I had the library transfer a copy of The Knowland Retribution to the Central branch.  And I finished it this weekend.

I thought it was a good book.  Very well written and I understood the characters, their motivations and their arcs.

One tiny problem.  Basis of the central conflict…. massive e coli outbreak from tainted meat.

Yeah – I’m going to be a little more careful about where I get a burger for a little while.

Sometimes you wish you just hadn’t read that.

Otherwise, a very good book.  I think I might pick up the next one in the series.



A setting for murder

December 26, 2011

I’ve spent the weekend watching Midsomer Murders… season after season of it on Netflix instant.  It’s amazing.  Each episode has 3 or so murders.  Year after year all these murders in these tiny towns and villages in the county of Midsomer.  (Which is fictional by the way… I looked it up.)

It reminds me of Cabot Cove and that old joke about how murder just follows Jessica Fletcher around.  If you saw Jessica Fletcher, wouldn’t you run in the other direction?

I can’t help but think that the amount of murder happening in Midsomer, it must be hard to sell real estate there.  I mean, I live near Oakland… which could be considered a rather large city and also a place where a lot of murders occur.  It’s something that’s talked about constantly.  So I can’t help but think that small places like Midsomer and Cabot Cove must be the constant talk of their regions in terms of violent / suspicious deaths.

But we suspend disbelief.  We think that each murder is the first murder.  That there is no internet or wide-spread news.  So everything that happens, happens in its own little cocoon, fresh for our enjoyment.

And that’s what I’m going to go on believing through all 14 plus seasons.

It’s an addiction.  It’s genetic because I got it from my mother.

We can’t be helped.  The BBC is at fault.


Have you wandered around Kickstarter yet?  If you haven’t I should warn you before you click over.  It’s dangerous.  You will find things that you want to support.  You will figure out how important it is that you get prototypes that are just coming off the assembly line, art that is just being created, etc etc etc.

For me, it started with Neil Gaiman talking about his Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer.

From there I got involved in art projects, movies, technology prototypes… and I can’t seem to stop.

Right now I’m trying to figure out if I should fund a new Espresso Machine prototype in order to get one of the first machines…  I like my espresso machine.  I don’t need a new one but they’ve created a new thermoblock…  and … I feel the tug.

This is an addiction.  It’s particularly bad for the art projects.  I want them.  I just have them.  How do you say no to a Monster Alphabet Book written in iambic heptameter?

Written by Darren J. Gendron and illustrated by Obsidian Abnormal!

I need to stop poking about on this website.  I need to stop clicking on links to Kickstarter projects.

But I won’t because that’s who I am.


I am certifiably insane for a NUMBER of reasons.  But there’s nothing quite so obvious, spectacular and well-known as my addiction to cookbooks.

The stranger and less likely to be used the better.  It’s an emotional, almost knee jerk response to stems from childhood and the cooking school my mother ran.

The last of the cookbooks that Clara found before selling the old house… why yes, I MUST have Joan Oster’s Spin Cookery Salad Dressing mixes.

How could I consider my life complete with out a copy of  A Fifteenth Century Cookry Boke?

Then Dad and Nette re-did their kitchen.  They got rid of the shelf that held their cookbooks so the whole box come home with me.  And of course I think they are AWESOME!

I don’t even use cookbooks.  I print recipes from the internet.  And I do not have the space for all of these new delightful collections of cooking knowledge.

But I can’t say no.  And I can’t get rid of them.

They are lovely and perfect and I adore them.

I am so totally broken.

Oh well… it’s who I am.


Today my co-worker told me that the Peruvian air traffic controllers were going on strike.  They plan to strike from December 22 to December 25.  Excellent timing, don’t you think?

My first thought was that this is horrible news for him.  He’s flying home for three weeks into the middle of an air traffic controller strike.

My second thought was that I had heard all of this before.  Then it hit me… Reagan fired all the air traffic controllers in 1981 when they went on strike.  Sadly I only remember this because of Berkeley Breathed.

I have the image floating in my mind of a comic strip he did where Santa hired ex – air traffic controllers as elves or Reagan hired elves to fill the air traffic controller positions.  I can’t remember which.  It was 30 years ago.  I think I’m allowed to let go of these little details.

Somehow I don’t think elves are going to fix the Peruvian issue.  My co-worker thinks that everyone who strikes is going to hell because they are messing up the religious holiday for the whole country.

I’m not sure I agree with that.  But I really hope it doesn’t destroy his ability to get home to spend the holiday with his mom.


Let’s remake THIS!

December 20, 2011

I’m reading a wonderful book, The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman (first published in 1966).  It’s a truly delightful book about a widow whose children have married and she feels she has nothing left to offer… so she goes to the CIA to become a spy.

So far it’s been made into a movie with Rosalind Russell

and a TV movie with Angela Lansbury.

I love the idea of this story.  Especially if isn’t played for laughs.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous if instead of playing it for camp or any kind of humor it was made with a certain level of grit.  The power of an older woman who had a full life, done what she and everyone else thought she should do and now is ready to give her life for her country.

It’s been 12, almost 13 years since the last one was made.  I say let’s update….  Meryl Streep would have a field day with this part.  If we let her direct, maybe Barbra Streisand would be interested.  Candice Bergen would be fun to watch.

It’s just an idea.

I’ll go back to my book now.


Yesterday was Thursday.  I know… it’s a shock, right?  Since it was Thursday I went to Vintage Berkeley for the 5 for $5 tasting.

While I was there chatting with Nick and Matt, a woman came in.  Turns out she was a wine producer (part of a team) dropping off wine.  She came back to talk to Nick and I saw the invoice she was carrying.

It had Folk Machine on it.  I drink Folk Machine.  I love the labels and could drink Three Ceremonies every single day.

Lynn knew I was a real fan because most people don’t actually call it Three Ceremonies.  I don’t know what they call it but they don’t use its real name.

Since she was there, she did the tasting too.  And she talked about the wine map that looks like a metro system map.  And how you can taste wines by region moving from the coast inland learning more and more as you travel.

I don’t know if I’ve ever tried to do that.

Mostly I learn from people who have specific knowledge.  Like Rachel and the wines of Hungary.  Now that’s some fascinating information.

Or I’ve been to events that focus on specific varietals or specific regions.

But now I can’t stop thinking about the metro map and working my way through one of the lines.

Is that how you learn more about the history and quality of wine?  Or is it just one more possible way to get more exposure to more information?

It’s a great idea.  Maybe one day I’ll disappear for a few months and see what happens.