Brace yourselves, folks; this is going to be long!

Wisconsin and Illinois were perfectly lovely, and I had a grand time! We did our traditional climbing at Devil’s Lake State Park and toured Madison and did the olde time photo thing and generally had a blast.

Marcel the shell with shoes on. Stolen from Sarah.
World’s smallest stop-motion character, Dot.
Pixels.
Mattress dominoes!
Where’s Waldo? Apparently this is foreverly old and I’m just now getting to it. Be nice to the slow kid.
Star Wars trilogy recreated in paper.

The Money Tree.
Liquid mountaineering, the new extreme sport. Sadly not a real one.
Is this for real? It can’t be, but they seem so…earnest.
The Great Showdowns. Creepy how they’re all so smiley.
Art from a single sheet of paper.
Supernatural collective nouns.
Jokes with Einstein. Einstein isn’t very funny.

I don’t understand why no one has mentioned the obvious conclusion. The person was flying, obviously.
Six Insane True Stories. Bit of a language warning if you’ve got some pets or kids reading over your shoulder. Stolen from Ian.
Something about tax cuts or earning money or something, stolen from Sam.
Information is beautiful.

Solar beat. Go listen to the music of the spheres.
Email yourself in the future! Almost but not quite like time travel.
Monoface.

The Back Row Hecklers, a movie review blog written by two of my friends.
One-Sentence Stories.
A new audio drama adaptation of The Screwtape Letters.
Recently discovered the claymation British series Creature Comforts. My favorite is the slugs.
“White Knuckles” by OK Go. What do dogs have to do with it? Nothing.
Rainy mood.

I may print this out and hang it in my cubicle. Sadly, I hear most of these daily. “Low-hanging fruit” in particular makes me want to gnaw on the furniture.

A Reader’s Manifesto, stolen from Ian. This is pretty long, but I thought it was quite interesting. It’s a viewpoint I haven’t had much occasion to consider (I’m sure that would change, were I in grad school), but they did make some good points. Guess it’s another example of the pendulum effect: people seem to gravitate towards an extreme, no matter what the subject matter.

It probably sounds pretentious to then launch into a discussion about Walden, but I’m doing it anyway. I finally finished it, after having been distracted by reading half a dozen other books. I found parts of it intensely interesting and thought-provoking, and parts…less so. The extensive discussion on how the ice breaks up on Walden Pond in the spring was one of the latter, as you might suppose. Still, I’m really glad I finally read it all the way through.

I read The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany on the plane to Wisconsin, and it was thoroughly enjoyable! He makes the flowery style of fantasy work…I can see, though, why Ursula Le Guin warned against the perils of Dunsany imitation for aspiring fantasy authors. I can’t think of many people who could keep that style from smacking flat on its face.

I also finally finished Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, and it was precisely what I needed. I should make a list of books with appropriate times to read them. In need of theological depth? Read C.S. Lewis. In need of inspiration? Read some Bradbury. I think he could make a door handle get fired up about writing. His advice is all thoroughly sound, and so couched that you find yourself thinking, “Yes, yes that’s it exactly!” You’ll want to jump up and write write write the next great American novel.

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