Monday, August 24, 2009


Eclipse, the third book in Stephenie Meyer's teen-vampire-romance Twilight series, delivers more of the same, albeit in slightly better packaging than its immediate predecessor. You've got your vampire-werewolf-human love triangle, your threat of imminent danger and death, some good ole teenage angst, and the foggy fog of Forks, Washington.

In this installment, Bella and Edward are back to their lovey-dovey, PG-rated romance. They've come to the agreement that after she graduates from high school, he'll transform her into a vampire, too... provided she marries him first. This totally pisses off her good buddy, Jacob the werewolf, who stopped speaking to Bella at the end of the second book. Since Bella misses her friend so very much, even though Jacob also vies for her affection, Edward agrees she should do what she can to get back into his good graces. Which of course she does.

Enter the imminent danger, this time in the form of an army of new vampires. The Cullen family can't find any other vampires to help them eradicate this menace, so they are forced to team up with the local werewolf pack (Jacob et al). This unlikely alliance gives each side the opportunity to brag, show off, and talk trash. It also creates a bizarre scenario that allows Jacob and Edward to truly see how much the other loves Bella, and reveals to Bella that she actually loves them both. Barf.

Anyway, the vampire/werewolf team win the battle, and Bella sticks with Edward and their plan for eternal happiness. Jacob's devastated and hits the road, and wedding bells are in the air. I still can't believe that anyone buys Bella's lame character as the lynch pin of all of this, but that doesn't mean I won't read - er, skim - the last book.

Up next: I'm putting the nail in the Twilight coffin with the final book, Breaking Dawn.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


One of the unexpected pleasures of the summer has been to watch the Bug play with her cousins, 6-year-old Frankie and 4-year-old twins Lily and Christopher. We try to get together at least once a week because they have such a blast! The Bug is their biggest fan. When Frankie plays his guitar and sings for us, the Bug stands in the front row and dances, his first little groupie. She follows Lily around, emulating everything the "big" girl does. And she and Chris spent hours digging in the sand at the beach last weekend. I think the cousins enjoy having someone younger on whom to impart their years of accumulated wisdom, and it's been so good for the Bug to have built-in best buddies who are always watching out for her. Nightmarish cell phone bills may be just around the corner, but it'll be a small price to pay.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Big girl bed

According to the pediatrician, the Bug was ready for a big girl bed a couple of months ago, and she only fell out of one once while we were on vacation in Maine. We recently ordered her bed, and today I thought I'd take care of the bedding. Apparently I have not bought that stuff in a very long time... I could not BELIEVE the number of choices! Keep in mind here, she's just two years old.

It's not just a twin mattress - it's either firm or plush or cushion firm or extra plush. It's not just sheets, it's different types of cotton, different weaves, and thread counts ranging from 200-1000. It's not just pillows, it's down or synthetic or memory foam. Several hours - and quite a few payments - later, I believe I have everything we need.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My fritzing camera

Since I'm still mourning the loss of my beloved film camera, laid to rest when it became too much of a hassle to develop film, I'd been planning to buy a good digital SLR this year. Our digital camera takes fine pictures, but it is admittedly a bit old and bulky. It is also apparently imbued with a feisty spirit - one that impelled it to go on the fritz as my brother's wedding began. I deleted most of the ruined pictures, but check out what happened to the vast majority of my vacation documentation.

This is the old footbridge from the hundred-year-old town of Somesville, Maine:

And here's what my camera did to it:

Creepy, right? Or perhaps I've finally found a medium of art that I'm actually good at...

Either way, we now are in the market for a small, inexpensive digital camera, as well as a good SLR.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Acadia National Park

I'd never been to Maine before, and while I knew that Acadia was the first national park east of the Mississippi, I did not know that it is located on an island off the coast. It is home to stunning natural beauty, both of the ocean and the woods varieties. We drove through the park, hiked, visited a beach, explored the tide pools, picked wild blueberries... and every night ate some of the freshest and most delicious seafood I've had (lobsters, of course, and haddock, clams, mussels, crabs, shrimp and scallops... only oysters are conspicuously absent).

Here are some photos from our hike:

Acadia is a beautiful place, and its something-for-everyone-ness makes for a great family vacation. We will definitely be back!

Monday, August 10, 2009


My latest foray into the satirical genius of Evelyn Waugh is Scoop, which is regarded by many to be one of his best. I didn't find it to be as hilarious as Black Mischief, but it is definitely an enjoyable read.

Based in part on Waugh's experiences covering Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia, Scoop explores sensational journalism and foreign correspondence. The story begins with John Boot, a rather lazy novelist who pursues a high-paying, low-work job in a foreign country in order to escape from an amorous American girl. Through the good words of his connections (including Waugh's favorite society matron Lady Metroland), Boot lands a position with the aptly-named newspaper The Beast, which will send him to the fictional African nation of Ishmaelia to cover its brewing civil war. Through several miscommunications, bumpkin William Boot is hired in his place, and he instead is forced to leave the comfort of home (where he writes a biweekly nature column) to join the cadre of journalists newly stationed in Jacksonburg, the capital city of Ishmaelia.

In typical Waugh fashion, hilarity and misadventures ensue. The ultimate question is whether the journalists are covering the news, or if they're really creating it based on their collective need to report back to their media outlets, whether or not anything is actually happening. My favorite joke involves the journalists all trekking to the Ishmaelian outpost of Laku, but I won't ruin it for you here.

Suffice it to say, this is another Waugh triumph. If you've not yet tried his books, I highly recommend you get started!

Up next: Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight series. (Did I mention I'm also getting into the HBO series True Blood? I think I might have a vampire problem.)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Maine vacation

We just got back from a week in the great state of Maine, where we had a fabulous family vacation! To clarify a couple of things, by "great state" I mean "state in which every conceivable business uses its name as part of a pun": Chow Maine (a Chinese restaurant), Mainely Hair (salon)... you get the picture. And by "family" I mean "the whole fam damily": in addition to Joker and the Bug, I'm talking about my parents, sister, grandparents, one aunt and a cousin.... most impressively, with no casualties!

We started out in Portland for my younger brother's wedding, and a very big "CONGRATULATIONS" are in order for Shane and Ali! The wedding was on Peak's Island, which is a short ferry ride from the Portland harbor, and we had stunning weather and beautiful views of the city. The Bug was a most upstanding flower girl, and according to her discerning eye the bride herself was a princess. All went well, my brother now has a Missus, and the next morning those mentioned above drove a few hours north to the stunning Acadia National Park. More on that to follow.

So apologies for the hiatus, but I'll be posting a few more notes on the trip in the next couple of days, including the few pictures I was able to coax out of my fritzing camera.