Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Baby, It's Warm Outside

I've been trying to work on the blanket for Baby P, but it's hard. Multiple reasons, which I will put in list form to make them look more impressive.

  1. It's hot out to hold a blanket on your lap while knitting.
  2. It's not for me, or for a family member, and I don't see the friend it is for very often.
  3. I suspect I will not get it done before the baby is born. Unless the baby is maybe 3 months late. Or I do nothing but knit (this blanket) for the next two weeks.
  4. The Mystery Stole calls me.
  5. So do the Monkey socks.
  6. And I am supposed to be writing/editing.
  7. Plus I spend lots of time with M.
Okay. That's more than enough. And hey, no one said they were good reasons. But there is progress on the blanket! I will distract you from my pitiful excuses for not knitting the gift project with pictures!

Baby P Blanket 09

Baby P Blanket 10

Look, see! Progress!

Not enough, though. Must work on it more.

Anyway, that's all for now. I have been knitting the monkey socks and the mystery stole as well, but I don't have new pictures of them yet. Besides, the blanket needs some blog love. Maybe then I'll get motivated to finish it.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Around The Blog 7.30.07

I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
~Thomas Jefferson
I don't have much of my own content planned for today, so we'll go looking for interesting things Around The Blog. Before we set off on our tour, however, here's a cute picture of Suzy, munching my bookmark as I'm trying to read. (It's a non-fiction about the Knights Templar, because I've always been interested in them and finally decided to try to find out more about them. The only problem is sorting fact from fiction, even in supposedly non-fiction books.)

Book 01

Go visit L-Squared at Dog's Eye View for some awesome pictures and discussions on leader dogs (otherwise known as guide dogs). I won yarn at Romancing The Yarn, where a month-long yarn giveaway has been taking place. Zarzuela has a new baby sister, Mim is jamming, Mayhem is stealing her mom's Addi's, and PBW has a list of things to make your writing life easier. Amanda has proven how much you can knit when you want to by finishing her entire Icarus in the amount of time it took me to knit Chart 3 and half of Chart 4.

Spincerely has double-decker flowers, which are not to be confused with double-decker buses. LA doesn't like scheduling her blogs, Holly Lisle is having a sale on her Clinics (through today; I only just found out about it), and Neither Hip Nor Funky has radioactive lemonade. The guinea pigs are cold (forgot that it's winter where they live). Melanie has finished her Sockapalooza socks, and Sian does Audrey Hepburn.

Hope you're all having a good Monday!


Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Snippet 7.27.07

So, this is another section that is likely to end up on the cutting board. But, it's enjoyable, and so here it is as a snippet. I'm just not sure how much it furthers the plot, or if - in the long run - it just confuses things.

This bit takes place in San Jose, where Cynthia has felt a pull toward the Winchester Mystery House... and for Watchers, these hunches always pay off. She's not sure what it is she's looking for, but she'll know it when she sees it...

Reminder: this is draft material, has been copyrighted by the author, and is not to be reproduced anywhere or in any form. It may not be in the final draft, and will probably be altered if it does make the final draft.

If I had come back for a tour, it would have been for the special tour at Halloween, not a standard tour at the end of the summer. There were too many tourists on these end of the season tours. You couldn’t actually talk to the tour guides; they had to put all of their effort into herding their charges along.

“This room here,” our guide was said, pointing through an open doorway as she led us down the hall, “used to hold a variety of musical instruments. Mrs. Winchester had them moved because the music played in that room made the spirits restless.”

I tried not to roll my eyes. Poor, confused Sarah Winchester. I had never met a ghost, nor had any of the other Watchers. Yet another way for the Mundanes to explain away things they didn’t understand.

“If you listen closely, you can still hear them singing.”

The part that amazes me most is how people blind themselves to real magic going on around them, yet cling to the idea of ghosts with such tenacity.

As we rounded a corner and started down another long flight of stairs, alarms went off inside my head. The time had come for the tour and me to part company. It was simplicity itself for me to fake an untied shoelace; no one noticed that I dropped behind. I tied my shoe and waited for instinct to tell me which way to go.


Okay, failing help from hunches, the next logical step was to do a little looking around on my own. The only problem was I had no idea what I should be looking for, and minimal practice at skulking. My usual duties—such as cleaning up after natural disasters—tend to leave telltale signs that point me in the right direction.

I headed down the hall opposite from the staircase, looking and listening for anything abnormal. Unfortunately, I was in a house that radiated abnormal. Windows and fixtures had a habit of appearing in multiples of thirteen, staircases led to nowhere, and there was at least one door in the floor.

On the bright side, I had been here enough times to know what to expect. Even better: now that I was away from the noise of the tour, I could hear sounds of movement somewhere ahead of me. I rounded yet another corner and entered a room that featured one of the house’s many windows overlooking the surrounding gardens. This particular window was open, with the source of the pending accident leaning out and reaching for a butterfly.

“Hey, little girl.” I spoke softly as I inched forward, trying not to startle her. Hoping to reach her before the butterfly lured her any further out the window. “Stop leaning out—”

Before I could get close enough to pull her away from the window, she leaned just far enough to reach the butterfly.

It was also far enough for her feet to leave the floor.

Want to join Friday Snippets?


Friday Fiver 7.27.07

Friday Fiver: Beyond the pale
1. Favorite pastry?
Austrian. Pretty much any kind of Austrian pastry. I took a trip over there in 2000, and the bakeries are the part that I miss the most (but it was quite an amazing trip, and I'm glad I went for more reasons than the pastries).

2. How do you like to waste time?
By surfing the net, these days. (If I'm near a fast connection.) Or by playing computer games, watching movies, or knitting. (Not that knitting is a waste of time. But I will knit even when I have more important things to do, merely because I don't wanna to what I'm supposed to do.) Or reading. Ditto the not wasted time bit.

3. How would you describe your complexion?
Asian with freckles. Essentially.

4. What do you hang on to that you should really get rid of?
Very little. I try to keep only what I really need or want. Things that no longer have meaning or are broken beyond repair I try to get rid of. Anything else that I currently have and need to get rid of, I have put out of my mind so as to not have to get rid of it. =)

5. What is the last thing that made you hurt?
Being sick earlier this week. When you throw up too much, your throat gets raw.


Week 30 ~ Harry Potter 7 (NO SPOILERS)

Week 30 ~ July 23-29, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling
(fantasy, YA)


Right... so this is the last of the Harry Potter books. The epilogue, which I think was unneeded for the story and which doesn't really fit the tone of this particular book, does tie up Harry's story nicely with a sense of finality. There will be (Rowling has said) no further Harry Potter books, and the epilogue proves it.

Was it worth the wait? Yes. She tells a good story (I've said before and I'll say again that I'm not going into her writing style and technique) and manages to create engaging characters. She is good about having a new plot for each book, rather than continuing one plot through several books. (Book 6 was the weakest, plot-wise, but it did still have its own plot.)

Did I cry? No. Not even close. Not because there wasn't anything tear-worthy, but because the way it was written didn't move me to tears. (Reading while ill may have helped this, too.) The movie, I suspect, will make me cry. But that's another story.

I thought this was a nice ending to the series, and answered all the questions I could have hoped for. There is still room to move in the wizarding world, and we may get more stories about secondary characters in the future, but this is a nice end to this series. It's hard to know what else to say without giving anything away (which I refuse to do). But I can say that this is quite likely my second favorite of the books now. Book 3 has always been (and will always be) my favorite of the Potter books, but this one is nicely done as well.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen 07.26.07 (#2)

Thirteen Reasons for Loving Harry Potter

(This is not the book exclusively, nor the movies exclusively, and there are no spoilers)

  1. Neville. (Love him.)
  2. Luna was perfectly cast in the 5th movie. Can't wait to see her in the next one/s.
  3. The Weasley twins' antics. So much fun.
  4. Rowling tells a good story. (Not going into editing, nor technical aspects of the books... just the story.)
  5. Phoenixes and unicorns and hippogriffs, oh my!
  6. Trying to make the connection between a character's name, the myth/legend/etc. behind the name, and then figuring out what will happen before the plot gets to that point... (For example - did any of you know that Bellatrix is the name of a star in the constellation Orion, and that Sirius is a star in the constellation of Orion's dog?)
  7. Didn't you ever want to discover that you weren't normal, but really belonged to a part of this other, special world? Did you ever try to escape through a closet (few wardrobes in my area of the states) or try wishing yourself somewhere else or stare at a lightswitch trying to discover telekinetic powers?
  8. Gary Oldman.
  9. Flying cars and motorbikes!
  10. I wanna be an animagus.
  11. John Williams outdid himself on Hedwig's theme.
  12. Come on - it's magic. Like Potter or hate it, it's magic. (And it gets kids reading instead of watching TV.)

Ravenclaw Quidditch Team 016

Ravenclaw Quidditch Team 017
(I'm kneeling at the bottom right of the pic.)

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Writing Weds: 7.25.07

Paperback Writer: Writing Triage

Just a quickie in writing-related stuff today. (Been too sick to do much else; you really think I've had the energy to write? There will come a time when I write while sick, but now is not that time.)

But it's a reminder. I need to do my edit of SS soon, and so I need all the edit reminders I can get. I would like to try making a one-pass style revision work for me, so advice from the pros is a bonus.


Big Blanks

... as in, big blanks of time left unaccounted for. Big blanks of blog quietness. Big blanks when it comes to cool, catchy blog titles.

MS3 04

I have spent the whole beginning of this week sick. Believe me, I would rather have been at work, and here on the blog, sharing with you all the joys of the weekend. (There were several, even though I was sick, and would have been more had I been well.) But no, I was in bed, probably with the flu. Not fun.

Friday was fun, though. After the show closed, several actors and techies dressed up in Harry Potter Quidditch team robes and went to the Book 7 launch at a nearby Barnes & Noble. (I didn't order my book there, FYI. I got mine at a local book store.) It was lots of fun. Pictures will be posted tomorrow.

MS3 05

Saturday was all Potter, all day - until the show (closing night) which went really well. Both show and book were fun. (Throwing up after the adrenaline of closing night wore off, not so much.)

Sunday should have been fun, as it was cast party day. Instead, I stayed home sick. So very sick that I didn't even consider cracking open my book to finish the Deathly Hallows until about 8:30 at night. (Yes, I'm done. Yes, I liked it. Yes, I have issues with some parts. No, I will not tolerate un-announced spoilers in comments.)

MS3 06

I didn't feel like knitting until yesterday, either, which is another measure of how sick I was. When I did finally knit, though, I got Clue #1 of the Mystery Stole finished. (Finally.)

I am really loving this knit. The yarn is okay, not as great as it could be but still nice enough. The beads are fun, even if the holes aren't entirely even and so some don't fit on the crochet hook. (Thank you whoever posted the idea about the twist-tie as an alternate beading tool.) And the lace pattern is so much fun. I love the way this is turning out. Love love love.

MS3 03

Now let's just hope that there are no more big blanks for a while. I really don't want to relapse.


Friday, July 20, 2007

The MEMEs Have It

Friday Fiver: I'll always be there when you wake

1. Tea or coffee?
Tea. Though coffee ice cream is nice.

2. Do you speak your mind?
Usually, yes..

3. What is your escape?
Reading. Especially fantasy books.

4. When is the last time you cried?
It's actually been a while. This is surprising. Usually I cry often.

5. What are your bedtime rituals?
Brush teeth. Sleep. Not much of a ritual, though.

And, as a bonus because the HP7 book launch is tonight, a Harry Potter MEME:

1. Butterbeer or pumpkin juice?
Butterbeer sounds like a very slightly alcoholic root beer to me (with a slightly different flavor, of course). And so I'd pick that.

2. What House would you most likely (or want to) be in in Hogwarts?
Ravenclaw. I can't see myself fitting in any of the other Houses.

3. If you were an animagus, what animal would you turn into?
Probably a cat. No idea why, just seems the most likely.

4. What character do you empathize with, or resemble best?
Resemble? Probably McGonnagal. Empathize with? Ginny or Mrs. Weasley.

5. What position do you play at Quidditch?
Beater. (That's my position on our book launch team.) Because I'm not competitive enough to want to score points in any fashion.

6. Which teacher is your favorite?
Lupin. I might actually be able to learn some defense from him.

7. Any Harry Potter 7 predictions?
For fun? Oh.... Luna and Harry have a wild night o' luv right before the big battle, during which Malfoy kills Voldemort and then gets eaten by a werewolf. Or... maybe the Griffindors all get drunk on butterbeer and accidentally curse/charm the house elves into a Major Revolt, during which they unleash hitherto unrevealed powers and saving the world. =) How's that?


Friday Snippet 7.20.07

Okay, so this is actually before the snippet I posted last week. It will probably be kept in one form or another, because I like it and I think it shows a bit of Cynthia's character; however, it will probably not be kept where it is. (Just after this she gets on a plane home to visit her family for her birthday, and the plot slows down. It needs to be whipped into shape at that point.)

Reminder: this is draft material, has been copyrighted by the author, and is not to be reproduced anywhere or in any form. It may not be in the final draft, and will probably be altered if it does make the final draft.

“Jess, Emmy, come on. You’re holding up the line.” The hassled-looking mother ahead of me was trying to herd her daughters up to the ticket counter.

“But Emily said that there is no such thing as magic,” the younger girl moaned, refusing to move. “I don’t want to go to Disneyland if there’s no magic.”

“Oh, come on. Everyone knows that Tink’s not—”

“Emily, why don’t you take your bags to the man at the counter?” She shoved her eldest girl toward the increasingly impatient ticket agent. Several people behind me muttered as well, but I just smiled.

“It’s okay,” I said, kneeling down to be at Jess’s level. “I believe in magic.”

She looked back at me, eyes wide. “Fairies too?”

“Fairies too.” I pointed to the t-shirt I had chosen that morning: a snug black top with a picture of Tinkerbell and the word “Believe” painted across the front.

Jess’s eyes lit up as she turned to her mom. “Okay. We can go now.”

The woman threw me a grateful look as I stood up. She tugged the rest of the luggage and her younger daughter over to the counter, probably thanking her lucky stars that there were still people around who were willing to tell little white lies in order to keep children happy and quiet.

Little did she know that I wasn’t lying.

I do believe in magic, and I see it every day. It’s a part of my life.

I see the magic of Disneyland less often than the magic of Las Vegas: fortunes won and lost by old and young alike—though not too young. Too young and I’d have to report them for underage drinking, or underage gambling, or both, and just pray that I wasn’t the waitress who brought the drink.

Along with that are the couples who find love on the casino floor or who come to Vegas to tie the knot. And like every other good casino employee, I look the other way when that magic fails. The only difference is I wince while the others smirk.

The magic I enjoy the most is the type I get to see the least. Flashy, larger-than-life Vegas magicians are not something to miss. I’ve filled in for the show’s cocktail waitresses enough times to manage to see the whole show, little bits at a time.

And then there’s the magic I perform myself.

It isn’t a flashy kind of magic. You can see a dozen things that look more impressive by walking along the Strip for five minutes during the day. Two minutes at night.

No, my magic isn’t impressive, but it is real.

Unfortunately, the spells I really want are the flashy spells; the ones so rare they’re almost unheard of. Yeah, I get to be part of a small group who’s out there saving the world, but I was taught from day one to be unobtrusive. Hidden. Secret. Not charging after bad guys with lightning bolts. Assuming there even were bad guys.

Want to join Friday Snippets?


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen 7.19.07 (#1)

Thirteen Reasons for Joining Thursday Thirteen

  1. I'm a sucker for lists.
  2. it gives me more guaranteed content.
  3. 13 is a good number.
  4. Jess is doing it. (all her fault)
  5. I'm a joiner.
  6. To prove that I can. (Was thinking that I couldn't come up with enough interesting '13's every week.)
  7. Must. Write. Something. (As in - it will make me do more than say, "No content today, sorry. Brain is stuck.")
  8. Musicals. (Jess' fault again.)
  9. Why not? I can always stop if I get bored.
  10. I am bored, so I might as well do it.
  11. Low resistance when it comes to shiny things.
  12. Dragons. (It's Joely's fault, too.)
  13. MEMEs of any kind have a huge appeal for me. I like comparing my results to other people's, and yet this one still leaves lots of flexibility and creativity. (Though on slow brain days, expect me to steal borrow other people's ideas.)


Booking It

So ~ who among you are going to be in line at midnight waiting for your book?

I will. Even though I won't be able to pick up my book until 8am the next day. You see, I ordered my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from a local book store who had tried midnight book parties unsuccessfully in the past, and so aren't doing it this time. But, I can't let my team down.

"Team? What team?"

My newly-formed quiddich team.

Broom workshop 1

Look! Our brooms-in-progress. They are actually completed now, and look great, but I want to wait on pictures until I can post one of us in our robes with them. We are being Ravenclaw, partly because I was sorted there (at harrypotter.com, though you have to hunt for it a bit) and partly because Griffindow and Slitherin are too stereotypical, and partly because - well. Blue and silver. Who could beat that?

So, we're looking forward to the book launch party (at a major chain bookstore, rather than my LBS), even though we will get there late due to having a show (Music Man) that night. Should be fun...

(I'll post pictures after the event.)


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Writing Weds 7.18.07

No big writing updates today. Just a few minor writing updates.

  • I didn't get the June crits finished, but I got enough done to make my commitment. I'll try to get the rest done, but no promises.
  • Ditto the "try but no promises" on the July crits.
  • I have read enough of Holly Lisle's "Create a Plot Clinic" fixes for stuck plots to get at least part-way unstuck, and the rest will depend on going through my draft to find the snags.
  • I have jotted down two rather important scene changes that should pump some more adrenaline into the climax of SS. This is a good thing.
And that's about it.


Week 29 ~ Exit Strategy

Week 29 ~ July 16-22

Exit Strategy
by Kelley Armstrong
(fiction, thriller, mystery?)

This is an enjoyable book by one of my favorite urban fantasy writers, and yet I didn't enjoy it nearly so much as her Otherworld series. I liked it enough that I'm not sorry I bought it, but it's debatable whether I'll buy the next one (assuming there is a next one) as quickly as I did this one. (I bought this book within a day or two of its release date.)

One of the reasons I didn't like this book as much as Armstrong's other work is the genre. I highly prefer my fiction to have an element of the paranormal in it. Doesn't have to be werewolves or magic or elves, but I don't like straight fiction nearly as much as fiction with a twist. (I read to escape. How much of an escape is reading about a world that actually exists? Not quite enough, for me.)

Another reason I prefer the Otherworld series is the main male character's voice. Jack has a consistent way of speaking where he brings the subject up as a question, and then provides his take on it. So: This book? Like it well enough. In comparison? Not so much. It's a great way of characterizing him, and she's very consistent with it, so the writing itself is solid. But it bugs me, and so I didn't like him much, and so the read wasn't as enjoyable.

But... all that said. The book is solid. It's well written, with the quality I have come to expect from Kelley. The twists are nicely disguised, and as long as you pause to read the chapter headings (numbers for main characters, names for villain) you won't be confused by the occasional POV shifts. I think this is a great branching out for one of my favorite authors, and I hope she can make a go of it. I definitely do recommend the book, especially for those people who like straight fiction better than I do.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eagles and Bobcats and Monkeys - Oh My!

You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men.
- Max Beerbohm

Sheep! My quote of the day said "sheep"! :)

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Before I post my knitting pictures for the day, I want to point your attention to a very deserving local (for me) wildlife rescue group. The group is called WERC (Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center) and they work to get wild animals rehabilitated and re-released into the wild.

They have a program where they care for baby bobcats while wearing surrogate bobcat mommy costumes so that the cats don't start thinking of humans as mommy. They release injured birds once they are strong enough to care for themselves. The typical animals they care for are ones who have been injured, like by moving cars or even - sadly - humans themselves.

The WERC website says, "We at W.E.R.C. seek not to interfere in the laws of nature or in the tide of human expansion , but simply to lend a helping hand to assist nature in evening up the survival odds of displaced native wildlife."

I sent them money this month. I will be sending them money again, and if you have need of a good charity to support, I urge you to consider them.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Alright. And now the real reason you're (probably) here - the knitting!

Mini Monkeys 10

Monkey #1 is off the needles. Yay! Monkey #2 is on, and past the cuff. I have just barely started the Monkey pattern. But, it's a start.

I love the way this sock fits, and it works well in this yarn (TOFUtsies) as well. There are periodic issues with the yarn splitting, but it feels nice enough on the foot that I don't think I care about a slight splittiness.

Also, for this second sock, in addition to Cara's Mini Monkey modifications, I used a provisional cast-on. This made the picot edging a LOT easier. I think that I read somewhere else that this was a good way to start a picot edge, but I forget where and so can't give credit where it's due.

Happy Tuesday!

Mini Monkeys 11


Monday, July 16, 2007

Batteries Not Included

I am tired. Every time I think I am catching up from theatre-induced lack of sleep, I have another hard night. Ah well. We close this coming weekend, and then (in theory) I will manage to catch up.

In other news, however, once we leave River City, we get to start thinking about heading over to Skid Row. I am greatly looking forward to that one. The music is so addictive! The part that probably fills me with the most anticipation (and dread) is, of course, Audrey II.

But that does mean another period of no sleep. Ah well. The things we do for art.

I do have knitting pictures, but will be splitting them up so that I can be assured of having pictures for you tomorrow as well. Today we will focus on a top I knit a couple of years ago. It's from the Filatura Di Crosa spring/summer 03 booklet, but I forget the name of the top and the name of the yarn and all the pertinent details. I just know that I knit one for me and one for my sister is a bit smaller size.

Denim Top 2

Now, do note that for normal wear it doesn't ride quite as high. This is what it looks like when I'm reaching us to - say - hold a camera. I love this top, though it does still smell a bit like silk. Now, normally this is a good thing, but it's sometimes annoying as well. The funny thing is I'm not sure there actually is silk in the yarn (as I don't remember the specs of the yarn) but it does smell that way to me.

(Side note - this top is usually a good thing to wear if you want to get male attention. I have found several copies of the pattern booklet for sale on the internet while I was trying to figure out what the pattern name was. No luck with the pattern details online - so I guess I'll have to find out where I put the booklet during the last move.)

Anyway, I'm tired, so I'm going to go try to find a way to keep awake. Hmmm - I skipped my tea this morning. Maybe I'll have it this afternoon instead? Cheers.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Snippet: 7.13.07

Since I'm having trouble with the Read More tags, you may have to click on the title instead to read the entire post. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I don't know how else to fix it at the moment. (Also sorry for the delay - I wanted to be sure to post today, but I wanted to get those bugs fixed, but...)

Anyway. This skips a bit of action where Cynthia goes on a place trip home to visit family for her birthday. But since I am 99% sure that scene will be cut - or at least majorly revised - I'm posting this part instead. This will (I hope) be in the final draft, at least the dialog part. The action might have to move if the previous scene gets cut.

Reminder: this is draft material, has been copyrighted by the author, and is not to be reproduced anywhere or in any form. It may not be in the final draft, and will probably be altered if it does make the final draft.

Once the plane had pulled into the gate, I dug out my cell phone and called Rich.

“Hey there!” I said once he picked up. “I just got in—can you chat for a moment?”

“Sure! But can you?”

“Well enough.” I was surprised at the reception. There was hardly any static interference on the line. “I have to wait for the people in from of me to drag their 300-pound carry-on luggage out of the overhead compartment, anyway.”

My comment earned me a glare from the chatty couple, who were now standing in the aisle and tugging at their too-large luggage. My brother laughed, though, which was the reaction that mattered anyway.

“I mean it. Can you really talk well enough when you’re surrounded by Mundanes?”

“Sure, as long as you don’t expect a play-by-play.”

This comment, as I’d hoped, caused the super-sized luggage people to crowd forward as far as possible. Since there was no one behind me, this put enough space between me and everyone who I didn’t want to overhear my conversation.

“Okay then, spill it: what does your new book do?”

“It’s a protection spell,” I said, dropping my voice. “I haven’t tested it yet, obviously, but it seems to be some kind of shield spell.”

“Neat! I wonder how much use it will be, though? You’d better not be heading into combat-type situations. That’s my field.”

“I hope I’m not!” The aisle was clearing. “Listen, I’d better get going now, but I’ll call you again once I manage to test the spell. Maybe I’ll get Scott to help me experiment with it.”

Rich laughed again. Up ahead of me, I was a flight attendant staring back in my direction. I got up and started to collect my things slowly so that she wouldn’t have an excuse to come back and ask me what was wrong.

“You just want an excuse to spend time with Scott!” Rich hadn’t stopped laughing. “Hoping for a little smooch session?”

“Hey, he has a girlfriend!”

“Sure he does.”

My carry-on was the last one in the overhead compartment. I managed to get it out one-handed, but also succeeded in causing a rain of pillows to come cascading down on my head.

“Her name’s Karly. And just because I think he’s cute, it doesn’t mean I’m going to jump in bed with him, unlike someone I happen to know.”

“Who me?” My brother, Mr. Innocent. “I wouldn’t do a thing like that!”

“Yeah, but only because he’s male.” The flight attendant was working her way pas the last of the debarking passengers now, probably having seen the shower of pillows. “I have to go now, Rich. Really. I’ll call you later, though, ‘kay?”

We hung up before the flight attendant reached me. I still have a fear of being told to “get off that phone while you’re onboard the airplane, young lady,” even during times when it’s allowable to be on a cell phone. Old habits die hard.

After collecting my luggage, I made the trek back to my car in long-term parking. It probably would have made more sense to leave my car at home and just catch a cab, but I have this thing about being stranded. I would prefer to drive my own car everywhere, even to a family gathering where there would be fifteen other people perfectly happy to drive me around and spare me the gas money.

Thank you for your concern, but no thanks. I’ll just pay the buck-eighty per gallon myself. That way I know I have a ride.

The walk to my car, and the drive home afterwards, gave me plenty of time to really think about my two new spells. A Detection spell and a Shield spell, and both seemed to be tailored to dealing with magic. And that was just weird. Watchers had magic. Mundanes did not. Yet whom did we Watch almost all the time? Mundanes. With no magic. So why should I need to detect magic? Or shield against it?

The more I thought about it, the more I worried.

We usually gain spells as we need them. For instance, when I first started working on a casino floor, the cigarette smoke really got to me. Coming from California, where smoking was getting increasingly more curtailed, to Nevada, where you could smoke practically anywhere, was torture. I would have fled the state if I hadn’t gotten a spell that took care of the problem.

The same day I started at Jade Mountain, I found a special book, which gave me a spell for purifying air. Not all air, but a bubble that floated around my head so that no matter where I went I was breathing clean air. It only lasted about six hours, but that was long enough to last for most of my shifts. If I hadn’t moved to Nevada, I wouldn’t have needed the spell, and could probably have walked past the book ten times without once noticing it.

So, there had to be a reason I needed these new spells. My paranoid brain decided that it meant I was going to be facing off against someone who used magic. And the only people I knew of that used magic were other Watchers. Much though I loved the thought of seeing more action, I was a bit nervous. Tricking Mundanes was one thing. Pitting my skills against another spell caster was quite another.

There was only one bright side to this situation: I did not yet have an obviously aggressive spell. As much as I want to run after the bad guys with spells blazing, I’m not looking forward to the type of crisis that would require that. If the attack on the World Trade Center hadn’t merited aggressive spells, I don’t want to know what would.

But these... they didn’t disrupt magic, just observed and protected against it. There was no cause for real worry, not yet.

If I ever got my lightning bolt spell, then I would worry.

Right after I jumped for joy.

Want to join Friday Snippets?



The "read more..." links are acting up. If they don't get fixed, I'll have to figure out how to delete them.

Is this working yet?

Yes! Yay, hackosphere!


Gone Fishing

Have any of you ever played the silly Mac game "Gone Fishing"? It's actually a promotional thing from Macromedia, but it's one of the most fun things I've played. Addictive! Basically, you start out as a small fish and you swim around eating slightly smaller fish than you are. And you get bigger, and have to avoid a mean nasty ... was it a shark? A piranha? I forget. But it was SOOO fun! And it didn't work on my most recent Mac, and then I bought a PC and now I can't play it.

Why do I ask? Because today's Friday Fiver reminded me of it.

Friday Fiver - 7.13.07 - Here Fishy Fishy

1. Have you ever gone fishing?
Nope. I don't think I could bring myself to do it.

2. Do you have an aquarium?
Not at the moment, but I have in the past. I would like to again in the future, but I'm not sure abut the cleaning and maintenance part.

3. Do you eat fish?
Yes. Fish is yummy. Especially salmon.

4. Have you ever seen Finding Nemo?
Yes. And don't let Nemo hear me say that fish is yummy.

5. What do you think of Sushi?
It's okay. Some is good, some is less good. (Some is icky, but we won't go there.)

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

About the knitting, there has been work on it. There are no pictures at the moment, but there has been work. I have 11.5-12 inches knit on the baby blanket. I have caught back up to where I was on the Mystery Stole, and gone a few rows beyond that. (I'm still on Clue #1, and Clue #3 has now been posted, but I have gone further than I had before I had to frog it so I'm happy.) There has been no progress on Icarus or the Monkey socks since my last update, but there will be work on the socks soon (I hope). Icarus... poor Icarus will have to wait again, this time until I'm not so panicked about the baby blanket. Every time I see the mom I start to freak out... that baby is getting ready, man. And the blanket it nowhere near as close.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

And just to be silly while keeping with the theme of this post, here is a silly picture. I found it in a bakery, snapped a shot on my camera phone, and haven't know what to do with it since. But... well.

Sourdough Shelfish

Sourdough shellfish. Fishy Friday Fiver. Perfect.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Thousand Kisses Shy

A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
- Thomas Mann

Because I am drawing a blank on what to write about and have no new pictures, here is last Friday's Fiver for you. Tomorrow should have a new Fiver, plus a Snippet, plus maybe some knitting news. Depending on if I have any.

Friday Fiver: 7.6.07: With dead poets and drum machines

1. What do you do?
Like "do"? As a job? Boring answer. Let's go with: dream.

2. What makes you pay attention?
Music. Color. Intensity.

3. What's your inspiration?
Must there be only one? Sorry. Can't do it. There are too many things that inspire me.

4. Do you believe in magic?
Yes. Either the magic of a well-written story, or the magic of a kiss, or the magic of a miracle.

5. What is your favorite subject to write about?
Fantasy. And the same magic mentioned above.

Oh - I just remembered something I can post as a picture.


The barbershop quartet from our production of The Music Man singing "Lida Rose." I took this picture from backstage on my camera phone.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Week 28 ~ Girl Genius #1

Week 28 ~ July 9-15

Girl Genius Collection #1

by Phil Foglio

(graphic novel, sci-fi)
(Online comics available here.)

This is an amusing story, with enjoyable art. It's funny, it's nicely drawn, it's complex, and I like it. The story is planned well, too, and I find it highly addictive (as a good comic should be). I like the main characters, boo the villains, and get pleasantly surprised at plot twists. (Not always pleasant twists... but they are surprises, which is the pleasant part.)

The link above will take you to a site where you can read the comic online, with a lot of back-issues to catch up on. The first collection is actually the first several (forget how many) panels which are printed on the web, but I like the series enough to want to support the author and so I bought it. The book quality is nice too; while not the best made graphic novel I own (the cover is a little funny - though it could be that it got slightly munched in transit), it's better than some off-the-shelf paperbacks. And the quality of the art inside is great.

Anyway, I'm finding it hard to do a proper review of a graphic novel, so I'll stop now.


Writing Weds ~ 7.11.07

So we're going to ignore my June goals. I know that most of them didn't get finished, and I know why. It was as I suspected, only a bit worse. Enough worse that I'm only really getting into July *now*, actually, and it's already a third of the way over.

So. July goals will be moderate.

  • Do June critiques.
  • Post July OWG chapter.
  • Do July critiques.
  • Read up on Holly Lisle's "create a plot clinic" section on how to fix stories that are already written. (To be used with SS but - yay moderation! - not yet.)
  • Sleep.
  • Knit.

What do you think? Is that moderate enough? No "complete this" goals except for the critiques. I think that I can actually do this. I certainly hope so, because if not my self esteem is going to start sinking. And I really don't want to hit depression right now. Not during the summer. It's too hard to understand depression in the summertime. Wintertime is another matter: gray skies, rain, cold... easy to be depressed.

Anyway, I really don't feel like writing about my lack of progress right now, so I will stop. Bye!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Picture Perfect

Here is my start of the Mystery Stole #3. But my progress is currently considerably less than this picture shows, as right after this I noticed an error in the lace. I tried to fix it the way I have gotten good at fixing Icarus, but this pattern is a bit more complex lace. And so I messed it up, the "fixed" mistake looked worse than the original mistake had, and I frogged the whole thing.

Anyway, the stole:

MS3 01

MS3 02

This one is a close-up of the beading. I had planned for sparkly beads of a uniform color, but these called me. Matte beads in various shades of blue and purple. Lovely. Should give the stole an overall impression of color without actually providing much color. Plus, they're fun to work with.

And the Mini Monkeys:

Mini Monkeys 07

Progress is being made. Slower than the socks started out, but that's due to lack of time and not lack of interest.

I have more pictures, but I've hidden them to make the page load faster. If you want to see the rest, click the "read more" link.

Mini Monkeys 09

Mini Monkeys 08

Baby P's Blanket:
Baby P Blanket 08

Hard to see progress on this one. But I'm at 7 inches now. (Well - in the picture. In reality I'm at about 9 inches. And it doesn't look much different.)


Monday, July 9, 2007

Back - I Hope

So I should be back to the BlogWorld now. Yay! This past week has been crazy, but I think the craziness has calmed down. So I should be back. And I'm supposed to have pictures, but I forgot them at home. So they will have to wait.

(Except for this one which I have been saving for just such an emergency.)

In Window 02

I have also been tagged to do the 8 Random Facts MEME, and while I have done 7 random facts already (and could therefore just add one, and call it done) I'll see what I can do. They will probably be short random facts, however.

  1. I hate licorice.
  2. I don't like horror movies.
  3. "Reclaiming" negative words (nigger, ho, bitch, etc) seems pointless and stupid to me, not empowering.
  4. I like sweet wines.
  5. When I was young, I OD'd on pink clothing.
  6. I tend toward depression on a semi-regular basis, but I can only stay depressed for a short time before I have had enough and stop.
  7. I don't like sourdough bread much.
  8. You don't want to get me mad. I can be super frosty when mad, and I hold a Grudge. (with a capital "g" which rhymes with "p" which stands for pool... sorry, got The Music Man on the brain.)


Week 27 ~ Dead Until Dark

Week 27 ~ July 2-8, 2007

Dead Until Dark
by Charlaine Harris

(urban fantasy, vampire/paranormal romance)

This is the first of the Sookie Stackhouse series, and while I'm glad I read it I'm also glad I rented it from the library. It was a good book, but on the fluff side. I read it in a day, even though it was a very busy week for me, and I didn't even pull an all-nighter.

The book follows Sookie, who is telepathic, and her experiences with a vampire and a series of murders. If it's supposed to be a murder mystery, it will - in my opinion - have fans of straight murder mysteries disappointed or upset. To me, there wasn't enough of a trail (false or otherwise) to even begin to have a suspect list until far enough along in the book that my mystery-fan-side was annoyed at the lack of ideas. (My fantasy-fan-side was happy, though, so I kept reading.) The romance angle was nice in its lack of detail. There was enough to be believable and give a touch of the romance, but not so much that it fell into the "just another vampire romance" category.

All in all, I was entertained, which is the most important point when reading (for me). I doubt I will be re-reading this book, but I will be continuing with the series.


Week 26 ~ Ill Wind

Week 26 ~ June 25-July 1, 2007

Ill Wind
by Rachel Caine

(urban fantasy)

This was a highly amusing book, and one I'd been meaning to read for months before I actually got to it. I'm glad I read it, sad I waited so long, and happy that there is more to the series already waiting for me.

I liked the fact that Caine seems to be sticking to a limited number of paranormal creatures. Wardens (weather and otherwise) and djinn. At this point, that's it. And I like that. I'm not against vampire novels, or werewolf novels, or whatever. But I'm getting sick of books that seem to throw them all in merely because they seem unable to figure out which ones to leave out.

I also liked the way each individual paranormal was limited. Weather Wardens can't control fire, unpartnered djinn aren't as powerful as djinn with Warden Masters, etc. Limits and balances are nice.

The ending had a nice semi-twist, one that I sort of saw coming even though I didn't expect the exact end result. I did see some of the mini-twists coming, though the identity of the Bad Guy was one that made perfect sense afterwards and yet I didn't anticipate it. It was nicely written, and the series will make a nice addition to my bookshelf.