Z Burbia, a novel by Jake Bible

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The first novel in Jake Bible's series Z Burbia hooked me. What appeared to be a jokey take on zombie fiction quickly develops some great characters and story.

Jason "Long Pork" Stanford and his family live in a small community outside Asheville, NC. They've used the local geography and their HOA to secure the housing complex and have spent several years keeping things together. Their insular policies and strict adherence to the CC&Rs of Whispering Pines, their home, have kept them alive in the face of bandits, cannibals and of course hordes of zombies. Sadly, things are about to fall apart.

I've enjoyed the characters, Bible has an ability to write little about folks, while not having them be cartoons. The plot, once you get past the condo association stuff, is rather standard Zombie fare, but I'm very much looking forward to the rest of his series. I got the first and second books via Kindle Unlimited.

Z-Burbia by Jake Bible via Amazon Read the rest

An interview with ROBERT JACKSON BENNETT on the occasion of the publication of THE CITY OF BLADES

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Boing Boing is proud to welcome Robert Jackson Bennett's The City of Blades as a sponsor!

In a world where politics have run amuck and consumers must choose from over 300 varieties of toothpaste, one seemingly simple question rises to the fore: what is my next great read? Luckily for you, ladies and gentlemen, we have the answer to that question – a book that will satisfy your cravings, turn that frown upside down, reduce wrinkles in women and stimulate hair growth in men. In short, my friends, it is a miracle book indeed.

And you don’t have to take my word for it; the bookish masses all agree that Robert Jackson Bennett’s books are a wonder. Author Jim C. Hines (Libriomancer) said: “Every once in a while I read a book that's so well done, I find myself wanting to punch the author in the face out of pure envy. Congratulations Bennett, you just made the face-punching list!" Blogger G. Brown of Nerds of a Feather, writes “Dazzling, sophisticated and thoroughly modern... Imagine China Mieville and George R. R. Martin stuck in an elevator, with only a laptop to keep them company, and you’re almost there. Robert Jackson Bennett is a name to remember and a talent to behold.” – G. BROWN, NERDS OF A FEATHER

Lean in closer, my friends, and I will whisper to you the names of these great books: Mr. Shivers, The Company Man, The Troupe, American Elsewhere, City of Stairs and the brand-new, much-anticipated, and thoroughly-magnificent (imagine a drum roll here, please) City... Read the rest

Hell's Super, a novel by Mark Cain

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In Hell's Super, Steve is hell's superintendent. Working with his assistant, the damned Orson Welles, there is an unending list of problems to be solved, but nothing can ever be fixed! It is Hell, after all!

Existence is pretty humdrum until Flo comes to the underworld. Flo is a force of good, who comes to hell to help ease the suffering. Something is certainly kindling between them, can there be love in Hell?

Can Steve use duct tape to hold everything together, including his love life?

Hell's Super (Circles In Hell Book 1) by Mark Cain via Amazon (free via Kindle Unlimited) Read the rest

Review: A heated dog bed, for a senior pup whose old bones love warmth

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My dog is a 10-year-old whose history includes time in animal shelters, and in various homes. He has arthritis, a progressive condition that will cause him more pain as he grows older. Direct heat through my electric blanket or heating pad is clearly very comforting for him--if there's a heated throw of some kind around, he'll find it and snuggle up. But the best solution I've found for both of us is this gently heated dog bed, which warms up to your dog's body temperature when they sit down on it.

You don't have to worry about it heating up too hot, or about remembering to switch it on or off. When your pup needs it, they get warmth. When they step away, the device shifts to "off." I bought mine a few months ago, and it is the center of his world. The color is attractive, and works with the neutral tones in my modest, minimalist living space. Strongly recommended if you have a smaller, older dog, or a cat who likes extra body warmth.

From the manufacturer's specs:

• Heater uses only 6 watts and is MET Listed • Removable cushion and removable heater make washing a breeze • Thermostatically controlled to warm to your pet's normal body temperature when in use • 5-inch thick bedding keeps pet comfortable • Removable, machine washable cover for easy maintenance • Safe plush heated pillow insert for winter warmth • Available in 2 sizes and 2 colors; 1-year warranty

amazon: K&H Manufacturing Thermo-Snuggly Sleeper

[Editor's note: There are two sizes: a medium and a large. Read the rest

The Bathrobe Knight: Volume 1

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Originally written as a web serial, this novel about a gamer transported into the world of MMORPGs is hilarious! I read The Bathroom Knight as a novel, and so I can only review it as such. I think it'd have been even more fun as a serial, a format I greatly enjoy.

Charles Dean rapidly sets up a fantastic fantasy world! Darwin, our extremely unique protagonist, really loves to play MMORPGs. So much so, he even plans to spend Christmas immersed! After beating up a burglar who interrupts his holiday fun, Darwin is magically transported into a game, and must quest to save the realm and figure himself out.

I liked Dean's take on gaming. He both shows the fun and camaraderie of gamers, and the terrible aspects of a "trapped-in-a-game, must level-up" mentality. Character development is pretty good for a freshman novel, and while the use of RPG vernacular occasionally baffled me, mostly it was easy to understand. I think Dean has done a fantastic job having fun with a genre, and not taking it seriously, at all.

This is a fun read. I bought it for my Kindle as Dean has apparently spent time, energy and money working with editors. In web serial format the novel is available here free.

The Bathrobe Knight: Volume 1 Read the rest

Boing Boing, a hentai/manga title we have nothing to do with but find amusing

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Someone just pointed me to this hentai/manga porn for sale on Amazon, entitled Boing Boing.

Boing Boing is a great name for a creative project!

Boing Boing by Yamatogawa via Amazon.

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Review: These microfiber towels are a much better way to clean up spills and messes in my car

There's always this method, too.

There's always some kind of mess in my car. Spilled coffee, greasy hands, fogged-up or bird-pooped-on windows. I usually fumble around for whatever paper napkins I might have stashed away, but then I saw Quickie microfiber towel 24-packs on Amazon for $10. They turned out to be a way better solution. Read the rest

Zeroes: it sucks to be a teen, even with powers

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Scott Westerfeld's YA canon is huge and varied, from the Uglies books to the excellent vampire parasitology book Peeps to the dieselpunk Clankers trilogy, and the new one, Zeroes, breaks new ground still: it's a collaboration with Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti about teens with powers.

Step Aside, Pops: a new Hark! A Vagrant! collection that delights and dazzles

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Canadian historian turned webcomics god Kate Beaton is back with her second Hark! A Vagrant! collection: Step Aside, Pops. Never before has history been so bitterly funny.

Ugly camera strap like your dad's? $6

Ugly Camera Strap

If you've gone to great lengths, spending big bucks to get a new digital camera that looks like an old film slr, you might as well have the ugly camera strap to match!

This $6 strap from Meco is perfect. These are sturdy, but gaudy, masterpieces of a certainly-not-forgotten-age. That age was documented in Kodak Gold by your Mom or Dad, with a Nikon FMNT or Nikkormat that dangled from a Joseph and the Technicolor Coat-styled camera strap just like this one!

Heck they even call it a "neck belt."

Vintage Soft Multi-Color Universal Camcorder Camera Shoulder Strap Neck Belt via Amazon Read the rest

LEGO Mystery Machine

LEGO Scooby-Doo 75902 the Mystery Machine Building Kit

It is coolest van a bunch of meddling high school kids ever had! The minifigs are awesome too.

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Enchantress, book one in James Maxwell's Evermen series

James Maxwell's Enchantress is an engaging, dense fantasy that drew me right in.

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Little Robot: nearly wordless kids' comic from Zita the Spacegirl creator

Kid or adult, parent or not, you should already be reading Ben "Zita the Spacegirl" Hatke for some of the most rollicking, science-fictional kid-friendly comics between two covers, but now you've got no excuse: Little Robot, a nearly wordless graphic novel about a little girl and a fugitive robot, will fill you with terror, laughter, wonder and joy.

Austin Grossman's CROOKED: the awful, cthulhoid truth about Richard Nixon

Austin Grossman's first-person secret memoir of Richard Nixon sounds like a Lovecraftian gag, but Crooked is a brooding, bitter Cold War novel that gets deep into the psyche of "the funniest president that ever lived."

Tales of the Gold Monkey, another lost tv treasure

Tales of the Gold Monkey: The Complete Series

Join a former flying tiger, his awesome dog and a Grumman G-21 Goose as he explores the south Pacific, fights Nazis, and has a broken relationship with a pretty singer/spy. This should have been my life, not a one season tv show you've never heard of!

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Soda Pop Soldier, a novel of what is far too likely to come, by Nick Cole

I remember the Cola Wars, I lost so many friends. Nick Cole offers a fantastic look at the future of advertising.

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Using magician's thread to make a dancing cane

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I wanted to make my own dancing cane. All you need is a drill, some magicians thread, and a far lighter cane than mine.

Making a dancing cane is pretty simple. As the video above says, just drill a tiny hole about 1/2" above the balance point of your cane and tie on a piece of high strength, nearly invisible magician's thread. Make a loop on the other end of the thread for your thumb, and let the fun begin.

I tried this on a regular walking cane. It is far too heavy to manipulate without lots of practice, and will bruise or break things when mistakes are made. I suggest making your own from doweling, as suggested in the video.

Making the loop slightly over-sized makes changing hands easier.

The wax that comes with this magician's thread is useful for making other, very light objects dance. Like a dollar bill!

Magic Makers Magician's Wax and Invisible Thread via Amazon Read the rest

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