Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ravelympics: The winter version

I spent much to much time debating what project to do. Should I do a shawl? A sweater? 6 hats? I decided a sweater seemed like a good challenge. So, then the pattern something that I could conceivably finish without killing myself, becoming (more of) a hermit, or having to call in sick to work.
And yet, not boring either. Project monogamy not being a strength of mine, miles of plain stockinette would surely drive me mad.
I did take a little break to knit of a quick hat. (Ripley.)
But in the end, I finished the Favorite Cardigan. I like to think it means something that the men's hockey team scored right after I bound off.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Olympics are On

...So I can't talk. The powers that be are forcing me to tape five hour blocks to scan through and find the sports I want. Intriguingly the Russia vs. Slovakia men's hockey game was aired on broadcast, while USA vs. Canada men's hockey was aired on cable. Broadcast did switch to the game for five minutes, which, by my unofficial count was 30 seconds of play, three minutes of watching players congratulate each other and two minutes of post game commentary, which amounted to this was an awesome game you missed. (This may be why the Monkey See headline was NBC's Coverage manages to Annoy Absolutely Everyone.)
Also, I'm on the sleeves of my sweater, but I hate sleeves. And I forgot to, you know, read the pattern, so have to rip back part of the first sleeve.
And I have work. And the youth group retreat was last weekend so I am tired. And I have a busy week. But man, the hockey is looking great. For those of us who can see it. (I will say that the hockey has mostly been covered in long uninterrupted stretches. Just on cable. Perhaps since being a regular hockey fan pretty much requires cable these days...)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's in a Country?

In trying some google-fu to figure out the official rules for what makes you able to compete in the Olympics for a country I ran across some interesting things.
Apparently pairs skaters in other world events, only one has to be from the country they represent. (The article also talks about some skaters that have moved around and even revoked their nationality to be able to compete Olympically.)This is also how there are sibling ice dancers competing for different countries.
The Olympics did not always have country delegations. Also, athletes have in unusual circumstances been able to compete as Independents, under the Olympic flag.
(Oh, and if you're curious, there's a link to the Olympic Charter here.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Wanna Game

(To on the nose?) So, back in the day, I got the opportunity to read Marjorie M. Liu's Soul Song. I enjoyed it and hunted out the rest of the series, starting back at the beginning with Tiger Eye. So, I was excited when I read that they were turning Tiger Eye into a game. I enjoy games where I have to travel places or collect things and even (somewhat peversely considering my job) time management games. And now I want to be a beta tester. Want, want, want. (Okay, the game is insanely reasonably priced, so I won't die or anything, but still want.)

Olympics, You May Have Heard, Are on

I am an equal opportunity Olympics-er. I love summer (swimming, gymnastics, diving, etc) and winter (hockey, figure skating, bobsledding, etc) so it sort of amazes me that people think winter olympics are less interesting. Sports - on ice (or snow) - how is this not a perfect combination. (Okay, I confess the allure of curling escapes me.) In fact, my winter sports more closely align with my regular viewing. Although I actually prefer (ever so slightly) Olympic hockey, because of the rules. (Except for the unfair rules about women not being allowed to check.) And the bigger rink helps too. (I still think hockey would be just a smidge better if it had a bigger goal. Only a smidge though.)
I am ravelympicing also. I cast on Friday for a Favorite Cardigan by Wendy Bernard. It's going well.
Oh, and Canada, now that your little winter in Canada gold drought thingy is over, well, um, go USA!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

These are from Snowmageddon.

So, yes, I am a snowstorm behind. Who knew it would be so hard to keep up?
Sign in Snow
No, people or things were injured here. (Even the car is fine.)
Downed tree

Dear Local Station,

Dear Local Station,
We get it - it's snowy.  The roads are bad.  Now give me back my programs and please, let your reporters go inside. Feel free to break in to the programming if something new actually happens.  (List of things that are not new - it's snowy.  The roads are dangerous.  It's cold.  Things are closed. The stores have almost no groceries left.)
Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper were on TV this morning but I couldn't see them and really, they would have been a welcome distraction.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

February Check In

I have made a good start on my list and also discovered some more titles, so the list has shifted some.
First up, I read Breathing by Cheryl Rene Herbsman. I first heard about it over at YA Edge. It is the story of Savannah, a bookish girl with asthma in a Coastal Carolina town. It takes place over the summer as she meets Jackson, and attractive boy visiting for the summer. Because it takes place in a rural area, there is a different speech pattern in place (the link has an excerpt). I didn't find it distracting and, of course, as someone who has a milder case of asthma than Savannah, I really enjoyed the story and that, as the author says, the asthma was a part of the character without being the main thrust of the story.
I also read Ninth Key by Meg Cabot, the second in the Mediator series and found it a really enjoyable read. Susannah is a Mediator, a person who has the ability to assist ghosts in crossing over. Sometimes, the ghosts are a little challenging, although in this story the issue is a ghost getting Suze involved in some real live drama as she tries to deliver a message from a ghost.
So, two down, eight to go!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Don't Judge a Cover

Let's face it, cliches aside, we all know a cover is a sort of promise. There's a language in covers that develops telling us that a clutched couple means this, a certain color scheme or lighting means this.
Now, yes, most readers have come to learn it is an inexact promise. That sometimes the chick on the cover has long blonde hair only to discover that the girl inside has short red hair. It can be little like following a promising headline, only to discover that the actual story is not nearly so interesting. And while certainly a cover is just part of the package of things hinting at what's to come, it is still part of it.
So - what happens if it turns out the girl or guy on the cover is not even the same race as the book character it is supposed to represent?
I know in this post-racial world such things aren't supposed to matter. Except that they do. First, let's face it, I have not heard of a book where a white character was represented on the cover by a non-white character. Second, there are a lot of people trying to find books that are about a range of people, if even the cover doesn't accurately represent the book, how can they find such books outside of the African American reading section (which is not only a misleading section name, but also jumbles together a number of genres, and, of course, still leaves no clear place to find books about other less well represented in mainstream fiction groups such as Asian, Hispanic, and Indian).
And here's the other reason, some people don't want to read about black (or blue or purple) characters. Alison Kent had a book featuring an interracial romance inside. The cover, sadly, didn't reflect this. Now sure, you could argue that maybe someone who wouldn't have otherwise picked it up did. Again, I will ask, if that's so, how come they never try it the other way around?
What fascinates me is that in other mediums, it is agreed that such deception is wrong. Music customers who had purchased Milli Vanilli were offered refunds after it was revealed that the people purported to be doing the singing were not. Now, that was more an issue of perceived appeal, than race, but the idea was similar that it was assumed that consumers would prefer a certain look even though the product itself was primarily aural. (I recognize that look is still a factor in music, but then so are covers in books,no matter what your parents might have told you.)
So, to circle back to my original point, the cover is a promise. Yes, it's marketing, but that marketing is supposed to be indicative of the product. Using cover models of the incorrect race violates that promise indicating that the publisher either doesn't care enough to understand basic facts about the book or suggesting willful deceit. I imagine the reality is likely more complex and less sinister, but when a reader opens the book and discovers the issue (or possibly doesn't even open the book) they will be upset. They may still love the book, but will also spend time and energy wondering why the cover misrepresented the contents.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Dear Weather

Dear Weather
Shortly after I started working with the youth group they went on a ski trip. One of the first stories I ever heard about youth group trips involved a ski trip. The group was staying in a cabin not officially affiliated with the ski resort, but within an easy drive.  All was well until they woke up the morning they were to leave to discover that they had received several feet of snow.  They were able to dig out the cars, but didn't have the equipment necessary to take care of the driveway.  One adult ended up flagging down a neighbor with a small plow.  And of course, since it was the day they planned to leave, they had food only enough for breakfast and twenty some teens.
So, here's the deal. I love snow.  But next week, I am travelling with twenty some teens and assorted adults to West Virginia for the weekend.  Now, we are staying in a place that has their own snow removal equipment.  So, snow away, but, please, I would like to be able to get home (particularly since I have to cross a big river, so if we can try and keep that safe by Monday). I love these trips with the youth.  But I also love getting home afterwords.  Thanks!
-Youth Advisor

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I am Gorgeous

Facebook meme: Put your name in urban dictionary and see what it says.
For my first name, Tara, the first entry states:
1. Drop dead gorgeous. Used to describe the most amazing person you know. Legendary.
Wow, you are so tara."

I may start using that in conversation.