Showing posts from 2013

Christmas Critters

The Australian cattle herder awaits his Christmas stocking. Do you herd what I herd? Christmas catnip and the adolescent cat. *ecstasy* This is my 17th Christmas. Catnip is for children. I choose to look beautiful and comport myself with dignity. Except that this thing keeps following me around, guys. Guys? I am such a good boy. I know because this human keeps telling me so.

I forgot to include the photo of Rudolph...

... the red-nosed dolphin.

Christmas in Florida Is All About Light :o)


If You Are Afraid, Give More

I LOVE the music video for Vienna Teng's wonderful song "Level Up." Dance! Here are the lyrics , if you want to read along. Thanks B via D :o)

Oh, and out of respect for PL Travers –

I'll just mention that Amy Nicholson's essay in LA Weekly beautifully encapsulates why all the ads for the movie Saving Mr. Banks (which is about the making of the movie Mary Poppins ) have been giving me the heebie-jeebies. Having read Nicholson's essay, I now have even less interest in seeing the movie than I did before. The title of the essay: "Saving Mr. Banks Is a Corporate, Borderline-Sexist Spoonful of Lies." Thanks, B.

Snowy Randutiae for a Sunday

Yesterday was one of those perfect winter days wherein the snow begins early in the day, but lightly – the five-flakes-per-minute variety – then slowly builds, and your own schedule brings you out into it while it's beautiful but not yet gusty and difficult. I had a magical snow walk, then got home to a cozy evening of watching it get wild out there. I love this time of year, even though it brings its challenges. Actually, the challenges are partly what I love… the darkness, in particular, brings a kind of raw feeling that I can't access as easily the rest of the year. It can be uncomfortable, but it's also a richly contemplative time for me. And I LOVE the New Year. ****** I've been wanting to say a few things about books and TV. I'm only giving myself a few minutes to write this post, so forgive me for the lack of linkage and description; I'm trusting in your ability to google. Warning: it's a bit scattered. I read a YA mystery called The Killing

A Musical Tribute to Nelson Mandela

From the notes of this YouTube video: "On Saturday, 7 December 2013, Woolworths had planned a performance at our Parkview store in Pretoria to support our Operation Smile Christmas campaign. The Soweto Gospel Choir planned a rendition of James Brown's 'I Feel Good.' But, after Madiba's passing the choir decided on a tribute instead. They chose Johnny Clegg's 'Asimbonanga.'" Thanks, Kristin.

I've never been one to decorate for Christmas…

… but after all, 'tis the season.

A Thank You to My Readers

Today I received a pile of fan letters in the mail, forwarded from my publisher, and I've just spent some time reading a few of them. This batch came from all over the United States; it came from Canada, Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand… To answer a few questions that come up a lot: Yes, I do receive these letters. Sometimes it takes a while, but they always get to me eventually. No, I do not throw them away. I don't even throw them away after I've read them. I still have every single fan letter I've ever received. It's impossible to express the amazement with which I read these letters. How touched I am by the sensitivity of my readers, by the things they notice and appreciate. By the clever and succinct questions they ask that make me laugh, and sometimes suddenly see the flaws in my own books (which is a good thing!). By the respect they have for the work I've done, and the courage they have as they write or parent or go to scho

The Hungry Games Randutiae for a Sunday

I like the movie of Catching Fire SO much more than I liked the movie of The Hunger Games . (No spoilers here.) I'm happy about the directorial change to Francis Lawrence, who doesn't rely on way too much shaky cam to create tension ( which I blogged about when the first movie came out ). I have to say, though, that I think I'm going to need a sedative or something for watching Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2. If they stick to the plots and characterizations depicted in the books, parts of it are going to be so hard to watch. The word of the day today at is "pilcrow", which is the punctuation symbol for "paragraph":  ¶ . I'm rather fond of this symbol, because I use it frequently in my work, when I've got sentences crammed together and realize there should be a paragraph break between them, or worry that my own formatting is so messy that I'll forget to put in the paragraph break when I transcribe from my handwriting to the type

Look to Like, If Looking Liking Move

I've been wanting to draw bloggy attention to Gareth Hinds' beautiful graphic novel adaptation of Romeo and Juliet for ages now. First I was hoping to do it before I left for London/Iceland, but trip preparation got in the way. Then I was hoping to do it upon my return, but reentry kind of knocked me on my ass; then I was hoping to do it in time for NCTE, but work swept me into a vortex, so, hello there, *waves from the vortex*, I failed at that, too. Sigh. But here I finally go! We all know the story, but I've never seen it told like this before. Gareth brings Verona of the Montagues and Capulets alive; his illustrated adaptation breathes wonderful new life into dialog I'd heard so many times that I believe I'd stopped listening to it. Look at this beautiful cover: You guys, it has a sword-hilt ampersand. Over at Gareth's website , he shares a whole lot of the book online , in case you want to see more right away. I really recommend this book. If you&

Sunday Morning Randutiae

Some randutiae is more random than others, and the more recently I've come home from a big trip, the more random it's likely to be :). My attentions and passions are spinning around in all different directions as I settle back into life at home. It's recently come to my attention that the default on Apple computers is for the firewall to be off. (Apple, why? ) Also, that a lot of Mac users aren't aware of this. Mac users who haven't checked recently: go to System Preferences (the little silver rectangle with gears in your dock), click on Security & Privacy, and make sure your firewall is turned on. *shakes fist at Apple* I fully expected that when I got back from Iceland, leaf season would be over here. How happy I am to be wrong; we are having a very long leaf season this November, and the colors are still stunning. Yay! I've been enjoying the BBC/PBS production of The Paradise , supposedly based on Émile Zola's book Au Bonheur des Dames , whi


This... is the southern tip of Greenland. Wow. And this... and this... and especially this... is how I know I'm home. :)

God Bless Our Mistakes

One of the things I appreciate most about my parents is that they've let me make my own decisions, even if it means they've had to stand back and watch me make mistakes. Being allowed to mess up is fundamentally freeing. Knowing that failure is always an option -- being suspicious about the assumed definitions of words like "success" and "failure" -- is, too. I suspect that this kind of parental noninterference is very difficult :). But the consequence is that I'm left understanding that my life is mine. I've been thinking about this tonight as I listen to Icelandic music. This is Svavar Knútur, from Iceland's western fjords, singing a song called "Humble Hymn."

Iceland: Akureyri in November

Akureyri is my final destination in Iceland. I'm here for a few days, and I confess that my hours have been consumed by writing – which means less picture taking. But I have taken a few snapshots of this beautiful northern town! Some taken from my own windows – I've got some wonderful writing views. This strikes me as a very sensible spot given the circumstances. Akureyri's impressive (but closed to tourists in November) church. A city on the water . Possibly Iceland's favorite color? :o) Look closely, or you'll miss the little wheels beside the big wheels... I'm definitely not accustomed to sunrise this late. (BTW, if the numbers puzzle you, those temps are in Fahrenheit.) Sunrise view from my windows while writing. Another view from my windows – the 11 o'clock sun, rising over misting water. (Sorry about the glare! I took it through the window!) Early sunset. 4 PM moon. Writing view on a snowy d

Iceland: The Bus to Akureyri

I took the bus from Egilsstaðir to Akureyri ( here's the route ). For most of the journey, I was the only person on the bus who wasn't Icelandic, and I took so many pictures that they must've thought I was barmy. Especially when I started to cry. It was so beautiful, I couldn't help myself. I took about 500 pictures! (Through the bus windows, so forgive any blurriness or weird splotches.) I've narrowed it down to 40ish, still an awful lot, so this post will contain a jump break. A warning that if you'd rather avoid pictures of snowy roads, this post does include one view through the front window of the bus that shows the road we were traveling on. (It is picture #4.) How happy I was to be in the hands of our imperturbable bus driver. For some time after we set out, this was the view. We began to see some shapes… water… Ridges… snowbanks. Dramatic stuff ahead.   Our shadow kept us company! Click the link below for the r