28 December 2014


Happy Holy Innocents' Day!

Some of you may remember that the Holy Innocents are the patron saints of Shredded Cheddar. I try to post something relevant each year on their feast day. This December has been a slow month for blogging, however, and the only idea that I could come up with was to share a certain short story with you. Since it's not in the public domain, and I'm kind of feeling shady right now, I'm not going to type the title (though you'll see it soon enough) and I'm only going to identify the author through this link.

Note that it's not theologically perfect. The most glaring error is the two dead people who reappear as angels. (I know, right?) But I like the way it puts the sorrows and sacrifice of a few in the greater context of the joy and salvation of the world, so I think it's still worth sharing. Enjoy!

25 December 2014


Early Edition: Bomb Scare

What the cat said!

If you had started wondering a couple of months ago where the Early Edition episode guides/reviews were, well, now you know why I waited so long to publish this one. The timing had to be right, you see. =)

And happily, the writers do more than just deck the halls of this episode with Christmas stuff. The holiday setting is tied up nicely with the two mysteries of the story: the mystery with the serial bomber and the mystery with the changing headlines.

23 December 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 112

The events in the novel started speeding up even as my blog started slowing down. Or at least it felt that way a whole month ago. =P If anyone is still with me, I'm finally ready for our last meeting on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. As before, let's begin with some of Victor Frankenstein's feelings . . .

The deep grief which this scene had at first excited quickly gave way to rage and despair. They were dead, and I lived; their murderer also lived, and to destroy him I must drag out my weary existence. I knelt on the grass and kissed the earth and with quivering lips exclaimed, "By the sacred earth on which I kneel, by the shades that wander near me, by the deep and eternal grief that I feel, I swear; and by thee, O Night, and the spirits that preside over thee, to pursue the daemon who caused this misery, until he or I shall perish in mortal conflict. For this purpose I will preserve my life; to execute this dear revenge will I again behold the sun and tread the green herbage of earth, which otherwise should vanish from my eyes forever. And I call on you, spirits of the dead, and on you, wandering ministers of vengeance, to aid and conduct me in my work. Let the cursed and hellish monster drink deep of agony; let him feel the despair that now torments me."

Sigh. Projecting much, Victor? The Creature probably swore a similar oath on the night when he had to watch his creator destroy the body of what he had hoped would be a companion to him. Frankenstein might as well swear to rend apart his own shadow. An apt metaphor, when you consider that the only way to destroy your shadow is to destroy yourself first.

11 December 2014


Twelve Things about Interstellar

12. The whole point of this movie is space exploration, but I find the backstory of the earth equally fascinating. We're not really supposed to question the arrival of the dust storms and blight that are devastating the world's ability to grow food--both because they're stand-ins for "global warming" (which is untouchable) and because they're meant to be a Macguffin, anyway--but there's more to this future/alternate universe than nature going haywire. This is also a world in which a student gets in trouble for bringing in an old textbook that contradicts a new "corrected" version's assertion that the Apollo moon landing had been a massive hoax to trick the Soviets. I would have liked to spend more time wandering around there, Sliders-style. (Oh, have you seen my Sliders "episode guides"?)

11. The little that we do see of this world is wrapped up in the experiences of a single family--but not in the two-dimensional sense that has been the death of many a modern cinematic epic. (I was positive about this trope in my review of 2012, but its Curtis family is a cartoon caricature next to this film's Cooper family.) That is, this isn't "Save the family, save the world," but more like "Save the world, save the family." Which happens to be more theologically correct.

In any case, that's how one character spins it to the father, who must be convinced to accept a mission that requires him to leave his children and possibly never see them grow up. But if he doesn't do it, they will die of either starvation or suffocation, when the earth finally gives out--for it won't be long before that happens.

10. If you're wondering how the mother feels about this, well, here's the part that first made me want to write this post: she's dead.

07 December 2014


Knitting Diary: New Cowl

Thanks to my knitting obsession, everyone in my family has a new vocabulary word: cowl. My love for these neckwarmers was born long before I ever knit one--and is the reason I turned what would have been Cathy's Scarf into Cathy's Cowl. But It took a while before I got to work on one for myself.

You see, I hardly ever begin with a design that I try to match to yarn, but almost always begin with yarn that I try to match to a design. And none of the creepy pastels that I pilfered from my late grandmother's stash seemed worthy of something as glorious as a cowl. It was not until an aunt in the US took pity on me and sent over two balls of Caron One Pound in Sunflower that I started the Knitted Infinity Scarf pictured on the left.

02 December 2014


Happy New Slump!

Whenever other book bloggers moan that they're experiencing a reading or blogging slump, my (totally unsolicited and probably annoying) advice is for them to enjoy it: if one area of your life is slowing down, that just means that another area is speeding up! So look on the bright side and take advantage of it. =D Well, the time has come for me to follow my own counsel.

I had wanted to finish the Frankenstein readalong in November, but to be honest, I haven't even finished Frankenstein! =P And although I did read another faerie tale retelling for Locus Focus, it took me forever and I'm not really sure how to start the post about it. I'm still committed to finishing both of those short-term projects, but they'll take a longer time than expected. I'm sorry about that.

What I can promise for this month, for those who are still interested in coming here, are some Knitting Diary entries. Blogging and reading have been slow, but you can bet that all sorts of practical stuff, like crafting and cooking, are getting done.

So how is everyone else doing? Are the usual things in your life proceeding as they usually do, or have you also noted some slowing down in one area and speeding up in another?

26 November 2014


Banned Books and Bratty Readers

Remember that time on The O.C. when Marissa wanted to get back at her snobby, social climbing mother by dating the yard guy?

Marissa Cooper was a mess wasn't she?
Now imagine her as a reader . . . LOL!

Yeah, he was good looking and had a nice personality--but there's a reason I had to look him up by googling "The O.C. Marissa Hispanic guy." She would have dated him even if he had been a troll in appearance and manner. The point was to show her racist mother up. It's too bad that she could only do it by being racist herself. To his credit, D.J. (Yes, I finally learned his name) didn't let himself be played by either the mother or the daughter, and his short arc on The O.C. has some real class. (Sarcastic voice in my head: "Yeah, social class." Shut up, stupid voice, and let me finish this post.)

I always mean to post this during "Banned Books Week", the most self-congratulatory sennight in the book blogging calendar, in which we pat ourselves on the back for being open-minded enough to read books which people whom we don't respect didn't like. (I wonder what Tyler Durden would say.) But I always post stuff off schedule, and well, some readers are bratty all weeks of the year. Like, R****** S*******, who inspired me to give this post another go, inasmuch as she shares the book blogging community's consensus that authors should be "nice" or be blacklisted. We don't like it when other people take away our "freedom to read," but we've done our fair share to take away some authors' "freedom to be read."

I'll bet that any author who wishes for the windfall that comes from having a book "challenged" . . .

21 November 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 111

If I bring up Stephenie Meyer's Twilight up a lot during our discussions of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, that's because the latter is the unacknowledged great-grandfather of the former. Edward Cullen is the perfect blend of Frankenstein and his Creature . . . if you overlook the sparkling. But seriously, the Romantic ideal of being lonely and lost in a beautiful but comfortless world, until you find the individual who is the perfect and only mate for you, is believed by both Edward and the Creature. And the idea that you yourself can have a hand in creating this individual is explored by both Meyer and Shelley.

. . . a train of reflection occurred to me, which led me to consider the effects of what I was now doing. Three years before I was engaged in the same manner, and had created a fiend whose unparalleled barbarity had desolated my heart, and filled it for ever with the bitterest remorse. I was now about to form another being, of whose dispositions I was alike ignorant; she might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate, and delight, for its own sake, in murder and wretchedness. He had sworn to quit the neighbourhood of man, and hide himself in deserts; but she had not; and she, who in all probability was to become a thinking and reasoning animal, might refuse to comply with a compact made before her creation. They might even hate each other; the creature who already lived loathed his own deformity, and might he not conceive a greater abhorrence for it when it came before his eyes in the female form? She also might turn with disgust from him to the superior beauty of man; she might quit him, and he be again alone, exasperated by the fresh provocation of being deserted by one of his own species.

But if you really think about it, the Frankenstein of Twilight is Carlisle Cullen, the vampire who turned Edward and the rest of his coven . . . and who would have been willing to turn Bella had Edward continued to refuse. Something that I've long felt the Twilight series fails to explain is why Edward has always had only admiration and affection for his "sire," when he himself is so ambivalent about what he was turned into.

17 November 2014

+ JMJ +

Knitting Diary: My First Hat

Did I really say did knitting has made ​​me "methodical"? ROFLMAO! It didn't take me long after I did to revert back to my old self--the self that can't follow recipes without tweaking them a little. For it turns out that you can have a similar approach to a knitting pattern! In my case, it's not because I want to misbehave, but because I discover along the way that I made ​​some unintentional mistakes that mean I will not be able to follow the original design as rigidly as I've committed to. . . and so need to improvise.

Take what happened when I decided to make the Fresco Simply Slouched Hat that you see on the left.

11 November 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 110

Do you like finding books within books? I do! It's nice when characters are also readers. =) It strains credulity a bit that the Creature learned how to read while observing other people doing it, from outside the latter's home . . . but no more than that he should just happen to stumble across some pretty good books in the wilderness. So let's just accept it, aye?

I can hardly describe to you the effect of these books. They produced in me an infinity of new images and feelings that sometimes raised me to ecstasy, but more frequently sunk me into the lowest dejection. In the Sorrows of Werter, besides the interest of its simple and affecting story, so many opinions are canvassed, and so many lights thrown upon what had hitherto been to me obscure subjects, that I found in it a never-ending source of speculation and astonishment . . .

As I read, however, I applied much personally to my own feelings and condition. I found myself similar, yet at the same time strangely unlike to the beings concerning whom I read, and to whose conversation I was a listener. I sympathised with, and partly understood them, but I was unformed in mind; I was dependent on none and related to none. 'The path of my departure was free'; and there was none to lament my annihilation. My person was hideous and my stature gigantic. What did this mean? Who was I? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my destination? These questions continually recurred, but I was unable to solve them.

The other two books are Plutarch's Lives and John Milton's Paradise Lost--and together the three make an odd collection. It's true that the purpose of literature is to teach us what our immediate experience cannot, and these books certainly expand the Creature's intellectual world. But they seem to be here mostly for contrast, for the effect that these worthy classics have on him is nothing compared to the effect of some other reading material that he finds in his own pocket: his creator's journal entries.

10 November 2014


Knitting Diary: Cathy's Cowl

How do your knitting projects begin? That is, the ones that end up completed? Mine start with unraveling something else that seemed to be working but really wasn't, which was the case when I tried knitting up a basic lace pattern with one of my grandmother's old balls of yarn . . .

Now, the nice thing about ripping up one project is that you get to use the yarn for something else. I don't feel too bad because the "projects" are usually just exercises. And exercises feel like exercises all the way through, even if I begin them with the intention of finishing. There have been exactly two exercises that hinted, very early on, that they had the potential to be something greater. You know, something finished. And one of them just may be the first hand-knit gift that I ever give to a friend.

05 November 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 109

When I anticipated getting my heart ripped out by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, I envisioned something gruesome, bloody, and grunting. I had no idea that it would actually be emotional. And yet that is what the five chapters we are tackling today have been. By "emotional," I certainly don't mean emo, although Frankenstein has that all sewn up, as usual.

. . . Elizabeth read my anguish in my countenance, and kindly taking my hand, said, "My dearest friend, you must calm yourself These events have affected me, God knows how deeply; but I am not so wretched as you are. There is an expression of despair, and sometimes of revenge, in your countenance, that makes me tremble. Dear Victor, banish these dark passions. Remember the friends around you, who centre all their hopes in you. Have we lost the power of rendering you happy? Ah! while we love--while we are true to each other, here in this land of peace and beauty, your native country, we may reap every tranquil blessing--what can disturb our peace?"

. . . not the tenderness of friendship, nor the beauty of earth, nor of heaven, could redeem my soul from woe: the very accents of love were ineffectual. I was encompassed by a cloud which no beneficial influence could penetrate. The wounded deer dragging its fainting limbs to some untrodden brake, there to gaze upon the arrow which had pierced it, and to die--was but a type of me.

Oh, shut up, Victor, before I get Bella Swan to punch you in the face . . . Seriously, someone needs to slap Frankenstein the way we slap people who panic during a crisis, to help him to snap out of it. He lets his emotions rule him without even trying to gain the upper hand. This would be annoying enough if it weren't made worse by his never even pausing to wonder what his Creature might be feeling.

02 November 2014


Early Edition: Suicides

The unprecedented combination of a heavy workload, an illness, and a new knitting obsession may be slowing down the blog, but that's what old drafts are for, aye? Let's hope that this one is satisfactory . . . 

Sometimes it's easy to know when to act and what to do. I mean, surely a CPR instructor who suffers a heart attack would want you to use CPR on him. (Right???) If only it were always that simple.

29 October 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 108

The scene in which Victor Frankenstein successfully animates a corpse is a favourite among filmmakers that even those who have never seen a Frankenstein adaptation expect a really dramatic "It's alive! It's ALIVE" moment. So it's a bit of a shock to read the novel and to see how understated it originally was.

It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!--Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.

Mary Shelley is very stingy on the technical details, but she does have an excuse a reason for it. Frankenstein is so horrified by what he has unleashed on the world that he wants to make sure that no one else ever has a chance to do it. That's probably a good thing . . . but it's also a case of too little, too late.

27 October 2014


Character Connection 47

Hosted @ The Introverted Reader

Do you have any idea how hard it is to blog and to knit at the same time??? If you do, then I don't really have to explain why posts take a longer time to get published. LOL!

A more positive way that my knitting will affect my blogging is through a little rereading challenge I've given myself, to hunt down vaguely remembered passages about knitting in my old books. I'm not sure why I had such a good memory for them back then. Maybe my inner knitter was already asserting herself. =P Anyway, I revisited another knitter character a few nights ago that I'd like to tell you about today.

21 October 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 107

Believe it or not, I've never read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein before! Everything that I know about the "Modern Prometheus" and his monster, I learned from pop culture. And apparently, there's a lot that pop culture has seen fit to gloss over, like the character of Robert Walton.

Six years have passed since I resolved on my present undertaking. I can, even now, remember the hour from which I dedicated myself to this great enterprise. I commenced by inuring my body to hardship. I accompanied the whale-fishers on several expeditions to the North Sea; I voluntarily endured cold, famine, thirst, and want of sleep; I often worked harder than the common sailors during the day and devoted my nights to the study of mathematics, the theory of medicine, and those branches of physical science from which a naval adventurer might derive the greatest practical advantage. Twice I actually hired myself as an under-mate in a Greenland whaler, and acquitted myself to admiration. I must own I felt a little proud when my captain offered me the second dignity in the vessel and entreated me to remain with the greatest earnestness, so valuable did he consider my services. And now, dear Margaret, do I not deserve to accomplish some great purpose? My life might have been passed in ease and luxury, but I preferred glory to every enticement that wealth placed in my path. Oh, that some encouraging voice would answer in the affirmative!

LTG mentioned that Frankenstein would be a good segue from last month's Oryx and Crake readalong--and we surely have our first connection here, in our "ordinary" narrator. When I was in uni, the Professor who included Oryx and Crake as an optional novel in his paper said that one benefit of such a framing device is that it makes the most fantastic settings and situations seem more believable. And that's probably why Margaret Atwood didn't get the evil genius Crake to tell his own story, but handpicked his old buddy Jimmy to do it. (Yes, before Crake chose Jimmy, Atwood chose Jimmy. Poor guy.) But Shelley's Walton serves a second--and I daresay, a more important--purpose.

18 October 2014


Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Twelve!

We're still doing the Return to Faerieland challenge, with settings from retold faerie tales. Today's featured novel is a book I won in a giveaway years ago and didn't have a reason to read until this month. And it occurred to me that I should match my Locus Focus themes to my "TBR pile" more strategically, if I ever hope to make a dent in the latter! =P

17 October 2014


Twelve Things about Stepmom

12. This movie and I have a love-hate relationship. I love it because it's about an imperfect family made beautiful by love. I hate it because I'm still the very moral age of seven years old when it comes to divorce and I think that the father and mother should have sucked it up and stayed the f*** together until one of them died. That the mother is discovered to be terminally ill before the father and his new girlfriend get married is not a loophole.

It was while I was musing that Stepmom would have been a better movie if Susan Sarandon's character were a ghost that I realised a second viewing was in order for Horror month--particularly this Horror month when I'm also looking at faerie tales.

11. But the whole truth is that what really pushed me over the edge was pulling up my old draft, glancing at the poster, and wanting to knit everything that Sarandon and Julia Roberts are wearing in it. =P Why don't more movies offer knitting or crochet patterns among their promotional materials? That is a serious question, Hollywood. Call me.

10. Back to faerie tales, in which the real mother often is a ghost of sorts, "haunting" the stepmother enough for the latter to want to kill the former's children. Here in Stepmom we get the fascinating twist of the stepmother also getting to be the princess figure, which totally changes things.

16 October 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 106

After a very close vote that had to be extended so that someone would wander in and break the tie, we finally have a winner . . .

Dracula by Bram Stoker -- 4 votes
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley -- 5 votes

I hope the Dracula fans aren't too disappointed. It'll still be fun. I promise! =)

This weekend, I'll start reading the Preface and Letters and stop at Chapter 4; so I hope to have the first readalong post up on Monday.

Image Source: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

14 October 2014


A Tangled Teaser

The book I feature today wasn't a current read, but I did have to reread quite a few pages of it to write this post. And this post isn't a teaser for a review, but for the sort of thing you can expect from my blog in the future. It isn't often that I throw a completely new element into the mix, so I find this change exciting!

11 October 2014


My Other Focus

Since I'm only going to do Locus Focus every other Saturday for this month and the next, here's a "filler" post for now. I've taken up a new hobby!

Photography! =D

Actually, as those who follow my Twitter feed know, it's knitting. Or as I say when I tell my trainees about it, it's el tejido de punto . . . ou le tricot . . . oder das Stricken. And it's wonderful!

It all started the weekend after my grandmother's death, when my siblings and a cousin and I were going through her craft materials.

09 October 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 105

After the difficulty that I and at least one other reader had getting a copy of our previous readalong novel, I realised it was time for the "Two or Three" Book Club to return to its roots . . . again.

As I reminded everyone the last time we got all rooty, this was originally supposed to be a club for reading the classics because those books are the easiest to get copies of, which means that more people can join in. (Despite what those people who claim to know me in real life say, I am nothing if not inclusive.) Besides, it's about time we did a Horror classic, aye? =D

07 October 2014


Early Edition: Horoscopes

"Knowing the headlines is one thing . . . Knowing the future is another."

Gary Hobson doesn't have to read his horoscope for today: all the headlines of tomorrow give him a good idea of how his day is going to turn out. That is, assuming that nobody messes with the stars. =P And this is where the first twist of the episode comes in . . .

04 October 2014


Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Eleven!

Welcome to the Return to Faerie Land Challenge!

On every other Saturday of October and November, Locus Focus will be all about settings from retold faerie tales. I want to feature four books . . . and to cap the challenge, one movie! If this sounds like something you'd like to do, too, feel free to grab the badge, write a post on your own blog, and leave me and everyone else a link in the combox. =)

03 October 2014


Thirteen Things about The Purge

13. If you enjoyed the Oryx and Crake readalong and don't mind a bit of Horror in your movie diet, you might want to check out The Purge. It mixes dystopian themes and Slasher elements, and was definitely "the right movie at the right time" for me last weekend.

12. The setting is a divided United States--an oxymoron that may be the very heart of the American Dystopian tradition. Here, too, the country is split into "Compounds" and "pleeblands"--though, of course, the reasons are different from those envisioned by Margaret Atwood, who is unforgivably Canadian anyway. Just note that it's not an official division: the country is considered united. Indeed, what causes the division is celebrated as a uniting force, like every other national holiday. Of course I refer to The Purge: the annual twelve-hour period in which all laws are completely suspended and anyone may do anything with total impunity.

11. You'd think they'd just loot the malls or something, but apparently, what millions of Americans choose to do with all that "freedom" (Oh, I get it now . . .) is to kill each other in the most brutal ways they can imagine.

A little over-the-top, I thought . . . until I considered the long shadow of the Salem Witch Trials . . . the canonical importance of Shirley Jackson's short story The Lottery . . . and yes, Christopher, the massive popularity of The Hunger Games.

30 September 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 104

It turns out that I shouldn't have been so worried about running out of time. The last three chapters are so short that writing about them may take less time than reading them! =P We've all been wondering how Jimmy turned into Snowman; now we know. But does solving the mystery make us feel any better?

I don't have much time, but I will try to set down what I believe to be the explanation for the recent extraordinary events catastrophe. I have gone through the computer of the man known here as Crake. He left it turned on--deliberately, I believe--and I am able to report that the JUVE virus was made here in the Paradice dome by splicers hand-selected by Crake and subsequently eliminated, and was then encysted in the BlyssPlus product. There was a time-lapse factor built in to allow for wide distribution: the first batch of virus did not become active until all selected territories had been seeded, and the outbreak thus took the form of a series of rapidly overlapping waves. For the success of the plan, time was of the essence. Social disruption was maximised, and development of a vaccine effectively prevented. Crake himself had developed a vaccine concurrently with the virus, but he had destroyed it prior to his assisted suicide death.

Although various members of the BlyssPluss project contributed to JUVE on a piecework basis, it is my belief that none, with the exception of Crake, was cognisant of what that effect would be. As for Crake's motives, I can only speculate. Perhaps . . .

After we read Jimmy's last message, he effectively destroys it--and we read, "It is the fate of these words to be eaten by beetles." At first I thought that was part of his dramatic internal monologue. Then I realised that it could also be Margaret Atwood's omniscient third person perspective. Both work, but the latter is infinitely sadder. When the author of your world gives up on you, then all you have is despair. At least the author of the Crakers' world was more beneficent than that, even if he was also a psychopathic loon.

27 September 2014


Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Ten!

Today we get to graduate from the Unschooling Challenge . . . but not before we get our big twist! (Yes, a twist. Not a diploma. Trust me: it's better this way.) So far, all the settings that I've featured have been "organic," in the sense that no one changed anything about them to make them safer for children or otherwise "age-appropriate." But today, we visit a completely controlled environment that still managed to be optimal for learning.

26 September 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 103

When I saw how long this set of three chapters was, how short the last bunch, and how little time we have left in September, I thought about just writing one last big post. I changed my mind when I saw the rest of Oryx and Crake covers I hadn't used yet: surely I had room for two more. Today's cover isn't a triumph of design, but it's perfect for these chapters with the pigoons.

. . . seven pigoons have materialised from nowhere. They're staring at him, ears forward. Are they the same as yesterday's? As he watches, they begin to amble in his direction.

They have something in mind, all right. He turns, heads back towards the gatehouse, quickens his pace. They're far enough away so he can run if he has to. He looks over his shoulder: they're trotting now. He speeds up . . . Then he spots another group through the gateway up ahead, eight or nine of them, coming towards him across No Man's Land. They're almost at the main gate, cutting him off in that direction. It's as if they've had it planned, between two groups . . .

He reaches the gatehouse, goes through the doorway, pulls the door shut. It doesn't latch. The electronic lock is nonfunctional . . . They'll be able to lever it open, pry with their trotters or snouts. They were always escape artists, the pigoons: if they'd had fingers they'd have ruled the world . . .

Could they be any more menacing? Nowhere else in Oryx and Crake does Dystopia overlap with Horror so effectively. We may have a smoother transition into October/November than I had thought!

23 September 2014


Talking to You about . . . Madonna
(Part of my series on Rob Sheffield's Talking to Girls about Duran Duran)

Of all the complex females in my life, Madonna was the one who taught me how to be completely exasperated by a woman, and how to like it. She was the first woman who ever told me I can dance (I can't) and the first who told me I came when she wished for me (I'll have to take her word on that one). I literally never go to the movies without thinking about that scene in the "Into the Groove" video where she puts her head on the guy's shoulder and lets him feed her popcorn. She screwed me up good. Oh, Madonna--you put this in me, so now what? So now what?

At the end of the post on karaoke, Brandon helped me to decide between Madonna and Morrisey by pointing out that it is the former who has become more of a universal language. Or as Rob Sheffield would put it, borrowing Madonna's own lyrics, it is she who has put something in more of us. And she was able to do it because she has always understood better than most people how the symbols of a culture work. But I doubt that most of us, whether we love her or loathe her or fancy that we are completely indifferent to her, could describe with Sheffield's certainty what influence she has had in our lives.

I'm a little luckier in that respect: as I mentioned in my main Reading Diary entry on Talking to Girls about Duran Duran, my mother decided not to end a teenage pregnancy because of Madonna's Papa Don't Preach. A few months later, your blogger was born. Pop culture is powerful like that. Which is not to say that my mother would have made a different decision in a world where Madonna sang a different song, but that Madonna's song helped her to put into words, and later also into action, her own deepest beliefs. It's usually the songs and symbols of a religious culture which have that power.

20 September 2014


Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Nine

This month's Locus Focus theme is settings that make great "unschools." The two we've looked at so far have been "nothing special," in the sense that they were perfectly accessible to the people who already lived on or near them. So much for the idea that the best schools are the hardest ones to get into, aye? Today's setting is another "school" that anyone can walk into and learn in, as long as he has someone who can point out the way. 

18 September 2014


Deutsch (und Disney!) am Donnerstag
Or less alliteratively, German (and Disney!) on Thursday

This post is either perfectly timed or totally out of place: it all depends on how dystopian you think Disney is or isn't. LOL!

My German lessons will resume soon, but I haven't been totally idle. Recalling how great English songs were as teaching tools when I was an EFL tutor, I decided to learn some German Lieder for myself. Naturally, I started with children's songs (like Der Kuckuck und der Esel) and older pop songs (like Ich Will Keine Schokolade); but they just didn't stick to my memory the way I wanted, and studying with them never quite transcended a translation exercise. It was very frustrating for a while--because I could feel my language muscles getting flabby--but unexpectedly, this revision strategy collided with another and I found the perfect cross.

That other strategy involved reading the German translation of an English novel that I'm already very familiar with. Knowing what to expect, I believed, would free my mind to pay attention to context and keep me from pausing my reading in order to look up new words. Unfortunately, Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen was far too ambitious a choice. =P I'm not quite on that level yet . . . but as I found out through a serendipitous YouTube recommendation, familiar songs can take me where familiar novels can't.

Here's a three-legged list with some of the Disney classics that I've been enjoying. Let's see if you notice a theme!

3 German Versions of Disney Songs
That I Can Sing A Decent Bit Of

17 September 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 102

Last meeting, we focussed so much on the past that I think it's only fair to look more closely at the future. (Or should I call it the present?) Besides Snowman, the only other human beings (if we can still call them that) who still seem to be around are the so-called Children of Crake. And unlike him, they are thriving. After all, they were designed that way . . .

. . . [The Children of Crake] are not immune from wounds--the children fall down or bash their heads on trees, the women burn their fingers tending the fires, there are cuts and scrapes--but so far the injuries have been minor, and easily cured by purring.

Crake had worked for years on the purring. Once he'd discovered that the cat family purred at the same frequency as the ultrasound used on bone fractions and skin lesions and were thus equipped with their own self-healing mechanism, he'd turned himself inside out in the attempt to install that feature. The trick was to get the hyoid apparatus modified and the voluntary nerve pathways connected and the neocortex control systems adapted without hampering the speech abilities. There'd been quite a few botched experiments, as Snowman recalled. One of the trial batch of kids had manifested a tendency to sprout long whiskers and scramble up the curtains; a couple of the others had vocal expression impediments; one of them had been limited to nouns, verbs, and roaring.

Well, who could blame Crake for pursuing this line of research? We "Two or Three" Book Club members probably wouldn't blow our savings on NooSkins cosmetic treatments, but something like Wolverine's "healing factor" is something a bit more practical. Wouldn't you like the ability to heal your own broken bones or burns? The real question is whether you'd overlook the fact that several "trial batches" of "kids" had to go before you. During the last discussion, Sheila pointed out that sometimes we just have to accept that the past is the past. But how far in the past would, say, the measles and rubella vaccines have to be before we no longer mind too much that they were developed using aborted babies? When does the present stop being the present and finally become the past?

13 September 2014


Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Eight

"Our success," Sir Ken Robinson has said, "is always synergistic with our environment." As an education adviser, he was likely talking about schools, although he is best known for a talk in which he explained how they kill creativity. But if we've learned one thing from last week's trip to 1940s Monongahela, learning and thriving don't need artificial structures to coax them out. Never underestimate a good unschooling setting.

And now for a cover that the impeccably artistic Stilwell will never forgive me for . . .

09 September 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 101

Pictured today is the cover of the Oryx and Crake edition I would have had if I had been willing to read it in uni. That "frenemy" whom I told you about was so eager for me to read it even after I told her I didn't think it would fit into my book budget, that she offered to buy my copy from me after the trimester, if it were very gently used, at a very generous price. But as I explained, it just wasn't worth it. On the other hand, I'm quite happy to be reading Oryx and Crake today with you all. So it worked out in the end, aye? =)

"We give people hope. Hope isn't ripping off!"

"At NooSkins' prices it is. You hype their wares and take all their money and then they run out of cash, and it's no more treatments for them. They can rot as far as you and your pals are concerned. Don't you remember the way we used to talk, everything we wanted to do? Making life better for people--not just people with money. You used to be so . . . you had ideals then."

"Sure," said Jimmy's father in a tired voice. "I've still got them. I just can't afford them . . . Anyway, [this research has] been paying for your room and board, it's been putting the food on the table. You're hardly in a position to take the high ground."

I just disliked Jimmy's mother at first, but now I see that she's more complex than I thought. While I'm still not happy that she just gave up on being a mother (and then complained about how her son was turning out--just like the parents I wrote about in my Reading Diary entry on John Taylor Gatto's Weapons of Mass Instruction), I'd love to know more about her. What was the incident that was just too much for her? Was there another incident that made her finally decide to take action so many years later? And did the latter have anything to do with Crake?

In the next three chapters we finally get to meet the two title characters--and it's easy to see why they continue to haunt Snowman's imagination long after they seem to be out of his life.

06 September 2014


Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Seven!

Welcome to the Unschooling Challenge!

Although my theme for September is "Dystopia", the settings I have chosen for September's Saturdays are as anti-dystopian as can be. No, that doesn't mean they're utopian--not when every utopia is a dystopia waiting to happen. You could say they're real-world-ian, just as "unschooling" is real-world-ian.

03 September 2014


Reading Diary: Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto

"It is very hard for a man to defend anything of which he is entirely convinced," wrote G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy. For the more reasons you have to stand by something, the harder it is for you to sum all of them up. Which kind of explains why The Last Psychiatrist blog has been all over the place in the last year or so. Well, there's also the obvious fact that coherence is no longer a high priority for Alone, even when he's painstakingly spelling everything out. But I confess that I didn't get what he was saying about Randi Zuckerberg until I started reading John Taylor Gatto.

. . . seeing the connection between long-term legal confinement of children and the nation's business gives us an essential perspective in rethinking the role of mass schooling. Classical business values corrupt education, they have no place in education except as cultural artefacts to be examined.

For the first two centuries of [America's] existence, such an institution would have been unthinkable--the young were too valuable a part of economic and social reality. Indispensable, in fact. But when the young were assigned to consume, not produce; when they were ordered to be passive, not active, as part of the general society, the schools we have were the inevitable result of this transformation. As soon as you understand the functions it was given to perform in the new corporate economy, nothing about school at all should surprise you. Not even its Columbine moments.

Strong words, aye? Can you guess which part hit me in the face like one of Alone's brickbats? It was the line: ". . . when the young were assigned to consume, not produce . . ." Which is just another way of describing the very handicap that Alone observed in a child who "had been well trained to want things but not control things." And now everything is so amazingly obvious to me that I would be all over the place, too, if I tried to explain it. Consider me that "ordinary intelligent man" whom Chesterton says would be unable to come up with an impressive answer to the question "Why do you prefer civilisation to savagery?" if you dropped it on him without warning.

But I've obviously had some warning, or else this post wouldn't be so nicely formatted. =P So perhaps I am now an "ordinary intelligent woman" who just gets a little impatient at anyone who tuned in too late to hear all her stories about those two years as a high school teacher and the next three years as an after-school tutor, while they were happening, and who no longer cares to explain herself. I also have a personal bias against conversion-based apologetics, remember? (Trick question! Because if you've just tuned in, then you don't.)

01 September 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 100

We're in the triple digits!!! =D Was anyone else around during our very first meeting? But regardless of when you "joined"--and even if you have since "left"--I'm grateful to have had your company at any point along the way. If you're also feeling nostalgic and have any "Two or Three" Book Club memories that you'd like to share, please let me know in the combox. =) But now that my copy of Oryx and Crake has finally arrived, I shouldn't keep you waiting any longer . . .

"Snowman, oh Snowman," [the children are] saying . . . To them his name is just two syllables. They don't know what a snowman is, they've never seen snow.

It was one of Crake's rules that no name should be chosen for which a physical equivalent--even stuffed, even skeletal--could not be demonstrated. No unicorns, no griffins, no manticores or basilisks. But those rules no longer apply, and it's given Snowman a bitter pleasure to adapt this dubious label. The Abominable Snowman--existing and not existing, flickering at the edges of blizzards, apelike man or manlike ape, stealthy, elusive, known only through rumours and through its backward-pointing footprints. Mountain tribes were said to have chased it down and killed it when they had the chance. They were said to have boiled it, roasted it, held special feasts; all the more exciting, he supposes, for bordering on cannibalism.

Oh, look! An unlikely and unexpected connection to the ending of State of Fear. LOL! (Sorry, Amy. But you know I couldn't resist. =P Let's just hope it's not foreshadowing!)

24 August 2014


Blast from the Book Boyfriend Past!

Meet Shea Adler and other book boyfriends
@ Stuck in Books

While waiting for my copy of Oryx and Crake to get here (and yes, it may be a while yet), I decided to work on a few old drafts and get them published before the Dystopian theme that we're going to have soon means they'll have to wait a little longer. 

Please note that today's featured characters are over 150 years old, so there are going to be spoilers here. I hope that this post's being a "two-fer," just like the book that inspired it, will make up for that somewhat.

20 August 2014


Talking to You about Karaoke!
(Part of my series on Rob Sheffield's Talking to Girls about Duran Duran)

Now that we're done with the Children's Programme "Fake" Band Smackdown and postponing the Oryx and Crake readalong indefinitely (I'm still so sorry), I guess it's the best time to resume blogging through Rob Sheffield's tribute to 80s music. And how can we do that without exploring some karaoke?

I never sang karaoke in the '80s, but I spend my karaoke time rehearsing those years, long after the audition ended. I go to karaoke to live those years out in ways that weren't possible at the time, technologically and emotionally. Now I can step into the stilettos of Sheena [Easton] or Chaka [Khan]. These are songs I used to sing alone in my room--now I have a microphone and a crowd.

Well, actually, we could have returned to the 80s with some Paul McCartney instead--but when I asked people to choose between Macca and karaoke, the only vote went to karaoke. LOL! And why not? If music is a universal language, then karaoke is Esperanto. But I do wonder what my provincial karaoke "accent" would reveal about me in an international gathering.

16 August 2014


Character Connection 46

Hosted @ The Introverted Reader

I might as well admit it: I'm a bad planner. I really should have made sure that the local bookstores stocked Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake before giving it a chance to be a "Two or Three" Book Club pick. One branch did have a copy two weeks ago . . . but it was being reserved for someone else. I consoled myself by imagining that the person who wanted it is one of my lurkers. If you're reading this, silent friend, I want to congratulate you on getting there ahead of me. But you realise we're all stuck now, right? ;-P E-mail me if you want to write the first readalong post!

While waiting for another copy of Oryx and Crake to arrive by special order, I have been indulging in a random and unscheduled reread of Leigh Greenwood's Western Romances, one of which gives me something to blog about today.

07 August 2014


Life as a Reading Challenge, Chapter 15

Have you read David Wong's 60 Second Guide to Learning the Awful Truth about Yourself? If his name sounds familiar, that's because he's the guy who got me to make CLOSE my word for 2013. I appreciate his newer article as well--and not just because it gives me a challenge I can adapt to one of my own posts. Here's a sixty-second exercise for you . . .

1) Write down the names of the five authors whom you own the most books by.
2) Write down the names of the five authors who are the greatest literary influences in your life.
3) Use your Secret Decoder Ring for the twist: understand that the five authors on the first list are the real greatest literary influences in your life.

You already know which authors would be on my first list. As for the second, it would have (in alphabetical order) Charlotte Bronte, G.K. Chesterton, Nick Joaquin, F. Sionil Jose, and Madeleine L'Engle. Of course, the one who made both lists is also the one whom I try to shrug off these days. =P Does this matter, though?

Well, yes. Wong's original challenge was to write down five things you did yesterday and then the five things you think are most important in life--and [Secret Decoder Rings again, please] to realise that the first things are your real priorities. And his point was that the amount of time that we spend doing something is an objective standard about how much we value it. If you spend eight to ten hours a day at a job you hate, well, that does say something awful about you. Such as that you've swallowed, hook, line and sinker, the idea that a centralised mass production economy run by wage-slavery is your destiny. It's not the only thing about you, of course, but neither is it something you can shrug off.

Speaking of economies, there are also the amounts of money that we spend . . .

04 August 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 99

Once again, we have a winner! And what we will be reading for the next two months (give or take a few weeks!) is . . .

The Handmaid's Tale - 1 vote
Oryx and Crake - 3 votes

That's not the most popular turnout we've had, but how can a Nichtwählerin like myself complain? LOL! For what it's worth, I also know from experience that books with "niche" appeal are often more effective at sparking discussion than books with mass appeal. So this should be interesting! =)

Since there are fifteen chapters, I'm going "to break" the readalong into five meetings on three chapters each. I'll call the next "meeting" to order later this week.

Image Source: Oryx and Crake by Atwood

29 July 2014


Judging Readers by Their Collections

This Week's Theme:
Authors We Own the Most Books Of

My title is tongue-in-cheek, of course. I know as well as anybody that book buying habits can change over time and that collections can be "curated." (You know who'd have a field day with that word, though? George Orwell.) These days, I tend not to stick to a single author for very long, preferring to choose a new book to read according to how different it is from the book I just finished. But when I was young, my habit was to stockpile as many books as I could by the author I liked most at the moment. It was the first strategy I ever developed for choosing books--and a quick glance at the yellowing, crumbling editions on my shelves will reveal which writers wove the stories of my childhood and youth. But there's no similar "giveaway" for those who left an equally huge impact later on.

Then there were the years I was part of the online Romance community, where reading as many titles as possible by a single author was part of the culture--which, of course, I was determined to assimilate into. (I'm a good immigrant.) Although I don't read much Romance any longer, my holding on to my old books makes it easy for anyone to tell which authors I had "love affairs" with. I'd argue that their disproportionate representation in my personal library no longer says something substantial about me, but neither Alone of The Last Psychiatrist nor David Wong of Cracked.com's End Times Report would let me get away with that. =P

Nonetheless, in a world where reading a book and owning a book aren't always the same thing . . . with a market fond of pushing trilogies and series . . . how do we crunch the numbers? To take an analogy from a different medium, a friend of mine one described the TV series LOST as "a great novel": does this mean that all 121 episodes count as one? I could ask these questions all day, but I really ought to get to the point, aye? So while we're working out our answers, here is my list . . .

A Tenner:
Authors Whose Books Take The Most Space in My Personal Collection

28 July 2014


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 98

So what has everyone been reading lately? Thanks to last June's odd mix of Philippine literature and Plato's Dialogues, I've been feeling a little more critical of Philippine society and been adapting my reading accordingly. These days, I'm getting through more non-fiction than usual, the books which keep me the busiest being those which purport to answer the question "What's wrong with the world?"--though not including G.K. Chesterton's What's Wrong with the World. =P

I'm also feeling more tired than usual . . . not because of work, but because of life . . . and I almost decided to put off having another Book Club pick until September . . . before I realised that there happens to be a popular genre I do want to read with others right now, if you all are willing, too. That is, if Dystopian Fiction sounds good to you and you don't mind that my deadline for finishing the readalong is 30 September, please help me to choose from among the following two books by a critically acclaimed author . . .

27 July 2014


Book Boyfriend #4

Meet "The Bad Boy King" and other Book Boyfriends
@ Stuck in Books

It seems that my status as "Sensor Librorum" is still official. Someone at work who knows that I read YA novels recently asked me if the book with today's "boyfriend" would be appropriate for "a mature ten-year-old" girl. Not having been around ten-year-old children for a while, I waffled a bit before finally saying no.

"But I thought you said there was no graphic violence and that the most sexual word in the text was 'kiss.'"

As I explained that you don't even need to kiss if you can play mind games, this post began to take shape. But as you can already tell, I'm looking at today's book boyfriend not from the perspective of someone who might want to date him but from the perspective of someone who would like her daughter to stay away from him . . . for at least a few more years.

23 July 2014


Early Edition: Shooting Accident

This episode gives us one of the more interesting challenges of Season 1. A child shoots his brother with a gun that his mother has been keeping because she fears (with very good reason) that their estranged father will return and try to kill her. What is one who hears the news in advance to do?

As if he heard today's question back in 1995, Gary Hobson says, "I get the gun. I'm in. I'm out." But is it really that simple?

20 July 2014


Children's Programme "Fake" Band Smackdown, Final Winner!!!
(Revisit Round 1, Round 2 Round 3A, the Intermission, Round 3B, and Round 4)

Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem!

What a band, aye? =D I am always in awe of what Jim Henson and his colleagues were able to create on The Muppet Show and their other projects. Of all the "fake" bands in this smackdown, they are the realest because they were so from the beginning. The Monkees may have surprised everyone by becoming real after their first season, but The Electric Mayhem and all the other Muppets topped them by being real in their very first show.  

There's also the winner of the June/July Giveaway to announce. But first, the conclusion to my thoughts on Fred Rogers's belief that it is wrong to blur the lines between fantasy and reality when dealing with children, which I didn't include at the end of last week's post for reasons that I hope will be obvious in a few seconds . . .

19 July 2014


Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Six!

Whenever I do a themed series for Locus Focus, I try to find four settings for each theme--and for the most part, I succeed. This June and July, I played tour guide in an ancient barrio, a sordid slum, and a modern suburb . . . but I'm afraid that it for the Filipino settings.

I did think about featuring something from a Filipino movie (as I did last year, in Take Ninety-Seven). But then it dawned on me that there is another "video" setting that I've been appreciating for weeks. It may not fit one theme I've been working, but it totally fits another.

17 July 2014


Theme Thursday 12

The last time I did a Theme Thursday post, I also tried to visit all the bloggers who had participated in it three years ago. Some of the blogs were no longer active, but I left comments for all those which were. It was nice to be reminded of the reason I started doing Theme Thursday posts back then: the show-and-tell aspect of everyone reaching into his current read and pulling out something both similar and different. But it was also a little sad to give old posts some comment love; I felt as if I were writing letters to people whose old diaries I had come across in an attic.

Since I'll be doing that again this week, for the theme from 9 March 2011, I'm bracing myself right now.

This Week's Theme:

12 July 2014


Children's Programme "Fake" Band Smackdown, Round 4
(Revisit Round 1, Round 2 Round 3A, the Intermission, and Round 3B)

Now we come to everyone's favourite part of my smackdowns: the part where I run out of things to say. =P I'll just officially declare that Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution were the winners of the last little face-off, and then turn the final vote for the greatest Children's Programme "Fake" Band over to you. So which shall it be?

Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
The Monkees

Both bands put up such a good fight in every round that I think this is too close to call. The last time we had a race this tight, we were "watching" the finals of the Weird "Al" Yankovic Song smackdown. I kind of wish we could call this a tie! (Actually, no I don't. LOL!) While I do have a favourite between them, I leave the final decision up to you. Let me know in the combox which "fake" band from TV deserves the Shredded Cheddar crown.

Those who are voting for June/July Giveaway entries already know that the Rafflecopter is after the jump. But what you don't know is that I have one more surprise . . .

11 July 2014


Option #30:"Gotita de Dragon" and Other Stories by Nick Joaquin
(Scroll down for the Rafflecopter and see the Giveaways page for more information)

There lived a poet in Pasig for whom twilight sometimes gathered while the sun was still a-nooning. When that happened, he could understand the language of animals, and also of flowers, kettles, and chairs.

One day he was having a pre-lunch aperitif when what should drop into his drink but a lizard. It was a baby lizard no bigger than a pin, and not yet expert at cruising ceilings. "Crawling upside down takes a lot of practice," its mother had said, "so we'll begin with something easier, like crawling down walls." Which was what she had been training her baby to do, every evening, at the sound of the Angelus, when, as we know, good house lizards kiss the ground in homage to the Virgin . . .

-- from "Gotita de Dragon"

The last time I read a Nick Joaquin story for children, I was a child myself. I especially loved one Western faerie tale that he retold in a "groovy" Philippine setting . . . but it's not in this collection and may not be reprinted for many years yet. On the other hand, I'm pleased to report that at least one more faerie tale once passed through the prism of his imagination, that we will find it here, and that it also happens to be the faerie tale that spilled its secrets to me this Giveaway season. Don't you love it when stories do that?

Joaquin's style is very uneven--almost rough--in his novels, but he always has just the right touch in his shorter pieces. Here are my even shorter reviews for all five stories in this book . . .

08 July 2014


Book Blogger Buzzkills

This Week's Topic:
Book Blogger Confessions

Sometimes I know well in advance what my blog's week is going to look like, and sometimes posts just write themselves. I may have drafted this on the spur of the moment, but I've been thinking about many of the issues in it for years. And while they aren't really secrets--because I'm open about them when anyone asks--I get the sense that some of them shouldn't be brought up in mixed company.

But The Broke and the Bookish is actually inviting people to share not one . . . not two . . . but ten of our "deepest, darkest confessions" today, and it's only the perfect time to pull them all out! So here we go . . .

A Tenner:
What I Secretly Think of the Book Blogging Community

05 July 2014


Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Five!

It seems that Locus Focus is now a fortnightly festival. That works for me, even if it's one more thing messing up the June/July Giveaway. I had to adjust the end date on the Rafflecopter again, but this time is really the last time.

Two fortnights ago, we read about an ancient village; last fortnight, it was a modern city slum. Today's setting is kind of in between, with more creature comforts . . . 

04 July 2014


Children's Programme "Fake" Band Smackdown, Round 3B!
(Revisit Round 1, Round 2 Round 3A, and the Intermission)

We're finally back on track this week--sort of! During the Intermission, Love Handel utterly demolished Iron Weasel . . . and I can't say I'm surprised. =P Here's a face-off that (I hope) will be a little more unpredictable.

The Sundance Kids vs. The Evolution Revolution

The 1970s were a great decade for "fake" bands. I couldn't let them dominate the Archies Sixteen, of course, but it still hurt to cull them from the final cut. Some bands seemed to exist "just because," but others came with stories. And for some reason, many of the stories involved crime and espionage. Take the Sundance Kids, a teen band with fans all over the world: they were really undercover CIA agents whose gigs gave them the perfect cover in any foreign locations where they had to solve a case. On the other hand, Lance Link already had a good thing going with the Evolution Revolution when he was recruited by A.P.E. to be one of their secret agents. The band continued to perform together because songs turned out to be great vehicles for coded messages! Which group of singing spies gets your vote?

Tell me in the combox which band you like better and earn another entry in what really should be called the June/July Giveaway! The Rafflecopter is at the end of this post.

Round 3B
The "Fake" Four

03 July 2014


Theme Thursday 11

When I first started joining Theme Thursday, I would have to wait until the theme was announced and then try to find a fitting passage for it from my current read. These days, checking off posts as old as three years and four months, I can keep a theme in mind over several books, until I finally find something that does it justice. As I have today . . .

Today's Theme: