28 April 2012


Locus Focus: Take Seventy!


When I decided to do Settings in Song for April 2012, I had no idea what songs I was going to feature. All I was sure of was that I didn't want to do something as obvious Penny Lane. =P

And that was why I didn't even think of mining the rest of The Beatles' ouevre until this weekend--and why I didn't realise how many of their songs carry an excellent sense of place. Today I feature one of the more elusive ones.

(In case anyone was wondering . . . next month's theme will be our first repeater: May at the Movies! Link up a memorable cinematic setting!) 

26 April 2012


Character Connection 33

This post is dedicated to my youngest brother, Cue-card Boy, who loved the novel from which I take today's featured character.

Since the book is the second in a trilogy, it spoils the first book a little. But only a little.

21 April 2012


Locus Focus: Take Sixty-Nine!

This theme is driving me crazy. =P There's something about getting the sense of place right in the music that seems to make musicians think that they can be shifty with the lyrics. I've just spent the past week going through my music collection and listening more closely to all the songs that I've found most transporting--and virtually all of them are stingy when it comes to description.

It's not that they take you to places where the writers have been, but that they take you inside the writers' heads, into their experiences of the places. And these are often encoded in flashes of colour, sound and other sensations that are never quite decoded in the songs. It is such maddening elusiveness that gives rise to speculative posts like the following. Fun for fans to write, yes, but likely hysterical to those who know the true stories.

20 April 2012


Writing Diary, Entry #29

Not What I'd Usually Read . . . Which is Half the Fun!

Getting to review books for MOD Magazine makes me feel like I'm part of a book club. A book club with thousands of members who love hearing (or in this case, reading) what I have to say, but who never tell me what they think in turn. (Then again, maybe they do and my editor just never tells me about my fan mail . . . or hate mail . . . or whatever.)

This month's book club selections are Edible Stories: A Novel in Sixteen Parts by Mark Kurlanski and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan. Both are titles I'd never pick up on my own, and I'm totally looking forward to them. 

3 "Foodie" Articles
I Wrote for MOD Magazine

18 April 2012


Twenty Poems and Counting!

This is one of those times when I've wanted desperately to cheat . . . but didn't. =)

It was also one of those times when I had to look up the word prompt, being completely unfamiliar with it. But I stubbornly held off doing so until just a few hours ago. And the poem which follows is actually all about that Google Images search . . . although if anyone else asks, I'll tell them it's about rediscovering nature in the spring. =P

15 April 2012


Twelve Things about Shake, Rattle & Roll X 

12. The only reason this movie is getting its own Twelve Things post when I've let better movies go unblogged is that it crossed that wonderful line between So Bad and So Bad It's Good. =P That's a harder, rarer feat than most people think!

11. Like all movies in the Shake, Rattle & Roll franchise, this tenth offering is an "omnibus" of three short-ish stories that are sometimes Horor and sometimes just Horror-ish. And sometimes the Horror-ish ones are the most fun.

10. In the first story, Emergency,  the (presumably city-bred) staff of a country hospital finds itself in the crosshairs of a conflict between a strange human-like race from the forests and some of the locals. It's a skirmish that lasts exactly one evening, which is probably why the filmmakers seemed to think that they didn't need to fill in the blanks with any backstory.

Now, I don't like convoluted exposition any more than your average intelligent Horror fan, but the only story worse than the most forced explanation of supernatural phenomenon you can think of is: "A studio head realises that a dozen of its talents need a project for the end of the year and puts them all in the ensemble cast of the same mediocre project . . ."

14 April 2012


Locus Focus: Take Sixty-Eight!

Welcome (Back) to the "Settings in Song" Challenge!

The best challenges are those which make me think, after I announce them and start brainstorming them, that I've probably bitten off more than I could chew. There are fewer memorable places in songs (or at least the songs that I am familiar with) than I had counted on. Music creates a sense of place or time through atmosphere rather than lyrics, and songs that are clearly from a certain area or certain decade betray themselves only through their melodies and arrangements. And we know what they say about "writing about music," don't we?

Please note that although I no longer put up a linky, I still love reading what others have to say about settings. If you have a submission for this challenge or current Locus Focus post about some other setting that has taken your fancy, then leave the link the combox and I will add it to the body of the post. =)

12 April 2012


Character Connection 32

It is easy to recommend anything with "classic" status to a friend looking for good books. Time and consensus have done half the work for you. So a couple of weeks ago, when I suggested the 1979 novel Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry (See my Reading Diary entry!), I was merely adding my inimitable contralto to a chorus of thousands. Which is not what this diva is about. (Am I going to regret writing that line?) And I've since realised that the real challenge of what I'm calling "Operation Eleven" is to find new books that merit the same accolades as the old.

So ever since my first friend with the eleven year old daughter (not to be confused with the second and third friends who have their own eleven year old girls . . . and possibly a fourth who hasn't chimed in yet) asked for suggestions, I've been going through all the books I own that are at least as young as she is. So far, only three of them have passed with flying colours--and as they happen to be part of the same trilogy, they only count as one.

Today's featured character from those books helps make the case for the wholehearted Nihil Obstat they have earned from me.

11 April 2012


Westlife Wednesday: Deja Vu . . .

More Than Words is one of my favourite Westlife covers. It's just so sweet.

Again, they're not making much of a musical statement and are probably riding on the melody's natural loveliness as much as on the way Shane Filan's and Bryan McFadden's voices sound together . . . but I'm sharing it anyway because unless I do, you won't understand my reaction to last Sunday's opening act on The Voice of Ireland.

This week, it was Team Kian's turn to perform together with their coach, who is, of course, Kian Egan from Westlife. And there's a reason I don't think it necessary to tell you which one he is in the above video. You'll just know . . .

10 April 2012


The Big Two-Oh!

UPWORDS Letter Wampersand &letter Q 
Stencil NumberĀ  2number 0

Would you believe I almost forgot to announce this? =P That's why it's going up on a Wednesday but is backdated to Tuesday. (Can't displace a Westlife post now, can I?)

And can you believe that this will be our twentieth game? If you've missed the last one, here is a quick link so that you can read the poems: W&Q 19.

Now, I'm still expecting a poem from the nineteenth game . . . and I've told the player he has until this Friday to link up before being banned from the April festivities. (Now all I need is music to make me sound more intimidating than I actually am when I write such things. . .)

Hoping for the best from stragglers and early birds alike, here is this month's schedule . . .

13 April -- Deadline for prompts (Are you feeling lucky, punks? LOL!)
15 April -- E-mails with new prompts go back out to players
18 April -- My poem goes up on this blog; everyone may start sharing their links
25 April -- Deadline for poems

And in case all this is Greek to you, drop by the Playing Poetry Page for the rules and mechanics. =)

09 April 2012


Mail Again!

A few months ago, when this blog was floundering from lack of (my) attention, I received a very generous gift in the mail. And now that I'm active in the book blogging world again, I'd like to be social and share them with everyone.

Though more representative of the giver's taste in reading than my own, I'm glad to have them all. They're either books I would never have bought for myself or books I would have procrastinated getting to for another few years.