BACK TO THE DRESDEN WORLD: READING THE SERIES AGAIN – Marilyn Armstrong

I really missed Jim Butcher and Harry Dresden. I missed Harry, the only wizard listed in Chicago’s telephone book. I miss his huge furry dog Mouse. And his gigantic cat. I  miss his magical Chicago and the strange island in the middle of Lake Michigan.

The only new writing he has put out in recent years is a collection of short stories, which I bought and read. And then, I began the entire series from the beginning, books one through 15 because I live in hope that someday, he will decide to write one last book about Harry Dresden. Just one more.

Including spineI am a Harry Dresden and Jim Butcher fan, so there’s no way for me to discuss any of these books with even a semblance of neutrality. If you also love the series, the enchanted world of Harry Dresden and Jim Butcher … I’m with you.

In the next to last Dresden book, “Ghost Story,” Harry was neither entirely alive nor quite dead. It was a difficult excursion for Harry’s fans. I liked it well enough, though it was different from any previous Harry Dresden adventure. I was sure it was an important bridge to the next phase of Harry’s world and I was right.

“Cold Days” is more satisfying. Although Harry gets pulverized (as usual), I’m consoled knowing Harry will survive what would kill an ordinary mortal. He has, after all, already survived death. Earlier books ended with more resolution than the last few. Now, each book is an episode in a continuing storyline. “Cold Days” brings Harry back — alive, this time. He is different. Changed, less careless of life having lost it … but as Winter Knight, he is powerful in new ways. This is just as well because his foes are stronger than ever and they aren’t going away.

Jim Butcher is brilliant.

He extracts Harry from impossible predicaments in which he faces horrendous odds, then adroitly uses these apparently hopeless situations to move the story in a new direction that will become the next book. Nothing is superfluous. It’s all part of a giant jigsaw puzzle, a piece of the full picture to be revealed in a subsequent installment.

I love the Dresden universe. My world has more than enough evil to keep an army of wizards busy, but the evil on this plane is likely to consist of grey bureaucrats, smarmy politicians. Fighting them is like trying to punch a hole in jello. You can’t beat them; they have no substance. Harry fights evil for me. He takes his lumps and then some, but he’s out there fighting for justice, even when it seems he’s taken a wrong turn. Despite appearances, Harry is never bad, though he is stubborn, too wedded to his own opinions. He has always been a poor listener and this failure has cost him dearly.

He listens better these days.

Harry is changing and growing. He’s painfully (in the most literal sense) aware of his mortality and fragility. He knows he’s made terrible mistakes he can never set right. He’s not cocksure anymore. He has become more of a planner. He is less inclined to charge headlong into danger unless it is the only course. Mindless violence is no longer his default setting. All to the good.

I’m sensing a climactic conclusion to the series coming. I wish the series would go on forever, but Jim Butcher has said it will be 20 books and a trilogy. I’m not sure if the trilogy is part of the 20 books or in addition to it. I keep meaning to ask. Maybe I’ll just wait and see.

Harry Dresden

I hope — by now — the next installment of the Dresden Files is nearing publication. I’ll be waiting and ready to read when it comes around! Meanwhile, if you haven’t gotten to this one, don’t miss it. It’s rich, complex and I promise it will grab you and take you for a ride you won’t forget.

I’m now finishing the last full book – Skin Game. I think there needs to be at least one more. Please Jim, one more. Just one. After that, I’ll stop begging.

He has his own website where you can find all his books. It’s called Jim Butcher. All his books are available at Amazon and everywhere they sell books, including Audiobooks.

THERE’S A LONG LONG TRAIL A WINDING (WW1) – JOHN MCCORMACK – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Trail

It’s a great song and I remember my mother singing it. In fact, I think we sang it in glee club. All our teachers were old enough to remember “the war to end all wars.”

It didn’t end all or any wars. I think it started more wars … as soon as there were enough men to fight another one.

I’m still, after doing a lot of reading on that war baffled as to how it began. There was little to be gained and much to be lost, especially by the people living in Europe where the battles were fought. They had nothing to gain and everything to lose.

It was all politics, all national leaders trying to prove that they were the most powerful in Europe and everyone bought more and more weapons.

One day, a shot was fired and a war which virtually wiped out all the men in Europe began. Does it sound vaguely familiar?

BRILLIANCE: ME OR THE LITTLE RED BIRD? – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Wednesday – BRILLIANCE


It’s hard to know who’s the brilliant one — bird or photographer? The bird is red, which is brilliant … but I got him looking incredibly cute, so does that make me brilliant, in a different way?

There was not the usual cloud of birds around the feeder this morning, but there was one very pretty little red finch that somehow I managed to get pictures of. He is awfully cute.

He’s giving me his “good” side!
I wonder if he will eventually be entirely red?

Small, red, and I just know I could teach him to hang around. I’m not sure how, but I’m sure I could. Somehow.

Peek-a-boo!
Is this cute or what?

WORLD SHARING AS NOVEMBER ENDS — Marilyn Armstrong

SHARE YOUR WORLD 11-26-18


There comes a time when you no longer know what you are doing, only that you are always doing something. This has been one of those weeks. Between doctor appointments, pharmacy runs, shopping, and just keeping the house from becoming a massive dirt zone, there’s not a lot of time left over. Add it taking some pictures, processing the pictures, writing some stuff for the blog, there’s even less time. 

Then there’s a leave a little time for just relaxing, reading a book.  I was up until 2 last night clearing out email. It comes by the hundreds per day and there’s no way I can manage it. So far, nothing has gotten it under control.


If you, as a five-year-old, woke up in your current body, what would happen, what would you say?

Holy shit! Where did I get all these scars? What HAPPENED?

What is a relationship deal breaker for you?  Whether you are talking about a romantic one, a friendship or a related to sort of relationship?

Unreliability, rumor-mongering, and trust-breaking.

Unreliability takes a long time. It can take years for me to realize that this person is never going to be where he or she says she or he will be, or do what was promised. It’s a slow deal breaker, where I gradually give up calling, stop setting dates. Recognize it will never change. These relationships stay pleasant but become less and less important.

Rumor-mongering — especially in combination with eavesdropping — is a killer. Once is enough. People who talk behind my back are not my friends. Actually, they aren’t anybody’s friend.

Trust breaking is a business thing. Like dealing with a company for a long time, then realizing they are gradually losing the qualities that made you work with them in the first place. Deliveries are late or don’t arrive. Contracts are, if not ignored, then dealt with sloppily. It is another version of unreliability but in the business arena. Ultimately, it means you won’t use their services. It may take a while before you replace them, but it will happen. You can’t continually disappoint customers without payback. Heads up businesses. It can happen to you, too.

The old 14Z in its youth …

My current best example is Dell. I bought their computers for years because you knew you’d get a good product. Originally, you also got good service. First, the service departed without leaving a note behind. Next, the quality of the product weakened … but not the prices or service contracts. Now, they are a shadow of Microsoft and I expect they will vanish in a few years. What a pity!

Is there something out there, a thought, an idea, a current event, or a fear that you find deeply unsettling?

Yeah, like realizing our home planet is being destroyed by idiots.

And for something more whimsical, if you were arrested with no explanation, what would your friends and family assume you had done?

Caught raiding a pharmacy for asthma medication. No jury would convict me.

What were you grateful for this week?  Something that brought some joy into your world? 

Yesterday this was a mere bud!

Birds, bird feeders, cameras, and flowering Christmas Cactus.

ALL BUDS YESTERDAY, FLOWER TODAY – Marilyn Armstrong

From Bud to Flower -FOTD – 11/28/2018


So as I follow the progression of my Christmas Cactus, it was full of buds yesterday and blossomed today. Just one blossom, but there are many more buds and a few of them are nice and fat.

I love watching flowers develop. Right now, I’m trying to decide whether it’s time to water it or not. It still feels a little bit damp, so I’m waiting. Maybe tomorrow.

Because it has been so gray, it is taking a really long for everything to dry up.

No processing. It looked so impressionistic without any assistance. A little more light would be nice! I hear we may get some day after tomorrow. Maybe.
Yesterday’s buds are tomorrow’s flowers.

It’s interesting to see which color comes up in the blooming. Some years, the color is very close to orange.

Soft bloom
And one in focus!

This year, the blossoms are deep red. As yet, the second plant has no buds so it could bloom as anything from light pink to dark red.

DEAR LITTLE BROWN GIRL – REBLOG – The Shinbone Star

Sort of sums it all up, doesn’t it?


 

THE SHINBONE STAR

— Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Dear Little Brown Girl:

Sorry, kid, you should have been born Norwegian. With blonde hair, blue eyes and a lighter complexion — you know, Aryan good looks like Ivanka’s — President Donald Trump would have welcomed you with open arms. Instead, you got the tear gas.

Not coming from a “shithole country” certainly has its advantages. Of course had you been born in Norway, your mommy — sorry, your mamacita — wouldn’t even have felt the need to join a human caravan and plod along with you for 2,000 miles in search of a better life. But them’s the breaks, kid, and don’t go blaming the white people of Norway, who worked real hard to make their country not a shithole!

Just look at ya standing there, trying to look all pathetic and everything. Well, here’s what I got to say to all them people who…

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