Sunday, July 13, 2008

Some R&R (Over Now)

And I have now complained several times about how hot it’s been. Fortunately, the weather is gorgeous this week. I can stop worrying about my plants shriveling up.

Finally got my "spring break." Every year in the spring, copyediting work dries up for a while. This year, I got about two weeks off. Enough to recharge my batteries; not enough to get worried about my income. Just right.

Read a couple of really good books. One I can highly recommend is In the Woods by Tana French. It’s her first novel, and it won an Edgar Award, and it’s awesome. The characters are deeply flawed. One mystery is solved, but others remain unsolved and justice is not all that one would hope. The characters pay an enormous price for their involvement in the case. The friendship of the male and female homicide detective partners is one of the best male-female relationships I’ve seen rendered in fiction.

Watched a good bit of Wimbledon. The men’s final--Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal--was one for the ages. Wow. I’ve been a Federer fan for years but only this year started appreciating Nadal’s game. All I wanted from their final was a five-set match of amazing tennis, and I got it. Someone had to win -- no ties in tennis. How long ‘til the U.S. Open?

Attended CONvergence. My five panels went well. Enjoyed the Art Show very much. Hung out at the Diversicon party for a while and watched The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, a fabulous spoof of 1950s SF B movies. It takes real talent to write dialogue that bad on purpose!

Also played in the dirt with my plants.

Now I’m back to being hard at work. Just finished editing a really good book about careers in nursing -- lots more options than when my mother became a registered nurse. Now working on a couple of books for teachers working with students of diverse abilities and a book on how to bring a specialty or gourmet food to market. Since I worked for two and a half years at the Wedge Co-op, the specialty food book is pretty interesting -- talks about a lot of the products we sold from the producers’ point of view. How does that organic honey-mustard get developed and made in large batches that all turn out the same and packaged and labeled and shipped anyway?

Fun:
  • NYTimes columnist Gail Collins writes about vampire chick lit. The whole column is worth reading, but I particularly enjoy the quotes from a Twilight Saga book: "He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare ... A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal." "Incandescent chest"? Really? "Scintillating arms"?
  • Also in the NYTimes, an article on a rural Albanian custom whereby women become the "men" of the family. They cut off their hair, wear pants, and foreswear marriage, and in return they get treated with all the respect and honor accorded men in their society. Really interesting!
  • DeadProgrammer's Café explores the genesis and evolution of the Starbuck's logo. Explains how a buxom mermaid could be of more use to a sailor than just as eye candy.
  • Fascinating history of photo tampering from the 1860s up to, as of this writing, July 2008: http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/farid/research/digitaltampering/.
  • Great Moments in Procrastination offers, um, great moments in procrastination. Bored people in offices come up with fun games to avoid doing work and so forth. Lots of fun videos. Just viewed "Office Jousting," in which four office workers create a RenFest or Society for Creative Anachronism event using office supplies.
  • On a more serious note, David Frum offers a realistic view of our next White House in the Prospect magazine (U.K.).
  • And now on an outré note, here is Edward Gorey's fabulous ABCs book, showing one child after another meeting a grisly fate in a horribly hilarious way: The Gashlycrumb Tinies. And here is an Edward Gorey TrueType font available free under creative commons license.
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