Monday, January 28, 2008

The Road

Haunting. First word that comes to mind to describe Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It's funny, this was a Pulitzer prize winner, and an Oprah selection, and I certainly had a lot of people ask for it and put it on hold at the library, but I had no idea what it was about. It wasn't until I read an interview with McCarthy in Rolling Stone that I heard more about it and decided I wanted to read it.

A capsule description: A man and his son wander in a post-apocalyptic world, making their way down "the road" toward they know not what. A few, but not many details emerge about their past, but most of their time is concerned with survival. Like I said, haunting. Tender. Thought provoking. The kind of book that I wanted to finish, but at the same time was uneasy picking up. Very, very good.

Book 5

Making Money

Whenever there's a new Terry Pratchett book out, I usually try to read it out loud to Mich. This usually happens when we're driving somewhere. Kind of tells you how much we've traveled by car recently that it took us this long to finish his most recent, Making Money.

This book returns to Pratchett's more recent cast of Discworld characters, specifically the semi-reformed con man Moist von Lipwig. After turning around the ailing postal service in Going Postal, Lipwig is given charge of the Bank of Ankh-Morpork. Hilarity ensues, as you might imagine. Cameos from other discworld characters include Lord Vetinari, members of the Watch, and a few wizards. There's even a bit of foreshadowing at the end as to what Lipwig's next assignment might be...

Hard to write a review of a Pratchett book now without a reference to his recent diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer's. He claims to have "a few more books" left in him; we certainly hope so, and our thoughts go out to him.

Book 4

Sunday, January 27, 2008

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

One benefit of my new job in the Technical Services department of the library is that I get a look at a lot of the advance reader copies that come in. These are prepublished books that publishers send out to generate interest and hopefully sales. They are usually uncorrected proofs, so you have to swim through some typos, but usually they're pretty good. That's how I got a look at this book, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, which won't be out for another month or so.

Wow, I liked this book. Andrew Peterson starts off with a wonderfully witty introduction, and then jumps into his story. It's the story of a family living in a land under the yoke of an oppressive tyrant, but despite that they seem able to have an okay time of things. As the cover of my copy says, "Adventure, Peril, Lost Jewels and the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Scree." Right on.

Seems like this is the first book in a planned series, the "Wingfeather Saga." The end of the first book is great, too, and I really look forward to another installment. Might have to read this book out loud to the kids...

Book 3

Snow play

We woke up to 8-12 inches of new snow at home this morning. It was a little wet, too, not dry and fluffy like it's been all week. Perfect snowman snow, so after some shoveling, Julien and I went out and made a snowman. We only had baby carrots, so that's what we used for eyes, nose and mouth:

I had shoveled all the snow from our driveway into a big pile over the last week, and was able to make a little sled run for the kids. Here's Julien climbing up to it:

And heading down:

Fun stuff, but tiring. I need a nap now...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Nanny's 90th

Hosted a little birthday party today for Mich's grandmother's 90th birthday. A bunch of people, including the kids went to see the play "peter Pan" first (nice young at heart movie) then came back for dinner. Here's Great-Nanny with five of her grandchildren:

And a picture of her blowing out her candle (little help from Luther):

Oh, a close-up of the cake. It's the Excessively Espressive Espresso Ecstasy from Marcel Desaulnier's Death By Chocolate Cakes. That pretty much describes it:

And a cute picture of our friend John enjoying his cake at the kiddie table:

Good friends, fun time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Unicorn slippers

Not sure where these came from; I think they were hand me downs from someone. They're Sofia favorite slippers now, anyway:

Creative napping

Around lunchtime yesterday I realized that it had been quiet for a few minutes. Found Sofia napping in the hall closet, all curled up in a pile of blankets:

I saved lunch until she woke up...

Saturday, January 19, 2008


For Christmas, Julien got a model rocket kit. Took us a little while to get it assembled and find a good day to launch, but today was the day. Barely a breath of wind, high of 45 but clear and sunny so it felt warmer. We went out and found a good spot at Rancho San Rafael, a local park:

After a pretty simple setup, the launch crew gave a short countdown and:

It was PERFECT. Straight up about 600 feet, veering a little into the wind at the top. Parachute deployed, and it spiraled back down to about 100 yards away from the launch site. After retrieval, we took a victory photo:

Fun stuff. We'll have to get some more engines so we can launch again someday...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Geography of Bliss

The Geography of Bliss wasn't quite what I expected. I picked it up because one of the blurbs on the back compared it favorably to Bill Bryson's writing, and I was in a mood to laugh. Didn't make me laugh more than a few chuckles, but it did make me think.

Eric Weiner travels around the world, exploring the concept of "happy places," places where the inhabitants are considered "happy." He hits some places that are supposed to be among the happiest, like Denmark and Bhutan, and some on the other end, like Moldova. He talks to happiness "experts" and looks at concepts like Bhutan's policy of Gross National Happiness. And he does some soul searching to find what kind of place makes him happy. Overall, this was thought provoking and really readable. I'd recommend it to a friend who reads nonfiction, if I had any...

Book 2

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Match

Well, last year I didn't read a golf book until the third book of the year. This year, earlier. Mark Frost is the author of one of my all time favorite golf books, The Greatest Game Ever Played. (Don't watch the movie; I quit halfway...) His new book is called The Match: The day the game of golf changed forever. Again: awesome golf book. Frost gives us the blow by blow on a bestball match played just before the 1956 Bing Crosby between professionals Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson and then amateurs Ken Venturi and Harvey Ward. He intersperses the golf description with histories of each player that illustrate why they this match meant so much. And seriously I had a ctch in my throat by the end. Excellent book: golfers out there, read this. If you haven't read Greatest Game, read that first, but pick this one up too...

Book 1

Friday, January 4, 2008


I was supposed to go to a baking party at Amber's tonight, and wanted to bring something premade so as not to hog oven space. Party got snowed out, but here's what I made to bring: rice krispy sushi treats. I was inspired by this blog post; theirs looks nicer because they used colored and molded marzipan for a bunch of it. But I thought mine turned out OK, and a little more natural. The orange and yellow pieces are dried apricots and pears with black licorice ties, and the rolls have Dots and Airheads (faux celery) inside. Yikes, sounds too sweet just typing it...