31 January, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (70)

Hello, everyone! Teaser Tuesday again, which is a weekly, bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week, my teaser is from Imager by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. I'm not actually reading it since I'm between fiction at the moment, but it's the next book in my library stack.

(I'm not a huge fan of this cover--the text doesn't contrast well with the painting and boy does he look crabby--but it's interesting.)

I looked at the left side of her head, just forward and above the ear. Her hair had been a problem, because it was too bright to be captured fairly by any of the earthen reds, and the madder red would fade, while vermilion would darken at the edges where it touched the skin tones.
-p. 25

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What are you reading right now? Got a teaser or thoughts on it?


-----The Golden Eagle

30 January, 2012

Final Thoughts On Star Wars: The Original Trilogy

As you may know from reading my posts over the past couple of weeks, I've been watching Star Wars for the first time (go HERE for my thoughts on the first movie, and HERE for the second). I saw the final movie in the original trilogy, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, on Saturday.


After watching three movies, I cannot say I was completely bowled over by the series. Luke did not appeal to me, I wasn't utterly enamored by any of the characters, and by the last movie it felt to me like the scenes were too long and dragged. Also, most of it felt predictable; though that's probably due to the "Hero's Journey" formula and the fact so many people have copied the story.

But I am glad I watched them. I liked several of the characters (Princess Leia, Han Solo, R2-D2, Chewbacca, and I even thought Luke was okay by the end), and being a fan of Science Fiction, the world really interested me. (Plus, there's always the fact I won't be so clueless when people talk about the series and say something stupid that makes no sense in relation to the Star Wars universe.)

Overall, I would recommend watching Star Wars, if you haven't yet. They movies are a bit predictable sometimes and the main character, Luke Skywalker, may not always appeal, but it's still an interesting SF trilogy and a good adventure story.

As for the Prequel Trilogy, I don't think I'm going to run and watch those right away. I'm pretty sure I will in the future--since even if they're bad, part of me wants to find out just how bad--but for now, the questions I have about the history of the characters can wait.

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And now what am I going to watch?

Now I think I'm going to try and tackle that other well-known Star series, Star Trek; starting with The Original Series, because that's what the library has, and I figure it can't be a terrible idea to start with the original. Right?

Rest assured, I shall be back with commentary on that as well. :)

(Unless you'd prefer I wouldn't?)

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In other, unrelated news:


The A-Z April Blogging Challenge sign-ups have begun.

For those of you who may not have heard of this before, it's a challenge hosted by several bloggers (all of which can be seen HERE) where you post for every letter of the alphabet in April, so every day except for 4 days. Last year there were over 1,300 participants (or was it more?) and there's plenty of posting madness, but it's a blast. I've already added my name--I was a participant in 2011, and I am definitely looking forward to doing it in 2012!

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How about you? What did you think of Star Wars: The Original Trilogy?


Are you signing up for the A-Z Challenge, and/or have you participated in previous years?


-----The Golden Eagle

26 January, 2012

Top Writing Blogs Nominee!

I recently got an email from eCollegeFinder saying I was one of 75 blogs that made it into the voting round for the Top Writing Blogs Award.

You can view the list of 75 blogs and see each blog author's advice for students HERE.

And you can vote as many times as you want (yes, multiple times!) for your favorite writing blog on the eCollegeFinder site (there's also a button on the top of my blog, in sidebar) up until February 3, 5 PM EST.

So . . . if you find my blog a useful writing resource, I hope you'll vote for The Eagle's Aerial Perspective. :)


-----The Golden Eagle

24 January, 2012

Write Dreams

I hope you'll excuse me for skipping Teaser Tuesday this week, everyone. Instead, I have an interview with Marieke from the Write Dreams auction here to talk about Write Dreams and its mission.


How would you describe Write Dreams and its goal in one sentence?
Write Dreams is a kidlit auction to raise funds for Donna's Dream House, a charity that helps terminally ill children, to recover from an arson attack shortly before Christmas.

What inspired you to start the auction? 
Last year we organized Write Hope, to raise money for Save The Children, after the tsunami and earthquake in Japan. While this is a much smaller scale disaster, it happened a lot closer to home for one of us. Luna lives only a busride away from Blackpool and was horrified to hear about the arson attack, that destroyed a good part of the Dream House. She asked us to help set up Write Dreams and we were more than happy to oblige. Luna and I both know how important it is to make happy memories when there's time. She lost both parents by the time she was 13, and at the same age I had spent a lot of time in hospitals already. Amanda, on the other hand, knows how deep seeded the fear of one of her children contracting a terminal illness can be for a mother.

What is Donna's Dream House? 
Donna’s Dream House is a holiday home for children and teenagers with life-threatening or terminal illnesses, situated in the heart of Blackpool, UK. The Dream House is run completely by volunteers and encourages and sparks the imagination. It’s how any child would imagine the perfect holiday to be. It’s full of light and laughter, fun and - most importantly - life. Since it's start, Donna's Dream House has hosted and helped almost 380 families. 300 of those children have now sadly passed away, but the families who are left behind will always cherish the memories from Donna’s Dream House.

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The auction is currently ongoing and ends later this week, so don't forget to check it out!


-----The Golden Eagle

23 January, 2012

Chinese New Year, More Thoughts On Star Wars, And Other Random Things

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!


The year of the Dragon has arrived.

Dragons are, according to Wikipedia (and I hope you'll excuse me for using that as a source) "Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, easy going. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome."

What's your Chinese zodiac animal?

(Me, I'm a Rat.)

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Last week, I posted my thoughts on Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. Several of you said you wanted updates on what I thought of the movies, so here's another list of things I learned after I watched Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (and once again I shall endeavor to loose no spoilers, for readers who have not seen any Star Wars):

1. Yoda talks like Fozzie Bear--they're both done by Frank Oz, actually. I didn't know that before. My brain has trouble with this and I cannot picture that voice coming from Yoda after watching The Muppets. all I can picture is fuzzy and orange with a red and white scarf, not wise and green. This is what I was thinking while he was talking:

"Do or do not. There is no try. Wocka wocka!"

2. I don't really like Luke. He was interesting in Episode IV, but in V I just couldn't get very attached to him.  Half of the time I thought he should be doing more, and during the other half I thought he should stop what he was doing.

But I suppose it is the hero's journey, after all; it's supposed to show the character struggle and make mistakes. I'm hoping I'll like him more by the end of the trilogy.

3. And on the other hand, I like Princess Leia more and more. She's my favorite character in the trilogy so far.

Only one more movie to go in the original trilogy, now--hopefully my hold will come in at the library and I'll be able to watch it next weekend.

That just leaves the question of whether I should see the prequel trilogy. I'm not quite sure--a lot of you did not seem to enjoy it, based on last week's comments, and I'd hate to let something taint my opinion of episodes IV-VI. I put up a poll in the sidebar, so if you think I should or shouldn't, feel free to vote!

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Picnik is closing down. I'm very sad. Where else am I supposed to find a photo editing service that has a status bar that says "Buttering sandwiches", "Warming breezes", and "Applying sunscreen" to go with their outdoors theme? Or find all kinds of cool fonts/effects/stickers for images? Or have a blast playing around on the homepage? That site has a fun personality. Relatively few others do.

*sniff*

(But they are giving users access to all the Premium features--something you had to pay over twenty bucks for in the past. So that's a bonus . . . until they're gone on April 19th.)

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Since I know many of you readers are fans of The Hunger Games, I thought I'd mention that the awesome Larissa over at Howling Turtle is hosting a Hunger Games Read-Along. There will be people posting on different chapters of the books and THG-themed giveaways from January 29-March 21. Hop on over and check it out!




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So, what's your opinion of the hero's journey? Do you enjoy stories that follow that path, or do you think it's cliche/overused? What did you think of Luke Skywalker, if you've seen Star Wars?


And do you know of any good photo-editing sites?


-----The Golden Eagle

21 January, 2012

I'm A Saturday Savvy Sensation!

Laura Barnes at Laura B Writer has featured me HERE on her blog today.

Hope you'll stop by and check it out! (And follow her blog if you don't already, because it's awesome.)


-----The Golden Eagle

19 January, 2012

Does It Bother You If The Author Brings A Dead Character Back To Life?

Say the protagonist watches the love of their life fall off a cliff.

(Lewis Clark, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0 Generic)

Or, perhaps you read along as the antagonist stabbed one of the main characters through the heart with a sword. Maybe someone got poisoned or bitten. Maybe they disappeared under terrible circumstances.

Whatever happens, there seems to be a trend where the character will (surprise!) re-emerge later on in the book as not only alive, but thriving. I can see why authors would use this as a plot twist. There's nothing like finding out someone you thought was dead is actually alive and has been for a while.

However, I find that I begin to lose faith in the author after that. Particularly if a character's death was described--s/he stopped breathing or was wounded--and the living character(s) witnessed it, I can't help but feel like nothing that happens afterwords can be trusted. And while uncertainty is great for suspense and tension, if there's too much of it, then the story turns into a jumbled mess.

There are exceptions to being "alive", of course--vampires are dead to begin with and a lot of other Paranormal/Fantasy creatures are similar in that regard--but even those characters are usually subject to being killed permanently, and in many cases it sure sounds like the treatment they got was fatal.

Basically, after a certain point, it gets ridiculous. If you killed your character, they should stay dead. Unless there is a really, really good reason that goes beyond plot twists and emotional punches, you shouldn't bring someone back. (Some would argue that this is impossible in any context, furthermore, which is another issue--the characters' perceptions and beliefs on death and dying cannot suddenly change to accommodate another character's reappearance.)

What do you think? For you, how far can an author go in resurrecting characters before you lose faith in the story?


-----The Golden Eagle

17 January, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (69)

Hello, everyone! Teaser Tuesday is here again. This weekly, bookish meme is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules for participating:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser is from Mastiff by Tamora Pierce. I love this trilogy; I've had this book on my TBR pile since I heard there was a sequel to Bloodhound.

(I don't really like this cover. It isn't the worst, but at first glance it looks like her head's on backwards and the background doesn't seem real.)

I have been in many woods since partnering with Achoo, and this was the strangest I had seen. The trees were spaced wide apart and much of the ground cover seemed to be moss, not grass. The streams had bridges that were as much ornament as structure needed for water crossing.
-p. 23

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Got a teaser or thoughts on the book you're reading? Feel free to leave them in the comments!


-----The Golden Eagle

16 January, 2012

I Finally Watched Star Wars

But before I get to Star Wars, Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to the bloggers in the USA!

(For those who may be unfamiliar with this holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal "floating" holiday which lands on the third Monday of January, celebrating one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement that aimed to eliminate racial discrimination. His actual birthday is January 15--but the USA loves its three-day weekends so it's always on a Monday.)

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(DISCLAIMER: There will be no spoilers in this post, I promise. I will make no mention of the specifics of what happens in the movie.)


So, this weekend I watched Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.


I'm sure you've heard of these Science Fiction movies before. It's impossible to browse the internet without running into a reference to one character or another or the setting or the plot.

What stirred me to see them now? Eventually, I tired of wondering how many references went over my head and/or how many times I missed a joke. And since I love SF and nerdy things, I decided to watch them, in the order the movies were released. That seems to be what most people say is the best way to see them, despite the fact the prequel trilogy is labeled I-III and the original trilogy is IV-VI. Don't ask me.

Plus, I figured if I was going to come across so many spoilers, I might as well go to the source. (Thank you, world wide web, for telling me what happens and who happens to be re--ah, I'll shut up now.)

Anyway. I put a hold on it at the library and they shipped me the video. I began with a few expectations:

1. That it would be a lot like Eragon by Christopher Paolini.
2. That R2-D2 would be cute, though I wasn't sure he was in Episode IV.
3. That there would be light sabers.

And I discovered that:
1. It is rather like Eragon by Christopher Paolini. That's due, of course, to the fact Paolini drew on a lot of influences in his Inheritance Cycle (meaning he mashed together different elements from famous stories). There are, however, a few differences in the other major characters and the setting doesn't have a whole lot in common.
2. R2-D2 is indeed cute. (Reminded me of Wall-E.)
3. Light sabers are weapons used by the Jedi. I thought they could be used by, you know, everybody.

I also found out:
1. I have been pronouncing Jedi in my head wrong all this time. It isn't Jed-EE it's Jed-AI. Oops. (And yes, just in my head. I don't know, definitively, anyone who has seen Star Wars in person . . .)
2. Darth Vader talks. I thought he just wheezed.
3. Princess Leia can stand up for herself. I won't point out the multitude of SF stories that have weak female protagonists, but I can't put Star Wars in among them. Huzzah!


All in all, I thought Episode IV: A New Hope was a good movie and worth watching, with an interesting cast of characters, an overall strong plot, and a fascinating Science Fiction universe. I can see how they could build prequels out of it, because the first thing that comes onscreen is a scrolling and highly-condensed explanation of the rebellion against the Empire. There's got to be a story behind that.

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Have you seen Star Wars? What did you think of it? And if you haven't seen any of the movies, do you want to?


-----The Golden Eagle

12 January, 2012

Advice I'd Give To Students On Writing

It recently came to my attention that I've been nominated for the Top Writing Blogs Award by eCollegeFinder (definitely a surprise!). Nominees are encouraged to write a blog post directed toward students about how to improve their writing skills, and while it isn't a requirement, I thought I'd do it anyway.

My advice?

Write and read as often as you can. I suppose this could really apply to a lot of writers, not just students, but it's such a staple I think it's worth saying.

Write, because writers aren't called that for people-watching, much as they do it. Write novels, short stories, novellas, flash fiction, whichever strikes your fancy, in whatever genre. Finding your niche, the genre(s) and style(s) that you're most comfortable writing and can write the best, will probably take some experimenting.

You will write horrible stuff sometimes, and other times it will feel like you'll never produce something good enough to see the light of day. But forge on, because the act of writing can inspire, and also because being a writer takes time--and work.

Another thing? Perhaps think about trying some challenges, if you're the sort who likes them (or even if you're not) and you have the time; they're a great way to test your limits and see just what and how much you can accomplish in a set amount of time, or for a specific goal.


Reading books, the other element, is also quite important, because there's a lot to learn from a book you enjoy and even from a book you hate. With a story you dislike, you can find out what it is that bothered you and why--and be sure not to make the mistake yourself in your own projects. And the good ones are excellent demonstrations of how to write.

Do think about what influenced your opinion of a story after finishing it: was it the writing, plot, setting characters? Did the author use an interesting POV or did the character have an interesting voice? Do the plot twists come as often as they should, are there holes you could drive a truck through? All of those factors are important in creating something that will appeal to readers, and they are certainly worth considering. (Book reviews can be a great way of spelling out your thoughts--there's even a demand for them).


So, again, my advice would be to write and read. They're closely interlinked. Without one, there would be no books, and without the other, we'd all be talking to an empty void. Writers write to be read, readers hope there will be writers to satiate them. Being a writer can be tough, but it's also very rewarding when you come up with something that's meaningful to you. And it's even more gratifying when a reader comes along and finds something in it as well; and the more you discover about the craft, the more likely it is that they will.


-----The Golden Eagle

10 January, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (68)

Teaser Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week, my teaser is from Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman.

It's . . . different. I cannot say I love it, and I get the feeling "like" might be a stretch by the time I'm done since the narrator bugs me, the other characters are all power-hungry (and one is a sadistic ex-vampire), and there is a ton of (unnecessary) description.

But the setting is unique, and that's the main reason I'm still reading. It's set on a planet colonized a thousand years ago where thoughts change the surroundings in a magical sort of way because of the planet's "fae", though some claim it isn't magic at all. There's not much science; it's all the fae, and as is indicated by the cover, their technology, customs, and clothes are rather medieval.

(I can't figure out which character this is. I'd say the narrator/MC Damien, but Gerald is the one who's sinister--and this guy looks sinister, if you ask me.)

There were more and more of them now, too many to count. They would flash bright as stars as their owners turned to assess their prey, then become invisible a moment later as the beasts turned their attention to the ground underfoot, or the Forest ahead. Whatever manner of creature they were, they were swift and seemingly tireless.
-p. 195

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Got a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading?


-----The Golden Eagle

07 January, 2012

My SantaFest Gift

Back in 2011 (oh so long ago) I participated in the SantaFest hosted by Laura at Daily Dodo and Loralie Hall at Apathy's Hero. I thought I'd post the gift I got, because it's awesome, and I'd like to thank whoever made it:


Thank you, Secret Santa! (And if you're reading this and want to reveal yourself, feel free.)

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I hope you're having a great weekend, everyone!


-----The Golden Eagle

04 January, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Learning To Write

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Be sure to check out his blog if you haven't already!


One of my 2012 goals was to improve how I well I write.

As I mentioned in that post, I've never read a book on writing itself--well, except for Gail Carson Levine's Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and that was ages ago so I don't remember much of it.

Besides that forgotten book, the only thing I've read on writing is other blog posts; and lots and lots of fiction, if that qualifies. (I think it does; at least by reading the good and the bad you learn what works and what does not.)

And not to discount the great resource which is the blogosphere--there are some excellent posts on writing out there--I do think I could benefit from reading something formal on the subject that goes through all the details.

Do you have any suggestions on books about writing? Favorites, dislikes? And besides books, what other resources do you turn to?


-----The Golden Eagle

03 January, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (67)

Hello, everyone! Teaser Tuesday has come around again. This weekly, bookish meme is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules for participating:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


This week, my teaser is from A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. I suppose I should have known that the description "dazzling experiment in language" equals "mind-boggling gobbledygook at first read". You'll see what I mean in the teaser.


They had no licence for selling liquor, but there was no law yet against prodding some of the new veshches which they used to put into the old moloko, so you could peet it with velocet or synthemesc or drencrom or one or two other veshches which would give you a nice quiet horrorshow fifteen minutes admiring Bog And All His Holy Angels and Saints in your left shoe with lights bursting all over your mozg. Or you could peet milk with knives in it, as we used to say, and this would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of dirty twenty-to-one, and that was what we were peeting this evening I'm starting off the story with.
-p. 1

Prodding? Veshches? Moloko? Mozg?

Hopefully, I will better understand this by the end.

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Got a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading?


Ever read a book where the language/slang threw you off?


-----The Golden Eagle

02 January, 2012

Goals For 2012 And Some Changes To The Blog

Happy New Year!

The first blog post of 2012 on The Eagle's Aerial Perspective has arrived. Before we get to the blog changes (don't panic; I'm not leaving . . . *cue chagrin from the blogosphere*), there are a few of my goals for 2012.

Now, I meant to do this back in December, but there were other things I had to catch up on so I never got around to it. I wanted to post them here not only because A.) It's been a while since I did this much of a personal post but B.) It will probably spur me on to meet these goals if I know more people are watching. Ahem.

The List (in no particular order, and some big some small):

Do something nice for someone.
Every day. Whenever possible.

Rewrite/revise and edit my first novel and improve writing skills.
I started rewrites last year and they flopped; the product was worse than the original first draft. This time I'm going to do it--I'm going to read through those 1000+ pages of draft, I'm going to finish rewrites of the first book, and I'm going to revise and edit those rewrites. Whether those 1000+ pages are still going to be a trilogy (I usually refer to it as a single book--I should probably call it The Trilogy, and I will from now on) or a very streamlined one or two books depends on what the new outline looks like. Oh, and I want to finish rewrites/revisions/edits by June. I'm not going to beat myself up about it if I don't complete it then, but I'm not letting it extend to July/August.

And as for the second part: I've never read a book on writing, I haven't tried experimenting with different styles/POV/what have you to a great extent, and I've never really done specific exercises to hone how I write. I guess it's about time I did, right?

Read blogs and comment more often.
I need to get together some kind of time when I can blog without distractions or having to cut it off.

Make more academic progress.

End the year more physically fit/capable than I'm starting it.
I don't care if I'm skinny. It's more important to me that I can run without collapsing or dance without feeling so tired.

Finish [top secret] project and announce it here early this year.
It's top secret. I can't tell you what it's about!

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The blog changes are going to be small, but there will be a few, and this is what I'll be posting about in the coming 2012:

Sundays: Book/movie reviews. I used to write a book review each week and now I don't do it anymore. I want to start again, and maybe throw in a movie review here and there.
Mondays: Blank unless there's something special I want to post about (news, personal announcement, awards, etc.)
Tuesdays: Teaser Tuesday, of course.
Wednesday: Insecure Writer's Support Group first week of each month; otherwise blank
Thursdays: Writing posts
Fridays: Same as Monday
Saturdays: Same as above

So okay, I'm giving myself a lot of space. But I'm not sure I'd be able to keep to a schedule well, and I don't want to say I'll post on certain days and then not do it.

Blogfests and other online events will be posted at varying times as they emerge throughout the year. A few things that I will definitely be participating in are the A-Z April Blogging Challenge (again) and the Rule of Three Blogfest (also again).

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What are some of your goals for 2012?

Do you have a blogging schedule and if so, what is it? Got any thoughts on the plan I laid out for The Eagle's Aerial Perspective?


-----The Golden Eagle