The Gull Reef Club

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9/17/2019 · 2:03 am· Trouble · Good Bye Blue Sky
sometimes waiting and watching is all you can do. The weather has been oscillating quite a bit this... | Read More

9/1/2019 · 1:30 pm· Jaime · Good Bye Blue Sky
It's summer. We don't adventure much in the summer. It's too hot & buggy. We hibernate and wait... | Read More

9/1/2019 · 2:25 am· Trouble · Good Bye Blue Sky
So how goes the summer of adventure? Inquiring minds want to know.... | Read More

6/6/2018 · 12:46 am· Michael (Net2007) · My friend, my friend, (s)he’s got a knife
I've often felt this way, it's strange and divisive times in many ways. As far as this goes, I... | Read More

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The Gull Reef AV Club

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:24 pm

Here are some updates on what I’ve been reading, viewing and listening to here at the Gull Reef Club.

The Terror. Monday night was the last episode of the 10 episode mini-series on AMC. To say this show has been amazing, would be insufficient. This series was a fictionalized history of the doomed Franklin Expedition, with a twist of horror thrown in. It just so happened that this series premiered around the same time as my budding maritime history fascination, so watching this has been a perfect match. It is a testament to how wonderful this show was, knowing everyone dies in the end (no that is not a spoiler, that is history), and I was still compelled to watch every minute of it. I feel that emptiness that I always feel after a really compelling series has ended. I want more, but I also really liked how it ended and will eventually be satisfied with it. Word is AMC is considering doing another history-based mini-series next year or possibly a prequel to the Franklin Expedition (maybe covering the Ross expedition?). If they can make one of the caliber of The Terror, I’m in.

I’ve also watched every episode so far, but the last one from last night, of the revived Roseanne sitcom. I grew up watching this show, and it is delightful to see everyone assembled again in the current phases of their lives. The show always did a good job of making working class lives feel normal. So many other family sitcoms seem to lecture on how they think you should live or are cartoonishly unreal, Roseanne never did that. They more mirrored everyday life, and are not afraid to touch the normal third rails of TV. The honesty is refreshing, even if it is slightly uncomfortable. Remember the lyrical lesson from Jimmy Buffett – if we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.

I think I have mentioned before that I also am a regular viewer of LivePD. I think I will refrain from discussing this one in depth because it is worthy of its own post someday. I like the show, but I hate it too. Remind me to tell you why.

Nive and the Deerchildren. I love the connectivity of our modern world, and Nive Nielsen is a perfect example of this. While watching the Terror, I noted one of the stars of the show is named Nive Nielsen. Nive is an unusual name, and the only person I’ve ever met who had it is a cousin of mine. I went down the rabbit hole to learn a little more about this uniquely monikered actress. I learned that she is far more than an actress, and in fact, considers herself a musician first. After hearing some of her music, I was an instant fan. Nive & the Deerchildren defy some of the arbitrary rules I have made for myself regarding music I will listen to. I normally dislike modern female singers (sorry, just the way it is) and I also really dislike whispering over microphones. In fact, I really hate the sound of any voice whispering. It makes me nauseous for the most part. Yet, with Nive & the Deerchildren, I could listen all day. If I were to describe it, I would call their sound Space Folk. Give them a listen. You won’t regret it.

Oscar Alemán. I first learned of Oscar Alemán about six months or so ago when I was looking into different artists’ covers of the Irving Berlin song, Russian Lullaby. Alemán’s version is one of the best I’ve ever heard, and his mastery of the guitar prompted me to look into him further. Like Nive, but for entirely different reasons, I became a very fast fan of Alemán’s as well. Check this guy out too. You also won’t regret it.

Okefenokee Books. These next two entries are a bit old, from earlier this year. I read two children’s books, both with the Okefenokee Swamp as the theme/setting.
The first was Into the Okefenokee: A Story of War Time and the Great Georgia Swamp, Louis Pendleton. This was a “I didn’t mean to get sucked in” book. It was one of those miserable, cold, winter days we had earlier this year and I was looking to kill some time. I was searching for something Okefenokee related to read since our trip was coming up. I came across Pendleton’s book and gave the first chapter a read. Probably because it was a children’s book, it was really easy and I found it a good enough story that I kept on. A short time later, and I was done with it. That’s the nice thing about children’s books, they are so easy to read.

This was an endearing tale of two young brothers lost in the swamp during the end of the Civil War. There they meet some confederate deserters and their family’s slave Asa (since freed), who was taken captive by the deserters. The tale is of the boys and Asa’s escape from the swamp and back to civilization. This was very much a feel-good story, with the boys and Asa as heroes. I should warn you, if you have a soft spot for animals and hunting bothers you, don’t read this. Some of the hunting side-stories in this book are brutal by today’s standards. I would have been perfectly happy if I died not knowing what a gander pull was. Know I know. Don’t look it up. It will sicken you. Regardless, nice book, easy read.

Swampy and Babs in Okefenokee, Zan Heyward. Mike found me this little gem as a hardcover, original print. I later learned it was one of twelve children’s books that were available by subscription only. It’s a little hard to track down information about this, but it appears it was part of some promotional writings commissioned by or for the Okefenokee Swamp. I would love to get my hands on the other 11 books eventually.

This was also an easy read, with charming children characters. The focus is Swampy, a boy raised by his grandfather and mother near the swamp. In this book, a little girl, the daughter of a family friend, named Babs comes to stay with Swampy’s family for the summer. Babs is a city girl, but takes to the swamp immediately. Their adventures involve scouting out and helping set up a camp for some researchers who want to come into the swamp. While doing so, they encounter gator poachers and have to deal with that before they can get camp set up. Since it’s a children’s book, there is a happy ending and everyone gets what they wanted, except the evil poachers, of course. I doubt you’ll ever run across this book, or any in the series, but if you do, grab it.

I guess that is all for now. Stay tuned, I know there will be another update eventually.


Misc For Later

Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:18 pm

The following is a list of books and the like that I’ve read this summer. Why yes, I am an adult writing a book(s) report unprompted. I wonder what young Jaime would think of this. Probably wouldn’t be surprised, actually.

Earlier this summer, I read Deborah Blum’s – The Poisoner’s Handbook. This is a well written history of the birth of forensic medicine in NYC and how it came to be accepted as legal evidence. I’m not much of a scientist, but I had no issues following along with the book. Ms. Blum’s writing was articulate, and clearly well-researched. I really loved this book; highly recommended.

Sometime after that, I read a 21-part series in the Pittsburgh Post from 1948 called I Was a Negro in the South for 30 Days. It is hard to say what I think of this. I’m not sure what it was but something struck me as odd or off about it. It won’t take you too long to read so you might as well.

Next up was Barton’s Island, Harl Vincent. 1929 SciFi published in Amazing Stories. Dystopic future setting, with remarkable modern, real-life similarities (although heavily steam punk). It was a good story, but a typical and predictable (ie communist) ending. This is worth reading just for the future predictions and descriptions.

For my Irma reading, I checked out Erskine Caldwell’s God’s Little Acre. Having already read Tobacco Road, I sort of knew what I was in for. I had not anticipated it being so full of the Big Fs – fighting and f#*^!ng. Wow did it have a lot of that. In fact, that was pretty much the entire story. So yeah, I loved this book. I really would love to see it made into a tv series. The characters, the Walden family and their associates, are a riot and quite believable. Trigger warning for any of you snowflakes (though I suspect no snowflakes read my blog) – there are some ugly topics covered in this book – racism, patriarchy, sexual aggression. If you can’t handle it, run to your safe space and play with your play-doh.

I think that about sums up my summer (non-news) reading. If you’ve ever read any of these, let me know what you thought.



Filed under: — Jaime @ 2:37 pm

Not able to get to any uke practice today like I had anticipated so lucky you – I’ll blog instead. I’ve recently consumed a few media items so time to share and review.

Gone Girl, a novel by Gillian Flynn. I read this about a month ago. I have not seen and probably never will see the movie that was made based on this book. (I really don’t watch movies, please stop asking if I’ve seen _______). The story was fantastic. It developed quickly and moved along swiftly the entire time. The one and only thing I disliked was the ending. I understand why the ending was done the way it was, but I was left feeling ‘robbed’. There was no justice served and that is not a normal ending for a western-style novel. It’s hard to get over that. All in all, I liked it, and will probably seek out some of Flynn’s other work when I remember.

Not long after that, I read the first graphic novel series I’ve read in probably decades. This was Tatsuhiko Takimoto’s Welcome to the NHK. Like Gone Girl, I wasn’t a fan of the ending. They actually both ended similarly with an Asian-style ending, which is no end – they just keep repeating cycles. People making the same mistakes and history repeating itself. It’s a rather Hindu/Buddhist style ending, which is just hard to accept, although reflect reality quite well. All in all, this was quite a compelling story. I also came away with a new perspective on some Japanese-related cultural aspects, which is cool.

For both of these novels, if you are looking for a typical Western ending (boy gets girl, hero saves the day, the bully is embarrassed/quashed, etc.) you will be disappointed. If you can handle that things just end the way they started, you’ll probably like these a lot more.

Two weeks ago, I was listening to the OTR show, Suspense. One of the episodes I heard was Diamond as Big as the Ritz. Wait?! What? Isn’t that just the name of a Jimmy Buffet song? Turns out the answer is no. It was actually a story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald (or probably Zelda and he just stole it from her). It is a historically dated story, but still a good and fast read. It covers the usual theme for Fitzgerald – the excessively rich and what they do with their money. Find a copy online (it’s everywhere) and read it. It’s short and worth your time.

On the TV end of things, we’re on the precipice of NHL Hockey playoffs. Huzzah! I really want to wax on how stupid the NHL is in their decision regarding the 2018 Olympics, but I will save that for another day.

My favorite new TV show is Designated Survivor, staring Keifer Sutherland. In talking to some family, we learned a lot of us are watching this. Are you also? If not, start now! It is hands-down the best new show I’ve seen on TV in a long time (last time I liked a show this much was Breaking Bad.)

OK, the clock is ticking down and my lunch hour is almost over. Go Hawks!


Coming Back To Life

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:16 pm

Time for another round of Gull Reef Club miscellany for you dear beachcombers.

*This Memorial Day, I resumed research on my Sinks family line, specifically regarding my fourth great-grandfather Noah Sinks. Grandpa Sinks and family were part of the wagon train of escapees from the Upper Agency, Yellow Medicine, all thanks to the valiant efforts of John Other Day. I am in the process of reading the Major Thomas Galbraith’s version of events at the start of the Sioux Uprising (Galbraith makes mention of Grandpa Sinks as his clerk in the report). In my research this weekend, I came across a newspaper article penned a few days after the attack on the Agency. The author was a soldier at Fort Ridgeley (west of the Agency). In it, he was reporting on the attack, and made mention that Maj. Galbraith’s wife, as well as the Sinks family, were all slaughtered by the Dakota-Sioux. He was obviously unaware that the people at the Upper Agency escaped in time and went east toward St. Paul (it was only those at the Lower Agency that were killed). I wonder if Grandpa Sinks ever saw this newspaper article reporting his demise? I would wager that he did. Copies available upon request.

*I actually completed another audio book not too long back. This one probably ranks as the worst I’ve listened to yet. It was Feed by M.T. Anderson. Conceptually, the story was great. It had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the actual narration killed it for me. Anderson made attempts to craft new slang and lingo that was being used by American teens of the future. The slang became so distracting that it drown out the rest of the story. Of course, if Anderson was using this as a technique for the reader to hate the main character then it worked. I did hate the main character. In fact, I hated all the characters in this book, and hoped they would have all died of their festering lesions. I promise that’s not a spoiler (not that you were worried).

*As for some good reading? Try this: Everything is Broken, Quinn Norton. So well said, and so needed of saying. There were a lot of gems in there, but this one is worth sharing, “Security and privacy experts harangue the public about metadata and networked sharing, but keeping track of these things is about as natural as doing blood panels on yourself every morning, and about as easy. The risks on a societal level from giving up our privacy are terrible. Yet the consequences of not doing so on an individual basis are immediately crippling. The whole thing is a shitty battle of attrition between what we all want for ourselves and our families and the ways we need community to survive as humans — a Mexican stand off monetized by corporations and monitored by governments.” Her complaint could really be retold in a variety of ways covering a number of industries. It’s not just tech in which we’re screwing ourselves with laziness and acceptance of low-rent quality, which is then monetized and sold back to us. Everything is broken. What industry do you work? Bet it applies to yours too.

This article was posted via I swear I wrote about my love for medium here before, but apparently I succumbed to laziness or low-rent quality blogging or something like that and failed. There is always something of interest to read there. Plus, medium has the bonus that they provide an estimate of how long it should take to read the article.

*2014 marks the 20 year anniversary of the release of The Division Bell. Wow. We all have certain songs/albums that we tie to memories, which inevitably become the soundtracks of our lives. The Division Bell is the soundtrack to much of my 1994, especially that summer. Just. Keep. Talking.

*I believe I witnessed some people attending a funeral virtually today. Three rather solemn young men, likely military, were sitting at a table in Ellis Square. Each had a device (phone or tablet) in their hands, and were all intensely watching the same video. One of the three had their volume up and I heard ‘Taps’. Sad, yet, technologically fascinating all at once.

*Not wanting to end on a sad note, or a virtually sad one, we have this much awaited announcement from Dog River, Saskatchewan – Corner Gas: The Movie is in the making! No word on when it will be available in the States, but I will be sure to get my hands on a copy. I’m so excited I want to ‘whoowhoo’ Hank (as-the-rodeo-clown) style.



Filed under: — Jaime @ 6:42 pm

*Just finished another audio book, Flight, by Sherman Alexie. It was very short, and very, very f*d up. I think I enjoyed it. Not sure if ‘enjoy’ is the appropriate word though. I didn’t know much about Alexie before this book, so I don’t think I knew the boundaries would be pushed so far. That should happen more often, especially in young adult lit, which I think this was. Coincidentally, this news article about another of Alexie’s books came out as I was mid-listen to Flight. Hilarious. I had no idea anyone tried to ban books in the US anymore. I guess I shouldn’t be so naive. Go kids go.

*Continuing down the incredibly long road of restoring our home (1920), we picked up one of these today: manual doorbell. Our house had one originally, but by the time we bought the place only a part of it remained and even that was in bad shape. Mike has offered to make a new plate for the outside with a custom etch that says ‘ring’ or ‘turn’ or something. I kind want it to say ‘engage’ but that might be pushing the geekiness, even for me.

*If I ever get to become a time traveling super hero, I want this as my ride: VOXmobile. Also, since I’m randomly wishing, I want that outfit the chick in the cover photo is wearing, too. I would totally wear that, while driving my VOXmobile of course. Outta this world.


Monday Miscellany – The Ten Year Anniversary Edition

Filed under: — Jaime @ 6:51 pm

It appears I’ve been at this blog thing for a decade now. Obviously. I mean, who else even blogs nowadays but 30+yearolds who refuse to dumb themselves down for Twitter and the like?

What started as a way to keep up with a few online friends (through livejournal – remember that relic?), has turned into my virtual home for personal history, narcissism, and sarcastic commentary. In retrospect I realize I should never have bored you Beachcombers with narrations of my dreams. My sincerest apologies. Could I have been more boring?

Actually, I have no idea what interests you readers, or if you’re even reading. If you are, thanks. I really do appreciate the audience. I find comfort in socializing through the written word. I suck at talking to people, so I do try to use The Gull Reef Club as my means of sharing a little of myself with you.

In the spirit of sharing, here’s some randomness from in and around The Gull Reef Club:
* I finally finished the audio book, whose ending had been in suspension for me for nearly two weeks. It was Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. The ending was a bit predictable, but I liked the book a lot. This was my first Heinlein book, and certainly not my last. Recommendations always welcome.

* Keeping with the revolutionary reading theme, I also recently ran across these little Savannah gems – Albion’s Voice, Issues 1-6. Albion’s Voice was an alternative newspaperletter published in Savannah in, at least, 1970. They are an absolute riot to read, complete with peacenik politics and hippy slang. One of them describes a sparsely attended peace rally in Bacon Park, which was a great slice of Savannah history. There is also a hilarious, grossly sarcastic article about black men and their perceived sexuality in the first article. Read that if you read nothing else.

* What are you doing August 21-September 1? Come join us on our new couches for The. Best. TV. Marathon. Ever. And yes, you read that right. Jaime and Mike are all growed up and have matching living room furniture. Finally. Starting working on my ass groove already.

* Congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks for beating St. Louis, and moving on in the playoffs. More playlists to come.

*Two weeks ago, Mike and I planted our second citrus tree, a lime. The orange we planted last year did so well, including through our harsh winter, we couldn’t resist getting the citrus we have always wanted. In light of the stories coming out of Mexico about limes, this may be good timing on our part. Well sort of. It’ll be a few years before it is really productive. So cartels, you can stay away for awhile. Now I just have to figure out if we can get a coconut tree to grow here and I’m set for life. Note: I’ve never seen coconut trees in Savannah. Tell me if you have.

Thanks again for joining me here at the Gull Reef Club. Happy Decade to us. Cheers!


Blue Ears

Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:25 pm

As I’m relatively new to the world of library-loaned audio books, I ran into my first ‘problem’ of sorts. Time budgeting. I don’t really have that much time to devote to listening to a book. My time listening is usually done in either the shower or while I’m brushing my teeth at night.

I was, am actually, only about an hour and a half away from finishing a very awesome audio book. Unfortunately, it expired on Saturday. I immediately went to renew and someone had already snagged it before I could. Slow, clicky finger, I guess. I put myself on the waiting list, but that still that means I have to wait at least two weeks before I get the satisfaction of hearing the ending. So frustrated. Grrr.


Gyro Genius, Mike!

Filed under: — Jaime @ 3:21 pm

Forgive the cheeze of the title, I couldn’t resist. It appears Mike has figured out the basics for gyros that are as close to the Chicago-Greek we know as authentic.

The gyros involved a two-day process. The first day we seasoned and ground the lamb and beef (they were already ground, but we ground further). We then formed it into a tube shape and vacuum sealed it. Day two, we sous-vide the loaf in our crockpot for about 4 hours. After a rest, Mike cut it into thin slices and broiled a bit. Toppings were standard, including homemade tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and onions. We even wrapped them in wax paper and aluminum foil and let them rest while we made the onion rings. It was The. Best. Gyro. I’ve had in Savannah. I am thrilled that we get leftovers tonight.

Other miscellany for this first day of DST -

*I’ve been contributing some time to Zooniverse lately; specifically, Operation War Diary. Operation War Diary provides British WWI diary pages to the public to tag/index the information contained in them. I’ve done a number of pages for the 57 Field Company Royal Engineers (fanboy love for engineers!). Yesterday, I was humbled as I tagged an account of their involvement in the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914. It told of their blowing up bridges on their way to the trenches. It also mentioned 500 prisoners and 6 guns were taken. While I generally don’t like military history, I like this aspect of it. It humanizes the otherwise dull discipline of memorizing dates, troop movements, and leaders.

*As if Henrik Lundqvist couldn’t be hotter, I now learn this.

*I finished my first audio book recently – The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins. What a fantastic book it was. The audio aspect of it took a little getting used to. It was odd having someone read to me. I haven’t had anyone do that for me for a very long time. I am on my second audio book now, and the readers are no where near as good as the the lady who read The Hunger Games. I am starting to realize that makes a difference on whether or not I like the story, which sort of sucks. I feel like I’m missing some of the nuance with poor narrators.
—–*I also recently read the third book in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker series, Life, the Universe and Everything. If it wasn’t Adams and if it wasn’t part of the series I would not have finished it. It was tedious, giving definition to the word slog. Ugh. I now question whether I will read the fourth book.

*In mid February, we noticed some garlic we had in the kitchen had sprouted. We dug up a small patch in the yard, fertilized it a bit with manure, and planted the wee sprouts – about 12 bulbs in all. Today, the stalks of the bulbs stand 4-6 inches high, and are thick and healthy. We’ve never grown garlic before so I’m looking forward to see if this works out. If it does, we’ll be in luck as they are bulbs and should return every year.

Ok, enough for now. I am going to go find a way to further appreciate the rest of this gorgeous day and late daylight hours.


No Mas!

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:18 pm

As I return to normalcy after the surgery, I find I am pleasantly overwhelmed with possibilities to occupy my attention. Front and center being the Sochi Winter Olympics. Of course and especially hockey, including the ladies. Those girls kick ass and were fun to watch. I won’t ruin anything for you, I promise. I hate that. This Olympics is seriously testing our tv watching/recording stamina. It’s all sports all the time, except when I’m completely avoiding current events because I don’t want the results spoiled. We’re currently watching a replay of the Canada v Norway mens hockey game. Don’t ruin it for me.

In addition to all the strenuous tv viewing, I’ve made a few genealogy advancements. My interlibrary loan came in. It’s a biography written about that bad ass 3rd great grandfather I’ve previously mentioned, written by his daughter (my gg aunt) who was pretty bad ass herself. On top of that, one of Mike’s cousins got in touch with me and it appears I may be making some advancements on his tree soon as well. (Mike’s that is, not his cousin’s. Although I suppose the help would work both ways…/tangent end.)

Somehow I am also managing to squeeze in listening to my first audio book. (Yes, I really love my library.) Unfortunately, my commute is too short to listen on the ride to work – not to mention the fact that there is little possibility of getting Mike to want to listen as well (one car house, he drives me, in the event this statement was confusing to you). It’s a good thing I shower everyday. I just hope I can get it finished before it expires. Review later.

The making of my new pick guard is imminent.

Pushing the limits of awesomeness, I have had chocolate cake almost everyday this week, and on Tuesday twice.

Fortunately, the weather has been a cold bucket of suck and I can’t go outside or I’d have even more to do. Ok, back to one of my many other distractions…I think I’ll start with chocolate cake.


It’s Ice

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:04 pm

Today I had my first ‘snow day’ in at least a decade. Of course, it didn’t snow. It sleeted ever so slightly, and there’s a bit of ice hanging on the trees and power lines. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, however. It added an extra day to my recovery period.

Overall, I’m doing pretty well. The cast/covering has completely come off, relieving pressure and no longer leaving me gagging. I’m done with the ultra-evil anti-biotics, which may be the worst part of all of this. I despise taking anti-biotics. They make me absolutely ill. The pain is still quite prevalent, but I’m managing it, and it certainly is getting better daily.

Before I go (and try to make it through at least the first period of tonight’s Blackhawks-Canucks game), I have to share a coincidence that happened this evening. Note, I’ve not adjective-ized it as ‘odd’ or ‘unique’ because I don’t really know if it is. You decide. While showering, I put on some old time radio. I tuned into one of the stations I regularly listen to, to see what they had to offer. It was an X Minus One, running the story, The Coffin Cure. It was about 10 minutes in already, but it was enough for me to remember that I had read this very story nearly one year ago – while I was recovering from my last jaw surgery. Wha? What do you call that? FWIW, the radio version was probably better than the written version, if only because it took up less of my time and I dig the 50′s sound effects.

Title homage: It’s Ice.


Final Stretch

Filed under: — Jaime @ 11:06 pm

Before I get wrapped up in the holidays, and the year fully slips away from me, I wanted to mention a few books I’ve read and other free-time status updates.

I followed up Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in logical fashion and read The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Unlike Guide, this was my first time through. It was as I expected – meh. Sequels rarely are better than the first. However, that won’t prevent me from checking out Life, The Universe and Everything at some point soon. I’m just in no hurry.

The other book I’ve recently read (circa Halloween) was Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. I wanted to hate this book merely for the title. Four simple words, yet representing just about everything I hate about modern fiction. Kudos to Grahame-Smith for winning me over with a mix of good story telling and reasonable historical accuracy. The ‘photos’ were a nice touch.

I probably won’t be reading many novels between now and the end of the year. I won’t have enough time. I have drifted back toward researching my Great-Great Aunt Annie, but have only been pecking around, nothing serious. I’ve spent a lot more time with a new project that is history-related, but not genealogy (well not mine anyway). As it turns out, Savannah has a history of non-violent civil disobedience when it comes to enforcement of certain laws. I plan on exploring this more in the little bit of downtime I find between now and the end of the year.

And before I go – can you believe they’re playing Christmas music already…in my living room?! Oh wait, that was Mike and me, and it was awesome.

May all of you have a bountiful Thanksgiving.


Summertime’s Come and Gone (My Oh My!)

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:34 pm

Tomorrow is October 1st? Already, huh? Nice. My favorite month. Now’s the time to capture the last vestiges of summer before they are gone for good.

It dawned on me about a month ago, that next year marks 20 years since I graduated high school. Ouch. Instead of allowing myself to be morose about it, I’m embracing it, and have been reliving some 90s fun. For example, I re-read Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which I first read sometime mid-90s. After the first time through, it instantly become one of my all-time favorites (rivaled only by Wouk’s Don’t Stop the Carnival). I’m pleased to say nothing’s changed. Although, I suspect some of my co-workers think I’m some sort of self-affirming nervous-nelly after I put the ‘Don’t Panic’ sign on my computer. At least our IT guy got it.

Along another of my retro-90s veins is music. I sure did listen to some crap back then, but it’s my nostalgia and I’m willing to accept it for what it is. In doing so, I’m still able to find pleasure in what is otherwise mostly B-class music. In the last month plus, I’ve listened to Jane’s Addiction’s Ritual De Lo Habitual and Nothing’s Shocking, TMBG’s Flood, Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication, Violent Femmes’ Blister in the Sun, Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut, Roger Waters’ Amused to Death, and a whole slew of singles. I realize not all of that music was released in the 90s, but that’s when I heard it first, so it’s my nostalgia list. Back to the present, my job is great. I get to decorate my desk with Don’t Panic signs* and listen to music all day.

On the home front, Mike has been a superstar. Without a cape or any sort of means of defying physics, he has undergone serious dental work, only to then trouble-shoot and fix our dryer (saving us hundreds of dollars and possibly our house from burning down), and make tamales so delicious they’d make a Mexican grandma beg for more. In the meantime, the clever man has also somehow managed to teach me how to play a fluent Poor Heart and U.S. Blues. Yeah, Mike!

Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day. We will be pet-sitting. Plus, it’s Treehouse of Horror Day in The Simpsons Tapped Out. I hope Kang and Kodos make an appearance! It’s also opening night of Hockey Season! Go Hawks! On top of all this, the next new episode of Person of Interest will be on. I have no idea how I’m going to find time for all of this. I should begin by not typing so many explanation point in one paragraph.

Thus, autumn begins. Now go read this: It’s Decorative Gourd Season Motherfuckers, by Colin Nissan.

*I also recently added a picture of Milk and Cheese declaring, “The Fun Starts Here!” Because. It’s obvious. Duh.


Rewind, Unwind

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:19 pm

Time for some early September recap. Be warned this is a long post, but it’s been over a week since I’ve turned on my actual computer and used my keyboard. While I’m very much enjoying my tablet, and it has pretty much replaced my home computer, I very much miss real typing. Tablet typing blows. A lot. Moving on…

We had a marvelous Labor Day weekend with the visit of my baby brother and his family. It was the first time I got to meet all of them. We also just received the great news that he (brother) will be registering his relationship with the authorities! Kidding aside, I’m thrilled to know I’ll be getting a sister-in-law and new niece & nephew. What a delightful little group they are. Our time together was far too short.

Tomorrow President Obama will deliver a speech that is supposed to convince us to get involved in another nation’s civil war. I am weary of this topic already. There are a few highlights to this debate, however, none of which were thought of by me. For example, the Pauls (historically Ron and now Rand) don’t seem so crazy afterall, well maybe not as crazy. I hope this forces the much needed split in the GOP, which sorely needs to drop the leadership/seniority of the likes of Boehner, McCain, Graham, et al. I won’t be holding my breath. I also am a slightly amused, but possibly more bemused by the fact that Russia is looking more like a Superpower than us. As was pointed out to me, they are the nation to host the next Olympics, they are the nation that just hosted a G20, they are the nation providing asylum to an American political refugee, they have world opinion on their side to not strike Syria. Who’s the leader now? Finally, I heard someone make the point that we should have never even brought up the red line and simply, silently cyber-attacked them. Knock their power out, reek electronic havoc, generally. Israel would be blamed. Simple.

On the brighter side of this month so far, I did manage to read my first tablet ebook. My choice was Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Admittedly, I wanted to dislike this book. It starts slow, has the setting of a racist/paternalistic/puritanical future, and is in an odd, stream-of-consciousness style. It picks up about 1/2 way through, and the ending is so remarkably clever it makes up for the slow, weird start. It’s worth checking out.

The other two books I’ve read since I’ve last posted are Ruthanne Lum McCunn’s God of Luck, and Fannie Flagg’s Welcome to the World, Babygirl!. God of Luck was written in a traditional, Chinese story style, at least from what I recall from taking one ancient Chinese history class in college. Meaning it was short, prose-like, and for a sarcastic modern westerner, unbelievable. It was meh. Welcome to the World, Babygirl! was everything I expected it to be, which is unfortunate because it had potential. It could have been an inspiring tale about a young woman who makes it in a ‘man’s’ world in 1970s America. However, it adds a tortured genealogical plot line that kills the inspiration and made it eye-rolling worthy. So another meh.

I really want to go on about a lot of random things, but I’ll save those for later. It’ll keep you guys coming back ;)


Is it any wonder that the monkey’s confused?

Filed under: — Jaime @ 6:31 pm

Welcome to August. Insert blather about time flying and time getting away from you, and all those other verbs we apply when the noun is ‘time’.

Keeping with my usual reclusive activities, I’ve read some more, played more music, and made more plans for the house. I’ve also had thoughts on the following:

*What’s with the trumped-up Roger Waters anti-Semite controversy? Seriously, people, get something real to worry about. Roger’s reply is worth a read.

*(Thought reprise) What will it take for the middle-class tax payers and businesses of the USA to finally begin the peaceful tax boycott we so desperately need? Forcing Obamacare on us hasn’t done it. Confirmation that we’re all being spied on by our own people at our own expense hasn’t done it. The DOJ’s ridiculous selective enforcement of law hasn’t done it. Ignorant, lying, power-hungry politicians haven’t done it. The problem is none of us wants to be first. No one wants to be the first person or business to refuse to pay their federal income taxes as a form of protest. What if it doesn’t catch on? What if the idea doesn’t domino? Then the individual is in jail or the business bankrupted. We need someone to lead this, it just won’t be me. I hate being this kind of coward. Take me to your leader.

*The 13 MLB players suspended today for being cheating drug addicts and helping destroy the entire reputation of the game of baseball:
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees third baseman, 211 games
Nelson Cruz, Rangers outfielder, 50 games
Jhonny Peralta, Tigers shortstop, 50 games
Everth Cabrera, Padres shortstop, 50 games
Antonio Bastardo, Phillies reliever, 50 games
Jordany Valdespin, Mets outfielder, 50 games
Francisco Cervelli, Yankees catcher, 50 games
Jesus Montero, Mariners catcher, 50 games
Cesar Puello, Mets outfielder (minors), 50 games
Sergio Escalona, Astros pitcher (minors), 50 games
Fernando Martinez, Yankees outfielder (minors), 50 games
Fautino De Los Santos, Padres pitcher, 50 games
Jordan Norberto, free-agent pitcher, 50 games
Try this – do a wiki search on each of the above names. Note how many of them were born in the USA (I’ll make it easy for you – just one). Just something to consider.

*Continuing to make the most of my library card, I’ve done some more e-reading. The homepage of the Download Destination offers recommendations. I’ve taken them up on two, and I’m pleased to report the recommendation algorithm seems to be working. Based on the first recommendation, I can’t say they have my demographics pin-pointed, but it was quite an enjoyable read, regardless. The book was Sharon G. Flake’s Bang! It appears to be popular juvenile reading, and used in some junior high and high school curriculum. Many of the reviews I read complained of the fantasy twist this book takes. Having never read any of Ms. Flake’s books, I had no preconceived notions on her story-ending style. I liked the twist, regardless of how unrealistic it seemed.

*The other book the Download Destination recommended to me was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Thank you algorithm! I LOVED this book. I just finished it, but keep finding myself going back to the story. 2044-45 as described by Cline seemed so sanely plausible. Cline was able to utilize his familiarity with geeking out on points of past pop culture into a fluid adventure story, a talent many self-declared geeks envy. I will be 69 years old in 2045. I wonder if there will be an OASIS?


Summer Reading Time!

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:22 pm

I know I’m not the only one excited about this. Taking advantage of a day off, I finally renewed my library card. By doing so, I now have access to the Georgia Download Destination. I’m overwhelmed by my options. Any recommendations?


March 4th!

Filed under: — Jaime @ 3:04 am

March 4. The only day of the year that is also a command. March forth. (Thank you, Mr. Lubbe).

My recovery is going great, not much pain anymore – just some dull headaches. I’m almost back to eating completely normally. I do have a lot of sensitivity, and so have my first prescription toothpaste, really more of a fluoride treatment. I still can’t get over the science behind what is happening to my head. I have new bone growing in my skull. Hello 2013! Thank you to everyone who has asked about my well being.

I have spent most of the last two weeks doing exactly as I planned – reading lots of retro sci-fi, studying genealogy, and watching lots and lots of hockey. I wish hockey was more popular in the south, but I also recognize the logistical issues preventing that from ever being a reality. Center Ice is worth the price, although the NHL should have comped all satellite/cable subscribers with a free year as thanks for our patience in waiting out their strike.

March 1st was St. David’s Day, as I was reminded by my Welsh friend, Julian. He asked at America’s Debate if any of us were familiar with the day and/or Welsh heritage generally. It’s odd I wasn’t aware of the day until Julian first mentioned it, although I was aware of some Welsh ancestry I have. He inspired me to work on that line again. In the process, I ended up going down a slightly different route. The end result was that I have uncovered yet another Canadian based line. This time they appear to be French Canadian, although I’ve not narrowed them to any place beyond their immigration to Cheboygan, Michigan. I’m not sure how far I’ll be able to take this line since I can’t read French or Latin.

Here’s the list of stories I’ve read while recovering, and of course, my quick synopsis/review:
Modus Vivendi, Walter Bupp
synopsis: attorney addresses civil rights issues for disliked minority population of psychics, telekinetics, telephaths, etc
review: rather cool story. believable future/legal problem. rather rare in that it is legal and sci-fi, bonus points for that.

Impact, Irving E Cox Jr
synopsis: future interplanetary Federation fooled by seemingly native culture
review: pulpy, somewhat silly, more narrative than action

Attention St. Patrick, Murry Leinster (aka William Fitzgerald Jenkins)
synopsis: terrible, Eire planet, dinies
review: worst story I read the whole recovery. don’t read this. unless you’re a masochist; then, read away.

The Coffin Cure, Alan E Nourse
synopsis: common cold cured, sense of smell becomes really good, too good, the world stinks
review: based on an idea that dogs don’t get colds, something from their noses is extracted and whala – no more colds, sense of scent is overloaded. meh. not a fan.

Meeting of the Board, Alan E Nourse
synopsis: ironic – middle management goes on strike against lazy corrupt union
review: cute. easily sympathetic to the idea even if a mediocre story. would probably work well if modernized.

The Nothing Equation, Tom Godwin
synopsis: really good. remote bubble outpost in space – goes crazy as ‘nothing’ trying to get in
review: one of the best I read all recovery. total psychological thriller. very short, so read this one for sure.

Assassin, J.F. Bone
synopsis: human kills alien invaders acting benevolent
review: this has the makings of a badly done action flick aimed at white conservative males, 17+. coming to a theater near you.

Pandemic, J.F. Bone
synopsis: widow volunteers in 1 man, sealed lab to fight plague/find a cure
review: this reeked of that silly positivity we see in so many post WWII stories. oops, I guess that ruins the ending for you, so you can skip this one too.

Hope your March 4th was a productive one.


Norman Paperman, the Ante-legend Days

Filed under: — Jaime @ 11:38 pm

Home from work for a mini-vacation, I’m already enjoying truly just relaxing and not being stressed about much. While randomly searching online for Gull Reef Club related items, I ran across an amusing book review of Don’t Stop the Carnival from LIFE Magazine published near the book’s release, March 5, 1965:

Some of the contemporary cultural references flew over my head, but it’s a pretty cool review overall. This review adds a lot of historic perspective for me about the story itself. When I first read it, the book was already old enough to be ‘retro’. I couldn’t help but to read it that way. This review reminds me that when it was published, it was set in the current time. There was nothing retro about it. Probably doesn’t make much of a difference to anyone but me and maybe Jimmy Buffet, but I thought this worth sharing.

As a post script, I’d be remiss to fail to mention the overtly racist cover of this issue of LIFE. It can be easy to forget how accepted such blatant racism was then. That’s why I study history. I never want to forget.



Filed under: — Jaime @ 6:14 pm

Recently read items-

A Worn Path – Eudora Welty (1.8.11). Blah – this was not good at all.

Everything That Rises Must Converge – Flannery O’Connor (1.8.11). Typical O’Connor – therefore, awkward yet awesome.

Ten Days in a Mad House – Nellie Bly (~1.15.11). Non-fiction, late 19th century investigative reporting. Very intriguing.

The Thirty-Nine Steps – John Buchan (~2.1.11). Historical adventure novel. A bit of belief suspension is necessary, but not a bad read overall.

A Time To Kill – John Grisham (~2.28.2011). The usual legal brain candy Grisham style novel. Lots of elements of To Kill A Mockingbird, but not all that special.


Summer Reading

Filed under: — Jaime @ 4:36 pm

There’s probably been a little too much death-talk here at the Gull Reef Club. I’ll try to lighten things up a bit by sharing some of my summer reading.

First up, was Stephen King’s The Shining. Too many dilettantes like to mock King as being an airport store author. Perhaps he may be. Yet, there’s a reason this book is practically a classic. It really was that good. Plus, of course, it’s better than the movie, which also was quite good. For reference, there were no lines in the book that read, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” – completely a movie flourish.

It’s funny I chose to read this book during the hot, balmy Savannah summer. One of the critical aspects of this story was the season – the dead of winter, at the top of the Rockies. It really couldn’t be more remote from my own reality. I’d certainly recommend this one to all of my Beachcombers.

The other book I’ve indulged in this summer, so far, was Rebecca Wells’ Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Male Beachcombers, you can stop reading now, I’m sure none of this will interest you. This really was a chick-book. I didn’t think I’d like it merely because of that fact, but I actually somewhat enjoyed it. It wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, there were a few parts that I just skimmed (the whole elephant fake-adventure, for example). The story could have also done without the whole Sidda-as-a-spoiled-brat-adult storyline and merely focused on the youth, then maturity, of the Ya-Yas. They were the best part of this book.

Now, I’m trying to make my way through Tom Clancy’s The Cardinal of the Kremlin. I’m having a difficult time of it. If the Ya-Ya Sisterhood was a chick-book, The Cardinal is a dude-book. A little too much dude for my liking. I find myself skimming over the ridiculously detailed descriptions of cold-war era military operations and equipment. I really don’t give a hoot, and I suspect it has little to do with the storyline as a whole. I’ll keep working my way through it though. I’m hoping for some sort of adventure to spring up eventually.

Alright, so there you go. A post without death. Until next time!


Book Sale, Spring 2009

Filed under: — Jaime @ 11:39 pm

This year’s booksale did not result in as many books as I snagged for myself last year, but I’m pleased with the booty I looted from the library for a mere $2. The newest additions to the Gull Reef Library:

Dear Austin: Letters From the Underground Railroad, Elvira Woodruff. It appears to be a children’s book about some kids who venture to free a family member from the evils of slavery.

War, Peace, and All That Jazz, Joy Hakim. Another juvenile book. A school text covering U.S. History from the end of WWI to the end of WWII. It says it is #9, obviously in a series.

The Cricket in Times Square, George Selden. I’m not sure why I picked up three kids books this year. This one was because it was ‘the book’ that all my friends read and raved about when we were kids, and I just never got around to it. So 25 years later, here I am.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Rebecca Wells. I only grabbed it because I recognized the name from some movie ads a few years back. However, from the reviews I’ve read, this may actually appeal to me. Of course, I don’t see this as one of the types of books Mike and I will ever discuss at any length.

The Shining, Stephen King. Yes, a modern classic I’ve never read. Seen the movie a million times and chills me just the same each viewing. The book’s got to be better. It was written in the hey-day of King, you know, before he got all weird with that Dark Tower trilogy and went down the drain.

On The Edge: A History of Poor Black Children and Their American Dreams, Carl Husemoller Nightingale. A non-fiction account of post WWII poor black kids in the Philly area. I’ve not read about it, but I anticipate it to be gut wrenching. I may need a whole new box of tissue for this one.

You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down, Alice Walker. Hell yeah, a collection of Alice Walker stories about feminine power? Sorry gents, I must indulge. Hear me roar and yadayada.

Talking Back: …to Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels, Andrea Mitchell. Ok, you regulars, especially to America’s Debate Radio know I am a sucker for MSNBC as far as cable news goes. All cable news is teh suck and this station is the least suck. Yet – I tend to think Andrea Mitchell is one of the least qualified to be on the air. She may be able to snag killer interviews because of her marriage connections, and I’m hoping this book is written better than her sorry on-air abilities. In fact, I’m quite sure it will be. She seems incredibly smart, she’s just not made for tv.

Bias, Bernard Goldberg. Score! Not because I’m one who pretends to be oppressed by the ‘liberal media’ but because this was a huge best seller only a few years back. Ok, I just checked the copyright date, it’s been a bit more than a few years. Time sure does fly when you’re experiencing so much hope and change.

Mike scored a hell of a lot more books than me, some of which I will definitely sink my eyes into. Maybe I’ll get to his list, too (since I don’t see him having any interest in doing so). I do want to note that he grabbed up Boortz/Linder’s The Fair Tax book, which I will certainly read. I’ve been meaning to for years.

$2 for all that?!? I heart the Live Oak Public Library!

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