Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Journey

My brother writes stories with his blog.  I am not any good at writing fiction, but I'm going to give it a go anyway. Speaking of stories, here are some very strange bed-time stories: Gordon Dioxide.

Also, here is a photo of a spider web:

The Journey

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to be a writer.  She had drive.  She had ambition.  She had a large vocabulary.  She had everything but a story.
The girl searched for ideas in her home. 'Who would ever want a story about my parents or my cat?' she wondered.  But it was winter vacation, so she invented a story in which her cat, Peanut, could speak and wield a fencing foil and went on all sorts of adventures.
When she went back to school, she shared the story with her creative writing teacher.  "This is too fanciful," her teacher said.  "Try to write about something you know."
So the girl wrote a story about the romance unfolding between her third-best friend and the young, attractive Spanish teacher.  She showed this story to her creative writing teacher, anxious for approval. 
"Oh my," said the creative writing teacher, "this is not a story. This needs to be brought to the attention of the principal."
The girl's third-best friend became her first-best enemy as the Spanish teacher was fired and she was sent to counseling.  The girl decided she would no longer share her stories with her creative writing teacher.  She wrote all of this into a story and showed her older Brother.  "This is boring," he said.  "It needs more violence.  Or video games."
The girl followed her Brother's advice and wrote a dark story about a vampire who played video games during the day and prowled upon creative writing teachers at night.  She showed this story to her Brother, but he was too busy playing video games to read it.  "Give it to Mom and Dad!" he shouted over the cacophony of laser guns and explosives.
She didn't make it to her Mother and Father, however, because she first ran into her Uncle, who came over often to use her family's high-speed internet and eat their food.  Her Uncle looked over the story and said, "Well, it's alright if you like this kinda thing, I guess.  But don't you want a story that more people can relate to?" She gave a reluctant nod and trudged up the stairs.
The girl locked herself up in her room and decided that she wasn't coming out until she had the perfect story.  She wouldn't eat, she wouldn't get fresh air, and her only company was her iPod, which sometimes played on when she fell asleep.

The girl spent one whole day this way.

Then, finally, she had it: her masterpiece.  It was inspiring.  It was accessible...  "It champions the American Dream while acknowledging everyone's need to feel wanted," the girl explained to her Uncle.

"These are the lyrics to 'Don't Stop Believin'."


And we have done very bad Like others who do not know what to buy?

currently listening to: David Bowie live at Nassau Coliseum, 1976

"the return of the thin white duke"

How? An amazing online concert vault. Do it.

I've had the "To be or not to be" monologue going through my head with strange frequency the past few days.  Perhaps some if it is due to seeing my first live performance of Hamlet the other week.  I've read through it and the conclusions of my ruminations are these:

1. I used to ignore this speech since it is overused and over-quoted.  But it is good.
2. Poor Hamlet, besieged by life and intimidated by death, now lives and dies constantly.

Telephone for Grown-Ups

I know the following is probably a bit heretical, but my brother introduced me to a new game and I can't think of another text I'd like to use right now.  Start with some words that make sense,  run them through a couple languages in google translator, then back to English and see what you get (in this case: Shakespeare-> Yiddish -> Basque -> Icelandic -> Ukrainian -> Spanish -> English)

It didn't turn out as fun as my brother's example, which you can read here.  I'm pretty impressed that the first line stayed almost intact.

To be or not be, that is the question:
"This is the mind to suffer or Nagler
The slings and arrows of cruel fate,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
Moreover, according to the last. Die, to sleep
No more - and what I said at the end
and thousands of natives suffering EA
successor of meat - the realization of T '
Devoutli want to be. Die, to sleep
Sleeping, perhaps dreaming. Oh, no friction,
The death of the dream beyond dreams
When we have shuffled of This Mortal Coil
Should make us think. Respect
A good life for so long.
Knut time and progress will be contempt
Th oppressor 'is not no man's land so proud Meli
He despised the torments of love in the arrest of the Torah
Insolence of office and Spurs
worthy of merit and patient "
Kvyetus should have been
With bare Bodkin? Who would fardels
Basic and sweat on the weary life,
After the death of trouble, but something
Unknown City geboren country
No traveler returns, puzzles
And we have done very bad
Like others who do not know what to buy?
Therefore, at some point all of us cowards,
And Hugh resolutionpale cast Sikklyed thinking 'is
Big Pete and time, and business
Note current turn evil
And lose the name of the actor .- softer now!
Fair Ophelia! Ariston nymph
The sins of my head.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

contest by fellow internet dweller

Tahereh, a young adult novelist with a super-kewl blog, is having a contest for free dollars to buy books. Who doesn't need new books? Visit her blog to enter. And read some of her stuff, too.

We have a connection- she writes young adult fiction, and I read it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

various and sundry delights

Listening to: Kate Rusby, Ten

My last post was just so depressingly optimistic.  So this one is just going to be a collection of happy thoughts.

I love music. I love singing.

I made a very delicious dinner today- gouda grilled cheese and sauteed zucchini.

The weather has been simply marvelous.

in the Barn

I got to go out to Winedale on Saturday for the AFTLS performance of Midsummer.  It was the perfectest day (aside from the angry flying insect that had it out for me- 3 days later and I'm sitting here trying NOT to think about how much it itches).

Now listening to: Neko Case, Middle Cyclone
Yeah... my internet connection is slow and I'm uploading pictures.

guest photographer: Isto
I love people. I love living in Austin.

Sunday I had lunch with Joey.  I like him.  It's cool to be friends with your family.

Monday I had dinner with Candace.  I love spending time with her.  I'm going to be a bridesmaid at her wedding in December.

Today I went for a walk around Town Lake with Emilio. We had fun and saw lots of cool stuff.

Then I enjoyed a Pecan Porter and conversation at Dog & Duck with Ania, Sonia and Graham. 

I'm wearing my new cozy sweatshirt with the STS 133 patch.

And now I'm on my way to bed. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Idle Time

This is idle time and what could be better
Than a writer's life to live as you please
And a bright, fine day no matter the weather
Time to take some time at your ease
-Jez Lowe & the Bad Pennies

I am coming to terms with the fact that I need to improve my use of time.  Even if I don't find a job, there are plenty of things I could be doing.  I don't know why, but the scene from Clueless keeps popping into my head- when Cher is making over Tai.  She insists on not only improving Tai's hair and makeup, but also her mind and body.
 Tai's Makeover (at 4:40)
  So I think that's what I need: a makeover.  Some time each day for: spiritual (Bible, prayer, theologians); mental (books!); studying (GRE...); work (finding it, literary assisting); physical (essercise); art (photos, design); fun...
Because nothing will make you feel super lame like sleeping through most of the day (especially when they're as pretty as they have been).
Here's to big goals and small steps. Cheers.

my great-grandmother's handkerchief

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I hear the drizzle of the rain

I do.  And Kathy's Song is my favorite right now.  It often is.

I hope that all of my dear readers did a little something to celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day on Sunday (September 19th every year).

Another fun fact about me: I always sprinkle parmesan cheese on my popcorn.
 I've been eating a lot of popcorn recently- it's a great, cheap snack. And while I adore real parmesan (the kind you grate onto pasta or cut pieces of to savor), I also have a thing for Kraft sprinkle cheese.  According to my parents, I used to eat it plain out of a bowl.  This brings me to today's topic:  
Things that are similar, but are in fact very different.  
(I'm finding it very hard to format on this freakin' thing. I wanted to label the above photos, but when I did they moved away from each other, and they really need to be together for the sake of comparison. So let's just say that under the picture on the left it says: Figure 1 and under the picture on the right it says: Figure 2)


Look at them. The containers are the exact same shape and the fluffy white stuff inside looks pretty much the same. But why, oh why, did I think that I could eat something called "Parmesan Style Grated Topping"? Oh, this hunk of plastic is parmesan-style. We'll just grate it and sell it as reduced-fat. GROSS.
I only bought it because the grocery store was out of Figure 1 (our HEB has serious restocking issues because it's plagued by college students 24 hours a day). Luckily, there was some more Figure 1 when I went yesterday and I bought some. But I am poor enough to want to use all of Figure 2 before I open my new canister. 

Also on today's list: Bryan Fuller. I have great respect for the imagination residing inside of Bryan Fuller. He (and his imagination) are a great man. This brings us to the next comparison:
Pushing Daisies vs. Dead Like Me.
Sure, these two may seem equivalent at first glance. Netflix wants me to watch both based on my interest in "Quirky Television."  Both deal prominently with death and ways to escape it (I think Bryan Fuller may have a complex), while at the same time bypassing this topic to deal mainly with everyday issues that even normal people face.  Both have wonderful character development and both keep me entertained for hours. 
But. Where Pushing Daisies had me swooning over Lee Pace and wanting to be Chuck, Dead Like Me characters are sort of a train wreck.  In a good way.  Pushing Daisies is technicolor bright and happy and musical andIwishthereweremoreepisodes.  Dead Like Me makes me cry almost every episode.  And it also makes me want to LIVE. And Mandy Patinkin is amazing. I wish I could see him on Broadway.
I read an article about the possibility of a Pushing Daisies movie. The article called it "pulling a Firefly."  But I think the more apt description would be "pulling a Dead Like Me," since this canceled Bryan Fuller series also made a movie (which I will watch, once I finish Season 2).

Yes, this is my trash can. But I was struck by the unintentional parallel.  I like straws.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

there's a tiny little boat, faith is keeping her afloat

Fun fact about me: I love watching movie trailers online. I only end up watching a very small percentage of the movies,  but I enjoy knowing what's going on in the world of film.
Yesterday I watched a trailer for a documentary about Harry Nilsson- Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him).  I really want to see that one (although it's not current, as appletrailers led me to believe. It was made in 2006).
Anyway, it reminded me of my most favorite Nilsson song: Blanket for a Sail, which was on one of my most treasured childhood albums: Disney's For Our Children.  I listened to the tape on my walkman until it fell apart, but I got the CD a few years ago.  This isn't quite as good as my version, but you should still give it a listen.

Way out on the ocean
Far beyond the seven seas
There's a tiny little boat
Faith is keeping her afloat
And a tiny little skipper, with his worn and tattered coat
You see the law of the ocean 
Says you shall never fail
Use your heart as a rudder
Faith as a compass
And a blanket for a sail

Sleep for the weary
And dreams for us all
Rest your head on a pillow
And I'll tell you a tale
Use your heart as a blanket
And a blanket for a sail 

Way out on the ocean
Far beyond the seven seas
There's a tiny little boat
Faith is keeping her afloat
And a tiny little skipper, with his worn and tattered coat
You see the law of the ocean, yeah
Says that you shall never fail 
Just use your heart as a rudder
Faith as a compass
And a blanket for a sail 

It's actually still one of my favorite albums. I love most of the songs, but a few highlights for me are: Meryl Streep singing Gartan Mother's Lullaby, James Taylor singing Getting to Know You, Pat Benatar singing Tell Me Why and Sting singing Cushie Butterfield. 

Speaking of music, I finally have the new Weepies (Be My Thrill) and it is just delightful.  Favorite so far: Hummingbird.

Doesn't this doll bring a smile to your face? My grandmother recently sent me a care package full of canned salmon and a few odds and ends.  This is what she wrote:

Now comes the challenge to me to try and fill every corner; I hope you 
enjoy the choices.  I was nearly done but I had this one hole in the top corner.  
Then I laughed and decided to send you the tiny doll. Her face may be sad 
but she makes me laugh.  She's been sitting in a tin can for several years now.  
I'm sure she'll enjoy the fresh air.

I absolutely love her.  She is sitting on some tinned clams and oysters which have wonderful boxes (I won't eat them- I will probably give them to brudda- but I may keep the boxes).


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

and I want to invite the gypsies to the ball!

Well, I feel better post-Ever After.

Enough about my most weak pia mater.  I wanted to talk about gmail and how awesome it is. Well, everyone knows that (proof).  I tried out the new Priority Inbox feature, and I am a fan so far. Also, if you are a gmail user, you should be sure to go through the Labs every once in a while... I just added one that vastly expands your emoticon options. They remind me of kidpix stamps (man, I miss kidpix. I loved making certain images specifically because they looked cool when you hit the dynamite button).

Speaking of awesome design software, I had to give up and initiate my 30-day trial of Pages today.  I was helping mom create an invitation for dad's pre-launch party and Microsoft Word was giving me palpitations.  My former boss (current mentor/friend) opened my eyes to the wonders of Pages and, as is becoming a sad refrain these days, I cannot afford my own copy.
From NASArobonaut's flickr stream (creative commons)
I just had an "I'm surrounded by nerds" moment. I had heard of a tool called yubnub through a media blog that a friendly acquaintance writes for.  It's basically a command portal that lets you do cool stuff (like a one-step flickr search for photos within creative commons, which is how I found above photo of dad and pals).  But when I googled "yub nub" I found that it also is something else. An Ewok song.
And the robot in the photo is named R2.  Right. I don't have anything against Star Wars (well, I quite like it) but this was an overload for me. (I actually really like Ewoks. I have probably seen the made-for-tv Ewok movie more times than the original series. I have a stuffed one somewhere in my parents' house... I should dig that little guy out). 

Speaking of Star Wars nerds, I recently saw When Harry Met Sally for the first time.  But when I see Carrie Fisher I think of her with a giant machine gun (a la Blues Brothers) rather than as Princess Bunhead.  I really enjoyed WHMS.  It was clever and Billy Crystal's genius made up for the inevitably predictable ending.  What's-her-name wasn't bad, either. Meg Ryan! Right.

Ugh it's 2 again.  I am currently on what I imagine to be the sleeping schedule of an adventurous vampire (more Anne Rice explode-in-the-sun than Stephanie Meyer can't-risk-anyone-see-me-glitter!).

Yes, I just used glitter as a verb.

I have more to say, but since I have lunch plans tomorrow, I should attempt sleep.

I have a beautiful city.  Took this one on the Candace & Eric photo shoot (they are tiny, but you can see them)

I used to be able to stamp my current music with foxytunes, but I can't figure it out so I'll just write it.
Currently listening to The Weepies-I Was Made For Sunny Days (pre-release from their new CD. see previous entry for my laments on this subject).

Monday, September 6, 2010


I feel like a big ball of frustration.
I need a good cry. Naturally, I would just put on Ever After and climb into bed. But it's after 2 am and I can't quite justify that to myself since I actually need to get things done tomorrow.
My next step would be to put on The Weepies, because they are exactly right for listening to when you feel funny.  Unfortunately, that just makes me think about how they have a new CD out and I don't have it since I had to put my emusic account on hold because I am poor.  This step also means I don't have the new Sufjan music (on the plus side, I am going to the Sufjan concert in Austin on Oct. 19, thanks to Jacky and her extra ticket). 
I am semi-consoling myself by streaming the new Weepies on their website.
 (from the Vatican Museum, June 2008)
I do have some pretty great friends, who I am very thankful for.  I probably don't say enough how much I like them. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Stink at Blogging

Well, here we are- a whole 9 months since my last post.  And since I have lots of free time for internets now, I hope to get a little less sporadic.  I have found (through a friend) a gem of a blog that delights and entertains me every time. It's called Hyperbole and a Half. And though I'll never be as funny or as cool as Allie Brosh, I... well, I don't really have anything.  I'll just never be as funny or as cool as Allie Brosh. 
Anyway, the reason I have so much free time is that I am between jobs.  I worked for Shakespeare at Winedale (best thing ever) from the end of January to August, and now I am looking for a job to keep me fed and housed and out of bed until I go off to see the world in February. Oh yeah, and I graduated from college in May.  I guess that's another thing.
This is sort of a cheesy picture, I guess.  My hair's a wreck, I'm holding a fake diploma and I'm fake super-imposed in front of the tower. But my mom paid a lot of money for this image, so I figure it should go somewhere. (oh yeah, credits to Flash Photography for being  The Nation's Premier Event Photographer and taking this photo).  Now I am a very well-educated bum.  A bum who should be studying for the GRE...
I have heard it's easy to do well on this test, but I want to do REALLY well.  That way I can attend the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle.  My ultimate plan is to become a librarian and FORCE CHILDREN TO READ BOOKS.  Yep.
Since I started reading Middlemarch and got stuck in, well, the middle, I decided to take a break and revisit three of my most favorite books. The Sally Lockhart Series by Philip Pullman is one of the best things ever (note: I enjoyed The Tin Princess, but not on the same level).  I first discovered it sometime in elementary school, but my copies are now falling apart due to re-reading and re-reading (The Shadow in the North doesn't have a cover and The Tiger in the Well is split in half).  Hopefully in graduate school I will learn how to effectively repair books like these. I always dreamed of playing Sally in a movie adaptation, but I have since realized that what I really want is to be her.  Mostly this is because I saw the BBC version of The Ruby in the Smoke and found that none of the portrayals on screen lived up to the characters in the book (and much as I love Billie Piper on Dr. Who, I just couldn't stand her Sally- this may spring from jealousy).
Several of my friends have also been re-visiting books from their childhood, particularly Tamora Pierce books.  I enjoyed some Wild Magic Series back in the day, but I think my next series will be His Dark Materials (also by Philip Pullman because he is brilliant), partially because I love it and partially because one of my best friends has been holding a Paradise Lost reading group and I'd like to read it with that fresh on my mind. Last night we read Book 2 and the phrase "his dark materials" fell on my turn, which was exciting for me.
I also occupy my time with Netflix (brilliant invention), drinking coffee, and occasionally taking photographs.  Monday I took save-the-date pictures for two dear friends getting hitched in December. 
Aren't they adorable?!

So that was a ton of fun. Sometimes I take pictures of other things. Here are some wildlife hanging outside my window:  
Snail! I might call him Gary.
LATFS. Notice its back foot poking out from behind the tree.

Well, that's probably quite long enough for now. Happy Wednesday!