April 4, 2007

So the other night I was transferring the stalled webcomic over here (it’s here now) and updating the works list, and I ended up going through and reading half a dozen things (#100, #108, #124, #144, #145, #146 – hey, it really was a half dozen…). So after going through the three channeler ones (100/108/124) I realized that version 3 would be better if I didn’t go off on a second, tangential plot and instead more succinctly wrapped up the storyline that it had been going through for the first 50-some pages. So I’ve started working on it again from page 56. I was shocked when I read through the first twenty-some pages of it… I didn’t remember it being that good, mostly in the characters. Maybe it’s just me. >.< Unfortunately it’s neither typed nor scanned, so getting a second opinion on it is going to have to wait till this semester is over.

March 23, 2007

Rearranged the menu a little. Debating if it’s time to tweak the site design again yet (this is its second incarnation). Hopefully I’ll be done with the history master’s this semester and I won’t feel guilty spending time writing instead of reading the stuff on my comps lists.

Every time I read through #85, I want to know how it ends. I just can’t seem to get back into it. Grr.

January 15, 2007

Yeah, didn’t mean to leave this empty for six months. Whoops. Been working on an alternate take of a couple of the characters from Xyryx. Still working on Veronica & Yvonne and whatnot.

July 30, 2006

Books 15-16/12: Fruits Basket, v. 11-12 by Natsuki Takaya; Los Angeles: Tokyopop, 2004-; ISBN v. 11 1595324062, v. 12 1595324070.

Not a ton to add for volumes 11 &12 – you get introduced more fully to the last two members of the Zodiac, as well as the head of the Sohma family, and the plot took an expected turn (well, I was expecting it) in v. 12. Still rooting for Kyo. And v. 13 is still checked out. :(

July 25, 2006

No, I haven’t forgotten about this.

Books 5-14/12: Fruits Basket, v. 1-10 by Natsuki Takaya; Los Angeles: Tokyopop, 2004-; ISBN v. 1 1591826039, v. 2 1591826047, v. 3 1591826055, v. 4 1591826063, v. 5 1591826071, v. 6 159182608X, v. 7 159532402X, v. 8 1595324038, v. 9 1595324046, v. 10 1595324054.

Yeah, so I broke my third rule of series. Not intentionally; I’d heard of Fruits Basket a while ago, and other than the handful of Cowboy Bebop books, I’d never actually read any manga, so I was just guessing vaguely that it was a completed series. So Friday I picked up the first two volumes, got done with those, and got 3-10 Saturday. I finished those Sunday. I’m still waiting to get my hands on 11-13. Wikipedia says there’s 20 volumes out in the Japanese, with two more expected. Whoops. That’s undoubtedly going to take a couple more years to translate and get out. (The rules of series, by the way, are 1. Read them in order; 2. If you buy one, you have to buy them all (good thing I got these from the library >.>); 3. Don’t start them till it’s ended. This is why I’ve scorned The Wheel of Time for years.)

Anyway, being a fan of romantic comedy, I was easily hooked. The main characters in Fruits Basket (limiting to Tohru, Yuki, and Kyo) are about 15 when the series starts, and are at about 16/17 by the time of v. 10, where I’ve been temporarily cut off, so the romance part is mostly limited to the standard adolescent angst. (In the interest of not ruining things for my husband, I may end up cryptically vague. We’ll see.) Yuki and Kyo (and a large chunk of the supporting characters that appear over the course of the series) are from the Sohma family, which has a Zodiac curse (the Chinese one, not the Western one). They go to the same school as Tohru, the series’ recently orphaned heroine. Her grandfather’s apartment is being remodeled at the beginning of the series, and she eventually ends up staying with Yuki and Kyo, who live with one of their older cousins. As the series goes on, it mainly deals with Tohru’s continued introduction to more and more of the Sohma family, with the Sohmas’ own tangled web (they’re a family with issues), with Tohru’s own past and her friends, and with all the romantic angst of high school kids. The two main boys (Yuki and Kyo) are obvious rivals for Tohru, though they both deny it and she’s oblivious to it to a great extent. (I’m rooting for Kyo, but he’s got an alternative pre-made, so it’s probably going to end up Yuki and I’ll be disappointed.) By volume 10, the reader has met all of the Zodiac except the horse and the rooster, and the Sohmas that likely have those have been introduced briefly. This leaves the rest of the series to reconcile the Sohma family’s issues, as well as whichever of the romantic relationships are going to get resolved.

As it’s published in serial (I don’t know what magazine it comes out in Japanese in) and is then collected into volumes, reading it all in one go makes it sometimes seem a little repetitive (characters that haven’t appeared recently getting a brief reintroduction and such), and being unfamiliar with the stylistic nuances and the names occasionally makes gender identification an issue (though physical masculinity is an in-story issues for some of the boys – Yuki especially); it also took until the author started drawing herself in some of the filler sketches to figure out she was a she. The covers go through the main characters in color one at a time, which is nice when the series is in black and white – Sohmas who are members of the zodiac tend to have unusual hair/eye color. (And though she probably would be if the author were American, Tohru is not blond.)

June 29, 2006

Yeah, I should have done this one two days ago… Anyway…

Book 3/12: Lord Brocktree by Brian Jacques; New York: Ace Books, 2000; 345 pages; ISBN 0441008720.

This is the first of probably several Redwall books, since I’m like, 6 behind or something at this point. Lord Brocktree is, if you’re a follower of the series and remember, the grandfather of the badger in Mossflower. This book tells the story of how he became lord of Salamandastron, and about the hare maid, Dotti, who would become one of the first officers of the Long Patrol. It’s not a bad read – not Jacques’s best Redwall book (I’m partial to the first few, I suppose, especially Mossflower and Martin the Warrior), but still enjoyable and engaging. The character of Dotti provided much entertainment, especially the “Cora” moment (which is, sadly, an inside joke, which only my D&D group would get). Given the time frame of the story, there are many little references to “future” events from past books, mostly Mossflower ones. If you’re not a reader of the series, this probably isn’t the first book in it I would send you to (the Pratchett books is the same way, actually – if you want to start on Pratchett, I’d probably send you to Guards! Guards! or Small Gods first if you didn’t want to read the series in order); if you want to start out in the Redwall books, I’d probably suggest you start at either Redwall or Mossflower.

June 23, 2006

Ok, not that anyone cares, but the very long, extended current playlist is here. I thought it had about three hundred songs on it… I was wrong. :P The logic behind creating this list was anything I wouldn’t hit ‘next’ on.

June 18, 2006

Book 2/12: The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett, illustrated by Paul Kidby; New York: EOS/HarperCollins, 2002; 176 pages; ISBN 0060507772.

Yeah, so I thought I was going to be out of Discworld books until Thud! was in paperback, but when we went to Borders to spend my anniversary gift card, lo and behold, it was there! This one is set… eh, after The Last Continent, but like a good chunk of Pratchett’s stuff, it’s written to easily stand on its own, while at the same time referencing previous (and possibly future) works and including the standard witty parodies (Apollo 13 and quantum physics come to mind offhand). The reason this one will set you back about $22 is because it’s absolutely full of color illustrations (that’s also why it’s about 9.5″x11″), some half-page, some full-page, some two-page spreads; you get the whole Discworld, Ankh-Morpork, Rincewind, Death, and more.

Anyway, the story involves Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde going to return fire to the gods. It’s something of an ensemble cast story, pulling in Rincewind, Vetinari, the wizards of the Unseen University, the Librarian, Death, and others. This isn’t Pratchett’s best work, as it doesn’t have the sheer laugh power of Small Gods or the can’t-put-it-down grip of Night Watch (ok, so I read all the Pratchett stuff in one sitting unless I’m reading them on break at work, but still), but it’s still a fun read, and the illustrations make it that much more compelling for Discworld enthusists (even if Vetinari doesn’t look like Patrick Stewart, who had gotten stuck as my mental image of him, even though Vetinari is only 50ish). As it’s not as long as the novels, it’s not as developed as most of them, but there are only a few characters who are completely new, and the old ones involved have all been fleshed out to a great extent elsewhere – it can stand on its own, but Pratchett fans will have a richer read.

June 11, 2006

Ok, brief explanation first… I signed up for Kat with a K’s summer reading program, and this is where I’m posting the reviews of the stuff I read.

Book 1/12: American Legend: The Real-Life Adventures of David Crockett by Buddy Levy; New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2005; 352 pages;ISBN 0399152784.

Enjoyable read. Gives you a rounded picture of Crockett, including his youth and political career. Does a good job of getting inside Crockett’s psyche and describing the areas where he lived, travelled, explored, and fought. Clarifies what’s fact and what’s myth, but includes both. Explores the phenomenon of Crockett’s development into living-legend status, as well as his perpetual inability to get out of debt. Summary of the most famous film and TV portrayals as an epilogue. Picked it up partly because I took a biography class this spring, partly because I was a voracious reader of biography in grade school, partly because I saw it at Waldenbooks and it looked interesting.

Also updated the Bookmarks page… completely. Weeded out the dead links, moved a few around, added the new stuff.

June 5, 2006

Updated the works list page and resume and added my pitiful CV. :P

Yes, I’ve pretty much just been working on Yvonne and Veronica. I’ve got maybe half a dozen recent ideas though, so we’ll see if I get anything started.