Weekly rundown 1/23

Inspired by friend Lindsay’s new posting style, I’m shooting for a weekly update schedule to account for what I’ve been doing lately.

What I’ve been reading:

  • A Bug in the System, from last year’s New Yorker. Food safety is so gross and fascinating, and this actually grabbed the part of me that’s interested in legal nuances, which is touuuugh to do. Bill Marler is one of those rare stories of someone who’s seized a legal specialty and has wound up doing sincere and needed heavy lifting in regulation reform.
  • The Last Days of Target Canada, amazing for its epic slow collapse as well as the multitude of things that went wrong, one right after another. How did they not know? It boggles the mind.
  • Again, on Lindsay’s advice in another post, I picked up the ebook Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Better, Faster Writing by Rachel Aaron.  I am slowly preparing myself to tackle edits and (most definitely) rewrites on the Nanowrimo 2015 project, and I have realized that I need a tight set of strictures going into this. Good advice, and my thoughts on outlining (namely that it leads to books feeling like original 1960s episodes of Scooby-Doo) started to feel ready for a change.

    CALM THYSELF, FOUL BEAST OF CRAVENHOOD
    WAIT WHAT YOU MEAN YOU AREN’T JUST GONNA PUT PEOPLE IN INTERESTING CONTRIVED SITUATIONS WITH PRETTY CLOTHES AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS???
  • This led me to find a copy of John Truby’s book The Anatomy of Story (it’s turtles all the way down when it comes to me and books, and do you see what I did there with the WorldCat record? LIBRARIANING!), which is like the Aaron book, but far more in-depth and with a greater variety of examples and things to consider.
  • On the fun side of reading, I’ve got a copy of Girl Waits With Gun checked out, and it should be a feminist romp with guns and criminals. I’m excited, and have already cast Gwendoline Christie as the protagonist in my mind, and I haven’t even opened the front cover yet. Whatever descriptions of the main character exist will be automatically retrofitted to her features, because all I know is that the heroine is tall and who else would you picture, I ask you
  • When a Scot Ties the Knot was a new romance novel for me, but it lived up to the Trashy Romance Novel Book Club’s collective command to read it, so there you go.  That got me all nostalgic for trashy filthy sexy books, so I reread When Beauty Tamed the Beast, and it was just as ridiculous and amazing as I remembered in a rosy haze. House MD in Regency England, whaaaaat

What I’ve been listening to lately

Updates in cross-stitchery

  • Slow progress on the Phases of the Moon piece. I’m using the large fields of gray and gold as an excuse—they incite me to ennui or something.
  • I need to find a frame for the hydrangea, as Ikea has betrayed me in their black hearts, and the frame I wanted has an aperture bigger than the damn fabric.
  • Mom keeps bugging me to finish her lighthouses. I do not have the same sense of urgency as she does, unfortunately, but it is a good piece for mindless stitching, so I keep it around.
  • I really need to finish so many samplers: Once Upon a Time (2014) and Story Time (2015) haven’t been touched in ages, and I think it’s been a full year at least since I’ve looked at Through the Stars (2015).  I will not spend space here beating myself up over unfinished projects.

Adventures in Horticulture

  • I have an office, and therefore must have plants in it. This is my only explanation of how/why I seem to have gotten into indoor gardening? So that’s a thing for me now, sorry if that doesn’t jibe with your internal version of me!
  • Last month, I found 4 plants on a clearance rack for 50 cents apiece, and was so pleased with myself. Only one has died so far—a purple passion, which is a species notorious for rapid die-off and extreme sensitivity. The other three (Peperomia, Silver Hydrangea, and Limelight Dracaena) are all doing just fine in my low-humidity office, and even though they are neither purple nor fuzzy velvety, they are behaving themselves, unlike a certain diva.
  • ORCHID UPDATES: I joined the local orchid society. They are hardcore and very kind people, and gave me two phalaenopsis plants from a raffle just for showing up to the meeting (imagine my face then, though). I bought two new mini phals over the weekend (one a Jiaho’s Pink Girl, which isn’t rare, but I am excited to have it and am thinking of getting another simply to bask in its splendor). I am going to do a masterpost all about my own personal manifestation of Orchid Madness, you will learn to love it as I have, do not be afraid.
  • I got a terrarium for Christmas and have been trying to decide what to put in it—quite possibly it’ll wind up being an African violet. We’ll see once the landscape benches fill up with mini plants again this spring.
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