Tuesday, May 3, 2016

And Another One Gone... Another One Bites The Dust

Goodness, it's been a little while, huh? Sorry about missing last week. Working two jobs has left me a bit winded and scatter-brained. I even had to ask a co-worker one day what the date was. It kept me a good ten minutes after she told me for it to register that it was also my mother's birthday! I was going to say something in last week's post, but... well... there wasn't one...

So here's a belated for my mom:

And Mother's Day is this upcoming Sunday, so here's a preemptive for that:
And for good measure, May 3rd happens to be Teacher Appreciation Day:
Mom teaches toddlers, so I think she should get some extra kudos...
I could keep going because today also marks me and Hubby being a couple for 13yrs! Married for 5 in October, but still... TOGETHER for 13yrs! Woah.
Hacker Girl Facebook Sticker
by Birdman Inc
Alright, back on topic here.....

So, yeah, the days sort of folded in onto each other until I completely lost track. Also, as I think I mentioned before, Thursdays aren't going to work for me anymore for updating. I'll be in at work by 9:30 in the morning, and stay there until 8 at night.

HOWEVER, there is a silver lining. Unlike my old/current job where I GENERALLY got the same days off, but it wasn't guaranteed, at my new/current job I will ALWAYS have at least Tuesdays off - except for situations in which someone calls out or requests a Tuesday off.....

The second day a week that I'll have off is sort of randomized, but at least I'll ALWAYS have Tuesdays off - barring the above exception. So, guess what day will now be my normal update days!

Granted, I'm wicked late today - almost didn't make it - and I did say I'd give you a heads up before the official switch, but I did have to work the old/current job today, and deal with some other things that were sort of thrown along the wayside over the chaos-week. Everything should be settling down after Saturday, though, when I'll ONLY be working the new job.

In the meantime, last Monday I was in a minor-panic because I didn't have anything new to read at Writing Group. Phfylburt had given me a challenge that I had until the 1st to work on, but I was desperate for inspiration, and so I ran with it.

The challenge was to write "the next" paragraph for the last story I read. In other words, extend the book by one more paragraph. It was odd to complete something that the author already said was at the perfect stopping point, and so I'm not entirely sure how well I did with this. Not many at the writing group have read any of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," much less the fourth installment: "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish." Because of that, no one - not even Phfyl who also never read the series - could really critique what I wrote. I did get some feedback along the lines of "this sounds really good" and "I love the imagery" and "it seems like a great stopping point." So there's that.

Also, me being me, I couldn't conclude my continuation in just one paragraph; not neatly anyway. Which means I went on for a couple of brief paragraphs. I also read the last two or three paragraphs of the actual book to create a good lead-in. My group couldn't quite tell where Douglas Adams stopped and where I picked up, so I guess that's saying something too, right?

As can be expected, given the nature of the challenge, the prompt is very brief and contains spoilers. However, if you already know how SL&TFATF ends - or the previous book "Life, the Universe, and Everything" - or don't care about spoilers, feel free to read my continuation here:

"So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish: Extended Edition"

Chaos ensued this week as I struggled to work two jobs for the first time in my life. Thank God it's only for two weeks; I have no clue how people do this for a living! Without the added panicky push of needing something to read during writing group, I didn't bother with writing. I just wanted to curl up on the couch with Hubby when we had our few precious hours together.

Not only did this result in me not writing much more than six short paragraphs for the above prompt, but I didn't bother with the Hey Arnold script with ChibiSunnie, nor did I read anything.

It was closing in on the last day of April, and I never even picked out a book for the reading challenge. Eventually, Hubby sensed my stress on the subject and ran into our library for a book. At this point I was pretty much just left with "Can read in one day" and so I picked "Coraline."

I LOVED the movie when it came out in 2009. I never heard of the book it was based on; I just saw a teaser trailer, loved the animation, already was a fan of both Focus Features and Laika Entertainment, and was excited that the director of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" Henry Selick was directing his adaptation of the book. So, I was following it before it was released, and obsessively sat on its website playing the games and bonus features. I was even a member of GaiaOnline at the time, and loved the special games they created on the site to promote the movie.

So, YA novel be damned, I wanted to eventually read this book. I've actually owned it for so long that I don't recall where I got it from. I think it was a hand-me-down from celestialTyrant.... Seems like a book he'd be interested in too. Well, Hubby thought it was about time I finally made good on my self-promise. I sat myself down on Saturday, and made sure I had that darn book read before midnight!

It seemed an easy enough read. About 160 pages, thirteen chapters, one full-page illustration each chapter, large font, 1.5 line spacing, and simple language intended for children as young as eight. Didn't help, though, that Cyhyr and Ronoxym had their baby shower the same day, and I also had to work, and Ron came by to hang a bit after the shower..... Still, I was determined. So, as much as I would have loved to hang out with Ron, or seen his and Cyhyr's place for the first time to help her put all her new goodies away, I locked myself in my room and read.

I have to say, this is one of those rare times where I believe the movie improved upon the source material. The novel was good, and I agree with the reviews that it can be super creepy for kids. Heck, the illustrations by Dave McKean are the stuff of nightmares even as an adult. I found myself flipping past them as fast as I could.

However, maybe due to more allotted length to spend with Coraline in the movie, I felt her character - and the other characters, for that matter - were underdeveloped in the book. Plus, I missed the characters Wybie and his grandma, who were both apparently written for the movie. I think those added characters really added a nice depth to the story. On top of that, you could really sense Coraline's temptation to stay in the Other World when you watched the movie. In the book, on the other hand, she didn't seem all that impressed or tempted right from the get-go. The Other Mother cooked dinners Coraline actually enjoyed. That was pretty much it for the book version.

I liked what the Beldam did to the Others in the movie; it fit fairly well. However, I do say that the creatures at the end of the book did seem a lot creepier. Part of me is glad that the movie versions were still creepy, but tamer. Another part of me is sort of curious about how they would have looked in a visual media, that wasn't McKean's drawings. *Shudder*

The Exploration Game seemed better developed in the movie, but I liked what Coraline was searching for better from the book. The ending in the movie felt more intense, suspenseful, and dangerous. A fairly similar ending in the book, on the other hand, seemed a bit lack-luster and anti-climactic.

Now, all this said, I still very-much enjoyed the book. It is a good read that I would recommend to anyone who wanted a creepy tale to flip through. I just feel that the movie was a touch more skillful at telling the story, especially when it keeps fairly close to the book, and the parts where it deviates are - in my opinion - improvements. Each page I read just made me want to the watch the movie all the more. In the end, that's exactly what I did: snuggled up with some tea and watched me some Coraline in a blackened house.

Alright, so let's see my progress in this reading challenge, shall we?
Challenge created by Modern Mrs. Darcy
Now, let's remember that all of those books are flexible.

"Life, the Universe, and Everything" is currently checked off as "read at least once before" but could also be shifted to "published before born" if I end up re-reading something else, and don't have another book for the latter category.

Same can be said about "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" which is currently marked as the "abandoned" book.

"Coraline" is currently in the "Read in one day" slot, which takes out the self-help 15pg mini-ebook I read in January. However, I could, if I so chose, shift it to "Meaning to read" or even "Owned but never read."

My May book is going to be "Speaker for the Dead" by Orson Scott Card. It's a continuation of the "Ender's Game" series, and also my book - in theory - for the "picked by spouse" category. Hubby loves Orson Scott Card and the Ender Saga. Technically, if I wanted to shift SL&TFATF, I did once read the first chapter of "Speaker for the Dead" and got bored. This could be another "abandoned" book, however, I'm older and more mature now. My tastes have broadened, and so I'm hoping to enjoy this book as much as Hubby does. I'll have to let you know at the end of the month.

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