January 6th, 2003

Books

Enchantment, Orson Scott Card

Enchantment coverSpent the weekend reading, Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. Decent read. Didn't blow me away. Better than the Shadow series that Card's been putting out lately. Still, I'm going to focus on some negatives.

First, why do Card characters always seem to be so Machiavellian? Manipulation is the name of their game. Everything is so calculated. ANd how did they get so damn prescient? Characters in a Card novel are always thinking 3 moves ahead of their opponents. Always. And of course, they are always incredible scholars and Renaissance men. One of the things I liked about the Alvin series at the start was that Alvin was such an everyman, in spite of his gifts. Can't think of a Card character that is relatively normal in recent years.

Second, why does Card feel the need to have the narrator explain everything that is going on? Can't the action & plot explain some of it?

Okay, so the basic plot is this: Sleeping Beauty. Add in that magic is real. And a gateway between ancient Ukraine and modern Ukraine. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court meets Alvin Maker meets Sleeping Beauty meets Peter Wiggin. The stories work best when Card is spinning his fish out of water yarns: Ivan in pre-medieval Ukraine, and Katerina and Bab Yaga in the modern world. Ivan being the unlikely prince charming. Katerina being the perfect Sleeping Beauty. Baba Yaga being the witch. The Hollywood ending, complete with the happily ever after vacation in suburbia, totally sucked.

By the way, if you couldn't tell. I love, hate, or find very mediocre all media. Tend to love very little and write about the hate and mediocre works in the same manner. In other words, I tend to be very negative about both mediocre and horrid works. So it can sometimes seem like I hate stuff more than I do. Really though, this wasn't a horrible book to spend an afternoon reading.

Capybara

Passive voice

Remember way back to your writing classes in junior high and high school? Remember how you were told that passive voice is something to be avoided?

I do. I hate passive voice in writing. Sometimes it slips through in my writing, but I'm generally looking for it and trying to eliminate it. Even in crack bored posts.

Friday, I received an email from FlexCar, telling me that my membership application has been delayed. I have been resisting th urge to write back and ask who delayed it and why.

Passive voice is for weaklings who are trying to avoid responsibility. It is cover your ass mentality. As if leaving off the subject of a sentence means there is no subject. There is still someone/something that is performing the action.

They would have pleased me more if they had simply written: Due to the holidays, we have not yet processed your application.

Logo

Dinner

One of my resolutions was to cook more, instead of eating out or fixing from a box. My method to accomplish this is going to be making a dinner 3 or 4 times a month for friends. Keep the gatherings small, with only 4 to 6 people. Try to get different people to come over, so I can get to know people a bit better.

So I was looking at my calendar, and I realized that I have Friday off due to a move to a new office. Hafta have everything boxed up by Thursday. We are then denied access to either building until Monday morning, while movers transport everything from one building to another. Perfect opportunity for the second of these dinners. Gives me time to pick up any ingredients I need without rushing.

At least one person has told me to be careful lest I get a reputation for cooking.

Anyway, I have invitees for Friday's dinner. But if any readers are interested in eating food made by an inexperienced cook, let me know. However, I will be making a point to invite the less outgoing and forthright. I spent too many years being shy and withdrawn, waiting for people to invite me to do something. I still remember that. Now that I have more confidence and more friends, I want to try to include people who are like I used to be. And what I feel like sometimes still.