Showing posts from July, 2021

Serial Saturday #2.15: To The Jaipur Palace

Sarah followed the nuns out of the Enugu’s cargo bay and onto the docks. The two nuns both held up their hands and their party stopped. The docks of Samundra City were so different from the docks of New Toliara. Everything was gleaming white, shiny, new. People were shouting in dozens of different languages. A loud series of honks off to her left made her turn. The crowds parted to reveal three Tuk-Tuks, all bright blue which pulled up in front of them. “Sister Adelaide,” Abbess Hildegarde pointed to the Tuk-Tuk on the left. “You and Sister Michael will watch our backs. Sister Marguerite,” she now pointed to the Tuk-Tuk on the right. “You and Sister Agnes are on point. Sister Monica, you will ride with me and this young lady. Remember, keep your comms active, and rules of engagement are in place.” The nuns nodded and headed for their assigned Tuk-Tuks. The Abbess gestured for Sarah to precede her, still a little bemused at all the nuns that appeared to be armed to the teeth. Sarah sett

The Saga of the Deck

It's done . It took over a year, but we managed to get it done- and got some extra- and needed- landscaping done as a bonus. How did it all begin?  Well, we needed a new deck. It had seen better days- and it had never been a focal point for the house even when I was growing up here. We hung out in the backyard and the deck out front was just kind of... there. A deck ignored is a deck that will, eventually, decay and it was in pretty bad shape when we pulled the trigger on getting it replaced. We figured we'd have someone check the supports to see how they looked and maybe we'll just replace some boards.  So, Contractor #1 came out. Gave us an estimate. Took a payment. Showed up for one day of demo and then... vanished. What should have been a three-day job turned into months of text messages and phone-tag which culminated in us threatening to file in small claims court just to get a refund. We got our money back and found Contractor #2. He seemed like a genial enough fellow

Serial Saturday #2.14: The Black Flag

Sarah raised her head from the toilet bowl and blinked sore eyes. Something's different? Then, she realized: the Enugu had stopped shaking. The turbulence was gone. The storm was over. She staggered to her feet, stepping over to the tiny sink to splash some water on her face. Most of the storm, she had spent hugging the toilet, hanging on, sliding across the floor. Once or twice, she briefly went into freefall as they hit air pockets. Still, unsteady on her feet, Sarah palmed the door to her cabin open, and, clutching the walls for support, made her way down to the bridge. "Alive, are you?" Osoko smiled. "Barely," Sarah croaked. Everyone laughed at that. Harcourt pointed at the viewscreen. "Congratulations, Ms. Hoavy. You made it to Samundra City." "It's... pretty," Sarah managed. It seemed an inadequate way to describe the glittering white palaces, domes, and spires filling the viewscreen. "It's all pretty and shiny on the surfa

Serial Saturday #2.13: Running

 A concussive rumble of what sounded like thunder brought Sarah back to consciousness. She blinked, trying to figure out where she was. Lights... everything is so bright. Another rumble and the world lurched sideways. Sarah tried to push herself upward when a firm hand pushed her back down. "Oh, there you are," The voice sounded like one of the Canadians, Scottie, she thought. "She's awake." His face swang into view above her, smiling. "How are you feeling?" Sarah tried to sit up again. "Gently now," Scottie eased her upright. "How's your head?" Another thunderclap, this time almost deafening and the ship lurched downward and began to pitch. "Hurts," Sarah said, grabbing the table to steady herself. "What's going on?" "We're running," Justin grinned. "What-" the ship lurched again. "-happened?" "After they snatched you, they had a hell of a time trying to find you,:

Not Quite Home

  I think I knew it would end in penalties. That seems to be the fate of England- but for nearly two hours before that last kick, I had hope. England scored after about two minutes. It was unbelievable, a dream start for England and then well, then the nerves began. They made it through the first half and deep into the second half and it was just getting harder and harder and the Italians were probing more and more and the equalizer was perhaps, inevitable. It felt inevitable and once they got to extra time, it seemed like a thirty-minute stay of execution for the penalty shoot-out. I always used to enjoy watching that movie, Wimbledon . It's perhaps one of Paul Bettany's lesser-known works, but as a romantic comedy, it's surprisingly entertaining. I've never been that good at tennis or even really watched tennis- but I have memories of summers in the UK, where Wimbledon (or as my Grandad used to call it, Wingledon) was everywhere. If there was a rain delay- this was be

Random Song: In The House of Stone And Light

Remember this song? I have no idea why it popped back into my brain, but it did-- it was released all the way back in 1994 and there was at least one summer when it was all over the airwaves of Q103 (pour one out for Q103). I think this song embedded into my brain when I was reading The Wheel of Time the first time out (when they were actually coming out in the bookstores- man, I'm old.) In Book 3, The Dragon Reborn , something about the cover , this song, and the supposedly impregnable fortress of The Stone of Tear just sort of connected in my young brain and it's what I always associate this song with now. But it gets crazier- if you dig into the lyrics a little bit you find references to Buddhism (Mount Kailas)- which in the Buddhist tradition it's located near the land of Shambhala- the actual mountain is located in Tibet and linked with the Hindu epic, the Ramayana.  Also: The House of Stone and Light is the Havasupai name for the Grand Canyon. So either this song

Netflix & Chill #97: Broadcast News

I've always been a sucker for workplace dramas/comedies-- so much of our lives are consumed by the jobs we have, so a well-crafted portrait of how people interact at work and out of work always seems to drag me in and entertain me- especially ones about the news business. No one probably remembers Morning Glory , but I freaking loved that film. I don't think anyone would say that The Newsroom is Aaron Sorkin's best work, but I'll watch that over and over again- though admittedly not as much as The West Wing or Sports Night . But, one film that has lurked in the background of all of this has been Broadcast News . Well, it's on HBO Max, so I gave it a go. It's the story of three journalists: Jane Craig (Holly Hunter), Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), and Tom Grunick (William Hurt). We get a glimpse of their childhoods at the beginning of the movie- Jane is obsessive, bookish, and loves words and writing. Tom works hard, but can't quite get there and Altman has

Serial Saturday #2.12: What Angus Knows

Everyone watched as the eyes on the droid started flashing again and no one spoke until finally, Sarah could stand it no longer. "What does he mean? The Treaty of Ganymede is in danger? What final analysis? And what the hell does this have to do with me?" Harcourt and the others turned to look at her. Ema stepped forward and put out a hand to reassure her and then with a roar, the floor dropped out from underneath her and she fell for what seemed like forever, passing deck after deck. She slowed to a halt, caught in an anti-gravity beam. Two men were waiting for her: one a huge mountain of a man and the other an impatient-looking fellow with a bad haircut and a gun. "Finally," the second man snarled. He grabbed her by the arm and, pulling her out of the anti-gravity beam, began to drag her along the hallway. The mountain of a man followed. Must be one of his goons, the frantic thought ran through Sarah's brain. "About damn time something started going my wa

Squawk Box: Shadow & Bone/Chernobyl

Shadow & Bone: I've never read the books, but it popped up on Netflix, there was some nice buzz about it, so I thought, why not? Turns out it was a pretty good decision in the end. In Ravka, there are people known as Grisha, who can practice what they call "small science" but it's pretty much magic. They're trained by the Second Army. Ravka is a country split in two by what's called the Shadow Fold- a region of impenetrable darkness, created hundreds of years ago and inhabited by monsters called Volcra. Ravka's been at war ever since- and might be on the verge of Civil War with the western half (where we start the series) believed to be wanting to seek independence. The one person who people believe can destroy the Shadow Fold? A sun summoner- and, as it turns out, our hero, Alin Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) turns out to be such a Grisha. Once this is discovered, she's torn away from her life as a cartographer in the First Army, separated from her best

Serial Saturday #2.11: The Oasis

Harcourt was on his third cup of coffee when the comm activated. "Onyeisi, we're coming into range of the Oasis." "Finally," Harcourt sighed. It had been a long two days. First, the winds were stronger than forecast, which had threatened to push them further off course. He'd finally ordered a hard burn late last night to get them there and the turbulence had been awful. Second, was spending whole nights staring at his ceiling. Ema leaned back in the chair as far as the limited space would allow her. "Hopefully, we find some answers here." "Let's hope," Harcourt said. "Any word from Sendero?" Ema shook her head. "No, but they were putting in at Lo Shen City, and you know how the fundies can be about communications." Harcourt grimaced. "At least her story seems to be on the level." The news bulletin from New Toliara appeared to corroborate Sarah's story. The body of a young woman had been found in an ap

Bookshot #143: Words of Radiance

I've decided that Brandon Sanderson is an evil genius of some kind. Basically, his m.o. goes like this: 1. Write the doorstop of an epic fantasy novel. 2. Seed your plot with just enough hints of what's to come through the first 75% of it. 3. Just as your reader is bored out of their minds and waiting for something, anything to happen, have all the seeds sprout at more or less the same time. I'm only two books into The Stormlight Archive and I feel like that's going to be the basic formula going forward and I don't know if I have it in me. I might have to take a little hiatus to go and read other things. It's not as if I dislike the characters in The Stormlight Archive - in fact, given the choice between this series and Mistborn, I'll stick with the former over the latter. But it just takes so god damn long for anything to happen. Probably the most interesting character in this book is probably Shallan. Traveling with Jasnah to the Shattered Plains, their s