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R.I.P. “Dad” Ward

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family | Posted on 05-06-2008

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A friend of my family’s, Claude “Dad” Ward, who worked with my father for many years, died this week. He was a good man, and he’ll be missed.

He wasn’t my father, but every­body who knew him called him “Dad.” I don’t think I even heard his giv­en name for the first ten or fif­teen years that I knew him.

He had bat­tled myas­the­nia gravis for years, but what final­ly got him was weird – tuber­cu­lo­sis from a spi­der bite. After Dad­dy told me that, I thought he must have mis­heard some­thing, so I Googled it – and yep, there are oth­er cas­es of that hap­pen­ing.

I’ll think of him every time I see an Airedale or a rac­coon 🙂

Review: The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 04-06-2008

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The Outlaw Demon WailsThe Out­law Demon Wails, book 6 of Kim Harrison’s Hol­lows series, was a very fun read. I’m afraid I whipped through it in one day. Grant­ed, it was a day that involved a fair amount of wait­ing here and there, then col­laps­ing at home to recov­er, which gave me lots of time to read.

I liked Rachel much bet­ter in this book than in the oth­ers. She has grown up a bit, and that’s encour­ag­ing. While there’s a big plot ques­tion left to answer, it felt a lit­tle bit like Har­ri­son is almost done with this series. I hope that she does come back and wind up that last detail, at least. Even if Rachel goes on to live hap­pi­ly (in the) ever after at some point, the world itself is so rich that I would think there are many oth­er sto­ries to be told.

If you’ve read the oth­er books in the series, you def­i­nite­ly want to read this one. If you haven’t, catch up first! I have read them, and I got a wee bit lost regard­ing some ref­er­ences to past events (due to a bad mem­o­ry and fibro fog on my part, not any fault of Ms. Harrison’s).

Rant at Fibrant Living

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Health | Posted on 03-06-2008

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If you have fibromyal­gia, or care about any­one who does, please read and respond.

Review: A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 02-06-2008

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A Rush of WingsA Rush of Wings was a ran­dom “that looks inter­est­ing” choice from the library’s new books shelves. I was some­what sur­prised to find that the book was just pub­lished this Jan­u­ary, because the copy I checked out has obvi­ous­ly been read many, many times. It seems as if Adri­an Phoenix’s first nov­el is a hit.

It wasn’t bad, espe­cial­ly for a first nov­el. It’s yet anoth­er urban fantasy/​horror vam­pire sto­ry, but it didn’t feel too deriv­a­tive. I did won­der if Phoenix has read much of Nan­cy Collins’ work, but she still has a rea­son­ably dif­fer­ent spin on the genre.

I liked the main char­ac­ter, FBI Spe­cial Agent Heather Wal­lace. Her love inter­est, Dante, didn’t do much for me, but then I’m not into bad boys or goth kid­dies. I didn’t quite buy the attrac­tion between them, but hap­py Wal­lace did (most­ly) con­tin­ue to live by her val­ues.

I think I would have been slight­ly hap­pi­er if I didn’t feel like the book was being set up for sequels if it sold well. What­ev­er hap­pened to stand­alone nov­els? Phoenix’s web­site says that her next book, In the Blood, will be released next year. I didn’t find any­thing that says it’s about Dante and friends, but I have a feel­ing that it is.

Crime TV

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Fun | Posted on 01-06-2008

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I’ve been on a video spree over the last month or so, get­ting caught up with all three C.S.I. shows. We also fin­ished watch­ing sea­son 2 of Torch­wood, and real­ized that some of it wouldn’t make sense unless we get caught up on Dr. Who.

Annoy­ing­ly, all three C.S.I.s end­ed on cliffhang­ers. I do hate that. I would keep watch­ing next sea­son any­way, so why the tease? They’re all very well estab­lished. And one episode of C.S.I. Mia­mi had a “spe­cial scene” that was only avail­able on the offi­cial web­site – and it isn’t there any more! What are all the view­ers who didn’t view it in real time sup­posed to do? I found a descrip­tion of the scene, but it wasn’t as good as actu­al­ly watch­ing it.

Sam is always amazed that I can watch that stuff. Hon­est­ly, the vio­lence and blood do both­er me, espe­cial­ly when there are ran­dom crimes. For some rea­son, it doesn’t both­er as much as some oth­er things, maybe because I take off my head­phones so that I don’t have to hear some sounds, and I gen­er­al­ly avoid look­ing at the bod­ies too much.

The part I like is the puz­zle, fig­ur­ing out how a crime was com­mit­ted and who did it. I know the shows are incred­i­bly unre­al­is­tic in many ways, from the fact that real crime scene inves­ti­ga­tors almost cer­tain­ly do not go run­ning around with guns to arrest crim­i­nals to the real­i­ty that nobody can be pro­fi­cient in every sin­gle type of foren­sic analy­sis that needs to be done. Actu­al foren­sic labs are almost always under­fund­ed, so get­ting evi­dence gath­ered, processed, and ana­lyzed in hours (as the shows often depict) is pure fan­ta­sy. Real foren­sic labs don’t usu­al­ly get the equip­ment they need reg­u­lar­ly, and they cer­tain­ly don’t have the lat­est and great­est toys of every sort in handy forms that every sin­gle tech can car­ry in his kit “just in case” he ever needs it at a scene.

I can sus­pend my dis­be­lief that much. And I can almost ignore the non­sense of “trac­ing an IP address to an email address” to get a criminal’s iden­ti­ty in sec­onds. It’s Hol­ly­wood.

I watched the first episode of The Clos­er tonight, since I’ll have to wait until fall for more C.S.I. I don’t like cop shows as much as foren­sics shows, but I was intrigued by Kyra Sedgwick’s per­for­mance in some pro­mos I saw a few years ago. Her “Atlanta accent” is atro­cious, but the char­ac­ter is inter­est­ing. I don’t know why the “big plot twist” that was obvi­ous to me in the first few min­utes of the show would take a bunch of pro­fes­sion­als days (appar­ent­ly) to fig­ure out, though. Maybe they’re too gen­der-bound? Who knows.

I sup­pose that if we had cable and I hap­pened to run across The Clos­er, I would watch it again. I think I’ll find anoth­er foren­sics show the next time I’m bored enough to go look­ing for view­ing mat­ter, though.

Books Books Books!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading | Posted on 31-05-2008

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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?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Relationships, SBQ | Posted on 29-05-2008

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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
place?

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.

Book Review at Fibrant Living

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Health, Reading | Posted on 29-05-2008

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I final­ly got the book review up for Women, Work and Autoim­mune Dis­ease over at Fibrant Liv­ing.

Vicious Teacher Leads Bullying of Disabled Child

Posted by Cyn | Posted in News | Posted on 28-05-2008

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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.

Fibrant Living — Oxygen for CFS

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Health | Posted on 27-05-2008

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Today’s post is at Fibrant Liv­ing.