Thursday, October 22, 2009

Things I want that I can't afford.

This list is getting longer and longer by the day.  At the top of it right now is office furniture and a new desktop for my home office.  Second is the Nook, the new e-reader from Barnes and Noble.  Third is new music for my iPod, followed closely in fourth by a new iPod.  I've decided that I'd like to buy pretty much all of Breaking Benjamin's albums, but I need to save money so I'm resisting for now.  I hate that I never seem to have enough money, but I suppose that's my own fault.  I actually have plenty of money; I just need to save most of my extra money for various travel expenditures.

I haven't finished any books today, and I don't plan to since I have a large chunk of free time to catch up on my teacher work, my student work, and my editor work.  Once again, I'm sitting in the Cream City Review office with submissions I plan to read.  I got through two stacks last week, and I took a third home.  I still have that third in my bag, so I'm going to go through that one and finish up my electronic stack today.  Then, I'm going to read and comment on all my students' essays.  It's a noble goal, and one I hope I can actually achieve.

It turns out my health benefits through the university are better than what Johnson Controls offers, so we're considering signing me up and switching to my insurance.  That would be cool because then I'd have health insurance now rather than waiting until May.

It's raining outside, and every time I look out the window, I hope that someone's umbrella closes on their head like some kind of brain-sucking alien.  I would be horribly amused, and I kind of want to use the image in my book so it would be helpful if I could see what it would actually look like.  I don't think this makes me a bad person, just a truthful one.

I've recently discovered two websites that make me smile everyday: It Made My Day and My Life Is Average.  Check them out, they'll make you smile too.


thank you, it was cold down there on the floor

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Books, books, and more...fishy stirfry.

First off, reviews of the books.  As always spoilers may be included so read with caution. 

Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland is the first book in her Phoenix Chronicles series and features the end of the world.  No, seriously.  The premise is that the apocalypse foretold in the Bible is real and started at the beginning of the book when the leader of the Federation (a collection of demon killers and seers who direct them) was killed and passed her powers on to Elizabeth Phoenix.  Now this chick has issues upon issues with trust, guilt, love, you name it, she has issues with it.  Luckily, she's also kind of a bad-ass.  She's the prophesied leader of the Good Guys, which is what I will call them from now on because I think the Federation is a horrible name.  Interestingly enough, the characters also seem to think it's pretty bad because they keep apologizing for it.  This amused me.  She's also the only seer who is also a demon-killer.  There are a lot of twists and turns to be introduced in this book since this world is fairly complicated, but Handeland does a pretty good job of keeping everything on track.  I need to warn you, though, this is not your average romance.  It's not even labeled as romance.  It's definitely urban fantasy and there is a lot of sex in here.  Not even mushy romantic sex, hardcore, passed out, near death experience, let him take you to save the world sex.  And she doesn't even get the guy in the end, though there are two more books out so far in the series, so I still have hope.  When I finished it, I really wanted to go buy the second one and see what happens next.  Kudos there.  Unfortunately, it took me a good 50 pages to get interested in the story in the first place.  There was too much defense and whining in the first part of the book where she doesn't want the powers given to her.  Once she starts being regularly attacked and goes on the offensive though, that's pretty good.  I did really enjoy her kicking the crap out of her evil lover at the end after she absorbed his powers.  What can I say, I appreciate a good bad-ass.  I'd say if you're looking for something edgy and you're not turned away by large quantities of sex, pick up the book, you'll like it.

In Twilight's Shadow by Patti O'Shea is the second book in her Lightwarriors series.  It features Maia Frasier, sister of Ryne Frasier from the first book, and Creed Blackwood, Gineal roving troubleshooter.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, read the first book then come back and read this.  I have to say, O'Shea always has interesting names for her characters.  I also have to say that though it took me a bit to get into the book, I really enjoyed the last 2/3 of it.  I didn't really have warm fuzzy feelings for Maia from the first book, just the usual "oh, she's on the side of good."  She gave up her powers before the series began, so she's pretty much not a bad-ass, unlike Ryne who is the most single most powerful Gineal in history and doesn't know it.  Creed comes off as a jackass from the beginning and Maia doesn't do much besides whine and mope about how she's cut off from her people because she gave up her powers.  Once Seth, the bad guy, is introduced, I start to like Creed more because he starts acting more like a hero in a romance novel, as he should.  Maia picks up some secrets of her own and learns that she's not as powerless as she believed.  The majority of the story follows Creed's seeming descent into the dark forces and the development of a "true soul pairing" between him and Maia.  That last part was the best part because it wasn't all rushed or blamed on fate.  I actually got to see their relationship develop, and it was good.  During the course of the novel, we're introduced to Shona Blackwood, Creed's sister who doesn't know he exists. She's the heroine of the next book, and I'm assuming she's a dormant because she was born to two Gineal parents but hasn't shown any magical tendencies.  Either way, Maia saves the day while Creed is getting his ass handed to him by the god-demon Seth, also known as Set, you know, the one from ancient Egypt that killed Osiris.  And boy was that an interesting twist.  Best part of the novel: when Seth sends Maia a t-shirt that says "Come to the dark side.  We have cookies."  Brilliant.  Buy the book, it's worth the money. 

I'm currently reading the next book in the Lightwarriors series called Edge of Dawn, but I don't expect to finish it today due to volleyball and having to work. 

I literally spent two hours today on Facebook sending people Flair.  See, that's why I don't have any other apps.  I was sorely tempted to pick up a zoo app because the little dinosaur was so cute.  I resisted and managed to tear myself away from the computer long enough to teach my two classes.  Now I have an essay and a response for every one of my 44 students that need to be commented on.  On the plus side, linking my blog to Facebook has seemed to get everyone's attention, so I'm gonna send a shout out to Kelly who is getting married next week.  I'm flying down to Dallas on Tuesday, and I can't wait to see my wimminz. 

I may have made the weirdest Asian meal in existence last night.  I dumped a whole bunch of veggies in my wok with some oil, pretty much whatever I had in my fridge: carrots, zucchini, squash, canned potatoes, baby corn, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower.  What can I say, I love veggies.  I cooked those together, then added some small slices of tilapia.  Cooked it some more.  When the fish looked about done, I added some General Tso's sauce and let it cook together for like three minutes.  Eli made basmati rice, so we put some rice in a bowl and  heaped the weird stirfry on top.  It was delicious.  The tilapia ended up flaking into even smaller pieces.  It smells a little weird, but it tastes really good.  Tonight I'm thinking I'll try making some yellow curry stuff with potatoes, peas, and pineapple.  I appreciate when my food alliterates.


i can still remember, the words and what they meant
as we etched them with our fingers, in years of wet cement

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Better now.

Thanks for all the concern over the battle for my stomach.  I emerged the victor and pummeled my body into submission.  I had an easy day today, and I'm feeling much much better.  I did finish two books which I will review tomorrow probably.  I also started a third that I don't think I'll be finishing tonight since Amy distracted me for like three hours with an awesome website and YouTube videos. 

My last weekend at the Wisconsin Fear Grounds is coming up, and after that I'll be doing the tutoring for PMG through the end of the semester.  Hopefully, next semester will be less hectic.  I have a bunch of submissions I want to send off, but I think I'll be waiting until after Kelly's wedding.  I want to focus on that until it's over.  I also want to finish my new office so that I can have my own space for working.  Ah...dreams. 


guess you better go and get your armor

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ugh.

I think I ate something bad because I definitely feel like I have a bit of food poisoning.  Still planning to go to work today, but I'm not sure how long I'll be able to stay without yarking. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mmmm...tangerines.

I cleaned the bathroom earlier, and I mean I really cleaned it, OCD style.  While I was scrubbing the toilet with my tangerine-scented eco-friendly cleaning product, I had the strangest urge to do something crazy like lick the sparkling clean toilet bowl.  I did not follow through with this urge, I just want to make that clear.  But the urge was there.  I think I'll be more careful with the tangerine-scented, eco-friendly cleaning product in the future.  Maybe open a window or something.
 
I finished Bloodline, finally.  As always, if you don't want to know what happens in the book, skip ahead to the next section.  It felt like the first book in a new section of the Wings of the Night series.  There was a lot more Order of Athena than there were vamps in the book.  Rhiannon makes an appearance, but it's a short one.  I'm hoping Maggie Shayne will bring back some of the many, many vamps she's introduced so we can see how they're faring, especially Amber Lily and Edge.  There's a special place in my heart for Amber Lily because of Born in Twilight.  About Bloodline, Shayne introduces us to the DPI's latest nefarious plot: to kidnap and raise Chosen kids and brainwash them into elite vampire assassins.  The DPI is using Gregor's spidey-sense blanket thing to keep the vamps from being able to sense the Chosen, so there's a tiny connection there.  In Reaper's trilogy, there was a lot of CIA stuff going on, and it looks like that's the direction Shayne is going to go with her bad guys.  We got to meet Lilith and Ethan, as well as Ethan's brother James, and we got to know more of the Order of Athena ladies.  I'm hoping the Order eventually teams up with Rhiannon and her gang because the combination of mortal and immortal power would be a sight to behold.  I also want to see Reaper and his gang brought into the fold more fully.  If Lilith and Ethan are going against the CIA, it just makes sense that Reaper would make an appearance at some point.  The writing is excellent as always, though I had trouble believing that Serena wouldn't just tell Lilith that the "Wildborn" aren't blood-crazed animals.  She had plenty of opportunity, and she wouldn't have had to break her vows to the Order to call Rhiannon; Lilith could have called her mentally.  Obviously, if Rhiannon came charging to the rescue, we wouldn't have had that tense moment at the compound in the end that convinces Lilith that Ethan does indeed love her, but that one detail made the path there a little wonky for me.  I needed a reason for Serena to keep her silence when all her actions up to that point have been to protect Lilith.  There's no news on Shayne's site about any more upcoming books other than that she has two more plotted out and they'll be "explosive."  We'll see.

In other news, I'm in the process of converting my sewing room/library into a home office, so the house is a mess.  I plan to rectify that today.  I also plan to go to the gym, so I'd better stop procrastinating and head over there.  After that...toast.

it's peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ah...the life of an indian princess.

What's the deal with all the little moccasins I'm seeing girls wearing on campus.  It's raining outside, big puddles everywhere, and these girls are slogging through with soggy shoes making that mushy sound.  They're not cute, and they can't possibly be warm when they're soaking wet.  Why, I ask you, why?

Snow boots.  That's where it's at.

Still haven't finished Bloodline.  That's scheduled for today though.  Conferences are done.  The first three annotations for my project are done, though I keep forgetting to email it to my advisor.  Kelly's super secret wedding present is not done, but oh it will be.  I'm currently sitting in the Cream City Review office surrounded by submissions that I need to be reading, which I'll be doing as soon as I'm done procrastinating.  The goal: get through three stacks before class at 4:30.  I'll let you know the results later.

Eli bought us a new dishwasher.  The kind that installs under the counter rather than the roll-y kind that screws up my nice new faucets when we have to connect it to the sink.  I'm super excited because it gets installed today.  This is just another sign that he loves me.  He apparently also told Natty that I'm "easy to love," which of course made me almost start blubbering at the parent-teacher conference we were crashing.  (We had to go hand out flyers for the tutoring gig to unsuspecting parents.)

Turns out I didn't actually get any creative writing done yesterday, though I did get academic writing done.  Not the same, but getting the academic writing out of the way makes room for more creative writing later.

Did I mention I'm getting published in The Literary Circular?  I'm just sayin'.


parents, please do not leave your children unattended.  unattended children will be eaten.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Toast. Toast. Toast.

Sometimes I'm amazed at the level of happiness I get from food.  I've also forgotten of late how much I like toast. 

Today, I have student conferences for most of the day, the first chunk of my annotated bibliography is due (even though I don't have time to meet with George), the volleyball game is at 9:30, and I've decided I need a brown trench to go with my white and black ones. 

What am I actually going to do?  Well, most of the stuff above, with some alone time to try to finish Maggie Shayne's Bloodline.  I'll post a review when I'm done. I'm also going to work on my super secret surprise for Kelly's wedding and, fingers crossed, do a little writing.  And when I say a little, I mean like a page.  Very little, but at least I'm writing. 


don't resent me, when you're feeling empty
keep my in your memory, leave out all the rest

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So...Yeah.

Obviously, I fail hard. Eight months of no contact or updates. I'm sure I've lost what little readers I had, but now I'm back. Hopefully for good. On to updates, in a convenient bulleted list and in no particular order.
  • Eli and I are getting married May 22, 2010 in Riviera Maya, Mexico (Kelly won October).
  • I finally got offered a teaching assistantship at UWM, so now I'm teaching two sections of English 101 in addition to my many classes.
  • There has been very little work of the writing nature to note, mostly just editing. Though I did finish a new short short story, which brings us to the next point.
  • It got published! My special little short short titled "Bachelorette Party" will be appearing soon in The Literary Circular at coffee shops in and around the UWM area. No, I did not get paid for it.
  • I'm officially an Assistant Fiction Editor for the Cream City Review.
  • I'm officially an Accredited Home Stager, so I can officially make beautiful spaces.
  • Amy is teaching me to crochet long distance.
  • I'm the Costume Director for the Wisconsin Fear Grounds through the end of October where I am fondly known as the Costume Nazi or Keeper of the Safety Pins, depending on what the actors need. Despite the large amounts of work and lack of sleep this month, I'm hoping they'll have me back next year.
  • I've managed to keep up my workout regimen so that now I do ten miles a day at the gym, every day. I'm in better shape than I have been in my entire life I think.
  • I just participated in the Panther Prowl for the second consecutive year. I actually ran the full 3.1 miles this time with no stopping.
  • We finally got a new back door put in with insulation and everything, so this year there won't be any snow blowing into the mud room and hopefully the downstairs will stay a bit warmer.
That's all I can think of for now, but I'm sure I missed a bunch of stuff from the last eight months.

I recently finished Jennifer Armintrout's first book in her Lightworld/Darkworld series, Queene of Light. The cover looked amazing and her dedication convinced me to buy it. Anyone that snarky in the first page is someone I want to be familiar with. I was pleased with the book, though I came to it with the expectation of a paranormal romance. It was really more urban fantasy, which I also like. She did a good job of setting up the world and preparing us for the coming changes. There are a lot of possibilities where she could go with the story, and I'm excited to see what she did with it. An interesting feature is that it appears the second and third books will focus on the main character's daughter in a very Maggie Shayne/Wings in the Night kind of way. There were only two parts of the book that kept me from proclaiming it from the rooftops. One, the only truly interesting secondary character is killed in a sort of anticlimactic way. This guy had depth and I was looking forward to seeing him more in the series before his unfortunate demise. We didn't even get to see the death, so I'm still kind of hoping he's not as dead as they think he is. Two, I had trouble buying the instant, insane attraction between the hero and heroine. I can accept that it was fate or whatever for them to be together, but I felt that they accepted it too easily. Even with those two points, I still recommended the book to Amy who then did the happy dance when she found it at Walmart. I'm intrigued enough to consider buying her Blood Ties series now too. Perhaps the best part of all of this, her blog is hilariously funny. She seems to have the exact same sense of humor as me. I've added her to my list, so check her out. Jennifer Armintrout. Go.


this is the right turn, wrong universe