I must share this with all of you. Quite by accident, I found this huge collection of high res photos from Yellowstone State Park. They are absolutely amazing and completely free, and I have saved so many that my computer threatens to explode. Some of the headings sound boring, but then you click Weather and find gems like this, or you click on Plants, then Carrot Family, and find a picture from underneath a cow-parsnip, all shot through with light. Go, go see!

I was quite pleased with myself the other day. I almost shot a Robin Hood. Just as well it didn’t actually split, those little guys are $6 a piece and I have to make these last for at least another 6 months. I’ve already got one irreparably lost somewhere in the pasture…I need a metal detector. Or a dog.

I always write down the names of people, towns, streets, etc. that I think sound interesting, so I’ve got quite a list going. I was adding a few to it the other day, and I realized why I love kennings so much in Old English literature. Lots of the names I had written down were compound words with a similar feel to kennings, like Greyabbey, Eaglesrest, Applecross, Windson, Youngblood, and Sunderland. So do I like the names because I like kennings, or do I like kennings because I like the names? Hmm.

I’ve been half-heartedly searching for a book I thought I read when I was pretty young about a house with thousands of feral cats. I was *sure* I had read it; I can even picture the cover. It’s that old kind of cover you see on kids’ books where it’s only in 2 or 3 colors, with that distinctive none-too-expensive-old-book-cover texture, if you know what I mean. The picture is of an old, dilapidated house with a big front porch, surrounded by trees on three sides. The front is open, and the ears and back of a cat’s head is in the foreground. The dark trees all around the house are full of shadowy cats and bright eyes looking at the viewer. I’m fairly sure that the cover, at least, is a real cover. But now I’m not so sure the book is a real book, at least the way that I remember it. The other night I dreamed that a bunch of people and I (only it wasn’t real me, you know how that goes) came across an old, very large abandoned house, which just so happened to have a rathe rlarge front porch. The people with me weren’t people I knew in real life (which is mildly unusual), but they were all characters from this book that I thought I had read. There was a guy whose name may have been Zach and a girl with black hair, and I was one of them, too. I had brown hair and was a bit short. As we explored the house, we realized it was just as if the inhabitants had disappeared in the middle of what they were doing. There was still food on the table which was very decomposed, but we could see it was only fruits and vegetables, no meat. There were no rodents around either. There were thousands of odd scratches everywhere, and we were trying to figure out what could have made them. In places the wood of the walls had been scratched all the way through so that there were openings between one room and another. We had to spend the night in this house, I think because we had had car trouble, and we went upstairs to make sure nothing was up there. There were some old, musty, dusty beds and things, and we reluctantly all picked places to sleep after making sure the doors were shut tight. We didn’t really sleep very well, we kept hearing more scratching and all sorts of odd rustley sounds. In the morning I woke up was looking out the second story window (which was all streaked and dirty), which looked out onto a huge barn, also in very poor shape. I saw a barn cat sitting in the doorway, just looking around. I kept watching and saw another cat walk past him, then I saw another in the loft, and another by the bushes near the barn, and the longer I looked the more cats I saw, hidden all around the barn. I called the others over, and as we watched a swarm of cats poured out of the barn towards the house. And right here, my real, non-dream self suddenly had the thought that there was no book like this, I had already had this dream when I was younger and that was what I was remembering all along. But there was no time to think about this, as several cats were trying to climb up to the second story by way of the outside window ledges, and one big grey cat made it. We had slammed the window shut, and he was watching us through it, trying to figure out what to do. He looked back at the barn and a cat from inside yowled at him. We couldn’t see it, but it had a very deep yowl… The other cat clearly had gotten some information from the yowl and managed to break the window (it was a big cat). I got the impression he was a lieutenant of sorts, taking orders from the one in the barn we couldn’t see. We ran downstairs as cats streamed in through the second story window. We tripped over some pieces of bone, and suddenly we realized what had happened to the people who lived here. They had all been eaten by the cats as they scratched their way through solid wood into the house. That was why there was no meat on the table, only decayed vegetables, and no rodents anywhere even though the food was still sitting there. These cats only ate meat. More cats were beginning to come in the first story, and we dodged inside a garage-type room at the last minute and barred the door. This is about where my dream changed from how I remembered the story…I think I saw thing were going to end badly so I thought up a better ending. We remembered that there had been a rest stop just a little ways down the road (the kind with just a place to pull over and take picturs, no buildings) so we thought we should try to find some help there. For some reason, I was the only one who could go…I think the others might’ve gotten too scratched. Anyway, I slipped out somehow and ran to the road. All of the cats were intent upon getting the others and didn’t see me, except for the leader. A huge shadow leapt down from the rafters of the barn and as it stepped out of the dimlit barn, I could see it was a giant grey cat. And by giant I mean this thing weighed at least 100 pounds. Fortunately it was also quite old and looked pretty stiff, and I was able to outrun it for a short distance. I reached the rest stop, which was very close by, and there was some girl with red-blond hair and wearing a sweater there taking pictures with an old green pickup truck next to her. I yelled at her as I came up and she saw the cat behind me. She jumped in the driver’s side, I jumped in the passenger side, and we both started rolling the windows up furiously while she started the car. It was an old diesel and took its time getting moving, and by then the cat was there trying to get in. He had jumped in the back and was trying to get through the back window or the roof at us. And then my stupid alarm went off, so I’ll never know if we made it to the others or what. But now I don’t know if I dreamed the whole thing the first time around, or if it was a dream based off of that book with the cover I remember so well, or what. Sigh. Reality is so very questionable.

I’ve almost made it to the Hs in my music project, as soon as I finish up with Guster. Then I am on to Hail Social, the Halo Benders, and all kinds of neat stuff! I also found a band called Aberdeen City, which is cool ’cause I live in Aberdeen, and they’re quite good.

So, books. I finished The Neverending Story, and it was WONDERFUL. Go, read it, now. I kind of want to see the movie now, although apparently it only tells the first half of the story. On an eerily random note, the kid who played Atreyu in the move is apparently the same kid who played Boxey on the old Battlestar Galactica. That means exactly nothing to everyone reading this, but for me it was very weird. Boxey was so…unheroic, and his entire existence was one of an irritating plot device. Hmm. I still want to see the movie now.

I finished Prince of Annwn, and aside from the touches of Welsh in it, it was only ok. I don’t think I’ll bother tracking down the rest of the tetrology. I read Flatland by Edwin Abbott, which was intellectually interesting but not exactly thrilling. It’s about a two-dimensional world and has some thought provoking ideas (the author was the first, even before Einstein, to conceive of space-time), but it was also a bit dull. Several people have recommended the stories of Roald Dahl, so I hunted for them at the library. They didn’t have any of his stories, just a novel called My Uncle Oswald. So, unsuspecting, I got it. By the end of the second paragraph I was having my doubts I should read this all the way through, and by the time I hit page 20 I was already traumatized for life. Vague memories of Sarah warning me to read only his children’s stories and to stay far, far away from his other works were returning to me. DON’T READ IT. To clear my mind, I started in on Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. I didn’t realize it was translated from Norwegian (although you figure it out pretty quick). For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a novel about the history of philosophy. So far it’s, again, intellectually interesting but not terribly thrilling. I’m only about a quarter through it, though, so it may improve. So far I know all the things they’re talking about which makes it pretty slow-moving.

Oh oh! I also started Nightfall and Other Stories by Isaac Asimov, as recommended to me by the great Professor Ezell from Astronomy class. It is blindingly good, everyone should read it. His style reminds me quite a bit of Ray Bradbury (though of course no one can be quite like Ray), and I love it. Professor Ezell had told us the story of Nightfall in class one day, and it sounded fascinating. I think I *may* have read it before when I was very very young…I know it felt familiar because Ezell had told it, but I also remembered some of the people’s names, which I don’t think I should’ve. Again, reality keeps flowing the wrong way and doing crazy things. Is this what happens when you read too much at too young of an age? The public should be warned…

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