Getting Older

Thursday was my birthday, and a very nice one it was, but I did spend some time thinking about the number of years. My goodness. How did I manage to get so old?

When I was a kid, I couldn’t imagine being this age, or for that matter, anyone being this age. That was a long time ago, and people didn’t live quite as long then, but still.

As a man in my twenties and thirties, I didn’t think about age much at all, other than in a very casual way, such as knowing the ages of family, friends, pets, maybe someone famous. I just never thought “When I’m (age), I’ll (be, do…)”.  So yesterday when I woke up and thought “It’s my birthday, I’m … years old. My God.” It’s a shock. I don’t feel that old. I don’t think I look that old. It’s true, I may act that old and I guess the number of visits I have to make to medical people would indicate I’m not in the full flush of my manhood (hmm, was I ever?), but that many decades? Wow.

I was also thinking of all the things that we had when I was growing up that are gone, and all the things we have now that didn’t exist then. Sometimes I think it was a better world without computers, certainly without smart phones and social media. Not that I miss party lines, or rotary dial phones, or having to change the channel on the television by getting up, walking over and manually turning the selector to the channel setting I wanted.

But, gosh. I’m old. I think I’ll go take a walk.

Posted in Books & Reading, Mystery, Short Stories | 16 Comments

Timeless – Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic by Armand Baltazar

I know it’s been a long time since I posted anything new here at Tip the Wink, but I had to break my silence after reading this book.

Timeless – Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic by Armand Baltazar [Harper Collins hardcover ISBN: 9780062402363 – Imprint: Katherine Tegen Books] – on sale 10/10/2017, 624 pages

I first heard about this book, under the slightly different title of Diego and the Steam Pirates, over four years ago. My good friend Carl V. Anderson visited the booth of Armand Baltazar at Spectrum Fantasy Art Live 2. I had asked him to pick up some artwork for me, and he got a print from this book along with a ton of other things. [see my blog post on Broken Bullhorn here].

At the time, the book was still partially written and all the artwork was yet to be completed, but I expected – guessed – it would be a graphic novel of a hundred pages or so. How wrong I was, the book is so, so much more.

Nicely bound with heavy stock throughout, filled with beautiful artwork. The story caught my imagination, but it was the artwork that initially pulled me in, all those years ago, and the book exceeds my greatest expectations by far.

The critics say:

“This epic tale from Baltazar, is not only wildly imaginative and attention-grabbing, it’s downright beautiful: more than 150 full-color photorealistic art pieces bring the characters and setting to life. A series opener that conveys a true sense of wonder and excitement on every page.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Intricate illustrations, stunning in their lush coloring and quality, are liberally interspersed. [C]inematic dialogue, glossy plot twists, and movie-ready illustrations will likely make readers feel they’ve had a theatrical experience.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The stunning artwork is the real star here. Sure to be popular with middle school fantasy readers.” — School Library Journal

The author Armand was born on Chicago’s North Side, not far from the famed Wrigley Field. After attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Armand began a visual storytelling career in feature animation as a background artist, visual development artist, and art director for DreamWorks Studios, Walt Disney, and Pixar Animation. He currently resides in Northern California with his family, creating the art and stories for the epic adventure series Timeless. There is a lot of fascinating information about him and his methods at the end of a Google search.

I can’t emphasize enough how terrific this book is. Listed by the publisher as Juvenile Fiction, for my money it’s just fine for adults, too. I loved it. I sincerely hope the promise of a series is fulfilled, and soon. Thank you for this wonderful book, Armand Baltazar.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 14 Comments

Pause

pause-buttonLately my energy and productivity are at a low ebb, with heat, health, and other things occupying my mind. So I’ve decided to put the blog on pause for a while. Catch you later.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 10 Comments

H O T !!

It is unusually, awful, nastily, horribly, miserably hot here, in the entire Pacific Northwest, from Seattle down through northern California, and we hates it (as Gollum would say). Three more days in triple digits, then several still in the 90s before it drops into the 80s. Even that’s not cool enough for me, but it will be an improvement. It’s been 50 days since we had a drop of rain.

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?

Posted in At Home in Portland | 14 Comments

Current Reading: M. C. Beaton, Val McDermid

It’s been hot and will be getting hotter: in the 90s now and 106 expected in a couple of days. I really hate this kind of heat, and it drains all the energy out of me. I don’t even feel like reading. Nevertheless I did finish a few things.

The Galton Case by Ross Macdonald was, as you would expect, excellent. Though it’s not forgotten in any sense of the word, it’s worthy of a Friday post, which will be upcoming.

Then I wanted something different from hard-boiled, so, having read a review of one of M. C. Beation’s Hamish Macbeth novels, I decided to try one. I wanted to start with the first book, but it wasn’t available from the library, so I got Death of An Outsider , the third in the series. Macbeth is a Scottish Constable, happy in his small village of Lochdubh, leading a simple life living among people he knows and for the most part likes. However, he is sent to a neighboring village of Cnothan to cover for the Constable there, who is going on vacation for 2 weeks. Naturally, a murder occurs, and Macbeth is thrown into the middle of the investigation. I liked it a lot, then got the first in the series, Death of An Outsider, then the fourth in the series, Death of A Perfect Wife. I’m waiting for the second in the series to arrive from the library.

Barbara finished Chaos by Patricia Cornwell. She liked it well enough, but said it wasn’t one of the better ones.

She also finished Val McDermid’s Out of Bounds. It’s the lasted in the Karen Pirie series. She always enjoys McDermid, though this time she said there was more Scottish “lingo” than she prefers.

She’s now waiting for A Game of Ghosts, the new Charlie Parker Thriller by John Connolly to show up from the library.

So how about you?
What have you been reading?

Posted in current reading, Mystery | 15 Comments

Current Reading: Dunstall, Macdonald, Cornwell

After finishing the Patricia Moyes mystery, I was in the mood for some science fiction, so I decided to read Linesman by S. K. Dunstall, a mass market paperback I bought last year. I liked it quite a lot, both for the characters and the interesting idea of lines of energy that control various aspects of ship controls, including the ability to make jumps through the void (and thus faster than light travel throughout the galaxy).

Ean Lambert is a Linesman Ten, (the highest level) but gets no respect from the other Linesmen (of any level or gender). He “hears” the lines, and sings his communications to them, whereas other Linesmen “feel” them with their minds, an uncertain process. But Ean’s abilities surpass most others, as long as he can sing. When as alien spaceship is discovered in a mostly-deserted corner of the galaxy, Ean is brought to examine it, and discovers an eleventh line, one that speaks only to him.

I’ve just gotten the next two books in the trilogy and will start it after I finish another novel, namely The Galton Case by Ross Macdonald. After Bill Crider posted on a book about Macdonald, I thought it was time to read another of his that I still hadn’t gotten to. This was the choice. I’m about 50 pages in.

Barbara finished John Sandford’s current Prey series novel, Golden Prey, and as usual with these books, enjoyed it.  She’s now about 3/4 of the way through Patricia Cornwell’s latest, Chaos. 

So how about you?
What have you been reading?

Posted in current reading, Mystery, Science Fiction | 21 Comments

Friday Forgotten: A Six-Letter Word For Death by Patricia Moyes

This is the 262nd in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

A Six-Letter Word For Death by Patricia Moyes, Henry Holt (an Owl Book) 1985 mass market paperback

I have long been a fan of the mystery novels of Patricia Moyes. Her series featuring Chief Inspector Henry Tibbett (and occasionally his wife Emmy) is excellent, and I’ve read most of them and can now add this one to that number.

This is the 17th in the series, and takes place on the Isle of Wight. Henry has been invited to speak to a small group of authors on Scotland Yard CID procedures, and has a successful talk. Before he arrived, Tibbett had been sent a crossword puzzle to solve, and it turns out that the solution included the names of the authors and other information which the group intended Tibbett to solve, or, embarrassingly, fail to solve. Thus the books titular reference to crossword.

The crossword hints at foul play in past deaths, each clue referencing one of the six authors in the group. The mystery writers all use pen names, keeping their identities secret, but Henry has little difficulty deducing who they are. He presents his police procedure talk, then reveals he solved the crossword, knew which writer designed it, and has investigated the events referenced by crossword clues.

One of the guests makes an appointment, heard by all, to see Henry later in the afternoon but then dies of an apparent accidental death before he can keep it. Henry is suspicious, and does his own unofficial investigation. When the crime scene and evidence are  tampered with, Henry is certain the death was no accident.

He and Emmy extend their vacation, in order to remain in the area and keep investigating. He ultimately stages a re-enactment of a decades-old crime to resolve all mysteries and obtain justice.

Though I found the plot in this one to be more convoluted than usual, I was happy with the conclusion, and as always Henry and Emmy are delightful. Well worth reading

Posted in Books & Reading, Mystery | 8 Comments

The Summer Garden

It’s peak Summer garden time, and I took some photos Sunday. Our Lilies are especially magnificent this year. Lots of pictures for you. Click to see larger image.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 10 Comments

Current Reading: Foster, Moyes, Sandford

I finished Icerigger by Alan Dean Foster, which I first became aware of through a blog review, though I don’t recall which blog. I enjoyed it. It’s nothing literate or thought-provoking, just a fun SF novel about a group of people who get stranded on an ice world, and their struggles to survive, get along, and find a way to somewhere civilized enough to allow them to get off the world and back to their lives. Good characterization, good world-building and nice doses of action and humor. It turns out to be the first in a series, though it could be read as a stand-alone. I’ve found a used copy of the second book.

I then felt in the mood for a British mystery, and spotted a Chief Inspector Henry Tibbit novel in my TBR stack, so I snapped it up. I love Patricia Moyes books, and it’s always a pleasure to come across one I haven’t read. This one is A Six-Letter Word For Death and, at the halfway point, I’m enjoying it very much.

Barbara just finished John Sandford’s current Prey series novel, Golden Prey. She’s not sure what she’s going to read next, she’ll see what’s on hold or pause at the library.

So how about you?
What have you been reading?

By the way, I’ll be posting some garden pictures Wednesday, for those who may be interested.

Posted in current reading, Mystery, Science Fiction | 21 Comments

Ow!

Having a bad day – the old devil migraine.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 13 Comments