Thursday, February 09, 2012

Time for a different purse

Yesterday I finally gave up on my fanny pack. I think that that one was about a year and a half old, and was falling apart, and my phone kept falling out of its pocket. I'd really like them to hold up better than that, but we haven't really found anything that will.

I've been looking at Walmart and Target to see if they had any bags that I'd like, but I haven't been able to find anything. I find big bags, little bags, in-between bags, but nothing that'd really fit me. Fanny packs are not in at the moment, so I didn't really expect to find one. We've been buying them the last few years at Worlds of Fun, so maybe I'll be able to get a decent one once they open this summer.

But anyway, if I can't find a fanny pack, my next choice would be one of those smaller over the shoulder half backpack bags. But those must also be out of style, since I couldn't find any. The purses and bags that I could find all tended to have the same problem, though. A serious lack of pockets. I depend on pockets to keep all my stuff organized, so that I can find it. Keys go in this pocket, phone goes in that one, calendar and notebook go over there, pens go here (by the way, I need to dig out some more), etc. But the big totes all had one pocket, and some others may have had one or two, but that's it. One bag looked promising, but half its pockets were fake, and the rest were pitifully small. What's the point in putting a fake pocket on a bag?

I finally dug out one of my old purses that I could find, and transferred my stuff into it. I haven't used it in years, it's probably older than my son (12). It's decent sized, with enough pockets and divisions to satisfy me, and in reasonably good shape. But the day that I've been carrying it reminds my why I switched to fanny packs in the first place. Any time I move at all, it slips off my shoulder, and down my arm, so I have to keep sliding it up. I'd far rather have my arms free.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Writing Update

It's been one of those weeks. Between putting my hand through the bathroom wall, and trying to figure out how to pay for that, and planning a couple of other projects that have come up that we'll basically be saving up all summer for, I didn't take as much time for writing last week as I should have.

Which is a shame, since the times that I did write, the words just seemed to flow. Mostly in fun world-setting that doesn't move the plot. And I might not have gotten enough details in anyway, even if I'll have to cut everything out later, since I spent a lot of time saying how delectable Andrea's cooking was, without really describing what it tasted like.

And, no, it doesn't taste like chicken. Except, of course, when she serves chicken.

I'm thinking I must have been hungry when I was writing that.

I've also fallen a couple pages behind in my typing, and will have to spend the next day or two to make sure that I type more than I write until I catch up. At the moment, I have about 5,500 words started, not counting the ending which I've written. Counting the words that I've written, but not typed yet, that brings it up to about 6,000 words.

Which isn't really all that much, when you look at it. I'm still hoping to have a reasonably complete rough draft by summer vacation, though.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Book Review -- Troll Valley

Troll Valley
by Lars Walker
Kindle Format
Epub Format

I've never done a book review before, so I'm still figuring out how to do it. First of all, I'll say that I really enjoyed reading "Troll Valley". I'd call it a Christian/American Historical Fiction (turn of the 20th century)/Fantasy book, with a light dusting of horror from time to time (mostly off screen).

When I started the book, the fact that it opened with a character waking up in a strange room with no idea where he was, or how he got there, I almost burst out laughing. That set-up is almost a cliché for a bad slush entry. Fortunately, though, it didn't stop me from reading it.

I enjoyed the fact that the book was unabashedly Christian, though not always in favor of the Church, especially as shown in the narrator's mother.

Another thing that I really enjoyed about the book was the glimpses of magic seen throughout it. The narrator will be talking about some perfectly ordinary happening of the early 20th century, and then suddenly and matter-of-factly go into a vision or some other magical event. He does no magic, but has magic in his blood, which profoundly effects him and his family, even four generations later.

Portions of the book revolve around the narrator's church experience, which starts off well, and gradually deteriorates. But at the climax of the book, some of the characters stop a great evil from being done by quoting Scripture. That was a high point of the story to me.

The low point was the section shortly before that, where we watch the first person narrator gradually turning himself into a world-class jerk, and seeing all his justifications for it.

The main story ends on a sustained note of pure, undeserved grace. I enjoyed it, but it reminded me, that to the world, and on the outside, moments of grace can sometimes be confused with stupidity. It also made me wonder how Bathsheba felt.

Shout out, you stones!

Shout out, you stones!
Shout out, you rocks!
For the Lord is coming again.

Cry out, you stones!
Cry out, you rocks!
In praise sing out until then!

Every valley will be raised up,
Every mountain brought low.
The whole earth will be as a highway
For the foot of the Lord to go.

Shout out, you stones!
Shout out, you rocks!
For the Lord is coming again.

Cry out, you stones!
Cry out, you rocks!
In praise sing out until then!

Before, the sun hid his face,
Before, the light became dim,
But when He returns, the sun will shine brightly
As the whole earth worships Him.

Shout out, you stones!
Shout out, you rocks!
For the Lord is coming again.

Cry out, you stones!
Cry out, you rocks!
In praise sing out until then!

From the silence of the grave,
To the glories of Heaven above,
All the earth will be filled with His praise,
And wonders and grace and love.

Shout out, you stones!
Shout out, you rocks!
For the Lord is coming again.

Cry out, you stones!
Cry out, you rocks!
In praise sing out until then!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The dangers of re-reading too quickly

I have lots of books that I like to read, and re-read frequently. For instance, I'm in the middle of re-reading The Lord of the Rings. That's been one of my favorite books since junior high school, and I've re-read it every couple of years since. We've worn out at least one set of those books. Now I've got it on my Nook, so I shouldn't have to worry about wearing it out any more.

But if you take a book, and re-read it a couple of times in close succession, various plot holes, and other things, that you might not have noticed otherwise might suddenly loom so huge that they suck all the joy out of that reading.

The one that comes to mind immediately was when I discovered "The Little Princess" by Frances Hodgson Burnett (she also wrote "The Secret Garden). I was in college at the time, and so really out of the targeted age bracket. But I picked up the book, and immediately loved it. I loved it so much that as soon as I finished reading it, I turned around and read it again.

I think it was on my third reading of the book, still in close succession, that my mind suddenly asked me, "Why didn't the father's friend contact the lawyer (solicitor)?" ::poof:: All the magic in the book was suddenly gone, and it was a few years before I could read it again. Of course, if the father's friend had contacted the lawyer, it would have been a much shorter book. But the he should have, it should have been an absolutely obvious first step for him. And even if he didn't think of it, his own lawyer should have.

Perhaps the author had put in a few lines about how the father's friend had wanted to contact the lawyer, and wasn't able to, but the editor took them out to tighten the story, or perhaps it had never occurred to her that the question might come up to someone. Probably no way to know, now.

I've had similar things happen when reading other books, though I don't think any of them were quite as dramatic. So, now I usually try to put a little time, and other books, between when I first read a book, and when I re-read it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Writing Schedule

I've been trying to stick to a schedule that will allow me to write, exercise, and get the house work done. And I've got one that works, if I actually follow it. That's the hard part.

It involves me leaving the house at 9, 9:30 at the latest. Monday and Friday, I can go down to the community center, and take some water exercise classes, while Tuesday and Thursday I can work with the weight machines. Wednesday, I go grocery shopping. However, if I don't get out of the house by 9 on the class days, or 9:30 (though 9 would be better), I have a tendency to waste the whole day. I can go to the classes from 9:30 to 10:15, or whenever they end, get to the library by 11, write until 1, come home again, and work on cleaning. Funny thing is, though, if I don't leave the house, then absolutely nothing gets done. I don't like that, and need to figure out how to change it.

I'm also going to have to figure out a different schedule for when the kids get out of school. But fortunately, I've got some months to consider it.

I've been working on my Unicorn Return story, and having a blast with it. It is really annoying, though. I can sit at my AlphaSmart Neo and write this blog without any trouble (I have more trouble remembering to put it into the computer and posting it), but I can't sit here and write my story that way. I've tried, and I stare at the screen, and it stares back at me. So, I've been writing it out by hand, then typing it into the Neo the next day. That way, I don't get too much of a back-log needing to be typed, and get my mind going the right direction in the universe. I'm writing between 400-500 words per day (though today I got over 700 words), which means that I can write the worth of a NaNoWriMo day in approximately a week. Though, if I can get the house caught up enough, I could probably squeeze another hour into the day somewhere, and get another 400+ words. That would be good.

Interestingly enough, though, now that I'm writing several times a week, my handwriting has improved considerably, and I think I'm able to write faster, too. I can read my writing most of the time now. It might even have improved enough that other people might almost be able to make it out. Sometimes. It wasn't what I was going for when I started this, but I'll take it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Has anyone seen my memory?

It's funny what sort of tricks the memory can play on you. I was reading Lars Walker's  book, Troll Valley  (which I'll review later this week), and early on came across a throw-away line about a book called "Mama's Bank Account", later made into a movie called "I Remember Mama". He said that the book almost never mentioned church. My mind came to a full stop, while it processed this, because I thought that "I Remember Mama" was absolutely packed full of church references.

Fortunately, my mind started again after a couple of moments, and I remembered that I don't think I actually read "Mama's Bank Account," though I once saw portions of "I Remember Mama" on TV. The books that I was thinking of were called "Papa's Wife", and "Papa's Daughter", by . Those were entirely different books (for one thing, the family involved were Swedish, rather than Norwegian), though the theme's probably similar, from what I remember. It's probably been a good twenty years since I read those books, though. I probably should look them up to see if the library has them (I have looked them up at B & N, and they aren't available as an eBook).

I'd say it's a pain getting old, but I think my mind always tended to mix together things of a similar theme like that. Then again, it's my provenly faulty memory telling me so. ;-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dominant Eye

Have you ever taken the dominant eye test? Apparently it consists of holding your arm straight out, and covering up a distant object with your thumb. Then you close your eyes one at a time, and see which eye makes the thumb move. The other eye is then your dominant eye.

I think I first heard about this test in high school, but it doesn't work for me. Every time it comes up, I try it, and I get frustrated, and other people get frustrated trying to explain it to me.

When I hold my thumb out at arm's length, and look at distant objects, I do not see one thumb, I see two. Both are transparent, neither of which can actually be said to "cover" that object. I can cover it with my whole hand, my hand's large enough that I get a significant overlap between the two hand images that I see.

Conversely, I can look at my thumb, instead of the distant object. Then I only see one thumb, but see two distant objects. I can cover either one of those up with my thumb, but the other is still out bright and clear.

I looked up other tests for finding the dominant eye. One consists of holding your hands out together, overlapping and leaving a hole between your thumbs and forefingers, then centering the distant object in the hole. Once again, I see two holes. I can look at the object through either hole, but to center it, I'd actually put it behind the fleshy bridge between the holes.

I don't know if I just don't have a dominant eye, or something else weird is going on. But for between 20 and 30 years, I've been trying to do this, and have only gotten frustrated. I don't know why it works for other people, if their mind suppresses the image of one of the thumbs, or what.