One day till


I haven't
made up my
mind for
sure, but
I'm thinking
I'll do
this year
dressed as
a fiery
serpent of

I think the
kids'll get
a kick out
of it.




Actually, no. It's because I finished To Kill a Mockingbird this afternoon.

Sorry for the confusion.


The Final Svithe of October 2007


The Big O's gave his first talk in Primary today, and it turned out much better than the first time he presented there. This is the original audio, recreated with actors.


Check out what I caught last weekend!



So I finally succeeded this weekend and bagged me a leviathan. This is a photo I got of it before I started shooting. Anyway, the point is, it's more meat than we need--or will fit in our freezer. If anyone wants some, just leave a comment and I'll hire a refrigerated boxcar to get it to you.

Also: Got any good recipes?



The Manly Meme

Manly Men.

An acquaintance of mine recently created a baby-new meme from a Popular Mechanics article. I thought I would coöpt it for myself here.

But real men don't tag. So only do this yourself if you think you're man enough. Or if you have something to prove.

So. A real man should be able to:
    1. Patch a radiator hose
      Um. Is it like fixing a bike tube?

    2. Protect your computer
      From ninjas? I'm there.

    3. Rescue a boater who has capsized
      Depends. Are there sharks? What about walruses?

    4. Frame a wall
      Depends. Embezzlement, yes. But I draw the line at capital crimes.

    5. Retouch digital photos
      Within reason, yes. Note the example above.

    6. Back up a trailer
      Now that I finally have a DVD-R drive, yes.

    7. Build a campfire
      Yes. Of course. I totally got my pyro merit badge. I can also build a house fire if you need any help.

    8. Fix a dead outlet
      Who do you think I am, Ned? Seriously though, my father-in-law has shown me how to do this like a zillion times and I still can't. Mostly, I think, because I am certain I will die.

    9. Navigate with a map and compass
      That's cute.

    10. Use a torque wrench
      Is that those strappy things?

    11. Sharpen a knife
      Only on the jawbone of an ass.

    12. Perform CPR
      With or without showgirls?

      I've never actually had to, but I'm sure whoever gets to be my guinea pig will die. So to answer the question, I need to know if the CPRee needs to survive for it to count.

    13. Fillet a fish
      Theoretically. Ask when the last time I went fishing was.

    14. Maneuver a car out of a skid
      Done it many times. Take that!

    15. Get a car unstuck
      From what? Time? Cause Billy takes care of that for me.

    16. Back up data
      Yes. Should do it more frequently though....

    17. Paint a room
      Alas, yes.

    18. Mix concrete
      Yes. But don't tell Lady Steed.

    19. Clean a bolt-action rifle
      Um. No thank you. Guns make me nervous. Sort of like electricity.

    20. Change oil and filter
      Yes! In fact, it's been ages since we paid for an oil change--not since moving here at least.

      Although.... Nevermind. Just ask my dad. He'll tell you. I don't want to go into it.

    21. Hook up an HDTV
      I wish I had opportunity to try....

    22. Bleed brakes
      What. Mechanics don't believe in germ theory?

    23. Paddle a canoe
      I actually used to be awesome at this. But I haven't tried in, ah, fifteen years?

    24. Fix a bike flat
      Used to do it all the time.

    25. Extend your wireless network
      "Extend"? Let's start with "start".

Phew. It's a good thing we have the Big O around. At the very least, he'll be able to mow the lawn. And knock our old oil filters out of the ballpark with his totally awesome batting skills.



This svithe is a tree


Plant a little seed
Watch it growatch it growatch it grow

Now it's a tree

This svithe is a tree

Watch it blow in the breeze

This svithe is a tree

last week's svithe


th'Fourteenth Five Books of 2007


Bookheaded dogs playing poker.

070) Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, finished October 15
    Read the title again. Okay, that's what the books about. Although it also hits on how to repair relationships between adult siblings. It a good book, an easy read, filled with impressive stories and cartoons. I'm putting it on Lady Steed's side of the bed. And since, unlike the one she gave me, this one isn't a library book, she'll totally have to read it. Someday. coupla months

069) Whirligig by Paul Fleischman, finished October 15
    Boy has bad day. Drunk. Drives. Decides to kill self. Kills girl instead. Set off to perform penance, building whirligigs in each corner of the country. The book has a clever format and so, not surprisingly, is at times overwrote. And the protagonist is absolutely unlikable as the book begins. But somehow Fleishman pulls it off and writes a good book. Not sure what sort of teenager I would recommend it to, but I would dissuade none. month and a half

068) Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators in The Mystery of the Silver Spider by Robert Arthur, finished October 12
    Allegedly, one should begin life reading the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, then move on to the Three Investigators, then finally onto, I don't know, Hercule Poirot or somebody--ending up a lifetime reader of mysteries. I started off on this journey quite properly--I read all the Hardy Boys books multiple times and nearly all the Nancy Drew books (my hometown library didn't have all of those). In junior high I discovered the Three Investigators and stayed up all night, ready to snap off my lamp at the sound of a parents' footstep, to discover how things would turn out. Then something went wrong and I started reading Piers Anthony instead and his combination of intelligence, fantasy and jiggling breasts hijacked the whole mystery thing for good--even after I swore him off for the good of my soul. After my two-year mission-induced fiction drought, I came across a Hardy Boys book at my parents house, sped through it in an afternoon and, drought or no drought, was appalled at how crappy was this book I once loved. End story until a library sale a couple weeks ago when I picked up this 3I volume for 30¢ (pretty good when you consider the same volume's going for $75 at Amazon tonight) and started reading. It is indeed a step up from the Hardys and it was reasonably enjoyable. The style was no worse than some of the less fancy adult fiction I've read recently. It's a shame I remembered the location of the silver spider before the third chapter was over--or maybe that just goes to show how impressed I was almost twenty years ago. And it's also a shame this story doesn't take place in their hometown because all their secret tunnels are what I remember loving best. Incidentally, when I read these books, I had no idea who their corpulant, rich and famous benefactor was--or even that he was not entirely fictional. Not until high school did Psycho change my life, and I read my last 3I book before that. I have considered becoming a collector of all books connected to that corpulent, rich and famous benefactor to my own aesthetic, but I think Lady Steed would kill me if I started purchasing them en masse. So I'll have to make do with the five or so I now have. Sneaking one more in here and there at the random library sale, at 0.4% of the going price one week maybe two

067) Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card, finished October 12
    This also was borrowed from En-her-gy Girl and it's a book worth buying. Card has thought about the writing of fiction on a level that embarrasses me. But at least I can study what he has to say and get some of the fruit from all that thought he's expended. And reading the book, in addition to making salient points and teaching me stuff, also makes me feel good (eg, "I'm a genius! I totally rock that!") and inadequate (eg, "Crap! I do that all the time!"). C'est la writing vie. monthish

066) Hybrids by Robert J. Sawyer, finished October 6
    So this was the third and last of the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy and I hated it. I really liked the first one, thought the second was merely okay, but the taste that will stick with me is the taste of the crappy third volume. Which is not to say it is all bad--parts were enjoyable--but having an Oxford PhD be stupid just because he's a bad guy (and then sneakily snapify him at the end) is bad. And Sawyer's absolute incompetent manner of revealing previous-volume backstory is embarrassing. As is his complete lack of trust in the audience's ability to figure things out for themselves is awful. And his focus on (but misunderstanding of) religious people is second only to the otherwise much better Ark Baby for absolute failure to be real. It's a shame. But having clever ideas does not a good writer one make. Even if (as Recession Cone observed to me) those ideas are copped from none other than John Lennon. five days

....previously in 2007....

065) How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card, finished October 1
064) Downy Duck Grows Up by Adda Mai Sharp and Epsie Young, finished September 30
063) Humans by Robert J. Sawyer, finished September 28
062) Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer, finished September 23
061) Making Comics by Scott McCloud, finished August 20
060) Tales of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov, finished September 14
059) The Pearl by John Steinbeck, finished September 11 and again on September 12
058) The Dog Is Not a Toy: House Rule #4 by Darby Conley, finished September 3
057) Brother Brigham by D. Michael Martindale, finished August 29
056) The Foundation Trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov, finished August 27
055) Ode To Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka, finished August 20
054) Polygamy Was Better Than Monotony by Paul Bailey, finished August 10
053) Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, finished August 7
052) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling, finished July 24
051) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling, finished July 21
050) The Ruins by Scott Smith, finished July 13
049) Favorite Stories by Margret Rey, illustrated by H.A. Rey, finished July 12
048) Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins, finished July 2
047) Flight Volume Three edited by Kazu Kibuishi, finished June 27
046) Nobody Is Perfick by Bernard Waber, finished June 14
045) First Paragraphs: Inspired Openings for Writers and Readers by Donald Newlove, finished June 12
044) The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking, finished June 11
043) Dune by Frank Herbert, finished June 9
042) The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels by Thomas Cahill, finished June 8
041) The Roald Dahl Omnibus by Roald Dahl, finished June 6
040) Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo, finished May 31
039) The End by Lemony Snicket, finished May 23
038) The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962 by Charles M. Schultz, finished May 22
037) The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket, finished May 21
036) The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket, finished May 18
035) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, finished May 15
034) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, finished May 14
033) Chip Kidd: Book One: Work: 1986-2006 by Chip Kidd, finished May 9
032) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, finished May 7
031) The Complete Peanuts 1959-1960 by Charles M. Schulz, finished April 25
030) Devils & Demons edited by Marvin Kaye, finished April 23
029) Talk Talk Talk: Decoding the Mysteries of Speech by Jay Ingram, finished April 23
028) Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman, finished April 20
027) The Long Chalkboard: and Other Stories by Jennifer Allen and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, finished April 19
026) Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis, finished April 19
025) Frank by Jim Woodring, finished April 12
024) The Complete Concrete by Paul Chadwick, finished April 3
023) The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde, finished March 30
022) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, finished March 28
021) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller et al, finished March 23
020) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, finished March 16
019) Batman: Gothic by Grant Morrison et al, finished March 13
018) Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, finished March 7
017) Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald, finished March 7
016) 50 Professional Scenes for Student Actors: A Collection of Short 2 Person Scenes by Garry Michael Kluger, finished March 6
015) Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda, finished March 5
014) Frindle by Andrew Clements, finished March 1
013) Brain Wave by Poul Anderson, finished February 27
012) The Best American Comics 2006 edited by Harvey Pekar and Anne Elizabeth Moore, finished February 26
011) Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, finished February 15
010) The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ edited by Mormon and Moroni, finished February 7
009) Lisey's Story by Stephen King, finished February 1
008) The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, finished January 26
007) Empire by Orson Scott Card, finished January 24
006) Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, finished January 22
005) Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, finished January 17
004) Superman Adventures Vol. 1: Up, Up and Away! by Mark Millar, finished January 16
003) A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, finished January 12
002) Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, finished January 11
001) Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, finished January 10

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