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The Ricker household is no longer dogless! Meet Gracie, the lovely collie. She is very sweet and well-mannered, and I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship! We just got her today, but she’s settling in quite well and has already made friends with Beowulf the cat.

Hey, more pictures. This was our raft, dubbed The Grey Dinghy, on our white-water trip. On the last fall, they have a camera set up to get your reaction, similar to on a roller coaster. While this sounds horribly commercialized and un-nature-ish, it does make for some neat shots. I don’t know if I should be ashamed to post that, I look kind of like I just killed something.

At work the other day, a random employee named Steve was printing out sale labels and out of the blue asked, “Stephanie, do you ride horses?” “Why yes, as a matter of fact I do,” I replied, but explained that I had sold mine, etc. etc. I asked how he knew and he said that no one had told him (indeed, I haven’t mentioned it to anyone there), but that I just looked like a person who rode horses. The thing is, he’s the third person who doesn’t know me very well who has said the same thing, and none of them know each other. At first I thought it was a coincidence, but three times kinda stretches the boundaries of coincidenceism (so totally not a word – or is it? *looks it up* Nope, not a word.) So now I’m wondering, are horse people indelibly branded as such to the non-horsey population? Or does everyone have telepathy? If so, why am I the last to get it, and can I trade it in for telekinesis?

This brings to mind another issue. I just realized that from the previous paragraph, I consider myself still a horse person, even though I don’t own horses and haven’t ridden in a year. I still consider myself a midwesterner and a Yank even though I haven’t lived in the north for 3.5 years. I only lived in Indiana for a total of 8 years of my life, which is less than half, but I still consider that to be home. What’s the nature of these self-labels? Why do people take certain definitions as their own when others would fit better, at least to the outside observer? Does everyone have a skewed inner view of themselves that differs from the world’s, or is it the world’s view that is skewed? Maybe it doesn’t matter what’s a technically, currently correct personal definition if inside you still consider yourself to be something different. It’s like the New Yorker who was born in the Appalachians and still considers himself a country boy. Or something, I dunno.

Which logically leads me to another thought, which is kind of what I was thinking of last time. One of my favorite quotes is, “We are who we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” I agree with that, because if you tell yourself you are a thing, you eventually believe it and your personality alters slightly to fit. Ah, the powers of self-persuasion. The human mind is so fascinating. If you can, to some degree, shape your own personality, are you changing reality? And if you can change your internal reality, which thus changes how you perceive the external reality, does that mean you are changing the external reality? But the fact that you can change your own personality reflects the desire to change your personality (you are doing the “pretending”), so was that personality trait there all along and you simply made it grow? And what about imagination? They say reality is what can be similarly experience by everyone. But how does thought and imagination figure into that? What is dreamed, what is imagined, what is real? If a dream becomes more real than reality to you, is it therefore reality of itself because it impacts the external reality? Can a work of fiction, imagined by an author, spark the imagination of a reader in a related but different direction? But then, does that mean that every book or every shared, imagined thought is capable of creating many realities through the people who experience it? I think I think too much, but it sure is fun.

Sometimes people are so interesting, and sometimes I want to run far away from all of them. I very much need alone time after being around people for too long. After work sometimes it’s like I have seen too many people in one day and I don’t want to talk to any more of them. Which, that may have something to do with them being nasty or grouchy sometimes, but sometimes it’s just that I get tired of having to be around other people. That sounds horribly anti-social and perhaps stereotypically home-schooled, although Ed’s not that way and we were raised/schooled the same, so I tend to think it’s personality. I realized that I don’t have any friends who actually live less than half an hour away, but I also realized that since I didn’t even realize that until now, it must not bother me. Getting together with friends every few weeks or so is just fine, at least for now. I’m kind of in recharge mode over the summer, being unsociable, since I was SO sociable over the schoolyear. Don’t get me wrong, I had an absolutely wonderful year at college and loved every minute, but when I got home I realized I was really enjoying being alone. People might say that’s unhealthy or whatever, but it works for me. And really, it would seem to me to be a mark of insecurity if you can’t be alone sometimes. So many people I know can never be alone without being lonely, or if they’re alone they have to be talking to someone on the phone or text messaging someone. They can’t just let themselves be; it’s like they’re not themselves unless they have someone with them. Maybe that’s a side-effect of having communication so readily available nowadays; if you don’t want to be alone, you don’t have to be. There’s always cell phones, beepers, instant message, or e-mail, and if all that fails, you’re still being bombarded by commercials, music, television, and the inescapable, ever-present pop culture. Wow, I am on a roll.

Again hopping to an only-slight-related topic, in spite of my anti-social tendencies (or whatever they are), people never seem to notice. I find it oddly disturbing, the number of people that consider me a good friend. I don’t even know them! So many people that I would consider barely past the acquaintance stage have called me their best friend. It always surprises me and makes me a little nervous, because usually I’ve never considered them in that light, and then I feel like I should act more like a best friend or something, however that is. The other day at work, two people on two separate occasions remarked in an offhanded way that they trusted me; actually both of them were comparing me to another employee, whom they apparently didn’t trust. That was very nice and everything, but I wouldn’t trust either one of them very far in return, which made me feel kind of…ungrateful? Or something. It’s just a little disconcerting, when you think you have no connections to a person and suddenly you find out that you do, and you’re not at all sure that you *want* connections. Oh dear. That sounded awful. I think I may have some serious issues if I ever get into any kind of serious relationship. 😛

On a completely, totally, 180 degrees-different topic, I saw Superman Returns last night! It was much better than I expected, although I’m not quite sure why my expectations were low. I liked it, but… Cut for movie spoilers

Camping was fantabulous, of course, though it was even more fun than last year. Well, it did pour buckets of rain every day, but these things are to be expected. My sleeping bag stayed quite dry, in spite of the deluge. More camping chat, for those who are interested.

Whoa, this dude is awesome! Why are there not more guys like that? I want to meet people who can calmly hold a snake in one hand and land a plane with the other. That’s some pretty sweet multi-tasking there.

Today was nice and peaceful, being Pentecost. After services we drove up to Greensboro and meandered around the Bicentennial Gardens and the Bog Gardens, then met Sarah, her parents, and her friend Winter at the restaurant where Sarah works. ‘Twas always grand to see the roomie again! Also, that buffalo burger was mighty good.

I finished the Dean Koontz book, and the villain got his comeuppance; I don’t care what anyone says, there is something very satisfying about knowing that the bad guy will always lose in Koontz books. I’m still reading L.M.Montomery’s journals (girl wrote a lot) and she really IS Anne Shirley! She even used the phrase “kindred spirits”, and she hugs trees, and is a little snippy to people she doesn’t like, and picks flowers and climbs fences all the time. Wouldn’t it be funny if one day after I wrote lots of books and was dead, someone published my livejournal, and someone read it and thought I sounded just like my characters, and they wrote about it in *their* journal, and it’s like an infinity window. Except, of course, I’ll never write anything as beautiful as the Anne books or be as famous as Montgomery, which I think is a good thing.

Still luxuriating my way through Eric Brighteyes, a few chapters a day. I want to make it last, and it’s very relaxing to read a little before bed. It just now struck me that perhaps it’s odd I find Viking battles relaxing, but I’m not going to worry about it overmuch.

Well, tomorrow is the great and sad day. Mini Jim goes in for service, which means considerably less of me online, probably, at least for a few days. I’m working every day this week anyway, and I plan on reading and drawing a lot and things like that. Don’t drop and break the world while I’m gone.

I certainly do post a lot in this thing, I’m unsure if it’s healthy or not.

Anyway! I not only updated my Myspace, I uploaded a gazillion pictures to my new snazzy Lj account. Go here–> and be amazed. Or bored.

Physicists draw up plans for real cloaking device. I love science, I really do.

We just finished watching the documentary Super Size Me. I hated fast food anyway, but now I have the uncontrollable urge to eat nothing but apples and drink nothing but water for like a week. We also rented lots of other movies, because we haven’t watched movies as a family in forever, and it would be fun. Tomorrow I close for the first time at Staples, which should be interesting, but then I’m off for two days, and that’ll be a blast, and much fun will be done.

Yes, I gave in, I am now the not-very-proud owner of a sponsored lj account. More userpics! I could have a mood theme of my very own creation! Limitless options, but tacky ads. Such is life.

Oh man, my DREAMS lately! So very cool. I have to write about it, they’re that cool. I’ll cut for length because they’re quite involved and drawn-out.
Last night’s epic:

This is our destiny calling,
We’re freaks.

Such productivity today! I finally, finally finished the Iliad, only to be thwarted of the satisfaction of Achilles’ death, because, duh, he dies in another epic poem (the Aithiopis, for those who are curious), not the Iliad. Oh well. I started up a book on Norse mythology which should prove very interesting.

Oh! Look at this! Does not happen often enough, so I had to take a picture of it. Archery was good today.

In addition to that, today Ed and I frolicked around the estate with a WD40 can and spritzed everything! It was good. And I went to the dump, and blasted U2 all the way there and back, which was fun as always. I also backed up every single file on poor Mini Jim, because he is rapidly deteriorating. It took 6 more cds, besides the 5 I already had, but everything is properly duplicated now. We took WAY too many pictures. Seriously, next semester, I’m imposing a limit or something. The thing is, it’s all so *good*. I couldn’t even bring myself to delete any. Clearly, everyone just needs to quit being so awesome. Is that so much to ask? Sheesh.

Oh, yeah, Mini Jim. Right now I have him sitting on a cooling rack with small ice packs stuck underneath the rack, and so far it seems to be working fairly well, however odd it may look.

I finally went through all my Campbell junk and figured out exactly how much they charged me (too much), how much they gave me in scholarships (not enough), and how much I have in student and parent loans (again, too much). It was actually not as bad as I feared, however, and I think all will be well. I just need to definitely keep working, hehe. It’s good to know where I stand, though.

I have so many huge projects this summer that I have yet to start, it’s a little pathetic. I should just do it and get going! They’re just…really huge. I have this story idea that’s partially written (well, 25 pages), and I want to do a whole series of books on it. Like 9 books or so. And I still have 22 languages to learn. Clearly, I need a time dilation device of some kind to accomplish all of this. Seriously though, I want to get so many stories written and so much linguistic stuff done this summer, and so many other fun things, my brain is going to explode.

I need new user pics…

Hey hey! Look at the cool nerdy icon I found! Reminds me of that quote, “I was uncool before uncool was cool.” Carve it on my tombstone. (Not really.) But yeah, I love icons. I have more than I can ever, ever use, but they’re just so…iconerrific!

So, spring break! On Monday, I applied to ten places for jobs. Yes, ten. Several looked promising, and I had an interview at Best Buy on Wednesday. I don’t have the job yet, but it’s lookin’ good. Tuesday and Thursday I volunteered at the therapeutic riding center, which is always a blast. Throw 20 horses, 15 dogs, and a busload of kids all together and it’s bound to be entertaining. There were a lot of new volunteers I hadn’t met before, and one of them couldn’t remember my name and called me Sarah. It never ends, I tell you! Even when my roommate is gone! It’s like being Faramir or something, and everyone always calling you Boromir accidentally, and then they go, “Oh wait, it’s just Faramir.” “Why can’t you be more like Boromir? Why can’t you bring me the ring? Why are you such a bookworm? Get a haircut!” A SAPLING CANNOT GROW IN THE SHADOW OF THE OAK, YA KNOW. And I am totally, 100% kidding, Sarah. So if you’re reading this, don’t, ya know, get mad or anything.

Where was I…? Oh, spring break. I did not get done nearly everything I wanted to, but I did get more done than I thought I would. And technically I still have two days! But I read, and drew, and wrote letters, and did archery, and climbed trees, and hiked, and backed up all my computer files, and cleared out the file cabinet, and found some shoes, and ran errands, and sold some used tack, and practiced Welsh, and ’twas most grand! More of the same for the next couple days. Oh, also I’ve been eating tons of Cheerios!

It kind of depresses me that one of my friends is in 8th grade and writes better than I do. However, her stuff is so much fun to read that it kind of cancels out the feelings of inadequacy. It’s funny, my friends all used to be older than me, *I* was the young intelligent upstart. Now I’m the old fogey being shown up by the young, brilliant prodigy. Huh, so this is what it feels like. Anyway, I don’t care what anyone says, it’s not weird that my friends range in age from 14 to 74.

Wow, I always run out of things to say on here and just end up typing completely random things. REALLY random, as in I just sit here and the first thing that pops into my head, I type it.

Speaking of which, I like Johnny Cash.

Oh, and Faith says she’s going to kidnap me, duct tape me to a chair, and make me watch Serenity! All right, she didn’t say that in so many words, but she did say I had to see it, and I certainly will not argue! I have a sneaking suspicion that, were I unbusy, I would be head-over-heels obsessed with Firefly. As it is, it’s kind of an I-wish-I-had-more-time-for-you obsession. I like hyphens.

It’s a little bit dismaying that you’re only really supposed to put down one song or cd or whatever for the Music: thing on here. When I type an entry, it’s to at least 5 different songs usually from different artists and at the very least from different albums, and it’s confusing. So I end up just picking one song randomly, but then what about the other songs?? Do they feel left out? I remember when I was little I would try to play with all of my toys equally because I was afraid they would feel ignored otherwise. Rationally I knew they were inanimate objects, but it was just fun that way.

Mae’n oer y p’nawn ma. So, no archery today, it’s just a little too chilly to be twanging a bowstring with bare fingers. However, it’s a grand day for practicing Welsh, as you can see! I was most productive this day whilst still having a blast.

Speaking of having a blast: the other day Sarah, Luke, Matt, Faith, and I all set off to obtain permission to film at Lakepondpuddle, only the owners weren’t home, so Sarah and I ended up showing everyone some of our haunts. We went to the aforementioned cemetary then down to the creek where some of us waded and splashed around. Then we got caught in lots and lots of thorns, which was fun in a painful sort of way, and we found a new knobbly tree, which I attempted to climb. We emerged from the woods to leap on hay bales and enjoy a spectacular sunset. It was very cool and we need to take people adventuring with us more often! It’s so cool that Campbell has all these neat fields and woods and creeks and things everywhere. And then there was a mariachi band wandering around campus the other night. I love my school!

Still slowly slogging my way through Darwin. The paper’s due a week from Tuesday, which means I should probably start to actually write the paper soon. It’s actually not as bad now as it was, or maybe I’m just getting used to it. Bit of a scary thought there. I want to finish it, if only because I HATE HATE HATE leaving books unfinished, no matter what they are, but at the same time I need to get reading for my Brit Lit research paper. Which, might I add, will be tremendously fun because I’m doing it on Beowulf!

The word “defenestrate” really does mean “to throw something out of a window.” I’d always heard that, but never quite believed it. I do believe this is my new favorite word! I WILL DEFENESTRATE YOU.

Last night we had an impromptu movie night and rented The Interpreter. I am highly, highly impressed with it. Very, very well done, you should all go see it now. No, right NOW. Go.

“The gunfire around us makes it hard to hear. But the human voice is different from other sounds. It can be heard over noises that bury everything else. Even when it’s not shouting. Even when it’s just a whisper. Even the lowest whisper can be heard – over armies… when it’s telling the truth.”

“Vengeance is a lazy form of grief.”

Also, random trivia, it’s the first movie ever to be filmed in the UN building.

I think I had some awesome dream about parallel universes last night, only I can’t remember it properly. However, it also involved running to get out of the rain, so maybe I’m not missing much.

I should probably go be good and read more Origin of Species. Sigh. I’m getting restless, I need to go run somewhere or climb a tree or something. Perhaps tonight when I get back to campus…yeeees.

Today Sarah and I went ‘splorin’ in the woods and fields behind the soccer fields and we came across a tiny old graveyard in the middle of a field. I believe I shall put pictures of it up sometime, it was very beautiful and sad. Then we went into the pine woods and found an awesome twisty vine, lots of beech trees, and a little stream which may or may not be Buies Creek. It was exceedingly lovely, and then on the way back we were walking by a maintenance guy getting all his painting gear set up to…um..paint something, presumably. BUT, the cool thing was, he had “I Believe In a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness playing! And he was singing to it! Then he turned around and there was that awkward “I thought I was alone but lo, there are people here” moment, but I yelled “I love that song, it’s great!” and he smiled and it was grand.

In other news, I was a little bit horrible to people today…at least twice I said stupid things without thinking. I *hate* it when I do that! I apologize to everyone I spoke to today! It’s not you, it’s me.

For English we have this snazzy little movie journal assignment thingy (yay, articulateness), and Sarah and I decided to grab one of the Anglo-Saxon ones. (I mean, why wouldn’t you, it’s the ANGLO-SAXONS, PEOPLE.) So we got The 13th Warrior, and I kind of really really liked it. They speak Old English (well, and Latin) and there are swords and horses and it’s quite splendid. Also there are big Northmen dudes with attitudes! Instead of conversationally asking if there is an underground chasm in the area, aforementioned Northman bellow-growls “IS THERE A CAVE!” Highly entertaining. “Hurry to meet Death before your place is taken.” You know, there is something to be said for fatalism. Also, “Keep your teeth together!” is my new favorite way to tell someone to be quiet. And now I’m going to be really cheesey and post the dramatic pre-battle we’re-all-going-to-die-but-it’s-cool-’cause-we’re-heroic quotes!

“Merciful Father, I have squandered my days with plans of many things. This was not among them. But at this moment, I beg only to live the next few minutes well. For all we ought to have thought, and have not thought; all we ought to have said, and have not said; all we ought to have done, and have not done; I pray thee God for forgiveness.”

“‘Lo, there do I see my father. ‘Lo, there do I see my mother, and my sisters, and my brothers. ‘Lo, there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning. ‘Lo, they do call to me. They bid me take my place among them in the halls of Valhalla, where the brave may live forever.”

Interesting bit of Old English trivia, the word translated as “lo” is actually hwaet, which literally means “what” but is used similarly to lo to get the reader/listener’s attention. Hey, I know these things. Although, this movie made me want to learn Old English all over again. I only have a basic working knowledge of the language, I can’t speak, write, or even really understand it. TOO MANY LANGUAGES TO LEARN!

For my Honors midterm project, I have to read a book that pertains to the “In the Beginning” Genesis class, and I’ve always wanted to read Darwin’s The Origin of Species (know thy enemy and all that jazz), so I figure this is kind of a good excuse. I started it today, but only had time for a couple pages, so I can’t really say much about it, other than Darwin for some completely incomprehensible reason reminds me vaguely of Jules Verne.

Going now…

“You got me in a spin but everything is A-Okay…” Yay for The Darkness!

Must change wallpaper! Also, changing display pic and display name on MSN, while I’m at it. Change is good.

Last weekend when I was home I borrowed Ed’s camera (super-nice digital, can take up to half an hour of high quality video or about a jillion pics) and brought it to school. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE THE JUBILATION. So much fun, it should be illegal. We took pics, vids, swung it around by the strap, it was great. Occasionally it made me a little nervous…”It’s not mine, it’s my brother’s!” (yeah, no one else got the reference either, more people need to see Anne of Green Gables).

Beautiful! Beautiful, I tell you! Yeah, they don’t make sense. Oh, while I’m at it, here’s the Bicycle vid Ed and I made over the winter break.

It irks me that while we did in fact capture lots of video of me riding a bike in a respectably skilled or at least not-badly way, the only clips Ed put in were of me getting lodged in the too-deep sand and stuff. Little brothers…*poofy sigh*

Books! Do not speak to me about books. I have read so little lately, it hurts my eyes. They need to move back and forth rapidly on a page and when they don’t, they get cranky. Technically, I *have* been reading, but it’s been mostly all text books. Don’t get me wrong, I end up reading my Brit Lit book for fun, but still. I’m just saying. It ain’t the same at all. I’m STILL working on The Lost Tales. This is some kind of negative record for me. I used to read a book a day. I *need* to read a book a day. My brain will shrivel and die.

I love this more than words can say
I will learn to do that one day.

Also, I love this. I randomly found it a long time ago, lost it, hunted for it, then found it again. Spiffication!

I steal quotes and words and fragments that I hear/read/whatever and write them all down, and that’s the closest thing I have to a real live journal. Er, no pun intended. But lately these things come to me in class, so they end up all in the margins of my notes. This is highly disorganized and I keep having to go through ALL my school notes and put everything all together because otherwise I might accidentally throw out the good stuff when I throw out the notes. SO. I have fixed this, with my customary organizational [insanity] brilliance. I now put all the cool fragments on the back of the very first page of my binder. On the front, I have all the stuff I need to do. This frees up the margins for doodling! … sometimes I disgust myself, I put the O in OCD.

You know what annoys me? When people do more than three dots (…) in an ellipsis. Why is that? I don’t know. Possibly because it’s not punctuationally correct? Possibly. Yet, I occasionally do the same thing! I am such a grammar hypocrite. Also, no matter how I type occasionally (occassionally?) it always looks wrong. Ok, just checked and it is occasionally, so I was right the first time.

Poppycock, horsefeathers, chickenteeth, fiddlesticks. I resolve to use these words more often.

Hey, we adopted a cat named Beowulf! Is that not the coolest thing ever? Jason is moving into the barracks so we’re taking care of the great Geat for him. Also, we’re watching his absolutely beautiful and completely drool-worthy battleaxe, because apparently you can’t bring those into the barracks either. Go figure.

Facebook rocks.

You know what’s really, really funny? I saw two guys randomly crawl out of a first-floor window in one of the guys’ dorms like they do it every day, and then they just walked off calmly. I can just see it now: “So, you want to go out?” “Sure.” “Window?” “Heck yeah, door’s way too far.” Terrans amuse me.

I can sleep in tomorrow as long as I want. I love that feeling! Aw, Sarah’s trying to go to bed. Isn’t that cute? Actually I probably should too. I just feel very guilty when I ignore this thing, I worry about it getting some kind of abandonment complex and going all depressed on me. You’re not getting Prozac, you hear? You’re stronger than this! Yehaw. Sleeping now, honest.

Purple Lint: best name for a band ever. Sarah thought of it. *pats smart little Sarah on the head*

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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