Showing posts from July, 2013

Questions about Magic

I have just been watching the most beautiful show of clouds and light in the sky. I was being very selfish and didn't take any pictures, but here are a couple of pictures from the other day.

Recently, at the end of a magic show, the magician asked if anyone in the audience had any questions about magic. My niece, codename: Phoenix, nearly four, raised her hand, stood, and asked, "How can there be a rainbow with only water and the sun?"

Dragon for Mac: No.

I try not to make my blog Whinge Central, but this information might actually be helpful for some of you out there. So: I'm sure Dragon Dictate's latest version of dictation software for Mac users (by Nuance) is useful to someone with some job, but I'm sorry to say that if you happen to be a writer who works with manuscripts that are a few hundred pages long, it amounts to highly-priced garbage. The program is designed to be simultaneously conscious of every word in your manuscript, so that you can verbally navigate to any point – a feature I have no need for, but that I'm not given the option of turning off – and it's quite limited, apparently, in the number of words it can manage at once. If I have my Dragon Dictate microphone turned on and I click into my current 280-page manuscript, the software flips out, freezes, then takes several minutes to crash.  Every single time. When I called Nuance's (consistently appalling) customer service, I was told to dictat…

Bulgarian Katsa

My Bulgarian publisher, Emas Publishing, has released Graceling, and their cover is one of my favorites. I particularly like the grim color scheme, only broken up by the subtle colors of Katsa's eyes. The artist is Zlatina Zareva. Thank you, Emas!

The Inception Trailer Redubbed in A Cappella

I have many deep and meaningful thoughts to blog, but I've been too busy doing important things like eating a double-decker peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich while sitting in a kayak in the middle of a lake next to some loons. So this will have to do for now: have you seen/heard the a cappella version of the trailer to the (wonderful) movie Inception? On a recent road trip, my companion played the audio for me. I have never laughed so hard while driving through New Hampshire. Here it is:

(And here's the actual trailer for comparison.)


Sometimes when my nieces (now aged nearly 4) visit, I leave things within their reach on purpose, just to see what they make treasures of.

I Love It Because It's Trash

One of the things I love about the collaborations between famous musicians and Sesame Street (aside from that it was my first introduction to people like Yo-Yo Ma [click here for the Beethoven Quartet for Two Honkers, Dinger, and Cello] and Itzhak Perlman [click here for a lesson on easy and hard – one of my most vivid Sesame Street memories from childhood] is that the song adaptations are generally extremely silly, but also maintain the correct style for that musician (in a way that makes the whole thing even more silly!).  Like, when Melissa Etheridge sings "Like the Way U Does," she sings with exactly the appropriate level of earnestness and angst :). Today, however, I would particularly like to thank whichever genius at Sesame Street realized that Steven Tyler needed to do a cover of "I Love Trash." Press play below.

Graffiti on Newbury Street in Boston


How to Love a Song

There's a post I want to write about cellos and my revision (as I've mentioned); there's a post I want to write with many, many cello recommendations; but this post is refusing to be either of those posts and insisting on being a post about one song. Thanks to Yo-Yo Ma's Vevo, I can share it with you here.

Below is the track "Here and Heaven," from The Goat Rodeo Sessions, which is a... part bluegrass, part classical?... collaboration by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile. Singer/songwriter Aoife O'Donovan joins those four fellows on this track, too, cowriting and adding her gorgeous vocals.

Really, I don't have a lot to say about it, because the song itself is the point. But I will briefly explain how I listen to this song, in the hopes that this will express somehow the reasons why I love it.

The song contains eight instruments. Two gambas, played by Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer – and I don't really know my gambas, so for the p…