Announcing…. Horos

So that suspenseful post didn’t last long…

Horos is out now… For those of you who are huge, huge fans of the Sane Magazine horoscopes, who also happen to have a Mac. Which has the latest and greatest version of Mac OS X (10.5) installed on it. Which also has access to the Internet. So for my wife and myself. Maybe. Maybe it’s just for me.

At any rate, it’s a very 1 dot oh piece of software which will fetch down the specially formatted (and long under-used) XML version of the horoscopes and display them on your desktop. Just in case, you know, you were too lazy to click on the link above each week to get your fill of horoscopes with no real bearing on your life (even less if you’re a Libra).

There are some features planned for the 2.0 release which include popping up when new horoscopes are published, choosing your horoscope to be displayed when new horoscopes are fetched, sending people’s horoscopes to them via email based on their birthday.

But that’s 2.0. Not 1.0. Which is what this one is. And it has significantly less features than this imaginary 2.0.

So go enjoy… if you’re into that sort of thing. And by “enjoy” you might find I mean it in a very, very watered-down sense of the word.

UPDATE: This release is Leopard-only. Part of the reason is laziness and just playing around with some features available to developers only in Mac OS X 10.5. That’s just the way it goes.

Fenway Fiction Reading and Signing, October 18th 2008

Adam Pacther and Matthew Hanlon will be reading and signing copies of Fenway Fiction and Further Fenway Fiction Saturday, October 18th, 2008 at 1pm at Charlton Public Library.

Bring your copies of either Fenway Fiction, maybe get a sneak peek of the third installment of the series, and watch us shake so many hands you’ll think we were running for office (*). I’ll take requests/votes, through the comments, for the following different approaches I may take to the reading:

  • Read from “The Johnny Damon” story.
  • Read from the “Bellyitcher” story.
  • Read from as-yet published story slated for inclusion in the third book of the series at this time.
  • Wear a French beret, despite not being a) French or b) fond of berets.
  • Bring a haddock to give out to the first member of the audience to shout out the finishing words to a sentence I’m in the middle of reading.
  • Along the same lines, pause dramatically in the middle of a line and hold the mic (or imaginary mic, as I think we’ll be forgoing those for this reading) out towards the audience to encourage them to sing along.
  • Obtain a pair of (fake, this is a recession, after all) diamond studded sunglasses and proceed to read the story (or conduct the sing-along) with them on the whole time.
  • Sign copies of the book with my left hand (I’m right-handed).
  • Sign copies of the book with my left foot (I haven’t tried, but I’m pretty sure I’m just about unable to write my name with my left foot).
  • As if I were running for office (*), attempt to kiss any and all babies in the audience (**).
  • Attempt to tell a heart-warming and personal story about growing up and navigating the summer reading boot camps at the Charlton Public Library as a boy.
  • Slip the word “slugabed” into the reading somewhere, despite it not appearing in any story (expecting the title, perhaps) I’ve ever written.

See you there, folks.

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* disclaimer: I am not running for any kind of office.

** Babies are determined to be children 2 years and younger and fit a certain cuteness criteria.

A review of “The Gathering: A Novel”

by Anne Enright

The front copy of the novel compares this novel to James Joyce’s Dubliners. High praise… and sort of stock compliments for Irish writers post-dating ole Jamesy. But, as I read through the first half of the book, I kept finding myself agreeing: “Yep,” I would say (inside my head, obviously, I’m not going to sit there, quietly reading a book, interrupting the quiet with an occasional outburst of commentary), “the way she writes description definitely evokes Joyce, especially his short stories like ‘A Painful Case’. The unreliable narrator recalls details which make the scenes spring out in your mind, fully-formed.” (Perhaps you can see why I’m not saying this stuff out loud… what an a—hole I’d sound like, eh?)

I like the unreliable narrator in this case. Her holey (and holy) memories begin to mount during the course of her trip to fetch her brother Liam’s body from England, where he committed suicide by walking into the sea. But as they mount, you get the sense that there is a vast gaping hole in the middle, over which she’d shoveled more memories, and some of them have to do with the event that she may or may not have witnessed in her grandmother’s front room tens of years before which may or may not have led Liam to his eventual destination. And I was fully satisfied that maybe this was the way it was going to end; the death of a brother with whom the narrator had been close and now was no longer (even before his death) leaving holes in the narrator’s sense of her history and now future, as she struggles to make sense of her own life in relation to her brother’s.

But at the funeral, the gathering of the title, well, that hole is filled in like the soul she begins making sense of somewhere in the middle… and well, then the novel revealed its own soul. And sang.

I could understand someone not making it as far as that, if they got bogged down by the description and fluttering about of the histories of her grandmother, grandfather, Lamb Nugent, mother, father, and siblings. Someone who got fed up with the itch that the holes in the histories were making. But I’d also say that sticking it through to the end is well, well worth it.

A Fair-ish Sort of Mystery (rated 3 stars)

by Ken Bruen

I was expecting, though I can’t recall why, now, to be blown away by Ken Bruen’s tough guy character Jack Taylor.

Well, I wasn’t blown away, which I guess counts as a disappointment. It was a fair enough book, a quick enough read, but it was missing… something.
Or possibly it wasn’t missing enough. Ken’s character seemed just a bit too introspective, a bit too philosophical for a tough guy trying to track down a priest’s killer who may or may not have been justified in the killing.

I have The Guards (the first in the Jack Taylor series, I believe) somewhere in my bookshelf, but after this one, I’m not in any hurry to go out and start on that one. Sure, I’ll get to it at some point, but I’ve got a Joe Lansdale, Robert Parker, Donald Westlake, and even a Benjamin Black to try out before I get back to ol’ Kenny boy.