My comrades! It’s been awhile. I apologize; moving is very time-consuming. HOWEVER. I wish to state for the record that our new apartment is positively smashing, our dog Cole is delightful, and my new roommate Samantha is absolutely brilliant. I adore living at the new place, so much so that I would be perfectly content if I could just hang around it all day and not go anywhere. Sam has a sinfully comfortable couch, and I get sleepy the instant I sit down. My windows look out on flowering trees, we’re right next door to a park with trails, and the apartment is packed with as many bookshelves as it can possibly hold. Pretty sure if you looked up the word “marvelous” in the dictionary, there would be a picture of this place next to it. You should come visit! Unless you’re my Russian spammer, in which case stay wherever you are, please.

Life would be setting new records for wonderful lately, if it weren’t for a few difficult things happening simultaneously. I guess that’s what you’d see if you looked the word life up in the dictionary. My grandmother passed away on Sunday, and tomorrow I’m flying to Chicago with my family for the funeral. It sounds like she went peacefully, and she had a good solid life, but it’s still very sad. I was asked to read Scripture for the funeral mass and to be a pall bearer. I am a bit nervous–that church is huge and more than a little intimidating, particularly if you’re not Catholic–but I’m simultaneously very honored.

And he didn’t even spill the beer.
Found: the lost city of Atlantis. Fairly good condition.
Green Tunnel, stolen from Sarah.
Dude hanging out with his cats.
That is one brave Turk.
This is the world I want to live in.
(Notes on) Biology.
Master of Mechanical Movement.

Star Trek convention, 1979.
Captain Kirk says wake up.
Directions from Yoda.
Hoth: the unseen adventures.

9 Things Everyone Should Know About Writers. Take notes. There will be a quiz.
Read the book cloud.
Word puzzle wrapping paper. Keep an eye out for this on your next birthday gift, is all I’m saying.
Novel cover t-shirts.
What the Luddites really fought against. Pretend that article title doesn’t end in a preposition.

Sacred Harp convention, conducted by my friend Kyle.
You are listening to Los Angeles.
“Trembling Hands” by Explosions in the Sky.
The Axis of Awesome updates their famous “4-Chord Song.”
One-man Disney movie.

North and South was, in my opinion, fully as good as the miniseries, which is really saying something. I intend to hunt down Elizabeth Gaskell’s other books one day quite soon. I’m not sure why I liked it so much, since many of the characters irked me so deeply, but somehow it worked in context. Margaret’s parents drove me up the wall, but in that very respectful way that older novel characters do.

I read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd because Sam had it and I’d heard some good things about it. It was…ok? Some of the language was very pretty, but the story itself didn’t inspire me. It felt like a dozen other similar tales, and the whole South Carolinian cult of Mary thing was a little off-putting. That and I don’t really like bees, so maybe that should’ve tipped me off.

Then I read The Tale of Despereaux, another book for which I broke my rule and saw the movie first. Not sure which version I preferred, though they were certainly quite different. Normally I intensely dislike it when the author addresses the reader, but in this story it worked. During an unpleasant bit of the story, the author warned you of what was coming and said that nevertheless, you must continue, for “Reader, it is your duty.” I wanted to salute the page.

Now I’m finally starting Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry, the companion novel to The Giver. It’s been ages since I’ve read The Giver, and I’m sort of wishing now that I’d reread it before starting, but I think it’s going to work well as a standalone anyway.