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My neighbors are having a terrific shouting match in some foreign language (Hindi?), thus shortening my nap. *grumbles*

However, happier things are afoot!
The new book in the Attolia series is out! I have yet to get my hands on a copy, but it will happen.
Animated Star Wars comedy series? I fail to see how that could be anything but atrocious.
Pizza guy fends off armed robber, delivers still-hot pizza.

From out of nowhere, I was suddenly thinking of John Masefield’s poem “I Must Go Down to the Sea.” You should read it:

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

As a wee grasshopper, I thought the line “All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by” was pure magic. I haven’t really revised that opinion.

The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear turned out to be, not 700 pages of hilarity, alas, but more like 700 pages of boredom. *shakes head sadly*

HOWEVER, I am currently reading The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay (oh yes, him again), and it is magnificent. At one point I was reading in my cubicle (hey, there was no work for me to do! I might as well read.) in anguish over the exquisite supposed-death of one of my favorite characters, trying not to wail in dismay. So beautifully done! The amount of historical research! I am reduced to incoherency by this man’s writing talent. Regrettably, there are a couple elements to his books that make them difficult to recommend to some people; otherwise, I would be proclaiming his virtues to everyone I met, I think.

If you have not heard Jonsi’s new album Go, you should do so immediately. This is the first solo album by the lead singer of Sigur Ros, so you’re pretty much assured brilliance.

Reportedly posted by Ernest Shackleton in London newspapers preparatory to setting off on an expedition to the Antarctic:

“MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES,
BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS,
CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOR AND
RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS.”

I think if I had been in London then, I would’ve found that desperately intriguing. The Shackleton expedition is still fascinating to me. Did I tell you about my favorite part of The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot? If so, you get to hear it again.

“Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
—But who is that on the other side of you?”

Eliot put in a footnote that this was inspired by the Shackleton expedition, which, at the very end of endurance, suffered from the constant delusion that there was always one more in their party than could actually be counted. This is one of those ideas that sparks so many more ideas, you don’t know quite what to do with it, so you put it in the back corner of your mind to calm itself down for a while.

Danielle found this, and it is wonderful: a website all about accents. I especially love the female from Moscow, under Russian. There’s a long pause over the word “scoop,” then she finally just goes, “eh, I don’t know.”

Abby already posted this in her journal, but it’s so cool that I feel the pressing need to pass it on, especially to Sarah, who will love it: Computer monster.

You know that 11th Star Trek movie? No? I’m not surprised. But *I* knew about it, mwahaha. Anyway, they announced who will be playing young Spock. He doesn’t look particularly…Spockish. I don’t know how I feel about this. He’s apparently already popular from being on Heroes. If they *had* to do a movie with a young Kirk and Spock, I wish they could’ve gotten some unknown to play the leads. Leonard Nimoy, no matter how much he fights it, will always be Spock and no one else, and that’s how it should be for this new guy, too. If the rumors of Matt Damon being cast as Kirk are true, I shall simply have to hurt someone. Speaking of Leonard, he will be putting on the ears one last time for the 11th movie as well, so that, at least, is cool. Spock is marvelous. Come on, you can’t tell me you didn’t get weepy at the end of The Wrath of Khan. Boy, I really hope someone reading this has even SEEN The Wrath of Khan, or I’ll feel horrendously geeky all by my lonesome.

I’ve been doing a good bit of running lately since all I do is sit at the office all day, and I feel pretty restless by the time I get home. This is well and good except A. it’s been over 100 and B. it gets boring. To foil A. I’ve been running at night, and to defeat B. I…well…I’m a traitor. I got a Zen Stone. An mp3 player. Me, the queen of tirades against what mp3 players/ipods are doing to our civilization. You may now heap vitriolic, scathing insults upon my head. But the thing is so…cute. And light, and teeny tiny, and it looks just like a shiny black pebble sitting on my hand. I think I’m going to have to name it, when I think of something suitable. Anyway, he is my new running companion, and we’re getting along quite well.

Speaking of running, after rescuing that nighthawk a week or two ago, there’s been a nighthawk that follows me sometimes when I run. It flies parallel to me, swoops back and forth over my head, and dips all around the dusk dizzily. Same one? Or, as Dad suggested, just after the mosquitos that are after me? But that’s so much more prosaic.

I had this very intense and complicated dream about a giant pteradactyl the other night, and I wish I could remember more of it. It was vaguely akin to one I had in which aliens were taking over the city we were all in. That sounds very scifi but it was more apocalyptic, very epic. The pteradactyl dream had the same high-stakes-this-is-for-real-folks feel to it. I had another that I feel like I really need to remember for some reason, but all I can recall is that I had broken the radius in my right arm during a desperate struggle, and it didn’t really hurt much, but I could tell it was a compound fracture. The dream felt very important, though, like if I could just remember the two people I had been struggling with, it would mean something vital. There was also something incredibly important involving horses. One day I will be fleeing from a pack of evil somethings and I will need a horse and this information will save my life and possibly the world, if I could just remember it. …oh well.

Hmm, books. I finished Lord Jim, and I thought it was very good. I think I had gotten used to his style enough to be able to dig through the layers a little more. I am now almost done (finally!) with The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I must say, I feel a little bad for loathing this book so much, but it’s incredibly tedious. I know that I have a hard time getting past stylistic things that I dislike in a book (see my other post about frame narratives), and it feels like this book is a horrible translation, for which I have no patience. I know intellectually that the ideas are probably good and they’re just poorly expressed when translated to my language, but emotionally I just hate the awkwardness, and it distracts me from the ideas too much. That’s my rationalization, anyway, because I was quite prepared to love the book. Sigh. Only 100 pages more to go…

Genius Child, by Langston Hughes:

This is a song for the genius child.
Sing it softly, for the song is wild.
Sing it softly as ever you can –
Lest the song get out of hand.

Nobody loves a genius child.

Can you love an eagle,
Tame or wild?
Can you love an eagle,
Wild or tame?
Can you love a monster
Of frightening name?

Nobody loves a genius child.

Kill him – and let his soul run wild.

There, now you’d had your dose of creepifying creative poetry for the day. Don’t you feel better?
Anyone who hasn’t read Faith’s story of the Twilight Babushka should do so now!
Otters. YES, I was at Cuteoverload.com again. Tell a soul and I’ll steal your stuffed bear named Oswald that you’ve had since you were 4. You know I will!
Jedi Chefs: so weird you may not survive the experience.

And now! My brother is the coolest kid in the world. Do not try to deny it. There is talk of an Episode II…if I’m home, I get to be in it! I think. I hope. I’ll crash the filming if I must.

Hmm, books…I’ve been reading Vietnam, Vietnam, and more Vietnam. My sanity may have been compromised; this class is consuming my existence. On the lighter, fluffier, much happier note, I’ve been borrowing wonderful fantasy books from Ann Elisabeth, the awesome English major who lives across the hall. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner that I mentioned earlier. I read The Thief, the first of the trilogy, and it was good but nothing special. But HOLY FRIJOLES, The Queen and the King are absolutely mind-shatteringly amazing. These books should be classics. I can’t possibly say why without completely ruining it for you, but trust me, you have to read them, and the sooner the better.

I also read The Goosegirl by Shannon Hale (very good) and The Hero and the Crown (awesome) and The Blue Sword (also awesome), both by Robin McKinley. I especially recommend the last two; they’re very well-written fantasy stories, and the two are so entwined I really don’t know which you should read first. They’re both pretty amazing. Other than these, pretty much all of my reading has been the War, and I won’t inflict that upon you.

Papers are going well, I may have finally gotten that behemoth on Warren written. I have 13 pages of it, anyway. Tomorrow I get to start the Spanish paper on Cortez, whoo! I have no idea how I write in Spanish, hopefully it’s decent.

We had to go to the planetarium on a field trip for our Astronomy class a couple weeks ago. Now, Astronomy class is amazingly fun because not only is the professor awesome, I’m good friends with half the class, and we’re a wonderful group of kindred spirits. A bunch of us went up to the planetarium together, and took some great pictures!
It’s so irritating when only half the people pose dramatically.
Faith, Hannah, David, me, Kim
Luke, Faith, Hannah, me, David, Kim
Boots!
Everybody!
Everybody, less serious. We have so much fun it really is disgusting.

A week ago was the spring formal, so again we all went en masse (so much more fun that way!) and had an absolutely exquisite time. We went to Neomonde, which has the best food in the world. Hummus, baba ganouj, tabouli, couscous, baklava, all with pita bread. We all sit at a big table and just get one big order, it’s truly beautiful. We got there a littl early, so we went to an arboretum nearby to take pictures and frolic. Most are candid shots because, well, Luke had the camera.
Twirling
Me, Kim, Sarah, and Kiki
Playing in the water
Kim, Ann Elisabeth, me, Kiki, and Luke, who is CIA
The roomies
Pensivity
Circle
Check out our expressions, they’re fantastic.
Getting a little silly
Matrix!
Scattering dandelion seeds all over the nice garden.
Ok, guys, we really need a serious picture
Then again, we could just accept the inevitable and give up.
All of us after we met the rest of our party.
We got horrifically (and I do mean horrifically) lost on the way to the dance itself, but that was ok, we had fun, and we all danced and danced until we were exhausted, and then we went and played games at someone’s apartment, and then we got home, and I went to bed at 4:30 and slept in till a truly atrocious hour! Good times.

Surely that’s enough of an update…

I am not dead! This is always a good thing.

I love the whistley part of Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John. It’s been stuck in my head for days upon days, and everyone who’s been around me since then is probably sick unto death of it.

School may kill me, but I’ll probably die happy because I’m enjoying it even as I’m stressed out. There is never a dull moment; if you are bored at Campbell University, you just don’t know where to look for adventures. There just isn’t enough TIME! There are so many things I want to do…

Hmm, books. I finished Idylls of the King and The Bell Jar. Idylls was good, goes without saying. The Bell Jar was very interesting, although I don’t quite know if “good” is the word for it. For a while after that school completely dominated my reading, but I read Street Without Joy by Bernard Fall and The Quiet American for the Vietnam class. Again, interesting, but not…good. THEN, the Mary Poppins-like (practically perfect in every way, and I don’t mean that in a nasty way) girl across the hall leant me some neat books by Megan Whalen Turner, namely The Thief, and The Queen of Attolia. They’re the first two books of a trilogy, and I devoured the first one and am currently consuming the second. They’re the perfect non-taxing yet still intriguing books for a hellish semester! I shall report after I finish the trilogy. Oh, I also read The Phantom Tollbooth for the first time too! I dearly wish I had found it when I was ten, but I still loved it very much.

Oh oh! On Sunday, we had an Epic Pillow Fight! We met at 4 o’clock in front of the auditorium in the center of the academic circle and faced off like two titanic armies. Well, semi-titanic, there were only about 18 of us, but it was still impressive. Both sides had warpaint (red and blue washable children’s fingerpaint) to distinguish friend from foe. A small boy on a scooter watched us, then zipped around to where he could watch the epic clash. We got the entire thing on camera, and it is pretty sweet if I do say so. We had a tremendous amount of fun, and nothing got broken. Several passers by stopped to watch, including some security guards, but they didn’t do anything. Afterwards we were exhausted so we all just laid down on the grass with our pillows, then went to dinner at the cafeteria with our warpaint intact and our pillows under our arms. It was halcyonic and perfectly lovely.

Rather neat short film, of the Lady of Shalott story. I’ve been on a poetry kick lately. Oh, that reminds me; Robert Penn Warren is a mostly-very-good poety I have recently become rather interested in. By interested in, I mean I have to write a 15 page paper with 25+ sources on his poetry, but still. Good stuff, for the most part.

Sleep…

Yesterday was absolutely amazing! Let me tell you about it.

It was a quiet day, we had church and went for a walk, the usual stuff. I wanted to finish reading a book, so I went in my room and was kind of dozing and reading and being lazy for quite a while. Mom knocked on my door and said that dinner was ready, so I wandered out, and she asked me to go get her apron out of the rec room because she forgot it there. Still a little sleepy, I moseyed through the computer room and didn’t immediately see the apron. However, I did see several people, namely Sarah, Luke, Paula, Donald, and Kiki, all from CU. They were calmly sitting there, and I was convinced I must have fallen asleep reading and this was a dream. They didn’t yell “surprise!” or anything; they were acting like this was completely normal, grinning like cheshire cats. I said something like, “But this really isn’t possible!” and Paula handed me a small balloon, all of which was surreal enough that I thought maybe I was still dreaming. Sarah offered to punch me, though, so I figured it was probably real by then. Apparently Mom and Sarah had been planning this for a couple weeks, and had finagled the whole thing brilliantly. Faith and Matt came after a little while too, after I had gotten over most of my dumb-foundedness. Mom had enough food for an army squirreled away in various places (so I wouldn’t see), even food that Faith could eat, and we all had a wonderful dinner and ran outside and did archery and flipped fences and ran down to the beaver pond and looked at the stars and had an absolutely glorious time. We came back and had dessert and talked and played Mafia and Gracie got hugs from everyone, I think. It was all really too beautiful for words, and I’ve never ever been more surprised about anything. I knew I had good friends, but I didn’t realize they liked me that much (well, I knew Faith did) to drive all the way out here and everything, it was so sweet! Mom said that everything fell into place perfectly because I made it so easy to hide everything. I thought I was getting a cold so I was sleeping and being rather oblivious to my surroundings, apparently. Such a grand day!

Oh, and Sarah wrote a poem just for me! It’s beautiful, so I shall post it.

I wish to be a tree
For if I were
A child could climb in my branches
Getting lost in my world of winds
Worries sleeping in the music of my sway

I wish to be a tree
I would be noble
Head thrust back,
Forever drinking in the sky
On moon-sung nights, the wind
Would dance with me, sending all of me
My branches in wild throw.

I long to be a tree, mossy and green
Shaking my wild hair branches.

In winter, I bare my beauty to the world.
Some see me dead,
But I am slender and fair
Like a woman showing her white shoulders,
I am a bride of the sky.
She whitens my gown with snow.

I am tremendously honored and completely ecstatic!

Bookwise, not too much new, mainly reading absurd amounts of school work. However, I did finish Zanoni today. It was…eh. Moderately so-so. I’m hoping to finish up Idylls of the King (I left off on it about 20 books ago, and it’s calling my name) and start The Bell Jar sometime this week. Oh, I went through and looked at how many books I read in 2006 (yes, I list the books I read…), and it was 80 all told. 12 were over winter break, 28 over summer break, and the rest throughout the schoolyear. That’s frankly pretty shameful considering the volume of books I used to read, pre-college, but it’s pretty good considering the volume of other work I have, so I’m mixedly content.

I’ve finally had some interesting dreams lately! In one, it was a very solemn dream, and all of a sudden there was all this cat screeching in the middle of it, and my dream self was very puzzled, then my real self woke up and there were some cats fighting outside my window, so that explained it. In another dream, the whole CU crowd and I desperately need high explosives for some very good reason, so we went to Ashley (the suitemate who keeps locking us out of the bathroom), because apparently she had access to high-yield explosives. She got them to us, and we were concocting A Grand Scheme to blow up whatever it was, only I woke up before it actually exploded, so that was sad.

I almost wish I had thought of this, but then, I don’t live in Russia.
Speaking of Russia… I absolutely love the hedgehog’s voice. Juniper twigs.
This may be the best thing I have ever found on the internet. Although, as Ed says, one day that man just won’t get his head back.
Goes against all the laws of the known universe. *mumbles* I may have been on cuteoverload.com again, ok? So sue me.

I loved Hawkeye in the James Fenimore Cooper books and thought briefly about naming one of the horses that, but I dunno about naming a female cat Hawkeye…

Ok, I’m done!

Well hello! I am somewhat less swamped, and this is good. We’re putting the finishing touches on the room (the inside, that is) which means that very soon the rest of the house will be back to its normal state, or something resembling it. This is inexpressibly good because even Gracie has been acting depressed by the pandemonium.

Tomorrow I work 7:30 to 4:30 on one of the biggest shopping days of the year; if I don’t make it back alive, you can have my to-do list.

I think I have resigned myself to the fact that I simply cannot do all of the things I wanted to do before break ends. Not without 28 hour days, anyway. However! I have done some reading, even if it’s not as much as I wanted to. I read The Vision and Seize the Night, both by Dean Koontz. I wasn’t very impressed with The Vision; it wasn’t as well-done as many of his others, and I found it extremely predictable. Seize the Night, however, was great and a neat follow-up to Fear Nothing, which you pretty much have to read first to get the full effect.

While at the library, thinking of books a million miles from C.S. Lewis, I stumbled quite by accident over Till We Have Faces by that venerable author. Dr. Waldron recommended this book highly, so I scooped it up, figuring it was destiny or some such. Oh my. Everyone needs to read it. At first it just seems moderately good, nothing special, but by the time you get to the end you are consumed. It’s radically different (at least it seems so to me) from anything else of his I’ve read, but it’s very, very good.

Then I read Bridge to Terabithia by Kathering Paterson, and I can’t quite figure out why I haven’t read this book before. It’s such a Stephanie book, it feels like I must have read it. It’s exquisite and terrible and beautiful and has instantly become one of my old favorites; it’s an old friend I just met. I hate to give anything away for both this book and Till We Have Faces, they’re so, so grand. Just go read them both immediately.

I started Zorro by Isabel Allende a few books ago. Now, to preface this statement, I must say that I love Zorro. I grew up on the old black-and-white Zorro shows with Guy Williams, who is the epitome of class. I would try any book with no further information on it other than it was about Zorro. So when I say that this book is so horrible, I can’t bring myself to finish it, you know what I really mean. Somehow this woman has ended up all over the New York Bestsellers List, which makes my opinion of said list sink even lower than it already was. It’s like that Archy and Mehitabel poem, you know, the one about the napkins. She strings unbelievable, wildly improbably adventures together higgely-piggely, yet the book is still mind-numbingly dull. It’s horribly organized, or rather not organized at all, the characters all have confusing mood swings, inconsistencies, and generally nothing interesting or realistic about themselves to say. Words fail to describe the hideousness of this book. I hate not finishing a book, but I may have met my match. It burns, it burns!

Oh, hey, I found that poem! I used to think that everyone knew Archy and Mehitabel, but apparently that is not the case, so I shall copy an intro here: “Due to a tragic mishap of destiny, Archy, once a great poet, was reincarnated as a roach, but maintained the poet’s soul, which he poured out in verse each night by hopping from key to key on Mr. Don Marquis’ rusty old typewriter. Archy told stories about Mehitabel the cat, Freddy the Rat, and other denizens of the garage he lived in. Since he couldn’t manage the shift key, his verse was relatively unadorned by punctuation.” And here is the poem:

takes talent
there are two
kinds of human
beings in the world
so my observation
has told me
namely and to wit
as follows
firstly
those who
even though they
were to reveal
the secret of the universe
to you would fail
to impress you
with any sense
of the importance
of the news
and secondly
those who could
communicate to you
that they had
just purchased
ten cents worth
of paper napkins
and make you
thrill and vibrate
with the intelligence
archy

By Don Maquis

*happy sigh* I just love Archy.

Oh, right, books! I am now reading The African Queen by C.S. Forester, of Stephanie-acclaimed fame for writing the Horatio Hornblower books. It’s too soon to be sure, but I suspect it may be awesome. Will report when further intelligence has been gathered.

I have made it all the way to the Fs in my Musiczilla project. This means I am roughly 1/5 of the way through, and at the current rate, I shall finish it before I turn 28, rather than 64! This is very, very good. In addition, I wrote a short story the other day! And part of another one! I have much more to write, but I feel better about the break for having written at least something now.

Well, if there was more, I’ve certainly forgotten it by now!

You must excuse me, I’m feeling poetic.

I do believe this is the awesomest thing I’ve ever seen involving livejournals. Read my random haiku here.

Look at my icon!! Can you believe it? I found an icon with part of one of my favorite e.e.cummings poems on it AND a Stargate. Now if that’s not the epitome of cool, I don’t know what is. And now, because you must read it, I shall post the whole poem.

pity this busy monster, manunkind

pity this busy monster, manunkind,

not. Progress is a comfortable disease:
your victim (death and life safely beyond)

plays with the bigness of his littleness
— electrons deify one razorblade
into a mountainrange; lenses extend
unwish through curving wherewhen till unwish
returns on its unself.
A world of made
is not a world of born — pity poor flesh

and trees, poor stars and stones, but never this
fine specimen of hypermagical

ultraomnipotence. We doctors know

a hopeless case if — listen: there’s a hell
of a good universe next door; let’s go

— e. e. cummings

I love cummings, I hate cummings, I don’t understand cummings, I understand too much of cummings. He’s one of the very few poets I know of who can completely disregard punctuation and capitalization and still be one of my favorites; usually it just annoys me.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Yay, Hamlet.

Did you know that hiraeth is a Welsh word meaning “the longing for home”? I think that is beautiful.

I don’t believe I mentioned that I was on spring break. I AM ON SPRING BREAK!! Very very happy about that. There are so many fun things I want to do on break, I know I won’t be able to get them all done. But, I am determined to do as much of it as I can! Unfortunately there are some less-fun things that must be done over break, such as finding a summer job, writing that Brit lit paper, and getting more volunteer hours in. I shall remain undaunted! *charges* Actually I made a good start on things today, it was good.

I listened to so much music today, it’s amazing. Working more on my ongoing and neverending music project! Bands of late include: Beulah, Built to Spill, and Big Country. Everyone should go check them out!

Finished The Lost Tales last week, so I’m onto Mariel of Redwall by Brian Jacques now, courtesy of Sarah who gave it to me awhile back. I’ve got books backed up like whoa. It’s VERY good to be reading something other than The Origin of Species, no matter what it is. I got to reading my Brit Lit book the other day and came across The Sons of Uisliu, which was…interesting. Highly tragic Welsh tale. I think I need to research that more, find out some of the backstory and historical context.

Adamastor: The spirit of the stormy Cape (Good Hope), described by Camoëns in the Lusiad as a hideous phantom. According to Barreto, he was one of the giants who invaded heaven. <–looked that up while reading this. I like that word a lot…say it with me now, Adamastor. See, doesn’t it just sound neat?

Adamastor adamastor adamastor

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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