Thursday, February 04, 2016

Roddy Doyle, The Snapper: A Review


Probably most of you have heard of Roddy Doyle, who wrote The Commitments -- that was the first book of his I read as well, just after seeing the movie version, both of which I recommend, especially for anyone interested in the use of dialect in fiction.  Doyle's great at that.





Right now I'm re-reading The Snapper, which is a not-quite sequel to The Commitments.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The Roosevelts: A Review

I'm probably the last person in America to watch The Roosevelts, Ken Burns' documentary about the interwoven lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt. I stumbled across it the other day, and have been binge-watching since (quite a task since it's a seven episode series, with every episode being almost two hours long).




I don't know as much about this period of history -- the very early years of the 20th century -- as I do about other eras.  This is partly because in Louisiana, where I was schooled, history classes always stopped at the Civil War; and partly because when I went to the university (at least the university I went to) you could take either US or World History, and I went for World.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Kid is Open for Business



I've been posting my kid's drawings here for a while.  She's been drawing full-time since she was eleven or twelve, and now -- finally -- feels ready to take commissions.

Here's the link to her page.


Update: The kid draws a goblin for goblin week.



The goblin is eating an orange, peel on, as goblins do.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Review of Dragonheart


Oh, look -- my review of Cecelia Holland's Dragonheart is up at Strange Horizons.

Go here to read it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Meeting the Men: The Stepford Wife Review Continued


A Continuing Review of The Stepford Wives: Part 3.

This section starts with a day-trip to NYC to see a musical, among other things. I'd say that Levin was signalling the upper-class nature of our main character and her husband, except I think Broadway Shows at one point were something middle-class people could afford to see.

This brings me to a perplexing question -- I am not at all sure what class Levin wants us to understand the class of the Eberhardts. They seem to have plenty of money: enough to buy the pricey house in Stepford, and to keep Joanna at home with the kids playing at a job (she has a "career" as a photographer, you'll remember, but it's clear she can't be making much from her sales). They have two cars. They can run off to NYC whenever they like.

So I'd think upper class, except that their house seems like a standard house in the suburbs. Further, not just Joanna but every woman in Stepford seems expected to do her own housework -- all of it -- and to tend her own children with only rare use of teenage babysitters.

There's also the food they eat, which is distinctly middle class: potato chips, McDonalds, peanut butter.

Here Comes the New Semester


Due to a confluence of the MLK holiday and my schedule (teaching MWF, with TR for writing days), I don't start teaching this semester until Wednesday, January 20.

From then on, it's a semi-rough schedule as far as time goes -- I'm there both Monday and Wednesday this semester from 8:00 until well past five: until 8.30 on Mondays, and until six on Wednesdays.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Two-Faced: The End


My kid posted the last page of the comic, Two-Faced, which she has been writing and drawing since she was fourteen years old -- almost three years of work.

It's a lovely page, so that's one thing:


And the comic itself has done very well -- she routinely got hundreds of comments for each page, and has, I believe now, almost 3000 followers.

It features as its main character a cat born with with two faces -- a birth defect; cats with this defect are known as Janus cats. The most famous of these Janus cats was Frank and Louie, or sometimes Frankenlouie. The main character of Two-Faced is Janice, whose third eye gives her the power to see both into the future and into the past. Unfortunately, her home turf becomes center stage for a war.

If you'd like to read it, start here: Two-Faced.



Monday, January 11, 2016

The Town the MRA Dreams of: Stepford Wives review


As a reminder, in this series I'm reviewing The Stepford Wives, in 20-30 pages chunks.

This second installment is later than I meant it to be (first installment is here, from back in November 2015).  But better late than never!

PP 23-25

After a white space, we join Joanna and Walter Eberhadt, our protagonists, as they set out with their two adorable children to explore the town of Stepford -- which, you'll remember from the review of pages 1-22, they have just moved into.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Free Sample!



Over at my writing blog, delagar's pit, I've added an excerpt from a sequel to Broken Slate.

Go here to read it: Martin Tells War Stories



Sunday, January 03, 2016

What I'm Reading Now


Given that it's winter break -- four glorious weeks without classes or committee meetings -- I've been doing a lot of reading, even for me.

Here's the good stuff from the previous few weeks:

Ilona Andrew, Clean Sweep 

A wonderful fantasy novel. And I hate fantasy, so you know this one must be good. It's a world where vampires and werewolves and other fantasy critters are actually aliens, who visit Earth and other places (and dimensions) via a system of portals. When on Earth, they stay in Inns, magical B&Bs run by Innkeepers.  Inns are important because they are neutral ground, and this is one of the few places these various magic beings can (a) be safe and (b) hold negotiations.

Dina DeMille is an innkeeper, a powerful and delightful one. I fell right into this book mainly because of Dina, the character -- these are first person novels, and Dina and her voice are compelling.

Friday, January 01, 2016

More Favorite Drawings by the Kid


Here are two new drawings from our favorite artist.

This first is Big Dog, our big dog:




And this one is Heywood Floyd, the new dog:




Happy 2016, Y'all


Here's hoping the reboot (2016) will be better than the previous episode (2015), which frankly left a lot to be desired.

Some good signs!


  • The GOP seems to be dying out
  • The Paris Climate Accord went well -- maybe we won't all die by 2116!  Here's hoping.
  • The economy is better (better than it was)
  • Here in the Fort, gas prices are lower than they have been since 1973 (in terms of real money, adjusted for inflation).