30 July 2008

Food Science

I read another book by Russ Parsons, How to Read a French Fry. It is a book about the science of food with a lot of yummy sounding recipes. He covers the scientific process of frying, the chemistry and physics of vegetables and fruits and meats and even pastries. It is really cool. I didn't know why i always suck at cooking fries but now i do: i always use brand new oil. i never save it because i hardly ever fry anything but apparently that is the trick; even a couple tablespoons of old oil makes new stuff work better. i am actually tempted to try some sort of pastry now as the crust on tarts are actually easier to make than the crust for pies! I do recommend this one, it's a 6. This was a library book but i am going to buy it for the recipes and knowledge.

in other news, i got my Obama yard sign yesterday. i have no yard, so it will be fastened to my balcony in some fashion.

26 July 2008

True Crime

So Thursday night i finished The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale. I don't normally read true crime stories as it can feel very voyeuristic but this one is about a very old crime. Another book that I can't remember what made me put it on my library list, it is the story of a child's murder in 1860's Victorian England. A middle class family has their 3 year old child killed and it quickly becomes obvious that it must have been a member of the family. Whicher is a founding member of Scotland Yard's police detective bureau who the local police call in 2 weeks after the crime occurs. Even with the delay, he eventually solves the case to his own satisfaction but, as his solution doesn't fit with what the locals believe, the case isn't prosecuted at that time. Whicher goes somewhat downhill, only being involved with one more murder case which is also not prosecuted.

One really great part of the book is that it talks about the sensation the murder and arrests caused. The book is about the beginning of tabloid journalism in a way. Various public figures, including Charles Dickens, put forth their own theories; each different newspaper seems to promote a different suspect as the killer.

I'd recommend this one if you like the Victorian setting and a bit of crime history. We do get an answer to the crime but it isn't exactly complete. I give it a 5.

23 July 2008

something gross

what kind of kids are we raising where we have to chop up perfectly good shrimp, add mac and cheese flavor and breading and deep fry the concoction to make them eat it? They also have something called "shrimp fries" and various other "minced shrimp products". ugh.

22 July 2008

1 book for 2 challenges

One thing about not having internet or cable temporarily is that i've been reading at home. Turn on the music and lay out on the couch type reading which i haven't done recently. I finished a book i didn't like yesterday, Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. My first by this author has made me a touch apprehensive about reading Atonement which i won recently off another blog. It does give me a couple for various challenges though. The basic story is that two men, Clive, a composer, and Vernon, a newpaper editor and a name that only causes me to picture the mean uncle in Harry Potter, are lifelong friends who are both affected by the death of their former lover Molly Lane. She was a person of vibrancy and love that dies from some wasting disease that quickly destroys her mind. So the two men make a pact that if either of them are in that situation the other will help them kill themselves. You can kinda see where it might go from there.

The problem i had with it was that neither guy was the slightest bit likable. they're both the sort of middle aged over priviledged white man that i can't stand to be around. The most interesting character is Molly who we never actually meet. Luckily this was really short, 195 paperback sized pages so i didn't feel bad about powering through it. you spot the ending coming 2 miles away and you don't really care too much. I give this one a 3.

21 July 2008

Historicalish Fiction

I was able to take yesterday afternoon off from unpacking or shopping and just napped and read. It was so worth it. I was able to finish up one book and read a novella. Nothing for any of my challenges, just trying to work through the library stack.

The book was A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron. It takes place in Victorian England in 1861, just before and after Prince Consort Albert dies. The Queen calls Fitzgerald, a lawyer who had once defended a would-be assassin, to recant the man's defense. As that case is over 20 years old Fitzgerald is perplexed. Georgie is a female doctor who consulted with the Prince about his son, who has hemophilia. The story was fine, well-paced, and had some decent twists and turns. I like the characters of Georgie and Fitzgerald. But i felt like this book was the middle of a series that I hadn't read before. Several things get a quick explanation, the type of by-the-way-in-case-you-forgot reminder you get in series. I would say that it is a 5 and i may go ahead and read some of the author's Jane Austen mysteries.

The novella was Lyra's Oxford by Philip Pullman. It was nice to dip back into Pullman. A little tale that takes place 2 years after she's separated from Will, Lyra and Pan find a witch's daemon that says he is searching for a man who can save his witch. There's a bit of adventure and some suggestions of what may come in another story. I have put Once Upon a Time in the North on my library list now. For some reason that book was not on any backorder but i had to wait a couple months for Lyra's Oxford. I would say that I don't know if I'll buy it, at least not a cover price. It was a 5 as well but i do wish it was longer.

19 July 2008

My Apartment

So I am still covered in boxes. My kitchen and bathroom stuff is all settled but i don't have enough shelves for the book situation. so i have all these open boxes around the apartment each half full of books. To the pics!



The living room area.


The dining room.


My lovely 70's bathroom.


Blurry, tired me. R was messing with the camera.

18 July 2008

Fucking A Plus Shit

Go see the Dark Knight. right now. get on fandango, get some tickets, especially if you can get IMAX tickets and go see it.

Seriously

I so mean it. 777!


also, there was a Watchman preview in front of it.


Revisionist Lit

I finished up Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys this morning. This falls under the What's in a Name challenge and also the 1% challenge. It has been a loooooong time since i read Jane Eyre and i can't remember if i liked the Rochester character or not. I remember liking Jane. Now, I really really think he's a dick. Sea is about the crazy attic lady from Jane Eyre. Her name is Antoinette. She's not crazy, not really, she's just been used, abused and dragged from her home and locked away. Rochester's super rich at the end, getting both Antoinette's money and his own father's estate, and has no reason to do what he does. He could let Antoinette go, yet he doesn't. The writing and descriptions of Jamaica and the tropics are lush and dreamy. I just can't decide if i liked the book. I am giving it a 4 as a preliminary but i may decide to change it. I am also bumping Jane Eyre to the top of my reread list.

17 July 2008

One finished and Update

Have no internet access at home right now so I've not been able to update with pics from the new place yet. Am at work now so i can get online for this and email and etc but I'll have to drag the computer to Starbucks tomorrow to put up a real post. About everything that has a place to go into is unpacked leaving me with 10 or so boxes labeled "Books" and no where to put them. Have to buy shelves.

It has been weird unpacking. I threw everything in boxes last october and have found perfectly good tennis shoes that i had forgotten about, a couple of shirts i never wore and now are too big and bathroom stuff that has expired now. What is weird is what i do and do not have. Had: shower curtain and hooks. Don't have: bathroom trashcan. Have: 2 different sorts of teapots, coffee maker, silverware. Don't have: can opener, colander, kitchen towels. I think i let R have more stuff than i should have. I felt really guilty at the time and i think i divided stuff a bit unevenly. Of course, i was hoping at the time we'd get back together too and wouldn't have to worry about buying this stuff anyway.

To the Book! Finished up Roger Zelazny's My Name is Legion. It is really a sort of James Bond novel set on a sci-fi hanger. 3 interlocked stories describe the adventures of a man with no name; he contracts work through a private detective who sometimes needs things done WAY off the record. The second 2 are more murder mystery stories and the first is about corporate sabotage. I liked it well enough. The character himself was more interesting than the plot in the second story. The third story "Home is the Hangman" is about AI, robot sentience, and philosophy and was definitely my favorite. overall a 4, but Hangman is a 6.

11 July 2008

Almost out of Narnia

So, since there was some kind of run on The Silver Chair by CS Lewis I actually requested it from the library. Got it earlier this week and finished it up last night. I have to say i think this is probably my second favorite so far. The Horse and His Boy was probably best, then this one then Prince Caspian. No Pevensies in this one but we follow their cousin, Eustace, who we met in Dawn Treader and his friend Jill as they search for Caspian's long lost son Rilian. The EVE-ILL witch is back with a new plot to take over Narnia, which the Prince and the children foil. This one is a 6.

So i am moving this weekend and will be in my own apartment from now on. YAY!!!

07 July 2008

today

hmm i share a birthday with Robert Heinlein and David Eddings. And Jorja Fox, Yule Brenner and Ringo Starr. And Michelle Kwan. And Satchel Paige. And Pierre Cardin. And the dude who played Lurch on the Addams Family show.

06 July 2008

Mister B

Work was relatively slow today so I read Mister B Gone by Clive Barker. I've found his stuff to be hit or miss; the Abarat books are lovely, as is The Thief of Always. Books of Blood are creepy good but i couldn't even make myself finish Coldheart Canyon. So I wasn't sure what to expect with this one.

The premise is that a demon is trapped in the pages of the book. In exchange for his story he begs, threatens, pleads and tempts the reader with happiness to burn the book to release him from it. The story of how he becomes trapped is interesting but the threats and pleadings get old quickly. The emotions of Mister B for his demon companion Quitoon are really well written. The image of bearing torture just to see your lover's smile or feel their touch is weirdly romantic. Made me almost wistful. This book gets a 4/7.

05 July 2008

More Atheism, kinda

I completed a more scholarly work today. Breaking the Spell, by Daniel C Dennett, is a study of religion as a natural phenomenon, like language and other cultural aspects. He asks a lot of deep questions about the evolution of religion.

This one was really dense. It was ok, a 4, and not as informative as I had hoped. It is a book of a lot of questions about what we don't know about religion. One thing that I did like was that at the end of each chapter he gives a little recap and sums up what he's talking about.

Watched The Happening and yes, it kinda sucked. The premise was great but the dialogue was horrible. R and I could have written a better film. Seriously, it is the type where we see the characters walking through a field towards a house and one stops and says "hey guys look! a house!" It is a 3.

As for life, things seem to be going well. Feeling better, moving next week, getting stuff done i hope. I am taking a yoga class and really like it so far.