Places to visit without leaving the comfort of your air conditioning.

My day started busy and is definitely going the stay that way so today’s blog is just a brief itinerary of some other blogs to travel to today while mine is being boring and neglected.

First off is http://jentheredonethat.com/. I used to be young and beautiful, not so much in person anymore, but I still get to experience youthful travel and foodie adventures vicariously through following this blog.  Check her out.

For all my Geek friends who, like me, will not be at San Diego Comicon this week-end, I give you these sites. Meet five of my favorite Con guests  (I have at least a dozen, some just aren’t blogging much right now due to other obligations) up close and personal (I mean the internet is personal, right, we are really all friends?) , and there are no long lines.

http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/

http://whatever.scalzi.com/

http://cmpriest.livejournal.com/

http://www.kevinhearne.com/

http://ginikoch.com/

And finally here are two sites to visit if you want to be inspired by others courage and maybe do some good today.

http://razzzberries.blogspot.com/  Go back a few and read forward to be amazed at this woman’s courage and plucky determination to make rainbows and lemonade.  Feeling grateful for your own health? Express your gratitude to the universe by donating a few dollars. As someone who has dealt with life altering illness professionally and personally, I tell you thank-you in advance.

http://www.welcome.to/desertcry If the small forgotten creatures of the world are more your thing than humans, or if maybe you want to do two good things today, go cruise around this sight a wee bit and learn about the furry things with whom we share the Arizona desert and then paypal  a small donation for some four legged patient’s food and/or medicine.

And now I am off to drive an hour and half in the heat listening to my favorite tunes (thank you Apple for the Ipod) cause I am blessed enough to have  veteran’s medical coverage. (And, no, I wasn’t being sarcastic, I really am grateful for medical care I can afford, and someday when lifetime caps and pre-existing conditions are not part of the insurance business, I will find me closer care. In the meant time, I deeply appreciate what I have.)

Namaste.

Tomorrow maybe some more vegan recipes. Those seem to be reader favorites.

 

The Agony and the Ecstasy: or a patriotic review of “Redshirts” and “Sacre Bleu” written by a white girl.

I have read every book that John Scalzi and Christopher Moore have ever published, and own many in hardcover (not all were ever released that way).  Part of these author’s charm for me may be my egotistic pleasure in discovering and acknowledging the genius of both before they were popular.  I discovered Scalzi with his shareware “Agent to the Stars,” and one of my few life regrets is not being in a financial position to purchase the Subterranean Press edition in 2005. I look forward to someday meeting him, hearing him speak and getting him to sign one of his “Rough Guides” at PHX Comicon.  Christopher Moore entered my life through possibly an ARC of Practical Demonkeeping in the early 90’s (based on who published that review), the details are fuzzy but I’m sure Moore has a Wiki entry if  the dates matter to you, I just know it was between 1989 and 1993. Moore’s love of Vonnegut, yet distinct style and voice made me giddy, and his humor made me guffaw. Both Moore and Scalzi have been read and recommended repeatedly.  Recently I read both authors latest releases in hardcover, “Red Shirts” and “Sacre Bleu” and being a patriotic American, knew combining them in a review would make a perfect July entry.

I took it so personally  when Moore’s 2009 “Fool” was an unpalatable read that I did not pre-order “Sacre Bleu” in April, and would have waited for the paperback release except my book club chose it for June’s selection.  I bought it, I read it, it was agony to finish. The premise of a female “blue” Muse being the source of much that is great and tragic associated with visual arts (mostly painting) was lovingly arranged in a well researched, and Vonnegut worthy, mishmash of surrealistic facts and believable fictions associated with Paris and Impressionism. I really wanted to like this book, just like I really wanted to like “Fool”. I own and hang Impressionist Art posters and prints on my walls. I performed Shakespeare. I preach the genius of Christopher Moore to unsuspecting strangers in bookstores. Unfortunately I didn’t.  It was truly more flat beige than inspiring blue. I did not laugh out loud a single time.  Still 11 out of 13 of his books are so funny that they are embarrassing to read in public, they are books I will gladly read again and still give as presents. This is not really what I would call a bad record for an author guy, all in all. If you don’t know who he is check him out here. http://www.chrismoore.com/, he is well worth your time to read.

Where the “Bleu” left me cold, Scalzi’s “Redshirts” made me sizzle. I bought it release day, read it all by that night, and then re-read it again. I subsequently purchased the Audible version, read by Wil Wheaton it is as if it were written for his voice.  I can’t tell you much more about the plot than the cover precis as I don’t believe in spoilers, but the book is manna to Trekkies sandwiched between layers of meta-magic, and is just plain quantum fun to those less familiar with the source of the pop-culture concept of the Redshirt.  It is so funny it is painful. It even blipped onto the NYT bestseller list where both authors have done a bit of time, although not enough to reduce them to literary punditry like John Grisham or Danielle Steel. But his best writing is not even this book, it his blog, which I have also followed faithfully through many of my own online incarnations. So here is that link, http://whatever.scalzi.com/.

And now I promise, I will not mention either book again. Unless maybe I run into you someday in a bookstore and you are handling the latest grey lit clone and I’ll will be forced to ask you, “Have you ever read this guy, unlike the book in your hand, this guy is really good.”

P.S. Comments are always welcome.

 

What I am reading this week…and a couple things I can’t wait to read…

First I apologize for posting this a day late. No excuse, just an apology. As usual I am reading more than one book.

I am reading aloud a lifetime favorite, “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle. Certain authors are my “go to” authors for reading aloud to patients depending on the patient’s age and taste; L’Engle, E. B. White, Dumas, Alcott, Frost, Twain, Dickens, Whitman. The authors language and chapter structure must lend themselves to “voices” and serialized presentation, and be music when spoken. The list has been fairly stable although a few new authors have joined the list this decade like James Owen with “Here There Be Dragons”  whose reveal at the end of this book rivals some of Vonnegut’s (who, however much I love him and his place on so many other of my literary lists, is not on the read aloud list.)

I am also reading “Homesteading” edited by Abigail Gehring. This is both research for my post-apocalyptic novel in process and research for my own desire to walk more softly and compassionately through this world. So far enjoyable. And my vote for best lines ever in a “you too can get green” introduction, “Before  buying chicks or any other animal to raise, be honest with yourself about the time you have for caring for them….. Homesteading is different for every individual or family. Sometimes being genuine means letting go – at least temporarily – of grandiose schemes for acres of land, a home completely off the grid, and a barn full of animals…….” And I know animal rescuers everwhere are equally impressed with the sentiment. I personally am starting (yet again) with plants and planting.

Reading “The Teachings of Buddha”, a free book put out by the Society for Buddhist Understanding. Don’t recommend it or “un”recommend it.  My problems with this translation and compilation is that it is to other compilations of Buddha’s life and teachings what “The Living Bible” is to the “King James Version”. All the reasons I don’t thoroughly like it are the very reasons others might just recommend it.  The language is very prosaic and couched in terms people familiar with western theism will embrace and understand. Words like “sin” and “omniscience” are not words I associate with Buddhism. However I understand why the translators/compilers went there, so to speak, and as the core Dhammapada is there for me I will finish it, but then probably just pass it on via coffee shop shelf. If you are an avid theist unfamiliar with any of Buddhist teachings who is interested in learning more, I would actually recommend Karen Armstrong’s biography of Buddha over this text as introduction.

Finally, I am about to start re-reading a “potato chip” book (just finished re-reading “March” which although more a nutritious meal was every bit as devour-able, addictive-ly tasty and enjoyable to read) called “Fuzzy Nation” by John Scalzi. The paperback comes out next month. Buy it, or be real supportive and buy a hardback this month. The author is worth it, his books are very much like my favorite organic, olive oil fried potato chips. They are delicious bits of questionable nutrition, but heart healthier than the usual science fiction, and you can’t just read one.

Which leads me to my very “un” peaceful NEED, CRAVING and desire for Scalzi’s next book “Red Shirts” due to come out in June

and on that same note is my attachment to reading the next book in James Owen’s dragon series due out in August.

I want……*sigh*