Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Doing My Part for Charity
It's about the $2.98 I dropped at St. Vincent de Paul's last night and what I scored with it. Okay, it's really about what I scored; the charity part, not so much.
So what can you get for under three bucks at StVdP?
- Singing in the Bathtub by John Lithgow
This is a musical CD with songs for kids and swing-band arrangements that don't drive adults insane. Price: $0.50
- I Spy Junior
This is a CD-ROM that works in Macs as well as PCs. Educational content for 3-5 year olds; Phil falls in the middle there. At the beginning of gameplay you enter your name in (or select it from a list); from time to time your name will show up in the in-game I Spy pictures (on blocks or beads or written on things) - Very cool!
Since it works on both operating systems, the boy won't have to monopolize Dina's laptop on long trips - wait a minute ... maybe that's not such a good thing after all. Price: $0.50
- My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
This is a favorite over at one of the blogs I frequent, faith*in*fiction, so I bought it to see what the big fat hairy deal is.
While standing at the large used-book section at St Vinnie's, I blanked out on the author's name - everything is alphabetized by author, so knowing his or her name helps. I scanned the shelves in the "Classics" section, but I didn't see the title. I flipped through some of the copies from the 70s and 80s that list "other books you might try" from the publishers' booklists, but the book wasn't listed anywhere.
Finally, I went over to the general fiction section and guessed at "Potok" as a place to start looking. Got it in one. Price: $0.99
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
A writing book with short essays on craft and technique. Saw it recommended somewhere, pulled it off the shelf and gave it a look-see. With chapter titles like "Fighting Tofu" and "Don't Marry the Fly," what's not to like. Price: $0.99
Okay, so it's not like I dropped a krugerrand in a Salvation Army kettle. Still, three bucks is three bucks.
Saturday, December 25, 2004
Merry Christmas from Phil
Please note the height on tree at which it changes from a mix of lights and ornaments to just lights. Hmmm....
Merry Christmas: My Gifts To You
GIFT OF THE MAD GUYS
* "By Any Other Name" is the one I submitted to the contest.
These stories are currently unavailable; if you are desparate for entertainment, please let me know and I'll see what I can do.
Friday, December 24, 2004
Good Apple. Smart Apple.
It comes in handy to help proofreading stories, although some of the words aren't pronounced correctly ("Mikesell" has the common "Mick-uh-sell" mispronunciation). Hearing it read aloud helps to find typos and words you thought you put in, but left out, but still mentally insert when re-reading.
When it came to "Xmas" in one of my stories it read it correctly as "Christmas."
Christmas Comes Early: A Festive Book Review
Maybe eleven pipers piping is a bit out of your price range ($2,050 according to CNN/Money. Maybe your honey's a vegetarian and would be insulted to receive four pounds of backbacon. Maybe you've searched everywhere for a pink satin pillow that says San Diego, with fringe all around it, but to no avail.
That's where my latest review will help you out. Last summer I picked up a few I Spy books at an outlet mall in Southern California (I blogged on it here), including the Christmas edition. If you're stumped for what to give this Christmas, you could do worse (though five golden toques would look snazzy).
Why you should read my review of I Spy Christmas: The hardest part about writing a review on an I Spy book is describing what they're like to the uninitiated. It's like a hidden picture book, but not like the old Highlights for Children puzzles where a man in the background has a comb for a mustache. In my blog entry for the I Spy Ultimate Challenger review I described it as "kinda like Where's Waldo, kinda like trying to find a AAA battery in the junk drawer." I ought to have included that description in the review itself. With the Christmas edition I described what the process is like. Even those of you who wish Waldo would stay lost or have immaculate junk drawers, I think you'll be able to relate.
Plus it's more fun that a Japanese transistor radio, even if it is a discontinued Nakashuma Mark IV with a leatherette case with holes in it, so you can listen right through the case, and a wire with a thing on one end that you can stick in your ear, and a thing on the other end that you can't stick anywhere, because it's bent.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Top 50 Blogged NaNo Projects
Mine was listed 49th.
I can't imagine any kind of actual ranking took place when the list was generated. Still, it's nice to be so high on such a lengthy list.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Two Phil Pix
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
What I'm Reading Rollover + New Book Review
The second book was a birthday present from Dina, and since my non-fiction "to be read" pile was down to The Dummies Guide to Golf her book flew to the top of the two-book stack.
The third book I picked up from a message board buddy who is a contributor for CCM Magazine and was looking for book-reviewing guinea pigs for an upcoming change to their fiction department. So all my Amazon reviewing is paying off in free books (well, free book). Plus, networking is good. Woo-hoo!
Speaking of Amazon reviews, there's a new review up for William "Funk'n" Strunk Jr. & E.B. "I wrote Charlotte's Web, too" White's Elements of Style.
Why you should read my review of The Elements of Style: I cite a couple examples of the wacky humor found in the book. Okay, wacky is overselling it, but it does mildly amuse. I also demonstrate that I am teachable - which will come as a complete surprise to my high school English teachers. (The book also taught me to leave off "the initial A or The from titles when you place the possessive before them" as demonstrated in the terminal sentence of the preceding paragraph.) Good stuff, Maynard.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Life Goal Realized
Last night (11:05p), I submitted a short story to a Christmas story contest sponsored by an acquisitions editor at Bethany House and the editor/publisher of online-mag Fuse. Winners get named next week.
Today is my 36th birthday so it looks like I got it in just in time.
I'll keep you posted on the story's success.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
At the Capitol
- View of the Capitol Dome
- Christmas Decorations inside the Capitol
- Philip, Grammy, Mama, and Poppa inside the Capitol
- Christmas Card Picture outside the Capitol
- Grammy & Poppa
- Phil's View of Park in Old Town
- Phil's-eye View of Motel Refrigerator
- Phil's-eye View of Motel Bureau
- Phil's-eye View of Motel Air Conditioner
Monday, December 13, 2004
Rocket to the Moon
At the beginning of December I had 875 positive votes, a rank of 2742. I just crossed 900 positive votes and am ranked at 2647 (I was as low as 2641 earlier in the week) and only added one review this month.
If I give up reviewing altogether, I'll be #1 in no time.
Whoever's responsible, THANKS!
Friday, December 10, 2004
Tip for Panhandlers
When we arrived in Eugene, a guy (different guy) came up to me looking for $12 and change so he and his girlfriend could get bus tickets to Alaska.
In both cases I said no (in the latter case I said "no" 3 times, then a fourth when the guy asked me if I needed help with my bags).
Why? Because I'm a heartless jerk? Well, there's that.
But mostly because in neither case was the train station anywhere near the bus depot. If you're going to come up with a highly implausible story involving exact change, at least put yourself geographically near the correct mass transit terminal.
Just a tip.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Holy Tomato, Batman!
Be excellent to each other in the meantime.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
A Month Later: Another Book Review
Why you should read my review of No Plot? No Problem!: If you haven't had much clue what I've been blathering on about for the past month, the review may clear up a few points. If you were able to comprehend my sleep-deprived rambling, the review includes the two most helpful things the book offered to get me through the month.
The review also contains a salute to my friends and co-lunatics who went through the month along with me. Since salutes are free and low-fat, I'll salute them here, as well. SALUTE!
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Not a Sly & The Family Stone funk.
Not the Funk-y Chicken.
Just a funk.
I know I was pretty blissed out when I crossed the 50,000 word mark, which was the objective of the month. So I'm guessing the funk had to do with finishing the novel. Or of not making it to 75K words, which I thought I might have been able to do. Or maybe I needed more caffeine.
It was a long month and I'm glad to have gone through it. To have the thing out of my head and printed out on paper feels wonderful.
Tonight I begin work on a short-story that's been in my head for awhile, too. Having completed the first draft of Revival gives me confidence that this story will make it on to the page as well.
I'm feeling better now.
I'm not dancing the Funky Chicken yet, but I'm certainly feeling certainly less be-funked.