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Thursday 13: Musings on palindromes

This week’s Thursday 13 is about palindromes. I looked around for some nice ones and found among others the following thirteen. They are fun. But do they make sense?  My thoughts:

1. Ed, I saw Harpo Marx ram Oprah W. aside.

I think I can safely say that this is a blatant lie. Oprah W. was 10 years old when Harpo Marx died. Besides I don’t think that Harpo Marx would have been so rude as to “ram” somebody “aside”. The speaker obviously only wanted to get Ed’s attention by coming out with something so preposterous that Ed just had to react.

2. No trace; not one carton

What cartons are they talking about? I assume a truckload of TV sets or whatever the truck was transporting is missing, possibly was stolen. Someone was told to investigate and is now reporting back that all cargo has been taken. Piece of cake, this one.

3. Dogma: I am God

Some people would say that there is no God so the whole sentence is meaningless. On the other hand, a dogma is something the validity of which is incontrovertible. So who is saying this? If the person who says this is not God, then the statement is not true; but then it is no dogma. What am I saying? I think I’m venturing into waters too deep for me, I’ll stop right here. I don’t want to get caught in the crossfire of a religious battle.

4. Murder for a jar of red rum

Someone has murdered somebody for a jar of red rum. Why would anybody murder for a jar of red rum? Do people kill for a bit of alcohol? Nah, I think the meaning is a totally different one. Do you know the story about Sherlock Holmes and the race horse? “Silver Blaze” is missing and it’s trainer killed. It’s all because of some betting scam as far as I can remember. You might not know this but there was a race horse called “Red Rum” that won the Grand National three times in the 70s. Now the sentence makes much more sense, doesn’t it? The word “jar” was just thrown in to obfuscate its meaning.

5. Go hang a salami; I’m a lasagna hog!

What exactly is a lasagna hog? Is is something like a cover hog? So that would be somebody sitting at the table keeping hold of the lasagna dish (meant for five) and eating it all, while the others have to make do with the bread. Obviously that person is so greedy that he even wants to keep the salami for himself for later, since he wants it to be hanging from the ceiling, instead of being on the table. The location must be one of those Italian places that cater for the gullible tourists who believe that if sausage is dangling from above and the tables are covered in red/white chequered table cloths the food served is authentic Italian home cooking.

6. I, madam, I made radio! So I dared! Am I mad? Am I?

This one is inspired by Dr. Seuss. I can imagine Sam I Am saying this.

7. Kay, a red nude, peeped under a yak

Two possibilities: either Kay is just very curious and wants to know the ins and outs of a yak’s underbelly. Why she is naked I don’t dare to discuss here, it might get too uncomfortable for some. Or she is hiding from someone and is peeking out from behind / under the yak to check whether her pursuer has given up. Why she is naked I don’t dare to discuss here, it might get too uncomfortable for some.

8. A Goth saw Anna wash toga.

Now here we have a perfectly sensible palindrome. Anna is a slave washing a toga for her Roman master, while the Goths invade the empire. The fact that the Romans insisted on wearing clean clothes and discussing recent events at the forum instead of fighting off pillaging, invading armies explains the fall of the Roman Empire nicely. They should have gotten their priorities straight.

9. Amore? Roma!

This one doesn’t need any interpretation, does it? Just look at all those yummy Italians!

10. Devil never even lived.

I’m not going there. This has the potential of another religious battlefield. I’m not going to burn my fingers again.

11. Emil asleep, Allen yodelled "Oy!" Nella peels a lime.

This one conjures a cosy domestic atmosphere. In theory it is feasible enough, however, how Emil can possibly sleep while somebody is yodelling is beyond me. That caterwauling can raise the dead.

12. Now, Ned, I am a maiden nun; Ned, I am a maiden won.

Ned must have something going for him if he managed to win over a maiden nun. As far as I know nuns (maiden or otherwise) are pretty hard to seduce.

13. Nella risks all: "I will ask Sir Allen."

Nella seems to have finished peeling her lime, so I suppose she is enjoying her Caipirinha* right now. Being slightly drunk, she seems to become bold and does what nobody else dares. She asks Sir Allen.

Option a.: Sir Allen is the village tyrant who has refused to have the well repaired. The villagers have been suffering for months without a working well (and were confined to drinking Caipirinhas for lack of water) and finally someone has worked up the courage to go and give him a piece of her mind.

Option b.: Sir Allen is the guy with the yodelling and she asks him to stop the noise.  Knowing Sir Allen is prone to violence when his musical hobby is being questioned she needed to work up the courage with the help of some booze (plus: she takes the lime peeler as an emergency weapon).

* Nella is extremely particular and peels the limes before using them for her Caipi. Just in case you were wondering.

 

Check out more Thursday 13 participants!

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“Boys fix things. Girls need things fixed.” Is that so, now?

Today I stumbled around a bit and found an extraordinary book along the way. The owner of My blahg posted this book called “I’m glad I’m a boy! I’m glad I’m a girl!” from 1970 (that’s the most amazing thing about it. It should be from the 50s really). You can have a look at all the pages over there.

A lot of people got worked up about it in the comments, how chauvinistic, sexist, discriminating, yadda, yadda it is. I just think it’s very amusing.

Anyway, some really funny lines are the ones I used in the title of this post or “Boys are policemen. Girls are metermaids.” “Boys can eat. Girls can cook.” “Boys build houses. Girls keep houses.” Yeah, you didn’t know that, did you? Isn’t that just awesome? This absolutely made my day. I’m easy to please, aren’t I. 

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Manga: It’s not love at first sight

A few days ago I blogged about my plans to get acquainted with manga. Well, my swap partner is the slowest one ever and “Fake” still hasn’t arrived. I’m pretty pissed off about that, because if I want something I want it now. However, I went and got another one from the same site but another swap partner. “Boys Love” by Kaim Tachibana arrived on Saturday and I finished it yesterday. All in all it took me about two hours or so to go through it. When looking for the book on amazon I just realized that it hasn’t been released in the US yet, which I find incredible. Usually over here we get everything months and years after the US, so this is surprising. I added the link to German amazon so you can have a look at it there.

I understand the manga has been created after the film “Boys Love” which must have been a huge success.

The blurb: Magazine editor Mamiya meets popular high school model Noeru Kisaragi for a story Mamiya’s working on. When Noeru suddenly tries to go down on Mamiya and makes sexual advances at him, Mamiya turns him down flat. But Mamiya’s loneliness starts to get to him and he decides to try starting over with Noeru on equal footing.

I have no idea whether this was a typical manga, since it was my first one. I don’t know whether how it was done is what they usually are like or not. So I can’t judge it and say this was well or not well done. It’s unknown territory for me.

The reading in a different direction was no problem, I got used to it quickly and it felt not strange at all. What I didn’t get was the jumping around between scenes. One second you were at one place, the next you were at another, then a flashback. I found it hard to keep track of what was going on at any given moment. Thank God the three main characters looked different from each other (short hair, long hair, glasses), otherwise I would have been at a total loss.

Before I got it I read some reviews on amazon and they all went on about what deep love story with lots of emotions and in a gentle atmosphere this was. Don’t know about you but if a guy comes on to another guy in a toilet stall and wants to give him a blow job after having met him for ten minutes, I don’t see the deep emotions. The falling in love over the course of the book must have happened so subtly that I didn’t realize it had happened. It seems I need to have it spelled out for me so I recognize it. Sad, happy, in love or full of hate, the characters always looked the same. Just looking at a few black and white drawings doesn’t do it for me, obviously.

The end was frustrating. I heard that in the film they both died and a lot of reviewers of the book said they had cried their hearts out at the end. So I assumed the worst (not that it mattered to me, I hadn’t formed any sort of bond with Mamiya and Noeru), and was pleasantly surprised. I have no idea whether Noeru died or not. One minute he was dying, Mamiya said something about calling an ambulance and the next page had them sitting at a beach. Is this a dream? Is this reality? I can’t tell.

Maybe I’m too inexperienced with manga to realize what was going on. Maybe I’m not in the right target group (I’d have no problem to bet on this). Maybe manga is not for me. I’m willing to give it another try with “Fake” and then I’ll see. It’s by another author and artist, so it should be different – I hope.

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Bookmarks for a good cause

The book depository has launched its new site and to celebrate this they are giving away 18 limited edition bookmarks with every order. They have asked their favourite authors and illustrators to design an exclusive bookmark for this. The original artwork is being auctioned off on ebay right now. All the money raised will be donated to Downsed International. Down Syndrome Education International works around the world to improve education for young people with Down syndrome. This is a charity I support with all my heart. So if you have a minute head on over to the Book Depository and have a look!

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Between us by AKM Miles

Synopsis: On vacation Jason meets Matt, a photographer, who has been going through a difficult phase for the last couple of years. His partner at the time suddenly died and he’s only recovering slowly. Jason seems to be just the right guy to get him out of his depressed state.

Review: The only characters in this story that matter are Matt and Jason (and the dead partner of Matt who is present as a spectre for most of the book). There is no other plot, no external complications, nobody interferes in any way in that short story. Jason meets Matt, finds out about his depressive state, they fall in love, Matt starts to get out of his funk and they start to build their life as a couple. Period.

Jason must be an angel in disguise, he was so good and understanding; Matt was angst-y, but not too much so. I really liked how the story was told, nice, tender, gentle, nothing kinky involved. If you, like me, like that sort of story with no side plots and only internal reflections, this might be right for you.

Available at Torquere Books

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Sunday Stealing: The Mud Meme

Sunday Stealing: The Mud Meme

Some of the questions sound familiar. In those cases, if there is no more current answer I’ll just copy the answer from two weeks ago.

1. What are your current obsessions?
Reading and blogging

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
Boyfriend Jeans and a “How hard can it be?” peace t-shirt

3. What’s for dinner?
My dinner attitude hasn’t changed: No clue. I only start planning dinner about 30 minutes before dinner time. The result is usually chips.

4. Last thing you bought?
Groceries

5. What are you listening to?
Right now: My husband wittering on about how many pubs they crawled last night.

6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be?
Freya, because I like her name and she listens to love songs all the time. I can think of worse ways to spend my days.

7. Favorite holiday spots?

I take it this means holidays as in vacation.

Limone 
Picture by Fry2K at Stock exchange
Lake Garda, one of the loveliest spots ever

Croxteth Hall

England

El Capitan

Picture by kris_b at Stock exchange
US

8. Reading right now?
One of the books I’m reading is “A perfect Mess” by Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman. “A groundbreaking book that sheds new light on ideas of order–and shows how chaos, disorder and mess make our world a better place!”

9. 4 words to describe yourself.
Better ask somebody else!

10. Guilty pleasure?
I’ve overcome my guilt trip about blogging, that leaves me with none.

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak?
Nobody in particular. Mostly situations where people make fun of each other with snappy retorts, witty remarks etc. No slapstick, no telling jokes, no mimes and clowns, please.

12. Planning to travel to next?
None, too broke for that.

13. Best thing you ate or drank lately?
Anything that hit the spot.

14. When did you last get tipsy?
Not recently. I can’t remember.

15. Care to share some wisdom?
All my wisdom is recycled, so that would be cheating.

16. Nicest thing anyone’s ever said to you?
”I wouldn’t have thought that about you.” I love being unpredictable.

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Weekly Geeks 2009-15: It’s all about animals

This week’s Weekly Geeks: How many of us remember a favorite pet from our childhood? Or have enjoyed visiting the zoo? Or relish in walking in the woods and hearing birdsong, or seeing a deer leap away through the brush? How many of us have been thrilled by a soaring eagle? How often have we sought the comfort of a dog or cat, or wept tears of loss when forced to say good-bye to a furred friend?
We are surrounded by our fellow creatures and often our lives are enriched by their presence, whether it be sharing our homes with them or simply being blessed to see them in passing.
This week you are asked to share books (fiction or nonfiction) and/or movies which center around an animal or animals.

  • Which are your favorites?
  • Which touched your heart the most?
  • Which have found their way onto your wish lists or TBR stacks?
  • Is there a childhood favorite?
  • Have you ever named a pet after an animal from a book or movie?

 

Oh my, I’m not thrilled with this week’s topic. I have to out myself as someone who’s not too keen on animals or pets and I don’t like books with animals either. Whenever I read a blurb that tells me that an animal plays a key part I give the book a miss. That being said, I’m sure I can come up with a few books that have animals in them (I suppose werewolves or dragons don’t count, do they?).

How about:

How to travel with a salmon by Umberto Eco

Admittedly the salmon is dead and smoked (if I remember correctly), but it used to be a live animal once. I strongly recommend those essays, even if you think Eco is not to your liking.

Then there is…

Felidae by Akif Pirincci

This one is with cats as characters etc.

From amazon editorial reviews: A clever, offbeat thriller in which the sleuth and most of the other main characters are cats, this first novel by Turkish-born Pirincci, who lives in Bonn, won Germany’s prize for best crime novel of the year in 1990. As an allegory on Germany’s Nazi past, it is facile and ambivalent. The detective/narrator, Francis, an irrepressibly curious house cat, deduces that whoever is murdering the neighborhood tabbys has a warped mind and is attempting to breed a "super race" of felines. After discovering a fanatical cult of self-flagellating felines who worship a martyred cat, Claudandus, Francis is aided by Pascal, a cat who uses a computer, in unearthing another clue–the journal of a half-mad professor who performed sadistic laboratory experiments on cats. The corpses of countless feline victims are thrown into a catacomb guarded by the Persian cat Jesaja, a pathetic dupe who prays both to Yahweh (god of the Hebrews) and to "our blessed Prophet," the murderer, believing that he is doing the Lord’s will.

13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers
Walter Moers is extremely funny and this is one of the funniest books ever. Tears were streaming down my face half the time I was reading, I laughed so hard.

From amazon editorial reviews: This novel opens with the title character’s first memory: as a cub floating in the ocean with a nutshell for a life raft, he heads straight for a giant whirlpool threatening to suck him down. After he’s rescued by a boatload of Lilliputian pirates, Bluebear enters into a life (or 13½ lifetimes) filled with humor and adventure. Each life has a different challenge to overcome, pitting him against the likes of headless giants and storytelling contests. The book is one part Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth and two parts Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Each adventure mixes fantasy, science fiction, and fables in a satirical cocktail that readers can’t help but gulp down. The quirky writing is definitely strong enough to carry itself, but Moers includes several black-and-white illustrations that enhance the whimsy. With so many little side trips in Bluebear’s narrative, the story might frustrate those who prefer straight-line plots. But this is the kind of tale that readers have to just sit back and enjoy, wherever it takes them. The ending does tie the loose threads together. A wild, fun-filled ride.

 

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Everybody knows Animal Farm, so I don’t need to say a thing.

 

Other than that I try to stay away from animals as much as possible. The only exception might be Issa’s haiku which deal with animals a lot. One of my favourites is this one:

the lover cats
bluntly go
their separate ways

When I read that one for the first time it was in German, and translations of haiku vary a lot. Even different translators of the same language come up with totally different stuff, translators from different languages even more so. When I looked for the English translation at first I didn’t even recognize the haiku as the one I was looking for, :-). But I think it is the right one.

060708katzen_verliebt

The German meaning would be something along the lines of “Cats in love, go home, looking smug”. Different, huh? It doesn’t even convey the same atmosphere, but I still like it.

As to films: The film that I’m going to watch voluntarily that has an animal as a main character has yet to be made. Wait a minute, not true, I did watch “Babe” and found it dead cute.

So as an inspirational photo it’s appropriate to post one of a pig, a cute one at that.

pig

Photo by gravito at Stock Exchange, edited with a couple of actions from Photolicious.

Here you’ll find more Weekly Geeks participants.

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Pretty Man by Ryan Field

Blurb: Roland Marcus, still not over the fact that his twenty year relationship has ended, accidentally bumps into a hot young guy in a used book store…a strapping male hustler whom he decides to hire for one week to accompany him to charity events while he’s in New York. He offers him five thousand dollars, with no strings attached, to just stand by his side and look pretty.

Josh Holden, a young guy who is helping to support his son and saving money to buy a business with his best friend and ex-wife, is only too happy to escort Roland anywhere he wants to go that week. And he’s not doing it just for the money…

Review: I didn’t know what to expect from this book. Before getting it I read a few reviews and they went from “hard core erotica” to “a real honest love story”, well, there’s a lot of room in between those two.

For me it was somewhere in the middle with a tendency towards erotica. There were tons of sex in the story (more about that in a minute) and little romance (definitely not enough for me).

SPOILERS AHEAD!

In retrospect it’s quite amazing that there was a solid plot there, considering the numerous sex scenes. The story went very much like the film “Pretty Woman”, even including a scene where Roland’s ex offers money to Josh after Roland divulged the true nature of his and Josh’s relationship to him.

Kenneth, Roland’s ex, was a total treat to read about. I hated his character but he certainly added some flair to the book. His mannerisms almost made for some comic relief. How Roland could be together with him long enough to get dumped for a younger man (and what that younger man must have been thinking) remains a mystery.

The sex scenes were interesting. As said before there were lots, but extremely varied. The locations were very different from each other and Josh and Roland turned out to be quite resourceful. There was a foursome (not my thing), a scene with a hetero couple (not a foursome though – it was more like parallel activity and I thought that one was really good), a few others and one scene that was downright surreal – to me anyway. I felt like I was in a really weird, but detailed dream, :-).

The conclusion of the story was reached within a few pages without much ado. There was no declaration of eternal love, no confessions of feelings. You had to read very much between the lines to find them. If you like internal reflection, angst and deep emotions (either expressed or at least hinted at) this is not for you. If you liked the plot of “Pretty Woman”, but thought it could do with more sex you’ll like this book – a lot.

Available at Ravenous Romance

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Thursday 13: Good things about my job

After my little rant last week I need to make up for it with this week’s Thursday 13. So, why did I miss my job? The good things about it outweigh the bad ones by far, as you’ll see in a minute.

1. Colleagues & Friends
“Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.”  ~Sicilian Proverb

Quite a few of my colleagues are also friends whom I meet in my leisure time. What’s better than to work with friends?

2. Coffee in abundance
“I believe humans get a lot done, not because we’re smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee.”  ~Flash Rosenberg

The staff has its own coffee machine, which is always ready. Nice to go and have coffee (or tea, Coke, water, etc. for that matter) whenever you want. The only thing is that whenever I go for coffee the milk is empty. ALWAYS!

3. Boss
“Even the frankest and bravest of subordinates do not talk with their boss the same way they talk with colleagues.”  ~Robert Greenleaf

He is the best boss I can imagine, there is nothing I couldn’t tell him. That’s why I sort of disagree with above quote. I don’t think I could have a better relationship with my boss, I speak with him as frankly as with everybody else. When we get into an argument, the walls shake – it’s fun.

4. Inspirational wall
“I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That’s deep enough. What do you want—an adorable pancreas ?” ~Anon 

We have this "inspirational wall” in our office with pictures of some eye candy (strictly male). The good thing is everybody contributes, even our male colleagues. Either because they think we might like the looks of a guy or because they like the looks of a guy. It’s nice to have a common interest.

5. Take out food
“Food is an important part of a balanced diet.”  ~Fran Lebowitz

Even though there is no food to be had apart from break times, if there is an emergency and for example you have forgotten to buy steaks for your barbecue tonight, you could go and take some home, if you ask nicely. Saves you a shopping trip during rush hour in the last minute.

6. Free or cheap rooms everywhere
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money.  Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”  ~Susan Heller

When I go away over the weekend or on vacation there is always a hotel room either free of charge or at a cheap staff rate available somewhere. No matter where I want to go, my company is somewhere close by – is that convenient or what?

7. Free rooms for friends
“Staying with people consists in your not having your own way, and their not having theirs.”  ~Maarten Maartens

I never need to make visitors sleep on the couch and put up with noise from kids at 6am. Instead I can always offer a free hotel room for them.

8. Surroundings
"Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake." ~Wallace Stevens

If I’m fed up and need some fresh air, all I need to do is get out of the building and there it is. Lakes, trees, paths to walk around. And if I want I can even take one of the number of dogs that are hanging around various offices to come with me.

9. Flexible schedule
“There cannot be a crisis today; my schedule is already full.” ~Henry Kissinger

I always have room for a crisis. If I need to come later, leave earlier, need a day off. No problem. Don’t worry, I have to make up for that though.

10. Lots of fun
"The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play." ~Arnold Toynbee

I love what I’m doing, so my line is blurred already. On top of it I have some colleagues who are pure fun. You wouldn’t believe the crap they come up with and the pranks they pull.

11. Laid back working atmosphere
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  ~Confucius

Everybody is quite casual and laid back. As a rule highly strung people who fly off the handle because of minor setbacks and idiotic customers can’t be found in our line of business. Of course, most of the laid back attitude comes from excessive drug abuse… just kidding!

12. You meet lots of well known people
“A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.”  ~Fred Allen

Probably a bonus for some celebrity whores. I’m not into celebrities, but I’ve met some anyway. They were just as nice or unfriendly as every other customer.

13. I know everything
“Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly.”  ~Arnold Edinborough

Yep, in my position I get to know all the little details and everything that goes on everywhere. Since I’m rather inquisitive (you might also say nosy to the extreme) that’s a good thing.

Here you’ll find more of this week’s Thursday 13 participants

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No regrets by Sean Michael

Synopsis: Musician Drake is burnt out and leaves it all behind, when he receives a letter from his school buddy Scott to come and visit.  Scott is an artist, lives out in the sticks and makes Drake feel right at home.

Review: This was just too sweet – in a good way. Once more Sean Michael wrote a story with the focus exclusively on the two protagonists. Nothing comes in between them and everything works out perfectly.

When Drake arrives at Scott’s house he feels all the pressure just fall off him. Scott is openly gay, Scott is divorced and in the closet. It doesn’t take those two men long to discover that they are made for each other. Scott has been pining after Drake for years – in fact since High School – and when Drake tells him that he is gay, too, the stage is set for some hot and romantic scenes. Outside interference, like for example from Drake’s assistant who constantly has to fight off media and his label, are reduced to an absolute minimum.

It’s around Christmas time, the gifts Drake and Scott exchange are heart warming and just on cue it even starts snowing. What else can you ask for? 

This story is part of the Holiday Single Shots Collection 2006 from Torquere Books

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And it’s amazon once more

Amazon seems to be on the war path lately. Only a week ago it was all about amazon vs. GLBT, even if they say this was not so. Now it’s amazon vs. amazee. Amazee is a new small Swiss networking site for activists, amazon wants to protect its brand and urges them to change their name. Obvious, isn’t it? Amazon and amazee (pronounced a-maze-ee) really sound the same and can be easily confused.

There are tons of German links to this new assault of common sense, but here are a few in English nevertheless:

Amazon wants to bully amazee into changing its name at Techcrunch

Would you confuse amazee with amazon? at Mashable

One of these things is NOT like the other at Top cultured

and a couple of German links:

Gigantin gegen Startup at startwerk.ch

Verwechslungsgefahr? Amazon verklagt Schweizer Start-up Amazee at netzwoche

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To the highest bidder by Kate Steele

Synopsis: Ben’s business partner surprises him with a birthday gift. She has won an ebay auction – a lunch with Mitch DeSantis, a TV star. Mitch turns out to be a total ass, arrogant and rude. Ben leaves before lunch is over. However, the next day Mitch turns up at Ben’s bookshop to apologize and make up for his bad behaviour.

Review: This novella was a fun read. Even though Mitch comes over as a total jerk at first, we soon get to know what drove him to behave so rudely. Even if it is inexcusable, at least it’s understandable. When he shows up at Ben’s door, Ben is quite willing to forgive him without dwelling on that unfortunate lunch too long. Mitch’s invitation to a homemade dinner is the right starting point to a nice evening, in the course of which Ben realizes Mitch is not only a nice guy – totally different from what he thought he’d be like – but also attracted to Ben.

For an intelligent and considerate man Ben acts rather stupidly after their first night together. Why would he leave the way he did? His assumption wasn’t based on any evidence whatsoever. At least he could have gone and had a talk to find out what’s going on (and nothing indicated there was something going on anyway). I found that a bit annoying and not like Ben who didn’t seem to be acting on impulse at other times.

What I liked was that the story showed that you never can judge people on your first impression. The epilogue, which is set two years later, was especially sweet and exactly what readers expect from an epilogue.

Available at Loose ID.

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Update on Dan Brown’s new book

Obviously I need to keep up with things better. Today I read on the Read Street blog about Dan Brown’s new book. Contrary to what rumours said earlier the book is now called “The Lost Symbol”, instead of “The Solomon Key”, and it will be released on September 15 according to Publishers Weekly.

The book is taking place during 12 hours in Robert Langdon’s life, so I’m not sure my forecasted plot can all happen as projected. Maybe I’ll have to reconsider some of the locations and move them all to one continent. Bummer, I really liked my story!

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A shot at manga

Picture by Peat Bakke at flick'r So far I’ve never read comics, but my husband does. I always browse around in the manga section of our local comic shop (because they look so cute), but never bought anything. I rather make up pictures in my own head instead of reading a picture story.

My only experience with comics at all in the past was “Guilty Pleasures” and that was a total disappointment. I mean, I hate Anita Blake anyway, so why I bothered in the first place I don’t know. Then the artist did it all wrong, people didn’t look like I imagined them, too many curls, it just didn’t feel right.

Then I heard about Marvel’s Pride & Prejudice coming out. Sounds nice enough, but look at the sisters! Bloody hell! What were they thinking? The all look like they are on drugs. Jane looks like a right bitch. I don’t think so.

Recently I saw on Elisa Rolle’s LJ her reviews of Yaoi and I thought, maybe there is more to manga than I thought, :-). To cut a long story short, I found some Yaoi that sounded interesting enough on a swap site. The first one I’m going to get is Fake (v.1) by Sanami Matoh. It sounds like a story I’d read in novel format, so it might be quite enjoyable – I hope. On the other hand I might be totally wrong and find out that manga isn’t my genre after all. I’ll see.

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Sunday Stealing: The 40 meme

Sunday Stealing: The 40 Meme

1. My uncle once : did a terrible thing. I only learned about it after he’d died. If I had known beforehand, our relationship would never have been the same.

2. Never in my life : will I smoke again.

3. When I was seventeen : I was carefree. But I didn’t know it at the time.

4. High School was : fun. But I didn’t know it at the time.

5. I will never forget : the faces of people I like.

6. I once met : Huh? I meet lots of people everyday. Celebrity or not, it doesn’t make a difference.

7. There’s this girl I know who : likes to read.

8. Once, at a bar : I got drunk.

9. By noon, I’m usually : ready for a nap, but can’t take one.

10. Last night : I was up late.

11. If only I had : more money for books.

12. Next time I go to gym/church : Won’t happen.

13. Susan Boyle : can sing. So what? Don’t know what the fuss is all about.

14. What worries me most : I have no big worries at the moment.

15. When I turn my head left, I see : A snowman that is a left over from our Christmas decoration.

16. When I turn my head right, I see : A mixed media art piece.

17. You know I’m lying when : You won’t know. I’m a good liar.

18. What I miss most about the eighties : The music.

19. If I was a character in Shakespeare, I’d be : Katherina, Baptista Minola’s daughter

20. By this time next year : it’s going to be spring again.

21. A better name for me would be : No clue! Ask my mom!

22. I have a hard time understanding : some of my colleagues.

23. If I ever go back to school, I’ll : learn another language or two.

24. You know I like you if : I’m not snarky.

25. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be : maybe my parents for bringing me up to be so sensible and down to earth.

26. When I compare 80’s rock to 90’s rock : Give me the 80’s anytime.

27. Take my advice, never : say never (trite, but true)!

28. My ideal breakfast is : Caffee latte and a croissant.

29. A song I love, but do not own is : The shock of the lightning by Oasis

30. If you visit my hometown, I suggest : to check out all the old buildings and the emperor’s castle.

31. My favorite Beatle is : Ringo.

32. Why won’t people : stop being so selfish (that includes me)?

33. If you spend the night at my house : you wouldn’t. I’d get you a free hotel room.

34. I’d stop my wedding for : I didn’t.

35. The world could do without : some acquaintances of mine.

36. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than : eat that cockroach.

37. My favorite blonde is : strawberry blonde. Can’t think of anybody in terms of hair colour.

38: Paper clips are more useful than : thumbtacks without heads.

39. If I do anything well, it’s : weasel my way out of things.

40. And by the way : This meme was tedious.

Article

Bound by Love by T. A. Chase

Blurb: Two cowboys fall in love. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

Tyler Newsome is heading home to the Lazy N, tired of the rodeo and tired of always being his charismatic twin’s shadow. It’s time he gets a life of his own—and maybe the man he’s always dreamed of, too.

Ren Alston’s always been attracted to Tyler, but never made a move because of his own mental and emotional baggage. But after years spent taming his demons and gaining control in every aspect of his life, Ren sees the younger man’s return as a sign of good things to come.

But first, they have to deal with Tyler’s twin, past indiscretions and Ren’s brothers. Will these cowboys manage to build a strong foundation of trust and love? Or will their problems be too much for them?

Review: Val from Obsidian Bookshelf read and reviewed this book recently. It sounded like a fun book, so I got it. Unfortunately I was disappointed with it. From Val’s review I knew that there was some potential for conflict that never developed fully. I don’t mind if conflict is only hinted at but put out of the way quickly in favour of focussing on the two main protags. In this case, the conflict that the blurb hinted at were practically non-existent and the romance between Ren and Tyler left me cold.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Tyler and Ren get into BDSM rather quickly. I’m not a big fan of BDSM, but I knew from Val that this was going to happen, so no complaints here. But I felt that this all happened way too fast. One time Ren orders Tyler to get naked and the next thing you know is that Tyler has always looked for a dominant in bed (which had never been even implied before). From there it is only a short time until Tyler gets tied up and whipped. It was just like they flipped a switch and from then on it was mostly sex BDSM style. That was too rushed for me. I just couldn’t get connected with those two guys.

The conflicts that were mentioned in the blurb? Not there.

OK, Tyler’s twin JT was a pain at first. He had seduced Ren at an earlier date just to hurt Tyler, but was used himself by Ren in the process, who didn’t feel worthy of Tyler and settled for the second best. He got on Tyler’s nerves quite a bit when he repeatedly came up with that old story, hinting that Ren only hooked up with Tyler, since JT was out of reach now. That got old pretty quickly, and all of a sudden JT apologizes for his bad behaviour, saying a friend has put him on the right track. What friend? It would have been good to see who it was who made JT see what an ass he is. The friend is never mentioned again, he’s a deus-ex-machina to get rid of the JT problem.

Ren’s brothers? Conveniently moved out of the way before they could pose any problem. Not that they would have; for two veterans suffering from PTSD they seemed uncomplicated enough. Isaiah supported Ren anyway and Keith was too wrapped up in his own world to oppose Ren’s plans. I didn’t even feel a need for them to be removed from the scene, but just to make sure no obstacle kept Tyler from moving in with Ren, they were dispatched to San Diego without opposition from their part.

The romance just wasn’t romantic enough for me. Ren and Tyler had been in love for a long time without acknowledging it loud and there was not much to develop. They more or less jumped into bed with each other, the BDSM didn’t do it for me, no conflict (internal or external) in sight, somehow there was nothing for me to get excited about.

Available at Samhain Publishing

Article

No Weekly Geeks this week, but…

…a Read-a-Thon.

Tons of challenges, prizes etc. to be had. However, I was busy without reading. After upgrading WordPress yesterday, non-working tags, and my old wordpress theme not to my liking anymore, I changed the looks of the blog today. I redid the categories, the tags and kicked out a few pages with challenges I’m not following anymore. And I had fun creating a couple of header and sidebar images. Not to forget the cool widget with the quotes from italy is falling.

All in all I’m pretty pleased with the new look. Hope you all like it, too.

Article

Free e-books from Random House

Random House have started a new site Suvudu where readers can download the first SF and fantasy books in various series. The books are available in various ebook formats. The first books available are among others “Assasin’s Apprentice” by Robin Hobb (The Farseer Trilogy) and “His Majesty’s Dragon” by Naomi Novik (Temeraire). New titles are being added regularly.

Article

Tagging problem

I went through the tedious task today to upgrade wordpress. So, now not only all apostrophes and speech marks are replaced by some code, which looks incredibly stupid, also something is wrong with the taggin plugin. I’m not surprised about the tag thing, since my former wordpress version was really outdated and the plugin is probably wonky due to the new version. I’ll remove all tags and the plugin and switch to a new one. This might take a little while, sorry. 

As to the apostrophes, I changed thm in the last few posts, but haven’t got the time to correct each and every post. Maybe when I’m getting really bored, I will. Sorry again!

Article

Friday 5: The great outdoors

Today’s Friday 5 is about the great outdoors. I’ll be done in about 30 seconds flat with this one, I’m not an outdoor person at all.

  1. When did you last sleep in a tent?
    That must have been about 25 years ago. My first and only time. I didn’t like it. Give me a hotel room any time.
  2. What comes to mind when you think about relieving yourself in the great outdoors?
    Bugs.
  3. Where’s the best place you ever went camping?
    The only place I ever went camping is Malcesine at Lake Garda in Italy.
  4. What’s your favorite camp food?
    I don’t go camping.
  5. What’s your sleeping bag like?
    Well, you will have guessed it by now, I suppose. I haven’t got one.
Article

Thursday 13: Pet peeves at work

Today’s Thursday 13 is not book related at all. I’m off this week and miss my job. So, in order to fight my feeling of being lost I made up a little quiz about my pet peeves at work. Guess which answer is the correct answer for me. In one case more than one answer is possible.

To make up for this list of laments I’ll post a list of my 13 favourite things at work in the future. 

  1. The royal "we" (unfortunately not)
    Situation: Your boss comes into your office and says: "We have to do the xyz reports today." To you this means:
    a. He always uses the royal "we", he does the reports himself.
    b. You do the reports with him together.
    c. You do the reports on your own. However, once again his "we" tricked you for a second into believing he will help.
  2. The eternal greeting card loop
    Situation: Your boss sends a gift with a greeting card. He receives a thank you card back.
    a. Nothing more needs to be done.
    b. He wants you to send a thank you card for the thank you card. Ad infinitum et at nauseam.
  3. Deadline? What deadline?
    Situation: A deadline is due.
    a. You get all reports at least 2 days earlier. You have plenty of time to sort everything out and to contact people if questions arise.
    b. You get the reports just in time to combine them all and send them on before the deadline expires.
    c. You get the first report just in time, the rest you have to ask for repeatedly. The deadline expires without being met. You are blamed for both, by the slowpokes for the too short deadline and by your boss for the missed one.
  4. Game over!
    Situation: Your boss receives a new assignment with a deadline.
    a. He tells you immediately, so you can prepare everything and request whatever is necessary from everybody involved with plenty of time to meet the deadline.
    b. You are getting the wind of it by pure chance, because your boss forgot to send you the info.
    c. You are notified about it 3 days (or 3 weeks) after the deadline date. Then chaos ensues. However, if you are lucky, someone took care of it in time. Then it’s like a puzzle with scattered pieces and all of a sudden those pieces all slot into their assigned places. In that case the chaos turns into sheer beauty.
  5. I’ll forward anything to anybody
    Situation: Your boss receives an email.
    a. He checks whose name is already on the distribution list and, after carefully reading it, sends it only to relevant people who have not received the mail yet.
    b. After carefully reading it, he sends it only to relevant people. They might get the mail a second time, because their name has been on the distribution list already.
    c. He doesn’t read the email and forwards it to everybody with a little "take care of this" note. Everybody has to read it and wastes valuable time. Advantage of this method: Everybody knows everything and doesn’t need to be informed separately. Disadvantage of this method: Everybody knows everything and thinks he’s got a say in it.
  6. Snails at work
    Situation: You discover a minor mistake on the companies website. A word has been translated wrong. You notify the German HQ.
    a. It takes a few hours to correct the mistake. You receive a notification that it’s done.
    b. You receive a notification that it has been forwarded to the international HQ. After about 3 days the mistake is corrected.
    c.  You receive a notification that it has been forwarded to the international HQ. After about 3 months nothing has happened.
  7. Morons at work
    Situation: A colleague has a parcel to be dispatched. He hasn’t asked the parcel service yet to come by to pick it up. Parcel service turns up to pick up a parcel. Reception staff is busy at the moment and can’t answer the parcel guy. The colleague happens to stand at the reception. What does he do?
    a. He does nothing and waits until reception staff is free to answer and give the parcel guy the correct parcel that has been sitting there all day to be picked up.
    b. He thinks, "Ah, I have a parcel that needs to be picked up and here is a parcel guy. I’ll tell him to wait and  get my parcel from my office. He must have known I have something that needs picking up."
    c. He thinks, "Screw my colleague whose parcel is waiting to be picked up. Mine is more urgent, I’ll just get mine and hand it over. Who cares what happens to the important papers that need to be in xxx by tomorrow morning?"
  8. Why would you need software? Or hardware?
    Situation: You want to watch an important flash movie (with sound) on your company’s intranet.
    a. You watch it and enjoy the top quality of picture and sound.
    b. You watch it but can’t enjoy the sound, since you haven’t got speakers.
    c. You can’t watch it since it requires the newest flash version, which you haven’t got.
  9. Access denied!
    Situation: In your lunch break (or working time) you want to blog, watch a youtube video or tell your facebook friends what you’re up to.
    a. You go ahead and blog / watch youtube/ facebook to your heart’s content:
    b. You can’t do any of these, but you can at least go through your bloglines and read your favourite blogs
    c. You can do nothing of the sort, because all access is denied.
  10. Cut the red tape (and glue it back together)
    Situation: In order to cut down bureaucracy it is announced that reporting will be reduced to a minimum.
    a. Your workload is reduced by at least 50%. Only minimum reports are being requested now. It is a dream come true.
    b. Your workload stays the same. Nothing changes.
    c. New reports and spreadsheets to cut red tape are being added to the usual and your workload is increased by 25%.
  11. Your ad could go here 
    Situation: Someone comes by without appointment and wants to speak to you. He wants to sell you ads for a local event brochure.
    a. He is a businessman who tells you prices and media data. You tell him that you’ll contact him. He leaves.
    b. He is a somewhat casual guy and tells you prices and media data. You tell him that you’ll contact him. He chats a bit with you and then leaves.
    c. The guy in question is a self appointed expert on eroticism. He is a sex-crazed maniac who looks like a pimp. He chats you up, tells you about a lake where the nudists hang out and suggests you come out one day for a photo shooting. On top of it he proposes his idea for an erotic reading on your premises. He only leaves when you say, you are off the clock in about two minutes.
  12. You want food? Go and buy some elsewhere!
    Situation: You are hungry. You go into the kitchen and check whether you can find something to eat.
    a. There is plenty of stuff to choose from because a buffet has come back from the clients. You’re free to take whatever you want.
    b. There are a few leftovers from God knows when. You grab whatever is available. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
    c. No luck! Apart from the extremely short break times there is no food to be had. Missed the break? Tough! Not even a slice of dry bread can be found.
  13. My desk is my castle (but nobody seems to care)
    Situation: You shut down your PC and leave your office to go home.
    a. The next morning your desk is exactly how you left it yesterday.
    b. The next morning you see that somebody sat at your desk. They tried to conceal that fact by arranging everything the way it was when you left. Only subtle signs tell you somebody was there.
    c. The next morning your PC is running. Outlook is open. Someone rummaged through your emails. Some pens and your scissors are missing. When you sit down you almost land on the floor because someone has changed your chair settings.

Correct answers:

correct_answers

Article

Over the road by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux

Blurb: Truck driver Elliot Cochran meets ‘McLean’ while talking on the CB and strikes up an unusual friendship. One evening, McLean tells Elliot he needs to go find some companionship, and so Elliot meets Jimmy Vaughan – and has one of the best nights in his life. Before long Elliot faces a decision about sharing his life: Does he choose McLean, the best friend he’s never met, or Jimmy, the man who thrills him beyond belief?

Review: This is the second story in "Love ahead".

SPOILERS AHEAD!

I really enjoyed reading about the two protagonists. They hit it off right away over the CB / phone and became great friends without ever seeing each other. So far so good. Unfortunately hidden identity plots are another pet peeve of mine (I know I have many; another one would be woman disguised as man, but you don’t come across them in gay novels, thank God), so I wasn’t too pleased with this. How "McLean" and "Millis" could talk for what seems like an eternity over the phone but never exchange even first names is a mystery to me. Must be a male thing, obviously. I can’t imagine this happening with two women, :-).

The one night stand I was ready to forgive, since by that time their "long distance relationship" hadn’t really developed yet, but when Jimmy and Elliot met again and they still carried on, I was a bit disappointed. Yeah, ok, they were felling guilty, but it still took them some time to stop this "cheating". The scenes with Jimmy and Elliot were hot and romantic, nevertheless I didn’t really care for them, because they felt wrong to me. I especially disliked one scene when Jimmy deliberately lied to Elliot. Only later I was back on the right track again when this ridiculous situation was cleared up.

I felt the whole initial situation just unrealistic to the extreme. Usually I don’t mind lack of realism. I this case, however, it was paired up with a plot I didn’t appreciate, and that made all the difference.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

Article

Under contract by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux

Synopsis: Foreman Ted Lucas is in love with his assistant Nick Cooper, but his erratic behaviour leads Nick to believe Ted doesn’t like him and ask for a transfer. One day after work Ted gets up the nerve to confess his feelings. Nick is stunned and agrees to a night together to give them a chance.

Review: "Under contract" is part of "Love ahead", a book with two stories by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux.

I was extremely impressed with Ted and the courage he shows when he tells Nick about how he feels. Not only is he Nick’s superior and a sexual harassment complaint is a distinct possibility, he also isn’t even sure whether Nick is gay or not. In fact from gossip he must assume that Nick isn’t. Yet, since he is a burnt child and already had to let one man go because he didn’t own up to his feelings, which broke his heart, he is determined not to make the second mistake twice. That is even more admirable since he more or less got kicked our from another site after his sexual proclivity was revealed.

Nick turns out to be gay after all – lucky Ted – and agrees to a night together to show Ted that love has nothing to do with this. Again, a commendable reaction. I wonder if Nick didn’t have feelings for Ted all along without even acknowledging it himself. Why else would he agree to such a thing? Just because someone confesses to be in love with you, you won’t be inclined to spend the night with him/her, unless you feel something. At least to my way of thinking.

Anyway, they get along wonderfully and decide to give that thing between them a chance to grow or die. An unfortunate accident at work causes Ted to practically move in with Nick which helps them along the way. However not all is sunshine, since Nick just can’t get the words out that Ted longs to hear.

Then some miscommunication happens and the whole relationship gets blown to pieces. I wasn’t too keen on that, because lack of communication or misreading the other person, even though it should be obvious what they mean, is a pet peeve of mine. However, that whole sad interlude came to a rather quick ending, which reconciled me somewhat.

Apart from the protagonists a few nice supporting guys were present as well. I especially liked the ever fainting Sanders, who turned out to be a perceptive and cunning observer. He would probably be a good scheming matchmaker, if he ever chose to leave his present line of business.

This was a fun read, perfect for readers who don’t like angst and upsetting internal conflicts.

Available at Dreamspinner Press