Saturday, August 13, 2011

Establishing Routine

This is my final week before school starts back up.  And I'm using this week for three things all of which fall under one larger category: establishing routine.

My goals for this week are:

1. Get my place clean and organized.
2. Spend 1-3 hours writing every day.
3. Get up early and begin the day with exercise.

The cleaning is necessary for me to be sane.  This is the first time since June 18 that I've been at my place for more than 2 consecutive days.  I need to pitch, donate, and recycle.  I need to vacuum and dust.  And I want to reorganize things so that my environment is more writing focused instead of teaching focused.  I'm going to try to keep teaching at school this year.  We shall see if I accomplish that or not...

I think it's crucial that I get into the habit of writing every day now that I'm settled back at home.  Whether it's writing exercises from Le Guin's Steering the Craft or working on a WIP, I need to make time to write.  By establishing that routine now, I'm hoping it will stick once school rolls around.

And exercise.  I have this plan to read on the stationary bike.  So it will serve the dual purpose of exercise and reading time.  But I've never been an early morning exerciser... so we'll see how this goes...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Maggie's Book Trailer, The Uglies series, and Bone Graphic Novels

Maggie Stiefvater is the queen of book trailers.  No, for real, she is.  Her book trailers for Shiver, Linger, and Forever are AWESOME.  And her most recent one for The Scorpio Races is totally gorgeous.  This is rare in the world of book trailers... most book trailers are terrible, miserable, amateur things.  Maggie's book trailers are art.

I definitely plan to pick up Scorpio Races this Fall!

In other bookly news, I was at the beach and finished five books.

 Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and book 2, Pretties as well.  I can't wait to start books 3 and 4!

I'm a little late in discovering this series.  They've been around for awhile (Uglies was published in 2005).  They just revamped the book covers and the new covers are what I bought and are what is pictured to the left.

If you want dystopian sci-fi, these are awesome.  They are about a future world where the government performs free plastic surgery on all people when they turn 16 to make them "pretty."  But what if you don't want the surgery...?

And there are these awesome hoverboards and other technology.  It's a really exciting story and fascinating concept.

I'm becoming a huge Westerfeld fan because I also immensely enjoyed Leviathan.  I bought Peeps the other day and plan to read that too.  I will review the whole Uglies series upon completion.

My brother brought along his Bone books to the beach and I finally read the first three.  They are so clever and gorgeous to look at.  The rat creatures are hilarious.  Thorn is awesome.  Grandma Rose and Lucius are endearing.  Phoney and Smiley drive me nuts.  I really enjoyed them and highly recommend them.  But I still have 6 more to go!!!

I'm currently reading Forever by Maggie Stiefvater on my Kindle, and then will pick back up with Specials by Westerfeld.  I want to see how many fun books I can get through in the next 10 days before school starts back up...  We'll see!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Got in to Pottermore!

J.K. Rowling is doing a week long trivia contest where the prize is early access to her Pottermore web experience.  Each day a clue pops up for a limited time (usually around 30-45 minutes or however long it takes for 140,000 people to register).

First day = 1st Book / Sorcerer's Stone
Second Day = 2nd Book / Chamber of Secrets
Third Day = 3rd Book / Prisoner of Azkaban
And so on...

I went to bed with my laptop beside me so that I could check if the clue was up without getting out of bed.  The first clue was at 4am (obviously missed that one) and the second was already closed yesterday when I woke up at 8am.

I woke up at 6:27 this morning, hit refresh on the Pottermore website, and BAM!  Day 3 clue was up and not filled!

The question was:

In the Gryffindor versus Slytherin Quidditch match, in Harry’s third year, how many points is Gryffindor leading by before Harry catches the Golden Snitch? Multiply this number by 35.

The answer was: 2100

It took you to the website of the UK Guardian, and an article about Pottermore.  Up in the top right corner was an ad box with the Magical Quill.  You had to wave your mouse beneath the quill to make it levitate and then click on it.

You then filled in all your user information, chose a username from a list of five choices, and set up a password and e-mail.  There was a cute little bit where there they show your name in a book as a "Magical Person" along with the recognizable Potter characters.

I got my brother in, too!  So exciting!

My confirmation e-mail came about an hour after I registered.  Woo hoo!

The whole experience feels very much like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the search for a golden ticket.

So fun!  J.K. Rowling, I love you.  :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Not Done Yet...

So this time last year, I was done with grad classes... at least until next summer.

But I'm not done...  I am enrolled in a Fall online course!

I originally planned to do an Independent Study with one of my teachers on Newbery Medal books.  The idea for the course was so well received that they decided to offer it as an entire course instead!

Here is our text list:

2011 Newbery Medal- Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool;
2011 Newbery Honor- One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
2010 Newbery Medal- When You Reach Me  by Rebecca Stead
2010  NewberyHonor- Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
2009 Newbery Medal-The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2009 Newbery Honor- After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
2008 Newbery Medal- Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz
2008Newbery  Honor- Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
2007 Newbery Medal- Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
2007 Newbery Honor- Rules  by Cynthia Lord

Taking this online course is part of my master plan to devote more time to the things I love (and stop overwhelming myself with teaching duties).  Plus, once I'm done with this course I will have 24 credits towards my Masters.  WOO HOO!!!

Will have more details on the class in upcoming posts!

Time for laundry!  And some pizza!