Monday, September 24, 2012

Creative Propositions

I just attended a wonderful family wedding, so it seems appropriate to discuss marriage proposals.  I have several friends who have received lovely ones.  Sometimes they are simple, sometimes they are not.  Generally, I think marriage proposals should be like the lawyers on TV say, which is a question you already know the answer to.  There are, of course, exceptions, but the idea here (especially if you are planning anything big or splashy or public) is that you and this person have come to a mutual decision that marriage is a desirable end result and that you can envision committing in such a fashion to one another.  There is a great book somewhere that I will hopefully remember the name of before I post this (uh, nope) wherein the couple are in a big huge disagreement and the one is a coach and so gets his team to help him plan a big, public proposal, and the recipient storms off because, hey, let's get married is not how you solve an argument.  (The argument is later resolved, things are re-proposed and then accepted.  And actually, even if I can remember this is a huge, huge spoiler so not telling.  (If you really must know email me.)) So yes, even though these folks are fictional, still, good point there. 
Anyhoo, while there is certainly nothing wrong with a basic, heartfelt proposal, the interwebs and my TV screen are full of bigger, huger, more creative proposals.  As with most things, knowing your target seems key here.  So, I present two very different proposals, both accepted so clearly found the appropriate targets even if I personally would have, um, drawn blood had I been the recipient of one.  (I'll let you guess which one.) One is here.  And one here.  (Both links have no sound or other things that might give you away.) 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

TBR Challenge: Not Romance

I confused myself and thought this month was non-fiction and I was not feeling the non-fiction vibe.  But, it turns out I should remember better and it's really not romance. 
I read Marjorie M. Liu's The Mortal Bone which is part of the Hunter Kiss series.  I have read this series from the beginning, and tend to pick up each new entry quickly and then leave then to linger, less because I'm not looking forward to them, but because into Maxine's life, even with her boys and her growing band of folks, big bad things are coming. It is, as one would expect from an urban fantasy, life and death. Now, I will try to be vague enough as to not spoil anything too much, but if you wish to remain fresh and blissfully unaware, it is probably time to look away.  Also, I covered an entry in Liu's Dirk and Steele series a while back, and that one, while there are some plot lines that arc through the series, I didn't find it difficult to jump in mid-stream.  The Hunter Kiss series I think lends itself less to that.  It's probably doable, but I think it would be harder to rank the import of some things without the prior knowledge. 
In this one, Maxine and her boys (demons assigned to protect her, who live on her as tattoos through the day, emerging at night) are separated.  For the first time in eons, they are able to roam free, free from Maxine, free from each other and free to do what they want. This creates some interesting conundrums, others are worried that the Reaper Kings will return to their old ways without the stability of being attached to a person and Maxine has to face how being just herself again works in this world where lots of things want her dead.  There's some really interesting stuff about power and how it changes people and choices and control.  I became convinced partway through this that in many ways, this was a weird allegory about pet ownership. (Probably only my interpretation, but there you go.) 
I really enjoyed this installment and look forward to the next. 
This only came out last year, so hadn't been lingering too far back into the TBR pile. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

60 Things

Apparently it is library card sign up month, and so there is this list of things one can do with the library card which I share not just because I love list of things (although I do) and not just because number one is the main thing I do with my card, but because, well, there's several good things in there, I think you should read all 60. 

h/t to the fellow knitter who provided this link.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Counseling

Someone had posted on Twitter that they wished there was a tumblr or something where you could go to check the end of a book before you buy.  Some people (myself included) were a little horrified. Now, I get that in a bookstore you can walk in an flip through the pages and no one will stop you if it's the end you want to sample.  And I get that that is your choice.  I guess for me, half the fun is going in and being surprised.  So, sure, if you read the end you can pick up on subtle foreshadowing, better spot the red herrings, but why would you want to? I don't read back cover copy because it give away too much.  (Okay, also because sometimes it's terribly misleading.  And sometimes I do read it.)  But, there are times when I wish I could call someone.  A book hotline with counselors. You know sometimes a story started out okay, or at least not badly, and then something happens and you think oh no.  Not oh no, poor characters, that is going to suck for them.  But oh no, they are not going where I think they are going are they?  Because if they do that I will throw this book against the wall.  And I wish I could call, not for spoilers, but for a check in.  Something like, hi, I'm on page 128 and this thing just happened and are they going to do X, because if so, I can just quit now, that's one of my personal buttons and I will not be able to move on from that. 
But sadly, you can't.  (Unless you do have a friend who has read it, which is the advantage of such things as LibraryThing and GoodReads and the like.)  So, you have to decide, am I enjoying this enough to see if this story redeems itself for me?  And that's really part of the fun. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

7 Things: This Reality Show is Not For You

Things are never quite what you think, and while that makes like terribly fascinating, it can often make things that you sign on for, well, not quite what you thought you were signing on for.  Given the two folks that left voluntarily from "Project Runway" this season, it seems there is some confusion.  On the one hand, one imagines that much like the you should sell that stuff compliment that the non-crafty folks are often saying to the crafty folks in their lives, everyone who has ever operated a sewing machine (or in some cases has not) is being pushed to go on "Project Runway".  But, it seems in addition to the various screenings and such that the show puts you through, some people are still confused.  So, here are my cannot operate a sewing machine but can and have watched every episode bits of advice. 
1. You cannot sew.  Seriously.  Hasn't been one of these folks in a while, but learn to sew.  Learn to sew by hand, on machines, probably on multiple machines.  Ideally watch a recent episode and figure out what machine they had there and try one of those.  Also, learn how to fix it when stuff happens.  I'm not saying take sewing machine repair (although that's not a terrible idea) but know what to do when the thread gets tangled or the thingy snaps, or all the typical things that happen when people are rushing and racing for time. 
2. You hate working with non-fabric.  There has never been a season where they didn't have an unconventional materials challenge.  Never.  Food features a lot, but there's been pet stores, flowers stores, car parts, recyclables, etc. And seriously, never assume you can just be safe for that one challenge. 
3. You don't like making [insert type of clothing here].  Now, maybe you don't make pants a lot, or dresses a lot, but invariably, whatever that one thing is (unless it's a hat, you can probably make it through a whole season without making a hat) you will be called upon to make it.  So, get ready, or don't go. 
4. You hate working under pressure.  There is all sorts of things that I imagine one discovers they fudge for the cameras, but I'm pretty sure the stress and the time are not.  So, if you once, kinda sorta finished something in a day, but it was really something you started three weeks ago, practice now. 
5. You hate working with other people.  There has never been a season where there was not some sort of team or pairs challenge.  In fact some seasons had more of those than singular ones (or so it seemed).  If you are not ready or willing to work with someone else, you will be unhappy and again, you cannot count on loving the person you work with or even that getting along with them will create the design synergy you desired and you cannot count (again) on being safe or the judges understanding that you are a genius and clearly the whole problem was your partner.  Much like group projects in college, it's not done but it's the other person's fault rarely flies. 
Also 5b. is you like a controlled environment to work in.  If other people talking or hammering things or generally being while you work stresses you out, again I refer you to the show.  You will be in a room with other designers.  In the early days you will share a table.  If that stresses you out, not the show for you.
6. You hate feedback.  If your design process has you disappearing into a cocoon and emerging with a fully finished garment before anyone ever comments, this will be a shock. People will comment.  Many viewers favorite parts are the Tim critiques, and again, you cannot count on them all being glowing.  And if people coming up and commenting on your work in progress (to say nothing of the finished piece) stresses you out, then this is not the show for you.
7. You hate working with clients. Yeah, so there has also never been a season without clients.  (And yeah, I know, I've covered this before.) Clients that are often not models.  They have been relatives, former contestants, kids of all ages, drag queens, wrestling divas and many other things.  It has never not happened.  Clients, in addition to having thoughts, desires and feelings about your work in progress, also may not be model sized. They will likely be a different size than the form you've been given. (In fact, some designers have gotten models larger or smaller than their form, most of them have simply worked with that.) If the mere thought of that sends you into a tailspin, then, again, not the show for you.  Certainly people have whined through this challenge and survived, but if your goal in coming on this show was exposure, trust me, whining about designing for people with imperfect bodies will not get you the type of exposure you were looking for.