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The rough draft of my thesis is done!!! 50 pages of incredibly disorganized rough draft, but it’s done. I am so very happy. That was an exceedingly daunting project, and writing ten pages a day on it for five days was exhausting. I’m not even going to think about editing it for at least a week. It’s really an odd feeling, I feel as if I should be writing my brains out now, but I’m out of things to say, finally!

I also have sent out 18 resumes to date, so I’m happy with where that project is now as well. I’m not going to do any more with it over the break. I already received one polite “thanks but no thanks” rejection letter, but I refuse to worry about that yet since it’s so early.

I’m also wrapping up all kinds of other projects and am now hopeful I may actually make it through my break to-do list for the first time in 4 years! Shocking. Granted, I still have 1300 pages to read by a week from next Monday (thanks a lot, Dr. Vaughan), but I think that’s doable. Middlemarch and Bleak House, here I come!

Oh, it feels so good to be intensely productive! I love accomplishing things. I’m even finding time to do the odd fun activity as well (and I do find all of these projects enjoyable in their way as well), including watching old scifi, compiling my own Sindarin Elvish dictionary (yeah, I know, that’s pretty horrifically geeky), going running, and getting in lots of archery and even some fun reading. And I still have a whole week of break left! ‘Tis glorious, I tell you.

I found this group called Frightened Rabbit, and I really really love their sound, but I’m having all sorts of moral quandaries over the lyrics. I hate it when that happens. I was in a euphoric new music phase and didn’t even notice at first, and now on second listening it’s considerably more awkward. This is how I get myself in trouble. Telling people “Oh yeah, they’re awesome, you should check them out!” and then finding myself responsible for traumatizing pets and small children or something. Like the girl in the poem, when Frightened Rabbit is good, it’s very very good, and when it’s bad it’s horrid. But I just love how they say their words…they’re a Scottish band and the vowels are fantastic.

Ok, well I’m off before my disgusting amounts of cheer ooze through this livejournal entry and spill all over your keyboard. So hard to get that repulsive, sickly-sweet joy out from between the keys…

Two posts in as many weeks! Try not to pass out or anything, I don’t actually have anything much to say.

I recently assimilated my this past semester’s college books into my existing book collection, which is always a time of trauma for all involved (particularly the bookshelves) every semester. Prior to moving, I had only one minuscule bookshelf which was bowing under the strain of many weighty tomes. When we moved into this house, there were two bookshelfy things in one of the rooms. They stunk and were gross, like everything in the house, but I cleaned them up and fiddled around with them, and they hold books quite admirably, if in a somewhat frilly manner. Anyway, I’m so proud of these bookish accomplishments that I took pictures, tagged with my (pseudo) organizational system!
Smaller shelf that sits on my desk.
Larger shelf that’s probably supposed to be on a dresser or something. Why, yes, that is my Stars Wars poster. 🙂

The problem with bookshelves is that you never have enough. When you have one, you have a ton of books with no shelf home. So you get two, and you still have books with no shelf home. Homeless books! Unacceptable! So you buy another bookshelf, and you STILL have homeless books, and then you realize there’s no end to this vicious cycle, and you’re surrounded by piles and mountains and peaks of books, and you’ve spent all your money on books, and you don’t even particularly mind. Death of a book addict. This is how it begins.

The thesis research nears completion! Actually, it is completed. I went through the last book today. I’ve read 50 books for it, with 129 pages of typed, single-spaced notes on said books, not counting Biblical research or a couple online journals I used. I started organizing the mountain of notes a couple days ago, which was a rather Herculean task all on its own. I’m hoping to have everything organized and an outline written by the end of Sunday, so that all that’s left is to sit down and write it. Although, I’ll need to take a break from it for a day or so to do more resume-sending. I’ve sent out 9 so far, all in North Carolina because I promised Mom I’d apply in this state first before striking out too far from home. Gagh, so much to do.

All right, brace yourselves, this is some fascination coming at you. One of the books I read for my thesis was The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, and this is an excerpt from a letter to Walter Hooper, 20 February 1968:
“I remember Jack [C.S. Lewis] telling me a story of Brightman, the distinguished ecclesiastical scholar, who used to sit quietly in Common Room saying nothing except on rare occasions. Jack said that there was a discussion on dragons one night and at the end Brightman’s voice was heard to say, ‘I have seen a dragon.’ Silence. ‘Where was that?’ he was asked. ‘On the Mount of Olives,’ he said. He relapsed into silence and never before his death explained what he meant.”

Very few things could be more imagination-sparking than reading that late at night curled up with a massive book of letters when one is already thinking about wonderful things. I think it’s very healthy to believe in the possibility of things, it makes life so much more interesting.

Also, somewhere in my research I came across this quote from St. Bernard de Clairvaux about people in stories:
“We read their life, we read their death,
And to us it is sweet as bread.
Their life, their death, are our bread.
So lives their life, so lives their death,
So live they still and yet are dead
And their death is the bread of the living.”

I think that’s probably one of the most glorious arguments for literature you’re likely to find.

Blasted town living. After a thoroughly fruitless and frustrating search for a place to practice archery on our own property (“This is totally far enough! There’s no way I could hit the neighbors’ kids!” “Stephanie, you cannot shoot at the neighbors’ house.” “Darn.”), I got permission to shoot on top of this dam that’s just down the road. Theoretically, this is a brilliant plan, as it’s somewhat hidden from the road, relatively unused, wide enough to drive a truck on, with no pinestraw or any other way to lose arrows (though I’m usually pretty creative about that). The only problem is that so far several neighbors have seen me hauling my target to and from my nice new archery spot. Stephanie: “Hey! How are you?” Elderly neighbor 1 with spaniel: *stony silence* A few moments later. Stephanie: “Hey!” Elderly neighbor 2 with pug: *stony silence* The next day. Stephanie: “Hi! How are you today?” Elderly neighbor 3 (2?) with a pug: *stony silence* They all look at me like I’m eating raw kittens with barbecue sauce. I suppose it doesn’t help that when they saw me I was missing pretty badly. But I haven’t had a chance to shoot a bow since last spring! I’m getting better already, and I won’t hit your pug, honest!

Pretty much all of the neighbors are retirees, and it’s a VERY quiet neighborhood. I think they all think our family is really, really weird. We’re tearing apart our bathroom right now, and late at night (which is 9pm, around here) you can hear Dad hacking at the walls with a hatchet. I’m not sure that they believe us when we say we’re remodeling. There are have been some rather odd sounds coming from this house for the past 6 months, but is that any reason to think we’re a pack of murderers? *pushes that disembodied limb back under the bushes* Just landscaping, we are.

I’m really enjoying my Honors senior thesis research, but it’s also becoming a little bit scary. I’ve read 45 books for this thing already. I still have three more books coming on interlibrary loan before I tackle the online journals and finish up gathering quotes and information from my primary sources. And I foolishly told Dr. Vaughan that I’d have a rough draft of the 20-50 page paper done over break, of which I have three weeks left, and during which I’m supposed to be working at the country club, reading several massive novels for another class, and sending out my resume to find some sort of career-type-thing for after college. I need to wrap this thing up! It’s eating my life and spitting out the chomped up little bone fragments! Break is lovely, but it’s not half long enough, and I’m not getting half enough done.

I’ve been having extremely vivid dreams again lately, mainly involving dogs. I think maybe I’m in withdrawal. I dreamed that I picked up a black poodle mix puppy, and it felt so real with its curly black fur, and it was kind of squirmy how puppies are, and I was going to bring it home to Mom and then I woke up. Then I had another dream that I was volunteering at the elementary school (shudder) and someone brought in an Akita puppy. It fell asleep on my lap and its fur was just like Gidget’s when she was that age. She would sleep so deeply that it was hard to wake her up. Yanni always put her out like a light, no matter how wound up she was, which is, I guess, what Yanni’s there for. Of course, then I had a dream where the central problem was my lack of boots. My beloved boots are currently in a state of advanced dilapidation and are rapidly reaching the point of unwearability, so this has been weighing heavily on my mind. I love those boots, we’ve climbed trees and mountains together! We’ve waded creeks together! We have walked the streets of cities in several states together! Anyway, in the dream, it was some sort of apocalyptic thing in which we were being bombed, and there were terrible shortages and whatnot, and I just made it to this store with my last gallon of gas. I was afraid it’d all be looted, but it was not, and I charged inside. One cannot face the apocalypse without good boots. Fortunately, the store turned out to be a outdoor supply type place, and I was browsing the boots when a classmate wandered up and we talked about how messed up the world was and how we missed the simple days of college. The world ended somewhere around there, but I got my boots, darnit. I’m not actually concerned about the end of the world, incidentally, but it did make the quest for boots much more dramatic than in real life.

On to the links! I spend entirely too much time on the internet.
Best bloopers ever, from Prince Caspian. “I’m Prince Caspian!” “No you aren’t, get off.” I love the doorknob coming off in Peter’s hand.

Ok, as a side note, along with the bloopers people posted some deleted scenes, and one of them was of Susan shooting a pinecone, which landed neatly on the ground, impaled by the arrow. Maybe that’s how it works if you’re Susan and you’re in Narnia. When you’re Stephanie in North Carolina, the arrow hits the pinecone, which shatters in a bazillion pieces, and the arrow does the craziest ricochet known to man, nearly taking out your cat. I’m just saying.

Crazy cool research project.
When someone first told me about this, I thought it was pretty dumb and proof that we will watch anything. Fifteen minutes later, I was going “Awww” with the worst of them. Started out with 6 puppies, now down to 3, I believe.
A little bird, a little girl, a little story. Watch this, and then watch the rest of this guy’s stuff. Do it!
The Art of Invisibility. This and a few other links shamelessly stolen from friends on Facebook.
Strangers may cheer you up.
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I loved this show so much. You can’t tell me you didn’t like Mr. Rogers (double negative!). I remember everything about that show. I even remember the names of King Friday’s two pet wooden birds on sticks! Really. Mimus polyglottus and Troglyoditus Aieden. I have no idea how to spell the last one, having only heard it when I was little, but I distinctly remember their names, and that they called them Mimus and Trog for short. Mimus Polyglottus is the Latin name for the mockingbird; does anyone know what the second one is, or how it’s spelled?
Awesome wallpapers.
An etymologist’s view of the world, which is absolutely wonderful.
Everything’s amazing, but nobody’s happy.

Well, I’m happy. 🙂

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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