Thursday, June 30, 2011

DUDE. Wait...what? Shit, really!?

Such was my thought process when I received the email from one of the Phila Scriptfrenzy MLs that Camp NaNoWriMo, an extension of regular NaNoWriMo, begins tomorrow.


CampNaNo, as I've just found out (because the last I heard of it the website hadn't even launched yet. Thanks for the heads up, OLL) is regular NaNo: 30 days (or... well, 31 since July and August have 31) and 50,000 words except the website is in its test run and it is for the month of July.

And then again in August.

with supposedly a new and improved website, which probably means we can all look forward to an epic collapse similar to the one that kicks off NaNo every. single. year.

Really guys, don't you PLAN ALL YEAR for this?! I guess it must be harder than it looks. You're doing a fabulous job, we still love you, don't worry.

So anyway.... since I've jumped into NaNo with less time and planning before (yes it is, in fact, possible) I will be starting the first of three, THREE!, epic novel writing months this year.

I'm so fucking excited!
This is just what I need to break the writer's block I've been having since...oh, scriptfrenzy? Maybe even before.

And I do actually have an idea what I'm going to write, since I failed miserably at last year's NaNo because I was drowning in a sea of crocheted tablecloth. I got about a thousand words, so I'm going to edit them and keep going tomorrow.

Also!! My dearest writer friend Ashley is leaving me for Budapest in the fall, where she will be getting her master's at Central European University (don't even ASK how jealous I am, I will not be held responsible for what happens to you) and we're going to start a blog in the style of Nimble Fingers and Steady Eyebrows. It was supposed to launch tomorrow. Hopefully it still will. Stay tuned.

I am off to shower and clean the apartment because that will not be happening again until september 1.

Did I mention I also want to submit 3 short stories (as yet unfinished) to Glimmertrain for the July open submission?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some Book Reviews

I've finished two books recently, that I haven't reviewed for you. I've been slacking, sorry. I avoided the first one because I didn't really have much to say about it, and now that I've finished another book that I also don't have much to say about, I figured I'd lump them into one short-ish post.

I don't really recommend either of them. Just putting that out there. You can stop reading now if you like.

The first is I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill.
While it's about little kids, I'm pretty sure it's not meant to be a kids book. Edmund Hooper, a little boy with mommy issues moves into his grandfather's house with his widower father. The father employs a woman and her son (who is the same age as Edmund and has daddy issues) to stay and take care of the house, and be a companion for himself and a friend for his son.
Of course the boys hate each other, and thus begins a war between them while the parents remain blissfully ignorant and think the boys are best friends.

It reminded me a lot of that movie, The Good Son, except both these boys are Macaulay Culkin's character, so you can imagine how it ends. The end was really the only part that made me sit up and pay attention, just because I didn't think she'd actually go through with it.

The second book is The Cheese Monkeys by Chip Kidd.
I was warned about this book. My friend Erin said "the set up is good; the second half is terrible."

I mostly agree.

It's narrated by a boy who is in his freshman year as an art major at state university, who knows nothing about art because he really didn't want to go to college, so art was the easiest, least like work major that he could come up with. He meets Himillsy Dodd and the two of them set off judging and critiquing art in their own way.
Think about how stuffy and pretentious people can be about art. Now take that to the other extreme, and that's these two. Except they're so extreme in their making fun of art that they're annoying.
The book reminded me too much of The Catcher in the Rye, which is why I didn't like it. These characters, like Holden Caulfield, spend the whole time judging the other "phonies" when they, like Holden, are the phoniest of all.

I just kept hearing his voice in my head the whole time I was reading and we all know how much I loathe Holden Caulfield.

So there you have it. Next on my shelf to read is Gene Wilder's My French Whore.
I adore Gene Wilder. Review when it's finished. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Misshapen Washcloth

I learned to knit!

I'm terrible at it.

And I still like crochet better.

But. I am on a quest to make Ben some socks. So here's my first misshapen washcloth, done entirely in knit stitch.

(I started practicing purling last night, and it's a bitch. I don't think it would have been any harder if I had hooves. Opposable thumb FAIL.)

Ta da! Hopefully I'll be back more regularly. I had some health issues, but 8 days of high test antibiotics seems to have taken care of things. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Short Story

A drabble, really.

When they told me that Lucy the Italian Water Dog was terrified of cats, I didn't really believe them.

Turns out, it's true.

We were walking along today, minding our own business, when a big orange cat comes out of an open door and hisses and spits at us. Apparently we got too close to his territory, even though we had no idea he was there.

I processed all of this after the fact though, because when it happened all I was aware of was being dragged down the sidewalk so Lucy could cower behind a flowerbox.

After the fact, I had to laugh at her because the irony was too great. But I did give her an extra treat for surviving her traumatic ordeal.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Evolution of Wool Part 1

I tried this last night, but blogger was being a jerk, so let's try it again.

Remember how I got all that wool as a gift? It looks like this:

Because it was a gift I can't tell you what kind of sheep it came off of. It was a black sheep, though.

Several hours were spent washing and picking bird seed out of a small amount of that bag. Apparently something had nested in the bag at some point, because I made a mess all over the porch with bird seed and corn that came out of it.
Anyway, after about 2 hours, maybe a little more, of washing individual locks of wool, I had this:

I know, they look like rodents.

Next is carding, which can be done on a drum carder (which is crazy expensive and so not in my budget right now) or on hand carders (also rather pricey). can be done on dog brushes, which is what I used. It would be easier with actual wool carders, but since I got two brushes for half the price of one carder, I'm going to stick with the brushes, at least until Rhinebeck this year.

Carding aligns the fibers so that they're all the same length and going in the same direction. Then they can be rolled into rolags and spun.

That's all I've got so far. It's a time consuming process, but it's fun. When I've got some spun, I'll show you!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Photo, a debate, and a heartbreaking story

3 things, today. We'll start with the light stuff, and leave you with the heavy. Why? Not because I'm mean, but because the heavy is the most important. It's been proven that people remember the first and last things in a list, or a variety show, whatever. I want you to remember this last thing.


the shawl that I just started totally looks like a Luna Moth. Right?

Next up, a debate on YA books.

The Wall Street Journal posted this article, or blog I guess, since it is entirely this one woman's misguided opinion on how "dark" YA has become, and should we be (she says no, we shouldn't) be letting our teenagers read this.

Read that first.

Then read THIS response to it by the wonderfully reasonable and funny Linda Holmes of NPR Books "Monkey See" blog.

As I'm sure you've already guessed, I completely agree with Linda Holmes. I usually do. Especially on her opinion of Twilight, but that is not what we're talking about here.

Tell me: if we shouldn't be letting teenagers read dark books, should we be letting them watch television at all? I'm not even talking tv shows. I'm talking NEWS. The WORLD is dark, especially when you're a teenager. And yes, some people had gloriously happy, stress free, golden teenage years. This is not the norm. It's why every YA book has, at its core, the same damn plot (something that I find endlessly irritating, but again, not the topic of discussion).

Girls feel enormous pressure to be pretty and skinny, and yes, it leads to eating disorders. I can think of two without really trying from my graduating class of 80 kids.

Teenagers cut themselves. Again, can think of two without much thought.
They think of suicide, they try alcohol, sex and drugs.

Letting them read only books about butterflies and rainbows isn't going to change this. Letting them read books about tough and, to a certain extent taboo, topics will make them feel like they're not alone.

And I agree with Linda that reading these things isn't going to turn them all into any crazier people than the overload of hormones already has. Just like as an adult reading Misery will not turn you into Kathy Bates.

But maybe they'll realize that they're not alone. Maybe it will scare them straight. Do they want to die like Alice, or should they seek help for their addictions?

YA has its place. And while I do think that the majority of it is cookie cutter drivel, there are some that are worthwhile stories that need to be read. But that's just me. I am a firm believer in parenting, not sheltering.

Sheltered kids are the most dangerous kind, because they know nothing, and that will always, ALWAYS get them into trouble.

Finally, I present you with a blog post about AIDS. It has been 30 years since the first reported cases of AIDS, and it is no less heartbreaking and important a topic than it was then.

You can find the article HERE. It is beautiful, and painfully sad.
I leave you a quote from it, from an anonymous person who put their thoughts into a time capsule 30 years ago:

Look back in wonder. Prepare for the next time.
Do not forget us.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Finished Llama Friday!

Oooooh wait. It's Saturday. Yeah, I meant to post this yesterday. so it goes.

I've finished the wrap that I made with the burnt orange Baby Llama yarn. I love it!! Soooooo soft and lovely.
Also, the pattern, called Autumn Leaves Wrap, and available for free(!) on Ravelry is lovely. So easy, and it worked up so fast, that I do believe it will resurface at Christmastime.

In other news, I've begun work on one of the MANY bags of fleece that I was given, but that is a post for another day when I have more progress to show you. I just washed today, and I think I'll probably just wash tomorrow as well.

And now, may I present...

...Baby Llama!