I’ve figured out (one reason) why Florida feels so foreign. I haven’t seen a single crow or raven since I got down here. Not even one! Where are you, my feathered minions? Who will do my bidding now? Sigh.

My life is not ever boring. This can be good or bad. I wish there were rather less of the bad lately. The other day, as I was going to work, ants suddenly started pouring in from around the doorknob to the balcony. Tons of them! I killed a few, but I had to go to work and I didn’t have time for it, so I just left the rest alone. When I came back, there were no ants to be seen. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Apartment living is so entropic. One burner on my stove died, the tub drain got really sluggish, and the washers down the hall don’t work. They all get fixed eventually, though. Maintenance men: holding back the tide of entropy in the universe. Give them a high-five.

Security guards, on the other hand…I think the one here at the apartment is stalking me. It’s kind of creepy. He found me in the exercise room the other day and said, “Every day I don’t see you, it makes me sad. I saw you running twice last week. I love how you walk and talk. Do you live alone?” By which point I was halfway out the door, laughing nervously. I think I’ll report him when the office is open next. I’m not too worried; I have knives stashed away everywhere. Which I guess makes me creepier than most stalkers. *crazed grin* All the same, I’m tired of meeting crazy people in Florida.

Getting a Florida license plate and registration is absurdly difficult. I’ve been working at it for weeks now. You need about seventy forms of ID, grandmother’s maiden name, name of your first pet, and, apparently, your own mint. They charged me $421! I thought the lady at the counter was joking, except that she never cracked a smile the whole time she was helping me. There’s something about the very atmosphere of the dmv or tag agency that turns people into ferocious, snapping beasts. One awesome thing did happen while I was there, though. I was hunched over a form (you need approximately eighty of those) filling it out while I stood in line (you have to do that for a few hours, evidently) behind some guy. I wasn’t really paying attention, and as I was looking down a whole herd of people swept in front of me and the guy ahead of me. They were so quick and it was so crowded in there, I just thought “oh well” and decided not to make a fuss. But the guy ahead of me turned around was clearly saying I should be ahead of these people in line, though I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I think he was Italian, maybe? Not sure. He was wearing kind of shabby clothes and was about 40, but he looked like he could have been an actor. He was very handsome in an Old World, Spanish or Italian nobleman sort of way. I said, “Oh, no, that’s ok, I have to fill out this form anyway” even though he clearly didn’t understand a word I was saying either. He shook his head disapprovingly and gestured again for me to go to the front. I smiled and shook my head back, “No, it’s ok, really.” He sighed and left the office a few minutes later (turns out he was just waiting for his son, who was in line). Then he came back after a little while, marched up to me determinedly, grabbed my elbow (in a very chivalrous, courteous kind of way), and bustled me up the front of the line right behind his son, brushing all of the line-hoppers out of the way and just charging right through the mass of them, towing me along behind. I was so flabbergasted I just stammered “Thank you!” with immense gratitude. He smiled and nodded as if now he was satisfied that justice had prevailed, and as he went out he waved goodbye. I felt like maybe I’d accidentally been transported to Italy and back. Wherever you are, bless you, wonderful DMV man! You were the best part of that wretched day.

My brother gets to eat dinner with Bill Nye. No joke. I am consumed with envy, and he better get Bill’s autograph. Apparently Mr. Nye is coming to my brother’s college to give a talk on something or other, and since my brother is in the Honors college he got to request to be at the dinner. It’s a pretty small group, so he should have a chance to actually talk to him. Exceedingly cool! I can’t think of electrons without thinking of Bill Nye; he made science fun.

So I’ve finally had a chance to get reading again! I finished To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, and wow, almost nothing happens in that book. It was good and everything, but there is no action. The characters’ thoughts are all that matter, really. Very interesting approach, if not terribly exciting. After that I read O Jerusalem by Laurie King, which is part of her Mary Russell series. I HIGHLY recommend that series, beginning with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. It shouldn’t be good, but it is.

I read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. Apparently I’ve been living under a rock, because I had absolutely no idea what it was about. I didn’t know the time period or anything other than that several friends highly recommended it. So I was completely blindsided by it; it’s very, very good, but very, very sad. Do read it. Every once in a while I walk into a book completely blind, without knowing anything at all other than that I should read it, and it’s always an interesting experience, figuring out where the story is taking place and when and all of those things that are usually on the back cover of a book.

I found a book called Lorien Lost by Michael King and picked it up, also blindly, just because it looked interesting. Some books look interesting without having to do anything at all. This one was very lovely in its way. It was written by an artist, and you can tell: the story feels like the author had a series of beautiful but disconnected images in his mind and he just strung them all together. Very pretty to look at, but not always coherent. It reminded me a little of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, except not as organized (or nearly as lengthy). Worth checking out, though, if only for the imaginative turns of phrase and poetic descriptions.

Right now I’m on The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by Tolkien! Very recently published. If there’s a better combination than the Icelandic Sagas and Tolkien, I can’t imagine what it would be.

Some links!
I want to be a putpocket, minus the previous life of crime.
The new Star Trek in 60 seconds…with llamas. I don’t even know.
Go to Scotland. Just do it.

And some music!
Coin Laundry by Lisa Mitchell.
Maybe by Ingrid Michaelson, from her new album which is fabulous.

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