Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
I'm a little late to the party for last week's blog tour, but better late than never.
It is funny how you can "meet" people on the internet. It is an informal gathering of words and pictures, without the natural setting of relationships, yet people can still come across in their personality.
I used to hang out at the forum for Faith in Fiction. Unfortunately blogging has taken priority, so I don't go there much any more. However, there are some really cool people there with hearts of gold. There always seemed to be people who took it upon themselves to keep the community spirit up over there.
So I "met" Kathleen Popa there. We heard with excitement when her book, To Dance in the Desert, was picked up by a publisher and rejoiced with her. It is pretty awesome to see the journey people make to publication.
I am looking forward to reading this book. I admit, I don't usually read the romance or women's fiction books offered through CFBA. There's enough books to go around that I keep busy enough. This is one that I'm going to sit down and enjoy though. I wish I could've read it for this tour, but I was swamped with other commitments reading wise. However, I do have an original review for you, as my darling wife just finished it up and offers her thoughts below. She's not used to reviewing, but she gave me a good impression of what she liked in the book.
By the way, doesn't this book have the best cover? Wow.
The main character, Dara, has been hurt all of her life. To Dance in the Desert takes you through the emotional path of healing in her life. Though she's survived horrible tragedy, she wants to hide in the desert and stay where no one will find her. It is only when Jane Cameron is dancing in the desert, free from her burdens, that Dara starts to see a way out.
Beccy said that the book is very gripping at the start, drawing the reader in an emotional way by setting up your understanding of the character's hurts. The characters are very true to life, and you feel what they are going through, and you care and invest in who they are. This is a great strength of this book. She kept going back to this point, so I could tell she was impressed by this aspect of the book.
She said the ending was a little crammed with so much happening at once. It worked, but it was a little thick in her opinion, pulling her out of the story a little bit in wondering what was going on. This wasn't a major criticism, and overall she really enjoyed the book - she was up late one night reading, so I know she did.
For another glowing review (not to only highlight the good, but to explain how well Kathleen did on her debut), please check out Becky Miller's review as well. Kathleen has more reviews listed on her blog also. Way to go Kathleen!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
If you have a blog, I highly recommend utilizing a service like Blogflux's MapStats. It tracks where people are from who are visiting your blog, what brought them there (like a referring page), or what they were searching for on Google. It's cool to see people from around the world end up at Spoiled for the Ordinary.
I put the widget in my blog when I returned from Germany last year. I posted some pics from the Calling All Nations event we went to, and my link got posted on the website. So last July and August I received a ton of hits, with a majority of them international. Cool. For a while my traffic dropped in the fall as that link faded on that site, but it has been climbing since January.
I think the funniest thing about MapStats is checking out what search phrase people used to end up at this blog. Some of them make sense. "Jason Joyner," "Spoiled for the Ordinary" are at the top. My #2 search phrase is my review of the Song of Albion series by Stephen Lawhead for one of the first CSFF tours. Now I'm on the first page of Google for that phrase. I posted about the NBC show Heroes when it first started, so I got a lot of hits from that last fall. Not as many now, as I don't follow the show. There are phrases for books I've reviewed. I can understand why people would search for these things.
However...there are some pretty goofy things that I've had visits from:
Vick's Vapor Rub Expiration Date - I've had several searches for this! Hope they liked my tale of woe.
David Crowder and Evil Squirrels - Enough said.
Dinosaur ninjas - Um...yeah. Why would someone be searching for this anyway (and how did I end up posting about it?) My only guess is that it somehow involves John C. Wright.
One person came here looking for "spoiled teenager help". I can see how they'd be confused. Here's my advice: smack 'em, they probably earned it somewhere.
And my personal favorite: "cramer short squeeze tmy april 2007". I have no idea what they wanted or what they found here. I can only hope it wasn't for nefarious purposes.
If you don't have this widget, plug it in. It's easy, and it's good fun.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I had hoped to post an interview with Robin, but I got my questions to him during his coverage of the E3 Video Game conference, so he was unable to respond. S'alright. I have instead taken some time to visit most of the blogs in this tour. Here are a few highlights (but if you're not included, don't feel bad, I just have to choose a few).
Beth Goddard has a great and insightful interview with Robin. She asked some of the questions I did, so it probably would've been double duty.
Daniel I. Weaver discusses what he liked about Fearless, and why it made him cry.
Rebecca LuElla Miller always has a thoughtful discussion during the tour. She has a thorough review that brings out different aspects from my own, and there is healthy dialogue in the comments, so be sure to check them out.
Speculative Faith has a post by Becky (Ms. Miller from above) that has an interesting discussion on the marketing of Fearless, and the comments have feedback from somebody from Bethany House Publishing, Robin's publisher. Good information on some of the "behind the scenes" of making a book work.
Karen McSpadden also takes the theme of superheroes (as I did on Monday), but stretches it to a meaningful 3 day conversation. Check this one out!
Terri Main has an interesting take on the book and a discussion of ambiguity. (Is that an ambiguous enough blurb?)
Lyn Perry also has a few questions for Mr. Parrish as well.
Addition: Hanna Sandvig discusses the lack of obvious religious content in the book, and her opinion on what makes art "Christian." Ah, the age old debate...
If I come across any more interesting posts, I'll update. Please take time to check out the others in the tour (links in the last post). And if this books strikes your fancy at all, hasten to your favorite bookseller to pick up Fearless (don't forget the first book, Relentless).
Monday, July 23, 2007
And are there any heroes for us today?
Today we start another CSFF blog tour featuring the novel Fearless by Robin Parrish.
This book was just featured through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, which is where my review of Fearless can be found. Something to add would be that this book is hard to categorize as just science fiction or fantasy. It has both elements involved through the story. It should appeal to any fan of speculative fiction in general (Dekker, Peretti, John C. Wright).
Robin's web site and blog are recommended stops for this tour. He just posted an original graphic novel presentation of a story from the Dominion Trilogy set between books 1 (Relentless) and 2.
Since I've posted a review already, I thought about what I could add to this tour. My mind came back continually to the thoughts of heroes. Fearless tracks Grant Borrows and his fellow Ringwearers as they deal with the amazing powers they had developed out of the events of Relentless. Grant especially desires to use his phenomenal powers for good, as his abilities were conceived as a force of evil (or so it seems). A major conflict in the book is Grant dealing with his destiny: can he make good with the gifts he's been given, or is his destiny foretold and pre-ordained, out of his control?
Why do we have an innate attraction to the ideas of heroes? We ask people who their heroes are. Kids and adults both delight at the stories of superheroes, people with extraordinary powers who seem to save the world again and again. We always like it when a regular person makes good: the local hero who saves someone. Every story needs a hero, doesn't it?
Our collective imagination seems drawn to the idea of people who have a greater power or call. A look at the top box office of all time for the US and worldwide shows the list dominated by familiar names: Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman, Jack Sparrow. All of these stories feature larger than life figures who overcome overwhelming odds to triumph.
I've always day-dreamed of some cataclysm happening in my regular life, only to find that I could fly, had super something-or-other in order to save those in peril. It's in the fabric of who I am. I grew up on Star Wars and Super Friends, and this summer I couldn't wait until the latest Spiderman movie came out. Recently I've gotten back into enjoying comic books, which shows different aspects of heroes from when I was growing up. Nowadays these heroes struggle against inner darkness or temptation and deal with more real life scenarios over the classic comics when Superman never doubted what was right and was always there to save Lois Lane.
I know that some people prefer down to earth heroes in their entertainment - the cop, the spunky Nancy Drew type, people who don't have a special ability. Others may even prefer the "anti-hero", the character that may otherwise be very unlikable in a story, but is portrayed from a sympathetic viewpoint. However, in general we are drawn to those who are greater than us in both their abilities and trials. I could go on, reaching back to mythology and stories of Hercules, Achilles, and so on, but I think this point is coming across.
Having made the argument that this desire is there, now we may ask "Why is it there?"
Could it be, perhaps, that it speaks to who we are? Does it draw from our deepest heart and unconscious needs?
I would argue that heroes are so compelling because we need a hero. We realize, whether directly or subconsciously, that we cannot overcome all that we encounter on our own. Try as we might, we are not able to complete our own salvation. We may fight valiantly, but our struggle is ultimately doomed against the supreme villain.
In the end, this attraction to heroes points us to the one who fought evil without ever turning to temptation. He went toe-to-toe with our greatest foe on our behalf. He sacrificed himself in defending truth, justice, and mercy. And when all seemed lost, he rose in even greater power and strength for the ultimate victory.
Jesus is my hero.
Fearless may not be an overtly Christian novel. This is fine with me, as I don't require every story to have an overt religious element in order to be a good story. I think Robin taps into this intrinsic need for a hero with his story. I am eagerly anticipating the third book Merciless (seriously Robin - you need a proofreader, I'm all over it...) and I wonder what the ending will hold. I can't allegorize what he's written, partly because that's not his intention, and I don't know how the story will work out. It still speaks of this great human conflict, the desire to rise up over the insurmountable odds. The heart of the gospel speaks to this, and that's what makes heroes a powerful story element, especially to a Christian writer.
Check out my fellow tourmates for other features of Fearless:
Wayne Thomas Batson
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Lost Genre Guild
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Daniel I. Weaver
Saturday, July 21, 2007
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Stephen Bly is a pastor, a mayor, an antique Winchester gun collector and a writer.
He's mayor of a town of 308 in the mountains of Idaho, on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. In his spare time, he pursues the three R's of ridin', ropin' and rodeo...and construction of Broken Arrow Crossing, a false-front western village near his home.
That keeps him very western. And he collect old Winchester rifles, which reflects his love of historical accuracy. He's also a fan of Jimmy Buffet music.
Stephen says about his writing, "I write about the West (historic or modern) from the inside. Born and raised on western ranches, I have both the heart and mind to describe things as they really were...and are. There are those who think the frontier has long passed and with it the ‘code of the west.’ The truth is, both are still around...and it’s fun to show that in a contemporary story. The West is so big, so diverse, so enchanting it’s a thrill to write about it in any era."
Stephen is the author of ninety-five books and hundreds of articles.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Some call it CowboyLit. Rodeo cowboy Hap Bowman’s on a search for Juanita, the gal of his dreams, whom he hasn’t seen in 18 years. He seems stuck on 12-years-old and the enchanting girl he met then.
"An idiot obsession," his roping partner, Laramie Majors, chides.
But Laramie agrees to a final summer’s trek along the Rio Grande. If they don’t find Juanita during those months, Hap promises to drop the idea of the hunt for the mystery senorita. But if they find her, will she feel the same as Hap does about their years ago interlude?
In One Step Over The Border the time tested values of cowboys rub up against contemporary mores. It’s a crazy story that becomes more logical as the reader delves deeper into it. It will make you laugh and shed a tear or two.
Getting back to Hap’s pursuit . . . don’t we all have someone in the past, that we knew for only a short while, that we wish we could have known better, longer? Stephen Bly has!. So when Hap and Laramie ventured out on a quest for Hap’s Juanita, Stephen decided to invite others to go along too. Folks have been e-mailing Hap firstname.lastname@example.org and asking for their own “Juanita Search Kits.”
They get a bumper sticker, magnet, bookmark, stickers, flyers, etc. It’s a whole packet of material that will equip anyone to join the fun of finding the Juanita with “the mark of God.” If they send Hap a picture of the places where they stuck their Juanita signs, they’ll receive a free copy of the book. It’s all there on the website at http://www.onestepovertheborder.com/
And there’s a very special feature on http://www.amazon.com/...some more adventures about Hap and Laramie that did NOT appear in the book, can be found on AmazonShorts in the story entitled, Aim Low, Shoot High.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Way to go Wayne! It was a good representation of Christian fantasy.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Go here for the article.
As for me, I'm going to pull a book out with my kids tonight.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Oh, did I forget to mention FOOTBALL!
I have some international readers, and I know that football = soccer to them. Trust me, I love the beautiful game. But there is something about that oblong brown pigskin that gets my blood pumping. My favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys. I know, love 'em or hate 'em, there's no in-between. I've been a fan for 25+ years, so I've suffered and cheered (but no one knows suffering like a Philly sports fan, right Mark?)
Anyway, some family and friends have a fantasy football league we play through Sportsline. However, we could use a few more players to fill out a 12 team league. If you love football or just want to try out this crazy fantasy thing, leave a comment and I'll get you the information. We have fun, doing trash talk in a Christian way ("Dude, your team needs deliverance!")
Are you ready?
Are you ready for some football?
Monday, July 16, 2007
I mainly focus on fiction at this blog. I have been invited to participate in other blog book tours for non-fiction books, but I haven't chosen to accept. No slight to those other authors, but this time I felt a leading to be a part of Mary's tour.
Unfortunately, I haven't received my copy to read yet. So if you are following a link to this blog regarding Authentic, I will have to disappoint you for the time being. I will be participating at a later date, and look forward to reading this book and giving you an honest review. As a father of boys aged 7, 5, and 3, I can use all the authenticity I can lay my hands on!
So please check back in a couple of weeks. Check out some of the other fine posts here while you're at it, and go to Mary's relevant blog for a list of those on the tour this week.
Friday, July 13, 2007
She has started a little feature of posting the work of an unpublished writer each Saturday. A preview of what's to come (hopefully). Tomorrow she will post the first chapter of my Work-in-Progress, tentatively called Beauty of the Broken. I'll post the link and hope you will check it out. I'd love any feedback any of you would have. Oh, and I'm not sold on the title, so maybe a "name that novel" contest could happen as well! Here's the direct link to the first chapter.
Thanks Nicole. Thanks to anyone who gives it a read!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Fearless is not that book.
It is the book that grabs you by your collar, sits you in the chair forcefully, and takes you on a white-knuckled ride from one close call to another. Suspense builds up, loops around, and delivers you to a breathless ending that leaves you wanting...nay-begging for more.
Or something like that.
Robin Parrish, master of Infuze, returns to his Dominion Trilogy with the sequel to Relentless. In the first book we meet the Loci, a group of Ringwearers who are Shifted into new bodies with amazing mental powers. They are supposedly the subjects of a prophecy guarded by the Secretum until the proper time, when The Bringer would come and usher in a new age.
Fearless continues this tale with the world in chaos. Strange natural disasters are occurring around the world, and fear grips the populace. In Los Angeles, the public has a mysterious benefactor with phenomenal powers they dub the Guardian. It is Grant Burrows, who leads a group of Loci to use their powers for good.
When an unusual event leads Grant and his friends to London, he is confronted with his destiny. Will he bring about what was spoken of long ago, or would he find the power within to be Fearless?
I read the first book in the trilogy last fall. I enjoyed it a lot, finding it to be an engaging read with a lot of excitement. Fearless increases this exponentially. Robin has really found a unique voice that keeps you glued to the page and your mind engaged. He has a habit of taking you to the edge of the precipice, only to move to another chapter (and often a different character and setting, keeping you hanging). If you like suspense, then this book will provide enough to satisfy for quite a while.
The characters are varied and have unique personalities that draw you in. A plot-driven book can take you along without letting you invest in the people of the story. The author keeps the action cooking all along while bringing us into their lives, fears, and dreams. Just don't get too attached, as he pulls no punches as the book hurtles toward the ending.
The book has many strong points, but no work is perfect. Some of the description comes across slightly awkward, but this may well be a matter of taste. Very minor complaint, as it is first and foremost a bold, thrilling story. This is a sweeping tale of the end of the world (perhaps?), and thus has some significant action. At times it gets a little bloody, so the squeamish may get a little uncomfortable. He has set in motion an elaborate mythology. There is not any overt Christianity for those who are concerned with that, but I believe that the payoff lies ahead in the final book.
(This is no criticism, just a little game I amuse myself with. I have a habit of noting the preferred descriptors, metaphors, or distinctives that authors like to use. I can't help it. In Relentless Robin favored the coppery or metallic taste of blood. This continues to a degree in Fearless, but he moves on to the imagery of blood splattered on another person's cheek. Play the game - see if you can find any others :D )
One more item - Fearless should be pretty easily understood by someone who hasn't read Relentless. Still, the whole story and mythology is lacking a little if you haven't read the first book, so just be sure to buy them both and enjoy the ride. I highly enjoyed this book. My only complaint is that I have to wait until next summer for the final installment. Boy, Robin Parrish can be merciless...
This review today is sponsored by the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. Fearless will be featured in the Christian Sci-fi/Fantasy blog tour in about 10 days as well. I will have a special essay prepared, and hopefully another treat for those looking for more on Robin and his books.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
All well and good. Except now I want to clobber a certain author.
I just finished a book for an upcoming blog tour. I read the prior one last year sometime, and enjoyed it. The sequel takes the prior story and ratchets up the tension exponentially. I enjoyed the first book. I devoured the second one.
The only problem...do you know how you're getting close to the end of the novel, and you look at the pages remaining and wonder, "How is the author going to tie this up?" I started pondering the same thing. (Noted later there were a few blank pages at the end...why do they DO that?)
And then the rug was pulled out from under me. The author had two major events happen on the last page. He totally left us hanging. (Literally) And the third book is not due until next summer.
It's okay. I'll forgive him and gobble up the book next year. Point to the author. That's his goal, and hopefully I can learn from that. But one whole year??? NOT FAIR...
Okay, you can take the kids. They'll enjoy the cute rat and his kitchen antics. However, they won't come close to appreciating the delicious tapestry that Brad Bird and company creates for our viewing pleasure (and my mixed metaphor pleasure...). In my opinion, there is no better filmmaker today, and he happens to work for the best movie company in Pixar. Yes, I loved The Incredibles, also written and directed by Mr. Bird. I have also heard wonderful things about his movie The Iron Giant, which I have yet to see.
Enough gushing. The thing is, if a writer can take the concept of a rat in a kitchen (my mother-in-law is still having trouble wrapping her head around that) and make it entertaining, endearing, and overall believable, then you have a real talent. Remy is a country rat in France who has a nose and taste for the good things in life, related to food. His family is not so picky, and it causes a lot of tension for Remy. It seems he has been sneaking into a house to watch a cooking show by the famous Parisian chef Gusteau and has been learning the fine points of cuisine.
After an incident that sweeps him through the sewers to Paris, he ends up in the kitchen of Gusteau's restaurant. The restaurant is struggling after the great chef's untimely demise, and is being run by a charlatan more interested in making cheap frozen foods using Gusteau's name. Remy stumbles across the new garbage boy, and after fixing a soup that the boy, Linguini, had messed up, is linked with the boy in finding their destiny together.
Linguini is hired as a chef but can't cook beans. Remy ends up riding under his hat and controls him by pulling hair like levers to mastermind a renaissance in the kitchen. But this cannot be blissful: tension arises from Remy's lost family, the paranoid head chef, and an icy food critic.
The lesson applicable to writers that read this (and hopefully all of Hollywood can catch it as well) is the insistance Pixar has of making the story first, rather than the other trappings. Remy is a fully realized character. He is nuanced, conflicted, and vunerable. The interaction of Linguini and his rat savior is very touching. The movie plays the heart strings gently and keeps you engaged despite the clamoring of the younger set.
Not that the movie is all character development. The visuals keep improving with time, and Pixar shows off a rat's fur when wet or impacted by...static electricity. There are times when Remy's animal behaviors (sniffing, fearing humans or danger) are so lifelike despite his cartoonish image. The zany things Linguini does while controlled by Remy are eye-popping. The story has plenty of action and conflict to keep the pace moving. Even The Incredibles slows for a little while, but I didn't catch any of that with Ratatouille.
I've enjoyed Spiderman 3, watched Pirates 3, and suffered through Fantastic Four: Rise of the Poor Screenplay. None of them compare to the joy that is Ratatouille. Those of us in the creative community need to speak with the only language Hollywood understands: our dollars. If you value creative and compelling storytelling, go see Ratatouille. You'll also have a great time!
Monday, July 09, 2007
However, I'll make an exception today.
Don't do business with Cascade Auto Glass.
We had a windshield replaced by them in April. At the end of June I went to wash my windshield with a squeegee at a convenience store when I had a starburst crack start from the upper right of my windshield, where it meets with the body of the van.
Cascade has a 30 day warranty, and I understand that they probably got hosed in the past by people. However, you can't tell me that this crack came by my applying a little pressure from a squeegee on the glass, or that it was caused by cold water. What it tells me is that either an inferior product was used, it was improperly installed, or both.
I called them, and they told me I had to check the windshield to see if there was any impact point from a chip or something. If there was, too bad. If not, maybe they could help me. After checking, there was no impact, just smooth cracks (with one spreading almost 2 feet by now).
Will they own up and replace it, or at least look at it?
I asked them what they thought would be more costly: paying for one windshield, or dealing with lots of bad publicity from a disgruntled customer. Unfortunately, we live in a corporate age rather than a service oriented age, so the "customer service" (HA!) rep couldn't do anything for me.
Their choice. I will no longer do any business with Cascade Auto Glass. I hope none of you make the same mistake.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
There are four Christian fantasy authors getting together for a special promotional tour of book stores to highlight their own books, and the genre of speculative fiction as well. You can find full details of it at their website: Fantasy 4 Fiction Tour.
I have only read Sharon Hinck's fantasy novel, so I can't vouch for the other authors, but it sounds like a cool opportunity to meet some authors and get books signed (as hopefully you are compelled to pick up 3-4 copies of each book).
You can also find material at the authors’ blogs and web sites:
Wayne Thomas Batson – http://enterthedoorwithin
Sharon Hinck – http://sharonswriting.blogspot
Bryan Davis – http://dragonsinourmidst
Christopher Hopper – http://christopherhopper.wordpress.com/ and http://christopherhopper.org/
You can also check out their cool trailer here:
Some of these tourmates below have posts on this subject as well, especially Becky Miller.
Wayne Thomas Batson
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Heather R. Hunt
Lost Genre Guild
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Daniel I. Weaver
Friday, July 06, 2007
Never mind me. Here's this week's tour:
This week, the
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Chuck served four years in the Elite 75th Ranger Regiment–the same unit profiled in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” Chuck saw combat in Panama in 1989. After leaving active duty, Chuck flew helicopters in the Wisconsin National Guard while attending the University of Wisconsin.
In 2004, after ten years as a stockbroker, Chuck left that profession to pursue full-time writing. At the same time, he began working as the "Adventure Correspondent" for CBN.
He is the author of five books, including A More Elite Soldier, Bulletproof, and
Allah's Fire, the first of three books in the Task Force Valor series.
Today, Chuck, Connie, and their five children live on a farm in Appalachia, where Chuck now pursues his varied interests of farming, writing, adventure travel and public speaking, among other things.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
As the global war on terror heats up, the U.S. deploys a team of highly trained special operators overseas to locate and neutralize threats, bringing EOD expertise to dangerous missions that have no room for error.
A DEADLY EXPLOSION
A new specialty explosive is on the black market: ITEB looks like water, but when it's exposed to air, the effects are lethal! The United States government is frantic to keep it from our shores. Staff Sergeant Euripides "Rip" Rubio knows how destructive ITEB can be. He has already risked his life to thwart a horrific terrorist plot involving the chemical. Now Task Force Valor heads to Panama, on the trail of an arms dealer who plans to use ITEB to make a killing...literally.
AN ADVENTURE ABROAD
Fernanda Lerida is a University of Florida grad student who jumps at the chance to join a biological expedition to a mysterious former prison island. But the snakes, bugs, and crocodiles are soon the least of her worries as the group stumbles upon something they were not meant to see. To Make matters worse, Fernanda soon finds herself alone and being pursued by an unseen foe.
A RISKY RESCUE
When Rip's path collides with Fernanda's, they find themselves caught in the midst of a brutal turf war. Can they use the chaos to their advantage, or will one false step set the entire island ablaze?
"Island Inferno is a boy-meets-girl story. But in Chuck Holton's world, boy meets girl in the middle of a jungle at 25mph. hanging under a parachute with an assault rifle strapped across his chest. You'd better plan on reading this in one sitting. And once you're done, you'd better give yourself time for your pulse to calm down."
----TOM MORRISEY, Author of Deep Blue, and Dark Fathom
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I forgot to post that I was going to be on a little vacation (though maybe that is a good thing-I had visions of people searching the net for people posting that their house was basically up for grabs). Pulled in today hot, tired, and ready for a vacation from vacation. Thankfully I still have my normal weekend.
Anyway, just a quick note to say that regular programming will resume with some special posts this weekend. I need to catch up some bills, emails...haven't seen Ratatouille yet, which we will rectify tonight!