Movable Type 3.2
June 30, 2006
Lipstick.com, which is vaguely amusing/informative when I remember to check it often enough to not be totally overwhelmed, informs me that there's a Jeff Buckley biopic in the works. I'm skeptical, of course, but interested. His mother is working on it, and she says that she is "inspired by the success and integrity of recent music biopics such as Ray and Walk the Line." Which is... hmm. I mean, sure, if you're going to make a movie you want it to be successful, but that comment sounds awfully close to "I want to profit from my son's death." I'm sure that's not how she meant it, but it still sounds a bit odd.
Of course, my other main impression from the Yahoo page was "Wow, he was cute!" Although I don't know why I'm surprised, since Defulct was the one to get me into Buckley, and we all know how he chooses his musicians. For example.
Oh my goodness.
It's sunny outside. I think. That's what it means when it's all bright and eye-hurting and there's no water falling from the sky, right?
I'm not sure how I feel about this.
June 29, 2006
Just so you know
I have the best manager ever. She knows my current schedule (partially thanks to the blog, of course) and let me go home early. Of course, "early" is still after ten, but at least I got home at ten-something instead of midnight-something.
Of course, now that I'm home, I'm feeling much less sleepy. Bah. I'm trying to decompress with some Samantha Brown, and then I'll go try to sleep, I guess.
Well, it worked!
June 28, 2006
Oh, it's Wednesday?
* Today I am feeling both "What do you mean it's only Wednesday?" and "Huh, it's Wednesday already?" I think the time-space continuum is doing odd things and giving me some sort of cosmic whiplash.
* The above might be resolved if I had time for a nap or even a full night of sleep, but since I don't, we won't be able to test this theory.
* The above also means that although my summer class just started last week, it is already 1/4 over, and after tonight's class it will be 1/3 over. qw21? I'd better get seriously working on all the assignments, not just the first one, because this is moving very quickly.
* I realized on Sunday that the next night I'd be home before 10 or 11 pm would be Friday. So I'm in the middle of that now, and really feeling it. I'm hanging on to the idea of an unexpectedly freeish weekend (family gathering was cancelled, but I still have to work on Saturday and do all that homework and clean for all those people I invited over to watch Doctor Who next week), no class on Monday, and no work on Tuesday.
* But why can't we decide when the darn holiday is? My school has it on Monday, work on Tuesday. If work had given us Monday off instead, I would have been able to go visit my parents or something. Not that I'm complaining about a random day off in the middle of the week, of course.
* My tea is very disappointingly milkless this morning because the milk in the fridge went bad weirdly quickly. I'm hoping that some new milk will magically appear sometime soon. (Yes, I'm using my blog to remind my roommate to buy milk. I know. I know. Sorry.)
* Do you think I had enough adverbs in the above item? But speaking of tea, I discovered Good Earth Original last night. Oh my GOODNESS. Try it. Really.
* Geek Alert: I've been convinced to give D&D another try (in my oh-so-abundant free time) and I've become rather intrigued by the kalashtar idea, and I have the Races of Eberron book sitting right here but I'm at work and so I can't read it. I am feeling very impatient.
* Knitting slump continues. I feel like I'd feel better if I were knitting more, but the idea of trying to fit it in to my schedule is stressful. Gah. I did work on Clapotis while watching a movie with a friend last night, so that's something. Maybe my goal for the weekend will be to finish a sock (for sanity) and actually take pictures so I stop boring you all to tears.
* I'm way, way too scattered. I'm making countless to do lists and then forgetting to reference them. I try to think of what recharging activities would be most helpful for an "ideal" free day, but my brain won't calm down enough to come up with anything. I can't believe it's already the end of June, but at least that means that August is sort of in sight. Things will calm down in August. Must hold on to that.
June 27, 2006
More News on Doctor Who - no, I mean Jane Austen.
Billie Piper, who plays Rose, companion to the Ninth and Tenth Doctors, is going to play Fanny Price in a new version of Mansfield Park. (She's also going to be Sally in The Ruby in the Smoke, based on one of my favorite young adult novels.) In more, um, tenuous connections, it looks like our beloved Christopher Eccleston is in a new show called Perfect Parents with Susannah Harker, also known as Jane Bennet (in the 1995 version).
June 25, 2006
SRP Book 5: Second Sight
Second Sight by Amanda Quick (390 pages)
Amanda Quick is one of the few romance writers I'll go out of my way to read. Her plots are actually interesting, and her characters are multi-faceted. I mean, it's still froth, but it's compelling froth. That said, I didn't think this one was one of her best. It was still fun, but she's starting to repeat herself a bit. And this one was late Victorian instead of Regency, but didn't really feel much different.
It also provoked a rant about how romance writers really need to get over the word "nubbin," but I'm not sure we really need to get into that.
Anyway, it's one of a loose series about the Arcane Society, which deals with paranormal secrets and psychic abilities and such. True to Quick's form, the main character is a forward-thinking spinster with various responsibilities that make her try to forge a career - as a photographer, in this case. She meets a mysterious man who she later finds out is rich and powerful. While falling in love, they find the bad guys, discover secrets, blah blah. You know the drill. But really, it's a fun light summer read.
June 24, 2006
Wow, it's amazing how tired one gets after working for seven hours, then reading and socializing for two, all on about three hours of sleep. Huh. I guess it's really not that shocking, is it? Last night I went with two friends to a special screening of Serenity, and like most special screenings, it was at midnight. An hour away. So we got home at 3:30. Lovely.
So I'm going to go eat leftover Mexican food and watch Julia Child make croissants and try to update the Summer Reading Program stuff, but let me know if I make any huge mistakes. I'm tired. Also, you'll just have to believe me for the moment that I read another two books (or ask Erica or Tracy or Defulct, actually), because I don't think I could come up with coherent reviews at the moment.
June 22, 2006
A Massachusetts state senator is trying to pass a law against marshmallow Fluff in school lunches. Apparently he discovered that his son's elementary school offers Fluffernutters as an option to its students every day, so now he wants them banned completely. And, of course, another lawmaker is now trying to get the Fluffernutter declared the state sandwich of Massachusetts. What?
It seems like the real issue here has nothing to do with marshmallow. What I want to know is why elementary school children are being given the option of eating any one thing for lunch every day. I'm quite sure that when I was in elementary school, which was not all that long ago, there was basically one offering a day for "hot lunch," and while it was not fine cuisine, it was at least theoretically nutritionally balanced. At what age should children be allowed, or forced, to make their on nutritional decisions? Elementary school seems to be obviously too young. Now, I'm not saying that the kids shouldn't have a say - I don't believe children should be forced to eat things they don't like. (That's why I rarely bought hot lunch in elementary school.) But the great majority of kids that age aren't informed or mature enough to decide what to eat for lunch each day - especially with such tantalizing options as Fluffernutters available.
Now, nutrition is obviously the parents' responsibility. I am generally against things that take responsibility from parents to give to schools - for example, I'm totally opposed to school libraries controlling, or being expected to control, which books are read by which children. Should the same rule be applied to food? I'm not sure. Maybe it depends on what parents think they're paying for when they send that $1.65 to school for lunch. (It's probably a lot more than $1.65 now, though, isn't it? Hmm.) I'd assume most parents think that their children are being given the same sort of unappetizing but vaguely nutritional meal of yesteryear. Do those little calendars of which meal is being served on which day still go home every month? Does "Fluffernutter" appear on every day, if it's available every day? If it does, and the parents are ignoring the implications, then it's their problem, I guess. But if the school isn't making all this abundantly clear to the parents, they should be.
But I still think that passing a law about marshmallow Fluff is silly. Although if it keeps the lawmakers from passing even stupider laws about more important things... hmm. Bring on the Jaffa cakes!
June 21, 2006
First Randoms of Summer
1. Today is the solstice. I am totally ready for winter, or at least autumn. Is this bad? I'm having trouble sleeping in my 90-degree apartment...
2. Knitting? What's that? See above re: 90-degree apartment. You want me to touch wool? I have been working on Clapotis a bit, since it's silk. But still a bit... sticky. Bleagh.
3. The Summer Reading Program is going swimmingly, and it's not too late to sign up, if you're interested! I'm reading three really good books at the moment, and hoping to finish something soon so I can stay on my own Top 10 list. That'd be nice.
4. Wait, it is Wednesday, right? Yeah. Okay. Momentary disorientation there.
5. Summer seems to be all about the reality TV, at least for me. Anyone watching How to Get the Guy? It seems like some of their tips might actually be useful, if I could get myself to follow them.
6. School started this week. Summer classes are twice a week, so I'm trekking to Boston every Monday and Wednesday until July 31. (My birthday.) It's a hassle. But I'm also remembering that I really like school. So that's good. I wish more of my classes were like this one. Which, you know, means I should probably go get that English degree.
7. We just had a departmental meeting that actually made me somewhat enthusiastic about my job. Will wonders never cease? Of course, we are being forced to wear those stupid t-shirts (see Monday's post) tomorrow, so I'm sure my enthusiasm will disperse quickly.
June 20, 2006
This is the second quiz that told me I'm Elizabeth Bennet. Really, I wouldn't give myself that much credit... but I guess I won't complain. Hmm.
June 19, 2006
What a way to start Monday morning
Dear Nameless Corporation,
Imagine my surprise this morning when I arrived to see signs asking that all employees enter via the main lobby. At first, I thought you might have a good reason for this. Maybe the door I usually use was broken, or the security guard was out sick, or the lobby was flooded, or something. But no, the nice man blocking my way assured me. Everyone had to go in the front door because it's the last two weeks of the quarter and they're doing "special stuff" to encourage us. Great.
So I walk around the building to the front and find more or less what I'd expected: music playing, t-shirts, coffee and doughnuts. I especially liked how you had people by that door making sure that no one was allowed to ignore the bruhaha. I'm not entirely clear about why this was supposed to make the company sell more products, but I'm sure you read some book telling you that the way of the mongoose was to give its employees shirts and doughnuts to sell more computers.
I'm not sure you really realize this, but the end of the quarter has virtually no impact on my job whatsoever. I just come in and do my work, regardless of the day or month. It is, though, slightly helpful to know it's the end of the quarter so that I understand why all of you are so stressed and therefore feel the need to be rude to me when you're asking me for help. (Although you might want to think about that for a minute. Why do you think that telling me I'm stupid will make me want to help you?) But since the end of the quarter has no real affect on my job, I think I would be of more help to the company if you let me just go inside and work.
P.S. I don't want to sound ungrateful, so thanks for the t-shirt. I probably won't be wearing it to work, though, because it doesn't quite fit in your dress code, you know. Just saying.
June 18, 2006
Summer Reading Thoughts
Yes, I still knit, but I haven't been that into it recently. Perhaps this is because it's currently 88 degrees in my apartment. Hmm. But anyway, that's why it seems like "All reading, all the time" around here recently. It will all balance out in the end, I promise.
A few Summer Reading Program notes: Yes, you can count audiobooks if you want to. Personally, I feel like audiobooks provide a completely different (and non-reading) experience, but I know not everyone agrees. So if you feel like you've read a book after listening to the audiobook, go ahead and count it.
Also, I wanted to make sure everyone knows that you can find everyone's progress, and the top ten number of books and pages, here. (The Summer Reading Program link at the top of the page goes there, too.) So far, Chris is leading both lists with nine books and 2379 pages. Everything should be up to date as of this afternoon, so if your link is wrong or I seem to be missing your reviews or something, let me know.
And now some personal ramblings: I read constantly, year round, but for some reason reading has always seemed more magical during the summer. This might be because summer vacation used to be a time to read practically all day if I wanted. Most of my happy "outside" summer memories are of reading in the hammock or on the swingset or at the beach, not of actually, you know, playing. And I still think it's unfair that everyone doesn't get summers off, by the way. I miss having time to read a book in a day.
I find that I want to read certain types of books more in the summer, too. Oddly, it seems that the two types are in a way diametrically opposed: classics and genre fiction. I read mysteries year round, but I'm much more likely to go for romance, sci fi, fantasy, and thrillers in the summer than any other time of the year. Right now, I'm particularly in the mood for epic fantasy, Nora Roberts, and maybe Mary Higgins Clark - I haven't read her in years. (I started reading her during a summer in middle school, though, so I guess this has been a trend with me for a while.)
And at the same time, I'm dying to read Austen, Vanity Fair, Gone with the Wind, Jane Eyre. I'm currently reading Rebecca, finally. Maybe this "Time to read the classics!" feeling comes from all those years of school summer reading lists. Maybe it has to do with my feeling through middle and high schools that summer was the time to actually learn things, since I didn't have all that time taken up by stupid boring school stuff. Hmm.
And speaking of summer reading lists, a fun anecdote to end with: A teenage boy and his mom came into the bookstore yesterday. They were looking for two books on his summer reading list. One of The Pearl, I think, and the other was Death Be Not Proud. Without really thinking, I said something like "That's upstairs in the Death section. I'll show you where it is."
The mother looked at me, aghast. "You have a death section?"
SRP Book 4: A Country Affair
A Country Affair by Rebecca Shaw (280 pages)
A Country Affair is the first of Shaw's Barleybridge trilogy. It centers on a country vet practice in the British village of Barleybridge. The main character, Kate, is a young woman who wants to be a vet, but didn't get into vet school because of a poor exam grade. She takes a receptionist job at the vet practice instead, and has to decide whether to try the exam again while getting used to her new job and coworkers, dealing with her icky boyfriend, and finding out secrets about her own family. There are also a few good subplots dealing with other staff and patients at the clinic.
This book was cosy and atmospheric, reminiscent of Miss Read or the Mitford books. But it had a reality to it I didn't quite expect: animals die, babies are miscarried, relationships are complex and uncomfortable. Once I got used to this, though, I think it really added to the book's quality. It's a cute British village novel, but it's not just a cute little village story. The next volume should be published in the States in the fall, and I can't wait.
June 14, 2006
SRP Book 3: Immortal in Death
Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb (312 pages)
This is the third in the Eve Dallas mystery series by J.D. Robb, a.k.a. Nora Roberts. I must admit, I love Nora under either name; she's one of the few romance writers I will go out of my way to read. This series is about a New York cop in the late 21st century, a world of droids, space colonies, legalized prostitution, and designer drugs of all kinds. Dallas has a tortured past, a good nose for crime, and a super-sexy love interest, the mysterious Roarke.
In this installment, Dallas gets involved in a series of murders in the high-class fashion world while she's preparing, somewhat ambivalently, for her wedding. Her best friend is a suspect, and she's dealing with resurfaced memories from her past as well. The mystery is complex but not too convoluted, and I didn't quite expect the ending. Good, fun read.
June 13, 2006
Cautious 10th Doctor excitement
It looks like the next series of Doctor Who, with David Tennant, will be showing in the States in the fall. Yay! They mention a spin-off called Torchwood too... interesting.
For the record, I rather adore the Ninth Doctor and am very wary about this new guy. And really, take off the jacket. It's not yours. But I'l try to give him a chance...
June 12, 2006
SRP Book 2: The Ice Storm
The Ice Storm by Rick Moody (294 pages)
This book presented a bit of an oddity for me: I liked the movie so much, much better. Weird. I loved Ang Lee's movie, but the book just didn't do it for me. It lacked the wonderful subtlety of the movie, and I had a hard time relating to the characters in the book. That said, the writing was quite good and interesting (although really, what do we have against putting quotation marks around dialogue? It's a lovely convention. Let's keep it), and it did a great job of evoking a strong atmosphere. I liked the beginning, got bogged down in the middle, and then started liking it again toward the end. So... I don't know. Give it a try.
And yes, this is the book that inspired the "Clean Plate Book Club" post yesterday. I started it a few months ago, got about halfway in, and put it down until earlier this week. But I'm glad I stuck with it and finished.
June 11, 2006
Debating the merits of the Clean Plate Book Club
Do you feel compelled to finish every book you start? I'm thinking about this right now in connection to the SRP (yes, you can still join!), but it's an issue that bothers me periodically anyway. As you can see in the sidebar (which really needs to be updated), I have a little problem with starting more books than I finish. But the books listed are all ones that I intend to finish, really. I think.
Now, I don't actually feel obligated to finish EVERYTHING I start. Occasionally I'll start a book and just hate it. More often, a book will have to go back to the library, and I won't be into it enough to locate it elsewhere right away or to keep it a few extra days and pay the fine, as I did with Into the Wilderness. Sometimes I'll write down the title and author so I can find it again later; sometimes I don't. It's not like I'm ever going to run out of things to read.
But for books without an external deadline, I have a hard time giving up on them, especially if I've gotten through a good part of it. In her delightful memoir of reading, So Many Books, So Little Time, Sara Nelson calls the compulsion to finish books the Clean Plate Book Club. She sees this as something to be outgrown, like the necessity to clean your plate at dinner. Being able to put a book down a quarter or half or even three quarters of the way in is a sign of maturity, apparently. I think there's something to that, but I'm not sure it's the whole story.
The act of reading requires the reader and the book to enter into an unspoken contract. The reader promises attention, an open mind, a willingness to learn and to be affected. What is the book's obligation? I think it depends on the book, and on the reader's intentions and expectations. Some books promise simple escapist entertainment, and that's fine, and necessary. Some promise knowledge; some wisdom. Some demand an emotional response. If the book does not deliver on its promises, it's reasonable that the reader might break the contract on his end as well, and stop reading. But what if what the book has to offer isn't what the reader thought it was? Maybe the reader expected mindless entertainment, but instead was made to think. Or vice versa. Maybe the reader disagrees with everything the book says, but it's still a good opportunity to clarify his own thoughts and views. So it may be a sign of maturity to stop reading a book that doesn't meet one's expectations, but I think it can also be a sign of maturity to keep reading and open oneself to whatever the book has to offer.
June 08, 2006
SRP Book 1: Into the Wilderness
Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati (691 pages)
Rachel has been raving about this series for years, and I finally managed to read the first one. I really, really liked it, but it also took me a really, really long time to read. I'm not sure why. I guess the pace just dragged at times, and the writing is much denser than you might expect from something marketed as a romance novel. (It seemed more like historical adventure fiction with some romance thrown in, actually.) But the characters were complex and interesting and I'm definitely planning to continue with the series.
One very interesting thing was Donati's incorporation of other author's characters. Into the Wilderness is sometimes called a "sequel" to The Last of the Mohicans, and apparently involves some of the same characters, but I haven't read Cooper yet so I'm not sure. (I did pick up a cheap used copy of Last of the Mohicans the other day and I'm hoping to get to it soon.) Additionally, Donati's use of Gabaldon's Clare Fraser has been well documented. But did anyone else notice the throwaway mention of Jane Bingley, an acquaintance in England? Hmmm....
Well, the Summer Reading Program is coming right along! We have 26 participants so far - you can see them on the sidebar or the main Summer Reading Program page. Sign ups are still open, so come on and join! Five readers have already posted reviews, and Liz is taking an early lead with TWO books already.
Stay tuned, and spread the word - we have more exciting stuff coming, including blog buttons to show off your participation!
UPDATE: Buttons from Peninah!
Feel free to use, but please save to your own server. And if anyone else feels like making buttons or anything to share, go right ahead!
June 07, 2006
Announcing the Kat with a K Summer Reading Program 2006
Remember summer reading programs at the library when you were little? When they would actually reward you for reading instead of playing outside or doing whatever else it was that normal kids do? Maybe you have kids participating in one right now, in fact. But really, why should kids have all the fun? Some public libraries do have adult SRPs as well, but they're not so exciting. But fear not! The first annual Kat with a K Summer Reading Program (for Grown-Ups) is here!
The Basics: Sign up. Read books. Review them on your blog. Meet your goal. Maybe win some prizes.
Goals: Set a goal for how many books you want to read this summer: June 1 through August 31. The minimum is three, or an average of one for each month. Pick a goal for yourself that is challenging but doable. If you'd like, pick a bonus goal as well: this is a particular task with which you want to challenge yourself. It could be to finally read Moby Dick, or to read something in a genre out of your normal comfort zone, or something in another language, or whatever. Bonus goals are totally optional, but will make you eligible for more prize drawings.
Prizes: Readers who meet their goals will get a printable certificate and a prize image to proudly post on thier blogs. In addition, for each book you read, you will be entered in the main prize raffle. There will be a bunch of prizes; not sure how many yet. And yes, there will be prizes for Knitters and Muggles alike. There will be some extra prizes too: one for the person who reads the most books; one of the person who reads the most pages; a drawing among the people who met their bonus goals. And maybe more surprise prizes along the way. (If anyone has something they'd like to donate as a prize, let me know.)
Reviews: So what are these reviews you have to post? Don't worry; it's not too scary. For each book you read, post at least the title, author, number of pages, and a short commentary. Feel free to post other information (genre, publisher, etc.) if you'd like. The reviews can be as long or short as you want; just make sure you tell us enough to show that you actually read the book. ;-)
Ready to Sign Up? Just e-mail me with the following information:
Then I'll link you in the sidebar so we can all watch your progress. I'll also make a progress tracking page, where I'll track how people are doing. (A little healthy competition never hurt, right?) We'd prefer you post the books as you go, or at least once a month, so we can all get ideas from what others are reading, but if you have to post them all at the end, that's okay. I'll periodically post links to particularly interesting reviews.
1. But I don't have a blog!
2. June already started. Can I count books I've already read?
3. What if I started a book before June, but finish it in June (or July or August)?
4. What about rereads?
5. How about kids' books?
6. Knitting or other craft books? Or cookbooks?
7. Are you playing?
Ready? SIGN UP NOW!
And, as always, let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.
June 06, 2006
Cure for phone phobia?
I hate the phone. Really. I will go to fairly great lengths to avoid calling people. It's not quite so bad when people call me, but I still get really anxious about what to say, how long to talk, whether they want to chit-chat or just get to the point and get off the phone, etc. (Incidentally, it's vaguely comforting to talk to Vickie on the phone because she always sounds as traumatized as I feel.)
But... if the TARDIS rang when someone called me, I might just start looking forward to it.
June 04, 2006
Amazing Lace Challenge 1: Team Intro
Hello, spectators and fellow competitors! Team Lovely Lacy Lotus here, reporting for duty. Our team consists of your loyal blogger, Kat with a K, and Lotus Blossom Shawl in Marrakesh. We're a small, quiet team, but we hope you'll watch our progress just the same.
Our team picture:
We feel that this picture is a good representation of our team and our interteam dynamics. Lotus is, shall we say, the face of the team. She's pretty and shiny and exciting, and she tends to grab the attention of everyone around her. She can be a bit hard to understand at times, but she's a loyal friend.
Kat is content to remain behind the scenes. She is - no offense intended to Lotus - the brains of the operation. She has promised Lotus methodical, accurate progress through the course of the summer, although she has admitted that her attention tends to wander. Lotus says she understands, and has agreed to an open relationship. Stay tuned to see how this dynamic plays out over the course of The Amazing Lace...
Sunday morning quiz
Another from Raising WEG:
Yeah, I figured that would be the result. She does tend to be my favorite of them.
June 03, 2006
18. Payment In Blood by Elizabeth George
19. My Sister's Keeper by
20. Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot
Okay, I really feel like I finished something else in May, but I can't figure out what it was. That's what happens when I don't keep track as I go. Argh. I guess I'll add it in if I think of it later. Also, the unfinished books list is getting out of control. I'm going to clean that up in June. Really.
June 01, 2006
It is a truth universally acknowledged...
From Raising WEG:
Which Classic Female Literary Character Are you?
Not to quibble, but wasn't it Miss Bingley who accused Elizabeth of being a voracious reader, and Elizabeth disputed it? But anyway...