As many of you who have read my recent posts have apprehended, B and I are expecting a son at the end of November. Everything we do is geeky, so why would having a baby be any different?
One of the most exciting things for me so far has been the sonogram. For my research job, I often look at echocardiograms, that is, sonograms of the heart. I was so excited that they could see the baby’s heart movement; it looked just like the images I study to calculate heart function parameters. Although the technician kind of laughed when I told her what machine we use to take the sonograms; it was the same kind she’d used when she first trained decades ago. That’s research for you.
Right now, B and I are trying to decide on a name. Naturally, we have several from Star Wars in the running:
Which is your favorite? B tried to throw in some Star Trek names, like “Tiberius” and “Montgomery Scott,” but I nixed those. Sorry. Any other suggestions with a geeky/nerdy theme?
I will be honest, I don’t know how this blog will change once I have a kid. Though I will be taking some time off from work, I am not planning on quitting my 9-5 research job, which will likely mean reduced writing time. I may only be able to do one post a week, or likely even fewer. And I’m sure a few mommy-type things will pop up here from time to time, but right now I don’t have any plans to completely change my blog theme of geeky/nerdy stuff.
We’ll just have to wait and see. I hope you’ll all stick with me through what is possibly one of the biggest life changes imaginable!
Our late-summer selection for GNBC, hosted by GeekyNerdy Girl, is Carrie Fisher’s memoir Shockaholic.
Right from the dedication (to her daughter and the former president) you can tell this book will be entertaining.
This short memoir actually reads more like a series of essays than a chronological life story. I ended up really liking the format because it was easy to pick up and put down. Each chapter is a different topic, ranging from her family and friends to her mental and physical health. There is very little mention of Star Wars at all.
Of course, I was expecting some discussion of her struggles with mental health, because I know she was a great advocate on that topic, but it is really only covered directly in one chapter. However, I do think it was such a big part of her life that it bleeds over into everything she talks about, especially her family.
Carrie Fisher clearly had a unique sense of humor. I actually put this book aside for a few days when I started, because it can be pretty dark humor at times and I just wasn’t in the mood for it. But as I kept reading, I really appreciated it and laughed out loud a lot. I thought the funniest story was when she went to dinner as a young woman with some senators in DC. She refused to be intimidated by them, and I was totally cheering for her as she held her own with inappropriate humor.
I also really loved that there are personal pictures throughout the book. And the captions are hilarious, rarely pertaining to the picture at all. Instead, they sound like a historical documentary. For example, her friend Michael Jackson reading her memoir is labeled as Harry Truman playing golf.
I didn’t know much about her family prior to reading this book, so learning about her famous parents, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, as well as Eddie’s wife Elizabeth Taylor, really helped me understand her better. She had such a unique perspective on fame, having grown up around such famous people; this seems to be one reason she was able to understand her friend Michael Jackson so well. In fact, she was an extremely self-aware person, and this comes through in all her writings.
Reading this memoir in light of her death last year was interesting, considering that a good part of the book deals with remembrances of other people after their deaths, including her father, stepfather, Michael Jackson, and another close friend who OD’d basically right next to her. It definitely leads to a sense of one’s own mortality, and feels very poignant now that she’s gone, too. As I said, she was very self-aware, and left us this thought:
What you’ll have of me after I journey to that great Death Star in the sky is an extremely accomplished daughter, a few books, and a picture of a stern-looking girl wearing some kind of metal bikini lounging on a giant drooling squid, behind a newscaster informing you of the passing of Princess Leia after a long battle with her head.
It was a battle she continued to fight until, and even as, she died, and I think, as does her daughter Billie, that she would want to continue to be open about that battle no matter the results. She was used to living her life for others, and she continues to do so even in death as an icon, not just in sci-fi, but also for those of us who also fight mental health battles.
Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri at Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.
This image has always cracked me up because it looks like Han has flowers instead of legs.
I kept the main colors in blues and reds to kind of match Han’s clothing. The red bands kind of reminded me of the Corellian Bloodstripes on his pants. According to Legends/EU, there are two kinds of Bloodstripes, and Han won both.
One story was that he won one set for rescuing his Wookie pal Chewbacca from Imperial slavery. I don’t think anything official has been said in the new canon for how he got the Bloodstripes, but I’m interested to see if they will address this at all in the upcoming Young Han Solo movie.
Also be sure to check out Kiri’s interesting study of Han’s color energies here!
Next month we’ll be doing a Boba Fett mandala:
Last week I had a new experience that, as many new experiences are, was both thrilling and terrifying. No, I did not get to ride a new roller coaster at Cedar Point. (In fact, due to my interesting condition, I was reduced to the Ferris wheel and Sky Ride this summer.)
No, I’m talking about having someone who is not related to me read my writing.
Several months ago, a fellow blogger was running a Kickstarter to fund her trip to a writer’s conference in Iceland. One of the perks she offered was a critique of the first chapter of the donor’s WIP. This sounded like a perfect opportunity for me to get some feedback on the draft of a fantasy novel I started for NaNoWriMo last year.
I was so elated when I won NaNo last year, I figured I would be able to channel that energy into a second draft this year. However, when I started re-reading what I’d written, I really started hating it. It did not seem at all like the story I’d had in my head. The prose made me cringe, and the tone was all wrong. I didn’t want to look at it, much less edit it.
So I figured I should really take this opportunity to get a fresh opinion in the hopes it would give me some direction for where to go next. I didn’t really end up having any anxiety over it at all. I already knew there were things wrong with my text, so I was actually eager for someone to tell me what exactly was wrong so I could fix it!
And that’s exactly what happened. Sara wrote me a nice list of comments with her first impressions, things she was confused about, etc. The most important comment she gave me was that my very first scene lacked tension. There was nothing to hook the reader in, and nothing to foreshadow the larger conflicts of the later story.
She also mentioned a lack of visual cues for worldbuilding. Although I implied a setting based on ancient Rome, I gave no physical descriptions of characters, buildings, etc.
As far as the writing, one of my goals is to re-read some of my favorite historical fantasies by Guy Gavriel Kay, who is kind of my “model” author for this story as it was heavily inspired by his works.
So this first chapter critique turned out to be a good experience for me. I definitely feel more inspired and up to the task of revising my story now. Letting others read your writing is always difficult, but hopefully it will get easier with time and practice.