Checking in with Some Monday Randutiae

Last week, while stuck in traffic on I-95 in preparation for being extremely late to my trapeze conditioning class, I noticed that the leaves are starting to change. Hooray!

I’m reading a mystery by Ellis Peters called The House of Green Turf. I’ve been enjoying it from the first sentence: But for a five minute shower of rain, and a spattering of pennystone clay dropped from the tailboard of a lorry, Maggie Tressider would have driven on safely to her destination, that day in August, and there would never have been anything to cause her to look back over her shoulder and out of her ivory tower, nothing to make the mirror crack from side to side, nothing to bring any unforeseen and incomprehensible curse down upon her.

I wouldn’t generally recommend a 78-word opening sentence to a book, so why do I like this one? Because somehow, by the end of that first sentence, the setting, the protagonist, and the plot are all intriguing and real to me. The five-minute shower, the spattering of clay, the lorry — all nice touches that make the scene vivid. A driver with a destination that she knows but we don’t; a confident woman who’s about to lose all her certainty somehow. Words like “But for” and “would have” create suspense. Something terrible is about to happen, so I’ve got to keep reading. Yay!

In other news… thank the merciful heavens above, we have entered the Sergio Leone portion of our Western-watching. I’ve watched A Fistful of Dollars, rewatched The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and For a Few Dollars More is on its way to me. (Yes, I know this is the wrong order to be watching them.) If all Westerns were this beautifully lit and shot, this silent and occasionally funny, this well-scored, plus had a young Clint Eastwood marching around in a poncho looking imperturbable, maybe I could bear how racist, sexist, and flat the plots in this genre tend to be.

Nonetheless. I think Clint is supposed to look like a badass in this shot, but IMO only succeeds in looking like one of Santa’s helpers.

In more other news, my pal Deborah made me super happy this week when she linked me to this positive review of a new voice recognition product called Dragon Dictate for the Mac. Still not up to Dragon NaturallySpeaking standards, but getting there. I have been fantasizing about throwing MacSpeech Dictate in the garbage all week! (If you’re curious about my relationship with my dictation software, I blogged about it once.)

Finally, this blog post in which a writer refutes someone else’s list of reasons why it’s good to date writers CRACKED ME UP. Thanks, Tui, for linking to this! I especially love number 14.

And that’s it for today.