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cape celebration

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

COUNT DRACULA: I mean, really. The cape, the eyebrow, the staircase - he's working it.

ELVIS PRESLEY: glamorous muttonchopped firebird JUMPSUIT CAPE. Why have a little razzmatazz when you can have a lot? Button down shirts suddenly seem very boring.

RUFUS THOMAS: Cape genius, rocking the casual shorts cape and the more elegant arms-through style. (note the incredible pointed collar on both!)

LIBERACE: There was no dearth of Liberace cape photos on the internet but this one with the red and the candelabra looked the most like a super-fabulous spangle Dracula - since it's October that's what I chose.

LANDO CALRISSIAN: Now there is some fluid cape ACTION.

DARTH VADER: I wasn't going to do two from the Star Wars universe, but seriously - this is some MAJESTIC CAPE BILLOWING.

JAMES BROWN: the Godfather of Soul, the KING OF CAPES.

ADAM ANT: Are you kidding me? This is the best.

THE COUNT: For vampire symmetry and for counting.

next time on cape celebration: capes for the ladies! 

october outing

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Penner-Ash winery

WINERIES! Which is nuts if you know me since I'm not much of a drinker, but my aunt and uncle are visiting from Florida and my uncle looooooooves wine. And guess what? it turns out that even to a not-wine-drinker,  wine culture is very interesting. It just is! The mechanics of it, the biology of it, the artistry of it. Deal with it.

Anyway, Oregon has a bunch of wineries in Yamhill county - they produce all sorts of wine, but the region is especially well suited for pinot.  This particular day (a Tuesday) was particularly well suited for going on a little driving tour since the weather is/was a delightful October surprise: sunny, warm, AMAZING. The grape leaves are gold against the hillside and FIVE MOUNTAINS (Hood, Adams, Rainier, Jefferson, St. Helens) were visible from the Bald Peak ridge. Five mountains! Of course mountains are hard to take pictures of, somehow. There was a bit of haze in the air, which was like a peek-a-boo invisibility cloak. Hold the camera up, no mountain! Take the camera down: MOUNTAINS LIKE CRAZY.

These photos are all from the Penner-Ash winery, which is a beautiful building beautifully situated on the top of a hill. In my lottery fantasies, one of my houses would be similarly situated. Top photo is from inside looking out. (wine report: uncle says "that's good wine.")

Penner-Ash - the chairs are made from wine barrels

One of the views from outside - the yellow stuff past the tall grass is grapevine turned to gold. Those chairs are made from wine barrels and actually very comfortable - there's even a notch for so you can let go of your wineglass. Mt. Hood was visible to the left but not visible in this picture.

looking back from my barrel chair. This is the exterior to match the first, interior view.

Autumn grapes at Penner-Ash
grapes on the way out.

The whole outing was lovely, but I wish there was a way to turn a car into a helicopter or to take a secret tunnel or something because it felt like it took a million years to get home.

autumn days

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

trees are turning! These trees are the prettiest part of an ugly strip mall situation way out on Halsey. Does anyone know what kind of tree the red one is? They give a really nice dappled shade in the summer.


Dahlias are almost gone by - this plant was a really bright hot pink/orange in the summer. The cooler temperatures and other end of season realities have faded new blooms to this pinky/yellow. I still think it's beautiful. (note to self: more dahlias next year.)


Green man! There are a bunch of heavy (so heavy!) plants that spend the summer outdoors but have to come inside for winter. One in particular (epiphyllum) has unruly leaves/fronds/tentacles like a giant octopus, so in the fall I put it on top of a tall room divider/bookcase that's got a lot of air space. (I'm not sure what this plant's leaf-span is, but it would be measured in feet.) Anyway - I have to lift it way up and it is HE-AVY, not least because it's in a giant ceramic pot. This year, I repotted it into a nice looking featherweight pot. (un-heavy planter technology has come a long way.)  Long story still pretty long, this green man guy has been living in the giant ceramic pot with the epiphyllum for years. As I was repotting it* I noticed a nail in the siding above the table, so he's going to hang out there for a while. The green man can keep an eye on the waning tomatoes and the giant spiders who live among them.

*on the new potting table which I built with my own two hands**. It's wobbly, but sufficiently sturdy for repotting which is all I ask.

**My sister Bec and I reverse engineered it from the old potting table which had rotted into a pile of boards that were hanging together in a vague table shape out of habit.

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Naked in Death - the first of the Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb thrillers set in 2058.  It reminds me of future-world Criminal Minds crossed with old-school Greek Billionaire Harlequin. The grisly crime bits are grislier than I like to read, but I’m curious enough about the world to read more. (There are like, FORTY books in the series and counting.)

The above is what I wrote right after reading this (in March) - I've yet to read any more books in this series, but other things have brought it to mind -  more on that in a minute.

Eve Dallas (our heroine) is a NYC police detective, but of course in 2058 that means something different than it does in 2013 - or for that matter 1995 when this book was written.  Like many fictional cops, she's tough but vulnerable, smart but not without her blind spots. (mainly she pushes herself too hard and fails to see how great she is so the rest of the characters have to remind her all the time which does get tiresome.) When we join her in this book, she's suffering from nightmares and what sounds like PTSD after a case that ended badly. Roarke is an Irish billionaire enigma who is supposed to be a suspect in the murder case Eve Dallas is investigating, but if you've ever read anything about any of these books (or seen a movie or read any other book, ever)  you know as soon as you clap your eyes on his single name that he is the love interest and is certainly not jetting around New York killing prostitutes, no matter the circumstantial evidence. (but it does give Eve something more to fret about - she digs him on a cellular level and he conveniently owns half of the city, but why do all these people getting murdered have connections to him? JESSICA FLETCHER SYNDROME.) He's high-handed and bossy, throwing his influence around -  if that's the kind of thing that bugs you be forewarned. (Eve's more than a match for him in all of these areas, so it doesn't bother me too much.)

Robb has built an interesting future world - it's clear she's got an idea from the very first book how the law works, how people get around in their flying cars (I honestly can't remember if there are flying cars or not, but let's say YES), politics, money, etc. The prose is not up to the level of the ideas, but the book is plotty I just sort of threw myself into the mystery and went along for the ride. As I said before, some of the crime parts were graphic and grisly which is not something I generally enjoy, but there's enough else there for me to return someday. I'm in no hurry.

THINGS I'VE THOUGHT ABOUT in the months since I read this:

• pseudonyms - was it well known when this first came out that this was a book by Nora Roberts, famous romance author? She's best known for her contemporary romances and this is quite a departure. Is this a similar style-distancing tactic as used more recently by J.K. Rowling/ Robert Galbraith, or was it more a matter (ala Stephen King/Richard Bachman) of being so prolific? Or some other thing? Marketing? Breaking into a new genre?

• There are nearly 40 of these books now - whatever she's doing, it's working for a lot of readers. Men as well as women? I don't know why not. There's certainly a romantic element, but the main channel of the book is CRIME. Violent crime. Crime in the future. Crimes against fashion, for sure.

I think this would appeal to readers of urban fantasy although there is no magic, no werewolves, no vampires or faeries - only future-tech police work, a vast fortune, many billionaire/cop smoldering glances, etc. (Also a fantasy, but one that doesn't depend on the full moon or a curse!) Also to people who like grisly serial killer style crime fiction and people who love long-running series  - if you start now, you're not going to run out of these books any time soon.

what I liked: the imaginative noir-ish world building
what I didn't like: serial killer, graphic crimes against women.

late in the day

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Saturday, October 05, 2013
stop don't stop

I was thinking about what to title this blog post and wondering if maybe I should just number them or something (no) and then I thought about how it's late and I need to go to bed, and then I thought "it's late in the day" WHICH THEN reminded me of this song:

which made me happy because I haven't thought of it in a long while and I like it. I'm very susceptible to getting songs stuck in my head - how about you? It doesn't take much to make my brain radio switch on. Most of the time this is fun and fine but sometimes... sometimes it's terrible. (Why my brain retains any REO Speedwagon will forever be a mystery to me.)

In other news, something I've been thinking about a lot lately due to working in a library and being surrounded by books and people who read books (it's lovely) is that I need to improve my quick book description/assessment skills. It's often difficult for me to articulate what I do and don't like about a book in concrete terms. I think about them more in terms of a mood or vibe which is fine if I'm just thinking about them in my head or describing them to someone who knows what I mean when I say "remember that time at that place when we saw that thing? And how it was amazing/awful/hilarious? This book reminds me of that, but with ghosts"  - but sometimes people want to know WHY DID YOU LIKE IT? and I need to practice getting that out in 5 minutes or less. So I know I've been saying for a million years that I'm going to write about books more, but I really am going to write about books more.

But now that it's so late in the day (I had to say it again to counteract the specter of speedwagon), I'm just going to put on my pajamas and go to bed.