Sunday, July 26, 2015

I say!

That is a quote from a movie I just watched. Actually, it's a quote from a lot of British things, but specifically I'm referring to Jeeves and Wooster, which my dear twin convinced me to watch. Being British, set in the early 20th century, and recommended by her, I naturally enjoyed it.
This is a combo post,  in which I share a few little letters and a few little snippets.

Dear Frances,
Being your aunt is every bit as fun as I thought it would be. Seeing you two days in a row makes me miss you terribly on Thursdays. Please feel free to chew on my shoulder anytime you want. 

Dear Harry Potter,
What?! Done already? And seven books always seemed like so much. They ended better than I could have foreseen.

Dear Jeeves and Wooster,
I've seen less than two episodes yet already a fan. You both can do the best faces. Jeeves... you crack me up with your oh-so-polite persuasion.

Dear Summer,
You're flying by so fast, especially since my last month is filling up already. What with so much traveling, I haven't had a lot of time to really enjoy you. But then, I'll be glad for less heat (thank you for all the rain, though).

Dear Fast-approaching Junior Year,
I'm really looking forward to the fall. Advanced Biology homework? Not so much. Being in my last two years of high school? Aiieee. Drama? Very much so. I really do take pleasure in schoolwork, though the time off in summer is quite necessary. So please come towards me in an unhurried way, but know I shall enjoy you when you do arrive.

Dear French Language,
While being quite beautiful and enjoyable to learn, sometimes the way you work seems illogical. I just don't see why every word has to be female or male (although in the case of animals it is sensible and useful). Nor does it make any sense to me why the entire sentence has to change to plural form if you want to make one word plural. Why can't you just add an "s" to the end of the noun? A few things about you do make more sense than English, I admit, such as having animal nouns be female or male. I suppose I just have to accept the rest.

Dear Arthur,
I'm very glad to be working with you so much these days. We have finished Part One together already. The word count meter currently says 39283 words of 65000, which means I'm supposedly 60% done. What I think it actually means is that this book is going to be longer than 65,000 words! I'm getting very attached to you and all of your friends (and enemies, incidentally). I'm sorry to say you have much to go through before you get through this war; I really do feel bad about those who won't make it with you. You're in a story, though, so it's for the greater good and all that.

Clockwise from bottom left: Merlin, Rayfus, Gwennie, Arthur, Virgil, Vivian, Kay

I'm wary of posting too many snippets from Arthur because if I should publish, I don't want too many spoilers on the internet. That is why I have hesitated from posting any lately. I shall content myself with just a few short ones.


Arthur was entirely surrounded by people, like a crowded market day. But this was nothing like market day. The men did not stop to greet him or push past calling their wares or pause to wave at friends. They did not smile. The faces he saw were grim. The voices he heard were screaming. For this was a battle, not a market.

Arthur found his arm was bleeding, though he had no memory of being injured. The clatter of metal and the war-cries of desperate men filled his ears, and Arthur was desperate with them, clinging to the hope that Rayfus knew what he was doing.

Arthur laughed. Once he laughed once, he laughed again, laughed hard and unstoppably. Even to his own ears, his laugh sounded foreign, loud and empty, not like his usual quiet chuckle. He laughed that strange ringing laugh until he cried, until tears ran down his face and into his untrimmed stubbly beard as unstoppable as his laughter.
It felt like someone was pouring a bucket of thin pond slime on top of Arthur’s head; it dripped slowly all the way down his body. The substance was warm, though not unpleasantly so; it rather tickled. He held still with difficulty.

All of the snippets are sad ones today (except for that last one, which is just plain strange).

See you later – or rather, talk to you later (not when you talk to me, since you won't; in fact, it should be "write to you later"). Au revoir!
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Blueberry-Peach Crumble Smoothie

I don't have anything witty, thought-provoking, or just plain interesting to say. I haven't posted a smoothie recipe in a while. That's why today I'm posting…

Blueberry-Peach-Crumble Smoothie 

Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Serves: Two medium glasses

¼-½ cup water
5-8 ice cubes
1 peach
¼ cup oats
1 cup blueberries

Add all ingredients to blender; blend until smooth.

*You can hide a handful of spinach in this smoothie; no one will know and you can get in some of your necessary greens.
*Adding a half teaspoon of cinnamon adds to the "crumble" flavor.
*All the amounts are approximate as I make smoothies without measuring cups.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Beautiful People: Merlin

Well, we did survive the ball, and I think we all had a little fun, too. The Arthurian Chronicles are going splendidly, and that's all I'm working on, so naturally I'm doing this month's BP for the same story as in June.

This month I am doing Merlin. Nearly everyone who's even once heard of King Arthur has heard of Merlin. My Merlin has gone under various changes, but he is probably the character most like the original from the legend. If you haven't noticed, it seems to me all the best fantasy books have a character like Merlin: very old, bearded magic-doer who's a little strange at times but has very good advice and helps the main characters out of a tight spot more than once. Lord of the Rings has Gandalf, Harry Potter has Dumbledore, The Prydain Chronicles has Dallben, the Dragon Keeper Chronicles has Fenworth... With all of these examples it is hard to keep their characters from spilling over into Merlin's. I shall try to answer the questions without copying from the above mentioned. Merlin's past, magical abilities, and general personality are not very developed either in the legend or in my story; that is why he takes the spotlight here.

Beautiful People: Merlin Uwain of Avalon

1. What's their favourite ice cream flavour?
Well, living in the Middle Ages, Merlin doesn't get ice cream much... Haha... He's partial to the flavors of brown bread and vegetable soup, and other plainer food, so I'm not sure that he would like ice cream if he got the chance to taste it (he wouldn't want it often, even if he liked a particular flavor [likely cherry]).

2. Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where are they going? What are they wearing? Who will they be with?
Merlin has a general dislike of "night out"s (nights out?). If he was going out, it would be for one of two reasons: 1) He would be going to the castle to see Gwenore, in the short days of their courtship. He would be dressed in the rich clothing of the men of those days, you know, something more or less like this:
Have you noticed how much harder it is to find a prince-like picture than a princess? Particularly when your cat is sitting on the keyboard...
2) After Gwenore married Uther, Merlin would be out by himself, wearing his usual plain clothing and brown cloak, more or less like this:

He would be out for one reason: to pick up information of some kind or another. Therefore he would go to the loudest, busiest tavern.

3. Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there. Do they wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all? Are they in socks that are ratty and full of holes? What do they consider comfortable and what do they consider agony?
Merlin wears brown traveling boots and wool socks, plain but in whole condition (not hole condition). What he considers comfortable is broken in. Footwear doesn't have the power to cause agony in Merlin. His tolerance of pain is much higher than that.

4. Do they have any birthmark or scars? Where are they and how did they get them?

Merlin has several scars on his arms and legs, mostly from hard work. He also has a thin scar near his left ear from a fight.

5. What kind of music do they listen to? Does it change depending on their mood or is it always consistent? (Feel free to share samples!)

Merlin appreciates minstrels' singing but he doesn't own an iPod or employ his own musicians so he rarely hears music.

Confession: I have no idea what all that is, I just searched for Medieval music on Youtube. Funnily enough it begins with a song called "Avalon", and Merlin's roots are in Avalon.

6. Do they have any musical talent? Play an instrument? How’s their singing voice?

Merlin has no musical talent at all. It's one of the few things he has no gifting for. His voice is rough and unmelodious.

7. What kind of book would you catch them reading?
You would catch him reading most any book imaginable (though he dislikes silly romantic ballads). He loves to learn and to read.

8. How would they spend their summers (or their holidays)?

Merlin loves to visit his father's home of Avalon. He is proud of his family heritage and introduces himself as Merlin Uwain of Avalon, though he was raised in Camelot. His father was not such a great person, and Merlin knows that, but because his father was a wizard (and his mother wasn't) he feels more of a connection to that side. He has been to Avalon (a distant, magically hidden island off of Scotland) only a few times.

9. It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. Ex. If they’re eating breakfast, what’s on the menu? Are they hiking, shopping, lazing around?

At what time in his life? In his teenage years he would have been studying like many fairly wealthy boys (you know, history, geometry, the normal things). In his later teens and early twenties he would have been at the castle wooing Gwenore. In his twenties-fifties he would have been studying – but this time it is magic, magical theory, magical history, etc. that he studies. In his mid-fifties to sixties he would be mostly studying.

10. Is there anything your character wants to be free of?

Merlin would like to be free from his regrets: regret that Gwenore married Uther, that Merlin didn't watch Arthur more carefully, that his father left his mother, that he was born into wealth Often he half-wishes he was not a wizard. It is a burden and a responsibility. It enables him to help people but it sets him apart in a very lonely way.

Well, don't we all feel better for that? I do, anyway. Usually if I know a character very little I subconsciously avoid thinking about him (as I've done for Merlin). But now that he is understood it makes me very, very happy (not completely and perfectly and incandescently happy, you know, but very pleased).

Au revoir,
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