Posted by melydia on December 6, 2012
A little less than three years ago, a friend of mine convinced me to join her in the Day Zero Project, also known as 101 Things in 1001 Days. The concept is simple: write a list of 101 things you want to do over the next 1001 days, then do them. The amazing thing is how well this works at forcing me to actually do a bunch of things I’ve been meaning to do but just never seem to get around to. Like visiting a lighthouse or installing a bird feeder. The goals can be as simple or complex as you want, though I’ve found that the most important thing is to make them measurable. Just like New Year’s Resolutions, vague things like “exercise more” tend to be forgotten.
Today is my 1001st day. It has been quite the lesson in priorities. I only completed 62 things, but I also discovered a number of things I didn’t actually want to do as much as I thought I did. A new 1001 days starts tomorrow, and yes, I already have my list. Care to join me on this crazy journey? Follow along on my 101/1001 blog.
For a complete run-down and wrap-up of my first 101 Things, click here. There will be a shiny new list up tomorrow!
Posted by melydia on October 6, 2012
As you may know, Markeroni is one of my favorite hobbies. Because of it I’ve visited some fascinating new places and learned so much (not least of which how the Civil War was really the beards vs. the mustaches). I love hunting for historical markers. I even wrote a Squidoo article about it. Well, what you may not know is that this great site is run by two people on truly ancient computers, and they need your help to bring the site into the 21st century! Every little bit helps, even just spreading the word. Click here to learn more.
Posted by melydia on September 7, 2012
Logo by Clifton Hill
Today is the first annual National Buy a Book Day. So go out there and buy a book, from anywhere, including online or used or e-books or whatever. Of course, if you’re reading this, chances are you don’t need any excuse to buy more books, but what the heck, right? :)
Posted by melydia on August 17, 2012
My sister is getting married today! Yippee!
Get to know the couple: my sister and my new brother-in-law. Quite the creative tour de force here. I wish them all the best!
Posted by melydia on July 18, 2012
I’ve read a few stories* recently about book reviewers charging money or being bullied for their reviews, and it occurred to me that maybe I should explain how things work around this here blog.
- I don’t usually mention in a review that I got a book free from an author. I also don’t usually mention when I’ve picked up a book for free at The Book Thing or when I checked it out of the library or when I got it as a gift from a well-meaning friend or when I won it through the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing or when I found it by chance via BookCrossing. The point is most of the books I read were free to me so I don’t feel any need to specify in the review how the book made its way into my hands. An author seeking a review has to pitch the book to me first and if it sounds like something I’d enjoy then I accept, but if not, then not. All the books I read are because I want to, not because I feel obligated. Getting it directly from an author only means that I’ll read it sooner, not that I’ll have different thoughts about it.
- The book and its author are separate in my mind. I don’t care if the author is a jerk or an angel; the work stands on its own. I don’t assume, for example, that an author necessarily holds the same opinions as the narrator of his/her novel. So whatever I say about a book, positive or negative, is what I feel about the book. I don’t have any feelings whatsoever about the author as a person.
- I have never been bullied into giving a more positive review. I say up front in my book review guidelines that I make no promises to like any book, after all. The worst treatment I’ve ever received from an author after they read my review of their book was a complete cessation in communication; that is, they simply never replied to my email. And that’s fine. The rest of the authors I’ve worked with have been very friendly and gracious.
- There’s no paid advertising on my blog. When I make posts encouraging you to purchase something or visit a site or whatever, it’s because I either totally believe in what I’m promoting, am doing a favor for a friend, or (most often) both. It is never because I am being paid for it, and if it ever is then I will most definitely say so.
I hope that clears things up. (If they needed clearing up, that is.) If anyone has strong feelings on the subject I’d be happy to add a section of my blog posts to explain how the book made it into my hands. I don’t think it’s all that important, but maybe it is to other people, and it’s certainly no huge burden for me to do so.
*Hat tip to Cleolinda for the links.
Posted by melydia on July 10, 2012
I was recently involved in making a series of short indie movies with Sine Fine Films, one of which required the acquisition of a Magic 8 Ball. Since I’d purchased it, it was mine at the end of the shoot, and I decided I didn’t really have much use for it as is.
So I enlisted the help of my father to cut it open, while my mother photographed the experience for posterity. As you do.
I already knew that the “fortunes” were nothing more than a white plastic 20-sided die bobbing around in some kind of blue fluid, and this was merely an extraction operation. I thought maybe the whole sphere was full of liquid, while my dad (correctly) suspected it was just a little canister, but we lobotomized it to make sure.
Then Dad cut it in half using a band saw. (Did I mention I have awesome parents? Because I have awesome parents.)
It took a little doing, but eventually we got the sucker pried apart.
I unscrewed the top of the interior canister and we emptied out the blue stuff.
I don’t know what it was, except that it was rather oily and turned my fingers blue, but that was to be expected.
Eventually we got all the liquid out, cut the end off the canister, and I retrieved my prize. My father kept the “8″ hemisphere of the ball as a trophy of his valiant efforts.
So what did you do this weekend?
Posted by melydia on April 24, 2012
One year ago today, I was walking out of my hotel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, when I stepped wrong off the curb and completely screwed up my ankle, tearing multiple tendons and ligaments. I spent the next five months in braces of various sorts, had surgery, and learned that much of the problem was due to a low-hanging calf muscle which was crowding out the tendons and was summarily removed. By the end of it my right calf was pretty much completely atrophied (oh so floppy!) and walking on uneven ground was a chore. Shortly after being liberated from my final brace, I joined a new gym and got a new personal trainer to help me get back into shape without re-injuring myself (a bit of a tall order, knowing me).
It’s been a long process. First there was the painful rebuilding of my calf muscle and extensive work on my balance (which was never that stellar in the first place). A few months later I was finally able to run again in short bursts. Now I’m more or less back to my former ability, with the intention of continuing to move forward and improve.
My ankle still swells up from time to time, and I still get occasional pain (especially if the weather misbehaves), but all in all I’m pretty much healed. I can walk barefoot on uneven ground without any problem. I suspect much of my long recovery time was due to under-treatment at the very beginning (the ER declared it a “sprain,” gave me crutches, and sent me on my merry way), but since the surgery to repair the tendon also revealed the cause of a lifelong condition, I have no regrets.
But you can bet I’m extra careful when stepping off curbs now.
Posted by melydia on April 11, 2012
Given that I’ve reviewed over 400 books since starting this blog, I have decided to enter the Independent Book Blogger Awards this year. You must be a member of GoodReads to vote, but if you are I’d really appreciate a good word. The prize is a trip to Book Expo America this June in New York City.
If you are so inclined, I’d also appreciate a link back to this post (or directly to the voting site, above). Thanks so much!
Posted by melydia on January 18, 2012
I’ve joined the SOPA blackout. For more information, visit Stop American Censorship and read reddit’s exhaustive FAQ. You can also read the full texts of the SOPA and PIPA bills at OpenCongress. Finally, be sure to stop by SOPA Opera to find out where your congressperson stands on SOPA and PIPA.
If this passes, the internet will forever be changed, and not for the better.
Posted by melydia on November 11, 2011
For the fourth year running, I’ll be in the Artists Alley with my dear husband at Anime USA in Crystal City, Virginia, next weekend. Stop by and say hello!