Monday, June 29, 2009
I received a couple of Scott's other novels, Stealing Heaven and Love You Hate You Miss You, last week, and now I'm torn about whether to give them a go or not. Despite my dislike of Living Dead Girl, I realize Scott is a talented one. Her book was affecting even if I thought it was overrated and gross. I mean, really, there has to be *something* there if it illicited such a reaction. I'm woman enough to admit it.
Neither of these new-to-me novels looks terribly shocking or controversial, and as I've said here before, I'm not anti-controversy. I love controversy, in fact. So, yeah. Depending on too much shock is not good, but neither is blandness. They might be the opposite of gross and be bland! Dear God, the HORROR!
Or maybe I'm worrying too much and should jump in headfirst and report back.
Yes, yes. That's it.
Reading Update: I stalled on my copy of We when we overhauled our office space recently. Now I've misplaced the damn thing. Wish me luck finding it. In the meantime I've started Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Angel's Game for my next Reading in Order book. We'll see how it shakes out!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
So I've mentioned that Chuck and I bought a Nikon D90 camera. If you're not a camera person (as I am not a camera person) all that really means is that it's really fancy. We bought it as an investment for our business since we're expanding into photography and multimedia soon. Now we have to learn to use it to get a return on the investment.
To my great surprise, it really does take rock awesome pics. Chuck and I really don't have the first clue how to use the thing so we're taking a digital photography class on Tuesday nights. This week was our first class meeting and we delved into shutter speed, aperture, and all kinds of other stuff that meant nothing to me before class. It's really interesting so far, and it's nice to actually know how to use such a fine (expensive) piece of photographic wizardliness with some knowledge and control. Here's a brief sampling. The really good pics are on Chuck's computer, and I'm far too lazy to download them right now.
Pardon the fuzz in this pic. Action shots of Daisy are kind of tricky. As you can see Rocketboy got a face full of Daisy love.
This one is a little better. This freakin' camera is really powerful. Pretty good picture, and we didn't know what the hell we were doing when we took this one. Happy accident!
I'm off to read or design some bookmarks for my new (and soon to be announced, I promise) Etsy site. Nothin' but love, bloggy peeps!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I'm teaching for two colleges this summer, and one of those colleges is a vocational type institution with classes that begin at 7am. S-E-V-E-N. Yes, seven. I don't know how it is that 8:00 seems OK, but one little hour earlier seems like hell on earth sometimes. I was originally contracted to teach on Tuesday/Thursday from 7-9 and 9-11--two classes, two hours each, fine. A week after classes started, I got a desperate, shrieky call from my charming boss (I really like her) asking me to teach an additional class for a prof that had to go out with a family emergency. 1) Because I'm a softy 2) because I like money 3) because I'm new and want to "scratch" the institution's proverbial back, I took the class. It's another 7-9am...so now I'm up every morning at 5:45 giving me just enough time to hit snooze three times, crawl into the shower and hose off, take Daisy out for her morning potty, and drive the six minutes it takes me to get to campus.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! No no. Two 7am classes, otherwise known as four days a week of 7am classes, would not be so bad if I didn't have to teach at another school. After I get out of class Monday-Thursday I drive an hour out to the Sticks (where I grew up), and I teach a class for the college I've been teaching for for the better part of five years. They're always good to me, and under normal circumstances I only have to drive out there two days a week. Now that it's a short summer session it's four days a week. Four days a week, two hours round trip, on top of my 7am classes. In total, on Monday/Wednesday I teach for four hours and drive two, and on Tuesday/Thursday I teach for six hours and drive two.
Now, I realize this sounds like a whiny teacher spiel so far. Ohhhh, poooooor professor has to get up at a normal time and work a regular work day. No shit. But really, I went into this profession 1) because I love reading and 2) because I don't want to work a "normal work day." Getting to sleep late and barely go anywhere is one of the MAJOR PERKS of teaching college courses. Plus, I've gotten spoiled by teaching the bulk of my classes online. I admit it.
All kidding aside, this schedule is wearing my ass out. Not because I'm gone a lot or whatever but because being "on" that early and that many hours a day is friggin' exhausting. Like I was telling Chuck last night, teaching is the ultimate multi-tasking type job. I have to put on a smiley face, skip hop jump and prance around the room to keep their attention, be funny and charming when appropriate, listen to their problems and concerns and anal retentiveness, monitor the class for disciplinary issues (because there are some), think on my feet, pull answers out of my butt, and otherwise be all teachery. I love the job, but this much of it in the SUMMER chaps my hide. Not to mention the two hours of driving every day really sucks because it's 172 degrees in Texas. Oh, and did I mention that the class I drive two hours round trip for has three people in it? Yes, three. I cancel class and make them do online work sometimes so I don't have to drive. I don't feel bad about that at all, just in case you were wondering.
So, yeah, you don't have to feel sorry for me, but do know that I'm thinking of you all and not really reading too much right now. I keep waiting to fall into a "groove" but after two weeks it hasn't happened just yet.
Monday, June 08, 2009
This is one illustration example from the book: a view of the harbor where the man arrives in his new world.
This is one of those books I'm itching to teach because it puts such an interesting and surprising spin on an old type of tale. The Arrival is an immigrant tale, and one that I find refreshing for its ability to put the reader into the immigrant's place. We have to struggle to put the parts of the man's new life together right along with him. It's really a great feat on Tan's part that he can create such a vivid and touching story exclusively through artwork.
I can't wait to get my hands on some of his other stuff...namely Tales from Outer Suburbia. If you're interested in seeing more of Tan's work, check out his super-fab website: http://www.shauntan.net
I'll be counting this one for My Year of Reading Dangerously since it's such a unique book.