Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Five!

1. Catching up after three weeks essentially away from the internet is no easy task. But I think I'm mostly up to speed. Luckily, nothing big seems to have happened. There's so much going on in the summers that I wish I could have been part of, though. LeakyCon, SCBWI-LA... one day. One day I'll have a real job. Or something.

2. My Buffy marathoning is going well. I only have four episodes left, and then it'll be on to catch up with Glee before the movie comes out. It just got put in Instant Watch, thank goodness. I really do foresee a day soon when DVDs are basically obsolete. All Instant Watch needs is the special features and I'd be there.

3. This morning Jacob and I had an important discussion.
Me: What's up?
Jacob: Great!
Me: no, what's up?
Jacob: Great!
Me: What's up means what's going on.
Jacob: Oh. Noni wanted to know if you were awake.
Me: There you go. Now if I say how are you, you can say?
Jacob: Great!

Chelsey Blair, imparting valuable language lessons since 2011.

4. GalleyCat posted this the other day. The New York Public Library is giving kids a chance to "read down" their fines. I think this is genius, but I have to wonder if patronage is worth losing the possible income in a time when libraries are in so much danger.

5. Speaking of the NYPL, and therefore lions, I installed OS X Lion on both my computers this week, and mostly I like it. The swipe to go back and tap to zoom on Safari are REALLY useful. I just wish MS Office would get with the program. I want Versions on there, stat.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


First of all, Chanelle is running a pitch contest with Victoria Marini!!

Second of all, and I realize it's late, but it's time for my July contest! For the newcomers to the blog, my monthly contests are an effort to get more exposure for my "asterisked books" (the ones involving disability in some way) I'll be giving away one of these a week to a random commenter (you must follow the blog to be eligible). This month, for bonus points, link to a blog post or tweet about the contest for an extra entry!

This month's prize will be....
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park
My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger

My review here

Goodreads Summary:

Dear Anthony:
I appreciate your recent interest, but I’m not accepting applications at this time. Your letter will be kept in our files and someone will get back to you if there is an opening. Thank you for thinking of me.

Alejandra Perez
P.S. It’s not “Allie.” It’s “Ale.”
Meet T.C., who is valiantly attempting to get Alejandra to fall in love with him; Alejandra, who is playing hard to get and is busy trying to sashay out from under the responsibilities of being a diplomat’s daughter; and T.C.’s brother Augie, who is gay and in love and everyone knows it but him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RTW: Favorite Book of July

Today YA Highway asks what was the best book you read in July? Between surgery and camp, I haven't tead a lot in July, but I did read Room by Emma Donaghue, and it was as fabulous as everyone has been saying. The voice of Jack, the five-year-old protagonist, was spot on, though I have to say it is a bit undecided about what it wants to be--suspense or not--and some of Jack's phrasings are decidedly English for an American boy. Over all though, I liked it a lot.

What books have you enjoyed this month?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Something in the Way

Hi all! We didn't have adequate wi-fi at the youth leadership forum for me to keep you updated, unfortunately, but that should be the last blogging-break this summer. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled five-posts-a-week program!

YLF is something I do every year. Since I was a student there in 2005, I've missed to study abroad, but otherwise progressed up the ladder toward becoming a facilitator. I'm "Adult Staff" now, facilitating a group of students in applying what they learn through the weekend about disabilities, leadership and themselves.

It's a lot of controlled chaos to herd a hundred people--most of whom have disabilities--around Tallahassee for a weekend. I decided the theme song of the program should be "Something in the Way" by Nirvana, because of how often a wheelchair, walker, chair or, student has to be moved out of the way to let someone else by. However, this morning after I slept off the last of the camp tired, I realized this has another meaning.

For most of the students there is something in the way of them becoming fully themselves and taking charge of their lives. To an outsider, that something would be their disability, but at YLF we know it's not. It's the teacher, parent, friend, foe, mindset that holds them back, either by not believing in them or coddling them.

We have a student whose parents thought she needed a Personal Care Attendant, because she couldn't dress herself. At YLF she turns up ready to go every morning, no help needed.

One of my delegates this year came in painfully shy--almost completely silent--and then spoke in front of the group the last day to tell us all she'd learned to accept herself.

In my group, I had three girls with learning disabilities. They bonded over experiences of teachers not believing they were disabled, or refusing to grant their accommodations.

We all have stories like this, of the obstacles we faced and YLF helped us get over. As a facilitator, my job is to help identify and eliminate the something in the way, but more often the students do it themselves, the first of many steps toward independence YLF helps them to make.

But kids with disabilities aren't the only ones with roadblocks. What's the something in the way in the journey you're taking? (and because we always want the students to find a solution) How can you start to shove it away?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Musings: Thirteen Reasons Why

by Jay Asher Thirteen Reasons Why 1st edition

I think what I liked most about this book was the unique way in which Jay Asher blends the two first-person points of view. The first protagonist, Clay Jensen, is listening to the suicide tapes of his friend (and crush) Hannah Baker. His thoughts and experiences are interjected into her narrative about the thirteen reasons why she killed herself. Sometimes, this is a little heavy-handed--like Clay's thoughts are inserted just to remind us that he's there, but in general the voices are masterfully set apart, and I wouldn't have needed the italicized typeface for Hannah to tell them apart. 

The other thing I liked was that Hannah didn't have a massive reason (that we know of) for doing what she does. No rape (of her), no molestation by a teacher--nothing more than the goings on of a small town high school. Asher portrays it in a way for people (teens and adults) to see just how many repercussions their actions can have, which I like. 

The hardest part for me as a reader, and for Clay, is knowing that Hannah is dead, and no matter what the tapes say, this can't be changed. This makes for a very gripping, if saddening, read. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Hardest Part

Hi all!

I've been home since Friday, trying to get back into the swing of things. The hardest part is the weakness. It's better than it was. Saturday I was really weak, shaky and nervous about holding my own at the camp I'm volunteering at this week. Now I'm better, but it still isn't easy.

It's hard for me to accept it, because I'm usually bounce-back girl. Major surgery one day, gallivanting off somewhere the next, but it hasn't been like that this time. A wrench has been thrown into the summer-groove I had going and traveling isn't going to help. Still, there will be time, eh?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Five!

1. I am alive. I am still in the hospital. I really meant to be better about updating, but there is only so much monotony I (or you) could bare.

2. My mom and I did not get to see Harry Potter at midnight last night. There is so much wrong with this. Harry Potter has been a huge part of my life for fourteen years, and yet.

3. I'm an on season seven of Buffy.

4. I bookmarked this article on Transgendered people as interesting about two weeks ago. Hope it still is.

5. Sorry this is so uninspired. I'm so far behind in my online life, but it will pick up soon!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Checking In

Bi All!

I;m obviously more AWOL than I planned to be. No wok done no sitting up even until today, but I ha e seen Torchwood (priorities!)

Hope to be back on schedule soon, but it may be once I'm out of hospital.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy First Monday In July!

 Fourth of July? Not my thing. Moving on.

This weekend was sort of shot, because in the vein of sometimes it sucks I somehow got an inflamed sciatic nerve, followed by irritation on the skin that's getting removed tomorrow. Overall, not the productive, poolside weekend I had planned for the one before surgery.

Oh well.

I got to fifty followers somehow over the weekend! I want to do something to commemorate this, but it'll have to be combined (or as little bro would say, combinded) with the July contest, once I get out of the hospital.

In other news, my nerd quotient is growing with every season of Buffy I plow through, and I am okay with this.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Five!

1. It is JULY, you guys. How in name of our monkey overlords did that happen? I would be more upset about it July didn't mean:
A. Torchwood! It comes back July 8th!
B. The youth leadership forum I volunteer at every summer, where I'll get to hang out with my best friends and be there the kids who need role models during the time between high school and college.
C. The final Harry Potter movie! (which is actually kind of sad so I'll give Mac OSX Lion to balance it out).

2. I came across this  last night. It's Katie Price, a UK celebrity writing a letter to the Daily Mail about her son who has autism, visual impairments and several other challenges. Apparently, a comedian made some very rude remarks about him, and I admire her for speaking out. She makes a lot of excellent points, but I think this is the one people don't like to touch on:

Imagine if the reason Boyle gave for saying Harvey was capable of raping me was not because of his disability but because he is black. People would understand how discriminatory that is. It is just as discriminatory when the joke is based on someone's disability.

Disability is often an unspoken of minority like any other, and more people need to remember that.

3. I read Chaz Bono's latest book Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man the other day. I'd never thought much about Chaz before he came out as FtM, but reading the book gave an insight into a condition I've always been interested in. (I think I saw a documentary as a fairly young kid and it stuck with me). To me issues like being Transgendered have similar effects to having a disability. Your body just doesn't do what you want it to, and other people don't get it. Simple, and yet so complicated.

4. Last night's YA Highway chat was fraught with technological complications, but once we found a venue, it was so much fun! I love getting to know people in the YA world better! On a related note, if you pre-order John Green's next book The Fault in Our Stars, you will get a signed copy. Isn't that cool?

5. This is my current song obsession. I don't know where I got it, but I love it.