July 18th, 2011

sunset samurai

Across the Mockingbird Floor. (76)

Across the Nightingale Floor: The Sword of the Warrior by Lian Hearn.

Who was it who danced
across the nightingale floor?
Her knife sang a song.

Wasn't I just saying that nobody wants to play a Courtier in Legend of the Five Rings? Well, this puts an obvious lie to that, as the courtly life of the Seishuu provides tons of compelling reasons to play a Courtier! I'm getting ahead of myself, though. This is the first part of the Tales of the Otori, a series of books set in a fictional feudal setting with heavy Asian influences-- predominantly Japan. Like Rokugon, it is a samurai fable. I like "Oriental Adventures" settings-- I think that the mish-mash of feudal Europe that most Western fantasy comes out of it all well & good, but there is a certain je ne sais quoi in the Panasian setting that Hearn captures effortlessly. You get the tension between passion & duty that really makes these sorts of stories sing; people caught between love & obligation, between revenge & honor. Very nice. Lian Hearn has also knit together a less despicable sort of ninja-- sort of a magical kung-fu monk-- & since ninja as such a big piece of the Westernized view of Japan, it is nice to see them integrated into the story with aplomb. My sole complaint with this book is that the crease of the page catches the important boundary zone of the map; I like maps & was sad to see the binding eat the boarder between the Tohan & the Otori.
whiskey cheese

Alienist, Alchemist, Astrologer.

I spent more of my weekend reading A Dance With Dragons, but eventually all good things must come to an end. On Sunday I...well, lets see. Jenny & I hung out for a bit & watched Leverage, which was nice-- between my book & her quilt, we'd been in separate corners of the apartment for a while, so any excuse to cuddle up is very welcome. I went to the gym eventually & had a nice bit of a work-out. There was a Man Versus Wild marathon, & I guess I get it-- both the fans & the haters. If the show acknowledged just how staged some pieces of it are, I'd like it more-- sometimes I just had to roll by eyes, but other times it is pretty intense. Just be honest about what you are, show! After the gym, I went home & Jenny was all hungry hungry hippo, so I went out to grab some pizza. Ran into an old neighborhood fellow who I've got a small-talk friendship with. "Hey, long time no see, where've you been?" "My wife died." Oh...oh. Okay then, here is my pizza shop, nice catching up! Yikes. Eventually it was time for Kira & Nino & Olivia-- Jenny & I picked up a six-pack of Victory Storm King Stout, which I really liked! A pitch black stout with a bite of hops, high alchohol content & a nice burnt malt smell. The pizza from earlier had a bit spoiled my appetite, but we had three kinds of sausage from BKLYN Larder-- chorizo, peccorino & prosciutto, & fennel & pork-- with garlic noodles & a kale & shitake mix. As for True Blood...well, I liked it better than last week's but I still think that strange things are afoot. This amnesia thing is way too much of a soap opera crutch, & not in a "we are using the conventions of the genre to both embrace & spoof it" way. Bill's arc is really the only interesting one, at the moment. Today has been pretty busy at the office-- even more Work Adventures-- but there was a brief trip out to Pipa for tapas with Vicki, Terra & JJ. We split piquillos stuffed with crab & shrimp, patas bravas, chorizo, spinach with figs & grilled asparagus. Plus, Terra earned extra brownie points by bringing me a margarita from the day long meeting that I didn't have to go to. Now, to meet up with Jenny for dinner & the last of the Harry Potter films!