Favorite Authors, Part 1

Brandon Sanderson

His first book, Elantris, was a solid sci fi/fantasy story. Nothing grand, but very entertaining with a few twists thrown in. The most impressive thing about it, in my opinion, is that it is not part of a trilogy or a series. It is just one book. I don't remember the last time I read a novel that was not part of an epic tale spanning several years and what seems like endless books. (Not that there's anything wrong with three...or four...or five books, but sometimes the unusual is refreshing.)

The second book I read, Mistborn, was (you guessed it) the first book of a trilogy. But oh, what a trilogy. The world he created for this series (Consisting of Mistborn, The Well of Ascension, and Hero of Ages) is so very detailed it boggles the mind. (Yes, I said it. There will be boggling. Deal with it.) There is an amazingly thought out magic system (complete with a chart in the back, for those who like that sort of thing), an amazing variety of creatures, and of course, an evil nemesis. And in the midst of all of these details, there are twists. Think jaw dropping twists. Especially in the third book, where the origins of everything (and I do mean everything) are revealed. One slow, agonizing piece at a time...

This is the very same author who has been chosen to finish Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Series (now on book 12. 12. What is that all about?). Before I discovered this fact, I thought I might, maybe, read book 12, just so I wouldn't feel as if I'd wasted all those hours reading the first 11. Just for the sake of closure. But now...I will certainly read it, because I know it will be a book I won't be able to put down.

Random Fact

The animal responsible for the most human deaths worldwide is the mosquito.

Random Lyrics

Everything about you is a picture worth a thousand words
Try as I may I try in vain
There's more to you than I could ever hope to explain
I don't think you know
I'll never be the same again
Purity stood in front of me and said "I'm clumsy and my back hurts"
And I thought "you're about as beautiful as God's creation gets"
And I've seen oceans and sunsets that took away me breath
And you remind me of everything that's precious in His sight
And I don't think you'll ever realize just how much you've touched my life
Everything I thought I knew
Redefined in the light of you
Though the white
It burns my eyes
All my shadows fall behind me
I don't think you know why I'll never be the same
Try as I may I try in vain
There's more to you than I could ever explain
I just can't find the words for you

Brandston, "Words for You"

So I Read This Book...

...and you know how one thing can lead to another. The book review shall appear later as I do not have the time or the inclination to do it justice at the moment. But the thing it led to, that you can see for yourselves. In the quest to discover the details about the sequel (not out yet, so sad), I discovered the author's website, which included a link to a blog, Merry Sisters of Fate. The blog consists of 3 authors posting fantasy-ish short stories. Each author used to do one a week, but it appears they recently changed that to 1 story a week. The only author I have read is the one who's trail I followed to said blog, Maggie Stiefvater, but the other two look to have interesting stories as well. Of those I have read, here is one of my favorites:

Mama's Angel


Random Poem

Sonnet 17

by William Shakespeare

Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?
Though yet heaven knows it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life, and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes,
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say 'This poet lies;
Such heavenly touches ne'er touch'd earthly faces.'
So should my papers, yellow'd with their age,
Be scorn'd, like old men of less truth than tongue,
And your true rights be term'd a poet's rage
And stretched metre of an antique song:

But were some child of yours alive that time,
You should live twice, in it, and in my rhyme.

I am receiving a poem a day through Daily Lit and this one struck my fancy. Appropriate, since my book club is reading Much Ado About Nothing for May.

Random Quote

"Britt ate lots of chocolate but never got fat - a sure sign of demonic possession."

Erica Long

Random Lyrics

I Love the Way You're Breaking My Heart

I love the way you're breaking my heart
It's terribly, terribly, terribly, terribly, terribly thrilling
I love the way you're breaking my heart
Although you're gonna ruin it
It's heaven while you're doing it
I love the way I feel when we kiss
You're terribly, terribly, terribly irresistible
Lie to me and sigh to me
You really know how
It's gonna hurt tomorrow but it feels so good now
So darling just keep playing your part
Take your time and really finish
The things that you start
Cause I love the way you're breaking my heart

Info: Peggy Lee sang it, and I know she was at least a co-writer. She may have been the only writer, but I haven't been able to find much info. It's a pretty obscure song. Thanks Regina!

Where's My Happily Ever After?

So I just finished all three books that are currently in the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead (the fourth book is scheduled to come out on 8/25/09), and here is my complaint. There is no happy ending. And no conceivable happy ending in sight. Do I expect every book to have a happy ending? Of course not. Some of my favorite books have bittersweet or downright depressing endings. But this time, I was looking for fluff. Not serious reading or great literature, just a quick read with an entertaining plot. Fluff, to me, includes a satisfyingly happy or, at the very least, ambiguous resolution (side note: is ambiguous resolution an oxymoron?). The end of the third book? NOT HAPPY*. Where's my warm fuzzy feeling that usually comes with fluff? Fuzz and fluff are relatives after all...

*Now, this is not to say that I am unhappy with the series as a whole...I liked it...I would consider reading it again...dependent on the outcome of the 4th book, which I am planning on reading. I hope my warm fuzzy feeling is not lacking this time, but I'll be sure to let you know...

Shotgun Rules

Every Tuesday, as we leave the office for lunch, someone calls shotgun. Apparently, there are rules for this sort of thing that my coworkers and I knew nothing about. We shall have to study as there are a lot of amendments to said rules. This gives a definite advantage to those of us who have no concrete plans this weekend. Study hard, my lunching friends. Next Tuesday, it's on like Donkey Kong!

The Vacation Curse

Every time my parents go on vacation, something bad happens. This complicates what would ordinarily be (and often still is) a wonderful time for me. I can watch what I want on TV, sit wherever I'd like, feel free to be grumpy and antisocial, and, perhaps the best thing (at least for my procrastinating self), I can always clean later. And then disaster strikes...

Three years ago when my parents went on their annual trip, they left a newly redecorated house behind them. Then the roof began to leak. The freshly painted hallway ceiling began to sag and drip. My older brother decided not to ruin the last few days of their vacation with bad news, so he put a bucket under the drip and did nothing. I was hardly home at the time, so I let him deal with the problem (or not deal with it, in this case). Needless to say, my parents were not happy.

Two years ago, same annual trip, different issue. The air conditioner broke. I'm sure it was at least 100 degrees that week. It was so hot, my dinner one night was a watermelon. I couldn't bear the thought of eating anything else. I was too hot. My brother, not having learned his lesson, suggested we do nothing until my parents got home. I called the AC people. My parents were much happier when they came home that year.

Last year, my mother went on vacation by herself. My father couldn't leave town for several reasons. Apparently it takes two to activate the curse. Nothing happened.

This year, oh this year...My grandmother had been having fainting spells. Turns out she had a heart condition and needed a pacemaker. This was discovered, of course, while my parents were on vacation. This time, my brother and I both pitched in and, with some help from our uncle, made sure everything was taken care of both before and after her surgery.

My mother also has a habit of breaking her teeth on vacation (as if the problems at home aren't enough). So, if they want to avoid disaster (and broken teeth), the solution is simple: they should never go on vacation again. Somehow I don't think the threat of impending doom will stop them.

So I Think I Can Dance...

I don't dance. Ever. It's not that I don't have rhythm (and if you don't believe me, ask my voice teacher. He called me a human metronome), it's just that the rhythm is all in my head. The rest of my body is left to it's own devices. Which apparently don't work so well. But anyway...

A friend of mine does all sorts of fun things like swing dancing and playing violin and she asked me to go dancing with her. Contra dancing. This dancing, I can do. It has steps and a caller who tells you what to do (yes, like in square dancing, but this is different). My feet, fortunately, are not rhythmically challenged, so I was able to keep up. I had a ridiculous amount of fun. I would not recommend this for the antisocial, however. You dance with everyone in the room, at least for a few seconds. There's not much time (or breath) for chit chat, so making small talk is not an issue, it's just that dancing with the world might be a bit intimidating. My advice is to be brave and give it a shot. Grab a group of your friends and head out to the dance floor. You won't regret it.

Random Fact

The average U.S. resident eats 10 pounds of chocolate every year.*

*This fact was discovered on How Stuff Works and may, in fact, be factual.

Random Quote

"Outside the window, a bright blue summer sky and billowing white clouds. A beautiful if secondhand sky showing telltale signs of wear. I took another sip of whiskey to toast the brand-new sky it once was. Not bad Scotch. Not a bad sky either, once you got used to it."

~ Haruki Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase

A Few of My Favorite Things

Thing One: C. O. Bigelow Chapped Hands Remedy

My hands have a tendency to get dry in the winter. Really dry. Painful, cracked, and bleeding dry. I tried every heavy duty lotion I could find, I put on thick layers of said lotion and slept in gloves, and applied the icky stuff multiple times a day (I hate the feel of most lotions). Nothing worked. Until this. I put on a thin layer of Chapped Hands Remedy every night and it works wonders. I don't even have to reapply during the day. It smells nice too. Kind of lemony, and definitely non-girly, so if your man has rough hands, buy him some. It's a bit expensive, but one bottle lasts for quite a while. Of course, I do have abnormally small hands, so that might have something to do with it...

Thing Two: Gaelic Storm

Think traditional Irish music meets Blue Collar Comedy Tour. The music is well played and some of it is quite funny, but the band members themselves could make a living as a comedy group, never mind the music.

Thing Three: Maggie Moo's

For those who haven't been, Maggie Moo's is like Cold Stone Creamery. They take whatever ice cream you want and mix in whatever combination of toppings you would like to add. As someone who prefers ice cream of moderate richness, I find Cold Stone too creamy. Maggie Moo's is just right. I also appreciate that they have ice cream cupcakes. I love ice cream cake, but I will eat way to much if I get a whole one (I don't believe in wasting desert). Even if you love Cold Stone, you should give Maggie Moo's a shot.

Random Quote

"When I was a child my grandmother often took me about with her. I was a quiet boy already in poor health, and she found me at least as easy to manage as a small dog."

~ M. John Harrison, from A Young Man's Journey to London

Random Fact

Elephants are the only mammals that can't jump. *

*This fact may not, in fact, be factual. I did not research this supposed fact, but feel free to do so if that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

What's in a Name?

I was in a little shop on vacation when I stumbled upon a paperweight that read

"You're my friend because even though you know I'm slightly cracked, you think I'm a good egg anyway"

I found this to be a very interesting thought. I know I am cracked and I'm perfectly happy with that. It just so happens that I have been blessed with friends who think I'm a good egg anyway (I hope).

Yes, I Caved (Again)

I said I would never be on MySpace or Facebook. I meant it too. I really did. But ever so slowly, my friends began to drift away to foreign countries like Germany, Texas, and California. I can hardly manage to keep in touch with people who live in the same state! So I did what any good friend would do. I caved. They were all on Facebook, now I was on Facebook.

Then all of my friends got blogs. I considered it...for about half a second. I didn't think I had enough to say. But after sending daily emails of funny or interesting tidbits to my friends, I was advised that I should just suck it up and start a blog. Not in so many words, but I felt like that was the gist of it.

So here we go. Expect quotes, trivia, rants, and reviews...I think. I really have no idea.