Monday, September 22, 2008

Witches in Fiction

I started Meg Cabot's Jinx last night, which in combination with Tanglewreck (which I'm currently reading to the Possum), got me thinking about the importance of houses in magic stories. And honestly, I can't think of a magical sort of story that doesn't make the house (or, in Harry Potter, Hogwarts) an important character.

In Bell, Book and Candle and Practical Magic, in Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Bewitched, women with awesome magical powers seem perfectly content to live in their wonderful homes, and occasionally help out a girlfriend. They dress well, look fabulous, and don't have to spend any time scrubbing dirty floors.

Guys with magical powers tend toward the grandiose and messianic. It seems to me the gals have it right. Ultimate power? Ultimate headache. Okay, sure, there's a strong feminist backlash to the assumption that a woman with great powers would be happy keeping house for some putz. But if I could opt out of doing all the drudgery associated with daily life, I'd bring the spouse along to enjoy the ride...

To our Addam's Family sort of house.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Heartwarming Parent Moment

Usually the Offspring get ready for bed around 7:30 (on school nights) and I divide the time between then and 8:30 evenly between the two. While I'm reading the PandaBat's book(s) to her, the Possum is reading to herself. Halfway into the time, I switch books and the PandaBat listens or goes to sleep, whichever.

Okay, so tonight I finished the Bat book from the school library, inserting the phrase "straw up its nose" wherever possible, because the info was already familiar, although the pictures were new, and that enlivened the text a bit. Also, I got to point out that the book was flawed, with pages accidentally left blank. Then it was a bit of Yolen's Sea Queens, from the Grania O'Malley section.


I pick up Varjak Paw, ready to read the final chapters, the Possum logs the pages she's read from the second Percy Jackson book, which log is part of her homework, and the PandaBat runs across the room and grabs some Step Into Reading Books off the shelf. So, I finish off Varjak, and begin Tanglewreck, and every ten minutes or so, there's a muttered and satisfied "Done" coming from the bottom bunk, as yet another book is completed.

See, it's not even funny in the retelling, but it makes me go all mushy inside that my kids enjoy reading so much.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'd Pay to See This

Monster Scientific Apparatus Rally

But then again, I was chatting with the Offspring this morning about the Large Hadron Collider and the cool stuff physicists hope to learn from it. Yeah, that's the way I roll, close to the speed of light.

Hat tip: Pharyngula

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Free Books

Maud Newton: Blog: "Below John Warner, editor of McSweeney’s online, author of So You Want to Be President? and Fondling Your Muse, and creative director of the struggling TOW Books, explains why he’s rejecting the age-old strategy of sending review copies to newspapers, and offering them to you instead."

Hey, it worked for Neil Gaiman. I've downloaded So You Want to Be President? just because I found Warner's announcement so funny.

Hat tip: Readerville

Monday, September 08, 2008

Proud Parent of ....

Is there any way to end that which isn't a)bragging or b)making it sound like the only good kid is one currently achieving greatness?

I'm an incredibly proud parent, even though I don't have any bumper stickers. I'm pretty much astounded by how cool the Offspring are.

I like my kids, I just don't like bumper stickers.

Career Day

Sometime during the past few days, and between the sleeping sickness and the hurricane it's all a blur, the Offspring told me of their current career goals.

The PandaBat is pretty ambitious: she wants to be a world famous pop-singer as a teen, but then, afterward, on her twentieth birthday I suppose, she's going to quit that and become a panda savior of some kind. She's looking forward to learning Chinese (Cantonese? Mandarin? what's the preferred language of the Chengdu Breeding Center or the Woolong Preserve?) She mentioned a couple of other things she wants to do at the same time, none of which I can remember anymore (see sickness and hurricane, above). Being a panda vet, too, maybe?

The Possum is hoping to train dogs professionally. Not obedience, she wants to train working dogs either as helper animals, like her friend's Murphy, or as police dogs.

I'm a sick woman. 'Cause after reading World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, I'm thinking how great those dog-training skills will be.