with us, and I really liked the way Larson brought that out. It made me willing to overlook some of the dramatic flourishes that bothered my friend so much. It's such an interesting story, it would have been hard to write a boring book on the subject. Not that people haven't, but that's a story for another day.

Oh, I almost forgot my deep thought:

How many books are too many? While I firmly believe you can never have too many books, I do believe that you can run out of places to put them. I have a lot of books, although I very foolishly left many of them back at my parents' house. Every time I go home, I come back with a bag full to repopulate my collection here. I'm lucky in that I have plenty of space for more bookcases (which I dearly need to go ahead and buy), but lately I've started to think about how to cull my collection. It's very difficult for me to get rid of a book, even if I know I'm not really going to want to reread it. I mean, you never know when you might need a book and then what if you can 't find it?? What then, eh? So far I've been keeping a book if (1) I might need it for grad school or work research, (2) it has sentimental value, or (3)it's one of my favorites. While it's pretty easy to decide what falls under category 1, categories 2 and 3 are harder to define. I like all my books, mostly, and I'm more sentimental about them than I'd like. There are no-brainer keepers, like my collection of Barbara Michaels and Colin Dexters. I could happily reread them any day. But that copy of Canterbury Tales in olde English? I'll probably never read it again, but it reminds me of my study abroad trip to England, where I took a class on Chaucer. Is it worth keeping? It is for now, but in an few years, who knows. I'll also admit that I'm a victim of book snobbery. It makes me feel smart and well educated to have certain books on my shelf, even if I haven't read them since college. I want people to know that I read all those Russian short stories. I suffered through them, I deserve to get credit for them. (Actually, I liked most of them, but I don't really see myself picking them up again any time soon). So for now, I'm getting rid of the easy ones. The romance novels I bought in airports to have something to read on the plane, the chicklit I can't stop buying -- most of them are like junk food, I love them while I'm reading them, but afterwards I feel slightly ill and dirty. I'll worry about the rest of it when I finally run out of shelves.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Not Dead Yet.

I'm just sayin'.

More after I get home from an exciting lecture on Victorian wallpaper.

Friday, February 24, 2006

On my nightstand

Books I've just finished but don't have much to say about:

8. The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell by Lillian Jackson Braun

The only mystery here is why there isn't any mystery in this book. Very obvious and formulaic, but I CAN'T STOP READING THEM. Send help.

9. Whom the Gods Love by Kate Ross

I liked this one even more than I liked the first one. Once again, I thought I knew where it was going, and was mostly wrong. But I don't really mind. Very fun, even if it did get a little spoiled by a very spoilery blurb on the back cover.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Who Needs Sleep?

I couldn't sleep last night. I woke up at about 3 a.m., worried about something, I don't know what. I then started worrying about work, thinking of things I need to do and issues that have to be addressed. Then I started worrying about money, and the housing situation, and then my pathetic little social life. I tossed and turned and kicked the covers off then pulled them back up again. I just couldn't get comfortable, so I went out to the living room and read the rest of the Times that I hadn't gotten to on Sunday.

That kept me busy till my alarm went off. Then, of course, I got sleepy. I crawled in bed for a little while, listening to Morning Edition interspersed with the spring fundraising drive. I would have liked to contribute, but it seemed more prudent to hold on to my money so I'll have an apartment in which to listen to the radio next summer.

Now I'm so tired, and I came home and shoveled snow. Normally waiting to shovel is a bad idea, since things get all icy and hard to move, but since it was pretty warm today it was more like shoveling a slushie. At least my car is free now.

I have a terrible day to look forward to at work tomorrow. Irrespective of all the other crud going on over there, tomorrow is the day for a monthly meeting I absolutely dread. Talk talk talk and nothing ever gets decided and done. I'd space out, but it's my job to take minutes so I have to pay attention. Blech. At least I'll have part of the afternoon free -- it's the one benefit of traveling to this meeting. I'm not looking forward to the commute though.

I'm still nervous and upset, but I'm coping. Mom and Dad are out of town this week, so I can't even call them for some comfort. Not that there's much they could do, but it always makes me feel better to talk to them. At least they're always on my side.

I'm getting tired, so it's off to bed for some quality television time. I just wish Project Runway was on earlier. I don't know if I can make it to 10 p.m. tonight. Sorry to be so boring, but nobody's reading anyway so I don't guess it matters much.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

More books, again

Thanks to the blizzard, I've had a chance to catch up on my reading. When I'm not seething with rage, of course. (Just kidding, really. No, REALLY.)

Here are the latest books I've finished:

6. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. I love books that take a story we think we know by heart and look at it from another perspective. So I thought I'd really like Wicked. But the first time I tried to read it, soon after it came out and long before the musical had ever come to Broadway, I couldn't get through the first chapter. Something kept turning me off, and I eventually returned the book to the library and got on with my life. But now the musical has been a huge success, and I heard a song from the soundtrack one day ("Defying Gravity"), and I thought, well why the heck not? This time I was determined to hold on until I got to the Elphaba / Galinda part (which as I understand it, makes up the bulk of the show, which I will admit right now I've never actually seen). There is a lot going on in the beginning of the book, and though it opens with a scene featuring the Witch and Dorothy, it then goes back in time and things get confusing and weird. The Oz in this book is darker and far more disturbing than the MGM movie version. But given that L. Frank Baum included lots of symbolism about the gold standard and other events central to life in late nineteenth-century America in his book, it is perhaps not surprising that this version is packed full of conflicts that don't seem to alien to a twentyfirst-century viewpoint. Racism, religious conflict, and imperialism all rear there heads, and what seems to be the central question of the book -- what is evil and what makes people become that way -- seems very timely. This time I liked it. It was fun to see Oz through another set of eyes, and to try and pick out elements that would play a part in Baum's book. Elphaba is a difficult character. I didn't quite like her, or pity her, and there were times when I couldn't even really understand her, or her actions. Maybe that's why she felt real, though.

7. Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross. I have the feeling I've read a Julian Kestrel novel before, but none of the plot synopses looked quite familiar in the bookstore. Still, a Regency gentleman detective seemed fun, so I picked up this one, the first in a series of four. While visiting in the country, Julian Kestrel finds a dead woman in his bed. Who is she? And who put her there? As soon as the murder occurred, I started piecing together theories. There were plenty of candidates for murderer and motive. While I was close, I wasn't quite right. I really enjoyed the characters and plot, which took many of the elements of the Regency romances I adored as a preteen and combined them with the English Country House Murder, one of my favorite mystery sub-genres. Kestrel was very engaging. Like other detectives in the British Mystery arena (Peter Wimsey, Albert Campion), he masks his considerable intellect behind the facade of a society dandy. It was also fun to see how the mystery got solved without even the basics of forensic science, which plays such a (necessary) part in many modern mysteries. Fun all around.

Angry, with occasional optimism

So I'm still mad. But now I'm mad with a purpose.

I've had a lot of time to think about what happened to me on Thursday. I'm hurt and angry, but the more I think about the situation and the personalities involved, the more I begin to see the reasons why things have turned out the way they did. I don't like them or understand them, but at least I see what was really going on while I was innocently dreaming of a future that was never going to be mine.

And while it's still infuriating, I'm gaining at least a little perspective on the situation. I was always a little unsure about the whole darn thing, and this way, at least, I don't have to deal with the question of whether or not I really wanted it, or whether it was really the best career mover right now. It's a little freeing, really. I have the whole world in front of me, and relatively few restrictions on where I can go or what I can do. I've been thinking a lot about where my life should go next, and while this whole episode has kind of highlighted the foolishness of trying to plan too far ahead, I have come up with several viable and relatively pleasant options.

Graduate school? And if so, what kind of program, and where? Is this the time to bite the bullet and try out librarianism? What other jobs are open out there -- and not just the ones in my field? If I'm going to branch out, this may be the time. It's a little thrilling. I haven't felt this way in a while.

I'm still a little upset about the manner and timing in which this whole thing played out, but I don't feel quite as persecuted as I was on Thursday. Things happen, and it is nobody's responsibility but my own to see that my feelings don't get hurt. I'm still proud of what I accomplished in these past few months. I did well, and they really can't take that away from me. It hurt, but this is not a killing blow. I am not beaten, and I will persevere. I will keep doing my job, and I will keep doing it well. I will not let the bastards get me down.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Books II

5. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
So I'm a little behind in reading this book, which has been out for what seems like ages. I'd heard of it, but didn't get interested until I started seeing previews for the movie this fall. Generally I like to set myself up for disappointment by reading the book before viewing the film adaptation, so that's what I did. Unfortunately, by the time I bought the book and got around to reading it, the film was out of most theaters, and it didn't really get any rave reviews or anything.
I thought the book was fine, and it actually kept me up reading far past my usual bedtime the other night. I really can't speak to its historical accuracy or anything, but Golden did manage to create an interesting world that was fascinating and foreign. The plot is basically a sort of Cinderella story, and while I did manage to see most of the plot twists coming, I still liked it. I'm a sucker for a good romance, and while this one takes its time getting there, it really is a nice love story, in its way. Sayuri was interesting, but I really found myself more intrigued by some of the supporting characters, particularly the other geisha, Mameha and Hatsumomo. Sayuri was a little too perfect and popular in some parts. Not really a Mary Sue or anything, but just so pretty and so talented and so hardworking. It was hard to sympathize with her, or even feel much of anything for her. I found Mameha a much more affecting character. Still. A fine book.

As my next project, and continuing the novel and adaptation theme here, I'm tackling Wicked. Stay tuned.

Mid-winter cleaning

So here I am again, back after another unintentional hiatus. Plenty to blog about, but little time to do it in. I've been knitting a lot, there's no shortage of work to do at work, and I'm on an as yet unsuccessful campaign to look fabulous before a friend's wedding in April.

Today was cold and rainy, but not so bad as it could be considering it's January. It's been a fairly mild winter here, all things considered, which is good, because I really hate digging my car out after a snowstorm. Work was hard, and I had a terrible time concentrating on it. That's something I really need to work on. I get distracted so easily, particularly when I'm working on things that aren't exactly fun.

As I was eating my lunch today, I was thinking about my extremely untidy house. I'm not living in filth or anything, but it is very untidy and I don't like it. There's a distinct lack of storage space in my apartment, so most efforts at cleaning up end with a slightly cleaner carpet and slightly more tidy stacks of books and papers. I'm out of bookshelves, my file system overfloweth, and I don't have a proper desk. I am, in fact, writing this entry while curled up on the sofa with my laptop on a tv tray. Maybe it's just the procrastination talking (and that seems likely here), but it seems like I might get a little more done, work and writing-wise, if I had a nice place to write. My current desk is overrun by my old creaky desktop that makes more noise than a vacuum cleaner, mysteriously opens a clip art program every time I turn it on, and has less hard drive space than my iPod mini. It's on its way out as soon as I figure how to wipe all my personal information off. Then I'll have a nice table to work on, but I'm thinking I might move the table underneath my doll house instead of the big folding table that's supporting it now and buy a real desk, with drawers and stuff, for the computer instead. Then I could write and browse, and even pay my bills in relative comfort instead of balancing all my paper, my computer, and a cat on a small tray table.

I also really need to do something about my filing system. I'm an accountant's daughter, and I save bills and receipts like nobody's business. Thanks to a clerical error which for a while resulted in my not being able to open bank accounts or acquire credit cards, I'm also really paranoid about identity theft (it's since been resolved, thank heavens.) That means I hate to throw things out, so I bought a paper shredder, but I haven't yet decided to kill a night shredding things and reducing the giant fire hazard of bills and such which hulks in the corner of my dining room. One day I'll see floor over there again, I hope.

These things are, at best, temporary fixes, but hopefully they'll make some difference in my attitude towards my apartment. I'm really unhappy with it at the moment. I'm considering moving when my lease is up in May. At least if I do that, I'll have to clean up again, if only in order to pack and get out.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Procrastination Yay!

So... Have you ever put something unpleasant off until the very last moment, and then the very last moment comes and you can't do it because now it's the last minute and you don't have enough time and what you have to do is too hard and and you're scared you can't do it right and you don't want to do it because television and the internet are easier and much more fun but you have to do it or else you'll get fired and you kind of like having a job so you're going to find a way to do it, even if you have to stay up all night but first you're going to blog about it?

No, me neither.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The books

I read several book blogs, and I'm always anxious to get good recommendations. I love reading, and I've always wondered just how much I read each year. I thought I would try to keep track of every book I read this year, to see what the grand total ends up being. I also plan to note any rereads. Books I read for work won't count, because I rarely read the whole book through in that case. Usually I just skim and check the index, but if I do read the whole thing, I'll put it down. If I start a book and then don't finish it, because I get bored or I hate it or I lose it (take that in any sense you like), I'll make a note of that too, for scientific purposes, of course. I don't know that I'll write a whole lot about each book, but I might do so as the mood takes me.

So here's how it's going so far for 2006:
1. The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
2. Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
I'd heard lots of good things about this series, and had read and enjoyed another of Smith's books (Portuguese Irregular Verbs), so when I finally got to the Half Price Bookstore over vacation, I decided to seek them out. Luckily the store had the first two in the series. I really liked them both, particularly the first one. The characters are engaging, and the setting (Botswana) was fascinating. I really feel like reading more about the country, which I'm ashamed to say I knew very little about. But Smith really gives me a feel for the place. I don't know if the real Botswana is anything like the fictional place presented here, but this world felt real. Sometimes the political / social digressions seemed a little heavy-handed, particularly in book 2, but overall it was a thoroughly pleasant read. I'll definitely be checking out the rest of the series to follow the continuing adventures of Precious Ramotswe, one of the most charming detectives I've run across in a while.

3. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father by Jane Jensen
I loved this computer game and its two sequels. They were fun and challenging, and the stories were just the sort of thing I like -- mystery and supernatural suspense. It didn't hurt that the lead character was voiced by Tim Curry. Basically Gabriel Knight has to solve a series of voodoo-inspired murders while at the same time revealing the truth about his family's mysterious pass. The book, a novelization of the game, follows the plot exactly. I think much of the dialogue is the same, or at least it felt that way. You do get more insight on Gabriel's thoughts and motivations throughout the book, which really makes him less of a jerk than he came across in the game. The love story, too, is a little more fleshed out, and the dream sequences are made much more intelligible, since now we get Jensen's (the game's designer) interpretation rather than my own (I was close, but it's good to see what the author was thinking). Overall it was a fun and quick read. Since the GK franchise seems to be dead in the water, I hope she'll turn to writing -- I'd pick up one of her books if I saw it on a shelf.
On a side note, the novel and game are set in New Orleans (pre-Katrina, of course), and it was simultaneously comforting and heartbreaking to read about the city as it once was, knowing what I now know.

4. Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King
I came across the series a few years ago, based on the recommendation of a writer whose work I really enjoyed. I figured if she liked these books,they had to be pretty good. They are. The story of Sherlock Holmes and his wife Mary Russell (that's right, his wife) and their crime-solving adventures could easily turn into some kind of fanfiction nightmare. But Mary Russell is no Mary Sue, even if she is pretty, intelligent, and married to our hero. She's human, just like King's Holmes, and though she's the main character in all the books in this series, it's in this volume that we really get to delve into her past and her personality, discovering the truth about her past and the ways in which it shaped her. This volume also brings Russell and Holmes to San Francisco, a city that seems to be dear to King's heart (her other books are all set in SF or the Pacific Northwest in general), and this book gives her a chance to write about the fascinating history of this amazing place. I knew a little bit about San Francisco and it's history, particularly the 1906 earthquake and fire, and from what I can tell, King is spot-on. There's also lots of interesting information about the relationship between Chinese immigrants and the white population that I hadn't ever really thought of before. It's a good mystery and a good historical novel. I wonder, though, where the series might go next. Mary Russell's past and her issues with it informed much of the first book, and while they didn't get mentioned much in the following volumes, they really defined her personality. The revelations she has in this book would be truly life-changing, and I hope that they'll be followed through in the next book. King is good, though, and I have no doubt she'll deliver.

Friday, from the weekend

** So I meant to post this on Friday when I wrote it. Oh well. Still holds true, and I can't say that the weekend ended in more excitement than it began.

This blog thing isn't really working, is it? I decided to start this thing because I have this crazy fantasy where I become a writer. And I have plenty of ideas for plots and characters. But they just never seem to make it onto the page, or the screen, as it may be. So I thought that maybe a blog would be a good way to get writing practice, except that in order for that to actually work, I'd have to write things now and then. And as you (if indeed there are any yous out there) may have noticed, it hasn't been happening much, or on a consistent basis.
But I do want to write, and I do have good ideas, so I do need to do this. Maybe the problem is what I've been trying to write. I was aiming for pity comments on life and pop culture, or maybe insightful political essays. I don't think I've really succeeded. So maybe it's time to try a new tack.
The daily journal.
Maybe I should just talk about what happens each day. Not work stuff, though. I don't want to get fired. But there isn't much that happens to me that isn't work-related these days.
But still, I must be doing something with my time, right?
Today work went on forever. I think the clock was actually moving backwards at one point. Part of the problem was that I didn't get my coffee this morning. Ever since I started really working, I've become a coffee addict. First it was a latte here and there, then I graduated to regular coffee (one cream, one sugar). Now the first thing I do when I walk in the door each day is turn on my computer and head for the coffee maker.
But today I had to run some work-related errands first thing, and so I didn't get my customary cuppa. I had some cocoa at lunch, but by one I had this monster headache. I blamed my period, the poor air circulation in the office, my nerves over a work thing I won't go into here, and a few other things. It felt like my brain was running out of my ears.
I went out later in the afternoon, hoping some fresh air would clear my head. It helped, but what really worked was my vanilla latte. Within minutes of drinking it I felt fine again. Which is good, except it made me realize --
I have a problem. A caffeine problem. Boy, even my vices are boring.
So feeling better, I headed out for happy hour with some friends. The local bar (within walking distance of my house, yay!) was packed, so we had to eat the first round of wings standing up. Let me tell you, it isn't easy. I'm messy at the best of times, and wing sauce is generally just an accident waiting to happen. Miraculously, I got out of it with no visible damage to the front of my shirt.
The conversation was nice too. I've had a hard time making friends since I got here, and it's always been difficult for me to talk to people I don't know, so I'm glad that I got to talk to someone I don't know that well. It's kind of fun to find out what your coworkers are really like when they're not in the office.
So the first work week of 2006 ended on a pleasant note at least. I can't say I was too productive, but I did take care of a few things on my to-do list. But I added a few things too, so I'm really just exactly back where I started I guess.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Happy New Year

and Hook 'em Horns!

It's 2006 and I just watched my beloved Longhorns win the National College Football Championship.

Well, to be honest, I watched most of them winning the championship. The game went on forever and I had to be at work the next morning and right around midnight I turned in. Right before the winning touchdown. That'll teach me. Still, the tower is orange tonight and I really wish I was in Austin to see it.

Good job, guys.