Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Books!! The Americans!! Chicken Slaughter!! Randomness!!

Here’s some stuff I’ve been doing lately.

* Ate a lot of dark chocolate
Because, lo, it is the stuff of life.

* Not exercised
I started out so well.  Then I lapsed.

Now I’ve been trying hard to get disciplined on this.  See?  It’s working – I’ve disciplined myself not to exercise.  Now if I could only figure out how to discipline it back.

I like exercising – I really do.  But there are honestly not enough hours in the day for me to write, work, parent, do school drop-offs/pick-ups and other good-parent things, grocery-shop, garden, clean the bathroom, figure out how to use the Internets properly, cook healthy dinners, fix my computer and so on, AND exercise.

Give me an extra couple of hours in the day, and I’ll give you a fitter, sleeker, more toned-looking me.  Until then – ‘Blah’, as Toad always says.

* Ranted about copyedits
Do you hate the automatic conversion of imperial measurements to metric in contemporary fiction?  Does it bother you that US copyeditors are continuing with the dreadful new habit of using ‘I saw her couple years ago’ instead of the more grammatically-correct ‘I saw her a couple of years ago’?  (People – you are deleting two whole useful words there, ok??)  Are you still getting over the fact that ‘focussed’ is now ‘focused’?  Do you hate hate hate the use of semi-colons in dialogue? (Because I was saying this to my copyeditor, that no one uses semi-colons when they talk,  and she was, like, ‘Well, Ellie, let’s see; I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree’)

If you are pernickety about any of these things – congratulations!  Join me at the next meeting of the Grammar Pedants, of which I am the Current Chair.  We will go bowling with Hilary, my copyeditor, and talk about the use of ‘that that’s’ and other incredibly scintillating things…

* Moved an echidna off the road to our house
Because apparently echidnas like us.  A lot.  They come on pilgrimages to our place.  (Even in winter – I know, that’s so weird!)

Sometimes, due to a lack of road sense and a certain peculiarity that involves enjoying warm bitumen surfaces, these loyal pilgrims die along the way.  I always feel sorry for them, and stop the car and try to sort of…shoo them.

When you’re trying to shoo an echidna off the road, it’s enough to walk behind them a little way and kind of wave in their direction.  Don’t prod them with a stick, or stamp your feet, or make loud ‘shoo’ noises – they will just curl up into a ball.  They can’t help it – it’s an “evolution+spikes=curling” thing.  But it’s kind of hard then to get them off the road, unless you don’t care that much about your hands and you’re happy to roll them or something.
* Stressed about book publicity
Even though the A&U publicist, Lara, is like this bastion of calm in a sea of chaos, and she has assured me that all will be well, and please, don’t worry about it – I’m sorry, but I worry.  It’s kind of an amusing personality quirk.

* Applied for jobs
Because, woe, a family of six cannot live on one person’s part-time income and another person’s as-yet-non-existent royalty cheques alone.

*Ate gluten-free bread
As a test.  And apologies, guys, but – it sucks.  I have a problem with it, and it is mainly that it does not taste like bread.  Sorry, gluten-free, it’s into the chook-bucket for you…

*Spread manure
Because, y’know, I’m an author!  That’s what I do!  No, seriously – it’s important to garden.  It keeps me sane, except for the fact that whenever I see a ring-barked tree on our property I want to KILL ALL RABBITS IN A VIOLENT WAY.  So, yeah, apart from that, gardening is good.

* Tweeted
I am totally getting into this tweeting thing.  Oh yeah.

* Stole my sister-in-law’s firewood
From the enormous mountain of firewood she had cut when she felled a whole lot of trees last spring.  Really, she has too much firewood  – no, I know, this doesn’t make it right!  Deb, I’m sorry!  I will pay it all back, I promise!

*Paid my kids the $124 dollars I owed them in pocket money

*Did not set off the smoke detector during meal preparation – not even once

* Went to Sydney
I told you about that already.

* Accidentally killed my son’s favourite chicken
OMG!!  *flails*

I tweeted about this too, so it was a very public disaster.  But it really wasn’t my fault!  We have many chickens, and they are a variety of colours, but they all look largely the same.  It wasn’t until I had chopped, and then thought, and then realised…

And I actually feel really bad about this, because he was a very nice chook.  At the moment my son is clueless about it, but one day, very soon, he will look into the chook pen and realise that, oh dear, his favourite chook has mysteriously disappeared.  And I will have to spin the story of my life, about the brave rooster who saw a nasty fox, and flew over the fence to give his life for his flock…and I will work that really hard.

And no one is allowed to say anything, okay?

* Started another book
The third book, this is.  So yeah, I’m writing a trilogy, except that makes it sound like an epic fantasy series, and it’s not.  People say the second book is really hard – I don’t agree.  The second one was easy.  I’m finding the third one an absolute ball-breaker.

*Watched a new tv show
Oh, I’m addicted to something new – that’s exciting!  I watched the first ep of The Americans – it totally had me from the first opening sequence, when the Russian spy couple are chasing down the bad spy guy, with Tusk by Fleetwood Mac playing in the background.

So yeah – 80’s Reagan-era sleeper agents, and Jordache jeans, and I found the whole thing so incredibly cool I may now watch the entire season.  Except it kind of craps all over Elementary, which is a bit saddening – but I will still watch Elementary because of the Sherlock.  I am hooked on the Sherlock in every form.

Although I read a very insightful analysis of the first ep of The Americans on livejournal, which said that Phillip, the male main character, is dominating the story, and that Elizabeth, the female main character, is kind of background wallpaper, even though this is supposed to be a show about a marriage (okay, Russian spies and stuff, but you know, basically it’s about a marriage).  Which I agreed with, actually, although I’m interested to see if this is just a consequence of the lead actor being really bloody good, and perhaps we’ll start to see a change in Elizabeth’s character as the series progresses, so she starts to become more identifiable.  Because right now, Phillip is the one who really cares, who is the most emotionally vulnerable in the marriage, and Elizabeth has kind of replaced love with dogma, so I’d like to see a bit of that start to shatter.

And don’t get me started on character backstories in tv shows, because I will just go on and on.

*Read ‘The Fault In our Stars’ by John Green
Which, if you haven’t read it – why are you reading this?  Go, go now!  Go and get this incredible book!

It made me bawl my eyes out, though, so fair warning.

So that’s it.  All these things I did, and many other things besides, which owing to space and time considerations it would be tedious to list all of them.

I hope you did some fun stuff in May.  I plan to do more fun stuff now June is here – see you round.

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