#9

Yesterday I came home to find my recent Amazon order had arrived. Last week while browsing LibraryThing, I discovered a new book in one of my favorite mystery series, so I pre-ordered it. It was officially released the next day. I’ve never done this before, but I’ve started collecting this series in hardcover and I decided to treat myself to a brand new tome.

Anyway. New book arrived yesterday. I finally had a chance to crack it open at 10:30pm, thinking I’d read until midnight and then finish this evening. As if. Check the time stamp on this post. I’m gonna need a grande latte when I wake up. Possibly with an extra shot.

Sour Puss is the latest in the collaboration between Sneaky Pie Brown and her person, Rita Mae Brown. As with the previous books in the series, the authors take time to set the scene, refresh our memories of the old characters, and introduce us to the new characters. The action doesn’t happen until the penultimate chapter, but Mrs. Murphy fans have come to expect that. We like spending time with our friends and family for a while before we have to get our paws hands dirty with some icky murder.

The back story deals with current events and concerns regarding bioterrorism. H5N1 makes a brief appearance, as well as theories about biological weapons used by Iraq in Desert Storm. Most important to the plot is the Supreme Court decision striking down state laws that prohibit direct sales of wines to out-of-state customers. Wine drinkers rejoice.

wildfire on the reservation

This morning while I was getting ready for work, I heard a brief news report on NPR about a wildfire on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Immediately I listened closer to catch any references to locations I may know, and was rewarded with a mention of the city of Lander. I’ve never been to the Wind River Reservation, but several years ago I read through most of the mystery books written by Margaret Coel that take place on the reservation. Coel is a native of Colorado, but has spent enough time with the Arapaho and on the reservation to be able to write it well. She based her Father John O’Malley’s St. Francis Mission on the existing St. Stephen’s Indian Mission.1

The two main protagonists in the series are a disgraced Jesuit priest who is a recovering alcoholic and an Arapaho woman who has returned to the reservation after many years away in the city working as an attorney. These two are an unlikely pair of sleuths, and they both have personal baggage that hinders their ability to discern the truth. The novels are as stark as the descriptions of the wind-swept reservation and offer little comfort; however, they are a convenient vehicle for conveying Arapaho history to the ignorant like myself.

  1. The Eagle Catcher (1995)
  2. The Ghost Walker (1996)
  3. The Dream Stalker (1997)
  4. The Story Teller (1998)
  5. The Lost Bird (1999)
  6. The Spirit Woman (2000)
  7. The Thunder Keeper (2001)
  8. The Shadow Dancer (2002)
  9. Killing Raven (2003)
  10. Wife of Moon (2004)

infusion

A valiant first effort at fiction writing by technical author Clint Smith, but it falls short of its promise.

Infusion by Clint Smith

Infusion is a valiant first effort at fiction writing by technical author Clint Smith, but it falls short of its promise. The plot concept is sound, and makes interesting parallels with the conflicts between economics and ecology, but the actual story-telling could use a bit more work, or at least a better editor. The first half of the book left me cringing quite often, but the pace and the writing pick up in the last third of the book.

Continue reading “infusion”

tsunami

I’ve been thinking about the tsunami and what I can do to help the people affected by it.

I’ve been thinking about the tsunami and what I can do to help the people affected by it. There’s been a lot of talk about donating money to your charity of choice, and even more one-upmanship among world leaders over which country can promise the most per-capita. A lot of this has turned me off of giving, but I’m trying not to let it.

I don’t have money budgeted for a charity this month (my first utility bill arrived – oy!), but I am budgeting it for next month. This gives me more time to decide where to put the money. My first thought was to give it to Mennonite Disaster Service. MDS is staffed mainly by volunteers, and the emphasis is on clean up and repairs, rather than evangelizing. Your faith is shown by your works. I like that about MDS.

However, I changed my mind after I heard a story on NPR yesterday about grassroots aid organizations for tsunami victims. Groups of people are getting together to send money directly to the people who need it. Business owners in some industries are sending supplies to help their counterparts get their businesses running again. To me, that sounded much more enticing than just helping with the cleanup and repairs, which so many other aid organizations are already doing. So, I set out to find a charity that helps libraries, and I came across Book Aid International. I’ll probably send my aid money to them, unless I find out that they aren’t a reputable organization after all.

out of office auto reply

Am I the only person who gets irritated by the flood of out of office auto reply messages after posting to a discussion list?

Am I the only person who gets irritated by the flood of out of office auto reply messages after posting to a discussion list? I think these people do it out of ignorance. They don’t know that by setting their auto reply and remaining subscribed to the discussion list, they will be sending an auto reply to every single person who posts a message to that list. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t use the auto reply.

I’ve gone through the hassle of changing my discussion list settings to “no mail” or the equivalent before leaving for a trip, and then re-setting them upon my return. Well, I did it once and then decided it wasn’t worth it. Besides, I usually find a way to check my email while I’m gone, just in case something important comes through. In any case, it’s just common courtesy to change your discussion list settings before using the auto reply option, because otherwise you’re going to be another drop in the flood that will hit an unsuspecting user after they post to one of your discussion lists.

Am I asking for too much?