Friday, July 30, 2010

One last before I go

So, it started with a truck. We were meant to get the 16' truck from Budget Truck Rentals. They didn't have one, although I had reserved it, and we were instead given a 24' truck for the same price as the 16'. This is interesting, given that they also didn't have the car dolly we were supposed to get and instead gave us a full car trailer. So now we have a full semi-length of moving truck and car towing.

Jason test-drove it a little and said he felt mostly safe, although getting used to planning for the trailer is going to be an issue.

Then, after about an hour more time than I thought it would take us, we got the truck back to the apartment, and tried to decide what to do with it.

My mother-in-law Robin deliberating with Jason as to how to get started filling this gigantic space.

It was a hot and incredibly sunny day, and there were three of us, and we went ahead and went for it.

My husband, and his wedding watch.

We had piles and piles, boxes upon boxes, of things to start from. We needed only to pile perhaps one layer or two along the whole floor of the truck, it was so much larger than the space we had originally planned for. I became less worried about fragile things when everything is in a single layer and a total avalanche-style collapse is not something we need worry ourselves so much about.

So in went the boxes.

And crates, and bed stuff, so on and so forth. I miss my books already.

At some point we took a quick break for pizza and water.

The heat had steam coming off of my ice water, the difference in temperatures was that extreme. It was something like 100 degrees with the heat index, which we're actually pretty used to so far this year, but it's no fun.

Then back to packing.

And now we sit in a house wherein 95% of the things are gone. We have a few things left to pack and some vacuuming and cleaning to do. I need to get everything out of the back rooms, vacuum them, clean the kitchen for once and for all, since we'll barely be using it today, and work on the bathroom later tonight. We'll just need to vacuum the living room before we go Saturday morning.

Tomorrow will be a very, very long day.

Adding to that excitement, new neighbors just moved in next door yesterday, and we have our stuff spread all over the place. We apologized, but they're just getting stuff unpacked and then heading out of town for a few days, so it looks like we won't have any trouble with the amount of space we're taking up.

Why am I writing so much detail, you ask?

Because we're only going to have internet for a short while longer. At some point today we have to pack this stuff up and take our internet modem back to Mediacom and bid our internet goodbye for the weekend.

I won't be back 'til Tuesday.

But when I get back, I'll be in another state unpacking in my new apartment and figuring out a whole new part of the country.

I sure hope everything goes at least fairly well, since I've already been shown that absolutely nothing will go according to plan.

C'est la vie, I suppose.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We interrupt this program...

My mother-in-law Robin is here! She came into town last night right around dinner time. This is the good news.

The bad news? Well, there's actually more bad news and more good news, both at the same time.

Bad news: Robin is allergic to our cat, or the trees, or something around here. So we're staying at a hotel! It's exciting, it sure is. I'm not sure what we're going to do when Jason's friends get into town, but for now, hotel!

Good news: Air conditioning! The hotel has cold air! Yay!

Bad news: Our rental company called us and let us know that we wouldn't be able to move into that apartment we had signed the lease for until at least next Thursday!

Good news: They called us back and gave us a different apartment, so we still get to move in on time!

Bad news: We're sleeping at a hotel, and I don't have a laptop. Actually none of us does. So I'm not sure what kind of updates I'll be able to do over the next few days. I'll be pausing the 30 Days of Book Questions until further notice.

Good news: Air conditioning yay!

So I'll try to write a bit tomorrow, but I promise nothing. Nothing I say!

Tomorrow we get the truck at 10 AM and begin the loading process... aren't you excited? I know I am.

I think we're going to escape this place and go to the bookstore and then eventually back to the hotel. So far it looks like Thai food for dinner.

Also exciting.

I'm off. Like I said, I hope to write a bit tomorrow and show some pictures from our packing adventures, but I don't have time to upload and edit them so nothing for now.


I'm going to go roll around in air conditioning at the bookstore now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

30 Days of Books, Day Five

Day 05 - A book or series you hate.

Oh, I think you all know what the answer to this one is. Indeed, I'm not even going to use my usual pictures, because I actually want to deny these books exist to the extent that I don't even want the images of their covers on my sites.

Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer.

I am not going to dance around my opinions here.

I don't want to give anyone the impression that I hate these books because they're especially heinous in a way that other books never have been. They're not: I've seen a thousand teen romance books that have incredibly unhealthy 'borderline-abuse-is-love' messages, I've seen a thousand books that redefine vampires until they no longer have any teeth, so to speak, I've seen a thousand books where the author forgot to write a plot until most of the way through the series because it's a lot more fun to write two people gazing longingly at each other.

I've read other books where the heroine is clearly a stand-in for the author (Laurel K. Hamilton is a good example of this) and yet so devoid of personality her only interesting character trait is her love story. I've read other books where the hero was so clearly a fantasy the author had one night and decided should be shared with the world.

The romance in these books could easily be described as  George Lucas romance, at least one George Lucas is allowed to write: everything is told, not shown, the dialogue is wooden and stilted and occasionally completely senseless, and the love story itself appears to have been dreamed up by a pre-adolescent living in a grown person's body.

They're written that way I wrote when I was fourteen, and that is not a compliment. You know the way: the way every fourteen year old girl writes, with flowery prose and too many declarations of love and an incredibly unrealistic vision of what 'true love' is.

To be honest, Stephanie Meyer is actually far from the absolute worst Young Adult author I've ever read as far as base talent goes.

I chose them over other books that have much the same (or, it is possible an even worse) level of awful because of their visibility and because of their incredibly large fan base. Meyer does possess some raw writing talent; however, the books read as if an editor never even looked at them, let alone did any actual editing work.

I've read the story of how the first book got published and frankly, I would believe that the editor who fell all over herself trying to get this book published let a lot slide.

They're just awful, each and every single one of them. They're terrible books. And they are proof that you don't have to be a good writer to find yourself on the top of the New York Times Bestseller's List. I won't say that makes me mad: more power to Meyer, she's set for life if she's careful about this. She got movie options that probably paid a pretty penny and she can keep writing, knowing she has a built-in audience who will eat up anything Twilight.

The books are so awful I used to wonder how they could even become so incredibly famous and well-loved, especially by so many wonderful people. I mean, I have family members, friends, all kinds of people I know who are smart, incredible people who love these books. And for a long time I just didn't get how people who were so wonderful could like such terrible books.

But I guess any reader will like something terrible in their lives. I am not immune. There's a romance novel out there somewhere with time traveling and Scotsmen that one day someone might force me to admit I thought was pretty cool when I was fifteen. Romance novels, I suppose, are a good example: so many of them hit the same awful notes: terrible near-abusive relationships, almost no plot, contrived 'love triangles' that make no sense, badly written sexy-times, terrible purple prose, all that fun stuff. So really, honestly, Twilight and all its problems are not all that special.

I feel like the main draw of the Twilight books is simply that many women (and men too) remember what it was like to be fourteen or fifteen, when your romance was YOU vs. THE WORLD, when it eclipsed (haha, see what I did there?) all other considerations like family, ambition, education, friendship, everything else. When the couple could sequester themselves together and make up wild plans that could never come to fruition, always stopped by The Man, be it their teachers, their parents, or some other Adult Figure come to tell them what to do. But Bella and Edward have remarkably little of that problem. Edward is a vampire; his 'father figure' is acting that way out of choice and Edward makes his own choices. Bella has no personality but whatever focus is currently on her romantic partner- she has a family that is more a sketched-in-doodle than actual parental units. It really is them vs. the world. Their romance really does eclipse anything else that even remotely might begin to think about happening.

And I think that mental place is fun to crawl back into for a lot of people, the place where it is only you and your boyfriend/girlfriend, and no one else.

Sometimes I like to crawl back into those books I loved as a teenager, too, or at least read books that allow me back in that mental space, but my teenage-feelings-mental-space is a little different and I just never got the appeal of these things.

But it is a book series that I hate. Indeed, it is a book series I would use the word loathing to describe my opinions of.

That doesn't mean that I love the people who read it any less.

We all have our literary skeletons in the closet.

I just wish everyone would stop trying to get me to "try again, you'll like it this time"!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Right in Front of You

When Jason and I were still dating, we went to his family's timeshare at Garden City Beach with some of his family. I am a Midwestern girl, born and bred- it's not that I've never seen the ocean before, I have, roughly three times now I think, I was even on it when we were on that family cruise-it's just that I never cease to be slightly unsettled by all that water.

All at once. All in one place.

Then again, I love shells. Jason loves to tell people the story about reminding me that the beach was miles and miles long, I didn't have to keep my seashell-hunt to the same ten foot square of space.

I wrote that in the sand and took a picture of it.

I like that picture.

I don't have much to say about today. We didn't get nearly as much done as I had hoped and yet are so hopelessly ahead of schedule I have a hard time worrying about it at all.

What we did get done: Swept and cleaned the hallway, cleaned out our closet entirely, packed up hangers, my shoe-shelves, a bunch of Jason's dress clothes, moved around some boxes, donated roughly one-third of my clothing to Goodwill. So that's something.

Tuesday's plan: Laundry! We need to get our last laundry-time in Carbondale over with (sniff... sniff). Then back here to dismantle the bed frames, vaccuum the bedroom and back bedroom...

Whew. I'm just glad I don't have to worry as much about running out of boxes. We still have four empty boxes just in case we need them! Which I'm pretty sure we will, at least a couple of them.

Well. Countdown five days. Eep.

30 Days of Books, Day Four

Day 04 - Your favorite book or series ever

Ever? Like, ever ever? Like in the whole history of ever, my favorite book or series? Ooooh, this is a tough one. Except that the answer to it already popped into my head, but still.

The thing with a question like this is that i'm always going to go for a book I read as a kid, because some of those books are incredibly well-written looking back, and I have the added nostalgia and fascination of reading and re-reading over time, discovering aspects to the book that weren't obvious to me as a little kid.

So, my favorite book or series ever.

This one, my friends, is going into a three-way tie. And not a single one of them is a book geared towards adults. Whatever this says about my personality, I'm okay with it.

The first book: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert O'Brien.

Mrs. Frisby is a mouse with children living in a farmer's field. Her late husband, Jonathan, was a mouse who seemed so often not to age as she did, was incredibly intelligent, and seemed sometimes to be not quite a mouse at all. When one of her children gets sick, she finds herself pressed to ask for help from the mysterious rats who live in the rosebush, and discovers an incredible connection between existed between Jonathan and the Rats of NIMH.

As a kid (well... even as an adult, I'm not ashamed to admit it) the secret-lives-of-animals books were it for me. I liked books where animals were the main characters, had thoughts and feelings. Where the field mouse I might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of running away from a fallen ear of corn in the fall might be a mother with children. Of course, Mrs. Frisby's life is a little more harrowing that I'd like the average field mouse's life to be.

This is on the list of Books My Kids Should Read. It's very well-written, there is a serious sense of panic and hurrying to have enough time through much of it, and of course if your kid reads this, prepared for them to be anti-laboratory-animal-testing after that...

I, somehow, do not yet own this book myself. It's on my list.

I have a very long list.

Next up: Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell.

Anna Sewell was a great lover of animals, and cruelty to animals was, to her, the greatest vice in the world. One of my favorite quotations is by her: 

"There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they life about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to other animals as well as humans, it is all a sham."

I agree, Ms. Sewell. 
Black Beauty is an absolute classic, one of those pieces of literature which endures over time even as time has changed so much. Black Beauty himself is warned as a foal by his mother that humans be cruel to the animals which belong to them, and Beauty's life is a study in both thoughtless, casual cruelty as well as a great and overwhelming amount of kindness. The story is told from Beauty's own perspective, and there is a constant sense of realism: of course, animals don't write books or perhaps even see their world the way we might see it, but Beauty is a believable narrator nonetheless: Anna manages to gives his thoughts and narration of his life a sense of "other"-ness that is all about him seeing the world as a horse and not a person.

This is on my list of Everyone Who Has Not Read This Should. Now. Now Now Now.

I'll wait.

For my third and final Favorite Book of All Time:

The Giver, by Lois Lowry.

I am a huge sci-fi fan, and especially a huge fan of worlds which seem utopian on the surface but underneath are as dystopian as they come. The Giver does not disappoint.

Jonah is a boy living in an unnamed community. He lives with two people who fill the role of his parents: when they wanted a first child, they filled out a form and awaited approval for a boy to be given to them. He has a little sister. Life is rigidly structured by Years in childhood: at age six you receive your first bicycle, for instance. At age 12 you begin to learn about the career which has been chosen for you, which you will then perform for the rest of your life. As an adult, you will be assigned a spouse if you apply for one, you may be assigned children if you are approved. As an Elder, you will retire from your job and live in the Elder's house and be cared for until you are Released.

But what is Release, exactly?

Lowry does an excellent job here: the sense of creeping not-quite-right starts out small in the first chapter and becomes overwhelming less than halfway through, and yet Jonah as a narrator is a wonderful not-quite-blank-slate. His growing awareness of the world around him once he is given the position of apprentice to the Giver, a mysterious old man whose face seems absolutely lined with pain, is painful and a little tragic and his uncertainty and fear is something you are with him through, the whole way.

The ending has been a little polarizing: you either love it or hate it. I came down solidly on the side of hating it as a kid, but I actually love it now. 

So those are my three favorite books of all time. I realize there is something wrong with me in that they're all kids' books.

Oh well! They're my kid's books and I love them.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Six Days

Countdown: six days.

I would estimate packing is about 75% done. I expect to be 95% done by Wednesday night, since we are loading that truck up like we were born to load moving trucks on Thursday.

The heat was not so oppressive today, although we are sweaty sweaty individuals. But we're actually gettin' some work done in the kitchen!

Which, interestingly enough, is also 75% done in my estimation. Maybe I just like that percentage.

We're taking a break now. I fully expect us to have this break, then take a walk, then return and finish up. We need to: finish moving things out of the kitchen to the "things which are packed" room in the back, finish cleaning surfaces, do dishes (yes, dishes), clean on top of fridge and the sides of it (cleaning in the fridge will not happen until Thursday), and mop the floors. And then all the kitchen will need is one more quick sweep, perhaps, before we go.

We found a Jell-O packet in one of the very top cabinets that we never put anything in. It is sugar-free Jell-O. We do not eat sugar-free Jell-O. It said "best by Feb 2009". I wonder how long that's been there.

For the sake of knowledge, it was strawberry.

No, we did not eat it.

I am craving dessert like crazy, however.

The cat does not like this "changing everything, putting stuff in boxes, and moving around a lot" thing. Not at all.

I am watching her stalk around all predatory and uncertain right now. I can almost see her thinking, "Well, at least everything still smells right..."

Just wait until we have her in a car for twelve hours on Saturday.

It just really sunk in that Saturday means this Saturday.

I'm going to go quietly freak out now.

30 Days of Books, Day Three

Day 03 - The best book you've read in the last 12 months

I'm going to narrow this to the best book I've read for the first time in the last twelve months. It's... it's safer to do that.

And here, I will have to let go of any pretensions of grandeur or highbrow reading and acknowledge that the best book(s) I have read in the past year is People of the Weeping Eye and People of the Thunder, by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neil Gear.

In an older entry I talked about this series of books and my incredible love for them. One of the things I have enjoyed about the continuing of the series is that fact that it is very rarely a set of books that deal with the exact same people, but rather a real world that contains a lot of stories about different people and the different ways in which they see and live in the world.

Sometimes a character will overlap, but almost never a main character, always side or background characters... or a main character from an earlier book will pop up again as a side character in a new one.

People of the Weeping Eye and People of the Thunder are exceptions. This was originally a single manuscript telling a single story, which got so long it was eventually split into two.

The Gears are archeologists and anthropologists first. Each of their fiction novels has an incredible bibliography attached to the end, referencing piles of papers, studies, and examinations done on sites all through the country. This is overwhelmingly noticeable in their novels: what characters ear, how they cook, the clothes they wear and how those clothes were made, how houses/shelters were built, all of these things are present in their books and described in a way that doesn't take away from the story.

For me, as interested in North American anthropology and archeology as I am even the fine arts that I got my degree in, this is an added draw to keep my attention.

The other draw in these books is simply that the Gears are incredible writers. Characters are fully fleshed out human beings with a past that happened before the book starts and a future that continues on afterward. One of my pet peeves is books which seem to have characters which only exist for the duration of the text.

The story, as its base, is this: A Trader is on the run from a tragic past, a girl with a specific form of madness who speaks backwards and lives backwards in time, an old Healer and a very lucky dog are called by the powers that be to head directly into danger and, if they prove themselves, come out the other side.

I was worried that the madness of Two Petals, who is called a Contrary and who generally speaks backwards and has a sense of living backwards through time (her memories are of things that haven't happened yet, basically) would be annoying or tritely written, but the Gears are careful to have her madness be an aspect of her character, but not her character's primary or only method of interacting with the world.

I had purchased the two books to read over the next month or so before I moved, around the beginning to June, to start reading in July. I picked the first up in late June, intending to start the process of reading through it.

I finished it four days later.

I finished the second book a week after that.

Absolutely I loved the writing, I loved every twist in the story. I stayed up into the wee hours of night reading to the end, I had to get to the end of the book, which is something I actually very rarely do.

So, yep. These were the best books I've read in the past year.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Three digits is one digit too many.

At least when it comes to temperatures, it is. At 7:30 PM I am still reading 93 degrees Farenheit with heat index making it feel close to 100. This is not pleasant, decidedly so.

We hung out with some friends of ours we adore and are sad to be losing and had delicious Chinese buffet for lunch. Jason is making a salad now while I sit here and think about how hot it is and drink endless glasses of ice water.

Plans have changed slightly: tomorrow is officially Kitchen Day, all day. We are going to make that room shine, darn it. And when that is done, take a break. And when that break is done, uhm, throw some stuff out because I have so much trash still. You never realize how much trash you accumulate until you're in the midst of moving.

Even with not having gotten nearly as much as I'd hoped to done for today, we're still basically ahead of schedule. We're treating this as if we actually have to leave Friday by 2 PM instead of Saturday by noon. Hopefully, this will lead to us basically being done by early Friday, which is good since my family's coming into town and there's going to be rather a lot of us going out to dinner and then hopefully escaping to a hotel for the evening.

I am going to go think very cold thoughts now.

Textures for both these pictures from this group on Flickr.

I like making pretty things.

30 Days of Books, Day Two

Day 02 - A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about.

This is very much a changeable thing for me.

Any book series I am currently reading that I can't find much discussion for I immediately feel that way.

In general, I wish people read more nonfiction, or at least people I know and regularly speak to. Nonfiction books can be incredibly exciting and/or fascinating, if done well, but no one ever seems to be reading them! Again, at least no one I know.

Specifically, I'm reading a series of books on the rise of medical science in the U.S., coming at it from two different perspectives. One side is a feminist look at the incredibly harmful medical "treatment" and "advice" doctors have given to women, starting at the mid-to-late 19th century and moving into contemporary timing, while the other is a look at the Spanish flu that killed so many millions of people during World War I with kind of a side-analysis of the rise of actual 'science' in medicine in the U.S. The feminist book is very critical of the medical establishment circa late-19th-early-20th century, with good reason... the book on the Spanish flu is full of a bit of fawning adoration, not without cause. I love the contrast.

I would love to be talking about this with more people!
For fiction, I'm going to go ahead and come down on The Night's Dawn Trilogy by Peter Hamilton.

 Part of this, I suppose, is the lateness to which I came to this series, but I've told everyone I know that's interested in sci-fi not to be frightened of the length but to pick it up and go. Each of these books is massive, but for a reason: there's a lot of story to tell, a lot of world Hamilton needs to build, and he does an excellent job of keeping you intrigued even as he weaves explanations for everything that's happening.

The Reality Dysfunction, The Neutronium Alchemnist, and The Naked God are incredible, if a bit polarizing, right up until the end, which to me is kind of the point. I love books that challenge my intelligence (even if sometimes I read the trashiest books ever-hey, you've got to have some variety here!) and Hamilton never disappoints. His other books, not set in this particular universe, are also incredible.

Still. I love this series. You're going to see it pop up again in these questions, I just love it that much.

So that's that.

Another book I wish more people were talking about is a book my brother Bryan got me, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi.

 Gorgeous cover art aside, this book is somewhat of a whirlwind masterpiece of sci-fi reading.

It's another sci-fi setting with an intricately designed and constructed world (that is inherently our own, if quite a bit different). I've seen a couple of reviews but no real discussion and this book is too fascinating not to discuss. Several different characters are intricately involved with each other here, from a "calorie man" who works for a hated agribusiness looking for useful mutations to take him, to the titular 'windup girl', a marvel of Japanese engineering stuck working in a brothel. Some really great writing is going on here and one thing that's really nice is to see a near-future sci-fi setting that does not focus on the U.S. overwhelmingly.

And I definitely think more people should be reading this!

So yep. That's my Day Two.

Friday, July 23, 2010

More of My Wild Photo Flailings

Let's see, things that got done today: more packing, some more plans about just what we might be packing later, and I did some more work on my "make photos look much older than they are" bit I've been playing around with in Photoshop.

I'm going to upload the waterfall here again, and show you all three that I've done, in order.

The first one I did. I've had slightly different plans for each of them. With this one, I was trying to recreate the idea of photographs wherein they used to paint the color in because they only developed in black and white... think very old National Geographic photos.

As stated in an earlier post this appeared in, this is one of the series of smallish waterfalls in downtown Greenville's park. The funny part about this is that during the time period whose photos I am attempting to recreate, these waterfalls would not have been here.

The idea here was just a regular photograph, albeit quite aged. This is a scenic lookout point in North Carolina on I-26 that Jason and I stopped out on our way back from visiting his folks in January. I took a picture of this because it was something like 2500 feet above sea level, which I believe is the highest I've ever been.

Today's experiment, which was simply on creating borders and some weirdness with texture.

This has been a great stress reliever for me during the move, something to focus on that isn't moving. I'm enjoying it a lot, too. The inspiration to do this came from some of the blogs I'm reading: Honey Rock Dawn, Kim Klassen Cafe, and prairie girl studio among them.

Should I keep sharing these as I make them, or should I show everyone some mercy and just keep it to myself?

30 Days of Books

I'm going to attempt to do this. I know I'll skip a few days when I move until we have internet again, but I'm sure you'll love me even so. Have I told you to prepare for that?

It could be as many as two or three days without updates here, from Saturday the 31st through Monday or Tuesday.

I know that's going to be stressful for everyone involved. I've actually really enjoyed writing in here and letting all of you peek into my incredible wells of rambling madness here.


30 days of book questions. And here we are at Day 1.

Day 01 - A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)

A book series I wish would just end already: The Exiles Trilogy by Melanie Rawn.  

The Ruins of Ambrai was published in 1994 and I think I got it when I was thirteen, around 1999 (I only know this because I remember taking it to one of my visits to see my friend Rikki after she moved) and it was the largest book I had tackled at that time.

It's set in a world which is not our own, which one could read as an alternate earth if they wished, but that is eventually sort of hinted at to be another planet which was colonized, but then technology and records of said colonization were lost and magic runs the world now. At its heart, it's the story of three sisters, with each book seeming to have a different sister at its 'heart', for good or for ill. Its sequel, The Mageborn Traitor, was published in 1997 and I got it in '99 as well, because I became obsessed with the first book and absolutely had to know what happened. It's incredible. It ends with an incredible twist and shift in storyline. It is the best 'middle' book in the series I have ever read.

Then... nothing. There is meant to be a third book. Melanie Rawn has written other books since then but has stated that she hasn't been able to finish the Exiles Trilogy due to some personal problems she had (which I've found hints that she became very depressed and returning to the world of the books tends to spark that depression again). I understand and I am willing to wait as long as it takes, but darn it, I want to know what happens to my favorite character.

Well that was long.

A book series I wish had gone on longer: Does it need to be a series, or can it be a book I wish was a series?

Well, I'm not going to list a specific book here, instead I'm going to talk about something I wish more writers would do.

I wish more writers would world-build and then write a series of books that exist within that world, not necessarily always about the same characters. The Exiles Trilogy, for instance, has Lenfell, this incredible world that Rawn built and that I adore and it has so much potential for incredible stories told about all kinds of people and history. If Rawn were to finish Exiles and then write more books about, say, Sarra's and Cailet's continuing adventures or their children or whatever, I would be disappointed.

Jason and I talk about this problem in regards to Star Wars novelizations a lot.

 There are too many novels that just repeat something Evil and Sinister happening to the characters from the movies.

There's a whole giant universe out there, explore it! My favorite Star Wars novels are those that deal with people who are not Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, or any of their children. Even if the original characters make an appearance, I'm usually happy as long as it's not All About Them.

So, in short, anytime I really like a series of books I usually wish not that that particular storyline would go on longer, but that the authors would explore different aspects of this incredible world they've built, different people, different stories.

Jacqueline Carey had a lot of potential for this, but has too much of a tendency to write The Incredible, Beautiful, Clever, Loved By All Female Protagonist character no matter who is technically telling the story.

Her Imriel-focused series (Imriel being a supporting character in the original trilogy and the main character of another) suffered for still focusing too much on Phedre. I haven't read her newest book but I was excited to see her dealing with the same world, but a completely different, unrelated story.

Wow that took a while.

Can you tell I like books?

Books books books.

Okay lunch-time now. Jason made delicious foods.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

inch by fitful inch

step by slow step

things get sorted through... like Lion-O here, who has been set aside to go in the box specifically for decorative things like stuffed animals.

set in their places to await the truck...

even the longaberger baskets have to be packed sometime... these are very, very close to my wedding colors.

packed up, taped shut as best they can be, hopefully labeled with their contents and eventual placement in mind.

with fragile things all wrapped up to protect them in cloth or packing paper.

Inch by fitful inch, step by slow step, we are getting there.

Countdown to our relocation is now at 9 days.

To give myself focus

The main part of this post isn't going to be about Illinois at all. I do want to let you all know that I saw the entire herd of deer together last night, and when they are not spread out, there are actually fourteen of them. Fourteen. That is four higher than the highest count for a single night for us, and I saw them all together last night. Including the buck, who we rarely see with the does, but he was there last night.

I also saw a coyote! While I was walking down the lane he wandered out of the grassy meadow across from the cornfield into the road without seeing me. Once he saw me, he froze. He and I looked at each other. I started taking photos. He looked at me for a moment longer, appeared to give the canine equivilant of a shrug, and ambled slowly across the road towards the cornfield.

Apparently there are many animals who find me mostly harmless.

I did not get a single shot of said coyote that was not absolutely awful, but I give you my best attempt and proof at least that I did see him:

Stupid weird light quality messing with my camera.

Now I told you I wasn't going to focus on Illinois today, and I'm not. I have some old pictures of Greenville's pretty downtown park, and I am going to post them and remind myself that the place I am moving to has a very pretty park.

Also gelato.

This is what happens when I get creative. I took a photo, put a texture over it, then fiddled with the colors to give it the look of those really old nature photos, back when they had to paint the color in because color was not a part of the development process.

No creativity here. Just another photo of the waterfall.

And some trees.

Okay, now I need to keep that in my mind while I try to work on the rest of the back bedroom today.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Close Encounters of the Doe Kind

I did some packing work on the back room last night. I took out trash bits, one by one. So much trash. There is just so much that we had kind of let go in the back room because really, no one has honestly slept in the guest room really but -us- during an intriguing bout of laziness called "All of the blankets and pillows are on the futon because we had a party and we're too lazy to just move them, so we'll sleep on the futon for three days."

Such is the joy of adulthood and a guest bed.

In any case, I did a lot of trash-bag emptying yesterday. And it's summer, so it's hot, and it's been rainy, so it's horrifyingly humid, and I was kind of dragging myself out to the dumpster to dump the last trash bag, staring at the gravel rocks in our driveway and sort of telling myself "It'll be over soon, Katie. It'll be over soon." I'm on the phone waiting for Jason to pick up at work and when I get to the dumpster, I dump my bag of trash in, look up, and just as Jason picks up and says hello I realize there is something right in front of me, in the wooded area just behind our dumpster, between us and a field.

I left the dumpster in for context so you can get a better idea of just how close she was. I hissed at Jason that I was looking at a deer right now and had a quick, whispered conversation with him. Throughout all of this, the doe stared at me like one might look at a particularly interesting book cover in Barnes & Noble: vaguely fascinated but not really willing to put the effort in to either look closer or just walk away.

I did not have my camera at this time. I hung up with Jason, slowly walked back into the house and picked up my camera, and slowly walked back, expecting the whole time for her to have wandered off or run away.

She was in the exact same place.

We continued to stare at each other, and at some point I turned my camera on and took pictures. For a good three minutes straight, because at sunset the light quality gets weird and my camera only gets a good photo in every one out of ten or so.

At some point she ambled forwards a little bit. She was not alarmed at all, just keeping an eye on what I was up to just in case she needed to be.

We continued to make eye contact, just kind of looking each other over.

After a bit, she finally decided it was time to wander off.

So she walked away, in no particular hurry, into some trees. She never flashed her tail or made any sign of being scared at all.

It was very cool.