Finished Eragon [12/18/2008]

I think I've already mentioned my propensity for books with intelligent dragons but, I'll reiterate it again. I found Eragon to be a quick, easy, and enjoyable read. I was expecting to be bored throughout most of the story, because I saw the movie prior to reading it. However, it wasn't as predictable as I thought it would be. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Finished Plague War [12/03/2008]

This sequel to Plague Year was not a disappointment. The action was even better than the first book. I was a little annoyed by the Cam/Ruth relationship. I liked hearing Hernandez's perspective. It would have been nice to have his narration and more about his role in the action towards the end of the book.

Finished The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle [11/17/2008]

I am now thoroughly impressed with Murakami. This book had all of the suspense and mystery of Kafka on the Shore but without the foreshadowing. This world where the bizarre is commonplace is scary but also compelling.

The contrast between Toru's unwaivering determination to bring Kumiko back to him, and his complete fatalism with regard to everything else that happens to him is strange.

Ultimately, I think this is a tale of a shamanic journey by a novice without the help of a guide. It's a frightening concept and I'm still surprised Toru made it out alive. I think maybe I'll write a longer paper about this at some point because it's pretty interesting to me.

I am excited to read the rest of Murakami's works but, I think I need a break until the next one because they are so consuming and difficult to read in the same way as Castaneda.

Finished Jhegaala [11/05/2008]

I've finally finished all of the Vlad series. This last one was a bit disappointing, it just wasn't as fun as some of the other books. It seems like Vlad usually heals pretty quick, I don't understand why it would take him 2 whole years to recover from this ordeal (even without the help of sorcery). I think he must have been doing some other things during that time in Fenario. I wonder what?

70's Fantasy Illustration by Boris [11/05/2008]

I found a copy of "The Boy Who Saved the Stars". It has some awesome illustrations by Boris Vallejo. Here's a sampling:

pumpkins [11/02/2008]

Finished Dragon [11/01/2008]

Wow, I had no idea how much Aliera owes Vlad. He's done so much for her, it's really pretty crazy. The descriptions of the war made me feel like Vlad was there for weeks or maybe even months. Finding out it was only a couple of days was sort of surreal. It was nice to finally know how Aliera ended up with Pathfinder. But, I have to admit the whole thing was a little disappointing. There were no twists or mysteries revealed, it was so straight forward.

Finished Issola [10/24/2008]

Almost the whole book took place in the realm of the Jenoine and yet I learned very little about them. It was kind of disappointing. Also I'm not sure I buy the whole lab-rat theory. I did however enjoy the dialogue between Vlad and Lady Teldra. I was also happy to finally hear how Vlad ended up with his great weapon. I'm not sure why Morrolan should have any reason to blame Vlad. After reading this book I really want to learn more about the Serioli.

Finished Orca [10/22/2008]

I really enjoyed reading from Kiera's perspective. She is definitely one of my favorite Brust characters. Why do like the assassin and thief so much more than anyone with a reasonable job? I think this finally explains why I dislike Sethra - she's like the antithesis of Kiera. I wonder though how she can deal with being separated from Iceflame? I am also still wondering what the background is between Sethra and Vlad in his past-life? I'm surprised how much I've enjoyed these books about Vlad that are written from other points of view.

Finished Athyra [10/19/2008]

I really enjoyed reading a Vlad novel narrated by someone else. Throughout the climax, I kept wondering when Savn would remember to try to make psionic contact. It's strange to me that this book was not called Teckla, as it seemed to show more about their life then that of the Athyra. I liked the balance between emotion and logic in Savn's character. It was also very interesting to see things from Rocza's perspective. Although I would have expected her to have a closer relationship to Vlad. I also enjoyed the rural outdoors setting as a nice change from Adrilankha.

Finished Phoenix [10/15/2008]

I liked this book much better than some of the previous ones. It was cool to see a part of Dragaera other than Adrilankha for once, to see that life is different outside of the empire. I wish there was even more time spent on Greenaere and getting to know Aibynn. It was surprising and intriguing finding out the relationship between Verra and Aliera and Vlad. It was also satisfying to finally have Cawti express some emotion towards Vlad at the end. I wonder if Morrolan and Noish-pa will become friends?

On Notice: Rolling Rock (or, an Ode to the Full Moon) [10/14/2008]

Rolling Rock's recent advertising campaign really got to me. Suggesting that you would deface the awe inspiring beauty of the full moon with your logo is deeply offensive.

I realize the claims were in jest, but, to me it isn't even acceptable to joke about doing something like that. There are many beautiful things in this life, but, most of them are fleeting. The full moon is one of the few constants throughout the ages.

Is nothing sacred? Seriously, is nothing sacred?

"That orbed maiden
with white fire layden,
whom mortals call
the moon."
- Shelley

Finished Taltos [10/10/2008]

I liked the main story of Morrolan and Vlad getting to know each other in the Paths of the Dead. It explained why Morrolan and Aliera are always ready to help Vlad without question. I had know idea how much he had helped them. I'm still not sure what made Vlad decide to help them in the first place. It was kind of weird throughout the book not knowing when or where the spell sequences were taking place. This book didn't really change my opinion about Sethra being strange.

Finished Teckla [10/06/2008]

I'm surprised I didn't like Teckla nearly as much as I would have expected. I typically like revolutionary themed books. I didn't like having Vlad so introspective and philosophical. And I really didn't like Cawti acting so emotional and irrational. I also have a difficult time believing that the Teckla and the Easterners would join forces, even if they share a common oppressor.

Finished Yendi [10/03/2008]

I didn't like this book as much as Dzur or Jhereg. I didn't get to know the Sorceress in Green well enough for it to make sense that she was as involved in any of it. I also didn't like the vibe that Sethra gave off in this book. It makes me less interested in her than I was before.

It was pretty funny to have Vlad so distrusting of Aliera and Morrolan compared to the almost complete trust he had towards them in Jhereg. I did enjoy learning about how Vlad and Cawti met and fell in love. That part at least seemed believable to me. I wonder if Cawti will continue to do "work" now that her partnership with Norathar is over.

my first car adornment [9/30/2008]

coolest exercise mat ever [9/30/2008]

Now my crunches are slightly less painful thanks to these awesome foam puzzle pieces Oran bought me. : )

Finished Jhereg [9/23/2008]

This book explained a lot about Dragearan society. I really liked getting to know Aliera. I hope one of Brust's books will tell the story of how she got Pathfinder. Now, I'm not surprised as to why the Demon helped him in Dzur, seems to me now that he would owe Vlad even more backup then he gave. The end scheme to trick Mellar shows Vlad's strength at recognizing his friends best abilities and using them all to create an unbeatable team. On to the second book - Yendi.

a victorian cthulhu? [9/19/2008]

unusual homes, sculptures, and gardens by eccentric builders [9/16/2008]

I made another google map:

It currently includes:
Gilroy Gardens -
Nitt Witt Ridge -
Rubel Castle -
Forestiere Underground Gardens -
Bottle Village -
Watts Towers -
Forevertron -
House on the Rock -
Mystery Castle -
Eliphante -
Cano's Castle -
Bishop's Castle -
Garden of Eden -
Pasaquan -
Broken Angel -
Las Pozas -
Casa da Flor -
Junkerhaus -
Facteur Cheval's Perfect Palace -
Maison Sculptee -
Robert Tatin's House -
Nek Chand's Rock Garden -
Owl House -
Hermit House -
Paper House -
Les Rochers Sculptes -
Maison Picassiette -
La Maison a Vaisselie Cassee -
Le Jardin du Coquillage -
Le Jardin de Nous Deux -
La Fabuloserie-Bourbonnais -
Totem Pole Park -
Tarot Garden -
Wienrebenpark -

Finished Dzur [9/04/2008]

This was my first Brust book. Maybe starting on number 10 in a series isn't the best idea.. I had quite a few questions that I'm sure were answered in the earlier novels. However, I think I understood most of it.

This was also my first fantasy book in a long time. I enjoyed the action and fast pace. I also really liked the main character Vlad. I'll definitely read more of the series as I am a true sucker for books involving dragon familiars. :)

Convention Highlights (IMHO) [8/28/2008]

"If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there's shouting after you, keep going. Don't ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going." - Hillary Clinton

"This administration can tap our phones. They can't tap our creative spirit. They can open our mail. They can't open economic opportunities. They can track our every move. They lost track of the economy while the cost of food, gasoline and electricity skyrockets." - Dennis Kucinich

"..we are borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the future of human civilization. Every bit of that has to change." - Al Gore

my latest photo challenge [8/27/2008]

is to try to find out when and where this photo was taken

1905 postcard [8/27/2008]

hypno owl eyes [8/27/2008]

check out my cool new music box:

Finished Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood [8/19/2008]

This time it was Carmen's story that didn't ring true for me. It is hard to imagine her withdrawing herself from her friends and becoming so depressed. I was disappointed Win was left out from the picture. Tibby and Brian's relationship was tragic but not overdone. The scene at Tibby's parents' party seemed very real. I also thought that Lena and Bridget's stories were believable and had good endings.

I wish they were making four movies instead of having the sequel tackle the fourth book. Leaving out what happened in the second and third books will hurt the story a bit.

Finished Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood [8/14/2008]

Three of the four stories in this third book worked for me. Lena growing as an artist and finding mentorship from Annik was believable. Tibby's guilt and depression seemed true. And Carmen's manic behavior seemed real. Bridget and Eric's interactions didn't seem plausible at all to me. Not enough time had passed for them to be friends in my opinion.

The scene where Tibby helps Christina through her pregnancy was powerful and vivid. That was probably the best part of the book for me.

Finished The Second Summer of the Sisterhood [8/06/2008]

In the first book, the bravery of Bridget, Lena, Carmen and Tibby was demonstrated full force. In this second book, their cowardliness is almost unbearable. Their flaws are hard to get through, but, it makes them seem more real as characters.

This book also showed more of the parents as people in their own right. I felt that the mothers especially were given the attention they deserved.

Finished The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants [7/24/2008]

Reading this after having watched the movie meant that I knew what was going to happen. However, it was still enjoyable and quick/easy. I thought Effie was great character and couldn't believe they had completely left her out of the movie.

The strength of this story is not in the predictable and almost soap opera-ish plot, but, in the characters, the richness of their personalities.