Feb. 14th, 2010

erkhyan: My fursona (Default)
  • You know, for years now there's been those preachers going around. Very clear-skinned, very young (in their twenties, I bet) and always moving in pairs. Also, they barely even speak French or Malagasy (they're mostly english speakers). They also dress all the same: neat black trousers, white short-sleeved shirt. As an aside, I always hated them before, due to the fact that I get mistaken for one as soon as I try to dress nicely.

    Anyway, I always figured they were from some sect and the name "mormon" was attributed to them only because they seemed North American. That is, until I saw these two huge, magnificent temples they built (one downtown, one by the airport). Temples that proudly bear the name "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints". Well, lookit that, we've actually got real Mormons here! I wonder how many they are, and how many have converted to that faith since they got here (I have nothing against Mormons -- I have even more issues with their faith than I have with the more mainstream Christian denominations, but compared to the sects that swarm the country here, at least they're not money-guzzlers)

  • I invented a new recipe this week. Nick likes it. I need to write it down sometime (it's a sweet-and-sour egg-based thing in case you wonder)

  • H.A.T. government gets even more in trouble, part one: on wednesday, the Vice Prime Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs (our equivalent of Hillary Clinton, and a founding member of this government) has resigned, officially for "differences in opinion with the majority of the government". Less officially, the nice version is that he hates how that reconciliation document he signed (and helped write) during the negotiations is constantly reviled by the H.A.T. leaders. The sarcastic version? He saw parts two and three below coming, and wanted to keep his bum safe. Anyway, you might know the man. He's the one I worked for, just before the defecation hit the ventilation last year.

  • H.A.T. government gets even more in trouble, part two: On thursday the European Parliament has officially passed a resolution describing Rajoelina and Co's rise in power as a coup d'├ętat and threatening sanctions against members of the current government. Yiipee-kee-yay, about time! Here we were afraid that France's underhanded maneuvers would have blocked the passage of that bill...

  • H.A.T. government gets even more in trouble, part three: the European Parliament actually just anticipated a similar resolution the African Union might pass next thursday. Go H.A.T.!!!

  • Less serious: that's the third pineapple I eat this year that doesn't require me to douse it in sugar first. It might come from that, usually, we export all the nice fruit, but since exports have died on us...

  • Grandma has diabetes. It was discovered two days ago when she went to get her cataract treated. Turns out the diabetes caused the cataract to begin with, and any operation on Grandma's eyes will have to wait until the diabetes gets treated. Meanwhile, Mom got promoted to nurse, having to inject insulin into Grandma thrice a day...

  • My mother has a mother who lost most of her eyesight to diabetes, and a grandmother who died from it. My father lost almost all of his eyesight to chronic high blood pressure. I'd say that, genetically, Nick and I might be screwed (ohmygawd, I've been wearing glasses ever since I turned twelve already...)

  • I should make a list of Malagasy metaphors. I swear they're one of only two aspects of Malagasy culture I like. They crack me up. I mean, just think about these: "Mysterious as a comb-buying baldhead". "Unlucky who falls in the septic tank while taking a crap: dead'n'dirty". "Looks like the blowflies just smelt the dung".

  • The puppy officially has a name now: he's Blotch or Blotchie. Now I'll have to be careful not to have people mistake him for [livejournal.com profile] screwbald anytime I mention him ;-)

    Anyway, he's growing up nice. The vet almost didn't recognize him the second time we brought him there: in ten days, he had a 35% weight gain! He's a lot more playful now, too. Maybe a bit too much, as his needle-like teeth have found an affinity for our toes... Everyone thinks he'll be quite big when he's older. I wonder how large his parents are...

    And guess what? Mom told us we'd have another puppy in the next days. She is the one who wanted this one from the beginning: a female, the "short-legged white fluff ball" sort. Oh boy, managing two puppies is going to be difficult...

    Anyway, have some photos of Blotchy looking cute! )
erkhyan: My fursona (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] ziabandito555 made me the honor of allowing me to read his book long before its release, so I'm glad to be able to give an early review on it.

Save the Day is a superhero novel. It tells the story of Ted Rodriguez, a meteorologist in Portland, Oregon, and his boyfriend Jay Carson. Ted and Jay have been together for five years and have lived together in their own house for a few months now. In theory, they're living the life Jay was dreaming of. But Ted has secrets he keeps from his own boyfriend. He's often late to dates with Jay, when he doesn't just miss them altogether. He sometimes comes home bruised. He skips some hours at work.

To say that Jay takes all that well would be a lie. In the first chapter (available online, so I can spoil it a bit, right?) Jay comes home after another missed date where Ted didn't show up. He's desperate to get a serious explanation for the coyote's behavior: is Ted seeing someone else? Is his relationship with Jay really that committed? After Ted finally comes home, a tense argument breaks out. Ted keeps giving barely believable excuses about his repeated absences, pushing Jay to "fight dirty". A few harsh words are exchanged, and Ted, cornered, has no choice but to reveal his secret to Jay: for five years now, he has been occasionally wearing a famous spandex suit, has flown around battling villains and criminals all over the United States and sometimes abroad. In short, Ted Rodriguez is the secret identity of Star Coyote, Portland's resident hero for five years and a member of the superhero team, the Extraordinaries, for three years.

The story kicks off from that long, tense first chapter. Within the course of the novel, the first-person narrative switches between Ted and Jay's points of view, telling of how they both strive to adjust to Ted's secret life, and how Ted's insecurities keep making things harder for everyone. That's what makes this novel more a psychological, emotion-driven piece than a real action-oriented story. Of course, battling villains and criminals is a staple of a superhero's life, and the novel provides quite a number of fights both epic and more banal. But the focus is on Ted and how he's deeply afraid of being outed as gay after his coming out to his family ended with his being disowned. As a result, not even his fellow Extraordinaries — not even his best friend on the team — know about the existence of Jay.

The main storyline in the novel tells about how Jay tries to push Ted to be more open and honest with his teammates, and how Ted strives to do just that. Of course, things never go quite as planned and keep getting out of control, leading to some serious confrontations as the novel goes. there, this is as much as I can say on the subject without spoiling the whole thing.

Another point of focus for the novel, through Jay's discovery of Ted's secret life, is an in-depth exploration of the world of superheroes. Along with Jay, the reader discovers how superheroes organize themselves all over the world. One whole chapter is dedicated to describing the security measures the Extraordinaries take to protect their loved ones, and the team's organisation is explored further as the story goes. That part of the story is surprisingly, almost scarily detailed. You can tell that [livejournal.com profile] ziabandito555 did a lot of research and even more thinking to build a world around his story, and the best part is that it works. Almost everything is believable, attention to detail is amazing, and a solid continuity has obviously been built around all of the characters, even the ones that are just mentioned in passing. It goes even as far as to mention one thing that is often glossed over in superhero stories: the laws and rules that govern the relationship between superheroes and the general populace. International, national and local laws on superbeing activities are described, including all the differences (e.g. Los Angeles and Portland's pro-super stance compared to the more hostile reactions of San Diego, Atlanta and Salt Lake City).

I have to be honest, the first thing I thought when I read the first drafts posted on FurRag was "Wow, that fellow needs some serious help with editing." The initial text was rife with syntax, grammar and vocabulary errors. If that was the only thing important though, I wouldn't have kept reading the drafts, and more importantly, that one particular person wouldn't have persuaded [livejournal.com profile] ziabandito555 to expand the story and get it published. The thing is that, no matter the technical flaws in his writing or how his work needed endless rounds of editing before being fit for publication, there's one thing [livejournal.com profile] ziabandito555 is definitely talented for: telling Stories, with a capital S.

I can't pretend to be an expert, but two things kept me hooked to the story: the aforementioned attention to detail, and a cast of very — you'll excuse the word — human characters. If I am any indication to how a reader will react to this novel, then I can predict long sleepless nights spent reading, sharing joys and difficulties with characters you just don't want to let go. I can attest of having been so upset at some character, I couldn't continue reading until I had calmed down by pacing around my room. At another time I felt so scared for them, I as almost afraid to read what came next in case it went bad. And other moments made me so happy for them, I almost cheered out loud. This novel contains everything you could expect from a good superhero story: lots of action (no, not that kind — the book is perfectly PG-13!), copious amounts of humor (trust me when I say that you'll laugh when a painfully straight hunk meets a painfully gay hunk who's all smitten with his costumed identity), lots of emotion (you are allowed and even encouraged to hug, punch, cheer or yell) and a huge cast of believable, often lovable characters. Not to mention a handful of quite scary villains, of course.

In short, in case you haven't caught it yet, I more than liked Save the Day and highly recommend reading it. Heck, I'm not even that much a fan of superheroes, this book is the one that started my interest! [livejournal.com profile] ziabandito555 truly has written a masterwork here, and I highly encourage him to keep writing stories if they all come out as well as this one.

Note: you'll notice that I didn't mention Vince Sukuzawa's illustration and cover. The reason is that I only fot to read the text before, and have discovered the pictures at the same exact time everyone else did. If you haven't seen them though, you're welcome to take a look and certainly welcome to enjoy:
Cover - http://www.furaffinity.net/full/3388519/
Sample Image 1 - http://www.furaffinity.net/full/3388505/
Sample image 2 - http://pics.livejournal.com/ziabandito555/pic/000197fx

And finally, the book will be released at Furry Fiesta 2010, with pre-orders already available here.

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erkhyan: My fursona (Default)
Franck P. Rabeson

September 2011

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