Sunday, July 31, 2011

Organization: Necklaces

I don't own a huge number of necklaces. What I need an intervention for is earrings! But I did want a way to organize the necklaces I do have without buying a $100 jewelry armoire tall enough to hold them. I decided to go cheap - and this is what we have!


I'm looking for material to place on the back, but I'm pleased with the look already. I didn't go for the more expensive silver board I use for my pins (upcoming pics!) Instead of regular thumbtacks, I purchased extra large ones at Wal-Mart (their brand) in black and white, because I use black framed artwork in my bedroom. This means I didn't have to squeeze the necklaces between a small pin and the board (as I've seen in some tutorials), but could hang them gently on the large pins.

Despite being a big girl, I prefer shorter to longer necklaces. The cork board technique is perfect for these. Amazingly, my cats don't throw themselves at it when the fan's on, which was a pleasant surprise!

I love getting necklaces down at Pier Park in Panama City Beach, FL. The park's a lovely and friendly place, kept clean. I don't get down there a lot since I'm no longer a Floridian, but it's definitely worth the drive. Sadly, the REST of PCB is something of a mess these days, especially during Spring Break season. Fish Tales is the store in question. Most of my necklaces which didn't come from my Maw's collection came from there. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

06: The 19th Wife

The play opened last night, and even for a one-scene character, it's a long time and a lot of work! Hopefully I can get some pics...but we have a matinee and an evening performance, so who knows?! Hey hey hey, looks like I made a few!

The 19th Wife
Avid Eberschoff
Published: 2009

Why?: My friend Brenda (she’s like a friend-in-law, because she’s my mother’s best friend and I claim her too!) lent us a pile of books because she knows the way to our hearts. Out of the pile, this is the one that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The two stories meld together seamlessly, and the parallels between a modern gay man and a 19th century polygamist bride are drawn without preaching or shoving it down your throat. This is an engrossing novel both in the modern day murder mystery and the fictionalization of a real woman of the past.


The 19th Wife follows two storylines: the first is about a Lost Boy – a boy kicked out of polygamist sects, apparently to lower the competition for young brides. Now a young man on the streets, Jordan Scott finds out that his mother has been arrested for the murder of his father. Deftly intertwined with this modern-day narrative is the story of Anne Eliza Young, revealed through everything from Wikipedia entries to diary excerpts.

Bonus Trivia:
This book was turned into a movie by Lifetime TV, but I haven’t seen it.

Perfect For: Ages 17+


Yes, Bob's tongue is sticking out. This could be because I interrupted his reading, or it COULD be that he wanders around like this all the time.

Genres: Fiction, Novel
Keywords: Drama, History, Mystery

Friday, July 29, 2011

Organization: Goodwill

In the process of getting the house ready for most of the flooring being replaced, we've chosen to act like we're moving. We've donated boxes of books, bags of clothes, collections of toys, and even some furniture! This is our latest collection waiting to be carried off. We did not intend to give Fred away. That seems to be his idea.


This is what the office looked like while they were working on the bedrooms. The cats were torn between hating it because they detest change, and liking all the tall things to climb on.



Complete with necessary cat, of course. They're everywhere!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

05: Peter Beagle Short Stories

The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other Odd Acquaintances
The Line Between

Peter Beagle
Published: Various

Why?: Though Beagle is most famous for a novel, his short stories are often wonderful. Beagle’s poetic style works extremely well with his odd sense of humor and quirky characters. Each story has a twist of characterization that makes it a fun read, while the language takes it a step up from basic humor or fantasy. Most of the stories in these collections are older, collected from various SF and fantasy magazines.


The Line Between contains the award winning short story “Two Hearts.” It’s not actually my favorite from the collection, but it’s well-known because of its connection to his novel The Last Unicorn (which will appear on this list later!). My fave is "Gordon, the Self Made Cat," which is the hilarious story of a mouse who decides he wants to be a cat. Also included are "Four Fables" (also great fun), "El Regalo," "Quarry," "Salt Wine," "Mr. Sigerson" (a Sherlock Holmes story), and "A Dance for Emilia."


Of his collections, this is my favorite. My favorite story is “Come Lady Death,” which has a taste of “The Masque of the Red Death,” but with a much more gentle and creeptastic death character. Other stories include "Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros," "Lila the Werewolf," "Julie's Unicorn," "The Naga," "Telephone Call," and "My Daughter's Name is Sarah." There are also several essays: "Pittsburgh Stories," "Learning a Trade," "My Last Hero," "D.H. Lawrence in Taos," and "The Poor People's Campaign."

Beagle also released We Never Talked About My Brother, but the included stories were newer and seemed more rushed than the two I’ve suggested here.

Gist: These collection includes stories about unicorns (who look like rhinoceri), werewolves, an extraordinary mouse, and normal kids in their neighborhoods. Each introduces a character you’ll come to care about, and is a quick read when time is tight and the imagination needs some exercise.

Perfect For:
Ages 16+, Quirky types

My roomie's cat, Fred, is the snootiest looking feline in history.

Genres: Fiction, Short Story
Keywords: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Humor, Horror

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Organizing Comics..and Lovin' It!

SO you have a comic collection? I bet it's in those little plastic baggies, stuffed into cardboard boxes, right? If you've been collecting for more than a decade or so, they're probably in acidy, un-archival-safe bags, with old style cardboard backboards. So were mine...until recently.

I haven't seen much about these comic pages by BCW Supplies, but I think that's mostly because the comics industry is filled with either (a) kids who toss them in the bottom of closets or (b) traditionalists who HATE CHANGE! I, however, am loving these pages and the ability to make my collection more accessible (yes, I still read them from time to time!) as well as feeling like they're a lot safer.

Here we have the traditional style of organizing comics:
When I got my first scanning printer, I immediately made fancy labels for my LSH boxes. Clearly, my priorities are in order, right? I wonder how many years ago that was...hmm...

And here we have the notebook method. I still have three full boxes to convert, and it's not going to be a cheap process, but it's still worth it to me!:
On the shelf; the notebooks take about the same amount of space as the old boxes, but are easier to put on the shelf.

BCW makes special notebooks for use with their pages, but the notebooks are more expensive than these, which aren't exactly cheap (I wanted heavy duty and was picky about the...clamp? style - $8 a piece at Office Depot), and they only hold 20 comic pages a piece. While these binders are larger than strictly needed, I don't have to special order them and each can hold 30-50 comics, depending on how you place them in the sleeves.

The more delicate comics from the 60s I placed with only one comic per page. I also bought all new backing boards, making sure they're archival safe.

Here is my favorite old corny issue! I love you baby Brainiac 5! Awwww. On an unrelated note, no fun nail polish because we're in dress rehearsals for the play I'm singing in, and as a general rule sharecroppers in the 1910's didn't wear Funky Dunky. Go figure.

The newer issues, which are printed on thicker paper, I doubled up. There's plenty of room for two regular comics and a sleeve in each page. Of course, we'll have a NEW number one in October when DC does its full-reboot. Just to be confusing.

Naturally, the conversion process is being overseen by my feline assistants: Bronte and my roomie's cat Fred.


We prefer to think of Fred's mustache as a "reverse Chaplin," thanks. XD

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

04: Sphere

Ahhh all the flooring is now beautifully replaced! But oh, so difficult because *gasp* the wireless was unplugged and behind stuff and there was no internet access! HOW CAN I SURVIVE LIKE THAT?!

Luckily, it's back on now. Phew. I was starting to get the shakes!

I'll have to get pictures later because most of my books are in boxes. Heh. They just finished up the office today.

Michael Crichton
Published: 1987

Why?: In some ways, Sphere is similar to Crichton’s most famous work, Jurassic Park (a novel I also confess to enjoying): a group of scientists finds itself in an unusual situation. Sphere has a more likable cast, though, and I especially loved Norman, the psychiatrist. Norman has the feel of being a nice dude, an everyman. He’s not a dramatic or romantic leading man, but that’s where he appealed to me. There are also a good collection of strong female characters, given the science he offers for women surviving best in low pressure or dark situations. The story is plenty exciting and interesting, to boot, though cerebral. While this story is science fiction, and incorporates the science theory of the time as his other novels do, the feel of the novel is more that of a thriller. It delves into the human psyche in a fashion not unlike the Polish classic Solaris, but more successfully.

Gist: Years ago, psychiatrist Norman Johnson wrote a plan for dealing with the possibility of alien life on Earth. He never expected to actually be called to deal with the problem, much less deep underwater. Along with a team of scientists, he must explore a long-abandoned deep sea vessel of obviously alien origin.

Perfect For: 13+, SF fans, fans of the Abyss

Bonus Trivia:
Sphere was the eleventh work on Crichton's turned into a film (1998). They combined Norman with a skeevy off-screen professor in a way that turned me off to the movie. All in all, it is generally considered one of the worst adaptations of Crichton's work, along with Congo.

Genres: Fiction, Novel
Keywords: Science Fiction, Adventure, Drama

Sunday, July 24, 2011

03: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Mark Haddon
Published: 2003

Personal Story:
I read this novel more or less by accident. I was staying at my aunt’s house for a visit and, in classic fashion, everyone was asleep in the house while I was wide awake. I’d finished the book I’d brought along, and so I went surreptitiously poking around in the bedroom bookcase. Most of what is stored in that room is my uncle’s collection of religious texts, and I was in the mood for a novel. Propped unassumingly on top was a little orange book – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. As a well-established Sherlock Holmes nerd, the title caught my eye and I curled up in bed with it.

The title comes from the Holmes short story "Silver Blaze," though it's often incorrectly attributed to The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Actually, it turned out the book didn’t belong to my aunt and uncle – it belonged to a college student who sometimes stayed with them. Whoops!

This book dragged me in on the first page. Simply written, yet layered with meaning not clear to the narrator himself, it is a beautifully written “mystery” that I couldn’t put down until it was about time for everyone else to get up!

Gist: Christopher Boone knows all the prime numbers to 7,057. He likes dogs, but doesn’t understand the emotional ups and downs of people. He is autistic, a mathematical savant who can’t stand to be touched and sometimes has to escape into a world of white noise to escape the overwhelming information that comes at him in everyday life. When he finds that the neighbor’s dog has been brutally murdered, he determines to take on the case, unknowing that it will change his life forever.

While it’s extremely unlikely that any truly autistic child could sit down and write this novel, this is nevertheless a fascinating look into the special minds of autistic individuals. Told with empathy and understanding, as well as humor, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time helps us to understand that autism makes a person different, but not “stupid” or deserving only of pity. Haddon worked with autistic children in his youth, and his respect and affection for them shines through in this book.


Please forgive the blurry pictures. It's so blasted humid outside that I can't keep my lens from fogging over. -_- We'll pretend I purposefully went for the classic ST:TOS soft focus, yes?

A Bit of Trivia: There is a film adaptation in the works, but this is one of many books I adore but, because of the importance of the narration, I don’t think it could be nearly as effective as a movie.

Perfect For: Ages 15+, younger for more empathetic teens

Don't let Alfred fool you. He's generally much, MUCH too hyper to settle down and read a book. Sigh.

Genres: Fiction, Novel
Keywords: Drama, Mystery

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nails: Muppets by OPI!

Dude, is it November yet?

These pictures were released by OPI and are all over the web.

I heard about this collection via All Lacquered Up (a great site for nail polish dweebs like myself). She lists the colors as Animal-istic (Animal), Meep-Meep-Meep (Beaker), Wocka Wocka!(Fozzie), Pepe’s Purple Paassion, Designer…de Better! (Not sure...CLEARLY this should have a Rizzo name), Warm & Fozzie, Rainbow Connection, Fresh Frog of Bel Air(Kermit), and Gone Gonzo! (squee!). Miss Piggy, naturally, gets THREE colors: Excuse Moi!, Divine Swine, and Gettin’ Miss Piggy With It.

I don't care WHAT Gone Gonzo looks like, I'm buying it. YES. My love of Gonzo cannot be denied!

Sadly, I've been unable to find a close-up of Gonzo's color. :( And poor Rizzo is colorless!

Aha! ETA: Found images of Gone Gonzo here! Soooo tacky! I wants it!

The Muppets (movie) is one of the few blasts from my childhood I'm looking forward to as a new film (excuse me while I shudder at the thought of the upcoming Smurfs film). I adore the Muppets, and I'm looking forward to a movie that has more of the feel of Muppets Take Manhattan than the weak Wizard of Oz remake. While I have a lot of affection for both A Muppet Christmas Carol (the amount of lines straight from the novella make me grin!) as well as Muppet Treasure Island, the movies were at their best when the Muppets were living "normal" lives in the modern day.

Also, unlike My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake, Miss Piggy will NOT allow herself to be forced on a diet! She's keeping her hot bod, thanks! 0_~

Work it giiiirl!

Within a couple of days, I learned about the upcoming Legion/Star Trek crossover *and* the Muppets combined with OPI. This may be more than one woman can take!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

02: Who Killed Captain Kirk?

I wasn't planning to introduce a comic so early, but yesterday StarTrek.Com announced a crossover event between Star Trek and the recently unbooted Legion of Super-Heroes - the one comic series I love to distraction. I'm sure it'll be corny and possibly horrible but I don't care! I'm still at ubergeek excitement level at the moment!!

Who Killed Captain Kirk?
Peter David, Tom Sutton, and Ricardo Villagra
Published: 1993

It finally started raining down here, and now the grass needs cutting every five seconds or so.

Why?: I enjoy impressing people, from time to time, with my knowledge of Dante’s Inferno or one of the lovely speeches from Cyrano de Bergerac. I remember quoting such a speech at a dinner where a kind woman commented on how nice it was to meet young people (I was a teen at the time) who are versed in the classics. I didn’t tell her I knew the scene because of Barclay’s recitation of it during the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Nth Degree.” Nor am I likely to confess that I learned the levels of hell from reading Who Killed Captain Kirk in jr. high school! (Just as a note, I do have a degree in English lit now, so my nerdiness has grown)

See?! Into hell!

The Star Trek comics might not be great works of literature, but this storyline is a heckuva lot of fun. Not only does it take you through the levels of hell courtesy of an ill telepath, but it also comes with a murder mystery that ties back to the original series. This is certainly the best of the comic stories I know of, and a guilt-free, fun read for an afternoon.

AND EGADS all of the comics are available on DVD-ROM for SEVEN WHOLE DOLLARS on Amazon. It's a bit of a pain to navigate, but it's still fun!

Gist: Someone has murdered Captain Kirk – at least for a short time. As he recovers, the crew searches for answers. Hampering the investigation are an unusual wedding, a seriously ill telepath taking over the ship, suspicion among the crew, and the discovery of an abandoned Klingon child.

So! I finally got the last word again. ~Leonard McCoy

Perfect For:
Trekkies, ages 12+

Bob the Shaved Pom was determined to look totally doofy in his book shot. Dooooofy doofy doofy!

Genres: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Keywords: T.V. Tie, Science Fiction


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Theater! ...And Packing

I wish I could post some shots of rehearsals for the local production I'm helping with, but I neglected to ask for permission, so instead I will blather about how FANTASTIC it is that all the flooring is being replaced in the house next week!

When my mother built this house, she apparently smoked something recreational - I mean, took temporary leave of her senses - because she installed off white carpeting in the entire house (a nice addition to the bright white walls). When I moved back to my hometown and she asked me to be her roomie and share expenses, I was all for it (vacations, anyone?!) but this carpet...


No carpet.


So after 12 years in the house, all the evil carpeting is about to be replaced by non-carpeting. In preparation for this, all photos and knicknacks are now piled precariously on the dining room table (my brother replaced the flooring in there a couple of Christmases ago).

Gomez approves of boxes he can be nosy in.

In the bedroom-I-turned-into-an-office, there are both built in bookshelves and some I finished and used in my own places. The non-built-ins have been emptied for easier moving, and it's a sad sight. :( Poor empty shelves.

Check out my mad staining skillz!

But I get to reorganize my books when I put them up again, and I always love that!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

01: The Princess Bride

I decided to go ahead and start up my restructured posts, since it turns out I won't be out of town quite as much as I thought!

Fred is my typing assistant, today, but Bronte is the cat who felt she needed to help me get pictures.

The Princess Bride
William Goldman

Published: 1973

Bronte enjoys snuggling up with my favorite edition of The Princess Bride.

Personal Story: When I decided to abandon sanity and recommend 365 books in 365 days, The Princess Bride informed me immediately that it would be first on the list. Nothing changed when I reorganized my brain for the 182 list; not that this would surprise anyone whose known me for more than five minutes! I first read The Princess Bride when I was 13 years old. I fell immediately and irrevocably in love. I read it now about once a year, whenever I’m feeling down. Sometimes, it’s the entire book, sometimes it’s just the highlights. I’ve found it’s fairly impossible to remain down in the dumps when you’re reading about Inigo and Fezzik’s adventures in the Zoo of Death, or the Man in Black’s successes against three semi-evil kidnappers. As a special bonus, I also discovered several years ago that I had inadvertently memorized the entire first page, a useful skill for amusing people at parties, right? (The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette..) My students find this both awesome and hilarious.

The only possible downside to this novel is the addition, at the 25th anniversary, of the first chapter of an unwritten (and hopefully never-written) sequel, Buttercup's Baby. Avoid it. It's bad stuff.

Gist: The Princess Bride is a story of adventure, romance, action, and humor. Almost everyone I know has seen the movie and loved it. I always tell them the same thing: read the book! Everyone’s story is deeper and richer than even the excellent film could contain. Buttercup, the most beautiful woman in the world, and her lost love Westley will pull at your heartstrings and bring along the giggles. The backgrounds of sword wizard Inigo and the giant Fezzik are the best parts of the book, and Humperdinck is a delightful villain.

The book begins with the frame story, which takes a bit of getting through. Goldman claims that his father read him this book, but only the “good bits,” leaving out all the boring historical descriptions. Scattered throughout the text of the story are Goldman’s brilliant editing comments and personal remembrances, which add another layer to an already excellent narrative.

Bonus Trivia: Goldman has only admitted once, during a small interview that doesn't even have an existing recording, that he wrote The Princess Bride. Every other time, he's talked about his respect for S. Morgensterns's story!

Perfect For: Ages 12 and up to infinity; people with a need for a pick-me-up or a quirky sense of humor

Genres: Fiction, Novel
Keywords: Humor, Romance, Adventure, Fantasy

These shots are from my well-loved favorite edition. I love it for not having the addition of Buttercup's Baby, and because it traveled the Caribbean with me. I have...four copies? I think, now. I gave some away. (...What?) I'd do a "family shot" but two of them are at work.




Thursday, July 07, 2011

Warm-up Post: MAC's Nail Lacquer "Obey Me"

Largely because of my sensitive skin (as well as the fact that I really, really like sleeping in the morning), I am a newcomer to everything cosmetics. I'm trying to put together a face routine that will hide but not tick off my rosacea, but my heart probably belongs to nail polish. My nails aren't wimpy!

So here is my first high-end buy, which I'm chuckling over (really, like I can afford this stuff). It's from MAC, and yes, it's nail polish - I HAD to have something from their Wonder Woman line, and as the lipsticks were sold out, I went for the nail polish.

Don't I feel snazzy with this box?


I rather like the packaging, actually; it's well contained but much easier to access than a lot of mailed boxes.


I'm a bit amused that even though it's impossible to get to a MAC store in the south, they're mailed from Kentucky!


Of course, the packaging is adorable! I can't possibly throw the boxes away, now can I?! Combining DC and cosmetics is too awesome for words.



Then I had to do a size comparison. It's tiny compared to other brands, so it had better be as fantastic to put on and wear as the reviews and swatches I read! :) I'm wearing China Glaze's For Audrey today and I'm not in a hurry to take it off, so it'll be a few days before I try this out.


The navy blue companion color (Spirit of Truth) looks gorgeous and tempting, but given the size and my budget, I'll be skipping it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


I've decided to restructure my blog, and start anew! 365 books in 365 days becomes not only monotonous, but made me start suggesting books I don't really *adore* (I love reading, and read constantly, but coming up with 365 pieces of TRUE wonderfulness was difficult!). So I've decided to shake things up a bit. I'm going to do books every other day - and on the off days, I'll post about other loves of mine: pets, traveling, nail polish, my ongoing quest to find cosmetics and skin products that work on sensitive rosacea skin, my love of my job (teaching middle schoolers!) etc. So I'm going to go through and delete my old posts and start over! Since I'll be out of town so much of this month for work, and I don't know what my internet status will be, I'll most likely start again on August 1st.

See you then!