Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Helping hands

On our block we have several neighbors in a similar situation as us, old home needing constant maintenance, and lots of landscaping, uh, opportunity. They are also pleasant company. So we have decided to take turns helping each other with projects. Kind of the old rural model where you'd go to one farm this week and help with harvest or build a barn, etc., and next week everybody would come to yours and help out there.

We started at our house :-) Putting in flagstone. It's a good project for this kind of thing. Mostly labor, not specialized skills needed, and we could get to a milestone where we could feel like we really accomplished something.

Here is what things looked like before Tim, Nina and Ben showed up at 9 AM. Jae and I had done most of the digging in advance, and had set the stones in one small section to get the idea for what we were doing.

That's Tim and Ben in the background, leveling sand. Tim in the blue shirt, Ben in the yellow. Me in the foreground, doing the last bit of digging. Jae is taking the pictures.

Further along. Jae in back placing a stone. Tim and Ben again in foreground, placing and leveling stones.

Approaching the end of the day, about 2 PM. Huge progress. That's Nina and Ben. Somehow Nina only made it one picture, but don't let that fool you, she was there all day :-) When we quit, all the stones were in place, with some leveling and filling in between left for me and Jae to do next weekend. We are thrilled.

The final stages will be getting some crusher fine to fill in between the stones. Also, the feature in the middle of the wide part of the flagstone will be a compass rose, a la Jae. We are so close to there.

And we are so on the hook for helping Ben and Nina and Tim at their houses.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Most beautiful book

I had a journal that I scribbled in, things like "Fierce Friend". I left it out in the rain. You'd think that would be hard in the desert, but I managed.

I went to Barnes and Nobles on lunch looking for a replacement. They had these. There was one out of the package that you could handle. It was one of the most beautiful objects I've ever held.
Roma Lussa Leather Journal, hand bound in Italy. I came so close, but alas, I'm a little frugal. They had something similar style, the made in China version, for a third of the price. That's what I got, and its quite nice. I'd be thrilled with it if I'd never picked this one up. Sometime when I deserve a treat, perhaps I'll gift it to mysel.

Can I play you a tune

I wrote about daytrotter.com before. Checking it out today and I really like the set from the band, The Dodos. Here's their song, "Horny Hippies." If you like it, head on over to www.daytrotter.com for the rest of their set, plus tons of other music.

Neil Gaiman

I came to Neil Gaiman material in the meandering way that often
happens. I had, of course, heard of _The Sandman_, just as part of popular culture. I think I became aware he wrote novels when I saw his children's book, _Coraline_, in the book store. From skimming, it looked interesting. Then my brother Luke and sister Anna read _American Gods_ and recommended it. I intended to check out his stuff for a long time without getting to it.

About a year ago, on a whim, I bought a collection of the first few
Sandman comics. Enjoyed it. Wasn't blown away. Pretty cool.

Not long ago I was browsing and stumbled on _Neverwhere_. Neil Gaiman novel. Felt like the time. Skimming was promising. I bought it.

Loved it. He did an amazing job of world building. Rich, textured,
multi-layered alternative world under the streets, and on the
rooftops, of London. Darkest, most twisted thing I've read in awhile. And funny. He showed some of what he did so well in _American Gods_, the ability to write the intersection of the mundane and the fantastic. _Neverwhere_ weighed heavy on the fantastic, though.

My only negative observation is that while there were several great characters, the protagonist was lackluster. Really just a device for propelling us into and through the interesting stuff.

Jae liked it, too. A couple weeks ago she picked up _American Gods_ at Birdsong Used Books. I started it excited, and it looked like the excitement was warranted. It is really hard to do that intermeshing of the everyday and the mythical, and he pulled that off amazingly. I have to admit, though, that by the end of the book I was disappointed. While the conception is great, and that aspect I just mentioned brilliant, the storyline just didn't hold me all the way to the end. I can only say
I finished because I skipped ahead and read the end.

So I loved _Neverwhere_. I don't think of _American Gods_ as a
failure, because, as I keep harping on, I'm blown away by his ability to so interestingly set these mythical beings in the a realistic context. For me, not a great book, however.

All and all, an author I enjoy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A third of a gopher

"A third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without bedding it back down again."

Ah, that movie is genius.


Paul Harvey lives (and still broadcasts)

On the drive to work this morning I accidentally switched the radio to AM, and was immediately sucked into a time warp. Paul Harvey's voice, a little wavery but undeniably him, came through loud and clear. I had no idea he was still broadcasting. I don't think I've heard him since I was in my teens.

Interesting show he does. The blend of news, commentary, and folksy charm is so unlike media of today.

You can hear him on the Net.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

You are the northern lights

The new album is out today.

Some more of the best of early Josh Ritter -- "Kathleen"

And two of my favorite songs off _Animal Years_.

Have mercy on the man who sings to be adored

Josh Ritter -- "The Snow Is Gone"

Perhaps still my favorite Josh Ritter song. As far as I can tell he's always that ecstatic on stage. When we saw him at a little place in Albuquerque a few years back, he was on fire with talent and love of what he was doing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Guilty Pleasure: 2525

In the early 21st century, a stripper who goes by the stage name, Cleopatra, gets a boob job but never wakes up from the anesthesia. Until the year 2525 when she's brought out of cold storage for parts. After a kidney is transplanted into futuristic warrior woman, Sarge, she awakens, and finds herself in a world where humans have been driven underground by invaders, presumably alien. She is soon teemed up with the sexy and scantily clad Amazon duo, Sarge and Hel. Hel is played by the ravishing Gina Torres, later to attain glory in Firefly. Cleopatra's main talent is the ability to distract the bad guys by pole dancing.

Sam Rami can find the lowest common denominator.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

new article at www.patriciathirdday.com

Over at www.patriciathirdday.com, the article "Evolution of 'Patricia Thirdday Gets To the Point" now exists. Its under the tab, "Story Commentary." I'm playing with some fancy web interface stuff, so when you click on the article it will open in a new tab.

Monday, August 06, 2007

New Patricia Thirdday Story

I have another website. Occupational hazzard. There is both the old and the new Patricia Thirdday story at www.patriciathirdday.com

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