You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2006.

Camping was fantabulous, of course, though it was even more fun than last year. Well, it did pour buckets of rain every day, but these things are to be expected. My sleeping bag stayed quite dry, in spite of the deluge. More camping chat, for those who are interested.

For Mini Jim has returned to me! And he’s working just fine so far. Technology, ’tis a beautiful thing. My exuberance knows no bounds!

In a few hours, I’ll be departing for several days (for Ed’s conference, camping, and rafting), to return late Sunday night. I have a lovely gargantuan tome to read on the way up, namely Corpus Poeticum Boreales, a compilation of Eddic poetry. I have a myriad of things I want to write about, but they’ll just have to keep until then. Hounds await my ministrations!

Oh, and check out the icon. An Old English icon, is that not the coolest thing ever? Translation: “That was a good (or right) king.”

Really, I’m leaving now. *tears self away from the keys*

So if I should visit the moon
Well, I’ll dance on a moonbeam and then
I will make a wish on a star
And I’ll wish I was home once again.

That was always one of my favorite songs on Sesame Street. Along with the one about the capital letter I, but that one eludes me to this day –

WAIT

NOBODY MOVE

LOOK

I found it!! Bless you, Youtube!! I love that song, but I only saw it twice when I was about 6, and I had resigned myself to never seeing it again!! Everyone should go watch the Sesame Street videos on Youtube, they’re all great. I always did kind of wonder how they fit that long ladder back into the I, though.

They’re waiting for parts to come in to fix Mini Jim. I begin to doubt that I will ever see him again.

New levels of bizarreness. That’s the eighties for you.

Books! I finished The Dragon in the Sea, and it was a good, solid story. Not the creative genius of Dune, but Herbert is a very consistently good writer. I wonder, it must be nasty when you write a series that people really love, and then you try to write other things less ambitious in scope and everyone must always be comparing your works. That’s got to stink.

I read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and was quite impressed. There are a lot of very wise insights in it, though I would imagine it must have been thoroughly exhausting to write. I don’t think I could ever write something like that, but it was definitely a book I needed to read, there were a lot of things I needed to hear in it. That makes it sound very didactic, and I don’t mean to make it sound so preachy because it’s not. It’s just very much a self-learning book.

I also finished Eric Brighteyes, which was perfectly lovely. Everyone died at the end, but then that’s to be expected. Ah, Viking fatalism. Wonderful in moderate doses, just don’t go jumping off any bridges now.

Reread Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester yesterday. I love these books so very much. Actually, I’m wrapped up in a fit of book-love of any kind lately. It’s so much fun when you are constantly re-discovering your obsession for things, it makes life so interesting.

I started Dune by (of course) Frank Herbert. I realized it’s been at least two years since I originally read it, and Dune is so incredibly compex you just can’t get everything out of it in one reading. I’m going to work my way through the whole series, I think. Speaking of books, this batch will be due soon, and I don’t think I’m going to finish them in time. Dune is 500 pages and then I have a positively gargantuan volume of Old Norse sagas and poetry. I’m thinking I’ll try to finish Dune tomorrow and renew the sagas for reading on the way to the camping trip.

Speaking of which, for those who don’t know, I’m going camping, white water rafting, and tubing in the mountains of NC. We’re leaving Thursday evening and we’re going to pick Ed up from his leadership conference, then stay the night somewhere and arrive at the campground Friday morning. I am looking forward to it VERY much, it’s always a blast to camp and we’re going with a passel of friends.

D’ya know, I realized the other day it has been a whole year since I’ve been riding and since I sold the horses. Not so very long ago I couldn’t have possibly imagined my life without horses, it still feels strange occasionally. I miss it sometimes, but not terribly. I do wish I could go riding sometime though. I should pick on some horsey friends.

Last week one of our neighbors was away so I fed his three horses, dog, and cat. This week another neighbor is going away, so I’m feeding his seven hunting hounds. I must say, for hunting hounds, they look about as intimidating as a bunch of wombats. They’re stubby little beagles, not the taller, rangy hounds they use for foxes. Animals are just so much fun, I don’t know what we’d do without pets. As it turns out, it looks like we’ll be adopting Beowulf permanently as our own cat because Jason is being sent to Afghanistan for a year. Mom is really glad we can keep him, she has gotten quite attached. We’ve been hunting around online, looking through the shelters for dogs. We’re thinking of getting a collie from the Collie Rescue Foundation of the Carolinas. Mom has a thing for collies, she had one when she was younger that she really loved. It won’t be for another week at least, but still, it will be good to have a dog here again.

Speaking of dogs… You know when you see a semi truck without the trailer and they’re driving down the road? To me they always remind me of puppies. It’s like they have too much speed and power behind them and they’re about to trip over themselves and go tumbling in a somersault any minute like puppies do when they get going too fast. Of course, it’s funny when a puppy accidentally trips over his paws, but it would be considerably less amusing if a semi tripped over its wheels.

When I was rereading Narnia the other day I noticed that when Aslan and the White Witch are talking about the Deep Magic, Aslan mentions “what is written in letters deep as a spear is long on the trunk of the World Ash Tree”. Now, as anyone who knows their Norse mythology will tell you, the huge ash called Yggdrasil (the name actually means “the Terrible One’s horse”, and I would have named one of my horses that if I hadn’t despaired of anyone ever pronouncing it properly) is the World Tree that links and shelters the worlds and will be one of the sole survivors of Raganarok, the battle of the gods. Anyway, Lewis never gives more information on the subject. Lewis blended mythology in some pretty crazy ways, I have to say. The White Witch Jadis is supposedly descended of Lilith (the first wife of Adam in Mesopotamian myth and one seriously messed up chick) and a giant. Her minions include efreets and jinns, which are in the Koran, and ettins, which come from Anglo Saxon myth. Then you’ve got mentions of Dionysus and Bacchus, both names for the same Greek god. And do not even get me started on Father Christmas; he’s anachronistic to all the rest. All of these mythologies make for interesting reading, but I can see why Tolkien and other myth purists get frustrated with Lewis when it came to these sort of things.

And now I’ve gone and talked too much!

Greetings, world! This time I’m typing on Big Bob, Ed’s pc. Still no Mini Jim, alas.

I try to keep this a drama-and-angst-free zone because there are already far, far too many livejournals that consist of nothing but angst and drama, of which I am a fan of neither. However, there are times when it’s nice to write things out, so. Tonight we took Simba to the vet to have her put to sleep. We’ve known we would have to for several months. She was on antibiotics for a long time for a urinary infection, only it turned out to be a tumor. It would have cost a lot to do the required ultrasound and surgery, and it would’ve taken a long time for her to recover. She was pretty old, just turned 12, so we decided against that. She was on some cancer medication for the past month or two, and that helped for a while off and on. A couple times we were going to take her in but she kept getting slightly better so we would put it off, but we decided there was no point in dragging it out. We’ve had her for more than ten years, and she was our first pet. Well, not counting Joe and Mary, two goldfish who had pretty short lifespans and, I’m sorry to say, weren’t really missed. So today was quite sad, though not as much as when we had to put Gidget down around this time last year. I’m starting to associate losing pets with summer, it’s not cool. We’ll probably get another dog in a few weeks, after things have settled down a little. It feels wrong not to have lots of animals around the place.

There, now on to more light-hearted subjects! I have been reading like a fiend lately. Today I reread The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I’m always caught by surprise by how much I love the Narnia books, although they’re not quite as – don’t kill me – well written as I remembered. I think I was supplying a lot of the characters’ personalities and relationships between each other with my imagination. Which is fine, books should encourage further imaginating on the characters they create, but reading it I could find so many places where Lewis *could* have developed the charactes and didn’t. I almost get the feeling he meant to leave it like that, which may have been because he thought younger readers would have only found it annoying. I probably would have, at a younger age, but now I would love to read what else he may have had to say about the characters. Anyway, the books are still glorious and always will be. I’m going to reread the rest of the Narnia books sometime this summer, hopefully.

Today I also read Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories by C.S. Lewis. I have to say, it was pretty good. I especially liked one of the short stories, but his essays were also very interesting and reminded me a LOT of Tolkien’s scholarly essays as well. Much the same style. It had a couple chapters of the book Lewis was on-and-ff writing when he died called After Ten Years, which started out quite interestingly. It was about Menelaus after the Trojan War, but there wasn’t really enough of it to see where he was going with it.

Yesterday I reread My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, another old favorite of mine. I still have the notes I took on that book the first time I read it. I had written down all sorts of things about how to make a fishing hook, the best way to start a fire with flint and steel (never mind that I didn’t *have* flint and steel) and lots of other useful tips. Of course, my handwriting when I was 11 was even worse than it is now, so it’s barely legible, but I kind of like keeping my originals rather than re-writing them.

I started The Dragon in the Sea by Frank Herbert, the same author who wrote the Dune series. It’s science fiction, but has absolutely nothing to do with the Dune series and takes place here on earth not too far in the future. So far it’s good, but it’s pretty early to tell. It’s quite bizarre, it has absolutely nothing of the Dune flavor about it. I think it’s very interesting how some authors can completely switch gears like that, down to even changing their writing style.

Ok, I realize this has been terribly bookish, but I must tell you about Stranger in a Strange Land. Cut because this is going to be long and spoilery for anyone who cares to read the book, not that I advise it.

Well, Mini Jim is still indisposed, so I’m typing this on Tiny Tim, Mom’s laptop. He’s old and pretty slow, but I won’t tell him that… I had lots of little things I thought “Oh, I should write about that!” only now I’m afraid I’ve forgotten most of them over the past few days.

Oh, books! I finished L.M. Montgomery’s journal, or rather I finished volume 1. It was quite sad towards the end. I hadn’t realized what a sad person she was, her books are always so full of happiness and light-hearted appreciation of life. I want to read volume 2 sometime, to see if she died miserable and alone or if she got happy again… I realize that sounds horribly insensitive, but she did complain rather a lot in her journals, although she had no idea they would ever be published. Let that be a lesson to you, boys and girls. No angst-ridden lj entries, or one day your grandchildren will read it and mock you.

Then I read The Wandering Fire, which is book two in the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay. Aside from having quite possibly the coolest middle name ever, Kay is an awesome writer. People compare him to Tolkien a lot, and while I think that’s unfair, he IS one of the best fantasy writers I’ve ever read. There’s fantasy, and then there’s fantasy. I hate the stereotypical, forumulaic fantasy books, each of which claiming to be the next Lord of the Rings. However, I love the well-written, ORIGINAL, mind-expanding fantasy that is unfortunately quite a bit rarer than the other kind. I do have a few bones to pick with good ol’ Gavriel, though. He has a remarkably casual attitude towards sex which I appreciate not at all. I’m also unsure what exactly he’s doing with the religious structure in his books; it seems to be an odd mixture of pagan gods and rituals which is more than a little disquieting. At the same time, the books are intensely beautiful and the characters are well-drawn while still being realistically flawed. I also like that magic isn’t overused. Magic in fantasy should be used sparingly or not at all, in my opinion, and not be relegated to a handy plot device you can whip out whenever you can’t think of anything more better to do. Kay’s books are also very very now. You’re held firmly in the present. I don’t know how to explain it, you’ll just have to read the books.

Now I’m working on Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. It’s my first Heinlein book, which I know is rather shocking, but I never quite got around to him. So far it’s good, but I customarily reserve judgement until I finish a book. Sometimes the end of a book makes or breaks it. I will say that I think SF books written before 1969 are always interesting in how they handle the whole moon landing thing. Sometimes they hit close to the future truth, sometimes they are miles and miles and MILES away.

I finished illustrating a short children’s story Sarah wrote last semester, and I have come to the conclusion I definitely do not want to be a children’s book illustrator. But it is done!! On to further art projects.

Oh I know there was more, but I’m in one of those moods where I feel like doing some wild thing and kind of mentally itchy and restless and sleepless everything seems just a little too loud and garish. I think it’s close to a full moon, at least it feels like it, so maybe I’ll go run outside.

Whoa, this dude is awesome! Why are there not more guys like that? I want to meet people who can calmly hold a snake in one hand and land a plane with the other. That’s some pretty sweet multi-tasking there.

Today was nice and peaceful, being Pentecost. After services we drove up to Greensboro and meandered around the Bicentennial Gardens and the Bog Gardens, then met Sarah, her parents, and her friend Winter at the restaurant where Sarah works. ‘Twas always grand to see the roomie again! Also, that buffalo burger was mighty good.

I finished the Dean Koontz book, and the villain got his comeuppance; I don’t care what anyone says, there is something very satisfying about knowing that the bad guy will always lose in Koontz books. I’m still reading L.M.Montomery’s journals (girl wrote a lot) and she really IS Anne Shirley! She even used the phrase “kindred spirits”, and she hugs trees, and is a little snippy to people she doesn’t like, and picks flowers and climbs fences all the time. Wouldn’t it be funny if one day after I wrote lots of books and was dead, someone published my livejournal, and someone read it and thought I sounded just like my characters, and they wrote about it in *their* journal, and it’s like an infinity window. Except, of course, I’ll never write anything as beautiful as the Anne books or be as famous as Montgomery, which I think is a good thing.

Still luxuriating my way through Eric Brighteyes, a few chapters a day. I want to make it last, and it’s very relaxing to read a little before bed. It just now struck me that perhaps it’s odd I find Viking battles relaxing, but I’m not going to worry about it overmuch.

Well, tomorrow is the great and sad day. Mini Jim goes in for service, which means considerably less of me online, probably, at least for a few days. I’m working every day this week anyway, and I plan on reading and drawing a lot and things like that. Don’t drop and break the world while I’m gone.

I am not a horrible cook. I can follow a recipe as well as anyone, and I’ve concocted some decent suppers in my time. Apparently, today was not my time. Mom said I could get something together for myself since I’m not terribly fond of the cheese potato thing she was cooking *shudder*. So, with a merry heart, I chopped up peppers and onions and chicken, and it looked very respectable. I began to heat it up in the skillet, tossing in whatever was around: I’m pretty sure I put in some garlic salt, some powdered mustard, some soy sauce, and I really don’t know what all else. And then, I thought, hey, pepper. So, I put some pepper in. Only it was coming out really slow, so I kind of shook it, and suddenly an avalance, nay, a veritable flood of pepper was pouring out all into my food. It was black with pepper. I thought, well ok, I like my food spicy, this is not a problem, even though my eyes were watering just stirring it. Anyway, I choked down some of it, and then Mom asked to try some, so I gave her fair warning and stuff, but she ate a piece of chicken anyway. Or, tried to. She spit it out and ran for the sink and told me not to eat anymore of it. So then I washed some of the pieces of chicken off and ate a few of those, but the pepper had penetrated into the very heart of the chicken, and it was pretty disgusting, so I just had some cereal and gave up on the whole dinner thing altogether.

A Call For More Scientific Truth in Product Warning Labels

Oh oh, more dreams! This is actually from night before last, but you know how you forget all about a dream until you lie down again to go to sleep? That’s what happened, so I threw some stuff on the floor to remind myself of it in the morning. I do that a lot; I remember something just as I’m falling asleep, and I know I’ll forget it again while I sleep, so I throw something random on the floor so I don’t have to get out of bed. Then in the morning I see a book on the floor and think, “Now why is that there?” and then I remember whatever it was. Anyway, so this morning I found my hair elastic on the floor and I remembered! Dream talk.

I finished Dandelion Wine! And it was absolutely beautiful; I think I want to get a copy and make it tradition to read it every summer. And I was right, there were lots of jolts in with the deliciousness. Now I’m going to start Mr. Murder by Dean Koontz. Now, before any of you unfamiliar with Koontz start laughing, let me defend him. Yes, he occasionally has dumb titles. BUT he is one of the most talented writers of suspense ever, and even better than that, he does brilliant characterization. He can create a highly unique, interesting, and likeable character in only a handful of paragraphs, and he does it for every character in his books, even the dogs. Granted, a lot of them don’t survive to the end of the book, but they still feel like real people, and I get the distinct impression I could learn a lot from him. Plus, he even manages to work religion into his thrillers, which takes talent.

Last night we watched both Finding Neverland and National Treasure. Finding Neverland was good and very interesting, but also very sad, and I do love my happy endings. Nevertheless, it was far and away better than most of the movies out there and was quite lovely. Peter Pan was one of the unusual stories where I liked the movies better than the book/play, I don’t even remember quite why. I read the book and remember not really relating to parts of it, which I think might be the problem. The book went into further detail about Peter’s motivations not to grow up, and I thought growing up was ok. I never wanted to freeze time, but I always wanted (still want?) to slow it down. Everything is so interesting and it feels like I don’t have enough time to see it all in any given moment. Somewhere I read something where one person asks the other, “What do you want to know?” and the other one says “Every story written by every person in the world and the stories behind the stories.” or something, only that’s not it and I can’t quite remember, and I don’t even know where it came from. Or maybe I made it up a long time ago. I hate it when I don’t know what ideas are mine and which are other people’s.

National Treasure is such a *good* movie, and by good I mean yes, it’s entertaining, but also it’s wholesome, and that’s a rare thing. It’s clean and adventuresome and the hero is noble, and not in an irritating, self-righteous way. He knows the difference between right and wrong and acts like someone you’d actually like to know. So many of the “heroes” in movies are not very heroic at all, and while they’re funny or entertaining to watch, if you actually had to spend any time with them in real life, you’d probably hate them. On top of that, National Treasure is full of history (!! Wait, history can be cool??) and shows some intelligence. Again, very rare. I do hear they’re making a sequel for 2007, which fills my heart with trepidation. It was a great movie, yes, but sequels are such touchy things, it could be painful. Nicolas Cage runs kind of funny, I like him.

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I do believe this is the awesomest thing I’ve ever seen involving livejournals. Read my random haiku here.

You seem to have stumbled upon a storytelling of ravens. Watch for falling collective nouns; you may find a wing of dragons or a charm of hummingbirds caught in your hair. Hardhats are recommended.

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