Monday, August 30, 2010

Bring on the Games (The Hunger Games)!

Sometimes I really appreciate it when an author writes a book and that's it. I may have said this before. Just one book and not a whole series that can drag on and on. That said, sometimes there are series SO good you don't want them to end because you have become so attached to the characters. "Twilight" was one (though I'm not happy with "Breaking Dawn"), Harry Potter, of course and... "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins.
"The Hunger Games" is an absolutely unputdownable trilogy. If you have not read this chillingly realistic futuristic post-apocalyptic story, let me give you a brief lead in: Katniss Everdeen is a 16 year old girl who lives with her mother and sister in a place called District 12 one of 12 areas under the control of the evil Capital, which keeps its citizens oppressed and starving to keep down rebellion (District 13 has already been obliterated). Once a year, the Capital "reaps" a boy and girl from each community and pits them against each other in a fight to the death which is televised as an entertaining reality show. The winner, or last left alive, becomes a celebrity. Katniss has been the main support for her mother and sister since her father died in a mining accident. She is a skilled archer and hunter. I'll only say that Katniss takes the place of her little sister who is the chosen girl for the 74th Hunger Games.
Katniss is an incredibly strong female lead and Suzanne Collins' writing is so descriptive you feel like you are right there on the journey towards the arena with her. There's suspense, there's scary stuff and there's even ROMANCE!
 What's great about "Mockingjay's" release is it now allows new readers to sit down and enter the world of the "Hunger Games" and read them all the way through, like watching a great TV series on DVD without the ads! 
The Goodwin Library book club will be reading the whole series and the 6 new members (so far) have not read them before, so I can't wait to have some great discussions as we progress! Come join us! We'll ILL a copy just for you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Dark Side of Cats!

I vacuumed yesterday. This is not as unusual as it sounds. And I know I vacuumed under the couch where I draw. And I swear...there was not a stiff as a board chipmunk under there, yesterday. And Spacey was curled up next to it looking quite pleased. This was not a fresh kill so to speak. This one was aged. Like road kill. Where did it come from? Why, when I am home alone?

This meant I had to get out the shovel of doom and scoop it up (not so easy) and take it across the street to the woods and toss it back to from whence it came.

(shovel of doom)

When you live in the country, there are many other inhabitants that want to live with you, too. In your roof, your attic, under your stove, in the kitchen drawers even, and the chimney. Which is why my husband claims we have cats. Efficient killing machines. Sometimes. What they like more is bringing wildlife into the house, letting it go and forgetting about it. So it is up to us to try to corral these creatures and get them outside to safety and freedom. Which they can be quite opposed to, preferring to take their chances with those teeth and claws and hide for days under the radiator while the cats stake it out in shifts.
We have freed mice, chipmunks and bats. The bats appear on their own and swoop around all over making it hard to get them to leave (especially while you are hiding in the bathroom with the door closed). Waste baskets are our method of choice in rescuing rodents. Keep an empty one standing by.
Our cats often don't want to bother keeping the house pest free. Why should they? They want treats and canned food and lots of attention for how wonderful they are. And to be appreciated and thanked for inspiring cartoons. So, thank you, fur friends, you are great and also loved. Here is a final cartoon in tribute.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Invasion of the Romanesco Fractal Cauliflowers

This spring when we were going through the seed catalogs I came across the most incredible looking vegetable I had ever seen. Romanesco Cauliflowers. They looked fantastic! Like the food the invaders from Mars would enjoy when they weren't installing brain controlling devices on to the backs of earthlings necks. So, of course I had to order the seeds. From High Mowing.
I planted them in March. It didn't take too long for them to sprout.
I planted them in the garden and was excited for the appearance of these unique and apparently tender delicacies that were best eaten raw (according to some online sources) though I have my doubts about that. Eventually, they grew up into these huge leaves and have remained like that for MONTHS!
After weeks of babying them through the hot (not complaining) summer and lavishing them with water with no sign of them ever turning into the sci-fi veggie of the seed packet. I'd had it. Something had gone wrong and they weren't growing. I headed over to the bed where they were planted and was going to rip them out of the garden and turn them into compost when... I looked down and saw something strange...
Was there something happening after all? Had they read my mind and sprung into action to save themselves? I had a closer look.
Yes... there, beneath the leaves, something was slowly emerging.
It reminded me of something:
The next day, more of them had surfaced.
It shouldn't be too long, now, till we are able to eat these things. We hope. I've seen enough movies to know not all plant life is benign.
Especially when it looks like it came from outer space!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Two Unexpectedly Great Movies

Sometimes you just need a break. Normally, I would never watch a movie during the day. Honest. Movie lover that I am, I never do this. But recently, what with the ultra hot, hot humidity and having wrapped up a bunch of cartooning and with some days off the library, I had the opportunity to take a break on the old Appalachian Trail via this wonderful movie "Southbounders". Hopefully this trailer will embed. My former co-worker and former Assistant Director at the library, Melody, who is a hiking Goddess, did the whole trail with her significant other, so seeing this was like getting a peek at what life was like on the trail:

I loved that movie.
Here is a link to the film website:

I also absolutely adored "Ginger and Cinnamon" a fabulous and very sweet movie about the unusual bonding experience between an Italian aunt and her niece.
Let us try embedding once more:

Hmmm, couldn't find a preview with subtitles, well, take my word for it, this is a delightful movie and has one of the best endings, ever!
Here's the imdb listing for it:

Check Amazon or netflix for these 2 gems!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Getting Back to the Garden

Above is my latest Chix Sunday. One of the best things I've done at the library in the last year is start a garden group. It's made up of a diverse core group of about 10 members. More come when we have speakers or an event like the seed swap. Last month we had a garden tour of the group's home gardens. Really fun to see all the different layouts and what everyone is growing.
I took a lot of photos of the garden in early summer. Have to get out and take some of what it looks like now. Not quite so gorgeous and lush as those nasty japanese (does not deserve capitalization!) beetles, potato bugs and squash bugs have found us and made themselves at home while wreaking a swath of devastation throughout.We've had our revenge... soapy water, anyone? Just not enough.So, here are a selection of the garden before: Some are taken from the roof. Not toooo near the edge.
This was an incredible year for raspberries.
We ended up with 28 lbs. frozen and ate quite a few more.
Some things like peas and the raspberries are finished already. But there is still an abundance of yummy things like beets, kale, chard and hopefully tomatoes. We have a ton, but all still green... and the blight is not far away!