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“So let me get this straight. If we’ve had good sailing weather along the river, it’s because the Sky Mother has been nice enough to bless us with it, and we should leave her an offering in thanks. If we’ve had a storm, it’s because she’s been pissed off at us for some reason, and we ought to placate her with an offering. Either way, we end up offering--well, an offering. So what’s the difference, really?”

Senne gave him a wry smile. “Why do you imagine I’m not down there?”

Sandvich.

Well, it's been another year of life.



My teachers might have told me I was old before my time, but I've damn well managed to feel older anyway.

Catching up on reading.

Since my computer was down for the most of last week, I have happily been chewing through books at the rate of about four or five a day, in the hopes of getting something useful out of it and hopefully making my own writing a little less of a drag.

Some particularly good titles:

The House of the Stag
The Last Watch
The dragon with the girl tatto
o (Done by the author of The Chronicles of Blarnia and The Sellamillion. I will admit it, I have a lowbrow sense of humour at times. Avoid this if you don't.)

The rest were well, meh. Tried reading Lynn Flewlling. Almost threw up. I hate kissy-face of any sort, homo or hetrosexual, especially when it's given greater precedence over the threat to humanity/the world. Cue whining and longing descriptions.

The House of the Stag by Kage Baker.

Read this. Now.

Cursed Gard is an awesome character.

Evaluation.

Witchers are awesome.

Having tried both, I can also say Assassins are also awesome.

However, Witchers are MORE awesome than Assassins, and they have good literature about them.

Oh, and "do not swim"? That was absurdly easy, you don't even need to get near the water until the very end. =P

More things I learned about Norway.

All heartily endorsed by ye olde mighty and robust lass of viking descent. 

-You cannot have fully experienced Norway without stealing fruit from a neighbour.
-Similarly, it is essential that you eat brown cheese while in the country.
-Hay bales are perfectly viable siege weapons.
-There are no cockroaches in Norway.
-It is possible for a man and his tractor to plough all the fields in one end of town.
-Norwegian quails lay eggs that are blue and green inside.
-Contrary to popular fantasy novels, salamanders do not live in volcanoes, and instead make their homes in Norwegian swimming pools.
-Ducks are incapable of finding swimming pools. Either that, or they do not recognise them as bodies of water.
-One can secretly train a cavalry regiment.
-The middle of forests are good sites for kindergartens.
-Plates, pans and other utensils are apparently highly prized valuables.
-Bread and cheese are taken very seriously in Norway.
-Norwegians are very good at sorting out their recyclable trash. While commendable, this does not stop them from throwing gum, apple cores and food wrappers under the seats of their trains.

Edit: yet more things I learned:
-Norwegian boys cry sausages when camping in the woods at midnight.
-If you see a duck raping another duck, kick the duck.
 -People in Norway learn each other's names by hitting each other with a newspaper.

Adventures in Norway, part the First.

 Norway is big. And cold. Oh, and it's big, did I mention that? Well, not so much on the cold side during midday. It's also very wide open, which is quite quaint considering how back home it's quite hard to walk so much as fifty paces without bumping into a building that's at least fifteen storeys tall. At least it's hardly as dry as I'd imagined it'd be--I've hardly had to use the stick of lip balm I've brought along, so...

There are bugs here. That is not a surprise, considering how there are bugs everywhere in the world. What I do not have back in Singapore, though, are flyswatters, which even in the hands of an utter novice like me are exceedingly useful.
 
I suppose I really shouldn't be surprised, considering how this is supposed to be a rural area and that one of the points of me coming here is to trapise all about the countryside and get myself all dirty--within reasonable limits, of course. I may need to wash my clothes more often than I imagined I'd need to be, but then again my estimations were based on my time in the navy, where people let their camos turn from one-third to three-quarters brown before bothering to wash them. Ach, that was a terrible exaggaration, but I think I've made my point. Still, long walks in the forest--those sound perfectly wonderful, assuming one has insect repellent and a pair of long pants on hand.
 
Seeing a live horse being ridden only further raises the question of why people treat them like cars.
 
I have tasted taco soup. Strangely enough, it did not taste of chicken, and instead tasted like minestrone, probably due to the meat and beans that both share. I have the good word of a certain young and robust viking lady that this is indeed a traditional Norwegian dish, and I see no reason to distrust her on this issue, as opposed to believing all those youtube videos about potatoes and fish. Now the question of such mysterious delicacies such as fishcakes rolled in bread, school-bread and other edibles that do not happen to fall into the fast-food category remains, and perhaps I will be able to wheedle their treasured locations out of her before my time here is up.
 
I have been noticeably lax about taking pictures, but that is fine. I do not care, really. I suppose I will take something to prove to my parents that their money was not completely wasted on a complete ignoramus like me, but right now it is very nice to be able to talk to someone in person about writing and not have them politely smile and nod before dismissing me out of hand.
 
That is all I have to say for now on this subject.

A simple explaination:

I do not read Solaris books. I don't usually check out the publishers of novels I come across, so it's usually an after-the-fact thing, yet I can safely say I do not read anything put out by that imprint for the same reason I refuse to read anything put out by Wizards of the Coast, any novel that has a bimbo in black leather and tattoos on the cover, or indeed, any kind of novel that follows a certain formula.

The reason being that they are unequivocally BAD.

Given that Solaris is owned by Black Library, which handles Warhammer novel tie-ins, I shouldn't really be surprised. But suffice to say that every single novel bearing this imprint that I have had the misfortune to run into has either been vile (Bitterwood and sequels), inspid and confusing, with little coherence or character attachment (Iron and Flames, or something like that) or altogether too desperate to show that they're DIFFERENT (Every single damn book in Chronicles of King Rolen's kin).

Here's a hint: you don't show how AMAZING and DIFFERENT your conworld is by introducing within the first twenty pages four of your WONDERFUL and MYSTICAL made-up animals, expounding on them for paragraph upon paragraph, and give them names like "Ulfr" and "Foenix", and then expect me to be as fascinated by your totally different animals as you are.

Sorry, but if a genie popped up this very moment and told me I could earn millions and become a world-renowned author just by selling my sould and signing with this imprint, I wouldn't do it. My artistic integrity refuses to let me place my work, no matter how good or bad, alongside and be associated with the sugary, additive-ridden candy equivalent of speculative fiction.

Oh, dear Mother:

Why are you inexplicably upset with your son? You gave him a hundred and fifty dollars to buy some formal wear shoes, and he purchased a perfectly respectable and servicable pair for a mere forty.

Ach, can I not make good footwear-purchasing decisions?