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I’m off to Washington, DC next weekend for a business trip! Terribly exciting. I’m looking forward to riding the metro by myself and getting up to all sorts of hijinks. There won’t be much down time for site-seeing, but I am bound and determined to get to the Library of Congress, if it’s at all possible. Can you believe I’ve been to DC twice and have yet to go to the largest library in the world? I know, inexcusable.

I’ve now worked my way through the first four seasons of Doctor Who, and I’m a couple episodes into season 5. Might I say for the record that, after seeing the Tenth Doctor’s heart-wrenching farewell, it is a darn good thing that David Tennant is safely engaged, or I would be sorely tempted to show up on his doorstep with flowers. And that would be embarrassing and awkward for everyone.

Check out Minding Your Ps and Queues, an editing blog by an awesome friend of mine.

Found the shipwreck that inspired Moby Dick.
How did I live for so long without knowing about the Dyatlov Pass Incident?
15 things Kurt Vonnegut said better.
Venn diagram elucidating the ages-old debate.
Things you did not know about Abraham Lincoln.
So…if I dance around in a dress made of bells and generally act really weird while making fabulously bizarre music, I could get my own chunk of shockingly beautiful Icelandic island too?

Map of the fantasy world.
The Black Rabbit of Inle, part of a gallery exhibit featuring art inspired by Watership Down.
Sword-fighting with shadows.
Armed notebooks.

“David’s Lullaby, directed and edited by my brother, in honor of his friend who was killed recently.
“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele.

I hadn’t realized quite how long it’s been since I read Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but it was lovely to be back. It was always one of my favorite Narnia books, probably because it combined fantasy with sea adventures. And if Dawn Treader isn’t the perfect name for a ship, I don’t know what is.

I’m now working on The Lord God Made Them All, one of James Herriot’s famous books about being a veterinarian in rural England. In spite of the pious title and innocuous-looking cover, the book is wickedly funny, and it can be awkward to read in public places. “What’s so amusing?” someone asks. And then you have to figure out a nice way of saying that you’re reading about bovine Cesarean sections gone horribly awry, with two fellows up to their elbows inside the guts of a cow. Trust me, it really is hilarious.

Last Sunday I had a glorious day with friends, hiking in the most perfect weather. We explored off-trail and found all sorts of fascinating things! And we managed not to get lost in the woods for days, so that was pretty excellent. Best Superbowl Sunday ever, certainly!

I have a recurring dream recently where I consistently order the wrong chicken sandwich. They’re always radically different dreams in which purchasing a meal is a very minor point, but I always accidentally order the sandwich I don’t want. NOT the #2, darn it!

Lately I’ve been having weird troubles with Russian spam commenters, leaving cryptic messages on my posts. I don’t understand. Maybe I talk about Tolstoy too much. I can’t imagine why else someone would think anyone in my (very small) readership would be inclined to buy cheap electronics from Russian websites. Beware the Muscovite black market ipods, kids.

Check out Espresso Queen, a coffee blog by one of my supremely awesome friends!

RIP Brian Jacques. I hope that somewhere an army of mice and badgers are giving you a battle-cry send-off.
Part 2 of The Sagan Series. Stop, drop, and watch this immediately. Part 1 is here, should you have somehow missed it.
Neil Gaiman on copyright piracy.
Reel wisdom.

Coke dragon battle, which you probably saw if you were, unlike me, watching the Superbowl last weekend.
Grannies are fearsome creatures.
I love the cold, but not even I understand Norwegians.

Now if you could only get these with different titles…
Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Kit. Tempting…
Whole Trees Architecture, found by Rachael.
Six Artists You Didn’t Know Made Your Favorite Movie Moments.
Criminal photographs from Australia, 1920. Mugshots have never been so intriguing. I want to write a story about each one.

Bass strings.
“Evergreen” by Yoann Lemoine.

I read Destination: Void by Frank Herbert of Dune fame this week. Obviously he doesn’t get amazing points for the title, but the rest of it was quite good. Not mind-blowing, I’m afraid; all of the other Herbert that I’ve read hasn’t quite lived up to the Dune series. I think his talents really lie in worldbuilding because fiddling around with the one we live in just doesn’t quite cut it in terms of illustrating his genius. Void was heavy on the science part of science fiction, so much so that I was a bit lost with some of the computer language they were tossing around. The book still had the multi-layered feeling of Dune where you suspect you’re only understanding what’s going on in the topmost layers, there’s so much subtlety winging around in the dialogue. I loved that about Dune, but in this book it was actually a little annoying sometimes. Overall, however, still a very good book.

Next up, I’m re-reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I figure the movie will be out at the cheap seats in a month or two, and I’ll probably check it out then. Normally imprecise book-to-movie adaptations send me into a blind rage, but for some reason Narnia is the exception to that rule. Even though the movies are exceedingly dissimilar from the books, I still enjoy both of them independently (even realizing that the movies, while entertaining, aren’t exactly groundbreaking cinema). The Hobbit adaptation, on the other hand…you just better behave yourself, Peter Jackson.

A harrowing, historic week in Egypt.
The vlog that helped spark the revolution.
There is a theme here of which I deeply approve.
On a lighter note, helmets.

It’s been one heck of a week in my corner of the world. Talking to friends going through some tough times, getting promoted (pay raise? We shall see.), getting a potential stalker, locking my keys in the car at work, and signing a lease on an apartment, not necessarily in that order. Perhaps this week will be a little quieter!

Chernobyl today, reblogged from Sarah.
Photomanipulation like you’ve never seen before.
The Paris Underground, also stolen from Sarah.

Improv Everywhere and the Worst Skater Ever.
Red Riding Hood: The Action Movie. Seventy billion times better than the laughable Syfy movie with Felicia Day, I’m sorry to say.
Caption fail with Rhett and Link.

Star Wars meets Tron Legacy.
The best Volkswagen commercial ever made.
CSI: Gallifrey.
Eye of the Storm, a beautiful steampunk video.
It’s pretty cool that this even exists.

Wearable plants.
Vintage scifi wedding rings.
22 Ways to Reuse an Altoid Tin. Manly schmanly, this is cool for anybody.
Any food earns at least 10 extra cool points by being lit on fire. This is doubled for strawberries. These are the rules; I don’t make them.
If you’ve never seen the movie The Fall, here are a few reasons why you should.

Have some music. Everybody’s putting their new stuff up streaming, it seems.
Fleet Foxes have a new album.
And so do Bright Eyes.
And Graham released a new cover.
“Canvas” by Imogen Heap.
Jurassic Park theme by guitar orchestra.

I finished Them, and if I ever recall who recommended that book to me, there will be hell to pay. So bleak, and no redeeming qualities to the bleakness. Full of Detroit-hate and half-alive people. Comparing this book to one of Bradbury’s stories, it’s as if Them is only capable of describing a tiny, dismal sliver of human experience, as though it doesn’t even know anything else exists. Also, for the love of all that’s holy, there should be a limit on how many times you’re allowed to use the word “damp” in a book.

Fortunately, Sarah loaned my The Dark Tower and Other Stories by CS Lewis, and its brilliance helped considerably to efface the preceding ugliness. I wish very, very desperately that Lewis had been able to finish The Dark Tower, because I dare say it would have been every bit as good as the Space Trilogy. He toys with the theory that memory is the direct perception of the past, which is a fascinating idea I hadn’t encountered before. His short stories really are exquisite as well. He reminds me quite a lot of Asimov; somehow his tone seems very different in his short stories than in his novels. I’m not sure why that might be…but I love both styles.

Then I read Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I was a huge ERB fan as a kid, but somehow I never read the first Tarzan book. I saw it for cheap at The Reader’s Corner and snatched it up a few weeks ago. Unlike some of the authors I enjoyed as a youngster, Burroughs doesn’t disappoint on a reread as an adult. He makes no claim to literary greatness; he just lays the story in front of you and says, “Here, this is a pretty exciting adventure tale. Knock yourself out.” And they are fantastically exciting. My only problem with Tarzan was the casual, implicit (or explicit) racism that reared its head periodically. I’m kind of surprised you could get away with that in literature, even in 1912, and it yanks you out of the story rather jarringly to run straight into it like that. Still, the rest of it was thoroughly enjoyable, and I’ll probably hunt down a few of the many sequels someday.

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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