February 21st, 2011

if I were me

Snow: we're doing it wrong

I have been trying to embrace winter for a long time now, and the two things that have helped the most have been my HappyLight and my Vitamin D supplements. I actually have not been deeply offended by this winter in comparison to past winters, and I absolutely do not mind the snow on the ground right now, other than it makes me feel tremendously guilty that I did not try harder to get to work today. (The flip side of that being the days when I slide through stop signs and otherwise take my life in my hands, and I scream, "Why did I try to come to work!??! I shoulda just STAYED HOME.")

Oh, there might be a third thing for my well-being, and that might be the new furnace I bought back in August. And if there's a fourth, it's that we're on year 2 with our friend, the electric blanket. Warmth is key.

Coldness and darkness: my two foes.

Anyway, what gets me the MOST about winter is the Snow Protocol.

I do not like the hype. It makes it very hard to tell when you are supposed to rationally stay at home, and when you are supposed to try to go somewhere. A little less hype, and we might actually be able to tell when it's really dangerous out there, and when it's actually not.

I do not like how badly people drive. From the simplest things like "turning your lights on in a near white-out" to "don't tailgate when there's ANYTHING on the ground."

I do not like how inefficient the plowing situation is in this town. Budget cuts ruining our children's educations? Bad. Budget cuts that don't take into account snow? Unbelievable.

I do not like the snowblowers. All the charm of snow is completely taken away when there are fifteen hours of snowblowing afterward. I understand that the efficiency of a snowblower is waaaay above shoveling. I believe you should have a snowblower, if you want one. I'm not the snowblower police. But in the 20 minutes that there weren't neighbors out blowing, I really got to enjoy the noise of the wind in the trees, and the quietness that comes with snow, and I thought, "Yeah, snow isn't so bad!" And then the blowers started up again.

In conclusion, I must buy a Subaru.
Beasts & Demi-Gods (King Arthur)

Media Consumption

I went to a movie! For the first time in like ever. The first time since the last Harry Potter, in fact. I saw Vision, which is the movie about the life of Hildegard of Bingen. I had no quibble with any of the facts in it, which probably means I'm still not well-versed enough in my Hildegard history, but maybe not? Other than the Rhine didn't look properly Rhinish in the tenth of a second distance shot of it, and maybe it was all supposed to be the Nahe delta leading up to the confluence of the Rhine.

Anyway, my only problem with the movie is that a few of the scenes were working too hard at showing too much at one time, to the point that they felt quite forced. But that's okay. Otherwise, it was dreamy, involving, absorbing and quite compelling, and it was totally great inspiration for the book I'm currently writing, which has a bit of Hildegard in it.

I also used this weekend (and the snowday that struck today) to take in Downton Abbey, which I feel like everyone already watched on PBS like four months ago, but it was really good and I enjoyed it. Though I felt like it also ended up with a bit too much crammed-in-itis. Like, "we're going to explore American heiresses saving British noble houses PLUS entailment PLUS women's suffrage PLUS The Titanic PLUS the difficulties with being gay in that time PLUS those awkward old views on menopause/hunting/medicine PLUS the rise of the middle class PLUS feeling adrift with new technology (telephones, electricity, typewriters, AND cars)." I mean. It was only 7 episodes! That was a lot of stuff for 7 episodes, and really, I wanted tons more of the Old Lady War between Professor McGonagall and Harriet Jones of Flydale North, plus as much Mister Bates and Emma's restrained romance as possible. On the other hand, it was pretty satisfying a lot of the time. Until the end. The end was basically a huge cliffhanger, if you ask me.

And, I haven't done a reading post in FOREVER, which makes me feel like I've fallen down on the job SO MUCH, but allow me to rec a book. Ally Condy's Matched was surprising, because I picked it up thinking it was more a romance than a thoroughly and creepily satisfying dystopian novel. The Society seems quite nice on the surface; things are clean and everyone is well-fed and well-educated, and there is a certain plausibility to the tidiness of it all. I don't think you spend ten pages in 1984 being lulled into anything; it seems horrible from the get-go. In Matched, the creepiness seeps slowly in: you see it all through a fourth- or fifth-generation member of the Society, a product of breeding experiments and indoctrination, and it all seems to make sense. I'm trying to think of a dystopia that did such a good job lulling me. Not coming up with one.

Now, finally, a smidge of self-promo. My book has a page on the publisher's website, and is available for pre-order all over the place. You know this already if we're connected on Facebook or Twitter, but some of us aren't connected there, and I just wanted to get that out there. :) Awesomely, Rae Carson's book, Girl of Fire and Thorns is also available for pre-order. I am totally excited about both of these things!