jmc_bks: (Polaroid Brad/Ray by meeks00)
I posted over at WordPress about 50/50. In short -- I liked it, especially the music, but wasn't thrilled with the handling of the girlfriend and failing relationship.

I also posted about books that I thought about buying today but left in the store.

Most Importantly: Rocktober has begun at [livejournal.com profile] we_pimpin.  Today's pic post has me trying to reduce to paper the thief AU that's been bouncing around in my head.  We'll see how that goes.
jmc_bks: (meninas)
Coming soon:  a review of Hello Kitty Must Die by Angela S.Gina Choi.  In short: it was awesome.  Longer version later.

Check out Steve Tignor's love letter to Madrid.  Between that and FortyDeuce's tweets, I've been wishing I was in Madrid this week, enjoying the tennis and Retiro Park and stopping for a tart or sweet from La Mallorquina in the Puerta del Sol.

The Dairy Queen commercial for ice cream cakes for Mother's Day seriously squicks me -- it's the bubbles filled with kittens.  They remind me of a scene in Bujold's Cetaganda, in which that idiot Ivan plucks fruit from a kitten tree, only to realize that since it wasn't ripe, he'd essentially killed a fetal kitten.  Ick ick ick.  There's a lot of subtext and ethical undercurrents to the Cetagandan genetic manipulation and scientific experiments, but that image of a dead kitten made me ill when I first read it.  I have to skip that scene when I re-read the book.

Have I mentioned how much I like Panic's The Ballad of Mona Lisa?  Also, I have a ticket (via The Biochemist) for their show as part of the DC101 cook-off/festival at RFK in a couple of weeks...but it turns out I have a graduation party at the same time :(
jmc_bks: (Stupid)
Check out "Backbone", a previously unpublished piece of short fiction from David Foster Wallace in The New Yorker.  It's about a boy whose goal from age six is to press his lips to every inch of his own body.  (That's not a spoiler, I think, since it's revealed in the opening sentences.)  It's beautifully written and thought-provoking, but also creepy and disturbing IMO.  The boy and his father are both contortionists, one physically and one emotionally, and they are torturing themselves, although the boy is doing so systematically and with medical caution and guidance.  And yet they blend right into their community without a ripple.

Anna Holmes' op-ed piece in the New York Times about misogyny in media through the filter of that CBS sitcom and its asshat lead actor is very good, too.  I don't watch the show -- it's not funny to me -- and I'm avoiding as much media about it as I can, because I find it disgusting that mainstream media is pandering to this drug-addled, violent, egomaniacal loser.
jmc_bks: (Dimple by hawsome)
I think everyone should go read [livejournal.com profile] queeniegalore  's fic On Hard Ground.  She wrote it for me as part of a charity auction for the Queensland flood relief and it is gorgeous.  You don't have to have watched or read Generation Kill or know anything about the fanon or canon to get it.  I'm all flaily because it is awesome and makes my heart hurt to read and yet I had to read it and re-read it.  Beautiful, damaged boys in love.
jmc_bks: (flaming june)
I have a book review of sorts to post later for SBD, but first, I wanted to share some links and videos.

Er, also, today is the deadline for AAR's Top 100 voting.  I couldn't be arsed to list 100 books.  Really, I get lost after the first 20 or so.  But it's always interesting to see what other people through were the best of romance to date.  When the list is published, I'll give my opinion book by book, just to compare my taste with the standard/average reader taste.


Now, onto the links and videos.

First, okay, government cheese, yes, whatever, plus the farm subsidy, which needs to be seriously reconsidered.  But now the federal government is pushing the consumption of even more cheese?  

Second, courtesy of Bill in Exile, is this very funny video explaining the Fed's retarded fiscal policy, quantitative easing.

Next, a while ago TBC and I discussed how we preferred different versions of songs, live vs. album vs. covered by others.  For example, Green Day's Whatshername on the album is pretty good but not my favorite song and the version of the cast album is ~meh~ to me.  And yet I love this version from the AOL Sessions (despite all the guyliner John Gallagher Jr. is sporting):





And last, seriously, would you ever guess that this guy was a governor?

Photo courtesy of Midnight Sun.

His band, O'Malley's March, played local gigs before his political career kicked into high(ish) gear, first as mayor of Baltimore then governor of Maryland.  I heard on the radio that last year they played at the Baltimore Irish Festival, so I'm assuming they still fit some performances in with the busy gubernatorial schedule. 

Please vote

Nov. 1st, 2010 06:42 pm
jmc_bks: (TDS)
 Courtesy of BIE:


jmc_bks: (bashful)
+  The cat and my wallet have been traumatized.  I noticed last week that she was panting for no good reason, which was odd.  And then I noticed it again a couple more times.  Off to the vet we went this morning.  It was ugly.  Howling and panting all the way there in the car, even though it was a short ride.  Followed by hissing, spitting, biting, and scratching.  Eventually the vet's assistant had to corner her and scoop her up into a plastic tub fitted with a little spigot-like tube, which they use to give nervous pets gas.  Once that was done, they took X-rays and bloodwork.  Given her age (12!), she may have a thyroid problem.  We'll know tomorrow when the bloodwork comes back.   Then she and my wallet will be traumatized all over again :(

+  The vet's office had a huge display of books and comics of L.Ron Hubbard.  Some appeared to be fictional and others to be motivational or inspirational.  I'm not sure what that says about the vet, or if I even want to know.  The display did seem a bit out of place next to the shelves of pet toys and bags of dog food.

+  Why must Rafa, Verdasco, Lopez, and Ferrer all be in the same quarter at the US Open?  Almagro, Granollers, Garcia-Lopez, and Robredo are in Murray's quarter.  Djokovic has no Spaniards in his quarter, while Federer has Juan Carlos Ferrero and Montanes.  It's as if the Open is out to decimate the Spanish Armada, although that may just be the downside of having so many players in the top 50.  Also, why doesn't the app include the qualifying information?  Qualies were going on this past week, but the app isn't active until Monday.  :(

+  Other than Mockingjay, which I'm still thinking about and re-reading, I haven't read anything new this week.  

+  There is an interview with K.A. Mitchell over at Jessewave's.  Hey, that reminds me that I need to check and see when No Souvenirs will be out in print, because I want a print copy to go on my bookshelf.  ETA:  January, 2011.

+  The MARC train has a page now that tracks its on time performance for each train on a daily basis.  I'm very curious about how they define "on time", since one of the trains they list with that status was actually about 10 minutes late by my watch.
jmc_bks: (meninas)
DC Restaurant Week has been announced.  I love it -- fixed price menus at restaurants that normally would be "occasion" destinations.  Lunch at Acadiana and Rasika (repeats), dinner at Adour and Vidalia (never been).  My wallet will be empty but my stomach and taste buds full.  

Went to ArtScape on Saturday.  It was beastly hot, but I manned a booth in the Target Arts Park, making kites and hats with kids using mostly repurposed materials.  Wore my favorite new tee, which earned me mostly strange looks and comments about being brave to champion BP.  Uh, no, check the oil dripping from the emblem.  Clearly, I should've gone for the tee with the caption "We're bringing oil to American shores."  

A sexual linguistics study indicates that British accents are no longer considered that sexy.  Courtesy of Lynneguist.

An excerpt of K.A. Mitchell's next book from Samhain, Life, Over Easy, is up.  Being a Mitchell fan girl, I squee'd when I saw it and have created a reminder for myself so I can buy/download it on August 3rd.

Otherwise on the reading front, I'm stuck in a rut.  Read the Ilona Andrews story in the Dark and Stormy Knights UF anthology, otherwise, nothing new.  Have been re-reading Bujold's The Curse of Chalion, which I <3.  Am looking forward, though, in addition to the new K.A. Mitchell book, to the arrival of my copy of Tim Shorrock's Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, which was written way ahead of WaPo's new investigative expose.  




 
jmc_bks: (GK_Not Impressed)
Things that made me \o/ or :D today:

My refurbished Kindle has arrived!  I hadn't realized how much I missed CK (Cherry Kindle-ade) until I was holding her successor in my hands.  Must resend some content that I did not purchase through Amazon.  And think of a name.  And maybe buy a cover?  Forgot that Kindle 2.0 did not come with a case.  Hmm, does Despair do Kindle covers? 

My tickets to the US Open have been printed and mailed!  The Biochemist asked me today if I was going to the Legg Mason Classic in order to ogle Hot Sauce.  I'd decided no, being prudent and also because I feel like I'm hemorrhaging cash right now.  But really, how often will I have the opportunity.

Also, check this out.  It's almost as sweet and adorkable as Dinara Safina's chocolate cake vs. tennis clip from last year.

Things that made me /o\ today:

Janet Evanovich wants $50 million for four Stephanie Plum books?  Okay, I get that she still sells a lot of books, but I thought publishers were putting the kibosh on big payouts like that, given the tight economy, slowing sales, and high dollar flops they've suffered the last few years.  I dunno.  I'd be kind of disgusted by a demand that size no matter what the source; say if James Patterson or Nicholas Sparks or whomever wanted the same.  It's like Lebron James' contract.  Or Alex Rodriguez.  At a certain point, it just looks greedy, selfish and full of hubris.  Courtesy of several different publishing twitterers

And, courtesy of TeddyPig, RIAA:  keeping law firms in business!  $58 million in legal fees in order to combat piracy and collect a whopping $2 million in damages.  I get the idea of deterrence as a reason to keep fighting, but at some point the cost has to outweigh the deterrent effect...which seems kind of nil TBH.  

And lastly, after using four different blog posts on completely unrelated subjects, I got the following:


I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


Must test some of my work related writing to see if I get the same answer or if my professional writing style differs from my personal blog.
jmc_bks: (flaming june)
First, I missed the final of the French Open when it aired live, because I was doing touristy things in Ireland, but Nadal won, which made me \o/ 

And here's an interview in which he's totally adorkable.


If that video gets pulled, you can view it here.

Followed by this comic from XKCD, perhaps my favorite comic strip.



I'll be back later to write about what I've read lately, and maybe inflict vacation photos on you.
jmc_bks: (daffs)
It's that time of year again. March Madness! Opening day for MLB! No, the really important thing that happens this time each year for the last few year? The Washington Post's Peeps diorama contest. Check out this year's finalists, taking a close look at my faves, "Peeps and Prejudice and Zombies" and "Where the Wild Peeps Are". Other book-themed Peep tableux include Alice in Wonderland, Goodnight Moon, and Madeleine. There are also a lot of film scenes, current events and pop culture references, if you're interested.

On a happy note, my copy of Arianna Franklin's A Murderous Procession has arrived. And at just the right time. Although I still haven't finished Generation Kill, my fiction slump has broken, I think, courtesy of Patricia Briggs' Silver Borne, which was very good, if a little schmoopy and slightly lavendar in the very end.

Unrelated: why is the TV coverage of Miami's tennis tournament ending with the women's match tonight? The Tsonga/Nadal match isn't being aired anyplace that I can find locally. Must find a live stream.
jmc_bks: (Chocolate)
 Lately, xkcd has been my favorite comic.  And I love today's :)

Porn for women

And, courtesy of Meljean Brook, there really is a book titled Porn for Women that is full of mostly dressed (I think) men doing housework.  (Uh, really? Did that book actually sell?)
jmc_bks: (meninas)
I sort of like basketball.  In the sense that I'll leave the sound of it on in the background while doing other things.  And I'll go to a game to be social.  (After all, I've dragged people to baseball and football games; it's only fair to reciprocate.)  But March Madness leaves me a  little...meh.

So I appreciate the alternate bracket excitement offered by DA BWAHA, where 64 of the best books of the year battle it out for the top spot.

In past years, my bracket has been trashed early.  I selected the books that I enjoyed or those that I thought were better, rather than those that were most popular.  I haven't figured out what my strategy will be this year.  Am printing out the brackets and then stewing over them, picking as carefully as the people participating in the office pool usually do.  I may do a "favorites" version and a "realistic/popular" version.

Looking at the entrants, I haven't read a lot of them.  And those that I have read were not necessarily keepers, which just goes to show that everyone's taste is different.  Frex, in the contemporary category, of the eight, I've read or tried to read four of the books.  Two of them royally pissed me off; the other two were okay but not awesome.  I've only read two of the historicals, and thought they were both kind of average.  Again, two of the SFR/Para -- but I don't really remember much about them.  Two of the YA books: one was meh, the other was good, if not as good as its prequel.  (What is it about the second book of a trilogy?  And how did The Empire Strikes Back manage to avoid that slump?)  Only one of the Novel with Romantic Elements:  Grave Goods by Arianna Franklin rocked.  Only one of the category romances:  Marrying the Captain by Carla Kelly, which I loved.  I think I've got the Mayberry TBR, maybe I'll pull it out and give it a try...but unless it is amazing, Carla Kelly wins.  I've read five of the GLBT candidates, and picking from three of those (Hard Fall by James Buchanan, False Colors by Alex Beecroft, and Tigers & Devils by Sean Kennedy) will be hard -- my preference vs. the one with better buzz/popularity.  Read four of the urban fantasy entrants: not sure how that'll turn out.

Actually, after being eliminated early, I loved listening to (reading?) the trash talk going on between participants with better judgment than mine.  The prizes are pretty cool, too.
jmc_bks: (Nadasco - 08 Spain Davis Cup)
Saw Valentine's Day (the movie) this past weekend.  In a lot of ways it was a predictable romantic comedy.  The narrative style is like that of Love, Actually.  I imagine there are earlier movies that were more innovative, in terms of the mixed story lines, but that's the one that pops into mind.  (Love, Actually is better, I think.  Srsly, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy...it wins based on cast alone.)

Any romance reader would probably be entertained by the counting the typical genre tropes or stereotypes that were used:
  • first love and its tribulations
  • busy career woman too busy for love
  • successful career woman desperate for love who hates 2/14
  • player desperate to avoid commitment who hates 2/14
  • cheating bastard with wife and girlfriend
  • established couple who confront sudden relationship issue
  • friends to lovers
Here comes the spoiler part:

The storyline I enjoyed most, and which I TOTALLY did not see coming, was that of Sean Jackson (Eric Dane), the aging quarterback who is wondering about the next step in his professional career and bothered by the absence of his lover, who off-screen for most of the movie and shown only via the second toothbrush in the bathroom. (And presumably, who has left him.)  He calls a press conference when he's cut by his former team in order to announce not that he's signed elsewhere but that he's gay.  And he's going to keep playing football, because he's been playing for years as a gay man and the two things are not mutually exclusive.

His lover?  Well, I wasn't sure we'd see him in the film.  There were some threads that were about familial love or friendship rather than romantic love, and some characters who did not necessarily get an HEA.  (Queen Latifah's character, among others, frex.)  Plus, I'm still not sure how gay romance friendly mainstream Hollywood studios are, even in the aftermath of Brokeback Mountain.  So when a napping Jackson is awakened by a flower stroked across his cheek and the camera pans up the flower to his lover, Holden (Bradley Cooper), I was pleasantly surprised.  Most of the women* in the audience were startled enough to gasp or say "No way!" or something of the sort, but it made me grin like a fool.   

The axiom is that "art imitates life", but not so much in terms of that small story.  I do wonder though, when/if an active NFL player will come out?  A few have come out after retiring, but none while playing.  But, y'know, if a Welsh rugby player can do it, an American football player may...sooner or later.  (I'm guessing later.)

And on a happy note, same sex couples began lining up in DC to get their marriage applications today, even though they can't be married until next week.


*The theater was peopled by about 50 women...and 2 men.  When they first walked in, I wondered if they were in the wrong theater, because I let gender stereotypes about pop culture and romcoms rule my brain.  Bad JMC!

Unrelated:  saw the trailer for The Runaways.  May have to set aside my dislike for Kristen Stewart because Joan Jett is a rockn'roll heroine.  Also Sex & the City 2, for which I am not the target audience since I didn't watch the show or the first movie.  And Date Night, which could be funny because of Tina Fey or just awful because all the funny parts have already been shown in the trailer.
jmc_bks: (Chocolate)
Are you jonesing for Kate Daniels #4, Magic Bleeds?  Well, if you really want to torture yourself, go check out the snippet from Kate #5 that has been posted (perhaps for a limited time).
jmc_bks: (Forward momentum)
Hey, have you checked out the snippets of Silver Borne posted over at Hurog?  Part of Chapter 1 and another bit.  If you've been looking forward to the next Mercedes Thompson book, you should take a peek before Mike Briggs takes them down in anticipation of the release.

 
jmc_bks: (Chocolate)
The Computer Guy does not like chocolate; his favorite sweet is caramel.  A favorite dessert is dulce de leche.  Given a plain chocolate bar, he's not tempted at all.  Give him a box of chocolate covered caramels and he'll pick the chocolate off to get to the caramel.  But he loves brownies. His statement on this paradox: the baking of the brownies and other flavors added make them Not Chocolate, the concatenation of ingredients diluting and revising the essential chocolateness of the treat into something he loves.

Decided that he needed an All Edge Brownie Pan.  Because everyone knows the best pieces of each batch of brownies are the four corners, and the single edge pieces follow that closely.  Ordered it on the 11th.  On the 19th, wondered where it was and checked -- the UPS status said delivered on the 14th.  Um, no.  So I reported it missing.  On the 20th, Think Geek let me know that I replacement would be mailed on Monday by 2-Day Air.  It arrived yesterday --  that's right after only 1 business day.  

I've never had a bad experience shopping or shipping from Think Geek, but this was outstanding.  Think Geek absolutely rocks!

Forgot!

Oct. 15th, 2009 06:23 pm
jmc_bks: (Default)

My post about the "ever after" of the HEA is up at Readers Gab.

WaPo snub

Jul. 14th, 2009 09:44 am
jmc_bks: (blue)
So, the Washington Post had is having some sort of signing with La Nora earlier this week TODAY.  One of my colleagues received an automated invite because of a subscription and offered it to me, but I couldn't go.  [I'm assuming it was public?  I dunno.  I figured it was timed for this week because of RWA.]  Anyhow, I find this review of Black Hills to be rather unfortunately timed and a slap in the face, given the RWA presence in DC this week, which surely is going to bring a lot of tourist dollars, and the sponsorship of whatever the event.

Could Corrigan have been any more pompous and condescending?  Cultural gatekeeper, my ass.

While Black Hills will not be in my Top 10 Nora Roberts books, it was by no means a bad read.  Nor did it merit so much speculation about the lives and expectations of romance readers, or the snide aside about Roberts' "Dickensian" success.

You know, there is a reason that people don't read newspaper book reviews:  because reviewers who presume to be cultural gatekeepers (pretentious literary snobs) don't review stuff that people are actually interested in reading (and buying).


jmc_bks: (Chocolate)
Somehow, the dessert doesn't sound so enticing, now that I've read about a guy who fell into a vat of melted/melting chocolate and died.

Courtesy of The Biochemist. 

Of course, after being appropriately horrified about the poor guy's death, we both wondered: what do you do with the chocolate now?  It can't be used to make hot chocolate, since it is presumably "contaminated" for use in food preparation of any sort.

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