Monday, October 31, 2011

I don't like the rain either, Tiv

(Image via mah brother)

Cup Day BBQ at ours is going to be damp. Very damp.

Me, on Facebook: Little muffin gets chucked out on rainy days otherwise she's mega-bored and cranky by the time we get home. Also she's so much more smoochy and grateful to see us :P
Dad: Many was the time we would have liked to have left you out in the rain until you were smoochy and grateful to see us!!!

Well I never.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Into my arms: me and NaNoWriMo

One morning this week I woke up with the need to hug something. I hugged the cat, which was nice for both of us, but the feeling didn't go away. I was missing something.

Then I realised what it was: I haven't finished a manuscript in nearly a year. Going to Office Works with a flash drive containing a newly minted first draft hasn't been a ritual I've performed on many occasions, but it's a memorable one. There's nothing like taking the warm pages and giving them a hug. It's time to finish a book.

And lo! What month is it about to be but NaNoWriMo. I've always been editing a novel this time of year so it'll be the first time I'll be participating. I'm excited: 1666 words per day, that's entirely doable. I've had this whole damn book planned out in my head for about two years now and I'm dying to meet it face to face. So far its looking rather handsome, the nearly 5000 words I've written. I speak, of course, of Blood Queen, the third and last Book of Lharmell. For a while it seemed pimply and socially awkward, but I think it's straightening out and clearing up along the way.

Yes, everything's coming up Milhouse. BUT WHAT DID I GO AND DO LAST NIGHT? Well, it was raining rather heavily, and our roof leaks in a spot or two. And I left my laptop under one of the spots >.<

The screen started to fizzle alarmingly, so I forced a shut down and it's now sealed in a bag of kitty litter until tonight. There's about 3000 words of Blood Queen that haven't been backed up, but I'm not overly attached to them and bits of it are written out by hand anyway. It's more annoying than disastrous. I wanted to buy tickets to Thailand this week, not a new laptop.

Ah well. Three sleeps until NaNo starts. Are you giving it a go this year?

Note: There was a GIF going round with a guy pressing warm printed pages to his face and it would be perfect for this post. I can't FIND it. Where is it??

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Recent Reads: We Need to Talk About Kevin, Fairy Bad Day and The City of Ember

I have come out of my reading slump, and fingers crossed that means I come out of my writing slump. I'm a little bit excited because for the first time in three years I'm not editing during NaNoWriMo, I need to WRITE. That's right, book three of Lharmell, Blood Queen, needs some serious attention. I don't know how successful I'll be as work is about to get loco, I have 10K to write for an anthology and it's my birthday month. I'll be happy with anything between 20,000 to 30,000 words rather than 50,000. We'll see, shall we?

Here's what I've been reading and loving the last two weeks.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Wow. This was written by a MAN? Just astounding. I was warned by my friends not to read this late at night, but I did anyway. I only regretted it once. It's not a horrifying book. The subject matter could have been violent and gratuitous. But it wasn't. For those who haven't come across this book, it's written, in a series of letters to her estranged husband, by the mother of "one of those Columbine kids". The movie has just been released and I wanted to read it before people started talking about it and spoiling the story. My advice is DO THAT NOW, as from what I've heard about the movie it's miscast (except for Tilda Swinton, she seems perfect), the father is portrayed all wrong and Kevin is a B-movie demon-possessed kid. This book is basically 80% internal dialogue and I can't imagine how all the nuance and motivations could be brought across on screen. Highly recommended read. I couldn't put it down.

Let's do a u-turn and talk about Amanda Ashby's Fairy Bad Day. Amanda's one of the most enthusiastic people I know and she did some major encouraging while Blood Song was approaching maturity. Fairy Bad Day is her second YA novel. You might remember the hilarious Zombie Queen of Newbury High from 2009. Fairy Bad Day is just as funny, but goes deeper and darker than her former novel. Emma is a demon slayer at Burtonwood Academy, about to receive her assignment to kill dragons, just like her dead mother. But then it all goes wrong--she's assigned to fairies, and Curtis Green--handsome, irritating Curtis Green--gets dragons. Emma has to convince the principal of his mistake without getting expelled, which is all the harder when a GIANT EVIL UBER-FAIRY that only she can see shows up and starts terrorising the school. Get yourself a few packets of Skittles to chew on while you read this book.

Finally, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. One of the many books I picked up in New York in May that are sitting in a pile by my bed. (Oh TBR, you get no smaller when I celebrate finishing a book by buying three more, do you?) This one reminded me of a cross between The Giver by Lois Lowry and Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder. The writing style is almost childlike, like the narration of a Pixar movie or the like, but that only seems to enhance the dire straits the city is in. They're running out of light bulbs. They're running out of everything, really. And no one knows what to do. Then Lina finds a mysterious set of instructions, and piecing them together might prove to be their way out. A very cute and exciting read, and I recommend it just like the other two. Unlike We Need to Talk About Kevin, I can totally see this as a movie. Has anyone seen it?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupy Melbourne, or what became the Story of the Riot Police and the Peaceful Protesters

There's been something in the air the last year. The Libyan and Egyptian agitation for regime change. Slut Walk. The Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread to hundreds of countries around the world. People are standing up for what they believe in. Or in this case, sitting in.

I watched the events unfold in City Square in Melbourne yesterday on Twitter, Facebook and the online media from my office at work. Several of my friends were down there, and had been down there on and off for the six days that the Occupy Melbourne camp had existed. Sharing poetry. Looking after security and the camp kitchen. When things began to escalate, I was worried for them.

 I feel the only way to label these photos is "Before riot police arrived ...

An eviction notice was served on the camp at 7am. A heavy police presence arrived. The campers began to be fenced in.

Then the riot police descended. Riot police. A group of hitherto peaceful, well behaved protesters who were chanting and had linked arms to defend their tents warrant riot police? We've seen riots in Melbourne, and this wasn't one.

...and after." (Images from The Age)

I don't consider myself a political person. I want to write. I want the people whose job it is to oversee the country to do their damn jobs. I haven't been down to the Occupy Melbourne camp this week because it's a situation I only tenuously understand. But I believe the government should be reminded at every opportunity that they're here for the people, all the people, not only to grease the wheels in order for businesses to make profits, and they had my support: I am sickened by corporate greed. Bailouts. CEO bonuses that go beyond vulgar and border on vile.

Sometime around the middle of the day, when protesters had been pushed into the street. (Image from Facebook.) From the Age: "Greens MP Colleen Hartland, who was there as an observer, said: 'Police in riot gear just started to push me and once that happened I decided that I would be joining in.' "

I can also see the other side. The protesters said they would leave when they were asked, and they didn't. Some businesses in the square were hurting. But this remained, until the police were involved, a peaceful protest.

Waking up this morning, I was appalled by the images and news stories that greeted me. The crowing by a certain newspaper that a job had been well down. The repeated statement by Doyle and the police that the police were "giving back the square to the citizens of Melbourne".

These are the citizens of Melbourne.

A protest doesn't only belong to those who directly participate in it. It affects everyone who walks by and sees it, who reads about it on the news or sees a picture on Twitter. The protest isn't the point after all. Its job is to be the catalyst for enduring social change. And there is a change in the air.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

F%*& yeah, adulthood

We have a few children staying with us right now and I am reminded not how wonderful it was to be young, but rather how awesome it is to be a grown-up. Vis,

  • No one hides chocolate from you, or tells you when you've had enough. We're squirreling the stuff away like it's contraband in a POW camp. We're also likely to get dive-tackled if one of the little monsters catches us eating some.
  • The cat doesn't look at you like you've just shaved your head and painted a swastika on your t-shirt.
  • You eat what you damn well want to eat in a restaurant. If you don't like it when it arrives, it's the food's fault, not your "mood" or the fact that you didn't get the barbie doll you wanted at K-Mart earlier.
  • People don't talk about you like you're not there when you're actually sitting next to them. Or if they do, everyone else thinks they're dicks.
  • No one tells you what to do unless they're giving you a crapload of money.
  • Your default setting isn't "annoying".
Also, did you know chocolate is all the more sweeter when it's this illicit substance that only you're allowed to have? I mean, I wouldn't eat it in *front* of the little rugrats, but you know. Sweeter. Definitely sweeter.

(Are you there maternal instinct? It's me, Rhiannon. No? We're good for a few more years? Yessssssssss.)