Wild woman!

Newly adopted in early 1998 and already taking over, Kako, the wild woman, is seen here attacking the camera strap while Kazon approaches from below.  I lifted the camera above my head after taking the picture in an attempt to keep her from trying to climb any further; it had the opposite effect, and she promptly climbed right up my chest and neck to my shoulder where she could more easily reach it.  I, likewise, began to bleed.

Kako attacking the camera strap while Kazon approaches from below (the_twins_05)

‘The Historian’ by Elizabeth Kostova

'The Historian' @ Amazon

What a fascinating tale The Historian is, empowered by a global trek through history, explorations of mysterious castle ruins and ancient crypts cloaked in darkness, and an increasingly desperate quest to uncover the truth about Dracula.  All the while, the chill of ominous uncertainty compels the reader forward and engages the book's characters: are we chasing Dracula, or is he in fact chasing us?  Or is it both?  Worse yet, regardless of who first succeeds at the hunt, will the outcome be the same?  If he is real, what belied hope can withstand a force of such evil, one that both time and death seem unable to overcome?

Lost to centuries of misplaced, undocumented and destroyed historical references, the increasing authenticity of vampire lore and factualness of records about Vlad the Impaler and his life and ultimate death — if that term actually applies — must be sought after and compiled, much like a puzzle.  While many would dismiss such a pursuit as little more than academic curiosity, select librarians, historians and archivists around the globe are quietly learning that the truth, in this case, truly is stranger than fiction.

Spanning three separate stories, each revolving around the same quest, Elizabeth Kostova weaves an intricately detailed and historically compelling tale.  The crisscrossing story lines echo history's political and religious intrigues.  Whether it be Byzantine, Wallachian, Ottoman, or Soviet rule, the impact of Orthodox, Western, Eastern and ancient religions and practices, jaunts through monasteries, churches, libraries, archives, castles and crypts from Istanbul to Bulgaria to France to Budapest, The Historian encompasses the whole of what has shaped Dracula's homeland and, therefore, his life.

I found this book to be suspenseful and intriguing.  It is absorbing and gripping, successfully integrating fact and fiction on such a grand scale that it becomes increasingly difficult to relinquish its pages to another day.  One cannot help but be drawn into this world of exotic locales, mounting casualties, tantalizing history, a family legacy best left unadopted, and the looming threat of Dracula himself, his love of the bloodthirsty evident while he himself remains shrouded in mystery and unknown in veracity except to those for whom it is too late.

Verily, this was a captivating read.  Some may be intimidated by its length (well over 600 pages); others may be apprehensive of its depth (the intertwining story lines and points of view differentiated by each source can often seem overwhelming for the casual reader); yet others may find daunting the wealth of history wrapped in the story, sometimes expressed dryly as near academic research.  I assure you, however, that history buffs and those with even a casual interest in the story of Dracula will both find this a narrative worthy of reading.  It is an escape into other times and other places, and a rather interesting spin on Drakulya's never-ending quest through time, both for blood and the life it gives him, and for something else entirely.  I leave it to you, the reader, to discover that secret.

5 favourite quotes from either a film, book, or song

As tagged by Michael, the meme: 5 favourite quotes from either a film, book, or song.  My response, covering all three options, and ranging from the philisophical to the dark to pleasures of the flesh:

(1) That's so inspirational it brings tears to my eyes. But by and large, Constable Anderson, the good's an illusion. Little fables folks tell themselves so they can get through their days without screaming too much.
Andre Linoge from Stephen King's 1999 Storm of the Century

(2) Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends.
Gandalf in JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

(3) What did you see, the same as I? Appetite sated, desire indulged, a miniature of the world and how it will succumb to us… There is no good, Munroe, there is no evil, there is only flesh and the patterns to which we submit it.
Pinhead in 1992's Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

(4) You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
Almustafa in Kahlil Gibran's 1923 The Prophet

(5) Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself; Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; for love is sufficient unto love.
Almustafa in Kahlil Gibran's 1923 The Prophet

And a bonus: Tempers fray so easily in desperate despair, is there anyone who cares? Just another tragedy, just a personal affair in a room somewhere
“The Circus” from Erasure's 1990 Circus

Oh, and on the kissing thing, since that's a personal favorite of mine, I also took the test.  My results:

Your are a Passionate 'In the Moment' Kiss! You love to make things a little sweeter than they already are. Or maybe you just enjoy being one damn hot boy!

I think that's healthy!