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A Few Books More

44. Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Ed. James Lowder
45. Game of Thrones and Philosophy: Logic Cuts Deeper than Swords. Ed. Henry Jacoby
46. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
47. The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
48. Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov

Also, a whole bunch of Star Trek novels. Seriously, I don't even remember. There are probably more I'm missing. Also, I'm in the middle of like 500 books. I just keep getting distracted by different books, or by work, or by TV shows, or by being tired. You know, the usual.

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New smartphone!

So I finally joined the 21st century and got a smartphone this weekend! I have been loving it so far. Here are things that make me happy about it:
  • Unlimited texting, yay!
  • Texts are saved as a conversation rather than to in/outbox
  • The swipe pad is a lot easier to use (now that I've gotten used to it) than having to push the numbers to make text
  • Google maps and navigation. No more getting lost!!!!
  • Words with Friends
  • Very easy to check my e-mail
  • The crazy voodoo speak-to-text feature
  • I can check to see whether the Joomla "responsive" templates actually display well on a mobile device (this is something for work, but it has been super helpful)
Cool stuff! I'm not one of those people who's an early adopter (obviously) or who thinks everyone *has* to have a smartphone, but I think it was a good move for me at this stage.

NaNo status

NaNo is going pretty well so far. I'm a smidge behind (3062 words), but not too far, so I should be able to catch up. It'll be my first time doing NaNo while I working full-time since 2007, so it should be interesting. But the nice thing is that my school gives Veteran's Day off and two days for Thanksgiving, so those holidays should help.

There are some new people doing NaNo this year, and some repeat offenders (you know who you are :D). Exciting! I am thinking of maybe attending one of the regional write-ins sometime this year. I did a bit of writing in a cafe yesterday (a real one, not a Starbucks) while I was waiting for Alix's voice recital to start. It made me feel like a "serious writer," which is pretty difficult if the novel you're writing is called The Time-Traveling Adventures of the Amazing Punching Space Nun. It's such a long title that the NaNoWriMo site shortens it on my Novel Info page to The Time-Traveling Adventures of the Amazing Punching Spa...  I guess that's like a crossover between Hot Tub Time Machine and Fight Club?

A Fistful of Books

41. Lying Awake by Mark Salzman

A really interesting book about a Carmelite nun who realizes her ecstatic visions might be caused by epilepsy. It explored very interesting issues of faith--were the visions "just" illness or are they a gift? What should she do about the visions, and how does she know her choice is being made for the right reasons?

42. By Blood We Live. Ed. by John Joseph Adams

This is a great anthology of vampire stories compiled by the same editor who did the dystopian anthology Brave New Worlds. It looks like he has some other interesting anthologies as well, including one on stories of the apocalypse. I was actually really surprised at the range of stories here. There were gothic vampires, sci-fi vampires, alien vampires, Neanderthal vampires, and vampires in so many different cultures and historical settings. They ranged from wistful to horrifying, dramatic to satirical. Many have really interesting takes on the vampire legend, literature, or historical events. I got it from the library, but may have to buy a copy, because it's really quite good. It would be a great anthology to give to someone who's skeptical that anything about vampires could be quality literature. (Nota bene: None of the vampires sparkle, as far as I remember.)

43. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

This was okay. It was about a young woman from a family who can read futures in lace patterns coming home to come to terms with her past after her great-aunt dies. I was a bit thrown by the author's choice to switch from first-person to third-person limited when she took the focus off the main narrator's story. I don't think she had as firm a control of those character's voices and personalities as she did of the main character, and it was just weirdly distancing. The ending was also a bit strange, and I'm not sure whether I buy it or not. It was an ambitious thing to try, but I don't feel like the author could quite pull off that kind of twist ending.

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Books, books, books

35. Young Avengers by Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung
36. Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News by Dan Rather
37. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
38. No Exit and Three Other Plays by Jean-Paul Sartre
39. The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G. K. Chesterton
40. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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Tea is Made

I found this poem that really sums up how I've been feeling lately (even if it is too hot for tea).

An Idyll
By G. K. Chesterton

Tea is made; the red fogs shut round the house but the gas burns.
I wish I had at this moment round the table
A company of fine people.
Two of them are at Oxford and one in Scotland and two at other places.
But I wish they would all walk in now, for the tea is made.

Oh say can you see?

I can see now, because I got glasses for the first time! They're mostly for distance vision (like driving). Now I can see the street signs *before* I come right on top of them, which is tremendously helpful for driving in places I'm not familiar with. I think a lot of my dislike of driving in new places may have stemmed from this difficulty in navigating.

Things are more detailed and dimensional now. I found myself transfixed by how textured the pavement was. It really did throw me for a while though, because everything looked wrong. There was just too much detail to absorb and things were popping out in my face. It made me very tired. But I'm getting used to it.

I did spend my first five minutes or so just putting on and taking off my glasses and saying, "Clark Kent...Superman! Clark Kent...Superman!" (I've been rewatching Lois and Clark, which is fun.) And then I pretended I had superpower vision.

I suppose I should update my photo at some point.

An exercise in...exercise

So I finally got around to exercising a little like I've been meaning to. I found a yoga video on Netflix, something like 10 Minute Yoga Solutions. (There was a yoga mat just lying around by the TV, which was what gave me the idea, along with virtually everyone I know being into yoga all of a sudden.) It was nice because it was divided into five 10-minute workouts, so you could do as much or little as you wanted. I wound up doing 20 minutes: the "yoga basics" section and the "yoga for relaxation and flexibility" section. The instructor on the video (Lara Hudson, I think?) is very calming and nice. Like, "It's okay if you can't do this--just do as much as you can." She seemed sincere in that, which not all exercise instructors are, by any means. Most are just kind of in their own little world or so condescending that you get the feeling they'd rather gouge their eyes out than look at your graceless attempt at flexocardiowhatever. Their mouths say, "Good job," but their eyes say, "We both know that's not true, you flabby piece of shit." Anyway, this instructor was nice, so I didn't feel too bad about my extreme inability to do any of the things without modifications.

Man, though, I must be super out of shape. It's not just the lack of flexibility (although there is that), but I am also sore like you would not believe. I feel like a gang of mini Chuck Norrises tried to roundhouse kick their way out of my torso. And then the regular Chuck Norris whacked me on the shoulders with some concrete blocks.

So I gave my abs and upper body a break today and did Dance Party, which is basically DDR for the Wii. It was fun, as usual, apart from the narrator being annoying. "FEEL the BEAT!" Oh yeah? Feel my FISTS OF FURY through your TV screen! And I will use WHATEVER RHYTHM I WANT!

With any luck, I will keep something up, my body will get used to it, and then I won't be sore. My goals: they are low and boring.

More books not to forget about

31. Redshirts by John Scalzi
32. Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
33. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
34. Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton

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Some more books...

I will eventually try to post about these in more detail. I just don't have the energy right now, but I need to write down what I've read lately before I forget.

25. Grass for His Pillow by Lian Hearn
26. The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl
27. Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel
28. Fool by Christopher Moore
29. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
30. The World Before Her by Deborah Weisgall

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