Some Reading Reccomendations, and it’s Feeling Kinda Summery

Good afternoon, everyone!

And by that, I mean good afternoon to whoever my lonely reader is:)

What I’ve been reading

Okay, listening to, I suppose. They are audio books that I have been listening to while doing other things. The Ammonite Galaxy series, from Gillian Andrews. At least the first three. They’re actually pretty good.

The first book, Valhai, is about a planet (Valhai) where the inhabitants, Sellites, make their living selling the genetic material of teenaged children from other planets. What’s worse is that they make these planets think this is an honor, so the people on those planets voluntarily send their children off to be harvested, not knowing they are being kept long enough to go through training to make them look better to prospective buyers, then left to die once a buyer has procured the reproductive material they need from them. But the children are kept in cells inside a lake, which later becomes aware as a sentient creature that inhabited the planet long before anyone else. Between the now sentient lake, who is friendly with the teens, the two teens who want to escape, and one Sellite teenager who doesn’t agree with all her people are doing to these others, things start to fall apart.

It’s very good. I’d say it gets a good solid 4 out of 5. Probably more like 4.3 or 4.4.

Book two, Kwaide, continues the story. Now they are back on the planet one of the escaped teens was born on, Kwaide, looking for his twin sisters. It’s hard going, especially for the teens who aren’t from Kwaide. They find his sisters, but they are no longer the same people he remembered. In fact, they seem to be on the wrong side of a civil war that he is partially responsible for beginning.

This one was probably not quite as good, but it was good. I’d probably give it 3.9 or 4.

Book three is called Xiantha. It’s a little darker at times. They travel to a planet where they come across some clues to the sentient lake creature’s past. They then take a bit of a vacation on the planet Xiantha, which they went to in order to find out what happened to the genetic material pulled from one of the girls in the first book. While on Xiantha, they discover a plot by the people from Valhai to reinstate their breeding program, get rid of the sentient lake, and kill the Sellite girl that helped the others escape before. One of those in on this plot is the Sellite girl’s own brother. They almost succeed, and not everyone makes it through this one alive, and not everyone who does makes it unscathed.

I liked this one more than the second. Nearly as much as the first. It’s probably a 4.2 or so.

Summer may actually be coming!

Seriously, it has felt quite Summery on some days. We’ve been going out walking a lot in the mornings, and we haven’t even needed a light jacket or anything this past week. It has been downright sunny, too!

Hang on a sec.

Let me just go back to that one. It hasn’t been raining. It has been warm enough that we actually even went down to the pool and dipped our feet in for a while. Yeah, the water was freezing cold, but we did it anyway. The air was warm, at least.

Ah, Summer! Gotta love it!

Tiny People In Dungeons

This post is for my wife.

I was searching for a topic to post about this week, and she wanted to suggest something. She was joking, of course, but her suggestion was that I write about tiny little people held in dungeons. So, completely off the top of my head, here it is:

Yarel paced back and forth. Being only 16 inches tall, his stride was short, which meant the dungeon provided plenty of room in which to pace. The rock walls closed in on him, despite the fact that this room was larger than his entire yard back home.

How to get out? That maniacal scientist that captured his people — his entire village — in a ruck sacks was doing experiments on them. His entire village may be wiped out before long. Already he had seen twelve of his friends disappear up the vacuum tube, sucked into the who-knows-where. How many more would disappear before he, as the leader, found a way out?

Just yesterday they had been busy planting their elderberries in the fields. Now they were stuck in this dank, dark place. His cell contained a dozen of his fellow villagers, the with the rest scattered throughout several other cells in the dungeon. He could hear the other whimpering and crying out, but he could not see into all the other cells to know who was in each.

Now he studied the bars across the front of their cage. As small as they were, the Lilites were too large to fit between the bars. If he could only unlock the gates, but there was no key. Even if there were a key, how could they open the large steel door at the top of the stairs?

“Yarel,” he heard a voice say. “Yarel, are you in there?”

It was Blue, the village smithy. Yarel and Blue had been best friends since they were wee Lilites playing the mushroom fields together. Blue could be counted on to sneak truffle-ale from his father’s cellar when they were young, providing many days of stuper-filled joy for the lads. But as an adult he could barely be counted on to get out of bed each day.

“I have an idea.” Blue said.

“What idea?” Yarel said, rushing to the front of the cell to better hear.

“If one of us could be lifted up, maybe our hands would fit inside the lock and we could turn the tumblers. I saw the key, it looked pretty simple.”

“That isn’t going to work!” someone else shouted.

“Give it a try, Blue!” another voice answered.

“We’ll give it a shot in here too, Blue.” Yarel said, already trying to figure out the steel door at the top of the stairs.

The plan worked to free them. It was simple, really. Some cells did not have enough people to securely hold others up to open the lock, and one didn’t have anyone strong enough to turn the tumblers inside, but once those in the other cells had freed themselves they were quick to help them.

“Now what?” old lady Vera asked. “We’re still trapped, just in a bigger cell.”

“He’s coming!” one of the children shouted.

The Lilites scattered around, trying to find a place to hide, but there were none. Soon the scientist would slam open the door and feed yet another of them up the vacuum tube.

Yarel didn’t want to find out where that tube went, no matter what. Even if it cost him his life or the lives of all his fellow villagers.

“Stand and fight!” he shouted. “Every one of us, even the children. It is our only hope.”

When the scientist stepped through the steel door he was surprised by fifty Lilites climbing his pant legs, biting and kicking as they went. When he shook off those fifty, thirty more took their place. Before long the scientist tripped and tumbled down the stairs, banging his head.

He was knocked out.

“We did it!” Blue shouted in triumph.

“My Willard!” old lady Vera cried.

Yarel could not see Willard anywhere. And then he spotted him. Or part of him. One bright pink shoe was poking out from below the scientist. There was a sickly spatter of blood near it. Willard had been squished by the scientist’s fall.

They found some rope and trussed the scientist up like a Harvest Eve Guinea Fowl. It was an effort that seemed insurmountable, but the men-folk were able to drag the scientist to their village. Twice along the way they had to bash him with a stone to knock him back out, and once along the way they even camped near a brook for the night. But eventually they made it to the village.

Once there they buried their revered dead in the cemetery, along with a plaque dedicating a new holiday to those who had passed. The village masons mixed up a strong batch of plaster and coated the scientist, who had passed on by then, with a thick layer of the white plaster.

It took everyone in the village, along with a giant pulley system, but they managed to pull the scientist into a standing position before the cemetery. And to this day, forty years on, there he stands, a symbol that when they work together the village can overcome all odds, no matter how large.

Everyone enjoy their week!

Summer is coming?

When do we get summer?

So school is out soon for the kiddies and teachers and such. June is coming. The Indy 500 will be soon. Fathers day isn’t far off. Public pools, as well as those at apartment complexes and condos will all be opening soon.

So why are we struggling to get out of the 60s a lot of days here in KC?

It has been rainy, but is that what is going on? I admit that I grew up a hundred miles south, but it seems to me that it used to be much warmer by now. I remember stifling heat by this point some years. Even the average year would be relatively warm by this point.

I just want my summer!

I’m still hopeful that the weather will clear up soon and we’ll all be able to enjoy the outdoors. If not, well we will squeeze outdoor time in between the cold spells and the rain storms. We will all make the best of this.

So apparently Representative Steve Russel of Oklahoma thinks it’s imperative for our national defense that we allow government contractors to discriminate against LGBT individuals. At least he attached an amendment to the defense spending bill that would specifically allow that. What is wrong with these people? And I guess now that the bill will have to be vetoed because of this provision that he, and those who are like-minded, will claim that President Obama doesn’t care about our troops, or that he cares more about forcing “the gay agenda” down our throats than he does the troops who are defending our freedom. These morons don’t even seem to understand that those troops are fighting for the freedom of LGBT people as well, and one of those freedoms that are most important and most basic in our country is the right to be treated equally. I mean it even says so right there in the Declaration of Independence.

I’ll never understand people going out of their way just to discriminate against others.

The Golden Rule, people.

Learn it.

Live it.

Speaking of people who discriminate…

North Carolina. Ugh. The leaders of that state are costing their state so very much. I’d argue that they should get rid of HB2 for moral reasons, but they don’t seem to have any morals. So instead just think of the economic impact. Businesses have avoided moving to the state, sports conferences have begun looking at options to move their games elsewhere, and many concerts have been canceled. It has cost them millions and millions.

Which seems to be all people like that understand.

And now Maroon 5 has canceled their concerts there because of the law.

Good for them! Thanks, guys of Maroon 5!