March 12th, 2007

God Bless America by Soraidh


Argh. I'd meant to post a big, general update over the weekend, but my internet access was wonky (i.e., non-existant). So, I'll probably write something tonight. For now, I'll just make my obligatory OMG I HATE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME IT IS SO STUPID mini-rant. What with one thing and another (mostly, I slept poorly last night, and I think it's because I was having Serenity dreams, having finally watched the film last night), I ended up not getting out of bed until 10.30 this morning. Which is just bizarre, especially on a Monday. And soon, it will be difficult to get Connor to go to bed, because, honestly, who the heck wants to go to bed when it's still light outside? /mini rant. Also, here's a quick quiz result, for the heck of it:

You Are a Smart American

You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.

I liked the quiz, except it's a bit annoying to not have the quiz tell me if I missed any. I had to go back and do some checking on the few questions I wasn't entirely sure about, and it turns out I only got one wrong. (The first state in the union; I'd given the answer for the first colony by mistake). And, one of the "correct" answers was wrong (it was obviously meant to be "correct," based on the alternate choices, so it is the one I chose, but it was still wrong, no matter which way you look at the question). Ah well. I guess unless I'm willing to while away all my time writing really high-quality internet quizzes, I shouldn't complain. :D So, yay! I'm a smart American. Like I need a quiz to tell me that. ;) Actually, I was relieved to score so well. Sometimes I worry my American history knowledge is a bit lacking. Not that this quiz really proves otherwise. Why am I even spending my time on stuff like this? :D I'm actually going to be doing a bunch of American history with Connor soon, so I'll be able to brush up on my knowledge.

ETA: Okay, so maybe my good score on that test wasn't just a fluke:

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!
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Reading to Dragon

"The City of Ember," by Jeanne DuPrau

"There is no place but Ember. Ember is the only light in the dark world."

This is a wonderful book, and is the current selection for my son's homeschooling bookclub. We enjoyed it so much that, after we'd finished it the first time yesterday afternoon, my son asked if we could read it a second time. His exact words were, "That was AWESOME! Can we listen again?" (So we are).

This post-apocalyptic young adult fantasy is set in a city which is powered by the subterranean river which runs north of town. The river powers the generator which provides all power and light. The lives of the citizens of Ember are completely dependent upon this all-important generator, as there is no natural source of light in the city (nor anywhere else, as far as the inhabitants of Ember know). The lights are turned on from six in the morning until nine at night, when the lights - all lights, everywhere - are extinguished for the night, leaving the city in a complete and inpenetrable darkness (no portable sources of light have been invented). Ember was once prosperous, with a seemingly endless store of supplies which had been provided by "the Builders" more than 200 years ago. But now, these necessary supplies - canned food, clothes, paper and pencils, and (most important of all) lightbulbs - are becoming scarce. The condition of the generator is worrisome, as well. Unexpected power outages are becoming more common, and of longer duration, and no one is free from the worry that perhaps one day - one day soon - the lights will go out, and not come back on at all.

Lina and Doon are both 12 years old, at the age when they enter the workforce for the first time. Doon is concerned about the state of things, and soon Lina realizes that his reasons for concern are valid. But how can they possibly help? Then a surprise discovery leads to a mystery which they believe holds the key, but can they solve it in time to save the inhabitants of Ember?

SPOILER WARNING: The stuff behind the cut contains (mostly vague) spoilers for the end of the book.

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While reading this book, I couldn't help but think it could be turned into a wonderful film, and it also seemed well-suited to a computer adventure game (something along the lines of "Myst"), with puzzles to be solved, underground places to be searched, and findings to be understood. A great adventure story, on top of everything else. 4.5/5 stars.