Only five left! Collect them while you can!

I am not sure I liked this week…

Here are Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems comic strips for the week:

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #354 – Water Test – May 21st, 2007"

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #355 – Mirror Mirror – May 24th, 2007"

The week:

EQOA: Didn’t play at all. Didn’t miss it much.

Eve Online: We did some missions as a squadron on Monday. And spent most of Thursday waiting for the servers to work right.

Second Life: Dark Delights came out with their Great Dane, so S. Qin got one. She also visited with her master a little. K. Quirk did some minor things of no import, visiting a little with friends. R. Peel talked with the owner of Infinity and bought some things here and there. K. Mower sat on a wall. Jethric Mousehold slept.

City of Heroes/Villians: Played various characters at various times. The Consignment Markets are starting to level out and prices are settling some. They are talking about (and performing a couple of polls) some new power sets for Tanks primary and Scrapper secondary slots. Sure love to have some new tanks to play. But it’s stuff that would not come into the game until post Issue 10… so it might be a while. Over in the villian base Commander Kitty finally figured out how to put a Personal Salvage Vault portal and an Inventions Workbench into the base and did so. Wheee.

Looking at how I am feeling about the game now that I have a top level hero and a top level villian… I’m a little without focus and drive, currently. Likely I will settle down into one of the Epic Archtypes to play… but it might take a while to find out what I want to play. Last night I played Professor Thrill, my Warshade. Seems to play solo better than the Peacebringers do. But I am not sure. We shall see.

This week has not been good. Whyaylooh’s dear cat passed away. I had a pair of near useless classes as a part of work that basicly stole away what might have been two very productive days otherwise, and as a result this week is mostly a wash. I had planned to get to a minor milestone in one of my projects… it just won’t happen as it is.

And this weekend I will be going off on a roadtrip for my Aunt D’s memorial. At the moment I am not looking forward to it. But I will get to see my brothers and sisters… at least the ones that will be able to make it. I hope BrainBelly will make it, but I suspect he won’t. He seems detached from the world more than normal. And since PlayInk couldn’t get through to him to schedule him taking Rose up tot he memorial, she arranged for me to do it. So BrainBelly won’t have the obligation getting him to do it. I don’t know how to feel about that. Oh, well. At least I will get to see PlayInk, MaurerTech and Rose. As well as one of my other Aunts and some of my cousins. I’m not keen on the church part of things though. I am just not in the mood for that sort of space. My mind set is too… unsettled.

On other things, Mhari and I are getting ever closer to the magic date. If I had my choice right now it would be the week before it right now. For that particular Friday when I write this sort of entry I will be on the cusp of 2 weeks of vacation during which I can focus on her and on this new fold in the fabric of our lives together. I’m not much interested in the next four weeks. Not really. At least not from where I am standing at the moment.

Some thoughts on some books I have read recently:
Over the past few months I have been reading three different series of books that have werewolves and vampires as common themes. In each of these series the world is one where the supernatural is either fully known to exist to the world, or recently did. Two of the series are set in the modern day, and one is set in the near future. Two were set in the USA, and the other in Australia. In two the main character was a warewolf. In one she was a sort of werecoyote, known as a ‘walker’. In all of them the main character was female.

The first series is by Keri Arthur, is the Riley Jenson, Guardian series. There are four books out in the US so far: Full Moon Rising, Kissing Sin, Tempting Evil, and Dangerous Games.

These books feature Riley Jenson, a part vampire, part werewolf who works for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races. In her world werewolves and vampires are known about by the general public, and the Directorate of Other Races is the branch of the government(?) that handles the misdeeds of the supernatural citizens of Australia. Most of the Directorate are Vampires. Riley’s ‘half vampire’ side is not known about by most. To most she is just a werewolf. In her society, werewolves don’t just change into large wolves on the full moon. They also are driven by lust and desire more than other people. And espeically so during the week before the full moon. It’s almost as if they need sex the way vampires need blood. And this laces the content of these books. These books contain explicit content and are not for anyone other than adults. But the sex is not the defining nature of the books. What makes them a joy to read is the strength of character that Riley presents. She’s strong, smart and capable. She’s driven by her lusts and yet not totally controlled by them. The world presented is in advance of our own, yet totally recognizable as our own.

These four books follow Riley from her introduction to a large conspiracy that directly is interwoven with her life and the plans others have for her and takes that on with many twists, turns, and romps. It’s full of action and adventure. If you like the Anita Blake books by Laurell K. Hamilton or the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, you will likely enjoy the Riley Jenson books. I sure did!
The next set of books are the first two books in Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson Series: Moon Called and Blood Bound.

These are about Mercedes ‘Mercy’ Thompson, a car mechanic that also happens to be a ‘walker’, which is a shapechanger that can become a coyote. She lives in a world were the Lesser Fae ‘came out’ and revealed themselves to the world. But the vampires and werewolves are still not generally known as real. Mercy grew up with a pack of werewolves and has the alpha of the local pack as her next door neighbor, and a local vampire as one of her steady customers as he gets is VW van repaired. A van that just happens to be painted up like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. Her world is very much our own, current day, set in the pacific northwest, in the washington state Tri-Cities area. Unlike the Riley Jenson books, above, while there is a little sexual tension in these books, it’s not a full on driving force, and there are no real sex scenes, as such in these two books. Instead there are werewolf politics in the first book and a murder mystery involving vampires in the second.

These books are less the romp that the Riley Jenson books were, but no less engrossing. I found I really like Mercy. She’s got her head on straight, and she has those hidden depths that make a character something more than they appear. Patricia Briggs makes this character and her friends live and makes you care about them. I am strongly looking forward to the short story set in the same universe (about one of the other characters in the series) that’s coming in the Anthogy ‘On The Prowl’ in August and the third book in the series, ‘Iron Kissed’ that’s due in early 2008.
The last of the set of books is Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville Series: Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Kitty Goes to Washington and Kitty Takes a Holiday.

These feature Kitty Norville, a werewolf in Denver, CO who is working as a midnight-shift DJ. In her world werewolves and vampires are real. But they are not generally accepted as being real by the world at large. It’s against the code to let the wolf out of the bag, as it were. One night Kitty opens the phone lines to more than just requests and starts a late-night advice show for the those out there in the supernatural world to call in and have questions answered. This is very much our modern world. And these stories have a wonderful under current of personal growth as well as the usual sorts of things you would expect from stories of this sort. There is sex in these books, but it’s not a driving force or focus of things. It’s more just a part of the life and ways of things. It’s not the romp that the Riley Jenson books are, nor the mystery books that the Mercy Thompson ones are. These are something else. These books are a bit more down to earth than the other two series are, but that doesn’t lesson the read. I took a little to get into the first book, but by the end of it I couldn’t wait to dig into the others and find out where Kitty was going to go. In the first book she deals with starting the new radio show and the waves it causes in the local supernatural community that feel she may threaten them all. In the second she goes to Washington DC to talk before a congress subcommittee and in the third she tries to get away from it all and get her life back together. Along the way she makes new friends, deals with pack politics, government conspiracy, prejudice, and things that do more than go ‘bump’ in the night.

In looking back at these three series, I find that it would likely be cool to play in a role-playing game set in Riley Jenson’s world. And I sure wouldn’t mind if there were actually a radio show like Kitty Norville’s here in our world. But of the three worlds presented, it’s the one in the Mercy Thompson stories that I might actually feel at home in. Though I have to admit, being a werewolf in Riley Jenson’s world would have perks that appeal. 😉

With all of these series, I am quite looking forward to where their authors are going to take the characters next. I would say of the three, Patricia Briggs seems to write with the most skill. But they are all good reads, and well worth the time and money. I sure hope I can find more authors that write this sort of thing in a manner I can enjoy like these three.

Yikes! Gotta get headed to work!!!!