31 May, 2010

song of myself

I don't think I have self-esteem issues.  I know I'm not-so-great at certain things, and I know I'm not the most beautiful thing on the planet, but I don't think that's wrong. I'd rather be a little less-sure of myself than puffed-up for no reason.
But right now, in an unabashed act of narcissism, I am going to write down some things that I like about myself.  Because I just turned twenty, and I want to remember.

I like:
Having a sense of humor.  I'd be sorry if I couldn't laugh uncontrollably with friends.  I sometimes wish I could be the silent type, but mostly I'm glad.
Being a lover of beauty.  I feel alive when a good line of poetry or a starry sky hurts me.
My height (almost five ten) and my big feet.
My bookishness.
This one is tough to say, but - my big, stick-out ears.  I hated them for years, but somehow I've become reconciled.
That my freckles come in pairs.  They all have a friend.
The hippie-ness of my personality.
My totally un-cool taste in music.
My memory for people and faces (though it leads to unfortunate things sometimes)
Being called an old soul, and being told I should have lived in the sixties.
Also, being told that I ought to have been born in England.
That I'm not afraid to travel or do things by myself.  I'm glad I've been places.
That I know that I am a thing with worth. The value of knowing that almost cannot be over-stated.  And not worth in the make-up, silly way.  The way that counts.  Whatever else I may be, I have worth.  I have a point. And, without that, what would be the use of anything?

Happy birthday, Kelsey.  These are the good years, remember?

29 May, 2010

best moving job thus far:

Burning old checkbooks.  A highly enjoyable task.  Our living room has never been heated so well.  Quite cheery.

28 May, 2010

"Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing"

"This day was only the first of many similar ones for the emancipated Mole, each of them longer and full of interest as the ripening summer moved onward. He learnt to swim and to row, and entered into the joy of running water; and with his ear to the reed-stems he caught, at intervals, something of what the wind went whispering so constantly among them."

26 May, 2010

Read by...

Ugh.  I think my least favorite Austen character is Anne Elliot's horrid sister Mary.  I despise her.
I'm going through an Austen phase, re-reading all the books (except for the only one on my book list, bad person that I am) and I'm enjoying them terribly.  I've always said I didn't like Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion as much as, say Emma, but they were so lovely.  I actually listened to them on audiobooks from the library - read by Nadia May.  Since we've been taking moments to acknowledge the greatness of people these days, let's take a moment  for the great audiobook readers of the world.

A long moment. They deserve it.

Prunella Scales for Emma and Nadia May for all the rest of the Austen books.  Nadia May for Till We Have Faces. Wonderful, wonderful Nigel Lambert for Dog Friday (the best book on tape ever, possibly) and There's a Viking in My Bed.   When I was a kid, my family swore eternal devotion to Jim Weiss, reader of The Cat of Bubastes,who also reads a set of endearingly oddball short stories (in which he sang as well. If I recall correctly, one song ran, "Snow white, Rose Red joy was sure to follow from the life they led.  Rose Red, Snow White something-something-else will find delight!").  Geoffrey Howard for his exceptional, suitably scary Out of the Silent Planet.  Whoever reads the version of The Screwtape Letters my library has on tape.  I worshiped Kate Maberly (still do, as a matter of fact) for Catherine, Called Birdy.  Listened to it almost every day for a year or two. The tapes are so worn that, every once in a while, her voice suddenly pitches down about three octaves.  I expected Jeremy Northam's read of The Silver Chair to be excellent and, big surprise! it was. Tim Curry is fabulous, and Daniel Handler reads excellently.  Listening to the author is usually a let down, but Lemony Snicket and Bill Bryson are both delightful readers. I could go on and on and on about good books on tape.  Or, audiobooks, I ought to call them.  But in my head they're still books on tape.  I'm a 90's kid.

Let me end by saying I LOVE AUDIOBOOKS.  I am a huge geek about them, and I don't care who knows it.  They make car trips ten thousand, and house cleaning a hundred thousand times more enjoyable.

Okay, last thing.  On the way to Disneyland last week, we stopped at Starbucks for breakfast (because we are the stopping kind.  We believe in gum and snack runs.)  And, right next to the Starbucks was an old Hollywood video, turned into a sale bookstore.  So what did we do? What would any sane person do?  Go in, of course. I love cheap books.
But, the point of this very long tangent is that, while in this shop I found this:

A little teensy book on tape!  You plug headphones in on the side! And only one dollar.  The audio quality isn't the best, but it's still pretty sweet.  And the absurdity of a line on the other side of it which reads "Written and read by the author" doesn't even annoy me.  I love audiobooks.  I'd like to go back to that book shop too.  Good stuff.  I got Ibsen and a huge book of Hercule Poirot mysteries for a dollar each.  Also, there's something pleasantly absurd about pouring over shelves of books with a giant Nicole Kidman head looking down at you.

It is finished.

I took my British Lit final tonight.  It was rather awful, but I'm done.  Done done done.  Considering how remarkably pleasant this semester has been, I'm indescribably glad that it's over. Oh, man. Finals are nasty things.

We move in less than two weeks.  I am 20 in six days. (Actually five at this point.)  It's all very strange.
I've decided not to think about college for at least a week.  No looking for schools.  No looking at schedules. Nothing. I'll just clean my room and read.

yada yada yada.

And be happy.  I am determined to be happy this week. 

23 May, 2010

Can we just take a moment to acknowledge the awesomeness of Thomas Gray?

Thank you.
I mean, dude.  He dies and then a version of himself takes the dead poet's place? How cool is that? Darn cool, that's how much.
I'm not studying for my finals very vigorously as yet.  Apathy has got me.  Maybe procrastinator's fear will kick me into panicked flash card writing tomorrow.  But I sort of doubt it.
Well, good night blog.
Goodnight room.
Goodnight cow jumping over the moon.

And goodnight old lady whispering

"Bye, bye Basil!"

Everything is standing a toss or keep inspection at the moment, even books and blogs. I apologize heartily to all the blogs I un-followed.  I doubt you care whether one geek in California un-follows you or not, I still feel sorry. But, it is time to simplify! Everything must go! Besides the practical (and rather uninspiring) advantage in having less stuff while moving, I don't want so many things.  Too much stuff.
Although, I don't want less books.  I've done three exceedingly painful go-through sessions with my mom sitting on a chair saying heartless things like, "You have two copies of A Severe Mercy? Why do you have two copies?" and "Ugh, That Pickwick Papers looks moldy." And then I have to hotly explain why two copies are necessary and besides they're both paperback, and it isn't moldy it just looks moldy because we bought it at that falling-down shop downtown that was going out of business. And moldy cover or not it's still quite readable, it just smells a teensy bit...

We gather today in memory of all the worthy books who served their owner well, and have now moved on to a better place. (Goodwill.)
Oh dear, a whole lovely memorial service is playing itself in my head.

To commemorate the getting-rid-of of so many fine books, here are two notable graduates from the Mostly Used Sometimes New Always Loved library of yours truly.

Ugliest cover:

And it's broken in half.  One of her weird world domination by evil science ones, if I remember rightly.
Prettiest cover (or at least, Prettiest Spine):

That is very nice looking, I think.  
Aren't book covers fun?  My new obsession is book covers.

20 May, 2010

Oh, I love maps. So beautiful.

I'm going to get there some day.  I know it. 

19 May, 2010

"Travel pushes my boundaries. When you travel, you become invisible, if you want. I do want.  I like to be the observer. What makes people who they are? Could I feel at home here? No one expects you to have the stack of papers back by tuesday, or to check messages, or to fertilize the geraniums.  When traveling, you have the delectable possibility of not understanding a word of what is said to you.  Language becomes simply a musical background for watching bicycles zoom alongside a canal, calling for nothing from you."

18 May, 2010

How to write a British Lit essay, AIA* Format

*Amateur Idler Association
Shut bedroom door.

Take off your new shoes because, even though you adore them so much it's difficult to abandon them even when you go to bed, they are not the most comfortable essay-writing footwear.

Perform a short dance before removal.

Clear desk/clean room.

Make playlist of all sappy soundtrack songs you own.

Begin hunting for quotes/sources.  Kill many trees with excessive Post-it note usage.

Ask Shakespeare bust for advice on formatting. 

Receive no answer. 

Spend an entire day writing a ridiculous outline.

Wish to be outside instead.

Actually begin actual writing. Actually finally for realz. 

Force Long-suffering mother to read excessively rough draft and say, "Great, sweetie... what is it?"

Weep, because this is the well-meaning response traditionally given to cruddy poems and hideous artwork, but never before a paper.
Console yourself with ukulele and remind yourself that they are hiring at Wal Mart.

Buy a Starbucks and find yourself completely roused from your apathy.

Write again.

Fall madly in love with Easy Bib.

Turn in, with much fear and trembling, to teacher.  
Wait for grade.

17 May, 2010

live list: go to the beach

So, guess what blog?  We are moving in less than three weeks.  Mum, Dad, Cee and me.  Hey, that rhymes.
Cee decided to go to the beach with a friend (it was their farewell weekend), and I went as well.
It was not exactly the sort of beach trip I meant in my live list, for one reason.

It was freezing.  Like, fuh-reeeeeezing. I had on a pullover and a Columbia jacket and I still had to go sit in the car after a bit.

I don't care if people sleep outside in Iowa when it's fifteen below - if you're a born and bred California kid, anything near 60 is arctic. 
However, as I declared I would not do in my list, I did not lug a ton of junk. 
The way, for instance, our neighbors did:

Mum and I brought two chairs, two water bottles, and four magazines.  And that was it. 

The main problem with going to the beach in California (besides that fact that it's usually cold) is that if you live in, say, El Cajon, you have to drive forty minutes to get anywhere. Not to mention parking. Because of this, people feel they have to spend the whole day at the beach when they bother to go.  So you drag coolers and towels and clean clothes and snacks and shovels and boogie boards and skim boards and wetsuits and hats and sunscreen and sweatshirts and books and, if you're really serious about your beach time, a tent or awning.  
In Croatia, we walked for five minutes, took a book and a towel, swam for half an hour, and went home.

Okay, rant over. 
Yet, even though it was cold (did I tell you that the weather was frigid?) and a little sprinkly, it was still restful.  Just nice. And the coldness sort of suited my mood.  Also, I might have been sorrier to leave California if my last beach trip was on an unusually gorgeous day.  Because, honestly? Cold is the norm.

(P.S. I don't usually wear tennis shoes to the beach.  I'm not that hopeless.)
(P.P.S.  I am also a tiny bit grateful that California beaches are freezing.  According to my geography teacher, the cold current keeps hurricanes away from us.  Why wasn't I told this ten years ago?  I would have shrieked a lot less when trying to get into the water.)

16 May, 2010

Here's the question, blog.  Should I go - actually attend - at the best college I can get into? Or get an online degree while trying to start work in my intended field, which doesn't require a college degree?  On the one hand, earning a degree from a better institution would probably be a better choice if my work doesn't... work out.  On the other, is it worth the time and money going to a good college when I'm dying to get to work, and may not use my degree anyways?
Help.  What do I do, blog? I don't know where I'm headed next semester - and that's scary.

06 May, 2010

I'm lost, lost, lost.

Not actually.  I just couldn't think of a post title.

Actually, I am lost. Bewildered or terrified may be more the right word.
I'm writing my second English essay (well, obviously, I'm not - I'm here being a first-class procrastinator) for British Lit this week.  Eeks.  I'm probably a theatre major - maybe graphic design - the only essays expected of me thus far in my education have been semi-illiterate theatre critiques and compare and contrast papers. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THIS.  I don't know how to pick apart sentences and explain why the author used that word there and this one here! Yikes.
Why I chose Paradise Lost for my book, I don't know.  We just read some fun pieces from The Spectator, William Congreave, and A Modest Proposal for pity's sake! - all wacky things I could have found a lighthearted thesis to write on.  But I somehow thought up views of hell in Paradise Lost.  What was I thinking? Not only do I have no clue - I mean, not even a smidgen of a notion - how to write literary analysis in the first place, how do I approach the exceedingly delicate topic of hell gently?  I mean, torture vs. torment is my theme! Let's just plow right in there, Kelsey! Oh boy.

03 May, 2010

Okay, so basically I need to apologize to you, blog.  And, in a theoretical way, everyone I know, too.   I'm sorry that, recently, my behavior/attitude has included, but not been limited to -  

I'm sorry I whine to you so often, my dear blog. It's not like I don't have other people to whine to - I do. 
 A lovely family who - get this - I actually enjoy being with.  How many people can, or are even willing to say that in this day and age?  I like my parents.  They're funny and wacky and laid back.  I like my sister - a nice kid who lets me take pictures of her and bug her about clothes and how to work the TV.   
I've got a bestie who's heard the same rants about the same things ten thousand times, and listens politely at every new recital. 
I've got a dog.  Kelsey, never underestimate the consoling presence of a dog.  He listens to my teary whines so sweetly. 

So why do I fret to you, blog?  I really am sorry.
I feel guilty when I worry or complain - things could be so much worse. I could be so -and-so dealing with this ailment or that money trouble. But, you know what? I never really feel much better after thinking how much worse things could be. Thank the Lord, at the moment my problems are not as bad as they could be - but they're still there.  Knowing there's worse out there doesn't make my miniscule worries go away. 
But you know what? After going outside, or spending time with a kind, clear-headed friend, or reading a good book, I do feel better.  I feel better when I spend my time reading lovely blogs like The Polished Pickle- it makes me want to jump up and live - just live, intensely.  When I'm again aware of the beauty around me, the little things seem less important.  I'm reminded that, in the scope of it all, my English paper is not really life or death.  And that in twenty years, I will probably remember the beauty days, and not the mediocre ones.  So why don't I just make some effort, and change mediocre days into beauty ones?  Well, Kelsey, why don't you?

01 May, 2010

Okay, do these:
Sorts of quizzes crack anybody else up?  Gosh.  I mean, if you know Austen pretty well (or even just the movies, really) you can totally figure out what answer leads to who and make sure you end up with Marianne. I tried to answer truthfully, and was surprised to get Elizabeth.  I usually consider myself pretty darn Anne Elliot-y.  Or maybe I'm more Elinor-ish. Ah, well.  I suppose we'll just have to be content with Lizzie. 
The only quiz result I've been truly satisfied with - and, just so you know, I do not take these dumb quizzes very often - was a how similar are you to Dan Bergstein one on Sparkslife.  I answered with complete honestly, and the questions were not obvious at all, yet I got like a 92.  So ha ha.  I take all the victories I can get. 
That's all I have to say really.  So I guess it was just an boasting post.  Boast post.  Ha.  Oh dear. 
Quick question for other Austen freaks - does Jennifer Ehle ever stand on a floor like that in the movie?  I just don't remember that floor in the BBC film.  I know Keira Knightly does in the whole "look how beautiful Pemberly is don't you wish you'd said yes" scene. Can this perplexing mystery be solved by any other means than sitting down and watching both adaptations together?  It's a means to the answer which, may I say, can't be proposed lightly.  It's like eight hours of concentrated sitting.  And, in my opinion, even worse than watching, say, the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. At least each Lord of the Rings movie is a different story, and if I plead extreme sensitivity to violence or Gollum I get to cover my eyes and take short dozes during the fight scenes. It's really quite a restful movie when you cover your eyes during the fighting.  Just a lot of elves floating about.