Sunday, August 28, 2011

On Bugs, Books and Blessings

Aw, look at the pretty flowers!

So, there was this one time I was eating a bag of sunflower seeds at work (I used to work for a sculptor many years ago, as a sander/polisher). I ate some of the seeds, and the day ended, so I left the bag there with the rest of my supplies. I had torn off the corner of the bag to access them - just tilt the bag and dump some in my mouth, eating them as I worked. You get the idea...

So I come back the next day to work, set up my work area, start working, and resumed eating the seeds. After about a half-dozen mouthfuls of seeds, I tilt the bag up to my mouth, take a big pull, filling my mouth with seeds... and I feel something go into my mouth that is definitely not a seed. It is way too big, and not salty, and actually kind of cold. And it is wiggling.

Like a machine gun, I spit the seeds out of my mouth all across my work bench, wide-eyed. When I spit out the great big, black water bug, it hits the floor and starts to waddle away. I let out an incoherent gasp/cry and stomp on the bug. I spit on the floor, repeatedly, panting, thoroughly disturbed. The sculptor I worked for heard the commotion and came in my workroom to find me pale-faced and speechless, pointing a trembling finger at the squished bug on the floor. I tried to explain to my boss what had happened, mostly using hand signals and miming, since I was still too freaked out.

Of course, the bug must have crawled into the bag sometime in the middle of the night.  I picture it struggling in the shifting bag of seeds as I took repeated mouthfuls that morning, the bug wondering (the way bugs do, I'm sure) what on earth was happening. Finally, the time came when it slid out of the bag and into legend. I was so undone, my boss sent me home for the day.

And now, the famous Cadbury Eyebrow Commercial...

I have never seen a video that stunned me to this extent, so funny I couldn't even laugh. I stood there watching it yesterday (when Eldest Daughter played it for me), mouth open, doing a strange, slow-motion double-take, laughing on the inside, motionless on the outside, in some sort of disconnected limbo.  I am (as many of you know) a huge fan of absurdity, and that video has to be the new benchmark. When the girl busts out the balloon at 0:48, I thought my head was going to explode, as I did a world-record "Wait... what?"

I must have been in just the right mood and frame of mind to see that... my first coherent thought after watching it was "I HAVE to put that on my blog!"

So I started and abandoned yet another book. This time, the first book in another highly-acclaimed series, one by author Adrian Tchaikovsky called Shadows of the Apt. The book is called Empire in Black and Gold, and has been heralded as one of the great fantasy series currently available. It is well-written -- the author certainly knows his way around a page. I just can't seem to click with the whole vibe of the book. The races of people are all sort of a magical hybrid of people and insects... there are Beetle-people who are short, strong and stocky; there are Mantis-kind, who are ferocious fighters, with barbs growing along their forearms (like mantids); there are ant-kind, who can all communicate through thoughts and act as one, like ants in a ant colony; there are fly-kind, who are small and can fly; etc. There are about a dozen different races/nations, and they act like people (basically) but with bug-like traits that are magic based. The militaristic Wasp-kind are cast in the role of "barbaric hoard out for world-domination" and a rag-tag group of other insect-based "people" are tasked with trying the thwart the eminent invasion.

As you might imagine from my opening story, the bug-thing just doesn't work for me. Ironically, I'm abandoning the book at 18% through, as I did with The City & The City (my previous book attempt). Coincidence, I'm sure.

Speaking of books, I want to do a little house-cleaning in my office, and I'm getting rid of books. I wanted to give you all first crack at some of them before I donate them to a garage sale. If you live in the US and would like one (or more) of these titles, email me (or Facebook message me) and I'll send the book(s) to you as a gift.

The Lies of Locke LaMora, by Scott Lynch
Storm Front, by Jim Butcher
A Storm of Swords, by GRRMartin
Warriors, by Various Authors
Empire in Black and Gold, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
A Feast for Crows, by GRRMartin
Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson

Lavodyss, by Robert Holdstock
Assassin's Apprentice, by Robin Hobb
The Talisman, by Stephen King & Peter Straub
Hawkwood's Voyage. by Paul Kearney
A Shadow in Summer, by Daniel Abraham
Across the Face of the World, by Russell Kirkpatrick
The Night Angel Trilogy. by Brent Weeks

The Sword of Angels, by John Marco
The Jackal of Nar, by John Marco
Odd Thomas, by Dean Koontz
The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss
A Clash of Kings, by GRRMartin
The Lion of Senet, by Jennifer Fallon
Point of Impact, by Stephen Hunter

All up for grabs! In a week or so, whatever is not requested will be donated to some garage sale of some kind. I'm working on my digital library now... takes up far less shelf space! I already have digital copies of several of these books, and those that I may want to read again at some point in the future, I'll just buy digital copies of when the time comes.

And now, a couple funny animal pics...


OK, fine, it's "cute", not "funny"...

I wonder if they shift with the sunbeam as it moves across the floor?

So, school is starting again. That means I get to be stay-at-home dad one day a week, to school Youngest Daughter in the fine art of being a first-grader. She lost her first tooth tonight; one of the bottom-front ones. She was so excited. She's going to take it to school to share with her class, when the time comes. I'm glad she lost it -- she has one more bottom-front to lose. Her adult teeth were already coming in behind her loose baby teeth (like a shark!). I'm going to take her to the dentist on Tuesday to get her teeth evaluated. We'll see what he says. I'm sure whatever the good Dentist decides, it will be expensive...

It was a terrific summer. Perhaps my best ever. Wifey and I are in uncharted territory. We are doing very well; I feel closer to her now BY FAR than I have the entire time I've known her (20+ years). I have my theories on why this quantum shift has occurred, but the theories are still half-baked, so I don't want to toss them out here just yet. One things is certain: it is wholly unexpected, and could not have come at a more opportune time. I was broken, spent, done. Then, the world changed.

And on that note, I am done for tonight. Let me know if you want any books.

Dave the Intrepid


logankstewart said...

I sent an email requesting Warriors if it's still available...

That commercial was absurd for sure. Funny stuff.

My dogs lay in the sunlight like those cats, and they do move with the sun throughout the day. What a life.

David Wagner said...

The following books have been claimed as of this moment:

Warriors and Name of the Wind

Odd Thomas and The Talisman

A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows

Everything else is still up for grabs!

Abbie Josephsen said...

can i have your sanderson and across the face of the world? I still need to find the book two for that one :P Thanks for the beautiful opening picture, the cute animal pics at the end (love the dogs-in-sun one :)) and that absurd video :D

David Wagner said...

You got it, Abbie. I'll bring them Sunday, unless you drop by sooner.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

ha ha. I've never seen that commercial before. But I had the same kind of feeling. It's funny, but I was just flabbergasted. Watching those eyebrows. lol! Great video. Sorry to hear you are abandoning Empire in Black and Gold. I do have that one here on the shelves to read. But each book has a home somewhere. :)

Thank you for the offer on the Angel Trilogy. I'm going to have to email you as I'd like to take you up on it. I only have the first book and would like to get the other two. And if you still have A Shadow in Summer I would love it as well. :) Oh, I don't want to sound like a book hog but I've wanted to try Robin Hobb's series too. Geez, now I sound like a book hog. Sorry. But I'm going to send you over an email. :) Thank you!

David Wagner said...

OK, also taken at this point are Windbreaker and Across the Face of the World, as well as the Night Angel Trilogy, A Shadow in Summer and Assassin's Apprentice.

Anyone else want to snap up a book or two while you can?


Kristopher A. Denby said...

I'm really glad to hear that things are going so great for you, Dave. Seriously, man. You can feel the happiness in your posts.

Good stuff!

What a generous offer with the books, also. But I think that me and sc-fi/fantasy are at odds right now. I've stumbled with more than a few genre books, and I think it might be time to try reading different genres and/or non-fiction. Thanks again!


Paula Titus said...

A bug in your mouth is seriously grotesque. Especially a live one. My husband had a beetle crawl into his ear once, it was traumatic but not really gross.

I'm so happy for this breakthrough in your marriage, God is good, eh? :)