pills 4 death

Turn Me Up When You Feel Low

Make me your radio
Turn me up when you feel low
I pray you'll never leave me behind
Because good music can be so hard to find


When I started writing this post, it was a couple of days ago and I was enjoying the different surroundings of sitting at Starbucks and playing on Paul's laptop while puttering around on the internet and waiting on hold to talk to my cell phone provider about having to pay long distance fees to access my voicemail being a silly problem to have. Hopefully they can help me get that changed. When I call them again. Because they took over fifteen minutes with me on hold, and it was throwing off my groove. So I gave up. I shall return that call, sometime in a morning hour, when nobody else is on tech support.

I know, I know. Me? Up in the morning? It happens more often now, what with an early rising husband and sometimes just having so much work to do that requires contacting people that an early start just seems like a good plan.

I am currently working on a whole bunch of different projects and they are keeping me quite busy. I am also feeling pretty sick recently, all morning every morning recently has consisted of couching, hacking, ridiculous amounts of phlegm, and general misery, and the rest of the day a slightly more spaced out version of the same, which sucks a lot. Not to mention that Paul, too, has has been sickly often lately as well. We're both pretty burned out. 

Which is why the sheer enormity of my current project pile has me at an impasse, somewhere between resigned and grumpy. Luckily, most of the work is paid. Unluckily, it's mostly my least favourite kind of work to do.

In much more excellent real-life news, today I acquired my long-awaited 105mm prime lens, which will give me newfound abilities for both it's intended use of macro photography, and it's equally excellent telephoto abilities. I've been lusting after this lens ever since trying one out at the Image Explorations Supershoot last summer. For me, prime lens distances are either comfortable or uncomfortable. That first time trying out the 105 was a falling-in-love moment for me. And now I have my very own, and I will love it and hug it and, most of all, not feel bad about the cost. It's going to help me get to the next level in photos, and it's going to be fantastic to take advantage of it.

In even more awesome, but more internet and business related news, thanks to a great article on Lifehacker I've finally been able to set up my server as a file sharing service for easy uploads on my part, and easy online downloads for my clients. I've been trying to find a good solution to this problem of web upload limitations for YEARS. My server has unlimited data, so that's something I'm going to start taking advantage of, no more ad-filled, limited third-party websites. Whew. Lifehacker has taught me how to sharpen knives, cut onions, set up my rearview mirrors to avoid blind spots entirely... In short, it's like having a wise old person who knows everything around to ask questions.

I have finally jumped onto the internet bandwagon and started filling out my Pinterest online pinboard collection. I adore so many of the images I've found - and it has inspired me to consider adding pet photography to my list of photographic areas of interest. 

Valentines Day itself was rather uneventful, though I should mention that my Gran sent us a GIANT singing valentines pop-up card that had been on our counter for about a week and a half and provided us with many smiles and happy feelings all season. I put a note in next years calendar to take it out of our greeting card file and smile to it again. I made Paul a papercutting - I've been trying to find time to make papercuttings, and since I know they make great gifts, I am storing up ideas.

Today Paul took me on our Valentines date - to the Alberta Aviation Museum, which was pretty cool! We learned a bit about plane salvaging, RCAF history, and bush pilots. We spent three whole hours there wandering about slowly, absorbing all the exhibits and videos and talking about them. Since it was cold and snowy, we didn't check out their outdoor displays. It doesn't seem that big until you start wandering around in it and realize that you really do want to see everything. I took a couple of crappy cell phone camera photos, but the best part was just holding the hand of my favourite person and exploring life together.

Speaking of cell phones, my smartphone has introduced me to several awesome things. I found a game I used to play online called Paper Toss, which is simply trying to toss a balled up piece of paper into a wastebasket with fans blowing - virtually. It's awesome. I found a game called Clouds and Sheep which is insanely addictive, cute, and a great way to forget the world - for up to several hours, as I found out yesterday. Not to mention the Claw Game. I've tired of it for now, but I know it will be back! Having a smartphone is like having a nice personal gaming system when you're bored, so that's kind of a nice thing to have around.

I'm still trying to read quite a bit. I'm on the second book of the Eragon series, Eldest, recommended by Paul. I cringed through the terribly edited and not super fantastically written first book - which beneath all that has a great story, and I am now about a third into the second book, where things have sped up quite a bit and gotten much more interesting, along with the addition of more "badass" awesome heroines. 

So far, I have eight weddings booked for this year, including the destination wedding in Cuba in August that was so well timed, and a ninth next February. I'm super excited to start the year off at the end of March.

The other big news for us is that we'll be in Calgary for about six weeks around the month of April. Well, Paul will be there the whole time, and I'll be there with him as much as I can be as spring approaches. 

I'm thinking of starting a "favourite moment of this week" section to my blog posts, and even something I can take time to post when I'm slacking on the posting front. My favourite moment of this week was playing the title song of this post and dancing around the kitchen with Paul being lovey and laughing. It makes me smile every time the song comes on. I'm so blessed to still be so deeply in love. A lifetime of love is coming.

Glad to hear you're busy with lots of work to do! Sometimes it can get overwhelming for sure... but I'm so happy that you have a job that has so much satisfaction when things are complete. :D And I'm glad you've got so much business!

Man, I hated Eragon. Mostly for the fact that the author just mashed up J.R.R. Tolkien with Dragonlance and called it a day, without adding anything new to the field of high fantasy. Oh, and the fact that he's an arrogant narcissist didn't help either. :) But I'm glad that you think it gets better.

I'm glad you had a good V-day! I loved the pic of you and Paul on fb. We had a good v-day too. :)
In the second book it becomes clear that his vision of all the peoples of his world are NOTHING like Tolkien's, it's just the bad writing (terrible? atrocious? I think that's the best invective I can muster on short notice) from the first book that obscures it. I actually think that his editor is the worst culprit for publishing it like that. It needed a good year - or five - of work. I'm sure he'd love to go back and re-write it if he could.

I didn't like Dragonlance and never got through it, so I can't speak to that accusation.

That pic on Facebook is from last summer... Someone found it presumably because of the self-portrait-with-camera I posted and then a bunch of people saw it. It was weird to have so many people like it so much later when I'd forgotten it.
Besides the fact that he uses the same (now done-to-death) cliche of mentor-and-student that Tolkien used while it wasn't as tired, probably only the way he describes things and some of the world is reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. But he says himself that he was going for that:

In 2002, Eragon was published privately by his parents. To promote the book, Paolini toured over 135 schools and libraries, discussing reading and writing, all the while dressed in "a medieval costume of red shirt, billowy black pants, lace-up boots, and a jaunty black cap."

[...] Incidentally, he gave a speech at Carl Hiaasen's stepson's school and Hiaasen enjoyed the book so much, he told his publisher, Knopf. An offer was made by Knopf for Eragon and the rest of the Inheritance trilogy. After another round of editing, the second edition of Eragon was published in August 2003.

With regard to his prose, Paolini has said, "In my writing, I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best and Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf."


Wow! The conceit!! I couldn't muster any kind of descriptive-enough invective for his own words, and I'm not going to try. You can see why I would think any 19 to 20-year-old who would say something like that is just another arrogant white male we don't need in the field of authorship. But ah wells. I hope you enjoy the books anyway. But as someone with five years of English degree behind me, I have sat through a LOT of listening to smarmy people like Paolini and have gained almost an allergic reaction to that sort of literary snobbery, as well as to ripping off of other works to disguise the fact that you have no new good ideas. (Cough Matched, Divergent cough.)

So yeah, don't mistake any of my hate for "his type" for anything other than it is. It's not you, it's me. Just can't stand the guy!
Besides the fact that he uses the same (now done-to-death) cliche of mentor-and-student that Tolkien used while it wasn't as tired, probably only the way he describes things and some of the world is reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. But he says himself that he was going for that:

In 2002, Eragon was published privately by his parents. To promote the book, Paolini toured over 135 schools and libraries, discussing reading and writing, all the while dressed in "a medieval costume of red shirt, billowy black pants, lace-up boots, and a jaunty black cap."

[...] Incidentally, he gave a speech at Carl Hiaasen's stepson's school and Hiaasen enjoyed the book so much, he told his publisher, Knopf. An offer was made by Knopf for Eragon and the rest of the Inheritance trilogy. After another round of editing, the second edition of Eragon was published in August 2003.

With regard to his prose, Paolini has said, "In my writing, I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best and Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf."


Wow! The conceit!! I couldn't muster any kind of descriptive-enough invective for his own words, and I'm not going to try. You can see why I would think any 19 to 20-year-old who would say something like that is just another arrogant white male we don't need in the field of authorship. But ah wells. I hope you enjoy the books anyway. But as someone with five years of English degree behind me, I have sat through a LOT of listening to smarmy people like Paolini and have gained almost an allergic reaction to that sort of literary snobbery, as well as to ripping off of other works to disguise the fact that you have no new good ideas. (Cough Matched, Divergent cough.)

So yeah, don't mistake any of my hate for "his type" for anything other than it is. It's not you, it's me. Just can't stand the guy!
Oh man, I feel rants coming on! =)

See, this is a pretty ad hominem argument against a book, and a prime example of why I make it a point never to try and know anything about authors, musicians, and actors, lest it destroy their craft for me. I get where you're coming from, but if my enjoyment of something could be endangered, I either avoid or purposefully forget the facts in favour of the fiction.

As far as not needing another arrogant white male, in fantasy at any rate, I am almost ready to say bring it on if it means fewer conniving women. Not that balance actually works that way, but still. I'm tired of extreme agenda-driven female writers like Libba Bray whose works, along with many other female fantasy writers I encounter, dip so far into social commentary without applying any art that they ruin the whole story for me. I don't mind transparent agendas in books, they're always there, but at least work them into the story in a real way, which I see women writers failing at far more than men. "Obvious Footnote" agendas make me so livid I have actually stood up and chucked books across the room. Arrogant people I have a much less severe reaction to, for whatever reason.

Also, I actually really liked Divergent, but only because, right from the start, I identified strongly with the Dauntless. I could have cared less if it was plausible (and knew it wasn't), it took me on a thrill ride that made me consider my own story and I liked that. I totally agreed with another poster on Goodreads who says she gave another book four stars that was "a much better written book" but this one was just fun.

I disagree with English academia (and many stuck up artists, and copyright in general) about cliches and "ripping off" other things. I think that's where most if not all works of creative genius really come from when they're done well. Works that everyone agrees are creative genius are nearly always just really, really good ripoffs of a storyline that's been done before, with varying details. There's nothing new, as TV Tropes so obviously displays.
Hey man, I hated Eragon way before I found out that Paolini was a jerk, and here's why. It came out, it was blah, it had an blah main character, blah plot, totally par-for-the-course tropes such as mentor-and-student, dragons-bond-with-you-and-talk-through-mind-speak (what book with dragons DOESN'T do that?), and warrior-elf-chick-just-because-that's-hot. The only character I liked was Murtaugh, because he was the only one who didn't *quite* rip off the type he was based on (Aragorn). He had hints of originality, so I liked him. The whole book, though, was unremarkable.

But it hit the best seller list and became a huge phenomenon, and no one I knew had ever heard of the name Megan Whalen Turner.

That, my friend, is why I hated Eragon, rather than merely tossing it aside as blah.

And Twyla, I agree with you that there are some pretty bad female authors in the field of YA as well, but I am sure that there are no more so than bad male authors. If you are telling yourself that in general, female authors get as much respect and readership, you're wrong. :( Equality definitely has strides to make here as well.

As for the argument of "dip[ping] so far into social commentary without applying any art that they ruin the whole story for me," it seems like an odd one for you to make, because I absolutely had that problem in Graceling and Fire, which you liked! I would set those on par with A Great and Terrible Beauty. Clearly it is not only social commentary that you are against, but something else, or else you would have had problems with Kristin Cashore as well. And I think you must be saying that you say women authors (that you have read in YA) fail at it more than men, because I've seen a heck of a lot of male authors fail at it in science fiction, which can be a more heavily male-based genre (as YA can be more heavily female-based).

In any case, I'm not sure how this became about female-authors-aren't-as-good-as-male-authors? The argument that the "stale pale male" is the best or only worthwhile author is certainly not something I would feel like arguing, as at this point it should be self-evident. The problem is that schools and universities are still heavily weighted this way, but slowly it is changing. :)

I could see the appeal of the Dauntless, but it was too cruel for me. :\ Her character chose the life of violence, then whined about it all the time, and I found that kind of grating. The reason we empathize with Katniss is that she was forced to be there to save her sister. I had absolutely no empathy for the selfish, whiny snob of Divergent. :( Kind of like I had no empathy for Katsa. Female MCs who choose violence are mistaken for "cool" by a lot of people nowadays, but I'm going to stick with my "reluctant hero has moral compass and wouldn't be here if had a choice." Once again, I worry if this is people with the mindset of "girls are cool if they can do what boys can do" (i.e. physical strength, aggression, violence) when those are not necessarily good qualities and women should be valued for themselves without any standard of male=good, female=bad.

Ha ha ha, didn't this start out as me saying I hate academic/literary snobs who rip things off? Now you're saying you hate snobs who say you can't rip things off. Now, unfortunately, I can't understand your argument, because I haven't met any of those snobs, unless you are calling me one. In my academic English life, the snobs were ALWAYS the ones ripping stuff off. So I can't quite see your argument there, so let's drop the snobs part. You hate the idea that ripping things off is bad? Hmmmmmm.
Here is what I believe: it is a great purpose of all stories to inspire. And if a person can be inspired to take what they have seen (not only from one story, but from several or many) and weave the elements that inspired that person together into a new but similar story, while polishing and perfecting those original elements at the same time as they bring new ideas and story to the table--that is a wonderful, wonderful thing. (I would put most of my favorite books in this category, but for one example Ella Enchanted. Clearly it takes myth and fairytale elements, but creates a very new story from them. But a better example of this in my recent memory is the film Super 8, in which very little was new. You could see ideas and homages of many movies, but Super 8 outshone and did a better job than those, bringing those original good ideas to an even greater height.) However, for someone to take the original good ideas of several (Eragon--Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance, possibly other popular high fantasy books at the time) or worse, just one (Matched--The Giver) and restate those with only the slightest additions--basically, renaming and tweaking the main characters from those works--that is bad. We all learn from copying, but no great artist should be able to get famous from tracing over other famous works, never truly adding anything at all to the corpus they owe. The humble author knows that she or he stands "on the shoulders of giants," but doesn't that come with some responsibility to those giants?

Ahahaha, what can I say, I took five years of this, I have no end to words about it. You can stop whenever you want, and especially if you feel that you are beginning to become more upset than you want to be. I know that this is not an argument to say that either one of us is right, but merely an exchange to understand the ideas and motivations of each other better, and in that way I think it is constructive for friends to debate.