Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DC Trip (part three)

Man, I haven't been blogging very well lately. Don't know what's up. I do know that I just haven't felt like talking about anything. I think I've been avoiding dumping negative crap on here. I seem to do that alot and I don't like it. So, perhaps that's why I've been avoiding it. Well, anyway...here's what happened the rest of our trip. Better late than never...right?
On Sunday, we slept late...obviously since we'd been up until 2am. We spent a pretty lazy day as I recall. I'm not sure we actually went anywhere...just hung around the house I think.
On Monday, Butch and Cindy had to go back to work so Sarah and I headed into DC again. We saw the White House, a couple of museums and got pooped pretty quickly. We headed back fairly early and had dinner with Butch, Karen, Mark and Adam. We said our goodbyes to the Schebler's and headed to the house. We spent the last night just chilling with the Talley's.
The next morning we rose early and Butch took us to the airport. All flights were fine and we were home by mid afternoon. It was a great trip filled with much art and quality time with good friends. I felt rejuvenated. Now, here it is a few weeks later and I'm ready for another vacation. I hope that Sarah and I can finagle a few nights away in July...otherwise it will be September before we get more time off.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy - an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family. . . . Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.
I must admit that I haven't been a big fan of Gaiman's work. I read Neverwhere quite a few years ago and thought it was bizarre. I tried to pick up another Gaiman book (can't remember which) and couldn't get thru it. Many times I feel he's being weird just to be weird. This book was different in that I felt it had a story to tell albeit not a particularly original one. By the end I was enjoying the story but I felt it lagged in the middle. I also felt it was very, very dark and question how it won a Newberry award. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it for what it was but I didn't find it to be a brilliant piece of literature by any stretch.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


One Second After by William Forstchen
In a small North Carolina town, one man struggles to save his family after America loses a war that will send it back to the Dark Ages. Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based upon a real weapon—the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP)—which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States, literally within one second.In the tradition of On the Beach, Fail Safe, and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future and our end.
This is the scariest, most depressing, hopeless book I've ever read in my entire life. I know the author is trying to convey the realities of the possibility of an EMP but this book was tough. The major problem I had with it is it offers no hope. Basically it says if this scenario happens, we're all screwed. There doesn't seem to be much anyone can do about it. The community in the book (Black Mountain, NC...one of my favorite places in the world) is small and you think, "Hey, they can band together and survive," but Forstchen paints a bleak picture. I can honestly say I wish I had never read this book. The best I can do is try to forget about it and just live day to day. Worrying about this kind of stuff might kill me before an actual event like it would.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

DC Trip: part two

Okay, so we left off having spent Thursday in downtown DC. On Friday, we slept in, had a leisurely breakfast and then headed out for a little adventure. We went to Mount Vernon so Sarah could check on "her house." It was definitely more her thing than mine but that's cool. It was interesting to see where George and Martha hung their hats.
After that, we headed to Alexandria. We grabbed a bite to eat on the river and then hit the Torpedo Factory which is an old torpedo factory turned into artist spaces. Needless to say I loved it. I felt right at home there. One artist I talked to told me, "You need to be here." I wish I was. It was very cool. Unlike the artist spaces and artwalks in Seattle, this one is open nearly every day.
After that we headed back to their house. After supper we dragged out the karaoke machine and the girls finally abandoned Butch and I to our "stroll down musical memory lane." We finally gave up as well and hung out in the basement watching "Oh Brother Where Art Thou." I drank a little too much Bailey's and remembered why I avoided drinking.
The next day was pretty lazy. We just hung around the house and got ready for the cookout that night. Butch, Sarah and I went to see my friend Karen's oldest son play soccer. He scored the only 2 goals in the game so it was a good game to see. Later we all convened at Butch and Cindy's for the cookout.
We had a great time hanging out, eating and telling stories. Some friends of B & C came over as well and they were very funny. After dinner we adjourned to the basement for some karaoke and looking thru Karen's old photos. We found some good ones. I haven't laughed that hard in a long, long time. It was great. We half-heartedly sang a few karaoke tunes and then decided to call it a night since it was 2am.
Stay tuned for part three.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Castle Waiting by Linda Medley
This award-winning graphic novel tells the story of an isolated, abandoned castle and the eccentric inhabitants who bring it back to life. A fable for modern times, "Castle Waiting" is a fairy tale that's not about rescuing the princess, saving the kingdom, or fighting the ultimate war between Good and Evil, but about being a hero in one's own home.
I picked this up on a whim at the library and I'm glad I did. I enjoyed it. The art is very good and the story is fun. Granted, I enjoyed the story more towards the end of the book but, all in all, it was a fun, fairy tale read.

To Your Scattered Bodies Go: Riverworld Book 1 by Philip Jose Farmer

All those who ever lived on Earth have found themselves resurrected--healthy, young, and naked as newborns--on the grassy banks of a mighty river, in a world unknown. Miraculously provided with food, but with no clues to the meaning of their strange new afterlife, billions of people from every period of Earth's history--and prehistory--must start again. Sir Francis Bacon would be the first to glimpse the incredible way-station, a link between worlds. This forbidden sight would spur the renowned 19th-century explorer to uncover the truth. Along with a remarkable group of compatriots, including Alice Liddell Hargreaves (the Victorian girl who was the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland), an English-speaking Neanderthal, a WWII Holocaust survivor, and a wise extraterrestrial, Burton sets sail on the magnificent river. His mission: to confront humankind's mysterious benefactors, and learn the true purpose--innocent or evil--of the Riverworld.
If you are like me, this description is intriguing. It sucked me in and made me want to read the book. That and I heard that they are making this into a tv series. I decided I would try it. It started great but by the end I was confused and disinterested. Many interesting characters disappeared and the lead character died and came back so many times I couldn't keep up. I felt like this would be a fun series to get into but that just wasn't the case.

Serenity: Those Left Behind & Serenity: Better Days
These graphic novels continue the stories started on the tv series Firefly and the movie Serenity. I thought it might be a good way to get a fix of more Firefly but I didn't enjoy these all that much. Those Left Behind is the better of the two since it bridges the series and the movie but I had hoped for more answers to the question of what happened to River when she was being experimented on. No more answers to be found here. SIGH.

Monday, June 08, 2009

DC Pics

DC Trip: part one

I can't believe it's taken me this long to find time to report on our trip to DC. It's been a busy week and Sarah's friend Susan is here visiting with us. It's been a bit crazy around here. Well, enough gabbing...on to the trip.
We flew out on May 26th at the butt-crack of dawn. The shuttle picked us up at 4:30 am. The first leg of the flight was to Atlanta. Thank goodness for travel Scrabble. That first leg seemed to go on forever. The second leg to DC was short but delayed about an hour. Butch picked us up and we headed to the house. After Cindy and Sarah were introduced we settled in for dinner and an evening of conversation. We all headed to bed somewhat early.
The next day, my life-long friend Karen and her youngest son Adam picked us up and we went to lunch. After that we just chilled out at their house chatting. Later, we met Butch and Cindy for dinner at Sweetwater Tavern.
On Thursday, Cindy dropped us off at the Metro train so we could ride into DC for some sightseeing. We walked around a bit seeing the Washington Monument, WWII and Lincoln Memorials before heading to the Museum of American History. There were a ton of schoolkids on field trips that day so it was a bit loony to say the least. We got hungry so we decided to try the cafeteria in the National Gallery of Art. (recommended to us by a nice man on the train) It was spendy (expected) but good. We had a nice chicken/pesto sandwich and cannoli for dessert.
After lunch, we tackled the National Gallery of Art. I never expected them to have such a good collection of modern and contemporary art. One room was full of nothing but Giacometti's and Dubuffet's works...two of my faves. It was the first time I had seen any of Dubuffet's paintings in person. I enjoyed that.
After the modern stuff, we hit the sculpture and classic paintings. The collection is impressive but the galleries are labyrinthine and confusing. We got turned around a few times. We saw some great art but after a while I think both of us were going loopy from seeing so much art. We decided to call it quits and come back another day for more. We walked by the Capital and then headed back to the train. Butch picked us up and we headed home for the evening.
Stay tuned for part two.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

We're Back!

Arrived home from vacation a few hours ago. We are very, very tired (been up since 4am EST) but we had a wonderful time in DC with friends. It might take me a few days to cull thru photos and make sense of what we did each day but I'll blog about it very soon.