Tech decisions

I had an 80gb Ipod Classic, which lasted me at least 5 years, maybe six. I think I bought it in 06 or 07. It died earlier this year and I’ve been trying to make do with my phone. I have a great phone. I love it. I’m not going to buy the Iphone 5 because I have everything I need on the phone… except Itunes. Pretty much everything is covered on my Android (Galaxy Nexus) but a good music management + podcast app in one, and I want to be able to watch the videos I have bought on Itunes, too. (I have unlimited data, so most of what I watch on my phone—at lunch, for example, or while out walking to/from the train—is streamed on Hulu or Netflix, but you can’t stream underground on the subway, and you can’t read on the subway ALL the time; not to mention Doctor Who doesn’t stream current episodes here in the States, at least.) I can’t figure out how to make any of the Android podcasting apps work right for my podcast playlists (I make playlists of Talk to Me in Korean lessons, for example, that I want to listen to in order); Google Music can’t seem to figure out that no, the order is NOT Lesson 1, Lesson 10, Lesson 11, Lesson 12, … Lesson 2, Lesson 20… No app that promises to import well from Itunes has done it right, and I’ve tried several. It’s all a big headache.

So my plan is to go back to what was working: my phone for everything but music and the occasional offline video or game.

Which leads us to the choices:

  • 160 gb classic—will hold everything, but tiny video screen for porting around the few offline videos I want (Doctor Who and a few old anime series), being able to watch video on the subway. This is pretty much what I used my old dead Ipod for, except it was 80gb. Nice room to grow for new music, and more. I liked the clickwheel for a few old-fashioned games, too.
  • Ipod Touch. Don’t ever plan to get an iphone, but I wouldn’t mind a Touch as a secondary device. Biggest possible size is only 64 gb, though, which is part of the problem with my phone (it’s like a more expensive version of a shuffle, which is silly), but at least I could move all the music there, and everything else would stay on my phone. More expensive for less storage space, but a nice big screen for an ipod (but as a phone/streaming device/most apps I use, my Galaxy still has Iphone beat). I wouldn’t mind trying out the camera, too–from what I can tell, it does seem to have better optics than my cell phone camera (though either would just be for snapshots; I use my SLR for important pictures, but I don’t carry my SLR around with me—the dang thing is too heavy for everyday use).
  • Buy an older Ipod off e-bay or whatever for cheap. Who cares about screen size if you can get the same thing you’ve been wanting your poor dead ipod to do for months, and not finding a good alternative in what you’ve got on hand? (Though I note that someone thinks they can get $268 out of me for a Classic that only costs $249 brand new on Apple’s site).

If you were me—and by that, I mean relatively poor, have no need to changes phones (just upgraded to my current phone in April), had my usage patterns, etc.; I truly mean if you were me, not if you with your own set of circumstances were in a position to have these choices, if that makes sense—which would you choose?

I’m leaning toward the Touch, but that feels super extravagant when I already have a phone that does most of what the Touch does. The only real advantage to it is the screen size, and how often would I use it?

There is ONE more option, I suppose, which might work, as far as having portable Itunes, but it’s an option I wouldn’t be able to afford for a while: an Ipad. It’s certainly an idea I’ve toyed with, but it’s also the least portable of the options (I can’t clip it to my waist and go for a bike ride, which I always did with my ipod), and the most expensive.

So… you’re now in my shoes. What would be your vote?


Because you know you want to see kitten pictures

Long weekend ahead! I’m really looking forward to enjoying the freedom that I’ve inherited (remembering those who died in the Armed Services) by putting some final touches on my not-so-new-anymore apartment, like hanging pictures on the walls and getting that last set of curtains up. I should probably put the AC in as well. And finally see all those movies I’ve been meaning to see, like Avengers and Hunger Games. And all those manuscripts I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten to yet. Not to mention published books.

I’m starting to exhaust myself just planning the weekend.

I also need to give the house a thorough spring cleaning because I’ve been fostering a kitten.Not that he’s gone yet—he still needs to find a home—but having three cats in this house is making the place stink, even when I’m vigilant. I’m sure there are things I can do to streamline the cleaning process while he’s here, but it’s going to mean some organizing over the long weekend.

At any rate, it occurred to me that I haven’t posted anything about this here, and that I should, just in case anyone is out there ready to give this little guy a forever home (and I’ll probably do the adoption through a local pet rescue just to be sure, perhaps Kitty Kind, to be sure the home he goes to is committed to him). Three cats is okay for temporary measures, but it’s just too much for this little apartment long term. Cute as the little guy is, I can’t commit to him  long-term—it’s not fair to the two I already have, and he needs someone who can.

Here’s the info I’m giving to the rescues as I try to figure out how to list him so that potential owners can find him (Petfinder doesn’t do classifieds anymore and Craigslist feels kind of sketchy for pets, but I could be wrong):

Name: Harlem (because that’s where he was found)

Age: 10-12 weeks

Found: at 7 or 8 weeks in a laundromat at 149th and Broadway in Harlem, where he was dirty and starving, probably abandoned by a human because he didn’t have fleas or other signs of having been on the streets all his life, though he did have a distended belly; he hadn’t eaten for long enough that it took him 3 days to poop after being given appropriate food and water. He is now healthy and happy after a vet visit in which he was tested and came out FeLV/FIV/Heartworm negative, and after antibiotics for his cold and some deworming.

Personality: Lively and hilarious, kind of mischievous! He loves to cuddle–though not when romping about the house, of course. He loves to dash from hiding place to hiding place so you can’t catch him, but he’ll come out for his favorite toy, the ball that runs around in a track. He’s just at that kitten age where he’s discovering all the things he can do, like jump high, which makes tossing him toys and playing with feathers on a stick a lot of fun, but also means that he can now get on kitchen counters. He’s pretty friendly with my two older cats (both 6 years old), though right now he’s teething, which means he needs some patience and some good chewy cat toys for his need to chew/bite when playing. It took him a little time to warm up and want to play with us–at first he just wanted to cuddle, probably because he was sick. But now that he’s gotten all the food and medicine he needs, he’s just a sweet, lovey baby cat who acts like most kittens–mischievous, hilarious, cuddly, and occasionally needing some patience and guidance.

Harlem when he came here to live 3 weeks ago

(sorry, these aren’t the best shots–they’re just cell phone shots in low light)

And how he’s grown in only three weeks!


And just in case you didn’t see me post it last night, check out the cover for one of our fall titles, Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall:


Passive aggressive spam

I was just checking my spam filter, as I occasionally do, to be sure that I haven’t overlooked some real people making real comments. Some of these bots are getting to be nearly indistinguishable from real people if you weren’t really paying attention to the URL attached to the comment and weren’t that great at English to begin with. But sometimes they’re just a work of passive aggressive art, and I thought you’d get a kick out of the best specimen or two.

I haven’t checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

I love how I “deserve” their attention now that I’m no longer boring.

Exactly. I imagine it is. Very good stuff, I agree totally.

Exactly what “it” is this spammer is agreeing totally with, I have no idea. But they think I’m dumb enough to approve their comment so they can link to a spammer directory.

The one below that was a comment telling me that Apple was much preferable to the Zune… which Microsoft killed how long ago??

And in the “flattery will get you nowhere, especially when you make no sense” category:

Im a huge fan already, man. Youve accomplished a brilliant job generating positive that people have an understanding of where youre coming from. And let me let you know, I get it. Excellent stuff and I cant wait to read extra of one’s blogs. What youve got to say is significant and needs to be read.

And, of all things, a new one is trying to tell me they posted certain posts on Reddit! Really?

By the way, the new version of WordPress has a nice preview feature when you hover over a URL in the spam filter, so you don’t have to click on the link and worry about infecting your computer with a virus or something. VERY nice feature, WP!

Livejournal fixed

Apologies to those of you on LJ who just got 10 or 12 posts in a row from me. Those are from the last three months, in which my LJ importer hadn’t been working. I figured for those of you who haven’t been going to my main site from an RSS reader, some of you might want to catch up, and there was no way to update the posts on LJ without them going into the timeline (it kept giving me an error message saying to post the most recent post as out of order or to re-post my older posts out of order, but there’s no option in the importer on WordPress to post something out of order).

At any rate, the problem seems to be fixed now, and going forward, you should get posts from me at the same time they’re posted on my main blog. Let this post serve as a test of that theory, at any rate.


I’ll have some pictures from BEA, hopefully, if my phone hasn’t corrupted them all, but until I figure all that out, here’s a fun one for you. I’ve posted before about how I’m currently in a Korean drama phase. Here’s one that will have enough action/sword fights/political intrigue for any fan of epic fantasy (though this is realistic) and enough romance for those who like their epics with love triangles. Set in the Joseun period of Korea’s history. I hadn’t realized before seeing this that Korea had a history of slavery, so that adds an extra layer to all the other things I’m learning (of course, taking everything with a grain of salt, given that any historical fiction will take artistic leeway and  not necessarily be a true reflection of what really happened in real life).

The fight scenes are particularly cool to watch—integrating this fast-beating metal sound that’s completely anachronistic, but doing it so much better than, say, A Knight’s Tale, which I know a lot of friends loved.

Don’t believe the Hulu description, though—it conflates the brother of the heroine and the former-army-general-turned-slave. Here’s the DramaWiki description, which is a lot more useful.

Chuno follows the story of Lee Dae Gil, a man of high birth whose family was ruined when Won Ki Yoon, a slave, burnt down his house and escaped with his sister, Un Nyun, who was in love with Dae Gil. Driven by his desire for revenge, he survived his harsh years on the street and made his name as a slave hunter, dedicated in his pursuit to find Un Nyun, his first and only love. Song Tae Ha is a General of the Army who became a slave after being falsely accused of a crime he did not commit, and finds himself on the run from Dae Gil’s relentless pursuit. Both men become entangled in a love triangle with Un Nyun, who is no longer a runaway slave, but Kim Hye Won, a nobleman’s daughter.

Wikipedia’s description is a lot more detailed, if you are a little lost at the beginning. At first it was hard to keep certain characters straight, because it is definitely EPIC—but I’d suggest referring to Wikipedia only if you don’t mind a few spoilers, because some of what’s revealed in the Wikipedia description is only revealed in episodes 5, 6, or 7.

So, if you need another TV show to watch (as if any of us do, I suppose), check this out.

This won’t work on LJ or FB, so if you’re reading it there, click to my main site to see the first episode embedded right here:

Korean dramas

On the recommendation of a friend, I watched an episode of a Korean romantic comedy, The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, describing it as “a Korean Sex and the City, but perhaps with less sex, and funnier.” You might have heard me gushing about it on Twitter. It was HILARIOUS, so I must share it with you, and now I’m on to discovering other K-dramas, as apparently they’re called. There are a bunch of them on Hulu. What’s interesting is the next one I’m interested in checking out, Boys over Flowers, is based on a Japanese manga and anime series. Which of course makes the anthropological side of me wonder about the pop-culture bleed-over between Asian nations, and so forth.

Here’s the first episode. Maybe you’ll be as hooked as I am. You *have* to at least get as far as the asphalt incident.

Speaking of anthropological curiosity, I was especially interested in one particular thing I had never heard of from any of my Korean friends (including two Korean roommates)—it just never came up in conversation, I suppose: the Korean spa. There’s a part of TWWSWtM in which one of Shin Young’s suitors, Sang Woo, swears he’s going to wait outside for her all night if she doesn’t come downstairs. (They’re very proper about guys never going in the girls’ apartments, which is why later there’s a sort of scandal when… But I won’t spoil it! You have to see it!) But it’s winter, and she tells him he’ll freeze out there. So he says he’ll wait all night at the spa by her house instead. And this spa! I’ve never heard of such a thing–there’s this room in it where men & women are assigned gender-color-coordinated shorts/shirts that look kind of like mini-scrubs, and people just lie in the room and sleep. And there wasn’t any context! This baffled me, and no one I asked could explain what kind of spa lets people sleep there all night.

But at last the mystery is solved. I went out for Korean barbecue with some friends the other night and the subject of this show came up, so of course I had to ask: had anyone heard of such a thing?

And they had! And of all things, there’s one in Queens! Fascinating. I’ll have to try it out at some point.

It was also hilarious to me as a 30-something professional woman. I sympathize with the three main characters greatly, especially as a fairly feminist member of a pretty conservative culture (Mormonism). Much like Shin Young, no matter how well I do in my career, for many people, the thing that defines me is that I’m an old maid. But if I end up being Miss Rumphius in my old age, how can that be a bad thing?


A friend shared this article with me recently, delving into a decades-long experiment trying to recreate the domestication of pets in foxes—and succeeding, faster than they had anticipated. I found it fascinating, especially because I’d just recently seen something about the discovery of a burial site that dates back to before pets were domesticated, and foxes were buried with all the care that a family member might be along with their owners. It  makes me wonder why they gave up on domesticating foxes if they are capable of being domesticated. The article I read posited that foxes could only be domesticated up to a point, which would have explained why people turned to wolves.

Now I can’t find the original article to link, though. But here’s a Time article that covers the same thing.

Can you believe it’s been two months?

Spring is in the air. It’s been raining for the last several days, but it seems to be clearing up.

While there hasn’t been much to post about, I’ve been quite busy behind the scenes. The nice thing about starting a new imprint is the lack of interruption. I can read and read and read without worrying about copyedits, covers, marketing meetings, and other interruptions. However, that also means my day looks the same day in and day out for right now, which is rather boring for blog consumption. And sometimes you like your day being a bit broken up. It’s great to have all this time to read, but it’s also nice to have books in various stages, allowing you to switch up your day when one thing becomes too fatiguing.

So my days have mostly been read manuscript, write editorial letter, rinse, repeat. I’m slowly working my way through full manuscripts that I’ve requested, reading new partials, and hopefully working toward those first acquisitions. (By the way, if you haven’t heard back from me and have been wondering why, you’ll want to know that Lee & Low’s company policy is to only respond to submissions if we’re interested. I’m afraid the volume of submissions is such that it’s the only way to keep the workload manageable.)

Edited to add: Here’s a great illustration of what my days tend to look like to an outsider!

I also find it easier to post quick thoughts on Twitter rather than putting together full blog posts nowadays. I’ll continue to blog—and once we have acquired a book or two, I’ll definitely want to talk about them more in depth!—but if you want to have more frequent updates, you’re welcome to follow me on Twitter. I’m more likely to share publishing-related links there, because that’s where I often find them (and it’s quicker to retweet something in 140 characters or fewer via Tweetdeck than it is to go to the blog, sign in, click “new post,” figure out what commentary I might have on it, figure out what category it might fall under, and post a blog post). Of course, I might want to do that for a number of things, but posts that were link-heavy have mostly migrated to the Twitter form, at least for me.

Speaking of reading and reading, I just finished reading an awesome manuscript and needed a rest, but now it’s time to dive back into the piles of paper on my desk. Or back into the Sony Reader (which I should post about at some point—that’s something new for me that I haven’t mentioned here!), depending on which book I’m going to read next. I need to let my thoughts percolate a little while before diving into my notes for the previous book.

How are things in your neck of the woods? I haven’t been on LJ lately to read friends’ posts and I forget to read my RSS feeds often, so I’m afraid I’m quite behind on everyone’s doings! It’s hard to believe I’ve been in New York two months already, and it’s made me realize how tunnel-visioned I’ve been lately. But it’s been a good tunnel vision—I’ve had some really awesome books to read lately.

Adding these to the list of anime

Since we talked about anime a few months back, I’ve been watching a few more that I’d recommend. I’m only a bit into most of the first few—I’m watching several at a time through Netflix, so I’m staggering the discs.

SPOILER WARNING: I’m linking to the Wikipedia articles about these anime and the manga or light novels they’re based on. Sometimes there can be spoilers on these pages with no warnings, so proceed with caution. There are no huge spoilers in my descriptions—everything I mention is mentioned in the descriptions of the anime on the Netflix or Hulu page—but those of you with low spoiler thresholds have been warned.

DN Angel (more, including content/age range info & no spoilers, at Anime News Network)—I’m just starting this one through Netflix and it’s been making me giggle. Daisuke Niwa is a pretty normal 14-year-old kid who turns into a notorious thief when he sees the girl he loves, and he can only turn back when he’s won her love in his thief form. His mom and grandpa as accomplices are hilarious.

Darker than Black (more at ANN)—also just started this one (have only watched the 1st disc so far) and it’s okay. Definitely at least PG-13 for gore in some places–don’t recommend it for kids. The stars have gone out and are replaced by the “stars” of what they call “contractors,” people who have a superpower that is constrained by a habit they hate. So, someone who can manipulate water, for example, might be required to smoke, that kind of thing. I’m still trying to figure out the thread of the plot on this one.

Tactics (more info at Anime News Network)—LOVE this one so far. Also only past the first disc, but it’s really great so far. I would LOVE to see a YA novel focusing on this kind of folklore—Shonen Onmiyouji (ANN), another anime, also features the same kind of concept, a boy/man who can see spirits and banishes them using traditional Japanese methods (which I believe, but I’m not sure, are based on real Shinto practices—someone correct me if I’m wrong). (Nevermind, I will correct myself—if Wikipedia can be believed, Onmyodo was a spiritual practice in and of itself, but influenced by Shintoism as well as other religions.)

Point being: We’ve had plenty of YA books in which teens can see spirits or demons or fairies. But I’d love to see one set in Japan or using these kinds of Japanese folkloric influences. I think it makes a familiar story into something completely different, something fresh and new to a U.S. audience. (As always when I hope for stories like this, do your research and know the culture!)

Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok—halfway through this one. Pretty great so far. Anime News Network’s plot summary: “Loki, the Norse god of mischief, has been exiled to the human world for what was apparently was a bad joke. Along with being exiled, he’s forced to take the form of a child. He’s told the only way he can get back to the world of the gods is if he can collect auras of evil that take over human hearts, and so to do this he runs a detective agency. Loki is soon joined by a human girl named Mayura who is a maniac for mysteries, and she soon helps out in her own way. However, soon other Norse gods begin to appear, and most have the intent to assassinate Loki for reasons unclear.”

Kyo Kara Mao! (ANN’s take on it here)—yet another one I’m not far into but love so far. Another giggle-worthy one. Main character Yuri Shibuya is flushed down a toilet into a parallel world where he is proclaimed the Demon King and accidentally proposes marriage to another guy by slapping him on the face for insulting his mother. Hilarious to watch him try to navigate a culture so different from his own (which is what parallel-world fantasy is all about, though it’s not always supposed to be funny). The more serious plot arcs are great, too—Yuri has no idea what he’s doing as a king, and he tries to avoid war between demon and human kingdoms, which baffles a lot of people.

R.O.D. the TV (ANN link)—Actually, I covered this one in my original post.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (ANN link)—somehow this one got left off my last list. Watch this one! It’s hilarious. Only 12 episodes, I think, so a relatively quick watch.

M0onPhase (ANN link)—A hilariously different take on a vampire story. I love the relationship between Kouhei and Hazuki. And the opening sequence is hilarious. I’m only about halfway through this one on Hulu—I discovered it over the holiday break and haven’t had time to go back to it. (Reading subs makes it harder to do other things while watching. I love listening to the Japanese inflections, but listening to dubs (even bad ones) makes it easier for me to accomplish other things at the same time.)

I also re-watched Fruits Basket recently (it’s on Hulu!) and again recommend it to anyone. It’s a classic YA fantasy story.

I really wish there were a second season of Ghost Hunt available (this one’s on Hulu, as well). From what I can tell, it was written by the same woman who wrote Twelve Kingdoms, which might be why I like it so much.

Absentee blogger

I’ve been rather absentee from the blog lately. I’ve been working on a number of things–catching up on critiques (for those waiting, thanks for your patience), finding a day job (paying the bills is a good thing!), apartment hunting and then rearranging my apartment to allow for a roommate, and a few other things. I don’t like to talk much about any of those things in detail on the blog–I have tweeted some about some of them, but not much–so I’ve been quiet here and bordering on inane on Twitter/Facebook.

None of those things have been resolved quite yet, either, so I’m probably going to continue to be quiet here for a while. It’s all I can do to just try to get everything done in a day, and then in the evenings I tend to be watching TV or doing similar things to decompress, which is what I’ve been tweeting about recently.

I did read Catching Fire as one of those decompression activities, though, and perhaps later this week I’ll post a review of it, if I get the time. Hopefully by mid-September things will have settled down a bit and I’ll have some news for you.