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Month: May 2008

Books Books Books!

My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon
Yes, the girl and I man­aged a library run (to the GOOD library) on Fri­day. It took more time and ener­gy than expect­ed, of course, but we got a bunch of very good books. 

I read My Big Fat Super­nat­u­ral Hon­ey­moon last night, with much gig­gling. The sto­ries were a bit uneven (nor­mal for an anthol­o­gy), but worth­while over­all.

I espe­cial­ly liked “Heo­rot,” the Har­ry Dres­den piece from Jim Butcher. I love the way he brings in mythol­o­gy from so many dif­fer­ent cul­tures.

Kel­ly Armstrong’s “Stalked” was fun, too. Her were­wolves are just more wolfish than most, in my opin­ion.

P.N. Elrod’s “Her Mother’s Daugh­ter” wasn’t bad at all. I’ve obvi­ous­ly missed some of her Jack Flem­ing nov­els, and I’m look­ing for­ward to catch­ing up.

I want to find some of Mar­jorie M. Liu’s longer works, as “Where the Heart Lives” isn’t the first of her short sto­ries that have impressed me. What’s even bet­ter is that WtHL is a total depar­ture from the ear­lier sto­ries I remem­ber.

SBQ: Sick of a WIP?

The Stitch­ing Blogger’s Ques­tion of the Week is:
Do you ever get to a point work­ing on a project that you’ve had for so
long, you start to won­der what pos­sessed you to start it in the first

Of course! It has always hap­pened with pat­terns I chose to do for some­one else, though, rather than those I chose because I was inter­est­ed in them. There are a few WIPs that have out­lived the rela­tion­ships that inspired them, and they may nev­er be fin­ished. That’s a bit embar­rass­ing, but in at least one case I wouldn’t have ever start­ed the piece if I’d real­ly known what an unsta­ble, vicious being the intend­ed recip­i­ent was.

Vicious Teacher Leads Bullying of Disabled Child

Teacher lets kinder­garten stu­dents vote 5-year-old “out of the class”

After each class­mate was allowed to say what they didn’t like about Barton’s 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morn­ingside Ele­men­tary teacher Wendy Por­tillo said they were going to take a vote, Bar­ton said.

By a 14 to 2 mar­gin, the stu­dents vot­ed Alex — who is in the process of being diag­nosed with autism — out of the class.

The teacher, Wendy Por­tillo (portillow@stlucie.k12.fl.us), has acknowl­edged that the inci­dent hap­pened. She had been par­tic­i­pat­ing in the child’s IEP team since Feb­ru­ary, so she knew that Alex was being eval­u­at­ed for a dis­abil­i­ty (most like­ly Asberger’s syn­drome, from the infor­ma­tion in the arti­cle).

There isn’t be any excuse for any adult treat­ing any child that way, but a teacher to encour­age chil­dren to ostra­cize a dis­abled child? That’s even worse.

The school dis­trict has refused to fire Por­tillo, but claims that she has been moved to non-class­room duties. That isn’t near­ly enough.

Civil Rights Win in Florida

Months ago, I post­ed about Pon­ce de Leon High School in Flori­da ban­ning the wear or dis­play of any kind of gay pride sym­bols or words, claim­ing that they indi­cat­ed involve­ment in an “ille­gal orga­ni­za­tion.” I lat­er found out that the prob­lem start­ed last fall, when a les­bian stu­dent com­plained that she was being harassed. Instead of inves­ti­gat­ing or try­ing to stop the harass­ment, the school admin­is­tra­tion cracked down on any show of sup­port for her. The prin­ci­pal lat­er said that he was sure that gay pride sym­bols would cause stu­dents to visu­al­ize gay peo­ple hav­ing sex, lead­ing to dis­rup­tion.1

Any­way, Flori­da man­aged to get some­thing right, or at least one judge there did so. Oh, wait – he was a fed­er­al judge, not a state author­i­ty. Any­way, on May 13 he issued a per­ma­nent injunc­tion again­st the school! He told them that they must stop their uncon­sti­tu­tion­al cen­sor­ship of expres­sions of sup­port for gay peo­ple, and warned them not to try retal­i­at­ing again­st any­one involved in the case. 

1 Damn, those are pow­er­ful rain­bows! Won­der what kind of porn they’d find in a raid of his house?

Review: From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

From Dead to WorseAfter read­ing From Dead to Worse, I feel as if Char­laine Har­ris is fin­ished with the South­ern Vam­pire Mys­ter­ies. If so, she’s doing so well, as vol­ume sev­en is the most sat­is­fy­ing book of the series.

This is not a “hap­pi­ly ever after” book, but it isn’t an “oh my God what’s going to hap­pen next,” either. I’m sure that more could be writ­ten about Sook­ie Stack­house and her very inter­est­ing life, but Har­ris has a his­to­ry of leav­ing series on a high note. The Auro­ra Tea­gar­den and Shake­speare sequences felt a bit more “done” at the end, so may­be I’m wrong. I cer­tain­ly don’t hold Ms. Har­ris’ con­fi­dences.

In any case, I hope that we’ll see more books by Har­ris before long. She’s a good author, and I enjoy her ideas.

Diane Duane Rocks

The Sword and the DragonBack when the Meisha Mer­lin ware­house was being cleaned out, Sam picked up a copy of The Sword and the Drag­on, first vol­ume of the Epic Tales of the Five by Diane Duane that MM put out. It con­tains The Door Into Fire and The Door Into Shad­ow.

The Door Into FireI’ve want­ed my own copies of the first three Tales of the Five books for decades, since read­ing an old friend’s copies. I’m still dis­ap­point­ed that MM nev­er put out the next vol­ume, which should have includ­ed The Door Into Sun­set and the nev­er-before-pub­lished The Door Into Starlight. But then, there are oth­er peo­ple who have far more rea­son to be dis­ap­point­ed about MM mat­ters than I do, so I can’t fuss too much. And I have this vol­ume, and will con­tin­ue to hold out hope that Duane will find a new pub­lish­er who will bring out the oth­ers some­time in my life­time.

The Door Into ShadowAny­way, I had to stop read­ing to show this bit to Sam. It sums up much of what I love about Duane’s phi­los­o­phy.

…death is inevitable. But we have one pow­er, as men and beasts and crea­tures of oth­er planes. We can slow down the Death, we can die hard, and help all the worlds die hard. To live with vig­or, to love pow­er­ful­ly and with­out car­ing whether we’re loved back, to let loose build­ing and teach­ing and heal­ing and all the arts that try to slow down the great Death. Espe­cial­ly joy, just joy itself. A joy flares bright and goes out like the stars that fall, but the lit­tle flare it makes slows down the great Death ever so slight­ly. That’s a tri­umph, that it can be slowed down at all, and by such a sim­ple thing.

The Door Into Sunset

R.I.P. Robert Asprin

I only encoun­tered him per­son­al­ly once, on a pan­el the first time I attend­ed a con (Drag­on Con, 1988 or so?). I thought he was an arro­gant jerk. I’ve heard from oth­ers that he could be quite nice, so may­be it was some kind of schtick. I did enjoy all the Thieves World books, despite their unre­lent­ing dark­ness.

He was sched­uled to be at Mar­Con this week­end, so it seems his death was sud­den and unex­pect­ed. I wish the best to his fam­i­ly and friends.