Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The nanowrimo fanatic tag!

So!  This tag from Smudged Thoughts couldn't be better timed, as I decided basically last night to participate in Nano this year.  I found this tag via Coffee, Classics & Craziness.

The rules:
1. Insert the tag graphic into your post.  (done)
2. Link back to the original post. (done, see above)
3. Answer all — or as many — of the questions as you like.  (done)
4. Refer to our communal family bunny named Fanny at least once in your post. (done, see question 5!)
5. Eat three cookies. (I don't eat cookies, so.... I gave them to Fanny!)
6. Post a clean list of ALL of the questions somewhere in your post. ('Clean' meaning a list of the questions without my answers.  Which is always convenient for other people who want to answer the tag.)  (done)
7. Tag as many friends as you want! (I tag anyone doing nano this year!)

. . . THE QUESTIONS. . .

PART ONE. . . Get to know me

What is your NaNoWriMo Username?
Fencer (hence the url of this blog page, which was originally begun to share nano writing fun).  Not quite sure how to link to my page there, but please find me so I can follow your progress too!

Are you a plotter, pantser, plantser, or planter?
Er... a plantser, I guess?  That's assuming that's a combo of plotter and pantser?  Haven't actually heard that term.  Usually, I have to know where the plot is going, but not the details of how to get to the end.  That comes as I write.  Usually I need some carrot scenes that I'm writing towards.  Broad strokes, not nitty gritty details.  However, that said, I'm plotting absolutely nothing this time around.  We're going to pants it all the way, just for the fun of it!
How many years have you done the NaNo? How many times have you won?
I have done nano 7 times, won each time, starting in 2004 (!).  Boy, that seems a long time ago now.  I also did an unofficial on-my-own half-nano of 25K in 2012. However, haven't participated in quite a few years now.
What is your NaNoWriMo Origin Story?
That was in 2004, you expect me to remember??  I do know a good writing friend of mine and I decided to do it at the same time, and so we did, but how we found out about it... don't recall.  All the cool kids were doing it?
Do you have any writing “lucky charms”?
Not even sure what this means, so no.

What is your absolute favorite NaNoWriMo memory?
I guess I would have to say the very first time I won, as I had no idea I could write that much so fast, and I did it.  That was a huge thrill.

How do you pronounce NaNoWriMo? (Na-No-RYE-Mo, or Na-No-REE-Mo?)
Hahah!  Na-No-REE-Mo, thank you very much.  I have pronounced it that way from the very first time I saw the word in print in 2004, and I refuse to pronounce it with the RYE sound.  Sounds awful and weird, and I hates it when I hears it that way, precious, I don't care if it is technically correct.  It's REE for me. Part of that is because I did not recognize the "wri" in nanowrimo as = "writing" until months after I was already mispronouncing it, so it never occurred to me to say "rye."  (P.S. Yes, I am dreadful with acronyms. I just see them as words unto themselves, never pull out what the pieces stand for.)  (P.PS.  I also mispronounced meme... which I say as memm.  When I first heard someone say meeeeme, I was completely taken aback.) (P.P.P.S.  Yes, a writer should know better, what can I say.)

What’s the name of your NaNoWriMo Project?
Well, I'm doing something new for me this year.  I'm going in blind. I'm doing that for multiple reasons.  When I work on a serious project... I can't write words that aren't working, I don't care if it is a first draft.  I can't write words just to fill space.  I can't go off on tangents.  So the last couple times I did nano, I deleted words left and right as I went.  Yeah, I totally edited as I went.  Exactly what you're not supposed to do during nano, but I couldn't help myself.  Which made meeting the word requirement difficult, but it also meant I came away with a pretty clean 50K at the end.  

I don't want to do that this year, though I have three projects I could do that I would love to have done (or at least have my 50K start on them).  But I don't feel like planning and preparing this year.  I think I would prefer not to focus on an existing project, but start with something brand spanking new. Something shiny and unknown, and I will trust my subconscious to fill in the required details as I go.  

Now, I have been known to change my nano project as late as November 3nd (when the one I started fizzled and I had to throw out what I had done and pick a new one and start over from scratch), so... until I'm actually in the throes of Nano, who knows if this will remain the project of the month?

All of which is to say, the project is currently untitled.  LOL!
What is your project’s genre?
I prefer fantasy or science fiction, so it will be one of those.
Introduce us to your cast!
Well, I'm trying something new here too.  I have a potential cast randomly selected by Pinterest's "suggested for you" algorithms.  No character names yet, no idea how these people relate, if they're friends or foes or what.  I don't know if any of them will even remain in the book, but for now, I like the randomness and the fact that I wouldn't necessarily pick some of these if left to my own devices.  Different things are good sometimes.  I'm getting an Ocean's (8, 11, 12, 13... pick your number) vibe from these pictures.  Of course, I don't like cons or heists, so I wouldn't write a story about one, but the pictures suggest they might be experts in certain fields working together?  

What is your novel’s theme?
What are your novel’s main settings?
Unknown!  But I was just touring some very very old buildings in real life, so I'm also thinking ancient ruins will figure in this story.

Are you using any plotting/story structures for your project, or are you just winging it like the beautiful pixie that you are?
"I don't know, I'm making this up as I go."
What are some ways you prepare for The NaNo?
Normally, I'd have a sense of plot, characters, setting.  I'd have a notes document started with a bunch of potential character names to use and all my set up and world building notes. This year... who needs preparation??

What’s in your writing toolkit? (pictures are encouraged!)
A laptop. My iPod.  A tea mug. The internet.  Books.

(Laptop, tea, plus Silver and Jack... can't do anything without them either!)
(iPod in its player.)
PART THREE. . . Inspiration

What was the initial inspiration for your NaNoWriMo novel?
Hamlette and I talked about doing nano this year, and when she decided to do it, I opted to join her.  Honestly, nano succeeds for me only because of peer pressure.  Because I can't flake on my writing when everyone else has achieved their words for the day.  Or when they're pulling ahead.  Since I don't know what the book will be about yet, that's the only inspiration I have to offer.

What’s your NaNoWriMo Novel’s Word Aesthetic?
Sparse, tight, clean.  I can't write extra words just for word count.  Has to be words the story needs.  Yes, I will delete the extra words, even this year, when I'm aiming more for fun than anything else.  I have my own expectations to meet, don't'cha know!

Share your Pinterest boards and music playlists!
The Pinterest board I have is right here.  Playlists, well, can't choose music until I know what the story's about, can I?  What sort of mood will be required?  Playlists will come later.   On the other hand, just looking at my Pinterest pics, I keep hearing the theme from "The Detective," which would lead to a playlist of Jerry Goldsmith scores in this vein, such as Nick Quarry, Police Story, The Stripper, Studs Lonigan, etc...

What’s your absolute best advice to new (and old!) NaNoers?
Never forget to have fun.  Writing should be a joy, not a hardship. 


So, the clean questions:
. . . THE QUESTIONS. . .
PART ONE. . . Get to know me
What is your NaNoWriMo Username?
Are you a plotter, pantser, plantser, or planter?
How many years have you done the NaNo? How many times have you won?
What is your NaNoWriMo Origin Story?
Do you have any writing “lucky charms”?
What is your absolute favorite NaNoWriMo memory?
How do you pronounce NaNoWriMo? (Na-No-RYE-Mo, or Na-No-REE-Mo?)
What’s the name of your NaNoWriMo Project?
What is your project’s genre?
Introduce us to your cast!
What is your novel’s theme?
What are your novel’s main settings?
Are you using any plotting/story structures for your project, or are you just winging it like the beautiful pixie that you are?
What are some ways you prepare for The NaNo?
What’s in your writing toolkit? (pictures are encouraged!)
PART THREE. . . Inspiration
What was the initial inspiration for your NaNoWriMo novel?
What’s your NaNoWriMo Novel’s Word Aesthetic?
Share your Pinterest boards and music playlists!
What’s your absolute best advice to new (and old!) NaNoers?

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

October colors

Autumn gets lovelier by the day here.  The days have been in the 40s and 50s, nights in the 30s.  It rained yesterday, so I couldn't get pictures, and then last night, the winds kicked in and blew many of the leaves away.  Sigh.  So, when I went out at lunchtime today, many of the trees are now past their prime, but many more are still on their way.  I ooh and ahhh everywhere I go around here because of how beautiful all the trees are.

(My nephew and I collected all these... I love the purple-veined yellow ones.)
(... to orange...)
(... to orange from another angle...)
( yellow.)
(This pic's a bit washed out, but the center of the tree is orange, and the outer leaves are still green, which was just really really cool, like it's burning from the inside.)

(And here are the ever-changing colors of the backyard view.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Fall continues

I love fall so much!  Now it's in the 40s in the morning, and it is just crisp and clear and wonderful out. The trees everywhere are all turning colors now.  There are some streets of all yellow, and some streets of all red.  And there are these one kind of trees that are a bizarre purple/yellow that is just plain weird.  I have to get a picture of one of those. (EDIT:  took some pics of those last night, they're at the bottom.) Even the grass at the park has begun to turn orange.

(Out on the trail in the forest)
(My sister took this picture, she really liked the leaves.)
(Okay, these are the weird purple/yellow trees, but my phone camera isn't capturing it very well)

(A whole row of them...)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Pictures not at an exhibition

Autumn is my favorite season.  I love when the angle of the sunlight changes.  Everything is sharper and clearer.  The weather is crisp and cool.  It is just lovely outside.  I tend to go on longer and longer walks with my dog because it's so pretty out I don't want to go back inside.

The trees here are turning colors.  There are two young maples I pass by that went fully red last week. I didn't have a chance to take a picture until last night, and they're now already past their prime, but still lovely.  Here is one of them.  Love the red leaves against the white bark against the blue sky.

This tree is not even half-yellow yet, but I just liked the way the late afternoon sun was shining through it.

The neighbor's trees going red...

Two perfect leaves...

And because one doesn't live in Idaho with seeing lots of meese, here is a young male we saw while driving around the other day. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Day 10 - 10-Day Movie Challenge

Day 10 - an image from a movie that had a big impact on me, with no explanation. 10 days, 10 movies, 10 images.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Day 9 - 10-Day Movie Challenge

Day 9 - an image from a movie that had a big impact on me, with no explanation. 10 days, 10 movies, 10 images.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Day 8 - 10-Day Movie Challenge

Day 8 - an image from a movie that had a big impact on me, with no explanation. 10 days, 10 movies, 10 images.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Day 7 - 10-Day Movie Challenge

Day 7 - an image from a movie that had a big impact on me, with no explanation. 10 days, 10 movies, 10 images.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Day 6 - 10-Day Movie Challenge

Day 6 - an image from a movie that had a big impact on me, with no explanation. 10 days, 10 movies, 10 images.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Day 5 - 10-Day Movie Challenge

Day 5 - an image from a movie that had a big impact on me, with no explanation. 10 days, 10 movies, 10 images.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Day 4 - 10-Day Movie Challenge

Day 4 - an image from a movie that had a big impact on me, with no explanation. 10 days, 10 movies, 10 images.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Day 3 - 10-day Movie Challenge

Day 3 - an image from a movie that had a big impact on me, with no explanation. 10 days, 10 movies, 10 images.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Day 2 - 10-day Movie Challenge

Day 2 - an image from a movie that had a big impact on me, with no explanation. 10 days, 10 movies, 10 images.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Day 1 - 10-Day Movie Challenge

Not much going on here.  Summer's wrapping up fast.  The smoke from the fires is finally lifting a bit and is supposed to be mostly gone in a few more days.  The heat's broken as well.  Definitely heading rapidly towards autumn.  I'm wearing a sweatshirt for the first time in months.  Dig it.  Summer is never a very productive time for me, and I think my blog suffers every summer.  Fall usually energizes me, so I'm going to try to get back and writing here.

So, to ease back into more regular blogging, I'm doing the 10-day movie challenge. I am supposed to post an image from a movie that had a big impact on me, with no explanation. 10 days, 10 movies, 10 images. I'm not big on nominating anyone, but if anyone would like to join in, by all means do so!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June Recap

Well, I seem to be deep within a blogging slump.  Maybe I just needed a break?  But I just can't seem to find words right now.  Here's a summary version.

Movie roundup:

Been to the theater a lot the past two months, but it's mostly been repeat viewings of two movies, both of which I love immensely.  Those are Avengers: Infinity War and Ready Player One.

The only new movies in the theater I've seen have been Solo (entertaining, pretty solid except for that stupid female robot that very nearly ruins the entire movie, but the film doesn't push my personal buttons and isn't one I have any need to see again), and the second Incredibles movie.  I admit, I'm not a fan of the first Incredibles (that's not to say it's not a very well done movie -- it is -- it's just not my cup of tea), but I enjoyed the second one a lot more than the first.  I liked the characters a lot more in this one.

New to me on DVD rental from Netflix:

Blade Runner 2049 (2017) - love Harrison Ford, love Ryan Gosling... but man, this movie has an interesting premise that drags out forever and ultimately goes nowhere.  Not to mention a soundtrack by my least favorite composer that made me want to hit mute multiple times.

Coco (2017) - the only Pixar movie my family had not seen.  Safe, bland, skippable.  My nephew and I immediately wanted to rewatch Book of Life again instead.

Cars 3 (2017)  - pretty good.  Much better than 2 (though, lame as 2 is, it has some parts I really like).  The animation... holy smoke, the animation these days is absolutely astounding.  The detail they put in just awes me.  This was a beautiful movie.  I think I loved this movie more for the animation than for anything else, though more time with Doc Hudson and now Smokey, made this movie worthwhile.

Macbeth (2015) - quite enjoyed this take on the play and this is definitely my favorite version of it that I've seen.  Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard were fantastic together.

Night and the City (1950) - it's been a very long time since I didn't finish watching a movie... but I'm embarrassed to say I didn't finish this one, barely even got about 15 minutes in.  I think my timing was just wrong, and I'll revisit this in the future when I have more time.

Other than that, off-work time consists of pulling weeds from my huge yard Every Single Day and getting nowhere.  The weeds here are like Hyrda.  Pull one weed, two grow in its place.  It's driving me crazy.

(Southern-most end of Lake Pend Oreille)
(Silver's ears!)

Friday, May 11, 2018


Spring has arrived.  Everything is in bloom right now, and it is beautiful.  The temp is up on the 60s and 70s, but the nights are staying nice and cool.  My family has joined me and is currently sharing my home with me.  This, I've discovered, makes for zero time to do anything on my own, but that's okay.  We're helping yet more family move up here this weekend, so there is more box moving and lifting in my life.

I have watched almost no movies on DVD whatsoever for the past month and a half.  I have seen Ready Player One (loved it) and Avengers: Infinity War (loved it), and I hope to write up thoughts on both soon.  If I can ever get more than 10 minutes of time at any point...

For now, here are some pics of my neighborhood in bloom and also the wildflowers (blue camas) that covered a hillside on one of our hikes.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Kate Wilhelm

I just heard from a writer friend that author Kate Wilhelm passed away on March 8th.  To lose Ursula K. Le Guin and Kate Wilhelm...

Kate Wilhelm was the bigger influence on me.  Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang should be required reading for everyone.  That book is so good.  I preferred her science fiction stories to her mysteries, though I love Death Qualified, which is sort of both.  My all-time favorite stories of hers are two novellas:  The Plastic Abyss and Naming the Flowers.  I re-read those two quite frequently and will probably re-read Naming the Flowers today.  I have several collections of her short stories, and find those inspiring to read as well.  There is a short story of hers called "The Funeral" that I loved long before I ever knew who she was.  It wasn't until years later that I realized she was the author, then I just nodded to myself and said "of course!"

Two big losses to the writing world this year. 


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Doctor Strange (2016)

I realized I never wrote a review of Doctor Strange when it first came out, so thought I'd write about it now for Hamlette's We Love Superheroes week.

I still consider The Avengers (2012) the best of the Marvel movies to date.  It is as close to perfection as a superhero movie can get, and, from 2012 until late last year, I would have named it my favorite.  But I've finally accepted that my favorites are not static.  They change over time, and for once, I've completely burnt out a movie so badly that it has to drop off my favorite list... I just have no need to see The Avengers again for about ten years. 

So, that opened up room for a new movie to slip in.  That movie is Doctor Strange.

There will be spoilers...

I only saw Doctor Strange once when it was in the theater.  Unfortunately for it, Fantastic Beasts came out, and then Rogue One, and that was that...  Nothing could compete with Rogue One!  I quite liked Doctor Strange on first viewing, but wouldn't have thought it would shoot to the top of my Marvel movie favorite list.  The things I love most about this movie are the things I still love: the actors and the characters they bring to life, the beauty of the film, the costumes, the music... and the Cloak of Levitation still steals every moment it's in.

Every since I read Flatland by Edwin Abbott as a young thing, I have been fascinated by dimensions.  So this movie, dealing with different dimensions is right up my alley. I love the visuals and the mirror dimension.  I love things that deal with time, so Strange's time loop solution just makes me grin with glee.

Most Marvel movies are extremely well cast, and this one just hits every note right for me. I have to love the characters in order to love a movie, and I really love these characters.  Did so from the first viewing.  Benedict Cumberbatch is delightful as Doctor Stephen Strange, so full of himself in the beginning, only looking for medical cases that will showcase his own brilliance, not even really understanding that he's saving lives.  When the tables are turned and he's the one in need of medical aid, when Western medical science fails to offer him a cure, he heads to Tibet where he discovers there is far more to the universe than he remotely thought possible.  Watching him light up at the thought of learning something new, watching him study and study, reading every book he can get his hands on... I love it.  I love his reaction when he realizes there's a lot more to what Kamar-Taj does than just teach and learn.

Kaecilius - Mads Mikkelsen looking fabulous and taking no prisoners.  Mads is one of my favorite actors right now, so I absolutely love him here in his snazzy outfit, with that great hair, and owning every action scene.  There's a lot more to his character than makes it onto the theatrical release, but even without the backstory, they offer enough in his dialogue to understand what he wants and what he's striving for.  I would love this movie for him alone.

Tilda Swinton is perfect as the Ancient One.  To my great surprise, she's very nearly my favorite part of the movie, the teacher and protector. I want to study under her.  Her final scene in the movie is one of my favorite moments in any movie, with time slowed to a crawl, as she still, after all the centuries she's been alive, watches the world in wonder and awe and tries to impart a last lesson on Strange.  We all have different themes that appeal to each of us.  This is one of the things I love about Marvel's universe, they can explore different themes, so there's something for everyone.  The importance of death and how it makes life more important is a big one for me.  So is using power for the right reasons.  It is the Ancient One who both talks about and shows this, and I love her.  The way she anxiously waits for Strange to figure out how to use his sling ring, turning her fan over and over in her hands, the way she still tries to talk reasonably to Kaecilius.  The smooth, graceful, and experienced way she fights.  She embodies the soul of this movie and if Mads wasn't in this movie, I would still love it because of her.

I love Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor.  He sees the world and the Ancient One a certain naive way, trusting and unpractical.  He's unwilling to break the laws of Nature for any reason, even when that's the only way to save the world. I am sad he's going down a darker path now, but am looking forward to the next movie, to see how his character develops.

Benedict Wong is great fun as Wong, the librarian.  Never cracking a smile until he cracks up at the end.  I hope he gets a big part of the next movie as well.

One of the things I love about this movie is the main theme for Doctor Strange by Michael Giacchino.  Music is extremely important to me.  As opposed to most movies (not just Marvel movies), I could actually remember the Doctor Strange theme after I left the theater.  I could even remember it weeks later without having re-seen the movie or listening to the score.  Hallelujah!  It's a fabulous theme, just right for this movie, and I love it.  Right now, I couldn't sing you a note of any Captain America, Thor, or Iron Man 1 and 3 movies.  I got crickets.  (John Debney's score for Iron Man 2 is one of my favorite Marvel scores, so it gets a lot of play time.)  I loved the Ant-Man theme too, and could remember that one when I left the theater, but couldn't tell you how it goes now.  (That's another reason Ant-Man is high on my favorites list.)

I just really enjoy this film.  There's nothing particularly new about the man-falls-from-wealth-and-position-and-finds-himself-again, but the plot is handled very well.  I love the training scenes, I love Strange forced to step up before he thinks he's ready.  I love him finding a solution to with his time loop -- by losing over and over, and therefore winning.  I love the Cloak of Levitation saving his life repeatedly.  I love the New York sanctum.

Yep, so this is a long-winded, disjointed way of saying that, basically, this movie simply hits a bunch of my Sweet Spot map items and pushes the buttons that make me happy.  I'm pleased to name it my current favorite superhero movie.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

We Love Superheroes Week - Tag

Well, "we love superheroes week" kind of snuck up on me.  Thought it was waaaay off over yonder, and then bam, it's here.  Right now.  Man, time is flying.  To start things off, we have a tag from Hamlette, who is hosting this week of superhero fun.  Check out this link to find a listing of the entries as they are posted throughout the week.

So, for the tag, here are my answers:

1.  Who are your favorite superheroes?  (Go ahead and list up to five if you want!)
1.  Doctor Strange/Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange)
2.  The Shadow/Lamont Cranston (Alec Baldwin, The Shadow)
3.  Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner, The Avengers)
4.  The Phantom/Kit Walker (Billy Zane, The Phantom)

2.  What's your favorite superhero movie?
Doctor Strange (2016).  No contest.  Yet.  We'll see if that changes with all the Marvel movies coming out this year.  I'll be posting more on this movie later this week.

3.  Do you have a favorite superhero couple?
Assuming they both have to be superheroes, I’m going to go with Ant-Man and Wasp from Ant-Man.  I really loved Natasha Romanoff/Bruce Banner too, but Banner was an idiot and blew that one, so... Ant-Man and Wasp. (Also love Logan and Kayla Silverfox from X-Men: Origins.)

4.  What was your introduction to the world of superheroes?
I thought it was Superman, but realized that it has to be Wonder Woman in the 1975-1979 series, as that pre-dates the first Superman I saw, which would be the 1978 movie with Christopher Reeve.  So, Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman was first.

5.  If you could be any superhero for a day, who would you like to be?
Superman.  I’d want to be someone with the ability to fly, and you know, he’s got all the rest to go with that.  Super strength, x-ray vision, basically invincible... except for that Kryptonite thing  He kind of can do it all.  I would like to save and protect people as Superman for a day.

6.  Do you have a favorite supervillain?
Since we got to list five superheroes, I’m applying the same number to this category.  
1.  Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen, Doctor Strange)
2.  John Garrett (Bill Paxton, Agents of SHIELD)
3.  Loki (Tom Hiddleston, multiple films)
4.  Stryker (Brian Cox, X-Men 2)

7.  Can you think of a superhero who should get their own solo film, but hasn't yet?

8.  Do you read comic books?
I read comic books when I was young, but only Star Wars and Elfquest comics (which I still own).  I have not read any superhero comic books.

9.  Why do you like superheroes?
I like superheroes because the good ones have the qualities I was introduced to by Wonder Woman and Superman... they selflessly protect and aid those without super powers who need their help.  They put themselves in danger to protect the innocent.  I also greatly admire the superheroes with astounding skills but no actual super powers, as they take on the same job without the advantages.  (ie: Hawkeye, Black Widow, etc...)  I suppose the concept of superheroes is a bit of wish fulfillment fantasy.  I know I would love to be a superhero.  Just don't ask me to sign the Sokovia Accords, because I won't.

10.  Have you ever cosplayed as a superhero?  Feel free to share pics if you want!
Well, when I was a young thing, I pretended to be Wonder Woman.  But I didn't have a costume, just a lasso and a plastic headband (that was sky blue, but hey, my imagination didn't care that it wasn't gold).  If I had the resources, I'd cosplay as Agent Melinda May.  Not just because she's one of my character matches, but because I love her SHIELD outfit, and it would be comfortable to wear.