My good friend Belle is a long-time admirer of my knitting. Over Christmas, she asked if I would make her a slouchy beret and a textured scarf. Of course, I said yes. I love being able to knit for people who love and appreciate hand-crafted items! (My mother is also a lucky recipient of knitted things.) The process was a bit more complicated than get-needles-get-yarn-knit. 90% of my knitting supplies are currently hiding in storage, so I dragged my mother along with me to acquire new yarn and needles for the projects.
Belle loves cables, so when I saw the Quick Cable Slouch Hat pattern, I knew it would be perfect for her. I knit the slouchy beret with chunky yarn (Chunkee Softee by Bernat) and US 11 needles, so it took no time at all to knit. I finished it up over a weekend. The yarn and pattern combination knit up rather stiffly, which is decidedly not the slouchy look. Fortunately, it relaxed after a hot soak. (Ravelry page.)
The scarf, on the other hand, took a few weeks to complete. It's a simple pattern (Corragtor by Yarnsmith Fiberworks )that looks more complicated than it is, but isn't quite a brainless knit. You have to be able to count to three reliably. I found I was more likely to knit in multiples of twos, especially when I was trying to read and knit at the same time, so I actually had to dedicate a certain amount of brain power to it. It's perfect for TV or subway knitting, but not great really compatible with reading. All that being said, I love this pattern and how the scarf turned out. Big thanks to Norma, who brought the pattern to my attention during one of her annual Red Scarf drives. (Ravelry page.)
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Monday, December 31, 2012
2012 has been a year of major change (and success!) for me. I had no idea that 2012 would end up trumping 2011 (graduating from college and getting my first full-time job). Let's take a look at 2012.
- January: My boyfriend moved to Seattle for work. I got a raise and a promotion at work.
- March/April: I attended FOGcon and met some truly wonderful people. I applied for, and was accepted into, NYU's Summer Publishing Institute.
- May: I quit my job and moved to New York City, where I knew exactly two people (one of whom I would later move in with), leaving behind my entire family and almost every friend I had. It was, to say the least, a very stressful time for me.
- June/July: Also known as The Most Stressful 6 Weeks of My Life. No joke, SPI trumped every single final exam and my move to Australia.
The boyfriend who moved to Seattle? Enlisted in the Navy, which added a new level of complexity to our relationship.
- August: I was offered an editorial internship with Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, a very reputable agency that has been an amazing place to learn about publishing and agenting. There's not been a single day where I've regretted accepting this internship.
- September: I became a freelance proofreader for Open Road Integrated Media, which basically ensures that I have very little free time.
- November: I was offered a part-time administrative assistant position with JABberwocky Literary Agency, a small agency that represents science fiction/fantasy powerhouse authors such as Brandon Sanderson and Charlaine Harris. It's very different from my internship, but equally rewarding.
- December: My 24th birthday was the first time I wasn't able to have dinner with my family. Very small compared to everything else that's happened this year, but still meaningful to me. It's also the firs time I got to experience cross-country Christmas-time travel. Going through security at JFK International Airport has been surprisingly easy during the busiest travel-days of the year.
Monday, May 14, 2012
|NYU campus, photo credits.|
Not so great? The price. The tuition is $5,500 for the 6 weeks, with about $12001 for housing in the dorms.
I applied for the program in late March, figuring that A) I probably wouldn't get accepted because there are so many extremely qualified applicants and B) I could always choose to decline and remain in Sacramento.
I received an email in mid-April from NYU informing that I had been accepted.
I didn't know whether to be overjoy or depressed. I spent a long time considering my options. It's a lot of money (not even taking living expenses into consideration), there's no guarantee I'll get job offers after the program, and I'll have student debt for the first time ever2. Something else I needed to consider: my job would be unable to "hold" my position for me for 6 weeks. Taking this step not only has no guarantee of employment, but will actually cost me my current job.
I enjoyed my position with 1776 Productions, I had a good roommate, I had friends in Sacramento... but this is nearly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I could decline and reapply next year, of course, but there's no guarantee that I'd get accepted again and I'd probably be even more entrenched in Sacramento than I am now.
So I asked myself, is being comfortable with my work and my living situation now worth more than the exponential increase in opportunity by taking this course and moving the NYC? After talking things through my family, best friend, and boyfriend, I realized that this was something I had to do.
I want to work in publishing. Publishing is (mostly, though with notable exceptions) in New York. Ergo, I needed to go to New York. I wouldn't move to New York without a job, but I could move there for school. I fortunately qualified for financial aid, so money *fingers crossed, be nice to me universe* shouldn't be an issue for the first few months. And without a job to go back to, I could stay in New York and follow-up on the connections I'm sure I'll be making.
The last time I made such an abrupt life decision, I ended up going to Australia. For someone who claims to be resistant to change, I now have a history of moving vast distances on short notice. It's not the change that I don't like, it's the infinite possibilities that change can open up that I don't like. Weighing the options is torture for me. Which is better for me now? Which will be better for me in the future? Will the option that seems better for future-me really turn out to be a terrible decision? How much would I regret not doing it? Now that the decision is made and I've paid my deposits, I'm actually really excited to go.
Next month, Misadventures with Lisa will be in a new location: New York City!
1. $1,200 is roughly the cost for the 6 weeks of the course. I'm trying to stay for 10 weeks (1 before, 3 weeks after the program dates), which will be closer to $2,000. On the other hand, it's only about $800 per month in NYC.↩
2. Thanks, Mom and Dad!↩
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Attending FOGcon earlier this month was a surprisingly different experience than when I attended Worldcon in Reno last summer. When I stop to think about it, I really shouldn't have been surprised at the difference. Worldcon is arguably the biggest convention of the science fiction/fantasy community. It also hosts the Hugo Awards, which are like the Oscars for the genre. It's a giant convention, with multiple panels happening concurrently, all day long. There are so many attendees, you almost feel anonymous. At least, I certainly did when I attended. I fortunately attended Worldcon with my sister, so while I felt anonymous, I never felt lonely. FOGcon, on the other hand, is a brand-new (as of last year) convention in the SF Bay Area and is relatively lightly attended. This meant when I met someone at a panel, I invariably saw them throughout the weekend. It created a much more intimate convention experience than Worldcon had. In addition, because there were fewer panels, I spent more time meeting and socializing with other writers, editors, and fans of the genre. I met some incredibly wonderful and interesting people there, and put faces to some of my twitter friends. I also attended my first reading at FOGcon. At Worldcon, Catherine and I had eschewed readings for two reasons. One, we wanted to attend ALL THE PANELS. Two, we felt fully capable of reading stories on our own and didn't need to have them read to us. I'm really glad I decided to attend the reading Friday night. In addition to hearing three fabulous stories (one of which I'd already read), I got to provide moral support to three writers. The three stories I heard were: Vylar Kaftan's "The Sighted Watchmaker" (Lightspeed Magazine), Christie Yant's "Transfer of Ownership" (Armored), and and the first half of Liz Argall's “Blunt Force Trauma Delivered by Spouse” (Machine of Death 2; unlike the other two, I don't believe it's yet available online). I had a great time meeting new people and exchanging ideas. I hope FOGcon has a third convention and that I'll be in a position to attend.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Jodi Meadows is the story of a young girl who, in a society where each soul is reincarnated into a new body, is a new soul. She doesn't have lifetimes of experience to draw on to guide her through the intricacies of life in the city. In addition, because the same million souls reincarnate endlessly, she doesn't know or understand the web of interpersonal relations. None of the others know her, obviously, and a lot them don't trust her because of that. I found the premise intriguing. A person who has to learn everything from scratch, living in a world where that hasn't happened for thousands of years? Neat! And while Meadows does a good job of portraying the main character, Ana, as young and confused, I felt the other (reincarnated, old) characters were... wrong. I expected them, even open-minded Sam who wants to help Ana, to be frustrated with and have difficulties understanding how uneducated Ana really is. However, Sam (who is biologically the same age as Ana) is way too perceptive when it comes to what she doesn't know. He's too understanding. Where is the frustration? With the exception of Ana, the characters are all 5000-year-old adults (despite the varying ages of their bodies) who have absolutely no experience dealing with children, or dealing with someone who doesn't already understand the dangers of the world. The ones who like Ana are too good at being helpful and giving basic instruction, and the ones who don't like Ana feel like generic schoolyard bullies. In the same vein: why would a 5000-year-old would want a relationship with an 18-year-old? It's the same problem I have with historical romance (30+-year-old hero and 18-year-old heroine). Because the story is first-person from Ana's point of view, we never get the chance to understand Sam's motivations. I know I'm being picky; it's YA and I assume (because I haven't read a lot of the genre) that outcast-main-character "adopted" by selfless-generous-supporting-characters is a genre convention. Like Harry Potter being adopted by Dumbledore, or any of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar characters (don't get me wrong, I loved the Valdemar series). One other tiny thing that kind of annoyed me: why are all the female characters wearing dresses? Incarnate has elements of science fiction technology and fantasy creatures. I assumed, along with the more futuristic technology, more futuristic ideas about gender-appropriate clothing would follow. The initial plot was "Ana figures out who she is and how she came to be," but got sidelined by the relationship-development trope. I admit to being disappointed. I knew how the relationship plot would work out, so I wanted to learn more about initial plot and how the world works. I think Incarnate is the first in a series, so answers may be forthcoming, but I wished it answered the questions it started it. All that aside, it's a quick read for a lazy afternoon. It combines fantasy elements (dragons! trolls! sylphs!) with science fiction (laser guns!). I read it the way I read The Hunger Games: very quickly.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
About a month ago, I ran into a friend I haven't seen since she graduated/I went to Australia. We caught up, chatting about books and such. I mentioned that I was usually disappointed with the Young Adult novels I've read, at which point she said, "Oh my god, read Hex Hall!! It's so awesome! Here, read the blurb right now; I have a picture of it on my phone." I was intrigued, so I requested the ebook from the library. I got the file a few days ago. I devoured the book. It's a quick, fun read that does have teenage angst, but not annoying amounts of it. The relationship-angst doesn't take over the rest of the plot (thankfully!). My only complaint, having just finished its sequel (but that's for a later day), is that there are clear areas where Hawkins could have developed the characters a little bit more in Hex Hall (IE: in Book 2, Hawkins refers to things that weren't in the text of Book 1, but very well could have been). Things that made me giggle:
References Edgar Allen Poe's "Cask of Amontillado":
Poking fun at horror genre conventions (vampires, in this case):
Hawkins also references pop culture, which I find so refreshing. A lot of paranormal books I've read like to pretend Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Star War/Star Trek never happened.
And snarky-amusing inner dialogue because, honestly, who isn't going to think this?
This may not be a reference to the videogame Portal, but it should be:
And we have teenage girls who obviously have no idea how teenage boys work:
- References Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence
- “Archer?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. Hey, you might be able to take away my magical powers, but the power of sarcasm was still at my disposal. “Is your last name Newport or Vanderbilt? Maybe followed by some numbers? Ooh!” I said, widening my eyes, “or maybe even Esquire!” (21)
- I should say upfront that I have never been in a cellar in my life. In fact, I can see no reason why anyone should ever go into a cellar unless there is wine involved. (159)
- The “Holy-crap-that’s-a-lot-of-pink” Zone would have been a more accurate description. I don’t know what I was expecting a vampire’s room to look like. Maybe lots of black, a bunch of books by Camus . . . oh, and a sensitive portrait of the only human the vamp had ever loved, who had no doubt died of something beautiful and tragic, thus dooming the vamp to an eternity of moping and sighing romantically. What can I say? I read a lot of books. But this room looked like it had been decorated by the unholy lovechild of Barbie and Strawberry Shortcake. (33)
- "So if you can heal with your touch, why are you working here as like, Hagrid, or whatever?" (199)
- “Hey, no problem,” I said, even though all I could think was, Slobber! Werewolf slobber! On my skin! (103)
- Jenna gave me a sympathetic look and cleared our empty plates. “Sorry in advance for what you’re about to see.”
“What?” I asked as the dining hall began to empty. “What’s going to happen?”
Jenna shook her head. “Let’s just say you may regret that second piece of cake.”
Oh my God. Regret cake? Whatever was about to happen must be truly evil. (69)
- "...if Archer had to be stuck in the basement with any girl at this school, I'm positively thrilled it's Sophie Mercer [our heroine]. Archer wouldn't look at her twice." ...
“She does have big boobs,” Anna mused.
Elodie just snorted at that. “Please, Anna. Big boobs are not enough to compensate for being short and plain. And that hair!” (207)