Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

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Ouchy tummy. I tried to work this afternoon but ended up sleeping off a large lunch we had at the Superior Grill (as if there is any other kind there). The Lunch Fajitas special, as you may know if you are or ever have been in Birmingham, is spicy rice, tortilla soup, and A SIZZLING PLATTER OF MEAT AS HOT AS THE SUN. (I got chicken.) I mean, yes, there are onions and peppers and wrappy-wrappy tortillas involved, not to mention each person getting her own personal dish of salsa, but that platter, ye gods. I burned my fingers on the lemon wedge. (Maybe this is why they have the tiny bowl of melted garlic butter, because I'm not sure what it's doing with the fajixings. Maybe it's ersatz burn salve?) But we had a nice lunch, and then we rolled ourselves, Violet Beauregarde-style, home. And were promptly useless for the rest of the day while all the oxygen fled to our stomachs.

(Well, I did get some writing done on the Fantasy Opus. I've had several groups of characters defined in the story's mythological pantheon, if that makes sense, but over the last week or so I've actually gone through and assigned each one a distinct name and personality. Some more so than others--it's been fun to see which few have come forward as the ones I would actually like to have interact with established characters. But it's been three groups--think, like, the way Greek mythology has muses and fates and groupings like that--for a total of about thirty-four quick sketches. It's not that I actually have to have them all running about simultaneously, but for world-building purposes, I need to have them straight, even if you never see them. Kind of the way JK Rowling probably has a large number of Hogwarts students sketched out in her mind, to deploy when necessary.)

Tomorrow, it's Happy Grandmother Movie Day again, and we're trying to figure out what to watch. Pirates of the Caribbean did not go over so well. Mostly, it was loud, overlong and convoluted (as far as my grandmother was concerned). She really liked the characters, so that wasn't a problem. And she loved Pride and Prejudice, so I'm wondering if she might like Sense and Sensibility (I say "wonder," because really the two movies are in very different styles. I mean, P&P is all about motion and realistically rushed dialogue and semi-natural lighting and superlong takes; S&S is, like all Ang Lee movies, about stillness. Which, hey, might be a bonus for my grandmother). But just in case, I'm bringing down The Princess Bride, the Errol Flynn Robin Hood, the Hitchcock Spellbound, and Laura, which I know she loves because she gave it to me for my birthday. We also briefly discussed, my mother and I, if she'd like the Lemony Snicket movie, but I was concerned that it was too morbid, given that Grandma has been going through a weird phase of dire self-denial ("Just get me two bananas... well, I don't know. I might not be here long enough to eat them." People, she's frail, not dying).

Speaking of my grandmother, the state tax people (as opposed to the IRS. What are they called, exactly? I can't remember; I just pay them) sent her a letter with several phrases in RED PRINTER INK, the most notable of which being that because she DID NOT PAY HER TAXES she will have to pay A FINE OF $25,000 or possibly GO TO JAIL. Her taxes are, number one, a grand total of seventy-two dollars, and they were, number two, paid on time anyway. My grandmother is nonetheless terrified that they are coming to cart her away at ANY MOMENT, and will not rest until she has official assurance otherwise, even though she actually has proof that they cashed the check. I'm a little pissed off because--people, she's eighty-two! She thinks she isn't going to live long enough to eat her banana! As much as we know we'll never find out who or why or how that letter was mistakenly sent, I kind of want to find the guy who did it and thwap him a good one.


After a curt denial, Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan admits that she "internalized" the books of Megan F. McCafferty and has forty striking parallels to McCafferty's work in her own, How Opal Mehta Came Up With What Is, Really, Way Too Long a Title. Yeeeeeeah. I'm not too sure I buy that, particularly having read a couple of comparisons side-by-side. The wording smacks to me, still a student myself, as the kind of thing we do when we're trying to not actually plagiarize a source in a paper. The "internalizing" isn't the oblique copying of style or incident you might expect; it's sentence-for-sentence with slightly rearranged phrasing. But it also turns out that a "book packager" was involved with the creation of Viswanathan's book, which muddies the waters a bit. Much like the James Frey/Nan Talese editorial pairing, you can't really tell who was responsible for letting this kind of thing escape into the published wild. But it's also interesting because, as jonquil asks, what did Viswanathan bring to the table? If she can't "conceptualize" the book and she has to resort to someone else's prose in the writing of it--how the hell did she ever land a $500,000 advance in the first place?

(Seriously, tell me, so I can go do it myself. Six figures would be frickin' sweet.)

elvensapphire: "You don't have to mention this if you don't want to, but this week is Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance, and today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. I think we're at a place in the world where, more than ever, we ought to pay attention to the eradication of needless prejudices and focus where we can on solidarity."

istoo: "Tuesday, April 25th is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's"--from noon to 8 pm, if I recall correctly, so it's not too late. We didn't get out there because we were rendered immobile by fajitas, so sadly I did not get to try their Chocolate Therapy ice cream that I have been pining for yea these many months.

finniscs: "I was wondering if you could pimp a fun little writing contest sponsored by my friends at warsheep productions? (They specialize in character portraits.) The contest is open to all ages, scifi/fantasy genre, 1500 words, with the theme 'First Adventure'. Deadline is June 1. Winner gets a free character portrait!

allthelivesofme: There's a writing contest called the First Adventure Writing Competition going on . . . first prize is a character portrait." Hey... is that a glitch in the Matrix there? "Not sure if it's something you specifically would be interested in, Cleo, since you're busy (I can't imagine why. Heh), but someone might be. Also, I just found out about this neat little charity called Donors Choose, which lets teachers explain what their classrooms need, and people can search through and donate to specific schools/causes. I'm sponsoring a Challenge there. No idea how it'll work out, but worth a try." Sars at Tomato Nation just had a very successful Donors Choose fundraiser a couple of weeks ago, as I recall. She said she'd shave her head if people raised $30,000 (I think it was?), and she'd barely hit POST before the money poured in. Then again, she is Sars. I'm just saying, Donors Choose seems to be good people.

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Tags: books, contests, death and taxes, movies, my grandmother, tribulations, writing

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