While in Toronto, I was terribly backed up.  It was a far cry from my post-move days in Vancouver when I’d been very regular, boasting two, three, sometimes even four a week!  But Hogtown did a number on my routine.  It got so bad, I was lucky to manage one a month – and that was always a fairly painful process. Hell, it reached the point where even a relatively modest completion was cause for celebration.  A trade paperback or a graphic novel –

Oh.  I’m talking about reading.  But you knew that, right?  So, now that I’m back in town, I’m back on track.  And last night’s dinner with Rob and Hillary fueled my desire for more books.  You see, Hillary is a voracious reader as well and a big fan of the fantasy genre so, for part of the meal, we ended up talking about authors and titles – and she was kind enough to recommend a few.  The conversation so inspired me that, after we’d finished dinner, rather than heading home, I drove straight to my local bookstore and picked up a few things…

I know, I know.  I have a kindle and books are infinitely more cumbersome, but nothing beats the feel of a good book, or the look of a good book – moreover, hundreds of good books – lining a shelf. Don’t get me wrong.  I love my kindle (compliments of my buddy Ivon) and it has served me well on trips when I want to travel light, but I very much doubt I’ll be giving up on my library of real books anytime soon.

Rob and Hillary.

Anyway, last night, we checked out a new Italian restaurant in the neighborhood, Bibo, which occupies the space once held by – as far as I can recall – two defunct restaurants.  And, after last night’s dinner, I fear Bibo may make it three.  The pizza was good (top marks for the sausage topping) but the pastas were a huge disappointment, cooked to mush.  Thus far, in my experience, only two Italian restaurants in Vancouver serve up consistently al dente pasta – Q4 (formerly Quattro) and La Quercia.  Someone should inform these chefs that they needn’t cook the shit out of pasta.  It’s not chicken or pork.  We’ll be just fine. Honest. Desserts were hit and miss.  Same can be said for the service. Our waitress was terrific and on-the-ball taking our orders and serving us, then simply disappeared.  After waiting twenty minutes for someone to clear our table, I helpfully stacked all the dishes and cutlery for them.  I was going to wait another ten minutes and then deliver them to kitchen.

Today, it was sushi lunch at Aki Restaurant with this guy –

Ivon Bartok

– and the lunch time crush, well over half of whom were Japanese.  Always a good sign at a Japanese restaurant.

I told Ivon that once I’m back in the proper frame of mind – give it a week – we can sit down and start spitballing future projects.

Thanks to everyone who recommended anime titles.  I’ve seen most of the series mentioned, but a few had yet to show up on my radar. Looking forward to checking them out.

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Penny.  We’re all sending good thoughts your way!

33 thoughts on “October 7, 2011: I’m regular again! Pasta problems! And sushi with Ivon!

  1. So. Have You read Trevor Munson’s “ANGEL OF VENGEANCE” yet? — Perfect for Halloween Weekend…

    ..just saying..

  2. Good to hear you’re actually reading again. You always kept us up with tons of great books to sample. It will be nice to have you as a “resource” again!

  3. Ah Spaceship Troopers is a great book. Heinlein does some amazing work, but still my favorite book of his that I have read so far is A Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

  4. If you don’t like Anne McCaffrey and David Eddings I want to know why!…I love these sets of books…been reading them since the 80’s actually got to meet Anne at a con back in the 80’s…a very lovely lively woman…still alive but in ill health at the moment…David died a few years ago not long after his wife Leigh.

    Kriss 🙂

  5. I’m going to be very interested in what you think of Wheel of Time. Having read your copious comments on books I don’t think it will be your cup of tea.

    The first 4 books moved along great and were very enjoyable. The later books started to drift badly as what was suppose to be a trilogy then a 5 books series got too successful and ballooned massively out of control. Jordan’s actual last book in the series started reversing the trend as he realized he had to wrap it up due to his health and then he died. Sanderson is doing a pretty good job of wrapping things up but now after several volumes that just plodded along to nowhere it seems that things are moving way too fast and there are jarring plot leaps. But then Sanderson is staying pretty close to the word count that Jordan intended to wrap it up and I don’t know if Jordan could have done it himself in that amount without some plot leaps.

  6. Joe, do you play video games at all?
    I see you commenting books, movies, animes but no game ?
    If you’re interested, I wanted to recommend the best Zombie game of the year (probably one of the best games of the year actually): Dead Island (Pc, xbox,ps3). Akemi would probably love it,I know Japanese love zombies 😉
    The video trailer is sick and disturbing and terribly well cut. The trailer by itself is already a little masterpiece. Few words: tropical island+Hotel+zombies infestation.

    http://youtu.be/ialZcLaI17Y (trailer is quite disturbing, so beware before clicking it too fast, you’re warned)

    One may think the trailer is a marketing stunt (which in some way it is) but for once the videogame advertised actually does deliver an incredible experience. If the story is not directly connected to the trailer, the despair and the ‘OMG what I am going to do, this is the end’ feelings are very present in Dead Island. I am compelled to play the game to its conclusion. I want to know how the story ends. Amazing . If you don’t play at all, please check at least the trailer, it’s remarkably dark and well shot.

  7. Just a quickie since it’s 4 am and I should get back to bed…

    Firstly, all my best to Penny. Try not to worry! I know that’s not easy (seeing as how I’m a terrible worrywart), but often our worse fears are unfounded. We’ll keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

    Secondly, not a good evening for me. Went to a massive viewing for a guy I knew from school, and from the community, who died suddenly of a heart attack – only 45 years old. He was a student when I worked at the high school, and though we were only acquaintances he never failed to say ‘hi’ every time we ran into each other, which was quite often since he was a fireman and very active in the community. Hubby did some work for him and his sister, so he knew him, too. The event was held in the high school’s performing arts center – hundreds of people, plus firefighters and cops from all the surrounding communities. I thought it was just going to be a visitation with the family since I had been to a similar thing at the school only a month before for another fella we knew, and who died too young (just 49, and the middle school principal and son-in-law of one of our oldest customers). For that one only the family was present, so I went to this expecting the same…I did NOT expect it to be an open casket viewing. That simply gutted me, to see this ‘kid’ I remember from school and who was just so alive and active just lying there – gone. It’s just been weighing heavy on both of us, so when I turned on the news it made things like the Phillies’ season ending loss and a screwed up economy seem so ridiculously unimportant.

    Thirdly…thanks, Joe, for cheering me up. Woke up, couldn’t get back to sleep, so I came wandering over here…only to discover you’ve been a bit…backed up. Not enough roughage, I say. Might I suggest some pulp? George Mann’s Ghosts of War is out and I have it, though have yet to read it. I’m wondering if it will clear up some of those things that bothered you about Ghosts of Manhattan, namely the sci fi twist at the end.

    Ugh. Almost 5 am. I better get back to bed for reals this time. 😛


  8. @Penny: Years back my Mother had a similar event, it turned out to be some sort of virus. I can’t recall the exact details, but it was treatable. I wish you the best of luck.

    @Joe: I’m not sure if you’re interested in these types books, but here are a couple I found to be good reads.
    “SAS: The Soldiers Story” – http://www.amazon.co.uk/SAS-Soldiers-Story-Jack-Ramsay/dp/0330347500
    “SOG The Secret Wars of America’s Commandos in Vietnam” http://www.amazon.com/SOG-Secret-Americas-Commandos-Vietnam/dp/0451195086

  9. Glad to hear you solved your “irregularity” problem – I was beginning to get a little worried.

    I read Anne McCaffrey a long, long time ago and liked the books then. I’m sure I read Starship Troopers, too, but I just can’t remember anything about it. I guess I’ll have to read them again! One of the benefits of getting older – you get to discover so many new things, over and over again.

    @Penny: I hope you get a good report on your MRI. Sending lots of positive thoughts.

  10. Penny: When will you know anything for sure? Keeping my fingers crossed!

    I have an e-reader and still read paper books. It’s not an all or nothing kind of thing. There is nothing like the smell of a new book!

  11. Sounds like good times and good reading. Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve been having to rest on and off for the last few days and need some new reading material. If I’ve sounded off for the last few days, I’m sorry. I had a miscarriage. Still coming to terms, but I think I’ll be okay. Would appreciate thoughts and prayers.

  12. 🙂
    Thanks for the thoughts I will keep you updated.

    How are you liking Terry Goodkind’s book? I LOVED that series and so excited to get my hands on his latest just waiting until it comes out on paperback because I will not buy hardcover.

  13. I can’t believe I missed omlette and candle day yesterday! Dang! My husband makes both molded and jar candles, I have dozens of wax skulls and gargoyles and Buddhas and cats and rocketships and robots and plump goddesses strewn about the house. Burn them? Naw, that’s what the jar candles are for. An open flame often attracts the flick of a kitty tail, euw, stinky!

    As a kid, I adored om-raisu. I even bought a mold, but never make it. That’s a dish which IS good with ketchup, but I can’t have the ketchup now. Booo.

    Hang in there Penny, let us know how it goes!

    FLoB (hey, it’s shorter than the whole for love of Beckett…) … ouch. Best healing thoughts to you!

    Oh yeah, that’s some gooood books there!

  14. 2cats: did you check yesterday’s post?

    scifi451: Yes, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was awesome!

  15. @ Lisa R – so sorry to hear your news. Hope you get to feeling better. My niece had a miscarriage early this year, but she is expecting again now. I know everything will work out for you too the way it is meant to be. Take care.

  16. @Penny – my best to you. Here are some more good thoughts for you!

    Robert Heinlein is a long-time favorite author of mine, and “Starship Troopers” is a favorite novel. I love “The Belgariad” and often re-read the series, as well as the following series with the many of the same characters, “The Malloreon.” Based on the photo, your copy of “The Belgariad” is the first three of the five books in the Belgariad series. I remember reading, and enjoying, “Dragonflight,” and other Pern novels. Dragons, plus science fiction — what’s not to love?

    I recommend Alfred Bester’s “The Stars My Destination,” Larry Niven’s “Ringworld,” and also his Dream Park series (with Steven Barnes). Two more wonderful novels: Vonda McIntyre’s “Dreamsnake,” and Nancy Kress’ “Beggars in Spain.”

  17. Anne McCaffrey and Robert Jordan; two of my favorites!

    And yes, books are better. Less eye strain! (Seriously, how did McKay not go blind? I developed a migraine and couldn’t even look at a computer for 2 days straight.)

  18. fsmn36: Yes, I would have eye strain from a computer but e-ink is a different technology. E-ink is very similar to reading paper books.

  19. @Lisa R: my thoughts are with you. Hope you are ok and mend both physically and emotionally. I know it will be a long tough road! We are all here for ya!

  20. @Lisa R, sorry to hear the news, hope you are doing ok, and postive thoughts coming your way, and hugs too.
    @penny, best of luck with mri, feel better soon I hope.
    Joe, I picked up a hardback Robert Heinlen at a book sale, JOB,comedy of justice, haven’t started it yet…

  21. @ Lisa R – So very sorry. {{{hugs}}} Thoughts and prayers are certainly with you.

    RE: Rugby – I’m really mad that we don’t have free Rugby World Cup coverage here in the States. I saw a few of the early matches, but now that we’re down to the finals all I can get is pay-per-view at $13+ dollars a pop. I may pay to watch the final, maybe the semis, but can only read about the quarter final results. So far, France defeated England, and Wales knocked out Ireland. Not really surprised by either of those results. Up next is South Africa v Australia, and New Zealand v Argentina. I’m guessing NZ will take Argentina, but really not sure about SA v Australia. Leaning towards SA right now.

    Okay – gotta finish up my housework!


  22. @Lisa R

    Barb had a few miscarriages over the years but still carried our daughter and son to term.

    We’re so sorry to hear about the miscarriage. You’re in our thoughts and prayers and hope you feel better soon.

  23. Very nice choices. Eddings was my first fantasy novel and I’ve been hooked ever since. I went through the entirety of his collected works (at the time) in two weeks. I would avoid the Elder Gods series though. Not his best work. I love Anne McCaffrey too. I have to agree with Brian’s comment about Robert Jordan though. He’d be near the top on my “overrated author” list. They start great but I petered out about the four book. Too many story lines and not enough meat.

    I’d also suggest Patrick Rothfuss. Great story and impeccable word craft.

  24. Eye of the World! Excellent choice, I love that series. I still have to finish the last two books, which I will have to wait until post master thesis and graduation….which is next August.

    unfortunately all pleasure reading for me has been put on the back shelf until then… But I have qutie a list on goodreads. 🙂

  25. Haha..you had me there…I was thinking ewwwww…WTF.

    I think you and Ivon should go on the road with a food doco. I wonder if the rise of reality tv food comps and chef shows if it has really changed the way we cook at home….some food for thought…haha pun intended.

    I love the feel of books too…well not always library books, cos library books are dirty but you know what I mean. I wondered Joe if you have a collection of bookmarks.

    @Ivon what happened to the weekly haircuts? You still look cute though.

    Cheers, Chev

  26. I’m totally with you on real books. Love them. Ebooks are convenient in their way, but nothing beats real books. And they’ll never be unreadable due to technological incompatibility or outdated programming.

    What do you think of this new weirdly tall size in mass market paperbacks they’ve been doing? I saw it first in popular crime type novels, but they’ve started doing it in fantasy now too. Personally, I hate it. Feels all wrong and looks weird. I wish they’d go back to the size we’re all used to.

  27. @ Lisa R – So sorry to hear that. I can’t imagine how horrible that must be.

    @ Joe – Also, a quick rec if you haven’t read them already: the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. They’re YA, but not overly girly like a lot of YA. Great steampunk. Lots of action, cool creatures and machines, humor, crossdressing, friendship, snarky bio-engineered parroty mammals, and also some romance. Really, it’s pretty much a perfect story, start to finish, and I can’t think of many books/series I’d say that about.

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