Monday, July 30, 2007

I stitched tonight

Poor Dave now has the terrible cold I was suffering from over the weekend. He and Marcus were both in bed and asleep by a little after 8pm tonight.

I had the house and the evening to myself.

I settled in the lounge with "Defender of the Kingdom" on my scroll rods and "Northern Lights" (Nora Roberts) on the mp3 player and happily got about an hour's stitching done.

I thought I'd better stop then and not push myself too much, but I have some more nice navy background blobbiness done and more of my book listened to.

It's left me feeling very satisfied and relaxed. While I certainly don't wish sickness on anyone (it really it a horrible cold, I know cause I've been there and done that with it), I hope I can get a few more evenings like this in as I think it's very good for me to relax without being on the computer or obsessing about how much of my latest book I got read.

I'll wait until the five hours are up for a photo though since the progress isn't all the exciting to see at this point.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Alpine Seasons #015

Alpine Seasons #015
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

I'm not feeling well enough to do much stitching at the moment, but it is nice to get a bit done. To help myself see progress, I'm rotating through four projects, but only doing 5 hours at a time as I think 10 would be too long.

So here's my 5 hours progress on part 9. I've come to really hate those trees, but at least I'm on the home stretch with them now. Next time around I should finish them.

I do love how this is turning out, even if it has been a huge, huge, major project for me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Just Finished Reading... Gods and Pawns

...Gods and Pawns by Kage Baker.

This was another collection of short stories in Baker's Company universe.

I remain impressed by the way Baker has mastered both the short and long fiction forms and can tell a full and satisfying story either way.

I enjoyed all the stories in this volume, although naturally some more than others. I especially enjoyed more Lewis tales as he has very much grown on me as a character. I'm not sure that I can pick a favourite, as each story had things I liked and they were all deftly written.

My least favourite was probably "The Land Beyond the Sunset" in which Lewis and Mendoza go on a field trip and find an apparently lost civilisation. Again, it was well written and engaging, but didn't work for me as well as some of the others.

I liked the 1930's-set "Welcome to Olympus, Mr Hearst", although the future ramifications of the Company's machinations in this case are rather scary. But the story of the house party was delightful, as was the early cameo by Rudolph Valentino.

Another favourite was "Angel in the Darkness" that showed the complications of Porfirio's continued observation of his mortal family from the point of view of one of those family members rather than one of the cyborgs.

Perhaps not a book to come in and read cold, but a lovely addition to the series.

Gods and Pawns
Kage Baker

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Just Finished... The Children of the Company

...The Children of the Company by Kage Baker.
Take a ride through time with the devil. In this book of the Company series, we meet Executive Facilitator General Labienus. He's used his immortal centuries to plot a complete takeover of the world since he was a young god-figure in Sumeria. In a meditative mood, he reviews his interesting career. He muses on his subversion of the Company black project ADONAI. He considers also Aegeus, his despised rival for power, who has discovered and captured a useful race of mortals known as Homo sapiens umbratilis. Their unique talents may enable him to seize ultimate power.
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this entry in Kage Baker's brilliant series. I was expecting it to be a story told with Labienus as the protagonist (I certainly wouldn't call him a hero) and since he's not exactly a nice guy, or doing nice things, I didn't have any particular need to climb inside his head.

Instead, Labienus and his machinations are the thread that holds the book together, but it is really closer to a collection of short stories that let us in on the "other side" of mysteries and events we've already encountered in the earlier books in the series. As such, it is totally unsuitable to be read as a book on its own, but for anyone following the tales of Dr Zeus Inc. it's actually a brilliant addition.

Among other things, we find out what really happened to Lewis in Ireland, how Victor defeated Budu in San Franciso as the earthquake began to rumble under the ground and get another glimpse into the "childhood" of Latif. I also understand Edward a lot better than I did before. I still don't like him, but I understand him better.

The story that caught my heart most was the one that told us what actually happened to Kalugin, who until this was missing and presumed (by the reader at least) to be the victim of foul play. Both proved to be true true in a clever, sad little story. I hope Kalugin gets rescued by the end of the series, and I rather suspect he was never cut out to be an immortal. But as Mendoza's fate has shown us, making an inappropriate person immortal is a mistake that can't be undone.

The saddest tale is that of Hendrick Karremans, the Recombinant mentioned briefly by Joseph in The Graveyard Game, and his short life and death. It was beautifully written, narrated by Victor, who I think may prove to be more of a loose cannon than anyone suspected.

Baker has done it again, exactly when I didn't expect her to. She writes in styles that really shouldn't work and pulls it off. I remain entranced.

The Children of the Company
Kage Baker

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Just Finished Reading... The Bone Doll's Twin

...The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling.

The first title in a new fantasy series introduces the kingdom of Skala, where an usurper king claimed his young half-sister's throne. To be born female into the royal line had become a death sentence. But as the king's nephew, his sister's only child, grows into manhood, it is unknown to both that the boy is actually the princess's daughter, given male form by a dark magic to protect her until she can claim her rightful destiny.
It started with a bang and I was really enjoyed it, then with about 150 pages to go, I started to slow down. It's not that there was anything wrong with it - quite the contrary in fact - but I found it harder to read.

I think it was my old issue of danger to charcters I care about slowing me down. Suddenly, Tobin is heading off to the dangers and politics of court without any adults to guide him and I find myself not wanting to keep reading.

I'm very glad I did, as it stayed an excellent story right through to the end. I now want to know what happens next, but I'm glad I'm going to be reading something else first, before going on to book two as it's hard work worrying about Tobin et al and I'm glad for a break.

I'm about to start The Children of the Company by Kage Baker, so at least I have different characters to worry about, even if I'm still going to worry.

Thanks to a lovely friend, I now have all the Kage Baker books to get me through to the one that has just been published in the last few days in the States, which concludes the series. Of course, then I have to wait to get my greedy little paws on a copy, but I succumbed and pre-ordered it for myself to go with an order of books from which should ship very soon. It'll still take a decent while for me to get them, but at least I'll get the end of the story.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Lastest Progress on Alpine Seasons

I took this a little while back (photo is dated 3/7/07 - that's July not March) but I'm only just getting organised enough to post it now.

I've done a little more since then.

I'm trying timing a rotation again - yet another of my great ideas to organise myself. Nothing has worked yet, but I keep trying. I'm only going to aim for 5 hours per rotation as I think anything longer would be stressful considering how little stitching I get done at the moment.

I've done 2hr 30min on Alpine since I decided to do that, and if I remember correctly, this photo was taken after about 1 hr 20min. So it's taken me five days to do another hour. Swift progress or what, hey?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Two Hobbies at Once

Book Bag
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Book Bag

I did this for a challenge to scrap a page about a quirk I have. This is what I came up with.

I’m not sure if it is just a quirk, or it counts as a full blown obsession, but whenever I go out, I have to take a book with me. That means that whenever I buy a new handbag, my top priority is that a book will fit in it. Here’s my current bag, given to me by my mother for Christmas, and of course, my current book as well.

Background paper from "Ultimate Background Collection" by Nancy Comelab; cardboard from "Cardboard Edge Overlays" by Linda GB; library card, stamp and tag from "Olde World Charm" by Kim Hill; tassel from "Bookmark Tassels" by Kim Hill; frame from "Photo on Old Deco Paper" by Melanie Willmann; journalling book from "Write it Down" by Little Dreamer Designs; alpha is "Cardboard Alpha" by Sherri Tierney; font is FG Gunnar.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

New Books Day

Many, many thanks to Agnes at In My Books, who sent me P.C. Cast's first two Partholon books. They arrived today and the first has gone straight onto the TBR shelf and I hope to read it soon.

These books have been on my "want to get copies to read" list for a while, but I never quite did it. When Agnes offered these in a "comment to win" contest, I started typing right away.

I'm delighted to have them. Thank you very much, Agnes.