slr2moons: a self-portrait, of me in my usual habitat: in front of my computer monitors! (Default)
I know, it's been 3 weeks since my last post, and I'm doing a short book review instead of something personal. The IRL post is coming, I just want to get this book one done while it's on my mind, otherwise it won't happen.

Little Known Facts, by Christine Sneed.

I found out about this book through the Powells.com Daily Dose email, which is a daily email (heh) that features a customer's blurb about why they like a particular book they've read, and the official publisher's info beneath it. I always read these, and have amassed quite a list of books to try.

This book is set in modern Hollywood, and that is what grabbed my interest. I am fascinated by the movie-making process, likely due to my own interest in making animation films back in my teens and 20s. While I've lost that ambition, I'm still fascinated by what goes on backstage. (I love real movie commentaries, ones about creating the film, not just the actors cracking jokes about the surface and trading insults.)

This book is about the family and friends of a fictional huge Hollywood actor named Renn Ivins, an equivalent of Robert Redford or Harrison Ford. The first ex-wife pediatrician Lucy, the aimless trust fund son Will/Billy, the daughter Anna in her residency for family practice, Renn's current 30 years younger girlfriend Elise, Will's current girlfriend Danielle, Renn's second ex-wife Melinda, and a propmaster/wannabe filmmaker named Jim.

Every chapter is written from a different point of view, sometimes even switching to first person for a certain character, then back to third. I wonder about that, but if the character was demanding first person, it's understandable.

The book was indeed interesting, and I did not have to force myself to read it, but one thing really stands out to me:

Every story is about romantic relationships, except one. Characters fall in love--or at least have sex--while being with someone else. Breakups happen, new SOs are found, marriage is talked about and proposed, casual sex happens, not so casual sex happens, worried phone calls to snoop on lovers or discuss relationship problems, etc etc etc. By the end of the book, even the level-headed mom is caught up with endorphins about college friend turned wonderful boyfriend.

The single exception to the entire book being about romantic relationships is the propmaster/wannabe filmmaker. He gets one short chapter, and then a brief scene later in a Renn chapter.

Also of note is that Will does figure out what to do with his life, at least for the foreseeable future, and it has nothing to do with his new girlfriend. He arrived at the idea on his own.

This almost universal focus on love (or at least sex) for almost every character strikes me as odd. Why limit the story in such a way? Many interesting plot twists could be weaved around jobs, or bad luck, or even a character finding a book that changed their life, but instead it's all love affairs. Why, Ms. Sneed?

Or am I the odd one for not recognizing that love affairs are the most important, all-encompassing thing in everyone's life? *sigh* I just hope Jim the propmaster/wannabe filmmaker and Will the no-longer-aimless son are successful in their career pursuits. Good for them!
slr2moons: a self-portrait, of me in my usual habitat: in front of my computer monitors! (I'd rather be reading...)

I just did something I haven't done in a very long time: I read a 400 page book in about 6 hours. I didn't even rush it! :D The book that held me so captivated was the third and final novel in Kelly Armstrong's "Darkest Powers" series, The Reckoning.

I've been reading a great deal of Young Adult fiction these days, meaning books whose target audience are teenagers. Specifically girls, it seems. Anyway, I plan to discuss YA books and what I think of them in a different post (it's mostly unimpressed), but Ms. Armstrong's series here is one of the very few recently-written YA series that I enjoyed. I learned of it through ye olde [livejournal.com profile] fandom_secrets, amusingly enough. Someone's post sparked my interest in the first volume, my local library had it, so I checked it out. I ended up really enjoying the book and obtained my own copy, along with the 2nd volume in hardcover. Then I had to wait through 7 months of frustration for the third and final volume to be published. Such exquisite agony! =D

Of course, I pounced on the third volume at the first opportunity. Yay to online preordering!! XD

Since this is the last volume and I don't want to give away too many spoilers, I talked about what I liked in the series. This post did end up with spoilers for the romance angle, but anyone who has read a goodly amount of fiction will be able to pick up on the same clues I did while reading and see the outcome of that sub-plot without any great revelations from me. ^^ 

Why I liked the book, including nameless spoilers about who ends up with who. )
slr2moons: a self-portrait, of me in my usual habitat: in front of my computer monitors! (I'd rather be reading...)
I am rather disappointed in my book club's January selection. The Court of the Air, by Stephen Hunt. It suffers from a very common shortcoming, but one usually found in film and comics rather than prose: it has almost no character development.

No, the focus of this book isn't the characters, it's the world those characters populate. Indeed, Mr. Hunt spends so much time developing his admittedly unique blend of steam punk and fantasy setting and various races that he forgets to develop his actual characters. Molly and Oliver are the two leads in this book, yet we know next to nothing about their personalities.

I'll chose interesting characters over interesting world every single time. )
I wonder what my fellow book club members will think of this one? This is the third fantasy I've read with the club, and I've noticed fantasy book month meetings tend to be smaller than the sci-fi ones. In regards to my opinion of the three fantasies in question, this is the 2nd bomb. (The first was Book of the Dun Cow. UGH.) At least Inda was wonderful. They can't all be great, everyone can't like everything, I suppose.

I WANTED to like this one. *grumble* I hope I can manage to finish it before the meeting, b/c I probably won't if I don't. (My eloquence! Let me show you it!)
slr2moons: a self-portrait, of me in my usual habitat: in front of my computer monitors! (trigger)
Today I did something for the 2nd time in my life: I saw a movie alone. 

So now I've seen three movies in 2007: 1. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Mr. Depp, Mr. Bloom, Mr. Fat, 2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Daniel Radcliffe (not old enough yet to earn a "Mr."), and Transformers umm...Bumblebee??

Before I went to the movie, I braved the expanse of Walmart on the weekend. I try to avoid Walmart at all costs (har har), but since my hometown does not have a real bookstore, if you want to buy reading material, you have to go to Walmart, Target, Kroger, etc. And I needed a few things I can only get at Wally World anyway, so :P. Anyway, Kiokonai's imouto (I need to give her a Japanese name) told me a few days ago how excited she was about the upcoming third volume in a series she likes, and she told me about how the entire series begins. It sounded enjoyable, and since she had bought the first volume at Wally World herself, I decided to buy it, too. Only...they didn't have it. I searched their completely disorganized book and magazine section for 15 minutes and couldn't find a single copy. (HP 7? Check. Shojo Beat August issue? Check. Naruto vol 15? Check. Every Nora Robers and Danielle Steele book ever in print? Double check! But not one copy of the book I wanted. >3< And of course, no book section employees were in existence. I didn't realize how much I wanted to read that book until I couldn't find it. *sulks* The book is Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer, BTW. *sulks some more*

On a work note, I just finished drawing 1,000 radial lines for the first appearance of Naruto's upgraded Rasengan attack in Shippuuden. Line drawing is incredibly tedious, but it could have been worse. They could have been curved radial lines, like the ones in the original Rasengan attack (which I dealt with in vol 25...) or they could have been lines plus tone. (I'm looking at you, Clay!!) But hey, at least it's Kyuubi Naruto casting it. I love Kyuubi Naruto...it's the fangs and the whisker lines. Eeeeeee. *^^* Kyuubi Naruto is almost as yummy as Gaara-sama! XD
slr2moons: a self-portrait, of me in my usual habitat: in front of my computer monitors! (chibi s2m)
I won't pretend that I'm not nervous and uneasy about my upcoming trip. I'll be wandering alone around San Fran for the majority of the time, as I can hardly expect my Viz cronies to sacrifice an entire work day to show me the sights. I've never been comfortable in the busy downtown atmosphere, added to the fact that I'll be alone in a place I've never been, and forced to deal with intimidating things like public transportation (which I've never used, aside from the free schoolbus and transports you find in airports) and taxicabs. What if I get lost? What if I make an ass of myself when I reveal I don't have the slightest clue how to use a city bus? What if the cab driver who takes me from the airport to my hotel takes the long way around? What if a group of scary, obnoxious men latch on to me and my Ice Queen persona doesn't give them the message to leave me alone? What if I can't find the right kind of food to eat and have to live in agony for several days?

But all of that has been put into perspective by a book which I learned about a few days ago. "Down the Nile", by Rosemary Mahoney. A non-fiction book where she describes her true adventure of rowing, alone, down the Nile River --yes, as in the African river--in 1998. This woman braved the fanatical and unrelenting Muslim brainwashed men, crocodile-infested waters, a horribly foreign and half-uncivilized culture, a host of 3rd world country diseases, and who knows what other trials...all this apparently without speaking barely a word of Arabic. And remember, she was completely alone. O.o

And here I am, freaking out about visiting San Francisco. Ha! And to think that I used to love to pretend I was Indiana Jones. *shakes head in wonderment*

So whenever I feel the nervousness returning, I just remember Ms. Mahoney, and I realize how completely ridiculous I'm being. I must read her book. I must.
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slr2moons: a self-portrait, of me in my usual habitat: in front of my computer monitors! (pout)
You know, the bad thing about icy, cold weather is that it sucks out all my energy and always leaves me starving. Today, for example. I've barely finished my quota--not counting Clay--and it's already almost 1 AM. I haven't pre-lettered a single page of Skip or Nana b/c to keep myself going, I read manga or fanfic in spare moments while saving and printing. And of course, the English is supposed to begin arriving on Tuesday. So tonight, to take advantage of my blahness and what is left of my post-Clay-pre-English time, I began watching my Donnie Darko Director's Cut DVD.

Ahhh...Donnie Darko. This movie is amazing. It staggers the mind! I wish *I* had thought of it, and that's one of the highest complements I can give. I've seen the theatrical version 5 or 6 times. I've seen this director's cut once, at a Donnie Darko party at Kioko-nai's house. However, since the party consisted of about 12 women, 2 guys, and at least one dog crammed into Kioko-nai's room, I wasn't able to concentrate on the film all that much. But thanks to Rei-chan's Xmas gift to me, I can finally give this version of the film the attention it deserves. And I'm not merely talking about me ogling Jake Gyllenhaal's veiny bicep. Which I admit, I did do. Along with the rest of his upper-body when it isn't veiled by his clothing. It's been over a year, possibly two, since I last watch this film, so I look forward to rediscovering it. I stopped about 20 minutes in b/c I felt like writing here, which I haven't done in a few days. I could babble on quite a bit about this film, but I think I'll save my comments for after I finish watching it again. I remember Kioko-nai mentioned finding some very interesting theories about the film's meaning online, so I'll probably do some googling once the movie's finished.

If any of you noticed my last friends-only post and were unable to read it, it was the 2nd chapter of my fanfic. Fear not, once it's available for reading on fanfiction.net, I'll post the link here.

I'm hungry again. And it's only been an hour since I ate a bowl of yogurt with two cups of cereal stirred in. >< Cold weather always does this to me!

I'm a bit worried about the arrival of the English. It was originally supposed to be here the week of Thanksgiving, then it was pushed back to between Christmas and New Years, and now it's finally arriving in two days. Theoretically. Apparently, the penciller is the reason it's been so delayed. So the aforementioned artist is...what...two months late finishing his pages? Two and a half? And now, like before, it's up to me to finish ASAP. Bleague. I am so very glad this is the LAST issue. I think this time, I will not touch any pages of the English until my regular daily Clay-Nana-Skip quota is finished. I do have a huge buffer for Nana and Skip, but I need to keep as much of it as possible for when The New Title arrives.

But let's talk about more fun things! For example, the magnificent fanfic I've been reading!! As with almost all things fanfic that I read, it somehow ties into the lj community fanficrants, which I frequent for my own amusement. A few months back, someone mentioned a different lj community, ffnet_goodfic, which is where people can recommend good fanfictions they have found posted at fanfiction.net. This community has two or three posts a week, so it's rather low-traffic, but worth it!! A few days ago, a user rec'ed a Pride and Prejudice fanfic retelling set in the modern world, using rock starts and artists. Don't let that drive you away, it's very good!! Here's the link, for those who might want to try it: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2749813/1/ Ahhhh, an excellent story!! It would make one hell of a movie if they did it right. ^^V I'm in Chapter 9 myself. Lizzie is visiting at Pemberly and has seen Mr. Darcy's good side and met his sweet little sister. 

I really was looking forward to celebrating Kioko-nai's bday this evening, but she delayed it for a week b/c of the icy weather. So next Saturday I will finally eat sushi for the first time. I'm a bit leery, as I don't like fish and I don't like raw meat. But I do want to at least try it. Sushi is such a mainstay of Japanese culture, I need to at least be able to say I've attempted to eat it. X_x After the sushi, we will head to a karaoke place in Dallas that has jpop and jrock songs available!! Kioko-nai reserved a room for her party from 8-2. Wheee! 6 hours of singing fun! Heh! I'll be amazed if I know more than 4 or 5 songs, though. I only listen to my movie and anime soundtracks and mp3s, so modern songs--from any country--are only in my lexicon if they've been in something I've watched. X_x I suppose they'll have "classics" like "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic. And perhaps some L'Arc classics, too. I have their "Ray" CD memorized, particularly "Hana Sou" and "Silver Shining". It will be most interesting...maybe they'll have the Naruto themes, as well. I do SO love "Harumonia/Harmony" and "Kanashimi o Yasashisa ni". In fact, I think I'll crank up that CD now. ^^V One of the best $35 I've ever spent!!

I suppose I either need to upgrade to the flash-me-with-advertisements versions of lj for more userpics, or go to the paid version. (It's what, $2 a month? Something like that?) Anyway, 6 pics isn't enough. :P

My copy of the Feb issue of Shojo Beat is still not here, as usual. The gripings at the Shojobeat jl comm are continuing without my help. It's rather scary how many people have said they only read the mag for Nana.  X_x The general consensus is the non-manga pages are pointless, and that when it comes to content, Shonen Jump is much better. The manga published in NA-Jump is published weekly in J-Jump, so they print several chapters each month in NA-Jump to match the J-Jump rate. The Shojo Beat titles were published monthly in Japan, and monthly here. So at first glance, it looks like the boys are getting more each month. Technically, they are... And Jump doesn't have all the fashion/beauty nonsense (or the male equivalent) that is foisted upon Shojo Beat readers. The Jump articles are apparently interviews, rewviews, cultural notes, and the stuff that Shojo Beat DID have when it first appeared. Once again, the boys get the good treatment. *sighs* Anyway, one of these days when the comm is quiet I intend to post a Skip Beat! plug. The series is so fun, and beautiful to gaze upon, and unpredictable, and DIFFERENT! I wish they would advertise it more. I see the occasional ad in the back of Shojo Beat books, and the odd blurb in an issue of the mag, and that's pretty much it. In the Dec issue they did give Skip a full-page write up, so I suppose all hope is not lost.

I was reading another one of the books Onee-chan gave me for Xmas, this time the first Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, "The Color of Magic". For those who might not know, Terry Pratchett writes fantasy humor. It's British humor, but it really is FUNNY. But alas, I really AM addicted to manga. About 2/3rds of the way through Mr. Pratchett, I had the burning need to go read Tokyo Boys and Girls. Now that I have all 5 volumes, I can finish the series. XD So I'm in the middle of TB&G v4. Once I finish, I'll switch back to Mr. Pratchett. No offense, Mr. Pratchett, but if I had forced myself to finish you first, I'd have been so distracted by my need to read manga that I wouldn't have been able to give you the attention you deserve. It's better this way! Now I'll have it out of my system and will be able to grant your prose the proper respect. *nods*

La la la. My brain blanked. X_x Two last bits before I depart: 1. I had to send Uncle Sam a 4-digit check this week for taxes. Joy. This is one of the few drawbacks to being self-employed. 2. I'm tempted to get started on that catalogue of Shojo Beat non-manga content I've been debating for weeks. It might sound incredibly boring and wasteful of my time, but I want to be able to look at it laid out all nicely in a color-coded chart. AND it will perk me right up and help me get some Clay pages done today. Oh yes, I know how my mind works. 

And I'm still hungry. Ttaku mo!!! ><
slr2moons: a self-portrait, of me in my usual habitat: in front of my computer monitors! (Default)

Ahhh...nothing says stress relief like a trashy romance novel. Yes! Complete with the tacky title ("Tender Rebel"), the embarrassingly luscious oil painting cover where the woman's breasts are almost falling out of her dress and the man's shirt is gaping, and those contrived plot devices like having to get married to stave off the evil money-grubbing distant relations! Yes!!! Ahhhh, but it's still so much fun to read precisely because it IS cheesy and over-the-top and brainless entertainment. ^^ Besides, I wanted something light to perk me up in the face of Clay.  Clare, stop playing with the Awakened Beings and go find Raki!! (highlight the blank space if you don't care about Clay v6+ spoilers)

What's fun about this particular trashy romance novel is that it was part of a Christmas gift of books from my 'nee-chan. When I saw it in the box, amid the fantasy novels I had also asked for, I gave my sister an evil grin and asked her just how embarrassed she was to have ventured into the romance section to find it, AND to be witnessed paying for it at the counter. She blushed and replied "VERY embarrassed!" Mwa hahahaha!! *is most definitely evil* I'm impressed she had the guts to do it!! Even *I* am self-conscious when I wander into the romance section, but for my sister to brave it borders on miraculous. Yay, oneechan!! You're finally lightening up and not being quite such a prude!!!!! Maybe one day, I'll even convince her to read one. *evil anime villainess laugh, complete with posed hand at mouth* Actually, as romance novels go, this one isn't half-bad. I'll probably keep it. ^^

I've been fighting the urge to write on my fanfic for the past 4 hours. Unlike reading or watching fansubs, I can't write in short 30 second to 2 minute bursts while saving/printing/processing commands. I have to focus everything on what I'm writing. But I shouldn't spare the time that would be needed for the fanfic. !!! Oh my. A few days ago I changed the name of my fanfic to "Distracting and a Great Bother". How incredibly appropriate. *more insane laughter*

I reeeeeeeally want to write on it.....why don't I ever feel this way about animation? Probably b/c writing is almost always easy for me, and animation is almost always not. I realized a few months ago that's why I'm an artist and not a writer. Writing takes so little effort from me, but animating is a completely different story. I have WORK to be a good artist/animator, thus it's a challenge, thus I stubbornly want to succeed. Isn't that twisted?? Yet here I am, longing to write instead of being a good girl and working on Clay until it's time for sleep. Or even longing to work on my sad, neglected animation skills. Omoshiroi. Perhaps I'll make a deal with myself. If I'm still awake and coherent by 4, then I can switch to the fanfic. I wonder if I'll make it...I'd like to have a chunk of chapter 3 at least outlined before I post chapter 2. That way if I need to tweak parts of chapt 2 b/c of events in chapt 3, I don't have to go through the "replace chapter" process at ff.net, which is rather tedious. I want to use Gaara's shoes later in the storyline, after the current plot ends. You know, in a sequel. But I'm not sure if throwing them into chapt 3 alone is enough...*searches for word*...mentioning...for it to work. I might need to bring the shoes up in chapt 2 first. And yes, his shoes will be a point in a sequel. It'll work, and I'm quite sure it will be fabulous. ^^V (Oooooh, such hubris!!!)

The hard part on my forthcoming chapter 3 and subsequent chapters (however many I end up with) is that so much of the ending is already written, back when I first was outlining the entire story. I was outlining along when suddenly the scene became visualized in my head and I leaped into prose. Then JAN! The ending was written. Only now that so much comedy has appeared in chapters one and two, I'll need to do some massive tweaking to make the ending match. *drums fingers* Not to mention that in the original, Minami wasn't frightened by Gaara until he was actually in her house and out of the shower ZOMG! The shower! And since she wasn't afraid of him, she didn't feel attracted to him until then, either. (BTW, I've surprised myself at how much I've written in the woman's lust for him. When I was outlining events many moons ago, I was embarrassed simply summarizing the lust and never imagined I've have the nerve to really write it out. Heh. Now who's the prude??!) Who knows if I'll ever write/draw/animate a real sex scene. Not that this fic will become shota, since that makes me squirm a bit! I deal with the age difference (at least 10 years, though I'm deliberately not stating her age for the same reason I'm not describing her appearance) in Minami's head in chapter 2. It's actually another unexpected humorous moment. *giggles* I'm silly...

And I'm typing this instead of working on Clay. Bad slr2moons!! *checks clock* Oooh...only 15 minutes until 4....Mwa hahaha!!

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