Tuesday, April 28, 2009

True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson

Rachel Gibson has been an auto buy for me. I loved Simply Irresistible  and adore See Jane Score. (That last one is one of my favorite books.) I couldn't wait for her next book about the Seattle Chinooks hockey team, and I went through four books and her entire backlist waiting for it. 

And I got it. There are not a lot of women's fiction based around the sport of hockey, and Deirdre Martin is the only other author I've been able to find. I'm not as big a fan of Martin's work, because I have a huge issue with a fictional New York City team that claims to be part of the Original Six teams in the NHL.  (Make it more believable, please.) So far, Rachel Gibson had managed to avoid a lot of the mistakes by not having the hockey rink the center of her plots. 

She deviated from this with True Love and Other Disasters. Faith Duffy inherits the Seattle Chinooks from her late husband, Virgil Duffy. Their marriage reminds me of Anna Nicole Smith with her billionaire. Faith had once been a stripper and then a Playmate before a marriage of convenience with Virgil. Faith wanted security, and Virgil wanted a trophy wife. His son, Landon, hates that Faith received the hockey team and will do what it takes to get it from her. 

In her dealings with the team she runs into Tyson Savage, the captain of the Chinooks, fondly known as "The Saint." His sole goal is to win the Stanley Cup and doesn't want uncertainty about the team's ownership to get in his way. He fights his attraction to Faith, but before he knows it he has to fight with her to acknowledge their relationship. 

I was going great with this book until the last few chapters, which focus on the NHL playoffs. Knowing about hockey as I do, there are a few glaring errors that grated on my nerves. For example: 
Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Seattle Chinooks was played on Seattle's ice...

Game Two was played in Mellon Arena on Pittsburgh Ice.

Excuse me? This is such an easy thing to look up! In the best of 7 series, the first two games are played at the arena of the highest seeded team of the two, then the next two games are played at the other team's arena. Game Five and Seven are played at the first team's arena. I know better, Ms. Gibson! 

The second thing I read was this: 
All four players were given three-minute penalties and sat out the last few minutes of the second period in the sin bin.
I can't recall of a single instance of a three-minute penalty. There are two-minute minors and even a four-minute if blood is involved from the penalty, but not a three minute penalty. Then she mentions that the teams went 3 on 3, which I have not heard of ever. I have witnessed many 5  on 4s, 5 on 3s, and 4 on 4s, but I can't think of a single time when both teams were depleted to that extent. 

I really wanted to give this book a higher score, but I can't go above a C. These are mistakes that are easy to look up. If Ms. Gibson is using an old edition of Hockey for Dummies, she needs to upgrade to a version written after the lockout. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

As I mentioned previously, I discovered Terry Pratchett while in England, and have read a few of his books since. There's no need to read them in the order in which they are written or which they occur, so I used to just pick up a book I like and that was that. Now I have decided to read the story lines in the order in which I found them here. The L-Space Web is a great resource for Pratchett, with annotations and links to other great web places at which a great amount of time can be wasted. 

The book directly follows the events of The Colo(u)r of Magic, in which the reader left the wizard Rincewind hanging off the edge of Discworld, which is carried on the back of four elephants, which in turn are carried on the back of the giant tortoise Great A'Tuin. Rincewind's great skill is not at wizardry but at staying alive. He meets back up with Twoflower the Tourist and The Luggage, which is still eating some people and staring down others. 

This time, Rincewind's goal (instead of just merely staying alive) is to save the Discworld from the end of time. Unless all eight spells (one of which resides in Rincewind's  head) are read from the great book the Octavo, the Discworld will be no more. The problem? The spell in Rincewind's head. The spell does not wish to be read, yet one wizard back at Unseen University wishes to get his hands on Rincewind. 

Rincewind encounters even more interesting characters in this book, notably Cohen the Barbarian and Bethan, the virginal sacrifice. The reader also gets a glimpse into the Realm of Death, which is surprisingly full of flowers and a quaint cottage. There is also a bit of time spent in a magical store, which can never be found in the same storefront twice. 

Another whimsical book that I couldn't put down. Pratchett's book is smart and humorous, and finding the rest of his books will be great fun! 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Dollar Bill Coins, Yo

Okay, I've been receiving this e-mail from a bunch of upset people:
This new coin came out this month

The U.S. Mint hopes the redesigned $1 coin will win acceptance with consumers.

It does not have In God We Trust on it. Another way of leaving God out.

Send this on and let consumers decide if it will win acceptance or not.

This reminds me of the e-mail I received when I was working at the Disney Store. Apparently Walt Disney, Jr. and Microsoft were giving out free trips to Disney World. Free trips! Do you know how expensive a trip to the World is? It's crazy expensive, so who isn't going to send this on?

Me. Issue #1: There's no way to track who sent the e-mail on or who were the first 1,000 to do so. Issue #2: There's no Walt Disney, Jr.! Walt Disney had two daughters, but no sons.

See the little bits of wisdom I learned?

So, when I received the above e-mail about the new coins, I knew it had to be wrong. Mostly because I had the Martin Van Buren coin (yay! Van Buren, the successor to Andrew Jackson and that may be about it) and looked at the coin when my eyes lit on this:

Cool! It's on the side! And heck, yeah, I'm going to accept it, it's legal tender. It's backed by the government (and not much else). And they're really cool.

So, I did some research, trying to figure out the change. And I came up with this:

(10) In order to revitalize the design of United States coinage and return circulating coinage to its position as not only a necessary means of exchange in commerce, but also as an object of aesthetic beauty in its own right, it is appropriate to move many of the mottos and emblems, the inscription of the year, and the so-called "mint marks" that currently appear on the 2 faces of each circulating coin to the edge of the coin, which would allow larger and more dramatic artwork on the coins reminiscent of the so-called "Golden Age of Coinage" in the United States...
So there we go. Problem solved. Though I do carry around my John Quincy Adams (who shined better after his presidency, like the Jimmy Carter of the 19th century) coin to show my students. It's still there.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Yarn Geek Love

I realized that I haven't updated my projects here recently, something that I'm going to have to fix! I have finished things, including two aprons, another beret, and the back of a crocheted baby sweater. I've also frogged a few knitting projects, like a scarf I was going to make out of fun fur. I've had the fur in my stash for years, and in my effort to get rid of some of this yarn before buying more, I was going to knit a scarf with it. I ended up tearing it apart because I did not like it or the fun fur! 

I'm sure I can find someone who is willing to take it off my hands. :) 

I've also been trying more non-acrylic yarns, like Knit Picks Shine Worsted to make Sheldon's Baby Blanket. (I'd link it, but it's not on Knit Picks free patterns for some reason.) I love this yarn! It's nice and smooth, soft, and knits up well. The price point isn't bad, either. I'd post pics, but it's a gift, so it'll wait until after it has been gifted. 

I also bought some Alpaca that I found languishing on the bottom shelf of my local Tuesday Morning. Most of their yarn is sadly in a state of yarn barf, but I was able to find three hanks of a lovely hand-dyed alpaca. Don't know what I'll do with it (probably a hat and scarf combo), bu the right pattern will come to me in time! 

I also invested recently in a ball winder because I'm tired of my skeins collapsing in on themselves. I love the ball winder from Knit Picks! Next is to find an affordable swift so I won't get twisted hanks..... :) 

ETA: I'm also working on my t-shirt quilt and my taxes.