I'm thinking more than a few would make good book of the month club selections.
I'm thinking more than a few would make good book of the month club selections.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of flipping open your wallet to pay for something only to discover an empty space in the slip customarily occupied by your credit card. “Terror” isn’t really the right word for it. It’s more, I think, a feeling of deep foreboding roughly akin to the sensation serial killer victims must experience when the police call back to inform them that the harassing phone calls are coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE! You think to yourself “Now this shouldn’t be.”, at first calmly checking the different sections of your wallet once, twice, three times, then growing more panicked as you rifle through your pockets and scan the surrounding floor on the off-chance it fell out while you were actually looking for it. Your mind races, stumbling over possible scenarios and suspects: a waiter, the plumber, that cashier at Safeway who, in retrospect, seemed unusually chatty that morning. Had she been the decoy, distracting you with conversation about her golden retriever’s aversion to snow while her accomplice (The bag boy. Who else?!) lifted your VISA? Were they now, somewhere in Seattle, debauching themselves on Pike’s Market fish burgers and those eggnog lattes you can only get at Christmas unless you’re someone special and/or have the money to pay for a special order? Your first instinct is to call VISA and cancel your card. No, scratch that. Your first instinct is to go through your wallet and pockets once again in the blind hope that it will magically reappear like some long lost son returning home after a year spent following The Grateful Dead on tour to be welcomed back with full forgiveness, a sense of general relief , and an avowal to never let him out of your sight again. Your SECOND instinct is to call VISA and cancel your card. But that’s trumped by your third instinct which is to think back to the last place you used your credit card and perhaps assume you left it there AND that someone was kind enough to set it aside for you.
The last place I’d used my VISA was at the Italian Kitchen on 4th last night. If I’d left it anywhere, it would have been there. Now, on the surface, the whole incident may seem to be my fault given that I was the one who lost the credit card but I feel the need to point out that I was the one who wanted to stay home and have grilled chicken breasts for dinner. I hopped into my car and motored over to The Italian Kitchen and informed the host what had happened. He asked me for my name, then went to the till and pulled out a stack of cards three inches deep. He riffed through them, found my card and then, after checking my I.D., handed it over. Much relieved, I left the restaurant, thankful for catastrophe avoided and promising myself that I would never be so absent-minded again.
At which point I arrived at my car and realized I’d forgotten to put money in the meter.
Well, I was planning to go into the office today and help with breaking of Carl’s new story (Honest!) but Paul phoned me up early this morning to let me know he was feeling under the weather and wouldn’t be heading in. Our of solidarity with my sick writing/producing partner, I opted to stay home as well. And good thing I did as I spent a good part of the day working on my Stargate Universe script, revising what I head and then forging ahead. It’s coming along nicely and I’m almost in the home stretch. Act four is feeling a little thin but I’m sure that once I’m done, it’ll be wonderfully robust. Otherwise, I’ll simply have to request the actors speeeeaaaak veeeeerrry sloooooowlyyyyy oooooon theeeeee daaaaaaaay. If all goes well, I hope to have a first draft out by early next week – at which point I’ll be able to finally shift gears back to my super, secret project.

To those who’ve started to weigh in with their thoughts on City of Saints and Madmen –

Sparrow_hawk writes: “The Transformation of Martin Lake” was a strange and wonderful story of an artist and may be my favorite.”

Answer: It was a World Fantasy Award winner and holds the most unsettling scene I’ve read in recent memory. The protagonist, having accepted a mysterious invitation to a masquerade, arrives at 45 Archmont Lane and is escorted into a study where he awaits his host. As he takes in his surroundings, he becomes aware of a tapping sound that he immediately realizes is emanating from the table in front of him. Amused by what he assumes to be “a splendid disguise for the masquerade“, he taps back. He receives two taps in response, responds in kind, is answered by three more taps, and, again, he rejoins. Then –

“A frenzied rapping and smashing erupted from the table. Lake sucked in his breath and pulled his fist back abruptly. A frisson of dread traveled up his spine. It had just occurred to him that the playful game might not be a playful game after all. The black table, on which he had laid his invitation, was not actually a table but an unadorned coffin from which someone desperately wanted to get out!” (City of Saints and Madmen, “The Transformation of Martin Lake”).

Sparrow_hawk writes: “But much of the time that I was reading I had the nagging feeling that there was some inside joke to which I was not privy; a joke that, if I could only discover it, would open up the world of Ambergris to me and let me fully enjoy it. I kept reading, always hoping that the next story would let me put it all in perspective. But, alas, it was not to be and I remained merely an outsider looking in on a bizarre world I couldn’t really understand.”

Answer: I would argue that, despite learning much about Ambergris over the course of this book, what we do learn leads us to posit many questions that remain unanswered. The chiefest for me being “What DID happen to the city’s inhabitants who vanished during The Silence?”. I’m curious but the fact that it, like several other questions, remains unanswered makes the circumstances surrounding the incident all the more haunting. I guess what I’m saying is that often, what is left unsaid is far more powerful.

Iamza writes: “I am dying to know if anyone solved the number puzzle towards the latter half of the novel.”

Answer: Good question. I’ll send it Jeff’s way. I believe the solution to the puzzle was available on the publisher’s website at one point.

Anyone with questions for author Jeff Vandermeer has until tomorow to get them in!

Well, whenever I’m feeling a little down, I just make a trip to my local bookstore for a quick pick-me-up. In the short term, my mood significantly improves. In the long term, however, I face the prospect of an increasingly unmanageable To-Read pile (pictured).

Today’s video: Lulu celebrates the recent snowfall by harassing the shit out of Bubba.



72 thoughts on “January 27, 2009: Losing My Wallet And My Mind (In No Particular Order). A Solidarity Sick Day.

  1. Hahaha! Dogs are funny.

    So, did you cancel your card anyway? Because there was still plenty of time for someone to have taken a photo and/or taken down the info on the card, which is all they’d need to use it. But then, I am paranoid about such things.

  2. Joe, that was wonderful! The pups are sooo much fun to watch. Das, ask the DR. for diflucin tabs for “IT”. You won’t need yogurt then- they are generic, so they are cheap! Sorry Joe, Das needs me and i am here for her. DAS, you may now send phila. soft pretzles, since i haven’t lived there in many years! They will be fine until they get to me in Florida. Feel better, Sheryl

  3. Which versions of the Discworld books do you have — are they Canadian printings? I’ve never seen that style in the US.

  4. Hey Joe,

    I know that sick, sinking feeling. On a trip to Montréal I left my VISA/ATM (gasp!) card at a store. I was visiting and didn’t know my way around that well, had spent the day shopping (using that card quite extensively), and had taken a subway, a bus and one other trolley/train type thing to get to that end of town. I was now back in my hotel.

    I remember weighing my options: 1) take the trains/planes/auto route back and hope that the last store was open, and that my card was there; or B) call and kill the card, with all the inherent hassles. Option 1 won out, but I now triple-check each time I use it, let me tell you!

    Glad you got yours back.

  5. Dear Joe,

    Can we discuss a stargate atlantis book from the fandemonium series sometime for your bookclub? I would very much appreciate it.
    Also, what do you think is the verdict regarding the question I asked yesterday.


  6. 😆 More puppy vids!! For as much as I love the puppy photos, nothing’s better than seeing them in action! Too adorable! That Lulu, you couldn’t have named her better! Thanks so much, I really needed that! 🙂

    And god, don’t I know that lost credit card feeling. Ugh. It is EXACTLY as you describe it – on one hand you’re thinking that this cannot be, on the other you have a sense of foreboding, and then there’s this whole crazy panic feeling you get in your head that’s like a roulette wheel, spinning round and round, just waiting for the ball to drop in the right pocket. I totally know the feeling – it just happened to me Saturday night while we were on our doctor/gas station/pharmacy/dinner run. I couldn’t find my credit card at the pharmacy and I started getting panicky as I rifled through my wallet, and then Mr. Das casually pulls my ‘lost’ card out of his pocket, and says, “Oh…you mean this card?” He hadn’t returned it to me after we filled up the car. Ugh. I could’a slugged him!

    Glad you found yours, and thanks for the puppy vid! Hope to see more!


  7. Love the dogs in the snow. We got snow in Houston Dec 10 (and may get some more tonight) and my golden retriever did not like it at all; she prefers the rain and the pool.

    In November, someone stole the magnetic stripe on our credit card. We were called by our credit card company who reported suspicious activity and we both had possession of our cards. The only time it left our sight was in a restaurant in early November. That information was forwarded to the police. They went on a $4000 shopping spree at four different Best Buy stores (and got away with a Playstation 3, TV, home theater unit, and a game for the Playstation 3 before the credit card denied two of the other charges). I’d cancel the card, too. The police aren’t taking this seriously at all even though I have all the time stamps of the charges (which means they could have looked at surveillance tapes). The county I placed the report in (the county I live in) says it is the county where the offense occurs responsibility and they say it is my home county’s responsibility. No wonder there is so much fraud going on. Chances are the people will actually get away with it.

  8. @ sheryl – Thanks for the tip! So far, my tummy has been fine…at least one part of me is okay. But I am eating yogurt, just to play it safe. I like yogurt, I mean…the plain, non-flavored stuff. I just sprinkle a little salt or baharat in it and have it with chips. Mmmm!!

    Not sure I’m going out pretzel hunting anytime soon, but maybe this site can hook you up – they even have a pretzel package!




  9. And all of those thoughts on the fate of your VISA probably happened in a few milliseconds.

    It is a sickening feeling. Followed promptly by embarrassment after the panicked phone call to the provider, you find the card in your “other” handbag. Or maybe not in your case. Unless there’s something you’re not telling us about the way you accessorise. Joe? **poke, poke** Joe?

    Joe wrote:

    Otherwise, I’ll simply have to request the actors speeeeaaaak veeeeerrry sloooooowlyyyyy oooooon theeeeee daaaaaaaay.

    Hehehehehehehehehe. Please can you? Or do it like Days of our Lives and have them stare at each other with dramatic music and just a different eyebrow raised with each camera angle change.

    Ooooo, cute dogs and cold stuff on the video, can I have some of that cold stuff for my drink please?

    When I was home by myself recently it was brought to my attention that one set of hands does not have enough patting output for our two dogs.

    So, it made me think, how do you and Fondy handle the demands and manage to equally distribute affection amongst the four dogs?

    I just read that our local council plans on dealing with the rabbit problem by blowing them up in their burrows. Caddy Shack, you are both entertainment and apparently educational.

    No I haven’t had anything alcoholic to drink yet. It’s the heat I tell ya.. and maybe the Mersyndol Day Strength for the wrist. It just hit 114 degrees Fahrenheit.

  10. Hey Joe!

    Glad to hear your got your credit card back, thank goodness the restaurant held it for you or you would’ve had to go through all that hassle with VISA to stop the card and get a new one. As well, in regards to credit cards, make sure you don’t overpurchase, gotta stay out of debt. 😉

    I love the video of Lulu and Bubba. They definitely seem to like the snow (as do all your dogs), it’s really cute to see.

    Thanks as always!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  11. Poo…my last post went in the spam bin…guess it was the food catalog link. Can you resurrect it, Joe?


  12. Progress on your script means you’re forgiven for not going in to work. Besides, that’s a very nice pile of books you gave us to look at there. I’ve got all of the Pratchett books in your stack in paperback, picked up in England a few years ago(their covers are SOOO much better than the American ones). Would you attribute the successful recovery of your credit card to a) your natural good karma, b) the innate honesty of Canadians, c) the propriator’s calculated self interest in encouraging return customers, or d) sheer dumb luck.
    Quick thanks to Mr. VanderMeer for commenting, and for being willing to answer our questions. Despite my less than rave review of “City”, I was impressed enough by his writing to put his name on my next book hunting list, in order to sample some of his other work. I hope to have a few questions for him posted by tomorrow evening.

  13. Lulu’s like my Pit Bull puppy and Bubba’s like the cats! Midnight just doesn’t seem to get it and so far none of them have smacked her a good one across her nose. They just escape to higher ground (usually one of the multitude of bookcases in my house).

    Glad to hear that there won’t be a conspicuous hour of dead air for your episode of Universe. It’s no fun to wait in anticipation with a bowl of popcorn and nothing to watch.

    Glad you found your card. My husband left his at Home Depot once and the cashier had a jolly time at Carlos Murphy’s – to the tune of $450 – must have been a great party! (Yes, he was caught.)

  14. I actually got a phone call from my credit card company the other day asking if I had made some charges. Damn kids and their XBox.

    Poor Bubba. He needs extra treats tonight.

  15. It might be of interest that you could use a smartphone for purchases in some places (think it’s South Korea, among others). You got to be truly absent minded to misplace your smartphone.

    PL wrote:

    Which versions of the Discworld books do you have — are they Canadian printings? I’ve never seen that style in the US.

    Mr M’s Discworld book is a British Corgi edition that’s available in Canada. I find the British editions generally uses a lower grade of newsprint.

  16. Well, I nominate Tad Williams for sure! I love that series you picked up of his. I just enjoy his writing in general. Very rich in detail and plot, but without ever making the reader feel like they are wading through adjectives.

    Although, I am VERY keen on having Anne Bishop as a fantasy BOTM. I was thinking you’d already gotten around to reading it, but apparently not. I’d definitely thrown my vote in for Daughter of the Blood for next month…

    Glad you found your visa!! I have never done that, but I do occasionally panic when I can’t find my keys or phone within 5 seconds of digging through my purse. (Note this happens often as my purses tend towards the size of small backpacks. I’ve gotten used to suppressing the frantic desire to toss everything on the floor.) And congrats on movement of the script, too.

  17. Lulu is still such a puppy, but she better watch herself, I think Bubba was sizing her up for a smack-down.

    I didn’t even loose my gas card, and I got whacked for $1100 by some jerk who jacked my card number from the pump. I think he was filling up his company trucks at $100 a pop, all in two days. Just having to enter your zip code would stop so much of this dang fraud, but I guess that’s too simple.

  18. You know, I know nothing about dogs, which allows me to arrive at crazy conclusions about them.

    From this vid, I conclude that Lulu and Bubba were flirting; you know, like how Klingons initiate their mating rituals. Oh yeah, those two pups are sooooo into each other.

    Your kids are growing up, Joe. They are growing up. Oh, how time flies.

  19. Glad you found your card and I guess most of us have had that at some time or another, what IS worse though is standing at a checkout with a trolley full of shopping waiting to be paid for and your card is declined because your husband emptied the account to pay for a dirty weekend with his bit on the side and you’ve got three kids that need feeding. No more joint accounts…or husbands for me!

    Narelle, hope the wrist is feeling better soon, I’d recommend reading Terry Pratchett’s Last Continent. it takes place on four ecks(XXXX) and is guaranteed to make you chuckle.

    Das, hope you’re on the mend, my mum recently had to have 4 lots of antibiotics because the doc didn’t give her strong enough ones to start with and she ended up with something that they give for malaria and bloody cholera, she had to take them standing up and couldn’t lie down for an hour afterwards as per the destructions. Sweet!

  20. Excuse me now while I check myself into a secure unit and bang my head off a few padded walls

  21. Ahhhh…thanks for the video Joe. That was just what I needed. The temp hit 43 deg celsius (109 deg Fahrenheit) today. We went to the local pool and it was fantastic!!

    Re: your VISA. I wonder what charges they ran up on your card – gift for their girlfriend, ipod, gym equipment, porn? Might be worth checking with the bank.

    So, how did you date with the plumber go? 😀

    Cheers, Chev

  22. Sorry to hear about the rotten day. Hope this one today is better!
    That pile of books is impressive. How many hours do days in Canada have? Seems to be more than in Europe. Or how do you find time to read at all – between your work, your dogs and this blog?
    I recommend Lords And Ladies, it is just what you need on and after a ‘sick day’. Next on my list would be A Walk In The Woods and Men At Arms. Or anything in a universe without credit cards and meters.

  23. Thanks for the video of your dogs. It makes me realize why it’s a good thing to have at least two. Can you imagine Lulu in your house, as the only dog? She’s got all that aggression/playfulness and it has to come out. Luckily, it’s another dog and not your furniture that takes the brunt. I have two Whippets, and when they get in their playful mood, stand back. We call it furniture tag as they run around the house trying to never touch the floor, leaping from one thing to another.

    I can’t imagine how bored and lonely a “one dog in the house” is.

  24. Heh, if you could only bottle that adrenaline surge you get when you realize that your credit card is not where it’s supposed to be, you could sell it as a way of jolting the system out of jetlag. I can attest to the extreme effectiveness of this treatment…

    Please, please, please don’t add Poppy Z Brite’s Lost Souls to the BOTM selection until the end of March. I won’t have my copy until then (it’s packed away right now, along with all my other books *mourns*), and I really want to read it. And if it were a BOTM book, I’d have even more incentive to do so. *grin*

    Oh, and you have Warchild and China Mountain Zhang and Young Miles and John Wyndham novels on the shelf. And Bill Bryson, and Jonathan Carroll. That’s an awesome to-read pile!

  25. Love the video. I have two pugs and they are constantly nipping at each others heels and harrassing each other just like that.

  26. Bonjour Joseph!

    Vous allez bien?

    Ohhh super cette video, trop adorable vos chiens, on dirait des enfants qui jouent à la bagarre^^!

    Alalala voila quelques mois que j’ai une carte banquaire et la pire des choses serait de la perdre, à telle point que je verifie toute les heures que je l’ai toujour sur moi=) Ce qui compte c’est que vous l’ayez retrouver!

    Bon rétablissement à Paul.

    Passez une bonne journée! Bisou

  27. Hi Joe – love the stack of books to read, kinda reminds me of what all the bookcases and various other flat surfaces look like in my house most of the time!

    One in particular struck my fancy, not Sci-Fi or fantasy oddly enough but I noticed a Bill Bryson in the pile and I’d love to hear your thoughts on any or all of his books. I’m a big Bryson fan and I believe that most of his books have been passed around my entire family at one point or another (literally, parents and me and the hubby in the Maritimes and then into the mail to BC to my brother.) If you haven’t read anything of his before – one word of caution, at various points you may have to explain to anyone in earshot why you are suddenly laughing like a fool or snorting whatever liquid you might be drinking out of your nose!

    Happy Reading!

  28. Hi Joe,

    Loved the video of the dogs. They’re cute, & Lulu seems so energized by the snow. The video was exactly right today as I miss my dog horribly. So thanks for sharing.
    Good to hear you got your card back without much trouble. My mom once lost her cards too & had to cancel them in fact because they remained lost. It was so much doing.
    Anyways, good luck with your secret project & all the other ones. I’m becoming more & more interested in Stargate Universe (that’s a good thing), so go ahead & ‘shine’ it for us waiting fans.

    All the best,

  29. Day late dollar short:
    Definitely love/hate. I just want to mention, before City of Saints and Madmen I read SG-1 Roswell, #9 in the Fandemonium line. It was so nuts that, in hindsight, it ruined my mindset to take on this aptly named book (collection). It took me exactly 3 minutes to hate it. I think it was the distracting footnotes, whale blubber, squidanthropy and cloying perfume that got me first, then the sneaking suspicion that this is Squidward Tentacles’ favorite book. Not that it deserves hatred; this amazing apostasy of stories pertaining to the city and certain people of Ambergris is quite stunning both visually (King Squid) and wordily (the appendix). So after 3 minutes I started skimming, getting stuck on squishy details, going back and forth, trying to resolve and overcome the vague and unsatisfying feeling that nothing was true and I’d read all this kind of stuff before. Except for “X” which was hubris. The story cacophony of “you are what you think” consumed way more time than pleased me to give. The attention to detail does deserve praise, however. Maybe it was the various writing styles that offended. Or maybe it was the characters themselves, so unforgivably human. To be fair, I did enjoy the parts that held my interest, especially disintegrating Martin Lake. But *really* lets mention names: ie Duncan Shriek? Is that a play on name of the musician Duncan SHEIK? lol, barely breathing.

    My Question for Mr VanderMeer, from the “story” on the bookcover flap: Where did you go?
    Some ride, thanks.

  30. Oooh, The Black Company, I’ve been meaning to read that! Any chance of getting Glen Cook to answer questions in Book of the Month?

  31. Been there, done that. Mastercard, Bath & Bodyworks…no Italian food involved. Took me 3 days to realize it was missing though. Glad you got your card back. Please ignore those strange online purchases for things you don’t remember. 🙂

    Gees, Lulu & my big fluffy kitten should get together. I have had that same scene played out in my kitchen the last three mornings, only cats. And counters were involved.

    I need to have a solidarity sick day……

  32. Oh wow, your accounting of the credit card fear was so astute right down to the part where number three overwhelms number two. lol

    Puppies in the snow are adorable, we are now getting hit with our snowfall and I can’t wait to get Pavlova outside for a romp by the lake. There is nothing like watching an Akbash roll around in the snow.

  33. Hi Joe! I’m sorry you had such a lousy day. I completely understand that misplaced credit card feeling – your description of it was spot on – and I just hate it when it (all too frequently) happens. I’m glad you found it again!

    Jeff VanderMeer said:

    City of Saints tends to elicit all kinds of reactions because it uses so many different styles–it’s cool if some of you don’t like it. But just a note that no two books of mine are the same. looking forward to the questions.

    I liked some of the stories, but not all of them. I think having them all in one place was a bit overwhelming. And just because I don’t plan to read City of Saints again doesn’t mean that I won’t read any of your other stories/books. I think you are a brilliant, if very strange, writer. Your books are not “casual reads.” Next time I pick up one of them, I will do it knowing that I damn well better have a lot of time and energy to spare for reading.

    More questions:

    1. Why all the different styles?

    2. Do you identify with “X”?

    3. Are you a fan of Lovecraft or just a squidophile?

    4. I thought the number puzzle referred to page and word numbers, but I couldn’t figure out which of the many stories it might use as a source. I thought it might be the “The Release of Belaqua” but there is no page 16. Is there a solution or are you just messing with our minds?

    Joe said:

    I guess what I’m saying is that often, what is left unsaid is far more powerful.

    I agree. I love books that leave you thinking about the unanswered questions. But that was not my problem with City of Saints. It was more a problem with obscure names and references. The book left me feeling more confused than bemused. If you know what I mean.

    @Narelle: Sorry to hear about the spider scare and your injured wrist. I hope it gets better quickly . I try to be kind to all critters, but I’m afraid I might react the same way as your husband if confronted by a really big bug.

    Merged karma? I don’t think so. I firmly believe that even when you are married, your karmic account remains your own.

  34. Joe

    Love the dog video my Pekinese wold love to play with your dog Lulu but i am not sure who would win..

    Chicago has had 1 inch of snow today pretty good for Chicago.

  35. Lulu is very fiesty, good for her.

    As for the card, been there done that. Oddly, almost all the same questions came to mind.

  36. Oh I know that feeling when you lose your card; for me, it’s usually followed by ‘oh crap, my mum’s gonna kill me’…

    And I thought my ‘to read’ pile was bad… actually it may still have more books in it than yours (somehow that’s a very scary thought seeing as I have a-levels to complete at the same time!)

    I wish I could take a day off, but missing a day of college somehow seems worse than missing a day of work- progress on the script is good, I’m really looking forward to Stargate Universe… more Stargate is ALWAYS a good thing!

  37. I’m sorry about your day. I have a snow day today, so I can’t really complain.

    Questions: 1. Have you seen Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog? 2. Is the city of Atlantis in any way sentient or able to communicate with people with the ATA gene? 3. I read on Gateworld that Michael Shanks is going to be in the premiere of Universe, and that RDA might be too. Can you confirm this? 4. Did you know that if you type “the answer to life, the universe, and everything” into google, the google calculator will give you the answer “42”?

  38. That LULU is a Pistol!!!Yes my friend you do feel a sense of panic when you walk out of the house with the card and for some reason you cant find it on your person when it is time to pay……

  39. This is kinda of old question from Stargate, but I was watching Carmen A on (I think) CSI:NY and I was wondering…his character was the only one to call Daniel – Danny. Was it written like that or did Carmen just do it the first time and then it was written? Do you remember?

    Also how old are all the dogs? Max just seemed to say let me out of here!! Is Bubba usually her target, cuz I think we’ve seen more of those two together. I think Max is such a cutie – looks very inquisitive.

    We have a snow day today! Yeah! We don’t get too many, because our superintendent doesn’t believe in them. But since we are in the Northeast, we get hammered quite a bit..

  40. Just checking – do I get the same critter ava every time I post here? Guess I’ve been lucky, I quite like the colours and design. 😎

  41. Oh my lord Lulu is so obnoxious and so cute at the same time. I like how Bubba uses his paw to simmer her down like a boxing referee, while Lulu is like an excitable Mike Tyson who’s caught the scent of freshly torn ear.

  42. To EricaHP — The Black Company was a BOTM previously. If you search Joe’s website you’ll find the Q&A with the author.

  43. Oh yes, been there. Only once in recent memory, which is pretty incredible considering how often my mind is far, far away from what I am actually doing at any given moment. Good thing my brain seems to have a functional auto pilot.

    I think I left my card at an Applebees/Ruby Tuesday/Olive Garden…one of those. Did not notice till the next day when I pulled out my wallet to pay for the tank of gas I’d just pumped, and found that all I had to work with was $2.64. AIEEE!

  44. Golly, Cap’n Joe, did you ever capture the shades of sheer panic. It’s almost like the camera zooms in and a person’s pupils turn into exclamation points. So glad the restaurant owner had a deck of credit cards (scary thought) to shuffle through, and that yours was in it!

    I laughed out loud over Lulu gnawing on Bubba’s hambone. And his retaliation. How hilarious… Aren’t you glad you brought a Frenchie into your home? That made me go back and re-watch Lawren’s snow video from Dec. 27th. Feel free to give us as many pugsie videos as your heart desires. Doggies are such good medicine.

    @ Das, a.k.a. D as in danger
    Am so sorry you’re still feeling like the cat’s litterbox! I thought yesterday’s photo meant you were feeling better. Am glad the pugs in the snow video cheered you up. And that your doctor hauled out the big-gun high-powered antibiotics. The yoghurt will help keep your tummy from going wayward, and acidophilous will, too. I got the unrefrigerated kind from Walmart, in the purple bottle. Works like a charm. Antibiotics can knock out the good bacteria in your gut and make it cranky. Also, your gut is the first line of defense in your immune system. Gotta have that puppy up and running well! Sheryl can give you even better info on that.

    Too cool that you can work from home and that your Dad is your boss. He’ll certainly be understanding. I’ve never had pneumonia, but did have pleurisy with the high fever, (everybody cover your eyes!) coughing up alien green gobs of goo, and feeling like my butt had been kicked for 3 to 4 weeks. Mom told me I needed to cut out the sugar. (Gasp!) Turns out she was right. It was like my immune system went through a reboot and I slowly but surely started feeling better.

    Your ribs will hurt, but be patient. This will be long-haul recovery. BUT, you have us for entertainment. 😀
    I know! We should start a “Make Das Laugh” campaign, just so long as it doesn’t accidentally turn into a “cough” campaign. Cap’n Joe’s pugs in the snow can be the first installment.

    @ Relle-y!
    Now the venetian blinds are out to get you!? Your poor wrist. Hubby’s hammock turned on him. Spiders, a laptop in mutiny, and broiling Australian heat… Poor girl! Come play in the snow. Indy just got dumped with 10½ to 11 inches of snow overnight. It’s gorgeous, though. It’s like a “Dr. Zhivago” snow. When I looked out into the dark last night, because sled dogs must go out in the snow, the flakes were like a glimmering veil coming down. I could hear “Lara’s Theme” playing in the back of my mind. Love that movie, even though it was before my time. Think of the movie and picture the perma-frost covered and crystalline patterned windows. And the snow-covered turret on the roof of the old house… Feel cooler?

  45. Ahhhhh. “The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies Of The Apocalypse,” possibly my favourite Robert Rankin novel so far!

    Jasper Fforde’s “The Big Over Easy” is also a great read. I enjoyed that more than the “Thursday Next” series.

    The “Otherland” series by Tad Williams I found a bit disappointing. While the premise was interesting I found the time investment (I’m not a fast reader) to get through the whole series was ultimately unrewarding.

    Anything by John Wyndham is sci-fi gold and I just realised I have none of his books in my collection! I shall have to remedy that.

    You’ve got some great Terry Pratchett books coming up. Although after about book 15 or so I started finding the Discworld stories a bit “samey” and haven’t read any since.

  46. that video is so cute, it should be illegal… I nearly died from cute overload.

  47. @ for the love of Beckett – Thanks, you made me smile! 🙂 The thing is that I am NOT a good sick person. Mr. Das, on the other hand – HE knows how to be sick: lie in the recliner with a cat and a blanket and a cup of tea, and watch tv all day. Me? I’m mopping the floor and doing laundry, then I pass out. I do NOT like to do ‘nothing’, so this is really hard for me.

    And no…it is not cool working for dad. Ugh. My dad is a gruff little guy with a short temper, and two volume settings, off, and 150 dB. So, of course the logical thing to do was to quit my job at the library (YES, Joe…for 4 years I worked in a nice, quiet library surrounded by books – oh, the irony!), and go to work for pop. I’m a bit of a masochist, I suppose. 😛 However, he is pretty understanding about me being sick, and the big perk is that I will not lose any pay because of it. So that gives me a certain peace of mind, which I really do appreciate.

    As far as cheering me up – well, Joe’s done that with the puppy vid, and for joining me, Paul, and everyone else here in a Solidarity Sick Day. 😉 Now…if only he’d throw me a Todd bone, or two. But with Laura Dove having met Chris this past weekend in London, and having an opportunity to talk with him (in French!) about Todd, I am getting all my Todd-fixes from other sources. But it is nice to know that Chris doesn’t want Todd turned into a villain, either…oh, and that Sheppard tastes better every time! 😆 Ya know, when the actors start shipping their own characters, you really have to worry… 😉


  48. How wrong I was to think my to-read pile of 5 books was formidable.

    Congrats on finding your VISA card! I would have searched frantically in my pockets and then cancelled it, thinking that it would be pointless to look elsewhere.

  49. Narelle, nice to hear from you, hope your wrist is better, it’s hot down there! DAS, thanks for the site, it looks yummy!Hope you are feeling better,JOE, HELP, NEED MORE STARGATE ANY KIND!!!!! sheryl

  50. I’ve not been able to take part in the BOTM for a while because I simply haven’t got the money to fund my book habit and my local library is rather small and doesn’t have a good selection of genre titles (I’ve been taking a list with me to the library but have so far been disappointed) so I was quite chuffed to see in your pic a few titles and authors that I am familiar with.

    Pratchett, Fforde and Carroll are all well represented on my bookshelf and I also have David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. I just finished The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross – brilliant read. This week’s library selections were from Lois McMaster Bujold, Jeff Somers and Robert Rankin. I’m not far off, hopefully I’ll manage to find the right book at the right time eventually but if not it’ll give me more names to look out for. I’m not always confident enough to have my say but I do greatly enjoy reading other people’s thoughts.

  51. I am so glad you found your card, there are honest people left. I alway seem to do a double check for my wallet anymore, not sure why that is, some of those clerks can be distracting, or I could be getting older or forgetful,,lol! I enjoyed the puppy video, I think Lulu could be in trouble there… 😀 more puppy pix, very uplifting.

  52. Joe,

    I know that sinking feeling. But I have a teenager, so whenever I discover a credit card missing, MY first step is to find him and wring his neck. It’s usually not his fault, but it’s still fun.

    Jokingly (not really)


  53. This video cracked me up…it’s always good to go for the back legs…that’s what my cats always do…

    I vote for the Otherland series. It’s interesting. I’m halfway through the first one. It kinda reminds me of what I first thought of Farscape when I started watching it. Just how much of an out there scifi it is. Enough to be good and not to much to be overdone. I think Tad Williams handles it really well.

    And The Last Unicorn makes for interesting conversations. It has a little bit for everyone. We just read it for this young adult fantasy book group that I’m in…

  54. Hey Joe,

    OMG! I love Lulu..she is so feisty! Just when you think shes had enough she shows you otherwise 🙂

    How is Jelly? Did you do the consult yet?

  55. Oh yeah, I forgot, you said Act Four is a little thin, maybe that will not make you have to cut it when they find something is running a little too long somewhere else, or does it work that way?!? Good luck with the rest of the day and night!

  56. Well, I got next month’s BotM selections and have started on Infoquake. The Book of Joby is HUGE! Funny, it didn’t look that big in the picture on your blog…

  57. Joe can I borrow your new book 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill? Or maybe The Beyond? I love haunted (house or people), creepy, scary books (but not gory). Those 2 caught my eye.

    Lulu the french bullydog is too cute. Does she beat up all the boys or just poor Bubba? Is Bubba the only one that will “play” with her? I bet she is hell at doggie day care. Do they ever complain about her? I know you love and treat all your dogs the same, but do you have a favorite? Does one of your dogs favor you? I could watch these dog videos all day. Thanks.

  58. Joe! For the love of big green men! can you pleaseeeee! give us any info on wraith that can give us a new topic to discuss. Something really juicy, to derail the current topic up for discussion elsewhere. come on, anything!

    and what’s up with the Atlantis movie? pushed back or something?

    @DAS. as i see you are still with us i take it you haven’t gotten worse and been shipped off to hospital (which is really good). Are you the same or improving? Rest up, have Mr Das take good care of you (in other words have him do all the fetching and cleaning for you) you need to be better to annoy Joe (he says he doesn’t like all the annoying people on his blog, but we all know he loves it)

  59. @ BlueJay – I appreciate your efforts, luv, I really do. 😉 As far as juicy Wraith tidbits go…well…since they don’t have nipples, I guess we’ll have to settle for earlobes! 😉

    I’m feeling a bit better today. Sleepy as hell, but breathing better and not as ‘blah’. But I’ve noticed I’ll have one good day to a couple bad days, so I’m not ready to say I’m over this yet. Mr. Das is a good nurse, and he does help with chores (errands, litter pan and trash are his specialties), but he’s getting over bronchitis, so…we’re like Mr. and Mrs. Phlegm right now. 😛

    As far as annoying Joe, weeelll…anytime he wants to check his e-mail…lol…


  60. Wow that’s a lot of books. I am just wondering if you have ever read anything by Kevin J. Anderson or Jack McDevitt? I have never heard you mention either author. Both are fairly well known Sci-Fi writers and in my personal opinion, they are very good at what they do.

  61. I don’t know why, but I *love* the videos of your pups playing in the snow.

  62. Well that was an interesting half hour. I’m sitting out at the back table reading when there’s a commotion just to the left of me. I’m thinking the cat has found another skink but it wasn’t. It was a bloody snake! No idea what type, i only got a glimpse at it, looked light brown. It bolted and the cat went after it. So i’m trying to grab him and he’s trying to catch it. Finally got him inside.

    My mum freaked out and was calling all these numbers for someone to come get it. We were told it’s most likely harmless and it’ll move on. Problem is it was in the yard exactly 4 weeks ago. It was a funny image though. Mum out in 35C heat wearing gumboots brandishing a big long stick looking for it. She wasn’t going to hit it, just use the stick to turn things over looking for it.
    She says she has to know where it is. My guess is she is going to stay freaked for a while, keeps looking out the window for it.
    The heroic/idiotic cat is fine, asleep at my feet when he realised i wasn’t going to let him outside to go after it.

    Das. It’s good you’re better, let’s hope it doesn’t go all bad again. Put down that office work and read your comics!

  63. Awww…BlueJay, you took kitty’s toy away! 😆 My mum’s cats go outside, and they are forever catching little garter snakes. I always grab the cat and let the snake go – but once in a while the cat wins. 🙁 I like snakes…would have one if I didn’t have to feed it live things.

    And yup, feeling a bit better today, too. But I do have to go to the office to do payroll and a few other things, but I won’t push it. It’s bright and sunny out, no wind, and the temp is above freezing, so I should be okay. Besides, as my grandma used to say, I need to get the stink blown off me anyway. 🙂


  64. Cute video. I think Bubba wants back in and Lulu keeps looking at you like “are you getting this?”.

  65. >>Except for “X” which was hubris. The story cacophony of “you are what you think” consumed way more time than pleased me to give. The attention to detail does deserve praise, however. Maybe it was the various writing styles that offended. Or maybe it was the characters themselves, so unforgivably human. To be fair, I did enjoy the parts that held my interest, especially disintegrating Martin Lake. But *really* lets mention names: ie Duncan Shriek? Is that a play on name of the musician Duncan SHEIK? lol, barely breathing

    XXXX Boer: Glad you enjoyed the parts that held your interest. Would have been horrified had you enjoyed the parts that didn’t hold your interest. Hubris is being offended by “styles.” Duncan Shriek is a nod to a great work of 20th century literature that begins with a “G”. Have concluded that you are not unforgivably human but instead a marble bust. End transmission.

  66. Long time reader, first time commenter. I’m not entirely sure this is appropriate to post as a comment but i’ve recently started up http://www.scificompanion.com and am wondering if you’d be willing to link to me in your blog roll. I tend to focus on the Gates, and now Universe and am just starting out… attempting to be “the onion” meets io9.

    Thanks for your time,

    scificompanion (aka Dave)

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