Friday, November 30, 2012

Out With A Whisper

My Nanowrimo word count hasn't moved an inch in the last several days. The thing is, my novel's health deteriorated with mine over Thanksgiving, and though I'm much better now, the story has yet to recover. And I'm just going to give it time and wait for inspiration to strike. Perhaps it never will. Perhaps the novel will be finished in fifteen years after a lengthy hibernation.

Last year, Nanowrimo was a breeze. I finished a couple of days early, my novel was great, and it had another 30,000 words to be added on in the two months following. But this year, it took a decidedly nasty turn. My novel didn't want to be written. It was very shy this time around, and while it seemed to be going wonderfully its appearance was deceiving and it was slowly retreating into the cave of unfinished novels (I have quite a few residing in there). It came to a sudden stop and I was happy to let it rest.

So I'm going to lose Nanowrimo. Or rather, I'm not going to win. It doesn't seem to be the sort of thing you can lose at. But it's okay. Just remind me not to take part in it next November. Really. Do not let me participate in Nanowrimo in 2013. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

So What Is Merlin?

I seem to be getting requests by the one these days. My cousin asked me what exactly Merlin is... so here goes.

Merlin is a BBC tv show that started in 2008. It's a retelling of the Arthurian legend, with some definite twists. Firstly, Merlin is about 18 in the first season, with Arthur the same age. Guinevere is a servant who has a crush on Merlin, and Morgana is the King Uther Pendragon's ward and one of the sweetest people in Camelot. And of course nobody knows that Merlin is a sorcerer, because magic is outlawed and punishable by death so if anybody ever found out Merlin would be executed, which would kind of put a damper on the show.

So yeah, they messed up a few things with the legend. But it's still awesome. And it just gets better and better. The first season is pretty good, but not excellent. The characters are a little shy and awkward, the stories aren't fabulous, etcetera. But then season 2 is a little better, particularly the finale, and by season 3, they've got all their stories sorted out. Morgana is evil, Gwen is in love with Arthur and vice versa, and Merlin is... well, he's not as stupid as he was in the first season, anyway. 

It really is in season 3 that the show starts to get really good. The episodes are better and there are more characters than just the original four (Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, and Morgana). They also start to bring in the Knights of the Round Table (though there's no Round Table till the end) 
Elyan, Gwaine, Merlin, Arthur, Lancelot, Leon, Percival

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is, I think, the most famous story about Sir Gawain. Gwaine (they spell it differently in Merlin) is my favorite Merlin character. Firstly, because he's the handsomest in Camelot. 
He also has the best sense of humor. It seems everyone in Camelot finds his incessant chatter annoying, but it's one of the best things in every episode he's in. 

The knights are some of the best things they did to Merlin. I've already talked about Gwaine of course- but then there's Sir Leon. Sir Leon started in season 2 with one little line, but people loved him so much that now he's like the main knight. Sir Leon survives everything. Seriously, there are always these battles where every single knight dies- except for Leon. 
Those are the two knights who are really really awesome- the others are just okay. Except Elyan. I just find Elyan kind of annoying. 

Now, that's seasons 3 and 4 taken care of. you've got your knights, you've got Arthur and Guinevere, you have Morgana being purely evil, and you have Merlin saving the day. Every day. 

But then there's season 5, which is airing right now- and they brought back Mordred. Mordred first appeared in season one, played by Asa Butterfield, and he was like awesome. A little druid boy who steals the affection of Morgana, and then leaves and comes back several years later and gets knighted. 

Mordred. Is. Awesome. I love Mordred so much. 

And that just about covers it. So I may have lingered a bit on the knights- they are like the most important part of the show. 

(And don't even get me started on the Nice Druid Man who appears in 3 episodes and is possibly the coolest bloke ever.)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Be This Thanksgiving

As per request, here is the Thanksgiving post.

For me, the first half of Thanksgiving was miserable. For one thing, I thought I was going to bleed to death. Well, not really. Maybe a little bit. You would too, if your nose was bleeding enough to make you look like a vampire. I had also only gotten about five hours of sleep last night, so I was quite hysterical.

But then I took a long nap and felt better.

We had planned to have dinner at 4 like we did last year. But as my brother Ben got off work at 6:30, we decided to wait until he got here. But I was asleep when that decision was made, so when I woke up at 4:30 and we weren't eating, I was a little confused. I was also feeling very faint, as all I'd eaten that day was a little bit of sweet roll.

So we were all sitting around a bit, and finally it was time for dinner. And was it delicious. We were gifted a smoked turkey from a wonderful friend, and we had a wonderful assortment of bread, vegetables, and salads (one of which was made mostly of cool whip and was made pale green by pistachio pudding, I believe).

Our main decoration this year was our Give Thanks sign. A few days ago, we rolled this big piece of paper out on the floor and people have been writing what we're thankful for on it.
And a close up of my favorite, front and center:

After supper, David, Augustine, and Atheena came over for dessert. We sat around for a few hours, talking, laughing and eating. The Frizzowery's (no, that's not their actual name. It's a combination of Lowery and Frizzell. Frizzowery is just what we call them) left around eleven fifteen to see Breaking Dawn part 2. We were all exhausted, so we just went to bed.

All in all, not as good a Thanksgiving as last year, but still a day to remember. 

Also, I have a little FO to show off. In my post Merlin and Stuff I talked about knitting my big scrunchy scarf. As it turned out, it wasn't quite long enough to be a scarf, so I sewed the two ends together in a very visible seam and made it into a fabulous infinity scarf. 

Look how curly my hair is. I used a great technique that uses hair only. No heat, no products, not even any curlers or anything. The curls stayed in all day, too. 

Anyway, the cowl is fantastic and comfy and possibly the most wonderful thing I've ever knitted. (Well, for myself anyway) It's very warm and squishy and soft. The pattern is available for free here. As it's 21 stitches across, it's very wide, but since it's ribbing it sort of shrinks a bit so it's an excellent width. And I'm putting up a ling on Tami's Fo Friday.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

On Health, or Lack Thereof

You may notice from my word count widget on the sidebar that I'm a little bit behind on my novel. But I have very good reason to not be writing.

Firstly, my novel's plot is not complex enough to reach 50k. Crazy, I know. I don't even know if i'll bother finishing nanowrimo.

my second, slightly more sound, reason is that I've had a terrible cold since Tuesday. I haven't been getting much sleep at night, and have been trying to nap throughout the day, without much luck. Last night was probably the worst. I woke up at six to a nosebleed that's only just subsided. Six hours of blood dripping from your nose is not much fun.

However, last night I was allowed 40 minutes of enjoyment- I watched an episode of Merlin with by dad and Becca. Becca is pretty picky about her tv shows, so I made sure to pick out a good one, namely one with Gwaine. The Eye of the Phoenix was the only way to go. I loved it. Becca liked Gwaine.

Happy Thanksgiving (if you're in the US that is)!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Loki's in the Details

This evening I caught sight of some masterfully placed dirt on our driveway. First thing I saw was, Loki!
Do you see it? The horns, the helmet, the robes/ cape, the evil stance? It's so awesome. 

This is a phenomenon called pareidolia. Pareidolia is imagining hearing or seeing something, like a face, in physical stimuli. A common occurrence of this is when one sees animals or people in clouds, or the Man in the Moon. 

And today, I saw a Norse god in a pile of dust. I suppose you could say every day emoticons are examples of pareidolia as well- while most people would see :) as a happy face, it really is just a colon followed by a parentheses. And let's face it (no pun intended)- :) doesn't bear much resemblance to a human face.

(Note: I'm copying most of this information from my sister Mary Margaret's explanation of pareidolia and apophenia at dinner several months ago. See how well the information stuck?) 

Wow- who would ever have thought I'd be writing a scientific post? You must all be shocked. 

I dare you, if you're participating in Nanowrimo, to include an instance of pareidolia in your next chapter. I know I will. 


"150? Was I serious? Scrambling to complete that unrealistic goal would have been boring to say the least for my few followers." – It's the Thought That Counts, To Live a Life version no1, by Anya Lowery, on January 3rd, 2012.

Bam! Nailed it! 150 posts to To Live A Life 2.0! And in less than a year, too. I got a hundred posts in two years on 1.0. I think- should I do it?- 200 posts for my first year of blogging? (Ah but you see, as I started in February I really have all through January to meet that goal as well, right?) 

I suppose that was just a month before I started this blog, actually. How much things change. I went from posting once, maybe twice a month to an average of 15 posts per month. The writing has gotten much better too, complacent as that may sound. Although, the typos have not diminished. I'm a terrible proofreader. 

And my book reviews? Well, now they're something you might be able to get an ounce of information from. In my old blog, it was basically, This is a wonderful book and you should totally read it! It's too good for me to summarize. 

Now, well, let's just say my mom complimented me highly on my review of Divergent. I would never get compliments on those old reviews. 

Okay, I think I've ranted enough about how awesome my blog is. Hope you have as good a day as I will! ('Cause if I have a terrible day, it really wouldn't be fair for you to have a good day, would it? Just kidding. Really. Have a good day.)

Merlin and Stuff

This evening while I was watching Merlin, The Sword in the Stone part I, I picked up a scarf I started a while ago. It is for me, and I know I promised not to make anything for me this month, but considering I would just be staring at a computer screen (albeit a computer screen filled with handsome knights and all) and none of my Christmas Knits are simple enough to work on while concentrating on a TV show.

So I picked this scarf up and knit a whole bunch of it while Simpleton Arthur made a fool of himself and Sir Gwaine sang for his supper.

The pattern: Scrunchable Scarf by Susan McConne. It's a wonderful, easy, mindless scarf. I'm knitting it in bulky yarn and size 15 needles, so it's very big, loose, and wonderfully scrunchy. 
I'm about halfway done with the ball of yarn and not quite halfway done with the scarf- but if it's not long enough, I can always tuck it away and buy more yarn sometime. 

Speaking of yarn, tonight I indulged in some new woolly goodness- KnitPicks is handing out a free skein of Biggo yarn on any orders 5 dollars or more. So I bought some yarn for myself that I don't really need and some yarn for a * Christmas Knit! * Looking forward to getting that in the mail, though I'm not expecting it for some time. They're probably swamped with ordered right now. 

Now I'm off to write a bit more of my novel- 25000 words, right on par!- and hope to be inspired by my Merlin episode. 
This just has to make anybody happy, whether or not you've become acquainted with the new character of King Arthur. I know for a fact that some of my readers will laugh out loud at this. (You know who you are.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012


This novel was recommended to me by a friend on Ravelry. It took me a couple of weeks to get it at the library, and once I got it took about twenty four hours to read.

Divergent, by Veronica Roth, is set in a futuristic Chicago and is very like the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. (See my review here). I'm not the first to compare it, but the others have certainly been correct in thinking the two similar.

Let's start with the government. They have decided to divide everyone into whatever nature suits them best- selflessness, bravery, honesty, kindness, and intellect. To keep everybody where they belong Chicago is divided into factions, named as follows: Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Erudite (the intelligent), Amity (the kind), and Candor (the honest).

When the citizens Chicago turn sixteen, they are forced to choose which faction they will spend the rest of their life in. Will they go to the place where they will be happiest, or will they stay with their families? In some cases, in many cases it seems, the teens are able to choose both. But not Beatrice Prior.

Born into Abnegation, Beatrice is unsure of what to decide- to stay with her family and friends but live a life that steals her of personal freedom, or run to where she can live purely on adrenaline. At the Choosing Ceremony, Miss Prior makes a decision that surprises everybody.

(Well, not me. I totally predicted her choice.)

When thrown into a life of trials and even more hard choices, Beatrice- renamed Tris- makes real friends and finds supposedly unexpected romance. (Again, I expected it. Sorry.)

Despite the book being rather on the predictable side, I still enjoyed most of it, and I can't say of many five hundred page books that I read it in one day. I eagerly put the second book in the trilogy on hold if only to see how Tris- how shall I put it?- redeemed herself in my eyes. Not the best book I've ever read- definitely not as good as the Hunger Games. But for a first novel, it's okay. ★★★☆☆.


Well, at least I can say I have an excuse for not blogging much this month. 16712 words and counting. I think this is the best book I've ever written (but I say that of every novel).

While I do have about four book reviews to do, a hat to post pictures of, and a cat to talk about, the latter comes first. I give you:


Algernon was given to us last Thursday, so we've had him for just over a week.  My brother and his wife found him at a garage sale when he was about a month old. They've been taking in foster kittens for a few months, and have been very tempted to keep each kitten they've hosted, but while the kittens did have a home at the shelter Algernon didn't. They wanted to find someone they saw often to adopt him, and we volunteered. 

How cool is it to get a black cat? (a black kitten at that!) He's about three months old, and while still a kitten he's turning into a cat. Right now he's sleeping on the couch beside me. 

It's so wonderful to have a little kitten around- though Trapper doesn't agree. She still hisses whenever Algernon has the nerve to enter a room she's currently in. Homer has warmed up a little, though. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Heartfelt Rings

Last night, I made two little Heartfelt rings. The pattern, by Tiny Owl Knits, is available for free here. As you can see, the ring on the left is much, much better. It's the second one I did.

Heartfelt Rings are tiny little felted knit rings with hearts embroidered on them pre-felting. I love the name- it's pure genius. Heartfelt. Felted rings with hearts on them. Get it? Stephanie Dosen (who is the designer of these rings along with dozens of other lovely patterns) was very clever coming up with that.

The first one I knit with some wool of the andes sport weight from Knitpicks. I unplied it so as to have  4 ply yarn (although once I had unplied it it was really only two ply- but as most yarns are 4ply, 4ply yarn is just a rather idiotic synonym for fingering weight yarn). As unplying yarn is a truly tedious task, I didn't make my ring long enough and also the heart came out rather wonky.

But for the next one, I watched the knit-along video which you can find here while I knit. It is a knit-along video after all. You're supposed to do what she does. The video in itself put me in a very good mood. Also I used some of that lovely blue yarn I spun a while ago that I still haven't used (I have like 500 yards of it so it won't be hard to find a pattern, but I've been too busy with Christmas and stuff) for this ring and more wool of the andes for the heart.

I love it! And I couldn't resist using my left hand for the picture- as you can tell it is very badly scarred from when a pot of boiling water was dumped on it 18 months ago. I was wearing fingerless gloves at the time and they trapped the heat. So now I have a permanent scar that I am very proud of. It gives my hand character.

I have about three other posts to write in a moment- spoilers: one will contain kittens! (well one kitten anyway) 

Friday, November 2, 2012

FO Friday

As I said a couple of posts ago, I am not going to knit anything non-Christmas related throughout November. Which left me only a few days to knit as much as I could for myself before November began.

I chose to work on a lace scarf on October 30th. This was stupid of me, as lace scarves are not generally two-day projects. But I pretty much nailed it.

It's just a feather and fan scarf, not the most complicated of lace patterns. In fact, a feather and fan scarf was the first bit of lace I ever did. 

I actually didn't finish it on Wednesday. I finished it today. But it only took me about twenty minutes to finish it, so I don't feel particularly guilty about that. And it'll make such a lovely fall scarf- if I'd waited till December to add the final five inches, I would have had to wait almost a year to wear it. (Not really. I would have worn it in the winter. But brown is a much more autumnal color. 

The yarn I used is Knitpicks Cotlin in the color way Coffee, and I used exactly one skein. My scarf measures 55x4.5 inches after blocking. I used size 10 needles and also cast on enough stitches for a two stitch border on each side. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm A Rhino!

Nanowrimo participants are sometimes called 'Rhinos'. I am proud to bear this nickname for the coming month! My novel is coming along beautifully. 1100 words in and I started less that two hours ago! I was going to stay up until midnight last night but the evening was too long so I decided to go to bed and wake up early to write.

I've added a little word count widget to my blog so you can all track my progress. Don't eagerly await blog posts this month, because you will be sorely disappointed- nearly all of my writing time will be spent on Microsoft Word.

Happy Nanowrimo!