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Do you put up decorations for the holidays? If so, when do the decorations go up and when do you take them down?

We usually start our decorating about three weeks before Christmas. We do a tree, along with little trinkets and stockings that we put up on the mantelpiece. The day after New Year's is when we take everything down the decorations and box them up, which is always a little sad. :,(

When I was in the first grade, we left our tree (an artificial one) up until February. We decided the time had come to take it down after it collapsed on my friend and me. XD

Writer's Block: Book worms unite!

What are the three best books you have ever read and what are the three worst? What made them so good or bad?

1). A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket - This series is nothing short of brilliant, from the unique writing style to the creative cast of characters and Gothic settings, not to mention the homages to historical figures and various works of literature. Another thing I love so much about these books are the cliffhanger endings, and how things - and people - aren't always what they seem.

2). The Dreaming Jewels by Theodore Sturgeon - This book is very personal to me, because it's what first marked my fascination with freak shows and oddities of all kinds. Though all of the characters were very interesting and creative, I felt the most well-developed of all was that of the main villain, Pierre Monetre a.k.a. the Maneater, as it is explained in full detail what made him a villain to begin with.

3). They Cage the Animals at Night by Jennings Michael Burch - I first discovered this book when it was assigned to my eighth-grade English class. Though I'm mostly a reader of fiction, I do enjoy a good biography (or auto-biography, as is the case with this particular work). I love books in which children are the main focus, and so They Cage the Animals at Night really appealed to me. Though it's fraught with many heart wrenching and even shocking scenes, it's truly an incredible read. I loved it so much that I bought my own copy and have read it many times.

As for the three worst books I've ever read, there are only two that I can think of: A Separate Peace by John Knowles and The Crucible by Arthur Miller. We were assigned to read both in my tenth grade English class, and I remember them both being the most horrible pieces of dullness I've ever read. The Crucible was so boring that I actually fell asleep while reading it.

Writer's Block: Let the shopping begin!

When do you typically start shopping for holiday gifts? Do you usually wind up buying stuff at the last minute?

For me, it all depends. If I see something I think someone will like at, say, a yearly event, then I'll grab it before it's gone. But usually I'll start my holiday shopping in early to mid November, especially since most of my gifts have to be sent out.

Writer's Block: Seeing stars

Which character from any film, television show, or book would you most like to take on a date and why?

Anyone who knows me even a little is aware of my romantic attachment to Jerome Squalor of the A Series of Unfortunate Events fandom. So, if I was presented with the chance to take him on a date (or vice versa), you wouldn't have to ask me twice. He's the type of guy I see myself being very compatible with, to be honest, because we're both extremely passive and avoid arguing at all costs. He's very kind, patient, and loving, which are qualities that the two long-lasting relationships I've been in seem to have lacked after some time had passed. It seems to me that Jerome is the type of guy who would be much more interested in cudding and/or taking a romantic stroll along the beach than hopping into bed on the first date. Of course, this belief might mean disregarding the whole "Esmé and Jerome: Married After Only One Evening Together" mention in Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography.

*chooses to disregard*

Please vote!

New maker evangelinevio has just completed her third and final trial post over at inspireoncemore and is now being voted upon to stay or not to stay on as a permanant graphics maker. She is very, very good at what she does and really deserves to be recognized for her incredible talent (she made my current avatar). If you're a member of inspireoncemore, then please go there now and vote for her. If you aren't a member, then please join so you can vote for her. I promise you won't be disappointed!

To vote, go here: http://community.livejournal.com/inspireoncemore/61501.html

To see some of evangelinevio's graphics, go here: http://community.livejournal.com/inspireoncemore/61073.html

Writer's Block: What is your muse?

If you're trying to create something, like a story, a composition, or a design, etc., do you find yourself imagining how others will react to it? Does that impede or enhance the creative process?

I suppose I do. I'm a writer of both original and fanfic stuff - I want people to like what I write when they read it, because that's exactly what I want from an author whenever I read something. The only time I ever really worried about what people might think  was two years ago when I wrote The Return (a novel-length fanfic for the A Series of Unfortunate Events fandom) and I made Jerome a maiesiophiliac. But I went with it, and people didn't seem to think either my idea or me strange. A good friend of mine even pointed out once that she felt maiesiophilia is an appropriate personality trait for that particular character.

Writer's Block: Life is a masquerade

Are you planning to dress up for Halloween? How long do you typically plan your costume? Do you keep it a secret?
This Halloween I would love to dress up as the Other Mother from Coraline, though I don't know for sure if it's going to happen. I've spent so much money lately, plus I need to start saving for Christmas presents. Last year I dressed up as Esme Squalor from A Series of Unfortunate Events, which was fun. I planned that costume about two months in advance, I think, and it cost me around fifty dollars altogether, but it was worth every penny.

Writer's Block: Shopping spree confessions

If you could choose a $1,000 gift certificate for one online store, which would it be and what would you get? Would you share the love with your friends?
I would definitely use five-hundred of that money to get myself a new desktop computer from a store that sells electronics - so probably Newegg.com. I'd also use some of that money to buy my best friend a better video card so she'll be able to watch videos on her work computer.
If an online psychic warned you not to leave home, would you cancel plans to attend a party? Would you refuse to date someone with a clashing astrological sign? In short, do you believe?
I doubt it. I'll admit I'm a bit superstitious, but if the person is an online psychic then I wouldn't listen to them. When I was nineteen a psychic told me that I would be married "in about four years", but it never came to pass. (No, I don't spend money on that type of thing; it came free with the event I was attending at the time. So I figured what the heck, go for it.)

Anyway, if my fortune was true, then I suppose I could have changed my future. In which case I'm glad I did, because the guy I was dating within four years of that fortune being told turned out not someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

As for refusing to date someone without the same or a compatible astrological sign, that is being a tad overly obsessive.

Writer's Block: Finders keepers?

If you found a $100 at the library, would you pocket it or turn it in? What about at a diner or pub? Confess!
Regardless of where I found the money, I would turn it in. There would be no telling what that money was intended for: what if the person who lost it needed to pay the rent, or feed their three hungry children? My mother raised me to do the right thing, and I've lived by this value for the past twenty-eight years. As a child on the school playground, I was the type who would find fifty cents and then give it to the monitor, insisting that they find the original owner when they insisted I keep it.