Sandman: World’s End (Volume Eight)

Sandman: World’s End (Volume Eight)

Neil Gaiman

Since I liked this volume so much, I decided to do a review of each issue again.  General opinion: I adored the stories within stories within a story.  Those are my favorite in general, and Neil Gaiman did a grand job!  I also loved the characters and the references to previous volumes (but we all know this already).  And could the dedication get any cuter?  This volume was just perfect.  Now, onto the issues!

A Tale of Two Cities – I didn’t much like the art of this story.  You know me, I have problems with change.  I did, however, really enjoy the idea that cities sleep and dream.  I tried to imagine what NYC would dream about if it could.  In any case, I have promised myself never to get on the subway with Dream.  This story was clearly not my favorite because when I went back to review them here, I forgot what it was about.  Whoops.

Cluracan’s Tale – Oh Cluracan, you’re so pretty!  I liked this tale better than the first, though it wasn’t my favorite either.  My favorite part of this issue was when Cluracan began starting riots in the city.  He went from being some fluff of a nutter to a more serious and cooler character.  I am glad this piece came when it did.  For some reason, it made Cluracan’s drunk drooling later even funnier.

Hob’s Leviathan – I didn’t realize Mr. Gadling was Hob until I started writing this!  Hob!  I love Hob!  The two-page spread of the leviathan was also pretty frickin’ sweet.  I made everyone at the gym look at it.  And when I say everyone, I mostly mean Carolyn because she was walking next to me.  When I got to this story, I was beginning to think that they were arranged by how interesting they were.

The Golden Boy – This story was grand.  It reminded me a bit of Watchmen with it’s tale of what America would be like if the presidents had been different and all the yellow smiley faces everywhere.  I really liked Prez as a character, and Boss Smiley was prefectly creepy.  Now whenever I picture God, I will always think of him like that.  I was incredibly pleased by Prez’s decision to move on and help other Americas.  I wonder when he’s going to find our world.  There is one point in the middle when someone (I forgot who) tells Prez that presidents can never do anything while they’re in the White House.  He explains that everyone hates the current president while he/she are there, and then once they occupy some space in a history book, the population looks at them more favorably.  I thought about this for a long time.  It’s kind of true, isn’t it?

Cerements – Here is where the story within a story within a story within a story really got good.  I got so excited when we finally got to see Destruction again, only to realize it was the fourth story being told (see first sentence).  Like a carefully folded paper crane, I was able to keep track of everyone’s part and when it finally all came together, I couldn’t have been happier.  This also brought up the question: What do we owe the dead?  I like that places can be remade and what we take to be the first of something, may not actually be the first.  And perhaps it isn’t even important that there was another version.  I may have missed a few clues, but I was unsure who died.  I assume it is the same person who is being mourned for in the funeral scene?  Actually, hold those thoughts, let me move on to the next issue.

World’s End – This issue was such a grand finale.  I loved the art of the funeral procession through the sky.  Unrelated: Death’s dress is awesome.  I think I might like to make something like that.  Anyway, I’ve decided that World’s End is what was on the other side of that crack in Doctor Who.  You know, the one that sucked up people so they never existed?  Yep, I figured it all out.  Gah!  Sorry, I’ll stay on topic!  When I was looking through the faces following the casket, I saw several characters I had met in previous issues.  I hope I find out who died in one of the next two volumes (though I trust Neil not to leave it unexplained).  I really hope I didn’t miss a major clue.

All in all, this volume is my favorite so far.  Storytelling is very important to me, and to read an entire work that focuses on nothing just how incredibly important it is to tell tales?  I was in Heaven.  I loved the ending.  I thought the last two stories were brilliant.  Also, I really liked that at the end you find out that the guy (Brant?  Grant? GBrant?) is telling the story, so my excitement over Crements grew even more.  Five stories!  Five!  Neil Gaiman, you are a genius!  I give this volume a star for every story in Cerements!

Sugar Cookies

I have tons of editing to get through before the 18th of this month, so naturally, I thought tonight would be the perfect time to make sugar cookies.  I found this simple recipe for low-fat cookies and I’ve been dying to try it for weeks.  I struggled to do more than two consecutive steps correctly.  At one point, the mixer was flinging bits of butter EVERYWHERE and I only got it to stop when one of the mixer prong-things fell out and shot across the room.  Awesome.  This experience reminded me why I hate baking: I completely suck at it!

In any case, I am now have specs of dough in my hair, puffs of flour all over my clothes and I’m pretty sure I accidentally got nutmeg in my shirt.  While I write this, I am waiting for the first batch of cookies to finish baking.  It took me forever to figure out how the llamas to get the dough flat without having it stick to every inch of my flesh–yes, I know, flour.  I figured it out, thanks.  I originally was going to try to cut cute little animals out, but after I messed up the sixth cookie, I grabbed a cup and angrily punched out plain circles.  Stupid cookies from Hell.

You’d never know if I was telling the truth or not, so you’ll have to take my word on it: I just got up and checked the cookies.  They are the very image of perfection.  Maybe all of my pain wasn’t for nothing.  They better taste like Heaven on earth or I will throw them out the window.  Or bring them to work.  Whatever.

Here’s a picture of the first batch:

Okay, I just ate one.  It tastes like broken dreams.  My verdict: Low fat cookies suck.  Whatever you do, don’t ever make them.  Oh God, these are so bad I can’t even bring them to work.  Excuse me for a moment, I need to scrape my tongue.

Week Twenty-Eight

That’s a lot of weeks.  Is it bad that I’m impressed with myself?  Probably, right?

Anyway, this week I lost 1.8, bringing me to a grand total of 40.6 pounds lost.  Yay!  That means I have 9.4 pounds standing in between me and a celebration of awesome.  Also, soon I’ll have lost my sixth baby!  Did I tell you guys I am two sizes smaller than I was in June?  Well, I am.  Crazy stuff.

That’s all I have for you this week.  I’m off to frolic with Simon!

The Princess and the Goblin

The Princess and the Goblin

George MacDonald

I finally finished this blasted book!  I thought I’d enjoy reading a classic of children’s fantasy but holy cow, this was torture.  Firstly, I thought there was a lot in the story that really didn’t need to be there.  For example, I didn’t think the grandmother needed to be in the story at all.  I think I might even like it more if she hadn’t been there.  I think having her instigate the rescues took away from my high opinion of Irene’s awesomeness as a young woman.

The beginning of the book dealing with Irene and her grandmother was especially painful to march through.  The story only started to get interesting when Irene set out to find Curdie on her own.  I liked that she was independent and brave enough to march into the mountain and rescue him, even if she was following her grandmother’s thread the whole time.  I also like that she saves herself at the end of the book rather than being rescued by Curdie or the king’s guards.

I don’t think I’ll be picking up the sequel anytime soon (if ever).  While I appreciate its value as one of the first fantasy novels written for children, I didn’t like this one enough to recommend it to others to read for pleasure.  My rating: 2/5

Simon Hates Your Hat

Tonight I decided to wear a mini-Christmas tree rug as a hat while I played with Simon.  He didn’t like it.  In fact, I’m almost completely positive he hated it.  He kept taking it from my head, throwing it as far as he could, then trotting over to continue playing.  Of course, my mom thought the rug-hat would be a perfect photo opportunity.  She had me pose by the Christmas tree with the stupid “hat” on.  Simon was so disgusted by what we were doing that he wouldn’t even look at me.

I’d also like you to note how he is trying to physically get as far away from me as possible.  He was embarrassed that I was still wearing the monstrosity.  Mom insisted he’d eventually look at the camera if we kept taking photos.  So we did.  Finally it got to the point where the puppy had enough of this crap, and decided to nip the problem in the butt–or rather, the head.

This is my “Oh God, don’t kill me” face.  After he removed the hat, he refused to even let me have it back until I put him down, at which time he brought it into the bathroom and put it in the tub.  Good to know the dog has no problem expressing how much he hates the things I wear.

Dear Manuscript,

Why are you so hard to edit?  Why do you feel the need to torture me like this?  Why do I suddenly feel the most incredible urge to organize my room whenever I start to type out the corrections I’ve already made on your pages?  Is it because I’ve watched nothing but Lost for the past few days while you sat patiently on my shelf collecting dust?  Is it because I haven’t touched you in a month?  I promise I didn’t mean anything by that.  I wanted to caress your pages between my fingers and write better words on your inky lines–I was just seeing another story for a little while.  Also, the last time we were together, you were mean and gave me a paper cut. I’m back now though, as faithful as ever.  I hope we can work through this problem we’re having.  I miss the way we used to be.

Love,

Your author

Week Twenty-Seven

This is the first day of the new program, which was a bit odd.  I gained a pound, though I think I am going to blame it on hormones and too much sodium.  I’ve been drinking a lot of diet soda lately, but I’ve also been getting tons of headaches, so I think I need to start sipping up more water.

I won’t really know how I feel about the new program until the end of this week, so I might talk about it more in next Saturday’s post.  Basically, it limits the amount of carbs and fat in a person’s meal, and encourages people to pick healthier choices, such as protein and fiber.  Fruits and vegetables are “free,” so whenever hunger strikes, it’s good to add some of those into meals.  Sadly, chocolate and popcorn are not considered vegetables.  Maybe next time!

And speaking of food, my coworkers and I are going to celebrate anything and everything tonight at Canterbury Ales, one of my favorite places to eat.  Their french fries are so deliciously awesome, words cannot even describe.  It’s a short post this week, but I am hoping with more water and some quality time at the gym, I’ll be back on track and ready to go.  Until next week!

Christmas Cards

Every year I like to send Christmas cards.  It’s actually my favorite part of the season.  This year, I decided to get them all done early, but it seems the universe has it in for me.  First, all I had were ugly cards.  So I went out and bought new ones.  Then, I couldn’t for the life of me find the stamps.  I found the stamps, only to realize I had three left.  Surrendering to the fact that I’d have to buy more (because it would be waaay to easy to be able to plop them in the mail box), I decided to start my card writing anyway.  Of course, during my stamp-search, I lost my pen.  I grab a new one, only to find it was dead.  I grab another, dead as well.  How does that even happen?

At this point I should have given up and just called it a day, but I was determined!  These buggers were getting done!  I found a working pen, got all the names on the envelopes and prepared myself for a night of happiness and card-writing.  It was all going so well until I tried to put the cards in the envelopes–about half of them don’t fit.

Seriously, universe?  What’s your problem?  Don’t be mad because you’re not getting a card.  It’s not like you got back to me about your mailing address!

In other Christmasy news: I have decided to pull a semi-October-like goal for the month.  I am going to try to go to as many light shows as possible during the month of December.  Of course, Jones Beach and Belmont aren’t holding their usual shows, so I am really going to have to actually do some research.  Pictures and stories soon to follow, I hope!