Jul 27, 2015

Mundungus Monday

mundungus ~ foul-smelling tobacco

So ... the weekend did not go as I had planned, but then when does it ever?

See, a while back I started writing the first book of a new trilogy. It's kind of cool really, the three books are connected by a common event that takes place at the very beginning of each one, but then the three stories are very different from that point on. Then, at the very end, there'll be a short story (included in all three of them) that connects them back up.

Anyway, I'm about halfway through the first book and the time line really isn't working. Things that should be happening faster are going too slowly, and things that should be happening slowly are happening too fast. At first I thought I could just push through it and fix it later, but I think I'm only making matters worse. Hence the need to fix it.

So I was sitting at my lap top Saturday morning, checking my email and Facebook before I got down to work ... and I got distracted. Big surprise there, eh? Someone posted one of those smarmy inspirational messages embedded in a picture, and it made me think of one of my nieces who's having a rough time right now, and I thought it might be nice to print off a bunch of these smarmy pictures and put them in a little album to send to her to cheer her up.

And there I was, merrily searching for and saving these inspirational messages, when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter ... oops, wrong story. Had the sound been on for my lap top though, I'm sure I would have heard all kinds of bells and whistles, but as it was, a bunch of security windows popped up and then I got a message that my security had been compromised and my personal information was in danger of being hacked.

So I did what any right thinking person would do - went into full panic mode and shut my lap top off.

Or at least I tried to. Problem was, Microsoft had 17 updates it wanted to install first. We'll get back to that in a moment, the salient point here is that it took 1 1/2 hours to shut down. The internet has to be turned on manually when I start up the lap top, and I figured I really should do a virus scan before I connect to the internet, just in case.

It took 3 1/2 hours to complete, and it didn't find anything. And then I couldn't remember the last time I backed up my system and figured it might be a good idea to do so and that pretty much took the rest of Saturday.

Now, back to this Microsoft thing.

An hour and a half seems kind of excessive when it comes to shutting things down, and that wasn't the first time it'd happened lately either. Earlier in the week I'd whined complained mentioned to a friend about how I was having problems with Microsoft Word, enough so that I was thinking of trying to re-install the program, and she told me a lot of people were having the same problem because of all the updates Microsoft was flooding us with in preparation for the launch of Windows 10.

Colour me unamused!

One of my pet peeves with Microsoft is how they're continually changing their programs and we're forced to continually upgrade. It's just not right. At the very least we should be offered a discount for the latest version of a program we've already spent a great deal of money on, but we're not.

And the really irritating part is, half the time the new versions don't even work right. Anyone remember Windows Vista? And heaven forbid you should have to get a new computer because you won't be getting it with one of the older versions of Windows that actually work. No, you'll get the latest version whether you want it or not.

I don't know about you, but I'll be taking very good care of my lap top with its Windows 7 and its Microsoft Office 7.

And when it does go, maybe I'll be taking a bite out of Apple instead.

Jul 20, 2015

Metaphysis Monday

metaphysis ~ change in form; metamorphosis

Well, I'm finally on the new medication, and not a moment too soon. Last week the tiredness and lack of focus reached epic proportions. It was very frustrating. But I saw the nurse practitioner on Friday and the first thing she told me was my blood sugar was up. Gee, do you think?

But it meant she had a green light to prescribe the new medication and went over all the side effects with me. Several of them are the same as I experience with Diabetes anyway and so far I haven't really experienced any others, but I'm starting out on a low dose so that may change next month when they put me on the full dose. And many people don't experience any side effects at all, so maybe I'll be one of the lucky ones.

In the meantime, even after only two doses my glucose level has come down. I'm hoping it'll continue to come down so I can be back to normal. Well, as normal as I ever am. ;-)

Summer has definitely arrived. We've even had the air conditioners on a couple of times. And yesterday it was so hot I skipped my workout on the bike. I didn't know if I was feeling slightly queasy from the new medication or the heat, but it seemed like a good excuse to be lazy.

After a cool week last week we had a jump in temperature early Saturday morning and it's supposed to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Heat I'm okay with, it's the humidity that bothers me and it's been very damp here.

And apparently the magic bubble that protects our town from snow in the winter is also protecting us from the thunderstorms we should be having with these wild fluctuations in temperature. But no, I watched the radar images on the Weather Network and the storms pass north of us and south of us but leave a swath in the middle where we are. Not fair!

Sad to say my coyote friends seem to have moved on. We've only heard them once in the last several days and at suppertime last night we saw some black squirrels playing chase out by the pond. The squirrels had been making themselves scarce the last few weeks. We could have days go by without seeing one. I saw a couple of grey squirrels yesterday too. They wouldn't be so brave if the coyotes were still around.

And another sign the coyotes have gone was these little guys:

It's been a long time since a rabbit ventured into our backyard. But believe it or not, I've never seen two at once. These guys must be young still because they were having a ball playing chase and hopping straight up into the air. Of course then one of them had to spoil it all by helping himself to the buds off one of my roses, but they slipped under the fence into my next door neighbour's garden like it was a story from Peter Cottontail.

This week is probably not going to be a productive one, but it will be busy.

First we have my sister coming to visit today, and spending the night. She may or may not be accompanied by a couple of her grandkids. We're supposed to go to the movies tonight and then she's leaving on Tuesday.

Then Wednesday is an even I'm sure everyone has been looking forward to. The premiere of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

Space Channel has been running all kinds of shark movies, including the Mega Shark series. And in a scene that could have been taken right from Jaws, just a couple of days ago a surfer was attacked by a great white shark. Because this was part of a competition, they whole thing was caught on tape. You can see the video and read the article HERE.

Thursday I'm taking the day off (whether I deserve it or not) and heading off to the casino. Just one of those things I gotta do. ;-)

And then, to nicely round off my week, on Saturday night we have a new disaster of a movie, Lavalantula!

Can't wait until Saturday to see this gem? No problem! Just got to YouTube and type Lavalantula in the search bar and you'll get several options for the entire movie.

You can thank me later. ;-)

Jul 17, 2015

What I'm Reading

I've definitely stopped binging on the books. As fun as it is, I can't keep it up forever - real life has a way of intruding. ;-)

Electronic Books

You know, I really have to start writing down the names of the books as I start reading them on the Kindle. My memory is sketchy at best and I don't keep them unless I really, really think I might read them again. So then, when it comes time to do this post I can't remember what I've read.

So I read a short book that I thought was a Y/A and turned out the point of the story was for the main character to hook up with her stepbrother. Then I read about two pages of what I thought was erotica but turned out to be bad porn. Next was a period piece called Under the Mistletoe (I think) which was actually quite good, followed by a vampire story that really wasn't.

Meanwhile I finished The Zombie, the Cat, and Barack Obama by Christopher Antony Meade. It wasn't exactly bad, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. It was a little wordy, like it was trying too hard, and some of the parts that were supposed to be funny ... weren't. You know how sometimes you watch a movie that's so bad it's good? This wasn't like that.

Currently I'm reading book one of a two book set called The Last Sunset by Frank Montgomery. It's a science fiction set in 2040, about a lawyer named Darius who would do anything to get his wife and unborn child off the planet before a meteor hits the Earth. He succeeds in getting her a seat on one of the shuttles headed for the moon base, but he could only get one ticket so he stays behind. He takes refuge in a mini bus filled with supplies that he parks in an underground parking structure when the meteor hits. I've just got to the part where he ventures out of the shelter for the first time in two weeks. I normally like disaster books, but this one is kind of ... meh. Maybe it's because I can't quite like the main character, Darius, who's somewhat of a shifty lawyer. But I'll probably keep reading, for a while at least, to see if he redeems himself.

Tree Books

Slowed right down to a crawl here.

I've been slowly plugging away at From the Dark by Michele Hauf. I'm still not very far into it, but I do like the two main characters and the way they interact with each other. It'll be interesting to see what happens when he finds out she's a witch and she finds out he's a vampire. :-)


I have finished exactly one story in Liavek, edited by Will Shetterly and Emma Bull. This is a swords and sorcery fantasy with the stories taking place in the exotic city of Liavek, which is the central theme that ties them all together.

So ... what have you been reading lately?

Jul 13, 2015

Mortalism Monday

mortalism ~ belief that the soul is mortal

It was a quiet week last week ...




*cue crickets chirping*

"How quiet was it?"

It was so quiet that I'm sitting here, Sunday night, trying to think of something to talk about and I've got nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

See, here's the thing. I have Type II Diabetes and I'm in the process of changing to a new medication. But apparently first I need the old medication totally out of my system. So while this is going on my glucose levels have been steadily rising and among other things it's making me incredibly tired.

Fortunately I'll be on the new medication by the end of the week, but in the meantime I've been suffering from tiredness of epic proportions which makes it hard to get anything done. So I've been pretty much doing only what's necessary the last couple of weeks, no time for extras.

The weather has finally become more summer-like, we even had the air conditioner going on the weekend. The hubby's been in the pool almost every night - despite the fact the warmest the water's been is 74 F.

***more thinking***trying not to pull a brain muscle here***

Okay, here's what a dust bowl my brain is right now. I just asked hubby's advice on what I should write about in this post. His reply: Talk about your fractured fairy tales. Good idea!

Saturday I had my first solo flight at babysitting the grandbaby. This girl loves to be talked to and I thought what better way than to tell her a story. So rather than go down to her room and get one of her many books, I decided to just tell her a story or two. I'm a writer, right? How hard could it be to tell her one of the fairy tales I learned as a child.

Pretty hard, as it turns out.

I started out with Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and a more convoluted, politically incorrect tale you would have never heard. I had to keep back tracking to add details and I cast aspersions on Goldilock's character in general. And also, the bears weren't all that bright if they went for a walk leaving their front door unlocked.

Then I tried Cinderella. Everyone one loves Cinderella, right? Well, her step family didn't love her. Apparently I didn't either. My version of the story was some kind of weird amalgamation of the Disney version and the Grimm's version. Not as much back tracking but I did question the prince's intelligence, if not his eyesight, if he couldn't tell Cinderella was his true love without her foot fitting into the glass slipper. And think of the blisters a shoe made of glass would give you!

One of the granddaughter's favorite toys these days is a frog, so I finished up with a rendition of the Frog Prince. Or is that Princess? I got the princess playing with her golden ball right, but she lost it down a well instead of a fountain. And then I was kind of sketchy on the deal she made with the frog. I remembered the king forcing his daughter to honour her side of the bargain, and I remembered she was really mean to the poor frog, and then I kind of skipped ahead to him turning back into a prince although I pointed out there was no way these two ended up married because first, she was really mean and broke her word, and second, she must have been a little girl (playing with her ball) which would have made it just plain creepy.

My poor granddaughter is going to be scarred for life by the time I get done with her. :-D

Jul 10, 2015

What I'm Reading

My binge reading seems to be tapering off and I'm settling in to a nice, steady reading pace. Maybe it has something to do with running out of new Lynsay Sands books to read. But whatever the reason, I'm back to a nice, normal, two or three books a week again. :-D

Electronic Books

I'm still working on the boxed set of Looking For Love, by Rita Herron. I finished the first book Husband Hunting 101, and the second one, Here Comes the Bride, but I'm having trouble getting into the third one, Under the Covers.

Here Comes the Bride was just as hard to put down as Husband Hunting 101. The story starts out with identical twins, Kimberly and Marci who are are totally different in every other respect. So when Marci coerces Kimberly to do a 'twin switch' with her to pose as a hunky architect's fiancée and go home with him for a friend's wedding, Kimberly's not sure she can pull it off. I won't say much more to avoid spoilers, but it was another great read.

Under the Covers is about a marriage counselor whose book on marriage advice has just made the best seller list as a sex guide. The man she thought she was married to (turns out the preacher wasn't licensed) has just run off with another man, and she becomes involved with a reporter who's looking to make a name for himself by proving her to be a fraud. I haven't given up on this one yet, given that I enjoyed the other two so much, but the idea of this guy hooking up with her to seek revenge (he blames her for the break-up of his marriage) just doesn't float my boat.

So in the meantime, I've started reading The Zombie, the Cat, and Barack Obama by Christopher Antony Meade. I'm not too far into this book, but so far it's pretty funny and puts me in mind of Beers in Heaven by the irreverent Ford Forkum. We've met the cat and the zombie (who wants to try for a spot on Britain's Got Talent), I can't wait to see how Barack Obama fits into all this.

Tree Books

Only a slight binge here this week. I ran out of Lynsay Sands and Kerrelyn Sparks books to read, but found a couple of Katie MacAlister books on my to-be-read bookcase. I think the thing I like best about her books, aside from the steamy sex and humour, is that her heroines are real women. They're not perfect - they have a few extra pounds, they speak without thinking, they even have some pretty obvious flaws. They're probably the most realistic characters I've ever read.

Ain't Myth-behaving is actually two books in one. First we have Stag Party which surprised me by being from the man's point of view. Dane Hearne (aka the Irish god Cernunnos) needs to find a bride, and fast. He needs to be married by Beltane, which is a week away, and his old goddess has run off with a salsa dancer. He's found the perfect woman in travel writer Megan St. Clair, but can he convince her in time? This book is fast paced and hilarious, and Dane is forever spouting lines that would be insanely cheesey under any other circumstances. I couldn't read it fast enough.

The second book was Norse Truly, about a group of Vikings who are forced to forever sail the same stretch of coastline unless they can find a way break their curse. Enter Brynna who's in Sweden visiting relatives. It turns out that not only is her great-great (great) grandmother the one who laid the curse on Alrik and his men, but Brynna is a hereditary Valkyrie. Brynna becomes their last, best hope for leaving the earthly plane and going to Valhalla. But Brynna's fallen in love with the hunky Viking Alrik and dreads the thought of facing the future without him, which is what will happen if she breaks the curse.

I couldn't stop there and the next book I wolfed down was It's All Greek to Me, also by Katie MacAlister. I really loved the heroine, Harry, in this book. She has a temper and she's not afraid to defend herself, not even against the brother of the hunky Greek billionaire playboy whose house she's staying in while she runs herd on the band who're there to perform for a birthday party. She's actually a writer, but she's watching the band as a favour to a friend. I loved the chemistry between her and Iakovos, right from the start, and how she wasn't afraid to act on it. I loved the way she kept deliberately mispronouncing his last name, and I loved the way she never played coy, she always said exactly what she thought. She just might be one of my favourite characters of all time.

Next I decided to start working on the 20 or so unread Silhouette Nocturnes I have my shelf. I'm starting with From the Dark by Michele Hauf, but I haven't got very far into it yet. All I know is that it's about a vampire.

Once upon a time, Silhouette had a series called Silhouette Shadows, which were paranormal romances, and the first category romances I ever subscribed to. The series was up to about #66, I think, when Silhouette was bought out by Harlequin. I guess Harlequin didn't realize how popular paranormal romance had become, because they axed the series. Then, realizing their mistake, they started the Dreamscape series, which was pretty much the Silhouette Shadows re-released under the new banner with new covers. I guess I wasn't the only outraged fan, because the series didn't last long. Shortly after that, we were presented with Silhouette Nocturne, which was just what we readers were waiting for.


I started re-reading an anthology called Liavek, edited by Will Shetterly and Emma Bull. This is a swords and sorcery fantasy with the stories taking place in the exotic city of Liavek. And I have to admit I haven't even made it through the first story yet, but I'm sure it won't take me long to pick up the pace.

So ... what have you been reading lately?

Jul 6, 2015

Musicaster Monday

musicaster ~ a mediocre musician

Did everyone have a good holiday, no matter which side of the lake you're on?

Our town celebrates with a four-day arts and crafts festival, which encompasses the weekend. There's usually a parade on July 1st with an impressive display of fireworks on the beach at night.

At one time the festival was free, although I vaguely remember one of the service clubs passing around a hat at the beach during the fireworks. But as it grew over the years, slowly but surely it became more commercialized until last year when we were charged admission even to wander amongst the vendors who set up their wares amongst the trees in front of the bandshell. I'm sure if they thought they could have got away with it they'd be charging admission to the fireworks themselves.

I used to go to the festival every year, a couple of times I even paid to go into the crafts enclosure down at the harbour. If nothing else I'd go down and have a look at the paintings in the art tents which were, surprisingly, free. But once they started charging a fee to get in to see the regular vendors ... well, that was it for me. This year they didn't even have the art tents because the price they charged for the booths was so high there weren't enough artists ready to take the chance that they'd make their money back.

We haven't even been going down to the fireworks these last few years, but I'm sure that'll change once the Granddaughter is a little older. :-D

I don't know if you're aware of it, but my buddy Jamie DeBree is writing three serial stories simultaneously. Actually, she's writing six, and if you sign up for her newsletter you'll get new installments emailed to you each month, but her blog stories are updated each Friday. They are: Live With Me, in which calm, cool, Candace is trying way too hard to resist the hunk she had a crush on in high school when his mother tricks her into giving him a place to stay so he can recuperate from a sports injury. Or if that's a little too tame for you, there's Double Blind, where Emily is offered the chance for double her pleasure, blindfolded, by two men at sea. And for something completely different, there's Dry Rain, a terrifying tale of nature gone wrong.

And one of the coolest things about these serials, aside from the stories themselves, is that if you've missed an episode or need to get caught up, you can just email Jamie and let her know. She'll take care of it. :-)

Dry Rain really creeps me out, especially since we once had a moth infestation in our house. And the only thing worse than those damnable moths that got into everything were their larva. Ugh! But that's the nature of insects, isn't it? And Jamie's story is made all the worse by the thought that maybe something like this could happen. The planet is changing, and mother nature is fighting back.

I'm not just talking about the obvious changes, like the change in weather patterns, the melting of the polar ice caps, fires, floods, and earthquakes. I'm talking about the little changes, like the coyotes moving into our neighborhood, or the migration of insects.

When I was a kid we used to go up north to Owen Sound quite a lot. One of the things they had up there that we didn't, was earwigs. Here's what they look like:

Apparently it's just an old wives tale that they got their name from burrowing into people's ears, although there have been cases where they've been found in a person's ear canal. But slowly the earwigs started moving south and they've been the scourge of our household just as they'd been my aunt's. Here's the thing though. As the earwigs became more numerous in our area, they began disappearing from my aunt's area. Coincidence? Or are they just better at dealing with them?

And is it just me, or are the spiders getting bigger and more numerous?

A few weeks ago the hubby and I noticed we'd gotten bites we'd never had before. They kind of looked like mosquito bites, but they were red and raised a welt, and they were still there a couple of weeks later. We suspect they might be black fly bites, but we've never had black flies in our area before, you have to go further north for them. Looks like the black flies are moving in.

Now. Go read Jamie's story and get ready for the moth infestation. ;-)

Jul 3, 2015

What I'm Reading

Holy moley it's been a while, hasn't it? About six months, if anyone's been keeping track.

The thing about doing posts about what I'm reading is that they only work if I'm actually reading. I went through a prolonged dry spell for the first part of the year and while I've been doing more reading lately, I've also been pretty busy and I just haven't got around to doing a blog post about it.

Ready? Then here we go ...

Electronic Books

Two books to report here this week. There would have been more but I'm not going to waste space on the two books I deleted just a couple of pages in, and there was another one that I did read, but I can't remember what it is.

One book I read, and thoroughly enjoyed, was The Obituary Society by Jessica Randall. Lila Moore just wants to fit in somewhere and when she inherits her grandfather's house she has hopes that she's found herself a home. But though the small town is full of people who knew her family and are happy she's there, there are some dark secrets and a lot of strange goings on. Part mystery and part horror with a dash of romance, this book has a fast moving plot and great characters. And as a bonus, the author includes a couple of the coveted recipes mentioned in the story.

Currently I'm reading a boxed set, called Looking For Love, by Rita Herron. The first book is called Husband Hunting 101, the story of commitment phobic Zachery who's finding it hard to resist Jenna, his new advertising client who's made it plain she's ready to settle down and get married. I'm really enjoying the interaction between these two and I'm pretty sure it's not going to take me long to finish it.

Tree Books

I kind of went on a binge here. First I came into possession of a couple of boxes of science fiction books and I had a hard time resisting diving right in. Amongst the other treasures I acquired were the Catteni Books by Anne McCaffrey. Freedom's Landing, Freedom's Choice, Freedom's Challenge, and Freedom's Ransom tell the tale of Kris Bjornsen and the Catteni Emasi Zainal as they're dropped, with a few hundred others, mostly humans, on a distant world where they struggle to survive. Not only do they survive, they thrive, and eventually win their freedom from the Eosi oppression. This is science fiction at its best and if you enjoy tales of survival, you don't want to miss these books. Unfortunately, they're not available in e-format, you'll have to scour the used bookstores for them - they're definitely worth the search.

After my sci fi binge, I went on a vampire binge. Specifically, Lynsay Sands' Argeneau vampires. In short order I read, One Lucky Vampire, Hungry For You, and Born to Bite. There's like 22 books in this series now, and I'm pretty sure I have them all. They're funny, hot, and exciting. And did I mention that one bite will turn you 25 forever?

I followed these up with How to Seduce a Vampire (Without Really Trying) by Kerrelyn Sparks. Though her vampires are a little more traditional, they're still yummy. The saddest thing about this book is the notification at the end that she's going to take a hiatus from the series. Hopefully it won't be for long.


You'd think with all the other reading I have (I cleaned up my to-be-read bookcases and found a vast number of treasures there) I wouldn't have time for re-reading, but such is not the case. Just this week I reread Sun in Glory by Mercedes Lackey. This is a book of stories from her land of Valdemar. Technically I guess you could call it fan fiction, because of the 13 stories only one is written by Ms. Lackey. And it's just as good the second time around.

So ... what have you been reading lately?