Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My new toy

Generally, I don't consider buying a new thing to be worthy of a post but this one is special.

No more hoping/coaxing our half-working mower to life in an attempt to even out the grass.

No more trips to the gas station so I can get the lawn done before the rain comes.

No more slow creeping across the lawn, staying in one spot for a bit so that the thick parts can get cut properly.

No more standing in the noxious mixed-gas exhaust that left me smelling like a refinery for hours on end.

No more worry about mowing in the evening because of the noise.

Here it is, my sharp new friend:

A reel mower that is pushed by hand

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

I remember, ten years ago (was it really ten years ago? My GOD, I'm getting ancient), amid the chaos and confusion of first-semester final exams, I discovered a book that I'd bought over the summer. And heck, Robert Jordan said it was good, so why not give it a kick at the tires?

Three days later, I'd written a couple of finals and finished this glorious piece of fiction. See, the problem was that I'd read enough mediocre fantasy that I was worried I wouldn't find the right thing to blow my socks off. After all, I'd already read up to book 6 or 7 of the Wheel of Time, so I thought it had all been done.

George Martin opened my eyes up to a new style of fantasy. NED! BRAN! What the hell's going on here? How can he let this happen to the good guys?

Now, the ensuing books haven't been as good, but they are still fine books, better than most of what's out there. I'd been getting a little stale on the series, with Martin's harbingers trumpeting every turd that he makes on the toilet but it was nice to read this one again to refresh myself, get away from the hype and just enjoy the book.

I can't believe it's been ten years and it's only the second time I've read the book.

I've started it a couple of times, but there's an event that happens three-quarters of the way through that is hard to get to, let alone through. The buildup to it is just insane, especially if you already know what's going to happen. Once it happens, you're free to go ahead and finish the book, hopes and dreams shattered but the pressure lets up somewhat. Then picks up again to leave you needing the next book.

Good for you, George. You've recaptured a fan, just not butt-polishing fanboy. I reserve that for Robert Jordan.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Anyone want a gamecube... or a book... maybe some kids' clothes?

We're having a garage sale this weekend. I know that the readership for this blog is absolutely through the roof, so I'm sure that there are a bunch (a BUNCH) of people who will be flocking to our house at 4707 37a avenue nearly breathless with anticipation over the merchandise.

Well, the schedule is as follows:
Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 10 am - 8 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm

I can't promise we won't sell out of stuff before you can make it. I mean, just think of the pairs and pairs of people reading this blog right now. Heck, they may already have read this post and are EVEN NOW coming to my house at 4707 37a avenue to buy what YOU want.

Don't let that happen to you! Come on down to my house at 4707 37a avenue Thursday 10-8, Friday 10-8 or Saturday 10-5 and see what we can do to get you (or your child) into a new (used) pair of pants!

In the news

Ottawa man fined for promoting hatred

I don't normally spend a lot of time reading the news or listening to the news or watching the news because it just riles me up. Watching is the worst because the anchors seem to be able to throw a story out there about four Canadian soldiers who won't be coming home and then switch to the dog show coming up this weekend. It just doesn't work for me.

However, this one just kind of jumped out at me.

Some idiot, living in his grampa's basement, decided to start the Canadian Nazi party and started a website about it, talking about how non-white people should be exterminated. The Human Rights Tribunal got wind of it and
  1. ordered him to stop spreading hatred
  2. turned off his website
  3. fined him 4000 dollars.
Fortunately, it looks like nobody actually took him seriously. The messages posted on his website appeared to be all from him. Still, the things that the tribunal would allow the press to print were disgusting enough. I don't want to think about what they kept quiet.

When notice of the hearing was delivered to this moron, he hid in his house and wouldn't answer the door. What happened to being "in the right" and "fighting for what you believe in"? Apparently, he doesn't believe as strongly in his cause as his website would have us believe.

Also, when the journalist tried to reach him for comment, he couldn't get ahold of the guy. So apparently he's not only an idiot but a coward.

What ever happened to the amusing redneck idiot who would spout off on some daytime talkshow so that Geraldo could break a chair on his head? Now we've got these morons skulking in the shadows, talking about how they're stronger and better? Gimme a freaking break.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dead and Buried by Howard Engel

I've always liked Benny Cooperman. He's not your run-of-the-mill Private Investigator. He likes things a certain way. I've never read anything about him punching anyone out. He'd rather avoid trouble, it seems.

But he's a bright guy who knows what's what and he can get to the bottom of a mystery. I guess if he couldn't, Engel wouldn't have written so many books about him.

Engel tackles toxic waste dumping in Dead and Buried. Not so much from a preachy point of view, but then, I'm guessing we're all pretty against it, so preaching would not do him much good. Cooperman is against it but doesn't like to think about the environment. It keeps him up at nights. The book was published in 1990, so I guess the writer could get away with a sentiment like that. I can't imagine a protagonist being accepted in this day and age if he had any opinion of the environment other than "We have to save it!"

In the end, surprise, surprise, it's the big corporation that's been doing the toxic dumping, and the big boss is behind it and the murders of some people who've been digging around. But never fear, Cooperman will save the day.

I don't know enough about how high society works or how big business works to know how realistic this novel is but it doesn't have to BE realistic, it just has to FEEL realistic. And it does. Good job, Engel.

The Failed Facebook Experiment - or - I was gone, but now I'm back.

I will admit it: I've spent too much time on Facebook. But I've had it. I wasn't getting any social networking done, just browsing people's profiles to see what was new with them.

My one attempt at social networking fell on its face, leaving me with my desire to play hockey intact and ashes in my mouth regarding Facebook.

Still, I persevered, I put in my time, but I kept getting added by people I barely knew and others who I didn't really like. I didn't mind it when Facebook was a dozen or so friends who were still relevant in my life but it ballooned out of control so I would log in, look at some groups, look at some people and log out. I wasn't contributing, I wasn't creating, I was just wasting time.

Instead, I'm going to waste time here, putting posts up on my blog like I should have been doing all along.

After all, I've read 16 books this year and I think I'm shy 14 write-ups. I just hope I can remember what happened in what book.

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