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I made a very weird discovery a few weeks ago.

Do you ever get a tingly scalp feeling during a haircut or a head massage? (I thought that feeling was universal, but it seems that it’s not–people aren’t sure what percentage of folks experience it.) I recently learned that the same feeling can be triggered by some incredibly RANDOM stuff. I noticed that when listening to certain people’s voices or even while watching tutorials, I would get a similar feeling. I was moderately weirded out by that, so I did some Googling.

It turns out that that tingle is called autonomous meridian response (ASMR), and it can be triggered by the craziest things–which are different from person to person. I thought this article was rather informative, if bizarre. I sat mesmerized by an 18-minute video of some lady folding towels. Most of the rest seemed too strange for me (not that watching someone fold towels for 18 minutes isn’t strange), but I could’ve watched her fold those towels all day. There is a massive online community of people who make videos solely dedicated to inducing ASMR in other people. But the truly odd thing is that many people can’t feel anything. The video comments are a combination of, “Holy cow, this feels amazing!” and “What is this? 18 minutes of towels? I don’t get it.”

ASMR is almost frighteningly relaxing, and I’ve been incorporating it into stress management with great success, though it’s very difficult to talk about it with other people without sounding perfectly insane. It is the best thing for insomnia, though! When the Hubs is away, it usually takes me an eon to fall asleep, but not since I found towel-lady’s videos.

Frolicking in the moonlight is a little like ballet, and a little like twirling around until you get dizzy and clumsy, and a lot like how you danced when you were little and didn’t know there was such a thing as someone watching you. Of course, going for a frolic in the moonlight is very different here, where even the moon is dimmer because of the lights, and cars are everywhere, and there’s no quiet. I think I freaked out several cars and one guy who was taking out the trash. Shh, I’m quite harmless.

“He awoke for no reason except that he had had a dream that the earth shrugged, or an earthquake had happened ten thousand miles away that no one felt, or that there had been a second Annunciation but everyone was deaf, or perhaps it was only that the moon had come into the room during the night and changed the shape of the room and changed the looks on their faces and the flesh on their bones and now had stopped so abruptly that the quick silence had stirred his eyes wide. In the moment of opening, he knew the streets were dry, there had been no rain. Only, perhaps, some sort of crying.” – One More for the Road by Ray Bradbury.

Ray Bradbury, I love you, I love you, I love you. You say all the things I meant to and never did.

I slept wrongly and my neck is doing this incomprehensible and painful thing, but only at random intervals. What the heck, neck?

Stuff from the internet! Feel free to ooh and aah.
This is pretty much exactly what I do whenever I find a puddle too.
The trailer for How to Train Your Dragon, which seemingly has nothing to do with the book upon which it’s supposed to be based. Nevertheless, I think it looks nifty. So sue me.
15 reasons why Mr. Rogers is fantastic. I loved that show! I was especially fond of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, oh yes.
A Common Nomenclature for Lego Families. Fascinating, and very true. My brother and I would build huge Lego cities (which we would then destroy in creative ways…once we built Atlantis and then flooded it in the bathtub), and we had a flawless system of communication. Sadly I’ve forgotten our terminology for most Lego pieces, now.
Newsicles, a chunk of witty goodness co-authored by two of my esteemed colleagues in the data conversion business. We lead thrilling lives, boy howdy.

Horrifying realization! I was working on an art project for a friend, and as I was drawing my pencil slipped. The first thought to cross my mind was “Ctrl + Z”. *headdesk* What has this job done to me??

I’ve been doing remarkably little reading (for me) lately. Anna Karenina (look, see, I’m trying to actually be mindful of proper italicization here…I realized that for the sake of blogging speed I’ve been sacrificing quotation marks and italics and whatnot, which is rather shameful) is pretty slow going. I’m around 450 pages in, which means that Tolstoy is just warming up, though. I am still prepared to be amazed. AMAZE ME, MUSCOVITES. Thus far, I must admit, Anna is mostly just irritating, and I don’t really see that changing. I’m already sort of looking forward to that whole throwing-herself-in-front-of-a-train bit. (Oops, spoilers.)

Oh, oh! I went to the renaissance festival last weekend, and it was pretty great! Going alone is a very different experience from going with my usual entourage of like-minded folk. On the one hand, there’s no one with whom to share the day, but on the other hand, people are far more inclined to strike up conversations with you. Click for further vaguely-medieval adventures.

Reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, at long last. Sarah tells me it’s a winter book (isn’t all Russian literature?), but it’s been sitting on my shelf staring reproachfully at me for a couple years now, so I figured it was high time to get back to Moscow. And I suppose it’s winter somewhere, though not here in Florida.

Squid and Frog, brought to you by the same quirky, morbid woman who did Making Fiends, Muffinfilms, etc.
Don’t get drunk, kids. Particularly near subways. I love how sensible the subway driver seems about everything.
Television series planned by Ray Bradbury. GENIUS.
“And You Give” by Matthew Barber. Not sure how I feel about the song, exactly, but the video is pretty if a bit odd, and I must admire their dedication to cravats.

Going to the beach is quite the adventure. Click for the full tale.

Wil Wheaton quoting some other dude about writing: “At least half of all writing involves just sitting and staring into space. Letting your brain out to hunt down ideas, bringing them back all warm and bloody between its teeth.”

Some glorious things on the internet:
Another real-life musical, brought to you by Improv Everywhere.
Inmates come to guard’s aid in jail attack: the footage is oddly compelling.
An article on Jimmy Stewart, one of my favorite actors. Though I confess I felt a little strange, reading a website entitled artofmanliness.com.
Know what’s awesome? Puppies are awesome. Were you having a bad day? Not anymore.
Bat for Lashes doing a cover of Use Somebody by Kings of Leon. I admit to liking the original, even if it’s horrifically overplayed, but I think I like the Bat for Lashes version even better.

The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings was astonishingly good. I highly recommend it. It’s not even really a World War I book, and it’s not really a memoire; I’m not really sure what it is. I do know, however, that is definitely worth reading.

Florida is one weird state. I have met some pretty weird people, and (aside from work) I’ve met more homeless people than I have people with homes. Particularly lately…

Crazy adventures of the Floridian variety.

Seen today on a busy corner in Hollywood, Florida: a woman in what looked like a wedding dress, holding the leash of the biggest mastiff I have ever seen. They jogged across the street together through the traffic, and she was smiling and the dog’s tongue was lolling and I think she had tennis shoes on underneath the dress. It was awesome, if slightly less surreal once I remembered that it was Halloween.

Things from the internet!
The throne clones. Vaguely creepy.
An exceedingly lucky and determined tortoise.
Those pesky hay vandals! I was not responsible for this, seeing as how it was in Queensland, but I would totally do this.
Carl Sagan sings! Or, one of the few times that auto-tuning is actually cool.

In two weeks, I’m going to Camelot Days, which is sort of a mini renaissance fair being held at the park only about 2 miles from my apartment. It’s considerably less fun to go to these things alone than with my posse, but I still anticipate having a blast. And I am absolutely dressing up.

Bookwise, Inkheart was, as my friend Rachael so aptly described it, “pleasant.” Sadly, it was not more than that. I won’t bother with the rest of the trilogy. Then I read Mister Monday by Garth Nix, the first in his Keys to the Kingdom series, also for young adults. And that was likewise pleasant. By then I was so sick of pleasant young adult literature that I read Candide by Voltaire, which certainly was neither young adult nor pleasant. I felt terribly academic again and also slightly dirty. Currently I’m starting The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings, which is the story of his experiences in WWI. I’m not far enough in to have an opinion yet, but it’s quite different from his poetry, that’s a surety.

It has been at least three days since this morning. Today and yesterday were ENDLESS. Except, obviously, that they ended, finally. I am currently sick as a dog with some sort of flu type thing and feeling utterly miserable. My head is also exceedingly muzzy, so this entry may not be entirely lucid.

My brain doesn’t work the same (or at all) when I’m really sick. I left the oven on for about two hours after I was done cooking last night, and I keep getting up to do things and then standing there blinking in the middle of the room because I’ve forgotten what it was. Also, and I always forget this until it’s rather too late, when I’m sick my verbal filters don’t work properly. I end up saying whatever comes into my head, which can be both entertaining and dangerous. I think I talked a lot at work today. I don’t recall specifics, really, but everyone seemed awfully amused. This will probably come back to haunt me on Monday, assuming I’ve attained full consciousness by then, which is by no means a given.

There was a rather magical moment today, though. I bought some groceries (after staring blankly at the interior of my refrigerator yesterday, unable to comprehend why there were no eggs inside) and hauled them inside, then realized that the thump I heard while driving was probably the sound of the jam rolling under the seat, because it was not with the other groceries. So I put the rest away and sighed and trudged back down and out to the car and retrieved the recalcitrant jam from where it was indeed lodged underneath the passenger seat, and as I straightened up from inside the car, there in the sky above me was a lovely rainbow. It was completely unexpected (it hadn’t rained all day) and altogether beautiful.

And now for some things less magical, but still cool. Linkage and more musings of the cold-medicine-fueled variety.

It is certain: my thesis is to be published in the Explorations undergraduate academic journal! I am absurdly excited about that. Look out, world. I will conquer you, one excessively long paper on Tolkien at a time.

Distressingly, it would seem that my coworkers do not take Talk Like a Pirate Day seriously. I, however, had a blast on Friday (Talk Like a Pirate Day Observed), and dressed in appropriately piratey attire (which was mainly an excuse to go barefoot all day long, since I think it impossible that Floridian pirates would wear boots in this climate).

I realize I keep clogging people’s friendlists with hideously long entries, so in an effort to spare you all, I will try to employ lj cuts more often. Click here for more of the usual: books, dreams, and slight illegalities.

Today I was walking along in the grass next to a road and suddenly a fairly large crab saw me and scuttled away into the brush. I thought maybe I had imagined it, it was so strange. Were you real, crab?

I went to a park near here today, and I saw two very tiny little boys struggling to hoist a likewise very tiny little girl into a tree. It was the most adorable thing ever, and I would’ve taken their picture if it wouldn’t have been creepy.

The park, incidentally, has the most magical trees I’ve ever seen. It turns out they’re strangler figs, which is a terrible name for a beautiful tree. If you scroll down in that article a bit, you’ll see a pretty accurate representation of what they look like. The ones in the park look exactly like the sort of tree you’d find Peter Pan and the Lost Boys in. There’s a heartbreaking “No Climbing Trees” sign on the best tree, which I ignored today and had a glorious time.

It’s been a quiet week, though I did succeed at last in getting a Florida driver’s license. This required leaving the apartment at the crack of dawn to brave the insane Fort Lauderdale traffic. Careening at 70mph on I-95 (horror of horrors) at 7:30 in the morning in the pouring rain is not the most relaxing way to begin the day. I found the dmv, waited in line, then all of their computers crashed, so I waited while they reset them, forked over large amounts of cash, waited some more, then their printer died while printing my license, but I finally got it. My NC driver’s license wasn’t terribly insulting. My Florida one is atrocious, probably because I was smiling and then the lady said, “Oh, it’ll take a minute yet,” and then the flash went off early, so I have the droopy remains of a smile and a dazed expression. However, by then I was so glad to be done with all Department of Transportation business that I left in a happy haze and was only 10 minutes late for work because of more traffic on the return trip.

I’m still very new to the ways of Florida. Today I went to the beach and was thrilled to discover it was mostly empty. So I splashed around happily in the water and realized, hmm, this current is pretty strong, and the water is a lot higher than usual. Then I looked around and realized no one else was in the water. Suspicious, that. THEN I saw the giant red flags hung everywhere saying to stay out of the water because of deadly riptide. Oops. I just hunted for seashells after that. Be careful of the riptide, kids!

I’ve figured out (one reason) why Florida feels so foreign. I haven’t seen a single crow or raven since I got down here. Not even one! Where are you, my feathered minions? Who will do my bidding now? Sigh.

My life is not ever boring. Click here for recent adventures

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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