September 22, 2008

Pants on Fire

Yesterday the Malator, the Major and I were hanging out eating wings and watching TV. All was fun and games and until the commerical breaks came on. We saw 2 John McCain ads -- something about being the original mavericks and another about energy policy. Almost every claim the ads made was a lie.

I'm not talking about misrepresentation of facts or presenting information selectively -- I'm talking about bald faced lying. Lies that even the main stream media has noticed and debunked. That's pretty gutsy and also insanely stupid and insulting to voters. But I guess McCain has to resort to lying -- it's the only way he can jibe being a "Maverick" with voting with Bush and the Republicnas 95% of the time.

September 20, 2008

live from the ipod

Coming at you live from the new and improved ipod it's blog 2.0 or something like it. The major let me buy an iPod touch today, and all the new features are rather amazing. I'm loving the fact that I can IM, blog and surf the web. I know that I could have gotten all this plus a phone - but I honestly don't want my phone to also be my mp3 player. Anywho, I think I'm really going to like having a small, lightweight gadget that is essentially an ultraportable laptop. I'll keep you all posted as to my ongoing adventures and impressions.

September 10, 2008

Book Meme -- Ganked from Jen

*bold those you’ve read
*italicise started-but-never-finished
*add three of your own
*post to your blog

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. 1984, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Susskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
101. Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
102. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
103. The Beach, Alex Garland
104. Dracula, Bram Stoker
105. Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz
106. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
107. Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz
108. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
109. The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
110. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
111. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy
112. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 1/2, Sue Townsend
113. The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat
114. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
115. The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
116. The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson
117. Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
118. The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
119. Shogun, James Clavell
120. The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
121. Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson
122. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
123. The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
124. House Of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
125. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
126. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett
127. Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
128. The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
129. Possession, A. S. Byatt
130. The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
131. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
132. Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl
133. East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
134. George’s Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
135. Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett
136. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
137. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
138. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
139. Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson
140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
142. Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson
143. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
144. It, Stephen King
145. James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
146. The Green Mile, Stephen King
147. Papillon, Henri Charriere
148. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
149. Master And Commander, Patrick O’Brian
150. Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz
151. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
152. Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett
153. The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett
154. Atonement, Ian McEwan
155. Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson
156. The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier
157. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
158. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
159. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
160. Cross Stitch, Diana Gabaldon
161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
162. River God, Wilbur Smith
163. Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
164. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
165. The World According To Garp, John Irving
166. Lorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore
167. Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson
168. The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye
169. The Witches, Roald Dahl
170. Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White
171. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
172. They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
173. The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
174. The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
175. Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder
176. Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson
177. Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl
178. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
179. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach
180. The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery (in French)
181. The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
182. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
183. The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay
184. Silas Marner, George Eliot
185. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
186. The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Gross-mith
187. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
188. Goosebumps, R. L. Stine
189. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
190. Sons And Lovers, D. H. Lawrence
191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
192. Man And Boy, Tony Parsons
193. The Truth, Terry Pratchett
194. The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells
195. The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans
196. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
197. Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett
198. The Once And Future King, T. H. White
199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
200. Flowers In The Attic, Virginia Andrews
201. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
202. The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan
203. The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan
204. The Dragon Reborn, Robert Jordan
205. Fires of Heaven, Robert Jordan
206. Lord of Chaos, Robert Jordan
207. Winter’s Heart, Robert Jordan
208. A Crown of Swords, Robert Jordan
209. Crossroads of Twilight, Robert Jordan
210. A Path of Daggers, Robert Jordan
211. As Nature Made Him, John Colapinto
212. Microserfs, Douglas Coupland
213. The Married Man, Edmund White
214. Winter’s Tale, Mark Helprin
215. The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault
216. Cry to Heaven, Anne Rice
217. Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, John Boswell
218. Equus, Peter Shaffer
219. The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten
220. Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
221. Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn
222. The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
223. Anthem, Ayn Rand
224. The Bridge To Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
225. Tartuffe, Moliere
226. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
227. The Crucible, Arthur Miller
228. The Trial, Franz Kafka
229. Oedipus Rex, Sophocles
230. Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles
231. Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther
232. A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen
233. Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen
234. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
235. A Raisin In The Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
236. ALIVE!, Piers Paul Read
237. Grapefruit, Yoko Ono
238. Trickster Makes This World, Lewis Hyde
240. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
241. Chronicles of Thomas Convenant, Unbeliever, Stephen Donaldson
242. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
242. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
243. Summerland, Michael Chabon
244. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
245. Candide, Voltaire
246. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, Roald Dahl
247. Ringworld, Larry Niven
248. The King Must Die, Mary Renault
249. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
250. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle
251. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
252. The House Of The Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
253. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
254. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
255. The Great Gilly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson
256. Chocolate Fever, Robert Kimmel Smith
257. Xanth: The Quest for Magic, Piers Anthony
258. The Lost Princess of Oz, L. Frank Baum
259. Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon
260. Lost In A Good Book, Jasper Fforde
261. Well Of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde
261. Life Of Pi, Yann Martel
263. The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
264. A Yellow Rraft In Blue Water, Michael Dorris
265. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
267. Where The Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
268. Griffin & Sabine, Nick Bantock
269. Witch of Blackbird Pond, Joyce Friedland
270. Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH, Robert C. O’Brien
271. Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
272. The Cay, Theodore Taylor
273. From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg
274. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
275. The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
276. The Kitchen God’s Wife, Amy Tan
277. The Bone Setter’s Daughter, Amy Tan
278. Relic, Duglas Preston & Lincolon Child
279. Wicked, Gregory Maguire
280. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
281. Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry
282. The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum
283. Haunted, Judith St. George
284. Singularity, William Sleator
285. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
286. Different Seasons, Stephen King
287. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
288. About a Boy, Nick Hornby
289. The Bookman’s Wake, John Dunning
290. The Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns
291. Illusions, Richard Bach
292. Magic’s Pawn, Mercedes Lackey
293. Magic’s Promise, Mercedes Lackey
294. Magic’s Price, Mercedes Lackey
295. The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Gary Zukav
296. Spirits of Flux and Anchor, Jack L. Chalker
297. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
298. The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, Brenda Love
299. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace.
300. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison.
301. The Cider House Rules, John Irving.
302. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
303. Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland
304. The Lion’s Game, Nelson Demille
305. The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars, Stephen Brust
306. Cyteen, C. J. Cherryh
307. Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco
308. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
309. Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
310. Camber of Culdi, Kathryn Kurtz
311. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
312. War and Rememberance, Herman Wouk
313. The Art of War, Sun Tzu
314. The Giver, Lois Lowry
315. The Telling, Ursula Le Guin
316. Xenogenesis (or Lilith’s Brood), Octavia Butler
317. A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold
318. The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold
319. The Aeneid, Publius Vergilius Maro (Vergil)
320. Hanta Yo, Ruth Beebe Hil
l321. The Princess Bride, S. Morganstern (or William Goldman)
322. Beowulf, Anonymous
323. The Sparrow, Maria Doria Russel
l324. Deerskin, Robin McKinley
325. Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey
326. Passage, Connie Willis
327. Otherland, Tad Williams
328. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
329. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
330. Beloved, Toni Morrison
331. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
332. The mysterious disappearance of Leon, I mean Noel, Ellen Raskin
333. Summer Sisters, Judy Blume
334. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
335. The Island on Bird Street, Uri Orlev
336. Midnight in the Dollhouse, Marjorie Filley Stover
337. The Miracle Worker, William Gibson
338. The Genesis Code, John Case
339. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevensen
340. Paradise Lost, John Milton
341. Phantom, Susan Kay
342. The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, Anne Rice
343. Anno Dracula, Kim Newman
344: The Dresden Files: Grave Peril, Jim Butcher
345: Tokyo Suckerpunch, Issac Adamson
346: The Winter of Magic’s Return, Pamela Service
347: The Oddkins, Dean R. Koontz
348. My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
349. The Last Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
350. At Swim, Two Boys, Jaime O’Neill
351. Othello, by William Shakespeare
352. The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas
353. The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats
354. Sati, Christopher Pike
355. The Inferno, Dante
356. The Apology, Plato
357. The Small Rain, Madeline L’Engle
358. The Man Who Tasted Shapes, Richard E Cytowick
359. 5 Novels, Daniel Pinkwater
360. The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Juliet Marillier
361. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
362. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
363. Our Town, Thorton Wilder
364. Green Grass Running Water, Thomas King
365. The Interpreter, Suzanne Glass
366. The Moor’s Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie
367. The Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson
368. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster loved
369. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
370. The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux
371. Pages for You, Sylvia Brownrigg
372. The Changeover, Margaret Mahy
373. Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
374. Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
375. Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo
376. Shosha, Isaac Bashevis Singer
377. Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck
378. The Diving-bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
379. The Lunatic at Large by J. Storer Clouston
380. Time for Bed by David Baddiel
381. Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
382. Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre
383. The Bloody Sun by Marion Zimmer Bradley
384. Sewer, Gas, and Eletric by Matt Ruff
385. Jhereg by Steven Brust
386. So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane
387. Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
388. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
389. Road-side Dog, Czeslaw Milosz
390. The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
391. Neuromancer, William Gibson
392. The Epistemology of the Closet, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
393. A Canticle for Liebowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr
394. The Mask of Apollo, Mary Renault
395. The Gunslinger, Stephen King
396. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
397. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
398. A Season of Mists, Neil Gaiman
399. Ivanhoe, Walter Scott
400. The God Boy, Ian Cross
401. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Laurie R. King
402. Finn Family Moomintroll, Tove Jansson
403. Misery, Stephen King
404. Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters
405. Hood, Emma Donoghue
406. The Land of Spices, Kate O’Brien
407. The Diary of Anne Frank
408. Regeneration, Pat Barker
409. Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
410. Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina Garcia
411. A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
412. The View from Saturday, E.L. Konigsburg
413. Dealing with Dragons, Patricia Wrede
414. Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss
415. A Severed Wasp - Madeleine L’Engle
416. Here Be Dragons - Sharon Kay Penman
417. The Mabinogion (Ancient Welsh Tales) - translated by Lady Charlotte E. Guest
418. The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey
419. Girl Meets God, Lauren Winner
420. Traveling Light, Max Lucado
421. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski
422. Kiss of the Spider Woman, Manuel Puig
423. A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin

August 18, 2008


In post 9/11 America, security is the new catchword. Everyone's focusing on how to make things more secure and how to survive if Horrible Calamity X happens. I'm all for emergency preparedness, but there comes a point when the discussion is no longer rational -- If a dirty bomb goes off, sealing part of your office off with plastic sheeting and duct tape isn't going to make that much of a difference. It's simply not realistic to think that's an effective strategy to keep yourself from getting irradiated.

Now, in order to make my suburban office building complex safer, we're going to be issued new security cards for the building. New photo security cards. New photo security cards that we'll have to use to enter the building every single time. Photo cards that we'll wave in front of a reader that can't possibly tell if the person in the photo matches the person holding the card. It seems like a horrible waste of time and money. We already have security guards and visitors are required to sign in. It would make more sense for us to use our existing security cards to activate the elevators (something we already do on the weekends). I guess I just don't get the need to be 'doing something' especially when 'doing something' isn't particularly effective and costs a lot of money.

August 11, 2008

You Pay Now

The Great State of Virginia has a total hard-on for me right now, and it's definately not in a good way. For some unknown reason the tax department keeps sending me bills saying I owe more money for past filing years. I've got bills for FY 05, 06 and 07 right now. Granted they're all for smallish amounts (say around $100) -- but the whole thing is just pissing me off and confusing me. I have no idea where they're pulling these numbers from and there's no explination of why these bills have been sent to me. To make things even more confusing one of the bills says that my tax refund for one of the past years was applied to what I owed. If this makes sense to anyone, please let me know, because I'm totally stumped.

In addition to all the tax nonsense that came in the mail, I also got a Jury Summons the same day. I'm sure that'll be highly entertaining. I just can't wait to see what Virginia sends me next.

July 31, 2008



July 29, 2008

Baa, Baa. I Have No Wool.

I’ve always tried – the best I know how – to be a good son, grandson, uncle and family member. Sometimes I mess up really bad. I’ll freely admit I’m not that good with birthdays. I may call late, but eventually I remember. I usually don’t send cards or gifts, but I know how to do Christmas. It hasn’t always been that way, but now I’m no slouch. My parents frequently accuse me of being too extravagant where my nephew is concerned. The Major also gives me warnings every year not to spend too much money. So, you might only get a call (belatedly) for your birthday, but you can count on a nice Christmas present.

I’m seriously trying to love the parents I have, and not the parents I wish I had. But it’s getting really difficult these days. It seems like they always need a black sheep in the family, and I’m the new one. From my point of view, my parents’ tendency to play favorites is the crux. My sister has always been their favorite. This hasn’t always been the easiest thing for me to deal with, but I have been more or less able to overlook it. It’s been harder since my niece was born. As she’s grown, she’s become the apple of my parents’ eye and my nephew has become a very distant second fiddle.

I’ve seen my parents fawn over my niece, but only offer negative feedback to my nephew: “sit down over there and play quietly,” or “not now, I’m holding the baby.” They’ve babysat her every workday, to help my sister out, but they haven’t made much of an effort to see their grandson. Unfortunately, my nephew and his mother have noticed this trend and are understandably very upset. It’s getting pretty bad; my sister-in-law is getting to the point where she doesn’t want to have anything to do with my parents.

In the interest of family unity, I’ve tried to explain to my parents how their behavior is perceived, which they have dismissed. I’ve made my trips home as much about my nephew as possible; I want my nephew to know that he’s got at least one family member that hasn’t forgotten about him. My parents have told me that I’m just spoiling him.

I’m completely at my wits end here. My parents have made their granddaughter so much the center of their lives, that any discussion on the matter puts them immediately on the defensive. Any perceived slight to the baby is met with retalition; they didn't send me a birthday gift this year because I hadn't done anything for my niece's birthday. I truly wish that they could see that this isn’t about right or wrong, my opinion or their opinion; it’s about one child being lavished with praise and attention and another being criticized and ignored. My niece isn’t old enough to be hurt by this behavior, my nephew is.

July 23, 2008

Addendum to the Booksplosion

In the great list of books I've read to keep me from going crazy 2008 edition, I completely overlooked one: Marley and Me. Everyone should read this book. Part biography of a young family starting out, part memoir, part story of the world's worst dog, this book was so good I read it in one sitting. Even if you're not a dog lover, you will be extremely touched by this book. Grogan adeptly captures and relates how dog-owners feel about their 4-legged fur children. You'll laugh at Marley's exploits, you'll groan with embarrassment at some of his more public misdeeds, and you'll share the overwhelming grief that comes from having to say good-bye to a loved pet. But I think most importantly, Marley's story will have you fondly (and probably tearfully) recalling memories of those pets that have came and brought so much joy into your lives.

Extra! Extra!

Somehow, despite all the crazy that has been going on my life lately, I’ve been on a major reading jag. Since the start of my trip to LA on June 25th, I’ve worked my way through quite a number of novels.

The Well of Ascension: Second in a trilogy, what I liked best is that the characters are very well realized. Also, Sanderson uses standard fantasy elements but they don’t yield the standard fantasy result. This bodes well for A Memory of Light, which Sanderson has been asked to write due to the untimely demise of The Wheel of Time’s Robert Jordan.

The Last Oracle: A good, but not great action/adventure novel. It’s got a great premise, but it’s not as well realized as some of Rollins’ other books and ideas. Still, Rollins is one of my favorites, so it made for a fun summer read.

The Innocent Mage/The Awakened Mage: This was a great find, and I’m glad Tor Books has been bringing Australian and Canadian authors to American audiences. Great world, interesting ideas. What I liked best was Miller’s revealing of plot secrets – elements that could have added a mystery-like feel to the novels she reveals to the reader almost immediately, while holding off on other more explosive elements (that you can’t see coming) for quite some time.

The Wheel of Darkness: An OK entry into the Agent Pendergast series of novels. Another good summer read, but nothing to really write home about.

Infoquake: Sci-Fi isn’t my usual thing, and this novel didn’t exactly set the sky on fire for me. However, I can recognize that this is a superior example of the genre. It’s like Donald Trump got set loose on the Virtual Reality Internet of the future.

El Juego del Angel: Ok, I know most of you probably can’t read Spanish, but luckily for you this is the 2nd novel in Zafon's Library of Forgotten Books series. (It’s not so much a series as stories taking place in the same world.) What this means for you is that you can read The Shadow of the Wind (his first novel) as it’s been translated into the English. Just do it, these are easily 2 of the best books I’ve read in years.

Finally, the Malator has gotten me hooked on Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. I’ve read Twilight; I’m halfway through New Moon, and I’ve got Eclipse waiting in the wings.

Oh, I’m also reading Watchers and The Host. If only I could have read this much during Grad School.

July 21, 2008

200th Post - From The Depths of Doom

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know there’s been a lack of posting going on here lately, and I’m sure you all are well nigh sick of staring at the cat that swallows souls. Although, it is kind of cool to start scrolling up and down as the image loads so you get cat eyeballs streaks on the page … Yes, I really am that easily entertained.

While I’ve been off the grid, incognito, skulking about in the shadows and generally just not being around, there’s been a whole lot of crazy going on. I got the flu in the early part of June; vomiting at the Pentagon Metro/Bus Station was definitely one of my life goals. I had a minor neck relapse in the middle of June that was easily remedied with some flexeril. I finished the month out with a 10-day business trip to Los Angeles.

The trip to LA was just crazy. All I did was work, eat and sleep (in that order.) I also got to see some of my co-workers behaving rather poorly. I won’t go into great detail, but I will say I was completely mortified by much of the behavior I saw. Oh, and I accumulated 40 hours of ‘overtime.’

I flew back to DC on the 4th (yes, there’s yet another story there that I’m not going to touch on.) And to account for the rest of my missing time, I somehow managed to throw my back out. I have no idea what I did or how I did it, but after 5 days of intense pain I finally got over myself and went to the Urgent Care. Their bedside manner could use a whole lot of improvement – I read my diagnosis on a sheet of paper they gave to me. However, they sent me home with Valium and Vicodin. As you might suspect, the last couple of days have been a smear in my memory. But I’m healthy, sober, and calm now so regular blogging will resume.