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I’m always pleasant surprised when it turns out there’s a word or phrase already in existence for something like this that would normally take far too long to describe with the typical set of vocabulary words.

Check out The Saga of the Lemon Poppyseed Cake, a hilarious blogpost by friend Anne Elisabeth Stengl, who also just so happens to be a published fantasy writer. Yeah, my friends really ARE that cool.

Click for more of the internet.

I don’t really know what happened to April. If someone finds out, inform me. It seems to have vanished in a hectic blur of excellent times with friends, sleep deprivation, and work; all in all, I guess there are worse ways to lose a month.

I dreamed the other night that my friends and I came to a marble wall, and everyone was allowed to shoot a pebble at it. Over hundreds of years, the pebble dents had spelled out a message: “The return in fourteen years.” I love it when my subconscious is cryptic. Of course, the next dream that evening included me going to a theater production about Lord of the Rings fonts (yup) with my grumpy coworker, so maybe I hope neither one is prophetic.

What a delightful little blog…
5 Myths About the “Information Age”. “More books are produced in print each year than in the previous year. One million new titles will appear worldwide in 2011. In one day in Britain—”Super Thursday,” last October 1—800 new works were published.” *cheers*

A new episode of Doctor Who is on today, so catch up first with Doctor Who: 47 Years in Six Minutes and a tribute to Elisabeth Sladen.

We had some excitement the other day when tornadoes whipped through the area. Very few people were as chill about it as this dude.
Human flight. Sign me up.
8 Movie Special Effects You Won’t Believe Aren’t CGI.
70 Photos That Will Take Your Breath Away.
Goat stampede.
Historic Disney princesses. :/

Eventful times! Last weekend was packed with magnificence. On Friday I headed back to CU to see a friend’s senior recital, which was superb. We hung out afterwards, running into old friends and professors, then hightailing it out to the golf course to run around like maniacs just like old times. On Saturday Sam and I had our first party at the new apartment, and a grand time was had by all, I do believe. On Sunday, an intrepid small band of us braved the Raleigh renaissance fair, which was exceedingly anticlimactic in itself, but we still had a lovely time since we were all there together. Got to watch some sword fighting and some dudes throwing telephone poles, so that was fun.

I had to pause halfway through this entry to run downstairs and hide from a tornado. Rest assured, I am alive!

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.

So what has the internet been up to?

Had the loveliest of weeks! I have truly excellent friends.

Things I have learned lately:
Arkansas Black apples are sadly not as delicious as one might think.
One can easily procure seven books for $1 at The Reader’s Corner in Raleigh. Go check it out.
It is indeed possible to climb the old library at Campbell University. (At last, I’ve done it!)
Cell phones in my possession have a relatively short lifespan.
Always call to check the times of movies before dragging seven people to go see one.
North Hills is a labyrinth probably designed by the devil.
Whipped cream lasts a surprisingly long time.
Any movie, no matter how horrible, is hilarious when watched with RiffTrax.

In spite of spending scads of time with good friends, I also had time to go see a movie (Inception, my second viewing; I’ve been mulling over it a lot, so much so that I may post a review of it here) by myself, which was a really fun experience. I’ve never actually done that before. It’s a fascinating opportunity to people watch. I went to a concert a few months ago by myself and found it to be equally intriguing. I notice a lot more when I’m on my own.

People are good at stuff!
Cat versus mouse.

You’ve seen the film Watership Down… So morbid, I love it!
Jupiter sounds (so strange!)

Save the Words, stolen from Sam.
Pretty true.

I’ve been terribly bipolar in my reading habits lately. Usually I only work on one book at a time, but right now I’m juggling quite a handful. I finished The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, a book of short stories by Ursula K. LeGuin, and it was quite lovely. Behold, an excerpt (even better in context) from one of the tales:

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil is interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe a happy man, nor make a celebration of joy.”

I’m also somewhat working on The Wing-and-Wing by James Fenimore Cooper, the Aeneid by Virgil (translated, obviously), and Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. I also have an intriguing book called On Basilisk Station by David Weber waiting for me, which is supposedly space opera patterned after Lord Nelson and Horatio Hornblower. Can’t lose there, I should think.

Work has been kind of awful lately, but I have high hopes for the month of October, presupposing my survival of the upcoming week. Keep your toes crossed.

The weather is tormenting me with hints of fall. In the morning when I go to work, the day is like, “Hello, it’s September! It’s fall!” And everything feels cool and quite lovely. Then I go out on my lunch hour and the day’s all, “Haha, just kidding, it’s 95 degrees, and the air feels like breathing fly paper. Gotcha! Summer’s here forever!” Get your act together. Don’t taunt me, September, or I’ll kick you in the shins. Fortunately, in just a week and a half I will be hightailing it to the northlands! I hope Wisconsin is frigidly cold.

The Solo Adventures, wherein we discover why Han dropped his cargo at the first sign of an Imperial cruiser. Shamelessly swiped from Ian. Entertaining, but Han Solo’s mouth is kind of scary.
What stormtroopers do on their day off. Also stolen from Ian.
Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk punking the Firefly cast at DragonCon.

Go play Word Bubbles. And then forget about getting anything else done for the day. Sarah passed along this horribly, horribly addictive little gem.

Spacecraft sculpture by Rik Allen. We must go exploring today.
Tree houses! I post about tree houses rather often, don’t I?

“Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” by Arcade Fire.

I ate up a book of Bradbury’s short stories, We’ll Always Have Paris, which I did not love as much as some of his other works, sadly. Still, there were some good stories in there. I’ve been on a short story kick. Right now I’m reading Shadows and Mirrors, a collection by Neil Gaiman. I’m still trying to love Gaiman, but eesh, these shorts are DARK. Almost unrelievedly so. At some point in every story I find myself getting a little tense, just waiting for some blood to be spilled or something ugly to snarl. And yet, he’s so good, I keep reading, hoping for something better to mosey down the road, because it feels as if that could just as easily happen. Whimsical wit or bloodbath; it’s really a toss-up with this book.

I have a tragic tale to spin for you, my comrades. Sullivan, my trusty sidekick on many adventures, is no more. Lightning fried his motherboard (why oh why didn’t I have him plugged into a surge protector? I shall always blame myself for his demise.), and now his laptop corpse rests in peace under my bed.

Good news! I’ve already found his replacement. Lockheed is a spiffy new laptop with a 500GB harddrive, a 4GB DDR2 memory, AND Windows 7. I think we will get along quite splendidly.

In other news, the spate of weddings is over, and they were all lovely! It’s so handy when my friends marry each other. Saves so much time. I am very, very happy for all of them! I am considerably less merry over cobaltmist moving away back to Wisconsin, however. *mopes*

Click for geekery of the internet and book variety.

Word of the day: ratiocination. It means “the process of logical reasoning,” and it’s my new favorite arrangement of letters.

There is a great mystery in my daily life (well, more than one, but that’s an aside). Every day when I go to work, there are hundreds of dead worms on the sidewalk outside of my office building. There aren’t particularly more of them after a rain; it was dry for a week and their little worm carcasses were still there. Nematode massacre! Yesterday I rescued one little guy who was still faintly twitching, but he was already starting to go crispy around the edges, so I have fears for his continued survival. What causes such wormy carnage? Does anyone know? It is somewhat disconcerting to crunch worm carcasses under my feet every morning before heading to work.

It is time for a book update! Brace yourselves and put on your reading glasses.

I read The Game and Locked Rooms, the seventh and eight books in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice series by Laurie King. Sadly, after much denial, I have reached the conclusion that The Beekeeper’s Apprentice really was the best one of the series, and they’re getting less delightful as they go. Ah well. They are not without merit, though, as the previously mentioned “ratiocination” was encountered within their pages.

I also read Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band Is Playing and Leviathan ’99 by Ray Bradbury. I know. Every other entry is all fluttering eyelashes and happy sighs over Ray Bradbury. But he’s worth it! These were the two best novellas I have ever read, I think. “Leviathan ’99” is Moby Dick in outer space (with a white comet for a white whale), for crying out loud. GENIUS. I shall illustrate:

“Take this, Ishmael Jones,” said the first man, who was tall and thin. “You’ll need it if you’re going upstairs to meet that monster,” he said. “Drink up.”
“But first,” said the second man, holding out his hand to stay my arm, “how do you fly, shallow or deep?”
“Why, deep, I think,” I said. “Deep space.”
“By the timid mile or the great light-year?”
“Light-year, yes,” I thought, then said.
“You may drink with us, then.”

Just go read it, you won’t be sorry!

Right now I’m working on The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay. I have also done a fair bit of happy sighing over Kay in this journal, I know, but just stop and consider for a moment. He helped Chris Tolkien to edit The Silmarillion. He wrote The Fionavar Tapestry series. And he has a name that trips off the tongue like magic. Put these things together, and you can’t fail to be amazing. This particular book is a historical fantasy (new favorite genre!), and he somehow has managed to bring together three of my favorite cultures (the Norse, the Anglo Saxon, and the Welsh) in a way that is both historically accurate in the cultural details and yet completely imaginative and unheard-of. He is a master of the unsaid, which I appreciate more and more in my books. What you don’t say is more powerful than what you do, sometimes. Anyway, I’ve barely started Last Light of the Sun, but I’m already madly in love.

Off to scrounge for food!

Curse on book thieves from the monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona, Spain:
For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not,
this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him.
Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members blasted.
Let him languish in pain, crying aloud for mercy, and let there be no surcease to this agony till he sing in dissolution.
Let bookworms gnaw his entrails…and when at last he goeth to his last punishment, let the flames of hell consume him for ever.

That is pretty hardcore. More book ramblings and the usual!

There’s a woman at work who calls me Shug (Sug?). I think that’s short for sugar, but I’m too afraid to ask, just in case it’s not, in which case I’d rather not know…

Everyone, stop whatever it is that you are doing. Go out and beg, borrow, or steal a book entitled The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. I thought the title sounded somewhat like what a middle-aged housewife would read (no offense to middle-aged housewives!), all cliche and sap, BUT this is very very untrue. It is the most glorious book I have read this year, and I’m not sure when I’ve ever fallen in love with a book so quickly. READ IT NOW.

I read Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss today, and it was also delightful! I highly recommend it to any English majors, lovers of the English language, and grammarians who may be reading this blog. (And if you are, why on earth haven’t you introduced yourself yet?) The book is all about the love of properly used punctuation. As an illustration, look at how much punctuation matters in the following two letters:

Dear Jack,
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy – will you let me be yours?

Dear Jack,
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men I yearn! For you I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

Identical words in identical order, but what a difference punctuation makes! This book has revitalized my love of those lovely dots and dashes, I must say. I’m not terribly careful of my grammar on here, I’ve realized. Probably because I type my entries in a hurry and don’t bother proofreading. More shame to me!

I confess, The Portrait of a Lady was not enthralling. I enjoyed it more towards the end, but I just could not get inside James’ world. I loved The Turn of the Screw when I read it, so I don’t really understand myself. Maybe I’ll try some more of his works someday and see if Lady was just a fluke. After that, I read Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, which had some very nice lines but was overall rather too sappy. I can only handle that sort of thing in very small doses.

I just finished Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse yesterday, a book that had originally been on our reading list for Love and Death last semester. I’m sorry now that we didn’t read it for class after all because I would have loved to have discussed it as a group! I’m still sorting out what I think of it (I sort of wolfed it down, if you’ll pardon the pun, and my thoughts aren’t quite coherent yet), but I thought it was fascinating. Among other ideas, it occurred to me that this reminded me a lot of the fairy tales class. Just as in Little Red Riding Hood the wolf is the Other, the outcast who has no place in society, Steppenwolf is unable to live in the society to which he was born; in Little Red, this makes the wolf a danger to be warned against. Steppenwolf is a danger to society because he is a non-participant, even an aggressor, against that which society is based, yet he finds himself inexplicably drawn to the very thing that he hates. He will always be unhappy because of this. I also found one of the questions that he and Hermine discussed terrifying in an intriguing way: is it only now that man feels this way, caught between two ways of life and two eras? Or has man always felt this way, regardless of the time period in which he lived? That question in particular would have been great fun to wrestle with in class. Gagh, I miss school already.

It is still my never-ending delight to have this magnificent inner world of books and questions and ideas and deep thoughts in my head at the same time that I’m answering phones. Every time I pick up the phone and help someone with a mundane, usually-inane request, I smile a tiny smile because no one suspects the wonders in my head. I love secrets (the good ones like this, that is). I love the not-telling of them. Except now I’ve told you, of course, but that doesn’t really count, since my thoughts are still my own. You only know that I think them. Shh…

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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