Blog .:. May 2007 4 Entries

What literature says about values

28 May 2007 Comments

I find this teaser excerpt from LM Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside interesting, mostly for what it says about the type of book publishers thought would sell in 1985 (the book was originally published in 1920).

“Rilla-my-Rilla, what are you thinking of?”

“Everything is so changed, Walter,” said Rilla wistfully. “Even you—you’re changed. A week ago we were all so happy—and—and—now I just can’t find myself at all. I’m lost.”

Walter sat down on a neighboring stone and took Rilla’s little appealing hand.

“I’m afraid our world has come to an end, Rilla. We’ve got to face that fact.”

So the two sat there in the old valley until the evening star shone through a pale-grey, gauzy cloud over the maple grove. Walter felt, for the time being at least, that it was not such a despicable thing after all to dread the horror of war; and Rilla was glad to sympathize with him. It was one of the evenings Rilla was to treasure all her life—the first one on which Walter had ever talked to her as if she were a woman and not a child.

For those of you who don’t know, Walter and Rilla are brother and sister and the book is set during World War I.

I don’t know…. do kids today say “I want a book about the end of the world and a woman coming of age!” I get the feeling they say “Wizards! Pow! Magic! Kazaam!” This was one of my favorite books as a kid, and I was a little disappointed when I re-read that teaser text. It’s so… meh. Anyway. I find it interesting that that’s the part that was excerpted.

In other news, every kid should have to read Laurence Yep’s The Serpent’s Children.


For Sale—or not

10 May 2007 Comments

My family is not exactly having a garage sale this weekend.

What we are in fact doing is cleaning out the old house. It’s going up for sale, and there is… stuff… packed in there tighter than a scaredy cat behind a couch. Some of the stuff will go to the junk, some of it to Goodwill, and some is going to my Mom’s new house to be sold at the “official” garage sale in June.

But we figure, garage salers being garage salers, that if we have stuff on the lawn someone is going to stop by and try to buy it.

We know this, because four years ago we were throwing a wake after my dad’s death. It was a roast-and-toast him sort of party, because that’s the kind of guy he was and the sort of life he lived. For various reasons, we had to set everything up in the front yard instead of the back yard.

Within ten minutes of setting out a table, the first garage saler pulled up and strolled into the garage, brazen and a fake tan, and offered $50 for our grill. The one that had a fire going in it. With smoke rising and everything.

I was not entirely unhappy about this turn of events, because it meant that while everyone else tripped over each others’ toes in the kitchens, I got to sit on the lawn drinking beer and selling hot dogs to the hapless passers-by who apparently couldn’t tell a picnic from a yard sale. I made $10.

That’s totally true.

Anyway. It just proves that you don’t need to advertise garage sales. If it is on your lawn at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning, someone will buy it.

So I figured, what with this unofficial garage sale we’re having this weekend and the official one we’re having in a couple weeks, I should see if I have anything to sell. So I went to the storage shed where most of my stuff is still sitting and discovered I… don’t own anything.

I mean, I own a lot of books. A. Lot. Of. Books. And apparently some rugs and some towels and some throw pillows with giraffes on them. But for the most part, when I last moved, I culled my stuff ruthlessly: I was driving cross-country, and whatever couldn’t fit in my car was being mailed. Books mail for cheap. Everything else, not so much.

So in the ten minutes it took me to go through everything and see what I could put up for sale, I found… a little bell.

This is where the post gets horse-related. I bet you thought it wouldn’t.

The bell is made out of some sort of pottery/china and hand painted in a Southwestern sort of style. It’s sunset colors with silhouetted horses on it. It’s pretty enough, but in seven years I’ve never taken it out of its box. It goes from storage unit to closet to storage unit and one of these days it’s going to get broken in a move without ever being actually displayed. So. It’s for sale.

I have one meager contribution to the garage sale. I don’t know if I should feel proud that I don’t own a bunch of excess junk or if I should be bummed that I am not going to make any money towards the new-used couch I will need to buy in the near future.

Anyone want to pay $300 for this bell? That seems to be what used couches are going for around here.


I can’t even draw with a pencil

5 May 2007 Comments

Want some amusement? Over on the CoTH forum there is a 70+ page thread of horsey stick (ASCII) art.

I’ve read it in bits and pieces, and it gets pretty funny at time—among other things, they’re illustrating popular scenes from various movies and tv shows.

I am 1) astounded that people can actually create ASCII art at all and 2) amazed they can keep it up for over 70 pages.


My (Our) Public Private Live(s)

1 May 2007 Comments

I have been considering and reconsidering this post for some time. I’m not sure if all this thinking and rethinking is the mental equivalent of aging a fine wine or if, instead of fermenting into bubbly champagne, this means my original thought will have just… rotted. We’ll see.

On the whole, I’m a very private person. I think I’ve said that on here before. It begs the question of why I blog, because this blog is… well, I censor my posts to some degree but there’s still an edge of raw, spur-of-the-moment posting. I’ve never said anything I would regret saying in line at a local tack store where anyone could overhear me (“Did you hear what Halt Near X said? She wants to name a horse Bartleby! Can you imagine?!”), but I do post things I wouldn’t necessarily talk about—that is, pretty much every reflective post on where I’m at with my lessons. Such things are valuable to me (it helps me tremendously to write through something, even when I’m belaboring an obvious point or getting it wrong, because… that’s how I learn, basically); they may be interesting to others, but I’m not holding out any hopes that millions of readers are going to stop by to find out what I ate for breakfast this morning.

I find blogging in general this fascinating mix of private thoughts in a public sphere. And not just the act of blogging: the degree to which bloggers decide to remain anonymous or “out” their identity. This blog is pseudo-anonymous—you either have to know who I am or you need to be fairly lucky with Google to find my professional sites (none of which are horse related and, if you found them, would only leave you wondering—still—“Halt-Near-Who?” Don’t bother looking. Trust me). Or, you know, you ask me who I am and I tell you. I’m so bad at keeping secrets. I know others have chosen to make their identity public, and I know a few who believe they are truly anonymous, but… but they probably aren’t. That’s another topic altogether. But somehow we all find our comfort level with what we’ll make public (whether that’s our thoughts and/or our identity) and what we keep private (whether that’s certain topics and/or our identity).

On another facet of this: it’s not just that we put our private lives out there. It’s that we invite the public to share in them actively. Comment on my blog! Allow me to post about this training problem: what would you do? Here are some videos of my riding. Aren’t I great?! Here’s a foaling camera; watch the miracle of my mare’s pregnancy with me!

This can backfire. In recent months, I’ve seen this backfire in any number of ways, from death threats to people showing up announced at other peoples’ farms, to… oh, all sorts of things. Every time it backfires, I rethink what I’m doing on the internet—and what I would do in the future.

But for the most part, of course, this public private internet life turns out well. We interact with people we would never have known existed otherwise. I’ve met some people I first “met” online; several remain good friends today. None of them turned out to be ax murderers or tried to kill me, although that could be because my ax is bigger, with a custom handle, and sharp enough to cut silk just by being in the same room. Heh. Just kidding. Probably.

I’m not sure where all this is going. Perhaps it’s just a general “Isn’t this fascinating?” post. I am intrigued by that private/public line in our lives, and what people are (or aren’t) comfortable doing or saying online. For the most part, I can tell you I’m here blogging because I’m interested in communication and contact with other horsey people, with a healthy dose of egotistical “Me! Me! Me!” thrown in.

And, you know, for all that fame and fortune I’m going to have once my blog is “discovered” and I hit the big time. *snort*


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