Monthly Archives: August 2007

Hunter Pace

This Saturday, one of my barn mates and I are going to participate in a Hunter Pace.   Audrey will ride her Dusty and I’ll ride my Mo.  We’ll be in the Go Horse Go! class, which means that we will try to maintain a pace of 4 mph over a course that will be between 3 and 6 miles long.

So.  Is there such a thing as a hippodometer? Equiped? Equipedometer? How do I figure out exactly how fast Mo moves?   I don’t have a clue.

I’m not overly worried about winning, just looking forward to the fun of riding outside on a marked path.  Audrey and I are a team, the Cultured Pearls (Dusty is white, Mo is black, and we humans are getting a bit of age on us but in a good way). Other folks from the barn are doing the Hunter Pace too, probably in the faster division where some jumping is required.  Yes, there will be obstacles and no, we shall not jump them.

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Filed under Competition, Mopey

Maximum Ride By James Patterson

Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports  is the third book by James Patterson about the flock, a band of six winged children (and their talking dog Total) and their struggles to survive the menacing forces that created them — and that want to destroy them.

I admit, I’m a sucker for mouthy girl main character and that description fits Max (short for Maximum Ride) the same way her amazing wings fit her, wings that carry her effortlessly over the ground and just as neatly fold up against her back.  Max is the leader of the troop and with her co-captain, Fang, are the Peter Pan and Wendy of the four younger ones in their care.  Since I haven’t read the first book, I can’t explain about the dog other than he’s kind of persnickety and has no interest in eating from a dish on the floor.

Max gets off some good ones that had me giggling more than once, and her intense love of her fellow bird-kids is very real despite the way she throws off smart-alecky one-liners.  That her way of whistling in the dark and there’s plenty of dark in this book.

The unreal video-game violence might prove to be exciting for some readers.  As I read Max’s description of her round-house kicks and about the impossible odds, I couldn’t help but think of old cowboys v. Indians movies.  You know, the kind where the cowboy shoots once and four Indians hit the dirt?  It’s like that, except high tech and more likely in Technicolor rather than black and white. The problem, as far as I’m concerned, is that character development becomes secondary or even tertiary to the gore. Yes, I know it’s fantasy  and I don’t have any problem with flying kids.  I appreciate the physiological explantions (bird-kid bone density) and the way Max describes the oddness of a trip on an airplane and the reality that although they are strong and fleet, they are not built for transatlantic crossings. I appreciate passages that remind the reader that these are beings, humans just like the people turning the page of a book.

Patterson pays homage to the Wizard of Oz  during the infiltration of a big castle run by a witch and inhabited by legions of mutants who all but chant “O-lio, o-LEE-o” as they march in lockstep.  It’s probably not a coincidence that the scary uniformity takes places in Germany and that the evil powers-that-be have cleansing-by-extermination in mind,  any more than the Imperial soldiers in Star Wars had helmets that bore a strong resemblance to the uniforms of WW II German troops.  But Mr. Patterson, why put “Publicists” on Fang’s Web blog entry where he lists useless people? And the two foaming-at-the-mouth villains (one with a crappy German accent) seem mostly silly.

Good fantasy pulls the reader into the alternate world or the wrinkle added to our own.  That’s what any good story does, horse-opera (an old name for westerns) or space-opera (an old name for SciFi). This book has some of those moments.  And some readers might appreciate the call-to-action and the opportunity to log onto the book’s Web site and feel as if they part of the story. The best way to become a part of the story, however, is to care about what happens to the characters.  You don’t become part of the story so much as the story becomes part of you.  Max, in her much-appreciated teen snarkiness, cetainly struck that note with me.

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Filed under Books, REALLY uncategorized

Spam spam spam

Is it Defrost who had the post about the search terms people have used to find her blog?  And the search terms are sorta icky? My “Shank’s Pony” entry picks up porn spam every so often, and WordPress (bless it!) has to ask me about it.  Other spam doesn’t get to the “Approve?  No?” point very often. But it’s usually good old “Shank’s Pony”, out of which I get a big kick because it’s this language thing and even though it doesn’t matter to the spammers, just the idea that their piece of stuff  hit the ground and went no place nowhere no how pleases me.

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Wanderin’ Mo

During my last lesson, Mo got loose while I groomed him in his stall.  I wasn’t paying attention and besides, the horse always stays in there even when the door’s open so what’s the problem, eh?  No problem.  No problem until His Mo-ness wandered out of his stall with me yelling “Stop! Stop!” as if it would do any good, running along behind him, looking for a place to grab.

“Mo is loose!” I yelled and Dennis saw what was up, so in his much bigger voice he yelled “Loose horse!” and follwed Mo who wandered into the indoor arena.  I ran back to his stall, grabbed his lead and a treat, ran into the indoor arena from the other open end so I wouldn’t inadvertently push him out with my frenetic presence, and he was happy to eat my treat and submit to the lead line.

“Just what do you think you’re doing, letting all my horses out?” said Leah. Thank god she’s got a sense of humor and patience.  “Ha ha!” I said, “We’re all professionals here!” This is the third time a horse has gotten away from me.

There’s a note on the white board that hangs in front of Mo’s stall:  “Always lead with chain over nose.”  The other day, some people were saying that Mo had never given them any trouble and they didn’t understand why anyone would ever need to do that.  I pointed to my elbow and its new pink skin.

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Filed under Mopey