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Responses to this rant
Amber   Wednesday, 7/2/2008 11:27 AM
bart   Wednesday, 7/2/2008 8:40 AM
steve   Thursday, 7/17/2008 6:44 PM
bart   Thursday, 7/17/2008 8:15 PM
Older rants
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

I finally finished reading the collection of novellas/short stories I had been trudging through, Legends II, a few weeks ago. It did introduce me to a few authors who I knew by name, but not by their prose. And it also had a couple of bright moments (the George RR Martin story, The Sworn Sword, was one of them). But it also convinced me that I will never seek out the stories of some of the other included authors for further reading.

This was the first of Anne MacCaffrey's Pern stories I've ever read...and it just seemed empty and silly. Most disappointing was the fact that I had already read the Neil Gaiman story in the collection (the story, The Monarch of the Glen, was later republished in Fragile Things which I'd already read). That novella was actually the reason I'd picked this collection up.

Oh well, I guess the Martin story also made it worthwhile reading (as did a few of the others).

I was going to talk more about the stories/authors of Legends II, but I just don't have the enthusiasm. So instead, I'm going to talk about The Woman Who Wouldn't, which I read in just a few days after I finished reading Legends II...


The Woman Who wouldn't

As I've become more familiar with Gene Wilder's writing, it makes me sad to know that he is nearing the end of his life (he could have another decade or two left, but anything beyond that would be unlikely) and has such little time to make his amazing literary voice heard. I hope he finds the time to continue writing because I've thoroughly enjoyed both of the books I've read so far. As much as I don't tend to stay away from non-fiction, I do plan to see out and buy Gene's auto-biography, Kiss Me Like a Stranger.

A major character in the book is an actual historical figure (there may be more than one historical figure in the story, but this is a very primary character), Anton Checkhov the Russian writer. If you know as little about him as I do, you can read more about him here.

To understand why he's a character in Gene's novel, we turn to the dedication:

To Anton Checkhov
whose short stories were my inspiration
to get to the heart of things

And Gene also starts us out with a quote from the Checkhov library
When we do something completely out of control, I think it's a good thing...perhaps something worthwhile wants to come out, it only it knew how.
--Anton Checkhov

And so with a single quote, Jeremy Webb, our protagonist, is born. He's a concert violinist andwe don't really know him very well at all before things start to fall apart in his mind/life.

"Do you know your name?"
"Jeremy Spencer Webb," I answered.
Good for you!" the chief doctor said.
"Please don't patronize me."
"I'm sorry," the doctor said quite humbly. "Are you married?"
"No, thank goodness."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because I was married a few years ago and if you had been married to my wife you'd be in a straitjacket now, and I'd be asking you the questions."
"Is that what caused your breakdown?"
"No, of course not - that's just a bad memory. We're divorced now."

Jeremy goes a little bit nuts and is sent off to a hospital to be rehabilitated. While he's there, he begins to get to know his fellow inmates and meets the book's namesake, a young woman from Belgium.

Contrary to what the Englishman said to his fellow lechers, the "Belgie" wasn't what I would call cute in the way that a young girl is cute - this was a woman, and she was quite pretty. She was also delicately attractive. She wore a soft lavender dress which had splashes of pink and light blue. She was a little older than the gossipers had led me to believe; I'd say she was around twenty-four or twenty-five, very thin, and she had beautiful clear skin. Her hair was a radiant auburn, the kind I had only seen in paintings. I assumed her hair was long, because she had it up in a bun at the back of her head. Her mouth wasn't at all inviting. I don't mean that it looked unkind - it was just without the least hint of a smile.

I was reluctant to share the next couple of quotes, because they're a little spoilerish, but the really show the fledgling relationship developing between the two characters and the nature of Clara, the woman who wouldn't.

"Did you notice those two dragonflies that were circling above us?" she asked.
"I did. They seemed very playful."
"Did you know that dragonflies make love while they're in flight?"
"Are you making a joke, Clara?"
"No."
"Well, that must be very difficult to manage while they're flying?"
"I suppose you'd like to see me naked now."
My God, this is an unusual woman.
"Yes, I would," I answered.
"Well then, ask me."

After the conversation, a pretty "explicit" sex scene ensues. It's not "explicit" in any pornographic way, it just shows the gentle nature of Jeremy - that he denies is there - and the almost childlike innocence of Clara. But the descriptions of the events are very detailed and...well, "explicit."

And now, I'll ruin the ending...

On July 15, 1904, Anton Checkhov died in Badenweiler, Germany. By mistake, his body was sent to Moscow in a refrigerated railway car that had a painted sign on the outside that read FRESH OYSTERS. If Anton knew, I think he would have laughed out loud...and then wished he had written it into one of his short stories.

Well, maybe I didn't exactly "ruin" it, but that is, in fact, the last paragraph in the book.

My French Whore has more action and a completely different type of ending, but the meat of both stories is the same: an average joe doesn't realize what's missing in his life until he finds it. And it changes everything.

Or maybe I just suck at interpreting the meaning of books.

I read Mouse Guard, Fall 1152 in a couple of hours after finishing The Woman Who Wouldn't. The art is nice, the story is interesting and it all reminds me of Brian Jacques's Redwall books (which I haven't read, but I am somewhat familiar with). It's not as great as I want it to be, but it's worth reading for a fan of the Redwallesque anthropomorphic stories. The art is good enough to share, but I haven't bothered scanning any of it yet.

I'm now working on the novelization of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So far, it's filling in the movie version's holes nicely (as did the novelizations of Star Wars Episode I, II, and III) and it is actually pretty well-written.


Going soft

The Jetta has, despite a few annoying and semi-expensive critical repairs, been a pretty good car. It's now 9 years old and has about 100,000 miles - which is pretty low mileage considering the car's age - and is now undergoing the most expensive repair yet: replacement of the compressor for the air conditioner (and other assorted parts related to the problem). Cost for these repairs? $1,350.

Ouch.

How can repairs on an air conditioner cost $1,350? I can understand why repairs to critical system components would cost an arm and a leg, but an air conditioner? It's not like people really "need" air conditioning, do they? I guess air conditioning may be critical if you live in Saudi Arabia or Nevada, but I live in San Diego. It usually gets hot here for about a month in August, but the rest of the summer is generally pretty mild (there was a recent week of record highs, but temperatures seem to be back to normal now).

If the air-conditioner was completely non-functional, I might be able to justify the cost of the repairs. But it still works well when the car is moving at freeway speeds, so long trips aren't uncomfortable. It's just local driving that's a little on the warm side.

Are we really so spoiled that we can't handle driving in a hot car for a few minutes at a time during the summer? Imagine if we were living in the era of the founding fathers and their never-ending battles with the elements. They had no A/C, no electricity, no internal combustion engine...but they weren't whining about it. Most of them were actually pretty happy with their lot in life.

Of course, the other question is: is it really worth it to spend $1,350 on a non-essential repair for a 9 year-old car? Maybe it is time to go get something a little newer, but it's hard to go back to having a monthly car payment.

In other news, the Saturn has a new problem: the odometer stopped working a few weeks ago. The speedometer still works (and the "Service Engine Soon" light still comes on from time to time), but determining mileage just got a whole lot more difficult. At least the air conditioner works (and the compressor has never been replaced in this 16 year-old dinosaur). Go, go American-made cars! Take that, VW!


Fishtank overload

I brought the Mystery snails back into the main tank after about a week. They just looked so sad in the little 1 gallon fishbowl. And I sorta missed them - they are a lot of fun to watch.

After I started adding the banana plants to the tank, I started seeing smaller snails crawling around - but I didn't put the two ebents together until I'd spent a little time looking things up on the internet. I thought the mini-snails were the offspring of my verly-friendly mystery snails, but it turns out they were stowaways (pond snails) on the banana plants. So I started moving those little critter to the fishbowl once the mystery snails were back in the main tank.

Man, are they filthy little things - their water gets so dirty so fast. I'm surprised they stay alive in that polluted little bowl, but somehow they have. Two of the banana plants were actually sprouting new growth, so I soaked them in salt water for a few minutes and then rinsed them off (hoping this would remove most - if not all - of the pond snails. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to have been 100% effective (though I did see a few drop off) because there have been a few pond snails in the main tank that I've have to scoop out with the net.

But here's the more interesting news: a pink cluster of eggs appeared about 10 days ago in the corner of the tank next to the water filter, just above the waterline. This was the definitive answer that the mini-snails weren't baby mystery snails. So I expect to have a whole lot more snails in my tank than I can handle in the coming weeks (I'll be taking the babies to the store that I purchased the snails from, Kahoots, as soon as they're big enough to survive the move).

And then this weekend, we made a new discovery. There were some little white egg looking things on the piece of petrified wood in the tank. They looked like eggs, but we didn't know which of the critters in the tank could have put them their. It wasn't until we lifted the tank's lid to feed the fish later that we discovered the other piece of the puzzle. There was another cluster of eggs, though these were yellowish-white, not pink, stuck to the bottom of the tank lid. My efforts on Google proved fruitless and I can only imagine this is other group of snail eggs (since they were also put well out of the water).

The pregnant shrimp is still carrying around her eggs. I'm beginning to wonder if she's still carrying them because she knows they'll get yanked up into the filter if she lets them go.

But no matter how you look at it - my tank is suffering from over-population. Some of these critters have got to go (maybe I'll return the mating-pair of snails and keep one or two of the new babies).

Buddy the Betta (the only one of the fish to really keep his name) has been jumping out of the water at feeding time for the past couple of weeks. Not high enough to escape, just high enough to be entertaining. And the plants have continued to grow like crazy.

Fishtanks are fun.







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