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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

There Are Worse Places to Be ...

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

There Are Worse Places to Be ...

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beer wine beer
... than Ocean City, Maryland, on a sunny day, in the low 80s F, with a brisk breeze blowing off the sea.

We arrived yesterday, having left Manchester at about 8 in the morning. We dropped the Goldens off at Bobby's parents' house the night before, so all we had to do was pack the car and hit the road.

It rained sporadically the whole way down, until we got about a half-hour out of OC--it takes us about three-and-a-half hours from Manchester--and then it was bright and sunny and beautiful. We got into town at about noon, stopped at Piezano's for lunch--they have the best pizza in the world, with the sauce on top of the cheese, as weird as that sounds--and then strolled around the Dew Tour, which was this weekend. The room wasn't ready, so we sat on the beach until evening.

It is hot in the sun but there is a strong breeze coming off the ocean that actually makes it a little chilly to sit in the shade of an umbrella on the beach. In other words, perfect beach weather. As I told Bobby, if I can moderate my temperature just by sticking a leg out into the sun, versus having to go out into the ocean, which is the only way to cool off later in the season, then that's perfect in my mind!

We drove across the bridge to West Ocean City for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant in OC, La Hacienda. There used to be a La Hacienda in Ocean City, but it closed; thankfully, it has a sister restaurant in Ocean Pines. They have an outdoor deck-bar, and there was a bona fide bar fight. We were sitting by the window overlooking the pond and the deck and so got to see the whole thing. It felt like being at work! The male server, who was about 18 years old, and the busboy, who was about 16, broke it up, so just like at work, it was probably more of a show put on in a safe place where the fighters knew they wouldn't actually be hurt before someone broke it up. (Our students are fond of waiting to fight until there are about a half-dozen of the biggest male staff in the room.) The manager told us that these people come in and cause drama frequently. She said she never saw the kind of drama at the OC restaurant that she sees since moving to the sleepy Ocean Pines' restaurant!

Last night, we walked about two miles on the Boardwalk, got on the ferris wheel, and went out on the pier (rebuilt since Hurricane Sandy took about a third of it) and watched a fishing boat come in and people catch various things off the pier. It is amusing and sad to go out onto the OC pier when people are actually catching things because their "knowledge" of sea life is so wrongheaded that it'd be comic if that ignorance didn't lead to people doing dumb things. The waters around OC are full of skates, which become stingrays--and therefore dangerous--in the minds of most people. Oh, and horseshoe crabs have a stinger as well. I was surprised to learn this, as was the horseshoe crab that got hooked on the pier last night.

Today we did lunch at Brass Balls and a long day on the beach. I am almost finished A Feast for Crows by GRRM. It's the usual GRRM: entertaining as all get-out at times, not very well written (if I read the phrase "fearsomely strong cider" one more time or if some overweight character "puffs" one more time, I might chuck the book into the sea), and punctuated by long dissertations on the various movements and goings-on of minor lords. GRRM really is an artist when it comes to random interval positive reinforcement. Just when you think you can't bear to read another account of how various minor characters are related to each other or another heraldic description, then he'll come out with something truly shocking and keep those pages turning.

Off to supper at a new restaurant now and back to the Boards for arcade games tonight!

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • Sounds relaxing. Well, except the bar fight part.

    It felt like being at work!


    I was surprised to learn this, as was the horseshoe crab that got hooked on the pier last night.

    HA. Interesting how those most ignorant are often most eager to share their "knowledge" with the rest of us.
    • Yes! It's very hard not to correct these people. But I don't want to start my own bar fight out on the fishing pier, of all dumb places. ;)
  • f some overweight character "puffs" one more time, I might chuck the book into the sea

    Hehe, that's how I feel about Tyrion's limp. And I'm only part-way through A Storm of Swords (because whenever the language gets particularly appalling, I get distracted from reading).
    • YES! Tyrion's "waddling" in the earlier books was replaced by the "puffing" in this book for me, only because Tyrion's PoV is not represented in Crows. (GRRM apparently had to divide the book in half and chose to do so by PoV, according to the note at the end of the book.) And Samwell Tarly is in this book a lot. 'Nuff said. :)
  • I am laughing at the bar fight. I can't think one I ever saw (a my ripe old age and with my checked past). The closest I ever came was wakes in my childhood at one of my great aunts' houses. I've seen plenty of street fights.

    The ocean sounds fabulous. It was crappy weather here today; briefly reached 94 mid-afternoon.

    Great description of GRRM. At least he has the courage of his convictions. I would be too afraid of my fandom critics to try to come close to pulling some of the descriptive stunts he allows himself.

    • This was my second bar fight! And I don't generally hang out in bars. Actually, I wasn't in the bar for either one. The other was when driving home one night and going past what I can only describe as a redneck bar, and two guys who'd been thrown out were duking it out in front of the door.

      I heard the weather was horrible in Baltimore too and saw your LJ post yesterday. Blech.

      At least he has the courage of his convictions.

      Lol! That's one way to put it! I tend to get an aura of self-importance from him. "I am GRRM! How dare you suggest I need editing!"

      Yet I keep reading the books, so the laugh's on me, I guess!
  • I am jealous of where you are. :P We've had downpours and flooding (and a river in the horse pen. I should point out that the horse pen is on high ground and nowhere near a water source).

    I've yet to read any of GRRM's books - or Jordan's, though one of my professors told me to read his (my professors are insistent on getting me to read and watch more fiction and tv).
    • Wow! It didn't rain a drop in Louisville yesterday.

      I hesitate to recommend Jordan; one of the later books in the series-- the one that made me give up on him-- I call the "characters sat around and blinked" book because he spent three chapters on each POV and no one did anything.
      • Is it raining there today? If it's just out here, I will sob in frustration. The pond is now reaching up into the yard.

        Hmmm...perhaps I'll put it on my "Pick up if find copy of a book for 25 cents at Goodwill" list.
        • It poured last night. It was just a weird weather pattern that meant it rained where you were and not here a couple days ago.
          • The weather here is always weird. I gave up on Southern Indiana/Central Kentucky having normal weather a long time ago...at least the river isn't horribly flooding.
    • Maybe this is the only place in the country where the weather is nice? I'm beginning to think so! I know it has been miserably hot in Baltimore up to NYC at least.

      GRRM ... like I said in the post, he keeps the pages turning for me. He is not a good writer, imo; he sustains interest in his stories with surprising plot twists and frequent character death. He is in serious need of an editor. I read him when I don't want to read anything that requires much thinking. Then I have to read several beautifully written things to wash my brain of him. (I have an Isabel Allende novel for the beach today! :)

      He gets a lot of attention for writing graphic sex, but what is in his books is mostly male wish-fulfillment, imo, and not near as graphic as what appears in much of fanfic, i.e., he will write a graphic lesbian sex scene but only hints at the homosexuality of Loras and Renly (who are more explicitly gay in the show). It is the graphic violence that I find much more noteworthy, and although there is a historical basis to much of what he writes, he really seems to relish writing it.

      I like the show much better. HBO turned up the sex, turned down the violence, and pared out much of what didn't need to be in the story in the first place.
      • I think it is! We got another storm today - it's quickly becoming ridiculous.

        Ah. I don't mind graphic violence. It's not exactly my cup of tea, but semesters of learning about it in classes have left me able to stand it in writing (whereas watching Dance of the Wolves in class was a traumatic experience, and after we did the first day, I had a panic attack and threw up). I might try reading it sometime - not sure about watching the show (though I'm not even sure where I would watch it! Aside from when I'm home, I don't even have a tv.)
  • OMG! Invasion of the Venomous Horseshoe Crabs!

    The pizza at Piezano's sounds sort of like Chicago-style deep dish. For those pies, the sauce is on top of the cheese.

    GRRM: *dies laughing* Spoiler alert - "...could give a groat." Yes, it is coming.

    Sounds like a very nice beach vacation.
  • I love the beach and the sea and that warm but not excessively hot temperature.

    GRRM: I read books 1, 2 and 3 and got completely fed up with his language and his descriptions and his stories of torture and violence that he enjoys so much. But you're right: when you're about to throw the book through the window, he comes up with something to catch your attention and keep you reading. But it's enough - I'm not interested in the TV show either which is a pity because it's visually very attactive*boycotting GRRM*
  • Sounds like a lovely beach day. I did not know horseshoe crabs have stingers either, and I've seen a number of them.

    Re: GRRM. I read the first 4 books and I don't think I'll continue. I literally threw the book across the room at the Red Wedding, but had to read on. It was when that creature ate off half of Brienne's face that I thought, 'you know, I've had enough of this.' He does have some great characters and good story-telling but I'd like to care more about what happens to them. I know he very proudly says he kills off characters so people won't think he won't do it, i.e. to up the suspense, but it seems a cop-out to me and it makes it harder to care too much about characters who may just die horribly or be maimed or . . . .
  • That sounds lovely!

    As for GRRM, I barely made it through the first book. Haven't and won't read the rest. It's not a good thing when I only care minutely about three characters and not at all about the rest. (And from what everyone's said about the other books, I'm glad I stopped where I did.)
  • Have a really nice time away from responsibilities and enjoy yourselves.

    Haven't seen a good bar fight since the last time I was in Texas, so its been a while.

    As for GRRM - I've read all of them and watched through season 2 (I get the DVD's a season late since I don't pay for the premium cable channels). As annoying as he might be and as much as he needs an editor, I actually like him. He's not afraid to write things in that are stomach-turning or cruel - life is not a bowl of cherries.

    As for Jordan, mentioned in some of the comments - WAY TOO BORING! At least GRRM usually moves the plot along - it might be plodding, but it goes places. Jordan takes forever to get nowhere. I liked book 1 and hated books 2 and 3, then I gave up on Jordan completely. Just think of all the trees whose lives I saved :-)

    - Erulisse (one L)
    • I'm about halfway through the latest of GRRM's offerings. Like you, I seem to have a more charitable opinion of him than many, although I still agree with upthread comments that he could definitely use an editor (he reminds me a bit of me before I edit myself ruthlessly TBH...I get too hung up on details). I don't take issue with his brutality and find it weirdly refreshing, if a bit alienating.
      • I don't take issue with his brutality and find it weirdly refreshing, if a bit alienating.

        I am always amazed and appalled by the cruelty that man can show towards his fellow man. GRRM isn't afraid to turn his back on Happily Ever After and go with the grit and the pain. It might turn some people's stomachs, but I think it is far more realistic for a wartime situation that is involving thousands of people than pussyfooting around the idea of pain, desolation, torture and death.

        I like the books, but yes - I'd like them even more if they were edited a bit more. So relieved that someone else is also not freaked out by GRRM's brutality.

        - Erulisse (one L)
  • It sounds very relaxing so far and... take pity upon the poor book, it can't help it that the writer is so darned repetitive.. ;)
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