Random Ramblings (mostly about kitties.)

Long time no post, again.  I know.  I’m ridiculous.  I think it’s the season, I’ve always hated Summer.  When I was a kid I liked it a little bit since my friends who actually went to school were available more, but that was about it.  Now that I live in a hotter climate I just flippin’ hate it.  This year I am actually forcing myself out into the heat some, (going to the Ren Faire this weekend!) but I still spend most days longing for Fall.

Longing for Fall while I eat frozen apple juice “popsicles” and read.  I’ve read five books since I last posted, but I will save those for another day.  Mostly because despite the heat, I’m not in my usual coma and instead feel chatty and random!

I mostly want to chat about cats.  To understand me you should know that I’m one of those people who has had multiple pets for nearly her entire life, until just a few years ago.  We lost our two cats to old age (kidney failure and cancer), and were so sad we decided to wait a little while before adopting another cat.   A couple months later, we came across a post online begging for a long-term foster home for two cats while their owners worked overseas.

We contacted them, and for nearly two and a half years we had two crazy kitties running around.  We were not prepared, let me tell you.  It had been a long time since we had YOUNG cats, and we’d never had cats who didn’t get along well (foster kitties were not fond of each other.  At all.) so it was often a stressful experience.   Because of the stress level, I did not argue when my husband suggested taking a long break after they went home in order to repair some things on the house and recover a bit.

Except I think our ideas of “long break” were a little different.   It has now been eight months since we had furry monsters ruling our lives and I’ve just about cracked.  Finally, FINALLY I’ve worn him down and we are in full prep-for-cat-arrival-mode!  In fact… we are debating whether to foster again, through a local shelter this time, or just go adopt.  Personally I kind of want to do BOTH, but we’d have to find a magically chill cat that wouldn’t mind strange cats coming in and out.  Seems unlikely.

Our experience with bored young cats has taught us a few lessons however, so part of our preparation is “catifying” our house.  Cat shelves!  CAT.  SHELVES.  On the walls.  For cats.  To climb.  Mwahahaha.  Sadly we have a house seriously lacking in decent wall space, so we’re going to have to get creative.  We did buy some shelves, but now we have to figure out where to put them and what to cover them with.  I’m excited to be making progress though.

If we do start fostering (or finally adopt) I will probably post about it, hopefully I won’t bore anyone to death.  I promise to include pictures!  Bad ones, but a picture with a cat in it can’t be 100% terrible, right?  It can’t happen until September though, since we’re having company next month.  We don’t want to try to settle a new pet or a foster in at the same time.  I may die before September.  SEND ME FUZZY THOUGHTS PLEASE.

 

 

 

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Book roundup!

Since I’ve been reading so much I’ve decided against doing full reviews of books I’m enjoying, instead I’m just going to list the ones I’ve read recently and give a quick paragraph or so about each one.  Partly because I just can’t get inspired to write full reviews, and partly because absolutely everyone in the world would get bored.  Anyway!  In chronological order, since my last review (the ones I remember reading, anyway) –

Death’s Daughter by Amber Benson.

Hated it.  I’m not going to lie, the book itself wasn’t bad I guess?  The story was semi-interesting and the secondary characters were occasionally fun.  But the main character, oh.  Oh wow.  I have not disliked a character that much, that fast, in a long long time.  She is a little bundle of hate, that one.  When she’s not thinking about how horrible other people are she’s acting like a spoiled brat.  At one point she is speaking to gods, finding out how she can take on the powers of death to keep her family safe.  One of those gods irritates her.  Our main character reacts to this by throwing something at her head.  She is whiny, hateful and childish.  I only finished the book so that I could review it properly, then I decided not to do full reviews.  Which means I gave myself pain for nothing.  NOTHING.  The good news is this is the only book I’ve read recently which I didn’t enjoy.

Old Man’s War, The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony and Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi.

These are the first four books in a Sci-fi series, and I enjoyed them quite a bit!  My favorite part of the first book was the concept – older people, tired of growing old, join the military to protect humanity from unknown forces.   All the people joining know is that somehow they will be young again, and supposedly doing good for all of humankind.  I had my issues with it, but for the most part it was quite enjoyable, and each book in the series was better than the previous, in my opinion.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, my favorite was Zoe’s Tale, which is actually a re-telling of The Last Colony, but from the perspective of a teenage girl.  Who was definitely a key figure in the previous book, but did a lot of things off-screen so to speak, so you didn’t get the details before.  I loved her, she is full of intelligence, bravery and snark.  She also has -gasp- a female best friend who holds her own, is not a “sidekick” and is never competition for a romantic interest which was refreshing.  I haven’t read the most recent in the series yet, but I’m sure I will soon.

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

According to Wikipedia, this book is based on a fictionalized version of the An Shi Rebellion in China.  I can’t say I know anything about that, as my knowledge of history is quite terrible.   That said, I didn’t need to know anything about it to be swept into this book.  It is long, and dense, and heart-string yanking.  According to the Wiki page, the hardback version has 567 pages.  So it’s not a short book, by any means.  I’d been reading so many short, light reads before this that it did feel ever so slightly like running into a door at first, but I ended up really enjoying this book.  While there is not an overabundance of female characters, the ones present felt real, intelligent and strong, making their way through a difficult society and situation as best they could.  I would recommend it to anyone interested in alternate/fictionalized historical novels.

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

Yup, another one by G.G.K.!  I had heard his works recommended before, but the library never had any of his books in digital format so I didn’t get around to it until I thought to check again recently and they had these two.

Just like Under Heaven, this book is historical fantasy in nature, this time based on Moorish Spain.  Another long, dense book with a ton of characters, most of which you will follow at one point or another.  Often you will abruptly be following someone new when you least expect it, which can be jarring and hard to keep track of at times.   This is a violent world, filled with religious intolerance, war, hate and all the unlovely things that come with it.  There are three primary religions vying for power (or just trying to survive), the Kindath (who represent the Jews), the Asherites (Muslim) and the Jaddites (Christians).  Most of our journey follows three main characters, one from each faith, which through various happenings end up meeting and becoming close.   A massive war seems to be brewing, inevitable and inescapable, leaving little room to be friends with those who will surely feel obligated to be on different sides of it.

This book made me cry so hard, for so long, that the day after I finished it my eyelids were about three times larger than they should be.  Yeah, I admit it.  I’m a wimp.  Guy Gavriel Kay has a gift of making you care about his characters, only to kill them.  He is a jerk.  A brilliant jerk.  Oh, fair warning?  His favorite trick is to make it clear something horrible and/or deadly has happened to a character, while leaving you in the dark as to WHICH CHARACTER.  Sometimes for multiple chapters of horrible suspense.  It is terrible, brilliant, and I can’t wait to read more of his books!

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Just what the Doctor ordered after two tear-inducing books in a row, this lovely book was a quick, fun read which had me smiling frequently.  Very much in the vein of the Oz books, or Alice in Wonderland, but with a bolder, more genre-savvy main character.  The narrator is a frequent, often amusing voice in the book and the main character is a brave little soul that I much enjoyed reading about.   It gets a little dark in places, for what seems at first like a children’s book.  It is not bloodless or without serious physical harm to people we care about, though I suppose that is more faithful to original fairy tales than many of our modern versions are.  I found it fun and enjoyable and will definitely be looking for more works by this author.  If you enjoy fairy stories and bold young ladies I suggest it!

That is all for now, but I’m sure if I don’t get sucked back into WildStar or too busy fixing up the house so that we can foster cats (more on this later, perhaps) I will read more books soon, and come back to talk about them!

 

 

Life update and apology.

Surprise!  I’m still alive!  Sorry for the long quiet spell, 2-people-who-read-this-and-also-myself!  I’m afraid the combination of horrible horrible summer heat and the visit from my in-laws has made for zero motivation to write.  Or do anything really, except sit quietly by an A/C vent praying for winter.

However!  The folks have gone home and today only reached the mid-80s, so I have no excuse now.  I think the visit went better than I feared, for the first time I can actually say I wish they’d been able to stay longer.   I also think I adore my brother-in-law’s girlfriend.  It’s kind of hard to say as she doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish (yet! I have been meaning to learn for years and this may finally be the boost in the rear to get me going) but she had a great sense of humor and an insane reserve of patience.  I don’t know how she was able to stand hanging around with people she couldn’t understand for hours at a time, but she did so with a smile.   Also, when she wasn’t reading or watching us play board games she was playing with the dog mom and dad brought with them, which clearly means she’s good people.

As for me, time not spent prepping for visit, experiencing visit, and recovering from visit has mostly meant reading.  I’ve read five books since I last posted, one that I absolutely hated, and four that I quite enjoyed.  I keep meaning to post a review of the four I liked (they’re in a series) but just haven’t found the energy what with the hated sun beating down upon us.

Haven’t been playing much WildStar at all, I’m not sure how much of that is my usual “Eh I’ve played enough for now.” new MMO burnout, and how much is just all the visit stress + heat.  Much of it could also be due to my plan to wait for the duo my husband and I have to reach level 50 first, meaning that I got one alt very close in level and have then had to wait to do anything with her for ages.   Kind of lost interest when I couldn’t level anymore.  I may change my mind on waiting, have to talk with Ioqai (that is his character’s name, will probably refer to him that way from here on out) first to find out how interested he is in playing at this point.  We’ve both been too tired to think about it much.

I think that’s basically it.  What a thrilling and adventure-filled life I lead.  Why any moment now I may BASE jump off a tall building!  You know, as I do.

 

 

You win, Steam.

Every damn year.  Summer sale hits.  I tell myself, “No.  You haven’t played all the games you bought LAST year.  No games this time!”  This would be easier to stick to if I didn’t constantly check the sale mind you, I am weak in more ways than one.

Seriously though, Tomb Raider for $5!? $7.50 for the game of the year version? Fine!  FINE.  I will finally play it!

When Tomb Raider was first announced I was so excited, I loved the previous games, despite their many flaws.  It was one of the first games I’d seen where you could scale cliffs, shoot people, solve mysteries and generally be a badass and a woman at the same time!  Granted, a woman in short-shorts with boobs the size of her head, but it was still better than always being forced to play a male character.

Then I read some of the game developer comments on the game, saying you want to “protect” Lara in this version which kind of grossed me out.  I played Tomb Raider to BECOME Lara.  To feel bold and adventurous, not to take care of her.

The reviews have been good though, and people I like have said they had fun with it.  So I guess for this price I can’t resist any longer.  Here’s hoping I enjoy it, and that my bucket of bolts computer doesn’t pitch a hissy fit when I try to run it.

Curse you Steam.  CUUUURSE YOUUUUU.

 

Spring cleaning! …in the summer heat.

I’ve been in a frenzy of cleaning the last few days, inspired by the imminent arrival of my in-laws.  They invited themselves mind you, we are too introverted to ever invite anyone to our home.  Of course company means cleaning, and this particular company means frenzied nervous wreck cleaning.  I always get nervous when people are visiting, but my mother-in-law is a massive neat freak which just makes it so much worse.

I’d like to say we do this every  year for our own benefit, but that would be a dirty dirty lie.  Oh we keep things mostly accessible and such, but I’ve spent the day cleaning out the office, and the amount of old computer junk is amazing.  We had software for Windows ME.  That is just sad and lazy.

Combining cleaning and summer weather is vile.  I do not do well with heat (another reason I’m not overjoyed to have company, this is my crankiest season people!  What are you thinking!?) which is part of why I am once more on a night schedule!  Yeah that whole being awake during the day thing didn’t last.   I didn’t want to clean during the day because of the heat, and also because my cleaning method usually involves lots of thumping and swearing, which would be unkind to sleeping husbands.

Also it has officially been summer for at least a week, solstice be damned.  How do I know this?  I’ve already had to eject a thumb-sized spider from my bathroom so I could shower.  Ahh summer, buggy, hot, arachnid-filled summer.  How I loathe you.

In other news, still playing WildStar.  Still having fun.  The housing system is absolutely crazy awesome.  My guild is having lots of fun sharing our resources, checking out what each of us has done with our lots, etc., etc. and it’s pretty great.

Speaking of MMOs, tonight I log into World of Warcraft to finally tame a pet that is only available in the summer, thus earning my Zookeeper title!  Then I’m canceling my account until the expansion hits.  I haven’t touched it in a month, I guess WildStar wins for now.

Right this moment though, I am going to go play a non-MMO game!  Whaaat!?  I know, but I got Assassin’s Creed: Liberation and I want to give it a try.  A game with a black female protagonist?! That’s basically all I need to know.  The fact that you also get to climb buildings and skulk around killing the crap out of people is just icing on the cake.

The murder cake.  With sprinkles.  Of death.

…yup, the heat is getting to me already.

Book review: Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer

I did indeed get my blissful day of reading!  Well, half day of reading.  These are not long books.  I had to restrain myself from buying the third book and reading that one as well.  Must be patient, as the series isn’t finished yet.  Curses!  How I hate falling in love with an in-progress series!

This book introduces several new characters, making us wait a short while to be reunited with Cinder and giving us the opportunity to spend time with different character views.   Scarlet is my favorite for obvious I-can’t-help-liking-brave-young-women reasons.   Her main drive is to find and rescue her missing grandmother, a goal she pursues relentlessly.

I did also enjoy the new male characters, both the not-very-bright cocky young Thorne and the complicated and confused Wolf.

Once again I find myself struggling to review without spoiling.  While I enjoyed this one every bit as much as the first, it contained a romance-related trope that I am SO TIRED OF.  I can’t say which one without spoilers, which leaves me just saying “Waaah vague thing was mildly annoying.”  That said, I understand why she used that particular trope, working as she was within the framework of Red Riding Hood.

Scarlet answered my biggest nagging question about Cinder’s past in a sad, creepy sort of way, which was great!  We got some insight into how she became a cyborg, and where she was hidden away for so long.

I plan to wait at least a few weeks before I buy Cress, but I definitely intend to do so!  I’m really enjoying the characters and the world, this book kept me on the edge of my seat just as much as the first.  I think it’s safe to say that if you enjoyed Cinder you will also enjoy Scarlet.

This and that.

Sorry I’ve been so quiet since I started this darn thing!  I switched schedules to nights primarily for the WS launch, but then I stayed on nights because my husband’s work schedule was STUPID and he had single days off.  Since he works midnight to eight AM, single nights off mean I switch schedule or I don’t see him at all.   I am now trying to switch back to days and my body will have NONE OF IT.  Which is why I’m awake at the crack of dawn for no freaking reason whatsoever.  Haven’t had enough sleep in days, yet my eyes pop open and I can’t get back to sleep.  Yay.

Perfect time for a rambling post about silly little things that haven’t warranted full blog posts, right!?  Thanks to the constant exhaustion and slight illness I’ve been fighting lately, I haven’t been up to much.  However, we managed to go see X-Men: Days of Future Past a couple days ago.  I haven’t really known what to say about it.  I was thinking before we went I’d review it afterwards, but I was dozing off through half of it thanks to schedule insanity.

I will say it was fun enough.  It felt like most of the movie was a set-up for the next one, clearing out some old canon and establishing that anything goes now.  There were some AWESOME scenes with Quicksilver, quite a few nifty action sequences and fight scenes.  Maybe it’s because I was half asleep, but I didn’t love or hate it.  If it shows up on Netflix I’d probably watch it again, but I don’t have any burning desire to own it or anything.  If I am flippin’ awake enough we will probably go see a different movie today, we shall see.

In other news, we tried our first WildStar dungeon!  I would have posted about it earlier but I don’t think I got to experience it properly, as my G13 is dying.  The joySTICK is all too aptly named these days, and in a game where you need to move quickly and accurately it is a real pain in the seating apparatus.  I spent most of the boss fights cursing the damn thing as I tried to move out of something, only for the stick to wedge and walk me into something else.  Over, and over, and over again.  Yeah.  I’m about ready to take a baseball bat to this thing.  Also my poor husband, who games in the same room, probably didn’t have much more fun than I did.  Something about having someone constantly screaming in your ear being stressful?  I dunno, he’s such a crybaby.

We could also use new computers!  Oh yes.  I am getting very tired of the lag and performance issues.  Granted the game runs better on this ancient hunk of junk than I’d expected, but it still doesn’t run WELL.  Especially in places with lots of visual effects going off, like dungeons/adventures and so on.  I’m pretty sure if I tried to enter a raid it would just made a fizzing noise and spit smoke everywhere.

Getting new ones is such a time and money sink though!  There’s figuring out just what’s available now, how high end we wanna go, which parts go with which, blah blah blah.  Ordering it all, putting them together.  We COULD buy pre-built computers but my husband’s been building ours for a long time, I’m not sure he’s ready to relinquish control.  Then of course there’s spending the money when we own a house that is not young, and requires many costly fixes in the near future.  Darn you gaming habit, stop being expensive!

Speaking of gaming habits however, I thiiiink my husband has a game tomorrow (“has a game” means he’s either spending the day playing board games with a bunch of people, or DMing his D&D group.  Yes, I married me a geek. <3) which would mean I could finally start up my glorious e-reader and dig into the Cinder sequel.  I’m torn, on the one hand I’d like to hang out with him all day.  On the other hand, FULL DAY OF READING YEEEES.  WildStar, I’m sorry to tell you this, but you may have to live without me tomorrow.

Now to go back to bed, and see if I can get more than five and a half hours of sleep!  C’mon brain!  I blogged!  GO BACK TO SLEEP NOW.