Challenge Update: Week 9 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy + a Supanova Saturday

Aloha my adroit, articulate Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 9th update of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy where unlike the last couple of updates, the non-challenge related stuff is more plentiful and exciting than the actual update since I went to Supanova on Saturday!

But first I’ll get the official business out-of-the-way:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeSince my last update I have mainly been reading my challenge books here and there and haven’t finished or started anything, but even if it’s a fairly standard update, I’ll still utilise the MNL (Mighty Numbered List):

  1. I have been reading  I Am Legend by Richard Matheson quite a bit this week as it is a good lunch break/commute book and a very interesting story besides. While in essence it is a vampire novel (or more broadly a blend of horror and sci-fi) it is unlike any vampire novel I’ve encountered, and with the post-apocalyptic setting and the large hordes of unrelenting vamps, it feels much more like a zombie book. This paired with the introspective narration, which feels intimate despite being third person, the development of the main character (or sole character really besides ones in flashbacks and the dead) and Matheson’s engaging writing, makes this a book I am really loving. I’m about halfway through at the moment, but have been savouring it a little so I may or may not finish by the next update.i am legend
  2. I have also been reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess a lot this week, and I am loving it just as much, even though it is pretty darn twisted and the invented language means each bit needs more concentration than the average read. I’m also about half-way through but as it’s a much smaller book the odds of me finishing it by the next update are a little better.a clockwork orange
  3. Lastly, despite my fun-filled weekend and hectic work week I did manage to read a story from The Living Dead zombie anthology last night, and it was a really good one! The story I read was “Bobby Conroy comes back from the dead” by popular author Joe Hill (whose full-length novels I have yet to read, but I loved the beginning of his comic series, Locke & Key) and was not so much about real zombies, but movie zombies, and one movie of the genre in particular – George A. Romero‘s Dawn of the Dead. It follows a down-on-his-luck actor/comedian who has moved back to his hometown and is surprised to see an old high-school flame on the set of the film where they are both zombie extras. It’s partly a “what-if” breed of love story, but mainly, and at Joe Hill’s own admission in the description preceding the tale, it is a love letter to the iconic film. This is clear from the wonderful descriptions of Romero and special effect make-up artist Tom Savini and the general passion in Hill’s words as he writes about what is obviously a pivotal film from his youth and a great inspiration. more than anything this story made me further lament that I have never seen Dawn of the Dead (Romero fans please don’t lynch me!) and I must rectify this in the near future!A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

The list of contenders remains the same with just three to go:

hornHorn by Peter M Ball

deadly belovedDeadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

ericThe Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby

Now onto the other challenge which was pretty poor unfortunately:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeSince on the weekend I had Supanova followed by birthday celebrations for another close friend and then work and TV distracting me for the rest of the week, I did not come even close to my quota:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending0 pages (0 chapters)

Pages remaining: 64

Brisingr:

Brisingr13 Pages (2 chapters)

Pages remaining: 276

Total:

13 Pages

Pages remaining: 341

This is a pretty ironic effort considering my prediction for The Sending last update, but even though I didn’t suffer temporary blindness, dyslexia or spontaneously combusting books (still hurts even to imagine that..) I had plenty of other distractions besides.

I did intend to read much more over the week but as Saturday’s celebrations went into the wee hours, Sunday was a R & R day and then Sunday-Wednesday nights were dedicated to VIT (Very Important Television, which in this case was the finale of Orphan Black on Tuesday, and a terrible reality show called House Rules which Sarah and I have inexplicably become obsessed with despite our usual disdain for reality TV. I blame my mother 😛 ) I only managed to read yesterday afternoon/evening. Since I had started The Unwritten vol # 4: Leviathan earlier in the week I wanted to finish that first, so 13 pages of Brisingr was all I could manage before snooze time. I was going to read a tiny bit of The Sending also before I went to the land of nod but since I’m so near the end I knew it would be hard to stop once I got going, so best to leave it until another day.

Since this weekend I just have standing Friday night plans and nothing else scheduled I should be able to get some solid reading time in, but I’m not making predictions this time 😛

As I said above I also read The Unwritten: Leviathan (The Unwritten, Volume # 4) by Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (artist, colourist), Vince LockeAl Davison (colourists) and Yuko Shimizu (cover artist), which had been sitting on my pile for a few weeks unread, and like the volumes before I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to the next volume.

unwritten 4

I also realised early in the week that a comic I borrowed from the library – The Walking Dead Volume #1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman (creator, writer), Tony Moore (creator, artist) and Cliff Rathburn (colourist) – was overdue and I couldn’t renew it because it was on hold for someone else, so I bypassed the usual random choosing and put it aside as my next read. I haven’t gotten to it yet but as I received a txt from the library today reminding me (oooo technological!) I will get to it ASAP!

walking dead vol 1Since I didn’t pick randomly I thought it only fair to pick another one to replace The Unwritten, which turned out to be a trade paperback I bought pretty recently –  Fables Volume 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciller), Steve Leialoha (inker), Daniel Vozzo (colourist) and James Jean (cover artist) – and a funny coincidence since Fables was advertised at the back of The Unwritten!

fables 2

I also picked four more comics from my Free Comic Book Day haul – Defend Comics; Zombie Tramp; Finding Gossamyr/The Last Mountain; and Magika/The First Daughter (which for some reason isn’t listed under the comics on the Free Comic Book Day site).

 

Now that the update business is done and dusted I can tell you a little about Supanova! 😀

Sarah and I had already planned to go one day over the weekend, and to meet our friend Scott – who is an avid con-goer – to have lunch, but then our friends Nay and Amber expressed interest because they are fans of Jon Heder who was a guest. Since it was Amber’s birthday on the Saturday and Jon Heder also had signings that day, it seemed a no-brainer to go to the con and then re-convene at my house for celebrations after.

As this year Supanova moved venues from Claremont Showgrounds to the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre (where other cons like Oz Comic-con and Wai-Con are held) and Nay and Amber had never been to a con before, we weren’t sure what to expect, but besides being pretty darn packed I think it was well organised and mostly we all had a ball!

We started by sitting in on a bit of the cosplay competition, which was suitably awe-inspiring and a great introduction to the con universe for the girls, before wandering through to the exhibitor area to look at, and possibly buy, pretty things. This area was particularly crowded so we just did a little circuit before heading out for lunch, where we met Scott and ogled all the exciting things he had gotten signed. Amber was nervous to meet Jon Heder but after some encouragement from the rest of us she joined the line with her print from the Napoleon Dynamite animated series, while we watched proudly from the sidelines. She emerged a few minutes later, grinning from ear to ear and later proclaimed it was the best birthday yet, which is awesome 🙂

We finished with a more studied perusal of goods, and each of us bought a couple of treasures. I managed to find a beautiful fox ring to replace one I use to wear every day until its poor tail snapped off, and a couple of comics which I have heard great things about – Sex Criminals Volume # 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction (creator, writer),  Chip Zdarsky (creator, writer), Becka Kinzie and Christopher Sebela (colourists); and Revival Volume # 1: You’re Among Friends by Tim Seeley (creator, writer) and Mike Norton (creator, artist):

supanova comics

I also bagged an awesome Cheshire Cat necklace when Sarah picked it out of a lucky dip, realised it was Alice related and so really should be for yours truly, then I did a lucky dip which she liked more so we swapped 😛 For some stupid reason I didn’t take a pic of my jewellery so if I remember I’ll share that next week.

The cosplayers were in fine form with some of the best I’ve seen, and I managed to get pics of some of my favourites, including a fabulous Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games, Death and Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman from The Sandman series, and Tank Girl!

Supanova collage

This was only a taste of some of the cosplay – I got a few more pics and there were plenty more I never got close enough too, and plenty more again which I didn’t see in person, however Funk’s House of Geekery did two great cosplay round-ups from the event which are definitely worth a look – Supanova Perth 2014: cosplay roundup day 1 and Supanova Perth 2014: cosplay roundup day 2.

I think that’s a good place to round-up my beloved Bookbaggers 🙂

Since I had Supanova and other excitement to talk about this time I won’t do a whole bunch of videos and GIFs, but I can’t resist sharing this scene from the Orphan Black finale:

Tune in for the next update and in the meantime possibly some Notable Quotables or other such fun, but until then:

dinah waving

 

Challenge Update: Week 5 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy + My Dog Gave Me A Heart Attack

Howdy my captivating, convivial Bookbaggers!

Welcome to another highly successful update of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy, peppered with the tale of one of my dogs (I have 3 fur kids in various stages of decrepitude and idiocy) disappearing over a stormy night and generally scaring the bejesus out of me!

On that note, lets begin with:

Short and Sweet challenge badge

There wasn’t a huge amount of activity in this challenge last week, but still worthy of the mighty numbered list:

  1. I have still been reading a lot of Above/Below by Stephanie Campisi and Ben Peek to, from and during work (on my break of course!) and although I didn’t finish Above and flip to Below before the end of the week, I did at the start of this week and (spoiler alert) finished the whole kit and caboodle Wednesday, so in my next update I’ll share my new pick and tell you my general thoughts on the book (spoiler alert again – it was pretty great)AboveBelow-cover1-300x246
  2. I didn’t read any more of Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan last week either, but I did read another story yesterday so I’ll tell you about that in the next update, and since there is now only two stories left, I may even finish it over the weekend and will have another new book 😀Cracklescape_lg_large
  3. Lastly, on Sunday I read 2 stories from The Living Dead zombie anthology, coz I was having an out-of-the-rain-reading-binge again. “The Dead” by Michael Swanwick, was another one which dropped the mindless-dead-eating-everyone’s-face thing and instead had a world of the undead as commodities, bought and sold for cheap labour, the sex industry and as curiosities. Then because I was still in a zombie mood I read “The Dead Kid”  by Darrell Schweitzer, which is about a boy who wants to be in the local tough-kid gang headed by the school’s resident thug until he discovers that they have a dead, reanimated boy in their hideout to use as a plaything and test for potential new members. Both stories had a running theme of humanity being uglier and more deadly than the undead, and the zombies themselves were pretty placid and played the part of the victim more.A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

Until next week the contenders remain unchanged:

a clockwork orangeClockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

i am legendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

hornHorn by Peter M Ball

BleedBleed by Peter M Ball

deadly belovedDeadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

ericThe Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby

Once again it was the next challenge that I really went crazy with this Sunday:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeAs I said, Sunday was a stay-inside-reading sort of day, especially with the stress of the rest of the weekend (which I’ll get into after official challenge business :P) so I got carried away in my two fantasy worlds again:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending72 pages (3 chapters)

Pages remaining: 272

Brisingr:

Brisingr31 Pages (2 chapters)

Pages remaining: 445

Total:

103 Pages

Pages remaining: 717

At this point because the plot is rushing forward with both books and I don’t feel like I’m in a reading rut anymore, I could possibly amp up my goal to 100 pages a week, but as I don’t know if every week will be so fruitful, I’m not gonna jinx it and instead if I got over 50 pages that’s just a bonus 🙂

Besides the above reading fun I also got stuck into one of my  Free Comic Book Day comics – Worlds of Aspen 2014 – which I quite enjoyed! The zero issue of The ZooHunters had a lovely art style and some interesting elements for a science fiction series, and Damsels in Excess was a solid zero issue introducing the 5 princesses of a realm where all men have been eliminated in some way by an unnamed sorceress. Both caught my interest so I’ll have to look out for their official first issues.

 

Now onto the story of my dog nearly giving me a heart attack/making me keel over with worry.

This is the face of a naughty dog who had me freaking out for a night and most of the next day. Damn cute little bitch (technically not offensive as it's completely accurate!) doesn't look fazed by the whole thing does she?

This is the face of a naughty dog who had me freaking out for a night and most of the next day. Damn cute little bitch (technically not offensive as it’s completely accurate!) doesn’t look fazed by the whole thing does she?

On Friday afternoon I had a dentist appointment, so my lovely mum agreed to pick me up early and drive me there. On the way out to meet her I checked my phone and I had a few missed calls from an unknown number. Thinking it was either someone I hadn’t updated in my contacts or a company trying to sell me something I txted them asking who they were and while we were driving to the dentist I got a txt back saying they had found my dog in some wetlands near my house but she had slipped her collar and escaped their yard!

Right away I rang and rescheduled the dentist appointment and we rushed home, hoping that she had made her way back there, and when there was no sign, we went down to the wetlands to search. After walking a few kilometres calling out to her and asking every dog-walker we saw if they had spotted a salt-and-pepper miniature schnauzer (nope), I rang the ranger to see if she was at the pound (nope) left a description and my details and we collected the collar off the woman who found her before returning home, defeated.

As I said at the start, I have three dogs of various ages and levels of stupidity, two of which I talked about in this post, and a third – Rocky, an excitable and quite thick Maltese/Shih Tzu/something else, possibly a poodle or terrier of some kind – we adopted last year when his owner, a former tenant of my mum’s, passed away. Tia, the only female of the bunch and the escapee falls on the older side of the group being around 10 this year (only a vet’s estimate as she’s a rescue dog) but is definitely the smartest and most sensible of the bunch (most of the time). Despite being generally more well-behaved and sleeping the majority of the day, this is the third time she has snuck past our gate and went walkabout, however the last two times we were contacted by the ranger or fellow dog-owner before we even knew she was gone. This time she was out god-knows-where with no identification, qualities which aren’t conducive to long periods in the wild (she is quite timid due to her background, has the physique of a pampered house-dog, and no teeth) and to top it off, storms were forecasted for the night.

Suffice to say, mum and I were racked with worry, and even though I tried to enjoy my pre-planned night of frivolity with friends, family and plentiful beverages, I think my mournful looks out the window every time a new burst of rain started may have dampened the night. Thanks to the support of said friends, family and beverages I was actually able to sleep that night, and then the next morning went to the library to make a missing flyer with the above photo (as it was the cutest one and has her with a similar haircut to the current one) before mum and I put them up around the wetlands and surrounds. Afterwards I called another pound, with no luck, who suggested I try local vets (my next plan anyway) and a Facebook page called Pets of Perth – Lost & Found.

I was going onto the book of faces anyway to post a status for people to share around, so I went to duplicate the status on the page and check the current posts to see if there was any leads. Almost right away I found a post about a dog which was found that morning in the carpark of the local shopping centre, which didn’t have a picture and described the dog as a terrier, but as I read on sounded more and more like Tia. With my heart in my throat I rang the woman and with only a minute or so of conversation she was also convinced that she had my dog and gave me her address which was only round the corner!

Right away Mum, Sarah (who had stayed over) and I jumped in the car and raced around to her house. As soon as I saw the woman emerging through the front door with Tia in her arms I burst into tears and rushed over. As she passed her over I saw the woman was also getting teary, and when I tried to offer her $50 as a thank you, she refused and insisted that returning her was its own reward.

The rest of the weekend felt so bizarre as the adrenaline wore off into stunned relief and I mainly spent it making Tia comfortable at home and generally trying to get myself back to feeling normal! Tia seemed in an amazing state considering she had spent a night out in the elements and must’ve traveled several kilometres going down to the wetlands, then making her way to the shops in the opposite direction by morning, and mostly she just wanted to rest and be near us and her doggy bros 🙂

Tia and the boys

Tia looking a bit stunned and bedraggled with the boys virtually sitting on her in welcome

My gratitude towards the woman who found her is almost inexpressible. Because of how Tia is with most strangers we knew she wouldn’t allow herself to be nabbed by just anyone, but I’m so glad she found a real animal-lover with a sweet dog of her own, who didn’t take her to the pound or report her to the rangers because she knew, being the weekend, that her owner wouldn’t be able to collect her till Monday. I’m also very grateful to the pound and local vet which told her about Pets of Perth – Lost & Found (and the woman at the pound who put me onto it!), and the Facebook page in general for existing and helping me find my silly old-lady pooch.

Sorry for rambling on about a completely non-book related subject, but since it was pretty major I thought I should share the saga with you, my beloved Bookbaggers 🙂

I promise the next update will be much more on-topic and to make up for it here’s some frivolous fun again!

Firstly this frickin’ hilarious Doctor Who parody video I watched today on A Wordless Blogger:

Next this scene from the last episode of Orphan Black because I think it is the most Sarah and I have ever laughed during this show (it’s usually more of an “AHHH what the hell just happened!? Who the hell is this guy?! Is he dodgy? Ah he’s totally dodgy! What is he…? Oh crap!” sort of show than a bundle of laughs):

And lastly this adorable GIF of a red panda which was featured in the Buzzfeed post The 27 Best Red Panda GIFs Of All Time:

red panda stretching

On that note I’m off as this post has become crazy long! Stay tuned for next week’s update but until then goodbye from your kooky Book Polygamist and my old mate Totoro:

goodbye totoro

Challenge Update: A Successful Week 3 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy!

Greetings and salutations my dapper, debonair Bookbaggers!

As I had a relatively low-key weekend, I have a much more successful update on my new challenges, Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy, completely devoid of random bragging about my exciting life (snort):

Short and Sweet challenge badge

As I said in my last update, I finished one of my short reads last week, so I have picked a new one and I also have two new contenders, once again brought to you by the might of a numbered list:

  1. I finished No Nice Girl by Perry Lindsay, which was a great commuting read and helped with the whole rut-breaking thing beautifullyno nice girl
  2.  To replace No Nice Girl I asked my lovely mum to pick again, so I wouldn’t be tempted to cheat, and she picked Above/Below by Stephanie Campisi and Ben PeekI was quite pleased with this choice, as Sarah recently read her copy and said it was great, and I thought the whole concept of the book (two stories published on the flip sides of one book, telling different perspectives of the one narrative, which can be read in either order) was really interesting. Since Sarah started with Below I decided to start with Above so we could compare. I’ve only read a few chapters so far, but it already has me hooked in and wanting to learn more about the world.AboveBelow-cover1-300x246
  3. On Thursday I went grocery shopping at my local Coles and came across a wonderfully terrible/excellent cover in the tiny book section – a little pulpy crime book called Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins, with a lingerie-and-trench-coat-clad, pistol-wielding dame on the front. Perhaps with No Nice Girl still fresh in my mind, I gave in to my curiosity and read the start of the blurb, and by that point I was a goner. This is a short snippet:

    Marcy Addwater killed her husband – there’s no question about that. Shot him dead in the motel room where he was trysting with a blonde hooker. Shot the hooker, too. But where the cops might see an open-and-shut case, private eye Michael Tree – Ms Michael Tree – sees a conspiracy. For Ms. Tree (ah get it? – Ms. Tree XD) digging into it could mean digging her own grave…and digging up her own murdered husband’s.

    Add it the fact that it’s based on a comic book series and was a mere $5, I couldn’t resist and since it’s 192 pages long it is a new contender in the challenge 😛deadly beloved

  4. On Friday I went to pick up my very exciting Terry Pratchett book which I told you all about last time. It looked even better once I could flip through it, and as chance would have it is also part of the under-200 pages club so has been added to the challenge 🙂eric
  5.  Lastly, on Sunday I read a story from The Living Dead zombie anthology called ‘Blossom’ by David J Schow, which was a very short, but very creepy story where some S&M foreplay goes awry….and since this is a zombie anthology you can probably guess where that leads….trust me, it’s even creepier than what you’re thinking.A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

Here’s the updated list of Short and Sweet contenders:

a clockwork orangeClockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

i am legendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

hornHorn by Peter M Ball

BleedBleed by Peter M Ball

deadly beloved

Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

ericThe Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby

I also had success with my other challenge:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badge

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending22 pages (1 chapter)

Pages remaining: 419

Brisingr:

Brisingr38 Pages (2 chapters)

Pages remaining: 532

Total:

60 Pages

Pages remaining: 951

It didn’t quite make up for last week, but I’m under 1000 pages now and both books are getting really interesting, so I have high hopes for this challenge 🙂

Besides that not a lot happened last week….so here’s a few fun things to make this post more exciting 😛

Firstly this video since my bro and I were talking about the other day:

I used to have this on my MySpace page you guys! Back when MySpace was actually cool and Facebook was just a book made of faces or something weird (not sure if a book made of faces is less weird than Facebook however). I likely also had a bad early ’00 song that automatically played in the background of my MySpace and made it take forever to load…and I was probably using dial-up to access it. Man, I hope most of you even knew what I was talking about then or else I’m going to feel pre-maturely old O.O

Next a couple of gifs from Orphan Black, which is my current obsession in TV-land:

baaaaaaa

felix

And lastly a video from the Arctic Monkeys concert I went to @ Perth Arena on Tuesday night (not one I filmed – I was much further away) of my favourite song off their new album, and the song they closed an epic set with:

It’s a bit wobbly and you can hear the fans singing along as clear, if not clearer than, the band, but I kind of like that – it shows the excitement and energy in the room that night better than if it had perfect picture and sound, you know?

That’ll do for now Bookbaggers, but I’ll catch ya next week when I do my next update, and there may be some other bits and bobs in the works too.

Until then:

good-night-apocalypse