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Music! Let me share some with you. Skews pretty heavily towards Icelandic music and indie music, but even that is all over the place, so you’ll probably find something you enjoy! (I realized way too far into this post that I could’ve just made a Youtube playlist…but then I’m not sure how I would’ve included the songs that aren’t on Youtube.) Note: this sat in drafts for MONTHS because there was so much I wanted to post, and I didn’t have time to just sit down and pick more than a few songs at a time.

Enjoy!

I was ludicrously behind on reviews for books for the last year or so, and I finally, finally got all caught up! I’ll spare you the massive string of copy-pastes here, but you can check all of my reviews out (if you’re so inclined) here on Goodreads. Just scroll down on that page for reviews. I’m currently reading Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay and losing my mind over how good it is, per usual with Kay’s books.

Life has been quietly enjoyable lately, but I’ve realized that doesn’t make for very enjoyable stories. Reading more, working out more, eating better, and enjoying more quiet time is better for living but boring for blogging!

So here are some fun things from the internet instead.

I went to a lovely movie night at my friends’ farm last night, and we saw The Little Prince, which was sweet and unimpressive by turns. Some beautiful animation in parts, but the tacked-on story felt, well, tacked-on. And not very sensical. Still, it was a delightful evening full of tea and blueberry lemonade and good conversation.

I finished Sourcery by Terry Pratchett recently and enjoyed it immensely. My reading of the Discworld series has been scattered and incomplete–of the 41 Discworld novels, I’ve only read eight or so. My very favorite Pratchett novels are actually his Bromeliad trilogy, but I enjoy a romp in the crazy Discworld universe too as long as I don’t read too many of them too close together. There’s a certain incoherence to some of them that is dizzying after too much exposure. Sourcery held together better than many, though, and made me want to dig up more Pratchett.

Music I’ve unearthed lately:

This post makes me really happy. I haven’t shared music I like in a really long time, so most of these songs are no longer remotely new, but they’re still songs I enjoy and would like others to hear if they haven’t already had a chance to do so.

Making time to do things I enjoy has been the theme of life lately. This past spring was so hellacious that I vowed I would never have another season like that again. I wrote 5,000 words per week on The Star Bell for months at a time and was too tired to enjoy any of it. I managed five conferences in five weeks (the same time that edits were due on The Star Bell), and flying home from one conference in San Francisco at the end of April, I was so tired I just wanted to cry. But I couldn’t because my seatmates on the plane would’ve been weirded out, so I wrote a newsletter article and worked on formatting for paperback for hours because I had to.

I decided that something had to change. I’m going to start exploring other employment options with less stress and travel, starting this fall. I’ve also promised myself a whole year of no writing. I have to get to where I can enjoy it at least a little bit again. I’ve cut back on my editing work, and I’m cutting back on social engagements that I don’t truly enjoy as much as possible (those pesky “I should go…but I don’t want to” events).

June was lovely. I implemented a lot of cut-backs, did nothing with writing other than marketing my books, and took a week off work to celebrate my first wedding anniversary with my amazingly patient husband. I read books again and listened to music again. Blissful. July is already busier (this July 4th weekend involves dinner with friends, cookout with more friends, fireworks with more friends, and a second cookout with more friends), but I’m going to try to hang on to this healthier, happier pace of life.

Happy Independence Day, and enjoy the music!

So many snow and ice days, or partial days! Glorious. And often ill-timed, unfortunately, what with this being the busiest time of the year at work. Next Wednesday is supposed to be in the 60s, but Thursday it’s supposed to snow. Schizophrenic weather.

In much sadder news, we lost another Star Trek alum. The standard to which I hold all men is based mostly on 1. My dad and 2. Spock. Thank you, Leonard Nimoy. I raise my eyebrow in salute.

Geekery:

Fascinating:

A book update will have to wait, since I still haven’t quite managed to finish The Killer Angels. It’s brilliant! I’m just too busy. Soon, soon.

Don’t faint: two posts in one day! Here are some links. Mostly all outdated and sad now, but I hope you find at least one thing interesting?

Uncategorizable:

Intriguing:

Kids:

History:

Geekery:

Music:

This week included the NeedtoBreathe concert at Campbell University (excellent), ice cream at Sunni Skies (also excellent), learning how to feed and change a baby (educational), lots of great company (superb), and a whole lot of working like a dog.  At work, we’re running a 1000-attendee conference at the Raleigh Convention Center this week, so last week was spent scrambling like mad things to get everything done.  I will be one happy camper when Tuesday finally comes to an end.

I hate April Fool’s Day: my feelings are expressed well by this Chainsaw Suit comic.  A whole day in which I can’t trust anything anyone says?  How perfect!  Unfortunately, my coworkers really get into the spirit of the day.  Several people “quit,” one made it look like my computer was frozen, etc.  All of which might have been a little more amusing if it weren’t the busiest month of the year at my company.  Still, I will admit that the note on the printer saying that it only accepted voice commands from now on was a little bit funny…even more so when someone caught my supervisor yelling, “Scan!” at it.

Geekery:

Fascinating:

Hilarity:

Music:

Books: I finished A Passage to India at last, and overall I did enjoy it…but I was plagued by the feeling that it could have been better.  Forster’s characters are symbols, and as such their individual actions as characters don’t always make sense.  He tackles very large themes and reduces them to relationships between individuals, which seems like it could work–but it seemed to fall a little flat.  I’ll be seeing the movie soon, I think, and the trailer already makes Miss Quested look ten times more interesting than she was in the book.  In the novel, there’s a line something to the effect that the issues Miss Quested brought to the fore were so much larger than she herself, people tended to forget about her as a person.  Sums up the whole book, pretty much.

I’m reading The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams now, which is so far excellent.  I loved Watership Down, was sorely disappointed by Shardik, and have had my faith restored by Plague Dogs.  I’ll admit there are a lot of Watership Down parallels, which may account for some of my affection for the story (there’s a practical-minded dog and a slightly crazy dog, a la Hazel and Fiver), but it’s unique enough to stand on its own feet.  The novel tackles experimentation on animals and several other heavy issues, and since I tend to read during meals, that’s occasionally been an icky experience, but it’s very worth it.  I still have quite a ways to go on it, so I’ll report more when I’m finished.

Another insanely busy week!  Apparently that’s just the new normal around here.  Waking up to a flooded apartment on Tuesday was less normal–our neighbor’s hot water heater leaked into our apartment and flooded the kitchen and part of the living room–but we seem to have that situation rectified by means of a shop vac and giant fans.  Lucky did not enjoy any part of that.  We weren’t hugely thrilled either, but I like mold a whole lot less.

In somewhat related news, this spring/summer will be the first one in five years during which I won’t be moving!  Our rent only went up slightly, so we can actually afford to stay put for once.  I’m ridiculously excited about that…and I’m wondering if maybe it’s time for a new bookshelf to celebrate not hauling books up and down stairs.  I hate when my shelves get so full that I start having to lay books horizontally on top of vertical books, and we’re definitely there right now.

I really can’t complain about being busy when it’s for such good reasons: this week was full of absolutely fantastic times with friends, including a visit to the Langdon farm, one to Rooglewood, and one to a new friend’s house for dinner and a movie. (Do yourself a favor and just don’t ever watch Starship Troopers.  I’m serious.  It was heinous, and the only enjoyment to gain from it is to tear it apart with like-minded individuals.)  All the same, trying to get my work done in between these social engagements has led to considerable sleep deprivation.  I made my bed after church, took a long look at said bed…and crawled back in until 1:00.  It’s a rainy, lazy day, and I’ve mainly slept, drunk tea, and talked with friends online.  Can’t beat that for a Saturday.

Literature:

Heart-warming:

Fascinating:

Know this:

Music:

 Books: I’ve been reading A Passage to India by E.M. Forster for what feels like my entire life.  I blithely packed a slew of books for my Richmond trip, thinking that I would have downtime to read, and then I didn’t even have a chance to crack a book open once during the whole week.  What I’ve managed to read of Passage so far (which isn’t even half of it) has been intriguing.  The book is a good look at India and British Imperialism during the 1920s, and I’m enjoying the perspective on Indian culture, so different from our own.  I’ll attempt to come up with something more intelligent to say about the book after finishing it, if I ever manage to do so.

In Five Glass Slippers news, the anthology blog for all five of us contest winners has launched!  Bless Rachel for actually getting the ball rolling, because I was prepared to procrastinate for another month or so.  Be sure to read up on the fascinating inspiration for her protagonist!  I hope to write up a post of my own about A Cinder’s Tale…uh…soonish.  Don’t hold your breath.

I’ve been delinquent in pretty much everything this week that didn’t directly pertain to my day job, since I was horrendously busy in Richmond for the conference.  There wasn’t even time to explore any historic Civil War graveyards.  *grumbles*  I did, however, have dinner at Penny Lane Pub, which was a fascinating and delicious experience.  Folks at a table near mine were talking about the Narnia books, and I was sorely tempted to pull up a chair and crash the conversation.  Instead, my coworker and I voyaged down the tremendously sketchy (by night, at least) Canal Walk, wandered around some historic buildings including the capitol, and found ourselves in Shockoe Bottom, which is intriguingly named, tragically historied, and home to a really nice coffee shop now.

Geekery:

Fascinating:

Music:

This will be short, since it’s been an impossibly long week…but it was made significantly better by the arrival of my check for A Cinder’s Tale!  I don’t think the thrill of getting paid to write fiction will ever get old.  I made stuff up…and people paid me for it.  COOL.  Speaking of A Cinder’s Tale, Anne Elisabeth Stengl talks more about it and the other stories to be included in the Five Glass Slippers anthology.  Check it out!

Next week I’ll be in Richmond for work all week.  The downside: the Edgar Allan Poe museum is closed whenever I’m not on the clock.  The upside: I’ll be going with lovely people and will no doubt manage to have adventures in spite of the tremendously long work days.

Intriguing:

Good to know:

Music:

Books: A friend loaned me Starship Troopers by Heinlein because I complained that the only Heinlein I had read (Stranger in a Strange Land) was…well, heinous, and not really scifi at all.  I TAKE IT ALL BACK.  (Well, most of it.  I may like Heinlein now, but Stranger in a Strange Land is still heinous.)  I love Starship Troopers, and I’m just about finished with it.  I want to sit down and write a paper about its military philosophy comparing it to various historical ideals, but I’ll probably settle for hunting down some more of his work and just pretending Stranger never happened.

You seem to have stumbled upon a storytelling of ravens. Watch for falling collective nouns; you may find a wing of dragons or a charm of hummingbirds caught in your hair. Hardhats are recommended.

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