Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Resolution #2 - The Reading List

I'm too afraid to actually count how many books are on my Unread shelf.  Best guess is about 160-170.  It stays around that number.

I've spent this year looking for the Dark Tower books.  I finally got in book 6, the last one I needed to find, recently.  I found the other six at the used bookstores and the flea market.  I couldn't find book 6 anywhere.  Giving up finding it, I just ordered a copy online.

So, next year, I plan to read all 7.  7 books in a year isn't a bad goal.  It's actually a pretty pathetic goal.

Also, I want to read One for the Money before Lacey and I hit the movies to see it.  I bought books 1-5 of the series from the flea market at a good price.

Other books would include
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

I got them back in November, but since they're all last books, I didn't want to start them.  If they end wrong...  So many wasted years...

Anyway, I'm going to put on my big girl pants and read those.

So, that's 11.

Oh yeah, and A Game of Thrones should be in today.  That's another series I'm going to add to my reading list for next year.

Oh boy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Resolution #1 - Keep My Mouth Shut

“Life is fraught with opportunities to keep your mouth shut.” ― Winston S. Churchill

I have a dream to be witty.  Mostly though, I come across as being a smart aleck.

Disclaimer:  I love my mother and my older sister, but that doesn't stop me from taking jabs at them. Maybe it's middle-child angst, I don't know.  But they make it so easy.

Several months ago, my mom was running around the house (we have a small house) saying, "Where's my broom?  Where's my broom?"

I don't know why, but for some reason I was sitting in the living room.  I thought of something.  Mom considers the littlest things disrespectful, but even I knew this was out of line.  I also knew it was funny, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, she'd find it funny.

So I took a shot:  "To fly away on?"

Mom grilled me, but she laughed too.

Everyone else laughs at it, but every time I tell that story, Mom tells me to watch it.

A few days later, Mom found her broom outside.  I thought of something again.  This time, Mom was on to me.

"Vehicles go outside."

Again, I got grilled, and she laughed.

A few weeks ago, Mom put a candy red broom in the buggy at WalMart.  I kept a straight face, but every part of me was like, "Oh, you gotta think of something."

In hindsight, it didn't occur to me to resist the urge to think of something.

Eventually, I had something.  It was a sports broom instead of a sports car.   

I said nothing to Mom.  I did tweet something though.  The majority of my followers, I don't know personally, so it's not like they can tell my mom on me.

I'm a bad daughter.  I'm an even worse sister.

While Christmas shopping last year, Mom and I were in the Hat Shack getting beanies personalized.  Mom was getting one for my sister.

"Put 'maneater' on it," I said.

"We can't do that, Jadi."

I thought for a moment.  "Put 'ho ho ho' on it."

The manager and one of his clerks were right there and started laughing.  It took Mom a few seconds to get it.

I didn't get grilled though, that time.

When Lacey and I went see The Lion King in 3D, I didn't get home until nearly 2:30 the next morning.  The next time, I was in around 9.  Mom was a little upset both times.  She doesn't like the idea of me being out late because she worries.

My sister's boyfriend at the time said Mom was afraid I was going to come home pregnant like my sister had.

It was preposterous!   I don't think my sister knows that I've never dated, or maybe she'd never realized it.  I told her, "That would require me actually meeting someone." 

"Not uh, you could get artificially inseminated."

"That would take out the fun part."

Thing You Don't Say in Front of Your Mom #1.  And the look on my mom's face was priceless.  

Thing You Don't Say To Your Mom #1 was admitting I didn't like going to church.

I'm tired of getting in trouble for what I say.  Starting on the New Year (well, actually, I've already started on this one) I will keep my mouth shut.

New Year's Resolutions are about self-improvement, right?  I will be quieter.  If I think of something witty, well, I got an only half-full journal waiting for me to fill it with snarky comments.

Year End Scramble

There are four days left of this year.

I still have 10 books on my currently reading shelf.

Believe me, it's not that I don't want to finish all of the books, but I doubt I will.  All the books I have bookmarks in are the types of books that take me forever.  They'll all probably get good ratings because if there was something I didn't like about them when I first started them, chances are, I won't remember it by the time I get to the end.

And we know how I am about endings.  If the ending's good, all is forgiven (or mostly).  If it ends wrong, it doesn't matter how good the rest of the book was, it'll get a one-star.

I took a break from the books I had.  On Christmas Day, I started a Candice Hern romance (it was calling to me), and then yesterday, the new High Heels Mystery came out, so I read it in a few hours, and then went back to the Candice Hern, and finished it.

But that still leaves me with 10 books on my shelf.  4 on my Kindle, 2 hardbacks, 3 mass market paperbacks, and 1 trade paperback.

2 of them, I want to quit.  One of them, I probably shouldn't have started right away.  But it was just sitting there, "Jadi, Jadi, read me, read me."

I don't make it a habit to buy authors I haven't read before off Amazon.  I usually get those for my Kindle, after I've read excerpts from Amazon and reviews from Goodreads.

This was one of those books by an author I hadn't read before.  I'd read an excerpt, but it was cheaper to buy a used hardback in great condition than to buy the Kindle format.  So that's what I did.

I've read Chapter 1, and am SO about to shelve it.  I don't want to get rid of it, but I don't want to read it at the moment.  Who knows though?

I know last year, I posted a favorite book of the year.  I honestly don't know what it was this year.  I mean, I've read so many...

We'll see, we'll see.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


We wish you a merry Christmas.
We wish you a merry Christmas.
We wish you a merry Christmas.
And a happy new year!

We're spending Christmas with my mom's mom.  Something about Christmas at Maw Maw's...  

Quite frankly, it doesn't feel like Christmas.  Dad told Mom they're just buying for their kids (me, my siblings), the grandkids, my grandmas, and like two friends.  So, we did very little running around this season.

And it was great.  I keep telling Mom we need to skip Christmas and just go on vacation.

I mean, there was so little stress.  I feel bad for all the other people that were running around for gifts for people who may not even appreciate them or get rid of them discreetly a few months later anyway. O.o

Yeah, I'm a real Grinchy Scrooge.  Although, I think I said earlier this year, that I think I like Easter more.

Christmas, a time of peace and goodwill.  Like any holiday, my crazy family gets together and we joke about going to group therapy someday to drain all of the insanity.  We eat really good food (Cajun--yummy!).  Good food is heaven on earth.

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs, "All I Have to Give" by Todd Agnew:

And here's the singer talking about it, which really puts the song in perspective.

Merry Christmas.

“There has been only one Christmas -- the rest are anniversaries.” ― W. J. Cameron

Friday, December 23, 2011

Obscure Fairy Tales "The Traveling Companion"

 “The fairy tale speaks to us all; that is its particular charm.  The beggar and the prince pause in the marketplace to hear the storyteller, and for a moment, they are merely men, subject to the passions that rule us all.”  -Erik Haugaard, Hans Christian Andersen:  The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories 
Since there seems to be a horrible lack of knowledge about Hans Christian Andersen's "The Traveling Companion," I've decided to talk about it here here.  (And, not to mention, I want to do a good re-telling of this tale.)

I pulled this straight from my paper with a correction:
The first fairy tale to ever leap off Andersen’s pen was “The Spectre.”  It was published in 1829.  The tradition of the fairy tale had great potential, and Andersen realized it shortly after penning “The Spectre.”  Later, in [1835], it was re-written, and would be forever known as “The Traveling Companion.”  Hans Christian Andersen is known as the father of the modern fairy tale, and is considered the first great fantasy storyteller. [emphasis new]

Some further research later showed that this was based off an older folk tale that he'd heard as a child.

So, for those of you that are curious about this fairy tale, here's a pdf of the Erik Haugaard translation.

Now for the short version:  John's father dies and he goes out into the world to seek his fortune.  When stopping by in a church one night, he sees two men who want to throw one of the bodies out of the church because the man died before he could pay his debts to them.  Wanting the man to be left alone, John uses his inheritance to pay them.

Shortly after, he meets a stranger on the road, the traveling companion.  They travel together and the stranger acquires some switches, a sword, and a pair of swan wings.  They come to the capital city (or I'm assuming it is) where they hear tales of a horrible princess.  Anybody can propose, they just have to answer her questions correctly.  If they guess wrong, they are beheaded or hanged.

When John hears this, he says that if that were his daughter, he'd beat her with a switch until he drew blood.  When he sees her, however, he falls in love with her.  So he makes his proposal and starts the game.  Well, if you can call it a game.

The first night, the traveling companion takes the swan's wings and follows the princess (and beats her with the switches the entire way) to a troll's cave.  The troll tells her what question to ask and the answer, and then she leaves.

The traveling companion goes back to John and tells him the answer.  This proves successful, and the traveling companion does it again the second night.

On the third night, the traveling companion beats her harder with the switches.  The troll tells the princess that the answer should be his head.  After the princess leaves, the traveling companion cuts the troll's head off, sticks it in a sack, and goes back to John.  He gives the sack to John to give to the princess.

So, John wins the game, but the princess is still evil.  (Now that I think about it, usually when you kill the magic-user, all the spells unravel.  Apparently, this is a new trope, because she was still wicked after the troll died, and it does say she was bewitched.)  The traveling companion tells John how to make the princess good again.

Anyway, you find out at the end of the story that the traveling companion was the dead man that John had paid his debts.  John gets everything all because of one good deed.

I looked around for adaptations of "The Traveling Companion."  There's some kind of musical based off of it.  There's an animated movie (which is a horrible adaptation).

I found two porn stories in eroticized fairy tale re-telling collections.  And then, I didn't even see the books, I just read reviews of these collections online where they mentioned "The Traveling Companion."  So, it has been retold, but in a rated R way.

Also, I found a storybook on Amazon that I just had to have.  I got it in today, and it's a great translation from the Danish.  

There's no new tropes in the story, though.

A man comes back because he's not done, or thinks he's not done.  OR, turns out he has to do something before he can move on to the next life.  Toothless, Heaven Can Wait, Over Her Dead Body.

And the princess?  What fairy tale is complete without a princess?  Well, plenty are, but it's indicative of fairy tales.  And this princess really, really needed rescuing.

Another big element here is John's debt-paying.  Perhaps not the fact that he'd paid the debt, but the kindness behind it.  All over literature, you see heroes who were kind to people, and then that person did them a kindness in return.  If not for their good deeds to the people they met, they would have never received help from them, and they would never had attained their goal.  Simple as that.

It's a good story, even if it is a little gruesome.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Gifts

I hate picking out gifts.  Not because I don't like giving gifts, but I never have any idea what to get people.

Several years ago, for Mother's Day, my mom had said she wanted a hisbiscus.  My mom's horrible with plants, so I didn't want to get her one.

But then I found a really, really pretty one.  And I got it for her.

"But Jadi, I wanted a red hibiscus."

I was pissed.  She'd been saying she wanted a hibiscus, not once did she specify a color.  And besides, the color I got her was gorgeous!

"But Jadi, I wanted a red hibiscus."  

Never mind that it did live for a while, but did she have to say that?  I at least pretend to like a gift, even if I don't.  I'll get rid of it discreetly after a few months when it's forgotten.  Of course, with the exception of some creepy dolls from when I was little, I seldom got gifts I didn't like.

Mom always tells me I should get over this, and I have, but I like to think I learned a lesson there.  

I didn't get my mom any gifts for a long time after that.  

Now, if she asks for a CD or something from Amazon while I have access to money to spend on there, I order it for her.  That's the closest thing to gifts I get her now.  I mean, I don't work (except on her farm), and asking for money to get her a gift...  Anyway.

This year, I had another "hibiscus incident" for Cole's birthday.  I picked out a remote-control car.  It was a "Gator."  It could go in gravel, water, sand.  It was nice, and sturdily built too.

"But Nanny, I wanted a racecar."

"Crap like that is why I don't buy your maw maw gifts anymore," I told him.  My sister or Cole went back to Mom and told her what I'd said.

"Get over it, Jadi."

I tell people, tell me exactly what you want.  Or, we get together but spend our money on ourselves.  It's not about the gifts anyway.  How's that sound?

I love Christmas.  I really do.  I hate picking out gifts for any holiday or special occasion.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What Makes You Stop

The year's drawing to a close.  I have fourteen books bookmarked.  Two of them, I'm really tempted to quit.  One was from one of my mom's friend's book refuse bag, and the other from the Flea Market.

They're both romances, both by an authors I've known about since I've been reading Victoria Alexander (and nobody writes like she does!).  One of them I had only heard of.  The other one, I'm quite familiar with her books.  This would be the first of her books that I quit, and once I quit an author, I almost never pick them up again in other books.

I love me so good romance books.  However, a lot has happened in both of them, and I'm not even halfway through with them.  You know, where so much happens, but when you see where the puppy ear is and where it was last time, you've barely made progress in the book and it doesn't seem like you're any closer to finishing.

Translation:  These are those long, drawn-out, painful to read books that, by the time you're done, you're ready to throw them across the room.  Or perhaps before you're done.

I've started to skim.  I never skim.  I like to read every sentence carefully, because I'm prone to miss things.  And, even if I do read it carefully, I still may forget it later.

The small print should've been a clue.  Victoria Alexander's mass market paperbacks still have what must be 12-point size, and they're not considered large print.  And a lot happens, but you're also halfway through the book too.

Let's see, what else makes me quit a book?

1 - Reading the last page and not liking how it ended (only once, I promise--I think).

2 - Inability to care about the story, characters, et cetera.

Same reasons other people quit, I guess.

What makes you quit?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why Books Win

According to my My Books database, I have 580 books nesting somewhere in the deep recesses of my bedroom, and then some I have borrowed out.  I have 66 Kindle books.

The only problem with everything going to e-readers is that, well, I have an issue with being completely dependent on gadgets for everything.

I love my Kindle.  Some of the books are cheaper, and all of the authors on my Kindle are all new authors to me...

However, right now, there is still one thing the book has over the e-reader:

Who reads in the bathtub?  Who lights some scented candles, runs some bubbles, and just relaxes and reads in the bathtub?

It's great to have a billion books at your disposal, but would you really risk losing all of them if you accidentally dropped your e-reader it in the water?

I wouldn't.

I would rather risk losing one book than risk losing the 66 on my Kindle.  I would rather not risk losing my Kindle itself.  Books are easier to replace.  If something happened to my Kindle, I'd have to go through the trouble of replacing it.  My parents got me that Kindle for my birthday.  They'd kill me if I was so careless with it.

They think I got enough books, so they probably wouldn't care if I dropped just one book.  That would be a lot easier to replace.  But still, even if you did drop a book in the water, there is still a chance the book can be salvaged with a blow-dryer.  I've gotten apple juice on one of my favorite books, and it came out okay.  Lacey was borrowing one of my books and it got wet by a pool, but it survived it and the book is sitting on my shelf, safe and kinda sound.

Can you say that about an e-reader?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Final Grades, part 3

Fall 2010
  • Art Appreciation - A
  • English Comp. I - A
  • World Civilizations I - A
  • General Psychology - B
  • College Algebra - C
GPA: 3.4

Spring 2011
  • General Biology Lec/Lab - A
  • English Comp. II - A
  • World Civilizations II - A
  • Intro to Sociology - B
GPA: 3.76

Fall 2011

  • Computer Applications - A
  • General Biology II Lec/Lab - A
  • Honors Forum - A
  • World Literature I - A
  • Walking - A
  • Public Speaking - C 
GPA:  3.6

Cumulative GPA:  3.58

Bright Empires--So Far

So, I read The Skin Map last year.  I just finished reading The Bone House today.  I started it back in September.

Yes, Stephen R. Lawhead is my favorite author BUT his books do usually take me a while.  Don't be alarmed, this is normal.

So, his new series is BRIGHT EMPIRES.  King Raven was an awesome series, and although I had my reservations about this series, because I'm not big into time/dimension travel, I do love this series too.

But then, look who's writing it...

So, because works speak for themselves, I pulled two videos from YouTube.

Check it out:

Roller coaster?  Wow factor?  Yes, I do believe he has succeeded.  When I was done reading the first one, trying not to scream in agony at the cut-off ending, that we have to wait another year for the rest of the story, I was really excited about what I was getting into.

The Bone House ends much better than The Skin Map did, to my mind.  The ending, while still cut-off and annoying, was still very satisfying.

I can't wait until next year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Slayers by C. J. Hill

4 stars

Goodreads Description:  Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

I wanted to throw this book across the room when I finished it. There's a cliffhanger ending. If not for that, I would've given it a 5-star rating. Growl, growl, hiss, hiss.

Other than that, I loved it. It was a great way to lose a few hours...

...And because of the cliffhanger ending, I'm SO getting the next book when it comes out.

End Goodreads review.

I'm not familiar with the Percy Jackson books. I've heard of them, and my parents bought me the movie that I never watched, but somebody compared it to that. Which, from what I know, it's probably true.

Also, C. J. Hill is Janette Rallison's pseudonym. Just a thought for you.  She wrote the My Fair Godmother books, which I love, so I had to check this one out.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Finally Finals, Part 3

After this semester, I have one semester left (hopefully) at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Today, finals for Fall 2011 begin.  My first final isn't until 10, and then I have 2 on Wednesday.

Let's see.  What did I learn?

1 - Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is about how Morgan le Fay wanted to one-up Gwenevere.  I liked the story up till that point.

2 - A lot of people want me to be a teacher.  I don't know if I want me to be a teacher.

3 - Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play (I think), and Hamlet's actor has to memorize over 1/3 of the play for his lines.  (However, I didn't learn this in class.)

4 - I am not good at public speaking and hope to God I don't have to do it often.  If I do, not like the script-version my prof had us do.  It was called an outline.  It was a script.

5 - I learned more about Creation theory because of DinoPaper.

6 - I learned way more than I wanted to about Andersen because of the "The Traveling Companion" paper.

7 - While on that subject, I never really gave that much thought to the interpretations of "The Traveling Companion."  I wanted to do my NaNoWriMo on a retelling of the fairy tale.  I quit NaNo, but I picked the project up again.  Now, I have a few other things to add to my story too.

8 - I think every writer has something untoward attached to them.  But then again, I think all "normal" people do too.  It's just the writers that get remembered for them.

9 - Dragons wanting maiden sacrfices took on a whole new meaning.  

10 - Psychologists analyze everything and totally ruined the animal-bridegroom trope in fairy tales for me.  Not really, but...anyway...

I hate when the "Big People" are right.  You learn more in college out the classroom than you ever do inside it.  Two of these I learned in the classroom.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Miss Lacey's Last Fling by Candice Hern

Miss Lacey's Last Fling
Kindle cover (mine)

4 stars (or, since it's a romance, 4 kisses or roses)

I'm not entirely sure why I chose this book, other than the fact I read another Candice Hern book and I liked it enough try her books again.  It may have been that my best friend's name is Lacey.  It could have been the purple on the cover.  Whatever it was, I loved it, and just finished re-reading it.

Meet Rosie Lacey:  Oldest of six children  Raised the other five and has been running the house. Twenty-six years old.  She suspected she developed the same disease as her mother, and the doctor confirms it.  So, with whatever time she has left, she is going to London to cram a lifetime into a few short months.  She makes a list of all the things she wants to do and enlists the help of her scandal-laden aunt Fanny, who then gets the help of her late lover's son:

Miss Lacey's Last Fling
Print Cover
Max Davenant:  Rake extraordinaire.  Handsome.  You know the type.  Thirty-six.  His best friend had committed suicide, and he's considering following in his footsteps.  With Fanny's niece in town, the Season doesn't look like it's going to be so boring after all. 

The story:  Our dear dependable Rosie becomes the the fair Rosalind.  All the men are vying for her affections.  The stiff-necked matrons hate her.  Rosalind raced some curricles, waltzed without permission at Almack's, made tabloid covers, flirted dangerously with a rake (well, more than one), attended a masquerade, and even went inside a gaming hell and learned to play hazard.

Read no farther if you're interested in reading this because I'm about to ruin the book.

Rosie finds out she's not dying.  Rosie tries to kill Rosalind though.  She heads back to the country, leaving a very broken-hearted Max in her wake.

So, Fanny feigns illness and Rosie comes rushing back to London.  

The worst part of the whole book was when Max's friend's suicide note drops out of his pocket and Rosie picks it up.  She doesn't know what it is and later reads it.

Thinking Max wrote it, she rushes to his house to find him holding a razor to his neck...

"Don't do it, Max!"

When Max realizes what she thinks, he goes along with it.  This is one of those situations, had he told the truth, she would've slapped him for worrying her and the reader would've thought, "You should've just went with it, man."

So Max goes with it and convinces her to marry him.  The book does imply though that he does tell her the truth. Later.  Much later.  And then, after the couple plans this big fancy wedding with all the stops and all the guests have arrived, they elope.

Okay, you can look now.  

All in all, it's a pretty good story.

“All romantic novels end the same way, but it's the process of getting there that provides all the enjoyment.”
― Candice Hern, A Proper Companion

A Proper Companion was the first book I'd read by Candice Hern.  Most of her books (or all) are available on Kindle for really cheap.

Candice Hern is usually compared to Georgette Heyer.  Her website is considered one of the best for Regency information.

I don't make it a habit to review romances on here, I usually just worry about the fantasy and most of the YA, but since I re-read this one within a month of reading it the first time, I decided to review it.  It's the kind of book I want to talk about.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When Writing's Magic

Lately, writing's been that one thing.  It makes everything okay.  Gosh, I pick up a pen and I start to feel better.  It's been that great lately.

How great, you ask?

1 - I've talked about names before.  When I was working on my that short story (that I marked up, but still haven't done any real work on), I was looking through my baby naming book and just wrote down names that I liked.

I found a lot of female names that I liked, but nothing was good enough for my female lead.  Eventually, I found a name.  Hesper.

Yeah, I know, it's not that interesting.  It may even be considered ugly or weird.  But when I saw it, I knew.  I just knew.  That's who she was.  She was a Hesper.  The meaning would eventually suit her story, in hindsight.  Does our subconscious do that or is it just coincidence?

2 - Speaking of a writer's subconscious, when I was actually working on my NaNoWriMo, it made me address some things I'd been struggling with.  I hadn't intended for that to pop up in the story, but it did.  And it's been doing it pretty often.

OR, sometimes I write down a statement (that never makes the computer draft), and then I stop.  Whoa there, girl.  Where did this come from?  Where was this truth to the world and why didn't I know it before and how did it come out this way?  Lacey says it's happened to her too.

3 - This is going to sound really weird from me, since I'm a writer and all, but I don't believe the pen's mightier than the sword.  It cancels out "Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."  I think it depends on the situation.  No amount of words was going to stop Hitler.  Stones don't snuff a martyr's fire as it does his life.  It makes it burn brighter.

Anyway, the pen pulled through for me last night.  Yeah, I'm surprised too.  I wrote a pledge to myself about writing.  Not that I'd get published.  Not that I'd be the next Lloyd Alexander.  Come to think of it, that didn't enter the piece.  Just some deep crazy girl stuff that I won't go into.

It's my contract with myself.  And I got it in writing.  Today, it came back to bite me in the butt.  I wrote it down.  And somehow I felt like I was bound to the contract.

Funny because I've written things to others before, and some things I never saw through.  Prayers, diary-entries, here on the blog...

So what made this one stick?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One of Those Moments

Lacey invited me to her youth group, and I went ahead.  1, because Lacey's Pentecostal and I like visiting different denominations.  2, so Mom would get off my back.

Talk about seeing a bunch of crazy  people, jumping and singing and dancing.  They pray REALLY loudly and A LOT both in tongues and in English.  The message was WAY short and the praying was really long.

I liked it.

At one point, Lacey asked me if I was freaked out.  I told her no.   As we were leaving, she asked me again.  I said, anything short of falling down isn't going to faze me.

Lacey:  So that's your limit.  As long as nobody falls down.

Me:  (oops, didn't say that right) No, falling down is good too.  They did that at the Full Gospel church.  Now, when someone's pulls out snakes... [because some Pentecostals do that]

Lacey: They do that up in the mountains.  If they did that here, I'd leave.

(not word for word, but close enough)

I told Lacey, If I hadn't been a visitor, I'd've been jumping and dancing along too.

She then said that usually she got into it, but she didn't want to freak me out, she kept her zeal in.

I told Lacey, if she had done anytihng, I would have.  Because I didn't want to do any of that and freak her out.


Lacey and I discuss religion a bit, but we'd never attended a service together, and that's even knowing each other, knowing the other was a Christian, since 8th grade.  We're college sophomores now.

Worship is such a person-to-person thing though.  What's okay for one person may make another uncomfortable.

As we proved tonight.

And this is the song by the way.  You can't help but want to dance and jump along with it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

So, if you're wondering where I've been...

RECAP: The Name of the Wind

The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2)The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

General reaction: um, well, erm...

I liked it a lot more than book 1, not to say I disliked book 1, but I enjoyed this one more. The writing's clever. It ends right. I don't ask for much as a reader.

If I had any fantasy-reading friends, I'd recommend the series to them.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hm mm, Productive Indeed

I dropped NaNoWriMo.  I couldn't get passionate about the story and I killed it.  Maybe some other time.

I've started to edit my almost 10k short story.  I can't get into editing it either, despite how much work it needs.

I started The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  I started it Friday.  I would like to be finished with it before I return to classes Monday.  Hopefully, while we're down the bayou (translation:  in Louisiana), I'll get a lot more reading done in it.

Before you scold me for being rude, I'm going to be immature and give my excuse explanation.  There is no one on that side of the family I'm close to.  I have one cousin that we're close in age, born in the same month, but he's special needs.  We don't talk much.  I have two other cousins relatively close to me in age, but they both have kids now.

So I read while we visit that side of the family.

Let's see, what am I thankful for?

1 - books
2 - writing
3 - my relatively easy life (this entails a lot)
4 - family, friends, all the other interesting people I know
5 - that I don't have kids

There's a lot more, but those are the important things.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Who Are You?

Tuesday, I finished that second honeymoon short story. 9,846 words, and the longest I've ever written.  So, Thursday, I reformatted it and put it on my Kindle. I took it with me to college and highlighted it up and made notes.

I love the story. I don't necessary love what I wrote. The voice doesn't sound so juvenile though, which excites me.

Except the characters.  I'm a plot-driven kind of person.  My characters...

I have no idea what my heroine looks like. I know what she doesn't look like, but not what she looks like.  How weird is that?  I have a better idea as to what my male lead looks like, but I don't necessarily know why he did what he did. I'm starting to understand him, but anyway...

Even though it's third POV limited, I never write from his POV. This may be a good thing.

I think a conversation is in order.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

When In Doubt, Write It Out

I'm just about done with DinoPaper.  I just gotta proofread.  And I got a deadline now.  The 16th.  I've started on the PowerPoint.

"The Traveling Companion" is a little harder.  I want to have it turned in this week though.

Oh yeah, and I did the math.  Starting November 7, I would have to be writing nearly 2,000 words a day to be on track.  So, it's not as bad as it could be.

Oh yeah, and my second-honeymoon piece, as it will be forever referred to, is not quite finished, although everything's been daydreamed up in my head.

I just got to finish writing it up.

Lacey and I were discussing this the other day in the library.  Lacey likes to write things out.  She doesn't like typing things.

Like me, she has long papers to write, but couldn't sit herself down to type up her papers.

Then she had an epiphany.

She likes to write.  Not type.  Maybe if she wrote it out first and then sat down to type what she wrote verbatim, well, that it would go a lot quicker.

And hot diggity dog it worked!

I don't think it matters how cool your computer is, there's something about setting pen or pencil to paper that just makes everything all right. It's that happy place. THE ZONE. Paradise. Shangri-La.  The Promised Land.  The Great Valley.

It's strange, but nothing short of magical.  Wonderful.  Powerful.

Computers are technical and loud with the clacking of keys a constant annoying sound.  They're sterile and don't have much personality.  (At least mine doesn't.)

Notebooks, (for me, it's a college-ruled composition book), on the other hand, are easy to decorate and something about my pen spilling its ink on the page in a mad writing frenzy...

When it doubt, write it out.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Second and Third Honeymoons

I am behind on NaNoWriMo, and it is only day 3.

However, Saturday, whilst I was still working on DinoPaper, I started on a short story that is taking all of my attention.

NaNoWriMo is a chore.  This new short story is fun.  I managed to daydream the whole thing, and it's taking a lot longer in words than I thought it would.

Considering I'm a concise writer, this is a big deal.

This all-consuming tale is one of those second honeymoon pieces.  It reminds me exactly why I love writing.

No, I'm not hippity-hopping happy.  My temperament hasn't improved in the slightest.

But it feels okay.  Not "good, but not great."  Just, like after something horrible happens and you're grieving and then you wake up one morning, and you're okay.  Life goes on.

That sort of okay.

I've been restless lately, and writing this story alleviates it.  It's kind of a lose-lose situation.  Or a win-win.  The story's making me restless by wanting to write it and writing it is the only way to get it gone.

My soul feels empty, but in a good way.  Like the haunted ghost that's found peace.  It's quieted and calmed.

So, because I can't get excited about NaNoWriMo, which is probably because I started the short story (it refused to wait!), I've decided to stick with the second honeymoon story for now.  I'm almost done.

Which, I've been telling myself since Tuesday.

I'll still make myself write a little more, because I'd hate to give up completely, and I really want to write this story (except, just not now) and I know it would be good discipline about writing a story you don't feel like working on for when I'm a full time writer someday, God-willing.

Sigh...  this writing thing's funny business.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Back in 2009

Before I had the Blog, I wrote Vent Pieces.  This is the one I wrote when I finished NaNoWriMo in 2009.

It is not revised.  Straight copy-paste from the original WordPad document.  I just reformatted it a little when I put it in the blog-entry window.

Reflections on NaNoWriMo 2009
November 27, 2009
J. C. Verdin

On November 24, 2009, approxmately 12:32 am, I completed my NaNoWriMo 2009 by both getting the word count--50,018 words--and finishing the story.  Those last 890 words were the hardest I had ever had to write in my life.  Believe me.

This was my fourth year participating, however, this was the first time I ever registered for any of the groups or even on the website.  It was fitting that this was the year I got the word count--no matter that I breezed by.  The story was done.  And quite frankly, I was tired of writing it.

Some days when the word count was particularly hard to get, I wondered how I would feel if I did become a full time writer and that was what it would be like.  I was truly questioning if writing was what I really wanted.

Seriously, there were moments when I was thinking, "What was I thinking?  Wanting to be a writer?"

However, there were other moments--particularly at the end--when I felt I was doing exactly what I should have been doing.

When I finished, I was tired and I had a headache and I was just ready to go to bed.  I was about to leave for Texas the next morning--well, in a few hours.  I started out wanting to get as much done as I could before I left, but I wound up finishing.  I was really proud of myself.  Writing 50,000 words was hard--especially when I try to be as concise as a writer as possible.

Oh, I can't tell you how much fun it was to break every rule!  Adverbs, run-on sentences, and those lengthy descriptions about the characters!  It was fun and it boosted word count.

I've been trying to re-write my last year's NaNo, for the past year.  This year's was actually supposed to be a bit of a prequel, but the story shifted completely and the two stories wound up--while drastically changing what happened last year--intertwining, though Brennie was the main character and it was all about her, her relationship with Henry, and whatnot.  Cynthia and Marcus were major players, though.  I don't know if I'll ever go out and do their story now, other than the one from last year.

NaNoWriMo this year reminded me why I love writing anyway.  It was like going on a second honeymoon with the love of your life.  I got to learn more about these people and share in their life.  They'll be like long-lost friends every time I revisit their world.

So I'm glad I did it.  This is my last year in high school, and if I'm in college next November, I may not be able to do it again until I'm out in the world.  And even then it will be difficult.

So, here's to what may be my last NaNoWriMo!  At least for a while...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wait...I Have to Care?

My Phi Theta Kappa certificate and some other goodies came in today. A pin thing, a catalogue to get some PTK-branded stuff like t-shirts and medallions, and a member card.

And this is doesn't even require me being an active member.  Although, I want to be, certainly.

I just have to keep my GPA up and maintain a good appearance.  No arrests, no misbehavior.  Easy stuff.  It's not like I was ever a bad kid or anything.

Honors College at Perk and PTK overlap a lot.  We talk about PTK at Honors Forum.  I've never been to a PTK meeting except the orientation, but I still know all what's happening because we go over it in Honors Forum anyway.

If I expect to continue on in college, I have to get scholarships.

Apparently, colleges like community service as a good reason to give money.  I don't know exactly why, but I don't think they like the idea of giving money to someone who, thus far, hasn't made much of a difference, and may not ever.

People who care, people who have made a difference in their community are a good investment.  They will make the college look good when they become a famous philantropist.  Oh, and they're changing the world and all.

Before I went to college, I did very little.  My community service before college was a few volunteer jobs every blue moon, and most of it was stuff I hadn't wanted to do.  It would cut into reading and writing time.

My mom's friend the librarian worker asked me to come with her read to special needs kids over at Perk Elementary--which is right across the road from Perk College Campus.  (Yes, this is where I went to elementary school.  So much has changed since I was there!)  It's certainly an experience.  

It's through Friends of the Library.  Some of them are the librarians from Perk College, the President of the college, and a few other do-gooding middle-aged and older ladies and gentlemen of the community.

It's a lot of fun watching their interactions.  Oh, and the stuff they bring in for the kids!

The instructor from the youngest group that we go to says the kids love being read to.  They LOVE it.  Like, they go through a few books each reading time.  However, because they're special needs, people are reluctant to go to them because they're not sure what to expect.

Ironically, this group was the best behaved, the cutest, the sweetest...

It's the older ones you gotta watch out for.  ;P

So, let's see, to be a good person, you actually have to care?

What do I care about?

I like animals, and I'm comfortable around them.  However, I'd make a bad activist.  I'm sorry, but I am more important than a rat and if that rat's gonna help somebody fight cancer or AIDS, well, I'm not arguing.  And I bet those Johnson & Johnson rabbits like being tear-free too.

I'm pro-human, but I'm not much of a people person.  Although, I like being with the special needs kids.  They're cute and sweet and I think already said all this...

The only problem is that Friends of the Library only goes to Perk Elementary once every semester.  Although PTK is doing some reading programs too, for which I have enlisted.

I actually have to care now.  There is a standard and all that.

Oh ka-rap.  I am no longer allowed to be apathetic. 

*cue bad announcer voice* Will she survive?  Will she crack?  Stay tuned...

Plots and Plans

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” ― Stephen King, On Writing

That is by far one of my favorite writing quotes.

Getting up, getting well, getting over. Getting happy!

I wrote a Vent Piece a few nights ago. Since I started the blog, the VP has become pretty much an obsolete thing. Well, after I started writing more on the blog...

I wanted to get my feelings right, and it was too personal for the blog, but I wanted to sit at my computer and type. Something about a WordPad doc open with the title size 14, the date and my name in size 12, and then my opening line... The stark familiarity of what my Vent Pieces were. Familar and lovable, and the blank page is always listening.

Yeah, that's where it was. That's where it is.

I got a bunch of stuff to do before NaNoWriMo, and quite frankly, I'm looking forward to the craziness of it. If it's important, you make time for it.

So, no reading too many books during NaNoWriMo. Sleep will be cut back on. No Facebook, Twitter, maybe no blogging...

Maybe I should just disconnect my computer from the Internet during November. I mean, it's not like I can't Google stuff up on my phone. And I can play on the Internet between classes because NaNo is strictly an at-home-on-my-PC type thing. Although with Zoho and Google Docs maybe I can do a few things between classes...

And besides, I won't have to do THAT much research. Remember the paper I'm doing on "The Traveling Companion"? If I ever did a fairy tale retelling, that's the one I want to do.

That's the one I want to do for NaNoWriMo this year. I've already done some of the plotting because I've been wanting to do it for a while.

Now, I have an excuse to start it and, more importantly, finish it.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Jadi's Library Scrapbook

I had about two and a half hours to play in the library today instead of the usual one. One of my classes didn't meet, another one was cut short, added to the usual time I spend every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the library.

Lately, in case you haven't noticed, I've been exploring the library. So, today, I took some snapshots of what I found. 

I wish I had known there were Creative Writing books in the library. Now I do.

Speculative fiction, anyone?

That one closest to the left wall?  How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy, and
Science Fiction
?  I checked that one out today!

Look, there's a 2011 market guide...too bad I have nothing worth selling at the time.

Character-Naming Sourcebook, and then two books later,
there's stuff about King Arthur.  Awesome.

Reading Lolita in Tehran is on my to-read list.  Now, I know it's available
at Perk Library.  YAY!

I just thought this looked kind of cool.  Isn't everyone guilty of being innocent,
eager, or cool?  I don't think anybody could be all 3--can you?--but I guess it's
got an Everyman appeal.

I have an idea of who Groucho Marx is.  Another good find for me today
at Perk Library.  Jadi's curiosity has been piqued.

Is that all women are good for in literature?  To either be a seductress (or to be
seduced) or to betray (or betrayed?)  Actually, I looked inside if it, there's
mention of the Bronte sisters.  I guess it's older fiction?  Anyway...

Speaking of Seduction:  Sex Ed-type books

Child-development.  Look, there's a Bill Cosby in here!
(I'm thinking there's a step-by-step here)

My personal favorite:  POTTY TRAINING!!!
(Farthest to the right)

Art!  A support system for life or some such.

Um, what does egregious mean?  I'll be needing to look that one up myself.

Back in the Creative Writing section.  Fantasy and Horror.
I'm easily fascinated.

And, of course, history.  It was near this section, Lacey and I were scoping
out for her a new book.  Since I write pseudo-medieval (at make an attempt
to do so) this one called to me particularly.