Thursday, May 29, 2008

Adventures in god-sitting

A few weeks ago, my mom's friend asked me if I would stay in her house and watch her dog for a week and a half. I jumped at the chance, because a) I LOVE dogs and have always, always, always wanted one of my own, and b) her house is five minutes from where I work on the weekends, thus saving me a bunch of gas money. Win-win!

This is Mulligan:

He's a very sweet, energetic springer spaniel. He had a few digestive problems earlier in the week, but after a trip to vet, a few pills, and some special wet food, he's doing much better. We were having a great time together, until...

Well, actually, this was pretty cool. I was downstairs cleaning up when I looked out the window and saw a deer, chillaxin' out by the fish pond.

In the middle of the day.

I was surprised, because although I've seen hundreds of deer out here in the sticks (I even hit two in my old car, which is why I upgraded to the Yaris), I had never seen one after 9 am or before 7 pm. This cell phone picture was taken at around 1:30 yesterday. Right after I took it, Mulligan saw the deer and went CRAZY. His barking and scratching at the windows drove the poor deer off into the woods. I figured that would be the end of the drama.

Five minutes later, Mulligan starts giving me the "I have to go outside now, human!" look. As soon as I opened the door, he ran like hell for the woods. I started to get worried when he didn't reappear for a few minutes. I was all set to start organizing a neighborhood search when I saw the deer, running for its life from a dog one-fifth its size. Mulligan eventually returned to the house (after exhausting himself chasing his new friend), and that was when the smell hit me.

Mulligan's owner warned me that he liked to roll around in deer crap, but I didn't believe her until I saw (and smelled) it for myself. Washing him turned into a huge ordeal; every time I picked him up and put him in the tub, he jumped right back out. Then he wagged his tail and ran around in circles, because he was clearly having the time of his life. In the end, I managed to herd him into the shower stall, although he cowered in the corner where the spray barely hit him. Let me tell you, trying to wash deer excrement off of a squirming wet dog while fully clothed and mildly annoyed is NOT a good way to pass the time.

Luckily, yesterday was also the day that I finally got to see the Iron Man movie. I think I embarrassed Casey; I made her sit through the end credits, listening to me talk about the Avengers movie and how disappointed I was that there was no Sam-Jackson-as-Nick-Fury-cameo in the movie. And then that little teaser scene at the end happened, and I completely lost it. I haven't had a geekgasm like that since last year's DragonCon.

Oh, and the subject line isn't a typo. I was trying to tell Casey (via Facebook) "I'm dog-sitting this week" and ending up typing "I'm god-sitting this week" FIVE TIMES before I finally got it right. Freudian slip much?

A Midsummer Night's Challenge

Yes, another one...

Click here for the main page
*Read A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. Your copy from High School (if you still have it) is fine.
*Then read at least one other book/graphic novel connected to or based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
*Blog about this supplementary work, comparing it to the original.

My books:
A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare 22 June 2008
Lords and Ladies, Terry Pratchett 28 June 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Video games, sex, and coloring

This is a cute little video I found on BoingBoing. In it, SCAD prof Daniel Floyd discusses the use of sex in video games, and why they're not taken seriously as an art form.

And here's something that may help: Lifehaker has a link that shows how to turn your Nintendo DS into a digital sketchbook. There's also a video demonstration that looks pretty sweet.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Book Awards II Challenge

Click here for the main page
*Read 10 award winners from August 1, 2008 through June 1, 2009.
*You must have at least FIVE different awards in your ten titles.
*Overlaps with other challenges are permitted.
*You don't have to post your choices right away, and your list can change at any time.
*'Award winners' is loosely defined; make the challenge fit your needs, keeping in mind Rule #2.
*Have fun reading!

My list:
1. The Uglies Trilogy - Scott Westerfeld (2006 BBYA nomination) 22 December 2008
2. Ella Minnow Pea - Mark Dunn (2002 Borders Book of the Year) 23 November 2008
3. Neuromancer - William Gibson (1984 Nebula Award for Best Novel, 1985 Hugo Award for Best Novel)
4. The Tale of Despereaux - Kate DiCamillo (Newbery Medal)
5. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman (Newbery Medal)
6. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card (1986 Hugo Award)
7. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Díaz (2008 Pulitzer Prize) 2 November 2008
8. The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents - Terry Pratchett (2001 Carnegie Medal)
9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (2003 Costa/Whitbread)
10. An Abundance of Katherines - John Green (2007 Printz Honor Book)

5 down, 5 to go!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

1% Well-Read Challenge: Memoirs of a Geisha

Title: Memoirs of a Geisha
Author: Arthur Golden
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: 23 September 1997
Pages: 448
Rating: 9 / 10

This was the first book I chose to read for the 1% Well-Read Challenge. I have wanted to read this book for YEARS - I can remember being in college and seeing a copy at the bookstore, and I have no idea why I didn't pick it up then. I got my current copy in a BookCrossing trade a few weeks ago, but I had to finish another book first (actually, a few books: the literary crack known as The Twilight Series and The Host), and by the time that I finished I had discovered the 1% WRC and decided to use Memoirs as part of that. So it all turned out pretty serendipitously.

Alright, plot: Memoirs of a Geisha is a novel about a young girl named Chiyo who is sold by her father to the Nitta okiya, a geisha house in Gion. Her biggest obstacle to becoming a geisha is Hatsumomo, the Nitta's only profitable geisha and Chiyo's first rival. Hatsumomo antagonizes Chiyo and apparently ruins her chances of ever becoming a geisha, but then (spoiler alert!) some other stuff happens, fate intervenes, and Chiyo is able to renew her training and eventually becomes pretty successful. It's an interesting story, and although the ending was a bit too Chairman ex machina, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

To be honest, I found the novel a bit daunting at first - the print (at least on my copy) is really tiny, and it seemed like it would take forever to get through. But the chapters were really short, and once I got into the story it was hard to put it down. The premise is that the novel was dictated to an interpreter by a real geisha, and I found it very believable - not that I'm a geisha expert or anything. But the characters are incredible! Chiyo's voice is very realistic, and Golden's writing style is lyrical. I'm a little sad it's his only novel. According to my post-reading researching (Google + Wikipedia), he interviewed several geisha for background information, and was sued for breach of contract and defamation of character by one (Mineko Iwasaki) because he named her as a source in his acknowledgements. She then went on to write a completely different account of life as a geisha (called, appropriately enough, Geisha, A Life), which is about to go on my Amazon wishlist.

Next up: Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Other Reviews:
Kim L

Sunday, May 04, 2008

1% Well-Read Challenge

Click here for the main page
*Read 10 books in 10 months from the book 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
*May change your list and may cross-post with other challenges
*Runs May 1, 2008 - February 28, 2009

My list:
1. Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden 21 May 2008
2. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick 30 June 2008
3. Less Than Zero, Bret Easton Ellis 31 July 2008
4. Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote 21 September 2008
5. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
6. The Last Temptation of Christ – Nikos Kazantzákis
7. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
8. Thank You, Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse
9. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
10. Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh

4 down, 6 to go


My baby sister* got married this weekend! And I only cried, like, 60% of the time. Mostly while I was trying to give my toast, which was really embarrassing. And it's preserved on video for all eternity! Or at least until HD-DVDs become obsolete.

So, one thing up is graduation on Friday. I don't really HAVE to do anything for that, but I was given a chance to rework some of my assignments for a better grade. I already have my job lined up for next year (I just need to sign my contract...) so my summer will be spent working occasionally, getting lesson plans together, and participating in the 1% Well-Read Challenge**. My last challenge didn't do so well, but I'm thinking this one will fare better. Hooray! More info to come.

* She's actually 25, but you know what I mean.

** I've already read quite a few of the books on the 1001 List, so I'll be more like 2% well-read. Nyah-nyah.