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Friday Round Up; Of Health

Time for my Friday round up:

Where was I this week?

Issues of Health

Eric and I planned our trip to Omaha this week, though it’s still somewhat tentative. My grandma’s health is not so good. Since last February, she’s been up and down, and lately, more down. I really, really don’t want to have reason to go back before our May 24th flight.

On my side of health, a nasty arthritis flare-up on Tuesday reminded me that I need to do more when I feel good. That includes exercising. Honestly, I’m not sure there’s any pattern to exertion and flare-ups. I’ve gained a few pounds lately and I need to start exercising more again. 2-ish times a week isn’t cutting it.

Women’s League

While I’m a proponent of women’s ultimate, I will admit that I’m not very good at it. I’ve played mostly co-ed, and as someone who’s played mostly with men, it’s often hard getting used to shorter and, yes, slower targets. Yet, I found myself really excited about women’s league after seeing my team. I mean, Sarah, Betsy, Marnie, Mel, Monika, and Kaysi all on the same team? Fun and good might actually co-exist! I was pretty surprised at the talent in the women I didn’t know too. Deborah is a dark horse with some skills and  the others are all enthusiastic and willing to learn.

We lost our game last night, but in universe point against a squad consisting of mainly ASU girls. The final point was notable in that it lasted nearly twenty minutes. I kid you not. The point was well in-progress when hardcap was blown at 9:50pm and we didn’t slap hands until 10:10. Allyson actually asked if we had heard the horn. Granted, the captains have made a vow to explain rules as we go along, and I believe that last point consisted of at least one rule-related stoppage in play and possibly a medical stoppage as well. (I don’t remember if it was during that point that Erin got clocked by Betsy or the point before.)

In all, my play was pretty good. After lacking limb control on Wednesday, I was a little worried, but after heading long during the second point, I knew I’d be okay. Throwing was decent. I hit Marnie in the hands with an IO forehand for an almost-score. That was a little low and zippy though. I only threw one ridiculously high backhand, which Kaysi nearly snagged anyway. My D was okay. I think the only person that ran rough-shod over me was Kaetlynn, but hopefully I proved to be a little less of a mis-match than she figured I would be. Well, a girl can dream…

Posted in Female Author, Male Author, Novel, Short Story

Book #9 & Short Story #12

Book #9: Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Summer, 1954.

U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels has come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Along with his partner, Chuck Aule, he sets out to find an escaped patient.

But nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is what it seems.And neither is Teddy Daniels.

Is he there to find a missing patient? Or has he been sent to look into rumors of Ashecliffe’s radical approach to psychiatry? An approach that may include drug experimentation, hideous surgical trials, and lethal countermoves in the shadow war against Soviet brainwashing …

The closer Teddy and Chuck get to the truth, the more elusive it becomes, and the more they begin to believe that they may never leave Shutter Island. (via Goodreads)

Saw the film last summer and wanted to see how the novel had managed to tell the story. If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, there is a significant twist. Honestly, the movie follows the books quite closely scene/action-wise. To some degree, it’s an easier story to tell as a book because not everything needs to be described or elaborated upon. The movie has to show everything.

Except for Teddy’s migraines. The book has a very good description of what it’s like to have migraines with auras. Those are lacking from the movie.

Much of the dialogue is word for word, but one significant deviation makes the ending of the film slightly better. This is the second book of Lehane’s that I’ve read, and both of them on response to a movie. The other, Mystic River, also seemed to have a weaker ending than the film version. Now, I’m curious about Gone, Baby, Gone, though I’m likely to pick up the Kenzie & Gennaro  series from the beginning.

Overall, this reads like a Gothic mystery, and that ain’t half bad.

Short Story #12

The Heat Death of the Universe” by Pamela Zoline

This story was mentioned over at SF Signal as a  challenging SF/F story that is worth the effort to read. It sounded intriguing. I didn’t find it challenging, per se, but it is a tad thought-provoking.

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#RoW80 – May 11th Check In

Headed to the library on Monday. I needed to renew my card and I, shamefully, hadn’t been there since they finished their renovations. My laptop’s screen is on the fritz, so I took an old-fashioned notebook and pen with me. Over coffee and lemon cake, I wrote the beginning of two of my additional scenes. Beginnings are half the battle. I also came home with 6 more books to read. One thing I do love about public transportation is the slow pace of it. It gives me lots of time to read while waiting.

I’m on track with my edits, as of yesterday. I suppose it’s going well enough. Yesterday was rough. I was behind, and the change in weather (or not, you never know) set off an arthritis flare up. The fatigue is the hard part. I took breaks throughout the day, set up the basics for women’s league, read a bunch, and pushed through my edits. Juggled May travel plans. Didn’t get any queries out. Something had to give.

Today. Still tired. The body is a bit creaky. Went out and played disc this morning. Sorted out some league problems. Haven’t hit the edits yet.

On Monday, I read an article about the possible correlation between depression and overgeneral memory. I’m somewhat dysphoric and, in a particularly gloomy period of my life, there are events I’ve completely forgotten. That’s troubling, especially troubling as a writer. The common saying is "write what you know." What if all you know is vague? So, I’ve started doing morning pages again, using Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind as a guide and trying to be as specific as possible with my exercises. I’d like this to help me with my writing and maybe help me with my mood too.

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#RoW80 – May 8th Check In

The 10%-cut edit is easy. It has a very specific purpose (accentuate the positive…) and a very specific goal (…by cutting ~10% of a scene’s word count). And it’s linear. Start on the first page; end on the last page. There are very few changes between scenes. I can whip through a 10%-cut edit with glee. Unfortunately, I finished the 10%-cut edit last week.

On Wednesday, I mentioned the partial list of "difficult" edits that need to be made. I’m not very far down that list. I’ve gotten through about the first three scenes. Honestly, those didn’t require much work.

What’s my deal? I get overwhelmed by the decisions that need to be made. Overwhelmed by the possibility of screwing something up worse than it already is. That’s stupid. I’m not writing in stone. It’s made worse because I feel that any change that I make on page one might impact page 72. Or page 310. Or just page 2. It’s not a dire as I make it.

I also have the tendency to procrastinate decisions until I *have* to make them. I have three weeks left to this part of RoW80. My brain calculates that I don’t have to panic…yet. This is not a great way to operate, and which is why bite-sized goals work better for me. Time to break down the elephantine goal.  I’m going to make an effort to get through 125 pages a week, plus writing one of the new scenes. That’s almost enough to kick my brain into gear.

I did get my submissions out this week. I wanted to get a last entry in for 52|250, and I have a few hours left, but I’m not sure my concept has gelled enough.

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This post brought to you by the letter F

Where am I?

  • Pas de Chat: We’re on chapter 43. Not much left.
  •  "Reviews" of Q’s Legacy and Doomsday Book over at Reading Notes.

Free & Legal
In a fit of pique, I canceled Netflix instant on Tuesday. As soon as I did, I remembered that all the Star Treks were coming to Instant View. Oh well. By Thursday morning, I experienced the strange sense of relief that comes from having fewer choices. Time to restock my Hulu queue, browse what’s available from channel websites, and watch some tennis. There is a plethora of free and legal TV out there. Also, coincidentally I received an invite to Zediva, which is not free, but cheap, and…currently legal. Skirting a gray area, if you will.

Food
Had lunch with Betsy on Wednesday at Beaver Choice. She wanted to give their GF menu a go before she departs AZ. I decided to have the haddock in cream sauce. When did I start liking fish? When did I start liking cream sauce? I will admit that I have quite a bit of faith in Beaver Choice to serve me good food, but this wasn’t having a little taste of someone else’s fish and deciding I liked it. This was ordering it for myself, and thinking it was a good idea from the start. Actually, I’ve been watching quite a few food shows via Hulu and I often find myself looking at a dish and thinking, "I’d try that," even if it involves things I don’t particularly like. (The exception, it would seem, being rice…)

Fuzzies
Sony Online has been having some problems. As a subscriber, I’ve been trying not to freakout and have taken some precautions to secure my credit account. EverQuest 2 has been down since the 2nd, curtailing my aether racing and house decorating. I’m not the sort to get twitchy when I don’t get my MMO fix, so the outage isn’t a big deal. Eric, seeking relief from finals week, decided to try Allods last night. I noted the fact and continued watching Hugh Jackman singing and dancing (a little) in Oklahoma!. On my way to get a soda from the fridge, I checked on Eric’s game and saw these:

A playable race of fuzzy critters named gibberlings. Yep. Had to play. And you don’t just play one gibberling. No, no, you play a group of three. And if you’re the equivalent of a druid, you have a vicious squirrel pet too. I can’t resist the fuzzies…

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RoW80 – May 4th Check In

Monday, I worked on doing some submission-y stuff. I queried a couple places I hadn’t heard back from, tossed a short story out the door again, etc.

Eric did a marathon reading of Divine Fire on Monday.  Yesterday, we discussed what needed to be done with it. Here’s a partial list:

  • Explain the tech in more detail so this second book can reads like a first book.
  • Change the drug usage by characters.
  • Add birthday festivities.
  • Several "endgame" aspects need work.
  • Add a connecting scene.
  • Add a scene of Marie being Marie.

And luckily I have better notes than that because I’m sure I’ll look at this list in a week and say, "What? What did I mean by *that*?"

Time frame for completing these edits? The rest of this week, plus three weeks. Not "by the end of May" because we’re likely heading to Omaha toward the end of the month and nothing ever gets done in Omaha. Especially with the laptop on the fritz.

Posted in Female Author, Novel

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

I read this on suggestion of the Women of Science Fiction book club. I might have might have picked it up otherwise. I did not finish this book. Life is too short and the number of book too many…

In both science fiction and fantasy, suspension of disbelief is important. I will admit, I am fairly capricious about what things I’ll let pass (the entirety of Doctor Who, for example) and what things will bug the hell out of me. While it’s not the biggest problem with the show, don’t get me started on octagonal paper in Battlestar Galactica.

This book started off on entirely the wrong foot with me by sending a time-travel newbie back to one of the more trying periods in history. A period that hasn’t even been observed by remote. We can do that in 2054, but we haven’t, because what could possibly go wrong? Commentary on academia and the dumb things that happen due to bureaucracy is fine and dandy, but let’s have a little common sense here.

I started Doomsday Book during read-a-thon. It’s a Women in Science Fiction book club selection. I figured I’d give it a shot. I read half the book (which weights in at about 200,000 words). The characters annoy me, and I don’t think I can spend another 100K on the minutia of their lives. Reading some plot summaries and reviews, I assume that Willis wants us to know and love them. I think you can do that in fewer words. I don’t care about Colin and his gobstopper.

Granted, this book was published in 1992, but the fact that we’re time-traveling and still using paper and pen and landline telephones (video phones though they may be) annoys me. In ’92, we already had 2G cellular technology. Why are science-fiction writers so bad at extrapolating? It’s particularly painful when the details of the past are, presumably, so well worked out.

Also, from reading reviews and spoilery summaries, a few things that I think may be going on aren’t. If I’m wrong and there’s some gorgeous twist to this book, let me know and I’ll plow through. Notes are below the cut.

Continue reading “Doomsday Book by Connie Willis”