RED FLAG GARDEN UPDATE

AT APPROXIMATELY 17:19 PM CST THE CRIME SCENE ON THE THIRD FLOOR BALCONY WAS DISCOVERED STOP THE VICTIM STOP THE LAST HOPE OF THE GARDEN STOP THE PRIME SUSPECT STOP THAT BASTARD SQUIRREL STOP PICTORIAL EVIDENCE TO FOLLOW STOP WARNING STOP GRAPHIC DEPICTIONS OF GARDEN CARNAGE STOP

WE SALUTE YOU BERNIE STOP AND YOUR FALLEN COMRADES STOP

LAZARUS WILL BE PROTECTED STOP AT STOP ALL STOP COSTS STOP

Plant first aid

Remember Lazarus? He looked like this?

Well, a week after ‘the incident,’ I realised that his leaves were still looking healthy and green, so I thought ‘I wonder if I could resucitate him.’ So I headed out on to the balcony with my floral tape and bandaged him up a bit.

He still wouldn’t stand up straight any more, so I thought ‘Oh, maybe he needs to be staked.’ Not staked in a Buffy way, obviously – The Celery Stalks at Midnight this is not! But the problem was I did not have a stake. So after looking around my apartment for something to use as a stake, I came up with this:

It may be a little hard to see, but he is staked to a knitting needle. So far it’s working pretty well. We’ll see how it goes, though – that bastard squirrel was back on my balcony again this morning…

Also, here’s a photo of my cherry tomato bounty:

And the new hope of the garden:

ETA: That bastard squirrel was on my balcony again this morning! And so was a giant crow or raven or…whatever, a giant black bird! What is with all the WILDLIFE (okay, there’s nothing wrong with wildlife, but why must they try to eat my hard-grown tomatoes!)!

*shakes fist in manner of elderly person trying to get ‘those damn kids off my lawn’*

Fiction

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen. It’s already starting to win awards in Australia and it’s not hard to see why. It’s the wordless story of an immigrant’s journey, his experiences, the people he meets, and the stories they share. Really, I suppose that’s it, but it’s so much more when you see it.

Shaun Tan’s illustrations are breathtaking. Seriously, it made me cry, that’s how gorgeous they are. There are some that are more the typical size of panels in a graphic novel, others are smaller, and some are two-page spreads. Here are a few examples, just so you can see:

The two-page spreads are obviously the most impressive ones, but even the simple things are drawn beautifully.

The other impressive thing about this book is the care that was obviously put into the design of it. The cover looks like an old photo album that you would find in an old trunk tucked away in the corner of an attic somewhere. Some of the pages have creases or water spots drawn onto them which all mesh seamlessly with Tan’s sepia drawings.

It’s just absolutely gorgeous.

My rating:

Art: A+

Story: A+

Fiction

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

So in the midst of my earlier book ennui, I found myself at Pages for All Ages, hoping for the new issue of Q magazine to cheer me up a bit. Alas, they are surprisingly behind schedule and I still don’t have the Guitar Heroes issue. Lame! But. While I was there, I remembered my friend from work saying that she really liked Terry Pratchett’s books and that her favorite was, surprise, surprise, given the subject of this post, The Light Fantastic. She recommended any of the books about the wizards or the night watchmen, but said that this one in particular was her favorite.

Since I was looking for something that would be a quick, entertaining read and I know lots of people think he’s very funny, I thought ‘Why not?’ and picked it up.

And all those people? Totally right. He’s very funny. But it doesn’t feel like it’s funny just for the sake of being funny. He manages to be funny in the middle of the plot and the characters and everything. Sometimes it’s puns, sometimes it’s just an odd way of looking at or describing things, and other times it’s just a monumental irreverence.

There is an inept wizard, an aging hero, an unflappably optimistic tourist, and sentient luggage (I definitely wish my luggage loved me!). There is also a camera which, instead of using film, contains a very small demon who is responsible for painting the image the camera sees. If I described the plot, it might not sound like much (said inept wizard is responsible for saving the world), but it’s more how he writes the story that makes it worth the read.

The only bad thing is that Terry Pratchett has a ton of books out, I think, so now I’m going to have to work my way through the rest of them! But highly recommended if you’re looking for a bit of an easy read that’s cheerful and funny and doesn’t require too much in the way of thinking.

My rating: A-

Turns out…

…the fifth time is the charm! Hooray! Of course, as soon as I saw I’d won the auction, I stumbled across a listing to ‘Buy it now’ for, well, let’s just say…less than I won it for. But I earned it.

And I feel a bit badly about it, too, actually, because now that’s one less sale for Shaun Tan. I know I should have waited, but I really wanted to read it now. Tell you what, Shaun, when I finally get my book(s) published, I will always send you an ARC. Then we’ll be even. How’s that sound?

Oh, the humanity!

Okay. I spent last night at my parents’ house because Josephine had a vet appointment (just to update her shots, don’t worry) and when I got back late this morning, I found THIS:

I don’t know what happened here – I didn’t even know I needed to be worried about my watermelons bursting! So now all my watermelon hopes are riding on the only other little one growing… I don’t think the squirrel was responsible for this, but he may very well have been responsible for THIS:

And he was even starting to recover from his tragic mugging – there was already a little flower ready to bloom into a tomato. Oh, Lazarus, we hardly knew ye!

Now, I’m pretty sure it rained here at some point while I was away – whether it was last night or earlier this morning, I don’t know – but it would have had to have been quite the storm to cause this much damage… I guess what happened on my balcony between the afternoon of August 17 and the late morning of August 18 will remain one of the world’s mysteries, right up there with the Mary Celeste and the Bermuda Triangle.

If only Lazarus could talk…

Godspeed, little watermelon. Godspeed.