Friday, March 30, 2007

Around the Blog ~*~ 3/30/07

Since I try to post a glimpse of what’s going on around the blog-o-sphere once a month, and since I don’t think I’ve done it yet this month (don’t tell me if I’m wrong. I don’t want to know) I’ll do it now. I won’t likely be online tomorrow, and so in order to call it a “March” Around the Blog it must be today.

Christopher Hopper is makingBook Trailers™, which look really cool. (Yay YouTube!) PWB talks ‘best of’ awards and book signings. Holly Lisle’s eyes are bleeding, and I won sock yarn!

Naomi is wondering about whether death is necessary, Lesley discusses Warsworn, and Darlana looks lovely on Brigitte. Crys is not allowed to rot! Spincerely has gone for a new look, is allergic to old navy, and needs to beware tomato worms (and all in one day - quite the busy lady!).

Mim has lovely new socks, but beware the moon cycle. The US Post Office will soon be using the Force. Eunny has a new knit skirt, Kait is falling, and Hanna has brought Alice and Bella into the world.

And I think that’s about all the blog tripping I can do today.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you in April!


Friday Fiver & Rubber Band Ball Update

Friday Fiver: The Interweb

1. What web browser do you use?
Mostly Firefox.

2. What email client do you use?
heh… Yahoo, GMail, and MS Outlook (for work)

3. What type of Internet connection do you have at home?
a slow one.

4. What kinda of computer do you have?
Me personally? Well… that gets detailed. I have:

  1. a Dell laptop
  2. a Mac G3 desktop
  3. a random PC desktop that I built myself about 7 years ago
  4. sort-of a Mac PowerPC that I sort-of have and sort-of gave to S

(and I want a new MacBook… they’re so pretty!)

5. When did you first get ‘online’?
Long, long ago. At least 15 years ago, on CompuServe. I don’t remember details. Heck, I have trouble remembering what I had for dinner last week. Give me a break.

Rubber Band BallAnd now for the update (as requested):

The rubber band ball was used as a team building exercise in our company-wide end-of-quarter meeting. A bag of bands was passed out, and each employee took one. Then the ball was passed around, and we all put our rubber bands on the ball. At the end of the meeting, the ball made its way back to the CEO, who then added his rubber band, bounced the ball, and said how, when we all work together (bounce), we can do great things (bounce). But separately (and here he took off his band), we don’t bounce (splat).

It was fun.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Minor Annoyances

Postage increases.

Dropped stitches.


Life is full of teeny tiny annoyances that seem trivial at the time, but that can add up to cause big problems.

Fiction needs to be, too.

In the first couple of drafts of SS, I put in minor annoyances in the form of things, but not many of them. Probably not enough. And I certainly didn’t do enough with the minor annoyances in the form of antagonists.

I have minor bad-guys in there, sure. But I’m not sure that they’re big enough. I’m not sure that, by the end of the novel, the minor antagonists would even be remembered at all, much less as definite bad guys. There is no “oh, so that’s who the random guy in the bar was!” There is nothing to identify these minor antagonists as anything other than gnats.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There will be - and should be - some gnats in fiction. But they need to be chosen for that purpose, not become gnats because the writer neglected to make them wasps. This writer has been neglecting the minor bad guys in the hopes that she doesn’t need to hit her audience over the head with the connections. But I think that I haven’t been fair to my readers - they’re not dumb, but neither are they in my head. They need a few hints in order to decipher the clues. These minor bad guys need to get their sting back.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cali in Minature

Back to the Disneyland trip.

Day Two:


We spent most of the day in Disney’s California Adventure (DCA). I had been in this park once before, but it was all new to M. So, we wandered around and went on a few of the rides. We went on the Monster’s Inc. ride, and Soarin’ Over California. We watched the Muppet 3D show, the Aladdin Musical Spectacular, and Turtle Talk with Crush (from Finding Nemo).

It was a lot of fun, all-in-all. Even if the music in Aladdin was way too loud in the wrong frequencies (parts of it were downright painful to listen to) and the line for Soarin’ was somewhere around an hour and a half long.

Turtle Talk was great. Crush swam onscreen after the audience was settled, and started addressing the audience members. Not in a generic script, either, but directly addressing. Like, “who can tell me about swimming? Sean, dude (the cast member in the audience with the microphone), I want to talk to the Little Dudette with the blue shell.” It was really cute. And then at one point a kid started crying, and Crush said that the “little dude’s practicing his dolphin” and offered to translate (but at that point the kid stopped crying).

Electrical Parade

(We actually saw the Electrical Parade the first night, and on the second night we were back in Disneyland proper. But since the Electrical Parade is in DCA, the pictures fit here.)

Electric Pumpkin

Parts of DCA are very familiar-feeling for a native Californian. There’s a section that feels exactly like (a small version of) Cannery Row in Monterey, a run-and-play place with redwood trees, and a semi-replica of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. There’s a stylized boardwalk that could either be the Santa Monica Pier or the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, complete with appropriately cheesy music and midway games.

It’s a fun part of the park. It’s not Disneyland, but it’s done well in the Disney style. It’s a good place to relax when the main park gets too busy, since less people go into DCA. (You do need to buy the park-hopper pass in order to be able to bounce back and forth.) It’s also a great place to go for food, since there are fewer people, a different variety of restaurant, and - for those who care - wine or margaritas. (Disneyland itself is dry, with the exception of Club 33, which is an invite-only type of affair.)

I love Disneyland. I can’t say that I love DCA, but I do like it. And it’s Disney.

I guess it counts.


Week 13 ~ Her Majesty's Wizard

Week 13 ~ Mar 26-Apr 1, 2007

Her Majesty's Wizard
(Wizard in Rhyme, book 1)
by Christopher Stasheff

This is a fun book. Just - pure fun. Yes, it has some morals to it. Yes it has religion as the foundation for magic and the magical world that a hero from our world finds himself in. But at the heart of it, it is a fun book.

Pieces of this book fit a male-written-fantasy-from-the-80's-or-early-90's. Some of the women are described in anatomically dubious detail. But, it's a fantasy world, so I guess that's to be expected. There are not the angsty, heart-wrenching dramas that are found in many of today's fantasies, but there is character depth. There is not impossibly steamy sex, but there is a very believable pair of romances. It is, actually, quite a refreshing change of pace.

This book is similar to Piers Anthony's Split Infinity which I mentioned earlier, but only Anthony's fantasy world. Not his futuristic sci-fi world. But the style is similar, though I prefer Stasheff's writing. The method of using magic is also similar, though I prefer Stasheff here as well (though it is not music in Her Majesty's Wizard, like I had thought before, but poetry). I do greatly recommend this book.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tax Time

Paperback Writer: March: Expenses

I know I've seen tax tips for writers before, but PWB puts it as clearly as anyone else I've seen. Plus, this way I know I have the info when I need it.


Program Envy

Literature and Latte - Scrivener

I want this. Badly. I really really want this.

There's just one problem.

It's for Mac. And I have a PC.

But... I WANT a Mac. And yet... I CAN'T AFFORD a Mac.


(FYI - it's writing software. And it looks awesome.)


Playing with Balls

Guess what I did at work yesterday?


Rubber Band Ball

I made a ball out of rubber bands. I don’t know why.

Well, I take that back. I do know why - my CEO wanted a rubber-band ball. But I don’t know why he wants one. I’ll find out tomorrow at the company-wide meeting, so I guess I’ll just have to be patient.

Now, I was going to title this post something to do with my new sock-knitting project, but ah well. Here, however, is a picture of the sock-in-question:

Blood Diamond Socks 01

Isn’t it cool? I’m calling them the Blood Diamond socks, because the pattern is Diamante and, well, they’re RED. These pictures are a pretty good representation of the color, too. Very vibrant. Very fun and nice. I am loving these socks.

I’m enjoying the pattern, which is a toe-up with heel-flap. And the design part on the leg and instep are nice, too. It looks like it will be comfortable to wear, though it’s hard to say since it’s not quite to a wearing stage yet. Here’s the current progress:

Blood Diamond Socks 02

The heel’s almost turned. I can do enough trying on to determine that it will fit, but not quite enough to determine how well. We’ll have to wait and see.

You know, Wendy said that with socks she can step out of her “comfort palette” and buy things that she wouldn’t buy for sweater yarn. I tend to agree. I wouldn’t knit a sweater in these colors (though my mom is right - I probably should. They’d look good on me) but for sock yarn? Heck yeah!


Monday, March 26, 2007

Getting Dizzy

Ah, Dizzy-Land. The Happiest Place on Earth.

Fireworks Spectacular

One of my favorite places to visit.

I spent so much time on the CSFF Blog Tour last week that I didn’t end up having time for any Disneyland stories. Wow, I’m long-winded, especially when it comes to books. I haven’t even mentioned my latest travel-knitting, either. (I’ll hopefully have a picture of that tomorrow.)

So… stories. The trip was great, with lovely weather. M and I went down separately from the rest of the group, because we couldn’t get quite as much time off of work. But it worked. On the first day - the day we drove - we stopped in LA for a bit, went shopping along Melrose, looked at a bunch of guitar shops (I LOVE listening to him test out guitars/basses… gives me shivers), and ate at Tommy Burger. Chili-cheeseburgers. Yummy.

We made our way down to Anaheim, where D-Land is, had a quick dessert with the fam in Downtown Disney, and then headed to M’s cousin’s house where we got to play with their dog and avoid paying huge hotel prices. (Thanks, guys!)

The Castle in Springtime

The next day, Disneyland.


M & I spent time doing our own thing for the beginning of the morning, partly because I didn’t want to go on “Small World” with the Little One. But we met up with everyone else not too late in the day, and went on various rides, took pictures, and enjoyed ourselves. We saw the parade along Main Street. At night we headed over to DCA (Disney’s California Adventure) and watched the Electrical Parade, then ran like mad people back to Disneyland in order to catch the fireworks. (Awesome show. And yes, I took that picture.) The area in front of the castle (prime fireworks-viewing area) was pretty full, but I wandered around behind M, looking pitiful and one of the park workers took pity on me. When he found out that only the 2 of us wanted to find a spot to watch the fireworks (the rest figured that Little One wouldn’t like the noise) he found us a great spot. Couldn’t have planned it better if we tried.

It was a great trip.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Fiver: Not every saint is a fool

1. What do you dream about?
While-I-sleep-at-night dreams? I have no idea.
Or this-is-what-I-want-out-of-life dreams? I want to make a living as a novelist, and to have a happy family (husband + one or more kids, if possible).

2. Who has been mean to you, lately?
Uh... no one.

3. What makes you tremble in fear?
Nothing scares me to the "tremble in fear" stage.

4. Tell us something you've destroyed:
old credit cards

5. Do you feel in control over your life?
More-or-less, yes. There are things I don't control and I know that, but I also know that I have more control than any other living person does.

(Hee hee, just read that last sentence and realized it might sound cocky. I don't mean that "I have more control than you, nyah nyah." I mean that I have more control over my life than anyone else does over my life...)


Week 12 ~ Double Vision

Week 12 ~ Mar 19-25, 2007

Double Vision
by Randall Ingermanson
(Christian speculative fiction)

I've been talking about this book for the past week, so I'm not going to say anything new here. But it's a good book, a little heavy on the religious aspect for those who don't like religion in their fiction. It's not overly preachy, though. It almost seems more preachy than the Frank Peretti book I reviewed earlier, however, because in the Peretti there were angels and demons as characters and so I expected more of the spiritual from the human characters. In the Ingermanson, however, there is no obvious divine presence - only what we have in the real world - and so it seems a bit more out of place to me. Perhaps because I hang out with people who behave differently in their exhibition of faith.

Anyway, it's an enjoyable book. The suspense aspect of it ramps up toward the end, but is on the slow side at the beginning. And the romance part (which some are labeling it) needs to be taken with a grain of salt in this day and age - think Christian romance, and you've probably got it. Expect straight romance and you'll be disappointed at the end. (Not a bad thing. Just something to remember when you develop expectations.)


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Illusive Visions

Anyone who can handle a needle convincingly can make us see a thread which is not there.
- EH Gombrich

This was a ‘quote of the day’ for me on my Google homepage, and it’s oddly appropriate. A good author is like the person who can handle a needle so well that we see a thread that doesn’t, actually exist.

The quote also calls to mind Peter Pan. Live, on stage, the scene where Wendy sews on Peter’s shadow? The two of them have to act convincingly enough that the audience sees a needle (which often doesn’t exist, either) going through the shadow, and then through Peter, to attach the shadow back on.

So I guess a good author is like a good actor. Both can convince their audience of something that doesn’t actually exist.

This trait is one that I hope I either have - or can develop - and that Randy Ingermanson, author of DOUBLE VISION, definitely has.

I had intended to discuss how DOUBLE VISION fit the category Christian Fiction today, but I find that my mind has gotten sidetracked with thoughts of illusions and mystery writing. Of stage tricks and slight-of-hand. In one way, the plot to DOUBLE VISION reminds me of the plot of the movie “The Illusionist”.


A short break here for me to encourage those of you who have not yet seen “The Illusionist” to do so. It’s a wonderful movie, well
acted and scripted, with good effects and cinematography.


Both DOUBLE VISION and “The Illusionist” give you an option for the answer to the mystery that sits at the back of your mind, not calling attention to itself if you don’t already know yet so obvious when you do. They both use good seeding to keep coming back to the answer without so much as hinting at it. The needle-wielders are so skilled that they get you leaping to conclusions that aren’t backed up by facts. They warp the reality of the situation with the appearance, and leave the audience thinking that a non-existent item does, in fact, exist.

Just like the thread.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Double Trouble

I found out yesterday (by surfing among the other bloggers in this Tour) that Randy Ingermanson isn’t just the author of DOUBLE VISION. He’s also the Snowflake Guy. This is very cool, because I’ve read his Snowflake method for writing before. But I didn’t get the association with “the guy who wrote this month’s blog tour” until someone else smacked me over the head with it. (In the nicest possible way, of course.)

I am not sure that the snowflake method will work for me. It might. It might not. I am not sure because every time I have found it, I haven’t been able to spend the time to work up a brand-new idea and see how it goes. I’m always busy working on an existing project, and don’t want to stall on the current WIP to plot out a new one. Actually, I just realized that I could use the snowflake to test out RS’s plot. It’s a very vague plot right now. And so what if I already know the characters? That’s not a bad thing, is it? Besides, as Randy says at the top of the snowflake page:

Frankly, there are a thousand different ways to write a novel. The best one for you is the one that works for you. In this article, I’d like to share with you what works for me. This page is the most popular one on my web site, and gets hundreds of page views per day, so you can guess that a lot of people find it useful. But you may not, and that’s fine by me. Look it over, decide what might work for you, and ignore the rest! If it makes you puke, I won’t be insulted. Different writers are different. If my methods get you rolling, I’ll be happy. I’ll make the best case I can for my way of organizing things, but you are the final judge of what works best for you. Have fun!

And anybody that’s willing to do that - FOR FREE - is okay in my book.

But back to the book. DOUBLE VISION is really a cool book. I love the way it ends - and while I can’t tell you anything about the ending for fear of spoiling it, I can tell you that the ending fits the entire tone of the novel. And it fits the “Big Brother is a Bad Guy” attitude that one of the main characters starts out the story with.

Now, maybe it’s just because I’m an aspiring writer too. But for me, anything that had to do with Keryn (the mystery novelist main character) and her writing was just classic. From the opening hook where she hashes out how to kill off the “designated corpse” to scenes where she says that - if this was a book - she would want to strangle the author with the mouse cord… Just priceless.

We’ll keep discussing DOUBLE VISION for the blog tour tomorrow. And at that point I’ll get back to the Christian aspect of it.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

enVISIONing Genres

I made this comment about DOUBLE VISION in a comment on another Tourer’s blog, but I thought I’d re-post it here. He had said that

…the book seemed to stray very close to “hard science fiction,” which isn’t a bad thing as far as I’m concerned.

But I wonder what romantic suspense fans thought of those moments. I fear that they may have been turned off by it. Maybe not. I have no idea. I don’t read romantic suspense normally, so I don’t know what keeps readers interested and what doesn’t.

And so I responded:

See, I *do* read romantic suspense, and I would hesitate to place DOUBLE VISION in that genre. The problem is, most romantic suspense books include more than just a courtship. And so most readers of “romantic suspense” expect to see a romance (any romance) consummated. Since DOUBLE VISION is also a Christian book with the hero a very Christian man, the steamy scenes implied by the “romantic suspense” label just isn’t going to happen.

I am not saying that this is a bad thing, nor a good one. But people that come to DOUBLE VISION expecting it to be like other romantic suspense books will, I fear, be more put off by the light tone to the romance part than by the sci-fi elements to the story.

To be honest, while I enjoyed DOUBLE VISION, there is no way I would class it in the same genre as Holly Lisle’s MIDNIGHT RAIN or LAST GIRL DANCING, both of which are very definitely romantic suspense.


Double Vision... Extended


Monday, March 19, 2007

Seeing Double

Keryn Wills was in the shower when she figured out how to kill Josh Trenton.
An opening hook like that is something that every author dreams of.

In this case, it's a perfectly innocent murder, one plotted by a mystery writer where the victim is "the designated corpse in a Keryn Wills murder mystery," and it's how Randall Ingermanson opens the book I'll be discussing for the next three days.

Today starts the CSFF Blog Tour for Double Vision by Randall Ingermanson.

I've read the first of three parts*, and so far I'm enjoying it. The plot revolves, at this point, around a group of five people who have developed a breakthrough encryption technology that will make every computer security system we currently use obsolete. They don't trust the government to use it properly, and are afraid that they'll get put on a hit list if the criminal world finds out about the project before it's complete. Add to that the natural sub-plots that crop up when two women like the same man and the worry that comes with being in a start-up company whose funding is about to be pulled, and there's plenty of good material to cover the whole story.

I'll admit that, good plot-line and great opener aside, the biggest point of curiosity for me when I picked up this book was "what makes it Christian Spec Fic?"

So far, there aren't any big, obvious pointers. No "a preacher has to save the world by converting a town" plot points. No "demons sent from Hell to destroy a pure maiden/a large city/the whole world." There is actually very little at all that would give this book cause to be on the CSFF Blog Tour.

But the hints are there, if you look. Instead of a minor character being Christian, two of the three main characters are. And I have a feeling that all three might be by the end of the story. (Or if not, she may at least be well on her way.) While the other characters do swear, only minor swear words (if you can call things like "biff" - which I've never heard used before - minor swear words, that is) are actually written, and the bigger stuff gets hinted at or the speaker is cut off before the swear word gets onto the page.

There was one discussion early on where one of the main characters explained to another how he could believe in both God and science, and I have a feeling that this is going to come up again. So far I'm enjoying it, even though it's not my favorite writing ever - which I think is largely due to genre differences. This is, after all, not a fantasy world (which I prefer) but our world, with no paranormal elements currently in evidence. And based on the novel's cover description of "suspense and intrigue," I highly doubt that any paranormal elements are going to be drawn in in the second or third parts of the book.

We shall see. Perhaps tomorrow...

*The novel is conveniently split into three parts. There are multiple possible reasons for this, but whatever the reason it works nicely for my purposes. Three parts. Three days of the blog tour. Works for me.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Where the Magic Happens

Please excuse the temporary absence.

Walt + Mickey + Castle

I will be recharging my batteries. I promise to return with stories, and the Blog Tour, come next week.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Around the Blog ~*~ 3/14/07

In lieu of any actual content (though I have decided to start writing RS and see where that gets me) I post here for your reading pleasure a brief snippet of the goings-on elsewhere around the blog-o-sphere…

Hanna caught the TV remote in her teeth. Kait is back from Hawaii. PBW hasn’t been seen since Friday, when she posted a turnabout, Holly Lisle is taking a breather, and Romancing the Yarn has met the sheep.

Mim is sick, the lady of the Crystalline Cave is having trouble with authorities (hah, made you look!), and Spincerely has been hijacked by cookies. The Little Dudes Wrapped Around My Finger are too cute! LesleyW has joined BlogLand. And good news! LA has stepped back into her hell!


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

In Which We Refocus.

BookAnd I try to remind myself that I want to be a writer. And that to be a writer means to actually write.

And not just on here.

I think that one of my problems is having too many projects going all at once. I have ideas in my head that have yet to make it to paper, ideas on paper that need more research before I feel comfortable or competent writing them, and ideas already on paper that need more work.

And I am having problems focusing on any one of them.

So I knit, or I read, or I do any number of things that are not writing.

Yet I want to be a writer.

I think that I have many options, but one is the most appealing right now. The options that I see working for me are these:

  1. Research police work for S&A.
  2. Research Germany for RS.
  3. Worldbuild ITF.
  4. Worldbuild CP.
  5. Write any of the above without the prep work.
  6. Edit SS again.
  7. Quit.

That last is not really an option. Well, it is an option, but one I refuse to consider.

The one I like the best is just writing. Maybe if I get back into the SS characters for RS, I will come up against what I need to research in pieces, and it won’t seem like such a daunting task.

Besides, I miss them. I miss writing about the budding romance and the self discovery.

I miss writing.


Week 11 ~ The Lark and the Wren

Week 11 ~ Mar 12-18, 2007

The Lark and the Wren: Bardic Voices #1

by Mercedes Lackey

This book is a comfort book for me, though it's rare that I read the whole thing in order from start to finish. I usually flip through, and read a bit here, a bit there and only read the parts that I truly enjoy. As such, reading it straight through again made me look at it in a different way than I have been.

The story itself follows Rune, a young girl who wants to be a musician. Her biggest problem is that she's the daughter of a tavern wench, and is getting to the age where rape or an unwanted marriage have become all too likely. So, to follow up on a bet, she goes to play her fiddle for a murderous ghost - and since that all happens in the beginning of the book, I think it's safe to tell you that she survives.

It is a cute premise, if not a hugely original one (kid wants to prove him/herself, runs away from home, finds a kindly mentor, and succeeds in the face of opposition). And I like the way music factors so large in the story. I love music, and Lackey's knowledge of it shows.

But on a re-read, I find that the novel-as-a-whole isn't as interesting to me as it once was. It was disappointingly easy to put down to go to sleep at night. Now, to be fair, this is quite likely because I have read the story so many times (in pieces) that I know what's happening with no doubt whatsoever. But a part of it is that the writing itself doesn't seem to be as well polished as some other novels I have read lately, and so I get jolted out of the narrative too often.

I will, of course, be keeping the book. I will also be re-reading it again, I'm sure. But I think that I will be returning to my random reading style for this one, when I do go back to it.


Monday, March 12, 2007

In Honor

G'ma 80th Doily 4

My grandma is an incredible lady. She’s raised a family, run a household, held various jobs, and still - at 80, now - manages to be active and happy. Possibly more active than I am. She has seen some amazing things, and lived in interesting, and sometimes difficult, times.

I’m not going to go into detail, because I really don’t feel like password-protecting this post. But I imagine that you have all known wonderful people in your life. She is one of the wonderful people in mine.

This (and the picture above) is what the finished, post-blocking doily looks like.

G'ma 80th Doily 5

I think it turned out quite nicely.

And then there’s the sweater that started it all…

Teal Sweater 1

She helped me make this sweater many years ago. (Luckily I came into my full height at a young age, and haven’t gained much weight since then, so the sweater still fits well.) I spent a week visiting one spring, and she taught me to knit. Then, as a birthday present, we went to a yarn store and picked out yarn for a sweater that we would knit together. I didn’t know at the time just how not-beginner-level the yarn I picked out was. I don’t remember the details, but I think it’s a mohair blend. I do know that I often had trouble with the fuzziness of the yarn, and that Grandma knew what I was getting into, but let me do it, anyway.

Teal Sweater 2

She knit the patterned pieces and the shaping (like the sleeves and the neck decreases). But I got to knit the body of the sweater. I remember being a bit annoyed at the time, because I wanted to knit the “fun” part - but I know now, as I didn’t know then, that the pattern was beyond me on that yarn. I could do it now, I’m sure. But I am also sure that I couldn’t have then. I would have gotten so annoyed with the yarn messing up that I wouldn’t have ever finished the project. And the shaping! Don’t even get me started on how badly I would have handled that. My tension was great for straight knitting, but it’s only recently that I’ve been able to keep it even on shaping or pattern work.

Ever since tag-team-knitting that sweater, I was determined to be able to do it all for myself. I did have several years where I let the knitting slip by the wayside, but in the back of my head I still had that goal. So now, having completed two sweaters for myself and two for gifts (in addition to the various other projects), I can look back and remember where it all started. And smile.


Friday, March 9, 2007

Friday Fiver: Time... Is On Your Side

1. What timezone are you in? Pacific Standard (or is it Daylight?)

2. Do like Daylight Savings Time, or should it be gotten rid of? That depends. I like getting an hour of extra sleep, but I hate giving up an hour. So I'm 50/50 with it.

3. Do you wear a wristwatch? Yes.

4. What time is it right now (local time)? 10:29am

5. Analog or Digital? Analog.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

Squared Off

Mitered Square Tank 06

It’s done. The Mitered Squares Tank Top is all knit, including the I-cord for the tie. And I just barely had enough yarn in the variegated blues to make the cord the length I wanted, so I’m happy with the results. The cord isn’t really long enough to tie into a bow in front, but it holds well enough that I may choose to not tie it at all. We’ll have to see. It’s quite likely that being on an Actual Person will pull the fabric in different ways than being on a dressmaker’s dummy.

Mitered Square Tank 07

This was actually mostly enjoyable to work. There was only the lag in the middle of the project, when I’d done a few rows of the squares and there was no foreseeable end in sight. That’s one problem with knitting tons of little squares: it has the same “when will I be done with this?” feel that crocheting granny squares has for me. The good thing is that, by nature of the mitering, the knitted squares are already attached, and you only have to worry about ending the row once you get to the end of it - rather than like in crochet, where each square starts in the middle and works its way out.

The problem?

Mitered Square Tank 08

There are still a bunch of pesky little ends to weave in. They can be nicely camouflaged on the dummy, but I can’t wear it like that. (Not that the weather is quite warm enough to let me wear it yet anyway, even in Sunny California. Soon, though.)


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Week 10 ~ Lover Revealed

Week 10 ~ Mar 5-11, 2007

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #4)

J.R. Ward
(paranormal romance)

Wow. Just - wow.

I devoured this book. (Read it in 5 hours, forgoing sleep and everything.)

What can I say without giving spoilers? Well, first of all, this is the 4th in the series, and while you could probably start anywhere and understand the plot (the author's good like that) you will not enjoy the books that come before as much if you read them out of order, because there are definitely spoilers in each book for the series that has come before. This is not a read-out-of-order type of series.

Those of you who are not already fans of the series, go here and here and here to read my thoughts on the previous books in the series. I highly suggest that - unless you don't like vampires or won't read romances - you go pick these up and read them. RIGHT NOW. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Ok, you're back now? Didn't I tell you that this series was that good? So: now I can go into Lover Revealed a bit. Here's what I can say about book #4 without giving anything (major) away...

  • If you didn't like Marissa before, or if you thought she was weak and unworthy of Butch, change your mind now.
  • Any doubts you have about Butch and V's relationship should be cleared up in this book. And wow, what a bond they share.
  • There are great scenes with nearly all of the favorite characters from past books. And some not-so-favorite characters. But great scenes, the lot of them.
  • Butch gets his due in this book. (Rightly so, as he's its hero.) He meets up with the lessers and the Omega, has a test of loyalty, and comes to terms with whether or not he's good enough for the woman he loves. And he also reconnects with his family a bit, too.
I have a hard time placing these books in an order of which of them is my favorite. The only one I can do that with is #3, which is my least favorite of them, and that's because it's so raw and deals with issues that are so painful to the characters involved. This book, while no walk in the park for the characters, has a healthier feel to it. I will certainly be re-reading it at least once this year alone. For someone with a TBR list as large as mine, there isn't much higher praise than that.


Stupid-Tired... But Worth It!

I am exhausted. And with good reason. What reason, you ask? This one:

Five hours. Starting at 10:00 at night. Which means I was up until 3:00am.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. I am so going to be falling asleep at work today.

But the cover is so shiny-pretty, and I couldn't NOT start reading it. And once I started, I couldn't stop. And it was so worth it.


Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Knit, Interrupted

I took a short break from knitting last weekend.

G'ma 80th Doily 1

This is what I did instead. I crocheted. This coming weekend marks the 80th birthday of my grandma, and since she helped me get obsessed with textile crafts, I made her a doily.

G'ma 80th Doily 2

It’s currently blocking on my cork board. (I like blocking small things. They fit nicely on my board. I am rather concerned about blocking Icarus, however, as I know it will NOT fit. I doubt it will even fit on my bed. I try not to think about these things too much, as I don’t like knit-induced-panic.)

This is a close-up of the medallion in the middle…

G'ma 80th Doily 3

It’s done in a fun off-white thread with gold sparklies. Sparklies make everything neater, in my (usual) opinion. Sparklies are cool. Besides, what better way to celebrate an 80th birthday than with a bit of bling?


Monday, March 5, 2007

Gender Check

I was surfing around a bit, trying to stay awake (not a restful night's sleep last night) and found this:

Girl In a Man Suit

It's a post PBW wrote in 2005 for Romancing the Blog, and it's good. Funny in classic PBW style, plus it's a good reminder with helpful tips. But now I'm stressing out.

Did I write guys who act enough like guys??

Great. Now I'll have to go double-check.


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Week 9 ~ Private Demon

Week 9 ~ Feb 26-Mar 4, 2007

Private Demon (Darkyn #2

by Lynn Viehl
(fantasy, paranormal romance)

This is the second book in Lynn Viehl’s Darkyn series. It follows up If Angels Burn with the same semi-predictable but still very enjoyable plot style, yet there is nowhere near the unsettling feeling that comes from the torture scenes in the first book. This is still a dark fantasy, or perhaps an urban fantasy (the definitions blur a little), but there were no scenes that I will skip when I do a re-read (as there was in the first one).

I enjoyed this book, probably more than the first one. I like the heroine in If Angels Burn better, but she shows up in Private Demon as a supporting character, so that made me happy. In fact, many of the cast of the first book recur in the second. It was an easy sequel to read: a few new characters, the return of old favorites, and not too much re-telling of the previous plot. It had been several months since I read the first book, and Viehl blended the summary with new plot so seamlessly that it seemed I had just finished reading the previous book.

There isn’t a lot of the plot that can be told without giving away things from If Angels Burn, but I can discuss the heroine, who is a new character. She seems pretty realistic to me, yet there were a few aspects of her character that I had to take with a grain of salt. It seemed that she was focused on different parts of her illness than I would have been in her position, and while I can understand it from a plot viewpoint, it did leave me rolling my eyes at her a few times.

Also, there are almost two heroes in the book, which was a twist I found interesting. That part worked better for me than the heroine did. Most people who I’ve spoken to who have read this book favored one of the men as the one who should win the lady, but I found myself disagreeing with them. The “popular favorite” may have been better for her, but the situation was creepy for me. He’d known her and watched her for ages, ever since she was little – he was too much a father figure to her for me to want him to be her lover.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable book. The series flows well, and seems to have plenty of momentum to carry it through the other books which have been written and the couple of others that have been contracted for in addition. The only problem I have with the series is that it’s shelved in the romance section. I don’t see these as romances: they are urban/dark/paranormal fantasy. Yes, they have romance elements, but they are not – to me – true romances.


Friday, March 2, 2007

Friday Fiver: Smarter than a…

(Friday Fivers are basically just a series of five questions posted on Fridays that anyone can answer on their blogs. The questions go up here, for any who are curious.)

1. What’s your favorite game show to watch? I only actually watch one: Jeopardy. And then only sometimes.

2. What game show would you like to be on? I’d love to be able to have the quick-recall needed to be on Jeopardy. But as for the “on TV” part, I don’t really want to be on any of them.

3. Do you know anyone who has been on a game show? Not that I know of.

4. What do you think the worst game show is? Honestly? The only other game show I can think of at the moment is “Wheel of Fortune,” yet I doubt that it’s the worst one out there.

5. Bob Barker, Howie Mandel or Alex Trebek? Since I only know who Alex Trebek is, I’d have to vote for him, even though I’m not sure I want to. Then again, I’m not sure what the vote is for (best? worst?) so I guess it doesn’t matter.


Too Much Time On My Hands

Stole this from Northcoast Exile... Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, put a cross (+) in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk (*) the ones you’ve never heard of.

Oh, and I've done some clicking through the "stolen from" list, and haven't been able to figure out why these 100 books were chosen. A bestseller list from somewhere? An listing? Who knows.
  1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
  2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
  4. Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
  5. +The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  6. +The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  7. +The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
  9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
  10. *A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
  11. +Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling)
  12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
  13. +Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling)
  14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
  15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
  16. +Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (J.K. Rowling) (OK, so mine was the Americanized version, but still.)
  17. *Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
  18. The Stand (Stephen King)
  19. +Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling)
  20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
  21. +The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  22. +The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
  23. +Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
  24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
  25. The Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
  26. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
  27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
  28. +The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)
  29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
  30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
  31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
  32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
  33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
  34. 1984 (George Orwell)
  35. +The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
  36. *The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
  37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
  38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
  39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
  40. *The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
  41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
  42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
  43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
  44. The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Mitch Albom)
  45. +the Bible (I've read sections, and am in the process of reading the rest.)
  46. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
  47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
  48. Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt)
  49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
  50. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
  51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
  52. A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
  53. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)
  54. Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
  55. +The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  56. *The Stone Angel (Margaret Lawrence)
  57. +Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling)
  58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
  59. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
  60. The Time Traveller's Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
  61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
  62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
  63. War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)
  64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) (I mostly want to read it because if I'm going to write in the genre, I need to know this book. However, I've been semi-writing in the genre for a bit now, and not having read it hasn't hurt me yet. I hope.)
  65. *Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
  66. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
  68. +Catch 22 (Joseph Heller)
  69. Les Miserables (Victor Hygo)
  70. +The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
  71. Bridget Jones' Diary (Helen Fielding)
  72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  73. Shogun (James Clavell)
  74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) (Don't want anything to do with it if it's anything like the movie...)
  75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
  76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
  77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
  78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
  79. *The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
  80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
  81. *Not Wanted on the Voyage (Timothy Findley)
  82. Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
  83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
  84. Wizard's First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
  85. +Emma (Jane Austen) (I'm actually part-way through this one, and am having trouble finishing it...)
  86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
  87. +Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
  88. *The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
  89. *Blindness (Jose Saramago)
  90. *Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
  91. *In the Skin of a Lion (Ondaatje)
  92. +Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
  93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
  94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
  95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
  96. *The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
  97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
  98. *A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
  99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
  100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

(For those of you who are wondering, I have nothing against Stephen King. But horror is not a genre I like, especially when written well - as Mr. King does. I like sleep way too much to ever pick up one of his horror novels with the intent to read it.)

And yeah, I decided that some of those I have read I won't touch again.



Paperback Writer: Authors and Slogans

Very, very amusing. Published authors do advertising slogans.

And because I can't resist, here is my probable favorite:

Laurell K. Hamilton for G.E.: We bring dead things to life.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

A Blanket of Snow

CA Snow

The hills are still snowy here. This is only news because the snow - which does fall just about yearly in the hills surrounding Silicon Valley - doesn’t usually last this long. Normally, we can go, “ooh look! Snow!” and then it’s gone. But this time, it’s been here for about a week already, and it’s still there. (Well, this might be different snow. The first batch may have melted and then more fell, but still. Same thing.)

It really feels like winter to have snow on the hills. And it’s good for the local reservoirs. Plus, it’s just pretty.