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Older rants
Nov 30, 2018   Fire of Our Fathers, a Science Fiction Book Club rant
Nov 24, 2018   The Dinosaur Lords, Dragon Teeth
Nov 20, 2018   My cubicle revisited, really-old ComicCon stuff, Emeli's Art, More Disney Adventures, The Zoo and Safari Park
September 9, 2018   Perimeter - an eBook thriller
September 3, 2018   Take Back the Sky Starcraft Evolution
August 11, 2018   Idaho Dunes Awesome soda Ethanol-free gas an awesome Bald Guy card Our rough dig Harry Potter Interlude story
July 21, 2018   The Cup in the Shadows (The Forbidden Powers Book 1)
June 24, 2018   Jake, Lucid Dreamer
June 13, 2018   Troll-stalking
May 23, 2018   Another badbartopia email spoofer, A sunny-day Disney adventure, Raymond E Feist book signing
May 15, 2018   A rainy-day Disneyland trip The Bassoon King
Apr 28, 2018   Down and Out in Purgatory
Apr 13, 2018   Operation Hail Storm
Mar 4, 2018   American Exodus
Jan 22, 2018   Christmas, Didn't Get Frazzled, The Sea People, The Rooster Bar, Last Burial Night, Doctor Who and the Krikkit Men
Dec 15, 2017   Mistrial, City of Death and Disneyland
Nov 14, 2017   Grace Vanderwaal - Just the Beginning
Nov 11, 2017   Tim Powers Signing at Mysterious Galaxy for Down and Out in Purgatory
November 4, 2017   Return to Disneyland, Halloween at the office, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Long Cosmos Maximus One year After War Dogs, Killing Titan Daddy, Stop Talking
October 29, 2017   Bruce Campbell Signing, Hail to the Chin, Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor
October 20, 2017   Meg & Dia, Imagine Dragons in concert, 2 Years 8 months and 28 Nights
October 17, 2017   All Apologies
October 16, 2017   Thrawn
Septempber 7, 2017   The Rage of Dragons, The Lincoln Myth
August 10, 2017   The Molly Ringwalds, Dia Frampton Musical awesomeness, Beauty and the Feast
July 28, 2017   The IT Sweatshop revisited, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, American Gods and The Magicians, Rogue One, Camino Island
July 24, 2017   CRV glovebox difficulties, San Diego Comic Con rant
July 11, 2017   Beauty and the Beast at the Lyceum, Earthweeds, Sons of Neptune Book 1, Aftermath, Empire's End, If Chin's Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor
June 30, 2017   Eastwood: No Direction Home book 2
June 23, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 4/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes, my new record, record player, and Emeli's site is live!
Jun 14, 2017   A noteworthy eBook mention before I return to my vacation ranting - No Direction Home
June 9, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 3/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes...almost. More pictures of spooky old houses, trees, rocks, and other things that nobody cares about! Plus, Goonies stuff
June 2, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 2/4) - The PCH family vacation tale continues... And more pictures of trees and other things that nobody cares about!
May 31, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 1/4) - Way more detail than anyone wants about our vacation up the coast of California and Oregon. And lots of pictures of trees!
Apr 26, 2017   Resurrection America, Pizza Studio art, AmandaLynn, Emeli art, and Disney art, and Gifted
Apr 14, 2017   My San Fransisco OSI PI adventure & "Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be"
Apr 12, 2017   Neil Gaiman speaks, Norse Mythology, American Gods comic adaptation, The Magicians TV series, and Dirk Gently on TV
Feb 2, 2017   A trip to the ever-less-magical land of Disney, The Prince of Outcasts, the Whistler, and a brief mention of The Magicians.
Jan 21, 2017   An update to my nerd wall at work, Found out about Richard Thompson (Cul De Sac) being gone, A list of all the stuff (or most, anyway) I've given up to new homes, A review of Dave! and Warp, and a couple of new doodles.
Dec 23, 2016   My final visit to Potterland and a couple of doodles
Dec 11, 2016   Books and related comics, and free/cheap stuff. Not taco Bell Material, President Me, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, The Hedge Knight (comic), The Sworn Sword (comic) Ooma, Ringplus, Amazon prime and other money-saving stuff.
Dec 4, 2016   I'm sharing my sad doodles with the world again. They're not very good, but I'll bet they're better than your scribbles!
Nov 12, 2016   Yet another trip to The Wonderful World of Harry Potter!
Nov 7, 2016   Blathering on about a few of the books I've read recently - Spire, The Check, and Dangercide, Pirate Detective
Oct 7, 2016   Yet another Visit to Harry Potterland. Oh, and my lease-mileage calculator.
July 25, 2016   Another Visit to Harry Potterland, a new car, a new shirt, a new dog, and a whole lot of the same old complaining
May 17, 2016   Email spoofers, Phishing emails, and scammers galore!
Apr 30, 2016   Winter's Edge and a Management zombie attack
Apr 23, 2016   Harry Potter land re-visited
Apr 9, 2016   Xenia...again
Apr 2, 2016   Sing Street, Batman vs Superman, Craigslist griping
Mar 1, 2016   The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood preview, fun at work, Xenia's new song, A Vanishing Glow, Our Fair Eden, Race Wars, The Force Awakens
Jan 27, 2016   Text Wars, Books I've read... Yup, that's pretty much it
Jul 30, 2015   Xenia Martinez news Still selling stuff on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half (the book), The Path Between the Seas, Trigger Warning, In Fifty years We'll all Be Chicks
Mar 17, 2015   Selling my treasures on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half, the Long Mars, Gray Mountain, Anathem, The Golden Princess, The Given Sacrifice
Mar 12, 2015   You'll be sorely missed, Sir Terry
Jan 21, 2015   More BBC 4 radio dramatizations by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: The Amazing Maurice, Guards! Guards!, Neverwhere, Night Watch, Small Gods, Wyrd Sisters
Jan 10, 2015   JabberWocky, Neil Gaiman style!
Dec 24, 2014   The Good Omens BBC treatment
Aug 03, 2014   Every hobby has to end eventually, right?
Oct 8, 2013   Warning: Extreme Geekness ahead!
Oct 1, 2013   The Bloody Crown of iGoogle
Aug 26, 2013   Headphones at work
Aug 22, 2013   The guvmint is gonna getcha
June 25, 2013   Dweebs vs Big Bang vs IT Crowd
Jul 3, 2012   Xenia Martinez & Dia Frampton concert
Feb 24, 2012   Reading...just not much
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Being an idiot with Lev Grossman
Jan 7, 2012   If it ain't broke...
Aug 22, 2011   non-ComicCon report 2011
A Thousand Splendid Suns
An Act of Self Defense
May 5, 2011   On Stranger Tides
vs.
On Stranger Tides
March 2, 2011   I'm a gigantic slacker...
Ikariam
Wild Guns
Lord of Ultima
Metin 2
Lord of the Rings Online
Dec 15, 2010   Bring out your dead!
Aug 17, 2010   San DiegoComicCon 2010
August 11, 2010   I'm not dead yet...
May 3, 2010   Hero Comics
Liberty Comics
Dr Horrible
Neil Gaiman & Sam Keith in Batman
The Guild, Felicia Day
April 27, 2010   Mean Gene Wilder! Grrr!!!
April 24, 2010   If it's not one Jihad, it's another...
April 20, 2010   The Satanic Verses
March 15, 2010   Unseen Academicals
Feblueberry 8, 2010   The un-reading shelf (from most of 2009)
Feblueberry 2, 2010   Emily the Strange, the Lost Days...a novel
Nov 25, 2009   Happy Halloween, Mom!
Nov 18, 2009   Summer Vacation in Idaho
Aug 20, 2009   San Diego ComicCon 2009
Aug 12, 2009   I'm a big, fat slacker
June 05, 2009   The networks are helping me cut back on my TV viewing
June 04, 2009   Mandy Moore's Amanda Leigh,
Chris Isaak's Mr Lucky
and
My name is Bruce?
and Emmy Rossum? Where am I going with this?
May 21, 2009   Randy would have really liked Fanboys...sigh
May 3, 2009   The Spring reading shelf
Apr 21, 2009   Holidays On Ice (a little late for Christmas)
Apr 18, 2009   Leviticus Cross and other Hector Sevilla comic book stuff
Apr 16, 2009   The fantastically amazing and banal Badbartopia RSS Feed
Mar 31, 2009   Neil Gaiman's Blueberry Girl
Mar 30, 2009   My Amazon mis-order turns out to be not so annoying as previously expected...
(AKA the Dr Horrible soundtrack)
Mar 23, 2009   Stephan Pastis & Richard Thompson have me looking forward to the 2009 SD ComicCon
Mar 19, 2009   Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,
The Guild
Mar 08, 2009   The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comic adaptation,
Neil Gaiman's Sandman: The Dream Hunters
Mar 04, 2009   Little Brother
Mar 1, 2009   Pete & Pickles
Feb 11, 2009   She & Him
Flakes
Pushing Daisies
Jan 26, 2009   The Scourge of God,
When You are Engulfed in Flames
Jan 14, 2009   On the Road = hippy nonsense
Jan 12, 2009   One-by-one, my fish have met their maker
Dec 26, 2008   My Azeroth-avoidance continues
Dec 23, 2008   Nothing to see...move along
Dec 15, 2008   New scribbles
Dec 10, 2008   The Oct-Nov-Dec reading shelf
Dec 1, 2008   Shalimar the Clown
the economic impact of the events in Mumbai
Nov 21, 2008   Star Wars: Allegiance
Nov 20, 2008   Daredevil Black Widow: Abattoir
Nov 17, 2008   Travel Team
Nov 16, 2008   A new comic adaptation of The Wizard of Oz
Nov 14, 2008   Berke's Books:
The Last Basselope
Edward Fudwupper Fibbed Big
Mars Needs Moms
Opus: 25 years
Nov 13, 2008   Return to Azeroth?
Nov 12, 2008   Goodbye, Opus
Oct 29, 2008   Halloween costumes of 2008
Project Superpowers
Marvels
Ruins
Oct 23, 2008   The Graveyard Book
Interworld
Oct 16, 2008   Nation
Oct 10, 2008   The Joy of Programming
My foray into Ajax
Oct 9, 2008   My Saturn Scare
Opus ends
Terry Pratchett's condition
Oct 3, 2008   The Hitchhiker's Guide, Book 6...by Eoin Colfer?
Oct 2, 2008   Media master - music online
Sony builds a "better" camera
Sept 24, 2008   The September reading shelf
Sept 17, 2008   Still missing Randall
The Fish tank...again
The Graveyard Book
Sept 15, 2008   Slacking...as usual
The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang
Sept 9, 2008   The dearth of Opus strips
yes, I meant to say "dearth"
Sept 8, 2008   A new monitor goes bad...but it all ends happily
Sept 3, 2008   A Boy and His Dog,
Richard Corben,
H.P. Lovecraft's Haunt of Horror
Sept 2, 2008   A slightly newish look
(aka "why I will never be a graphic designer")
Aug 11, 2008   Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in all its incarnations Mike Kunkel's re-imagining of Shazam
July 29, 2008   San Diego Comiccon 2008
July 24, 2008   Neil Gaiman
July 17, 2008   Chris Isaak!
June 30, 2008   The Woman Who Wouldn't
Legends II
Mouse Guard Fall 1152
the Jetta's latest round of repairs
fishtank overpopulation
June 10, 2008   The Reading Shelf
Fish tank jungle
Attack of the bees
June 3, 2008   Missing Randall
May 9, 2008   My French Whore
Apr 28, 2008   Fish tank fatality
Flight of the Conchords
The Dangerous Alphabet
Mar 5, 2008   Gene Wilder book signing at Borders
new fish tank
subpoenaed!
Jan 11, 2008   The Jetta Strikes back!
The Plucker
The Anubis Gates
National Treasure II
Nov 8, 2007   San Diego on Fire,
A clean break from WoW,
UCSD Extension Java I graduation (kinda)
Making Money
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Oct 2, 2007   Back to school, Java class at UCSD
AT&T's Uverse
new sketches
Blockbuster movie pass
August 28, 2007   Mandy Moore concert!
Aug 19, 2007   ComicCon 2007 - Neil Gaiman, Iron Man and all the usual suspects
May 22, 2007   World of Spamcraft (and other spamalicious topics), forum fun...gus, the woes of being a contractor and PIRATES!!
Apr 5, 2007   I'm a conservative - bite me!
Timbaland? Dumb!
Marie Antoinette - snaggle teeth and teasing glimpes. Sweet!
John Q - a lesson about fatherhood or a liberal-propoganda film?
Mar 30, 2007   Things that make me grumpy-er,
employed again at last,
Finn and assorted other ramblings
Feb 8, 2007   The search for employment continues..and the unemployment benefits are NOT pouring in!
Jan, 22, 2007   Freed from the bondage of employment, a very brief review of a few books and films
Dec 17, 2006   Sad excuses, The Innocent Man, 1776, THe Man in High Castle, Absolute Sandman, Wintersmith, garage sale treasures: Ghost in the Machine
Aug 20, 2006   Writers of the Future XXII/Tim Powers, more movie reivews
July 20, 2006   San Diego ComicCon 2006
July 15, 2006   Superman Returns, inconsiderate morons, Peewee's Playhouse returns, my plea for more pirate movies
July 8, 2006   Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Wild Animal Park critters, site remodeling
Jun 27, 2006   The good, the bad and the mediocre (a bunch of movie reviews in the new forum).
June 15, 2006   Because of Romek - A Holocaust Survivor's Memoir
May 21, 2006   The DaVinci Code, Aeon Flux, Everything You Want
May 12, 2006   World of Warcrack, the Office, Coraline, my apologies...
Jan 24, 2006   Christmas Vacation 2006, Syriana, Traveling Pants, Wish You Were Here
Dec 19, 2005   Festive Neighbors, the death of Olivia, Media Misinformation surrounding Brent Wilkes/ADCS, Make Love the bruce campbell way
Nov 15, 2005   Microsoft Technet 2005 launch party, Lexmark printer problem, a bad, bad day, changing dentists.
Oct 22, 2005   Thud!, Anansi Boys, Where's my cow
Oct 18, 2005   Terry Pratchet Thud! signing, Neil Gaiman Anansi Boys signing
Oct 15, 2005   A very, very late Comiccon 2005 report.
Jun 23, 2005   The black hole of Warcraft, The Years of Rice and Salt, After the Sunset, Madagascar, Mr and Mrs Smith, Taxi.
Jun 3, 2005   All is quiet on the PM Front, War of the Worlds (the novel), Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Star Wars Episode III, Flight of the Phoenix
May 9, 2005   The program managers strike again, More of my horrendous sketches, Spanglish, A Lot Like Love, Elektra, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the film)
Apr 9, 2005   Stuck in Corporate Hell, a few of my recent sketches, Miss Congeniality 2, Collateral
Mar 21, 2005   Revenge of the Jetta (car problems), a Newegg purchase, a few new drawings, more Opus
Feb 13, 2005   The Mail mystery solved, more of my crappy sketches, A few new photos of the girls, bill-bert (introducing the new Project Manager), sweet phone skills, Opus, Dungeons and Dragons, In Good Company
Jan 27, 2005   Mystery mail, new photos of my beautiful kids, some new sketches, an Episode 3 spoiler, Opus, Going Postal, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ubik, Remember the Titans, Lemony Snicket`s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Dodgeball
Jan 7, 2005   Christmas 2004, Update to the site, Elf & King Arthur revisited, National Treasure, Opus, Blade Runner
Dec 18, 2004   A new Stephanie sketch, another Target web page goof, the SD Union Tribune confirms Greg Bear`s research for Vitals, Miramar VW proves my dealer service assertions wrong, neighborhood Christmas fun, Opus
Nov 24, 2004   More of my mediocre drawings, nw russian mail-order coins, Star Wars toys, a big green spider comes to visit, Opus, Dies the Fire, Digital fortress, The Incredibles, Twisted, Van Helsing
Nov 03, 2004   Some thoughts regarding the 2004 election, rants about the environment, a memory rebate update, new computer issues, Opus, The Lone Drow, Deception Point, Roswell season 2 on DVD
Oct 12, 2004   An interesting quiz, mal-in rebates, a parrot joke, my new computer, thoughts on frame removal, web logs, Opus, Vitals, Star Wars trilogy on DVD, Ladykillers
Sep 23, 2004   My "Heath" sketch for Mark Oakley, an update on my a PNY rebate check, the fictitious AWNA Act, Browser Issues with the site, Opus/Pickles, The DaVinci Code, Garden State (Natalie Portman), Man on Fire
Sep 11, 2004   A new drawing: "Stephanie", redneck wisdom, my salary to hourly reclassification, funny video: news from iraq, an update on my mail-in pny rebate, a new rebate through Costco, Ella Enchanted, Highlander Endgame, Princess of Thieves, The Whole Ten Yards
Aug 27, 2004   Fun with my VW Warranty, Opus, Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix, The Land of SokMunster, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Wedding, Napoleon Dynamite, Hidalgo, Chasing Liberty, Out of Time
Jul 23, 2004   San Diego ComicCon 2004, the family summer vacation, Bruce Campbell, Opus, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, Angels & Demons, Folk of the fringe, Bourne Supremacy, i robot, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Cody Banks 2, Hellboy
Jul 19, 2004   *** PNY Rebate fun, IE Patch, Linux and socialism, liberal scum, Opus, BIM, timeline, master and commander, tad hamilton, stuck on you,cold mountain, 50 first dates, the terminal, spiderman 2, king arthur, a hat full of sky, the thousand orcs, meditations on middle earth
Jun 20, 2004   Memorial day pictures, Duplex, Mark Oakley/Heroes, Wild Animal Park Dinosaurs, B-52s concertman, Say After Tomorrow, Big Fish, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Eragon, A Hat Full of Sky, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
May 08, 2004   Pat Tillman, LOTR Toys, 13 Going on 30, Mean Girls, Tolkien Miscellany, Last Juror, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Pork Tornado
Apr 06, 2004   Roswell season 1 DVD and a some other mindless drivel
Feb 19, 2004   Highlander site contest results, new downloads, princess gallery updates, lord of the rings toys, harry potter, underworld. lost in translation, the hunted, a tolkien miscellany...
Feb 09, 2004   Murder at 1600, Radio, Cheaper by the Dozen, King Arthur, Spiderman 2, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Tolkien Miscellany, Mark Oakley, massive snow in Idaho...
Jan 28, 2004   Swat, Uptown Girls, Somethings Gotta Give, Along Came Polly, Seabiscuit, Ashley Judd Marathon, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Science Fiction Bok Club, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, RA Salvatore, Mythology (Alex Ross), Fastner & Larson, Best page in the universe, etc, etc...
Jan 07, 2004   Clint`s rules, X-Men 2, Holes, Pirates, Two Towers, Freaky Friday (Haley Hudson), new drawings, Thieves` World, Playskool Star Wars, new Interest section
Jan 02, 2004   nothing all that interesting...
Dec 21, 2003   Nemo, Highlander page, Christmas vacation 2003, star wars kid
Dec 12, 2003   E.T. (Erika Eleniak), new drawings, Opus, Santa Claus 2 (Elizabeth Mitchell), Legolas toy/pics, How to Deal (Mandy Moore), Myth update, Last Samurai
Nov 27, 2003   Another Fine Myth, Elf
Nov 22, 2003   Dude, Where`s Bill & Ted
Nov 18, 2003   Not much to say
Nov 15, 2003   Disneyland, Astronaut`s Wife, Dumer and Dumber-er, Monstrous Regiment
Nov 10, 2003   Terry Pratchett, Matrix Revolutions
110103   School of Rock, Terry Pratchett signing, Darth Vader MBNA bust, San Diego fires
Aug 17, 2003   Johnny English, San Diego Comic-Con
Jun 17, 2003   Assorted ramblings
May 28, 2003   Not much to say
May 24, 2003   Almost nothing of note
May 17, 2003   Matrix Reloaded, Pirates
Mar 23, 2003   The Police, Pirates, Lord of the Rings grievances part II
Mar 16, 2003   Lord of the Rings grievances part 1
Super auld stuff   A big list of old submissions with boat loads of broken links

Another eBook and a Science Fiction Book Club rant

I was once again approached by an author who is looking for eyeballs and asked to read and review her new work of fiction (in eBook format, so it took me a lot longer to get through - I read several physical books in the same time-frame). It's a dystopian political thriller set almost thirty years in the future. And here we go...

Fire of Our Fathers

Fire of Our Fathers is a interesting take on a dystopian American future set in 2046 by an author who writes a lot of this kind of stuff, L.C. Champlin. But the United States isn't the only country suffering - though it is the focus of most of the events in this story - the whole world has succumbed to corruption and economic collapse. Here's the author's own description of the story:

2046 -- Thirty years into the Great Decline, America and the world are mired deep in the swamp of corruption and despair...

Richmond Monroe has just finished the biggest antiques-hunting contract of his life - and taken out a few Somali pirates along the way. When he returns home to Panama, he learns he must risk his life and paycheck to rescue his town from destruction by the land-hungry rulers.

click here to show the full quoted excerpt

And here's a description of the current state of things in 2046 from the story's protagonist, Richmond Monroe.

The whole damn world looked this way now. The economic depression had lasted years, with banana republics and even hulking dictatorships squabbling for resources. Religious extremist groups murdered civilians, while drug cartels kept everyone too high to care.

After the US succumbed to its long-standing, long-festering corruption, the world rapidly followed. The Last Bastion of Hope had fallen. Now everyone bumbled on as best they could, as the human race always had. Two-hundred years, when you thought about it, amounted to nothing more than a flash in the pan.

"Constitutional republic," Richmond snorted. The American Dream - and America had woken up to cold reality.

Speaking of the United States being 200 (and a little more) years old, there's a hilarious quote in the Eric Idle sorta-biography I'm reading now about the bicentennial that's I'll be sharing later (along with way too many other quotes and scanned photos from that book).

The story's dark future bears a pretty strong resemblance to the stories of D.W. Ulsterman1 that I've mentioned briefly here a couple of times. As with Ulsterman's dystopian future, there's no William Forstchen-like EMP that took down the grid, no Zombie-inducing virus that wipes out humanity, no John Barnes-esque plastic eating bacteria to bring all tech to a halt, no S.M. Stirling-like change that reduces mankind to 17th century technology - there's just political upheaval leading to a collapsed economy and end of true representational government (which was ended a long time ago, to be honest).

We meet several people trapped in the declining United States (the protagonist has expatriated to Panama) throughout the story's events. One of these tells the protagonist her story that describes her experiences as an immigrant to the United States who arrived near the end of the era of possibility and watched as opportunities disappeared and a government too much like the one she'd escaped took over.

"We came to this land of opportunity and freedom. People here valued life. We worked very hard here. We learned the language, we made a business, and we gave back to the community. It was the happiest ten years of our life. Coming here was like getting a new life. I was thirty. But over time, after 2016, the Great Decline began. Then it was more and more like living in China. China also was allowed to buy more and more land and companies in America." She sighed. "I'm glad my children and grandchildren are not in China, but I wish they could know America as I knew it."

I was probably most attracted to the promise of actual historical references being interwoven throughout the story, a la Umberto Eco/Dan Brown/Michael Crichton/Brad Meltzer. And while there were a few historical references throughout the story (to George Washington and his swords, and a little from the Civil War era), they weren't really as tightly interwoven as the historical references in the aforementioned authors' books. So that was a little disappointing.

There were quite a few passages in the text that felt out of place. Here are a three (taken out of context, so they may not seem as odd to you). The last one wasn't weird because of the non-flowing prose, like the others, but it was a surprise that the protagonist would bring a Tolkien fantasy element into the story (the only time this happened).

"I'm trying to let you fellows get out with your dignity," Richmond admonished. "You ought to be thanking me."

...

He kept the front area decked out with smaller, cheaper, but expensive-appearing finds. Jackie's desk took center stage; he maintained an office behind her. In the warehouse proper, beyond the office area, Jackie oversaw a strict filing system. She must have a psychological compulsion for orderliness.

click here to show the full quoted excerpt

As with most dystopian stories, the government that evolves is thuggish and corrupt. Here's a brief description of the TSA of the future (which doesn't sound much different from the TSA of today).

The TSA thugs wore blue uniforms, carried submachine guns, and had riot cuffs on their duty belts. They looked like the security of every other third world country.

And the local militarized police force sounds a lot like the police we have now - just a little further to the dark side. Though the legalization of all substances had occurred over a decade ago, dealers still undercut the system, providing as much of a black market as ever. Rather than take on the dangerous and thriving gangs, the cops preferred to beat down law-abiding citizens who thought or said the wrong thing. Namely, the truth."

And the best part of the story is the totally unexpected hero. I won't tell you who he is, but here are some clues (there are five non-concurrent quotes excerpts - it's not meant to be a continuous quote).

The other man wore a knowing smile. "So you recognize me." Myles lifted his chin.

"You are the Baron."

"I am."

The Baron? Now and then a news report mentioned the Baron, a man who operated in numerous markets across the world. His holdings ranged from tech companies to real estate, but his passion lay in restructuring failing corporations.

click here to show the full quoted excerpt

This story must have been written before the father of the Baron moved into the White House, as he didn't go down in a fiery plane crash in our own timeline. So...the moral of the story is this: "If you enjoy dystopian political fiction with a right-leaning bent and don't mind an uneven writing style, you'll likely enjoy this book. I noticed that the eBook price is only around a buck on Amazon, so you've gotta like that.


The Science Fiction (and now other genres) Book Club

I've been a member of the Science Fiction Book Club off and on2 since I was in my late teens. Way back then, the draw was getting several hardcover sci-fi and fantasy books for basically the cost of shipping with a commitment to buy a few more books over the next couple of years at full price. So the average cost of the books was less than buying the same number of paperbacks, which sounds like a great deal. But there were a couple of drawbacks: #1, the books were dimensionally all about 3/4 scale of the publisher hardcovers. So I have a great many miniature hardcovers in library that insult my OCD when they're all on the same shelf with the full-sized hardcovers (now all in bin, so they're not as annoying). And #2, you had to send a card back every month through the mail or you get the book of the month auto-mailed to you. You could do a return-to-sender and return it easily enough, but that was a hassle I didn't enjoy.

At some point, I decided that the affordability of the tiny books wasn't enough to offset the discomfort of having books that looked out of place on the shelf, so I abandoned the SFBC for many years. But a few years ago I decided that cheap was more important than big and joined back up. I was pleasantly surprised when the books arrived and were full-sized hardcovers. And also happy to learn that the card in the mail had been replaced by an online response, so it was much easier to decline the unwanted books of the month. Also a nice improvement was the wishlist feature to save books you may want to order in the future. And maybe best of all, each month you can buy two credits for $14.99/each to later buy any two books at a reduced price (lower than Amazon or Costco, even). So that's pretty cool.

Over the past few years I've more than fulfilled my commitment and am still a member, though I've been a little disappointed that every hardcover hasn't been a full-sized edition (most are). A couple of other comments and/or complaints: the book club is now more of a Generic Book Club that sells just about every genre of book (I've wandered outside the Sci-Fi/Fantasy boundary a couple of times since I've been a member again) and books are often dropped quickly from the club so the availability of Sci-Fi/Fantasy titles is a little less than it once was (and WishList books can quickly become unavailable if you don't pull the trigger fast enough). But my biggest complaint about the good ol' SFBC is this:

THEY SENT ME A BOOK WITH A RIPPED DUST JACKET!!

I don't know if it happened in transit (it wasn't very well packaged - there wasn't any packing material to hold the book in place) or before being packed, but either way, I'm not happy. That hasn't stopped me from buying other books from the SFBC and none of the others have been ripped, but still...



1 L.C., D.W., S.M....each of these authors uses a pen name with two initials followed by a surname. Coincidence? I THINK NOT!!

2 Once your commitment is fulfilled, you quit and rejoin and get 5 more tiny free-ish books. Genius!



Got something to say? Say it. (no responses).

The Dinosaur Lords vs Dragon Teeth

The only two Michael Crichton books I've read have both been unfinished drafts published after his death. I really enjoyed both of them immensely, so I don't know if I'm a huge Michael Crichton fan or a huge fan of whoever finished these books.

The only other Crichton book I've ever read, Pirate Latitudes, was a fictional, but very well-researched and real-feeling, tale of pirates in the Caribbean. Very similar to, in my opinion, On Stranger Tides, but without the Voodoo, extra-dimensional Fountain of Youth stuff, and magic. Surprisingly, I've only ever mentioned Pirate Latitudes one time on this sorry excuse for a site. And that was only a mention of books that I had on my to-read shelf. I know...I suck.

But I'm trying to do better. I'm not really doing much better, but I have at least kept the more recently-read books to be mentioned (I hesitate to call what I do a "review") in a separate stack on the to-read shelf where they can remind me what a waste of space I am. Baby steps, I suppose.

I don't remember enough about Pirate Latitudes to say anything more about that book, but the other Crichton book I've read is the much more recently published Dragon Teeth - a paleontological romp through the old west. This one I read a couple of months ago, so it's at least slightly more fresh in my memory.

The other Dinosaur book I'm going to mention is The Dinosaur Lords by the recently deceased Victor Milan, which I read just a month or two back. While it is, admittedly, completely unrelated to the Old West story in Dragon Teeth, I wanted to mention this novel with Dragon Teeth because they both involve dinosaurs (kind of a stretch for Dragon Teeth, but still). Another trait they share is authors who won't be contributing to further adventures of these characters (there are actually two more books in The Dinosaur Lords series on my reading shelf that were published before Victor Milan passed, but I haven't made it to either of those yet - I'm hoping the story was wrapped up by book three - there are some big questions in need of further exposition in the first novel).

Before I get into each book, here is another similarity they both share: maps of the locations in the stories (each one is a two-page map that I have attempted - poorly - to combine into a single image).



Dragon Teeth

Dragon Teeth is your basic fish-out-of-water, rich kid goes dinosaur fossil-hunting in the uncharted west type of story. You know, that old chestnut. The main character is extremely unlikable when we meet him.

William Jason Tertullius Johnson, the elder son of Philadelphia shipbuilder Silas Johnson, entered Yale College in the fall of 1875. According to his headmaster at Exeter, Johnson was "gifted, attractive, athletic and able." But the headmaster added that Johnson was "headstrong, indolent and badly spoilt, with a notable indifference to any motive save his own pleasures. Unless he finds a purpose to his life, he risks unseemly decline into indolence and vice."

click here to show or hide the full quoted excerpt

As our entitled, unlikable protagonist gets the shaft from various parties throughout the book, he ends up in a familiar place from old west folklore - Deadwood, South Dakota. But along the way, he has a few run-ins with the natives and rogue U.S. cavalry soldiers.

"We"re done for," Morton moaned.

"Any minute now we'll hear those arrows whistling," Isaac said, "and then, when they get closer, out come the tomahawks - "

click here to show or hide the full quoted excerpt

Once he makes it to the fabled Deadwood, he witnesses a little bit of Kung Fu-ish Chinaman-abuse, falls for Miss Emily, an old west lady of the night, meets the Earp brothers, and becomes a whole lot less entitled and more self-sufficient. Maybe not a "whole lot" more, but at least a little more.

Here's are a couple of excerpts showing the true nature of his new friend when she tries to sell him out to the local outlaws and our first introduction to the Earp brothers.

"So you said you would ask me?" he said, feeling hurt.

She looked down, as if ashamed. "I was curious myself, too."

"They really contain bones."

"I see that, now."

"I don't want them - I don't want anything to do with them - but they are my responsibility."

click here to show or hide the full quoted excerpt

A little later in the story, Wyatt Earp - bodyguard - steps into action.

"That's right."

The boy gave Johnson a note, and scampered away. Johnson opened it, read it quickly, and crumpled it.

"What is it?" Miss Emily asked.

"Just a good-bye from Judge Harlan."

click here to show or hide the full quoted excerpt

Dragon Teeth is filled with loads of historical fact (the basic premise of the story is the rivalry between real-life paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh - both are characters ni the book) and reads like one of David McCullough's non-fiction historical works (of which I've read many and enjoyed each one). It's not exactly an E-ticket thrill ride - there are some dry parts here and there (as there are in real life). I'm sure I'll read it again when I get tired of buying new books - it was that enjoyable and well-written.

Funny enough, another book I recently read, Huck Out West, also links to the old west and Deadwood, South Dakota. More about that later. Before I move on to The Dinosaur Lords, one last excerpt from Dragon Teeth - the afterword penned by Michael Crichton's wife.

His work is as relevant and engaging as ever, as demonstrated by the gigantic success of the Jurassic Park franchise, and in HBO's reimagining of his classic film Westworld.

click here to show or hide the full quoted excerpt



The Dinosaur Lords

Funny thing about The Dinosaur Lords - the blurb on the cover is from George R.R. Martin. And he makes a reference to his own series, saying "It's like a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones" (lookee there, another Crichton tie-in with The Dinosaur Lords).

There's no doubt that The Dinosaur Lords is very Game of Thronesish. Very. But with a few major differences. The following excerpt is very House Lannister (Jaume and Melodia are cousins).

The herald's tabard swelled to an extra-deep breath. "Comes now the Imperial Champion, the Knight-Champion of Our Lady Bella, el Conde dels Flors, JAUME!" he bellowed.

The crowd erupted in ecstasy as Jaume rode onto the field from between the gaudy silk banners that screened the waiting contestants. It thrilled Melodia to think that her lover might be the most popular man in all Nuevaropa. Certainly the Mercedes adored him.

click here to show or hide the full quoted excerpt

Hee's another very Lannister scene in the The Dinosaur Lords (very reminiscent of an iconic moment in the TV series and the novel form of Game of Thrones).

"Your Highness," the Pope said to Melodia over a golden tureen of strider-tail and vegetable soup. "Certain rumors have reached my ears."

For Melodia the usual dinnertime hubbub in the banquet hall was abruptly overridden by ringing silence. Hearing nothing but the drumming of her own pulse, she showed Pio an expression that was more pulling her cheeks up under her eyes than an actual smile. The eyes of the courtiers at the great table seemed to sear her skin.

click here to show or hide the full quoted excerpt
There's no shortage of sexual references, though there's not really anything too-graphic. Non-Spanish characters are few, but there's a German one in this excerpt (another, Karyl, would seem to be Russian, and there are a couple of minor British characters mentioned).

"Bitch!" Llurdis said.

"Sow!"

"Puta!"

Melodia's stare turned from shocked disbelief to fury. The pair showed every sign of being about to launch one of their full-blown wrestling/lovemaking bouts, out here in front of Melodia's father, the gods, and everybody.

click here to show or hide the full quoted excerpt

The strapping German knight isn't a good dude and his subsequent actions bear this out.

Each chapter begins with a sketch of a Dinosaur, with or without a knight perched on its back, and a blurb about dinosaurs or a quote from The Histories - the tome that the world's religions and even the governments are founded upon. It's unclear what's happening elsewhere in the world, but The Histories are definitely yhr final word in this corner of Paradise.

Now, the major differences from Game of Thrones -

One, instead of Medieval England/Northern Europe being the template for most of the major players in the story, the major players in The Dinosaur Lords are Spaniards. Spanish is the primary language of the day and Spain appears to rule supreme (which did actually happen for a little while, even in our own timeline) - though it's possible that these opinions might just be those of the protagonists in the book and the actual major powers of the era are somewhere outside the scope. Who knows?

And secondly, in this timeline, Dinosaurs managed to survive and flourish into the middle ages of this universe. They're food, they're beasts of burden, they're more common than most mammals. So that puts an interesting spin on the events of the story. But, and here's one of the big twisteroos, there are clues that this isn't Earth. It's a smaller planet that was colonized by Earth natives. But who? And why?

A possible clue comes from one of the chapter header blurbs from The Histories:

Hogar, Home, Old Home - When they were done making Paradise, and found it good, the Creators brought humans, their Five Friends, and certain useful crops and herbs here from the world we call Home. Ancient accounts teach us it is a strange place. It is cold, and we would feel heavier there, and find the air much thinner. The year is 1.6 times as long as ours. We must admire the fortitude of our ancestors in dwelling on such an inhospitable world, and always praise the Creators for bringing us to our true Paradise!

- A PRIMER TO PARADISE FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF YOUNG MINDS

Two of the characters (the two I find the most endearing and noble) are very R.A. Salvatore-ish. Or maybe they're not, but they remind me of his characters from the Saga of the First King series (which I've probably also neglected to mention here in any detail. Most of the other characters are less endearing, but very medieval in their behavior.

Here's a really long excerpt or two or three) to show you why these guys rock.

"Stop!" the archer cried. "Hand over the hook-horn and your purses, and we'll let you leave with your lives."

Little Nell sighed resignedly as she came to a halt. Walking at her side, Rob Korrigan concurred.

The afternoon light dappled the leaf corpses that mostly hid the ruts in the indifferently maintained road, and filled Rob's nostrils with a rich, dry, small as they slowly turned into humus. A cuatralas, black as a baron's heart, glided from branch to branch, chasing a purple-and-yellow butterfly. Tiny birds twittered to one another among the leaves of tall gingkoes and false plane trees, which grew far enough apart to allow enough sunloght to filter down to sustain a thriving undergrowth of barberry, ferns and scrub oak.

click here to show or hide the full quoted excerpt (there's a lot)

I highly recommend both books, but if you're less of a Sci-Fi/Fantasy nerd, Dragon Teeth is probably the surer bet.

Oh, and I'll get to the other mentionable stuff soon-ish. Maybe.



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Disneyland, The San Diego Zoo, my cell-away-from-home, and Comic-related stuff

I apologize (mostly to myself, since I'm the main audience of this drivel) that I haven't blathered on about any of the uber-exciting stuff that's been going on - or the books I've read - for a few months, but enthusiasm is low and all the time I thought I'd have with both kids out of the house...just hasn't materialized. But enough with the excuses. Here are a few of the things I've neglected to mention since August (the last time I talked about anything other than books I've read).


Current Cubical comics

To start things off, here are some photos from my current cubicle at work. I don't think I've shared my nerd wall since July of 2017, so let's just say there have been many different comic book selections hanging on my wall since then. The current selection is the first six issues of a comic book I acquired way back in 2007-2008 (back when I was a regular ComicCon attendee - before it became all about non-comic book stuff). Five of the six issues have sketches, signatures, and/or funny little comments (all but issue #1) on the covers from ComicCon, so that's fun.

Here's the wall.

The next set of comics on the wall will be from the amazing Mike Kunkel - Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam. And/Or maybe a few Gus Beezer Marvel comics. We'll see if I ever get around to sharing photos of those. I totally missed the Death Dealer, Conan, Batman, Kill ShakespeareNeverwhere, and many other comic series that have each decorated my wall for a couple of months each, so don't hold your breath.

The Decline of the San Diego ComicCon

And speaking of the multimedia extravaganza that was once a comic book convention called The San Diego ComicCon, I have planned to mention another indicator (beyond my own disinterest in what the ComicCon has become) that the San Diego ComicCon should just remove the word "Comic" from its name.

Mile High Comics, a big comic book store in the Denver area that has an inventory of millions of back issues and was one of the founding fathers of the ComicCon 40+ years ago, decided not to setup an exhibit in 2017 (or ever again, presumably). If you've been to ComicCon (for the comics, not just to rubberneck for Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson), you've seen the gigantic booth along the back wall of the convention center floor. http://www.milehighcomics.com/images/email/sdbooth1.jpg I acquired a good part of the harder to find back issues in my collection from Mile High. The only comic book I currently collect is American Gods (and Neil Gaiman-related hardcover graphic novels), so my own interest in comic books has changed over the past few years. Not due to a lack of interest, but more due to a lack of storage space. Regardless, here are a series of excerpts from post-convention emails Chuck Rozanski sent out in 2017.

Here's the first email Chuck sent in 2017 to warn his customers/mailing list subscribers of the Mile High Comics booth's absence:

To answer the numerous questions that we have been receiving of late, for the first time in 44 years, we will not be exhibiting at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. I wish that this decision could have been otherwise, but circumstances beyond our control made our further participation impossible. To explain, San Diego has grown far beyond its original premise, morphing from what was originally a wonderful annual gathering of the comics world, into a world-renown pop culture and media festival. As such, it has seen rapidly escalating costs, and also a dramatic change in the demographics of its attendees. Neither of those changes worked to our advantage.

click here to show or hide the full quoted excerpt

And here's a followup email Chuck sent in 2017.

For the past 43 years, the first day of the each San Diego Comic-Con was filled with hope and excitement for me. For decades, I could not wait for this wonderful gathering of all my friends from the comics world to begin. Beginning about ten years ago, however, the convention underwent a major change. Long-time SDCC supporters were told at the end of that year's convention that they were no longer going to be given the opportunity to purchase passes on Sunday evening for the following year. Instead, San Diego's most loyal supporters were told that they were going to be forced to enter an online lottery system dominated by hundreds of thousands of media and pop culture fans. Most comics fans were then shut out. In my opinion, it was that one callous decision that doomed the Comic-Con that we all once loved.

click here to show or hide the full quoted excerpt

This may not be of interest to anyone but me, but I'm a little bit sad that I no longer have a comic book convention full of artists and writers I admire (the small independent creators have long since been priced out of exhibiting) to look forward to visiting in July. Granted, I'm not exactly supporting the Comic Book industry with my one issue a month habit (American Gods). Maybe if the ComicCon hadn't b3ecoe what it is, I'd still be pouring tons of dough into my sequential art habit.


The Art of Emeli

And speaking of art, here are some of the amazing creations of my amazing daughter, Emeli. Each of these is fully painted and much more amazing than they appear in the poorly scanned or photographed representations you see here.

I could post so many more, but Emeli has been curiously shy about me sharing her talents online. In a weird way.



The Occasionally-Magical Kingdom

We went to Disneyland in December of 2017 and it was as crowded and unenjoyable as it ever seems to be. But I did take a few photos (probably a lot ore than this, actually, but I don't know where the others are at the moment). So here are a few photos that I took and forgot to take off my phone for many moons.

They're not super exciting, but a couple of them are things that just might disappear once the new Star Wars land opens next year. Snow White's castle at Christmas is always worth seeing.

We went to Disneyland again in September (2018) and, shockingly, it wasn't crowded. The good ol' crowd forecaster predicted "Ghost Town" crowd conditions (as it has erroneously many time in the past) and was actually spot-on. There were people there, so it wasn't exactly a "ghost town," but it was more like the Disneyland of yesteryear. There was no crowd to get in, no crowds for the rides I went on (Pirates of the Caribbean was a 5-minute wait), and the restaurants/shops were equally uncrowded. It was glorious.

One thing that was crowded was the security check points into the ticketing area. There were more Disneyland security and real policemen hanging around here than I've ever seen. But I guess this is the new normal because the next visit in October was just as security heavy. Welcome to the new world order - it's a Disney Police State.

Our first ride of the day (pretty much standard fare) was Pirates of the Caribbean. The line outside was nonexistent. There was only a single line to the boats inside. I'd guess it took no more than five minutes to get on the ride. So awesome.

I was surprised to see that Pirates of the Caribbean ride had been modified since the last time we visited Disneyland (maybe that's why it was closed for our previous visit).

  • It seems like the ambient narration script changed. For one thing, the "they've seen the cursed treasure..." part is gone. At least I think it is. Sad.
  • There's a new pirate in a cage being taunted by an octopus in a nook of the cave just before you reach the Captain in his treasure-filled room.
  • The ever-awful Davy Jones Squid-Faced fog wall is gone. As is the Davy Jones monologue.
  • And most disappointingly, the pirate bride auction is ruined forever. The redhead is now a pirate, the fatty is now selling chickens, and the other homely wenches are now elderly townspeople selling their valuables. Lame. Rewriting history all over again. I'm all for adding female pirates here and there (there were a few famous female pirates in the Caribbean), but does Disney have to ruin everything else to get them in the ride? Disappointed.

Here are a few Pirates-related photos.

click here to show or hide the rest of the Pirate thumbnails

A much less disappointing modification was the addition of different planetary tours in Star Tours (planets from The Last Jedi). While it's definitely the same ride, it's always nice to have new scenery. There were also apparently some changes made to the Indiana Jones ride, but it was closed earlier in the day and was too crowded once it re-opened so I skipped it.

Here are way more Disneyland photos from this visit than anyone wants to see.

All in all, a good day at Disneyland.


But then I had to go and ruin my warm, fuzzy memory with a follow-up visit in October. The forecast called for a 40% chance of rain, so we had high hopes for smaller crowds. Sadly, the only rain we saw was a light drizzle as we left the park in the afternoon.

The restaurants were as busy as they are in the spring or around Christmas (I don't do Disneyland in the summer, so I can't compare it to that) and we did the 5-hour parking thing again (with a sit-down meal in Downtown Disney) and I had my usual breakfast at the La Brea Bakery. I'm sure it was exactly the same as it's always been, but it didn't hit the spot, so I'll be trying something else if we return again in the future and want the free 5-hour parking.

I did revisit the WonderGround Gallery art shop in Downtown Disney briefly when we arrived and saw some matted prints of a couple of the big-eyed Disney/Star Wars characters for around $40 that I almost picked up, but we never made it back to the shop on the way out...so no new art to put in the garage this time. Another Downtown Disney observation - there was a ton of construction going on. And I was surprised to see the Rainforest Cafe was dead. That was a fun place to eat with the kids.

When we arrived at Disneyland, the line to get in was as short as it had been in September, so we were looking forward to another crowd-free day. The crowd-forecast calendar predicted an "It's all right" crowd - crowded, but not horrible. Initially, I thought the prediction was spot-on. And then I got inside the park. The crowds were out in force to admire the great Halloween decorations. Every ride's line was awful - the Haunted Mansion line was over an hour long. The Pirates of the Caribbean line snaked up over the bridge when we got there, but had somehow shrunk to just slightly annoyingly long (ending under the bridge) by the time we got off the Haunted Mansion ride.

click here to show or hide the rest of the Disneyland thumbnails

A couple more comments about the Haunted mansion line: there was a group of four women in their twenties wearing matching red bathing suits (one-piece, Disney-related, I think) with shorts covering the bottoms (though one had pants on, as I recall). There was an abundance of side-boob from a couple of the women and one of the side-boobers was very attractive (the others were just okay). But I was doing my best to be un-creepy and didn't take a photo of them. Also in the Haunted Mansion line, there were a couple of red-headed young women who were very striking in different ways - Dr. Frankenstein could have made a nice Jessica Rabbit out of the parts. One had a very striking pale face and gorgeous green eyes under her bushy red hair and the other had a body with impossible curves, topped off with a face that was all too possible. Again, I was being un-creepy and failed to capture either in a photo.

We had planned to go visit the land of Disney again in October, but it was going to be in the mid-eighties on the Wednesday we planned to go, so we decided to go to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park). I hadn't been to the Safari park in probably over 10 years (when it was the Wild Animal Park).

We have annual passes and were looking forward to the free parking that we'd always received in the past, but were surprised to be told that only the pricier annual membership granted free parking. Boo!

The highlight of the Wild Animal park was the tram ride around the open areas of the park filled mostly with African herbivores. I was surprised by the lack of carnivores that were part of the tour in the old days (as I said, it's been several years since I've been to the park). The lions were still apparently in the same place (we saw them after the tram ride), but maybe the fact that they were both asleep and oblivious to the world made mentioning them not worth the effort. I dunno. We also saw the baby animal nursery, a bunch of bird exhibits, and I bought some delicious fudge (so rich that more than just a tiny slice makes my teeth hurt. Awesomely delicious).

A few photos from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park trip.

click here to show or hide the rest of the Safari Park thumbnails

Also unmentioned was a trip to the San Diego Zoo last month. It had also been quite a few years since we'd last visited the San Diego zoo(or had annual passes). Quite a bit had changed (mainly animal exhibit relocation - including the stinky flamingos up front). The Panda-viewing line was as long as it was a million years ago and probably not really worth the wait, but they are cute little critters, even if they just kind of lay there and eat the whole time you're watching them. The Koalas were just as cute and a little more lively.

The sky ride is still there and apparently free for everyone now, not just the annual pass holders. The new Tiger Trail was really scenic and awesome (not the actual tiger part - the tigers were hiding in the furthest corner in the exhibit almost out of sight). We only saw a fraction of the zoo exhibits and I didn't sample any delicious chocolate, so there's not much more to say, I guess.

Here are a few photos of the Tiger Trail.

click here to show or hide the rest of the Tiger Trail thumbnails


There's a concert, some Balboa Park museum outings, a million books, and a couple of CDs I still plan to mention, but I'm out of steam and have a couple of book reviews to get to first...



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