Thursday, April 28, 2011

Saturdays--and Sundays too, I suppose

two s's tangling together
to make a tremulous 
trigger of 
trips and
thoughts and
toe-wrigglingly sweet times . . . but
there are times we recall
they are only two 
struggling to win 
things already lost, and we
try not to lose
the imaginary magic of
two s's 

There was a time in my high school years that the weekend was a dull, dreary excuse to be only slightly less miserable than the rest of the week.  Thankfully, my college years have begun to alleviate that horribly pessimistic vision of the beast.

Music, driving, laughing with family and friends, seeing new sights.  A weekend is a chance to be someone else, something different.

take the time
to travel the 
tricksy track that 
takes treasured time 
on every other day.

I love driving.  Sitting behind the steering wheel all the time has added a new dimension to trips as a whole.  Weekends home this semester have become adventures.

Perhaps the most fun I've had on the road is hunting for historical markers.  When in Nebraska and off the interstate* you're bound to see smallish square blue signs depicting white oxen pulling a covered wagon, sometimes with a distance or arrow denoting an approximate location.  These signs foretell historical markers*.

Some of the markers themselves are obvious, like the ones parked in plain sight all along Highway 2.  These can be difficult: unless one is constantly on the alert for the predicting signs, you'll zoom past them doing 65 without a second thought.

Slamming on one's brakes at approximately 65 mph is interesting, by the way.  I don't advise doing it with an unprepared passenger.  It provided me with a decent photo of the following marker, though.***

You can't read this on my phone, so I'm glad the bigger version is legible!  :D

The truly delightful thing about this marker--and any other marker sitting immediately next to a highway--is you can prove it actually exists.  

This is where historical-marker-hunting gets interesting.

Remember the historical signs with directional arrows attached to them?


I had driven down miles of awful, rutted gravel in search of a marker before I hit a three-way split in the road (two of them having cattle guards) and realized this could not be the right way.  I drove slowly back into town, I stared down both sides of every street and crawled down the highway back out into the country . . . 

The marker did not exist.  

I trusted another such arrow, and gave up as soon as I saw the twisty, dirty path of doom.  Seriously!  The arrow DIDN'T EVEN POINT TO AN ACTUAL ROAD.  

These misadventures aside, I felt like my weekend jaunts down Nebraska's Highway 2 (and subsequent searches for historical markers) were grand old times.  

If you ever decide to go hunting for the markers . . . . good luck.  You'll want it. 

*These are the same thing, by the way: the interstate view of this state doesn't count as Nebraska.  The little towns with a church, an abandoned school, and a gas station are the authentic Nebraska.  Any town with a population over 10,000 is faking it, and does not count.  We need the frauds, though: I would not be happy without the delightful bookstores false Nebraskan towns can offer.

**If one was being horrifically blunt, each and every maker could say, "Once upon a time ago, there was a town here, but then it was considered more affordable and fashionable to live elsewhere and the town died."  This is the true story of Nebraska as a whole, and I'm certain that someday, there will be dozens more markers like Hecla's.
It makes me sad.

***'Decent' is the best any photo of mine will ever do.  First off, for the foreseeable future, any and all images I post will be taken with a cell phone.  I have no digital camera.  Secondly, I am not a photographer.  I like taking photos very much, but I have very little practice in it as an art form.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


deeper beneath
higher above
toward core
toward wind
breathe air
taste dust

I love rainstorms.  They make for quiet, lazy-feeling days . . . but at the same time, I always feel richly alive.  It's like if I breathed deeply enough of a rainstorm, I would be able to unfurl into something more at home in wind and weather.  This sensation makes me feel very friendly towards trees, and grass, and even the weedy dandelions.  People grumble and tuck themselves away over the wet . . . green things get excited and shoot upwards.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

California Dreaming

I felt this particular author deserved a recommendation/review.  Every adult, no matter how dry and logical, should read this man's books because they are wonderful.

Richard Peck
If ever you need a good book to spend very little time on, this is your author.  He writes in an easy-to-read, down-to-earth style that engages your brain and paints clear images without being overly verbose.  Many of Mr. Peck's books are quick reads because they are technically children's books.  However, they have a realistic, poignant, wry give and take between sadness and joy.  They go fast because, as soon as you begin, there's no going back: you have to keep reading.
I particularly recommend a set of three books, the latest of which was only just published.  For lack of a more unifying series title, I will call them The Adventures of Mrs. Dowdel.  Listed in the technical order, they are A Long Way from Chicago, A Year Down Yonder, and A Season of Gifts.*    Mrs. Dowdel is the larger-than-life** mishmash of every appallingly yet well-meaningly meddlesome person ever to draw breath, and is one of fiction's very best characters in my opinion.
If you really need a good time, read one of them aloud to your loved ones.  Laugh and say, "Awww," together: it makes it so much better.***

*Personally, A Year Down Yonder is by far my favorite.  I spent a lot of time with it, which probably helps^, but it is definitely worth the time.

^I used different cuttings in two years of prose presentation competitions.  It went one of two ways: either people understood the Depression-era terminology and laughed hysterically, or they did not and stared at me as though I was speaking Finnish.

**Literally, larger.  As in, a huge person without being a good-hearted force of nature in spectacles and a dress.  As in, she can mimic a professional 1950's boxer and get away with it.  As in, she was a camel in a school Christmas production.

***My entire family is familiar with the adventures of Mrs. Dowdel, and thanks to the influence of A Year Down Yonder call her 'Grandma' out of practice.  I probably spent at least an hour reading A Season of Gifts to my parents today . . . such fun! 

Thinking about and reading books is great fun, so in some ways today was a good day.  In others, it was horrible, primarily because I spend far too much time analyzing every embarrassing thing I do.

Conversations are difficult.  Especially with people one regards as friends while not being overly familiar with the intrinsic characteristics of the people in question.  Beyond the typical--and inane--topics of weather, work, blah blah blah . . . what do you talk about to someone you have not seen or conversed with in a good many weeks/months?

I have no waffling skills, and am bad at creating topics from nothing.  Sigh.  I am also easily distracted by points of interest--such as work--that somehow apply to the current situation of me and mine.  Siiigh.  Work especially right now.  Work more than anything else right now.  If you want to successfully kill a conversation with me right now, bring up work.  I will be so busy thinking of all the things I cannot say that I will become silent or awkward, or both.  Siiiiiiigh.

I will survive these trying times, but sometimes I wonder . . . why am I so easily distracted?  Urrrrgh.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Real World

Who am I supposed to be?

If only there was an easy answer for this question of mine.

There's not, but still, I wonder.


She's hiding somewhere, and part of me wonders if I will ever find her.

I haven't the slightest clue where to start looking.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I am exhausted and my brain is trying to escape out my ears.  Eating soup with a fork would be easier than finishing this story has been, so I'm sorry if the ending is atrocious . . . BUT I HAD TO FINISH, NO MATTER WHAT.

I tried to keep my grammar nice and the story tone the same, but one can never be sure with their own writing.  Let me know anything what needs changing, as well as your overall opinion.

I hope you like this story, which is as of yet nameless.*

From the moment she stepped off the train, she knew things were different.  It all looked the same, right down to the carefully-tended pansies in the station's window boxes, but the flowers were unusually still.  It was a busy summer day, but the parts of town visible from her position by the tracks looked  . . . rigid.  Contained.
It had been a while--seven years--but the town shouldn't have changed this much.  Something else was at play here, just as she had been warned.
She stopped at the station to ask for directions to the hotel--it had been put up after she left.  Mr. Lewis, who had worked at this station beyond anyone's memory, recognized her immediately.
"Miss"--she hushed him.
"Thank you, Mr. Lewis, but I'd like to keep this visit as quiet as possible."  She smiled.  "I am so pleased to see you again.  Thank you for your assistance."
Mr. Lewis sniffed brusquely in his neat grey mustache, almost managing to look properly upset, but he offered her a peppermint from the stash he kept in the booth.  She laughed, and took it--just as she always had.  She cradled it in her gloved hand for a moment, lost in thought, then smiled at the elderly man once more.
"Again, Mr. Lewis, thank you.  It is always delightful to see you."  She left the office and walked briskly down the platform out of sight.
"Mr. Lewis?  Who was that?"  A homely lady stuck her head out the mail room door.
"No-one of import, Miss Annabelle.  An acquaintance," he said, and then only to himself, "though I never thought she'd grow to be such a lady."
Miss Annabelle raised an eyebrow--she had caught Mr Lewis' aside--and went back to work.  Mr. Lewis sat looking out the window long after the finely-dressed figure had vanished, the air around him quiet and sad.

The longer she was in town, the more eerie things were.  No birds flew.  The people were hushed.  When she looked down the short alleyways to the edge of town, she saw large, tangled bunches of tumbleweeds.
The wind was dead where she walked, but she could see grass dancing frantically along the horizon.
She sighed and continued down the boardwalk with her black case.  There were several familiar faces, but none of them bothered to peer through the dark veil on her hat.  She thought one might have paused just past, but she had reached the hotel doorway and--
She stopped short, stricken and breathless, to almost jump around and look south along the dusty road.
The young man stood, hands in pockets, at the center of the street.  He was just far enough away she couldn't make out his face, but he was staring.  He was staring at her.

She was still breathless but no longer on the verge of panic when he began ambling forward.  Her case quivered in her grip, but she stiffened herself and waited.  After what seemed an eternity, he stopped at the edge of the boardwalk.
She knew him.  He'd grown up more than she'd expected, but it was still Ch--Mr. Wright, she corrected herself.  Please, let it be someone else . . . She nearly jumped when he spoke: she hadn't expected his voice would change so much, either.
"I couldn't really believe it was you at first."  He still stared, but she knew his face.  It was older, but it was still Mr. Wright's--
"I'd given up on ever seeing you again."  Something twitched in the dark blue of his eyes, and her heart wrenched painfully.  Oh, no, please, no.  Make it be my imagination.  She stepped slowly towards the edge of the boardwalk, skirts whispering, eyes searching.
"I wrote you.  Dozens and dozens of letters.  And you never wrote back."  She stared back now, and the view was all she had dreaded.  Cold dismay wrapped around her like a blanket.
"I would have written back, Mr. Wright, but it was not possible.  I told you when I left that for seven years--" She stopped, watching him laugh bitterly.
""Mr. Wright."  Seven years is some time, but I told you to always call me Charley.  And then I wondered why you never wrote back.  No one would reply to a stranger."  Face bitter, eyes flickering, he stepped onto the boardwalk.  His hair and clothes stirred in a breeze that wasn't there.
She stood, watching, case twitching.  Not much longer, she thought mournfully.
He stepped in front of her, raised a hand to her face.

Had it been seven years previous, her cheek would have blistered before he even touched her.  The impossible heat of him would have burned, beginning under his fingertips and spreading until she died in the flames.
But it was not seven years ago.
"Charley."  She could barely whisper the name.
"Yes, dear."  She almost winced.
"Why, Charley.  Why could you not wait for me."  Her voice was flat, inflectionless.  He bent down a little so they were at eye level.
"That wasn't a question."  His eyes were no longer the dark blue of water at night, but bright--brighter than the noonday sky above them.
"Why, Charley."  The case in her hand jerked suddenly, and she no longer held a case.  She raised her arm, and pressed the pistol to his chest.

His strange eyes stared at her hand now, her hand that knew its work and would therefore help her do this heartbreaking thing.  Her hat, the lace at her throat and wrists, her dress shook in the energy currents she no longer kept locked in her case.  They were both caught in the waves, but she was stronger and infinitely more practiced.  Seven years could be a long time.
She would do what she must.
"Charles Wright, you have stolen power from this town and all territory surrounding in every direction for five miles.  It is my duty to restore this force to nature, with or without your co-operation.  Will you release this energy of your own volition?"
He looked at her face again, and she knew his answer.  The pale blue had bleached brighter still, and his irises were nearly pure white.  His fingers were actually starting to burn her cheek.
"Very well.  I will do what I must."
She pulled the trigger.

Mr. Lewis was waiting at the station door when she walked onto the platform again.  The pansies where dancing merrily in the first breeze they had felt for quite some, and their jigs had let him know it was safe to step outside again.
She had returned, but she was not joyous.  Her hat was gone now, revealing over-bright eyes and letting the wind pick at bright curls.  Her dress was all-over dusty, and the case gone: there was a black purse at her elbow instead.  Her hands were wrapped tightly around a bare-rooted rosebush with small, blue-white blossoms.
"Mr. Lewis, is there a window box you might be able to loan me for a time?"  Whatever her eyes said, her voice was calm and firm as it had been on her arrival.
He did not reply, but went and fetched a box that had not been empty very long.  The short, deep box was set carefully on the platform, and the rosebush gently planted.  It was only when she used the last of the water he had brought to rinse her hands, setting her gloves aside, that Mr. Lewis glimpsed the wicked cuts that had gouged through the kidskin and into her palms.  She saw his face.
"It's alright, Mr. Lewis.  I just forgot about the thorns again."  She almost smiled.
"I know how you feel, m-miss.  I know that . . . that this is difficult.  Just remember, you've barely a fortnight before--" She shook her head ever so slightly, and he frowned in confusion.
"Mr. Lewis, my season was over very nearly a month ago.  I did not hear of the . . . the matters here until I was going through the seven years' worth of post that had accumulated while I was . . . otherwise engaged."  She grew very still.  "I . . . asked for another term."

His sharp breath whistled in over his mustache, and his face hardened in dismay.  She watched him for a moment, then stepped away from the flower box.
A slight shake of the shoulders and the dust was gone from her dress.  The case dangled in her hand again, and her hat perched on her head once more.
A train sounded in the distance.
"You can't understand what you've done.  One day, you'll wake up alone in a world stranger than you now believe possible and you'll know, but--" Mr. Lewis paused stiffly, snuffling and adjusting his spectacles, "but you can't understand what---what it's going to become at present."
He could not see her eyes through the veil of her hat, but her mouth smiled.  How can she smile so?
"Mr. Lewis, it has been a pleasure, as always.  I am grateful for your concern, I truly am.  Ah, well," she sighed.  "If all else fails, I'll become a train clerk, no?"  She chuckled, and then her lips were serious again.  "I'll be back for--for the rose soon enough. As soon as I'm settled, yes?"  The train whistled again, much closer this time.
"Certainly, miss."

They stared at each other, old man and young woman.  He knew, as she did, that it would be more than seven years before she returned.  She knew, as he did, that he would still be here when she arrived.  Magic soaked through skin into bones and spirit as it was used.  Seven years was the advised season with good sense.  If one only served seven years, one was guaranteed to still be human.
Mr. Lewis had worked in an era when power was mostly less dangerous than breathing, and  remembered his seven terms: how could he forget, with the violet pansies to remind him daily?  His forehead wrinkled, and something slipped across his cheek.
"Promise me, miss, that you'll do no such thing as four."  The train whistled again, coasting in toward the track.  The pansies danced.  The lady stood very still, staring down at the pale roses.
"Please, miss.  Promise me."
"I will be back in fewer than twenty-one years.  I give you my word."  Her voice was softer than he should have been able to hear.
"Good," he sighed, and his words were lost in the hiss of the engine.
"Well, Mr. Lewis, a pleasure.  As always."  She stepped up the passenger car's narrow stairway.  "Don't kill the rose."  She waved as she slipped into the seating area and out of view.

Mr. Lewis watched her silhouette sit, and remembered a carriage--no, it had been something else . . . what had they called it?  He could not remember.  But he remembered loneliness, and sorrow, and a pretty girl with an uncommon fancy for small purple flowers who had walked away without looking back.
The train blew its whistle one last time, and began pulling away.  Mr. Lewis waved slowly, still remembering, then looked down at the rose.  The petals already looked darker than he remembered them being.  He smiled.
"Take heart, Charley Wright.  It should only be three decades or so before you're finished, and she'll be back by then.  And since she'll be retired, she'll have her name again."
Mr. Lewis looked back down the tracks--the train was gone.  He picked up the window box and carried it to the station, setting it next to another box containing one pale lavender and one deep violet pansy.  Perhaps they could teach the young man a trick to pass the time.

At least he wouldn't be forever waiting.



*So, this story is a muddled twitchy combobulation of many different stories-ish except for the part where it's also written off feelings I get from stories-ish.  But anyway, it is, in a few ways, a cousin twice or three times removed from a Garth Nix^ short story--I can't remember the title at present, but it was good in a Garth-Nix-sometimes-likes-creepy-things way--and in my exhaustion I almost gave my story here an almost identical ending, involving an empty-except-for-our-heroine train that vanishes randomly down track that isn't typically there, but I sobered up at an opportune moment to avoid a cousin twice removed from plagiarism; however, I still couldn't really save it--or this foot note--so it's rather awkward.  Plus, beyond some back history explanations, I never had a real idea of an ending.  Beyond her leaving.  Which, we got there, but . . . urgh.  Do you think it's bumpy?
I do.

^Since I've been doing this blog as a random combobulation of reviews, I should put a good word out there for Mr. Nix.  Yes, he has a fascination for creepy and gore at times+.  However, his Abhorsen trilogy is brilliance and deliciousness, even if there's not a lot of talk of things that even remotely qualify as edible (besides Mogget and his eternal fish-cravings, but you'll have to read the books to understand how desperate Mogget gets).  On some levels, it is the creepishness that makes them a little more likable. When we think zombies these days, we think relatively human things that look gross.  Garth Nix makes ex-humanoids that make you want to vomit and poop your pants simultaneously, they are that gross and scary (or they are in my head). ++  So, be a trooper.  Support real fantasy.  READ GARTH NIX (and Robin McKinley, but I haven't talked about her yet).

+ The gore, I think, gets me more than creepish.  Average zombies, I can handle.  The blood-spattering tentacled nightmares that explode in a horrendous fountain of gore from some random loser's head and torso on the Resident Evil~ videogames?  AAAAAAUGH SAVE ME.  (I spent several hours watching my brother play RE IV when I was younger.  And then there was the time I accidentally found the video screen shots of the hero vs. Chainsaw Man and the hero lost.  Horribly.  D8 )  Which is where--TADAAA!--True Grit shows up.  I did not want a closeup of the dead guy's head.  I didn't.  Your CGI is gorgeous, but . . . augh.  Don't.

~I join the few Resident Evil worshippers I know in saying the movies don't even count.  They're not even that scary.  Or horrifyingly gory.  Oooh, it's a dog that rips in half into a giant mouth!  There are fish like that.  Also, seen Monsters, Inc lately?  Yeah.  Look for the orange toilet-creature with teeth.

++This footnote mostly applies to the scary part of above line, as gross has already been discussed.  It is also where I start  . . . saying mean things . . . about today's teen literature.
First off, Robin McKinley has the right of it when she tries to write about a vampire that's scary~ as opposed to . . . what?  That was the whole point of vampires, folks, and now that we've stripped them of their terror-raising skills they're annoying wusses that sparkle.  And what about werewolves?  They were once heralded as the ultimate doomsdayers, and calling someone a werewolf meant one of two things: either your village was going to gang up on that individual and burn him, or he was going to murder you to avoid the former scenario--and then he might burn anyway.  What is the point of monsters that aren't scary?  What are we going to geld next? Mass murderers?--oh, wait, that's Sweeney Todd fangirlisms.  OH MY SHMARGLEFRITZ.  THIS IS RIDICULOUS.~~

~Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Robin McKinley's Sunshine.  Sunshine's the heroine: the butt-kickingly scary vampire cast includes--but is not limited to--Con (Constantine, as close to good as these vampires get, but he's still scary as hell) and Bo (Beauregard, also known as evil incarnate).  Authors of the world: we need more scary vampires.  Even if you don't stake them all . . . MAKE THEM SCARY!!!

~~The longer I live in the real world, the more I notice everything is messed up--especially my head.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Sleeping More Than Six Hours
This can create a huge difference in one's outlook on the morning, life, pillow, and coffee.**  I was amazed at the remarkable agility with which I was able to get up and dressed.***   I am more aware of people and the world in general.  Sleeping in excess of six hours is definitely a good idea.

And the local noon chime was on time today: go figure.

In other news, I have a really, really hard time with the fashion industry.  There are not precise words for how difficult a concept the whole fashion thing is for me.  Why are stylish things 'in'?  If they look atrocious on me, what do I do?  Are nylons/pantyhose okay?  Which shoes go best with which dress? I know an outfit isn't necessarily okay even if I like it, but how do I tell--beyond sizes--if something is atrocious on me?  The more I consider it, the more I like my frumpy jeans and less-than-couture shirts: better to wear something completely outside the sphere of fashion than to look bad.

Don't get me wrong: I like cute things.  I like fashionable stuff.

I don't have a flying clue about picking it out for myself.

Of course, I am used to--after nineteen years--not having a clue.  It's normal.  I can deal with it.  Feeling stupid is okay.  I am used to not fitting in.

It doesn't change the fact I wish I knew more about picking clothes.

This entire rant was spawned by the "Wear a Dress Day" event, nursed by the snow+, and matured in the environment of "Is this outfit really okay?"  Someday, I'll get this all figured out, but that day is not today.

*Yes, the title got a footnote.  Stop mocking me already.
I don't want people to go off and find the wrong song here, and I know you easily could as the title is rather nonspecific. is the right one.  :)

**The morning is not a soul-sucking force that makes you get up, life is not meant to be spent in a hazy state of consciousness, the pillow does not stick to your face so you can't get up, and coffee does not have to be brewed at as close to a 1:1 ratio as humanly possible.

***On other occasions, it has felt something like dragging a dead mammoth out of a tar pit.  It is also important to note that I was out of my room by 8:32 and I didn't wake up unti 8:15.  Plus, this morning's class is voluntary^. 

^Because I took several years' worth of violin lessons, I felt that helping with the college's string pedagogy class was a good idea.  My pillow and the backs of my eyelids keep arguing, but what do they know?

+Which continues to fall like it's December.
What.  The.  Hell.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bach Double

Got ready to start this, and then--on a tab-closing spree--remembered the tab I'd opened as a "Whaaaah?"*
I was promptly amused.

"Oboists.  All that blowing makes them brain dead."

BUT THIS WAS NOT THE GOAL OF TODAY.  I have more reviews.

Megamind (2010)
Director: Tom McGrath
Ah, the beauty of cliches.  That's the fun part about this film: it exploits all super hero/villain cliches but manages to maintain individuality.  Yes, I could guess the end.  Yes, I knew Metroman wasn't actually dead.  Viewing these as plot line destinations, the journeys to these ideas were at least somewhat original, making a charming state function effect.  This may not be one of my favorite films, but it's worth seeing once**.

Red (2010)
Director: Robert Schwentke
Good things: Karl Urban, who is always nice to see.  :3  Helen Mirren as a vicious ladylike sniper (personally, I wouldn't mind being like that when I'm older).  John Malcovich was born to play an ex-agent missing a few screws.  The jokes are funny, and Bruce Willis' initial image as a creepy kidnapper is hilarious.
Bad thing: Bruce.  I know you're still trying to be all that and a box of cigars, but we need to face the music.  A make-out scene with someone who looks a good 20 years younger than you is not cool.  I think I would love this movie if not for that.

Sorry for a rather . . . spacey blog.  I'll probably have to edit later.

UPDATE: Editing commenced.  Gentlemen aren't required to read the edits.

It ended up being an interesting afternoon.

An upcoming event--it's this Friday--that I have been rather excited for is Wear a Dress Day.  I've always had a soft spot for dresses, and so I was looking forward to a good excuse to wear one just for everyday life.  This is when I had a sudden--and slightly horrifying--epiphany.

Beyond my prom gowns, I did not own a single dress.  Skirts, yes.  But a dress and a skirt are not the same thing at all.

And I did not own a single dress.

It made sense, not to own dresses.  The majority of my pre-college years was spent in some combined state of hot, sweaty, dirty, animal-hairy, and dung-covered.  Dresses are not designed for such turmoil.  Plus, I spent all my time in jeans.+  Legs the color of frog bellies are not meant for display.  But still.  Not one dress?  I was seeing myself, yet again, as the frumpy one.

I do not like being frumpy.

So, feeling desperate and rather pathetic, I escaped to a local clothing store.  Much to my delight, I found two dresses.  Two.  And they are cute, and I like them--and they were affordable.  My joy was abounding.

Frumpiness diverted.  :)


P.S. ANOTHER UPDATE:  I've been looking over my posts for this week, and was flattered to find that I look like a happy person.  I'm not horribly miserable, but the fact I look happy is comforting.  By looking happy, I might actually get back to feeling happy.

END.  This post is now finished, I promise.  No more edits.  In other news, I think I'm going to start perfecting this weird story that was randomly birthed in my head.  Wish me luck.

*Online preview of The Guild comic^.  It has inspired me to watch the videos^^, which are humorous on the same level as The Office.  In other words, it's funny.  And my brain is crying hysterically from the stupidity.^^^

^I can associate with Cyd, though.  When a chick says NO, she frigging means it.  Why won't some guys listen?
I also know a mother like Clara.  I am not proud of this fact, though.

^^I saw two commercials for the US premier of Doctor Who . . . 8o

^^^"Don't leave me like your father did!"  "He had a heart attack!"  "Out of spite!!"
"I'm about to ruin 42 cents-worth of tater-tots!"  
Oh shit.  I SHOULD NOT HAVE WATCHED THIS.  I don't need more distractions . . . 8'(

**Personally, they got me at "Use the Forget-Me Stick!  8D "

+I went swimming earlier this semester.  It was my first trist in a pool in a good year or two.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Snow (Hey Oh)

First off.

Grooveshark*, old buddy.

Today is one of those days that make me doubt my quality as a human being.  To make me feel a little bit better about my epic misplacement of time***, I'll be doing several reviews.  I hope some of them are chuckle-worthy.

Pop Tarts
If you're in a hurry and forget you own delicious, possibly-more nutritious blueberry bagels, these are a good resource.  They'll spend the next few days hanging out in your colon unless you gorge yourself on fiber.  The "fruity" filling has not yet been proved as organic material.  But hey, they are sweet and better than nothing.  A last-ditch effort at breakfast.

POMx Pomegranate Blackberry Tea
An evolution in tasty.  Nice fruity overtones, and the black tea doesn't back down either.  A hydrating drink with a mouth-puckered dry sort flavor.  Beware, though: it needs refrigeration like FOX needs Firefly^.  Without it, all the smooth fruityness goes sharp and sour--weeny, sleep-deprived taste buds won't like it.  Still, a good buy.

Professor Buchman (spelling needs sourcing)
A step away from the usual, which was pleasant.  A guest-speaking professor.  Successfully made the cellular cycle interesting, informing, and entertaining.  I did not want to fall asleep in lecture, possibly due to the fact it was a guest.  At any rate, a good lecture.

Summer Wars (2009)
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
The reason for my sleeplessness.  Also, did not get any knitting or crocheting done during the film: I watched the subbed version.  A relatively good movie with a definitely more Japanese story style.  I like the way this director breaks things up: on the one hand, the world is on the verge of ending.  On the other, life goes on as always in many, many ways.  There are a few features of the film's plot I contest against--primarily that the world as a whole is at risk, but it's up to one family to fix it all?  At any rate, it is well-animated (mostly--there were a few bad leg angles, but they didn't happen too often.) and puts an interesting and fresh perspective on possible downfalls of today's increasingly technology-based society.  I would recommend this film.

Urgh.  Post finished.  Decomposition may recommence.

*A poor loser's way of listening to music she doesn't have/can't afford^.  Please don't shun me.

^These are the same thing.  Looking up the Quigley Down Under  soundtrack last night was torture.  iTunes was the only place I could find it at first.  Don't you just love their little 15-second clips?

**I have tried to keep no fewer than four versions of the song at this point, and each malfunctions the following day.  Coincidence?--I think not.  It is Grooveshark's personal attempt to make my life (more) miserable.

***Stayed up WAY too late watching a movie.  Did not want to wake up at alarm, and accidentally pressed "Dismiss" as opposed to "Snooze".  Slept till 9:30, and Chemistry II started at 9.  Was minutes late for Cellular Biology on account of degrading functional abilities.  Did not get any coffee.  Sometimes, I hate myself.

^Translation: FOX sucks when not airing Firefly+.  Therefore, POMx Blackberry Pomegranate Tea sucks when not refrigerated.

+Don't get these Firefly references?  Then go look it up to watch it.  NOW.  As you're watching, mull over the fact that there are only--and most likely will only ever be--fourteen episodes.  And it is FOX's doing.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Annie Waits

I figured something out the other day concerning films and soundtracks and myself.  If a movie does not have a decent soundtrack, I won't like it.  End of discussion.  But those movies that have awesome soundtracks become my favorite friends.

I didn't realize this before, oddly enough.  I would come out of a theatre with this curious sort of buzzing sparkly excited sensation, and the unshakable desire to watch the feature again.  The other day I finally noticed the relationship between that and the sensation I get from a superior musical performance*.  I've compiled (and discussed, somewhat) four of my exceptional favorites in no particular order.  There will be more later.  Enjoy!

Pride & Prejudice (2003)
Composer: Dario Marianelli
Watching this film the first time was not a wonderful experience.  I was talked at the entire time, added to the fact I was in a room of young teenage girls who would not shut up**.  I could barely understand the plot line, but I knew as soon as it was over I needed to see it again.  Why?  A very tasteful combination of piano and orchestral timbres, that's why.  Mr. Marianelli's piano pieces are fresh, with undertones of some of the romantic period's best sounds.  Those parts not including a piano are still strong(I really love the dance piece Meryton Townhall, because it demands a reaction).  An album with a particularly classical/romantic feel.

Quigley Down Under (1990)
Composer: Basil Poledouris
I grew up on this movie.  John Wayne might have been the first cowboy, but I believe Tom Selleck was a better one, even though the background music probably helped this bias***.  This soundtrack is built on a swaggering-feel orchestra, a sleepy-sounding clarinet, and the twang and jig of a traditional banjo.  And the bassline is to die for.  It sounds and feels similar to typical country, old-time Western music without making a full commitment to the stereotype of old-time country.

Star Trek (2009)
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Of the tracks that make this list, this is possibly my least favorite because it leans very heavily intense, anxious-feeling conflicted tones and my neurons start firing ::Get rid of the stress, and NOW  or I will make you cry:: in fairly short order.  Don't get me wrong--there is a delightful variety in the tonal content.  The overall emotion is conflict, though, and I am (for the most part) something of a spineless wimp who cannot handle conflict.  Excepting a few rock-n'-roll songs not included on the track, this orchestral album has strong classical themes with modern overtones incorporated gracefully into the original Star Trek theme.

Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Tee hee.  This soundtrack is composed for a cousin twice removed from an orchestra.  The typical instruments all put in an appearance--but the star of the show is a hammered dulcimer for crying out loud.  Not to mention they hauled in a shitty piano and some electric guitars.  These combinations do a brilliant job showing the convoluted rabbit trail that is Holme's brain.  They also sound amazing and adventurous.  This track has recollections of old-time music coupled with forcefully modern twists, and the combination makes it quite enjoyable.

This was entirely enjoyable for me, interestingly enough.  I hope it was for anyone who read it, either.  I think I shall make a habit of watching films for their soundtracks now, though.

Good night!

*They're the same.  Go figure.

**I've always had a hard time finding friends as easily spellbound by book and film as I.  This was probably a great cause of conflict.

***Still.  Quigley would have made John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn cry like a baby.  A hungry, angry baby.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

This Never Happened Before

I am not sitting on yarn right now, which is a miracle.  I have four different colors at present, three of which are in the immediate vicinity.  There's the rainbow tape-yarn-stuff that is on its way to being crocheted into a shrug ( we're not past the first row yet), the blue scarf that I have restarted 5+ times (I'm double-crocheting this time--maybe I'll like it), and the black-to-white gradient fingerless gloves that I am knitting (which, after being restarted several times as well, is going fairly well now).

It was awful: I walked over to get some coffee, and the black-to-white was somehow looped around my waist.  I dragged it around for a while before noticing.

At least I didn't lose any stitches.  And it didn't get dragged through anything overwhelmingly nasty.

Of the things I have successfully finished, my hat sits upon my head and I gave the two flowers to my neighbors.  A lot of work for not much product at this point.  But hey, I'm a perfectionist and I only started this gig in January.  I'm not doing too badly, methinks.

Well, the main point of this post was to actually start my blog here.  It's been all ready and waiting for a few weeks now, and I have felt badly for it.  So there.  It has a post.