Julie & I were turned into zombies by the famous zombie disease carrier Alley Getz, who in turn was infected by the Zombie Master himself, Gerald Kielpinski, in his bid to take over the world with zombies.
It's Robert Jordan day! Well and now Brandon Sanderson day also, I suppose. Don't know what I'm talking about? I don't blame you. First off, let me start by admitting that that is one terrible book cover. However it's the twelfth book in The Wheel of Time series which I've been reading avidly since I was in high school, and whenever the new WoT novel comes out, my tradition is to wake up way too early in excitement and hit the bookstore the moment it opens, buy my copy, rush home and read the whole thing in as close to one sitting as possible. It doesn't always work out; when the last book came out, I was in Iraq and had to wait like three weeks after release for my copy to show in the mail. That was torture. (Not the Dick Cheney kind of torture of course, but the kind which we spoiled American media junkies consider to be torture.) And for books eight nine & ten, I was in Germany, so I'd had to wait like a week. But before that, that was always my tradition and so I'm so stoked about being home and near a book store for this particular release day that I'm up way too early, coffee already made, waiting for 8:30 to roll around so I can be at Borders at 8:59.
I know I know, this probably makes me as geeky as the book cover. Well I used to read a lot of fantasy when I was younger, and when the first book was released in 1990, that cover just called out to me. So I took it home and I've been impatiently awaiting the next release in the series ever since. Robert Jordan's fans used to joke that the series was so long and complicated that he'd never live to finish the series. Well, turns out that's not a joke. Or at least, it's some good black comedy! He died in September 2007, after struggling for over a year with a rare blood disease, cardiac amyloidosis. He had attempted to finish the series with one final book during that period, however he didn't have the health or the time. His wife contracted a young author by the name of Brandon Sanderson, who was also a huge WoT fan, to finish the novel using Robert Jordan's notes and voice recordings. Before Mr. Jordan died, he told the story to his friends and family. He'd said from the beginning that he always knew how the series ended, that he actually pretty much had the final scene of the final book written and in fact it was the image of that scene, which he said just struck him one day, that had inspired the entire series in the first place.
So fans were relieved that they were at last going to get to read that legendary scene after all, until Brandon got into writing the series and discovered that there was just too much material, too many unresolved plot points and too many things that had to happen to reach that scene to properly fit it all into one book. This I found to be extremely unsurprising; it was typical of Mr. Jordan to underestimate the size of his own series. It was originally supposed to be a trilogy. Then at one point I think he said he could finish it up in 6 books. Then 8. Then 9 or 10. Then at last, twelve. But still, nope. The last final volume of The Wheel of Time saga has been split into three books, making this a gigantic 14 book series, and Mr. Sanderson says he will be able to put them out one per year. Depending on how good of a job he does, this makes me very happy actually because I love Robert Jordan day, and don't really mind the length of the series one bit. I have no problem with the series being bigger and longer if it means I get to immerse myself in that world a few extra times on Robert Jordan Day.
Oop! It's 8:25! Later losers!
Post Read Script: I finished the book yesterday evening, 770 pages in a day & 1/2, boo-yah!
I know I promised more Death Valley pictures like, a month ago. It's been a busy month. I've put way more time than I bargained for into putting an addition on my house. Well not so much an addition as turning a patio/porch into a room which one day seemingly far in the future will be my den. Anyway, exciting for me, dull for you. On to some Death. Valley. This is a lava rock that looks like some freaky medusa head.
This is the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin, which is about 282 feet below sea level. The road lookin' thing they are standing on there is a road of salt. Pretty much all the white in the picture is salt.
And of course, being who I am and all the weirdness which that implies, I had to have a taste. FYI, it tastes just like salt. With a hint of dirt.
In contrast, here's me being weird at the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea in The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. (1385 feet below sea level.)
Give me a break, this was back in 2005. I've lost weight since then. And it's Dead Sea mud. Good for the skin. This was only supposed to be a gratuitous "hey look what other low point I've visited" shot. Shut up.
So anyway I was driving through the valley of death, yay, and this guy ran out right in front of my car forcing me to screech to a halt, and then stood there looking at me. It was kind of spooky.
So since he made it so easy, I of course got a few shots in. But then I felt bad; in foreign countries when you want to take pictures of the locals and they catch you doing it, they want you to buy something from them or just give them a few cents in payment. The water sellers in Morocco are the worst for that, by the way. Oh and Egyptians on camels. It's like they think I owe them for violating their privacy or something ridiculous like that.
Anyway, this desert fox stood there purposefully posing for me to take photos of him, and I felt bad. I had a bag of dates in the car, so I threw him a couple. And when I did, it was very apparent that this had been his plan all along. I totally got carjacked by a desert fox! They don't call them foxes for no reason. Clearly, he'd been running this little scam for a long time. I imagine food is hard to come by in Death Valley for a mammal. I know you're not supposed to feed animals in National Parks, but his tricks confused me! I was all befuddled and stuff! He used foxy black magic on me!
Well you can't blame him for wanting some dates. I've developed an obsession with them myself recently. I used to eat them right off of the date palms that grew everywhere in Baghdad, and they were delicious. I'd forgotten. They grow them in California, and every time I go there for work I buy like 5 pounds of them and eat the crap out of them all day every day, instead of meals. I've gotten so obsessed that lately I've taken to visiting the China Ranch Date Farm near Tecopa California after driving through Death Valley and buying them direct. I bring home several pounds to last me until my next trip to California. They're very sweet, like candy, but very healthy.