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American Accent Quizzie

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Memes | Posted on 29-08-2008


What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on

Northern. Whether you have the world famous Inland North accent of the Great Lakes area, or the radio-friendly sound of upstate NY and western New England, your accent is what used to set the standard for American English pronunciation (not much anymore now that the Inland North sounds like it does).

If you are not from the North, you are probably one of the following:
(a) A Southerner who hates Southern accents and tries really hard to "talk right"; or
(b) A New Yorker or New Jerseyan who doesn't have the full accent

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?

Then again, it could be that I'm a southerner who grew up in the metro Atlanta area, where we hear all kinds of accents. Or that I watched too much television as a child, and broadcasters use the same standard. In any case, the author of the quiz seems to be a bit out of touch as far as the explanations of different results go (and a bit defensive, as well).

Review: Selene by Lilith Saintcrow

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 28-08-2008


Selene Selene by Lilith Saintcrow

My review

I was just as annoyed with this little 5-chapter novella as I was by the bit that was in an anthology—Hotter Than Hell, maybe? We get a good idea of who Selene is, a glimpse of Nikolai, and lot of Selene being an utterly ungrateful bitch to him, hot sex, and NO resolution in the plot. None. At. All. Blah.

Edited: I'm informed that this isn't just a novella, and that it is still being released. So I'll wait and review the whole thing when it's done, if it is interesting enough to read. What I said so far is absolutely true—Selene is a bitch and Nikolai is inexplicably devoted to her—but that seems to be part of Saintcrow's formula. Maybe there will be more plot soon.

Protect Your Dogs and Boycott Four Paws Products Ltd.

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Announcement, Critters, News | Posted on 27-08-2008


First, if you dog has a Pim­ple Ball With Bell (what an icky name!), take it back wher­ev­er you bought it and ask them to refund your mon­ey for the dan­ger­ous thing, and take the rest off the shelves.

After read­ing about the injuries at least four dogs have expe­ri­enced due to the absolute refusal of Four Paws Prod­ucts Ltd. to mod­i­fy or recall their prod­uct after being informed of these prob­lems. One dog had to be euthanized.

The com­pa­ny and its insur­er (I wish I knew their name) have been irre­spon­si­ble, at the very least.

Please talk to pet stores in your area about remov­ing the “pim­ple ball with bell” from their shelves. Warn oth­er dog own­ers about the prob­lem. Con­sid­er talk­ing to your vet, so he or she can do the same. 

Con­sid­er writ­ing to Four Paws, as well. E-mail isn’t near­ly as effec­tive as a mailed or faxed let­ter, or even a (polite!) phone call. 

I didn’t find the name of any exec­u­tives on their web site, but will add that after I try call­ing tomor­row. Here’s the mail and phone information:
50 Wire­less Blvd.
Haup­pauge, NY 11788
Phone: (631) 434‑1100
Fax: (631) 434‑1183

Their par­ent com­pa­ny is Cen­tral Gar­den & Pet Com­pa­ny. The pres­i­dent of the “Pet Group” is James V. Heim
Pres­i­dent of Pet Group
1340 Treat Boule­vard, Suite 600
Wal­nut Creek, Cal­li­for­nia 94597
Phone: (925) 948‑4000

I haven’t found a fax num­ber. Yet.

Review: The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 26-08-2008


The Iron Hunt The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Iron Hunt is a beautifully written book with some interesting twists on established fantasy memes. To some extent, I felt that I'd come in to the world on book 2 or 3, but as far as I know (and from what Amazon says) this is the first book of the Hunter Kiss series. There was a bit of Buffy and a little Witchblade, with other elements I'm sure I'm overlooking.

For once, it's good to see a novel in which an established couple has a seemingly-healthy relationship. Maxine and Grant have very different skills, but they work together well. That said, this is not a romance, so some of Liu's readers may not enjoy it.

Edited to add: I just learned that there is, in fact, a prequel to this book in Wild Thing (an anthology), which I hadn't heard of before. I'll certainly be looking for it.

Next up: The Down Home Zombie Bluesby new-to-me-author Linnea Sinclair

View all my reviews.

Review: The Watcher Series by Lilith Saintcrow

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 25-08-2008


Mindhealer (Watcher, Book 5) Mindhealer by Lilith Saintcrow

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm actually reviewing all five of the Watcher books. They're quite short—novella length, really—and very much interrelated (especially the first four). I read all of them in about a day and a half, despite doing other things. I do advise taking them all in row, which is the equivalent of reading one "normal" novel.

Dark Watcher opens in Santiago City (aka Saint City), with a quartet of witches. Mindhealer is the only book that takes place outside of Santiago City, which seems to be the primary setting for all of Saintcrow's novels (from what I've read in their descriptions).

Theodora, earth witch and healer, runs the Cauldron, an occult book and supply store. Mariamne Niege (water witch, prognosticator) and Elise Nicholson (fire witch) work for her in addition to being, respectively, a graduate student and a musician. Suzanne (air witch, I don't believe we ever learn her last name) is Elise's foster mother and their teacher, something of a high priestess to the little group.

The four women know that they're psychic and that "magick" is real. They don't know that they are "Lightbringers," that there are groups and creatures in the world that hunt them, or that a group called Circle Lightfall trains and sends out "Watchers" to protect (and recruit) Lightbringers in order to counterbalance the darkness in the world.

Watchers are formerly wicked men with some psychic talents who have been given a chance to redeem themselves. They are bonded with a tanak, a dark symbiote that gives them supernatural speed, strength, healing power, and longevity. The tanak also makes it possible for them to sense darkness, but it causes the Watchers to experience pain whenever they're around Lightbringers.

The catch is that for every Watcher, there is one Witch whose presence and touch will be intensely pleasurable instead of torturous. The hope of finding that one witch is what keeps each Watcher going, fighting and surviving horrific wounds for one chance at happiness.

The use of the tired soulmate meme (though that specific word is never used) is annoying, and it detracts from what is otherwise a fairly original concept. The fact that there are only male Watchers, though there are a few (mostly queer) male lightbringers, is a bigger disappointment. The reasoning given is that women do not have the viciousness to kill without hesitation. That's simplistic, at best. Male lightbringers are also painted as weaker than females, and that, in combination with the pedestal upon which Watchers place Lightbringers, unbalances the novels.

Theodora is the main subject of the first book. Mariamne is the focus of Storm Watcher. Fire Watcher, of course, is primarily about Elise. We meet a new air witch, Anya Harris, in Cloud Watcher. And finally, Mindhealer is about Caro Robbins, whose brother plays a small part in Fire Watcher.

The books should certainly be classified as romances first, although they do have very strong paranormal themes. Every book follows the classic romance novel formula. The fact that I kept reading despite my dislike of romances is a testament to Saintcrow's talent.

I suspect that the author either is pagan, or is very familiar with pagan practices. The rituals in each novel are nicely done, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear people using some of the invocations used in Circle.

I do have to propose the Watcher drinking game. Take a shot every time there's any mention of treating a Watcher "dreadfully," and every time a Watcher moans about how unworthy he is to be in the presence of a Lightbringer. You'll be past noticing any formulae in no time!

View all my reviews.

Review: Night Child by Jes Battis

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 24-08-2008


Night Child Night Child by Jes Battis

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book, and hope Battis returns to this world. His prose is lyrical, engaging—a major departure from most of the urban fantasy genre. There were a few little consistency blips that made me think that the book had been edited with less care than it deserved, but they didn't detract seriously from the plot.

View all my reviews.

Review: In Legend Born by Laura Resnick

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 23-08-2008


In Legend Born (Chronicles of Sirkara, Book 1) In Legend Born by Laura Resnick

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Well-written high fantasy, but honestly, it just went on too long. So far, everybody has lost someone important. Anybody who loves anyone seems to be doomed. Betrayals are everywhere, and that's something I find profoundly disturbing.

The book did end on a note of hope, and I want to know what happens next. I just don't know if I want it enough to slog through (at least) two more volumes.

View all my reviews.

Please Think About Sam

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family | Posted on 22-08-2008


His father died last night. He didn’t want any kind of funer­al. We’re going to see his mom.

That A/​C thing

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Home | Posted on 21-08-2008


Appar­ent­ly the fil­ter for the unit is miss­ing, and the coils need to be cleaned. There’s no obvi­ous sign of mold/​mildew, but Sam says that fresh air is com­ing into the bed­room via the unit, and our neigh­bors on that side have been burn­ing some­thing in their back yard.

I found the web site for the man­u­fac­tur­er, and of course the man­u­al for our mod­el isn’t there. The self-ser­vice sec­tion of the site does men­tion that the coils need to be cleaned, but doesn’t say how to do it. I sus­pect that it involves coil clean­er and a hose. Coil clean­er seems to come with a/​c ser­vice peo­ple. I’ll have to ask my father if we can get some and use it safely.

Sam remem­bers a fil­ter, but hasn’t seen it since we moved here, so we may have to order a new one from the com­pa­ny. Of course, their not-help­ful site doesn’t have any infor­ma­tion about parts, either. So I sent them an e-mail, and hope that they’ll reply.

They asked me to do a review about my expe­ri­ence with their site. That was prob­a­bly a mis­take on my site, but I did it. Their rat­ings may have just plummeted.

Now the girl and I need to get to work get­ting the house ready for our Dragon*Con guest next week. I hope the “guest room” isn’t too hot for him! Maybe I should put up a Freecy­cle post look­ing for anoth­er win­dow unit?

I’m Allergic to Our Bedroom

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Health, Home, Reading | Posted on 20-08-2008


More specif­i­cal­ly (I hope), some­thing in it. Not Sam, hap­pi­ly, but every time I go in there, I’m all stuffed up with­in a few minutes.

We keep that room closed and have a win­dow a/​c unit in there, because the house a/​c just doesn’t keep up so well.1 I’m won­der­ing if there’s some­thing about the air not cir­cu­lat­ing to the rest of the house that’s caus­ing dust to set­tle in there?

The cat is sel­dom allowed in the room at all, and we don’t have any oth­er pets. There aren’t any plants in the room.

We haven’t been using the air clean­ers, because I can only get their fil­ters by mail-order and just didn’t get around to get­ting new ones. I guess I need to order them and see if that helps.


In nicer news, the girl and I went to the nice library today. I had gone through my “to-read” shelf at Good Reads and request­ed a bunch of books. More of them than I expect­ed came through all at one time, where­upon I learned that they allow a max­i­mum of 75 books to be checked out at once. Whoops! I had to put two back.

I have plen­ty to read now, though!

1 We had to put a unit in Katie’s room, too – it real­ly wasn’t fac­tored in to the ton­nage on the a/​c unit when some­one fin­ished a for­mer garage, and it doesn’t have enough ducts. Now we need one for the guest room.