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Saturdays in Books

Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.

Currently reading

The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
Kathryn Morrow, James K. Morrow

This post is definitely book related because this is a book blog.

Last week was our 15 year wedding anniversary, and I think  we nailed it.


We celebrated by having Indian food delivered to the house and watching Manos: The Hands of Fate, Rifftrax Edition. Back when we started dating, the MST3K version of Manos was the first gift I gave my now spouse, and our form of dating revolved heavily around staying in for dinner and a bad movie.  


A few moths ago, my calendar popped up the reminder, "15 years is big metal chicken." A message that may seem strange to those of you not familiar with Jenny Lawson's blog. Many years back I had read "And that's why you should learn to pick your battles," and laughed, and shared it with my spouse, and added a reminder to my calendar. Go ahead, go read it. I'll wait. If you like it, perhaps you would also like her book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir - Jenny Lawson. I greatly enjoyed the audibook version, even if it did try to kill me a couple of times*.


I spent some time looking for just the right giant chicken, but none of them were speaking to me. So instead, I thought maybe I'd try looking at other metal birds - maybe that's it, maybe 15 years is metal bird art? 


Rewind 10 years, we've just recently purchased a house and a car. I've only been out of school for a short while. We're doing alright financially, but this is the largest amount of debt we've ever been in. For some reason, we're at a charity dinner with a silent auction. One of the items in the auction is a bronze statue by local sculptor Frank Fleming. A penguin. With hands! 


Frank Fleming's most famous work is probably the Storyteller Fountain in Birmingham, AL. He has a distinctive style of anthropomorphic animals. His work is wonderful and even the minimum bid on this sculpture is outside of the range of possible for us. Within a couple of years, he'd moved away from Birmingham and vanished from the art scene.


To this day my spouse laments not having gotten the penguin with hands.


So I took to the internet to see if maybe I could find a used penguin with hands, or at the very least a good portrait of a penguin with hands. Only to find that Fleming recently started sculpting again. His new collection includes a preacher penguin. With hands! 


I emailed to discuss prices and delivery, and a few weeks later found myself standing in the Birmingham studio/home of Frank Fleming, picking up my very own penguin with hands. But that was still well ahead of last week. I took** the penguin to friend's house, where I hear he got to live as a guest of honor at the fire place mantel. A couple of weeks later, I drive back into town with a friend who has offered to store the sculpture much closer to my house. 


Now, while a penguin with hands is kind of awesome, the more observant among you may have noticed that it is not a chicken. Worry not. I soon ordered a toddler sized chicken costume for Little Frankie*** and spent an evening cutting it and sewing him into it. Then, the night of our anniversary, I brought him to the front door, rang the bell and hid. When my husband answered it, I jumped out and yelled "15 years is giant metal chicken, motherfucker!"


He was delighted. I think he still kind of is. He took about 100 pictures and texted or emailed a bunch of friends about it.


Also, there is now a penguin with hands sitting behind me right now.


This is the best.


*Like I said, totally a book related post.

**If you want ot know how to transport a toddler sized penguin sculpture, turns out, exactly how you do not transport a toddler.

***I am told we will NOT be calling him that - name still pending