Whoaho, I got a new layout for the first time in, oh, 3.5 years? Poor neglected LJ.

There’s a fox in our neighborhood, and it keeps hanging about our yard. It’s very bold, just wanders around the yard and comes and goes as he (she?) pleases. The other day it ran through with a kit following it, very unconcernedly. They’re beautiful animals, but Mom’s convinced we’re all going to get rabies by osmosis or something and die horrible twitching deaths. I had a dream where she made friends with it and was petting it while we all watched dubiously. “What about rabies?” “Oh nonsense, it’s fine.” Then again, there were also giant worms the size of anacondas in that dream, so reality’s hold was pretty tenuous. I find I dream about giant worms when I’m stressed sometimes. What in the world does that mean? Wait, don’t tell me.

At first I thought I’d love to live here, but on further consideration, I think I might go a little insane after a while. I do love the woodwork, though.
My Milk Toof, or Some People Have Too Much Time. Then again, I’m not one to talk.
English has one million words! Exciting stuff, guys.
Speaking of words, it turns out that pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanocon is not a real word after all. You may all mourn for a moment.
Cocaine frozen in sharks. I guess you have to admire their creativity, at least.
“Stoned wallabies are responsible for crop circles” is one of those headlines that makes you question your sanity, just for a minute.
Happy Birthday, Alex! I have absolutely no idea who Alex is, but I find this very amusing.
The Hero Proposition. If done well, this could be one of the most important societal movements that I’ve heard of lately. It’s worth watching each section.

I think maybe I should have a separate section for music links. There always seem to be rather a lot of them. So, look! Or rather, listen, or rather both.
I love Regina Spektor. And so should you. Check out “Eet”.
Soul Sloshing by Venus Hum. Am unsure as to the purpose of the folks in underwear, but otherwise a fabulous video.
Soy tu aire. Lovely!
Sunlight by Reilly. Not usually a fan of Christian music, but this pretty great.

Books! I have been reading them. I finished War and Peace in about 2.5 weeks, which is a hugely long time for me, but…it’s War and Peace. Even once I got a feel for it (took around 300 or 400 pages for that), it was pretty rambling at times. The thing is, it’s not really a novel, or a history text, or a biography, but it’s all three (which is probably why it’s so massive). You can tell that Tolstoy was trying to make sense of all of these huge historical events in which he participated. He switches from the third person when he’s describing battles he himself fought in; suddenly it’s “the enemy attacked our left flank around noon”. I think he was almost too close to his subject matter. At the same time, it reads like a history textbook at times. I found a lot of Tolstoy’s concepts thought-provoking, but I had to wade through hundreds of pages to get to them. Overall, I’m glad I read it and I enjoyed parts of it, but I wouldn’t read it again, I don’t think.

I had meant to read something light after that, but a friend gave me a copy of Night by Elie Wiesel, so I read that instead (which is very certainly not light). It’s the story of Wiesel’s time in the concentration camps during WWII, and it’s not easy to read, but a book that I think everyone should read. Then I read Quicker than the Eye by Ray Bradbury, which was every bit as exquisite as every other Bradbury book I’ve read. I also read Grendel by John Gardner, which is supposed to be Beowulf from Grendel’s point of view, but which is mainly just a frame for nihilistic angst. Interesting, though. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. Then I read Empire by Orson Scott Card, which I had picked up not knowing anything about it other than that it was by Card, so I figured it would be good. The premise was rather fascinating: another civil war, this time divided more or less along party lines, exploring the animosities between the two political parties and how easily these differences could explode into open conflict if we’re not careful. Interesting take on things, at any rate.

Lot of frustrating things happening around here the past day or two. The internet is such a wonderful little escapist realm, I must say…

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