Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Know your A B Cs

Okay. First, I just have to say, I love how thoughts come to me when I'm in the shower. It's like my own little thinking spot. Do you have such a place? I get my best ideas in there, and I compose not only my best fiction, but my best arguments. This is great when I'm trying to convince my husband of something. I get to really perfect my pitch and then stick it to him bright and early in the morning. He's defenseless. :)

So, I don't know why, but I was thinking about those... blogtivities (you know, blog activities) that seems to spread like a rash around the blogosphere. I tend to steer clear of them, just as I do chain letters in email (when was the last time you got a chain letter on dead tree?), but I for some reason I was trying to think of one to do on my own blog, and also trying to inspire my writing friends a bit, and inspire myself for that matter. (You see, as soon as I got back in to writing, I was reminded I have embroidered baby gifts to finish for babies that are already in the world and growing like wildfire! ack! Then, Tom made me a mother's day gift that finally allows me to use the sewing machine and sewing table that were Christmas and Birthday gifts, respectively. Yay! Have you ever tried threading your sewing machine? I was filled with pride in my domestic ability, and then I sewed a test swatch, and after a few tweaks, it worked! Sorry, tangent) I need to simply practice a bit.

So, this isn't about fiction writing, it's simply about word dexterity and sentences. And really, this is no way to write prose... word dexterity, word dexterity. :) Oh, and I was somewhat inspired by the Six Degrees of Separation thing (you know, Kevin Bacon).

Here's the details of the blogtivity:

Go through the alphabet at least 3 letters at a time, and no more than 6.

Your sentence must be a complete sentence, each word must begin with a consecutive letter of the alphabet.

Your sentence must contain two names, these names must be names of someone famous, but first (or last) names only. (If for some strange, foolish reason you're challenged about which famous person you mean, I'm sure you will clarify by giving both the first and last names, or identifying the character of a book, movie or television show, this is a pretty flexible requirement.)

Your sentence must begin with a name.

Aside from names, no words may be repeated in a single circuit of the alphabet.

The next person to respond must begin their sentence with the second name you used in your own sentence.


I write: Angelina bears criticism despite Evangeline's frankness.

someone follows with: Evangeline forgot Gerard's Halberd.

I, or someone else follows with: Gerard hastened in Jack's killer.

etc. etc. etc. All the way to: Xander yanked Zeke.

Sound like fun to anyone? Join me in the comments, or start a thread on your own blog!


Friday, May 12, 2006

Point? There is no point.

This morning was one of those mornings. You know, I began to go in to detail, but I think I can sum it all up by saying it took me an entire hour (I'm not exaggerating) to pack my lunch. I sailed into work, again, quite literally, just as my Friday morning meeting began, at 11:00 AM. It's a good thing it's Friday, because it's these kinds of days that usually make me contemplate violence.

Oh! I finally got the newish Rob Thomas album. You will never believe what I'm about to say about it, and I'm not giving a full review, because I haven't really sat down to listen attentively. So, my quick and dirty opinion: First, it's not writing music, and it's not angst music (those are my two favorite kinds.) That wasn't really a surprise though. What is? It reminds me of Michael Jackson. No, seriously. In a good way! You know, when MJ was a popular super-star, not when he became the weirdo (and I mean that in the most extreme sense possible). I really like it, and I intend to try making it driving music for a time so I can get a better sense of it.

In other news:

I finished writing Eve's birth story (finally!), and when I sat down to write an update of her the day after her 18 month birthday (which was Wednesday), I couldn't think of a single thing to say.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I love Jane Austen.

Now, I know that's not all that controversial. Many people are inspired by her. I don't think you are dropping your jaws right now. But since I'm enjoying myself I thought I'd share the love. I believe I shall be rambling wildly in this post, so please bear with me.

You'll recall a few posts ago I mentioned the argument over the Pride and Prejudice films with my boss' wife. At that time, I suggested the movie Persuasion, and this sparked a conversation that could not be resolved without reading the book.

Sometime ago, in certain research I did for work, I discovered a great free ebook website, Project Gutenberg and they have all of Jane Austen's published works! Score! They have many others too. Check it out.

I read Persuasion, then P&P, and now I'm reading Sense and Sensibility. I'm struck by how unlikely it is that these works would have been published if Jane Austen were to write them today. But they're wonderful! I find that to be true of many books I love. I know that they wouldn't get snapped up the way that they should because they don't fit the popular formula. How sad. Or, how glad we are that Austen published her books when she did. :)

I had just begun reading S&S when my mother gave me what I will call a Jane Austen fan-fic to read, Suspense and Sensibility. My mother had the advantage when reading this book of not having just finished two wonderful Austen novels. In comparison, this book is dull. I'm not deep into it, so perhaps the plot will be pleasing, and it is not poorly written, but Austen's prose is such that the typical regency novel of today pales in comparison. Sigh.

So, ebooks. This is not my first foray into reading them (I read most of the Lord of the Rings that way), however, excepting one novel none of the ebooks I've read of late publication have impressed me. Now, I'm not saying I think that's a fault of the publication method. I wasn't really choosing these books as I might a paperback book, but there's the issue. Most ebooks must be purchased from the ebook publisher, right? Am I wrong on this? Is there in fact an ebook bookstore like Amazon (or even Amazon itself) that "carries" all the ebooks available from all the publishers? I don't think so.

Would that there were! Besides Jane Austen, guess what else I love. Netflix! Why? Recommendations and reviews! Just like Amazon does with books (which can end up being mighty spendy to me, if I'm not careful) Netflix lets you rate movies you've seen, and gives you recommendations for other movies to see based on the movies you rated. I'm addicted. I love it. Even better? I usually love my recommendations, even more so when it comes to Amazon than Netflix.

Gah! Okay... I just got sucked in over at Amazon. Good thing they have the Wish List now, otherwise I'd have quite a full cart, and no grocery money. I checked to see what their ebook section looks like, and it looks mainly like it's ebooks of books on dead tree, and some novellas possibly published in-house.

Where was I? Oh yeah. There's nothing like that for ebooks... is there? My impression is that each e-publishing house is an entity unto itself. No big warehouse of ebooks to peruse and compare--unless I want to hop all over the web to each publisher, what a chore! And what about finding what I like? I know what I like in books on dead tree, and so does Amazon! I know what I like in movies, and so does Netflix! I have no idea what I like in ebooks, and neither does anyone else!

Why does this bug me? Well, I really like reading ebooks... I mean, I like having them on my laptop. It's much easier to scroll through pages of electronic text while Eve nurses or while I struggle her to sleep than it is to read a paperback, or worse, a hardcover. First there's the lighting issue. Good reading light and good "night-night" light are two very different things. Then, there's the awkwardness of reading one-handed. It's almost as bad as typing one handed. Have you ever tried flipping pages with the same hand with which you hold the book? It's hard! And sometimes I drop the darn book. Additionally, you'd never believe how loud turning a paper page can's much louder and more distracting than a little iBook mouse-click.

Why should I have to go without like this? So... if you're in the know, and you have the source for recommendations that correlate to what I like... let me know! I know there are e-zines and whatnot that rate books, but I want a service that works like the ratings on Amazon and Netflix. Does such a thing exist?

I think I'm done.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I hope you don't come here for consistency.

I've been reading the Bible a lot lately.

X recently posted on The Da Vinci Code and National Geographic shows on the origins of The Good Book. I believe in what's called Biblical inerrancy, that the Bible is the true and accurate (error-free) Word of God. Anywho... that's not really the topic here, although I do find it interesting, and it did get me to thinkin' about history, and what we base things on in Christian religions.

So, I'm reading the book of Acts, all about the first-century "church."

DH and I have been doing a lot of soul-searching these days about church, what it should be, what it is, what we want in a church we'd attend. You see, we are church-searching for the first time since our marriage, and my first time in adulthood. He's attended two churches in his life, ours and his parents', and though I've attended many more than that, they've all been the same "type" of church (I would say denomination, but it's non-denominational... franchise might almost be the right word. Each church I've attended has been one of many Calvary Chapels, all aligned under the leadership of the first Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California and it's founder and head-pastor, Chuck Smith, but this is minutiae you can skip, hence the parentheses.) So, it's a big challenge for us to find a new place, especially in a small community, where we already know all there is to know about half the churchs in the area. That is to say, we are looking with little enthusiasm, and less success--at least within a reasonable distance from home.

So, here I am, currently churchless, reading about the activities and adventures, if you will, of the first believers in Jesus Christ. That was an exciting time! I mean, you've got miracles going on left and right, there's even a transportation in there, as well as the ubiquitous lame, blind, and sick healings, raising people from the dead, and not to mention exorcisms. Imagine the movie this would make!

But most interesting to me, at the moment, is the verve of the believers. These people are, to put it mildly, ecstatic about what is going on in their lives and what Christ did on their behalf, and what that means about God and life and death. Their enthusiasm is so great that their numbers grow by the thousands on a daily basis. I'm thinkin' MySpace and the iPod have nothing on first century Christian Evangelism. Christianity was spreading like wildfire.

Today? Not so much. Why is that? What has changed? It's certainly not God, nor is what Jesus Christ did any less revolutionary or life-changing--at least it shouldn't be. And yet, my husband, a fine, upstanding Christian man has about 10 times more enthusiasm to convert PC users to the Mac than he does to tell someone about the Man who saved his soul. Me? I'm much more likely to spread the good word of Breastfeeding and Babywearing than I am to share The Good News. Does this mean we're bad Christians? Ha! I'm coming to understand there's no good ones. There's merely a bunch of sinners (bad folks) saved (rescued from death and all manner of unpleasantness in life and after) by Grace (ooh, the U2 song... so good!)

What I mean to say is, I don't think this means I need to strive to be better, and go out there and beat all my friends and neighbors upside the head with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. If I had the excitement of the first-century church, I wouldn't need to strive, I would be bubbling over with it, I wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut, I'd be challenging authority and breaking chains, heck, I'd be healing the sick and raising the dead.

So what's missing that leaves me shy about my "secret identity" as a Christian?

I'm on the hunt for the answer. I'll keep you posted.

I've just run out of time... I have more to say on this subject, so I hope you'll forgive me the next time I do.