Voting closed yesterday morning in the bag-design competition I entered on shirt.woot. My design finished 31st out of 132 contenders, not counting the 35 or so that were DQed for rules violations. I got a total of 107 votes. The top contenders all came in around a thousand, I think. But I'm still pretty proud of my debut effort, and I'll probably be entering another one soon...
I noticed yesterday, arriving at work around 7:30 AM, that it was just barely perceptibly darker outside than usual. I can start to feel summer slipping away from us, and it's not just because of the recent rain. It's supposed to be nice this weekend, but the sunrise slowly creeping later and later is a shot across summer's bow from the encroaching fall...
Back in Michigan, starting around September it always seemed like the world slowly bled out, the vibrant colors of early fall fading as leaves fell and clouds filled the once-blue sky. By midwinter the world was painted in dull shades of slate blue and brown and grey, and you could almost feel Demeter's despair weighing down the heart of nature.
It just doesn't work that way in the Pacific Northwest. The clouds may come rolling in, but the evergreens stand guard against the winter greys, buoyed by the frequent rain. Imposing though the clouds may be, the rains of winter lend the world a constant freshness, and even the barren deciduous trees seem eager to begin the spring's budding. And every once in a while a clear day comes along and the mountains leap from the horizon, snow caps against purple rock rising from the rich, green treeline.
I love the summers here, but I don't feel mourn its loss as once I did. I love living here, no matter the season.
A bunch of people from work went over to our manager2's house yesterday. He had the badminton net set up, so I took the court against the previous winner of a couple games.
I won the first game in a marathon effort, trading game-point opportunities back and forth several times. I was completely exhausted when the next challenger stepped on, but I managed to win that game too. I was still exhausted when the third game started.
By the time I won the third game, I felt like I was warming up.
I ended up running ten or so games straight, and when it was time for people to leave, I stepped off the court undefeated. Apparently I've developed some pretty good reflexes, although my spatial coordination could still use a bit of work.
My forearm's aching today, but it's the good sort of ache where you know you earned it.
Books #57-58: White Night and Small Favor by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #9 and #10)
I've said pretty much everything there is to say about this series. Still entertaining; growing darker. Looking forward to the next one.
Book #59: The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
This is a collection of short stories set in the world of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (with the exception of one bit of quasi-crossover fanfic where she writes about the Duke of Wellington's experience in the town of Wall from Stardust). Like the original novel, they're odd little stories, with both the narration and the magic in the typically understated style of the original. I enjoyed them, but I had a hard time developing sympathy for most of the protagonists in the short span we had with each. The stoic British style of writing doesn't really lend itself as well to these stories as it did to the original novel.
Book #60-65: Transmetropolitan volumes 1-6 by Warren Ellis
I struggled a bit with how to classify this; treating each short collection volume as a single book seemed a bit cheap. But the six volumes I own are roughly half of the eleven total in the series, so why the hell not.
Spider Jerusalem is a misanthropist bastard of a journalist who nevertheless cares very much about providing the unvarnished truth to the population of the City he despises. He covers a presidential election only to disregard the "better the devil you know" maxim and propel a soulless monster to victory. And from there, it's war between the administration and the truth. The government doesn't play fair... but luckily, neither does Spider.
This is pretty much the comic that made Warren Ellis and his seriously fucked-up brand of humor famous, and the particularly twisted parts of my mind are loving every page of it. Highly recommended, particularly for those of you who aren't very fond of "people".
Book #66: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Yes, this book is as good as everyone's been telling me. I couldn't describe this book adequately enough to do it justice, but it's a fantastic fantasy book that embraces many of the fantasy tropes and then employs them with a light enough touch to avoid any semblance of cliche, happily abandoning them whenever the story demands it. Mixed in among the feats of arcane magic and the occasional bit of dashing swashbucklery is a meditation on storytelling as cultural memory - the best treatment of the subject I've seen since Sandman.
And now, I have to wait for the rest of the trilogy to come out. My one complaint is that the book doesn't really end satisfyingly at all, but it really is just act one of an epic.
I'm really happy with how Pyrlogos is going. I'm running a bit behind on Monday's comic, but I just scripted out a big scene that will probably take four or five comics to finish, and I think the story's starting to come together. And I've got some big things planned...