Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat


Happy Halloween all.

The twelve hour NaNo countdown begins. I'm as eager to start typing as that kitty is to grab that candy and I'm as antsy about being slapped back by my candy dispenser ie my muses. Such teases they are at times.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Forays in Fiction: NaNoWriMo 2009 Intentions

funny pictures of cats with captions
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This will be my 6th NaNo and partly because of the stress factor I seriously considered not participating this year. But the biggest factor weighing against is that because of NaNo I keep putting off working on the stories I really have my heart in because 1) I don’t want to ruin them by making a mess & 2) I thot I shouldn’t because the story already has several K of words and 3) because of anticipating NaNo each year I shy away from working on virgin stories btwn NaNos because I might want to use them for NaNo this year or next.

And then a few weeks ago a writer friend whom I respect declared on her blog her intent to keep working on the novel she'd begun several weeks ago, counting for NaNo only the words generated after midnight November 1st. And I started thinking outside the box. Who would I be harming if I were to work on a WIP as long as I didn’t count words written before Nov 1st? It's not like by 'winning' I'm taking anything away from anyone else. And to not participate would deprive me of one of the joys of my year--the sense of being part of something; of dreaming my stories and writing while knowing for certain I'm not alone in the world in what possesses me; the feeling of belonging while not denying those very things which define me.

And I went further. Why do I have to confine myself to one character’s story and POV? Just because their story might make a separate novel? After all these characters all grew out of one original story that I first thought was a single novel. And this is where continuing to participate in NaNo is a detriment to my output because in the eleven months between NaNos I resist the urges to work with certain character's stories because I'm saving them for NaNo. So in this way my continued participation in NaNo goes against the spirit of NaNo which is to facilitate the output of more stories not less.

And here's the rub. For the last two months I’ve been working intensely with the entire 100 year timeline and 100+ character roster again ‘as if’ it were a single story and I am intensely engaged in it and champing at the bit to start writing scenes but holding back because of NaNo.

I have been dreading having to shift my focus which has been to establish the time line of events for each of the major characters and their individual stories and that of the cult founded in the generation before Faye’s birth. That cult and its various branches and leaders acts as the primary antagonist for nearly all of the potential protagonist characters. And the fact I lack clarity on it is the main reason I have so many partial stories.

So I’ve just decided that I’m going to continue working with the entire story world. Even previous NaNo ‘novels’ for why should it matter if the words of my 50K ultimately belong to one, two, or twelve novels as long as I don’t include words in the verifier written before Nov 1st?

To facilitate keeping track of word count and also to allow me to feel as though each day of NaNo is a fresh start, I've created a separate WhizFolder called NaNo 2009 with one topic containing a minimal number of links to the FOS related files and my NaNo profile for daily word count. One topic contains a statement of my intent for the occasional refresher. And I will add one topic per day with that date as it's title in which I will put all of that day's word output. Sometimes I will write off the cuff in that topic window and copy/paste it to whichever FOS Whiz it most belongs. Other times I may have written inside the Whiz of the FOS worksheets or one of the currently separate novels and will then copy/paste those into the day's topic in Nano 2009. Over at NaNo on my profile I'll soon be updating my novel info and using the title By Their Fruits. I may be setting up a separate Whiz to collect all things Shakespeare and bring the scattered material over from all the FOS Whiz and if so will probably add that link as well.

This will give me a place to store the entire text of some selected Shakespeare plays as well. Beginning with Macbeth the play Faye, Julia and Wilma will be producing with high school students in one planned story. Then, of course, there is the Estelle character who speaks only in Shakespeare phrases taken from plays and sonnets. Her comments are always cogent and pertinent to what is going on around her.


A screen shot of my NaNo 2009 WhizFolder

The four links:

To my NaNoWriMo profile where I'll update my word count each day.

To my Xmind mindmap of my FOS story world which has been my playground for the last month.

To the FOS worksheets WhizFolder topic 'Novels" which contains the links to each story's Whiz.

To my Story Garden Whiz topic Harpy Shampoo where I keep antidotes to writer's block and inhibition, like suggested exercises and inspirational quotes. Story Garden is also where I collect advice gleaned from books, blogs and etc on all aspects of story making (plot, dialog, theme, metaphor, voice, etc.) and have recently added publishing info sections.

Story Garden is also set up to collect my new story ideas but hasn't been used that way much because I've been so overwhelmed with the WIP I already have going I've been squashing new ideas. I have really been feeling bad about that and believe it is a bad impulse, showing ingratitude to the muse. And as mentioned above, I traced the problem to NaNo participation. If my compromise with the NaNo 'rules' doesn't work to enhance and encourage my work output this year, including in the next ten months, I may have to rethink my involvement again next year. I've come to the point where I need to give my devotion to my stories. The rest is peripheral.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Book Review: Dewey: A Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron




Dewey : a small-town library cat who who touched the world
Vicki Myron
© 2008
Grand Central Pub.
265p

In honor of National Cat Day I'm going to do my review of Dewey: A Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World which I read nearly two weeks ago. The book had to go back to the library before I could do the review and I haven't sent for it again yet so I'm going to go by memory with a little help from online sources for facts like names and dates.

The story of Dewey is co-written by Vicki Myron the head librarian at the Spencer Iowa library where Dewey was found one bitterly cold morning in January 1988 in the overnight drop box. Judged later by a vet to be approximately 6 weeks old, he was so cold his shivering created an alarming noise inside the metal box the staff was preparing to unload. He was huddled in a corner under an avalanche of books and the outside slot had been jammed open by a book.

Vicki picked him up and he looked into her eyes and began purring. Her heart was immediately won and it wasn't long before the hearts of many in the town of Spencer, then going through the tough farming crisis of the 1980s were won as well. The library board and then the town council agreed to allow Dewey to live in the library as The Library Cat, his duties to include lowering the stress of those willing to lend their laps for one of his naps and acting as ambassador for the library at every meeting held in the library's conference room as well as general public relations.

A naming contest was held among the library patrons and Dewey Readmore Books was settled on. Dewey did his job so well that visits to the library increased from 60K per year to over 100K and Dewey and the Spencer library became famous worldwide. Families from all over the states put the library on their vacation itinerary in order to meet Dewey and have their picture taken with him. He was featured in many cat magazines, library journals and at least two documentaries over his 19 years at the library and his death in November 2006 was mourned around the world, evidenced by the over 200 media carrying his obituary.

Interspersed with the story of Dewey from his kittenish antics (rubber band bandit) to his adult escapades (his encounter with a bat and his one great escape) are the stories of the town of Spencer and of Vicki's own journey to her position as librarian. The main thrust of the story is the effect Dewey had on the morale of the town during the hard times as farmers went into bankruptcy and manufacturing jobs absconded.

Told this way the story is also an ode to libraries and the role they play in communities today. They are no longer (if they every were) the stuffy book mausoleums depicted in so much literature and movies over the decades. Speaking of which: The book became a best seller soon after it's release and soon after that rumors abounded about a movie deal in the works with Meryl Streep in the role of Vicki. Such rumors seem to be confirmed by the story in the Spencer newspaper last April of screenwriter Pamela Gray's visit to Spencer to interview those who knew Dewey and see the sites of his antics and escapades. All I can say is, Hollywood better do right by the modern image of the library. Because if they don't they could damage efforts all over the country in small communities to keep their libraries open and staffed and stocked.

And yes, because of my own experience with the library closures in Southern Oregon in 2007, this story touched me personally not only because of my own love of cats and libraries but because of the way the role of the library in a community was depicted and how this justifies keeping them open and properly funded even--most especially--in the hard times.

There's a bio of Dewey at the Spencer library website.

They also have a spread of photos of Dewey

The Spencer Friends of the Library sell postcards featuring Dewey and the funds are used for library items and functions not covered by the budget.

And Dewey has a Facebook page!



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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Macbeth


Lady Macbeth receives letter relating Macbeth's encounter with the three weird sisters.
I watched the Royal Shakespeare Company Production of Macbeth from the 1979 TV production yesterday. This Trever Nunn production starring Ian McKellen as Macbeth and Judi Dench as Lady Macbeth is on DVD and I had it checked out of the library as part of my NaNo prep along with much other Shakespeare related materials.

To see what Macbeth and Shakespeare has to do with my NaNo prep come back for tomorrow's Friday Foray in Fiction post (which is often not posted until the wee hours of Saturday) where I'l go into more detail. To get an idea, if you're impatient, see my story Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities the first story I wrote in the story world I call FOS aka Fruits of the Spirit.

I don't have a lot to say about the play at this time as I'm still processing. I will say that I'm glad this happened to be my first encounter with the play acted out. I've read the play many times--had many sections of it practically memorized at the time I wrote the last couple scenes of that story and later some of the scenes in Rag Doll Babies. But I'd never seen it performed. Which is sad considering that I live ten miles or so from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Why am I glad Trever Nunn's production was the first one? Because it was minimalist in terms of costume and scenery. All the focus was on Shakespeare's words and the drama was in the telling of the story by the actors.

(Later Update: I just re-read a post I wrote a year and a half ago in which I stated that I had seen more than one production of Macbeth. And I don't know which one of my selves to believe. I lean toward this one though as I had just spent hours on YouTube looking at clips from several different Macbeth films and I saw nothing that struck me as familiar. I believe I may have been remembering having had several different Macbeth DVDs checked out of the library back in late 2006 and early 2007 in the months before our libraries closed but so many of those went back unwatched as I raced the clock to finish books. That combined with my vivid imagination that makes movies in my mind of every play and story I read could account for my imagining that I had seen one of the films. I'm very confused. And embarrassed to have caught myself in what looks like confabulation.)

Watch one or two of these to see what I mean if you have a few minutes. I didn't stick all of them in here expecting anyone to have the time to watch them all, in fact it might be best to find the DVD and watch the whole thing. I put these here more for my benefit as a way to 'file' them for later reference.

The next Macbeth I'm probably going to watch is the BBC & Time/Life production, starring Nicol Williamson and Jane Lapotire, which I have checked out of the library also.


Lady Macbeth and Macbeth plot the murder of King Duncan, a guest in their house.



Macbeth and the dagger...and the bloody hands.



The banquet following Macbeth's crowning.



Lady Macbeth sleepwalks


Macbeth receives news of Lady Macbeth's death (The 'life is but a tale told by an idot' speech)

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Am Not Going to Stress Over This

found the problem! Your not plugged in...
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Our internet connection has been going in and out for the last hour. I've no idea what the issue is. Ed's asleep so I can't ask him to troubleshoot. I just spent an hour trying to get an email sent chained to the browser window for fear of losing it as it was showing that it hadn't been autosaved. I'm not going to set myself up for the same kind of frustration over a blog post tonight. I would rather be reading. Or prepping for NaNo. Only four more days!! Plus 90 minutes until the clock starts ticking on 1667 word per day quotas.

Or maybe I'm just lazy and the internet issue is just an handy excuse.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

The Day After the Day After

teh read-a-thon b over 2 daiz but ebrting still b topsee turvee
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Ode to a Read-a-Thon

Sleep sneak attacks at the oddest moments
The world tilts you out of your seat
The ground looses its grip on your feet
Then clad in not but the sky's adornments
You slide into dream as long regiments
Of text glide endlessly past your eyes
On the flapping wings of dragon flies.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Serenity #150

Ahm bizzy sleepn.
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The day after the read-a-thon. I slept 9.5 hours and have been awake over eight but l fighting urge to sleep more.

Why fight?

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Honoring Dewey our Read-a-Thon Founder

it b lonely on teh interwebz without our Dewey
moar funny pictures

I made this LOL for Dewey because one of the many things she introduced me to was the LOL builder when I realized she must have been captions some of those she posted herself and hunted down the source.

I also owe to her just about everything I learned about book blogging and the fact that I tilted Joystory toward book blogging after getting involved in the first Read-a-Thon and then Weekly Geeks. And because of my involvement in them I started getting opportunities to host giveaways.

I miss her so much. Tho I never met her face to face.

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Reading Is Fundamental (Read-a-Thon Mini-Challenge)



Joy Renee age 9-ish reading to baby sister and cousin age 2-ish

The challenge is to create a post celebrating the reading child and to link to the Reading is Fundamental webpage.

Suggestions for content:

  • post a picture or video of a child or children reading or being read to
  • post a picture or video of yourself reading as a child or reading to children
  • spend 20 minutes reading to or being read to by a child age 0-15 and post about it
  • interview a child about the meaning of reading to them and post the interview in text, audio or video
  • relate memories about the meaning of reading in your childhood (text, audio or video)
  • post a thank you message to RIF for their efforts on behalf of child literacy (text, audio or video)
  • post a thank you message to any adult(s) responsible for turning you on to reading as a child (text, audio or video)
  • visit the RIF site and report on one or more of their programs or activities, linking to the page(s) discussing it.
  • post about a personal encounter (if any) with RIF--did one of their free books impact your childhood? did you participate as either child or adult in one of their sponsored activities?
Those are just suggestions to give you the idea I imagine there are many creative minds among you who can come up with any number of riffs on the theme: celebrate reading and childhood and link to RIF.

This challenge is open for three hours.

Please enter URL of the post in the Mr. Linky below. Leaving a comment also will alert me by email that I have an entry to visit. :) But a comment isn't required. After I have visited each entry to verify it, I will choose 5 winners via random.org.

Each winner will receive one of my crocheted bookmarks similar to these:


Except that I will custom make them after consulting via email with the winners on their preferred colors and style.

The winners are:

Kim (page after page)
NTE Never that Easy
Dangerously Cold Tea
Tif @ Tif Talks Books
Chrissy (book bliss)

I will post the same list in My Brain on Books post below as well. I need these 5 to email me at joystory AT gmail.com with their address and a color scheme preference for their bookmark i.e. a favorite two color combo or 'earth tones' or 'xxx holiday'. Or if they prefer they can email me with a request for a complete list of my selection of thread colors including variegated and a photo of my ribbons including prints and solids.so they can design a bookmark they know they will love.


Thanks to everyone who participated.


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My Brain on Books V

My Brain on Buoks
moar funny pictures

<-- click the pic to learn about the Read-a-thon

I am reading for RIF today. I don't have a sponsor but I'm putting this plug at the top in hopes some who stop by will check out their site and see all the great things they do to foster love of reading in kids.


This post will be organized like a blog inside a blog with recent updates stacked atop previous ones.
I will post a notice at Twitter whenever I update this post. Or at least whenever I remember to.




4:44 AM --
End of Event Meme:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? The 3rd cuz waking up is so hard to do.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Anything by Ellen Hopkins or Francine Prose
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Cheerleaders for the cheerleaders? :D Really can't think of a thing.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Splitting the cheeleaders up into teams and splitting the list.
5. How many books did you read? Just one cover to cover. My eyes aint what they used to be. Plus I spent six hours on my RIF challenge from prep thru posting winners. And another two on general cheering.
6. What were the names of the books you read? I read Joshua by Joseph Grizone cover to cover and read at random for around 80 min in From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler which was actually re-reading for me.
7. Which book did you enjoy most? One was a thought provoking and moving parable-like novel. The other was an old fav writing advice essay. No way to compare.
8. Which did you enjoy least? As I said....
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Fret less about repitition, grammar, punctuation and word choice and focus on the spirit of the endeavor. i assure you that as a reader that is the spirit in which i receive whatever came my way.
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? If I'm still breathin I'm not leavin. Same as this time--all three--reader, cheerleader and mini-challenge hostess. That last gave me the greatest joy today and that joy will be drawn out as I make and deliver the five prizes over the next several weeks.

Read for joy!

That's it folks. I won't be updating this again. I might see if I can drop a few more cheers before the bell tolls.

3AM --
Finally finished Joshua. Now I'm off to cheer. Probably for duration.

8PM to Midnight --
Before I went back to reading again after wrapping up my mini-challenge I put up the Honoring Dewey post for the one and only mini-challenge I've participated in so far. After that I returned to the novel I started this morning, Joshua by Joseph Grizone. I was pushing to finish it before I updated but I still got 80 pages left and was fading so I thought this might revive me.

Now I'm going to give Joshua another go. I'm fast approaching that un-put-downable stage of the story. If my faculties flag again I shall commence cheering as surfing and commenting seem to ward off the drowse attacks.

3PM to 7:30 --
I spent these hours visiting every participant in my RIF mini-challenge. Here are the 5 winners as selected by random.org:


Kim (page after page)
NTE Never that Easy
Dangerously Cold Tea
Tif @ Tif Talks Books
Chrissy (book bliss)

I will post the same list in the challenge post as well. I need these 5 to email me at joystory AT gmail.com with their address and a color scheme preference for their bookmark i.e. a favorite two color combo or 'earth tones' or 'xxx holiday'. Or if they prefer they can email me with a request for a complete list of my selection of thread colors including variegated and a photo of my ribbons including prints and solids.so they can design a bookmark they know they will love.

OK. As soon as I get the list posted on the challenge post and emailed to Trish, I'm going back to reading again for as long as I can keep my eyes open. I let you know what I pick up next in the next update.

I'm fighting the drowsies right now and a bit of a headache so I hope I can push through that. Had only four hours of sleep this morning before kick-off and that after skipping sleep altogether the previous day to try to flip my hours for this. But my sister called me just as I was laying down (8 hrs before start) to give me an update on the friends who were in that terrible car accident last Sunday. See my post about it here and watch for an update sometime tomorrow.


Noon to 2:30 --
After putting finishing touches on my mini-challenge post and setting it to autopost for a few minutes before 3 (any minute now) I went back to Joshua for a little while but then picked up From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction by Robert Olen Butler. And began to browse at will though it. I've read it before and browsed in it many times since. I'm spending time with it today because it is one of my favorite advice-for-fiction-writers books and I've been refreshing my memory of his technique for NaNoWriMo coming up next weekend. Also it's a library book which was due on Thursday and has to be in the drop box before the library doors open Monday. And I know someone else is waiting for it so I won't see it again before NaNo is over. Sigh. I'm going to have to get my own copy of this someday.

I will be spending the next few minutes reading in this book until the entries of my mini-challenge start coming in and then I'll be visiting them until I've seen them all.

11:55 --
I've spent this entire time with the one book. I reached page 150 something. Had reached page 78 by end of hour two so the last 70 pages took twice as long as the first. Have been fighting eye-fatigue and the drowse since 8am. But am enjoying the story and the thoughts provoked by it.

I'm going to spend the next little while finishing up preparation of my mini-challenge post which is due to begin in three hours--hour 11. Be sure and return to check out the fun. And prizes.

5:05 --
I'm starting off with the novel, Joshua, by Joseph f. Girzone. I first started this several weeks ago but only got a third of the way through before I had to return it to the library. I'm going to start it over though because I can't find my leaving off place. The copy I had before was a large print and this one is not. I may be skimming though until I reach the new scenes.

BTW I was prompted to read this book after watching the movie based on it a couple months ago. At the time I ordered it off the library catalog I also order a memoir by the author, My Struggle with Faith and it is among the books I've set aside to choose from today as the mood strikes. I guess I don't need to reiterate here what/why my strong interest is in all things to do with faith, spirit and religion. Memoir is not quite the right word. Struggle grew out of his attempts to answer questions about his own beliefs after release of the novel Joshua.

Joshua is parable type story about a community impacted by the coming to town of a stranger whose acts and words are startling and somewhat discomfiting especially to those whose role is as a shepherd of one of the many Christian establishments. The story is an attempt to answer the question: What would happen if Jesus lived within a community? How would he act? How would he live? How would the people react to him? Would he be recognized by those who claim to be his followers? Or would he once again be feared and persecuted by those who are challenged by his integrity? Especially those who lay claim to speak and rule others on behalf of THAT which he calls Father?

Grizone's religious upbringing was in the Catholic church. My understanding of what it means to be catholic is about as comprehensive as my understanding of what it means to be French. I'm endlessly fascinated by stories set within a Catholic milieu though as well as with stories by and about those who have struggled to come to terms as an adult with the people and the tenets of the faith community in which they were raised--as I have.

5:00 -- AM
Let's get started y'all. (I've set this to autopost at 4:44 AM. if this parenthetical is still here I may not have had time to stop in here before starting. At least I hope it's not because I overslept.)

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Forays in Fiction: Reading

I herd of getn lost n storeez but dis b re dik u um re dic el jus plan sillee
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I'm sure that any wannabe writer serious about their craft has heard of the importance of reading to the learning of it. I sure have. And yet every once in a while I find that I have been neglecting that aspect of things. I get so caught up in the research for my stories or in the other prepwork for them or in the writing that reading other writer's stories get push aside into the crevices of my days--snatched minutes usually when I'm distracted or tired, seldom when I feel free to get lost in the story or read for the simply joy of it.

I'v been making a conscious effort the last several months to tip the balance back to giving reading for pure pleasure more of my best--energy, time, focus. In fact I've been doing so in spurts off and on the last two years and I credit Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, which I'm about to participate in again tomorrow for the fifth time since its bi-annual events began in 2007, with having given back to me the unfettered joy of reading for pleasure. Somehow, some two decades ago or so, I had given it the status of dessert--a guilty pleasure you earned by assiduous attention to the duties of the 'real' or 'healthy' or 'responsible' or...well, you get the picture.

The read-a-thon is starting in about nine hours now and I'm raring to go. I've got dozens and dozens of books lined up as possibles. I'm not fencing myself in by saying any one of them are musts nor any one I start must be finished before I start another. I'm not setting any rules for myself as to how much fiction or how much NF either. And though many of the books I happen to have out of the library right now were checked out because of some relevance to the NaNoWriMo prepwork I've been engaged in for two months now, when/if I select any of them to give time to tomorrow their relevance to my NaNo project won't be any part of the reason--the only relevant reason tomorrow is what draws me in and keeps me engaged.

For a good part of 24 hours I will be reading for joy. And that is the best thing I can give to my own stories.

But first I need to get a good sleep.....

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Wimped

somedays..zenacat wonderz why she even got out of bed
moar funny pictures

I didn't make it to the library as planned so I'll have to do without some of the books I'd hoped to have here for the Read-a-Thon Saturday. Oh well, its not like I've got a shortage of books in this room. But I'm a little perturbed with myself nevertheless. I was looking forward to the outing, even to the walk as long as it wasn't raining.

At least I was looking forward to it every night between 6 and 6am. Whereas every afternoon I was 'looking forward' to it in the way that cat above is looking forward to catching a mouse. I kindna knew I had a problem when each afternoon during the same hours I would need to be getting ready and getting there, I would be thinking desultorily I sure hope I'm not feeling like this Thursday afternoon.

Yeah. Hope all you want.

I'm blaming it on the BP med and I'm thinking of switching back to taking it at bedtime. My bedtime. Which is dawnish. Like I was when I was first put on it. My doctor suggested I switch to taking it upon waking after I told him that several times I'd taken it when I thought I was about to lay down but then kept working another several hours without noticing any drag on my energy or mental acuity.

Well, when apparently matters a great deal. And I think I can guess why.

I am a terrible transitioner. Especially between states of consciousness. It's hard for me to turn my brain on when I wake up from a sleep longer than three hours and just as hard for me to dial it back to sleep mode once I've been awake longer than eight hours. That by itself could explain why the med didn't make me sleepy when I took it towards the end of my night work session and why it does make me lethargic when I take it immediately upon waking. But add in the stimulants (Caffeine, vitamin B complex, Focus Smart and various food supplements) that I've loaded up on by midnight each day and the energy boost from the mini-sessions on the mini-tramp...

Maybe if I did a mini-tramp session immediately upon waking and then take the BP med? *shudders* ugh! That would mean getting (sleepwalking) from the bedroom to the front porch (through the living room where my in-laws are watching TV and/or visiting with guests) and getting the tramp out from behind the plastic chairs and tightening the legs and setting it down and most likely putting on a show for the neighborhood and my FIL whose smoking chair faces the spot. And that's only if the weather isn't nasty Which is why lately I do most of my work on the tramp after 9pm, after Ed's folks go to bed and he brings the tramp inside for me.

Maybe if I waited until after dinner to take the BP med. Which should give me 4-6 hours to transition (tho 8 might be better) and get my blood flowing (not to mention the caffeine etc) and most important get engaged in a task. That has possibilities but so does going back to taking it as I'm preparing to lay down.

Oh, I just remembered why I wanted to stop doing that. Because I have to take it with food but I'm trying to follow Dr. Oz and Bob Green's weight loss advice to stop eating at least two hours before laying down. OK. So maybe taking it with my lunch around midnight would work.

Well, I guess I will have to experiment.

Meanwhile, I've got to figure out how to manage my med schedule during the Read-a-Thon Saturday which is starting just as I'm typically preparing to lay down. Last April I ended up not sleeping at all the night before and by the end had been awake for over 30 hours. I somehow doubt I can get away with that this time with this BP med in the equation.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Distracted

funny pictures of cats with captions
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I have nothing new to add to what I posted last night and no other topic appeals--or should I say distracts me from it. I was working on a book review for yesterday's post when my sister contacted with the news. I thought to return to it but I'm feeling especially unmotivated.

Then there is the fact that I need to cut this night's session short so I can get up early tomorrow (early being before noon) so I can walk the 3/4 mile to the library to pick up the books waiting for me else I won't have the ones I ordered especially for the Read-a-Thon on Saturday. In order to check those books out I need to make room on my card for them which means getting at least rough drafts of several book reviews put together for books I finished and some notes taken on a few others and finishing a couple more. So I will be spending this session reading and writing off the cuff thoughts about what I've been reading recently without worrying about polishing that writing for a post.

And of course pausing to pray every now and again. (Click or scroll down and pray with me)

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pray with Us for Josh and Emily

Josh and Emily Dickens of Vancourver, Washington were married on September 12 and went to Hawaii for their honeymoon. They returned about a week ago. This past Sunday they were on their way to Emily's parent's home near Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula to celebrate her mother's birthday when another vehicle crossed the center line and...


Josh was driving the red car. They survived and Josh, 24, was listed in satisfactory condition as of Tuesday but Emily, 22, almost died and though stable as of Tuesday evening is still in critical condition. More details on their condition below.

The driver and passenger in the other car did not survive. Mary E. Wyman, 60, of Port Angeles and her grandson, Theodin S. Nelson, 6, of Sequim died at the scene.

The families of Josh (the Dickens of Vancouver) and Emily (the Joners of Port Angelus) are requesting prayers for the newlyweds and also for the families of Wyman and Nelson. Theodin's mother and Wyman's daughter, Brooke Nelson, a real estate agent in Port Angelus, is on the local ballot for a city council position but has suspended her campaign for the moment. She and her husband, Sequim police officer, Darell Nelson, also have a daughter who attends Port Angeles High School.

More info can be found in this Peninsula Daily News article.

From this point I will be combining information I collected from this and other articles with information I received through my connection to Josh Dickens' family. When that information conflicts I will favor the version coming through my sister via Josh's mom.

Josh and Emily were both taken to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles but Emily was soon life-flighted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Josh's parents are with him and Emily's parents are with her.

Emily suffered lacerations to the liver and spleen and possibly the pancreas, a cervical spine fracture at the c-3 as well as a fractured lower vertabrae. Her spleen has been removed and her liver repaired. They are still unsure of the extent of damage to the c-3 but word is she was able to wiggle her toes according to my sister and her arms are working. They are keeping her sedated to prevent movement which could further damage the c-3.

In my sister's words via IM:

The dr.s (there were a bout 10 of them on the team the day they life-flighted her to Harborview in Seattle. Most of them felt that she couldn't be saved but one, Dr. Joseph, said lets give her a fighting chance. Her internal injuries were very severe. There was a leaking vein to her vena cava that had been repaired and then leaked again somewhere else. Her heart stopped on the operating table during the night 2 times.

They kept her open in case they had to do more surgery but she remained stable so they were going to close her up but her chest is still too swollen so we are PRAYING that she doesn't develop any infections and the swelling will go down.

Josh has a broken nose and the bones around one eye are shattered, the eye is ok but there is a thin bone behind the eye that is broke that causes him to have double vision when he looks up. They have had three specialists look at it. They have a 14 day window to decide to do surgery to fix. It may be permanent. Also he has a deflated lung which is getting better but is having a hard time due to what ever had to be done when he was a premie.


Josh is just now beginning to grasp the seriousness of his new wife's injuries and their implications. He's having a hard time processing this as can be imagined. It's especially hard for him to not be able to go to her side. He's likely to remain hospitalized for the remainder of the week.

Keep in mind (as you pray) that the financial implications of all of this for this young couple are nearly as devastating as their injuries.

I haven't seen Josh since he was around 11 but I've been kept abreast of the major milestones of his life through my sister who has been close with his mother since they were in elementary school together. I used to babysit his mother and uncle when I was a teen and they had moved in two houses down. Her mother, Josh's grandmother, became friends with my mother and currently, my sister's 15 year old son is close with Josh's youngest sibling, a brother, born the same summer as my nephew. Josh has two younger sisters as well, one of them just recently married herself and the other still in high school.

Please hold this family in your hearts.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Slowly, Maybe Not So Surely...

funny pictures of cats with captions
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I have a bunch and I mean a huge bunch of library books coming due this week and I have an equally big bunch of requests being held for me at the library but my card is tapped out so I must return books before I can check them out. I have until Thursday afternoon as our Phoenix branch is open only Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. I need to finish several books and for some of them and several already finished I need to do their reviews and/or transcribe notes and quotes marked by post-its. Most of the books waiting I sent for for this Saturday's read-a-thon and/or my NaNo project which starts the following weekend.

Besides all that and posting daily, I am also preparing an extra post for Saturday for the mini-challenge I'm hosting for Dewey's Read-a-Thon. And I still need to put the finishing touches on the selection of crocheted bookmarks from which the prize(s) will be chosen so I can get a picture of them to post not to mention decide finally how many prizes I can afford to mail which means researching how much it will cost to mail both inside the states and internationally. Something I should have done well before now.

Also, the last of the winners of Saturday's two drawings has just responded so I need to deliver their addressed to Hachette which should have been my first task of this session but will be the next.

And then there is my NaNo prepping which has been neglected for over a week now. Except for the reading/research aspects anyway. That's probably not going to get better before Monday after I've had a chance to recover from the read-a-thon so it will just weigh on me. I swear I feel like I'm in the midst of finals week. But I have no taskmaster but myself to blame.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Serenity #149

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Feeling the lazy today. Think I'll do some warm-up for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon coming up Saturday. Or take an aimless walk. Or watch a DVD. Or sleep. So many lazies to choose from.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pleased to Announce

iz bursting wiv joy  Really i am
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The winners of Supreme Courtship are:

Julie P.
renee
MoziEsmé
Stacie
Kelly




The winners of Run for Your Life are:

Jessica
cpullum Carla
Lee P
Belinda M
bekki1820cb

Thanks for your participation and a special thank-you to all you who helped promote the contests via blogs, twitter etc.

I'll be sending emails to the winners momentarily and must have a response within 48 hours or prize is forfeited and I'll offer it to the next in line in the sequence I generated at www.random.org.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Forays in Fiction: Wanting

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Wanting.

Over and over again as I peruse the fiction writing advice books I encounter the advice--no advice is not the right word, it is more like a dictum or commandment: Thy characters SHALL want. Or else!

Or else thy story shall burn in hell.

I have a really, really, really, hard time working with my character's wants. Oh, I can give them theoretical wants when mapping out their character sketch outlines and I can even show in a logic flow chart how that want must influence their behavior and thus the plot but when it comes to hanging the central conflict of the story and its concomitant plot twists and turns that create the course which the characters must traverse and the hurdles which they must jump or trip over it all falls flat.

I have been banging my head on the sky over this conundrum for years and I think I just had a major insight about it. It began by realizing that their wants are wrapped in cotton candy and cocooned in caterpillar silk and hung by a spider web from the hook of the moon in a dense cold fog. Which thought immediately led to:

Just like mine.

And then I saw that giving my protagonists meaningful wants was just as difficult as giving my villains villainous traits (and wants) and as I asked myself why it should be that giving my good guys good motives was as hard as giving my bad guys bad motives I realized that it was all tied back to my own childhood training in which I somehow internalized the message that it wasn't just unrighteous wants that were unrighteous but wanting itself.

Which if followed to its logical conclusion would make living itself untenable for who alive does not want to live? And if one must repudiate wanting what becomes of that want?

So my mind is still reeling with this insight and I need to think about it. Maybe dream about it. Maybe write a personal journal about it; or a poem.

This could have multiple impacts on my FOS storyworld stories since, because this pox on wants was at least partially imparted by the fundamentalist sect I was raised in, this could give me important information and insight into the sect/cult I've set up in the storyworld as the primary antagonist against which all the major characters are pitted against.

I've mentioned here before that this storyworld has played the role of therapist for me since my traumatic break from the sect I was raised in. This is one of the best examples of exactly how it does so.

Dare I admit that I want it to be much more than my personal therapy? That I want to send it out into the world to live? That I want my beloved characters to live in more hearts than just my own? Dare I claim that want as my own? Dare I maintain that want as righteous?

Oh to be a cat without qualms about wanting. Oh to be able to perch atop a TV antenna declaring 'I could get it if I wanted'. Even the moon. No apology appended.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Time

funny pictures
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I've got several batches of library books coming due in the next ten days. Which is stressing me a bit only because I know that whatever I don't finish with will have to wait until after the first of the year for another turn because of NaNo in November and my visit to Longview in December. And two months is pushing the limit of how long I can wait to get back to a book I started and expect to continue with where I left off. But rushing through them is no better as that insures less retention.

OK so I brought it on myself. Its only what to expect if you start 100 books while finishing five.

Stressing on library due dates is mostly a distraction from the real stress though. Like having learned this week that my BP is controlled enough to get the go ahead from my doctor to start dental work. Which means I have to factor in dental visits and all the hullabaloo they entail into the middle of NaNoWriMo or else wait until after the first of the year which isn't really an option--at least not a responsible one.

But today and probably most of tomorrow I can't even hope to advance any bookmarks by much because I need to attend to neglected chores like laundry and clutter patrol in our room because my in-laws are out of town for a couple of days and since I no longer have my home-alone-Saturdays since race season ended I either have to grab on to opportunities like this or be faced with doing my chores while they are home.

So what? You might ask. Well, picture walking through your in-laws living room while they are watching TV on your way to the outside garbage can with a bag of dirty kitty litter. Or picture two two-hundred pound people passing each other in a narrow (under 3 feet wide) hall--which is what happens when anyone needs in or out of the master bedroom or bathroom when I am loading or unloading laundry from the machines.

Got the picture? It's just better to get it all done when they are elsewhere if at all possible. And tonight I can even do laundry at night which was always my preferred time for it when I had my own home. Not just can but must since Ed is out of his essentials and has to leave for work in six hours.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

BYOB Party

Mai hooman b berrid by big pile of books n aks mi to issu invitashun to join us Octobur 24 @ www.24hourreadathon.com.
moar funny pictures

Following is the library book portion of my Read-a-Thon pool--so far. There are more on order I'm hoping will arrive in time. The list is in sections indicating purpose if any as the bulk of the NF is related to NaNo prep.

Just because NF:

Title: Dewey : a small-town library cat who who touched the world
Author: Myron, Vicki.
Publisher: Grand Central Pub., 2008.
this one I'm already reading and expect to finish well before zero hour.

Author: Frattaroli, Elio.
Title: Healing the soul in the age of the brain : becoming conscious in an unconscious world / Elio Frattaroli.
Publisher, Date: New York : Viking, 2001.
Description: x, 454 p

Title: The self-aware universe : how consciousness creates the material world
Author: Goswami, Amit
Publisher: Putnam's Sons, 1995, c1993

Title: The sweet breathing of plants : women writing on the green world
Author:
Publisher: North Point Press, 2001.

Title: Entering the castle [sound recording ...
Author: Myss, Caroline M.
Publisher: Hay House Audio, 2007.

Title: The Caroline Myss audio collection [sound recording (CD)]
Author: Myss, Caroline M.
Publisher: Sounds True, p2001.


Fiction:

Title: Foundation
Author: Lackey, Mercedes.
Publisher: DAW Books, Inc., c2008
am already reading this one so it will probably be off the list by the 24th

Author: Miller, Hugh.
Title: Ballykissangel : the new arrival / Hugh Miller.
Edition: 1st North American ed.
Publisher, Date: San Francisco : Bay Books, 1998.
Description: 222 p.

Author: Lamb, Wally.
Title: The hour I first believed [text (large print)] : a novel / Wally Lamb.
Publisher, Date: New York : HarperLuxe, c2008.
Description: 1121 p. (large print)

Author: Lisle, Holly.
Title: Diplomacy of wolves / Holly Lisle.
Publisher, Date: New York, NY : Warner Books, c1998.
Description: 332 p. : map ; 23 cm.
Series: Secret texts ; bk. 1

Author: Lisle, Holly.
Title: Vengeance of dragons / Holly Lisle.
Publisher, Date: New York : Warner Books, 1999.
Description: xv, 379 p. ; 23 cm.
Series: Secret texts ; bk. 2

Author: Lisle, Holly.
Title: Courage of falcons / Holly Lisle.
Publisher, Date: New York : Warner Books, 2000.
Description: xxi, 405 p
Series: Secret texts ; bk. 3

Title: Inkheart
Author: Funke, Cornelia Caroline.
Publisher: Scholastic, 2003

Author: Funke, Cornelia Caroline.
Title: Inkdeath / Cornelia Funke ; translated from the German by Anthea Bell.
Edition: 1st American ed.
Publisher, Date: New York : Chicken House/Scholastic Inc., 2008.
Description: 683 p.

Author: Funke, Cornelia Caroline.
Title: Inkspell / Cornelia Funke ; translated from the German by Anthea Bell.
Edition: 1st American ed.
Publisher, Date: Frome, Somerset [England] : Chicken House ; New York : Scholastic, 2005.
Description: 635 p

Author: Hiaasen, Carl.
Title: Scat / Carl Hiaasen.
Edition: 1st ed.
Publisher, Date: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Description: 371 p

Title: Titus groan
Author: Peake, Mervyn Laurence, 1911-1968
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, p2000.
CD audio book

Title: The conversion
Author: Olshan, Joseph.
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2008.

Title: Dawn Powell at her best
Author: Powell, Dawn.
Publisher: Steerforth Press, c1994.

Title: A string in the harp
Author: Bond, Nancy
Publisher: Atheneum, 1976.

Title: The Penelopiad
Author: Atwood, Margaret Eleanor, 1939-
Publisher: Canongate, c2005.

Title: Fool on the hill : a novel
Author: Ruff, Matt.
Publisher: Grove Press, c1988.

Title: Pattern recognition
Author: Gibson, William, 1948-
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, c2003.


On fiction writing for NaNo prep. Many of these I've been spending time with for weeks already:

Author: Vogler, Christopher, 1949-
Title: The writer's journey : mythic structure for writers / by Christopher Vogler.
Edition: 2nd ed.
Publisher, Date: Studio City, CA : M. Wiese Productions, c1998.
Description: xxiii, 326 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.

Title: The heroine's journey
Author: Murdock, Maureen.
Publisher: Distributed in the U.S. by Random House, 1990.

Author: Butler, Robert Olen.
Title: From where you dream : the process of writing fiction / Robert Olen Butler ; edited, with an introduction by Janet Burroway,
Publisher, Date: New York : Grove Press, c2005.
Description: 269 p. ; 22 cm.
Subject: Fiction -- Authorship
Other Author: Burroway, Janet

Title: How Fiction Works
Author: Wood, James, 1965-
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008

Author: Forster, E. M. (Edward Morgan), 1879-1970.
Title: Aspects of the novel / E. M. Forster.
Publisher, Date: New York : Harcourt, Brace & World, c1954.
Description: 250 p

Author: Delbanco, Nicholas.
Title: The sincerest form : writing fiction by imitation / by Nicholas Delbanco.
Publisher, Date: Boston, Mass. : McGraw-Hill, c2004.
Description: 385 p

Title: Writing Fiction : a guide to narrative craft
Author: Burroway, Janet
Publisher: Longman, c2000.

Title: Write away : one novelist's approach to fiction and the writing life / Elizabeth George.-
Author: George, Elizabeth 1949
Edition: 1st ed.
Publisher, Date: New York : HarperCollins, 2004.
Description: xi, 272 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Subject: Fiction -- Authorship

Title: The Weekend Novelist
Author: Ray, Robert J. (Robert Joseph), 1935-
Publisher: Dell Pub., c1994.

Title: Thirteen ways of looking at the novel
Author: Smiley, Jane.
Publisher: Knopf, 2005.

Title: Making a literary life : advice fore writers and other dreamers
Author: See, Carolyn
Publisher: Random House, 2002.

Title: Reading like a writer : a guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them
Author: Prose, Francine, 1947-
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.

Title: Long quiet highway : waking up in America
Author: Goldberg, Natalie
Publisher: Bantam Books, c1993.

Title: Escaping into the open : the art of writing true
Author: Berg, Elizabeth
Publisher: Perennial, 2000.



Research related to NaNo project. Again more than a few of these I've been spending time with for weeks. In some cases off and on for years:

Author: Neiwert, David A., 1956-
Title: Death on the Fourth of July : the story of a killing, a trial, and hate crime in America / David A. Neiwert.
Edition: 1st ed.
Publisher, Date: New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
Description: x, 242 p. ; 25 cm.
Subject: Kinison, Christopher, d. 2000.
Murder -- Washington (State) -- Ocean Shores.
Hate crimes -- Washington (State) -- Ocean Shores.
Trials (Murder) -- Washington (State).
Includes bibliographical references (p. [231]-235) and index.

Author: Neiwert, David A., 1956-
Title: In God's country : the patriot movement and the Pacific Northwest / David A. Neiwert.
Publisher, Date: Pullman, Wash. : Washington State University Press, c1999.
Description: 357 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Subject: Militia movements -- Northwest, Pacific.
Government, Resistence to
Right-wing extremists -- Northwest, Pacific.
Radicalism -- Northwest, Pacific.
Militia movements -- Montana.
Radicalism -- Montana.
Right-wing extremists -- Montana.
Includes bibliographical references (p. [331]-344) and index.

Author: Ehrman, Bart D.
Title: Jesus, interrupted : revealing the hidden contradictions in the Bible (and why we don't know about them) / Bart D. Ehrman.
Edition: 1st ed.
Publisher, Date: New York : HarperOne, c2009.
Description: xii, 292 p. ; 24 cm.
Subject: Jesus Christ -- Historicity.
Christianity -- Controversial literature.
Bible -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Bible -- Controversial literature.
A historical assault on faith -- A world of contradictions -- A mass of variant views -- Who wrote the Bible? -- Liar, lunatic, or Lord? : finding the historical Jesus -- How we got the Bible -- Who invented Christianity? -- Is faith possible?

Author: Garber, Marjorie B.
Title: Shakespeare after all / Marjorie Garber.
Edition: 1st ed.
Publisher, Date: New York : Pantheon Books, c2004.
Description: xii, 989 p. ; 25 cm.
Subject: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Criticism and interpretation -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Title: Shakespeare : an Oxford guide / edited by Stanley Wells, Lena Cowen Orlin.
Publisher, Date: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2003.
Description: xxvi, 713 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.

Author: Bloom, Harold.
Title: Shakespeare : the invention of the human / Harold Bloom.
Publisher, Date: New York : Riverhead Books, 1998.
Description: xx, 745 p

Title: Soul of the age : a biography of the mind of William Shakespeare
Author: Bate, Jonathan.
Publisher: Random House, c2009.

Title: Sweet swan of Avon : did a woman write Shakespeare?
Author: Williams, Robin, 1953-
Publisher: Wilton Circle Press, c2006.

Title: The anatomy of fascism
Author: Paxton, Robert O.
Publisher: Knopf, 2004.

Title: The great transformation [text (large print)]: the beginning of our religious traditions Author: Armstrong, Karen, 1944-
Publisher: Random House Large Print, c2006.

Title: On God : an uncommon conversation
Author: Mailer, Norman.
Publisher: Random House, c2007.

Title: My struggle with faith
Author: Girzone, Joseph F.
Publisher: Doubleday, c2006.

Title: Goddesses and the divine feminine : a Western religious history
Author: Ruether, Rosemary Radford.
Publisher: University of California Press, c2005.

Title: Resurrecting Eve : women of faith challenge the fundamentalist agenda
Author: Pughe, Roberta Mary.
Publisher: White Cloud Press, 2007.

Title: God laughs & plays : churchless sermons in response to the preachments of the fundamentalist right
Author: Duncan, David James.
Publisher: Triad Institute, c2006.

Read more...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Arrrgg!!!

The results of the eye exam today were great and I was given the go ahead to order new lenses which we will do on Friday (payday) and best news of all: it should only take four working days before they are ready so I have an excellent chance of having them in time for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon on the 24th.

When I sat down here after dinner and dishes I was pleased at the early start I was getting, at how ambitious and energetic I still felt even after the stress and energy expended today to get ready for and then go to my third post-op eye exam. I was planning to prepare a book review for one of the books I had finished and which had to go back to the library this morning. I'd spent last night's session taking notes on two of those books and know that if I'm going to prepare a review without the book beside me it had better be within the next 20-50 hours or so for the longer I wait the less reliable my memory will be.

I'd spent the hour of kitchen clean-up thinking about and composing sentences and paragraphs and outlines in my head. I was eager to proceed. I have too many barely begun book reviews in my files as is, sitting there waiting for me to re-order the books and when they wait too long the chances are I'll have to practically re-read the book. And they often wait and wait and wait because my library card is full to bursting most of the time with 40-60 items checked out and 20-40 lined up in my requests queues.

So I was motivated and eager and had the energy and my eyes weren't fatigued (partly because I hadn't already spent hours and hours reading because of the eye doctor appointment) so I opened a draft in Blogger. But then decided to first finish dealing with my email inbox which project had been interrupted when I was called to dinner. This involved opening a PDF file linked in one email. Which took endless minutes to open and then crashed the browser. After which I was sent to a Microsoft error report page which recommended I download the latest version of Adobe which had addressed the bug that caused the crash.

During the download I was informed that I needed to give Firefox permission to install add-ons from the Adobe site and that took me a good fifteen minutes to figure out how to do. And just as I got the website added to the permissions list the Adobe program proper alerted me that it had a download ready to install. I thought it was the same one I thought I'd begun from the Microsoft error report page but I'd not looked at the edition numbers closely enough as the download the Adobe program was asking to install was 8 point something while the one recommended by the error report was 9 point something but I didn't realize this until after clicking install.

So I waited patiently through the install of 8 point something, following its directions which included closing all open PDF files and all Adobe windows other than the download/install window which meant I had to close Firefox with all tabs including email, blogger post draft and several others relating to tasks I had lined up for this work session.

Then when the install was complete I was informed that there was another update available (9) and highly recommended so I started the download (over 40 MB) and waited patiently for it to complete and then install.

After the install I was informed that Adobe need to restart my system to complete the install. I do feel lucky that it at least asked first. Because that gave me a chance to close the other programs I had open properly. Especially WhizFolder which when not closed by its protocol will not remember which windows (files) were open and their positions on the desktop and when that happens it can take me up to 30 minutes to recreate my preferred arrangement.

And then there was iTunes which had a video podcast on pause which if I had not been able to mark it as new before closing the program might have been auto-deleted during the shutdown or reloading of the program.

Luckily I didn't have a Free Cell game in progress so I could just close that along with Live Messenger and the Onscreen Keyboard which I keep up sometimes for the convenience of being able to mouse keystrokes when editing or surfing or using keyboard shortcuts.

So. Once I had all programs closed properly I clicked 'restart' on the download dialog that I'd left sitting there and waited patiently through the shutdown and then waited patiently through the reloading of my desktop. And by the time I was free to open Whiz (where the notes for the reviews are stored) and the browser again I'd lost 90 minutes and all my oomph. I heard the echoes of a wailed 'Arrrggh!!!' in my head which reminded me of the picture I'd recently seen on art.com (click the pic to see its catalog page) and I decided to go with a flat out whine post for tonight.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009: Ready, Set...

Twenty days to GO.

Actually, as I write this it is nineteen and one-twelfth days. But I've been thinking 'twenty days' all day.

50K words of fiction in 30 days. I'm champing at the bit. Ever since I decided to do something in my FOS storyworld instead of start from scratch with a new one I stopped stressing. There is plenty of room among the cast of more than a dozen major characters and on the timeline of some 120 years for me to find a fresh story to focus on.

I finally headed over to the NaNoWriMo site to make my participation for this year official but my profile page already shows me as an official participant. I don't remember doing anything specific to make it so but I might have. Or maybe they are assuming it because I've participated every year since 2004.

At any rate, I picked up my web badge while I was there. I'll get around to sticking the small version on my side bar soon I hope. Or maybe I'll wait until I get my new prescription glasses before I mess with the side bar code. I'm still limiting use of the laptop for close reading as the contortions I have to put my neck through to see through the bifocal lenses cause significant discomfort and the right lens isn't ideal anyway since it was made for a near-sighted, asitgmatic, eye with a cataract just encroaching upon the center visual field. Now, post-op, I'm no longer near-sighted and the cataract is gone. Only a mild astigmatism remains. But my ideal range is 4-6 feet. But not for regular size fonts. Only headlines and such.

I can work with very large fonts--14 to 20 depending on the font--and will do so for NaNo if my new glasses haven't arrived yet. But I'm still holding out hope. I go in for my third post-op exam tomorrow afternoon. The doctor will decide then if the eye has settled down enough to warrant prescribing the new lens. No sense in doing so too soon as my vision could continue to change and my insurance won't cover a second prescription inside a year's time. So this patient must be patient.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Serenity #148



Discovering a new music and artist. Angelique Kidjo, singing in Swahili. Above, it's the familiar Summertime from the American musical. Below, looks and sounds like something straight out of her own Benin traditions.



But the best videos have embed disabled so you have to go to YouTube to view them. It's well worth it. Stunning. For both the eys and the ears.

Shango
Adouma
Voodoo Child

It was thanks to a piece Kidjo composed in response to reading the current Oprah Book Club selection by Uwem Akpan, that was posted on Oprah.com, that I was introduce to her work.

I'm still anxiously awaiting my turn to read Akpan's Say You're One of Them. There's two ahead of me for the library copy I'm in queue for as of a few days ago.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ballykissangel: I'm Falling in Love



Every once in awhile--and those whiles are fewer and father between than they once were--I discover a new story that draws me with a force much like that of falling in love. The last time that happened to me it was when my niece introduced me to Gilmore Girls in the spring of 2007. This time I stumbled upon the BBC drama Ballykissangel on DVD in our library catalog. Have watched 8 episodes now and am head over heals with it.

I love if for all the same reasons I love Gilmore Girls--a plethora of eccentric characters, a tight-knit quirky community, stories that startle and satisfy with plots rooted in characters and the stakes at risk always someone's integrity.



Oh, and a love story that's as star-crossed as Romeo and Juliet. More so since there's even less of a chance for a Catholic priest and an Irish pub owner with a chip on her shoulder regarding the church than for two teens from feuding families. I cannot begin to imagine how they are going to work that thread out while keeping the integrity o both characters intact but there is definitely that kind of tension between Peter and Asumpta.

It is also rare for me to want to watch episodes or read stories more than once let alone repeatedly like I've done with Gilmore Girls but Ballykissangel is one of those in which repeated viewings will reward nearly as much as the first. I'm sure of this even though I've yet to watch any episodes a second time. But oh I do plan to. If only to watch as a storyteller to dissect what this story's maker was about.

Behind the Scenes Part One
Behind the Scenes Part Two
Behind the Scenes Part Three
Behind the Scenes Part Four

Read more...

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday Forays in Fiction: Thinking

Gots mai thinkin cap on  but is givin meh fitz
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Still doing a whole lot of thinking and dreaming in my FOS story world this week. But had to do most of it without trying to read my laptop screen as the crick in my neck I gave myself last week returns almost immediately upon tilting my head up to look down through the bifocal lens. So I've resorted to jottings on paper a few times but mostly I'm just thinking and day-dreaming. Also reading books and watching DVD and 'strolling' on my mini-tramp and fiddling with my crocheted and embroidered bookmarks. All while obsessively thinking about my story world. Only two weeks until NaNo and I so want to have certain issues figured out by then. Meanwhile my characters and their lives are more vivid to me than my own. I'm feeling like an alien in my own life. Which is more typical of week three of NaNo so I'm hoping that means I'll be hitting the ground running on day one.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009



At approximately 4:30 a.m. PDT tomorrow morning NASA's LCROSS (Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite)
mission will conclude with the dramatic impact into Cabeus crater near the moon’s south pole of first, the LCROSS Centaur upper stage rocket followed in four minutes with that of the LCROSS Shepherding Spacecraft.

The purpose of this exercise is to check for the possible existence of water which, if it exists and in enough quantity, would ease the logistics of establishing a human occupied base on the moon. Which really turns the crank of this veteran Trekker and avid consumer of Science Fiction stories.

NASA TV will be broadcasting the show live and it can be viewed online as well.

I'm fairly sure I'll be staying up to watch since, as I wrap this up, it's just under five hours away. I've been listening to NASA TV online as I worked which made putting this post together slower since I kept ducking over to the other tab to check out the video.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Olbermann Nails It


Here is the first of the five videos available on MSNBC of Keith Olbermann's hour long special comment about health care reform. Finally someone is talking about what matters and why it should matter and why we should care. For Keith as for so many of us the political has become personal. As he has been forced into an all to0 intimate and intense dealing with the health care system as over the past several weeks he helped his elderly father deal with a major life-threatening crisis.

I highly recommend watching all five. It is not just moving and thought-provoking but educational. Plus the story of his father's health crisis and his personal reaction to what he encountered during his father's care is scattered throughout the five segments. As you might imagine, I am intensely identifying with him as memories of my own mother's broken hip, hip surgery and post op stroke eleven months ago are triggered by Keith's story.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Pain in the Neck

jus who u callin pain  in teh nek?
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I'm paying a stiff price for all those hours working on my WIP looking down my nose at the computer screen last week--an extremely stiff and painful neck. The kind of pain that pops sweat on your forehead. And until I get my prescription lenses towards the end of the month I have to read the screen through a magnifying lens overlaying my bifocal lens which is hard to do without either tilting my head up and looking down my nose or going into some other contortion that is a pain in itself andthen would just relocated the pain to my shoulders or back or...

So I'm applying the motto, Moderation in all things, this week. Ha. Not my main forte. But they say pain is a great teacher.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Busy Trying to Find Out...

And then wut hapen??
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In three urgent areas:

My FOS story world as I prep another story for NaNo
The novel I'm currently reading (James Wood's The Book Against God)
Several DVD due at library this week.

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