Music Monday: Hold On by Alabama Shakes

So, bless my heart and bless my mind.
I got so much to do, I ain’t got much time
So, must be someone up above saying,
“Come on, girl! Yeah, you got to get back up!
You got to hold on…
Yeah, you got to hold on…”


Reading In Progress: Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

It’s my favourite story to tell from my bookselling days. An innocent instruction to a customer motivated me to read the book everyone talked about, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.¬†Long story short, during one of my early cash shifts at McNally Robinson Booksellers I told a customer the line-up began in the centre. The woman came to the farthest register during an already busy time, cutting in an already growing line up. She literally threw the book at me in response, and that book was the mass market edition of Outlander.¬†

The novel already had a following and had the right combination of the fantastic and sexy to warrant a read. Speculation already abounded about a possible movie adaptation. I read the book and wondered where the hell they will find an actor to play Jamie Fraser? Will the adapters mess up Claire? I meant to read the next books, at the time four have published, but to-read piles not only grow, but they also get distracting.

The show got me back into the books, starting with a reread of book one. One part of my mind read as a reader, drawn into a good yarn, tangled in the characters and unfolding story. The other part looked at language, especially how Gabaldon wrote dialogue. She wrote Outlander to learn novel writing, and I read the story to help me with my NaNo project. (Well, you can use ‘said,’¬†I thought.) I came up with a system regarding long-running series to not lose steam over time. I read a novel in the series, read non-fiction and some stand alone novels, perhaps some audiobooks, then start the next book in the series.

I already wrote about the memorable opening line of the book. (Nothing like an itchy nose to say ‘not dead’.) ¬†However, Voyager has fast turned into the WTF novel. I don’t mean it’s awful, far from it, it’s the internal commentary like Claire, Jamie, and others will listen to me. Things like “WTF Claire!” or “WTF Frank!” or “WTF Jamie”. I have thought the last one so many time I wonder how do I say it in Gaelic? ¬†The most memorable moment so far in the novel (big fat spoiler warning here) comes as Geneva Dunsany¬†flat-out propositions Jamie with helping of blackmail to make it happen. I thought¬†oh how awful and he doesn’t know Claire lived, and they’re not together and would I blackmail the hot guy to have an evening with him?¬†

It brings me to what makes Diana Gabaldon so appealing as a writer, other than creating the most fantasised male character after James Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. She goes ‘there’ and doesn’t baulk. Lady Dunsany blackmails Jamie for a night of sex and going ‘there’ leads to a messy revelation about virginity and Jamie returning to the stables emotionally numb. In the biggest WTF moment, Jenny Murray fixes her brother up with *gulp* Laoghaire. I wondered why, why WHY?! Then marvelled Diana Gabaldon¬†went ‘there’, adding another layer to the Jamie/Claire reunion.

The novel has not finished with me yet. I reached page 658 wondering how much can the author take me ‘there’, but Jamie and Claire leads the way with a relationship I ravenously follow. Sometimes I wince at their fights, laugh at their quips, but savour the sex as it fits within their narrative.


Music Monday: Geronimo by Sheppard

On Spotify, I have a ‘Housework Mix’, a series of upbeat songs designed as a background as I straighten up my place. While originally¬†designed to help me clean my toilet, many of the songs also help me walk out the door and meet the day. Geronimo¬†belongs to my personal category of get-up-and-go songs. It doesn’t have deep lyrics and its melody also seems repetitive.

The song does have this perky you-can-do-it vibe. As the departure to New York went from months to days, I played this song on repeat. I went out my door to experience something and still try to make sense of it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a trip or going back to school. As the song says as it fades out ‘make this leap.’

Post-Holiday Mode

Time to dust off my one of my favourite GIFs:


Me Before Morning Coffee

My late-to-bed-late-to-rise routine on holiday has produced a late-to-bed-hard-to-rise-early one. At least I bound out of bed with enthusiasm, a good sign of a good holiday. The telephone and cable had indeed turned off. I plan to take the cable box down to an MTS Connect within the next couple of days. ¬†The laptop stares at me, quietly saying¬†it’s you and me and your imagination. The ultimate menage a trois.

Naughty laptop.

In weather news, Winnipeg had rain over the past few of days. On Tuesday, I thought it would clear only to rain before I got to the salon then produce more dark clouds just as I left:


Lovely hair, Fatima, mind if I mess it up?

I took a circuitous bus as a way to ride out most of the downpour¬†or look less like a drown rat and more like a wet one. Taking the long way around by transit is the main reason why I always carry a book. In the case of scattered showers, Voyager went into a ziplock bag for its protection. Last year, as readers know, a brand-new book got soaked during one drenched day. History can’t repeat itself as (spoiler alert!) Claire and Jamie found each other again. ¬†In the end, it still rained, and it took longer to get home. Not making that mistake again.

The first week back always feels rough. It’s back to setting the alarm, getting the usual bus, and getting into work mode. This time, I feel more refreshed and ready to go. Now to build on that other change in my life post-holiday, a life without cable TV.




Cutting the Cord

Sometimes you need to go ahead and do it. Last week, I already planned to cut my landline until I spied an increase in my cable from MTS. My channel group, namely one with the AMC network (Walking Dead, Halt and Catch Fire among others), went from $3.50 to $4.00.  Movie Central adds an extra $18.00 for Game of Thrones, and the basic group of local stations and network television (NBC, CBS, etc.) barely pays for itself at $44.50. Other than Hannibal, I would either watch or record Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.

After taking stock of my previous bills, levels of writing productivity, and general wellness, I made the decision to cut the cable cord. To say I am not the only one is an understatement.  190,000 Canadians cut the cord last year compared to 105,000 the previous year. I did try living without cable for the first six months of living in my condo. I made Saturday trips to Movie Village, took items out of the library, and put my name down for upcoming titles. I did alright and wondered why did I decide to take on cable.

Now I have more options, and it will mean the end of live tweeting Walking Dead and Outlander. (Dang! I had plans to be the live-tweeting Queen of those two kingdoms.) I go tired of cutting and trimming only not to see the savings. As for VOD (Video on Demand), I will not miss it. Even with an additional $6.99 charge for a rental, my bill would still go over $200. ¬†I make a comfortable living, but it doesn’t mean spending willy-nilly. (The exception to this rule are books. In bookstores I spend like a modestly-paid rockstar.)

Cutting the cord has revealed one habit needing a change. I sat down, supper in hand, and switched on Shomi. They have season 9 of Doctor Who, and it meant watching ‘The Husbands of River Song.’ (I missed that episode.) That day I felt tired from working the first day back from vacation. What happens after my work routine returns?

Stay tuned.


Winding Down Vacation 2016

Vacation 2016 now enters its last few hours. I know it sounds dramatic, but three weeks off does that to a person. Three weeks of catching up and detoxing the year before getting ready for the next one. The library operates under its summer hours (8-4, Monday to Friday, Closed weekends) with few, if any students, coming in to study or use the computers.

This past Thursday, I woke up thinking it’s Friday. A positive sign of not thinking about routine. If not sleeping in or catching up around the house, a best as I can or feel like it, I took my mom out for some errands and spent some time together. In other words, we hung out.

I will miss having coffee and reading Tumblr, an act akin to reading the morning paper. Today’s news made me spit out my coffee in laughter. It also comes with a spoiler alert regarding Chuck Wendig’s new Star Wars novel Life Debt.¬†The spoiler alert is for that fandom; this one is for another.

Are you ready?

I don’t mean to beat around the bush, but I like Chuck Wendig. His blog has inspired and instructed me in my writing. Aftermath¬†kept me glued to my reading seat and did not deserve some of the crap it got from some review sites. (Thumbnail Synopsis: Three characters are gay. No big deal as it’s no big deal to be LGBT. People¬†unfornatley left one-star reviews for things other than if the novel hangs together in its plot and characterization.)

The latest meltdown online comes from a Force Awaken’s character’s backstory. A Britsh reader let the cat out of the bag so to speak on Tumblr. It’s a tiny piece that will case one fandom to howl with laughter while another just howls.

Ready? (I know it drives my friends nuts, but I am famous for telling stories without preamble.)

General Hux’s real name is Armitage! General Armitage Hux.

Let’s do a visual.

This character’s¬†first name:


Image: Disney Wikia


Is the surname for an actor previously known as this character:


or this one:



I would have no idea if ¬†Mr¬†Wendig thought¬†hey, let’s name this character after an actor who has an uncredited role in the prequels. The Aftermath Trilogy has so much going on besides speculating over the origins of a character’s name. Some people who heard of Richard Armitage think it’s cool. Others who haven’t wondered¬†What kind of name is Armitage? How do you pronounce it?

Here’s a start: don’t French it. Seriously, no long ‘a’ in Armitage. Here’s a visual:

(Thanks, Yatanis, for this Youtube.)

Time to resume my breakfast and savour the last of my holidays.


What’s The Cure for Premature Posting?

Sorry, folks, for the two posts in one day. One of the advantages of WordPress is the ability to post across devices. Right now, I madly type with my thumbs, on my phone, at my local Starbucks. 

Unfortunately it takes one device to muck up the works. After finishing the Charlie Dore post,  I suddenly changed my mind and pulled it for further reflection. 

While I reverted it to draft, the sucker has escaped and you know what they say about metaphorical horses after they leave the metaphorical barn.