Saturday, July 4, 2009


Happy Birthday, America!

I'm feeling all patriotic today, but I can't find my Stars & Stripes to hang out my apartment window. I know it's in one of the boxes stacked floor to ceiling in the walk-in closet of my very small apartment. Which one, though, is completely beyond me.

I moved out of my rather larger house over 2 years ago, and I've been meaning ever since to sort through all the detritus I threw into boxes and brought along with me ~ some to Goodwill, some to plastic bins and restorage, some to the trash. Somehow, though, it's never happened. Instead, my neatly stacked boxes have gotten all out of order as I've searched for things over the years. It would be meaningful to begin the cleanup/organizing today ~ Independence Day ~ because it would result in freedom from disorganization and clutter that has plagued me all my life, and then I can have my own personal Independence Day celebration every year along with the nation.

Before I can get started with that, though, I've gotta get off the damn computer first!
Okay, going now to work all day in the bedroom/closet. I should be able to get a good start on the job before going up to the roof tonight to watch the fireworks over at the Coliseum.
In closing, to all the servicemen who have given their lives to preserve our country and our freedom, and to all those now serving in the military, THANK YOU! And for everyone who is going to celebrate the day at backyard bbqs or picnics or the beach and/or watch the fireworks tonight, have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer 2009

Happy First Day of Summer, Los Angeles! I've been away for awhile, mentally if not physically, but I've missed blogging here. I've been on Twitter a lot in the past week or so, reading all the posts from Iran that have gotten through. It's been a heady experience, reading the blow-by-blow descriptions of the protests by the protesters, but it's been scary too. I don't like to think of students being subjected to the brutality of the rulers of that place. Reminds me of Berkeley in the late 60s/early 70s, and of Kent State.

On a lighter note, I haven't been doing much photography lately, but I do have a couple of neat images to share with you. The first was taken in Pershing Square during the lunch hour a couple of weeks ago. The second is of the park that is just across the street from my apartment taken a month or so ago.
Ah, L.A. Gotta love it!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Let the Right One In

Last year, I read Let the Right One In, a really creepy novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist about Eli, a vampire, and Oskar, a lonely adolescent boy. Set in Sweden in 1981, it is part urban horror fantasy, part literary fiction about troubled youth. When Eli (along with her human protector ~ one of the creepier characters in the story) moves to a suburb of Stockholm and befriends Oskar, a geeky 12-year old boy who is the victim of school bullying, murder and mayhem ensue, but with a twist that I found utterly unexpected. In fact, I may really need therapy, because I found myself rooting for the vampire and a troubled and troublesome teenage boy who lives in the same housing project as Oskar. Though the story was uneven, and the tension never reached the almost painful tautness that King at his best can create, it was well-written, gritty, and undeniably worth reading.

Today I learned that the book has been made into a moviewith Kare Hedebrandt playing Oskar and Lina Leandersson playing Eli. I usually avoid films based on books that I've read, because nine times out of ten, they cruelly disappoint, but
Robert Ebert really likes it, so I think I may just take a chance and see it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weekend Assignment #252: Book Connections

I just stumbled across this cool blog ~ Outpost Mâvarin ~ courtesy of Florinda (thanks for that!) when I was looking at her blog tonight. Apparently, every week Karen of Outpost Mavarin appoint a "guest professor" to pose a question to her readers. This week, Laura of YBTN, gave the Weekend Assignment. As Florinda said, "[b]oth the main question and the extra credit are hers, as we return to a favorite subject for some of us: books!"

Assignment #252: Where do you get books from?
Extra Credit: What was the last book you read, and why?

I had to respond to this one, because I love talking about books and everything to do with them almost as much as I enjoy reading them! Also, it gives me a chance to give a short, glowing review of the best book I've read so far in 2009.

So, without further ado, here is my response: I get the majority of my books from the library, because I just don't have enough room in my tiny apartment to keep a lot of books. I have over a thousand books in storage as it is, and I just can't bring myself to add more while leaving my old, well-loved books all alone in boxes in a storage unit. It just isn't fair. Still, sometimes I simply MUST have a book, and then I either buy it online from Amazon, go to a used book store, go to a Borders or Barnes & Noble, or go to an indie book store like Metropolis Books in downtown Los Angeles on Main between 4th and 5th Streets. I also like to shop at library sales and thrift shops, although I haven't done that in awhile.

The last book I finished (a couple of nights ago) is my favorite so far in 2009 ~ The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. It won the Pulitzer, and for good reason! It simply blew me away. I even dreamed about it last night, about being at Gettysburg ~ not during the battle, but at the national monument. Though I have never been there before, in my dream I saw some of the old cannon still there, a few statues, and stood at the top of the ridge looking down the slope up which the Rebel army swarmed (and died) in an attempt to break the Union line.

Now, I'm not really much one for books about battles and war. I did read Caesar's The Civil War and Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, but those were different. However, Shaara did an amazing job of making the characters real (well, most of them actually were real people, though Shaara gave them personalities and dialogue while staying within the bounds of what we know about them historically), of making the battle scenes horribly real and the action completely comprehensible.

If I tell you that, toward the end, I wept, even though I knew how it was going to turn out & even though I seldom cry anymore, perhaps that will give an indication of just how impressive The Killer Angels is. In fact, just remembering that bit at the end ("It may be years, it may be forever...") brings an ache to my heart and a thickness in my throat. I want to read it all over again and plan to buy it so I have it on hand. It was that good!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I gave this YA historical fiction novel a really good review over at Just One More Page...Or Two a few months ago when I finished the advance reader copy. It's about ready to be released, so I thought I'd just post a link to it for those who are interested in really good historical fiction. This is about Katherine Howard, one of Henry VIII's wives who lost her head over him. :)

Don't be afraid of the YA label. This is suitable for discerning adults too.