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20 March 2011 @ 02:53 pm

Jim Hines has released an ebook that gathers together 5 short stories related to his 'Jig the Goblin' series.  The first three stories involve goblins as the focus, although Jig spends the first story strapped in a baby carrier.  The fourth story relates an adventure the magically-inclined goblin Veka shares with a human girl at a school for magic.

All four of these stories are enjoyable and bring back the sense of fun so prevalent in the novels.

The fifth story involves the fire spider Smudge showing us why he is a shoo-in for Best Supporting Spider every year.  The story is a taste of Jim's next cool book idea [due 2012 - 2013 he says] concerning a libriomancer, who can reach inside a book and pull out things like...well, like Smudge.  I am looking forward to that one.

Overall, a quick, enjoyable read, and well worth the $2.99.  Kudos for Jim to making the effort to put this project together and making these stories available to his fans.
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20 May 2009 @ 08:41 am
Overall, I enjoyed the movie.  The way they rebooted the franchise was palatable enough, and now they have pretty much a clean slate to work with from here on out.  I will certainly go see the next one.

The thing I liked most [as most people seemed to] was the old characters portrayed by new actors.  Honestly, Kirk was by far the weakest of the bunch.  Bones was amazing, Uhura, Spock, and Sulu weren't bad, Chekov and Scotty were slightly over the top.

Plot holes were enormous.  The thing most disconcerting to me was the promotion of Kirk to captaincy of this huge vessel directly from cadet status.  Totally not believable.  No explanation, even of the most outlandish sort, for red matter.  The acceptance and acquiescence of the crew of this group of toddlers taking command and control of their ship.  Not going to happen.

Not to say the old series and movies did not have their issues, so I guess I can let most of it go.  Another plus is that this will bring more folks to appreciate the Star Trek universe, although I am sure the purists will generally shun the newbs, as is often the case when fringe groups get pulled back to the mainstream.
Current Mood: busybusy
07 April 2009 @ 09:40 am
Once there was a girl who lived in a land over the sea.  She was kind, and beautiful, and fiery in the way that redheads often are.  She did have her flaws, chief among them her love of disco music, but these paled in the face of her charms.

She dreamed of one day finding her prince, who would carry her off to a life of luxury and romance in the land over the blue waters.  She kissed a certain number of frogs, as is the custom, but none was her prince.

One day, after yet another frog failed to transform into princely splendor, an evil wizard with an intense hatred of disco music decided he would punish the girl’s love of the hideous beats by ensuring she would fall in love with not a prince, but a knave.

He cast a glamour on a picture, and arranged for a frog to show the girl the image.  The spell took hold, the poor girl was enthralled by the ogre-ish face, and she immediately set her mind to capture his tiny heart, as soon as he arrived from the land over the blue waters.

In time, the knave did come to the shores of the land over the sea, and he was soon overcome by the intense campaign waged by the girl, who appeared to have no moral scruples concerning sexually molesting people she had only seen in an enchanted picture.

In no time at all, it seemed, they were wed.  Of course, the groom being a knave, there were no carriages pulled by white horses, or carpets of rose petals strewn by small girls with blonde ringlets, and certainly no bishop in a tall mitre performing the ceremony.  This did not seem to concern the girl, who was still deep in the throes of the evil wizard’s well-wrought glamour.

As might be expected, there was soon an heir to the knave’s minuscule fortune, a girl, who in another story might have been a princess, but in this story was only the daughter of a knave.  Despite that handicap the daughter of the knave and the redheaded girl flourished, even as the knave took his new family away from their home and back to the land over the blue waters.

Years passed, and the wizard’s spell grew weaker and weaker.  The girl realized her prince was really a knave, but because her heart was much larger than a normal heart she had enough love even for him, and did not cast him out, as she had every right to do.  The knave often behaved in a knavely manner, as was his nature.  Still, he was not set aside in favor of another.

Being but a knave and not a prince, the man was not able to provide the luxury the girl had always dreamed of.  Being a knave, and a poor one at that, neither was he able to provide the romance the girl had longed for.  Being a knave through and through, he was only rarely downcast at not being able to provide these princely staples.  Even yet, he was not cast down.

The wizard, of course, had been watching all this from afar, and decided to heap even more misery on the girl.  The knave’s aged father was struck by a curse and was no longer able to take care of himself.  The knave’s family was, of course, very knavely in nature.  Being the least knavely, the knave let himself be convince by the girl that is was their duty to take in the decrepit old man and care for him in his declining years, of which there were not thought to be many left.

It was then that the wizard’s master stroke was made evident.  The old man’s illnesses were like a zephyr, suddenly rising, then falling, but never enough to carry him to the land far beyond the horizon.  The burden of his care weighed heavily on the girl, whose heart was large enough to accommodate love for the old man, for the knave bore resentment for his father, even while the girl provided gentle, loving care.

It was then that the knavery of his life was made evident to the knave.  The girl, separated from her family by the sea, still loved him.  The girl, burdened with the care of a father not her own, still loved them both.  The girl, crumbling under the weight of the stones of her life, gave of herself and her purse to her daughter, and her daughter’s daughter, and still loved them all.  Being a knave, the knave knew he would always be a knave.  But at least in a part of his tiny heart, he dearly wished he had been born a prince, so he could give the girl the luxury and romance that she had lived without for so long, but deserved so richly.  And it pained him to know that he would still be a knave, and she would still love him, for the injustice of that was surely a dagger to both their hearts.

Happy birthday, dear.
Current Mood: thankfulthankful
27 March 2009 @ 07:32 pm

This is the first in jimhines new series.  His first series, featuring Jig the Dragonslayer and his trusty spider, had a decidedly comedic bent, although it did have some serious layers.

This book still has a light tone, but deals with the grittier side of "And they lived happily ever after..."  The three leads, Danielle [CInderella], Talia [Sleeping Beauty], and Snow [Snow White] get involved when Danielle's husband Armand [Prince Charming] is kidnapped by Danielle's evil stepsisters.

The story involves their trip to Fairytown to rescue Armand.  As always, Hines keeps the story moving along.  In addition, you learn a good deal about the background and motivations of many characters, not only the princesses.  I felt especially said for Stacia, Danielle's ugly stepsister.  This is one of my favorite things about Jim Hines; he writes a relatively easy read, with humor, and yet really manages to give his protagonists a lot of depth.

I really enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the next installment, The Mermaid's Madness, coming in October.

Current Location: Home
Current Mood: contentcontent
02 March 2009 @ 10:52 am

I am very late to this series, but finally picked up David Coe's[[info]davidbcoe] first LonTobyn novel, Children of Amarid.

I enjoyed this one.  I will be picking up the other two in this trilogy.  There was some sense that the two new mages were a bit more powerful than was probably realistic.  However, upon reflection, they did not really do major magics, but the visions people had of them being very powerful later were slightly offputting.

I liked the magic system and would have liked more explication about the reasons owl masters are more powerful than hawk mages, and some more background on eagle mages.  In addition, one of the powerful old mages was bound to a wolf, but in the thousand year history of the Order, no one else bound to another animal?

At first the writing around the bad guy's identity, and later confusion about different suspects turned me off, but Coe kept it reasonably short and revealed things to his characters in good time.

Good stuff, and after this series I will likely pick up some of the other ones he has come out with more recently.

[I have mostly recovered from my third major cold of the last 6 months.  This, after years and years of never getting a cold.  Ugh.]

Current Mood: awakeawake
06 February 2009 @ 02:14 pm
Yesterday I downloaded and read the free e-version of Hal SpaceJock 1 by Simon Haynes, available here.  I also picked up the free e-version of Patriot Witch by Charles Finlay, available at ccfinlay 's home page.

Hal Spacejock was a quick, fun read.  The pace was almost a bit too frenetic for me, as all the action takes place in about one day.  However, there were lots of subtle [and not-so-subtle] gags and puns that brought a smile to my face.  I might not have bought this in paperback, as humorous genre books can be a bit hit or miss, but for free it was a no brainer.  And he will be offering books 2-4 as low cost digital versions by the end of the month, so I will be grabbing those as well.

Patriot Witch reminded me of Card's Alvin novels, at least initially.  Obviously, FInlay knows the history of the era, and blends the Salem witches into it nicely.  The characterization is pretty good, although Nance is slightly too much of a Bond-style bad guy.  I really enjoyed this one, and will be looking for the others when they come out in May and June.

I do like the trend to e-books.  I am this close to picking up a Kindle, since the Plastic Logic Reader won't be out until early to mid 2010.  I also like the e-versions because I can read them on my computer at work without anyone being the wiser!  Kudos to these two authors for taking a chance on the e-versions.  In this case, you got yourself a couple sales when the new ones come out.
Current Mood: thankfulthankful
06 February 2009 @ 09:14 am
We recently added a Vit B supplement to our morning regimen.  Since then I have taken a perverse delight in the bright, nay, fluorescent yellow hue that my urine has taken on.  Am I wrong to let out a small chuckle each time I see this?

ETA:  Two posts in a row with the word 'fluorescent' in the first line...hmmm.
Current Location: Urinal
Current Mood: amusedamused
04 February 2009 @ 09:46 am

  1. I much prefer fluorescent light to sunlight.  My office has a big window; I keep the blinds closed.  I prefer gloomy, rainy days to sunny days.
  2. I care very little about clothes.  I have 6 or 8 identical pairs of black pants for work, 10 or so pairs of black socks, and about 15 polo shirts that I cycle through as they are worn and cleaned..  That and a pair of black loafers are my work "uniform".  Even on casual Fridays I wear the same thing; it's just easier.  Not to say that I purposely wear ridiculous clothes, I just am not to worried about being fashionable.
  3. I am an unashamed Robert Heinlein fanboi.  Rationally, I understand some of his work, especially the late stuff, is a bit "over the top".  However, rationality is not welcome on this topic.
  4. I am very routine-oriented.  When I get home, I change and get my work clothes ready in the bathroom for the next morning.  My morning, shower, etc always the same way.
  5. I am geographically challenged.  To put it another way, I can get lost quite easily.  When I have to go to a site, I usually MapQuest it and even then I can manage to spend extra time wandering around until I eventually get there.
  6. I dislike jewelry [for myself] in general, and gold jewelry specifically.  My watch and wedding band are both titanium, and that is all the jewelry I wear, unless you count my glasses, which are silver colored as well.
  7. Speaking of glasses, I have tried contacts twice and just can't do it.  First of all, the process of poking yourself in the eyes is too hard for me to deal with.  Secondly [and weirdly given the statement I just made] I rub my eyes all the damn time, and that feels odd when wearing contacts, and I was afraid I would move them to some irretrievable location.
  8. I work 7am-4pm.  Most of the people in the office make a joke about the fact that I leave right at 4 almost every day.  I just feel like I am on my own time, and being at work is not something I do for fun, so why be here any longer than I need.  Of course, when needed, I do stay late, or take the long drive to Ruston or Lake Charles.  I don't complain about the long days, so I see no need to justify leaving on time.
  9. I have taken ballroom dance lessons for almost two years now.  Some people make a bit of fun about it, but most of them are genuinely impressed that I can dance.  I think most guys would like to be able to move around the floor gracefully with a woman in their arms, if they could get over the "it's not manly" thing.
  10. I have a level 80 feral druid [Night Elf] in World of Warcraft.  I have been playing for around 3 years and have never leveled any alt higher than 30.  In fact, I deleted them all and played my druid exclusively until about three weeks ago when I started a death knight.  Since I was able to start him at 55 it is not so bad.  He is level 65 right now.
  11. I often take the long but sure way of doing things, whether it is driving somewhere, or some task.  I often find that shortcuts which are out of my normal routine cause me problems, so I just stick with what I know.
  12. I use a Filofax for my calendar and to-do lists.  I have gone through many iterations [being an office supply junkie] even electronic ones, but I have gone back to the A5 size Filofax, which was always my favorite.  I had to order it from the UK site which entailed assuring my credit card company that it was a valid charge.
  13. I fell for a phishing email once.  I realized this literally twelve seconds afterwards and canceled the card within minutes.  I still feel stupid about that.
  14. I wrote several stories for Dargonzine years ago.  Dargonzine was one of the first online ezine/writing groups and is still around.  It is a shared-world zine, and some of the guys [and gals] there are pretty good. 
  15. I am starting to get interested in bridge.  The bidding process with its compact, open yet coded, communication about hand composition and strength fascinates me.  The Louisiana Bridge Club building is actually right across the street from where we often go to dance.
  16. I don't like the general populace that much.
  17. I used to read all the time.  My dad has a picture of me somewhere walking down the street avoiding a lamp post while reading a book.  Since taking up poker 5 or 6 years ago, and then World of Warcraft I don't read nearly as much.  I gave up poker after playing pretty much all my free time for a couple years.  I gave up WoW for about 6 months while trying a few other games, but got sucked back in with the expansion.  I read around 950-1000 words per minute.  I took a couple tests while at college.  Comprehension was around 90+%.  Somehow I guess those radio ads about "read 10 books in the time it normally takes to read 1" would not do me much good.
  18. I married my wife 4 months after meeting her.  26 years later we are still together.
  19. I am one of the older people who learned to type on a real typewriter, so I still add two spaces after the end of a sentence.
  20. My mother died when I was 8 years old.  I can't even really remember what she looked like without the aid of a picture.  I can't remember very much at all about my childhood.  Probably some sort of coping mechanism, but it has carried into adult life, and I have a very hard time remembering things like where I lived 5 years ago, or what my first car was [no clue].  I can remember trivia and song titles, but not my life.  Strange.
  21. One of my brothers [I am the oldest child of four] is an alcoholic.  He has seizures which were brought on as the result of being catapulted through his windshield one night while driving drunk.  He smokes and continues to drink even though the alcohol diminishes the effect of the medicine he takes for the seizures.  We rarely talk.
  22. My mother was adopted.  According to my dad she was molested by her adopted dad.  Her adopted brother was bipolar, although it was called manic-depressive at the time.  According to one of my aunts I was my mother's best friend.
  23. My sister is really my half-sister.  My [future alcoholic] brother was snooping in my dad's desk and came across some paperwork.  Apparently priests aren't gelded when ordained, just told to be good boys.  Apparently my mother liked not-good boys.  My dad sent my sister to CA when I was around 10 or 11 to live with an "aunt and uncle", who were friend of the family type aunt and uncle, not blood.  She stayed there and was adopted by them.  My dad thought it was best for her to not live in a house of 4 men with no female role model.  She resented that and I probably haven't talked to her twice in 25 years.
  24. My dad came out when I was in college.  My other [non]alcoholic] brother is a macho man, and barely tolerates my dad. 
  25. Despite the above [or because of it?] I am a reasonably happy guy.  I have a good marriage.  I have a beautiful daughter who has a husband she loves, and I have a beautiful granddaughter.  I have a good job.  I can afford to eat well.  I can afford to play games on the internet.  Life is good.
Current Mood: contentcontent
08 January 2009 @ 05:11 pm
After my departure during the prior trouble in my guild caused by the long-time leader's own hiatus, I came back to World of Warcraft with the Lich King expansion. I am at the level cap now, just in time for the final death throes of the guild.  Right now we are interviewing a few other guilds who are willing to take the active members "en masse". 

As a die hard observer [when I went to Mardi Gras parades, I usually spent my time watching the people who were watching the parade] of people [as opposed to being in the process; I'm sad that way] I find MMO guilds fascinating.*  Something like an office, except most of the people in a guild choose to be together, for widely varying reasons.  You have nearly every sort of personality there is; nerds, leaders, wannabe leaders, kids [real and the adults-who-never-grew-up], alcoholics and junkies, mentally ill [those on their meds and those who are not], normal people [whatever that means these days], and just plain nuts.  If you have frequented any kind of internet forum or chat room, you know exactly what I mean.

So you take a mix of all the strange and not-so-strange people who congregate on the internet and put them in the same room, so to speak.  And the kicker is that I am part of the stew.  I'm not the spoon, or the beef, just a carrot or potato, but I am in there.  So I see what is going on, and am still affected by it.  A large percentage of the posts in any WoW forum concern guild issues.  Our internet "connections" seem to take a larger emotional toll than those who don't frequent the 'net might believe.

I am sure a study of the life cycle of guilds/clans in MMO's would be fascinating to read, at least for those of us who play.

*  I apologize for the horrendous, digressive structure of this sentence.
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
19 December 2008 @ 07:06 pm
Last night we went to the New Orleans Arena to see the annual Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert.  While the music critic from the Times-Picayune was not impressed , I enjoyed it tremendously.  The huge show, tons of light effects, flames, snow, screeching guitars, even the sometimes hokey Christmas symbology; I loved it all.  And being able to scream out a couple Cheap Trick tunes [I Want You to Want Me & Surrender] with special New Orleans-only guest Robin Zander was icing on the cake.

I would recommend this seasonal treat without reservation.
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: excitedexcited