Saturday, February 28, 2009

Album covers/Commercial breaks

Got a meme for you:

Make your band's album cover!


1. Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random”or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random. The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.


2. Go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations"or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3. The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.


3. Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days. Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.


4. Use Photoshop (or something like picnik.com) to put it all together.





Here's mine:

My band is called Anastasia On Her Own; my album is called "...Not as a crutch". Have fun, it's Saturday!

I finished SILENT ON THE MOOR by Deanna Raybourn this morning. A bit more romance in this one than mystery but there were relationship issues that had to be settled so I don't mind. So now I'm back to auditioning my next read. It may be a library book; it may be from my TBR stacks. I'm not sure yet.

House cleaning going on now and walking of the beast later.

For today's Blog/Website of the Day, here's what anchors do during commercial breaks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7ehlw_phys. These two newsies have been together a long time and it shows.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Friday, February 27, 2009

Irish Beef Stew/Raybourn/Blog of Day

Ha! I'm doing this early today. Well, basically I'm snowed in so other than reading about planned giving and doing some laundry, there's not much else to do. There's only about 4-5 inches of the white fluffy stuff out there but if I don't need to go out in it, I won't (other than walking Tug who will lllllooooooooovvvve being out there). Our so-nice neighbor loves to use his snow plow, but he doesn't get to use it that much here, is out there now plowing our street and because we're nice neighbors with him, he's doing our driveway. This is a good thing because as I've mentioned in the past, Steve grew up out in the country and doesn't believe in shoveling snow. I'll have to bake something for Tom this weekend or next to thank him.

So, the Irish Beef Stew turned out pretty good. Here's the recipe (from Country Woman magazine):
8 bacon strips, diced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb whole fresh mushrooms, quartered
3 medium leeks (white portion only), chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
1 cup dark stout beer or additional beef broth (I used Guiness)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp drived parlsey flakes
1 tsp drived rosemary, crushed
2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup frozen peas

1. In a soup kettle, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. Brown beef in the bacon drippings. Remove and set aside.

2. In the same pan, saute mushrooms, leeks, carrots and celery in oil until tender. Add garlic; saute 2 minutes longer. Stir in tomato paste until blended. Add the broth, beer, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and rosemary. Return beef and bacon to pan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours.

3. Add potatoes. Return to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 hour longer or until potatoes are tender. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into stew. Bring to boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add peas; heat through. Discard bay leaves. Yield: 15 (small) servings

Okay, Steve -- who doesn't like stew -- said this wasn't bad but lose the mushrooms (he didn't like their unexpected texture in the stew) and add corn (he likes corn in everything it seems). Along the way in cooking, I added some water because it seemed to not be enough fluid in general and I added salt to taste. I'll probably make this again for St. Patrick's Day (my day!).

My biggest tempation today is the desire to keep reading SILENT ON THE MOOR by Deanna Raybourn, 3rd of three in series featuring Lady Julia Grey, recently widowed, in 1880s London. It is just lovely and I hate putting it down. Here is a description:

Despite his admonitions to stay away, Lady Julia arrives in Yorkshire to find Nicholas Brisbane, private inquiry agent, as remote and maddeningly attractive as ever. Cloistered together, they share the moldering house with the proud but impoverished remnants of an ancient family—the sort that keeps their bloodline pure and their secrets close. Lady Allenby and her daughters, dependent upon Brisbane and devastated by their fall in society, seem adrift on the moor winds, powerless to change their fortunes. But poison does not discriminate between classes….
A mystery unfolds from the rotten heart of Grimsgrave, one Lady Julia may have to solve alone, as Brisbane appears inextricably tangled in its heinous twists and turns. But blood will out, and before spring touches the craggy northern landscape, Lady Julia will have uncovered a Gypsy witch, a dark rider and a long-buried legacy of malevolence and evil.

I've always pictured Brisbane to look like Hugh Jackman sort of as Wolverine but slightly more civilized (mmmm). Their relationship, while solving mysteries, is a lot of go-away-go-away-come-here-come-here-go-away-go-away, etc. The book is just published and has 480 pages. Here is an excerpt:

Julia Grey, I would rather see you hanged than watch any sister of mine go haring off after a man who will not have her," my brother Bellmont raged. "And Portia, I am thoroughly appalled that you would not only condone such behaviour, but abet it by accompanying Julia. You are her elder sister. You ought to set an example." I sighed and stared longingly at the whisky decanter. Portia and I had known that the summons to our father's London townhouse was a thinly-veiled ambush, but I do not think either of us had expected the attack to be so quick, nor so brutal. We had scarcely taken our seats in Father's comfortable library before our eldest brother launched into a tirade against our proposed visit to Yorkshire. Father, ensconced behind his vast mahogany desk, said nothing. His expression was inscrutable behind his half-moon spectacles.

Catching my wistful glance, Portia rose and poured us both glasses of whisky. "Take this, dearest," she urged. "Bellmont is in rare form. He will surely rail at us until supper unless he has an apoplexy first," she finished cheerfully.

Bellmont's already high colour deepened alarmingly. "You may well jest about this, but it is unacceptable for Julia to accept an invitation to stay with Brisbane at his country house. He is an unmarried man, and she is a widow of thirty. Even if you are there to chaperone, Portia, you must admit, it would be a complete violation of propriety."

"Oh, Julia hasn't been invited," Portia responded helpfully. "I was. Julia rather invited herself."

Bellmont clicked his teeth together and drew in a deep breath, his nostrils going white at the edges. "If that is supposed to offer me comfort, it is a cold one, I assure you." Portia shrugged and sipped at her whisky.

Bellmont turned to me, deliberately softening his tone. At more than forty years of age and heir to our father's earldom, he had long since grown accustomed to having his own way. It was only with his eccentric family that his success was mixed. With a cunning blend of sternness, cajolery, and logic, he was sometimes able to bend us to his will, but just as often he found himself not speaking to more than one of his nine siblings. Now he attempted an appeal to my reason.

"Julia, I understand you were quite bereft when Edward died. You were very young to be a widow, and I am sympathetic to the fact that you felt compelled to search out your husband's murderer." I raised my brows. He had not been so sympathetic at the time. When I had unmasked my husband's killer in a dramatic scene during which my town-house was burned down and I nearly lost my life, Bellmont had actually stopped speaking to me for two months. Apparently, murder is a failing of the middle classes only. Aristocrats are supposed to be above such unpleasantness.

He went on. "I realise your connection with Mr. Brisbane was a necessary evil at the time. He has proved himself a thoroughly capable inquiry agent and, mercifully, a discreet one. But your association with this man cannot continue. I do not know what Father was thinking to invite him to Bellmont Abbey at Christmas, but it was badly done, and it has given you ideas."

"And God knows women mustn't have ideas," Portia murmured into her glass.

Bellmont did not even bother to look at her. We were well-accustomed to Portia's pointed asides.

I looked helplessly at Father, who merely shrugged and poured himself a glass of whisky. If Bellmont continued on we should become a family of inebriates.

The author's website can be found at http://www.deannaraybourn.com/. If you like a touch of gothic to your historical mysteries, this is a good series.

I don't think there is anything on tv tonight for me; I've quite dropped Doll House for being stupid beyond belief. So I'll get an evening to read which is so very much better. Tomorrow, Steve is participating in an NRA-sponsored class on how to teach shooting and will be gone most of the day. He'll be doing that for another two weekends over the next month and a half.

Today's Blog/Website of the Day is Human Under Construction found at http://humanunderconstruction.blogspot.com/. I particularly liked the book critic having a meltdown after reading a baaaddd book and if you scroll down you can find William Shatner singing to the whales and Pearl Jam doing a cover of H.R. Puffinstuff (do you remember that kid's show? Man, every week, one my favorites. They were so on drugs back then). Eclectic, to say the least. (Jody, this one's for you. Enjoy.)

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stew Day

Late again today. Sheesh. After walking Tug, I got on my making Irish Beef Stew project which took a lot longer than I thought to put together mainly because the beef was a big honking cut (because I'm trying to make room in the freezer for some chicken for goodness sake) instead of stew meat like it should have been. If it turns out good, I'll give y'all the recipe for it tomorrow. Tug was going bonkers while I was crisping the bacon and cutting up and browning the meat. The smell makes him nuts and I become his favorite parent for a while. Last Sunday, when I did the roast in the slow cooker all day, whenever I'd lift the cover to poke at it or stir it, Tug would come into the kitchen and look pitiful at me. Poor baby.

It's a stew day because it is cooooollld out there. In the single digits again and wind chill in the negatives. I think we expect some snow tonight. Winter's still here. But in the 50's by Sunday. Go figure.

I've been having a somewhat civilized battle of words on one of my yahoo groups, crimethrutime. Someone had dissed THE BOOK OF UNHOLY MISCHIEF which I loved so I had to defend it. Then the list owner had to take offence at a phrase I used (it's a story not nonfiction). I left it on a high note basically saying let's agree we love historical mysteries and walk away. That is why I am usually not as vocal on the lists. You can't see people, you can't hear their inflections, and some people are quick to jump to hostility.

I've been reading PROMISES IN DEATH and a text on planned giving today. Not much exciting going on otherwise.

We need humor today. Today's Blog/Website of the Day is http://blogs.herald.com/dave_barrys_blog/. Love him; have some fun.

Tonight is Survivor and then some reading. See ya tomorrow...

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PROMISES IN DEATH/Mysteries in Paradise

Aigh-eee, running late again this afternoon. I got a call from our tax people who said they were missing a couple documents so after walking Tug I found them and ran them over, and then did a couple errands in the downtown area.

Reading PROMISES IN DEATH by JD Robb, a not-so-secret-anymore pen name for Nora Roberts. This is the 29th of 29 (if you don't count the novellas) featuring Eve Dallas, a homicide lieutenant in futuristic New York City. I love love love this series. Here's a description of PROMISES:

Amarylis Coltraine may have recently transferred to the New York City police force from Atlanta, but she’s been a cop long enough to know how to defend herself against an assailant. When she’s taken down just steps away from her apartment, killed with her own weapon, for Eve the victim isn’t just “one of us.”Dallas’s friend Chief Medical Examiner Morris and Coltraine had started a serious relationship, and from all accounts the two were headed for a happy future together. But someone has put an end to all that. The truth will need to be uncovered one layer at a time, starting with the box that arrives at Cop Central addressed to Eve containing Coltraine’s guns, badge, and a note from her killer: “You can have them back. Maybe someday soon, I’ll be sending yours to somebody else.” But Eve Dallas doesn’t take too kindly to personal threats, and she is going to break this case, whatever it takes. And that’s a promise.

It has 352 pages and just released this week. Here's the Prologue:

She was dead the minute she answered the 'link. She didn't question the caller or the urgency of the request. In fact, pleasure andexcitement rushed through her as she put aside her plans for an earlynight. Her movements both graceful and efficient, she dressed quickly,gathering what she needed.

She strode through her pretty apartment, ordering the lights to dim, and remembered to switch to sleep the little droid kitten her lover had given her as a companion. She’d named it Sachmo. It mewed, blinked its bright green eyes and curled into a ball. Shegave its sleek white fur an affectionate stroke.

“Be back soon,” she murmured, making a promise she couldn’t know would be broken.

She glanced around the apartment as she opened the door, smiled at the bouquet of red roses in full and dramatic bloom on the table near the street window. And thought of Li.

She locked her door for the last time. Following ingrained habit, she took the stairs. She was a slim, athletically built woman with eyes of deep blue. Her blond hair swung past her shoulders, a parted curtain for a lovely face. She was thirty-three, happy in her life, flirting around the soft edges of love with a man who gave her kittens and roses.

She thought of New York, this life, this man as a new chapter, one she was content to walk through, page by page, and discover. She tucked that away to turn her mind to where she needed to go, what she needed to do. Less than ten minutes after the call, she jogged down the second flight of steps, turned for the next.

She had an instant to register the movement when her killer stepped out. Another for surprise when she recognized the face. But not enough, not quite enough to speak before the stunner struck her midbody and took her down.

She came to with a shocking jolt, a burn of skin and blood. A rush from dark to light. The stunner blast had left her body numb, useless, even as her mind flashed clear. Inside the paralyzed shell, she struggled,she strained. She looked up into the eyes of her killer. Into the eyes of a friend.

“Why?” The question was weak, but had to be asked. There had to be an answer. There was always an answer. She had the answer when she died, in the basement five floors below her pretty apartment where roses bloomed red and a kitten purred in sleep.

Though the series has many books, they're all worth the fun read, but definitely read them in order. Highly recommended. The author's website can be found at http://www.noraroberts.com/. Her next one comes out in November called KINDRED IN DEATH.

Today's Blog/Website of the day is Mysteries in Paradise found at http://paradise-mysteries.blogspot.com/. I've known Kerrie from Australia from 4MA for many years and this one great blog.

Steve woke me up at 4 this morning because he HAD to tell me about his weird dream. Oy. So then when the alarm goes off, we're both struggling to wake up. The temp is dropping rapidly out there; we're supposed to be getting snow soon and last all night. Glad I'm not going out in it.
Unlike Steve, because it's his shooting night. Ha ha! Not much on tv, actually, with American Idol (yuck) bumping off Lie to Me for the evening. If I remember, I should tune in to PBS to watch Ballroom Dancing. Otherwise, it's a night for soup and sandwich and a lovely book. Mmmm, cosy.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Playdate with Mom

Mom and I went book shopping this morning at Barnes & Noble. Being a chain store, the selection doesn't necessarily carry our level of expertise in mystery fiction, but my main objective was to pick up the new JD Robb, PROMISES IN DEATH. So we scanned the shelves for a bit and then we sat down to assess our choices to see which would make the final cut. She got five (one of which was for Dad) and I got four.

I got:

PROMISES IN DEATH by JD Robb (yay!)
DROOD by Dan Simmons (always loved the Drood story and this one honkin' big book)
CRUSADE by Robyn Young (2nd in series)
WITCH WAY TO MURDER by Shirley Damsgaard (for a bit of fluff)
Annie Lennox CD

Then we had lunch at Red Robin. We shared a bowl of French onion soup as an appetizer (since the day was being cloudy/windy) for which we had to wait and wait and wait and then it showed up followed two minutes later by our main meal. Typical restaurant action. We both had monster salads. All in all, it was quite lovely.

When I got back, SILENT ON THE MOOR by Deanna Raybourn was waiting for me from Amazon. Hazzah! So I walked Tug since it was that time.

I had played with Emmitt while waiting for Mom and then rubbed my eye at one point so my eyes -- now being very sensitive since last summer -- started to turn red and itchy. Luckily I had some drops in my bag which took care of the immediate problem. When I got home I took a Zyrtec which is making me a little sleepy. I may have to take a quick nap instead of jumping into my books immediately.

I'll have time to read tonight since there's nothing much on tv and I'm NOT watching the President. I think I'll start with the Robb though the Raybourn is calling to me strongly.

The shepherd's pie recipe I tried last night was not a good one; back to the drawing board for that dish. It's a good concept, I just have to find the right one.

Today's Blog/Website of the Day is Devourer of Books found at http://www.devourerofbooks.com/.

Yup, Zyrtec is taking over for a bit so I'll sign off here. Talk to you tomorrow about the Robb.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, February 23, 2009

No time for Mondays

Running a bit late today. Kona was back at 5 am so my day got all off kilter. Had a great lunch with JodyO at the Brew Pub (mmmmm, reuben sandwich). Walked Tug then ran to the post office and groceries.

I haven't committed to anything to read yet. I watched tv last night and Monday night is our packed full night of tv viewing so not much time to read anyway. I'll be going to the bookstore tomorrow with Mom so I anticipate my next read will be PROMISES IN DEATH by JD Robb. More on that at the appropriate time.

Last night tv: the Oscars. Quick impressions. I like the new thing with five of the previous winners of the acting categories presenting to each of the five nominees. Very classy. Hugh Jackman is nice to look at but the song and dance numbers could have been cut. BTW, I don't think anyone really got the one with Beyonce. All the reviews I've read have called it a medley but it was supposed to be a sort of dialogue/story telling of romance in song. Sheesh, people. I hate that Penn won. I thought Kate Winslet was endearing, especially when she had her dad whistle to let her know where her parents were. By the end of the broadcast, they were just slogging through. I can't imagine what a long ordeal it must be for everyone.

Tv tonight: The Closer or Chuck, or Jon & Kate Plus 8 are getting puppies, then Paranormal State, and maybe if I remember it, No Reservations. I saw previews for an interesting show, was it Castle (?), that of course is being scheduled for Mondays. Can they please put something on Tuesdays and spread it out a bit?

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday. Today's Blog/Website of the Day is the official website for this year's celebration at http://www.mardigrasday.com/. I've never been and I don't think it's very much fun now, having been "spring break-ed" into a drunken party of young people showing their tits and throwing beads. I think the true magic of the event has gone. Mardi Gras first began in the Middle Ages as a celebration of the lifting of many Roman Catholic practices. So in essence, it was a religious celebration. Fat Tuesday gets its name because a fattened ox used to be paraded through town on that day. I've always seen it associated with Lent; Fat Tuesday’s revelry -- the last chance to party for a while -- because it will be followed by a religious tradition that’s a lot more solemn: the Lenten season beginning with Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras isn't such a big thing here, mostly I think because Catholicism isn't the majority like it is in Butte. The Scandinavians party on the inside. :)

I'm going to attempt a recipe for Shepherd's Pie tonight. There's lots of versions of this dish, of course, but this is basically hamburger and potatoes so I'm thinking Steve will like it. I got ingredients to try Irish Beef Stew this week. That recipe includes things like leeks, mushrooms, Guiness beer, carrots, bacon, etc. The picture looks good.

Well, I hear Himself is home so I'll sign off.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The night belongs to Oscar

My dance card is getting filled up for the week. On Monday, I'm having lunch with JodyO. We had a bet back in November about the outcome of a certain event and I lost so I've owed her a lunch but circumstances didn't allow until now. She's having a string of non-day-off work days so I thought I'd take her away for an hour. I need to run a couple errands downtown so that will be a nice way to multitask. On Tuesday, I'm taking mom to a bookstore and then we're having lunch. An author we both like has a book released on that day -- the kind of author that you just have to get the first day its released, you know what I mean. Both days just sound lovely.

Stayed up late last night and finished the Robinson. Very good procedural. The main character, DCI Alan Banks, just has no luck in his personal life. Most cops don't. With the Robb being purchased on Tuesday, I need to find something now to occupy me for a day and a half. I'll have to scan the library books or start the Larsson.

Today's Blog/Website of the Day finishes the Academy Awards theme. Today's the day. The Spirit Awards were last night (I didn't watch, I was reading) and there were some interesting wins that make me wonder about the "shoe-ins" for the Oscar. Anyway, Academy Award coverage can be found at http://movies.msn.com/oscars/ or the official site at http://www.oscar.com/. Lots of fashion and preshow stuff but I'm not that interested (I imagine they're all already getting ready and the stylists are busy busy busy).

My predictions:

I'm pretty sure Slumdog Millionaire will win best picture unless there is a movement that thinks it's not an "Academy quality" picture (I've read some rumors along that line). The Reader has an outside chance because it's about the Holocaust and Holocaust stories usually trump anything else.

Director -- probably stay in line with picture and be Slumdog Millionaire. Frost/Nixon is a dark horse if the Academy doesn't want to give Slumdog too much credit.

I hope that Sean Penn doesn't win -- I just don't like the Chavez-loving guy -- but the Academy loves bio-pics and gay characters. I would like Frank Langella to get it, but probably won't happen because it's about a Republican president. Brad Pitt still has the pretty boy stigma and won't be seriously considered for awards until he's 60. I heard that Richard Jenkins did a tremendous job in The Visitor but it's too not-well known. Mickey Rourke is the dark horse here.

I hope Meryl Streep doesn't win -- does she have to nominated for every movie she's in? Thank god she had something other than Mama Mia this year. She's a terrific actress but it's getting over done. Anne Hathaway did a standout job but it's her first nomination so she won't get it, but she's got the Academy's attention now so look for her in the future. Melissa Leo should get it but she's not glamorous enough; she's an indy actress. Angelina Jolie just fills out the ticket. I think it's Kate Winslet's year.

I think Heath Ledger is a shoe-in for supporting actor because he's dead and people feel bad about it and there's no other tribute really to The Dark Knight's success. Robert Downey, Jr. has had a great year and it would be fun if he won, but no, not this year. Everyone other than Ledger are just fillers.

Supporting actress -- I think it will go to Penelope Cruz. The two Doubt actresses will cancel each other out. Marisa Tormei is the dark horse here.

The rest: Wall-E is the shoe-in for animated feature. Man on a Wire is widely touted to be best documentary. Costume -- will go to the only real costume drama, The Duchess. The art , makeup and cinematography stuff with go to Benjamin Button. Editing -- The Dark Knight because there's not much else it's up for and maybe sound categories though I'd like Iron Man to get one of them because it was a cool movie. :) Adapted screenplay -- a tossup between Doubt as a consolation prize or The Reader. Original screenplay will be either Milk for it's gay-ness (Proposition 8 and libs are mad so they strike back) or In Bruges which got good reviews but no other nominations.

Shorts and foreign categories, I've never paid attention to. So we'll see how it goes. I'll probably watch upstairs so I can control the clicker. As I mentioned before, I hate the acceptance speeches. A really great Academy Award show would be just announcements of the category and then the winner. Okay, Hugh Jackman will be REALLY nice to look at tonight.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Beef -- it's whats for dinner...

....for the rest of our lives. Steve brought home our half of beef -- mostly in the form of hamburger and cube steaks -- we are now stuffed to the gills with beef. How stuffed? We always try to buy something from the kids who come around the house selling for whatever organization they're with (mostly because I remember how horrible it was to do when I had to do it) and our neighbor girl dropped off three pizzas this morning, of course --- and I have no room to put them away in our two freezers. Nada. We're going to have to get a deep freeze, no question now, and today would not be soon enough. Steve has never really liked roasts or steaks so much of this is hamburger. I've a rotation of hamburger recipes that I've discovered over the years that Steve likes. I'm going to have to go in search of more because I'm drowning in hamburger right now. Two recipes I'd like to try soon are Shepherd's Pie (yes, I know I know I've just not made it yet) and a good one for Irish Stew. Steve normally doesn't like stew (what DOES he like? Not roasts, not ham, not tomatoes, not onions, etc., etc. -- do you see my dilemna?) but this one sounds good.

So other than that....

I finished DREAMING OF THE BONES by Deborah Crombie this morning. It was an enjoyable Brit procedural with the added bonus of having one my favorite elements, a cold case. The question I have about this series is that Kincaid and Gemma are partners (he's the Scotland Yard Superintendent and she's his sergeant) but they're romantically involved now so wouldn't that mean that they can't work together anymore and how can they hide this relationship from their fellow Yarders?

Next up, I'll be starting Peter Robinson's newest, ALL THE COLORS OF DARKNESS. This is 18th of 18 in series featuring Alan Banks, Eastvale detective chief inspector, in Yorkshire, England. Here's a description:

When the body of a man is discovered hanging from a tree in the woods near Eastvale, all signs point toward suicide. At least that's what it initially looks like to Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot. The man is soon identified as Mark Hardcastle, the set and costume designer for the local amateur theater company. Mark was successful and well liked in the community, but enough remains mysterious about his background that suicide isn't completely out of the question. But when Mark's older and wealthier lover is discovered bludgeoned to death in his home, Annie begins to think differently. Could it have been a crime of passion, or did overwhelming grief lead to a man taking his own life? Increasingly confounded, she calls in the vacationing Chief Inspector Alan Banks—even if it means prying him away from his new girlfriend. Once on the investigation, Banks finds himself plunged into a case where nothing is as it seems. More and more his own words about the victim's latest production, Othello, are coming back to haunt him, for "jealousy, betrayal, envy, ambition, greed, lust, revenge—all the colors of darkness" are quickly becoming his world as well.

The author's website can be found at http://www.inspectorbanks.com/. This book was published in the UK in 2008 and 2009 in the US. It has 368 pages of wonderful Brit police procedural. I'm looking forward to it.

I'm noticing a pattern in my reading this month. Historicals for a bit and now a series of Brit procedurals. I'm such a mood reader.

Today's Blog/Website of the Day continues to honor the Academy Awards (it's tomorrow!). More behind the scenes snippets can be found at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/season/, Notes on a Season.

Not sure what else will be happening today. There was a shooting tournament in Bozeman that Steve elected not to go to (yay!). I could run some errands that I didn't get to yesterday -- groceries, post office, etc., but maybe I'll do that after lunch. Not much going on tonight as well, nothing really grabbing me for tv so maybe I'll get in some reading time.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Friday, February 20, 2009

End of the week

The golden-age mysteries -- examples would be those written by Agatha Christie and so forth -- usually started off their stories with someone despicable who is about to be murdered and deservedly so. In life, they're mean, stingy, dishonest, etc. There are many suspects because the murdered person was just so darn bad and we're actually not too sad that they're dead. We didn't really get to know them other than for the reasons several people had to kill him/her. Nearly halfway into the book I'm reading, I'm getting very involved in the story and the characters, when one person is killed. Sort of out of the blue because we were dealing with a cold case of a woman who'd died five years previously under (now) suspicious circumstances. We already had a murder to solve. Now we have another one but I didn't want this person to die because I was liking this person quite a bit; we'd spent many pages together learning about this person's life and loves and friends and family and now this person is gone and didn't deserve it. I'm quite put out about it. Bad, author, making me care about someone you were going to kill off.

My next in line to read is the latest by Peter Robinson, ALL THE COLORS OF DARKNESS. I'll talk more about it when I'm actually reading it. This, however, brings me to the topic of books I'm in anticipation of in the next month. The end of February/March is a bumper crop for authors I like or interested in learning more about. Such as:

  • PROMISES IN DEATH by JD Robb
  • SILENT ON THE MOOR by Deanna Raybourn
  • GRAVE GOODS by Arianna Franklin
  • DEXTER BY DESIGN by David Lindsay (UK)
  • EXECUTION DOCK by Anne Perry
  • PLAGUE OF POISON by Maureen Ash
  • FIGURES IN SILK by Vanora Bennett
  • THE KILLING WAY by Tony Hays
  • THE UNQUIET BONES by Melvin R. Starr
  • RED VELVET TURNSHOE by Cassandra Clark
Just lovely. Most, well all except for two, are historical mysteries which are my favorites.

Today's Blog/Website of the Day is The Oscar Watch found at http://oscar-watch.ew.com/. This features little daily notes about the world around the little golden guy. There is actually a countdown clock on the official website for the Academy Awards so I could tell you exactly how long until the start of the show but I won't go there. ;)

We a little bit of snow today, enough to make the streets slickery for the morning commute and probably the drive home as the sun goes down so I didn't run my errands today. I did clean out the freezer and a couple science projects in the fridge. Steve went in with his dad on a side of beef so I had to make room for what's coming. A good project that needed to be done and now it's off my list.

Tonight's tv, I'll give Dollhouse another try -- the Joss Wheden new effort. If it doesn't catch on with me this week, I think it's sayonara.

Speaking of, I'll see y'all tomorrow.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Crombie/Gold Derby

I finished the John Harvey, ROUGH TREATMENT. It was okay; it was lessened somewhat by knowing who the bad guys were right off the bat.

Currently reading DREAMING OF THE BONES by Deborah Crombie. This is 5th of 12 in series featuring Duncan Kincaid, a Scotland Yard superintendent, and Gemma James, a sergeant, in London. This book was published in 1997 and was a Finalist 1997 Agatha Award for Best Novel and a Finalist 1998 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Novel. Here is a description:

It is the call Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid never expected—and one he certainly doesn't want. Victoria, his ex-wife, who walked out without an explanation more than a decade ago, asks him to look into the suicide of local poet, Lydia Brooke—a case that's been officially closed for five years. The troubled young writer's death, Victoria claims, might well have been murder. No one is more surprised than Kincaid himself when he agrees to investigate—not even his partner and lover, Sergeant Gemma James. But it's a second death that raises the stakes and plunges Kincaid and James into a labyrinth of dark lies and lethal secrets that stretches all the way back through the twentieth century—a death that most assuredly is murder, one that has altered Duncan Kincaid's world forever.

This is an entertaining series and has quickly absorbed my attention.

Today's Blog/Website of the day is again featuring the Academy Awards. The Gold Derby is hosted by Tom O'Neil who is a familiar face about anything Oscar. This site can be found at http://goldderby.latimes.com/awards_goldderby/.

Got groceries today but the store didn't have everything I needed so I'll hit another store tomorrow for the rest. Couple other errands to run tomorrow anyway.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Harvey, I'd like to thank the Academy....

Getting close to done with ROUGH TREATMENT by John Harvey. It has 278 pages and was published in 1990. Here's a description:

Inspector Charlie Resnick counters a drug-trafficking ring and suspected police corruption . When Jerzy Grabianski and Trevor Grice burglarize TV director Harold Roy's house, they find his bored wife, Maria, who becomes attracted to Jerzy. Among the valuables the thieves snatch is a kilo of cocaine which Roy, dabbling in drugs and on the verge of losing his job, has been keeping for a dealer acquaintance. Maria supplies a false description of the criminals, prompted by her interest in Jerzy, who returns to begin an affair and negotiate selling back the cocaine. Resnick concentrates heavily on the case, meanwhile contending with other crimes that include a possible Chinese feud. On the domestic front, the inspector attempts to sell his house because it holds unpleasant memories of his failed marriage, and the superintendent's daughter is arrested for shoplifting. Harvey's policemen are real people, some appealing, some not, and all suggestively portrayed.

The author's website can be found at http://www.mellotone.co.uk/index.html and his blog can be found at http://mellotone70up.wordpress.com/.

The Academy Awards are on Sunday. For a movie lover like me, this is the Big One. Lots of awards shows but this one is the splashiest. There are things I love and hate about this show. I hate the acceptance speeches so I usually turn the channel during them. I hate that they've seemed to lost what the Best Song category is all about (too many times there are several songs from the same movie -- what's up with that?!). I love seeing the ones I'm predicting actually win. :) I love seeing clips from movies I haven't had a chance to see. Today's Blog/Website of the day is http://nighthawknews.wordpress.com/ who, this week, has montages of the history of the Oscars through best picture, best director, best actor, etc. It's very cool; check it out. And as a bonus, here's an interesting article about what they'll do should a posthumous nomination be awarded (such as the potential for Heath Ledger): http://movies.msn.com/movies/article.aspx?news=352984&GT1=28019.

Tonight is Steve's shooting night; I'll be watching Lie to Me on tv (and you should too, it's good).

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday

Sorry I didn't post yesterday; I got a call from Steve at midday to come help in the shop answering phones because the office person went home sick. Looks like I'll have to go in again this afternoon because he's still sick and Steve's mom apparently gets extremely wrung out by 2-ish so I'm supposed to "drop by" at that time and send her home.

I'm feeling a little under the weather myself this morning so I'm going to take an aspirin and lay down a little while I can before walking Tug and heading down there.

Hopefully, this blog will resume regular programming by tomorrow.

Currently reading ROUGH TREATMENT by John Harvey, 2nd in series of 12 featuring Charlie Resnick, jazz-loving police detective in Nottingham, England.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, February 15, 2009

BLUE SATAN

Currently reading THE BIRTH OF THE BLUE SATAN by Patricia Wynn. This is the 1st in series of 3 thus far featuring Gideon St. Mars, a viscount who becomes the highwayman Blue Satan, and his friend Mrs. Kean, in early 18th century England. This book was published in 2001 and has 325 pages. Here's a description:

In the turbulent reign of George I in England, Gideon Viscount St. Mars is accused of murdering his own father. Having no friends in the courts, he must escape to avoid being hanged. With the help of Hester Kean, the only person who believes in his innocence, he assumes the guise of highwayman "Blue Satan" to investigate the political intrigue that caused his father's death in a swashbuckling tale of romance and adventure.

The author's website is http://www.patriciawynn.com/. Here are the first couple paragraphs:

The tall, young gentleman with long, fair hair and aquiline features lounged impatiently before the looking-glass. He drummed his long, slender fingers on the dressing-table to quell his annoyance.

The longcase clock in the chamber next door had just rung eleven, yet his shoulder-length peruke was still resting in the same place it had an hour ago—on its stand instead of on his head. His valet, the little Frenchman who was busying himself in a corner, would never allow himself to be rushed.

I don't recall many historical mysteries set in this time period -- Jacobites, etc. I was thinking of one series that I haven't read, written by Hannah March, but they are set later in the Georgian era. Not as popular as the Regency, Restoration, Victorian, or Tudor periods but lots of intrigue there that I don't think has been explored (exploited) yet. And there is so much there! I can understand why England chose to go the Church of England route rather than Catholics in their monarchy, but truly, according to the rules, James the Pretender should have been king over William and Mary, Anne, and the Georges. BLUE SATAN is a little frothy tale in a SCARLET PIMPERNEL kind of way but I'm not minding it as I love the Scarlet Pimpernel (especially the made-for-tv movie with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour). As much as I love procedurals, I do have a soft spot for that dashing derring-do, too.

Don't know if I'll watch Masterpiece Theater's new remake of Oliver Twist. I read that it's dark-er than the norm but I don't know if I want to commit the time. The Avs play the Red Wings tonight -- please let the Avs win; I don't want a call from Barb about her team! Argh.

There was a dusting of snow out this morning. I pulled the board from across the deck and saw Kona footprints and I thought, phew, we avoided that last night. So then I moved to open the blinds on the front window and saw more footprints on the front walk and then the dog himself laying on our front doorstep. (sigh) So I took him back home.

Today's Blog/Website of the day is ... The Sunday Salon found at http://dhamel.typepad.com/sundaysalon/. The site states, "Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake.... That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book." So I recommend doing both: read and check out the blogs. It's Sunday and a day of rest...

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's just a FAD


Happy Valentine's Day! Or as some call it -- FAD: Forced Affection Day.

I made caramel rolls for Steve this morning. Certainly not homemade ... excuse me while I recover from this laughing fit ... I'll be right back..... No, they were frozen. He loves cinnamon rolls but not the frosted type but you can't find the non-frosted type in stores pretty much anymore.

So, today is Valentine's Day. Celebrating love, mostly the romantic type. I thought I'd make a list of my favorite romantic movies. These are just my personal taste and not in any particular order:


  • Romeo and Juliet (1968) Directed by Franco Zefirelli and starring Olivia Hussey, Leonard Whiting, Milo O'Shea, Michael York, & John McEnery. This is the ONLY filmed version of R&J that I accept. No other substitutes even come close.


  • Pride & Prejudice (1996) & (2006). The 1996 version is my favorite with Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle (the wet shirt scene!) but the 2006 version with Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightly is actually okay too. My favorite book of all time.


  • Persuasion (1995) with Amanda Root, CiarĂ¡n Hinds, again is the only version I accept. I love this Austen story of finding love after losing it.


  • The Notebook (2004) with Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner and Gena Rowlands. This is a recent entry for me as I only watched it a couple years ago. Love not only in the first bloom but also as it lasts and lasts until the very end.


  • Ladyhawke (1985) starring Rutgar Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Matthew Broderick. Navarre and Isabeau have a curse that the Bishop has placed on them that causes Navarre to be a wolf during the night and Isabeau to be a hawk during the day ... always together but always apart.


  • City of Angels (1998) with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan (though I don't care for either actor now). This movie made me sob my eyes out IN THE THEATRE. Seth, an angel watching over Los Angeles, begins finding his job difficult as he falls in love with Maggie, a beautiful heart surgeon. She becomes interested in Seth, and soon his not-quite-mortal state seems a barrier rather than a gift. A choice must be made between celestial duty and earthly love. Excellent soundtrack. Based on another movie, Wings of Desire.


  • Strictly Ballroom (1992) directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice. Scott Hastings is a champion caliber ballroom dancer, but much to the chagrin of the Australian ballroom dance community, Scott believes in dancing "his own steps". Fran is a beginning dancer and a bit of an ugly duckly who has the audacity to ask to be Scott's partner after his unorthodox style causes his regular partner to dance out of his life. Together, these two misfits try to win the Australian Pan Pacific Championships and show the Ballroom Confederation that they are wrong when they say, "there are no new steps!" Very funny and I love the slo-mo scene when Scott and Fran begin their dance at the Pan Pacifics.


  • Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Starring Hugh Grant and a cast of brilliants. I think this is one of the best written romantic comedies ever. Period.


  • The Philadelphia Story (1940) directed by George Cukor, starring Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart. Haughty divorced socialite Tracy Lord is preparing for her second marriage. Enter Dexter Haven, her first husband, and Macaulay Connor, a tabloid reporter with a distrust of the wealthy. What follows is a rapid-fire war of words as the two men try to help Tracy discover the heart beneath her holier-than-thou exterior.

Honorable Mentions:
  • Truly Madly Deeply (1990) starring Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson - death can't stop love


  • The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) Brosnan and Russo are very sexy together.


  • Say Anything (1989) and The Sure Thing (1985) starring young John Cusack.


  • The Princess Bride (1987) who doesn't love Princess Buttercup and Wesley? One of the funniest movies ever.


  • Bull Durham (1988) when Costner was still cool and Sarandon was fabulous.


  • A Room with a View (1985) Merchant/Ivory production at their height.


  • Much Ado About Nothing (1993) Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington.


  • Sense & Sensability (1995) Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet
  • Roxanne (1987) I love Cyrano de Bergerac and this is the closest we get

Over-rated, in my opinion:


  • The Way We Were

  • When Harry Met Sally

  • Pretty Woman


  • An Officer and a Gentleman


  • Titanic


  • Ghost

Classics worth mentioning:


  • Gone With The Wind (1939)

  • West Side Story (1961)


  • Love Story (1970)


  • Casablanca (1942)


  • Doctor Zhivago (1965)


  • Breakfast at Tiffanys (1961)


  • Out of Africa (1985)


  • An Affair to Remember (1957)
So today's Blog/Website of the Day is a collection of famous love letters found at http://www.theromantic.com/LoveLetters/main.htm. An example is from John Adams to his wife Abigail in 1782 :

...should I draw you the picture of my heart it would be what I hope you would still love though it contained nothing new. The early possession you obtained there, and the absolute power you have obtained over it, leaves not the smallest space unoccupied.

They knew about love; it's not a recent invention. There is something missing in our world of email, texting and instant messages when we no longer write letters.

So, I leave with a Valentine that I stole from Murderati but I think it's funny:



Much love,


PK the Bookeemonster


Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th, V-Day, Knight, Dr. Horrible

Do you suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia? That is the fear of Friday the 13th. This is a phobia that afflicts an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States. Symptoms range from mild anxiety to full-blown panic attacks. The latter may cause people to reshuffle schedules or miss an entire day's work. The origins of this being a bad luck day, the version I always heard and believed was about the Knights Templar,founded in Jerusalem in 1118 C.E., whose mission was to protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries, the Knights Templar became extraordinarily powerful and wealthy. Threatened by that power and eager to acquire their wealth, King Philip secretly ordered the mass arrest of all the Knights Templar in France on Friday, October 13, 1307 - Friday the 13th. This appeals to me because I love Templar history. Norse and numerology and the combination of an unlucky day with an unlucky numbered day are also attributed.

But it is also the day before Valentine's Day. I read an article today that some restauranteurs would like to mandate that V-day be only and always on a weekday. When it is on a weekday, they explain, they get a busy night much like Saturdays thus boosting their revenues. On a Saturday -- like this year -- it is already a busy night and couples tend to want to linger lovingly over their meals thus the table turnover is less. Ahhhh, business, like love, is beautiful.

Today's Blog/Website of the Day is http://valentinesday.about.com/b/. The latest entry is about cheap last-minute V-Day things you can do.

I have requested of Steve that there be no chocolate, no flowers, no jewelry, etc. A nice card declaring eternal love and devotion would be nice and nicer yet would be if he took care of dinner by bringing something in from somewhere he decides. If he really wanted to go crazy I'd appreciate a gift card to a bookstore but definitely not expected nor necessary. I have a card for him, though marketing pushes tend to emphasize the woman in the couple equation. Tough cookies, men; suck it up, you get the Superbowl.

It's colder today and supposed to be only in the 20s tomorrow. Brrr. We've been having 40s and gotten used to it, thank you very much. Tug, of course, loves it. So I'm here with a cup of tea with lemon.

Current events: terrible jet crash near Buffalo, no survivors of the 49 on board and one person in the house. The House has passed the 1000+ page "stimulus" spending bill WITHOUT READING IT -- and the GOP all voted no. It is apparently supposed to be rushed over to the Senate this afternoon/evening for their approval. We must hurry because Pelosi leaves for Rome this evening and she is the center of our universe. I don't think history will be kind to this action.

After finishing a book of great impact as THE BOOK OF UNHOLY MISCHIEF was to me, I find that it is sometimes difficult to go on to something else. So I hemmed and hawed over my library books, knowing I should get going on some of the 14-day books. But my brain in its infinite mysteriousness chooses what it chooses. Second in a series of twelve thus far, THE POISONED CHALICE by Bernard Knight hit the spot. This historical mystery series features Sir John de Wolfe, the crowner (coroner), in 12th century Devon, England. Here is a description:

December, 1194. The well-born ladies of Exeter are not having a good week. First, Christina Rifford, the daughter of a rich merchant, is raped. Then, just months before her marriage, Lady Adele de Courcy is found dead in one of the poorest areas of the city.The common factor is Godfrey Fitzosbern, the local silversmith. But despite Crowner John's suspicions and the vengeful accusations of the families, it is John's duty to protect Godfrey until he can find definite proof of his guilt.Aided by his mistress Nesta, hindered by his social-climbing wife Matilda and her power-hungry brother, Sheriff Richard de Revelle, John slowly begins to put the pieces together. But a final, brutal act of violence will bring a new twist to the investigation ...

This book has 355 pages and was published in 1998. Here is the first paragraph:

Silence also reigned in the narrow chamber set high in the gate-house of Rougemont Castle. It was broken only by the steady champing of Gwyn's jaws as he finished the last of the crusty bread and cheese left over from the trio's second breakfast. The other two members of the coronor's team were totally silent. Thomas, the clerk, was laboriously penning a copy of yesterday's inquest held on a forester crushed by a falling tree. The coroner himself was covertly studying the latest lesson set him by a cathedral canon, who was trying to teach him to read and write.

Bernard Knight is a former Home Office pathologist and Professor of Forensic Pathology at the University of Wales. During a 40-year career with the Home Office he performed over 25,000 autopsies, and was involved with many high-profile cases. Along with this series, he also participates with six British histmyst authors calling themselves The Medieval Murderers made up of —Bernard Knight, Ian Morson, Michael Jecks, Philip Gooden, Susanna Gregory, C.J. Sansom (excellent authors all).

Otherwise not much happening. Oh, tonight is a series premiere of a Joss Whedon show called Dollhouse. Who's Joss Whedon? Only one of the current Gods of TV. Buffy, Angel, Firefly, etc. And, OMG, if you haven't watched Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog you are missing out. It was available online but may now be on DVD. This was a FANTASTIC short put together by Whedon during the writers' strike last year featuring Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible and Nathan Fillion as Dr. Horrible's arch nemesis, Captain Hammer. It's a musical, it's hilarious, it's well performed, do yourself a favor and find this. Here's a description:

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a 42-minute musical romp that bears the distinctive stamp of Joss Whedon. Neil Patrick Harris plays the title character, who video-blogs about his twin goals to join the Evil League of Evil and to woo the fair Penny (Felicia Day), a woman he met at the local laundromat. Dr. Horrible is foiled on both fronts, however, by his arch-nemesis, the self-absorbed superhero Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion). The offbeat, off-the-cuff humor is laugh-out-loud funny, and just like Dr. Horrible wants to take over the world, the songs will take over your head: they're engaging ("My Freeze Ray'), stirring ("My Eyes"), and sweet ("Penny's Song'). "So They Say" is particularly evocative of Jonathan Larson's Rent. It's hard to imagine a better cast. Harris, who's sung Sondheim on Broadway, is a great lead and clearly the best singer, Day is completely charming, and who better than Captain Tightpants to play the pompous superhero? One could argue about the ending, and the independent budget shows, but Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a complete hoot for people who enjoy musicals with quirky humor. Plan on watching it multiple times.

I think you can get it through iTunes, too. Ohhh, I know, you can go to youtube.com for a taste at http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=Dr.+Horrible&aq=f. GO! what are you waiting for? Go now!

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, February 12, 2009

We're so tired...

All right, getting this done early so I can move on to other projects. :)



Our household is very tired today. Kona (neighbor-kitty-corner behind-us's chocolate lab) was at the back door from 2 am onward. We're trying to not encourage him to make our place his bus ride home after he's been out carousing so instead of getting up at 2 and taking him home (like I probably should have), we attempted to ignore him but never got back to sleep for four hours, listening to him whining. It's funny that even Tug walks away and tries to sleep. This has been going on for a few weeks now and I've told the neighbors about this and they said they'd have to tie him up again (I HATE that). Just get a freakin' better fence, people. For a couple days this week, I had put up a board across our stairway on the deck in back and that seemed to at least not let us hear him and perhaps discourage him but I hadn't done it the last two nights thinking (wishing) that it had done the trick. It will have to go up again. This is just crazy. If I were those neighbors, I'd be mortified.



I finished THE BOOK OF UNHOLY MISCHIEF by Elle Newmark last night. I loved it; it will be on my top ten books list with no question or hesitation; but it will not be a book for everyone. I love the idea that chefs were the Guardians of knowledge through the dark years of the first millenia and a half. Brilliant.



Survivor starts up again tonight on tv. This is one reality show that Steve and I watch together; we've watched them from the beginning. So Thursdays are committed again for several weeks.



Today's Blog/Website of the Day continues Valentine's Day theme with cupcakes. Yes, someone devotes their online efforts to cupcakes which can be found at http://cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com/. Actually, there is more than one blog devoted to the little cake but this one looked interesting.



Okay, I've got to get working on my project. No current events today -- it's all the same bad news and con artists. The only good news is the koala drinking water after the fires. I love this picture:



There's most definitely a nap in my future so I'd better get rollin'.

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mid week nothings

Continuing the Valentine's theme to our daily feature, today Blog/Website of the Day is about jewelry. Just Ask Leslie is a blog stating she is the jewelry expert. Check it out at http://www.justaskleslie.com/. I worked at a jewelry store for a while. The big days are Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Mother's Day. You can sell anything for those events. You also sometimes have returns the day after. Yikes, not the fun part of the job.

Goodness, nothing really to talk about today. Read up on planned giving to keep my toes in the water so to speak in development. Walked Tug, then took him along as I ran some errands: dropped off tax info, gassed the car, picked up two holds at the library, and went through the Wendy's drive thru for dinner tonight.

Current events: Bret Favre is retiring... again. He means it this time, people. Madoff's wife pulled $15 million from accounts before his arrest ...hmmm ... not suspicious at all.

I requested a free trial of some software I'm interested in and it finally showed up this afternoon so I'll probably install that and play around with it. Nothing on tv tonight as Lie to Me isn't on because of American Idol (yuck). So, I get time to read more of the current book, THE BOOK OF UNHOLY MISCHIEF. Or I could watch some Eureka on DVD; I've not been spending much time on the DVD front lately. Steve goes shooting so I only have to occupy Tug with something like peanut butter in his sucky thing or a bone. :)

Running out of time here. See y'all tomorrow

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bonus! Article about the Muppets

If you know me, you know I looooooovve the Muppets. CNN has an article about them, check it out:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/02/10/mf.muppet.favorites.stories/index.html

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

THE BOOK OF UNHOLY MISCHIEF

You've heard people talk about "voice" in a book, right? I started a book last night that has voice so well done it completely sucked me into the story and made me set aside the current read. THE BOOK OF UNHOLY MISCHIEF by Elle(n) Newmark is fantastic. Here's a description:

It is 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance, and Venice teems with rumors of an ancient book that holds the secret to unimaginable power. It is an alchemist's dream, with recipes for gold, immortality, and undying love. Everyone, rich and poor alike, speculates about the long-buried secrets scrawled in its pages and where it could possibly be hidden within the labyrinthine city. But while those who seek the book will stop at nothing to get it, those who know will die to protect it.

As a storm of intrigue and desire circles the republic that grew from the sea, Luciano, a penniless orphan with a quick wit and an even faster hand, is plucked up by an illustrious chef and hired, for reasons he cannot yet begin to understand, as an apprentice in the palace kitchen. There, in the lavish home of the most powerful man in Venice, he is initiated into the chef's rich and aromatic world, with all its seductive ingredients and secrets. Luciano's loyalty to his street friends and the passion he holds for a convent girl named Francesca remain, but it is not long before he, too, is caught up in the madness. After he witnesses a shocking murder in the Palace dining room, he realizes that nothing is as it seems and that no one, not even those he's come to rely on most, can be trusted. Armed with a precocious mind and an insatiable curiosity, Luciano embarks on a perilous journey to uncover the truth. What he discovers will swing open the shutters of his mind, inflame his deepest desires, and leave an indelible mark on his soul.

I can simultaneously hear the old man telling the story and see him as the child in the tale. The author's website can be found at http://ellenewmark.com/. Library Journal states, "Newmark uses great historical detail and marvelous descriptions of food to make this debut historical novel come alive." Here is the first couple paragraphs:

My name is Luciano -- just Luciano. I'm Venetian by birth, old now and chained to my memories, compelled to return, link by link, seeking clarity.

There's a matter about which I am sworn to secrecy, but times have changed since I took my oath. In my lifetime, I have witnessed man's emergence from centuries of darkness. Great thinkers have unlocked our minds, and great artists have unlocked our eyes and our hearts. Some are calling it a renaissance -- a rebirth, and it will reverberate far into the future because of a miraculous new invention called the printing press. Perhaps, now, it would be a disservice to the advancement of knowledge to remain silent. Perhaps the pendulum has swung a full arc, and the time has come for me to speak. If I proceed with caution ... well, those who have ears let them hear.

The intrigue took place in my youth, when I served as an apprentice to the doge's chef in Venice. I first suspected some unholy mischief when the doge invited an uncouth peasant to dine with him in the palace. In the time-honored tradition of servants everywhere, I assumed my post behind the the slightly opened service door to the dining room in order to spy, and I marveled at the sight of them together: the doge, chief magistrate of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, gracious and bejeweled, sat with his guest, a bewildered paesano with calloused hands, dirt under his fingernails, and unwashed hair that had been hastily wetted and pushed off his face to show respect.

This book reminds me of the storytelling in THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield. Not the same type of story, of course, but the unfolding of the events and the desire to know what happened next and then next. I had thought I had seen somewhere that there was a new book out by her but I can't find evidence of it anywhere now so I guess I'm mistaken. I would definitely, at this point, read more by her.

Today's Blog/Website is a blog by Janet Rudolph of Mystery Readers Journal fame about chocolate http://dyingforchocolate.blogspot.com/. What's Valentine's Day without chocolate?

We've decided to combine our cable and telephone services into the one service as offered by our cable company. I don't usually like to combine like that into one company, giving them control over so much, but they will be saving us some money and that's important in these times. So the guy was here this morning and got introduced to Tug right away. Luckily he said he liked dogs. To Tug, this was his new best friend. Oy.

Got a call from the University today saying that due to the economic downturn, they are making cuts and the class I was going to teach this summer was one of them, so sorry. And the hits just keep on coming. Actually, I kind of suspected something was up because I hadn't heard from them in a while. And I'm not surprised; it's tough all over and getting tougher.

Had a good walk with Tug. Cleaned my desk and now have to rearrange everything. I'll probably drop off taxes info tomorrow. Nothing really pressing on tv tonight so I expect I'll be reading. Yay!

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, February 9, 2009

The first of the week again


Finished SHANGHAI MOON by SJ Rozan last night. A pleasant read. Learning some of the history of China in the 30s through the story was interesting. Back to the Kaminsky now.

Current events: terrible fires in Australia have claimed over 100 lives thus far. The Grammies and the BAFTAs awards were last night. The "stimulus" spending package is enough to pay 90% of mortgages. Oh, I can't read anymore of this. This is too depressing.

Quick, let's change the subject and pretend bad stuff isn't happening out there.

Valentine's Day is Saturday. Love encapsulated in 24 hours. It's been a month and two weeks since the last excuse to party or be forced to buy something for a loved one so we have to have this holiday in February. Actually, I'm not that cynical about Valentine's Day, I just hate to see things get marketed to death. Steve and I got engaged on a Valentine's Day. I remember making Valentine's boxes in grade school with tissue paper decorations. If you're a chocoholic, you can stock up the day afterward with good sales (no, I don't).

Every day this week I'll attempt to have Valentine-themed sites to share. Today's Blog/Website of the Day is the Candy Blog found at http://www.typetive.com/candyblog/. Because nothing says I love you like candy, right? :) I was at Walmart the other day and saw heart shaped peeps. I'm sorry, peeps are only for Easter; it's just wrong. Anyway, the author of the Candy Blog describes her work as "Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind." Exploring candy so we don't have to, thank god. Lots of dedication here.

Tug and I had a good walk this afternoon. I got some things accomplished on the computer this morning so today goes down on the plus side. Monday night is tv night, though Chuck is apparently a repeat, so not as crowded. The Closer and Paranormal State to be watched.
Just not being inspired today, the words are not flowing, so I'll end the torture now. Have a good rest of the day, people.
Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Epic Fantasy and SHANGHAI MOON

Friday night we were flipping channels and came across a really bad movie. It was so bad we had to watch the whole thing to see how bad it truly was. It was a recently made (2007) epic fantasy type that I didn't think they made anymore since Krull and those other bad ones in the 80s. 2007, can you believe it? It was called In the Name of the King and it had NAME actors. Jason Stratham, John Rhys-Davies, Ron Perlman, Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Leelee Sobieski, and the guy who played Shaggy. I can't believe they agreed to do this movie, it was so bad, but maybe they took the paycheck and had a trip to Germany or wherever this was made. Unfortunately, their performances will live forever and sometimes we see it.

It combined so many bad elements -- sort of a legion of Roman fighters, Orc-type creatures, medieval hair, magicians evil and good, women swinging from trees (all the actresses had wonder bras of course), leather and chain mail, a mouthy side kick, ninja-type fighters with cat masks, a nephew who wanted the crown, a long-lost son who is really the next king, a daughter who wants to be a magi, fight scenes that go on forever, and on and on. Here is a short synopsis:

A man named Farmer sets out to rescue his kidnapped wife and avenge the death of his son -- two acts committed by the Krugs, a race of animal-warriors who are controlled by the evil Gallian.

Whoa, it actually has an official website which can be found at http://www.inthenameoftheking.com/. I am the type to find humor in many things and make comments in what I see as humorous, a la Mystery Science Theater 3000 (loved that series). The material from this movie was rich. MST3K would have a field day with this one; I know I did.

Speaking of the 80s, my junior high/high school/college formative years were the 1980s, so I can praise or disparage as I like -- I was there, I lived it.

There were some good fantasy movies from the 1980s:
  1. Excalibur
  2. The Dark Crystal
  3. Dragonslayer
  4. The Neverending Story
  5. Ladyhawke
  6. Highlander (the first one)
  7. The Princess Bride
  8. Willow

And honorable mentions to movies that were so bad, they're good:
  1. Flash Gordon
  2. Labyrinth

But then there are the simply bad ones:
  1. Hawk the Slayer
  2. Clash of the Titans
  3. Ator the Fighting Eagle (both)
  4. The Beastmaster
  5. Conan the Barbarian (all of them)
  6. The Sword and the Sorcerer
  7. Conquest
  8. Deathstalker
  9. Fire and Ice
  10. Krull
  11. Thor the Conquerer
  12. Sheena
  13. The Warrior and the Sorceress
  14. Legend
  15. Red Sonja
  16. Master of the Universe
  17. Erik the Viking

These almost define the 1980s just like the teen movies of that era. Sadly, I can say I've seen most of these movies. (sigh) It's not on the list because I'd categorize it more as scifi but Dune (1984 version) was also a very bad movie. I *adore* the books and had looked so forward to this movie but laughed (and cried inside) in the theater.

Stopped by the library yesterday to pick up a hold that has now jumped the reading queue. SHANGHAI MOON by SJ Rozan is the 9th of 9 in series featuring Lydia Chin, a 30-something Chinese American private eye, and Bill Smith, a 40-something Army brat private eye in New York City. The books alternate POV between the two leads and done so well that you can tell the difference between the two characters though written by one person; this one is a Lydia story. The author has been nominated for and won several mystery awards with this series. For the past seven years she put out two standalones, that IMO, weren't very good so I'm glad she's back to her usual stuff. Here's a description of this book:

Estranged for months from fellow P.I. Bill Smith, Chinese-American private investigator Lydia Chin is brought in by colleague and former mentor Joel Pilarsky to help with a case that crosses continents, cultures, and decades. In Shanghai, excavation has unearthed a cache of European jewelry dating back to World War II, when Shanghai was an open city providing safe haven for thousands of Jewish refugees. The jewelry, identifed as having belonged to one such refugee, Rosalie Gilder, was immediately stolen by a Chinese official who fled to New York City. Hired by a lawyer specializing in the recovery of Holocaust assets, Chin and Pilarsky are to find any and all leads to the missing jewels.However, Lydia soon learns that there is much more to the story than they've been told: The Shanghai Moon, one of the world's most sought after missing jewels, reputed to be worth millions, is believed to have been part of the same stash. Before Lydia can act on this new information, Joel Pilarsky is murdered, Lydia is fired from the case, and Bill Smith finally reappears on the scene. Now Lydia and Bill must unravel the truth about the Shanghai Moon and the events that surrounded its disappearance sixty years ago during the chaos of war and revolution, if they are to stop more killings and uncover the truth of what is going on today.

The author's website can be found at http://www.sjrozan.com/.

Today's Blog/Website of the Day is http://pattinase.blogspot.com/. This blogger has started the craze of listing forgotten crime fiction on Fridays. A worthy project, indeed.

It's Sunday -- a day to read the newspapers; eat roast beast, potatoes and gravy; watch some sports if there's any on; take naps, and lament that tomorrow is Monday. See ya tomorrow.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster