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"Grow, I command you!" by Leenechan
"Grow, I command you!", a photo by Leenechan on Flickr.

...even though she was! XD

Here's my reward for reaching my eighth writing goal, Dead Tired Cleo de Nile. I only had to write twelve pages for her, but it felt like a lot because I've started using a college-ruled notebook.

I'm thinking of taking a week off from writing. I've been working non-stop since January 27th! I've written about 200 handwritten pages, which typed up I'm guessing is about 80 or 90. I'm having a hard time making grammatical sentences, and I'm constantly having to dig into my thesaurus to avoid using the same adjectives over and over and over... It's only natural that I'd start to burn out after a while.

I think I need to refresh myself with a good book. I don't remember the last time I've read one of those!

I think that my prologue chapter is turning into a novella. I'm just gonna ride the wave and see how it turns out. It might become Book One in a saga, after all!
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"Get me outta here!" by Leenechan
"Get me outta here!", a photo by Leenechan on Flickr.

And she sure is bright! It's 2.0/School's Out Lagoona!

I sure did have to write a lot to earn the right to debox her. Hey, she's a rare doll!

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I've written sixteen pages toward my sixth goal. I haven't decided whether I should aim for the easier or harder target. I really want to debox that Lagoona! Other than the obvious idiocy of adding yet another doll to my already too-large collection, I can't really feel stupid about paying more than retail for her. 2.0 Lagoona is pretty much impossible to find. Plus, if I waited for a cheaper doll I might have ended up with one with defective face paint. I only saw one picture of a defective 2.0 Lagoona on flickr, and it was pretty terrifying.

Tonight we made a vegetable lasagna using the recipe from Cook's Illustrated's Italian Classics. For the veggies we used cremini mushrooms and rainbow chard. It was damn near perfect! I have to admit that at first the concept of a lasagna with mozzarella and no ricotta struck me as strange, but it really works! It was so much better than the crappy vegetable lasagna I've had in restaurants. One of them used broccoli as the main vegetable, and the dish was a nasty, waterlogged mess.

Kristen has been nursing a strange cold for past few days. It seems to have settled in her ears. I got it too, but I never progressed beyond the woozy/fatigued stage into the stuffy/sore throat congested ears stage. The same thing happened the last time there was an illness in the house. I never seem to get as sick as she does. I think it's because I'm on fire. On fire! XD

I put one of the extra gel refills Parker packages with their Jotter pens into an old red Jotter I found at the bottom of a drawer. It's a smooth, fast writer and doesn't transfer as much to your hand as the ballpoint cartridge, but it only works if you write in cursive. Maybe my mind and pen will work at the same speed for once...too bad I have really shitty penmanship...

The writing callus on my right ring finger is as big as a blueberry now. Yikes!
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I was just about to sit down at the computer in my bedroom and write a nice intellectual blog post when Lucas came bouncing onto my bed with a toy mouse in his mouth. Too bad he didn't yell this time. He usually goes "Whoa whoa!" or "Ooooo!" or something. If I'm lucky, he'll growl. XD Silly kitty. Why does he have to be so bad? A few mornings ago he bit the hell out of my hand and then gave me the most loving expression ever.

He also has this really bad habit that he only indulges in when he feels truly dejected. I don't want to talk much about it...but I'll say that it involves his pink bear blanket, and for some reason he makes us watch.

I have a prize for my sixth writing goal! I traded 2.0 Draculaura to Kristen for this doll. She wasn't an expensive doll, so I'll be posting her soon enough. Kristen had bought her for a rerooting project, but she found her creepy looking. In the end, she got a nice Ghoul Spirit Ghoulia off eBay for a decent price, and had no use for this doll. I think she's pretty interesting! I don't find her hair too bad, so I won't have her rerooted.

I wonder how much luck I'm going to have finding that Howleen set. It seems that the dolls don't even come with stands. Argh...
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So much more affordable than paying $40 for a custom box of Munson's chocolates!

I've been cooking for almost 15 years, and this was the first time I ever made homemade brownies. I probably screwed up the cheesecake swirl, but the brownies are moist, chocolatey and very, very rich. They also keep for 5 days in the refrigerator, which is pretty awesome.

I've written five pages toward my next goal. This goal is a cheap one, so expect to see a new doll soon! I bought her on sale because not many people like her, but hey, I think she's rather cute.

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We got it good last night. Twenty-four hours later, the house still smells awful. Rather than the typical mildly offensive cabbage smell, this smells like someone dumped a huge pile of the worst take-out Chinese food they could find in front of our house and set it on fire! Have you ever been Omega Skunked before? It's so foul that it wakes you out of a sound sleep, and you'll be smelling it for more than a week!

Some small good news to report: we managed to find a 1.0 Frankie Stein on sale at Target's website. They were doing one per customer, and she lasted about 20 minutes. She was the first Monster High doll I fell in love with, even though I bought Phys Dead Ghoulia instead. Just the same, I let Kristen have her because she really wanted her. Also, I have four Frankies. Probably enough, right?

I hope Howleen/Clawdeen aren't too hard to find once they come out. I'm not going to have a lot of opportunities to look for them in the next few weeks. I strongly suspect that some Target employees have been buying out the dolls and scalping them. Eventually, people are going to stop buying them, right?

As of tonight, I've written 22 pages toward my third goal. Six pages of those are notes...but I'm counting them, because I don't want to discourage myself from planning ahead. You know that when you write one character saying something, then cross it out to make another character say something, then cross that out, it's time to start outlining! I wanted to write more, but I started feeling like one of those characters in a movie who points a gun at someone and pulls the trigger only to hear ::click click:: Out of bullets!

Ugh...I can still smell that skunk. Omega Skunk! :O
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I only wrote three pages tonight. I ended up crossing half a page out. Boo! I think I'm going to have to do an outline for the rest of the chapter. I'm starting to lose my way...

We finally managed to find Garam Masala in the grocery store, so we made lentil dal with coconut milk for dinner tonight. It was pretty awesome, but I'm not posting pictures of it. I'm sure that someone would think of something nasty to say about how it looked. ^o^...I swear it tasted good!

It was hard to say goodbye to the chicken soup. We did freeze some of the stock, but I probably won't touch it for at least a week. I have to disagree with Cook's Illustrated's opinion on the quick 45-minute stock made with chicken leg quarters versus the 4-hour simmered stock that uses a whole chicken. The 4-hour stock is worlds better!

My favorite way to serve it is with the chicken meat, diced carrots, celery, tubettini or broken spaghetti (boiled separately and added at the end) and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. And don't forget the grated parmesan cheese! I guess that adding grated Parmesan or Romano cheese to soup is an Italian thing. We used to put cheese in our soup whenever we visited our Italian-American maternal grandparents. I learned to love a lot of food from them, like stuffed artichokes and broccoli rabe soup with polenta. I wonder how many people on my friends' list would refuse to eat so many veggies? XD

I didn't pick up many tastes from my father's family, unfortunately. Eastern-European food...me no likey!

I was talking with Kristen tonight about my dissatisfaction with Monster High and Lalaloopsy collecting. I compared it to some Dragon Ball Z fanfiction I read while I was in college about Vegeta killing all the other characters, then Final Flashing himself to death after he realized there was no one left to fight. Ha ha hah...
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"It's Operetta, y'all!" by Leenechan
"It's Operetta, y'all!", a photo by Leenechan on Flickr.

Well, that's really between me and myself, isn't it? I may not have written the thirty-two pages required for me to debox Nefera (I don't want to hear it) but I only needed to write twenty pages to debox Operetta. And debox I did. Now it begins anew...

She has typical Operetta hair issues, but she doesn't have wonky eyes! And her lip paint isn't smeared! Woo hoo! You always take a chance when you order one of these dolls online.

Maybe it's because of the mole, but I think that Operetta bears a striking resemblance to late actress Anne Francis. After all, that beauty mark was iconic.


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I've written six pages toward my next goal so far this weekend. I hope I'm not tricking myself into writing nonsense just to fill a quota! Oh well, I'll just have to fix it up in the second draft...

I went to Target yesterday to see if they had stocked any of the new Monster High dolls. I figured I wouldn't be able to find anything, so I told myself I was going to buy tea and more Cracklin' Oat Bran. Unfortunately, the Monster High section was completely bare save for a single 2.0 Cleo. I don't need her, obviously. Other than that, nada. It's been nada all over for the past three weeks. I don't know if this is just a bad time, or if my area usually never gets anything. The only Monster High dolls I haven't had to order online were Skull Shores Abbey, Day at the Maul Frankie and Phys Dead Ghoulia.

They had a few Lalaloopsy Littles in stock, but only from the first wave. Did the second wave even come out yet? They had a Squirt Lil'Top that was in much better shape than the one I returned to TRU. I still didn't buy her. I guess the spell's been broken. Specs Reads-A-Lot is cuter than I thought, though! I didn't buy her, either. $16.99 still strikes me as pricey for such a small doll.

The Coral Sea Shells they had in the store had much darker hair than the one I own. I wonder if they applied the color change lacquer too thickly?

I have no idea when the Howleen/Clawdeen set is coming out. Some people say the end of February. I hate to think that set is going to be so hard to find, but if Target isn't restocking...I live only a ten minute drive for my local store, so it's disheartening to think that I won't have a prayer.
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"I'm different!" by Leenechan
"I'm different!", a photo by Leenechan on Flickr.

It's Classroom Home Ick Frankie Stein!

She's my reward to myself for writing twenty-two pages of my novel this week. I actually wrote thirty-two, but I didn't start my reward system until Tuesday. I think that her outfit is a little silly, but her hair and makeup are beautiful. Frankie looks different with bangs/fringe, doesn't she?

Now I need to light a fire under my ass to get myself started again. What if I don't feel the need to open another Monster High doll right away?

Even compared to new and exotic dolls like Nefera de Nile, I love Frankie most of all.

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I finished potting all my vegetables, finally! They're all sitting outside on the top of the metal alcove that leads into our basement (our best escape route in case of a natural disaster). Since I fertilized them with Neptune's Harvest, a disturbing fish-scented breeze is wafting in through the windows. :O

Fun Fact: Eggplant are particularly susceptible to soil-born diseases. It's actually better for them to be grown in pots.

I know that they're harmless, but I'm alarmed by the amount of crane flies bouncing around outside our house lately. You know, those bugs that look like giant mosquitoes? They're actually in the same family as daddy long legs. They don't bite, but they sure are ugly!

About my poppies...I should have just dumped the seeds into one of the gardens and taken my chance with the birds. You can't really sow them inside in pots. I got a free packet of Pink Confection fringed poppies from Select Seeds, and I just threw them into the side garden with the strawberries. Most of the seeds have already germinated, and they look like they're going to take. I have been a fool. Unfortunately, Pink Confection belongs to the class of Weird Poppies that aren't that pretty in my opinion. I'm hoping that the breadseed poppies I have coming in a few weeks will flourish and reseed themselves. Lauren's Grape in particular is quite beautiful.

I made a strange discovery in my front border this weekend when I was watering Pink Delight. A sunflower seedling, in the beginning of May! XD I didn't even plant it! I have no idea where it came from. I did try to grow sunflowers there last year, but all the sprouts got eaten. I've never heard of a sunflower failing to germinate the first summer, only to come up the following spring. This is really odd. Maybe it's a good omen? I hope the birds leave it alone...

On the writing front...well, I've been writing again. I've been having a hard time, for a very stupid reason. Somehow I managed to poke a microscopic hole in the thumb of one of the rubber gloves I wear when I wash the dishes (which I do frequently and fun-ly, everything that doesn't fit in the dishwasher). The little water that's been leaking through the glove and wetting my right thumb has made the skin all red and cracked. It hurts like hell to hold a pen! I have a new pair of gloves now, but it's going to take some time to heal. Maybe it never will...;_; It's thanks for my predisposition to this type of skin problem that I can hardly ever knit.

I've been working on my character surveys, which are turning out to be more like character "bibles." I'm noticing that there are some characters that I love to write about, and others that I don't. I'm not sure if this is a failing on my part. I'm not the kind of person to fall in love with antagonists. A small masochistic part of me might admire certain narcissists from afar because of what they've accomplished, but when it comes down to it, jerks are jerks. I enjoy writing about people with human flaws, but if there's no gentleness inside them, I have a hard time falling in love with them. I don't mind characters who are hard and demand things from themselves as well as from other people. Is it really so bad to admit that you're writing and a novel and while you've worked hard to make the characters into human beings, some of them have become human beings that you don't particularly like? I can list a few personality disorders that are linked to people I don't like. Narcissistic, for one, and Borderline. I can forgive Avoidant and Dependent, because they only harm themselves (and I have some of those traits myself). Histrionic people drive me nuts, but sometimes I feel bad for them. I guess it's only natural that I would start assigning disorders to characters in my writing. I just don't think it would be right to start correcting these "flaws" just because it would make me not want to hang out with them. Everyone has a right to exist in the world, even if they are jerks...

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I hear it's going to rain all week. That's both good and bad for us. Good because all our garden transplants are getting a nice watering. Bad because I can't leave my poppy pots outside until it lets up. They don't seem like they're doing too well. ;_;

This weekend Kristen and I did some serious gardening, ripping out huge clumps of orange daylilies to make room for prettier, shorter plants. We also finally divided our asters. I think we were about five years overdue for that! Once the weather clears up I'm going to try to pull out as many strawberries from the side garden as I can. Eventually I'd like to fill the whole area with irises. They're the only plants with the invasive power to combat both strawberries and oregano! I love the flower shape of bearded irises, but you can't beat the growth habit of the Japanese variety. Those are my favorites.

We got another butterfly bush this spring: Pink Delight. It's supposed to be the most awesome butterfly bush ever. :D Nanho Purple gave me so much entertainment last summer. Miss Ruby died to the ground this winter but is starting to grow back already. I hope to see a lot of butterflies this year. I know they'll all be monarchs or swallowtails, but I hope to see and photograph lots!

We're going to have three new peonies this spring: Moonstone, Cheddar Charm and Philomele. I hope that at least one of them blooms this year. Moonstone in particular is huge.

I hadn't meant to make this exclusively a gardening post. I've been working hard on writing lately. I've been having a hard time wrapping my brain around the story lately, and I thought it might help if I worked out detailed surveys for the remaining characters. It has helped quite a bit...even if it takes me a few weeks, I wonder if I should do write-ups for everyone before I go back to the main story. I'm not good at writing off the top of my head; I have to plan everything very carefully.

I also started a new rooting project, and did another playthrough of Atelier Lilie (I just loaded an old save at year 4, though, so I didn't need to go all the way through). I'm rerooting my Bluebird's Song III Miu with Lemon Blonde/Cotton Candy mesh. I had been wanting to reroot her for awhile. Her look is cute and all, but her hair is too thin or my tastes and I have the hardest time redressing redheaded dolls. Also, I don't like having the same doll as everyone else. XD The blend suits her coloring really well; it's blond with a slight hint of apricot, and her blush is orange-toned. I will likely give her long, curly hair. I'm so pleased with the way Lili's bob turned out that I'd like to do another short-haired doll, but I doubt it will be Miu.

What I accomplished on my fourth playthrough of Atelier Lilie. )
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I've managed to put an end to a few things this week. I don't know if I'm the kind of person who feels better after finishing a project or starting a new one. I have a bad habit of dropping the ball on a lot of projects, so when I finish one I feel a sense of accomplishment. At the same time, I have such a hard time finding motivation sometimes that when I'm involved with something that really clicks with me when I finish I feel like something just died. That's kind of the way I feel right now.

Like dandelion fluff blowing in the breeze. XD

For starters, I finally finished writing the rough draft of Chapter Five of my novel a few days ago. Before any of you start thinking that I'm just a great big slacker, I have to point out that Chapter Five took up an entire composition notebook, minus a few pages for extra notes in the middle. It's going to be quite a task to revise all that work. Sometimes revising is fun, though--like fixing up a new house. At this point I don't think the writing is terrible...maybe it's okay. I've read a lot of books that were okay, but not terrible. You can still get a lot out of an "okay" book, but when you're writing it yourself you have a responsibility to yourself and your future readers to make the okay parts as good as the great parts. Sometimes it's tempting to rush it out, especially when you're looking for acceptance and validation. I've always found it to be a big mistake to let other people read my first draft. I won't even let Kristen read my first draft, and I rely on her imput to make Draft Two into Draft Three.

Two More Things I Finished. )
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That's how writing makes me feel sometimes. I keep revving up the engine and the car won't budge. In the end, the page is half-covered with cross-outs.

Of course, if you only run the engine for a short time (like, if you only write one page at a time), you're never going to get out of that mud puddle. So now, I'm forcing myself to write five pages a day. At least then, I won't break my train of thought so easily.

I thought I'd inspire myself by switching from my standard black ink, stainless steel Parker Jotter to my blue ink, pink (Breast Cancer Awareness) Parker Jotter. To my horror, I discovered that my pink pen had exploded inside my writing bag--blue ink everywhere! I thought I could wash the ink out, but...you really can't save an exploded pen, even if it's supposed to be refillable. Damn it. That was my second favorite pen!

For my next rerooting project, I'm going to try and save my poor White Juliana, a doll with very pretty coloring and horrible, horrible hair. What is it with Juliana always having frizzed-out hair? So rather than completely alter her look, I'm rerooting her with a blend of Restoredoll Original Brunette and Cocoa. I think. I'll give her center-parted hair with no bangs (because Juliana, like any human being with a low forehead, looks lousy with bangs), and a braid-boil perm. In essence, she'll be a palette-swap of the customized Disco Juliana I did a long time ago. The one with the wavy purple hair. I think it will be a vast improvement. Her original hairstyle is in such bad shape that I can't even manage to sell her, poor dear!

I've been totally exhausted lately, probably because of my allergies. Either that or lack of sleep. Last night at one AM our house got power-hosed by a skunk again. That's a smell strong enough to keep you from a sound sleep!

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Well, at least for the time being. It was so cool last night that I was able to sleep with the AC off and the window open. Ah, it was bliss. I swear I'm like a tulip bulb. I can't sleep well and wake rejuvenated unless I'm properly chilled. Ideally, the outside temperature should be in the mid-forties, and the inside temperature should be about 64 degrees F. Now that it's August, I can look forward to at least a couple of nights in the mid-to-upper fifties...

A couple of nights ago, I saw a hummingbird drinking from my cosmos. That sight made all my effort worth it. The bachelor's buttons are continuing to bloom. It looks like most of them are going to be dark blue-violet. I think that's the traditional color for bachelor's buttons, so no surprise there.

The sunflowers haven't officially bloomed yet. I can tell already that when they do they're going to be monstrous. XD

It looks like the new butterfly bush (Miss Ruby)I planted two weeks ago is going to bloom this year. The first one (Nanho Purple) is still flowering vigorously. I never thought much of butterfly bush in the past, but I'm really impressed with that plant. It's been blooming non-stop since the end of May.

On the gaming front, I'm still playing Ys Seven. The boss fights are absolutely insane, but it's loads of fun. I like the fact that you have to get used to using all the characters, not just Adol, because certain enemies are only weak to certain characters' weapons. You end up really bonding with all the characters. ^o^ I find myself having to use Aisha a lot, even though she's not that good.

I'm still reading Frankenstein...slowly. I read because I like to, and because it improves my writing, but sometimes I think that the real reason I read is so I can have something to talk about with my older brother when he visits. If I didn't work diligently at building this common ground our few conversations would devolve into us complaining about certain family members. Then everyone would walk away in a bad mood. I hate to think it's taken me this long to realize that by cutting myself off from everything but my own narrow area of interest, I would wind up as a lousy conversationalist who drains people with my negativity...but hey, I think I'm starting to learn. Sometimes you have to watch American Idol.

I'm having some difficulties with writing. I'm having a hard time concentrating... probably because I was anticipating another storm day this past Thursday. But I survived.

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I swear I say that every year!

July is the worst month weatherwise. The heat...the storms...Once August rolls around we can expect to see a few nights in the 50s...I hope.

I'm a couple of pages into Chapter Five of my novel. My Beta Reader handed me back Chapter Four with very few corrections. Considering how much revising I had to do on Chapter Three, I think this is a good sign that I'm starting to learn my lessons.

Lesson Number One: Do not make your heroine a total bitch for the first part of the story with the promise that her trials will improve her disposition. This only works for short stories. If you try it with a novel, by the end your readers will prefer to see her dead, not redeemed (I guess this might work for a secondary character, though).

Lesson Number Two: If you have something to say, just go out and say it.

Lesson Number Three: Eventually, you have to fill your room with some furniture.

My plants have been doing all right lately, but they're maddeningly slow to bloom. The poppies still appear to have no intention of doing anything more than growing multiple sets of lovely, fern-like leaves. I wonder if the fertilizer in the potting soil is to blame. I read somewhere that if you fertilize poppies at all they'll grow lots of leaves and no flowers. Damn it...I'm never growing poppies again.

I promised myself that if I get some blue bachelor's buttons I'm definitely doing them again next year. I love blue flowers more than anything.

On the book front, I've been slowly reading a copy of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein that I found lying around the house. I have no idea where it came from. The book itself is perfectly readable, but like all 19th century literature I can only consume it in small doses. One can only take so much gnashing of the teeth and melodrama....:D The story isn't quite what I expected. I wonder if the popular depiction of Frankenstein (the mad scientist throwing the switch and crying, "It's aliiiiive!") is based off the movies rather than the original book?

How many 19th century novels consist mostly of a narrator telling the story of the main character to another character? A lot, I think.

On the gaming front, I've been playing the little PSP gem known as Ys Seven. The game is surprisingly fun considering how lousy the previous installment was. This time around Falcom wasn't as bullish about reusing old series tropes (the red-haired hero goes on a solitary adventure, many cute girls fall in love with him, he ditches them all in the end). You actually get to control a party, a'la Secret of Mana. Dogi kind of runs like he has a load in his pants (oh God, I wasn't going to say that, but I couldn't help myself) but it's fun to beat on the enemies with someone other than Adol. The play control is actually pretty good, too. Not like the old games, where you just run into the enemy with your sword drawn!

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I finally finished Chapter Four of my novel tonight. I think I can afford to call it a "novel" rather than a "story" at this point. It's 136 pages as of today. XD Sometimes I worry that I'm overwriting, but then I remember that Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was over 800 pages long. I'm not aiming to write a monster book. I'm just coming to terms with the fact that I'm probably going to have to split the story into 3 or 4 books that are about 350 pages long. I'm trying to be concise, but I feel that I have a lot to tell.

I still haven't finished Anna Karenina. My God, I swear that book has been growing pages. At first I thought it was 850 pages, then I was sure it was 920 pages. Now I flip to the end and find out that it's actually 944 pages!! Come on! The titular heroine is out of the picture--the story is over! I don't need to read any more about Levin's spiritual struggle or agriculture in relationship to the Russian peasant. No disrespect to Tolstoy. Honestly, I think most of the book is great, but enough is enough now. I want to read something else...I still have 20 pages to go. =_=

I finished Atelier Totori a few days ago. Considering how much I disliked Rorona and the other recent entries in the series, I actually enjoyed Totori quite a bit. What a surprise! The game did have bugs (it froze on me in the first ten minutes of playing, but never again) I was thankfully able to complete the game without having to wait for a patch. With the aid of a half-completed Japanese FAQ, I managed to get the two-year extension and earn the Normal Ending. Not the perfect playthrough, but at least I didn't have to hang my head in shame!

I never thought I'd play a game with multiple endings without the help of a complete FAQ. I have an irrational fear of earning bad endings in video games! All's well that ends well, I guess. I'll probably play the game again in a couple of months. I hear the True Ending's nearly impossible to earn, but I still feel I have more juice to squeeze out of this plum...

So...my series ranking up until this point, out of the games I've played, is: Violate>Lilie>Totori>Elie>Marie>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Rorona>Annie>Judie

My cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen. I never thought I'd see the day.

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I had actually started to post an entry yesterday but never got around to finishing it. It was mostly me whining about raccoons emptying my birdfeeders into their stomachs on a nightly basis. Ah, the joys of communing with nature...

Thankfully...::knocks on wood:: the groundhog hasn't finished off all the cosmos in the front border. The sunflowers are officially toast, though, except for the plants in the pot. The groundhog might have been able to instant-kill one pot of bachelor's buttons, but I still have a strong and healthy specimen in a place where evil cannot harm it, ready to bloom in a few weeks. I set my potted flowers on two wrought-iron tables on our deck. I am eagerly awaiting their flowers. I've tried to place bets on which flower will bloom first, but I really have no idea. I'm guessing the cosmos. The sunflowers still have a lot more to grow, and the California poppies still don't have flower spikes.

Two of my potted tomatoes have the dreaded blossom end rot, a condition where the tomatoes rot from the bottom up before they have a chance to ripen. It's either caused by a calcium deficiency or drastic changes in the water level of the plants. I've tried watering the plants more frequently (twice a day, argh!) and mixing ground-up egg shells in the soil. I'll just have to see what happens.

Growing tomatoes is such a pain in the ass. I think it would be hilarious if none of them ripened this year.

I currently have too much basil. My jalapeno peppers are doing pretty well. The yellow rose bush is doing great--it's now double its original size, and that really surprised me! The sweethearts of the season have to be the raspberries, though. Picking them every morning is loads of fun, they're easy to grow and they taste 500 percent better than storebought. If anyone is interesting in growing raspberries on their property, I heartily recommend the cultivar "Caroline!"

I've been dragging my behind finishing Chapter Four of my novel. It's about 25 pages now, but I keep having to go back and tweak the prose. Sometimes I think the whole story--plot, characters and setting--is a complete drag. Sometimes I wish I wasn't writing a period piece, or fantasy--at times I think my prose is stilted and my characters are all obnoxious-- everything else out there seems more appealing and alive than what I'm writing. I guess that's just the way it goes, though...

Lucas has been doing fine. The heat's been getting to him, but he still finds time to make cute noises and act like a total freak. He's adopted the strange habit of throwing his mylar ball toy into either his litter box or his food dish at the end of each playing session. I'm not sure what he's thinking, there. At least he's enjoying himself!

I know I had vehemently stated that after being disappointed in Atelier Rorona I wanted nothing to do with Totori, but the influx of positive reviews from Japanese players piqued my interest. After having spent about a week playing the game, I have to say that in spite of its middling Famitsu score Totori is much, much better than Rorona. I actually prefer it to Elie as well. The game has a much freer and more broad format, the battle system is faster and the soundtrack is a lot better. The characters are still meh...for the most part...but they grow on you. I do think that Totori is less obnoxious than Rorona.

The game froze on me once. I'm enjoying the game a lot, so I hope I don't have to wait for a patch to finish it.

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Today's a little cooler than yesterday, even though I heard it was going to be warmer. I'm going to have to do some yard work--I'm having a hard time shooting pictures around the weeds! I know it seems like I'm just a lazy ass, but I'm living in a small split-level ranch house on almost an acre of land. I love having a yard like a small park, but sometimes I really envy people with tiny, manageable lots that they can plan meticulously and create romantic, themed gardens. We just have to find plants that grow wild and let them take over. Also, our yard has so many nooks and crannies that we always have a resident groundhog. ;_;

So, I watched almost all of What's the Matter With Helen? last night. For a horror movie, it's only slightly scary, with only enough gore to qualify it for a PG-13 rating. Still, it gave me a nightmare last night. I suppose it's the better movie in the double-feature, but it lacks the god-awful hilarity of Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?. Still, five dollars for two movies is pretty good!

I've been re-reading Jane Yolen's Sister Light, Sister Dark this weekend. I like the book a little less with the second reading. I'm always ambivalent about books centering on a strong political theme (this one, like many of Yolen's books, being feminism). Regardless of whether or not I agree with the author's views, I find that books written specifically to push an ideal usually sacrifice character development. As I read, I keep thinking, well, if you're sure you have all the answers and you just want to share them, what's the point of writing this as a novel? I guess every writer has their reason for writing. Jane Yolen is a feminist scholar and folklorist--almost all her books are either about exploring set traditions and putting a feminist spin on common tales. I know there's nothing wrong with that, but as a reader and writer more interested in the workings of the human psyche and how people relate to each other, I find her writing to be kind of dry...

I tried a pastry from a French-Austrian bakery in New Haven called Marjolaine; it was a free-form berry tart with a surprising amount of vanilla custard filling. It was probably the best thing I've ever eaten in my life. I am very picky. I think I should give up on dessert-making and leave it to the professionals!

leene_chan: (Default)

I can't believe how warm it was today! All the little crocuses are out, but they're unfortunately covered by the debris of last year's garden. I really need to take some time this weekend to clear that out.

Our neighbors down the street hired a tree service to cut down one of the birches on the edge of their property. I'm always sad to see a tree go, but it was next in line to the one that fell on our utility pole a few months ago, and caused that fire. Our neighbors actually had to be evacuated when that happened, and they have a young child. I certainly would not want to take chances with that thing if I were them!

So...I finished typing Chapter Three last night. I wasn't sure how it turned out. Since I'm a busy woman I figured I should hand it off to my official Beta Reader and have her pick out the flaws rather than pore over it myself. And she did. She found a lot of flaws. Hopefully, it's nothing a hefty revision won't take care of! :O

Wacky Game Hijinks. You are a Quitter! )
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