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Archive for July, 2009

Write on

Posted on July 29th, 2009 by annakjarzab

I realize that it’s been a while since I talked about my current works in progress, and that’s probably because I’m a little bit stalled. I’m not panicking, because A.) it is fruitless and B.) I don’t expect to be stalled much longer. I think what’s been happening is that between all the traveling to California, weddings, graduations, friend and family visits, trivia, work and work-related shenanigans, and putting the finishing touches on AUT, plus life maintenance such as grocery shopping and laundry (el oh el as if I’ve done laundry) and assorted errands, I just haven’t had the time, and when I’ve had the time I haven’t had the energy, to write.

I also realize that I meant to put up a post about my trip to California in June, when I visited the semi-ghost towns up near Sacramento, and I never did that. Now would be a good time, I think, considering that it was all research for GR.

Here’s the thing about my writing this summer. I have about three projects that I’m actively thinking about/working on, albeit in the small spurts that I’ve been able to fit in to my schedule. One is “big”, in the sense that it’s probably going to be on the long-ish side (and considering that my YA debut is going to be 352 pages, you might want to adjust your definition of “long-ish” in this situation), and that it’s what I’m calling a quasi-post-apocalyptic pseudo-mystery. It’s sort of a thriller, too. It’s crazytown, basically, and I’ve been referring to it as GR.

Then there are two “smaller” books in that they are going to be shorter (probably shorter than AUT, although maybe not, who knows). One of them is a family-type drama, and one of them is a comedy (by my definition, at least–you should know that I consider MB a comedy, and it’s about a boy who goes missing and has the word “murder” in the title, so…). The family-type drama doesn’t have a name (well, I have one for it, but it’s ridiculous and I’m a little embarrassed of it, so here I will call it “Fluffy”), and the comedy has a tentative name that is pretty boring so here I will call it “Lancelot.” I probably won’t be talking about either of these much, to be honest, because they’re not that hard, they just require time at the computer and a steady hand.

GR, however, is the bane of my existence. There are these moments in writing where you know what you want the end product to look like, and you know what you have so far, and there is such a huge gulf between those two things that you think you’ll never get across it. It’s so discouraging. Right now, I’m 80 pages into GR and just verging on the start of the action, which is a PROBLEM, and also the story itself is losing steam. I had a hard time building an outline for GR, so I decided to write up to the point where my outline stopped and then try again, because I have beats I want to hit, ideas for scenes, the end, and a good grasp of the character arcs, but I don’t have a sure-fire plan as such. This morning I think I might have thought of a way to accelerate the action, and some pieces seem to have fallen into place because of that, so that’s good progress. I have a long weekend starting tomorrow, so I should be able to get at least some serious thinking done, if not any actual work.

But whatever! Vacation pictures. For whatever reason I’m pretty protective of GR, so while these pictures and explanations might give you an idea of what I’m doing with it, I’m not going to be explicit about how the places and things I show fit into the story–you’ll just have to guess. And wait.

Okay, so first of all, this is apropos of nothing, but my sister graduated from high school:

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Fun facts: the last time I was sitting in that pavilion (at the Alameda County Fairgrounds) I was there to see a Björn Again concert. True story! Also, that blue dress I’m wearing, I wore that to every single event this summer: two weddings, two graduations, plus a bonus BEA! It’s getting a workout, but it’s cute so that’s okay.

Earlier that day, my mom and I had gone to the Winchester Mystery House, for my research purposes. I took so many pictures and videos that I can’t possibly post them all here, but trust me, this place is awesome. This was my third time going, and I had just as much fun as I did the first time. We took the big tour, which is the Mansion Tour plus the Behind the Scenes tour, plus the Garden Tour, although that’s free and self-guided. The only thing we didn’t do was the Winchester Firearms Museum, which I plan to go back and do over Christmas. If you’re ever in the Bay Area, believe me, the Winchester Mystery House is totally worth it and fun for the whole family.

BUT: It is not scary. You should see the billboards that are up on all the freeways in Northern California, they’ve got, like, skulls and crossbones on them and give you the impression that the WMH is a haunted house, but it’s not. They’ve got their ghost stories, of course, all old houses have them, but for the most part it’s just a really weird place. Sarah Winchester moved west from Connecticut in 1884, after the death of her only child, Annie, in infancy and her husband from tuberculosis. Back then, San Jose was a total farming community, so she purchased 162 acres of land, most of which was orchards, and an eight-room farmhouse, which she built upon for the next 38 years–twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to the tune of $5.5 million, which in today’s money would be about $70 million. ON A HOUSE. A house that was worthless after she died, because the eccentricity and, in some ways, impracticality of its design, its size, and the massive amounts of money it cost to keep it up made it unlivable for anyone who wasn’t Sarah Winchester. And even SHE had other homes.

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The house from the front, facing Winchester Blvd.

Now, there are all sorts of stories about what Sarah Winchester did or didn’t believe, why she built the house the way she did, who she was, etc., but the truth was that she was very private and left behind no written account of her intentions with regards to the house–no letters, no journals, not even blueprints. They say she moved to San Jose because a medium in Boston told her to. Supposedly she believed herself to be haunted by the ghosts of those killed by the Winchester rifle, and the Boston medium told her that if she were to go west and build a house without ceasing, she would never die. Sarah could afford to do this because she was, like, a gazillionaire. Truly. She inherited $20 million after the death of her husband–and this was before there was income tax, so she got to keep it all–and 50% ownership of the Winchester Repeating Arms company, which provided a $1,000 a day allowance. That’s still a lot of money! Back then it was a huge fortune.

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Stairs to the ceiling

Anyway, so she built this house, all day, every day, for almost forty years. She did eventually die, though, because obviously eternal life is bullshit. The house is crazytown because there are no blueprints and never were–she used to sketch out plans for rooms on napkins and scraps of paper and just hand them to her foreman. That’s why the place is a virtual maze, with stairways that lead to ceilings, cabinets that are one inch deep, chimneys that stop a foot before the roof, winding corridors, six kitchens, thirteen bathrooms, two basements, forty-seven fireplaces, and much more.

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The Room Where Mrs. Winchester Died, or the Deadroom

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A door leading out from the seance room–into the kitchen sink, a flight below.

Okay, like all good rich Victorian ladies, Sarah Winchester was something of a spiritualist, purportedly anyway. She had an interest in contacting the dead, which is understandable given the losses she suffered, and had a seance room built in her house for expressly that purpose, but there’s really no proof that she ever actually had seances in there. It’s kind of small. It does, however, have that weird door that leads to nothing but a short drop and a sudden stop, if you will. There’s a lot of things like that in the house. I don’t know what happened to the photos I took of the seance room, that one seems to be the only one I have at the moment. Hm.

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The north conservatory

The thing about Mrs. Winchester was that she was also something of a tech buff. I mean, she didn’t have an iPod or anything (although Apple’s headquarters aren’t very far away from the Mystery House–COINCIDENCE?! Definitely), but she liked cutting edge stuff. The conservatory pictured above has a slanted floor made of removable wood panels; when the wood is taken off, there is a second floor made of some kind of metal (tin?). This allows the plants to be watered and the unused water to fall to the floor, where it flows down the slant and into a container to be used again, in the conservatory or elsewhere. Go green! The conservatory also has an elevator, one of three on the property, which, as you might imagine, is a bit unusual for the Victorian age.

Other conveniences include steam and forced-air heating, indoor toilets and plumbing (including a hot shower), push-button gas lights, and a call system that allowed Mrs. Winchester to summon her servants to any part of the mansion from any part of the mansion. Pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

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So you know how before I was mentioning that Mrs. Winchester would just build a room on to the existing exterior wall? Well, here’s proof. This is the unfinished second ballroom (Second! Ballroom! Because she needed two! To entertain the guests she didn’t even have!)–the walls hadn’t gone up at the time of her death–and you can see how the walls of the ballroom were being built right smack up against the outside, covering up a window and the old paint job and everything. This is one of the reasons why the house is so freakin’ weird. It’s also one of the reasons it survived (for the most part) two extreme earthquakes, because half of it is built on a de facto floating foundation, because all the rooms were built separately. That provided enough sway for the house to stay upright. Science!

Speaking of ballrooms, here’s the finished one:

ballroom

Okay, this room is the best. First of all, it was built almost completely without nails. Second of all, it has a vault in it, hidden behind a wooden door, so heavy that it required its own foundation–and when it was opened upon Mrs. Winchester’s death, it was found to contain locks of hair from her daughter and husband, and their obituaries. That’s it. The silver chandelier came from Germany, with twelve candle holders. Mrs. Winchester, who was rumored to have a superstition about the number thirteen and scattered the number around the house (the thirteenth bathroom has thirteen windows in it, for example), had a thirteenth candle holder added. It looks terrible; as you can see in this larger picture, it’s lopsided. WHOOPS!

The stained glass windows each have a quote from a Shakespeare play on them. “Wide unclasp the the tables of their thoughts,” says the left-hand window (Troilus and Cressida, IV:5:60); “These same thoughts people this little world,” says the right-hand window (Richard III, V:5:9). What did they mean to Mrs. Winchester? Hell if I know. But they must have meant something to her. This guy has a theory, though, and it makes sense to me.

The grand ballroom cost $9,000 at a time when a whole house could be built for >$1,000. This was the point when my mom shook her head and said, “If she had to spend all of that money, why didn’t she just give it to charity?” The answer, of course, is that she did–she gave lots of her money away. But my mom has a point. What a colossal waste, and furthermore, if she really did believe building forever would make her live forever, what complete selfishness. HOWEVER. Now the house belongs to posterity, and we can walk through it and marvel at it and deconstruct it as a physical expression of one person’s psychology, and that is amazing.

Okay, I could show you a million more pictures and talk forever about this house, because it’s the coolest, but I won’t. As it is this post is super long; I’ll do another installment to talk about the semi-ghost towns we visited.

Forget it, Jake, it’s Fake Cover Town

Posted on July 28th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Covers.

First of all, just in case you missed it, I posted some thoughtsicles about the recent flurry of discussion around the cover of Justine Larbalestier‘s brilliant new novel, Liar, on The A Team yesterday. Speaking of The A Team, I’m going to see Joanna tonight! Many nachos and martinis will be consumed, I assure you.

Second of all, 100 Scope Notes has started a little meme called Create Your Debut YA Cover, where you follow a bunch of steps, including generating a fake name, a fake title, and a fake stock photo. It’s pretty fun, and if you thought the REAL cover of my REAL debut YA novel was creepy, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Presenting Judy J. Clark’s debut novel, Crow:

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Sorry you guys. I had to post it, those are the rules. I realize it’s terrifying. Sleep with the light on.

A note on ARC requests

Posted on July 28th, 2009 by annakjarzab

I’ve been getting a lot of ARC requests, so I thought I would post a little note here for anyone interested in getting one. It comes in a couple of parts:

  1. I have no more ARCs left. I know, right?! Sucks. But I only got a handful, so it’s logical I might run out. This doesn’t mean that there is no chance of getting one, however. It just means:
  2. We’re going to have to ask Random House. They’re the ARC keepers as of right now, and it will probably stay that way. If you have a contact at RHCB, you might give that a shot. If not, I have no problem asking Random House for you, but I’m going to need a few things. So:
  3. When you email me to request an ARC, include your real name, your blog address, and a mailing address. That way I don’t have to bug you for it. But here’s the thing:
  4. Right now, it doesn’t look like RH is actually sending out ARCs. They seem to be waiting to send out finished copies later this year. I know they are saving some for upcoming conferences, too. This doesn’t mean that all is lost! I will continue to send on reviewer information to the publicity department, and when I’m assigned a publicist (should happen in a month or two, I think) we’ll revisit this. I think sending ARCs out to bloggers who have shown great interest–and you guys have! and I’m thrilled and also nervous but mostly thrilled and flattered and I want you to have them!–is SO important, both for the momentum of a book’s word-of-mouth and also to reward the advocacy that bloggers do on authors’ behalves. So believe me, I want reviewers to have them.
  5. This doesn’t mean that all requests will be filled. I’m sure you guys understand. Even a publisher’s supply of books–especially ARCs–is limited.

This, as it stands, is my ARC policy. I’m happy to pass any requests on to my publisher, but after that, at least for the time being, it’s out of my hands. However, I will be receiving many more finished copies of AUT than ARCs, and I’m going to set aside a certain number of those–don’t know how many it will be yet–for reviewers. I’ll let you know when to check in with me about that.

Thanks for understanding, everybody.

Matryoshka Mondays!

Posted on July 27th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Because apparently I’m now one of those crazy ladies with a creepy obssession, I came up with this really rather unnecessary idea to do Matryoshka Mondays which are basically posts put up on Monday (which I’m sure you gathered) with some sort of matryoshka item of interest (probably just to me)–from my growing collection, or just something I found on the Internet. Eventually, once I get my life sorted, these will probably involve a book giveaway, because I have a LOT of books and a teeny, tiny New York apartment with very little room in it. But that will have to wait. Today, it’s just this:

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I found this print on Etsy, in the AutumnAndEve shop. It’s adorable, and only $14.99, but come on, I cannot just pounce on every single matryoshka related item on God’s green goodness. Save some water for the fish, as they say. So I refrained…for now. I did just buy a matryoshka print after all. I couldn’t resist, I thought it was too too funny:

uqq5a1ynqpckjmwmuamsajcro1_5002I especially like it because the surly boy doll in the hoodie is, like, the most accurate depiction of Neily I’ve ever seen.

In other news, I finally got home last night around 1:30 AM, after being delayed for almost two hours in Oakland (this is what I get for bragging that all my flights had been on time or early this entire year) and being put into a holding pattern at JFK because of the weather. Apparently there were huge thunderstorms or somesuch? I did see lightning from the plane, which is of course terrifying. But all was well, I landed safe and sound, the taxi line was long but not ridiculously so, and I gobbled up some mac and cheese and fell dead asleep.

Maggie’s wedding was awesome–very laid back and sweet–and I’ll be sure to post pictures soon, but until then…enjoy the matryoshki.

Big YA signing in NY this weekend

Posted on July 23rd, 2009 by annakjarzab

Lucky for people in the New York city area, nine really awesome YA authors will be at Books of Wonder in New York City on Saturday, July 25th, from 2pm to 4pm. I can’t attend this event even though I desperately want to, because my friend Maggie is getting married this weekend in Monterey, CA and I’m going to the wedding! I’m also going to see my friends Shannel (darling frequent commenter on this here blog) and Carmen, which I’m super excited about, so while I’m bummed to be missing out on this terrific event, I’m happy to be going out of town, too.

But if you ARE in the NY area, do stop by and buy a book or nine and say hello!



Participating Authors:

Lauren Barnholdt, author of Two-Way Street, The Secret Identity of Devon Delaney, Four Truths and Lie, and others
Sarah Cross, author of Dull Boy
Erin Dionne, author of Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies
Heather Duffy-Stone, author of This is What I Want to Tell You (read my interview with Heather here)
Mandy Hubbard, author of Prada and Prejudice
Julie Linker, author of Crowned, Disenchanted Princess
Sarah MacLean, author of The Season
Mari Mancusi, author of Boys that Bite, Girls that Growl, Stake That!, Gamer Girl and others
Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of the Sisters

My friends are total enablers

Posted on July 22nd, 2009 by annakjarzab

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Kate: I saw this and thought of you.

Me: I’m going to become one of those crazy ladies that collects things that other people find vaguely creepy, aren’t I?

Related: Dubbs brought me a matryoshka bottle opener from the Czech Republic (I think? Somewhere in Central Europe, at any rate). It’s also a fridge magnet. Gorgeous.

The candle feeds the flame

Posted on July 21st, 2009 by annakjarzab

On Sunday, I got a text from my friend Nikki that read: Going to see 500 Days of Summer at 5 at Lincoln if you are interested. Um, WAS I INTERESTED?! No.

Just kidding! I’ve been slavering to see that movie ever since I saw the trailer. I love romantic comedies, and I looooove Joseph Gordon Levitt. It kills me that some people still only think of him as “that kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun” because he’s grown into such a multi-faceted, talented actor since then, most notably in Brick, but also in Mysterious Skin (which I don’t recommend you see unless you have a strong constitution for sex and violence of a graphic nature, but is VERY VERY GOOD if your heart can take it, because it is incredibly sad) and The Lookout (not the world’s best movie, but he is SO GOOD in it).

I’m a pretty critical person, so I can nitpick any book/movie you throw at me, even if I love it to death. I loved this movie to death, and while I took issue with some of the ways in which they addressed the philosophical issues surrounding love and romance, I really sympathized with Tom’s (Joseph Gordon Levitt a.k.a. MY NEW FAKE BOYFRIEND) journey. Everything was so recognizable–the early excitement over a potential new love; the tiny disappointments that you brush off and try to rationalize even though your rational mind knows they’re screaming “S/HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU”, like papercuts to the heart; the desperate need not to let go, even though all signs point to “it’s over”; the crushing heartache that comes when you find out they’ve moved on to someone new. It’s so real, even though it’s heightened because, you know, it’s a movie, and while we might feel like cartoon birds are landing on our shoulders, they most often do not. Well, at least in my experience.

Anyway, the movie was just wonderful. Simply divine. It was just quirky enough to be charming, but not so quirky that you’re like, “This movie is too much quirk and not enough actual humanity”, a territory that, even though I like it a lot, I think Juno veers into at times. 500 Days of Summer is just exhuberant. It approaches the idea of romance in a sincere, unironic and original way, which very few movies can pull off (Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind is the only other one I can think of at the moment). I take a few issues with the ending, but otherwise it’s a great film, and I recommend you all see it.

BUT, if you don’t feel like seeing it, do yourself a big favor and watch the movie’s best scene, a dance number to Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams.” (You can adjust the volume on the righthand side so that you don’t have to listen to the commentary, you can just watch the scene as it is in the movie.) You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll be smiling all day, I promise. I’ve watched it approximately sixteen times.

Confidential to James McAvoy: JGL is just one in my rotating stable of fake boyfriends, but what you and I have, my fake husband, is forever. Don’t ever forget it.

(What?)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (I sawed it!)

Posted on July 20th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Two years ago, I was in graduate school at the University of Chicago. Near the end of my program, I was working on my thesis (you might have heard of it, it’s this little book called All Unquiet Things, which I almost never mention on this blog but, you know, sometimes I do) and not taking very many classes and my internship at a small nonfiction publisher was winding down. I didn’t have a lot to do during the day anymore, so I went to the movies. A LOT. Like, I would see two movies at a time. This is how I saw Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End THREE TIMES in the theater (I used to take a snoozer through the part with Johnny Depp running away from sand crabs and talking to himself), Knocked Up twice, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix four times. FOUR.

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OoP is my least favorite Harry Potter book. It’s the longest, which isn’t that big of a deal, I’m certainly not afraid of reading or anything, but Harry is such a little brat for almost 900 pages and, like, I had younger siblings growing up. I’m pretty much done with that. It was realistic, but irritating. BUT. OoP was my favorite HP movie to date. I like Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets (I’m one of the few people who doesn’t bag on the Chris Columbus-helmed HP films every chance that they get, because I like them, although I do see how the movies have changed and grown and I like that), I’m okay with Prisoner of Azkaban, but I hate–HATE–Goblet of Fire. Because Goblet of Fire is my favorite HP book by far. I actually think it’s the best one. The movie is a woeful adaptation; it starts out okay, but it gets pretty thin as time goes on. I particularly hate the hatchet job they did on Barty Crouch Jr., who is the most compelling one-off character in the series and his subplot is something that really affects me.

Loved RPATTZ as Cedric, though. Poor kid.

normal_hp4d-4317Never forget!!!!!

So my expectations for OoP weren’t that great, but I was pleasantly surprised–it was my favorite of the entire movie franchise! I think because I wasn’t at all attached to the book, and had only read it twice, that I was forgiving in all the right places and very entertained. (I also appreciate that they toned down Harry’s attitude.)

I’m not particularly attached to Half-Blood Prince, the book, either, to be honest. I like it, but nothing will eclipse Goblet of Fire in my heart. So I was hoping that I would LOVE the movie, and while I was absolutely entertained and I love it in the sense that I always love spending time in that world, regardless of how I’m doing it, I didn’t adore it, looking backwards.

I will say, though, that OMG it was so beautiful! Definitely the best direction and cinematography and whatever else goes into making a movie just gorgeous to watch. It was also funnier than any of the other films. I particularly enjoyed Dan Radcliffe’s Harry high on Felix Felicis act, but there were so many comedic moments that it was always strange to recall that this is one of the darkest HP books.

But I also had some issues with the movie. I read in reviews, before I saw it, that the romances got a lot of attention, but even so, there is really not a lot about Ginny and Harry! I get that Ron/Hermione is everyone’s favorite romance, but I think the Harry/Ginny romance is important, too, and I don’t know why they didn’t focus on it a little more. I was sad that they didn’t actually get together in this movie, like they do in the book, and they only had the one kiss. Sort of silly, really, considering how much “Won-Won” time we had with Lavender (who was, btw, brilliantly cast).

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Also, was it really necessary to cut the entire battle scene at the end? I heard that they were like, “Well, there’s an identical fight scene in Deathly Hallows,” but you know what? We won’t actually see that fight scene for two years! Plus, the Battle of Hogwarts is a completely different animal than the HBP fight scene. And considering the fact that the Half-Blood Prince plot is basically ignored, outside of the necessary, Snape’s revelation that he is the Half-Blood Prince isn’t even that big of a deal! I was at least expecting that scene where Snape, after finding out Harry used the sectumsempra curse on Malfoy, demands to see his potions textbook and Harry (having hid the HBP version in the Room of Requirement) gives him Ron’s, and there’s that whole tense standoff that sets up the fact that Snape is involved with the HBP in some way. But it never happens! So you end up totally forgetting that the HBP is even in the story until Snape is like, “Oh, btw, I’m the Half-Blood Prince.”

BUT. There was a lot of great stuff in the movie. My favorite scene was the one between Harry and Hermione, with the birds (I wish we could’ve seen her conjuring those up). The Harry/Hermione relationship has always been one of my favorites, because they are such good friends to each other. The way they talk about their unrequited love for Ron and Ginny and cuddle up together on the stairs in sad sympathy is really sweet.

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And Luna, who was, as always, amazing. I mean, look at this kid. She’s a star.

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I think those are enough HP thoughtsicles for today. What did everybody else think?

More blog goodness

Posted on July 14th, 2009 by annakjarzab

This is a small thing, but I’m very excited about it–Eric added a little feed to the left sidebar of the blog, so you can see whenever a new A Team post goes up! Of course, you could also add the feed to your Google Reader, but whatever works for you.

Also, I don’t know if anyone cares about this, but I’m going to start doing yoga at the YMCA I think. I’ve never done yoga before, so it’ll be an interesting experiment. I just feel like I need a period of relaxation a few times a week to relieve stress and breathe deeply.

Oh, and one more thing. Remember how in April I cohosted a Monday night trivia game with my friend Tony? Well last night, I did it again! This time with considerably less butterflies, but I still read too fast and not loud enough. (ME? NOT LOUD ENOUGH? SURELY YOU KID. But no.) It went okay, though, and I seem to have stumped my friends with some Qs, so that’s good. Afterwards we went to Artichoke for pizza, which I’ve probably mentioned before but it’s definitely a go-to if you’re ever in NY. 14th St between 2nd and 1st Aves, you guys.

Anyway, here are the questions for the round, this time themed Kings and Queens. See how many you get right!

1. Executed on February 12, 1554 at the age of eighteen, which British monarch holds the record for England’s shortest reign at less than two weeks?

2. In chess, the chess piece relative value system conventionally assigns a point value to each piece when assessing its relative strength in potential exchanges. Which piece has an indeterminate value?

3. Speaking of chess, in Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, Alice is challenged to a game of chess by the Red Queen, who forces Alice to play opposite her as a pawn on the white side of the board. Helena Bonham Carter, predictably, plays the Red Queen in Tim Burton’s upcoming live action Alice in Wonderland–what Oscar-nominated actress plays the White Queen?

4. Coterminous with Kings County, the borough of Brooklyn would be the fourth largest city in the United States (behind New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago), with 2.5 million residents, if it was an independent city. In which decade did Brooklyn consolidate with New York City?

5. In the 2006 film The Queen, what kind of animal does Queen Elizabeth II, played by Dame Helen Mirren, attempt to save after hearing news of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales?

6. On the east side of the turtle pond in Central Park there is an equestrian monument, commissioned for the 1939 New York World’s Fair and installed permanently in the park in 1945. The statue commemorates the victory at the medieval Battle of Grunwald by what country’s king?

7. Although the British rock band Queen had hit number one on the UK charts previously with “Bohemian Rhapsody”, what was the group’s first number one hit in the US?

8. There are four kings in every standard deck of playing cards, one of each suit. Which suit’s king is also known as the “suicide king” because he appears to be sticking his sword through his head?

9. Which 2004 teen comedy was based on the nonfiction book Queen Bees and Wannabees?

10. The role of Carrie on CBS sitcom King of Queens, played by Leah Rimini, was almost offered to another actress, who eventually turned it down for a supporting role in a comedy on a rival network for which she won two Emmy awards. Name this Broadway and television star.

Highlight between the brackets to see the answers: [1. Lady Jane Grey, the Queen of Nine Days, 2. The king, 3. Anne Hathaway, 4. 1890s, 5. A stag (deer), 6. Poland, says so right there on the plinth, 7. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, 8. The King of Hearts, 9. Mean Girls, 10. Megan Mullally]

Maintenance

Posted on July 13th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Sigh. We had some ish on the site that carried over into the weekend, which was fairly annoying. First, the site was down and I couldn’t even access the WP dashboard. Then, when we checked into it, Dreamhost said:

I’ve checked into why you’ve been receiving these internal server errors, and it seems your scripts have been getting automatically killed by our Process Watcher due to your sites going over Memory limits on the shared server.

Huh? I don’t even know what that means. We didn’t exactly know how to fix it, so Eric uninstalled all the plugins, including the reCaptcha which normally filters out spam, so I got tons of spam this weekend on the site. Blerg. I’ve deleted it all, but sorry if you saw any comments about NSFW things gifted to me by the spambots this weekend–reCaptcha has been reinstalled and all appears to be well in the kingdom.

aHm, okay, back to business. Apologies to Deltay, to whom I have still not mailed the AUT prize pack because it requires me to go to the post office and I am lazy. But I will do that soon! I promise. If it makes you feel better, I bought a retro flip clock on eBay and I wasn’t there when it was delivered to my house, so now I have to go pick it up at the post office, although God knows when I’ll have time to do that, since I can go to the post office near my work to ship but can only pick the package up at the post office near my house, where I almost never am EVER, at least not during reasonable business hours. It’s cute though, huh? Let’s hope they haven’t sent it back to Hong Kong already.

Um, what else? Oh, I answered Jacqueline C.’s AUT contest question on The A Team today. The question was: Did All Unquiet Things turn out to be the book you thought it would be when you first set pen to paper? The answer is: not really. For more, click the link and read all about it.