Software review: Write! (Part 1 of a few)

http://www.angelahighland.com/2017/09/15/software-review-write-part-1-of-a-few/

http://www.angelahighland.com/?p=25914

This week I got email from a gentleman telling me he’s a community manager for a piece of software called Write!, which he talked up to me as a distraction-free text editor. He said he was looking for writers and/or bloggers to review the program or at least mention it on their websites, and offered a free license to try the program out.

Now, as y’all know I’m a big fan of Scrivener, which will continue to be my go-to tool for dealing with larger projects. On the other hand, if I want to write something short (say, the extremely rare short story), I sometimes feel that Scrivener’s actually a bit too complex a tool for that. Sometimes I just want to whip something out in a text editor and not have to worry about a lot of bells and whistles.

And hey, since the guy was offering a free license, I took him up on the offer. So here’s a post reviewing Write!, possibly the first of a few, just because I’m going to do this right and go over it in depth just to see what I’m dealing with here.


So what are we dealing with here?

I gotta admit I’m amused by the name, just because the exclamation mark is part of it, and that hearkens back to one of the very first things I ever used to write stuff: Scribble!, on my Amiga. So there’s a bit of nostalgia amusement there.

If you’re interested in checking the thing out for yourself, it lives at https://writeapp.co.

Pricing and subscription models and cloud access

$19.95 for the program, and a year after your purchase date, $4.95/year for cloud access and maintenance updates.

I’ll say straight up that I’m ambivalent about this pricing. I’m not a fan of subscription models for software; if I want to buy your thing, I’d like to just give you a decent amount of money for it and call it a day.

Also, from what I’m seeing on the site, they’re using their own proprietary cloud. I’m giving that a big side-eye, because if I were in the market to buy a new program for my writing work, a proprietary cloud would be a drawback for me. I’m already paying Dropbox for yearly access to their cloud. As a Mac user, I have access to iCloud. As a Google user, I have access to Google Drive. And as someone with a Microsoft account which I’ve needed to deal with Windows 10, I have access to OneDrive. And I even have an account on Box, even though I don’t use it as a rule.

Long story short, I have a whole pile of cloud accounts already and really don’t need another one. And in particular, given that I do have a paid Dropbox account and use it on a daily basis to save my most important documents, the idea of saving stuff out to another cloud that I might then later have to move to Dropbox is annoying. It feels like I’d be setting myself up for extra work.

On the other hand, to be fair, I will also note that I’m a computer professional in my day job. Because of this, I’m very aware that if you’re going to offer a product to the public, and you plan to do regular maintenance to it, that does take time and effort. And I absolutely agree that paying developers and QA fairly for their work is necessary. As you should expect, given that I’m an SDET in particular! So I’d be less cranky about paying for regular maintenance updates than I would be for access to the cloud, if I’d come at this software as a paying customer rather than a reviewer.

So, keep all this in mind if you want to decide whether this is useful to you. The pricing structure is not onerous. But whether or not that cloud access would be useful to you is a thing you should consider, particularly if you’re already a regular user of some other cloud service.

Starting up the actual program

Anyhow, thoughts about pricing and subscription models and clouds all aside, what’s the actual program like?

Starting it up on my Mac, I’m immediately presented with a login screen that looks like this:

Login Screen

Which is, of course, the program asking you to log into your cloud account on their servers. And again, this is something I find annoying, because of the previous commentary re: a whole extra proprietary cloud service not being useful to me. There does not appear to be a way to start editing a local document without logging in, and I feel this is a roadblock between me and wanting to get some writing done, if all I want to do is start whipping out some paragraphs.

It’d also be a significant problem if either their servers were down, or your net access was. And given that during the winter it’s a pretty safe bet that I’ll have multiple power outages to deal with, a program that expects me to log into somewhere before I can use it is an immediate deal breaker. There really needs to be an option to start working locally without having to connect to the cloud.

That said, okay, let’s go ahead and log in. (The guy who contacted me did set me up with an account.)

When I’m logged in

I’m immediately greeted with some default Help text to tell me what I can do with this thing. That’s all okay; it’s an unfamiliar program, so a super-fast tutorial about the major features is a useful thing to see at startup.

It does however tell me that everything I write is automatically synced to the cloud. And right out of the gate, the first thing I’m looking for is “is there a way to make it not do that, if I don’t want to use their cloud?”

But let’s go over this thing menu by menu, and see what I can learn about it.

Menus in general

Since I’m looking at this on MacOS I am looking at the menu up on the main system menu bar, which is where I expect menu functionality to be. But there’s also an expandable menu you can get to by clicking on the icon in the upper left corner, which may be how you get to the menu on the Windows or Linux versions? I don’t know.

Write menu and Preferences

On the MacOS version of the menu I do see the standard first general program menu, which is where I expect to find the About option and the Preferences. And I do.

Preferences all seem fairly straightforward, and the most important option that leaps out at me is “Create new documents locally”. So for me, given that saving documents locally would be my preferred workflow, I’m going with “Create new documents locally” being on.

There are Preferences in four categories: General, Tools, Spellchecker, and Advanced. All of which seem generally straightforward, though there are certain ones that I’d want to turn off, such as Autocomplete. (This annoys me on my mobile devices and it’d annoy me here, too. I noticed it while playing with test text, so I’m glad I can turn it off.)

The spellchecker appears to be available for a whole bunch of different languages, which I could see being useful. Interestingly, by default, the ones that are turned on are Albanian, Catalan, Danish, English (US), French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Swedish. Not a combination of languages I’d have expected!

I am however dubious about this spellcheck. Even with French and German turned on by default, it seems like it’s not actually spellchecking. Because this is what I see after typing a couple of simple sentences:

Pretty Sure I Spelled Those Right

Under the Advanced section, there’s an option for turning on typing sounds. You have two options: Mechanical and Typewriter. I am half “how hipster can you possibly be” about this, and half kind of amused that that option is there. I probably wouldn’t use it, though, unless I were wearing headphones and had my laptop piping through to them.

The File menu: Creating, opening, importing, exporting, saving, and cloud vs. local

New Local Document/New Cloud Document

The first two options at the top of the File menu are New Local Document and New Cloud Document. If you have “Create new documents locally” turned on in Preferences, this apparently gives the command-N shortcut to “New Local Document”, and command-shift-N to “New Cloud Document”. If you turn the option off, it flips those around. I’m kind of okay with that.

Open, Open Folder, Open Recent

All these appear to be fine and I kind of like that you can open an entire folder at once, which might be helpful if you’ve already got your folders arranged the way you like them and you don’t want to mess with your file structure. The program comes with sidebars you can turn on and off, so if you’ve got the Local Documents sidebar on, there’s some almost Scrivener-like ability there to easily get at your files without having to actually leave the window you’re working in. So I’ll give it props for that.

Import

I cannot for the life of me figure out what file formats this thing thinks it can import. When I try to go into some of my working directories where I have assorted .txt and .docx files, it refuses to let me click on any of them. So unless there’s some sort of mystery option I’m missing here to turn this on (and I’m certainly not seeing anything in Preferences), Import functionality seems to be actively broken.

Save and Save As

After typing an experimental paragraph, I find that I’m able to save a document locally via just the usual Save command. However, this is where I raise another eyebrow, because this is what I see for options for format when I save my test file:

Formats

If you can’t see the screenshot, the options it shows are: Rich text (*.wtt), Plain text (*.txt), Markdown (with three different possible file extensions, *.md, *.markdown, and *.mdown), Textile (*.md), and Wiki (*.md).

These make me go “what” on several levels. One, the .wtt file format appears to be proprietary. Also unnecessary. Because if you’re saving in RTF, why aren’t you calling it RTF? Two, when I saved my test file as .wtt, MacOS had no idea what that was, and in fact wouldn’t let me assign the file extension to Write!. So I can’t just doubleclick on the file and launch it inside the program automatically. (Editing to add: actually, I found after I posted this that I could in fact go doubleclick on that file, even though it doesn’t have a thumbnail associated with it. So even though the functionality appears to have actually worked, this was not immediately obvious, and I did have a bit of a rocky path getting that to set up. I should not have done. If I’m going to save a .wtt file out from this thing, I’d like to see it be obvious that .wtt files are Write! files.)

Third, if I want to get to formats that might make this test file useful in anything else on my system, e.g., Word, e.g., Scrivener, e.g., TextEdit even, I have to export, not save.

Export

I tried exporting my test document down from the cloud in .txt, .pdf, and .docx format, since those are all things I could open locally on my system in other programs. All three of them came down in the correct format, though I did observe that the .docx file screwed up the indenting I tried on the two paragraphs in the file.

I would not see myself using this feature on a regular basis. At most it might be useful to me if I needed to get at one of my files on a machine that wasn’t my primary one. But again, that’s what I have Dropbox for.

Publish

There’s a Publish menu command that has two options you can take. The one for “Write!” appears to work only if you’re working with a document on their cloud, and from what I see in the dialog that comes up, it generates a shortlink for you, and gives you the option to also share that link on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn. You can also email the link, and you can add a comment to it.

The dialog also says that links remain active for at least a year since last viewed, or as long as your account is active. And there’s a link to click on for “Manage Links”, but that just takes you up to the app’s webpage and your account settings there.

This essentially seems like it’s the equivalent of putting a file up on Dropbox and giving people the link to it, so okay yeah that’s fine. My only beef with this functionality is that you can’t delete a link once you’ve created it. This strikes me as suboptimal.

The other option on the Publish menu is, of all things, an option for publishing to Medium. Which, I suppose, means that if you’re a Medium user, this program can act as a client for you to write your posts to put up there. But as I am not a Medium user, this option would be less than useful to me. And it is intriguing to me that Medium is the only publishing platform that has an option here–there’s no WordPress, no Blogger.

Move to Cloud/Move from Cloud

There’s a “Move to cloud” under the file menu, so when I use that, I see that my test file does indeed jump up to the cloud. I see the file appear in the “Cloud” panel on the left of the screen. And up on their webpage, if I go into my account settings and tell it to export my file in .txt format, I do get a .txt download from there. I also note with interest that my local copy of the file doesn’t actually go anywhere, so that’s good. I would not, repeat, not want any file I’d be storing on their cloud to only be stored on their cloud.

And since one of this program’s selling points is that your changes are in fact auto-synced up to the cloud, I can confirm that a few small changes I made to what I was typing did get up there without me having to save anything. I am not convinced that this is a selling point for me, though. MacOS already autosaves in native OS apps at this point and has for a few years now. (And, just because I’m a computer professional for whom ctrl-S and command-S are ingrained in muscle memory, the idea of the program autosaving for me is only somewhat helpful to begin with.)

When I move my test document to the cloud, the menu option I’d used becomes “Move from cloud”. When I try that option, it wants me to save the file locally again. And it does let me overwrite the local version I’d saved before.

So in general, after playing with this functionality, my initial suspicion is confirmed: if I were to use this thing on a regular basis, I’d be bypassing its cloud functionality entirely and just working with stuff locally on my system.

Start New Session

This program appears to let you run more than one session at once, with different files involved. Which I suppose is handy if you’re working on concurrent projects, though I’m not sure it’d be intuitive for me. I’m not seeing a way to look at different sessions in their own windows. You can switch between sessions by clicking on a down arrow up in the top right corner, but that’s small and easily overlooked.

Print

Opens a simple print dialog. Which is less simple than it should be, actually. I land on a page setup dialog first when I open this, and only after clicking OK there do I land on the main MacOS print dialog.

Next post, I’ll talk about the Edit and Format menus and about what it’s like to actually just write in this thing. Stand by for Part 2!

Book versions vs. movie versions

http://www.angelahighland.com/2017/09/11/book-versions-vs-movie-versions/

http://www.angelahighland.com/?p=25909

I’m not terribly active on my Pinterest account; most of the activity I have there is my sister forwarding me stuff and asking my opinion on it. (Part of why I’m not more active there is, in fact, that Pinterest has made a lot of its systems frickin’ unusable, and there’s only so much patience I have for that. But that’s a topic for another post.) One of the items she sent me this past weekend was this one.

And, given that I had a reaction to this that I don’t think my sister entirely expected, I thought it might be useful to write out my thoughts in blog form.

Overall, I have an issue with what this screencap implies. Which is to say, not only is it coming across with the theme of “the book version of a story is inherently superior to the movie version of a story”, it’s got a side helping of snarking at the fans of the movie version. My sister didn’t parse it that way, but I did, and this is why: because in each of the shown examples, the book fan is responding to the movie fan by asking if they like a character who only appears in the books.

And if the movie fan hasn’t read the books, they have no possible way to answer that question.

Now, if you assume that the hypothetical book fan and the hypothetical movie fan have not specified which version of the story they’re talking about, then okay, I’m fine with the conversations as portrayed. But the way they came across to me, particularly given the “see, this is why we read the books as well as watch the movies” responses in the screencap, is that the assumption is that the book fan knows that the movie fan is talking about the movie(s), and not the book(s).

In which case, if:

  1. You’re the fan of a book version of a story,
  2. You see a movie fan exulting that they like the movie version of a story,
  3. You know they’re talking about the movie version, and
  4. You ask them what they think of a character who appears only in the books…

…then all due respect, but at least to me, you’re coming across pretty snotty there. And that’s exactly how it read to me in the conversational examples between Movie Fans and Book Fans.

And I have a couple problems with this.

One, as I’ve written before, I highly dislike anything that goes in a direction of “you’re enjoying this thing wrong because you’re not enjoying it the same way I am.” This is true for SF/F vs. romance, Mac vs. PC, Windows vs. Linux, Coke vs. Pepsi, Classic Doctor Who vs. New Doctor Who, or whatever. So I am not on board with giving movie fans shit for preferring the movie version of a story over the book version, particularly if the movie fans haven’t even had a chance to check out the book version yet.

Two, I have issues in general with the automatic assumption that the book version of a story is inherently superior to the movie version.

Okay yeah sure, I get that “the book version is the original and tells the story the way the author intended” as a powerful motivator here. I mean, yo, I’m a devoted reader and a writer, so believe me, I get that. Books are powerful. Books are personal, and a good book makes you develop a strong bond to it.

I also get that movie/TV adaptations of a beloved book or book series can often suck. Ursula K. LeGuin comes to mind here, as to date, I am aware of at least two lackluster attempts to do something with the Earthsea books. And certainly, a lot of folks swear up and down that they hate the Hobbit movies, and would therefore use them as an example of this too.

(I am not one of those people; as I’ve said before, while I find the Hobbit movies flawed in certain critical respects, I will forgive them a lot of sins just on the grounds that they made the dwarves living, breathing characters and gave them a culture, which the book just does not do. And I say that as a diehard, lifelong Tolkien fan. But, I digress!)

But to automatically dismiss any movie version of a story as inferior to the book(s) is rather unfair to the movies. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s vital to keep in mind that what works on the page may not work on the screen. There are different creative choices that have to be made for the movie version of a story than for the book. To go back to Tolkien, but this time with The Lord of the Rings, there are certain choices the movies make that I infinitely prefer over the books. Though for me, the LotR movies stand shoulder to shoulder with the books for how much enjoyment I get out of them.

And to use an example in the screenshot I’m linking off to, there are definitely movie versions of stories that I prefer over the books. Multiple Harry Potter books fall into this category. The movie version of Prisoner of Azkaban is excellent, and Order of the Phoenix is more fun to me in movie form than it is in book form. In no small part, this is due to my relative lack of patience for emo teenaged Harry in the later books–there’s only so much of his emoting in all caps I can deal with!

The best movie versions of stories for me, too, have a big thing I can’t get in the books: music. Howard Shore’s masterful score for the Tolkien movies is of course the shining example here, but let’s not forget John Williams being the guy who gave us the main Harry Potter themes, either.

And to pull in another of my big guns for book version vs. movie version–let’s talk Master and Commander, shall we? Even aside from my documented history as a Russell Crowe fangirl, getting to see and hear Jack and Stephen play their instruments together, and to hear the wonderful soundtrack that goes along with the film, is a huge, huge part of why I get more enjoyment out of re-watching the movie than I often do trying to continue through the series–which I still haven’t finished. I love Jack and Stephen as characters immensely, but Patrick O’Brian’s propensity for telling the reader about a dozen different kinds of sails, not so much. ;D

One more example, from a story that’s generally universally snarked on even though a whole helluva lot of people have in fact read it: The DaVinci Code. I’ve read the book and seen the movie, since the latter was an office morale event, so I got to see it for free. And I’ll say straight up that while neither version of the story could legitimately be called good, the film ultimately was more enjoyable to me.

Three, even aside from the relative merits of a book version of a story vs. the movie version, there’s also the question of whether a given fan is even able to enjoy the book version of a story. Maybe that movie fan is dyslexic or sight-impaired, and the book may not exist in a form they’re able to enjoy (e.g., audiobook, e.g., ebook that can be read aloud to them via the right tech). Maybe they only got to see the movies because they aired on their local TV station, or because they got to see them on a school field trip or as part of a morale event for their workplace (both of which I have been fortunate enough to experience during my time), and they don’t yet have enough pocket money to pick up copies of the books. Maybe they don’t live near a good library or good bookstore. Maybe they don’t even know that there is a book version yet.

The overall point here being, there are any number of reasons why a fan of a thing may so far only be a fan of the movie version, and not of the book version. And IMO, this doesn’t mean the movie fan is doing it wrong.

If I’d been involved in any of the conversations in that screencap, this is what I’d have said:

“Ooh, I love them too! How do you know the story, via the movies or via the books? You haven’t read the books yet? Do you want to? LET ME HELP YOU OUT WITH THIS. Go! Go read! And then come back to me so that we may squee about this awesome story together, won’t you?”

Because yeah, life’s too short IMO to be overly concerned with what version a fan is using to engage with a story. Rather, I’ll try to look for how to share fannish joy about the story with another person, no matter how they’ve come to know it.

Because stories, like everything else in the world, need all the joy they can get.

(And hey Becky, if you’re reading this, thank you for giving me an opportunity to think! And to post!)

ETA: Typo correction. Changed ‘pocket movie’ to ‘pocket money’.

Sudden ebook binge roundup post

http://www.angelahighland.com/2017/09/07/sudden-ebook-binge-roundup-post/

http://www.angelahighland.com/?p=25903

The Seafarer's Kiss

The Seafarer’s Kiss

I went on a bit of an ebook buying binge on Kobo, because every so often I just gotta, y’know?

Here’s what I got:

  • The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker. Fantasy. Grabbed this because it was on sale, and because I’d heard quite a few good things about it when it came out. It seems like an unusual premise and I am here for that!
  • It’s a regular C.E. Murphy marathon, because as y’all know, I do love me some Kitbooks. She’s just released an honest-to-god romance novel, Bewitching Benedict, which I nabbed because “historical romance” does fall into the narrow category of “romance I like to read”. But I also went back and got her Roses in Amber, which is her take on Beauty and the Beast, and Take a Chance, her superhero graphic novel.
  • Stars of Fortune, by Nora Roberts. Paranormal romance, book 1 of her Guardians trilogy. I don’t quite like Nora’s paranormals (or, “ParaNoras”, as the Smart Bitches site likes to call them) as much as I like her standalone romantic suspense or the J.D. Robbs. But I do occasionally like ’em for potato-chip type reading, and hey, I haven’t read this one yet. Plus, I saw it mentioned on this recent post on the Bitchery, and thought okay yeah sure, that might be some silly fun.
  • Acadie, by Dave Hutchinson. SF. Nabbed this newly released novella from Tor.com entirely because of the title, and because I am curious as to how big a parallel it’ll have to Acadian history in real life.
  • The Seafarer’s Kiss, by Julia Ember. YA fantasy romance. Nabbed this on the strength of this review on the Bitchery, because if you say the words “f/f retelling of The Little Mermaid wherein the little mermaid falls in love with a Viking shield maiden” to me, the words I’ll be saying in reply are “GET THIS INTO MY LIBRARY STAT”.
  • Final Girls, by Mira Grant. Horror. Because “new horror novella by Mira Grant”, you say? Why yes I WILL have some.
  • And last but not least, A Study in Scarlet Women, by Sherry Thomas. Mystery. Nabbed this because while I’d already heard about it and had half an eye on it on the strength of buzz about “genderbent Sherlock Holmes”, I finally caught up on a Smart Podcast Trashy Books episode in which the author is interviewed. And I would totally not have guessed by a pen name like “Sherry Thomas” that the author is ethnically Chinese–and when she described how her writing style sometimes incorporates anglicized versions of idioms from Chinese, the language nerd in me just had to see what her style is like. Plus, genderbent Sherlock Holmes. SIGN ME UP.

Alert readers may note that that’s three, count ’em, three different books that are on this list specifically because of the fine ladies at Smart Bitches Trashy Books. They ARE a huge influence on my reading, it’s true! (Duking it out recently a lot with Tor.com, in fact.)

33 titles now for the year.

Quebec Trip 2017 Report, Part 3: Locale and scenery at Violon Trad

http://www.angelahighland.com/2017/09/05/quebec-trip-2017-report-part-3-locale-and-scenery-at-violon-trad/

http://www.angelahighland.com/?p=25890

So when last we left my Quebec trip report, I’d gotten to Montreal and had managed to rendezvous successfully with the other incoming attendees, and with the drivers who were on tap to get us from downtown Montreal to the site of Camp Violon Trad.

This post, I’ll talk about that site and what it was like.

I’m told that Plein Air Lanaudia is not Violon Trad’s original location, and that a few years in, it’d gotten big enough that they moved to where they are now. During my time at the camp, I learned that at least some of the attendees had been there often enough that they did in fact remember the previous location. Which just goes to show you that this camp is so well loved that it has devoted attendees that come back every year–rather like Fiddle Tunes!

Since I have no experience with the previous locale, I can only comment about the current one. And to be sure, what I saw was lovely.

I was assigned to room in the Foyer building, which I can only assume was pronounced French-fashion, and which I certainly tried to say to myself as such for the duration. I shared a room with three other women, and our room had two bunk beds, so I wound up taking one of the top bunks as I was younger and a bit more agile than a couple of the others. Having a top bunk did rather make me feel like I was twelve.

Here’s the backside of the Foyer building, as seen from just in front of the dining hall.

The Foyer building at Violon Trad

Since the room I was in (room 3) was up on the second floor, this meant I did in fact need to go up and down a lot of stairs during the course of this camp. While carrying a guitar case, my backpack, and often also my fiddle. And of course my luggage, on the way in and out! All of which certainly contributed to my exercise. And I certainly did enjoy just walking around exploring, since this was mostly how I got pics during the camp.

One of my goals wound up being looking at signs on everything and seeing how many of them I could translate. My favorite of these was “poubelle”, which I learned pretty quickly was the word for a trashcan. And you can see the full set of the sign pics here.

You will note that one of those pictures has Jean-Claude in it. This would be because of course I took Jean-Claude to Violon Trad. ;D I mean, how can you start the party if you don’t have a mammoth? Commencez la fête!

Jean-Claude et moi!

And it was very, very necessary to let him explore the grounds! And also to periodically bring him around to various events and pester at least a couple of the boys of Le Vent du Nord about whether I could get photo ops. All hail Nicolas Boulerice and Simon Beaudry for being good sports. <3

You all can see the full set of Jean-Claude at Violon Trad pics here.

(Side tangent! Note also that a couple of those Jean-Claude pics have a guitar in them. That? That there? That is the guitar of André Brunet, which I note here because André was super, super kind in loaning me his very own guitar so that I wouldn’t have to haul one of mine on a plane all the way to Quebec. I got it from him just before the beginning of classes on the Monday, and in between hauling it around to classes, I spent some time just playing it so I could get acquainted with it.

It was a lovely little guitar, with a good clear voice on it, though perhaps not as muscular and strong a tone as the General–which was kinda fine because this guitar wasn’t a dreadnought, so that was to be expected. And the case had seen quite a bit of usage, which is to be expected for the instrument of a professional touring and teaching musician. This got me amused remarks from Éric Beaudry when I enthused at him about André’s kindness, because of course Éric knows his bandmate’s guitar and case when he sees them.

Let it also be noted for the record that I took a rather inordinate amount of glee in discovering that André had the same kind of strings I use on the General stuffed into the storage box in his case. \0/ Elixir strings FTW!)

But back to the scenery of the place. Overall the layout was this: a central open area with an administration building at the front, and chalets surrounding that space on all sides. Opposite the admin building was the place where the younger attendees were staying. If I were to stand by the admin building and face the youth chalets, the buildings to my left would be the Grand Salle (more on this to come), the buildings where the professors and their families were staying, and the building where I had the guitar classes (more on this to come, too). To the right would be the Foyer building that I stayed in, and past that, the dining hall.

Between the youth chalets and the Foyer building was one access to the lake, which is where the dock and kayaks I took pics of were. There was another access to the lake past the Foyer building, next to the dining hall.

In the opposite direction, towards the building where I had the guitar classes, was the bridge I ventured over and which led to the hockey court, the equipment shed, and the Hebertisme sign. It was over in that direction that I spotted the zipline, too.

I quite enjoyed walking around the grounds, despite the fact that I was massively swarmed with mosquitos. Pro tip for my fellow Cascadians: if you go to a fiddle camp in Quebec, for the love of all that’s holy, do not forget the bug spray. Introvert Anna, who was shy about throwing herself headlong into evening activities yet didn’t want to hide in her room, thought it would be a good idea to hang out outside on Tuesday night practicing on André’s guitar. Only I forgot the bug spray, and boy howdy did the mosquitos find me tasty. (There was much complaining about this on Facebook, oh my yes.)

But aside from the Jean-Claude pics, I think I most enjoyed taking the shots of the lake. Like this one.

Reflection of clouds on the lake

All of the scenery shots are tagged on flickr here.

What else? I didn’t do any of the possible camp-type activities that were available–like the kayaks or the zip line or the hockey equipment. But I did do a lot of walking around just to see the place and because I am an active walker. I think if I get to come back to this camp again, I’ll totally want to explore the Hébertisme arch and whatever that mysterious pathway was!

I also didn’t get a chance to explore St-Côme at all, about which I was a little bit sad. But it was too far away to get to on foot, and I had no particular reason to pester the nice gentleman Luc who’d given me a ride in to take me back over there, even though he did offer. (I did pester him to let me check his car when I misplaced my sunglasses, though.) I would rather like a closer look at St-Côme!

Weather-wise we kept alternating between quite nice and sunny, and ALL THE RAIN IN QUEBEC. It was a good thing I’d come with layers to wear!

And that’s about everything I can think of to say about the scenery of the place. Next post, I’ll talk about the actual camp activities, and the actual camp classes! Stay tuned!