Tag Archives: vacation

New Review–A Monster Calls

I have crawled back to the planet’s surface briefly, mostly because I thought A Monster Calls was so amazing I needed to write something about it. And if anyone’s interested, check out Siobhan Dowd on Wiki–she was a very amazing person herself.

I’ve just had a lot going on that I won’t bore anyone with, then went on a week’s vacation, which was fantastic, to Victoria, British Columbia. I had never been to Canada before. Victoria is a beautiful city, I thought, and everyone was so nice that we saw (maybe we just looked like tourists and the curmudgeonly ones avoided us).

I am still editing the second book. One of us is going to survive this process, and it is going to be me. That’s what I’ve determined. Then I have to format it. That’s a completely separate issue that doesn’t really have to do with either of us, because at that point, I think the manuscript and I will both be whimpering in a corner.

Sort of like my attempts to make a cover. I found all this fantastic free software to use for images, etc. I even found some copyright free, royalty free, std free images (they assured me they’d been tested). My efforts have proven…interesting. And apparently the truly embarrassing one that I finally managed to do something with has now disappeared (that may be a good thing). My main problem is I’m impatient and won’t read the tutorials. Right. I can just pick up Gimp and learn to use it intuitively. I can’t even manage to put two layers together (unless it’s a cake, and that’s still dubious at times and usually involves a bread knife and verbal threats). I actually did look up instructions on a few things, and they make it sound so easy on the forums: first you do this, and this you  press this button and choose this brush, bring up the color palette, pick these two colors, apply this filter, and then you have gold font! Mine was neon orange. Maybe my computer has a different idea of what gold should look like, or it’s stuck in retro 80’s mode.

Which, if anyone has looked at my Goodreads feed, has driven me to read questionable romance novels. I really debated whether or not to include them, but I’ve challenged myself to read 143 books by the end of the year and I’m getting behind. That’s not why I’m reading them, though. And certainly not for their covers! Dear gods, no. I have actually been ready them on my iPhone so no one knows what I’m reading. I do have to say, though, some of them are much better than I would have given them credit to be, better even than some fantasy I’ve read. I’m reading one right now by an author who I just finished one by, and it’s so completely formulaic, it’s sad. I’m not too far into it, but the premise is almost exactly the same. But some of them have women who are being forced into marriages (I tend to stick to period ones) and are attempting to get out of them by running away, or some other means, so at least they’re not completely spineless and fainting at everything. Some of them have intentionally funny parts in them. I’m actually starting to respect it a little more as a genre, although I don’t know that I could write it. I’d end up with worst sex scene of the year or something. I suppose, though, in the period ones, they’re depicting women as being just as sexual as men (as long as it’s consensual). I don’t think I should even start a discussion about this.

Anyway, new review-yay!


There’s a Saying

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.  Friedrich Nietzsche

I had to look that up because I wasn’t sure I had the phrasing right, and I thought it was our good pal Nietzsche but wasn’t entirely sure. I think this depends entirely on the situation, and the person’s temperament who is involved in the situation in the first place.

I know I have been a little on the negative side. Which is somewhat being ameliorated by thoughts on how I’m going to review 50 Shades of Grey, which, truly, the only reason I started to read was because I was told it was just like  Twilight.  It is not just like Twilight, and there are all sorts of different interesting arguments going on about it. I only happened to get it right away because it was on this Lucky Day shelf that our library instituted, where you might be able to find books that were extremely popular because there are copies dedicated to that cart, no renewals. There are 117 holds on it, but it just happened to be there when I went to the library that day, and I had just had a conversation with someone about it, (hence the above Twilight reference, which does have some merit, because that’s how it started, as Twilight fanfic, but that’s definitely not how it ended.). Anyway, I’ll leave the rest. Don’t want to give too much away and spoil my review. That’s a new one, usually it’s spoilers in the review, which it may or may not have. It seems like everyone and their dog is talking about it. OK, forget that. Too many disturbing images. I even got some of the other Instructional Assistants from the school talking about yesterday at lunch, unfortunately six minutes before I had to leave. They were sort of talking about it in a hush hush kind of way, so I asked them if that was what was what they were talking about. They shut the lunchroom door (so I knew it was going to get interesting, darn it). I don’t know where it went after that. At least I got a conversation started. With a kindergarten teacher in the room.

This is teacher appreciation week, and she is the teacher I truly appreciate, because I take a little kindergartner in to be mainstreamed for about 15 minutes for circle in the morning, and she is so incredibly patient with him. He’s calmed down a lot since he’s had a regular person taking him. The classroom, I have to admit, was sort of a mess when I first started. I am not sure how many staff were out, I know two were out with injuries, and possibly a couple more for other reasons, but there had been as many as four subs a day for a while–I started out as a sub before I was placed there–things were a little chaotic, and how can the kids, much less a group of kids with autism, deal with so much insecurity in their day? It had to have been very rough on them. I think when the kindergartener realized I wasn’t going anywhere, that helped some, though it doesn’t seem to have changed his attitude on work in the classroom. He’s just a kinder.

Anyway, none of this has to do with the statement above. As I was saying, I think it has to do with the situation and the person involved. I don’t think he and I would have seen eye to eye on things very well. I haven’t read enough of him (because he never really appealed–maybe I should) to really know him. But I have a new theory, what doesn’t kill you may not make you stronger, it just eats away at your soul and your faith in humanity. Do these things end up like swiss cheese? Is there a way to fix that? I’m sure some people would say religion could. Potato soup? Finding people who restore your faith in humanity? I’m not sure. I think a particularly large chunk has been taken out of mine and continues to get gnawed at every time I walk into my classroom. If I cause any more “disturbances” I could very well get myself fired, or at least make things very unpleasant for myself. I’m tired of feeling like I have to leave my conscience at the door.

This is one of the reasons why, at least at the moment, 50 Shades of Grey is providing a welcome diversion. Whatever your feelings about it. Hopefully I will be able to write a review this weekend. I’d like to address some of the criticisms in other reviews, because I think some of them are blowing things out of proportion, unfairly. Anyway, more about that later.

It’s Wednesday. What more can I say?