Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More about A Thousand Acres

I finished A Thousand Acres today. Parts of it are completely unexpected. You'll be reading along about something completely mundane, like how the crops are gathered or something, and then something terrible or shocking happens in the next paragraph and it's like getting punched in the face. It works really well. This is an excellent book.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Thousand Acres

I just started reading A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. I know, it's the second Pulitzer prize winning novel of the week. Don't worry, I took a break for a Danielle Steel book called Miracle in between, as well as this thing called Abduction by Robin Cook so there's no danger of me being a snob or anything.

So back to Ms. Smiley; I like what I've read of hers. A short story collection I can't remember the name of and the thing about the ponies I can't remember the name of. I know, I have a bad brain and I'm tired. Anyway, I picked up 62 before Christmas at the Goodwill when they were a quarter each and I had a coupon. Two of them were books by Ms. Smiley. I also picked up Moo, which I will likely tackle next week.

So far A Thousand Acres is much more accessible than Shipping News was. Easy to read and quite beautiful in parts.

I thought I might try and read all the Pulitzer prize winning novels of the last one hundred years. I didn't realize I'd be able to pick so many of them up at the Goodwill. At this rate it will only cost me 25 dollars and tax.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Shipping News

I read Shipping News this weekend and I'm not sure why it won the Pulitzer. It was hard to read, mostly because the sentences tended to be extremely short and fragmented, giving the whole thing a choppy feel. I didn't get engaged in the story until page 107 and then it wasn't because of the story but because the book is sprinkled with short stories. Most of the book in fact is tell, not show, with the various characters talking about stuff that happened. It was an okay book but mostly forgettable.

I'm baffled that it was made into a film. How do you turn it into a visual story? I wonder who did the script.


Dear Blogger, I am Sick

I've been really sick for about nine days now, in a lot of pain and not getting much done. In fact Friday I had to quit partway through the day because I was in agony. I could barely talk when I called my boss to ask him if he could finish the newsletter I was working on.

I went to the doctor on Tuesday and apparently I'm having gallstones, which is kind of ironic since I had my gallbladder out in 2002 and had a pretty wretched time of it, ending up in ICU for eight days and a total stay of 21 days. So more surgery may be in store which is a pretty intimidating idea.

Still plugging away on the book. I hit sixty thousand words today. For some reason I thought I hit that a couple of weeks ago but I must have been insane.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Horton Hears a Who

Whoop! I see Blue Sky Studios is hiring people to work on their current project Horton Hears a Who. That was one of our favorite stories when my kids were growing up. I'm excited!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

This is really interesting

In a reflection of how much our perceptions of lying depend on our particular points of view, the psychologist found that many young people reported that the worst lie ever told to them was by a parent who concealed news that someone they loved was sick or dying. By contrast, DePaulo found, parents never thought of such deceptions as particularly serious ethical breaches -- in fact, they saw them as acts of love.

From this article about the rate of lies the average person tells. I agree with the kids, it's horrible to pretend someone is okay when they're not.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

This is absurd

Someone was arrested in Nashville, extradited to Maryland where he was able to prove he is innocent of the crime. So do they take him back home? No they take him to a homeless shelter. WFHisT? The story is here.


Friday, February 16, 2007

My newest theory

After watching the Disney film Eight Below (which made me cry, proving I don't get out enough) I've decided that leopard seals are directly descended from pleosaurs. They look really snaky, reptilian and creepy. I saw that they have eaten some people and I'm not surprised. These are not the seals that hang out at Seal Rock in San Francisco.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Favorite quote of the day

"Call it the clash of titans or the confrontation of generations, but it is a stealth war being fought with iron wills, velvet gloves and steel-edged smiles," India Today said in a recent cover story on Bachchan and Khan.

Isn't that marvelous? From this article .

As clever and nimble as six monkeys

One of my favorite lines from The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters is when Miss Temple comments that something is as clever as six monkeys. This video makes me think of that line.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Awesome chase scene

Check this out.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Libertine

I watched The Libertine again today. I saw it in the theater when it came out. I think it's a brilliant film but heartbreaking and I wonder about the Earl. He seems to self destructive to me and I wonder why.

The makeup is appallingly well done. Don't eat your supper while watching that movie. Your stomach won't forgive you.


Monday, February 12, 2007

My goodness

That's quite a claim. The article is here.

And today we learn how to make...

The most recent episode of BentoTV teaches you how to make a tulip shaped hot dog. No really, I'm not making this up.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Stuff I did over the weekend

On the Trail of the Black Death

A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe

Smallpox - Wikipedia


Children of Men

Bride and Prejudice

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Not nearly manly enough

That is the result of the test to see if I was an experienced man or a boy. I mostly did poorly on the what tool is this and car questions. Alas and alack.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sick snow day

Thankfully today was a snow day. Cameron was up throwing up until one in the morning so it would have been very hard for him to get up and go to school at six am. I had a terrible headache, one of those ones that feels like my head has been been nailed to my bed.

I took a couple of tramadol and made it through the day by telling myself I would call in sick in half an hour. Somehow I managed to finish all my work.

Then I wrote most of my column and my thousand words in my novel.

Cam was feeling better this evening and made some awesome tuna mac with broccoli and mushrooms. Yum.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Doing Good by Pamela Morsi

Jane Lofton is a Realtor with a wealthy husband, entree to the club, a beautiful daughter in college and a busy and sucessful life. Unfortunately her husband spends most of his time at the golf course and the rest of it having an affair with a blonde half of Jane's age and her daughter doesn't speak to her and she doesn't have what you'd call friends, but you can't have everything, right? She's almost able to convince herself that she's content and ignore the niggling doubts.

Then she has a bad accident and is this close to death and makes a Very Serious Promise. If God rescues her she'll spend the rest of her life doing good.

When a frail old man from the nearby nursing home runs barefoot to her car and cuts her free from it she's not sure if he's sent by God or it's just a coincidence but she's made a promise so she sets out to fulfill her side of it. Unfortunately it's not as easy as it sounds.

I picked this book up because doing good is a theme in the Gabriel novel I'm writing. Charity has reincarnated for the specific purpose of doing good but can't quite get the hang of it. I know writers who refuse to read anything that might be like what they're reading but I've had trouble with writing something, then turning on the television and seeing the very scene I just wrote enacted on the X-Files so I like to err on the side of caution and read up on the competition so to speak. Luckily for me this book has very little in common with mine.

It was a fun read and quite well done except for one thing that drove me nuts. The gentleman who pulls Jane from her convertible, Chester by name, clearly has a particular ailment and Jane just never notices. It's kind of an important part of the book and maybe she just never ran across it before but it's hard for me to believe she could be that clueless.

If stuff like that doesn't bother you, or you think you could be like me and try and ignore it, then pick up this book. It's rather sweet and charming.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Project for Neil

Penn Jillette

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bad day today

Cullen was sick so I had to take him to the doctor. The New Jersey MVA has put a hold on my driver's license (???) so I couldn't replace my lost Maryland license. Our microwave broke so I swung by Goodwill to pick one up for twentyfive bucks, pretty pleased because I had a ten dollar off coupon, only to find out they discontinued the coupons this morning. And there were no books in the used book room that I hadn't already read or that looked good to me!!

And I'm disgruntled because Pan's Labyrinth seems to have spoiled me for everything. I can't find a book I'm enjoying reading and it's kind of ruined my light mood I need to write my book.

But my boss, who is beyond wonderful, did something super for me so that made up for everything bad that happened. Whoop!