Monday, January 30, 2012

Ten Tips for Working at the Library

Every Friday afternoon, I volunteer at my second favorite place on Earth...the library.

I'm a library shelver, which means I put carts and carts of books back on the shelves in the correct order. If you love holding books, touching books, organizing books, or handling books, then this job might be for you.

I've been volunteering for about a year now, so I've picked up a few tips which I thought I'd share with you.

#1 - Never shelve non-fiction books in number 640 when you're hungry because that section contains all the cookbooks.

#2 - Only shelve early reader non-fiction if you feel like you don't have enough suffering in your life.

#3 - The YA section would be less crowded if we burned all the vampire books*.

#4 - CD's are not for the faint of heart.

#5 - You'll always get the cart with the squeaky wheel when you have to shelve next to the quiet reading area.

#6 - Graphic novels are not for the faint of heart. Or for the squeamish.

#7 - The romance section would be less crowded if we burned all the romances.

#8 - When a patron puts an extra stack of books on your cart because "you're putting them all away anyway" just smile and nod. Remember, it's a library, and the librarians are always watching.

#9 - Don't worry, after a couple of months you won't need to recite the entire alphabet to find what comes before the letter "W."

#10 - Never barrel through the children's section as fast as you can with a heavy cart because you might run over some toddlers. They always stand in the way of the cart, no matter how slow you're going.

*Seriously, it would. The YA section has overflowed since I first got there, and my theory is that it's because of all the new paranormal romance books.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Old Stories: The Tale of Adorkhed

I promised to post this story a while ago, so here it is. In case you're wondering, I had been reading a lot of Black Stallion and Marguerite Henry around the time I wrote this, which explains the stallions, the desert, and the Bedouin boy.

The Tale of Adorkhed

Adorkhed's luck began the day he traded his parents for a horse and a bird.

The old Dutch trader, Yuneed Smit, looked slyly at the dark Bedouin desert boy as he led out the stallion. Adorkhed gasped in awe as he glimpsed the horses' mangy, flea bitten coat, shaggy mane and tail, and sunken, hollow eyes.

"What is the horse's name?" he asked, holding his breath. He knew that the name would be as magnificent as the horse itself.

Yuneed smiled wryly. "Ah, so you are liking horse? He is good horse, dutch warmblood, pride of Holland. We call him - " his tongue struggled over the Bedouin words. "Dock Fud."

Adorkhed let out a sigh.

"Dock Fud," he murmured, entranced.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The End of Get Buckles...

I did it. I finished the very last episode of Get Buckles.

If you haven't heard of it, I'm not surprised. It was over a year ago that I last made an episode. This one I'd been putting off for a while because I hadn't written the script. Turns out, when I finally did sit down to write it I finished it in under two hours. Which is maybe a good thing and maybe a bad thing - you'll have to watch the episode and decide for yourself.

So for those of you who haven't heard about my "series"or who have only vaguely heard, here is some background.

It was my fourteenth birthday. Mom bought me a Flip camera because I'd been making little 5 minute videos on my pink digital camera. Needless to say, they weren't the best quality. I found filmmaking intriguing, though, and I had four or five willing slaves siblings always at hand.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Get Buckles Trailer

I'd like to do a longer post later all about the Get Buckles series and what I've learned about filmmaking from it and all that, but for now I just wanted to share this trailer I made for the very last episode.

Now off to do some filming to finish the episode...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Percy Jackson is a kid who has ADHD, dyslexia, and has gone to six boarding schools in six years. He lives with his mother and his stepfather, since his real father left before he was born. He attends a school for "challenged" kids - a school which he's about to be expelled from... again. But then his math teacher turns out to be a monster - literally - and Percy is thrust into a world he never knew existed - the world of Greek mythology.

I enjoyed this book, more than I was expecting to. There were quite a few laugh-out-loud funny parts. Percy, the narrator, has a really great voice. The author was really great at turning sad/dramatic/gory moments into comically funny ones with one little surprising twist, which steered it away from melodrama.

Of course, being about Greek mythology, it had the Greek gods in it. So, of course, I found some of it to be iffy. For example, when Percy is told that there are Greek gods, he asks, "You mean God exists?" and the centaur, Chiron, says "Well now....God - capital G, God. That's a different matter altogether. We shan't deal with the metaphysical." Which, of course, is wrong. God isn't an abstract matter, but is real - more real than any of us. Also, expressed in the book was the idea that "works" could get you to Heaven... or, in this case, Elysium. People were "tried" in the courts of judgement to see if they had done enough good deeds to go to Heaven. This obviously goes completely against Christian faith.

But, for all of those faults (which I wasn't surprised to find, knowing the subject matter) It was quite a funny book. If you've ever been interested in Greek mythology, I would recommend it for the amusing twists it puts on it. Overall, not as good as Harry Potter, and I don't know if I'll read the next one, or even all of them, but it was a much better book than I was expecting.

View all my reviews

Friday, January 13, 2012

So I'm Reading Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief...

...because I thought I should read it, since it is (or was) so popular. Gotta keep an eye on the competition, right?

I have to admit, I'm a little prejudiced against it because it sounds like a Harry Potter knock-off. Plus, I've already seen the movie (which wasn't very memorable).

But in the first few pages I came across this passage. Percy Jackson is the narrator:

Grover and I sat on the edge of the fountain, away from the others. We thought that maybe if we did that, everybody wouldn't know we were from that school -- the school for loser freaks who couldn't make it elsewhere. 
"Detention?" Grover asked. 
"Nah," I said. "Not from Brunner [the history teacher]. I just wish he'd lay off me sometimes. I mean -- I'm not a genius." 
Grover didn't say anything for a while. Then, when I thought he was going to give me some deep philosophical comment to make me feel better, he said, "Can I have your apple?" 

I was totally not expecting that. In fact, I was waiting for the deep philosophical comment too.

It's nice to be surprised like that.

Read my review here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Twelve Worlds

This is a cover that Ava designed for my work-in-progress. As you can probably tell by the planets, the ship, and, oh yeah, space, my story is science fiction.

Normally I don't read a lot of sci-fi.  Doctor Who, Star Wars, A Wrinkle In Time, the C.S. Lewis space trilogy, and a few Cordwainer Smith stories are the breadth of my experience (yes, I know, two of those are TV series/movies.)

But this idea just stuck with me. So I've made it my New Year's resolution to finish at least my first draft by the end of the year.

I find it easier to write the first draft on paper. On a computer screen its just too easy to go back and erase and edit and never finish. So I'm writing the first draft of my novel in a green journal that looks almost exactly like this, but without the logo in the corner:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Death of a Maple Leaf

Here lies a leaf, dead of natural causes
and through no fault of its own.

It is survived
by its brothers and sisters, the maple leaves
and the old maple tree
from whence it fell.

The funeral service
is to be held tomorrow
wherein the deceased
shall be trod underfoot by a passing stranger
into the mud
beneath its brothers and its sisters
who will soon be joining it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Characters in Action

Characters in Action
Characters in Action by Marsh Cassady

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up this book because I was hoping for a more in-depth look at developing characters, like Linda Seger's Creating Unforgettable Characters. It's actually a book on creating characters for plays, so that was a little bit disappointing. However, it did turn out to be a fairly good book on play writing. I would recommend Building Your Play by David Rush before I would recommend this, but it was an amusing book.

View all my reviews

Old Stories: One Day

I've always been fascinated with the ways that people are connected. That's why I love genealogies. I once went through the index in the Return of the King and drew out a whole family tree showing how Aragorn and Arwen were related. I still have it, somewhere.

This story was a product of that fascination. It's more of a connected list, actually, than a story, although it has multiple stories in its layers. It was inspired by one of the lines in a story I'd written previously, Happily Ever After, and probably, in a small way, inspired by the rhyme "This is the house that Jack built."

One Day

One day a horse stood eating grass while his master, a brave knight, plunged fearlessly into a forest of thorns to get to a tower to wake a sleeping princess,

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

So I'm Reading This Book...

...called Characters in Action by Marsh Cassady. It's mostly about plays and stage, so some parts are a little irrelevant (to me, at least). But the author occasionally does this hilarious thing where instead of explaining something himself he'll write a dialogue section where the characters explain it for him. Here's an excerpt (don't you just love the word "excerpt"?) on collaboration:

The vision you have as a playwright will differ from what is produced on the stage. This is because once you finish the script, it is no longer completely yours. You are only one collaborator among many.
Playwright: Hey, you call this collaboration. Well, I don't think so, you know. I mean this isn't how I saw things at all. This isn't what I wanted.
Director: What you wanted! What's that got to do with anything? It's my baby now, and what I say goes.
Then later, after the playwright and the director squabble with the set designer, lighting designer, and costume designer...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Old Stories: Happily Ever After...

This is a story I wrote a looong time ago. I was trying to incorporate all of the fairy tales/stories I could remember into one. It was also the inspiration for a story I wrote afterwards called One Day which I'll be posting soon.

Happily Ever After

Once upon a time a man married a woman. The man's name was Romeo, the woman's, Juliet. They had a little baby girl and they named her Snow White. When the baby was a month old, the big bad wolf stomped into the house and said that unless they could guess his real name he would take the baby.

Juliet cried when she heard this until seven dwarfs* peeked their heads around the door and offered to find him and try to guess his name. Juliet agreed and the seven dwarfs set off in seven directions. The seventh dwarf finally found the big bad wolf dancing around a fire and singing his name at the top of his voice.


The dwarf hurried back and told Juliet and Juliet told Rumpelstiltskin his name. The big bad wolf was so angry he ran off to Grandma's house and ate her up. Then, little Red Riding Hood knocked on the door and would have been eaten too if a woodcutter who was looking for his lost children hadn't heard her screams. 

He rescued her just in time and then set off to a tower where a wicked witch was holding Hansel and Gretel captive. He rescued them by having Gretel cut her long hair and tying it to the window. They rode off on the horse of a knight who at that moment was making his way through a forest of thorns to waken a sleeping princess in a tower. When he kissed her the forest of thorns vanished, much to the annoyance of some bunnies who were gathering blackberries to have with milk.

And they all (even the bunnies) lived happily ever after.

*This was before I read LOTR and decided that dwarves was the proper way to spell it.
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