Friday, December 16, 2011

Nearly Done...

Finally got nearly everything done.  The presents are purchased, wrapped, and sitting under the tree.  The laundry is nearly done.  I baked 2 kinds of cookies today AND got rid of almost all of them, so that I won't find myself in a sugar coma due to my inability to stop eating them. I still have one final to do, and a big stack of xmas cards to mail...and I haven't even tried to get into the closets or the toy box yet.  I have a couple long weekends coming up, though.  :)  I really look forward to the long weekends... and dread everything after the second week of January.  It's all normal then.  No nice long vacations to look forward to, no holidays... I'm sure I'll be taking some time off around Oliver's birthday, but still.  There's nothing but average for quite a while.

This last week was annoying.  I felt no love for the patrons... I spent most of the week working on a computer problem that almost drove me over the edge.  The relief from finally solving the problem was short-lived, because once accomplished, I felt so accomplished that I was done.

Next semester I have a writing class... and I really can't wait.  I'm so creatively stifled.

We're watching the new Peanuts movie, Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown.  Linus sounds ok, but the other voices are a bit off.  I hoped it wouldn't bother me, does.  It's like...a remake...but not.

Like...can you imagine if A Christmas Story was redone??  Wouldn't that be terrible??!

In Oliver news...the embarrassing moments keep coming.  Last night, while walking through the store, he got a tampon out of my purse.  He was waving it around at it was a little light-saber...with sound effects included.  Noticing that was bad enough.  Turning around to see my ex standing there...well, that was embarrassing and hilarious.

Ok... I think I've gained strength through I'm going to tackle at least one bin of toys tonight.  Or maybe just get some laundry put away.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Call for a 36-hour Day.

Or maybe a plea.  Because that's what it's going to take for me to get all that I want accomplished...and only if no additional time is spent at work.  Is it terrible that I still have black Friday toys in boxes?  Is it terrible that, despite my best efforts, Oliver's toy box and closet and book shelves have yet to be sorted and nothing has been added to the donations box?

I got a good deal of my semester taken care of yesterday, but at some point I lost my motivation, and it's yet to return.  :|  What a shame...I so love networking.  I still need to do my networking final... and right now I should be working on a website (or 2) and/or taking some tests.  Seems I always find the time to blog when I have things I actually need to get done.

At least I managed to locate the tree...and the decorations.  Oliver really enjoyed helping with that this year :)

Speaking of Oliver...and speaking of speaking... that kid is beyond entertaining lately.  The other night we had a whole conversation about ghosts.  He claims to see them... says they're white and don't have feet.  He was a little unclear as to the size of their eyes, but says they do have eyes.  At the time of the conversation, he informed me that there were no ghosts in the house, or outside... which was... comforting.  I think.

He's also come up with a few other revelations.  This morning he informed me, almost immediately after waking, that only little kids have penises.  He didn't elaborate.  Last night he said he wouldn't pee on me, so that I wouldn't have to do laundry.  Considerate of him, right?  Also, cats don't eat cake...or excavators... nor are they fond of coffee.  He's also decided that he likes Harry Potter a lot...and this is either a testament to his bravery or my cowardice: he's watched the scene with Aragog.  He's watched more than once, and is equally fascinated each time.  He says the spiders are yucky and slimy.  No, I have not ever watched that particular scene...I have only a vague idea as to what happens then.  I agree wholeheartedly that spiders are yucky, and am glad that they aren't also slimy.  Wouldn't that just make them worse??  Being THAT creepy... and leaving a trail like a slug.  Or like that alien with a cold in Flight of the Navigator...

Just imagine that guy with 8 legs and way too many eyes crawling down your bedroom wall in the middle of the night.  And what would happen if you had to step on it?  They'd survive much better if we had to risk the loss of a pair of shoes to kill 'em.

Have I ever mentioned that I want a puckmarin??  Because I do.  Not having a puckmarin OR a mogwai... talk about leftover childhood disappointments.

And that just reminded me... Oliver's been talking about Santa.  I have no idea where he's getting this stuff from.  I've never had any desire to tell my kid about Santa...I find the whole thing dishonest and creepy.  "Yes, son, an eccentric old fat guy watches you sleep.  He stalks you during the day, too... and takes notes.  He enslaves both midgets and reindeer.  And yes, I would like you to go sit on his lap at the mall.  Oh, and by the way, he'll be breaking into the house in a couple weeks."  And then later, I'll have to tell him I made it all up.  I mean no offense to those of you who plan to do the whole Santa thing...really... but here's your heads up - my kid will be the one who tells his whole preschool class that Santa isn't real.

Anyway... time to figure out the new printer, clean a few rooms, and then relax with some roast and veggies.  :)  My house smells amazing, btw.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The books of the months... and saving the best for last.

While in KS I read the Fallen series by Lauren Kate.  They were okay...I don't think I loved them but I didn't hate them.  It's just that angels don't really do it for me.  I'll read the last book when it comes out, but it's not like I'm holding my breath.

At some point I read Enclave by Ann Aguire.  I had really high hopes for the book.  I also thought it was a stand-alone, as in, not the first book in a series.  That alone was a big part of why I was so hopeful.  About half way though the book, I realized it couldn't end any time I looked it up and was terribly disappointed to find that it's book one of a trilogy.  The story itself was decent.  Post-apocalyptic world where people live underground and have to fight for everything.  It seemed like it was going somewhere interesting.  Then there were zombies.  I find it so difficult to take a book seriously when there are zombies.  I should really take some time to consider my aversion to zombies - I don't find them scary, and in fact my first favorite movie ever was Night of the Living Dead (the original).  But, I don't think of them as a serious threat. Perhaps there's too much humor surrounding all things zombie for me to consider the possible implications of real-life zombies.  Maybe I'd just prefer a more realistic threat... or a threat that isn't so... transparent.  Zombies just want to eat people...but they don't care about the destruction of people or society because they're mindless.  Mindless things aren't evil (except....well I won't get into politics here).  So, anyway... I liked the book apart from the zombies.

I also read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  With a name like that, I just knew he'd be spectacular.  I was not disappointed.  I also don't know if I've already written about this here or not.  I know that I absolutely loved the story.  There were a couple times when it was slow, but the writing was so good that it didn't matter.  I've never read anything similar to this... the time loops, the circus-freak-like characters (capable of making fire or floating...and the invisible boy), THIS particular kind of magic is all new.  The process of creating the story was just as interesting, to me, as the story itself.  There were pictures peppered throughout - creepy old pictures.  They were like old-fashioned circus freak images.  The story had a very dark feel in many places, and a lot of really magnificent characters and creatures.  I wish that the *love* story would have blossomed a little more, but there will be more books and more time for that later.  Because the story is slow at times, I wouldn't recommend this one to everyone.  But, for those who appreciate the craft of writing, this is an excellent example of doing it right.

Just this afternoon I finished Crossed, the second in the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie.  I found nothing but problems with this book.  The chapters switched back and forth between the two main characters, but neither was I kept forgetting which character I was reading.  The story that was started in the first book was a rather typical dystopian teen love story.  Girl gets matched to perfect guy, but there's a mistake and she's also matched to the bad boy.  Naturally she falls for the bad boy.  He gets kicked out of the Society, and she goes to find him.  Book two is about her finding him and him finding her.  Then it turns into her wanting to find the Rising...and him not wanting to find the Rising.  There wasn't enough going on...not enough about the Society or anything interesting.  It wasn't emotionally engaging at all.  There were a couple things that were a little interesting, but they weren't explained...stuff just left for the next book.  I was horrified to see that someone had compared it to The Hunger Games.  At this point, I'm not sure I'll be reading the final book in the series.

Now for a list of things I've tried to read but gave up on, for whatever reason...
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro.  I tried.  It was boring.  Despite all the great things I've read about the wasn't able to hook me in the first little bit, so I gave up.
Life as We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer.  I didn't try very hard with this one.  I hate journal format.  I also hate when the entire premise of a book is scientifically impossible.  If you're going to write sci-fi, write it well... don't assume your reader is too dumb to fact-check.
Starcrossed - Josephine Angelini.  This is actually unfair to list here, since I do want to read the book.  The only reason I gave up was that the formatting didn't convert... the pdf to mobi thing sort of...ate a bunch of letters and/or punctuation.  I read a few books missing letters, and my brain gets it after a bit... but when there isn't any punctuation, it's difficult to tell what's going on.

ANYWAY.  Like I said...saving the best for last.  It's not often that I become completely absorbed in a book.  It's not often that an author creates a world so beautiful and magical that I actually want to live in it... but Erin Morgenstern did just that with The Night Circus.  I fell so in love with the feeling of the book... the style and skill and emotion expressed.  A while back, NPR had a list of books for people who were sad that Harry Potter was over... had this book been published at the time, it would have topped the list.  It's the story of two magicians who are raised to compete against each other... but they aren't told much more than that.  An entire circus is created as their competition - and it is amazing.  They compete, collaborate, and... every single thing about the book is magical.  I wish it would have ended with Prospero's lines from The Tempest... but I love it anyway.  It's right up there with HP and The Hunger Games...amazing from start to finish. I sleep.

I'm a terrible blogger.

It's been a while since I've found time to write or otherwise.  This whole *being employed* thing is really getting in the way of my regular life.  I certainly hope I'm not permanently creatively stifled.

Right now I'm trying to fight feeling awful...knowing yet another cold or something is coming.  Oliver is in his third week of having whatever he has.  He's finished his antibiotics, but still has the cough...and it's getting bad again.  Guess I'll just have to call the doc tomorrow.  It's so frustrating to have a sick kid... :(  it's only compounded by not feeling well myself.

Anyway... we had Thanksgiving, and it was as usual.  There was food, and Oliver didn't really want to eat any of it.  I'm still enjoying leftovers.  After dinner, I went to bed.  I left the house a bit before 10 for Black Friday, and it was fun.  I had to park pretty far away...but got everything I wanted (except the $3 waffle maker).  I'm currently using the new laptop, named Friday.  I haven't yet hooked up the printer..or even taken it out of the box.  It was enough for me to get some programs installed on this today!  I also got a Shark Steamer...something I've wanted for a long time.  Oliver and I steam cleaned part of the kitchen the next day :)  I got Oliver some cars and a new Play-Doh kit.  His main xmas present isn't going on sale, and will have to be ordered (it's a big blue truck).  The next day, Oliver and I went back to the store for the one thing I didn't get during the initial sale - a camera.  The line was waaaay too long, so I gave up.  The next day, we got the last one they had.  We gave it to my mom when we got home, because it was a birthday present and not an xmas present.

We've got the whole area ready for the xmas tree...all the necessary furniture has been moved and the carpet has been shampooed.  I'm too tired to put the thing up, though.  Meant to do it Friday, but didn't get around to it...and yesterday I worked.  Today has been a long day of...nothing.  Installing programs, reading a sub-par book, and hoping my immune system kicks in soon.

Something I've learned since returning to work is that the public is unclean.  No one cares how sick they are when they leave the house.  No one cares what kinds of nasty germs they leave all over everything and everyone.  Please, people...stay home when you're sick.  Don't infect me.  My immune system isn't prepared for all of this.  I was at home with a kid for two and half years...not exposed to much at I'm weak!

Anyway... that's enough of the nothing.  Time for a book update.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In Memory of...

This morning I woke up knowing the day just felt...wrong.  There was something off, but I couldn't put my finger on it.  I've been sick most of the week, but...this felt different.  I got ready for work in a daze, stood in line at Starbucks, and then went home sick from work.  Once I get this out, I should be well enough to go back in - because now I know why I am beside myself today.  Seven years ago today, my dad died.

I was downloading Rise Against to replenish my files after the most recent reformat, and decided to listen to Swing Life Away.  The very first time I heard the song, I thought of my dad.  I suppose it's only fitting that that was the song playing when my aunt called to say he'd died.

The week that he died, I had been thinking about what his funeral would be like.  It'd been years since I last saw him or spoke to him, but just felt that it'd be soon.  I imagined what it'd be like to see family members I didn't know or hadn't seen in a decade.  I wondered in particular about my cousin Andrew...about what kind of guy he was growing up to be.  The things that I imagined were far from the reality that I found myself in the next week.

There's so much about this that I repress.  Mostly, the guilt.  I was 19 years old the last time I saw him.  He was happy to see me when my cousin dropped me at his house (by force, because I wasn't exactly willing).  We had a good day.  It was interesting to see the similarities between us, even after virtually no contact for most of my life.  When I left that day, we exchanged addresses.  I told myself that I'd write to him once, and if he wrote back, we'd go from there.  But if he didn't, I was done.  I never heard from him.

The August before he died, I was in Kansas.  He was working just a couple blocks over, but I wouldn't go see him.  Everyone knew I was in town, and if he'd wanted to see me, he could have come over any time.  My grandma said that one day I'd regret refusing to see him.  I can't say that it's a regret, but the guilt stings.  I know I wasn't responsible for the lack of relationship between he and I when I was a child, but I can't help but think I should have behaved better as an adult.  It took a couple months of therapy to stop blaming myself.  I had what my therapist termed 'complicated grief,' which basically meant there were aspects to the mourning process that I was unable to work through in the typical ways.

I always saw my father's death as the death of a familiar stranger.  It's difficult to reconcile feelings when you don't know what your feelings are... I think part of me will always feel the guilt.  And as a wave of guilt washes over, so does a wave of anger.  The anger has only increased since becoming a mother.  I don't understand his indifference.

And then there's the book.  I've tried to work on it.  I never had the heart to tell anyone in the family that the book is something I hate.  Responsibility is the only thing that's kept me from burning it.  I got a rough draft of the book for my 16th birthday, accompanied by a letter.  The letter explained that the book was his life's work, and his reason for being such a terrible father.  I've never read it.  However, the letter came in handy when it was time to write something for the funeral...since I knew so little.

And the funeral was surreal.  There were so many people...and they all told me stuff about my father.  They told me about how he loved me and worried about me...all things I had no first-hand knowledge of.

I was in shock the whole time I was in Kansas for the funeral, but remember one thing very clearly: the smell of death.  It never leaves.  Once you know it, it stays with you forever.  My cousin, the same who called to tell me about my father, lost her husband (my actual cousin) a couple months later.  She told me that the smell came in the days before he died.  It's an overpowering sickening sweetness.  It clings to everything.  Just thinking of it now brings it back, mingled with cigarette smoke and wood burning and the damp cold of November in Kansas.

Something else that I've told very few people is that... I saw what was left behind.  No one told me much at the time, and I know they were just trying to protect me from further breakdown, so I've never been mad about being kept in the dark.  I just wish I'd never seen what was in the cellar.  My father had a heart attack on his way to get a cup of coffee.  He never knew - the autopsy said it would have been instant.  On his way down, he hit his head.  There was blood.  It was also a few days to a week before anyone found him, and it'd been warm.  Intellectually, I knew that there had to be some degree of decomposition.  I never allowed myself to really consider what that meant.  Even in the house with its smell of death.  I'm thankful I was spared the sight of that on the kitchen floor.  The trash bags full of bloody rags and paint scrapers edged with coagulated blood in the cellar were more than I could take.  I didn't realize what I was looking at at first... it wasn't until I'd emptied half of the bags out on the floor that I realized.  Someday I hope to forget all that.

Despite everything, the worst of it is that I have no stories to tell.  As the one person who should, I feel at a loss.  Family members have passed things on since his death - mementos, photos, etc. - but I have few memories of my own.

My mom told me that he used to sit on the back porch of our little farmhouse and play this song... seems a good place to end this:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

End of the Journey...

There's nothing quite like waking up soaked in toddler pee.  Poor kid leaked through his diaper... and evidently that made him cold, so he needed to cuddle.  In my groggy mostly-asleep state, I wondered how he could possibly sweat so much.  I woke up very quickly when I realized that it wasn't sweat.  He didn't really seem to mind...

I think that my body dislikes being suddenly reintroduced to all the things that it's allergic to... I feel like absolute crap.  Dizzy and congested and coughing.  FUN!  Can't wait for the Sudafed and Motrin to kick in... I have things to do.  Mostly the massive pile of post-vacation laundry that's covering the living room floor...and even more after Oliver's leakage this morning.

Thing is, I'm not sure KS counts as a vacation.  I did there exactly what I would have done here, but less comfortably, and without coffee.  It was...ok.  The library was nice - lots of stuff for Oliver to do and surrounded by a nice park.  The coffee place was 50/50...They served me the WORST cup of coffee I've ever had...and I complained to a friend while in a public place.  The next time I went back, I explained exactly how to make a good latte... and the girl behind the counter was eager to make sure everything was just fine.  So, one good cup of coffee in 10 days.  I also read...and slept.  Oliver and I spent lots of time at the park.  We went down to the river one day and I tried very hard to get decent pictures of him near trees with yellow and orange leaves.  He doesn't take direction very well... :)  We hung out with John, my dad's best friend, a lot.  That was nice - he's a cool guy.  My aunt and cousin came down for a day and a half - also nice.

Oliver did amazingly well.  I worried that he'd dislike the travel portion of this - it's not much fun to sit in the car for days on end - but he didn't whine or cry about it at all.  He said a couple times that he was ready to stop at a hotel or restaurant, or that he wanted to get out of the car, but that's it.  He likes his grandma Norma very much... and he was pretty good with John, too.  In the 10 days we were gone, I think his communication skills improved significantly.  He even used hotel potties.  He's such an impressive kid :)  He does still say "no I don't want to do it" way more than anything else, though...

Only one of the hotels we stayed in was truly awful...right across the street from an elevator, and the damn thing had fans or something on ALL NIGHT.  That turned into a sort of white noise machine, but it didn't make up for the shabby room.  I can't help but think of serial killers whenever checking in to hotels... especially remote hotels in creepy little ghost towns.

Then there were all the creepy little ghost towns themselves.  Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas all have dozens of these tiny little towns with boarded up shacks half falling into ruin.  Some buildings are nothing more than rickety frames or stone foundations.  Once in a while, amid the rubble, there'd be a house or two that looked cared someone was still living there.  I couldn't help but wonder why.  Even in the towns with maybe a hundred or two hundred people, I couldn't figure out why anyone was there at all.

Eh.  I can't focus anymore.  Think I'm gonna feed the kid and nap... see if I can get the icky feeling to go away.  Might write later about some books... might not... :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


We're home.

I'm tired... so I'll write more about the experience (or lack thereof) after I've spent some quality time with my bed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Mid-Morning Coffee Break.

I'll be leaving for Kansas in less than a week, and rather than excitement, I feel completely overwhelmed.  The car is a best.  I got AAA, but not even that makes me entirely comfortable about this trip cross-country with my kid.  The poor guy is going to be so bored...and I will be, too.  I've already made lists of what to pack, what to buy, and what has to be done before we can leave.  The planning phase is nearly as stressful as the travel phase.  I am not a traveler.

It seems that books are all I ever write about.  Perhaps if I had a regular life, that'd be different.  Sadly, I'm not sure I'd be so apt to share the sordid details of reality... 

Anyway... On to the book.  Last week I finished Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and it was excellent.  I decided to read it based on two things - it has a creative title, and I like the author's name (Ransom Riggs - c'mon, he's got to be cool).  I think I read a synopsis at some point, but by the time I started reading the book, I'd forgotten what it was about.  It was so unique, though!  I don't think anything properly describes it without completely giving everything away.  And the way that the author went about creating characters and bringing them to life with REAL old photos - genius.  I've read a lot of sci-fi fantasy stuff, and can only take so many vampires and werewolves and fairies and trolls before I'm ready to scream.  The characters are none of those things, yet they're still amazing superhuman beings.  The *romance* could have been better, but this IS a boy story, so I'm not expecting much in that respect.  The writing, though... wow.  Ransom Riggs can WRITE.  The words were beautiful and moving and...every last one of them was right.  It flowed perfectly.  I don't think I ever tripped over an awkwardly placed word.

Anyway, it's about a boy and his relationship with his grandfather - sort of.  It's also about his relationship with his father...and then his acceptance of himself as a separate and strong individual, not a crazy, misguided kid.  He goes off to Wales with his father, to reconcile his feelings surrounding his grandfather's death - to make sense of it, to come to terms with the fact that his grandfather was a regular guy and that there was nothing magical about him or anything particularly sinister about how he died.  There's no such thing as monsters!  But, after hanging out on the tiny island off the coast of Wales for a while, he starts to realize that things aren't what they seem - his grandfather's stories were all true.  There are children who are capable of really amazing things, sometimes they're even sort of scary.  And, there are monsters.  The whole story felt a little sad - here are all these kids, most of them throw-aways, who've been segregated and can't ever return to the real world.  There was one little boy with his soldiers - little mud men he'd brought to life with the hearts of mice - I could see him so clearly.  While what he was doing was pretty disturbing, he was just a kid with toy soldiers.  While they're kept apart from the real world, the live in a sort of manufactured paradise.  Naturally, that has to end... and it has to be sort of our main boy's fault.  The monsters arrive.  There are some little battles.  There are some goodbyes.  And then they sail off into the glow of a war... and I sat staring at my Kindle because, while it ended in a great place, it didn't really end.  Who knows how long I'll have to wait to find out what happens next.  The author's blog talked about looking for pictures for the sequel.  Bleh.  I want book 2.

But you should read book 1.

And I should get back to doing my homework...and planning my reluctant trip...

(I would have posted a picture, but it seems that my amazon associates thing is broken :( hope it gets fixed...)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Colossal Disappointment

The Trylle "trilogy" by Amanda Hocking has taken its place at numbers 2 through 4 on the WORST BOOKS I'VE EVER READ list.
Switched (Trylle)Torn (A Trylle Novel)Ascend (A Trylle Novel)

And I hate to say that, because had she an editor, these books could have been great.  The grammatical errors and type-o issues throughout made me think that it was just a sloppy conversion to .mobi.  No one would publish something with so many errors, right?  Wrong.  When self-publishing, I guess editing isn't a concern.  At times the errors made the story hard to read.

And then there's the story... Probably the biggest issue I have here is that this is not a trilogy.  This is another thing an editor could have helped with...or someone, anyone!  The author had to have shown this to someone before self-publishing, right??  In a trilogy (or series...) there is an overall issue (main story) and some smaller battles or issues (all of the sub-stories) that lead to the ultimate resolution.  Sub-stories can be individual long as the ultimate goal remains present.  Take HP, for example... There's the overall battle of good vs. evil, almost everyone vs. Voldemort.  Each book had elements of that, yet each was its own story leading toward the resolution.  The books built on each other.  With each resolution, lessons were learned and characters grew...making them into characters who were capable of the final resolution.  The Trylle books did not have sub-stories.  There weren't lessons learned in books 1 and 2...they didn't end in appropriate places...they didn't work as stand-alone novels.  The rise and fall of action never happened.  There was very little growth, especially considering the circumstances. Had these books been seen by an editor, one book would have been the result.  And that one book probably would have been decent.

Maybe.  I guess now it's time for the spoilers.  It took 26% of the first book for something to happen.  Before then it was just weird girl and her nice friend and weird guy who stares at weird girl all the time.  Not too much going on... but then, all of a sudden, weird guy tells weird girl that she's a troll.  And so is he.  I was not sure what to think...trolls!?  But, no one writes about trolls.  It's a good idea.  And these trolls were sexy...  They run off to the land of the trolls, and weird girl is informed that she's a princess.  A very special princess.  And she's also completely in love with weird guy.  Thing is, she's a princess, and he's little more than a slave - it'll never work...they'd both be exiled.  There was a lot of running away...and then it was over, with no resolution and without anything much really happening.  There are some mildly dramatic things that happen in the next books, but they're all resolved far too simply.  The secondary characters are far more interesting than the main character, and as the book is a first person narrative, that's very disappointing.  Her voice isn't at all unique.

Anyway... girl can't have the guy she loves, and for the good of the kingdom, she marries a guy she doesn't love.  It's ok though, because he doesn't love her either, and they're good friends.  The night before the wedding, the guy she loves comes to her and wants just one night with her...but she says one night isn't enough.  Then, a bunch of random things happen.  People behave in ways that don't really make sense...the most interesting aspect of the story - the class system in the troll world, which is preventing lots of relationships - is glossed over.  There are some war things with the bad trolls...there are some mildly political deals made...there are plans to help other trolls and make things better.  Then, somewhere near the end of the third book, after spending all this time thinking that girl is going to change the world when she's queen so that she can be with the man she really loves, girl ends up cheating on her husband with random guy who came from the bad troll camp and has asylum.  She wants just one night with him...but he doesn't think one night is enough.  Right here she should have stopped and remembered her conversation with the guy she used to love...but that isn't what happened.  Husband wants a divorce anyway because he doesn't love her... and so... she ends up marrying the guy she cheated with...not the one she loved for most of the story.  She married 2 guys in less than a year...and no matter how happy and in love she seemed with the second, it's still the wrong guy.  He was high-ranking, so it was a lot easier to write him in and make them get married than it would have been to change the world and write a love story that worked.  Oh well.  There was no conclusion.  There was no progress.  The world was just as messed up in the end as it was in the beginning, but hey, she married a guy who was her equal, and the one she'd loved was flirting with someone who was his equal... happy endings all around... :|

It just felt like...rather than take the time to do things right, the author took lots of easy ways out...and wound up with a very disappointing trilogy that could have been a really good novel.  What a shame.  It was sometimes painful to read simply because I was thinking about how good it could have been.

Faeries are Fun!

I've been a bad, bad blogger as of late... and I am sorry.  Between the kid, the job (at the library...awesome, right?), the classes, and the Kindle, I find myself without the time to waste online... my farm is dead.  I've received complaints due to my lack of Facebook activity.  I suppose it doesn't help that I also got a new phone and it's a bit of a bitch to work with.  Oh well.  I'm sure that in time all will fall into place and I won't feel like falling asleep at 7:30.  This last week I've had an excuse, though.  Thanks to my having spent the better part of the last 3 years at home, my immune system is shot.  I thought I was feeling better, but as it turns out, I'm not... not really.  I'd like a bio-hazard'd make my day to day interactions with the real world much easier.

So, anyway... the Kindle.  His name is Henry and I love him.  For the longest time I was very anti-ereader.  I always thought that there was something special about having a physical book - something romantic and full of history and meaning - like a paper letter.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't imagine myself curled up with an ereader of any kind.  It seemed unnatural.  Henry is perfect, though.  There wasn't even a period during which I found myself trying to turn pages.  Within minutes I was wondering why I hadn't gotten one sooner...  I do still love real books.  I like the smell of a new book...and even some old books (so long as it's JUST book smell...not any of the many interesting fragrances I've had the displeasure to encounter in books...).

The first thing I read on the Kindle was Go the F**k to Sleep.  While it wasn't exactly nice-looking on my little black & white screen, the story was great.  I have a feeling that someday Oliver will outgrow his good sleep phase and I'll really understand the story better.  My kid tells me when he wants to go to bed, and he means it.
Go the F**k to Sleep

After that, I decided to read something with more of a story.  I didn't actually know what I was getting myself into, though.  I read nothing about the books prior to reading them.  All I knew was that the male lead had gone up against a character from another series I've read, and that he lost...but that it was close.  Anyway, had I known it was about faeries, I might not have been so eager.  Anyway...these are the books I read:
The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)The Iron Daughter (Harlequin Teen)The Iron Queen (Harlequin Teen)
The thing that nearly stopped me from reading these books is that they're Harlequin Teen.  Never in my life have I considered reading Harlequin...never...until these.  And guess what?  I wasn't entirely disappointed.  The writing wasn't fantastic, and the majority of the story was predictable, but it was still decent.  I was entertained.  It was nice to know the characters a bit (Oberon and Puck...etc.), and there was a real-enough conflict - technology was killing the Fey...people weren't believing in them, or were forgetting about them.  There's a love triangle, but both guys are pretty desirable.  There's the usual dark *bad* guy and the goofy best friend guy...and it's all very predictable, but still decent.  The first book was probably the best.  I really liked the descriptions of the faery world.  The author tied everything to scents, which was genius.  The spring/summer world smelled warm, like sunshine, grass... and gardens and warmth.  The fall/winter world had a crisp, cold scent, like snow and ice.  It was good world building.  :)  Anyway... I got to the end of book three in what I thought was a trilogy, only to be left unsatisfied...and having to wait until October 25th to find out what happens next.  This story will be from a different perspective, so...I kinda look forward to that.  

Anyway... decent enough books.  Haven't decided if they're library-worthy.  I'll know after reading Iron Prince... :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Things in the mail.

My Kindle arrived today.  I've been collecting books for quite some time, so... goodbye interwebs!  I have a feeling I'll be stopping by only long enough to comment on books I've been reading. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

About a book...

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)So, I just remembered that I forgot to write about a book.  I feel a little weird writing about a book that isn't completely fresh in my mind, but hey - I liked the book quite a bit :)  It was Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare - book 1 of The Infernal Devices.  I read all the books from the author's previous series, The Mortal Instruments, and liked them.  The series isn't done, but it's decent.  This book, though, promises a series better than the first.  The characters are the ancestors of those in TMI, so in a sense, this is a prequel series.  It's set in the 1800s in London - which I like.  The descriptive writing is great... but I had a love-hate thing with the characters.  I loved them a lot more than those in TMI.  Yet, for a while I was having trouble liking any of them, or the way in which they seemed to be created.  They are all basically the same as those in TMI.  The good-ish girl who doesn't know what she really is but proves herself stronger than anyone suspects, the bad boy she loves who fights off his love for her, and the other boy who has feelings for someone, but we don't know if it's the guy or the girl this time.  Even their personalities were beyond familiar.  I do understand that they're related to characters I already know, but sort of think that it was a bit of a cop-out to make them so much the same.  By the end, though, I loved them.  More than I expected to... but in a more refined way.  The story itself was every bit the urban fantasy I love, but the twist of it also being historical made it even better.  The historical aspect made the love story more complex, too.  While it is YA, and anything terribly sexual is unlikely anyway, the tension of an old-fashioned courtship was pretty great.  They're still teenagers, with raging hormones...but so reserved... so careful.  The book left quite a bit open at the end, though.  I was really angry when it was over, because it's not until December 6th that the next book comes out.  I really wish the publication process were faster.  BUT!  It's really great to have a book I'm looking forward to again!  :)  I really wish I was still awake enough to go into detail about how good this is... but with my state of sleepiness, I'd probably just give everything away.  Then again, it's not like the author gave that much away.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Forget world peace...visualize using your turn signal.

There are some days when all I want to do is drive around with no destination in mind... drive around and listen to music.  I was up and as cute as is humanly possible quite early this morning.  I had a rather short job interview, and a rather long list of things I needed to get done.  Immediately following the interview, I changed into clothes that'd allow me to survive 96 degrees plus high humidity.  We desert dwellers don't function well with ANY humidity... Anyway, I decided to head to Starbucks.  As I was leaving, some old lady who was going way too fast in the parking lot almost hit me.  Head on, even.  On my way home from Walmart, an old guy pulled out of a driveway right in front of me.  He looked RIGHT AT ME while driving toward me in the wrong lane.  He continued to look at me as I stopped...and waited for him to figure out which lane he was supposed to be in, and then get there. By the time I got home, I was pretty tired of people.  Sadly, I had more stuff to do... so off I went.  I took the long way, through a school zone, because I figured the idiots would be avoiding that area. Not so.  An old lady who was busy watching some people didn't bother to look AT ALL when pulling out at a stop sign.  She wasn't looking forward.  She never looked anywhere except out the driver's side window.  I did have to speed in a school zone to avoid being hit by her...but oh well.  I managed to go a couple blocks without incident and return one of my library books.  Two blocks later some idiot on a motorcycle...who was going the opposite direction...decided to cut into my lane (driving right toward me) and then into a parking lot.  Had I been further away from him I would have been okay with this.  Had he used a turn signal AND been further away, it would have been great.  Bleh.  What a day for driving.  Also - just for the record - if you're already half way into my lane, it's a bit late for the turn signal.  Nice thought, though.

I ended up sitting in the car beside my mailboxes, listening to Silversun Pickups - Kissing Families as loudly as I could stand it.  I have road rage.  I swear.  I've flipped old people off.  Today I managed to go through all that without flipping anyone off...and only swore a few times.  I'll admit that I'm not a great driver.  The thing is, I know the basics.  I know which lane is mine.  I know that it's generally a good idea to look before pulling out of driveways and before pulling away from a stop sign.

Sometimes I wonder if this SUV is invisible.  Like, there's some kind of magic cloaking the Weasley's flying car.  It's just one that I'm not aware of...

Guess it's time to stop avoiding all the toys on the floor...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This is not a Book.

Initially, I planned to come here to write about the book I finished earlier...and I will write about it, probably tomorrow, but... my brain is mushy due to emotional exhaustion.  Thanks, internet, for giving me glimpses into the grieving processes of children.  I also think I could go the rest of my life without anyone else I know being terrified and sorrowful when their newborn is seriously ill.  It's been a rough week for many of my acquaintances.  It's been a week that's made me increasingly grateful for all that I have.  People put it all out there, now...all that raw emotion... it really is amazing.  It'd all be so much easier to deal with if I weren't such an emotional sponge.  Suppose this is why I'm useless in situations with high levels of emotion - it's not that I can't deal with the emotions of others, I just absorb them.  Even if I hardly know the people.  In a sense, I'm okay with this...affliction... yet I don't feel that I'm good at *being there* for others in times of need when I've completely shut down.

Despite all the things that've done me in emotionally, the only thing that's made me cry has been So You Think You Can Dance!  I called it from auditions - Melanie just had something special about her.'s the the only dance from the entire season that actually made me cry...all happy tears :)

Well, I guess that's not entirely true.  There was one death in the book I finished that got to me... and not so much the death, but the way it was dealt with...a hero's send-off for a peasant.  There's something about that sort of thing that gets to me... in a good way.  :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I read another book.  Big surprise, right?  I almost liked it.  I really want to say that I liked it.  The truth is, though, that I only liked the ideas that were hinted at - the stuff that lay under the surface of a really dull story about really annoying kids.  It was called FEED, and was written by M.T. Anderson.  How is going to the moon for spring break dull, you may wonder?  Well...when the whole thing is described by shallow idiots, it never comes across as something interesting.  All the shallow idiots have feeds: devices in their brains that are primarily for consumer activities.  They tell them what they want to buy, what's on sale, what's cool... They also serve as search engines, getting them any information want want immediately.  Feeds also keep people in contact - like instant messaging in their head.  And of course all their favorite TV shows are broadcast right into their heads as well.  That's probably why all the characters were shallow idiots.

Everything going on in the background is interesting, though.  The lesions are interesting - why are people getting lesions?  Why are they cool?  The questions aren't actually answered, but there are lots of possibilities.  Why are the clouds(tm) artificial?   The things that I found most interesting were the political commentary and the views on consumerism.  Schools had been bought out by corporations when the government stopped funding them... and School(tm) taught really useful things, like what to buy and how to decorate your room.  I was pretty disgusted while reading that, yet can't help but wonder if that's a direction we're going in now...  The disintegration of language was done very well...and was another of those things that hit me with a little wave of nausea because I can see that we're on our way there already.  There is a LOT of swearing, but the words mean almost nothing in context; the characters aren't aware of alternatives.

There's only one thing that actually happens in the entire book - and this is going to be a big spoiler, because I just have to comment on it in detail.  One of the characters is sick.  Her feed is failing, and she's poor.  Because the feed is linked in with all of her bodily functions, she deteriorates physically as well as mentally.  Before realizing the severity of her situation, she starts playing games with her feed - trying to trick it.  She tries to see if there is a way to make it have no idea what sorts of products to recommend, so she starts looking at and requesting information about all kinds of random things.  When they realize that she needs serious help to keep her functional, she and her father make pleas to the feedware company for free repairs.  They figure that since it's life or death, they'll help.  Of course they don't...but the reasoning is depressing.  They didn't find her valuable.  They couldn't figure out what sorts of things she wanted to buy, and she hardly ever made any purchases, so saving her would not be profitable.

In the book, nothing was ever as good or as satisfying as anyone wanted... Nothing was very important.  No one focused on much of anything because there was just so much going on - and all their decisions were being made for them.  Overall, the book gets a B-.  I'm knocking off an entire letter-grade because reading it was intellectually painful.  Being trapped in all that idiot-speak may have killed some brain cells.  Part of me really wants to give it a C, because all the background stuff might be lost on a younger reader... but I have to hope that we're not that far gone as a society.  Yet.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm no good at titles.

Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters & Viewpoint102 SOLUTIONS TO COMMON WRITING MISTAKESToday I've eaten nothing but junk.  I've listened to music that I've loved for a long time.  I've had a latte and a half.  I've outlined tarot readings and learned to use some new astrology software.  I've downloaded an eBook that's pretty excellent (found half of it online a while back and loved it...ended up paying for the whole thing).  I haven't finished reading it, but will before the day's out.  I've also started reading another eBook about writing, and this one kind of makes me laugh.  Not because of the content, but because of the author.  I've been wanting to read Enders Game, and as it turns out, the author, Orson Scott Card, is the author of the writing book.  I've got to admit that it isn't teaching me nearly as much as Mayer's book, but it's entertaining.  He talks about developing characters in a real-life way...asking questions.  There's a lot of questioning motivations in it.  The Mayer book is a lot more textbook.  It's very straight-forward.  There's a problem, a reason it's a problem, and a solution.  The formatting makes it easy - and as someone who typically reads nonfiction, it's comfortable.  I probably haven't said that before...but yeah, I usually read nonfiction.  This summer excursion into the YA hall of fame (or at least the shelves at the county libraries) is branching out.  I love YA, but during the semester, I don't often have time to read anything with a story.  Sadly, I'm not capable of remembering what's going on, especially when it may take more than a week for me to find the time to read.  That's kind, actually... I usually give up after about a month of trying to read fiction during the school year.  Oh the trials and tribulations of the perpetual student... #firstworldpains?  I think so.

Also, #youknowyou'reoldwhen... you start to look at pictures of peoples' kids to figure out who the hell they are and why they sent a friend request on Facebook.  Maybe seeing a teenage child will spark some remembrance...some familiarity.  Sadly, it's usually not the case.  Usually, I end up feeling much older because I genuinely forget who people are....lots of people.  I mean no offense by it.

There's a huge storm and I am distracted and must go outside.  :)

That was the most intense storm at my house in the last couple years... wow!  My yard is flooded.  There's a river running through the back yard.  I have 2 lakes!  The power flickered.  :)  It was awesome!  I just wish my kid was here, though.  He could play in the puddles and use his new umbrella.  Then he'd cuddle up with me all cold and wet and wrapped in a towel, smelling like deet... :)

Since I have nothing left to say...that's of any consequence, anyway... I'll retire to the couch and watch The Simpsons.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Two books to talk about...

Well, other than my own, that is.  :)  Mine's coming along as well as it can at this phase... it's mostly planning and research.  I'm getting to know my characters, getting to know their motivations and how to push them to grow.


I was eagerly anticipating The Magicians... it had great reviews, and c'mon, what HP fan doesn't salivate at the mere thought of reading a book about magic?!  Too bad the book was so terrible.  I'm not sure it's fair of me to say the whole thing is terrible, since I only managed to read around 150 pages.  I really tried, though.  Giving up on a book is difficult for me, but this book was just...awful.  The author holds degrees in comparative literature from both Harvard and Yale...yet can't tell an engaging story.  Nothing really happened in the bit that I read, and years had gone by in the book.  The language was uncomfortable, and there were numerous continuity errors (if the sun doesn't set, how the hell does it rise!?).  It just felt that he was trying too hard to assert his masculinity with unnecessary vulgarity.  The book felt unclean.   There was one sex scene, but it was so gross... it was a very explicit scene of two of the students having sex while transformed into arctic foxes.  If you're writing about magic, ANYTHING can happen... and that's what the author chose.  I don't get it.  Maybe guys would like the book.  Or Furries.  Whatever the case, it's on its way back to the Douglas library.  It isn't getting a link or a picture... scroll down if you're desperate.

Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)Now that that's out of the way... here's the good.  Had I broken down and purchased Divergent, rather than waiting for the library to get it, I would have been satisfied.  I finished the book today...and it was so good.  I love reading amazing first novels.  This is a typical dystopia book...with the typical romance.  The love triangle never exists, which I like...gotta stray from the norm a little.  The politics REALLY show, near the end especially.  The last 50 or 60 pages were a pretty big shock...lots of drama and excitement...some sad moments, but oddly, I didn't cry.  The main character is a smart girl - something I like.  She wasn't just pretty and brainless...which is, sadly, pretty common in YA.  Not a good message to send to girls.  Anyway.  This book is the 5th book I've actually really liked this summer.  The Hunger Games trilogy, Before I Fall, and this.

I hate writing when I'm exhausted... and when it's really humid... and when I've been bitten by a few too many mosquitoes.  Oliver has a couple new bites, and now I'm wondering if the mosquitoes at his dad's house are mutants... the bites tonight are pretty big for what they are, but they're nothing like what he had Tuesday.  Sounds like it might rain, though...and Oliver is still awake and literally climbing all over me.  Clearly I have better things to do... <3

Monday, July 25, 2011

Odd dream.

You'd think at nearly 30 years old, I wouldn't have dreams about showing up to class without my homework.  Or being at a new school and wandering around lost, completely incapable of finding a classroom or even asking anyone to help.  My dream schools are pretty awesome, though...and I think that at least in some of the classes I was supposed to be the teacher this time - that's a plus.  I was still totally unprepared, though.  One of the classes was elementary school science, and there were giant table sandboxes everywhere, and plastic dinosaurs and other dino-era things in bags on all the walls.  The walls looked like rocks, and there were palm trees.  It looked a lot like a gift shop, but the sandbox tables were surrounded by stools.  The school was Pre-K through grad school, it seemed.  The student union was this immense mall with crazy architecture.  I've been there before in another dream, except I think then it was just a mall.  It was partially underground, and the lighting was a bit off - some natural, coming in from huge intentional cracks in the walls, most of which had waterfalls, too.... and some coming from dim lights hanging from the ceiling.  It was like an industrial cave, but cozy.  The constant freak out of going to classes late, unprepared, and in some cases not sure if I was the student or the teacher, made it tough to really enjoy the scenery though.  And at one point I almost fell off a ledge into a pond while walking above the union.  It was kinda nice to wake up from that, though :)  Even with the stress, it was a nice dream.  I do blame my mom, though...this was her first day back at work.

And that bothers me.  Year-round school is a good idea in a lot of ways... but it feels wrong.  The first day of school CAN'T be in July.  It doesn't feel right.  It doesn't smell right... there's no back-to-school feel out there!  I was outside yesterday thinking that it's just not the right time of year for this.  Mid-August has a better educational feeling it...July is still summer.  I wonder if there'll be a noticeable difference in the kids... this being their first year of year-round, and being that it's July, I'm guessing they're still mentally on vacation.

If I wonder about the lottery numbers, think I might get a lottery number dream??

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Where the &$%# is the RAIN!?

My skin is crawling with anticipation - yet I have a feeling there won't be a storm.  This whole monsoon season has been weak.  Today I got in the car after my shower - mostly because my favorite way to dry my hair is to drive around with the windows down - and I drove around in circles so that I could drive toward the storms as much as possible.  There's just no point in hoping anymore... The big storms aren't coming.

Last night I had a very real dream.  It was evening, and I was walking around the UA campus with Oliver.  Everything was yellow-tinted, like fall, but it was still summer.  It was sprinkling just a little.  Everything smelled like wet pavement and wet was so calming.  I felt at home.  I woke up to Oliver...and the shadow of the dream hung over me for a few minutes.  It was a nice dream :)

Anyway... I came here with a point that had nothing to do with a failed monsoon season or my yellow dream.  For the second time this summer I have read something that was REALLY good.  And I mean...kind of genius.  If you're at all a fan of YA (and you'd need to be, because it's just a day in the life of a sort of shallow teenage girl), you NEED to read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.  It was a stretch for me to stray from fantasy/sci-fi/dystopia...I'm usually terribly disappointed by "normal" books.  I'm so glad I took the risk, though...this book is really well-written and really touching.  At first, I really hated all the characters, because they were such teenage girls.  They were mean and shallow and thoughtless and just...teenage girls.  I didn't even like teenage girls when I was one.  It took a while for them to become people, but the writing was just so good that I started to get absorbed in their little world.  I had read a review or 10, and there was just so much praise that I had to read the book, but by the time I got it, I'd forgotten what it was about.  It's about a dead girl reliving her last day over and over...some parts of it are so unbelievably sad, and some funny, and some loving...most bittersweet, though.  I hoped all the way through for some kind of change.  Every day did change, sometimes good...sometimes not.  It was just a purely genius idea... a whole novel of one day.  It was pretty great.  I remembered from the inside of the book jacket of the author's second book that this book was supposed to have a shocking end.  It didn't.  For a long time I knew where it was going, but it was didn't hurt the story at all.  In the context of the characters and the expectations they'd have, the end would have been a shock... and I suppose if I was 16 it might have been a shock (but when I was 16 I was obsessing over 1984 and Anthem and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test...even if I didn't understand it).  Anyway... if you like YA, read the book.  :)
Before I Fall

Friday, July 15, 2011

Despite all the good...

No matter what happens today, I can't shake the bad mood.  I really feel like a cartoon character with the permanent rain cloud overhead...following me everywhere.

I watched Harry Potter...and it was great...REALLY great.  I loved it all.  It was a near-perfect goodbye.  I only cried for about half of it...Ron and Hermione's first kiss, everything having to do with Snape (I always trusted him!!), all the Weasleys crying, Tonks and Lupin...nearly everything in the forest and the train station...and the epilogue, of course...little Albus Severus was adorable.  It was so respectfully done...   Maybe the goodbye aspect is why I'm feeling so down...

It's probably more than likely that I'm feeling like crap because I have gotten my hopes up twice this week... about potential-work-related things... only to have them completely crushed.  Or mostly.  It's just really hard to stay motivated and positive when continually running into a wall.

The book I'm reading is decent.  That's something to be happy about.

I've written more in the last week than I have in the last 5 years, and I'm unbelievably proud...and really hoping that the disenchantment I'm feeling doesn't seep into this area.  

Guess I should really just focus on the good today... and it's mostly been found through my mistakes.  

Being that this is HP7pt2 day, I clicked on a link that said "Harry Potter Uncut!!!"  It was a completely accurate title... but I really wasn't expecting an extremely naked Daniel Radcliff standing next to a horse.  It was from a play he did, and he was legal when it was taken, but still...  That was just so much more of him than I'd ever anticipated seeing.  I am uncomfortable admitting that I lingered on that page for more than a split-second...and that the image of Harry permanently burned into the backs of my eyelids.

I'm also realizing that, while it's only 8:25PM, I should probably go to bed.  Oliver is sitting beside me, playing with trucks and drinking juice, and I've been flipping through a parenting magazine.  There's an article on fruits and vegetables, and which are cleanest when purchased from the store.  I read through the lists and got really stuck on grapefruit.  I couldn't for the life of me remember what a grapefruit was.  I thought, "grapefruit" for at least 30 seconds before an image popped into my head... a medium-sized yellow and brown skinned fruit with a bunch of spiky green leaves on top...all of it a bit poky.  The "grapefruit grapefruit grapefruit" came out in my head, very confidently, looking a lot like this:
The really sad thing is that it took a little while for me to realize I was thinking of a pineapple.  And I love grapefruits AND pineapples.

Oliver just informed me that there's a moff in the hall...maybe THAT'S why I have issues with remembering what things are.... I know what a moff is.  I'm mostly fluent in 2yr old, and it's sapped my ability to identify common fruits.

Think I'll go take care of the moff.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guess what's awesome!?

YAY FOR THE LIBRARY!!!  The county finally got Divergent... I put a hold on it, so eventually I should get to read it :)  I've been salivating for this book for way too long.  I also got Before I Fall today, which I was just planning to change the hold status of, but things worked out in my favor.  I like Lauren Oliver, but can't help but hate her, too... she's younger than me and super successful...and her fiance is pretty hot.  I also put a hold on The Magicians (which NPR claims is like Harry Potter: The College Years).  NPR is also suggesting that Hogwarts grads read Ender's Game...which has been on my list forever, and I've been putting it off.  Here are some pics...because now I feel like a cheater if I don't post book pics.

Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)Before I FallThe Magicians: A NovelEnder's Game (Ender, Book 1)

The later it gets today, the more near-regret I feel for staying home tonight.  There's no way I could stay up until midnight anyway, but staying home really makes me feel like less of a fan.  I'll be there in spirit, in full Ravenclaw robes...clutching my box of kleenex...sitting in line for hours (and LOVING IT).  I mean that, too.  I really enjoy being in line for HP movies.  I also enjoyed the LOTR lines.  There's a good energy...lots of anticipation :)

Tomorrow, hopefully, I'll be watching.  We'll see how far I make it before dissolving into a sniveling mess (I'm guessing less than 5 minutes).  For now, <3 all you HP fans... gonna have pizza with my little one and watch some more Family Guy...then curl up with books.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm only doing this out of obligation.

I've read a couple blogs today and now I feel guilty for not having written in mine.

Oliver had a great swimming lesson last night, and a not so great one this morning.  He cried a little last night, but ended up floating around like a champ :)  I was so proud!  This morning he seemed interested, but the water was really cold.  He just cried whenever we were in the water.  The other little boy who was there this morning (yeah, only one other kid made it) is a total daredevil.  I wish some of his fearlessness would rub off on Oliver.  He'll actually jump off the edge into the water.  Oliver says "no."

Oliver also had a pretty rough learning experience this evening.  I took a pan out of the oven, and he said "hot"... but that didn't stop him from touching it... with his chin.  :(  I think a couple of his fingertips are a bit burnt, too.  Poor kid.  I'd hoped this would be something he'd continue to take my word for, but I guess he's a learn through experience type.  He cried even more when I tried to put aloe on it, but was perfectly fine with polysporin.  I just hope it doesn't scar... there's a big raised white line all across his chin :(

Also, I'm either getting sick or allergic to dogs.  I'd prefer to be sick, honestly...but not sure that's what it is.  Oh well.  Oliver didn't nap today, so at least we'll be able to go to bed early.

Anyway... I didn't have anything to say to begin with, so I'm going to go away now.  :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm nearly out of words.

Inspiration came... and I wrote the first chapter to what will one day be book one.  It's short, yet I feel that it says too much.  The last paragraph works...and I'm sure I'll keep it after revisions.  For this I owe T.S. Eliot a debt of gratitude...but instead I'll just open with his words.  Now all I have to do is keep writing, with or without the almighty inspiration.

My brain is so done.

For today, at least.  :)

Waiting for the Storm...

This monsoon season is all about the wait.  It gets dark and cloudy all of a gets unbearably humid...there's thunder and lightning... the temperature drops 10 degrees in a matter of minutes... but then it's gone as fast as it arrived, leaving the ground completely dry.  Leaving me dissatisfied.  Swimming lessons were cancelled last week, due to the weather, but no rain came.  The only REALLY substantial rain we've had was on the 4th of July (like always).  It was pretty awesome :)  I just want that every day.  It's not too much to ask, really...

Like, right now I can hear thunder.  I've heard thunder on and off since this morning.  No rain, though.  I don't even want to get my hopes up for any lounging on the back porch in rain.

It reminds me of a bad kiss after an amazing first date.  All the electricity builds up...the excitement...only to be left with nothing.  Worse than nothing, really.  Disappointment is so much worse than nothing.

Anyway... I haven't been reading much.  I've been trying, but nothing's caught my attention.  I have 2 more books sitting by the couch that I may or may not start today.  One is the "companion book" to The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  While I didn't much care for that, I'm bored and really willing to give most anything a try.  I have read one thing that I've liked...just finished a little bit ago, actually.
This book was pretty depressing...but also pretty good.  I'd read a bit about it before checking it out, and was actually more interested in the author's other book, but I take what I can get.  This book felt intentionally unfinished...and when I had about 20 pages left to go, I started worrying that it was part of a series.  I didn't realize until the end, and after checking online to confirm my suspicions, that I was reading book one of a trilogy.  One that won't be completed until February of 2013.  At least Pandemonium is worth the wait.

And as I look to the right, there's another reminder of a book that I've been wanting to read for a while.  Those of you who have Amazon Associates know about the product search/list...the groupings of like products... and there's Divergent.
Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)
It's actually at the top of my list now.  And thanks to the Amazon thing, I may wait a while... because it's called Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)...and it just came out.

Dystopia really is in right now... and I'm so glad.  :)

Anyway... other than mothering, reading, and the perpetual job hunt, I've been working on laying out my own novel ideas.  I currently have 2 that are fighting inside me...they want to be one, but can't.  They're completely unrelated, and it's sad because they're both rather unique.  In one, I've managed a simple way into another world and back again...That's the easy story.  The easy trilogy.  The one I have an ending to least to the first gets a little complicated after that.  The other is a story within a story...about maps, mostly...and it's mostly surreal.  I just need to create some 'world' for it to exist in...just one.  I've already written a part of its end...or maybe beginning.  I've got Rumi to thank for that...odd, right?  Poetry really pisses me off most of the time.

I've also been putting together a shop on etsy... it's not up and running because I'd like to get it all online at once, and for that I need planning :)  I'll be doing tarot readings and astrology charts, individual or relationship-related things.  I figure with 16 years of tarot and at least 10 of astrology, I may as well turn hobbies into something that generates an income.  Besides, I'm not creepy.  I don't look like what you'd expect a tarot reader to look like...nor do I act all mystical...or spooky.  Maybe that'll be a comfort for people who are curious, but who also think 'psychics' are creepy and weird.  (and for the record, I don't even believe in psychics...)

I wish it would rain.

Maybe I'll do a rain dance.  Or a rain mile-run on my stepper while listening to Pink...or watching Harry Potter.

Speaking of Harry Potter... I can't believe it's almost over.  Granted, I didn't become aware of HP until 9 or 10 years ago, I still can't really remember a time when the series wasn't important to me.  The first 5 movies were on tv this weekend, and I watched them all.  It was unbelievably bittersweet.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione were all so little and cute when this started...still so innocent.  I (stupidly) read an interview with spoilers the other day...I didn't realize they were going to do the epilogue.  That was what sealed my decision to watch online before going to the theater.  I won't make it through the first few notes of Hedwig's Theme withing dissolving into a sobbing mess...but I wasn't even able to say Albus Severus for months after reading the book without getting teary.  Before finding out about the epilogue, Snape would have been the worst of it...well, that and Harry going out to the forest.  Or the train station... Or Tonks and Lupin... seriously there's just no way I could see this in public.  I've gotten all teary-eyed just thinking about it now.  I do HAVE to see it in the theater, though.  Eventually.  When I can make it with as few tears as I can wear contacts and 3D glasses.  :)  Dear Russia, dear Sweden...move swiftly this week... :)

I really want rain.  And coffee.... so I'm gonna go take care of the one of those things over which I have some control.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

monsoon night.

There is absolutely nothing better than sitting on the back porch in a big rocking chair with my son on my lap... watching a storm roll in...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Reading things... still...

As I continue on my "Reading for Research Purposes" journey, I find there's little out there that really captures my attention...and emotions.  Since my last post about books, I've read the following:

Uglies (The Uglies)Pretties (The Uglies)Specials (The Uglies)Extras (Uglies)
The first three are a pretty solid trilogy, and the forth is a good book, too...though I feel it was unnecessary.  These are very light.  I never felt emotionally involved with any of the characters, and none of the 'romance' ever felt like anything special.  The characters didn't have a lot of depth.  Some of that may have been intentional, because of the things going on in their worlds, but I really feel that it's important to have depth and *real* change in characters as the story develops.  I'm not saying these are bad books - not at all - but they were just... light.  Fluffy.  The stuff they were dealing with was so serious, but there was emotion behind it.  Perhaps it's the way that men approach emotion as opposed to how women do... That's something I've learned this summer: when a woman pulls up a past event as a way to stir the emotions, it's used eloquently and generally it's the right event/word/vision at the exact right time (of course there are exceptions...).  Male authors are less consistent in this area.  Westerfeld provided a nice diversion in these books...

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
I took a risk reading this.  I'm not a big fan of books about regular humans living in a normal world.  The reason I went for it was because of the amnesia - that provides for a lot of self-discovery and growth.  It started out very well.  The self-discovery was there: teen girl realizes she's a petty, self-absorbed brat.  It doesn't take a Hollywood turn, though.  All these things are realized, but nothing much is done.  The book was okay, but the ending was just so normal...that I was bored.  It was exactly what would really happen.

...I read to escape things like that...I don't have any desire to read about the world I actually live in...

The Forest of Hands and Teeth
I picked this up based solely on the title.  It sounded like it'd be interesting.  The thing is, I'm not a big fan of zombies.  I'm just not.  I've tried... really.  My favorite movie as a child was Night of the Living Dead (the original, of course).  The story wasn't bad, I guess.  I didn't get emotionally involved with any of the characters, and the romantic aspect was weak and mostly empty.  There was a lot of death.  A LOT.  This author killed all the time...didn't care who was being killed.  My biggest problem with the book was how it ended.  Pretty much nothing happened, and I was disappointed.  I didn't find out until just a couple minutes ago that there are two more books in the series.  Oops.  Guess I'll check the library site and see if I can get the next two books...though I didn't care for the characters...even the few who lived.

Some parts of this book were pure genius, and others were not.  There are two worlds, a prison and the real world - and naturally, the real world is a prison in its own way.  The real world prison is the aspect of this book that I find to be the most interesting.  They follow a strict Protocol... they've chosen an era from the past and live in a way to eliminate all those things that come along with competition and the creation of new things.  Everything is period.  It came across as 18th century Europe... with royalty and poverty.  Everything was controlled - even the weather.  It was a really unique take on the future and ways to control a society.  The rest of the story wasn't as genius... and this is one female author who wasn't adept at creating an emotional connection between the characters themselves or the reader and the characters.  Absolutely nothing was settled in the end, and honestly, there are more questions than answers, so I'll probably have to get the next book.  Again, it's tough to continue with a series when I feel so little for the characters.

Oryx and Crake
I am REALLY trying here, but... try as I might, this book isn't hooking me.  I read around 20 pages yesterday and was so terribly bored that I didn't even bother with a bookmark.  The writing is really good.  Atwood is clearly a very talented author, but I'm not interested in the main character.  He's not a hero-type; he's really kind of gross.  Unfortunately, he's not gross enough for it to matter.  I just feel nothing for him.  I don't care if he finds what he's looking for.  Typically I'm all about the character-driven novel, but in this case, I think a better hook might have been the world in which they live.  The jacket hints at some interesting stuff... but there's just no room for a slow start.  I think I might be giving up on this one... which will be a first this summer.

And that's it for what I've been the fiction department, anyway.  I'm still working on 70 Mistakes Writers Make...and the usual plethora of articles and blogs.  As a reader of mostly nonfiction, all these stories are starting to seep into my interpretation of the world in a disappointing way.  After reading HP, I was almost depressed that I lived in this boring world with no Hogwarts and no magic.  I've got to admit, though, that that is the only fiction world in which I really want to live.  And even then, I'd only want to live there if I'd gotten my Hogwarts letter.  Now, I'd be gunning for a letter for Oliver... he'd look great in Ravenclaw robes.  The thing is, reality is awfully dull in comparison to even the most depressing alternate world.

It all makes me think of my most recent Twitter follow - firstworldpains. It's a hilarious yet deeply depressing look at the things we westerners struggle with in our daily lives. Some pains include, "My dog doesn't fit in my Coach handbag," and "I accidentally walked to the non-automatic door at Target and I had to open it myself." Somehow I think that, even though I'd be unsuited for it, a life of struggles lends itself better to a depth of emotion that...matters. Of course it's easier for characters in books to fall in love - they're in life-or-death situations. Their emotions are already piqued, so they're primed for it... bring two (or three) people together under those circumstances, force them to rely on each other, and they'll automatically form a bond. It may or may not be genuine romantic love, but the urgency and necessity of it all falls easily to passion. They're clearly already capable of passion. And then we read books and watch movies and see all these people having thrilling romances...and want it. It kills authenticity, but that's ideals for ya... and entertainment. I'm having trouble deciding if I'm okay with this...

Anyway... It's 11.  I need to get some stuff done before it gets too hot to do anything!  The monsoons should arrive later this week...and I am THRILLED!  The smell of rain in the afternoon... the dark skies and amazing sunsets... the electricity on the air... I really can't wait!  Sadly, I think it's way too late to save our 4th of July, but hopefully we'll get some fireworks later in the year.