skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Stay safe!
skjam: (Jazz)
It's that time of year again, so I have compiled a new playlist for the mix CDs I send out to lucky people.

STAY WARM

1. "Me Make Fire"--Paul & Storm (Og makes fire!)
2. "Fire"--Pointer Sisters
3. "Burning Down the House"--Tom Jones
4. "Bolero of Fire"--Hylian Ensemble
5. "Fire in the Sky"--Kristoph Klover
6. "Horizon Flame"--Allison Moyet
7. "Fire Nation"--Two Steps from Hell
8. "Chariots of Fire"--Carlos Quinche (panflute!)
9. "Mellow Candle"--Weiss Kreus
10. "Burning Chase"--Yuji Yoshino
11. "Firework"--Katy Perry
12. "Light My Fire"--The Doors
13. "Hay Burner"--West Bank School of Music
14. "Flaming Star"--Elvis Presley
15. "Meditation in a Candle's Glow"--Reuben Correa
16. "Vamo' Alla Flamenco"--Nobuo Uematsu (There's some dispute as to whether "flamenco" actually refers to fire.)
17. "You Get to Burning"--Yoko Ishida (When it comes to fire, sometimes we're Og, but too often we are Ookook.)

Your thoughts and comments?
skjam: Skyler Sands as a UNIT soldier (Unit)
# Make a post (public, friends-locked, filtered... whatever you're comfortable with) to your LJ. The post should contain your list of ten holiday wishes. The wishes can be anything at all, from simple and fandom-related ("I'd love a Snape/Hermione icon that's just for me") to medium ("I wish for _____ on DVD") to really big ("All I want for Christmas is a new car/computer/house/TV"). The important thing is to make sure these wishes are things you really, truly want.
# If you wish for real life things (not fics or icons), make sure you include some sort of contact info in your post, whether it's your address or just your email address where Santa (or one of his elves) can get in touch with you. Your home address is not required!
# Make sure you post some version of these guidelines in your LJ, or link to the Wishlist community [community profile] wish_list (it'll be public) so that the holiday joy will spread.

STEP TWO
# Surf around your friends list (or friendsfriends, or just random journals) to see who has posted their list. And now, here's the important part...
# If you see a wish you can grant, and it's in your heart to do so, make someone's wish come true. Sometimes one person's trash is another's treasure, and if you have a leather jacket you don't want or a gift certificate you won't use - or even know where you could get someone's dream purebred Basset Hound for free - do it.
# You needn't spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn't to put people out, it's to provide everyone a chance to be someone else's holiday elf - to spread the joy. Gifts can be made anonymously or not - it's your call. There are no guarantees with this project, and no strings attached. Just... wish, and it might come true. Give and you might receive. You'll have the joy of knowing you made someone's holiday special.

1. A new job. I have a dozen year's experience in customer service, and an excellent phone voice.

2. For all soldiers to come home safe and sound from the wars. My most worried-about soldier made it back, but there's still so many out there.

3. Mix CDs! I am good with regular or MP3 CDs. If you're not in the US, or you happen to know a good local band, I'd like at least one track to be from a homegrown musician. If you want to know more about my tastes, or have a theme suggested, ask in the comments.

4. LJ/DW icons--take a look at my interests and build something from there.

5. Podfic or Fanart of my fanfics!

6. Something off my Amazon wishlist: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/3TV5UMA84N51R (Gently used is a-ok.)

7. If you are already on LinkedIn, I could use more contacts. (Be sure to mention LJ.

8. Non-US candy. Yum!

9. Fanfics for pulp characters or Golden Age superheroes. Gen by preference; romance is okay if it isn't the main plot of the story.

10. Goodreads friends: Check my booklist so far here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4401570-skjam?shelf=read

Contact info )

Happy Holidays!
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
And a Happy New Year if I forget to post...
skjam: (gasgun)
Those of you seeing this on Dreamwidth will get to see a new icon courtesy of [personal profile] djinni, who is having another free icon day on his LJ right now.

Speaking of which, if you are jumping from LJ to DW and still want to read my stuff, be sure and link up. Also, I wound up getting a lot more prompts for my microfic day on DW this time, so you may want to check it out.

Am heading home for the holiday, hope my folks will hold up okay.

One of the authors of "Board to Death" contacted me via my review of that book on Goodreads, and asked for some clarification. Nice to know someone actually reads these things!
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
# Make a post (public, friends-locked, filtered... whatever you're comfortable with) to your LJ. The post should contain your list of ten holiday wishes. The wishes can be anything at all, from simple and fandom-related ("I'd love a Snape/Hermione icon that's just for me") to medium ("I wish for _____ on DVD") to really big ("All I want for Christmas is a new car/computer/house/TV"). The important thing is to make sure these wishes are things you really, truly want.
# If you wish for real life things (not fics or icons), make sure you include some sort of contact info in your post, whether it's your address or just your email address where Santa (or one of his elves) can get in touch with you. Your home address is not required!
# Make sure you post some version of these guidelines in your LJ, or link to the Wishlist community [community profile] wish_list (it'll be public) so that the holiday joy will spread.

STEP TWO
# Surf around your friends list (or friendsfriends, or just random journals) to see who has posted their list. And now, here's the important part...
# If you see a wish you can grant, and it's in your heart to do so, make someone's wish come true. Sometimes one person's trash is another's treasure, and if you have a leather jacket you don't want or a gift certificate you won't use - or even know where you could get someone's dream purebred Basset Hound for free - do it.
# You needn't spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn't to put people out, it's to provide everyone a chance to be someone else's holiday elf - to spread the joy. Gifts can be made anonymously or not - it's your call. There are no guarantees with this project, and no strings attached. Just... wish, and it might come true. Give and you might receive. You'll have the joy of knowing you made someone's holiday special.

1. Good/better health for my family, friends and co-workers.

2. For all soldiers to come home safe and sound from the wars. My most worried-about soldier made it back, but there's sill so many out there.

3. Mix CDs! I am good with regular or MP3 CDs, but since I am on pokey dialup, downloading is not so good for me. If you're not in the US, or you happen to know a good local band, I'd like at least one track to be from a homegrown musician. If you want to know more about my tastes, or have a theme suggested, ask in the comments.

4. LJ/DW icons--take a look at my interests and build something from there.

5. Podfic or Fanart of my fanfics!

6. Something off my Amazon wishlist: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/3TV5UMA84N51R (Gently used is a-ok.)

7. Zynga gamecards so I can bribe my way to victory. :-P

8. Non-US candy. Yum!

9. Fanfics for pulp characters or Golden Age superheroes. Gen by preference; romance is okay if it isn't the main plot of the story.

10. Goodreads friends: Check my booklist so far here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4401570-skjam?shelf=read

Contact info )

Happy Holidays!
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
ConVergence was fun. The Sofitel has industrial strength curtains in its rooms.

Frank Merriwell Down South (1903)Frank Merriwell Down South by Burt L. Standish

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This is the fifth of the long-running Frank Merriwell series of exciting books for boys. (See my review for "Frank Merriwell's School Days", the first of the series.) In this volume, following on directly from the cliffhanger in "Frank Merriwell's Trip West," our hero first searches for a lost Silver Palace in Mexico. After that, he travels to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and must solve the mystery of the Queen of Flowers. This is followed by a sojourn in the Florida Everglades and a white canoe that paddles itself, and finally an encounter with moonshiners in the mountains of Tennessee.

To be honest, this book feels like four short stories loosely stitched together more than a proper novel. And I am given to wonder if they weren't first serialized in a magazine first--at least one of the chapters ends in a cliffhanger that would work better if one had to wait an entire week for the outcome, not a mere quarter of the way into a bound volume.

The first story was my least favorite and brought my rating down by a full star. The antiquated ethnic stereotypes shift from "19th Century, you so crazy" to the stench of racism with the depiction of Mexicans. Even the compulsively decent Frank is seen to say "One Yankee is good for six greasers." That aside, the ending was very weak, with the climax taking place off-screen and one of Frank's archenemies killed off in a couple of lines.

The second story likewise ends weakly, with the antagonist killed off before his plotline can be resolved, and another character's motivation explained with "Frank later learned that...."

The third story is much stronger, with a weird feel to the mysterious goings-on, but does suffer from one too many amazing coincidences. There's an unknown species of maneating plant at one point, for those who like a bit of fantasy in their stories.

The fourth story is much enlivened by one of the better female characters in the series, Kate Kenyon, and manages the coincidences much better.

Not particularly recommended due to the first story, if you are sharing this with a younger reader it's best to discuss why that sort of cheap ethnic stereotyping isn't acceptable anymore.



View all my reviews

Happy Fourth of July!
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Christmas happened. It was good to see the family again, and much fun was had. The gift I gave out that seemed the most awesome was a volume of Amerlia Rules for the youngest niece. She was already halfway through when it came time for her to leave.

They'd changed the bus schedules so my bus back to the Cities left about noon; the folks and I had brunch in the Banning Junction cafe. Sadly, it seems that business is down, and that part of the restaurant is now closed and looking for someone to rent.

Snow and cold continue to dominate the weather.

I missed getting a room in the Sheraton for ConVergence; the room committee has acknowledged my request for a Sofitel room, but no guarantees, and I won't find out for a while if it took. I do have a room for Anime Detour though.

Work is tolerable. My supervisor went to Nicaragua for a couple of weeks and brought back souvenirs; I'll be regifting the coffee.

Oh, and back to Christmas for the moment, I sent out all the wishlist items, finally. I hope everyone got them okay. I was very pleased with several mix CDs, some candy, books and so forth. Thanks, internet!

For hobby stuff, I have been "liveblogging" the Republic movie serial "Zorro's Fighting Legion" over on the TV Tropes website. Take a look: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/lb_i.php?lb_id=12921152820B27780100&i_id=12921152820I27781900&p=1
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Yep, Minnesota is having us a good old-fashioned blizzard.

I managed to slog my way to the post office to send off a Secret Santa gift; the line was much, much shorter than last Saturday's. As in, instead of twenty people backed up all the way to the entrance as a customer repeatedly insisted that there had to be an even cheaper way to ship her package and tying up the counter clerk who wasn't occupied filling a complicated order involving at least four international money orders, there was just me and the fellow who came in right after me. If it continued that light, maybe the post office people even got to close in time.

Since for some reason my dial-up speed is even lower than usual, near molasses in January levels, I decided to hit the library for a while. They closed early due to the weather.

Then I went to the Wondrous Azian restaurant and had some pho, because this was a day for hot soup. They closed early too, and probably a good thing, as the exit door was blocked by snow drifts when I tried to get out.

Movie theater had already closed, and the final nail in the coffin came when I came out of Block E and found out the buses weren't running! This is Minnesota, the buses run until there's absolutely no way for them to get through. Good thing I was only a half-mile or so from home.

On the good side, the holiday mail has started coming in. I have two unidentified Amazon packages, a couple of mix cds (more on those later) and several nice cards.

Staying in the rest of the night, if I can help it.
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Have sent out quite a few of the surprises for the folks on [community profile] holiday_wishes and [community profile] wish_list. I know at least a few of them have arrived because the recepients have said so, and one definitely did not. (Gonna have to look into that.)

Need to wrap the presents I'm giving family members, and figure out who I've got left to shop for. My parents have asked for giving to a good cause this year, so that one's easy.

Made a couple of posts on Scans Daily, which is having a big December event.

Work goes okay.

Still trying to lose weight. Valiantly resisting my usual habit of buying cartons of egg nog and drinking them at a single sitting, but man I love egg nog. Exercise getting even harder to get around to with onset of snow, ice and frigid air.

Have received one package so far this season, I know who it's from and approximately what it might be, but am saving opening it for a little closer to Christmas. Also, my brother's family holiday letter.

Hope all of you are as well as can be expected, and keeping warm.
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
New Year's Eve was spent preparing for the trip, and early to bed.

On New Year's Day, I hitched a ride with my brother's family up to Sandstone for the belated Christmas celebration. We had waffles and other good food for brunch.

Then it was present time, with the littlest niece already having sorted the packages before most of the family got to the room. I think most of the recepients enjoyed the presents I got them; the oldest niece wore the long handknitted scarf I picked up at ConVergence the rest of the day. (Along with the bright green warm pajamas she got from another family member.)

I got a tin of hard candy, a notepad and pen, a gift card for Brit's (a local restaurant), a couple of calendars, a slim book on military support weapons, a hand-carved candy dish in the shape of an acorn (not from the same person who gave the candy), a dishtowel, more pages for the family scrapbook, and a potholder with a built-in pocket.

On Saturday, the folks and I went to Hinckley, where we dined at Cassidy's. They have an excellent salad bar. We ran into Dad's old babysitter! Afterwards, we hit a thrift store--I donated some manga (the folks were dubious, as they'd never seen any there--it turns out they sell very quickly), and picked up a few items, including two doctor comic books. (I hope the Scans Daily folks will like them.)

Sunday morning, Dad was feeling particularly good, so he and I went to church. Good thing too, because it turned out it was his turn to usher! I was either the youngest or second-youngest person (not sure how old the pastor is) there, but was reassured that sometimes there are younger attendees.

Come evening, it was time to take the bus back to the city. Turned out to be a lot more crowded than I'd anticipated, and I had to negotiate for a seat. (The fellow who became my seatmate had a pack that didn't quite meet the definition of carry-on, and had to keep moving it.)

Work--Well, it's not good at the moment. More on that later.
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Thursday was dinner at Aunt Judy's house. The food was quite good, and I was happy to catch up with that side of the family.

Friday, I took the bus up to Sandstone, where my siblings and I had an early supper with our folks.

I picked up some more of my British comics collection for the Scans Daily community--hope you folks like 'em.

I also spent a lot of time on the Neopets site--on dial-up, Keyquest just won't work, so I played that a lot and even won a couple of times.

On Saturday, we visited Lena's Gift Shop in Askov, which features Scandinavian and local gifts--and is "the home of the rutabaga malt." I do not recommend the rutabaga malt, by the way, but if you're feeling adventurous... I got quite a bit of Christmas shopping done.

I did a fair bit of yakking with the folks too. Won one game of Dominoes, lost two.

Sunday, we went to brunch at the Audubon Center, one of only two times they'll be open this winter. (Last year had disappointing attendance, so they cut back.)

On the bus trip back to the city Sunday night, McDonalds was unable to fill my order in time, so they refunded my money.

Back home, I found that the folks at Wish List and Holiday Wishes had been quite enthusiastic about the prospect of getting a surprise from me, so I've got a fair backlog. Will need to concentrate on overseas delivery first, but with luck everyone will get their stuff by New Year's.

Hope your weekend was tasty!

This week

Nov. 14th, 2009 08:29 pm
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
While waiting for the bus after work, I saw a deer walk across the parking lot directly in front of me. Six point buck. Closest I've been to a deer in years, let alone one that didn't have a wall between me and it. I hope it got across the highway to the woods okay.

And the computer issue that was chewing up two hours a day at work finally got fixed, allowing me to catch up on some back work and feel like I was "supporting the troops."

The Scans Daily community has closed its doors at InsaneJournal and is now transitioning over to Dreamwidth. As it happens, I managed to get in the very last scans post, and for now at least you can still see it--I think comments will still be live too.
http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/1231636.html

Enjoy!

My aunt Judy is having Thanksgiving at her place again this year, after a well-deserved rest last year. Looking forward to seeing the clan.

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