21 October, 2010

Happy Thunderbolt Kid Day!

This may have been, like, a one-time thing, but in 2006 the mayor of Des Moines, Iowa declared this day "Bill Bryson,The Thunderbolt Kid, Day".  All those commas are actually in the title.  For some reason it seems excessive to me, but I can't think how you could do it otherwise.  I don't care if it was supposedly only Thunderbolt Kid Day in 2006 - I celebrate regardless.

This day we celebrate the genius of Bill Bryson.  Mr. Bryson, your books alone have extended the life spans of readerly people by ten years at least if laughing is as good for us as Prevention magazine says it is. Your efforts to save rural England and put an end to littering are equally commendable.  Thank you for everything, especially Katz. 

09 October, 2010

Boasting is fun

I am freakishly proud of myself right now!
Why, you ask?
Because, my dear Watson, I just re-strung my ukulele all by myself.  Without anyone else's assistance.  On me own.  No help.
Well, several videos on Youtube helped, but that doesn't count for some reason.  It's not like they actually took the ukulele out of my hands and did one string right as an example.  So there.
I had honestly expected that the evening would end in tears and that a second trip to Alan's (the most wonderful music shop on earth. Or at least in La Mesa, California) would be made tomorrow to beg the nice shop men for help.  I bought the strings at Alan's - Aquila, baby - and stroked the very nice ukuleles they sell while my sister bought a piece of sheet music - ten pages long! - for "Rhapsody in Blue".  It was lovely.
Unfortunately, I have no idea what to do with the ends of the strings. They are, at present, sticking out everywhere (and they poke me in the arm when I play) - but I coiled them up as neatly as possible and will figure out what to do someday.  I hope.  Things always seem to sort themselves out with time.  Or they don't. Life goes on.

05 October, 2010

Technically this isn't whining.

It's really rather appalling to realize how many girls actually go to college looking to get their Mrs. degree.  (Did you see the funny joke there?  Because it was hilarious, I tell you!) I mean, astonishing.  All I can think is, "jeez, that's an expensive way to meet a husband."  But you know what?  Until about eight hours ago, I never stopped to think that when I worried about the possibility of missing out on the "college experience" by living at home instead of going away to school, I was basically saying "I think it might be worth six thousand dollars a year to be forced to make friends with people who, in ordinary circumstances, I might never associate with."  Twelve thousand dollars is an awful lot to pay for friends.

Lately, I've really come to see how very, very pleasant and freeing it would be to be able to finish college debt-free, or at least owing amounts in the thousands instead of the ten, twenty and thirty thousands.  If I have student loans to pay back, I can't expect to be able to just drop everything and drive off to Montana on a whim.  And I really do want to drive off to Montana one day soon.  I also really want to move to England and   wear wellies when I go foraging in the countryside.  How will I ever do these things if I can't take risks?  If I'm tied down by that monthly payment?  I know things can't just be dropped, but isn't the disentangling and setting things down less complicated if money isn't as big an issue?  Did that even make one crumb of sense?
Whether it did or not, it really makes sense to me at the moment.

And college is what you make of it, isn't it?

I use too many commas and over-think everything, but at least... at least... (need something positive here) at least I knew like three years ago that Oxford shoes were going to come in.  I even bought ridiculously expensive men's dress shoes, trying to get that sort of Oxford-wingtip-brogue-sixties  look.  That gives me great personal satisfaction. (And gives the world a little glimpse into the reason why the people at Hillsdale didn't seem as eager as they might have to number me among their student body. I never applied, but I think I could have guessed the outcome if I had.  Good thing I don't care.)

03 October, 2010

"You know what it's like when you try and tell someone what your dream is like? It's so boring because it evaporates in the telling somehow. A novel for me is an attempt to build a kind of hermetic vessel that can contain this essence you've been dreaming about, this feeling that you don't want to evaporate. You keep it enclosed and you don't tell anyone about it until you build a vessel that can contain it and keep it at its maximum intensity and purity — that's the novel."  

Philip Pullman.  I don't know if I like him a ton, but this is spot on.

01 October, 2010



I bought the book this afternoon.  And I would like to add that this is the first book I have ever, EVER bought in hardcover the day after it came out.  EVER.  Now you see how truly important and marvelous this happening was, don't you?  I hesitated to buy sunglasses for five bucks this afternoon, but paid twenty two dollars for this book.  But it was worth it.  I like to think that Mr. and Mrs. Bryson will use the money I spent to go out to breakfast or buy a new toaster or something.

I can't think of a title because these things do not relate in any way.

Okay, quick rant.  And then I swear I won't complain anymore.

I am taking comp II this semester, and I think the class has one little flaw.  This flaw being - all we write are literary analysis papers.  Themes, themes, themes.  Theme in this, theme in that, how this contributes to the theme, how this does blah blah blah.  It's rather dull.  Right now we're just reading poems and short stories and writing dumb papers about symbolism - is it totally unreasonable of me to wish we were, I don't know, reading great examples of persuasive essays and then writing our own?  Doing different things?  Maybe that isn't what you do in comp II.  I didn't actually take comp I (transferring does have its benefits), so I really have no idea.

I use too many commas.

Anyways.  Back to the real world.

Okay blog, yes or no - would not school be infinitely more enjoyable if we all carried those leather book bags English schoolchildren had in the olden days?

Like this, for instance. 
Just a thought.  I mean, I know I'd be happier. 

Also, I think I'm a vegetarian.  It's taken me a while to realize this, though in retrospect there was a good trail of evidence that certainly pointed to the conclusion.

1.  I almost never eat meat.  I haven't had ham since 2006.  Steak since who knows when.  I've eaten chicken three times in the past six months.  Giving it up hasn't been a problem at all. 

2. Handling the meat at work grosses me out. It's slimy.  And even though Denny tells me that the juice in the bottom of the roast beef bag is not blood I still think it looks like blood. 

3. Thinking that the thing on my plate was an animal grosses me out.  The meat I eat cannot resemble an animal or part of an animal.  Even boneless, skinless chicken breasts are a stretch.  Usually, it has to be in a burrito or shaped like a dinosaur to be edible. 

4.  Also, animals are not clean.  I recently stopped drinking milk (Rice Dream, baby) because thinking "this came out of a cow" and the memories from a traumatic childhood trip to a dairy farm are too much for me.  Chickens are gross and they fight and peck each other with their dirty beaks.  Cows smell.  Pigs are pigs.
5. Even though I know most animals raised for human consumption probably live on some satanic farm in a tiny metal cage I still occasionally feel sorry that they had to die so I could eat them when black bean soup would have done just as well.

6. And, though this may not count as evidence it certainly motivates me to forgo meat - meat is expensive and I am cheap.  I do not want to pay eight dollars a styrofoam carton so I can make hamburger patties.  I can't do it.  I have a hard time buying food as it is (you always have to go get more! it's never done!) and I hate to pay that much money for something that's here today, eaten tomorrow.   I plan to grow as much of my food as possible when I live by myself.  Miserliness drives me to vegetarianism. 

My gosh.  I just went on a poetry forum/critiquing site (Eratosphere) to see what was like - jeez.  People talk about how there are too many uses of the letter w in a piece, or say that they think the enjambment is weak here, or recommend that the writer should change "limbs withering like weeds" to "limbs like weeds" because it's stronger.  Man.  And I'm happy if I can stick the right amount of syllables in and make it rhyme.  Jeez.
And you know what else?  I'm reading a book called The Ode Less Traveled by Stephen Fry (yes, that Stephen Fry.  He's a wonderful writer), and thus far it's been about writing in iambic pentameter - and my gosh.  I... it's simply amazing.  I knew what iambic pentameter was - I did not know a thing about trochees and spondaic and pyrrhic substitutions and weak endings.  It left me stammering.  I had no idea how very, very controlled great poets are; they're like mathematicians manipulating every tiny little aspect of a line to their advantage.  Incredible.  Pop in a spondee here to make the eighth syllable stand out more, then do a sort of call and response pattern with weak endings here and there.  No problemo.  Easy peasy. 

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Keats, of course.