Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Promoting Your Book Discussion Group in the Twin Cities

I have always wanted our library to have a page on our web site providing information about local book discussion groups.  As with many things this is apparently not possible.

 In answer to a recent question "Where and how can I promote my book group?"

Meetups.com has a nice page for book groups.  There may be a membership and or charge but people can search by geographical area and type of group so it is a nice resource.

Start a Facebook Group page.

Start a Blogger Blog for your group.

Contact your community newspaper to see if they will accept announcements for your next meeting and selection.  Usually they want notice two weeks in advance.

As always, I'm a huge fan of the online Patch newspapers which do a great job with up to date nicely wriiten articles about virtually everything going on in the community.

See if your church or city hall allows bulletin board flyers.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

San Diego Botanical Gardens

On our recent trip we did sightseeing of various kinds on the days we did not have Comic Con tickets.  One of the places we visited was the San Diego Botanical Gardens.   Located about 25 miles north of San Diego in the city of Carlsbad, I do not know why they called it the San Diego Botanical Gardens.

The gardens have a variety of areas representing areas of the world such as Africa where the type of flora displayed is grown.  I was struck by the size of the plants and by the rather bizarre forms.  It occurred to me as I walked along that anyone living in this area might easily grow up to write about planets with scary huge plant life.  How could you not?  Two plants I recognized from home that were the size of shrubs were a coleus and a geranium.  Very unreal to see that.

There were signs all over the gardens saying they were conserving water, growing things that didn't need much water...between those and the extemely arid landscape and the heat of the day, I was parched!

The crowds were plentiful that day. We suspected it was because it was Saturday and there was an INSECT FAIR.  I naturally was not eager to see that, but we walked every inch of the gardens including the buggy ones.





















Saturday, July 14, 2012

Almost Live From Comic Con Friday Madness

We left the hotel at 6:40 am, pure madness. 

At the convention center we found huge masses of people and monster lines.  The heaviest line was for the exhibit hall.  It wrapped around the building.  amazingly, we found that the exhibit halls did not open till 9:30 and here were all these crazy people in line.

We decided to get in line for our own first panel which was at 10:30!!!! We sat watching costumed people float by till the time of the panel. Bizzarely, all of the people in line ahead of us (about 7 people and who knows how many behind us) were not wanting to see the books into films panel at all, but they were queueing for this room so they could stay in the room after our panel and be well situated for  the WWE panel at 11:30. 

So our panel had a room potentially full of wrestling fans.  The guy behind us explained you have to just get into your room as soon as you can and plant yourself for the panel you really want. 

I was already tortured that so many things I wanted to see were at the same time, and to pick between them.  It is so much worse to know you can really only see things that are a good two hours apart to give you time to wait in line for your potential event.

If you want something in Hall H, the 6500 capacity room, you need to be at the con at who knows what time and just stay in there till your event. 

A bit maddening.  that said, the panel on books into film (proper title later) was the best of the day.  We had seats right up front.  I was just a few feet away from Tony DiTerlizzi's spot and was too excited.  Then he shows up talking to some people a few feet away.  Mr. DOA says go talk to him and I say nooo I'm too shy.  So he bustles on over and says  something to Tony and next thing you know I'm posing for a picture with him and chatting about the con. 

He is just the nicest guy.  I love his Wondla books and was able to tell him so in person :)  He had this story of Ray Bradbury rolling through the convention and talking with people and the way he said "he was right there, just talking to everyone" such wonderful fannish adoration of one of my own heroes....Tony DiTerlizzi is now high on my own author idols list.

We also saw (while waiting for the Bradbury panel) a panel on DC collectibles.  Great to hear the audience ooh and ahh over upcoming DC character models.

The Bradbury panel had Margaret Atwood (thunderous applause for her), Joe Hill, Sam Weller and another guy, sorry will fill in details later from my notes).  I thought from the description they would actually talk about Bradbury's influence on film and culture but they really spoke about what Bradbury meant to each of them. 

There was a librarian who stood up and who said he had helped save her library and that he had appeared there for programs dozens of times. I wa soo jealous.  I am incredibly lucky to schedule local authors at our library to give readers a chance to meet the people who write the fantastic stories we all love.  To be able to have my favorite author of all time, ha! unimaginable.

We spent a couple of hours in the exhibit hall and I think we covered hardly anything.  Have to squeeze more time in tomorrow.

Saw the Beauty and the Beast pilot episode (part of it because of the line) . Saw the luminous Kristin Kreuk via projection screen on the panel.  I'l be watching the show.  They have changed the mythology/back story a bit.

Pictures and details to be added later!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Almost Live From Comic Con Arrival

Fair warning, written on my iPad aka the smoosher so sardine city till I can correct on my laptop. We knew we were headed in the right direction when a woman in the Minneapolis airport spent ten minutes posing and photographing her twelve inch high Gandalf statue in from of the Delta flight display boards.

The most Excellent Marigold Hotel was showing on board, which I watched with two dollar earbuds pressed into my ears so I could make out most of the dialogue. A sweet movie as I thought it would be.

Easy ride to the hotel,then off to the Town and Country Hotel to get our badges for tomorrow. Huge crowd out front so Rob dropped me off, while he parked. A monster crowd snaked through a huge reception room. The line moved fast considering there must have been several hundred people in the line. I thought Mr. DOA would never find me but all,of a sudden there he was, leaping the chain and right next to me. The security people were really nice and helped him find his way over to me. After the very quick badge procurement, we stepped into the next room. In the doorway we were offered wildly colorful lanyards. Just inside young men handed us two thick books. Most amazing of all we were handed huge (almost as tall as me...edit waist high) bags with Comic Con art on one side and a Superman logo or Hobbit logo on the other. Outside people were,unhappily trying to trade bags with the art from the show Supernatural on them. No way!

The morning schedule is packed with things I want to see running at the same time. Rats! I wrote down in my con notebook the twelve things I want to see most and there is no way to see them all. Additionally, the con book says there are over one thousand exhibitors. When can I see them if the rest of the schedule is so tight? This is literally the stuff dreams are made of.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Almost Live! From Comic Con San Diego 2012

We will be at this year's Comic Con for two of the four days (we could only get two in their fiendish lottery system.).

I'll be giving reports from the Con with pics of the action.  There are tons of things to see at the exhibitors booths. 

I plan to have as empty a suitcase as possible on the way there so I may PACK it with goodies purchased on site. 

Mr. DOA has agreed to take pictures of me at the con (usually I take all the vacation photos and I have to wrench my companion's arms to take a quick photo of me and I always look like a dead angry gorilla).

Some highlights for me:

Eoin Colfer!!! of the Artemis Fowl books will be there.  Our whole family loves those books.

The Lego booth will have life size (I think)  statues of Bilbo and Gandalf made of Legos.

An Indiana Jones booth will let you get your picture taken with "a slither of snakes".

Lionsgate will have Hunger Games related panels and hopefully swag.

Blizzard will "showcase" WOW Starcraft and Diablo in a talk with developers.

Artist's alley with an array of artists and their wares.

Tony DiTerlizzi will be at a Mysterious Galaxy bookshop signing and on a panel.  I love his Wondla books in particular.

Warren Spector will be on a panel.  He will be talking about Epic Mickey 2, but I idolize him for his previous work and will be just dying to be in the same room with him breathing the same air :)

Mr. DOA will be taking SURF LESSONS.  DOA's camera crew will capture that event, never fear.

See you in San Diego!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Secret World Initial Impressions

I installed this late in the evening and installation was long so I got little play time. I will try all three factions but after watching the video clips I went Dragon.

Not much customization for my character was available, but the character model itself was nicely done. Graphically sharp.

Interesting opening storyline wherein my character is snoozing away and some bug (obviously remotely guided) flies down her throat. She proceeds to have some rather dreamy sequences as she is indoctrinated into the Dragon society.

When you finally have control you follow some butterflies down a set of narrow city streets to a hotel. You get credit for objectives for following them. Obviously still in tutorial mode. At a hotel, things take a turn for the dopey. You go to a room where a giant Mr. Clean looking guy in droopy undies and full body tattoos (eek!) gives you a languid look, but he is sent away by a woman who gives you a little more explanation and a bit of gratuitous sex.

I did read reviews who said blah blah this is Funcom and there will be boobies and sex, but it adds nothing and detracts from an otherwise intriguing story. I'm hoping that the dominatrix scenes are few going forward because I like the modern setting and the RPG feel of the game otherwise. I've been looking forward to the game and its promised problem solving mystery elements. We shall see.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

DOA Sings...




Happy Fourth of July!

Department of songs stuck in my head.   I hadn't listened to the Cowsills Hair for awhile.  I not only find it to be the happiest of songs, I now know almost all the words and can belt them right out along with the video. How lucky for the planet is that?



Somehow since last week The Rainbow Connection got stuck.




And today on the Fourth of July I think of how many people argue politics and are in a seemingly happy and endless rage, Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA makes me happy because it is exactly how I feel, and have always felt. From the lakes of Minnesota...

The Fear by Charlie Higson



The is the third title by Charlie Higson featuring a world where everyone over the age of sixteen has become a zombie.  Set in London as was the last title, it ties together a few of the groups of kids who have made fortresses against the zombies in the heart of the city.

The main view point has shifted to DogNut, second in command at the Tower of London who goes across the city to find the group of kids who left in a truck at the end of The Dead.  He hopes to find Brooke, who he fancies.  By his side is less attractive but faithful Courtney who of course secretly loves DogNut.

I read the first two novels The Enemy and The Dead together and the The Fear a year afterward so I'm not sure if this seems less action packed than the first two  because of that, or what.  There is another book in the works called The Sacrifice.  According to Higson, the series will cover seven books.

Despite the fact that I waited a year to read this, read through it like a fiend, then felt that nobody got anywhere...I'm avidly checking Higson's site for information and am thinking I should buy the Sacrifice via Amazon UK when it comes out in England in September of this year...eek.  Then a whole year won't go by and I'll feel more like I picked right up where I left off.  I like the plan.

Tech Tip: using Spell Check in a language other than English in Microsoftt Word 2010

Here is something I learned today--you can change the Dictionary in Microsoft Word 2010 to a language such as Nicaraguan Spanish (for example) so that it will do a spell check for you of what you have written in Spanish.  It puts in all the little accent marks and everything.

Type a few lines so that there is some to spell check.

Select the Review Tab

Spelling and Grammar from the Proofing Group

Options

Language

Add Additional Editing Languages (dropdown)

Select Language

Add

Ok

Save Document

Close Word

Open Word

Select Spelling and Grammar from the Review Tab/Proofing Group

Voila!