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I'm going to try to get into the habit of doing these reviews, so I might as well start with books I'm reading before the New Year. And I did have plenty to say about this one.

Once Was Lost, by Sara Zarr: What a disappointment. I like Zarr, or at least the other books I've read by her. (Story of a Girl is very, very good.) She's a very good writer, and she's writing well here. The issues are more with her plotting, her pace, and her guts. The plot is fairly convoluted: Samara is the daughter of a small town pastor. Her mother is in court "suggested" rehab after a DUI, and her father has refused to discuss the situation with her or come clean to the congregation about it. He's using the opportunity her absent mother provides to carry on an affair with the young youth pastor at their church. Plenty for a YA, and she could have stopped there. But on top of that, she added a subplot (subplot!) about a girl at their church being kidnapped and going missing for two weeks. Let's put aside how inappropriate it is to make the kidnapping of a young girl a subplot, or the inadvisability of having Samara develop some sort of romance with the kidnapped girl's older brother. This is way too much going on in a book that's 210 pages long. The kidnapping itself is barely dealt with, in any way. There are attempts to build mystery, but since Samara has no clues, the mystery goes no where, and there can be no satisfactory conclusion. In the end, the aftermath of the kidnapping itself, as well as the reveal of the kidnapper himself, is barely dealt with. Also barely dealt with is Samara's mother's alcoholism. She stays an extra week or two in rehab, comes home, and that, apparently, is that. Samara's loss of faith is over and done with in under two weeks when she has a nebulous revelation that says nothing and means nothing. Her father's affair is never actually addressed or dealt with. She tells him, in code, what she suspects, the other woman moves away, and nobody ever has to deal with it or think about it again. Everything is far too neatly wrapped up in a neat little bow without anyone having to do anything about anything. It just all works out in the end. This is frustrating from anyone, but from Sara Zarr, it's baffling, too. In her other books, she's always kept away from neat, pat little endings that don't really make sense. For some reason, she either chickened out or ran out of ideas. Massively disappointing.
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I've already decided what I'll be working on: reading and writing about at least 100 books in 2011. I've seen a lot of people working on this sort of thing this year, but didn't really think about doing it myself until it was too late. So, next year it is. Now, I read all the time, and always have, so why challenge myself to 100 books next year?

Well, for one, I expect that I'll read well above 100 books, but I have no clue how many more. People have been asking me for years how many books I read a day/week/month/year, and I've always had to guess. I'd kind of like to know. I think I read three or four books a week, on average, but I really have no clue. I also don't know if I'm accidentally counting books I skim, or just read the first fifty pages of.

The writing requirement is really the other reason. If I'm forcing myself to write at least 100 paragraphs here next year, that's probably ten times what I wrote this past year. That seems like a good thing to me. I always like writing about books that I've read, but I've also lacked the motivation.

On top of that, I've realized that I'm not nearly as widely read as I would like to be. I had never read Frankenstein until last month. I read Arthur C. Clarke, Asimov, and Dick for the first time. And you know what? I've been enjoying it. I use the Amazon wish list to keep track of what I want to read, and there's over 470 books on that list right now. I don't think there's any way that I could get through all of those books in the coming year, but I'd like to make a dent. (While, hopefully, adding plenty more)

So, my self-imposed rules: I can only count books I've read all the way through, but I should still write about the ones I can't finish. YA counts, but children's books won't unless they're pretty meaty. I could probably stick to children's books and finish off the 100 books in a few months, but I don't want to do that. The picture books I read my niece are right out. *G* And while I'm at it, I should be paying the same attention to my knitting and gaming. I wonder how many games I finish in a year?

Disney!

Dec. 13th, 2010 10:42 pm
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I've been back from Disney for two weeks now and haven't really said a word. It was really wonderful. I'd never been during the holidays, and the decorations layer an extra layer of magic on top of something that's already spectacular. Cinderella's Castle is always awe-inspiring, but when it's entirely lit in Christmas lights... Like I said, extra magic.

My favorite ride is still the Haunted Mansion, but Soarin is amazing. Best ride put in since I was last there, in 1995 or so. Didn't really get as much time as I would have really loved at Disney (that would be... oh, about a month or two) but I had a wonderful time, and loved watching my niece experience it all for the first time. We took her to a princess character meal, and I just loved the expression on her face when the princesses would walk up to her and start talking to her. She was dressed like Snow White. *G* Such an amazing time, and I can't wait to get back again.
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It just came to me that I listened to the original cast recording of the Addams Family musical and yet never said what I thought about it. Oops. )
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Tomorrow, as soon as I get off work, I will drive myself to the airport, hop a plane to Florida, and begin Thanksgiving weekend with my family at Disney World. It's going to be a very long day at work. I'm almost entirely packed, and very, very ready to ride the Haunted Mansion again.
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In Ohio for the summer, like usual. And watching my niece, who's now almost four. (I can't believe it. Yikes.) I'm teaching her how to knit! She's doing quite well, actually. She can move the needles pretty much by herself, I'm just wrapping the yarn for her and making sure the stitches don't slip off the needle. Now I need to teach my sister so somebody else can help her when I'm not here.

And I've just ordered another doll, sort of. *facepalms* It's like an illness. You know you're gone when you love the smell of fresh resin. Anyways, it's only sort of a new doll. It's just a head! And it's for a doll I already have! Isengrim is getting upgraded from being a RS Song to this. Isn't he amazing? I thought Song was gorgeous, but Iruhi is the best MSD boy sculpt RS has done, IMO. I got just the blank head, since Isengrim already has the perfect wig and eyes. I'll probably put the Song head up on DoA or something. Gah, I'm addicted.
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Today was my lucky day: I got two dolls in the mail. Both my MNF Shiwoo and the desperately long awaited Small Comfort came in today. My Shiwoo (his name is Sionn) is dressed, but barefoot and bald. His boots are backordered, and his wig is on the other side of a cloud of volcanic ash. I have his amazing Volks metalic eyes, but haven't put them in yet. I adore him. I wanted a doll with attitude, and he has it. But my Small Comfort... Oh, she's perfect! Her name is Mustardseed. She's wearing an eensy dress ripped from a baby Bratz doll. (I hated those things. I am ever so glad they're not sold anymore. Thanks, Mattel's corporate lawyers!) She has a fairly extensive wardrobe of eensy Bratz baby clothes, and they couldn't have fit better if they were made for her. And oh, so very precious. Now if Peaseblossom, the eldest sister in my quartet, would just get here...
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I got a shipping notice! My Small Comfort is finally coming to me!
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So, we had some actual snow and ice here in Tennessee. School got canceled, and the roads were really bad enough to keep me inside. And I celebrated with insane Oblivion marathons. The end result is that I've "finished" one playthrough of Oblivion, at leas as much as you can ever finish Oblivion. I've completed every sidequest but three (two in the Shivering Isles plus Hermaeus Mora, the latter because it was hopelessly bugged) bought and furnished every house, attained the top rank in every guild, completed the main storyline and both expansions, and even did a little extra touring. My second playthrough I'll be much less of a completionist. I'm thinking a Khajit in the Dark Brotherhood and possibly the thieve's guild.

For right now, though, I've moved on to Mass Effect. I've never played a game quite like this, which such an emphasis on shooting. It's the first one that seemed to appeal to me. And it really is awesome. There's just two things I dislike: combat in the Mako vehicle, which handles like a brick, and the long, boring elevator rides. Realistic, yes. Fun, no. The dialog is great, and I very much like games that give me so many options. I'm already seeing a second playthrough, going Renegade instead of Paragon. And then I shall play Mass Effect 2, of course.
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So I've spent heaps of time playing Oblivion this past week. The weather cooperated by keeping us "snowed in" for a few days. That's by a Middle Tennessee definition of snowed in, which includes perhaps two inches of snow over three days. But hey, there's no plows or real salt for the roads here, and they don't even brine my road, so those few inches of snow stuck around and got packed down and melted and froze, etc. So the point is, school got called off Thursday, Friday, and Monday, and I played tons of Oblivion. My character is a Dark Elf, and she's in the Thieves, Mages, and Fighters guilds. Because I want to do it all! I have to remind myself to get back to the main quest, because there's just so much going on. I have the Game of the Year edition, which also includes the two expansions, so I'm eagerly looking forward to those, too.
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I've been quite busy lately. Since I last posted, I've finished both Assassin's Creed and Assassin's Creed II. Awesome games, the both of them. I actually did a lot more work on the second one. The first one doesn't really have any sort of economy. Actually, there's no money, at all. So you can't buy or sell anything, and there's no money management to worry about. Almost a relief, in a way, but it's a huge chunk of missing gameplay that I normally do fuss over a fair bit. And the only collecting is the 350 or so flags scattered about, and you know what? I'm not that crazy. So I pretty much just did the mainline story and moved on to the second game. Which is where things got a lot more complex. An in-game economy! Options in weaponry! Collections I could actually do! Plus, the story is, I'm pretty sure, longer. So I've finished the storyline, collected all the weapons, armor, and artwork, completed the assassin's tomb, totally upgraded Ezio's hometown, gotten all the codex pages (a must, you can't finish the game until you do) *and* gotten all 100 lousy stinking feathers. And except for the moment when I realized that I had to track down 7 feathers that I thought I'd already gotten, I loved every second. Now I just have to wait for Assassin's Creed III. Sigh. Anyways, I'll start playing Oblivion after the New Year, since I'm going out of town for a few weeks for the holidays.

I also got a new doll! My best friend and I exchanged BJDs for Christmas. I gave her a Brownie, and she got me a Resin Soul Bei. She's gorgeous, but now the hard work of customizing her begins. She needs a wig, new eyes, clothes, and a new faceup. I'm actually going to try and do this faceup myself, believe it or not. Anyways, her name is Cornelia, and when she's fit to be seen I'll take some pictures of her.
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Aside from hockey, skating is the only sport that I really follow. I'll watch a few other things (swimming, for example) but I really only keep up on hockey and figure skating. At any rate, it's a great time to love skating. Obviously, there's the Olympics in a few months (YAY!) but the field of skaters is so awesome. I've never been so happy. There's about half a dozen male skaters and the same number of female skaters that I'd consider myself a fan of. I've really fallen for ice dancing, and I have one pair that I'm a huge fan of (Davis&White) though I really love just about everybody who competes because ice dancing is so awesome. The only problem is that NBC doesn't air much ice dancing at all (only the US Nationals this year, and probably the Olympics) and the only network they air it on is this super premium station that isn't even an option through my satellite provider. Ugh. At any rate, I'm very much looking forward to both Nationals and the Olympics, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a scandal-free Olympics this time, at least as far as skating is concerned. I think we can all count on at least one snowboarder to test positive for marijuana. It just isn't a Winter Olympics otherwise!
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I swear I'm not going to let this slip again. Once I actually start writing an entry, I usually enjoy it. I just need to get started!

Besides, I have a good excuse. It's kind of strange, but three years ago I could barely stand any sport but those that not everybody can agree are sports. You know, gymnastics, figure skating, diving. I still love those, of course. Especially figure skating. Actually, I'm more excited about skating than I have been in years. Since Scott Hamilton retired, as a matter of fact. But over the last three years, I've become a big fan of the Nashville Predators, my hockey team. My team. Never would have said that a few years ago!

At any rate, the hockey season has started, and it wasn't a great start for my team. It's hard to get into it when it looks bad. Six straight losses bad. But they've entirely turned around, and have now won six straight. (Symmetry's great! Sometimes.) It's not that I only enjoy hockey when my team has a monster streak, but it's easier to have fun when it's not embarrassing.

Which is all to say that I've been really preoccupied with hockey the last few weeks. I am a season ticket holder, so with the compact schedule (Olympics!) it's about three games a week. I love going to games, I love my seats (in the middle of the Cellblock, which means I am one of the crazy people) and I love watching the warmups from on the glass. So I've been dorking out over hockey instead of dolls, lately, though my Brownies accompany me to every game.
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I have very few pictures of Isengrim so far, and really only one of him with Avalon. So, here it is. )
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Shadow Hearts: From the New World gets to be such a damned slog towards the end. It's good, of course, but it's not nearly as wonderful as Shadow Hearts: Covenant. It's much more bearable if you're not a completionist, like me, but I hate the combo system, and I hate some of the sidequests. I've just decided that I'm not going to do Purgatory at all, which is probably good for my nerves (worst. sidequest. ever.) and cuts a couple hours off my gameplay. I'm down to basically the final dungeon and last three bosses. So, not terribly much game at all. After that, I've come across a used copy of the limited edition of Fable II with the extra DLC totally unused. I still can't believe it. That would've been the first thing I did! So I'll probably pick up my old Fable II save, collect the enormous amount of rent one can get from owning every property in the game and not playing for a few months, and play the new stuff. I'm ridiculously delighted by the prospect of having Halo armor for my hero, and I've never played Halo. Realistically speaking, that's going to be 2-5 game hours there, so I'll soon be needing yet another game to play. Maybe a replay of Eternal Sonata, maybe the new Lego Indy, maybe the first Assassin's Creed, that I've still never played. Maybe I'll concentrate on Kingdom Hearts 358/2, which I started but never finished, or maybe I'll finally play the Chrono Trigger I've had laying about for months. I also have Twilight Princess around here somewhere I could play. Or hey, maybe NHL 10. It's really nice to have options.

Dolls

Nov. 8th, 2009 11:12 pm
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Right, so since I'm posting and all, I thought I'd throw up a few pics of the dolls I have so far.

Pics! )

So, there's my dolls! They make me insanely happy. And of course, I'm going to get more, someday.
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This doll thing is really addictive. I started off buying one (JUST ONE!) doll, and that was all I would get!

That lasted... two months? Then I bought a Brownie, who I just got a few weeks ago. And I only intended to get one teeny tiny doll!

That didn't even last until I got my first Brownie. A month and a half later, I ordered a second, which I'm still waiting for.

Still not enough! Last week I just happened to spy a light tan Resinsoul Song on Junkyspot. He arrived today, and he's horribly gorgeous.

Am I done now? Of course not! I want like half a dozen more dolls at this point. What's in this resin, anyways?
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I got Mote yesterday! She's adorable and I love her to pieces. Right now she's laying on Avalon's lap. It's going to give me a little time to get used to how to pose her, of course. But she's just so cute that pretty much everything I do makes her look adorable. I'll try to take some good pictures of her tomorrow.
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I haven't posted in a very long time. I could say that it's because I've been posting on my Twitter account instead (SesanaP) but that would be a flat out lie. I haven't been posting there, either.

School has started back up again. Yay. Sorry, I don't get enthused about it until things are really back to a vaguely normal routine, and that won't happen for at least another week.

But the big, exciting news is that my Brownie has been shipped! I ordered her at the end of May, and she's finally coming to me! I got an Iliana fullset. I've decided to name her Mote, and she will be a phooka. I can't wait until I actually have her so I can start playing around with her! Of course, I also ordered another Brownie about a month ago, so I have to wait for her, too. But I think it'll be easier when I have one to play with. The second doll is a Pag fullset, and she will be Cobweb. Cobweb will need a new wig, but Mote will be fine with the wig she comes with, at least for awhile.

And hey, maybe I'll actually post pictures. Or anything at all. Ha.
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