Review of ARC Herding Cats (Sarah’s Scribbles #3) by Sarah Andersen

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

I received this as an advanced copy from Netgalley.com for an honest review.

I swear, Sarah Anderson’s strips are pixelated joy. Each one speaks to me in a different way, and I found myself nodding enthusiastically as I read them and/or laughing my ass off. She speaks to my inner animal lover and my inner anxiety and angst fueled woman. I liked this so much, I want to get some of strips printed out and hang them on the wall so moments when I am losing my mind, or having crazy anxiety due to my period and I can look up at the picture and go “ahhhh. Yes. I am not alone in this insanity.” I haven’t read the first two books in the series which is so very exciting because that means I get to experience them for the first time and look forward to all the joy. I would definitely recommend this book to any adult reader. I find some of her strips speak specifically to being a woman, but even then male readers will get a chuckle. Readdddd itttt.

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Poke around the Shanghai Tunnels they said..

I want to tell you a little story about an experience I had when I first moved to portland. I went on a haunted ghost tour of downtown portland found here.

I did this for a variety of reasons:

  1. It was cheap entertainment for the evening.
  2. Gave me an opportunity to walk around like a tourist.
  3. Also, gave me a chance to hang out with my very cool friend Jessica.
  4. I like dark stories when they involve architecture and secret compartments.
  5. Even better if they feature some sort of dastardly secret society hell bent on kidnapping you and using you for nefarious purposes.
  6. I can use these stories later to not-impress family and friends when they come to town to visit me.
  7. I do believe in ghosts.
  8. I do believe that alcohol can make the above mentioned points even better.

The evening started off mild and wet. I met up with my friend Jessica and ghost hunting partner at a local bar downtown called Oldtown Brewing. This bar is renown for its excellent beer, excellent pizza and haunted and terrifying past.

“Old Town Pizza sits in what used to be called the Old North End, a section of the city with a rather questionable reputation. Despite the upstanding clientele of the Merchant Hotel, even it was known for offering one of the oldest professions in the world: prostitution. As legend goes, one of the young “working women” was Nina, sold into this life by a thriving white slavery market. In an effort to clean up the neighborhood, traveling missionaries convinced Nina to share information in exchange for freeing her from a fate she did not choose. Nina cooperated but soon afterward was found dead in the hotel, now Old Town Pizza. Thrown down the elevator shaft, Nina is reported to have never left the building. Could it be Nina who carved her name in the brick of the old elevator shaft, now the backdrop of a cozy booth in the rear of the restaurant?” https://www.otbrewing.com/haunted-past

The beer was good though, plus they had karaoke. Bad karaoke can make you wish you were dead, so that was close enough for me. I did not meet Nina, there was no hovering over my pizza while karaoke played, but I did hear a neat story told by a great storyteller.

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Entrance to the tunnel proper
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Entrance to the bowels of hell. No really just stairs to the basement.
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The weird tunnel is in the back that just leads off.
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Where we had our story time. No seance this time. 
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Old AF stairs that lead down into the basement. 

 

After our food, beer, and story where concluded. We headed down single file to the back of the restaurant and filtered through a series of hallways and stairs that lead down into the dusty and dimly lit basement. The room looked old by the wood lathe used on the walls. It smelled dusty, moldy, but with the never mistaken smell of rising pizza dough.  You can tell that it had not been used as a busy space in years except by GHOSTS! haha no really, it was pretty well not used. In the corner of the basement was a dark and cordoned off hallway that lead.. well..it led away into darkness.  I am not trying to be all mystical or scary movie-ish. It literally led out into the darkness around the corner. It was a weird hallway. We were not allowed to follow the hallway into the great beyond. My inner goonie was screaming. Apparently it is dangerous to walk around pitch black tunnels in the middle of the night that may or may not be used for slave trade and/or drug running. They could get sued. All I heard was blah blah you are ruining my fun.

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The tour continued around downtown from there. It is a walking tour after all. The guide walked and pointed and the tour group nodded sagely and occasionally took pictures. I know we visited the Bensen Hotel, which is a marvel of wood and crystal and makes me feel both very fancy and underdressed at the same time. Apparently it is said to be haunted by the ghost of the previous owner, Mr. Bensen. No freaky apparitions of men from the 1930’s wearing expensive suits were seen. I did however have another drink.

A little bit of trivia, “The Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell died in his hotel room at the Benson Hotel on November 12, 2008 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benson_Hotel)”

I hive-fived his ghost while washing my hands in the ladies loo.

 

 

 

Troll Prodigy

trollface

 

 

As quoted to me from my patient husband.

“Vivian and I were chilling this afternoon, watching Internet videos. I introduced her to Eduard Khil’s Vocalise, better known as the Trololol song. We got to the second chorus, and Vivian did her grunt/shout thing just about 1 beat after each note for five notes, which I thought was pretty neat but probably a coincidence. Then I caught a whiff of the air.
My baby daughter just farted to the beat of the Trololol song.

Trololololo song

I feel like I really should have foreseen that mixing my genes with Beth’s would produce a troll prodigy.”

ARC – Jimmy’s Bastards Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis, Mike Marts (Editor), Dave Johnson (Artist), Russ Braun (Colorist), John Kalisz (Cover Art), Rob Steen (Letterer)

 

I was supplied with an ARC of this novel from netgalley.com for a honest review.

Well jesus-riding-a-pogo-stick.. that is a weird take on James Bond mythos.

First lets talk about what is completely awesome about this story. It is offensive (in a good way), ribald, crazy, and exceptionally well drawn. The writing is comedic and dirty but still very smart. Typical of Ennis’s books, of which I am a huge fan. Specifically It reminds me a lot of the style of “The Boys.” Gratuitous sex and violence.

What I found to be not so hot was stories pacing. It didn’t seem to get anywhere till the very last part of the book. The rest of it was some lead up and a lot of dick jokes, Eh I really think Garth Ennis could have done better in that department.

All in all I would recommend this series to readers after they have read some of Ennis’s better work: Preacher and The Boys specifically. He really shines in those and the characters are spectacularly put together. Also this has to be said, you really should not read this book if you are not an adult and even then it’s iffy. I felt like I needed a shower to wash some mental grime off from reading some of his other stories, and this story is not an exception. However for this series there is more story to be written maybe it will get pulled together in one glorious climax (he he). We shall see where it goes.

 

Portland Bucket List

I am never one to shy away from a bucket list or reading list of any sort or really.. anything numbered.

I feel like I haven’t been doing much of anything lately and that is rough on me psychologically. I suffer from “I need to get things done or my life is being wasted syndrome.” Followed closely by, “I’m tired and don’t want to get out of bed (depression)” and “I am to freaked out by the immensity of living that I am just going to curl up into the corner over here and rock back and forth (anxiety).”  Basically it’s fun to do things, it’s fun to not be sad and it’s fun to be like, “I did that, I level up myself.”  So I made a happy list that I will update regularly. Also, if anyone has any additions that I can add I would love that! I am all about trying stuff. If I end up trying it, ill write a post about it.

  1. Eat at a food cart
    1. Do a food cart hop
    2. Do a bar hop
  2. Get caught in a downpour on your way home.
  3. Float the river
  4. Try worlds hottest fritter.
  5. try worlds largest pancake
  6. Swim in the Willamette
    1. Swim across the willamette
  7. Hike to the top of Multnomah Falls
    1. Hike to the bridge at the falls
  8. Eat all the donuts..
    1. Old Dirty Bastard at Voodoo Donuts.
      1. Better yet, do this at 2 am because why the hell not.762f8517dfefd20c695debfd6d7ce571
    2. Blue Star Donuts. All I can say is “yaaaaaaas Queen” You so fancy.o
    3. 180 Donuts. Their Instagram looks fabulous.
    4. Delicious Donuts
    5. Pips Original Donuts
  9. Have a Spanish coffee at Huber’s
  10. Go skiing in the summer
  11. Watch the sunset from the Bluffs
  12. Get lost in the corn maze on Sauvie Island
    1. Pick berries at sauvie island
  13. Wake up hoarse from all the yelling and screaming at a concert.
  14. Understand, conceptually, how to make beer
  15. Complain about gentrification
  16. Eat two dozen wings at Whiskey Soda Lounge while waiting for a table at Pok Pok… and drink about half a dozen whiskey sours.
  17. Be “that guy” on a distillery tour
  18. See the Vaux’s Swifts fly into Chapman School
  19. Go to a strip club
  20. See the West Coast’s oldest drag queen
  21. Talk your way out of getting fined on the MAX
  22. Read an entire book on the floor of Powell’s
  23. Smell the roses At the International Rose Test Garden.
  24. Poke around the Shanghai Tunnels
  25. Have an after-hours shot of fernet
  26. Listen to Elliott Smith while it’s raining
  27. Visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  28. Have your “art” featured in a coffee shop
  29. Visit the largest park in city limits: Forest Park
  30. Buy pot. Legally.
  31. See a local comedy show
  32. Visit the ZooLights
  33. Visit Sunshine lights thing
  34. Visit the street of decorations
  35. Judge the people in line at Voodoo Doughnut
  36. Get a tattoo.
  37. Watch porn with a crowdSure, Hump! Film Festival.
  38. Watch the sunrise from Mount Tabor
  39. Watch the Naked Bike Ride
  40. Visit Pittock Mansion
  41. Visit the Japanese Garden
  42.  Chinese Garden
  43.  Rhododendron Garden
  44. Starks Vacuum Museum
  45. Go to a brewpub Movie Theater
  46. See the smallest park in the world
  47. Take a picture under the keep portland weird sign
  48. Visit the Witches castle in Forest Park
  49. See the Jetliner in the woods
  50. Visit the Towering Redwood Grove
  51. Visit Powells books
  52. Take a photo in the photo booth at Ace Hotel
  53. Get a picture of the Paul Bunyan Statue
  54. Visit the set of the Goonies House
  55. Get Pictures of Castle Rock
  56. Ride the aerial Tram
  57. Visit Detention Liquor
  58. Play Dark Mini-golf
  59. Visit the Belmont Goats
  60. Visit the Freakybutttrue Peculiarium
  61. Eat Dirty Fries at Lardos
  62. Tacos at Por Que no
  63. Pancakes at slappy cakes
  64. Eat Pigeon at Le Pigeon
  65. Eat ice cream at Salt and Straw
  66. High five the Unipiper
  67. Drink a flight of whiskey at Multnomah Whiskey Bar
    1. Highland Stillhouse

Excerpts of the above list were taken from a few different sources and collated into something that works for me. All credit given to the original authors:

  1. https://www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/portland/portland-bucket-list
  2. http://www.bestfoodfeed.com

Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Dog Men #1 (Dresden Files: Dog Men #1) by Jim Butcher (or Alternative Title, “My Crush Continues on Harry”)

 

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Image Curtesy of Goodreads

 

 

I was provided a free copy of this novel from NetGalley.com for an honest review.
Butcher writes another slam dunk in the Urban Fantasy genre with everyones favorite anti-hero and total pain-in-the-ass wizard. This go around is in the form of a graphic novel.

To preface, Harry is seething in anger and anxious about past dealings that are coming to haunt him. He is a man holding on by how fingernails. But then he gets an unexpected request for help from a member of the White Council. This takes Harry out of his comfort zone of Chicago and the reader to an unfamiliar location. Harry attempts to do what he does best, protect the innocence and cause hate and discontent for some rather nasty baddies that are attempting to shit on Harry’s evening. As always, things definitely do not go as planned.
Typical for Jim Butcher, the writing is excellent. The language and imagery are crisp and interesting with out being to verbose. In a not so typical fashion for Butcher’s writing the pacing seemed off. I found that at the start of the novel the pacing was lugubrious and slow. Maybe that was a writerly choice for tone setting, but I found that off putting. Especially in a format such as a graphic novel. Where pacing and imagery are literally at the forefront. The story picks back up in a typical Dresden fashion and ends in some very interesting ways. Overall a very good read and I would recommend it to anyone. This series has a big place in my heart and I am always so excited with Jim releases new stories.I can’t get enough of this world and  I believe that everyone needs a little Harry Dresden in their lives.

ARC of Peanut Butter and Jelly (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #3) by Ben Clanton

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and I am new to the series. But, oh man this book has made me a believer. It is just adorable. Not adorable in the annoying cutesy – fart way, but adorable in an uncluttered and visually appealing way with great characters. I bet this series launches a lot of memes for adults and  yet it still retains a silly and approachability for young readers. I enjoyed the lighthearted tone, the graphics, and occasional interesting science fact thrown in. (Good for trivia night as an adult.)

Did you know that Humpback whales work together and make bubble nets to catch fish?

I would highly recommend this novel to the 2nd-5th grade reader and an adult who enjoys lighthearted fun.

As a side note, I can definitely empathize with Narwhal’s obsession with his new favorite food. I too find myself feeling like Narwhal. You may now call me Madam Von Peanut.

 

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Image curtesy of goodreads

Let’s Talk Graphic Novels

I know a whole lot about a few things, not that it has done me a whole lot of good being able to quote and/or extemporize on the glories of early american science fiction or why “Galapagos” by Kurt Vonnegut is so relevant today. I could teach a class on Science Fiction and Fantasy. This makes me either really annoying, and irritating when talking about books or absolutely fascinating because I am so picky. I am going with fascinating here. Don’t burst my bubble. I am wicked smaht in this one thing.

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I started to get bored. I thought to my self, “self why don’t you branch out and learn something new.” Get wicked smaht in another branch of the literature tree.  I thought graphic novels. Yay! Then I thought. LISTS! ALL THE BOOK LISTS! I can lord my love of the highlighter and crossing stuff off with reading cool books. SCORE! Then I looked around and made sure no one else was looking and gave myself the highest of fives.

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Of Course I have a list semi-prepared, because what is life if you don’t have direction and they aren’t picture books. Get that crap out of your head. I have included the first thirty off of my list because typing is hard. I actually have 100 on the list.  You can find a full list here. According to goodreads I have read a cool 60 of the 100.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/210.Best_Graphic_Novels

  1. Watchman by Alan Moore (Mr. Moore tends to be on here a lot.)
  2. The Complete Maus (Maus, #1-2) by Art Spiegelman  
  3. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  4. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi 
  5. Preludes & Nocturnes (The Sandman, #1) by Neil Gaiman (God you are beautiful Neil)
  6. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (The Dark Knight Saga, #1)
    by Frank Miller
  7. Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
  8. Saga, Vol. 1 (Saga, #1) by Brian K. Vaughan (My favorite I think)
  9. Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned (Y: The Last Man, #1) 
    by Brian K. Vaughan 
  10. Blankets 
    by Craig Thompson 
  11. Batman: Year One
    by Frank Miller
  12. Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile 
    by Bill Willingham 
  13. The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye 
    by Robert Kirkman 
  14. Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life 
    by Bryan Lee O’Malley 
  15. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic 
    by Alison Bechdel 
  16. Bone: The Complete Edition 
    by Jeff Smith 
  17. Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard Goodbye (Sin City, #1) 
    by Frank Miller 
  18. Batman: The Long Halloween
    by Jeph Loeb
  19. Preacher, Volume 1: Gone to Texas 
    by Garth Ennis 
  20. Ghost World
    by Daniel Clowes
  21. Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom (Death Note, #1)
    by Tsugumi Ohba
  22. Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street (Transmetropolitan, #1) 
    by Warren Ellis
  23. From Hell
    by Alan Moore
  24. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 
    by Alan Moore
  25. The Arrival 
    by Shaun Tan 
  26. Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth
    by Grant Morrison
  27. Black Hole 
    by Charles Burns 
  28. American Born Chinese 
    by Gene Luen Yang (Goodreads Author) 
  29. Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft 
    by Joe Hill (Goodreads Author) 
  30. Hellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction (Hellboy, #1) 
    by Mike Mignola 

I don’t tend to read the first book in a series, because no fun. I try to read the whole thing. Some are better than others like any piece of literature. I love this particular list because it runs the gamut in terms of story type. Autobiographical to high fantasy.

I also want to make sure I say it out loud that I don’t actually believe I will be any kind of expert on graphic novels after finishing this list. Seriously. It’s a place to start and a direction to take.

My god. It has been a year.

I enjoy this. I enjoy writing. How did I get out of the habit of writing, of attempting to connect with people? Your answer is as good as mine. I want to say. “Life.” But god that sounds so trite. The fact of the matter is that I got out of the habit of doing just about anything in 2017. Anything but being a mom drone. That also sounds trite.

Normally at the start of the year, I look back on the previous year with a mixture of happiness, and hopefulness. I set out large lofty goals for myself, rarely meet them completely and learn a bunch in the process. It wasn’t that way this last year. I entered 2018 not actually able to remember if I had done anything of note the entire year. That is not to say that I hadn’t built anything, learned anything, or read anything. It just seemed all so inconsequential. It took my husband sitting down with me and recounting some of my adventures for me to recall anything, and my reaction of, “so.” For me to figure out that maybe something is wrong in the mental or happiness department.

First and foremost this year we bought a house. That is fucking huge. I am trying to curb my cursing a bit, but I can think of no other word that describes the immensity of purchasing a house. It is very very large undertaking. First paperwork. All the paper that has every been printed out since the Guttenberg Bible needs to be signed, notarized, viewed, corrected, then re-signed. Then then the moving in process, which I jokingly said that I was done and was going to set everything on fire. I didn’t, obviously. But I learned a lesson that I have way to much crap. More on that later. Our house is an odd shape. It is a great house, but very long. Kinda like a giant hallway with bedrooms attached. Trying to figure out how to decorate and move our family in has been a challenge. Plus, I am a designer. I hate saying that. It makes me feel all uncomfortable inside and awkward. But, I am a trained in architecture and worked in the field for ten years. If something is off design wise it makes me physically uncomfortable. So couple that with new house and I have set myself off to have about 8k pins on Pinterest of things I want to do.

I have overwhelmed the crap out of myself.

I also have a three-year old. Which means I cannot get anything completed ever.

Couple my inability to get anything done, my wish for all the pretty things, and my penchant for anxiety and depression.. well you get the idea. I have pretty much fried my brain.

So here I am a year later, older and maybe a touch wiser. I have started a soul clean out of sorts. I am not connecting this to the new year or anything else. There needs to be a change and no calendar is going to tell me that it is too late or early to get it done. I think that simplification is in order. I have started purging and reevaluation of things that actually don’t hold value to me. Do I want to look at it, touch it. If the house was on fire, would I grab it? This has nothing to do with pets or family. Just the tactile belongings one surrounds themselves with. Is it beautiful? Is it useful? Does it add value to my life? Not much does when you boil things down to the bare minimum of things. So far I have concluded a few things. I don’t want to buy clothing that doesn’t want to make me spin around in a mirror. I have too much clothing to start with, and I end up wearing nothing but yoga pants and t-shirts. Neither of which make me feel great. But that is another adventure for another day. I have too much hair care, and facial products. Our bathroom is small and has very little storage. Time to pare down.

I need to figure out what real things and pursuits mean the most to me, and go after them. I think I have spun my wheels to long. Here is what I have so far:

  1. Things that I love:
    1. My antique kimono
    2. My necklace from my sister April.
    3. My books (maybe not all. But certainly my Dr. Seuss and pop up book collection)
  2. Things that bring me immense joy
    1. Gardening
    2. Art (both doing and looking at)
    3. Reading books

I’m going to start from there. See where I go. I already deleted about 8k pins in one fail swoop of cathartic soul cleaning.

All Children Should Twirl

I don’t think there is a more pure form of happiness than the glee that comes from a piece of fabric. It makes a child so sublimely happy. The swirl, swish, or clunk of the fabric seems to have magical affects on kids. I know that when I was a child I loved to twirl. I would put on this baby blue dress that I wore at my brother’s wedding and stand in front of the mirror and spin and spin. So much so, that I would get dizzy and fall down on the tile. But that was part of the fun. Spin, spin, spin, spin, fall, pause, and get up again. Over and over. I would watch the way the sunlight poured through the lace of the dress and feel beautiful in the way that children do. I would feel special, because this was a special dress that had been worn on a special occasion. In wearing it again I was getting an opportunity to relive that moment.

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I am a flower garden wrapped up in a toddler. 

For this Easter I dressed my viking up in a tutu made of all the colors of the rainbow. She is too young to get the full affect of wearing a giant tutu. But I caught her out of the corner of my eye discovering the joy of spinning around in a skirt and the glee that would come from it. For me that was so much better than all the candy and eggs I could have had. I will continue to buy her things that make her smile: Costumes, skirts, aprons, whatever. Girl/boy clothes whatever she wants to wear. If it brings her those moments of standing in front of a mirror giggling, spinning, and falling on the floor she can have it.

I heard a very wise person once say, you should not buy any clothing that doesn’t make you want to twirl in front of a mirror, even as an adult. Since then I have bought 3 fringe shawls. Fringe I have discovered makes me want to twirl.

As experiences go, this one was a biggie for me. Watching my viking twirl for a moment and giggle was awesome.