Archive for September, 2008

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Cool find

September 29, 2008

Just found a cool site.  It’s the Fantasy Book Critic.  It has reviews and info for all kinds of Fantasy reading materials.  I’ll put this in my links section, too.  ENjoy!

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In another’s words

September 28, 2008

Since I did a post on beliefs, I decided to post this quote:

The “I Believe” speech from Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods”

I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen–I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones who look like wrinkledy lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women.  I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone’s ass.  I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline of good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state.  I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative.  I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of The Worlds.  I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind’s destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it’s aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there’s a cat in a box somewhere who’s alive and dead at the same time (although if they don’t ever open the box to feed it it’ll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself.  I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn’t even know that I’m alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck.  I believe that anyone who says that sex is overrated just hasn’t done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what’s going on will lie about the little things too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies too. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, a baby’s right to live, that while all human life is sacred there’s nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system.  I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive

and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.

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What I did on Saturday

September 28, 2008

Waited in a line for 3.5 hours.  In the rain.  For a signature.  

The story: Hubby, Princess and I headed out to the National Book Fest on the mall ( the big swath of green in between all the Smithsonian buildings for those who don’t know) in Washington, D.C.  It’s all part of the whole Fall for hte Book thing and basically they have a bunch of authors who speak and sign stuff.  The First Lady was ever there signing stuff (The festival is done by her and the Library of Congress).  The reason we were going was to see Neil Gaiman.  If you’ve never heard of him he’s a fantasy writer who writes rather dark stuff ranging from comic books (his Sandman series is on of the best out there) to children’s books.  He’s about to release a new book, The Graveyard Book, which is a teen/kids book about a child raised in a graveyard by the dead.  As I said, he’s rather dark, but he’s an amazing writer and often his things have a lot of wit in them.

He was speaking at 11:45 and we actually made it out of the house in good time.  We unfortunately decided to drive in which meant finding parking. Ha.  Hubby has a pass to park for free where he works in D.C., but we didn’t bring it, so we drove around looking for parking for about 30 minutes before I finally told him to drop me and Princess off and just go park in a garage somewhere, even though it would cost money.  Next time we’ll either take the stupid pass (hindsight is 50/50 – always pack up the diaper back and get everything ready the night before) or just take the Metro in.  Hubby got there just after he started speaking.  It was a pretty packed tent.  it was very neat to hear Gaiman speak and he read a chapter out of his upcoming book.  He also gave the background of how the book came about.  Apparently, when his son was very little, they lived in an apartment in a very tall house with lots of stairs.  His son had a trike and couldn’t really ride it in the house, so Gaiman took him across the street to a churchyard (with a graveyard) and his son would ride his bike there.  This apparently got Gaiman’s mind working and he wondered what would happen if, like in The Jungle Book, a boy were orphaned and raised not in human society, but instead of animals, he was raised in a graveyard by the dead (this is how his mind works, apparently).  He said he wrote a chapter and decided he wasn’t a good enough writer at the time to write the story.  Every 5 years or so he’s pick it up again and write a chapter and decide he wasn’t good enough yet.  Then, a few years ago, he picked it up again and wrote a chapter in the middle of the book (deciding it would go better than writing from the beginning) and was about to call it rubbish when his daughter walked in and asked him to read it.  he did and she asked what happened next.  He said that got him hooked and now he had to write it because someone was interested.  All in all it was a really good talk and it was neat getting to listen to him.

Neil Gaiman Speaking

Neil Gaiman Speaking

So, as I said before, he has a book coming out.  however, as a special thing for the bookfest, they were welling the books early – books not available anywhere else, yet.  Cool, right?  Well, I had to feed Princess right after hearing Gaiman speak, so I told Hubby to go buy a book while I fed her.  He said no, because I’d want to look at the books, too, and instead he got lunch for us and we ate.  Of course (remember what I said about believing in Murphy’s law the other day) by the time we got there they were already sold out of the books.  Grr.  I can’t believe they didn’t stock enough books.  I mean, he’s a very popular author and they aren’t available elsewhere.  of course they’re going to be a lot of people wanting them.  Hmph.

Waiting Area Sign

Waiting Area Sign

So, we went over to the book signing area and got in line.  Then we found out we were in the 6th line (out of 7 eventually) for Gaiman’s signature.  Remember that hindsight is 50/50 thing?  yeah. guess we should have grabbed a spot in line, then I should have fed Princess and had Hubby go get food, etc.  Oh well.  We met some nice folks in line and chatted with them – after all, we had 3 and a half hours to kill.  The couple in front of us were pregnant, so we talked about babies and warned them to get all the sleep they could now.  Princess was pretty good during everything.  She was unhappy a little bit, but Hubby took her for a walk around the reflecting pond and through the botanical gardens and she napped.  I figured we’d be home before I had to feed her again, since the author was only supposed to be signing until 3, but he decided to stay until 5 since there were so many people, so I had to feed her again (good thing I breastfeed and don’t have to worry about a bottle).  Of course, since we were out, Princess had an explosive diaper situation.  Thankfully I brought a change of clothes for her.

Poop alert: this next paragraph discusses baby poop – You have been warned.

Speaking of explosive diapers, never give a baby iron supplements unless directed to.  The doc told us to pick up vitamin D for Princess since she’s exclusively breastfed. Hubby went out and picked up some baby vitamins, but all they had was a multivitamin that also has iron in it.  We only gave her two doses, but her tummy hasn’t been the same since.  She doesn’t go for a day or two, then has lots of poop in a diaper.  It’s also runnier than it used to be, and stinks more.  I did some research and apparently, the iron they get from breastmilk is a more soluble form and introducing other iron can also introduce bacteria,etc. into their system.  But her stomach has never gotten hard and she’s not in pain and her behavior never changed and she’s not really getting diarrhea, plus, she’ll be starting solid foods in a couple of months and her whole system’s going to be out of whack anyway, so I figure it’s all right.

Back to the story:

So we waited and waited.  It rained off and on.  We got to try out  the rain shield I recently got for Princess’ carriage. Works great.  She was probably the driest of everyone.  I hoped people would leave from the rain, but not many did.  Lots of die hard fans out there.  In fact, one of the girls around us said dinosaurs would have to attack and carry her away in order for her to leave. lol.  The rain did produce a beautiful rainbow over the capital building.

 

Me and Princess

Me and Princess

 

Hubby in the rain

Hubby in the rain

 

Hubby and Princess

Hubby and Princess

 

Capital rainbow

Capital rainbow

So, 5:00 came around and we were finally close to getting our books signed, and they announced that instead of us going up there, we were all to have our books open and he was going to just go down the line and sign them – one book only, no personalizations or anything (apparently, the people in the first lines got to have several books signed each, personalizations, and he also did drawings – nice for them, not so nice for the rest of us) – so that he could get to everyone.  Thankfully, since there were two of us, we got two books signed.  And, when he saw Princess in her carriage and i told him the book I had was for her (out copy of Stardust – I was originally going to get it personalized for her) he drew a little shooting star picture in it, which was very nice of him.

Almost there

Almost there

Gaiman signing books

Gaiman signing books

Then we went home.  Hubby was kinda grumpy. He’s not really the spend all day doing nothing kind of person.  I thought it was a neat experience.  I wonder who’s going to be there next year…

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Literary Review

September 26, 2008

My book reports

I finished the book I was reading, and I figured I might as well give a review for a bunch of books at once, since  I’ve read them all over the past couple of weeks.  So here goes:
The icebound Land and Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan
These are part of hte same series, so I’ll review them as one.  I actually already read the first one, but it had been a while, so I decided to re-read it  before reading the most recent release.  THis is a YA fantasy fiction series in an alternate historical world based very much on Europe.  THe main character is an orphan who is apprenticed to be a Ranger, basically a scout/spy/woodsman type of thing.  THese books focus on what happens after he and the princess are kidnapped by Skandians (basically Norse) to be slaves.  I like the series.  It’s very well written.  A new book is coming out soon and I’m already on the waiting list at hte library.

Don’t hex with Texas : a novel by Shanna Swendson
A fun read.  Again, part of a series.  This is fantasy romantic comedy.  Basically a girl moves to New York and discovers she is immune to magic and is recruited by a company that is the “microsoft of spells” and other magic stuff.  TUrns out magic, wizards, fairies, and gargoyles are all real.  As I said, it’s a romance, so, of course, she has a crush on someone at work – a magical person of course.  In this book, she’s back home in Texas, avoiding him so he can focus on hunting down the major villain in the series. THen, she finds out someone’s using magic in her town.  Lots of good twists.  A fun read and a happy ending.

First among sequels by Jasper Fforde
I really like this author’s books.  THis is part of a series set in an alternate reality to ours where time travel is real and there are secret organizations like literary detectives.  The main character can actually go into books and has to solve problems that are happening in the book world (the author’s other series are mystery novels where hte detective is Jack Spratt and the mysteries are all nursery rhyme characters).  This books happens 14 years after the previous ones.  THe main character lives her life, keeping secret from her husband that she is still a part of the secret literary force and still goes into the book world.  The ability to time travel will end soon if her son doesn’t join the time traveling force, books are being turned into reality TV shows, Her uncle turns up as a ghost, and lots of fun things happen.  These are great books if you’re into reading because of all the literary references.

That’s it for now.  I’ll report in next week when I finish my current read.  So go sit down and read a book.  Now.  What are you waiting for?

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foto friday

September 26, 2008
Zzzz. I didn't spike the milk, I swear

Zzzz.

 

fun with flowers

fun with flowers

I didn’t spike her milk, i swear!  I propped her up on the couch (she loves trying to sit up) and she kinda started sliding to the side.  The pose she landed in was so funny. The second pic is me having fun with the camera and the cute pattern on her little overalls.  I love the hand gesture. That was a lucky shot. lol

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Writer’s Workshop

September 25, 2008

TodAy’s topic is:

10 things I believe in…

1. God.  This is not as apparent as it would seem, at least not in my group of friends and family.  Maybe I just know too many mathematicians and scientists.

2. THe inherent goodness of people.  I do think people are basically good.  I admit that there are those that aren’t, but I don’t think they started out that way.  They are either sick or something was done to them that made them the way they are.

3. Murphy’s Law.  ENough said.

4. Education is good.  Duh, right?  But you’d be surprised at how many things could be better in this world if people were just educated about them.  Bigotry, racism, sexism, teenage pregnancies, etc.  Ignorance is such a big factor in these things.

5. My child is a mind reader.  I mean it.  SHe knows exactly when I am about to eat, go to the bathroom, make dinner, do laundry, go to sleep, etc. and chooses that exact moment to wake up or start crying for whatever reason.

6. Everyone should travel.  THis kind of goes along with the whole education thing.  I love my country, but I learned so much traveling outside of it. I now know why I love where I live, as well as those things that could stand a little improvement (like free healthcare – it’s amazing how much having a kid costs).

7. marriage is forever.  It’s not always easy and it takes work, but marriages should not be ended just because the people have a fight.  That said, marriage should not be entered into lightly.  I am all for mandatory counseling before a couple gets married. You need to know who the person is that you’re marrying.

8. Naps are good.  I still don’t understand why, as kids, we are forced to take naps, then they are suddenly taken away.  Siestas for all!

9. Everyone needs a hobby.  People need something besides work (especially workaholics like Hubby) to relax and destress.

10. laughter really is the best medicine.  However you can get it (I’m a big fan of America’s funniest videos), it may not solve your problems, but it will help you get through them.

Here’s an extra one.  I believe you should never skip dessert.  Have it first if you want to, with any meal you want to.  Heck when I go to restaurants, I get dessert to go if I can’t eat it then and there.  ENjoy the sweet things in life and don’t worry about the calories.

to see other entries and the origin of the writer’s workshop, visit Mama’s Losing It

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Wednesday’s Word

September 24, 2008

I had fun doing a opst from a dictionary world last week, so I’ve decided to make it a permanent feature.  Every Wednesday, I will open the dictionary and pick a word and write something based on that word.  So, here goes:

Word: Slate Blue – meaning: A grayish blue to dark bluish gray

This describes Princess’ eyes right now.  THough, it’s probably more brown than gray.  It will be interesting to see what color eyes she ends up with.  Apparently they can actually change color anywhere up to three years.  I have brown eyes and so does Hubby, but we each have a blue-eyed parent.  And apparently hazel eyes also run in my family according to my mom.  According to one web site, they won’t get lighter or more blue, though, so I’m thinking brown or hazel.  Hazel would be neat.

We’re also waiting to see what color Princess’ hair will eventually be.  Right now it’s a coppery color, which is similar to mine.  Her newborn hair is starting to fall out and her new hair is a little bit lighter, but still a similar shade.  I’d be thrilled to have a redhead, but red doesn’t run in Hubby’s family, so who knows.  And his mom said he had light hair when he was young, but now it’s a dark brown.  I like his hair color and I think it would look pretty on Princess, too.  I hate waiting.  SIgh.

 

Here are some fun facts:

  • did you know that green is by far the rarest? In fact, less than 2 percent of the global population possesses green eyes. As a country, Turkey has the highest percentage of citizens who have green eyes, at 20 percent. There are a number of countries – generally located in Asia, South America, and the Middle East – where green eyes are almost completely absent among the population.
  • Did you know that blue eyes are the most common eye color for Caucasians, over amber, hazel, grey, and green? In fact, over 80 percent of the population of Iceland has either blue or green eyes
Too bad we don’t have any green genes.  Well, that’s it for now.  Talk at ya later!