Monthly Archives: March 2012

Book Review: Lost Girls

Some folks’ Guilty Book Pleasures are those paperback novels with a shirtless Fabio on the cover – books with characters named Blade (the ranch hand/firefighter) or Greer (the leggy redhead who’s sworn off men entirely, until…). I, however, find these reads good for giggles, nothing more. My mindless reading of choice is more in the vein of Tom Clancy (or, more realistically, the zillions of poor imitators. Clancy’s a damn good author). Give me a book about some rogue, James Bond-style assassin and the super-secret Agency he might or might not work for, and I’m hooked.

An appropriate title. I, too, became quickly lost as I read this disappointing book. Image source: Amazon.com

So when I found Bob Mayer’s Lost Girls for like three bucks on Amazon; the first line of the book’s description: “Who polices the world of covert operations? Enter the Cellar, the most secret spy organization hiding deep within the United States.” Talk about mindless-sounding melodrama! You bet I clicked that link. I clicked it good.

The plot: Three seemingly-unrelated crimes catch The Cellar’s attention, and a team of operatives are assembled to determine the link and bring the perpetrators to justice. Sounds simple, right?

Oh, how wrong you are.

Enter approximately forty-zillion characters, each with an incredibly complex backstory (Did I miss the first twenty books in this series?). By the halfway point, I was tempted to put the book down and draw up a diagram of characters.

Except something peculiar began happening. I began to notice small typos – a missing apostrophe or word here and there. At the halfway point, it was more curious than distracting.

But then the typos became increasingly glaring; I’m talking subject-verb agreement kind of things, or referring to the state of Main (no -e). VERY OBVIOUS ERRORS. When the name of a character was spelled incorrectly, I almost threw down the book in disgust.

I was reading on a Kindle and I wondered if perhaps e-reader versions of books are not subject to the same editing process, so I continued on, becoming more and more confused by the tangled web of characters. Who is the bad guy? Oh, wait, is it that one dude’s brother? Was it the DEA agent? Or was he a double-agent? Who was double-crossing who, again?

But the cake was taken when, about three-quarters of the way through, the name of one of the central characters was switched with the name of another, more minor, character.

This is the point where I about lost my shit.

Imagine reading a Harry Potter novel and, halfway through, everyone starts referring to Ron as Harry and Harry as Ron. Talk about a mind-fuck. I really did give up at this point. I hate not finishing a book, so I powered through, basically skimming the words until I got to something that made sense. Sigh.

Spoiler alert: everyone fucking dies. I mean, almost. Some people survive, but don’t ask me who because I honestly don’t know.

I should have gone with Nora Roberts.

1/5 stars

snippets, too short to be any better longer

Try diagramming that sentence!*

Why do publishers (?) sometimes include the phrase A Novel beneath the title of a book? Really? Is that what this large, book-like thing is? Huh!

For approximately four years, my bank has been trying to verbally beat me into agreeing to open a money market account. This morning I read that these accounts are probably the next big thing to fail. Guess my desire to keep all my savings in an empty cereal bar- box in my sock drawer was the right decision after all eh, SEC?**

Pasted from Twitter: Word I’d like to eliminate from my vocab: “someday.” (Ah, so inspirational!) Also: “wad” (ah, so disgusting). For real, though. The “someday” thing is getting old. Remember that old Nike slogan? Just Fucking Do It Already?*** Yes. Just.

While we’re only-vaguely on the subject, name me a word with the same aaah sound as “wad” or “quad” that isn’t a gross-sounding word. Can’t, can ya?

Oh, and while we’re naming things, does anybody possess a magical coffee mug (sans lid) that keeps their coffee hot (or at least above room temp) for longer than, say, five minutes? Room temperature coffee makes me gag, but I’m also uncoordinated enough that drinking hot coffee from a travel mug is a third-degree facial burn waiting to happen. How about those Tervis things I keep writing about? I mean, those totally awesome Tervis things I keep writing about! The things that I’d loooove to try out for free and post rave reviews on! I like this idea so much I’m dangling my participles around like some sort of drunk, free-balling grammarian.****

That’s it for now, folks.

*Do they even teach that anymore in school? Don’t answer that. It’ll just make me surly and self-righteous.

**Note: Please don’t break into my apartment looking for my sock drawer. I have no sock drawer. Also: no savings.

***I think this was eventually shortened.

****Heeeey, do not picture your college English professor here because I accidentally did. Dr. N! Sober up and put some damn slacks on!

Georges Vezina for beginners.

Note: I’ve tried – and failed – numerous times to come up with some sort of “theme” for this blog. I think this post is officially my White Flag. I write about what I want to write about. It will be hit or miss with most readers. I’ve made my peace with this. Sort of.

You want to know who’s cool? Georges Vézina, that’s who. He’s so interesting, I feel I must tell you more about him.

If the name sounds familiar, or even vaguely so, it’s because the current National Hockey League annually awards a trophy bearing his name to the “best freaking goaltender in the whole damn league” (I’m paraphrasing here). And I’m pretty sure you’ve got to be pretty freaking special to have a “best of” trophy named after you.

And special our boy was. First, there’s the issue of his birth name: Joseph-Georges-Gonzague Vézina. It’s about as French-Canadian (thus, novel [to me]; thus, cool [to me]) as it gets, eh? I suppose Joseph-Georges-Gonzague was a bit of a mouthful for sa mère to be yelling around the house (she’d had seven other kids before him, after all), so Georges it was.

As was likely All The Rage back in 1901, he left school at the age of 14 to help son papa in the old man’s bakery. Yep, descended from an immigrant baker. Bonus Novelty Points.

And then there’s the hockey thing. More specifically, the ice-hockey-goaltender thing. It takes a fairly rare specimen to willingly play goal today, much less in 1910, when Vezina made his first exhibition start for the Montreal Canadiens. Remember here, this was avant-Vaughn, avant-Bauer, avant-Reebok: they didn’t need no stinkin’ face masks.

Yikes, eh? Hard core.

For sixteen seasons- count’em: seven in the NHA, nine in the NHL, all with the Habs – ol’ Georges toiled between the pipes, playing for 327 consecutive regular season games.* During his career, the Canadiens won two Stanley Cups and appeared in the Finals three more times. And let’s talk hard numbers here: Lead the League in Goals Against Average seven times (runner-up an additional five times). During the 1924-25 season (his last full season played), his GAA was 1.81.

He was 38 at the time.

Bon travail, Monsieur! 

Vezina also had the distinction of being an all-around swell guy. His nicknames:
le Concombre de Chicoutimi
(The Cucumber of Chicoutimi – a reference to his calmness and the rural Quebec town of his birth)
l’Habitant silencieux
(the Silent Habitant – again referring to his quiet, steady presence on the Canadiens, affectionately known as “the Habitants,” or, now: “Habs”)

So steady, so dependable was that his 327-game streak was broken only by his collapse on the ice during a game in 1925. TB, it was, and his career (and sadly, life) ended quickly thereafter.

Let me make this clear: this beast of a man was playing through tuberculosis. Damn, son! (note: I think some professional athletes have a lesson or two to learn from this example. Not that I condone infecting one’s team with a highly-contagious disease, but I think one can play through a hangnail, say, or an owie on their toesies).

After Vezina’s death, Canadiens manager Leo Dandurand “told reporters Vezina ‘speaks no English and has twenty-two children, including three sets of triplets, and they were all born in the space of nine years.’”**  Okay, so that was not true; he apparently spoke some English and had two sons (with his wife, at least). But one only hears (and spreads) rumors about such, uh, copious parentage when one is dealing with the Man’s Man: it’s seen as impressive (or weird, or wrong—depends on how you look at it I suppose). In this way, Vezina was also a symbol of virility.

This revered, respected, admired and adored epitome of the Greatness of the Early Game fascinates me, and I hope you found these tidbits of trivia and history at least basically intriguing.

If not, you should probably maybe not subscribe to this blog any longer.
*Or 328; I’ve seen both numbers quoted.

Sources:
BabelFish text translation
(Sorry, high school French teacher. I don’t remember anything)

“Georges Vezina.” Hockey-Reference.com. Web. 06 Mar. 2012.

**“Georges Vézina.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Feb. 2012.

“History of the National Hockey League.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 May 2012. Web. 06 Mar. 2012. 

“NHL Vezina Trophy Winners.” Hockey-Reference.com. Web. 06 

“Vezina Trophy.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 Apr. 2012. Web. 06 Mar. 2012.