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August 2011
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October 2011

And then the moths attacked

This is our library/music room.  We recently moved this nice, wool rug to this room and had the components of not one but two drum kits sitting on it.  Because rugs are good for drum kits.  It prevents them from sliding all over the room while you hit them.    

Moth attack 004 edited

These are the fucking clothes moths.

Moth attack 004 edited

...that decided the rug would be a tasty snack.

Moth attack 004 edited

I admit, the library/music room is a side room; it is not visited regularly, especially during the summer because we don't have any air conditioning and it is fucking hot upstairs.  But since I had a brand new drum kit I was setting up, and time to practice with Chance in school, I was popping in and out more often.

I HAD noticed one or two moths flittering around the house but I thought they were flour moths (easily remedied because everything flour-like was in plastic containers) or moths from outside, because we are in the final heat wave of indian Summer where the bugs know that Fall is truly about to start so they start hightailing their thoraxed fannies inside the house.

Obviously, the moths found a fucking smorgasbord in the rug.

More damage. I can't even show you how many holes were in the poor victim.

Moth attack 001

I eradicated the little bastards (after carrying drum sets up and down the stairs in record heat!), but a few always escape.  The only other place in the house where wool or silk exist is in my clothes closet! 
 
Obviously, this means war. 


Book Review: A Critical Loss of Balance

I'm completely fascinated by the way in which the publishing world is changing.  I've been watching the new unfold and the old morph with baited breath.  So when I was recently given a copy of the self-published book A Critical Loss of Balance by Mark E. Shaver, I was very interested in giving it a read.   Especially since this is not the first self-published book I've read, but I think it's the first mainstream fiction one I've read. Everything else I've read that has been self-published has been a little more artsy/indie.


Mark Shaver A Critical Loss of Balance
is a thriller/mystery featuring a man, Cliff Elliot, who's young daughter is kidnapped.  I was immediately apprehensive because as a parent I find I have a really hard time reading these type of stories now.  But good news, the daughter is returned!  (And that's not a spoiler alert because it happens right at the beginning of the story.)  However, the circumstances under which he gets his daughter back are so unexpectedly traumatic that father Cliff finds himself a changed man; going from very mild-mannered and non-confrontational to one who is secretly obsessed with revenge. This is the impetus for the remainder of the book's story.

Overall, the action was very good and was the strongest element of the book; I thought the sequence of action was well thought out and it flowed well.  Even though I felt there were a few moments of stilted dialogue and set-up early in the beginning, perhaps from rewrites, the book really hit its stride about a third of the way in and at that point I became engaged.  However, I had mixed feelings about the character development.  The only characters that I thought were truly developed were the protagonist, Cliff, and the villain, kidnapper Aaron.  Aaron's character was quite fascinating and I think the author did a really good job of giving him a distinguishing voice and a picture of his character.  On the other hand, the depiction of the police as bumbling stereotypes didn't add anything to the book.  At times the police incompetence actually annoyed me because it was stretching the bounds of credibility.  There was one particular scene that I literally rolled my eyes at where the chief of police is impressed because someone knew how to email a video screen shot. Even basic police detective procedures are farther along than that.  I also would have liked to see a little more development in some of the minor characters; there was a lot of potential merely hinted at that took a backseat to the action. However, in this genre I think that's something to be expected. 

In general I think it's a decent read, especially if you like this type of cat and mouse action.  My hat's off to Mr. Shaver... this is his third book and he's currently working on a fourth. It takes bravery to write, much less all the work that goes into self-publishing as well.

My only caveat to the brave new authors of self-publishing is... don't try to edit a book completely by yourself. Or let a machine proofread for you!  As someone who used to have to edit and proofread all sorts of written materials, from books to pamphlets, my rule used to be no fewer than three sets of eyes looking over a piece.  Preferably more.  And they can't just be anyone's eyes either, pick people who know what they're doing.  There were a number of typos and errors in the book and they grew more frequent the farther into the book you read.  It's incredibly hard to proofread your own work, even if you've worked as an editor, and most of these mistakes were ones a spellcheck or someone unfamiliar with print standards would miss.  I think it's totally worth hiring an outside an editor to check your work.  Just my two cents.

If you're interested in checking out A Critical Loss of Balance or learning more about the author you can look him up on Amazon or on his website


Is it just me or are children's games getting more and more dumbed down?  As we move into fall I've noticed the holiday toy commercials are already getting more air frequency.  Some of these games are just... how do I put this?... OK, one of these "games" involves kids rolling dice and then yanking on a dog's tail until poop comes out.  I think it's intended as educational.  Now I'm no expert but the one unfortunate time I pulled a dog's tail I did not get poop.  I did not even want poop.  What I did get?  Well, shit would have been better and from that moment on I learned to be respectful of a dog and his nether regions.  Besides being incredibly misleading I also don't see how that game is supposed to keep kids occupied longer than the ten minutes they'll spend giggling over "poop".  Games are supposed to involve steps and goals and complicated rules and take up at least 45 minutes before someone has a meltdown and kicks the board!  That is what they are for!  And what about when that playdoh-y crap starts gunking up the dog's intenstines?  Am I supposed to foot that vet bill?  I don't think so.

Although, I suppose this game is still a step above the one with the pig where you feed it until it explodes, grinning the whole time. Unless it's exploding bacon and pork chops I don't see how it's teaching children anything realistic. 


Generators don't get it

This is the sound of my writer's block...

I was fooling around with online poetry generators just for fun and oh my god, are they awful! I know half of them are meant to be funny, but there's some that seem to be halfway serious. Or mocking the whole poetry world as an artform.  Really mocking.  Meanly.  It's kind of disheartening, actually.  I understand that a lot of people have a really hard time understanding poetry, but it's not so inaccessible as all that.  Why are music and lyrics so easy?  Why is booty shaking supported as art, but poetry is mocked?

gah.

I started this post off as something funny and it turned on me. Cheer me up, R.E.M.

Improv time. Anyone want to throw me a few random words and I'll see what I can come up with?  Because it's gotta be better than this...

Love is a old lad.
Sharks travel like rough whales.
Desolation, desolation, and life.
Winds fall!
Oh, faith!


I am merely a victim

I think Awkward. is my new favorite teen show.  You know I'm addicted to shows way below my age demographic.  I haven't even watched MTV in years, but suddenly I'm hooked on Teen Wolf (which, omg, how could I NOT check that show out?! At least once. I am an 80s kid) and Awkward.  Especially because Awkward. is fucking hilarious.  It's quickly reaching My So Called Life status but, you know, funnier.  I could tell I was hooked when I would tape the show (wait, no one says "tape" anymore, do they? Record) and then keep watching it over and over again. Not all in one sitting. What am I, deranged? No, instead of erasing it immediately like all my other shows I keep it around and then watch it again when I feel like laughing.  I hope it's not going to be one of those short season shows.  I feel like it deserves more than a cheapsky eight episodes, you know?  Why I do I suddenly feel like I'm babbling uncontrollably at the boy I like at the kegger I snuck out of the house for?

Deep breaths.  Anyway, because we were traveling and busy over the summer I ended up with this huge backlog of taped recorded television. I mean, seriously, it was a little scary.  Which kind of helped clarify that 1) there are shows I've totally lost interest in (I'm so over you Secret Life of the American Teenager) and 2) I'm watching way too many shows.  However, I don't think this is entirely my fault.  See, when the networks decide to test the waters by making that 8 or 12 episode season and they suck me in I'm fully expecting other short seasons in the future.  They're kind of refreshing, like a little TV aperitif.  But when they blow up into a full meal, especially one crammed over the short summer season, it's kind of like when you get dragged to your Aunt Mabel's house on Thanksgiving "just to drop in"and you end up having second dinner.

That's TV weight gain, my friend.  TV weight gain.