The boys and I spent Saturday up at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. In case you couldn't guess by its name, that's pretty much the noisiest event of my year.
I got a few rounds done on my sock while we spent two hours sitting in line for a panel.
One of the highlights of the expo, in addition to a chance to see the Unipiper, is the retro arcade. A group of local collectors brings in their arcade consoles, all set to play without quarters. While my oldest sons were off doing their thing and the youngest was getting ridiculously good at something called Balloon Fight, I got the chance to play more Frogger than I did in my entire childhood (which honestly wasn't much at all.) And I learned that Baby Pac Man is half pinball machine, and got my annual dose of guilt for donating the Vic 20 and Intellivision to Good Will back in 1992. Who would have ever imagined that my own kids would want to play them?
Best-Laid Plants by Marty Wingate
I've been reading the Potting Shed mysteries since the first book came out and even though I have almost no desire to plant a garden myself , heroine Pru Parke makes working with plants look like a lot of fun. This time around, she's been hired to plan the restoration of a neglected Arts and Crafts style garden. I got completely caught up in the book's settings -- the bed and breakfast with its maze of rooms and puzzling light switches...and the garden itself, with overgrown walkways and limestone statues melting away after years of exposure to the weather. Those statues seem a little spooky even before one topples over onto the garden's original designer. I really can't think of enough good things to say about this series. It gives you a vicarious glimpse into the character's lives and an interesting murder mystery, and no cliff-hangers to drive me nuts until the next book comes out.
Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copy by the publisher. All opinions are my own.