You've probably heard this from me already, but in case you're thinking of donating for earthquake relief, I do not recommend donating to the American Red Cross, now or ever. God knows what they'll do with your money - probably nothing useful.

Note that the various international Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are not related to the American one and may be okay. If you happen to personally know of or have heard very good reports on any organization that's helping out, please comment. LA is sending its (excellent, from all reports) urban search and rescue team, incidentally.

Normally I'd say that a group local to the affected area would be best, but in the case of an enormous disaster and immediately after the fact, I would check first to make sure they're still functioning and in shape to take donations.

ETA: I am currently checking out this: http://www.yele.org/about/index.html and direct donate link: http://www.yele.org/

ETA II: This is worth looking at: http://skywardprodigal.livejournal.com/865872.html
You all know I like L. J. Smith. But these novels are dreadful, almost entirely lacking in the playfulness, fun characters, and interesting twists on genre tropes I enjoyed in her better books in other series.

Except for the fourth book. The fourth book is fairly interesting. Largely because spoiler )

[livejournal.com profile] yhlee showed me an episode of the TV series, and I have to say, that was much better. Damon is lots of fun, though Elena and the ever-boring Stefan, clearly cast for his vague resemblance to sparklepire Edward Cullen, have no chemistry.

Back to the books, I give you The Vampire Diaries in Fifteen Minutes!

Elena: I rule the high school! Bow before me, minions!

Minions: (bow.)

Stefan: I have only just laid eyes on you, Elena, but you are fire, ice, fire in ice, a white tiger, a sugared violet, a ravaged princess in a tower, snow, sapphires, midnight, steel, and… Damon, did you steal my thesaurus? Anyway, let’s get engaged!

Elena: We’ve only known each other for two days and barely interacted at all, but okay!

Damon: (lurks; drops Stefan in a well; turns into a raven; eats the gym coach; laughs evilly; menaces Stefan; menaces Elena; drinks human blood to get more powerful; is way more fun than anyone else.)

Elena: Stefan, drink my blood so you can get more powerful and defend me from Damon, or else Damon will kill us all. I want you to and it won’t kill me.

Stefan: Absolutely not! Drinking blood from humans is wrong! Even if it won’t hurt them, they consent, and otherwise everyone, including them, will die!

Rachel: (stubs fingers trying to reach through book to strangle Stefan.)

Elena: My thoughts are layered, like a parfait.

Rachel: (notes that this is an actual line from the book.)

Kitten: (is possessed by Big Bad; tries to bite Elena’s little sister.)

Everyone: DOOOOOM!!! We must save everyone from the cats!

Rachel (is not making this up; also, is reminded of the episode of the X-Files where stage hands hurled stuffed cats at the actors to simulate a cat attack.)

More DOOOOOOOOOOOOM. )

Book four is actually fairly entertaining and contains some deliberate comedy (thank God). The excruciating Elena-Stefan relationship is sidelined, which improves everything enormously. But not enough to make me read book five, which is supposed to be horrible. Not even on a plane, which is where I read the first four.

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle

The Vampire Diaries: The Fury and Dark Reunion

Long-belated sequel, which I haven’t read; note that it has been nearly universally dissed as a trainwreck, including by people who loved the first four: The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall
.

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