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.

The book ennui, she is here…

In the past three days, I have started more than that many books – and none of them have caught my attention! I have tried:

  • Hero by Perry Moore
  • The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason
  • Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty
  • Not a Happy Camper by Mindy Schneider

and

  • Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

All of these books contain things that would ordinarily have me at page one, including, but not limited to, sarcastic, snarky narrators; vampires; gay superheroes; nostalgic camping stories; and what I am assured is the cutest romantic hero ever (i.e, someone completely the opposite of Heathcliff (the one who wanders the moors shouting ‘Cathy! Cathy!’ not the one who’s a cat) because, while there’s something to be said for the dark, brooding, intense, borderline crazy hero, I think I prefer my men to be a tad on the lighter side).

And yet all of them have been tossed aside after a few chapters (at the most) and the dedication (at the least).

Please to be recommending me another book to try. I am afraid to start Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer while in this period of book ennui because books which are discarded during these phases tend to be badly neglected for long periods of time to follow…

Stardust: The Movie

Well, fabulous in-joke aside, I really liked it. Really really liked it. And it was way better than the book (basically, how could it not be?). So good – funny, sweet, exciting – really, it has it all. The ghost brothers are spot-on, Claire Danes and Charlie Cox (is he Prince Caspian? I know someone in this movie is…) are so cute together, Michelle Pfeiffer and her fellow witches are awesomely bad. And Inspector Lynley is there and, oh, DeNiro, you are too cute! And there’s also what may be one of the most awesome swordfights in all of moviedom. Just maybe. Oh! And Mr. Weasley playing a goat! It’s all just so good. And I don’t think it wandered too far from the book – I mean, there are things that are missing and things that are, well, ever-so-slightly inaccurate, but I think all the changes were for the better. Definitely you should see it.

Summer movie tally = 6-1-3

And I really think that’s probably it for the summer movie tally, so all in all, a positive movie-going summer. Next up is…let’s see…The Golden Compass, I think. What did we have previews for today? Oh, my god, Across the Universe. Seriously, if I have to see that preview one more time, I swear I may have to scratch out my own eyes. There was Beowulf which looks, well, not much like the real Beowulf, but we’ll see. Crazy Zemeckis and his motion capture obsession… Oh! Also Dark is Rising or as it’s apparently being called now The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. I really wish I cared about this book because apparently the movie is butchering it and that’s the sort of bandwagon it’s fun to hop on to, but I just can’t summon the outrage for it. Really I just want to discuss the use of pagan imagery to heavyhandedly reinforce Christian religion (aka I Know I’m Being Manipulated But I’m Not Sure In Which Direction). But that’s not really the kind of thing you can get into at a Borders Young Readers Book Club meeting, so…

Anyways. Go see Stardust. Or, more accurately, watch ‘The Builders’ episode of Fawlty Towers and then go see Stardust

Calming down now…

Okay. What I was trying to say before is that the guy who plays the guard who, well, guards the wall in Wall is played by David Kelly who also played Mr. O’Reilly on ‘The Builders’ episode of Fawlty Towers. Mr. O’Reilly is a handyman that Basil has hired in the past to build him a WALL which he has never done beyond leaving a pile of bricks in the general vicinity of where Basil wants the wall built.

So. The man who guards the wall in Stardust is the same man who never built a wall on Fawlty Towers! The movie could have been terrible (which it wasn’t!) and still it would have been completely awesome.

The trials and tribulations of being a punk-ass kid: Or, Oh, no! I swallowed part of my tongue ring!

So the title of this post pretty much sums it up. I was happily eating my Cheerios this morning when I suddenly thought ‘Hmm, what’s that scratching the roof of my mouth? Is there something grainy in my cereal? (pun not intended)’

I soon realised that I had swallowed the top ball of my tongue ring. Disaster!

Or not really. It took like five minute to run down to the local tattoo parlor and get a new one. And I even took advantage of getting a new one to get a shorter one. It’s soaking in Listerine as we speak, so soon I will have a shiny, new tongue ring.

But. Going down to my local tattoo parlor always makes me nervous because I want them to like me, but I feel like I’m not cool enough. I mean, they’re always very nice, but I do worry that they’re like ‘Wow, she has a tongue ring? Poseur!’ I’m sure they’re not, but still. I worry.

Also, now I really want another tattoo, but I can’t quite decide what. Well, I sort of have, but I haven’t decided exactly what – I think I want to get a cute ’50s pinup girl to represent my inner bad girl. Something like this:

I can see your horrified faces from here, but I think she’s cute (I know, not really a ‘bad girl,’ but still…). Plus! She’s reading a book! And it would definitely be somewhere where you couldn’t see it all the time. But like I said – I haven’t decided anything yet. I may change my mind completely! I just know I want another one…and a proper one this time. I mean, I like my word, but I’d like to have something a little more colorful.

Any of you out there have tattoos I don’t know about? (Debby, I know you have the one on your wrist, but I can’t remember if you had any others…)

I LOVE ENTOURAGE!

Having just finished all the seasons of Entourage that are out on DVD, I must say that I absolutely adore it! At first I thought it was like Sex and the City but without all the fabulous clothes and shoes and apartments and lives to be jealous of. But I think it’s so much better!

The guys are really cute and very likable, but, more importantly, you can’t be jealous because they’re living in Hollywood and, of course, they have more money (well, one of them does) than you (or I) do, but it’s okay…because they live in Hollywood. It’s much more unattainable then the girls’ lives on Sex and the City and therefore, nothing to be jealous about!

You should definitely check it out – Netflix it or get it from the library or something because it’s great! Like a little confection of television.

Awesome!

Pseudo-book review…

I’ve noticed that a lot of people are finding my blog by searching for Hero by Perry Moore. And I feel like I have to say that I’ve put it aside for the moment.

Not because it was bad (I don’t think – I really only made it through the first few chapters or so), but because, once again, it turned out to not be what I was expecting. I was hoping it would be Boy Meets Boy (sweetest book ever!) meets Smallville or something, but instead, it looks like it’s leaning more toward Rainbow Boys (which I must clarify by saying that I’ve never actually read Rainbow Boys mostly because its cover really puts me off – too After School Special-ly, which is what I’m basing this on entirely) meets…I don’t know…some really disappointing super hero league.

Which sounds really negative and I don’t want to say anything bad because I haven’t actually finished it and it may be that other things led me to set it aside for the moment, but…well, it didn’t make me not set it aside.

If that makes any sense. So that’s my initial reaction.