My random nattering about all things geek, including family, friends and what I find to be fantastic and fun!
|Posted on November 19, 2014 at 7:15 AM||comments (2)|
If my mom was still with us, she would have turned 90 years old yesterday. That reminder came from my oldest sister. All my siblings were close to my mom, but we all grew up in different eras and had different experiences with her.
She was such a cutie.
For me, the baby of the family, I grew up when all my siblings were moved out and I had my mom all to myself. During the week, when my dad did evening shift work, my mom and I would curl up and watch shows like Fantasy Island on the little tv in their bedroom. When I was a teenager she loved to go with me to see new horror movies. Wonder if my sisters and brother knew that mom was a fan of slasher films like Friday the 13th.
My mom lived through WWII. She moved to a new country with a 5 and 3 year old, with no friends and very little english. She worked hard for her family. I appreciate all she did for us, but what I appreciate most is that when she had some down time she simply loved to snuggle up and watch geeky television and film with me. I'll be forever grateful for that time together.
All the best, your GG
|Posted on November 18, 2014 at 7:00 AM||comments (0)|
The main character, Christopher Sinclair, is simply walking his dogs one mild evening in Arizona. Next thing he knows he's in a freezing cold land of winter and he doesn't remember getting there. Lucky for him, Christopher is taken in by some lovely people in a nearby village, but he can't understand their language and everything about them screams medieval. At first he thinks he's gone back in time, but then he discovers that there is magic here too. He is very far out of his element.
Although Christopher has been thrown into a world very different from his own, he has brought with him skills that may help him survive. He is a wiz with a katana and he is a mechanical engineer, both of which come in very handy throughout the story. And while being able to wield a sword is a pretty standard advantage in a magical fantasy land, being a mechanical engineer is generally not. What Christopher does to improve his situation, using his knowledge of engineering and modern day business, turns what could have been a basic fantasy tale into something different. Using a lot more brain power than muscle throughout the story is also good for Christopher, and not simply because he's considered an old man. (really he's only around 30, which in our day and age is not old) Physical fighting in this world very often gets you badly injured or worse, dead. However, this is where the magic has an advantage. You can buy healing and, more costly of course, life. The cost for the cure though is horrifying and one of the reasons Christopher decides to change the way things are done.
By the end of the book he's been through hell and back. He has learned many lessons, but at the same time he has taught many non-magical advantages to his new found comrades too. If you're a fantasy geek who also loves anything mechanical and industrial, with war and magic as a bonus, you will really enjoy Sword of The Bright Lady.
You can pick up a copy through amazon.ca
All the best, your GG
|Posted on November 13, 2014 at 7:00 AM||comments (0)|
My initial introduction to author Edain Duguay's writing was her first book in the Chameleon series. Find out what I thought about it.
Earlier this month she released not only a new book, but as well another new series. The first in the series is Witch Bottle.
Ordinary Amy Grey must leave her home in Britain to deal with the family cottage in Canada after the tragic death of her parents. Her arrival brings many memories, but also death. And Amy has the strange feeling that someone is watching over her. But why?
This is a wonderfully dark paranormal mystery. A murder spree that started centuries ago has come to the small town near Amy's cottage. While Amy slips into everyday life, the bodies pile up. The police are baffled and their only lead is a strange witch's sigil. It's a fabulous blend of murder mystery and supernatural suspense, and witchcraft both historical and fanciful.
Amy Grey is a great character that women can relate to. She's "average", smart and resourceful. There is also another great female character that you'll absolutely love, but she's a big part of the mystery.... so I'll just let you become acquainted with her on your own.
I hardly put Witch Bottle down the whole time I had the manuscript to read through for spelling, etc. I often became so engrossed in the story that I'd have to stop myself and go back to re-read parts again to do what I was supposed to be doing. It's seriously that good.
If you'd like to meet Ms. Duguay in person and get yourself an autographed copy of Witch Bottle, she'll be at Pop Expo next weekend, November 22/23.
All the best, your GG
|Posted on November 12, 2014 at 6:55 AM||comments (0)|
I haven't posted a Best Geek Mom or Dad in quite some time, but this dad deserves the honour for sure.
Eric Hart is a props master for a theatre company. His son Collier was born premature and has spent his life so far in intensive care. For his first Halloween this dad wanted him to have a costume "that would help him feel brave", so he made him a teeny Iron Man costume. Hart explained why he chose Iron Man and how he did it in this article at the Huffington Post.
So freak'n adorable
I wish you and your family every joy, and hope baby Collier is home for Christmas.
All the best, your GG
|Posted on November 8, 2014 at 11:25 AM||comments (2)|
A couple of months ago I wrote about plans for our 25th Anniversary Adventure. Preparations for our adventure have already begun. I'm using my background in historical research to work out the shapes and materials of items from the period and slowly collecting those things we will initially need. I've had a blast exploring second hand shops and Value Village. I'm sharing my finds here.
One of the best parts of my exploration so far.
Researching period appropriate candy.
I've also been researching what I can do to entertain myself when Pat is off doing his soldiering. It has to be period appropriate for a wife in a military camp. Lucky for me I found one activity that I have been wanting to try out for quite some time - spinning. A number of my friends have been spinning with drop spindles for a few years now and I've watched them and oogled their fluffy soft fibres. Our upcoming adventure has given me the perfect excuse to give it a try.
I started by researching which style of drop spindle would be period appropriate for Regency/1812. My friends mainly use a top whorl drop spindle, but I found that I needed a bottom whorl drop spindle. Luckily our local weavers and spinners guild had a show and sale last weekend. My daughter Miranda came with me. If you've read my blog before, you'll know she loves textiles as well.
Here's what I got myself...
I had to keep the spindle fairly simple (for a soldier's wife), but it's quite beautiful. It's made of maple and tiger maple by Judy Kavanagh. The blue wool is Merino, which is not period, but I'll enjoy using it for practice, and the green wool is Romney, which is period, and it is naturally dyed as well. It's also in the rough as I wanted to go one step further and learn to card. I found out carders are quite expensive, however, I learned that dog brushes work just as well. I also learned from a friend that you can find them at many dollar stores!
They really do work quite well.
Next step - I had to learn how to use my new drop spindle. Miranda got herself a drop spindle and some fibre as well at the show and sale, and she was just as keen to learn. I asked my good friend Pattie who's brilliant at spinning and she was happy to give us a lesson.
A couple of Pattie's gorgeous drop spindles and a wee bit of her huge collection of fibre.
My first attempt and my spinning by the end of our lesson.
We had a great night learning the basics and getting started. And the science of spinning is fascinating. While I'll enjoy spinning on its own, my long term goal is to learn to spin flax and cotton to make thread. Not only will it be useful during our adventure, but I'm looking forward to learning a skill my ancestors would have used on a day to day basis.
I've got a lot of practice ahead of me. Hmmm... guess I've have to buy more fluffy soft fibre...Sweet.
All the best, your GG
|Posted on November 4, 2014 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
Husband and wife authors, Mike and Rachel Grinti worked together for quite a long time to create a unique fantasy set in a non-Western world.
Jala's Mask is a coming of age story, an adventure, and a romance all wrapped up in a new world created from a mix of African and Polynesian myth and legend.
Jala's whole world is the Five-and-One Islands. The people on these islands have survived for over two hundred years by raiding the mainland. They do this on magical ships grown from the reefs around their islands. Their ships always bring them home.
Home and family are the most important thing to the islanders, especially Jala, but when Jala meets King Azi she forgets everything her family has taught her, all their plans and schemes. Simply being herself, she falls for the king and he in turn defies his family and makes her his queen. And although Jala has been prepared for this all her life, she has much to learn about being a strong and fair leader.
Once she arrives at the King's family island, she feels despised and alone. But if that isn't bad enough, on only their second night since the wedding, the islands are invaded by ships controlled by sorcery. One of the islands is left in ruins and others don't respond. But Jala knows why they are being attacked and she must do the impossible to save whose who remain before all the families are destroyed.
For anyone like me who has grown up reading fantasies based in old european countries, mainly England or France, this is very different. There are magics here I've never heard of or imagined. There are strange and terrifying gods. And while the story alone is a wonderful read, I was, at the same time, drawn to research where the authors had gathered their information from to create such a world - for example, the ships grown from living coral. Those ships really stuck with me.
It was the details of the story that I enjoyed most. Unlike reading a european based story where I would have encountered similar details many times before, these were very much a fresh island breeze for my imagination.
If you'd like a change from the fantasy tropes of your grandparents and/or you're a fan of island lore, Jala's Mask is a worthwhile read.
You can get a copy for yourself from amazon.ca
All the best, your GG
|Posted on October 30, 2014 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
I've often heard people say that Ottawa is boring. Well, I'm not sure what they consider to be boring because Ottawa is jam packed with all kinds of fun and interesting people. And these people create all manner of fun things locally including games, movies, art shows, music, events, and more.
It being so close to Halloween - tomorrow actually - I thought I'd mention just some of our home grown scary fun:
The Haunted Walk - Lots of fun, great stories, and dark Ottawa history too. If you don't live here in Ottawa, you can also find them in Kingston and Toronto too.
Cellar Door Film Festival - Ottawa's first festival of speculative cinema. It's coming this November 7 - 9, 2014. There will be lots of local talent involved.
ZombieInfo - Our own local King and Queen of zombies - all things zombie in one place. They can be found at most events here in Ottawa. They are very active in the geek/horror community.
Ottawa Horror - Blog and portal to everything horror in our nation's capital. They can also be found at many events here in Ottawa, when not working on creative local projects for others.
Carnival Diablo - Ottawa should be proud to claim one of the few remaining sideshows in Canada. Scott McClelland and his "freaks" are carrying on a family tradition, and updating it for the future.
The Opinionated Monsters - A web-debate series about all things horror by a number of those already mentioned above. Funny, educational, interesting and often outrageous.
Scream All You Want - Locally made horror webseries. I really enjoyed it. Interesting story and it's always fun to watch local talent.
The next few days would be the perfect time to check these out, but keep in mind that they give Ottawa the creeps all year long.
All the best, and Happy Halloween, your GG