rhondacrockett: (Am I addicted? - dava)
Life has fallen into a routine. I am pretty happily settled in my new job and loving the lack of stress that comes from not working in the office. I'm not sure I could go back to a 'proper' desk job now. This morning was a string of disasters (forgot to set the alarm, spilled tea over my hand, boss started unexpectedly early and I lost a ream of stuff I had been writing) but the afternoon has been fine.

I have discovered the guilty pleasures of crappy e-books on my phone. Perhaps the biggest advantage of my current role is that I spend a lot of time waiting in corridors so I need to entertain myself. I'm currently addicted to Eve Langlais's paranormal romances. Oh dear. I think a big part of the fun is planning in my head how I would rewrite them to make the narrative soooo much better *inner editor wields her pen*
rhondacrockett: (Book nerd!)
Welcome to the 17th and 18th centuries: science has exploded with geniuses and modern banking is being born, while Europe's monarchies tumble through a series of interconnected wars and revolutions. Daniel Waterhouse is Isaac Newton's oldest friend but is collaborating with his great rival, Gottfried Leibniz, in a project to create a Logic Mill. Jack Shaftoe is King of the Vagabonds, a reputation he has garnered more by accident than design, and only has half a penis (don't ask). His brother Bob, meanwhile, is pursuing a more respectable career in the army, being kept very busy in said European wars. And Eliza has a head for high finance, an encyclopaedic knowledge of sexual techniques, and a fanatical hatred of slavery. So far, so multi-plotted historical narrative. Then the gold appears...

These are dense books. Stephenson has done his homework and it shows. Perhaps a little too well. I was often left feeling like I had walked in at the end of an in-joke, particularly in the first volume, Quicksilver. It doesn't help that this first book is split between three different narratives and two verb tenses: Daniel in the present tense (sailing from a newly-independent USA to Britain), Daniel in the past tense (flashbacks to his friendships with Newton and Leibniz, and the volatile politics of Britain from the Restoration on), and Jack and Eliza in the past tense (their adventures running in parallel to Daniel-in-the-past). I'm usually good at juggling multiple storylines and protagonists but this one led to headaches. Remembering who's who, how they know each other, which narrative they belong to... ugh. The dramatis personae list at the back helped a bit - but not much.

I couldn't get into Quicksilver; I had to keep breaking off to read something else and give my brain a rest from trying to make sense of all the historical allusions. Daniel is the nominal lead in two of our three narratives but doesn't do much except run into famous figures from history: Newton, Leibniz, King Charles II, the Duke of Marlborough, Blackbeard. And aside from the Logic Mill project and Eliza's coming from a non-existent country with an unpronounceable name (this latter bugged me throughout the series; why make up countries?), I didn't understand why this was filed in the sci-fi and fantasy section.

The Confusion is a more straightforward adventure story, with Jack and Eliza taking the lead roles. They are much more dynamic protagonists than Daniel; Eliza even manages to make explaining the stock exchange entertaining. There are no flashbacks, as the narratives occur contemporaneously with each other, and either there aren't so many of those historical in-jokes, or the ones which are there I understood more readily (there are long sequences set during the Irish wars of a certain King Billy, for example). It's in this book that the McGuffin of the gold comes into play (I don't want to say more than that for fear of spoilers), and with that, the plots start to cohere and the characters cross each other's orbits in a less random manner - another reason why I found this an easier book to enjoy than Quicksilver. Plus: globe-trotting multinational pirates!

But I still didn't understand why this was in SFF and not General Historical Fiction. Sure, the gold is alleged to be [REDACTED] but this was an age of quacks and fakes, as well as genius. The narrative doesn't confirm that the gold really is what some characters believe it to be...

...Until (maybe) you come to the end of The System of the World. Now initially I had the same problem here as with Quicksilver: I couldn't get into the story and had to keep stopping-and-starting in order to maintain my interest, particularly during the Tower of London sequences. But now the gold becomes the key force in everyone's plot line, and as the Hanoverian succession comes closer, the political landscape became much more recognisable to me. Daniel, who in the first two books was a mostly passive character - someone who has stuff done to him rather than doing stuff - comes into his own at last, taking the lead in a tale of political conspiracy, economic sabotage and that finally-maybe justification for the SFF label.

Except... when you've read thousands of pages of more-or-less regular-flavour historical fiction, does a few hundred pages at the end really change the genre of the whole? Do I even want it to? I had been waiting for so long for the sci-fi/fantasy element to become a clear factor - and when it did, I preferred not believing in the gold.

So in the end, I don't know what to make of The Baroque Cycle. Headache-inducingly-widescreen historical adventure with the vaguest tint of steampunk and some alternative geography? Hmmm.
rhondacrockett: (Mad as all hell!!!)
Disclaimer 1: the text below is copy/pasted from my Amazon.co.uk review, currently awaiting approval. In case it doesn't get through, I'm putting it here because if I don't spew somewhere, I'll just brood on the bloody thing.

Disclaimer 2: I did not (thank God) buy this book; it was borrowed from the library.

Sidenote 1: I also checked the reviews on Amazon.com. None of them raise any of the points I've made below, either. In fact, the book is sitting at 4 1/2 stars! And numerous reviewers talk about liking Shaw, even wanting him to be real! What. The. FUCK.

TL;DR: the author expects us to accept a bully and an abuser as a "romantic hero" and view his controlling behaviour as not only reasonable but as a sign that he truly cares about the heroine. She also reinforces the myth that "No" secretly means "Yes": that when a woman shows signs of physical attraction to a man, but nevertheless expresses a wish NOT to have sex with him, it is ok for him to continue making sexual advances, including the use of physical force, until he has worn her down - and that this does not count as rape. Offensive and misogynistic.


If you think you can stomach the full rant, then here it is )

I will not be reading any other works by this author. I can't say if the above is a blip or something which is embedded in all of her writing, but I'm just too enraged to find out. Other potential readers may wish to try a different novel by her, but I would strongly warn them off of this one.
rhondacrockett: (loneliness & the assassin)
No more Discworld. No more wise, crazy, laugh-out-loud antics from Vimes, Granny, Moist, Death or Lord Vetinari. It's over. He's over.

Plenty of people will be more articulate on this person than me: people who knew him, friends, families, colleagues, people who were a part of his life and he was a part of theirs, in person. I didn't know him, never met him. But I know the stories. And the thought of there being no new ones... I mourn for all the parts of the Disc which we will never see now.

(It sounds selfish to mourn a man's death by saying, "What am I supposed to read now? ;_;" But that is the first thing I thought about - there will be no more Discworld - and I'll bet I'm not the only one. And there's The Long Earth series as well, though Stephen Baxter may continue that on his own.)
rhondacrockett: (The fourth wall... it broked)
Does anyone else feel queasy when they hear Elle Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do" or Beyonce's "Crazy In Love", because of their connection to a certain half-century-long spectrum of an intermediate achromatic colour? I really liked "Crazy In Love", and I know that if it had been released without the abovementioned association, I would have liked the creepy/slowed-down edit even more. (I have a thing for creepy "love" songs; the only Justin Timberlake songs I can stand are "Cry Me A River" and "What Goes Around".) "Love Me...", I can't be sure about, since it has never been unconnected with the variety of ashen tones, but my suspicion is that I would have thought of it as an ok tune: not one that would grab my attention but I might sing along unconsciously to the chorus.

I haven't read the books; I wasn't interested in them before they went OMGPublishingphenomenon! and after hearing complaints of bad writing and unease over the central characters, I was even less interested. On the principle of that non-interest, I will not be seeing the movies, either. So it's really disturbing to find that it is damaging my enjoyment of media which I am interested in!
rhondacrockett: (Book nerd!)
So I bought and read Chained by Night, the second book in the Moonbound Vampires series which I talked about here. You gotta love a book which contains the line, "Damn Samnult and his Portal of Bonding Orgasms." So glad I wasn't drinking anything when I came across that little gem XD (Although the author goes on to use the phrase "feminine place" twice, which I may have to hit her for.)

Also, Frozen is much better the second time around.
rhondacrockett: (Book nerd!)
I have two guilty-pleasure reads. These are book-series where I have solemnly promised myself that I will (a) never buy them new or full-price, (b) never hold on to or read them a second time, and (c) never read anything else by the author except that particular series. I borrow them from the library, I pick them up in charity shops or remainder stores like The Works, and once I'm done, back they go.

One of those guilty-pleasure reads is the Arcane Society paranormal romance series by Jayne Ann Krentz (or Amanda Quick or Jayne Castle, depending on the time period of the story in question). All the books are stand-alones, which is useful because I never read my guilty pleasures in sequence, although there is a wider plot arc, sorta like the nu-Doctor Who thing of self-contained episodes dotted with hints about the finale. The stories take place over three different time periods - Victorian England, modern-day America and a far-future alien world called Harmony - forming a Marvel/DC-esque "shared universe", which I haven't come across in novels before (though Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld comes close, I guess). The Harmony books are probably my favourites, if only for the dust bunnies: six-legged, four-eyed alien balls of fluff with a habit of adopting humans and wearing silly outfits.

Now, problems. Because frankly, I find it easier to tell you what I find wrong with these books than what I find right. The Arcane Society is a secretive organisation of psychics - and before you go all "mind readers yay!", no, unfortunately telepaths do not exist in this world. These people are just a bit more intuitive than the rest of us, more linked-in to their instincts, sharper on the uptake. The definition of what qualifies as a psychic is kinda loose and muddled. There are those which I would accept as properly psychic - the illusion-talents, the para-hypnotists, the aura-readers - but for pity's sake, some of the characters are just really, really good at coming up with a business plan!! That, to me, does not a psychic make. And the hunter-talents' powers are largely physical, they're basically Wolverine without the claws. I've never seen anyone claim that Logan has psychic powers just because he's strong and he heals fast!

The plotlines keep ending in the middle of the book. Seriously, you think you're reading one particular story but it ends around chapter 20. Well, there's half of the book still to go, so she pulls up a new story - which ends at chapter 35 and you've got dozens of pages left. I have no problem with multi-stranded storylines, what I have a problem with is that Plot Two only seems to pop into existence once Plot One is finished. It's disconcerting, being jerked from pillar to post like this. There may be a little throw-away hint about Plot Two during Plot One, but that's what it is: throw-away, promptly forgotten about, never mentioned again - until of course, she's run out of Plot One. I like my foreshadowing a bit more sustained, thankyouverymuch.

And the heroes - well, I would complain that they are all the same character, just labelled with different names and different powers, but that's a fault/characteristic of the genre in general, so we'll let it lie. What really pisses me off, is that the lead men always - ALWAYS - fall instantly and totally in love. And they always KNOW that they've fallen instantly and totally in love, they always KNOW that they and the lead lady are DFEO ('Destined For Each Other'; I don't know if this is an acronym actually used within the genre, I just made it up). But the women don't. Oh, the women feel the instantaneous attraction alright, but they take convincing that it's love. They tell themselves and the heroes that it's just physical, driven by the tension of the plot, of being thrown together by events. I believe in people being confused about whether they're in love or not, or at least trying to convince themselves that they're confused. But I don't believe in people being 100% certain of it from the get-go. Doesn't anybody take their time to fall in love? For that matter, doesn't anybody take their time to develop an attraction to someone? It's all BOOM! INSTANT OVERPOWERING LUST! *rolls her eyes* Sorry, don't buy it.

So with all these issues - the fuzzy world-building, the clumsy multiple endings, the irritating love-at-first-sight fallacy - why the hell do I enjoy them?!? The closest I have to an answer, is something I wrote in one of my random-scribbling notebooks:

"Jayne Ann Krentz's books are the literary equivalent of candyfloss: a few simplistic ingredients overheated and stretched as far and as thin as they can go, to create a substance more air than actuality and full of artificial colouring, which tastes too sweet and dissolves to nothing the instant you consume it. But if you're going to a funfair, a carnival or a seasonal market, candyfloss is all part of the experience."

...I guess I just like candyfloss.
rhondacrockett: (The fourth wall... it broked)
So, I feel like I ought to post and say something...

I had forgotten how much fun trashy vampire novels can be! Although, seriously, having vampires as slaves? Ok, I can see the medical research and the military and even the titillating-entertainment-for-the-super-rich angles - but having them in our houses? As our secretaries and nannies and cooks and busboys?! Isn't that like a herd of antelope keeping a lioness around? No sense. Does this make.

Still a lot of fun, though :)

Work is the usual. I haven't had any more night-seizures but I still don't have an appointment with the neurologist. Not surprised at that, though; I suspected that it could take a while.

One big thing has been my sketching. I have fallen WAY behind: a whole month! *slaps her hand*

The other big thing is I've joined a penpal site. It was my mum's idea, inspired by a book she was reading of a woman's letters to her penpal during the 50s. I am... cautiously optimistic so far. I'm using a separate e-mail account from my usual, trying to keep any identifying info to a minimum. So far, most of the contacts have been from (alleged) men... Not sure what's with that...
rhondacrockett: (Book nerd!)
I blame [livejournal.com profile] musewrangler. I would never have thought of reading historical romance novels if Jill hadn't pricked my curiosity. So I started to pick up a couple, every now and then, casually. They have been mildly diverting, but not always for the right reasons: for instance, how do these heroines fail to get pregnant until that magic ring pops on to their finger, given that they shag every five pages with nary a snifter of birth control?

But now I've found one that I really, actually like. Julia Quinn is funny, cheeky, smart. Her characters are much more nuanced than the usual, particularly the men (they actually have faults! And real problems!). The central relationship feels like love, and not just dogs-marking-their-territory sex. Speaking of sex, if the two I've read so far are typical, there's one sex scene per book, followed immediately by the proposal - which some people probably find disappointing but it neatly solves the why-isn't-she-pregnant-yet puzzle. I'm not fond of sex scenes, anyway, they get repetitive after the third time (sometimes even at the first) so less is definitely more in my opinion.

The two I've read - What Happens in London and Just Like Heaven - work as stand-alones but there are shared elements which indicate that the stories all happen within the same milieu. The one that stands out the most for me is Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron, a comically over-the-top gothic novel which her characters end up reading (I don't think it's spoiling too much to reveal that Miss Butterworth's mother gets pecked to death by pigeons!). Just Like Heaven has more unresolved mysteries than What Happens in London: little side things that get mentioned, then disappear; I suspect that these are glimpses of the plots of other books.

The only thing that jars is the author's use of American spelling, particularly 'color'. Ok, the books are written third-person and Julia Quinn is an American, but her characters are early-nineteenth-century English aristocracy and to see 'color' instead of 'colour' doesn't feel right. (:/

So yes, I will be looking for more Julia Quinn, if only because I want to know who that governess really is, or what happens to the girl who wanted an eclair...
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
This Monday, I like... Disney's Beauty and the Beast:

I Like Monday - Beauty and the Beast photo beauty-and-the-beast_zps727651bf.jpg
Image taken from College Fashion. Copyright of the Walt Disney Company.

Beauty and the Beast was not a fairy tale I knew in my childhood. I remember vaguely hearing of it - I knew it involved roses somehow - but I don't think I actually read a version until my mid-to-late twenties. So the 1991 Disney classic was my first real exposure to this tale.

I first became aware of it during the televised opening ceremony of what was then Euro Disney, and is now Disneyland Paris. Angela Lansbury stood in front of the Sleeping Beauty castle and sang "Tale As Old As Time", intercut with the ballroom scene from the movie. I was amazed: the Disney princess was a brunette, not the standard-issue blonde! She wore glorious, sunflower yellow, not the expected girly pink! I was sold.

I didn't actually see the movie until my mid-teens. It didn't disappoint. It is funny, exciting, beautiful-looking. The pretty-boy Gaston as the villain chimed with my scorn for the manufactured boyband hunks and big-chinned American heartthrobs with which my peers seemed to be obsessed. The songs are wonderful. And maybe I'm biased by the fact that this movie was the first version of the story that I knew, but I also find the plot a lot stronger than in the original fairy tale. Making Beast a harsh, hot-tempered monster who has to learn how to be "human" makes more sense to me than the perfectly-genteel Beast of the version by Jeanne-Marie Beaumont (the most commonly retold one), or even the sex-obsessed-and-slow-but-otherwise-well-mannered Beast of the even earlier version by Madame Villeneuve.

Then there's the heroine. I identified so hard with Belle as a teen. A brown-haired bookworm, an outsider among her peers, whose interests don't chime with those of the 'normal' girls, a loner growing up on the outskirts of a small country town, a daydreamer who longs for real life to be like the stories she buries herself in - apart from being French and, you know, a fictitious animated character, Belle and I could have been twins. To see her get her "adventure in the great wide somewhere" was very satisfying.

People criticise Disney for their happy endings as inspiring unrealistic expectations or enforcing traditional gender roles blah blah blah. But the relationship between these two oddballs - the grouchy and socially awkward Beast, the lonely dreamer Belle - is wish-fulfillment at its best. I don't expect that the Beast-Prince has entirely lost that temper of his, or that Belle will be a conventional sit-on-the-throne-and-look-pretty queen. And honestly, what's wrong with a happy ending? People do get happy in real life too, you know, it's not always unending misery and unsatisfactory compromises!
rhondacrockett: (scribble scribble)
Death is a woman. A cute, cheerful, funny and friendly woman with distinctive eye make-up, a shag of black hair and a silver ankh around her neck. Sometimes she has an umbrella or a miniature top hat too. She loves everybody. When her younger brother is being a mopey dickhead, she gives him a kick in the metaphorical ass. She'll also teach you how to put a condom on a banana.

Death bills itself as the "single definitive collection" of all of the comics starring said eponymous anthropomorphic personification. Of course, to really read all of her stories, I would need to read all of The Sandman, which is Neil Gaiman's landmark comic series about aforementioned little brother, Dream. Death weaves in and out of The Sandman, and while there are a couple of stories in this collection which are extracted from the series at large, I know they cannot cover all of her appearances in that story. I think that had I read all of The Sandman, I would better appreciate and understand Death: The Time of Your Life (one of two miniseries included here) and the story "Death and Venice". As it is, I find the former waffly and dull, and the latter confusing (although I adore Death's black-cat-mask :D).

But the other miniseries, Death: The High Cost of Living, is awesome, and I read it quite happily without needing to know The Sandman. I also loved "The Wheel" and "The Sound of Her Wings" - my favourite part is Death chucking the bread at Dream's head XD. So yes, I recommend it.

* Said others are as follows:

Artists - Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham, Mike Dringenburg, Colleen Doran, P Craig Russell, Malcom Jones III, Mark Pennington, Dave McKean & Jeffrey Jones

Colourists - Steve Oliff, Matt Hollingsworth, Daniel Vozzo, Lovern Kindzierski, Jon J Muth, Alex Bleyaert & Rob Ro

Lettering - Todd Klein & Jeffrey Jones
rhondacrockett: (The fourth wall... it broked)
I can't think of any themes, so it's back to random doodles for a while, folks.

Sketchy Sunday 8 photo SketchySunday8_zps3606e4ad.jpg

Although some of said random doodles insisted on being bigger than just one day, like all these alien monster-types:

Sketchy Sunday 8 - Monsters! photo SketchySunday8monsters_zpsda253137.jpg

They also insisted on being coloured, but I think that might have ruined the picture. :/

My favourite bit this week is the white rabbit from the Thursday/Friday Alice sketch. Eeee, look at his adorable little monocle and folded ear! :DDD

Sketchy Sunday 8 - White rabbit photo SketchySunday8whiterabbit_zpsc54ce135.jpg

Again, if you wish to see any of these in the original size, you can click on the picture to go to the Photobucket album and then use the magnifying glass in the bottom right.
rhondacrockett: (Take a bite)
This Monday, I like... "Eleven Wild Swans" by Hans Christian Andersen.

Or, to be more precise, I like this version of it:

Once upon a time in the eighties, there was published by Marshall Cavendish a fortnightly, magazine-sized anthology of stories and poetry for children with a read-along cassette, which was purchased by a mother desperate to get her eldest daughter to go to sleep. So it was via Story Teller that I was introduced to Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Gobbolino the Witch's Cat, Grogre the Ogre, and many many others, and it is probably to blame for my habit of telling myself stories in bed at night.

This fairy tale in particular caught my imagination: the enchanted brothers unable to cry a warning as they're forced to flee; the sneaky ploy playing on the king's prejudices to make him banish his own daughter; the terrifying journey across the sea to hide out in a foreign land; the grotesque method to break the spell; the doctor's accusation of witchcraft; and the happy ending which doesn't appear until the very last minute. For once, the heroine has an actual name, instead of a nickname, like Cinderella et al. While Eliza seems at first to be your usual usurped-true-princess character, her goal is not to marry the duke, or to be restored to her royal birthright; she just wants her brothers to be human again. When told how the spell can be broken, she doesn't baulk at getting her hands dirty - and badly damaged into the bargain. The images in the video aren't very clear, but the pictures of Eliza after she starts picking the nettles show her hands and feet covered in an angry red rash.

Talking of the illustrations, they are among the most beautiful and evocative that Story Teller had, full of rich, scratchy texture and clean, muted colours. My especial favourites are the sorceress banishing the swan-princes, the swans carrying Eliza in the net, their miserable night out at sea, the duke and doctor spying on Eliza in the churchyard, and the final scene with Eliza tied to the stake and the swans gathered around her. And I did not remember that it was read by Joanna Lumley! Her voice is perfect: gentle and warm and melancholy. When she reads the bit about the king throwing Eliza out of the palace... D; And then the duke and doctor spying on Eliza... D8>

When I later read the original Andersen text, titled "The Wild Swans" (it can be found here), I was disappointed by it. It was too wordy, too overwrought. The touches I had loved the most - the swans leaving in silence, Eliza thrown out by her father by mistake, the old woman at the churchyard, the duke dropping the bundle of nettles, Eliza's escape from the duke's castle, the character of the doctor - they were all missing!!! And there were new elements which I couldn't warm to at all: the long period of time between the enchantment of the brothers and Eliza's own banishment, the toads in the bath, the suspicious Archbishop, and all those pious exhortations. Apart from the youngest brother being left with one wing (and it took me some time to get used even to that), I consider Andersen's original to be inferior to the Story Teller version, both in plot structure and in writing.

I don't know who wrote this adaptation (my own copies of Story Teller are long gone) but s/he really tightened the whole thing up, made the characters real, emotional people, and created one of my favourite fairy tales in the process.
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
I am Amelia Earhart - Brad Meltzer & Christopher Eliopoulous photo acbe1d92-dac4-4504-a2de-5196150c48df_zps2e54267b.jpg I am Abraham Lincoln - Brad Meltzer & Christopher Eliopoulous photo 5ed04628-9faf-461d-97bd-f2c0e7f33406_zps6195bbd0.jpg

These picture books, written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulous, sound adorable - look at Lincoln and his ickle beard!! Images are taken from this entry in Neil Gaiman's blog where you can also find out some more about the books themselves.

On a slightly different note, learn some of the traditional names for each month's full moon as given by the Algonquin tribes of the northern and eastern US. So evocative; I particularly love the Strawberry Moon :D

(Please note the article was published in 2012 and all dates and times for full moons are in reference to that year. I came across this info via the Astronomy Picture of the Day website.)
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
It begins with a list of the Nine Plants of Desire. I don't know if that's a real thing or not and the book promptly undermines it by claiming there's a tenth plant which, conveniently, has no name. But the way they're written about is beautiful, enticing.

Each chapter begins with a short paragraph about either a plant or an animal, which acts in place of the usual Chapter 1, 2 etc., and mixes gardening manual advice with more touchy-feely/New-Age-y stuff. The book is much the same. There is a lot about plant magic, spirit animals and "finding yourself", which is intriguing and well-written in the slightly dreamy way that seems to be the staple of the literary novel. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but more for the atmosphere and the writer's obvious enthusiasm for tropical plants (I always like learning about other people's interests).

My big problem was the dialogue. Take this for an example: a guy starts ranting that nature is useless and dying out and how machines are "the new nature" and we need to "align" ourselves with them. Seriously, who talks like that? In the middle of a party? Everybody is so busy being deep and meaningful that the conversations turn into lectures, and not-very-interesting ones at that. Oh, and our heroine's rampant sex drive is annoying.

So yeah, it was a nice way to pass the time, but I won't seek out anything else by this author and won't re-read this one, which is my usual reaction to literary novels (if they don't bore me outright).
rhondacrockett: (blood & claws)
Well, here goes nothing:

Sketchy Sunday 1 photo SketchySunday1_zpsaad01b94.jpg

I wish it was less smudgy-looking; the lines looks like they're made of tiny little dots of grit - which I suppose is what they are, anyway - but hey, there you go, my first week's worth of doodling! I think my favourite is Thursday's efforts. The woman's curly hair worked out really well and while her nose is bigger than I wanted, the face looks generally in proportion. Also, the cartoony prawn-thing on the right, which I did on a whim after finishing the woman, is weirdly adorable. Monday's mermaid also turned out better than I expected. Adding the fancy goldfish/koi carp colouring to her tail made her come to life in a way that leaving her as a pencil sketch didn't.

All in all, pretty happy. If I do this again, though, I'll use a bigger diary. I bought a slim-style one and the restricted space gets annoying.

I saw Frozen yesterday. I have... mixed feelings. There's too much singing in the first half and the songs aren't that great, the exception being Elsa's "Let It Go". Kristoff isn't a patch on Tangled's Flynn Ryder as the male "anti"-hero. Spoiler ) Similarly, Olaf the snowman and Sven the reindeer aren't as memorable as Pascal and Maximus. Olaf's existence is never fully explained; we're told that Elsa made him but we don't see it happening. Spoilers ) And what is with the weird way they kept pronouncing Anna's name? Yes, I know it's set in a Scandinavian-esque nation, and that's most likely the way that "Anna" is pronounced in that part of the world, but pretty much everyone talked with very American accents - EXCEPT when saying that one name.

BUT I did love the twist on the whole "true love" cliche Spoilers ) the reveal of the movie's villain was unexpected and clever, and Elsa is a fantastic character, all emotional damage and low self-esteem. As I said earlier, "Let It Go" is the best song in the show and it's also the point where I started to enjoy the movie. The animation as she makes her ice castle is beautiful; I think if I got this movie on DVD, I'd probably play that scene over and over again.

And yet more spoilers )

I'm reading Ian Fleming's On Her Majesty's Secret Service at the moment. It's actually a lot of fun! Bond's got a little bit more of a moral core in his attitude towards women (only a little, mind) than he does in the movies; he mentally tells himself off as he seduces a woman under false pretences. My only quibble with Fleming's writing is that he overuses the exclamation mark; seriously, he must use about a dozen in each chapter.

The book does have the most horribly eighties cover, though: this big-haired blonde with black roots, in a shiny pink bomber jacket and equally shiny purple leggings, posed on top of an oversized gold handgun, ugh.

...Aaaand this has taken me absolute ages to write; I started around 4 o'clock and it's now 20 past 5 >.
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
In 2013, I...

- turned 33.

- asked a lot of mysterious and random questions of my LiveJournal friends, as I fact-checked elements of a story.

- got slooooowly back in touch with Ruth, Lesley and LJ, my old university friends, in an attempt to make human contact outside of work.

- discovered the time-wasting potential of TrendHunter.com...

- ... and via the above, discovered the joys of mash-up fan art by Amy Mebberson, Karen Hallion and Hyung86.

- spent more money than I ought to in The Works.

- realised that I need to put a time limit on how long I write, because spending too long leaves me grumpy and depressed. On that basis, I made a deal with Mum to stop her nagging me about writing, but she has recently started again...

- tidied my wardrobe (well, most of it).

- went on holiday to Jersey and learned that four-star hotel menus are not all that.

- got new bosses at work and watched an already-bad situation get worse, ugh.

- and as a result of the above, got more and more cynical and sharp-tongued.

- got rid of the task of clerking the Coleraine family courts!... then got it back again, thanks to said new bosses >.<

- got obsessed with paint colour names and colouring-in books.

- read a lot (but then, I do that every year).

- re-started using my local library, although most of the time I borrow books with absolutely no intention of reading them. *guilty look*

- bought a re-useable calendar of "calming thoughts" and promptly started to disagree with them.

- watched Strictly Come Dancing for the first time and loved it. My only quibble is that it's on too early in the evening, which leaves you scrabbling to find something to watch from 8 o'clock on...

- watched "The Day of the Doctor" on 23 November and fell in love with Doctor Who again (I had drifted away from the show following a... family incident which had been started by this episode).

- started listening to my pop and rock CDs again, after several years of only playing instrumental and classical music. I blame the pop radio station which my workmates tune into (and which I can't stand).

- applied for two new jobs and a transfer... didn't get any of them.

- got a bonus woohoo!

- gave up on taking packed lunches to work.

- did NOT join any dating websites... but thought about it. A lot.

- made a necklace.

- bought the same style of shoes as I had last year.

- wrote in pink.

- FINALLY got a passport. And still haven't used it.

- err, downloaded spyware like an idiot >.< Luckily in the middle of doing so, I mentioned what I was doing to my brother, so he got straight on to removing it.

- wrote this list.
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
Happy New Year, folks! Hope that the start of 2013 finds you all well. I was hoping to leave a happy Christmas message here back on the 25th, but my brothers were hogging the bandwidth, trying to set up streaming from a security camera they'd bought for Dad, so connection for anything else was unreliable. But I hope that everybody enjoyed their holidays.

Spent Christmas Day reading a certain little tome by the name of Spookygirl :D
rhondacrockett: (Default)
52 054 out of 100 000.

I suppose I should be happy that I'm writing at all. Sorry, folks, I'm fed up with being down and tired and "not in the mood".

I've decided that, as February is a short month, I'll run on into the first two days of March.

I've spent most of today looking for a list I made of books I would like to read. I thought I had left it somewhere safe - but it's not there, and I can't find it. It's pissing me off because there's no way I would remember all those titles and authors on my own.
rhondacrockett: (Default)
I consider New Year a non-holiday. First, it comes too quickly after Christmas and, let's face it, Christmas gets the better publicity. New Year is like an after-thought: "HAPPY CHRISTMAS!! (Oh, yeah, and New Year too.)" Secondly, there is nothing to do on New Year - except to sit about until midnight and then wish everybody a happy New Year. Maybe if you were somewhere like Edinburgh, with the Hogmanay first-footers, ceilidhs and pipers playing Auld Lang Sine at midnight, it would be enjoyable, but my one and only experience of a New Year's party (the millennium, remember that?) was... kinda dull. Thirdly, New Year's resolutions are stupid. I can't think of anything more demotivating than reviewing all the things you didn't achieve in the year past and then saying, "Well, I'll just have to do it this year."

I have never made New Year resolutions (despite writing a poem about them at primary school - not my choice of subject; it was given as homework). But this year, I do have some... if not resolutions, then at least vague aims.

First, February is going to be my own personal NaNo month, to finish off the manuscript for Kalynder Girls 1. I'm gonna aim for another 50 000 words; if I come to the end of the story before that, all well and good.

Secondly, I will keep a record of the books I have read. I'll review the ones I feel strongly enough about, but otherwise, it'll be a straightforward list of titles and authors.

Thirdly, I will listen to ALL of my albums. I wouldn't say I have an exhaustive CD collection - but it's big enough. There are albums I have never listened to, others that I used to listen to all the time but haven't heard in ages, and a few that I played only once. And I want to listen listen - actually pay attention to the music and not just have it as background noise.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you can look back on 2010 with fondness and that 2011 will be a happy time for you :)
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