Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Books: Evil at Heart

I received the ARC of Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain from LibraryThing. Chelsea Cain is one of those people I keep hearing good things about, but hadn't quite gotten around to reading yet.
Evil at Heart is the third book about serial killer Gretchen Lowell, also known as the Beauty Killer. I had not read the prior too, but just jumped in to this one. While I am sure there are nuances I missed, I felt informed enough to get through it fine.
Archie, who had led the task force, remains in the psych ward. His doctors have suggested that he is well enough to leave, having recovered from his pain killer addiction and seeming to have improved.
Body parts are discovered at a rest stop along with the signature hearts of the Beauty Killer and Henry, the cop now leading the task force is trying to both keep the investigation moving forward and convince Archie to rejoin the real world (which for Henry means the task force). Susan, a reporter, who was kidnapped by the Beauty Killer is also trying to talk to Archie, supposedly to assist with the book she wants to write about the case. Susan is drawn further into the case when she is contacted about a body. Her research into fan sites of the Beauty Killer also proves useful as she, the task force, and Archie, who is lured out of the hospital, look further into the latest murders.
The book also gives some interesting thought to the media treatment such killers get.
The writing was great here, and I found the case intriguing. It is about a serial killer, so there are some gruesome bits. I didn't find it terribly hard to read, but I read a lot fictional serial killer books*.
The thing that I did wonder, on finishing is how long this series is expected to extend. I will talk about that more in another post, because that's really a separate issue.
*This may seem a silly warning, but I have seen a number of people complain that books about serial killers were gory and/or twisted.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Goodbye, Mr. Church

Forrest Church was a prominent UU minister, who lost his battle with cancer this month. In this interview, done last year after his cancer returned, Church speaks of his diagnosis and how that related to his approach to his diagnosis.

"These are the accidents of life and death. And if God, for instance, is responsible for a tsunami that obliterates the lives of 100,000 people and leaves their families in tatters, then God's a bastard. I cannot believe in such a God. For me, God is the life force, that which is greater than all and yet present in each. But God is not micromanaging this world."

Beliefnet, posted a prayer he had written for their series.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Goodbye, Kate

I was sort of joking when I started asking if there seemed to be more dead people this year. And that was before this latest round. I went to a workshop last year where Kate Duffy was part of the panel. And she was great - no nonsense sure, but not mean, just direct. (I still remember her saying, "I'm not like you [writers], I don't hear voices in my head.")
And of course, I heard, then and later of what a wonderful person she was to work with. So, it is with sadness that I discovered she passed away. She will be missed.

Smart Bitches link to an MSNBC segment Kate appeared in about the Kindle. (She appears after the 2:00 minute mark.)
SB Sarah has a lovely post here.
The Borders True Romance blog has a link to Kate talking about why she loves romance novels.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Paranoid Workaholic or Just Cautious

So, the double edged sword of working with systems is that it just takes one tiny thing to throw the whole thing off. I spent days trying to figure out an issue on one project only to finally call in help and have it turn out that the symptom and the problem were two entirely separate things. (The joy of the interconnected web there.) So, when I finally got it working, I took a screen shot. So that if it breaks again I can prove, that I had a reasonable belief that it was working. That it was in fact working. That this was not a sleep deprived hallucination, it was me with proof that it worked moving on to the next problem.
I IM'd a co-worker and she agreed that this was not paranoia or superstition, this was me gathering crucial evidence, so that if the problem reoccurs we have more information. So I felt better. But then I just wondered if she was paranoid too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Snagged by the Digital Age

...and some footwork too.
I first heard about the plan for Wired magazine writer Evan Ratliffe to attempt to stay hidden for 30 days on NPR. A prize was offered wither to those who found him or to Ratliff should he succeed. He came close. And then a savvy follower tracked him to New Orleans and notified a pizza joint he suspected Ratliff might try and the folks at the pizza joint were able to "capture" him.
I always think how one of the challenges storytellers have these days, is that changing technology creates even more ways for people to be tracked. After all a book, or movie, or TV show about people sitting in front of a computer is really not that interesting. So, if you're planning to have your character hide, maybe don't have them go to specialty pizza joints.

Tomatoes Think It's Cool

Apparently, fruits may soon lose those annoying stickers and instead be tattooed!
No word yet on whether being fruity will become cool and rebellious.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Need a Break?

Perhaps a little coffee (or tea) break with a little reading. Perhaps you wish an attractive man would read to you. Perhaps you would like them to read you a passage from something like, Jane Austen or Nick Hornby.
Well, Carte Noire to the rescue.
(Thanks to the fellow Discoverer who provided this link.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Discovery of a Soundtrack

It's a little funny, in view of my love of lyrics, and the number of authors I follow who talk about soundtracks that I had resisted the process for so long. I am taking a discovery class with the wonderful Lani Diane Rich (she's planning to offer it again, online classes that are recorded if you miss them and forums for questions that occur outside of class).
What Lani (and others) call discovery is the part that I always called percolation. You know, you have an idea - I wish to write a story about a girl who screws up her life one night at a party, or about a girl who has been rebelling so long against her parents she's forgotten to pay attention to what she's rebelling against - and then you let the idea simmer and percolate for a bit before you start putting words on the page. Or you write some stuff just to start to get a feel for it.
Well, within the course our homework (most of which involves no writing) focuses on things you can do to assist your brain with that percolation process. And week one was creating a soundtrack. And I kind of thought it was one of those things that was silly but I would do it.
And of course after I found the first few songs it totally made sense. It forced me to think about my characters and my setting in different ways. And in some ways the fact that I cannot find a song that's just right for my heroine's mom is still progress, because I know enough to know the stuff I found isn't right.
So, here's a sampling of what I have (for now):
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child by Christopher Parkening with Jubilant Sykes
I Will Not be Sad in This World by Djivan Gasparyan and Vachagan Avakian
Nobody's Baby Now by Headless Heroes
One Monkey by Gillian Welch
Love Song by Sara Bareilles
Hours Pass Like Centuries by Taken by Trees
At This Point in My Life by Tracy Chapman

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Books: No One You Know

Also posted to Library Thing
Michelle Redfield's No One You Know is one of those stories that doesn't grab you so much as slowly suck you in. As everyone who has sat fuming at the table while a relative or friend tells a story about you, that while not exactly untrue, frames you in way you do not wish to be seen can attest, sometimes the stories people tell about us affect us more that we wish.
Ellie Enderlin was the younger daughter, sister to Lila, a math genius who is murdered. Later, her sister Lila's death becomes the subject of a true crime story. The story opens almost two decades after Lila's death, when Ellie encounters a man from her sister's past that sets Ellie on the journey to try and figure out the truth of what happened to her sister.
The story examines perceptions,love, truth and proof in a myriad of ways. San Francisco, coffee (as Ellie is now a coffee taster) and mathematicians figure in also. It's one of those stories I hate to talk too much about for fear of spoiling the way the layers unfold. I found it an enjoyable read.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

These Skies Would Freak Sailors Out

The Red Skies at Night pattern by Saccade Elyse was a fun knit. I used three different colorways of Noro Silk Garden.
Cloudier Skies
But, I confess, as cool as the front side is, I kinda like the back side better.
Cloudier Skies 3
Although the front side is really, quite nice.
Cloudier Skies 4

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Stripey Wings

I heard about Susanna IC's Wings of Desire scarf in the All Weights Lace group on Ravelry. It was designed to show off self-striping yarns and it totally succeeds in that.
Wings 2
The yarn is Mochi Plus, which is a washable wool nylon blend.
Wings 3It also turned out to bleed a smidge. It was subtle, my hands didn't turn crazy colors, but I thought my needles looked a little darker.
needles 3
So, I compared them to the others:
needles 2
Can you tell which ones I used?
The end result was worth it though.
Wings Scarf

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Magic Yarn Ball Swap

So, this swap was the magic yarn ball swap, and I will just let the pictures do (most of) the talking. I ended up being spoiled again by the lovely dragondancer, who spilled me in the In Like a Lamb swap.
I had been warned not to be put off by the box.
box 2
Inside we had this:
More treats
And of course, the magic yarn ball.
yarn ball 4
Which unraveled to reveal, several things. A close up of the Saskatoon berries:
But there was also:
Yarn ball 1
So, hidden in that yarn ball (which was, by the way, Galway Irish worsted knitting wool) was:
Chocolate Covered Saskatoon Berries
Butterfly Clips
Sweater Key Chain
Handcrafted Stitch Markers
and Shepherd's Cottage Wool (a bison wool blend)
In addition to the Guide to Regina, Chocolate coins, Commie Mints and a Shawl pin.
Thanks again, Deb!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

7 Things: University of St. Andrews

Inspired by the fun string of comments over a ALOTT%MA here, I present 7 Things people (some tour guides, some not) told me about St. Andrews while I was there.
1. The tour guide told us that if you walked across Patrick Hamilton's initials you would fail your exams, unless you immediately looked up and located the face etched into the clock tower. (Patrick Hamilton was burned for heresy and the spot is commemorated with his initials in the cobblestones.
2. Wearing your gown during holidays might lead to tourists asking for your picture. (I never tested this, but heard stories of students who charged for such pictures and made a nice sideline. Or so they said.)
3. The library is sinking because they forgot to account for the weight of the books. (I have heard this story about other libraries too so I have no idea if there was a rash of architectural mistakes, or if this is some sort of urban legend.)
4. The tree in the quad was planted by Mary Queen of Scots. (The tree did look old, and was propped up in a few places with wires.)
5. Almost all dorms had two names. The official one and a so-called nickname. (The nickname was usually the name of whatever hotel the dorm used to be. And it was mostly true until they built New Haugh - which I thin is too lame to have a nickname, although I did stay there once and it was nice.)
6. Andrew Melville Hall was designed to look like two ships colliding. (Or passing. Either way, it had lettered "blocks" and due to the U shape it was a pin to get from one side to another and basically seemed, well, prison like.)
7. When the announcement came that women were to be admitted to the university, the graduating class marched down to the pier and tossed their mortarboards into the sea. After that, men were no longer allowed to wear mortarboards. (Later the women stopped wearing them too. Although PhDs still got the tams.