So when I knew I was going to have a day off and when I knew that I would be spending said day off at the mechanic’s, I asked myself “Do I really want to be reading Clash of Kings at the mechanic?”

As it turns out, the answer to that question ended up being “no”. So I picked up Good Omens. It’s Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett working together and telling a story about the end of the world.

I’m not to that part yet, however. I’m just past the (rather quite clever) opening that perfectly merged the story of the Exile from Eden and Prometheus. I think that this will get me through the mechanic quite nicely.

So… what are you reading and/or watching?


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. Pterry’s description of the collaborative process:

    I did most of the physical writing because:

    I had to. Neil had to keep Sandman going – I could take time off from the DW;

    One person has to be overall editor, and do all the stitching and filling and slicing and, as I’ve said before, it was me by agreement – if it had been a graphic novel, it would have been Neil taking the chair for exactly the same reasons it was me for a novel;

    I’m a selfish bastard and tried to write ahead to get to the good bits before Neil.

  2. I recently acquired a copy of the Black Company I will start reading when I have time

  3. I was reading Grendel for Tod’s book club but…

    Maribou, I’ve been meaning to ask, where do you recommend getting audiobooks? I’ve been going to the gym a lot in my free time and I just do not understand how people can read and workout at the same time. I do, however, always have my earbuds in.

    I’m still watching Breaking Bad, which I can do at the gym, so I’m making some progress there.

    • (Dude, we have been crazy busy all day. We only just now got back from the nephews’ and now we’re doing chores around the house. Luckily for me, mine include “laundry”. Maribou said that she’ll put an answer together and respond when she can.)

      • Cool, thanks. I browsed apps for my phone, but there were over 300 of them so I thought I should ask someone. Maribou was the only person that came to mind.

    • I get audiobooks from the public library, most of the time. My public library also has these things called “playaways” that you just plug into your earbuds – self-playing audiobooks, which are great for when you don’t want to futz around with CDs or downloading. Occasionally I buy audios on CD when they are on sale for really cheap or if they are something I will want to listen to several times…

      Otherwise maybe you *would* want to download audios? Most public libraries have an “e-branch” these days – so you don’t even have to stop in to the library to “borrow” things (limited time self-breaking downloads). usually the e-audios are not part of the usual catalog, so you have to search separately for them. Or, I’ve heard good things about and (not bothering to link in hopes that I won’t end up getting moderated). Librivox is like the audio equivalent of Project Gutenberg, so those audiobooks are all free…

  4. Why are you people not watching The Americans?! 😉

    Also, Justified was awesome this week.

    • The Americans is space awesome. Keri Russell is flat out gorgeous and the 80’s nostalgia is palpable and the moral quandaries are delicious and the writing is first rate. Truly it is a golden age.

      • I never knew I had a thing for Keri Russell, but…yeah. And Matthew Rhys is terrific too. The only weak link, IMO, is “John Boy”.

        Rot13’d so ppl who aren’t caught up don’t get spoiled:

        Fb V qba’g xabj vs lbh unir cvpxrq hc guvf guernq, ohg gurl unir fubja hf ivn synfuonpx be rkcbfvgvba gung:

        1.) Ryvfnorgu unq ab sngure svther (xvyyrq jura fur jnf 2), naq jnf envfrq ol ure zbgure jvgu vafgehpgvba abg gb gehfg be qrcraq ba nalbar

        2.) Ryvfnorgu unf rkcerffrq qbhog nobhg Cuvyvc gb ure fhcrevbef va gur cnfg (gubhtu fur nccrnef gb erterg gung abj gung fur naq Cuvyvc ner gnxvat gragngvir fgrcf gbjneqf n “erny” zneevntr)

        3.) Ryvfnorgu ernpgf onqyl gb Cuvyvc gnxvat n “cngebavmvat” be uhfonaq-yvxr ebyr jura ur guerngraf gb tb “gnxr pner” bs gur xvaxl pelcgb pbagenpgbe jub orng Ryvfnorgu (“Qba’g lbh guvax gung vs V jnagrq uvz gnxra pner bs, ur’q or gnxra pner bs?”)

        Nyy guvf nqqf hc gb n irel vagevthvat qrpvfvba ol gur XTO gb ercynpr gurve cerfhznoyl-znyr unaqyre (“Tnoevry”, jub jr arire zrg), jvgu gur irel zngebayl Znetb Znegvaqnyr, abj tvivat Ryvfnorgu ybgf bs zbgureyl nqivpr nobhg jbzra’f evtugf, naq gur qvssvphygl bs rfcvbantr sbe srznyrf, rgp.

        VBJ, vs lbh unq qbhogf nobhg guvf “grnz”, jung orggre jnl gb nggrzcg gb qevir n jrqtr vagb vg guna gb tvir Ryvfnorgu n fheebtngr zbz (naq gurersber tvir Cuvyvc n “zbgure-va-ynj”)?

        Nyfb, Cuvyvc’f qvfthvfrf trg zber yhqvpebhf rnpu jrrx.

        NAQ, gurl hfrq n Ohaalzra fbat (“Cvpgherf Ba Zl Jnyy”) ynfg jrrx! Npghnyyl, gur zhfvp va trareny unf orra tbbq (“Ghfx”, naq rira “Va gur Nve Gbavtug” jnf hfrq cerggl jryy V gubhtug).

  5. Started book 4 of The Wheel of Time, The Shadow Rising. This is the first really really big one, at a whopping 981 pages. I’m a bit of a slow reader. I read the first three books in two months, so at this rate it’ll take me about a year to read all fourteen.

    • I’ve just started Book 5. At the rate I’m going I should be done with the series by August.

  6. Just finished re-reading Steven Brust’s Tiassa, the latest Vlad Taltos book. It’s really a collection of shorter pieces tied together by a framing device. One of them is narrated by Vlad, in his inimitable “If Phillip Marlowe were a smartass” style:

    I got up from my desk and strapped on my rapier, increasing the number of weapons I was carrying by an insignificant percentage, then put on my cloak, increasing that number by a much larger percentage.

    Another is told by Paarfi: think Dumas’s intrusive narration turned up to 11. Or maybe 50.

    For his part, Khaavren at once made arrangements for a carriage to bring him to where the wounded Easterner was. We should now say in passing that the Khaavren of two hundred years before would have ridden a horse rather than a carriage, but we should also note that the Khaavren of two hundred years before was younger; and younger, we should add, by the amount of two hundred years.

    • Do you think Brust will get through the whole series before he dies?

      Also Paarfi of Roundwood is awesome.

      • He writes almost one book a year (Hawk should be out this year), there are five left after that, and he’s only 57. So if he wants to, sure.

        And anyone who can write 2000 words in praise of brevity is OK with me.

        • The last one I read I think was Jhegaala before I got sucked into the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Tiassa is good, then?

          • Tiassa is good, as is Iorich (which came beween Jhegaala and Tiassa.) I really disliked Jhegaala; things happen at random with no explanation, and then it got really violent. Brust as C. J. Cherryh 🙂

            What do nou think of Malazan? I made it through Gardens of the Moon on the second try, but still feel like I missed half of the story.

          • Malazan is one of those series where you have to just set yourself to getting through the first three books or so, even if you can’t quite follow them at the time. As you digest them, the later books start to shape and contextualize what you’re digesting and it comes together in a beautiful convergence toward around book 4.

          • Given that that’s three quite large books worth of being lost, I don’t think it adds up to a recommendation for me.

            In the right mood, I can do a pretty decent Paarfi. I’ll try to post as him sometime.

          • Well, Gardens is by far the hardest book to get through.

            The Deadhouse Gates is a substantially better book, both in terms of pacing and content. In general I’m told that’s where people usually get hooked. ( I liked Gardens because of the depiction of the battle mage cadre, but that’s probably just my preferences)

            I think you should at least give DHG a read. Erikson really is a superb writer minus some of his weird literary ticks.

        • My husband would cheerfully shred those books. I know how he thinks.

  7. Been finishing up the Cryptonomicon. A reread after the Baroque Cycle. It’s like reading a whole new book.

    • I loved Cryptonomicon. Stayed up too late reading that book. Liked Baroque Cycle but not quite as much.

      • Yeah, but a lot of the stuff in the Cryptonomicon comes off as a lot funnier when you know what happened in the Baroque Cycle. The stuff about qwglhm, the Shaftoes and even the weirdness of the Waterhouses.

        • I’ve read Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash and In The Beginning Was The Command Line and loved them all. I’ll eventually get to all his books…once I’ve finished with Jordan/Sanderson.

    • Got my brother that one for Christmas. I should get around to reading it myself.

  8. I’ve been watching the BBC House of Cards (from the 80s – post-Thatcher). I also finished up Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, and I wish there was more. Next on deck is probably Republic of Doyle Season 3.

    I just finished reading Cutting for Stone, which I really liked, a giant pile of comics which varied from very good to very very good, and now I’ve started Coady’s The Antagonist. Oh, and I’m on a bit of a YA kick – started the next Diane Duane Young Wizards book on audio (this one has a whale!), read The Changeling (Snyder), and I’m eyeing both Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Goodnight, Mr. Tom, both of which I somehow didn’t read as a kid.

  9. Today saw temperatures above eighty and no wind. I un-winterized Casa Likko’s back yard and grilled salmon and Brussels Sprouts for dinner.

  10. Just wrapped up “Homeland”… still processing an uneven season 2.

    Inspired by the sitcoms thread, I’ve queued up the following on Netflix:
    – Undeclared
    – Freaks and Geeks
    – Better of Ted
    – Frasier
    – Cheers
    – Sports Night

    All are available on streaming. Probably more I should add, but those are all shows I’ve watched none of or very little of.

    • Better Off Ted is a great example of a show that was already getting old and stale by the time it was cancelled, and yet during its very short shelf-life was still better than 90% of TV comedies.

    • Homeland is uneven, no question. Still, when it’s good, it’s good.

      Can’t believe we forgot about Freaks & Geeks, though I am not sure that is a straight sitcom (it’s half-drama).

      • Yeah, if we’re adding things that aren’t straight sitcoms, can we add Northern Exposure and Psych?

      • Season 2 of Homeland seemed to start out like they didn’t really know where they were going before ramping it up in the final 1/3 or so. I really can’t stand any time Carrie and Brody are on screen together, making the final two episodes really painful before the big ending.

        • Jryy, naq vg nyfb tbg cerggl haoryvrinoyr. Gur jbeyq’f #1 jnagrq greebevfg vf noyr gb trg vagb gur HF, whfg ol funivat uvf orneq?

          Gura, ur vf noyr gb uvqr oruvaq fbzr znpuvarel, juvyr uvtuyl-genvarq zvyvgnel crefbaary frnepu sbe qnlf (jung, ab qbtf?)…gura Pneevr tbrf va sbe uvz naq ur vf onfvpnyyl Wnfba be Serqqvr be fbzrguvat?!

          Ru, whfg tb jvgu vg.

          • Lrn, gung jubyr guvat sryg irel 24-l gb zr… naq abg va nal fbeg bs tbbq jnl.

            V pna oryvrir gur greebevfg trggvat va bayl orpnhfr V guvax jr graq gb nffhzr gbb zhpu va gur jnl bs frphevgl. Ertneqyrff bs ubj lbh srry ba vzzvtengvba, jr unir uhaqerqf be gubhfnaqf bs zvyrf bs hacebgrpgrq obeqre. Naq jr nyernql xabj gur thl unf n uryvpbcgre.

            Gung frdhrapr jnf fgvyy ernyyl jrnx, gubhtu. Pneevr (be vf vg Xreel? V arire ernyyl xarj…) chggvat vg gbtrgure onfrq ba n irel pbzzba cuenfr gung pbhyq unir orra yvgreny be svthengvir? Uvf uvqvat oruvaq n tengr? Naq gura uvqvat shegure fgvyy jura gurl vairfgvtngrq? Ure tbvat qbja va gur ghaaryf jvgubhg n jrncba? Gung bar ntrag fgnlvat jvgubhg pbire? Gur enqvbf phggvat bhg? Oyru. Fvyyvarff. Znahsnpgherq qenzn.

            Nf V jngpurq vg, V xrcg guvaxvat ubj pbby vg jbhyq unir orra unq Oebql jrag guebhtu jvgu uvf zvffvba ng gur raq bs Frnfba 1 naq Frnfba 2 cvpxf hc va n cbfg-nggnpx jbeyq. Oebql vf tbar, ohg jr pna frr gur PVN/SOV/UFN erfcbafr gb gur nggnpx, cyhf ubj vg erfbangrf guebhtubhg gur Zhfyvz jbeyq naq jung gung qbrf sbe gur pnhfr, vapyhqvat gur evfr bs arj greebevfgf ng ubzr naq noebnq. Lbh pna ergnva zbfg bs gur znva punenpgref juvyr fgvyy xvyyvat bss gur cevznel cebgntbavfg ohg abg arprffnevyl ercynpvat uvz jvgu n pybar. Vg jbhyq unir orra n onyyfl zbir, arneyl hacerprqragrq. Zbfg fubjf/zbivrf sbphf nebhaq fgbccvat onq guvatf sebz unccravat. Gurl arire npghnyyl qrny jvgu gur guvat unccravat naq pbagvahvat ba sebz gurer. “Gur Fvrtr” qvq gung, gb na rkgrag. “24” unq n frnfba jurer n ahpyrne jrncba jnf qrgbangrq ba Nzrevpna fbvy (V sbetrg jurer), ohg gurl arire ernyyl qrnyg jvgu gung… gurl whfg xrcg gelvat gb fgbc bgure, onqqre guvatf sebz unccravat.

            V qba’g xabj vs V’z znxvat zhpu frafr…

          • BBU, naq V sbetbg nobhg gur qnhtugre/uvg & eha fhocybg = CHER 24, Xvz & gur pbhtne.

            V fhfcrpg (ohg qba’g xabj) gung gurl qrpvqrq gb xrrc Qnzvra Yrjvf ba jura gurl fnj jung n tbbq npgbe ur jnf naq gur xvaq bs purzvfgel ur naq Qnarf unir (gubhtu V xabj lbh fnvq lbh qba’g pner sbe gurve fprarf gbtrgure). Ohg lrnu, V guvax vg jbhyq znlor or n orggre fubj vs ur qvrq nyernql.

            Ohg gung jbhyq unir zrnag yrff Zberan Onppneva, jub vf whfg fghcvqyl-ubg. Fb V’yy gnxr gur onq jvgu gur tbbq.

          • Qb gurl unir purzvfgel? Vg frrzf yvxr gurve eryngvbafuvc vf cerqvpngrq ba gurve erfcrpgvir zragny vafgnovyvgl, fghcvq wbxrf, naq shpxvat. Gur fghcvq wbxrf vf jung obgure zr. Jura gurl npghnyyl fgnegrq gnyxvat frevbhfyl nobhg gurve eryngvbafuvc, serr bs “pnova obl” wbxrf, vg sryg zber trahvar, gubhtu gur arjsbhaqrq frevbhfarff sryg qbhoyrl-njxjneq orpnhfr bs gur cerivbhf fghcvqvgl.

            V qb guvax gurer vf fbzr ernyyl vagrerfgvat rkcybengvba gung pna or qbar bs Pneevr/Xreel/Xnev? naq ure bofrffvbaf, ure ynpx bs eryvnovyvgl nf n “aneengbe”, naq ure hapnaal novyvgvrf, nyy fbeg bs zryqvat gbtrgure. Jung znxrf ure terng ng ure wbo vf nyfb jung znxrf ure n yvnovyvgl, rgp, rgp, rgp. Vagrerfgvat sbqqre gurer.

            Nyfb, ubj gur shpx qvq fur abg tb zragny nsgre n qnl naq n unys fnaf zrqvpvar qhevat ure pncgvivgl?

            Ynfgyl, vg sehfgengrf zr gung rirelbar unf abj (vs abg rneyvre) frrzrq gb sbetbggra gung Oebqvr jnf n CBJ sbe RVTUG SHPXVAT LRNEF! Jura gurl funer gur arjf jvgu uvz gung Anmve vf qrnq, gur fba unq gur tnyy gb fnl, “Gung’f tbbq arjf!” jura Oebql qvqa’g fgneg qbvat onpx syvcf. Qba’g gurl ernyvmr gur zna jnf gbegherq naq unf lrg gb erprvir nal erny fhccbeg sbe uvf genhzn? Ubj pna nalbar dhrfgvba uvf rzbgvbany erfcbafr gb nalguvat? Rnfu. V’z abg fnlvat ur fubhyq trg n cnff be gung gur jvsr fubhyq npprcg rirelguvat. Ohg gur jevgref whfg ernyyl frrz gb unir zvfunaqyrq gung cneg bs gur fgbel va frnfba 2.

            V ernyvmr gurfr ner n ybg bs pbzcynvagf ohg, nf lbh fnvq, jura vg VF tbbq, vg vf ernyyl tbbq. Naq vg jnf pbafvfgragyl ernyyl tbbq va Frnfba 1… yrff fb va Frnfba 2. Gur phefr bs uvtu rkcrpgngvbaf.

          • Baccarin just makes me miss Firefly.

            I find Homeland pretty annoying, though I got sucked in and couldn’t stop watching. Like Kazzy, I really felt like they hadn’t the slightest idea where this season was going, and they used a dartboard to determine which plot twist to use next.

          • No argument that Homeland has bobbled it here and there, but Danes’ and Patinkin’s performances alone would be sufficient to keep me watching.

            I’ll just say it once more*, watch The Americans.

            *(once more today, that is.)

          • I need to get into “The Americans”. I’m always slow on the uptake, largely because I never know when and what channel things are on.

            I just said to Zazzy last night that Patinkin might deliver curses, specifically the F-bomb and its derivations, better than anyone ever. There is a sincerity, an earnestness, and a crispness that is unrivaled.

          • Ha! Yeah, he does swear a lot, and well (I just watched some YouTube clips with his profanity highights).

            I want Saul Berenson to be my dad. Doesn’t he seem like the best dad ever? You would never want to disappoint him.

            And when he’s asked whether his name is Jewish and he waits just a beat to control his anger (and communicate with a contemptuous look that he knows exactly why the interrogator is asking the question), before he icily replies “American”….awesome.

          • I agree that Patinkin’s performance is great, but Patinkin is just friggin’ awesome generally, so that’s not surprise. Danes is good in that role too, and I’m a Damien Lewis fan (I really, really like Band of Brothers). I just get hung up on the writing.

            I keep thinking of starting The Americans on Hulu, and then forgetting. It may be too late for me to start from the beginning. If so, I’ll just wait until it’s on Netflix streaming sometime next fall.

          • F/X has The Americans eps on their site, you can catch it there…

          • I didn’t know anything about Patinkin before seeing him here. I quickly learned that he was the guy from “Princess Bride”. Nonetheless, I am thoroughly impressed. He does indeed do so many things well. But his ability to translate contempt for the person immediately across from him… peerless.

            For whatever reason, I’m not that impressed with Danes. I dunno why. She so often seems to be overacting. Maybe that is intentional… she is playing someone manic/bipolar, after all… but what do I know? I mean, we’ve all seen my Oscars musings.

            Lewis is really impressive in what is a much more difficult role than I think most people realize. There was a certain blandness to him at times during S1 that I think was actually really crucial to his role and which was harder than simply being a bad actor and being bland.

    • Blackadder is available on streaming too, as is A Bit of Fry and Laurie (which is sketch comedy.) The first season of Blackadder is quite different from the others, and not nearly as funny. You can skip it quite safely.

      • I think Blackadder Goes Forth is probably the best of the series while The Blackadder was actually kind of terrible.

        • I’d rank them 2, 4, 3, 1, with 1 well at the bottom. Miranda Richardson’s Queen Elizabeth (half sweet, daffy child, half murderous psychopath) is one of my favorite comic performances. Of course, the very last scene of season 4 is brilliant beyond words..

        • It’s not as if you need the TV turned on to hear him.

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