Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Steampunk Rainbow Bunny

I'm not really sure if this qualifies as steampunk, as the only, well, steampunk-y thing about it is the metal eye. I like to think, though, that it's actually a bunny-cyborg and it can use its eye to shoot laser beams and stuff. Perhaps with the combination of cute adorableness and a bronze death ray it could classify.

I guess, worst comes to worst, though, I could just call it Rainbow Cyborg Bunny. ...In all honesty, I think I like that name better.


I may like to shoot things with lasers, but at least I don't eat souls the way normal bunnies eat tasty carrots!

My Cat is Overly Affectionate

This might just be a shameless excuse to post more cat pictures, but truly - Glory really just loves to sit on whatever I am doing.
I also just wanted to assure everyone that I love cute things and appreciate cats and don't always just sit around and talk about old books and write weird songs. This is the normal internet thing to do, right? Put up obscene amounts of cat photos? Right?

This is actually Fetcher, but he is sitting on my leg and it is really cute.

This is Glory in her shameless attempts to sit on everything.


I'm on a table, I'm on a table, I'm on a table, yes I am.

Hm. What are you typing? Can I see? Is it about me?

I love you, sewing machine.

Durrrrr.

I hate you so much.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

I really like Christmas.



It's beginning to look a lot like fishmen...


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Paper Trees

I wrote a Christmas song! It has very, very little to do with Christmas, but I really want it to be a Christmas song. It does have references to snow, and snowy trees, and also there's a few lines that vaguely resemble "We Three Kings" (vaguely). So that qualifies it, right?
Seriously, though, I'm sick of all the kitschy secular songs, and all the songs with good chords and melodies are hymns. It's a shame. We need more people to write Christmas songs. Good ones, preferably. I'm looking at you, "All I Want for Christmas is You".
Wow I hate that song so much.
Truly, though, there's an absolute dearth of new Christmas songs, as evidenced by malls playing the same ones over and over and over and over until your ears bleed. This is a serious problem.

As usual, I apologize for terrible video quality, and also the off-key vocals. I'm still experimenting with precisely how the melody should go...so just listen to the pretty piano, okay? I'll probably fix this once I figure everything out.



Paper Trees: A Christmas Song

Paper trees
Bowed to me
Said, “Joseph,
You'll be king of fleas.”

Ash fell down
Burned my crown
Paper trees
Fell down

Paper trees
Reached to the sky
Said, “Joseph,
You'll be lord of flies.”

And when the sky
Was cold and grey
The paper flakes
Had fall'n all day

I laid down
Kissed the ground
Begged for stars
To guide the way

Paper chains
And birds in vines
Traded for
Twelve cups of wine

And paper trees
They reached to me
Said, “Joseph
You belong to me.”
Said, “When you look up
From the well
I'll give you stars
And snow as well."

And paper chains
They burned away
And I could finally
Rise to say
“Stars of night,
You bow to me,
I'll be the lord
of Eternity,”

And then the stars
Venus and Mars
Sirius and Achenar
Paper stars on paper chains
Fell all apart
In snow and rain

I lay looking
Up the well
Paper trees
As snow they fell
And I lay looking
At the stars
Sirius and Achenar

And I knew
Paper falls
Paper tears
Paper's all just pretense there

Paper trees
Bowed to me
Said, “Joseph
You'll be king of fleas.”

Paper trees
Bowed to me
Said, “Joseph
You'll be king of fleas.”

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bible Study: WHAT.

Numbers 16. Yahweh kills 14,950 people. Fourteen thousand, seven hundred he kills by plague, and two hundred fifty he kills by burning them alive. The only reason he doesn't kill all the Israelites is because Moses and Aaron do some timely groveling, and some magic stuff with incense.

I...I don't even...I just...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bible Study: Lord of Threats

Leviticus 26:14-46
Yahweh starts chapter twenty-six by saying how he looks favorably upon the Israelites and doesn't despise them and will help them in battle and bless them and all that jazz. I was impressed upon reading this, because normally Yahweh just talks about how he hates everyone.
One paragraph later, and he graphically details for seven paragraphs the punishment he'll rain down on them if they ever spite him. There's the Yahweh we know and love!

If the Israelites ever disobey him, Yahweh will cause:
-wasting diseases and burning fevers "that will cause your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away."
-enemies to eat your crops
-you to be ruled by those you hate
-you to run even when no one is chasing you
-your land to yield no crops or fruit
-wild animals to eat your children and livestock
-armies to attack you
-(more) plagues
-the destruction of your food supply "so that ten women will only need one oven to bake bread for their families."
-you to eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters.
-your lifeless bodies to be placed on top of your lifeless idols
-you to become scattered through all nations
-paranoia
-your children to be punished for your crimes as well! How sweet. I guess this is assuming your children weren't all eaten by wild animals or yourself?

Granted, he does finish up this diatribe with a little addendum that even while viciously torturing his people, he will not utterly reject or despise them because of that old covenant thing. Of course, I imagine his people might not find that ridiculously comforting while their eyes are falling out and they're starving to death.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Broad Generalizations

I have a long standing battle against inane Facebook posts, as many of you know. I'd give it up if I didn't just love to disemvowel things.


How many times have we seen jokes playing of these exact words as said by a woman? Fifty? One hundred? Anyway, the joke's old. First off, it makes sweeping generalizations about the nature of female communication being passive-aggressive. I take offense at this, because I generally try to be very clear about my emotions and opinions, and I resent that some people think that because of my gender I must be highly trained in the art of verbal ambiguity. I also don't immediately expect people to know what I'm thinking based on vague and contradictory clues.
Secondly, I find it irritating that this little jpg isn't decrying mixed messages. It's not a commentary; it's a survival guide. It doesn't discourage such obnoxious behavior, but excuses it and makes it seem normal. As someone who values clear communication, this is wildly annoying. It's reinforcing detrimental stereotypes.

Sometimes I really hate people on the internet.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Winter Break

At long last, I am finally home. Five weeks of projects and planning and reading and piano playing ahead! Hell, I am so excited. I have great plans. I have Christmas presents to make, and songs to compose, and a story to write, and friends to see, and so much more! SO MANY PLANS IT WILL BE GREAT.

It isn't snowy currently, but hopefully it will soon enough. It's about time.

Dave picked me up at 9 am today, and we got donuts for breakfast and were on our way. The weather was clearer this morning, but the day today is still beautiful. I can see the pond out my window and it is black and green, and the grass is straw yellow.
Upon being home, I've been unpacking, playing the piano, paying a lot of attention to the cats, and finishing a Christmas present for a friend of mine. I'll put up pictures when it's done.
I've put my three filled journals since school began on my shelf with all my other ones, and it felt good.
I'm running out of room on my shelves for all of my books, note and otherwise.
No one has seen fit to clean my room since I've been gone, so I have also been dusting and vacuuming. It does feel like I've been gone, which I suppose is good, in a sense.

I have missed the cats. Even Glory when she becomes ridiculously engrossed in whatever I am doing and leans on my hands and walks on my keyboard.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Study Week is Cruel and Sadistic

So far, I've pretty much liked Cornell, but I think that perhaps study week is the most hellish, tormentive idea ever to grace the minds of the university administrators. I suppose it's sweet that they gave us extra time to study for finals...but, guess what? All year I've been studying for prelims while classes have been in session. Finals are...not that much worse. Look, sure, the last week of classes would be a bit trickier and more stressful, but guess what? Then it would be over, and I could go home, and would not be stuck here contemplating the dull, existential horror that is another week here, doing nothing, just waiting to take tests. Have they contemplated that the reason Study Week is nicknamed Dead Week is because this is when everyone jumps off of bridges?

I feel as though I am slowly losing my mind. Fortunately, this is a familiar feeling so I'm going to be just fine, but I've been entertaining the notion that this is some kind of purgatory designed to...I'm not sure. Punish me for being an academic? That doesn't seem right, but good hell, I hate these weeks. I hate these weeks more than I hate dry cake and long lines. I hate them more than...one decinazi. At least, because this is personal.

Seriously, though, this is why Cornell needs nets on its bridges.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Things I've Done During Study Week That Were Not Studying

Study week is a week they have here, before finals start, to allow everyone to properly dread and fear finals for a stupidly long time! All of my finals, also, are next week, giving me approximately nine days to study and panic.
This is obviously far too much time for my relatively easy workload and extreme distractability, so therefore, I've had to find other ways to occupy my time so I don't lose my mind. These have included:

-finishing the television series Avatar: The Last Airbender
-working on my NaNoWriTimeperiod book
-drinking lattes
-going running
-getting distracted by animals I find when I go running
-staring blankly at my stats textbook
-staring blankly at all my other notes
-surfing the internet
-compulsively checking Facebook to feed my novelty addiction. (I'm not proud of this).
-thinking about what color dragon I would have if I were a Dragon Rider
-wishing I had a dragon
-justifying not doing work to myself
-complaining how boring everything is
-wishing I could teleport
-wishing I could control coefficients of friction
-drinking tea
-eating biscuits
-making great plans and failing to accomplish them
-writing on my blog about all the work I'm not doing

Hell, I hate study week. I just want to take these tests and go home.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blast from the Past: I Hate Bus Children: Reason #362

Here's a fun story from spring of this year that I didn't publish because I felt bad that I tried to traumatize a child and then failed and looked stupid. Fortunately, I'm over that embarrassment now. I'm not sure if it's because I got a sense of perspective on just how annoying bus children are, or if I no longer care that I tried to traumatize a child. Hm. Questions, questions.

______
Ever read William Golding's Lord of the Flies? Riding a school bus is like that. Sure, there's the bus driver up front, but what power do they really have? They're watching the road and preventing us from crashing. They may look back in their mirror and shout something, but on a scale of effective discipline, that rates about a 3/10. (10 is jail; 1 is cake.) So, really, for all intents and purposes, the bus is the realm of the island, where children run wild, and where human nature's true savagery is exposed. They climb over and under seats, sing songs, pick their noses, shout psychologically damaging things at each other... It's terrifying.
The older kids are even worse. Without restraints, there's nothing stopping them from...being complete jerks, mostly. And really annoying.
"C", a sixth grader, is always asking me to be his best friend (insincerely, and with the hope to tick me off enough to be entertaining). This resulted because once or twice I fed the troll and snapped at the little demon. Now he's like a dog with a bone - a very obnoxious, mocking dog with a penchant for being relentlessly annoying. Yeah, not a great metaphor. Moving on.
I definitely fed the troll in this encounter. The trouble was that I had been forced to listen to squabbling, asinine underclassmen for 30 minutes and my patience was wearing very, very thin, and with it, my good judgment and restraint.

C: Hey, Maddie, best friend, do you have a tic tac? [No, his remarks are never made in any context.]
Me: No. I do not have a tic tac. Even if I had one, I would not give you a tic tac, because you are annoying, and we are not friends.
C: Hey, guys, did you hear? Maddie and I are best friends. Maddie, aren't we best friends?
Me: No. We are not friends.
C: Guys, Maddie and I are best friends. Can't we best friends, Maddie?
Me:  No. We are not friends.
C: So, we're best friends, right?
Me: No. Friends, and not-friends are two different categories. Best friends is a subset of friends. We are in the not-friends column.
C: We're totally best friends. We're even more than just best friends, right, Maddie?
Me: [patience wearing very thin] [in as sinister a voice as I could manage] Sure, C. We're beyond best friends, in that very special category of friends where I gouge out your eyes, throw you down a deep, dark well, and seal it off so no one can hear you scream.
C: [completely unfazed] So, we're totally best friends. Guys, did you hear? Maddie and I are best friends.
Me: You have a very sick and twisted definition of best friend.
C: Come on, we're best friends. Just say we're best friends, then I'll leave you alone.

Later:
Me: [to the bus driver] The best thing about graduating is going to be not riding the bus.

This. Close. To. Strangling. A. Child.

UPDATED:
Every day since I made the above remark to the bus driver, she's said, "Just 8 more weeks, hon." I'm really glad we've established a rapport over hating children.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Times When Cookies Are Not Appropriate

This is a short list.

1. In an operating room.
2. In front of people on a diet/who lack teeth.
3. At the funeral of a person who died choking on a cookie.
4. At the Fifteenth Annual Adult-Onset Diabetes Awareness event. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Frosty, Part II

I need help. I have a brilliant idea for a film, but I need actors.
Basically, the premise is that a man is very down on his luck. He's had a hard run of misfortune. His wife has left him, his son hates him, he's stuck paying child support but does have a job. He starts working as a children's magician because it's the only job he can get. Being forced to act cheerful all day for a bunch of snotty, terrible children eventually forces him to turn to alcohol. 
As the piece goes on, it will get increasingly surreal, representing the magician's declining sanity. Eventually, he is tortured by a bunch of children who steal his magician's hat. As he chases after them, he begins to hallucinate a hat-wearing snowman who torments him. The snowman represents all of his mistakes and failures in his life. The magician's hunt for the snowman represents his attempt to triumph over his shortcomings, but he is thwarted by bad luck and a group of heartless children who continually protect the snowman from him, and hold him back from overcoming his misfortune. 
The magician eventually slays the snowman by locking him in a greenhouse and allowing him to melt. He thinks he's conquered his problems and can go on to live a successful life. However, the children raise the snowman back to life, and they continue to torment him. Unable to destroy his problems, the magician eventually dies from a drug overdose in his squalid motel room. The snowman watches from the window, and mutters, "I'll be back again, someday."
I'll call it Frosty the Snowman. What do you think? Cult hit indie film for sure, right?


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Home

I'm not sure leaving is ever going to get easier. You get numb to it, but that's about all that ever happens. It's not like anything is fixed or assuaged. It just becomes rote.
Right now, it seems to me that being an adult means forcing yourself to do things you really don't want to, and pretending you don't care.

Frosty

GUYS. I've had a revelation. You know how in the song, it says "Frosty the snowman was a very happy soul"? Does that mean he *has* a soul? If so, then how did he get it? He's a walking block of ice! Does that mean all inanimate objects have souls? Or did he get the soul from the magic hat? Does the magic hat give things a soul? What happens when people wear it, then? Do they get two souls? Maybe the hat is possessed. If that's so, then Frosty is possessed! It's been clear all along! THE HAT CONTAINS A DEMON.

Another fun game: count the Satanic undertones in Frosty the Snowman! Santa=Satan is a good start.

Friday, November 16, 2012

College Textbooks

After years of dull, uninspired, and humorless textbooks, I am greatly enjoying all of my college textbooks. They manage to throw in voice and jokes without being biased or uninformative. For instance, my statistics textbook is hilarious. It frequently makes fun of itself in the footnotes, and gives occasionally ludicrous examples.
I also have a textbook for my evolution class which is a little drier, but I couldn't help but love the chapter on sexual selection when it gave me gems like these:

"Most sperm, on the other hand, are little more than DNA with a propeller" (Freeman and Herron 404).

"...at any point in time there are more males than females in the pond looking for love" (407).

"Pryke and Andersson suspected from the beginning that the reason [for the male's appearance] was that the female red-collared widowbirds think that long tails are sexy" (417).

"One impediment to quick fatherhood, however, is the presence of still-nursing cubs fathered by males of the previous coalition. That is because females do not return to breeding condition until after their cubs are weaned. How can the male [lions] overcome this problem? They frequently employ the obvious, if grisly, solution: They kill any cubs in the pride that have not been weaned" (415).
(And suddenly The Lion King takes on a whole new, darker meaning.)

"Figure 11.28. Spotted cucumber beetles in love. The male is on the left" (425).
Yes, it is a picture of copulating spotted cucumber beetles.

Also, it turns out that prairie dogs are polyandrous. So much for the theory that monogamy in females is evolutionarily selected for! Take that! Females can be promiscuous if they darn well want.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Old Man Wilson

Going back through my old files, it occurs to me that I actually wrote some pretty darn hilarious things last year when I writing paragraphs containing vocabulary words for English. I've decided to treat you all to a glimpse of my bizarre mind, and also share with you some of the beautiful, singularly insane things I wrote last year, with which I probably made my English teacher doubt my sanity.
I've left in the underlined vocabulary words, just for fun.
___


It was truly nothing but my own serendipity that allowed me to become the single wealthiest meat factory owner in the world.
When I was but a young lad, I had always been thrown about by the vicissitudes of life. I was born the only son of Sir Henry Wakefield, the youngest child in his family and by far the poorest. Whilst at home, I never noticed our own misfortune, but it was soon made apparent to me when the family gathered at Aunt Tilda's estate. My father and I would make our appearance in the same tatty brown suits we had worn the past year, while Uncle Ferdinand would come in a neat pressed waistcoat, or Sally-Lou would be clutching a brand new child's doll made entirely out of cashmere and embroidered with gold thread. Furthermore, my father and I were constantly mocked by our more fortunate family members. Uncles Ferdinand and Tobias would always say, “So, Hank, how's the pig farming going?”, and capricious, nasty Sally-Lou would always tell the other children to pinch their noses when I came near, and would shout crude lies that I slept in the same pen as the swine. The milieu of my youth was mostly one of inadequacy and shame.
I may have resigned myself to tragic fatalism if not for Old Man Wilson. Old Man Wilson was the uncle of my second cousin once removed, and he lived in a large house, deep in the woods. Old Man Wilson was regarded by many to be crazy, but I thought he was a savant. He may have had a quirk or two, such as perching on the backs of chairs like a crow, or throwing the cat out of the upstairs window when frustrated, but these minor flaws were nothing compared to his genius. Aided by no one but Grey's Anatomy and thirteen dachshunds, he calculated the terminal velocity of a small dog, single-handedly derived most of single variable calculus, made his own formaldehyde, and perfected the art of taxidermy. Many times, when Sally-Lou would begin her cruel games, I would run to Old Man Wilson's and spend hours staring into the torrid flames of his taxidermy kiln, or hiding under tables when he went into one of his many vagaries, like smashing the piles of dog skulls with a ball peen hammer, or training the dachshunds to act as an vicious attack squad. Sally-Lou and the others would call me insane for spending time with him, but I knew what was best for me, and I ignored their taunts and occasional thrown rocks.
Despite losing my left index finger to a cat-sized guillotine, becoming friends with Old Man Wilson was certainly the crux of my fortune, and the beginning of a steady streak of providence. On the very day of my 18th birthday, it was brought to my attention that Old Man Wilson had died in a tragic accident. A badger, certainly not in the usual torpor of winter, had found its way into the house. The dachshunds, of course, quickly dispatched it, but, riled into a feral rage by the sight of their eternal enemy, then turned on Old Man Wilson and consumed him entirely.
I was devastated, of course. I had lost my only childhood friend to cruel fate and small, furry animals. However, despite my grief, his death was actually a propitious turn of events for my future. Shortly after I reported his death, his estate manager informed me that he had left everything to me. Not Aunt Tilda, not Uncle Ferdinand, not even the sickeningly cute Sally-Lou. Me! I had never felt so appreciated. Furthermore, 'everything' of Old Man Wilson's did not merely include his dachshund kiln and collection of South American tribal talismans. As was revealed, Old Man Wilson had kept an entire fortune in his bank account over the years, and all 5000 acres of his estate were still his, and all of it was mine! I nearly swooned upon hearing the news. Finally, I was at the same level as all of my familial tormentors! I had opportunities. I had a future, and it did not involve pig farming!
I immediately began planning my empire. I invested in factories and workers, and began using Old Man Wilson's brilliant techniques to become the single richest producer of quality meat-products and adorable stuffed dachshund trinkets (which quickly became a fad among the upper classes. It was rumored that even Queen Victoria owned one of my stuffed dachshunds at one time). It wasn't long before my business grew to astronomical heights, and I was reportedly the single richest man in the nation.
Naturally, my extended family was sick with envy, and so they held a family meeting. Sitting at Aunt Tilda's table, they all demanded that I share a fraction of my success with them. They were family, they said, and so they deserved a share, if only for the sake of bloodlines. They both cursed and pleaded like they were delivering incantations, but none could move me. They even threatened me with estrangement, but I merely scoffed. Finally, when they had exhausted all of their arguments, I plainly told them that it would be a simple matter for me to have it brought to the attention of the government that they had been actively avoiding paying taxes for years. The collective sums owed could only be paid by complete repossession of every belonging of theirs, and they would be left completely destitute. I would pursue this action, too, unless they all agreed to work in my processed meat factories at minimum wage for the rest of their lives.
When they realized the severity of my threat, they gladly acquiesced.
Isn't it nice to be rich?  

Monday, November 12, 2012

The General's Ditty / People I Know

I wrote a song and now it's stuck in my head. I don't have a piano part for it yet, but I'm working on it. Meanwhile, here are the lyrics. They make me happy. I thought of them while I was on a run, and was looking at the leaves and storm drains and also I found a cat, and I knew I wanted to write a happy, quiet song with weird lyrics.



The General's Ditty/ People I Know

Sometimes I see all of my old friends here
La di da. De di da. De di da.
Waiting in boxes, and pining for years
La di da. De di da. De di da.
Pretending I see them but living in fear.
La di da. De di da. De di da.
Waiting and waiting for someone to hear.
La di da. De di da. De di da.

I pay for dinner in francs and outside I just watch the wind blow
Eddies in storm drains and grins from the faces of people who recognize snow.
I watch all the leaflets get in placed in the parking lot
mixing with litter and crows.
I think I'll be happy
La di da. De di da.
I think I'll be happy in places I know.
La di da. De di da.
I think it'll be aces to see all the faces
of people I know.

And I know that someday
I'll be taken away
by the men in black jackets who ask for your passport
I know that someday I'll be begging to pay
For the crimes of the sinners who kindly paved my way.

And I wonder if this is what I will be
Running in circles for all of eternity
Though I know that someday I will decompose
And earthworms will eat me from my toes to my nose
And I won't know better
Than to encourage and thank
The crows who laugh on the gallows
With all of their fellows
For disregarding my rank

So I know I'll stop running
La di da. De di da.
So I know I'll quit funning.
La di da. De di da.
And let the birds lead the way.
La di da. De di da.
And I think I'll be happy.

And someday I know I'll be free from the hatred
And confused compatriots of people I know
I'll be fine. I know I'll be fine. I'll be fine...
La di da. De di da.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Party Plans

Guys guys guys I have the best idea. I want to throw a party. A Communist themed party.  GET IT?!  A Communist Party?! BRILLIANT, right!?

No but really. We could have red cup and plates, and we could serve red fruit punch and have red velvet cake! And also we could hand out mustaches to everyone.

We could also have a bunch of Communist-themed party games, like Proletariat Proletariat Bourgeois (sort of like Duck Duck Goose)! Except whenever you are tagged as bourgeois everyone stands up and overthrows you and takes back the means of production.

Or we could play Charades! You can only ever act out Communist leaders, though. Also, whenever a team guesses correctly, each team gets half a point in order to redistribute the wealth.

Or we could have a Mafia themed game, except instead of having a secret hidden Mafia member, you could have a Dictator who everyone knows who he is, but are powerless to stop, and he kills thousands of people each turn. And instead of a Doctor, you could have a Trotsky, but instead of healing people you just trying to turn the people against the Dictator by writing books and giving speeches, but you have to do all this while avoiding assassination attempts. Also, you have to do all this from Mexico. Instead of the Prostitute, you can have a Rasputin, who the Dictator can't kill, but instead of doing anything useful he just flirts with all the women in the group. (Technically he wasn't a Communist but whatever). Ooh, ooh, and instead of a Detective, we can just have a Joseph McCarthy, who calls everyone Communists except the Dictator! And then sends them to jail, destroys their career, and/or electrocutes them. Except instead of electrocuting them you could just poke them with one of those shock-y pen things, because I don't actually condone killing people in party games. That's a little harsh.

We could also play the card game Mao, because, duh.

We would also play musical chairs, except instead of chairs we would just have a large rock that we would all say is a chair. Also we would have to share it.

And for party favors, I'd give out little baggies containing one Hershey kiss apiece. Share the wealth, guys!


(Thanks to Ashley and Dave for help with the party plans. You guys are commu-rrific!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Short Story

Today in English I got a bloody nose. I was holding my nose, at the time. I was trying to prevent myself from giggling hysterically. What was I giggling at? The following line:

"Furthermore Gimlet knows that what would make me the happiest corporate liability trouble shooter in the history of the planet earth would be to kill my father and that I will kill my father and bathe in his blood as soon as I can do it without maybe getting caught or found guilty at it, maybe when he is retired and my mother is weak..."
 -"Girl With Curious Hair" by David Foster Wallace (1989)

The logic of these kind of events is what rules my life, evidently. Is this karma for laughing at extremely twisted literature? (No, probably not. Karma doesn't exist and if it did then it is terribly inconsistent and partial.)
The perks of taking "Dark Humor" as a freshman writing seminar.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday morning, October 14

Writing essays and drinking hot cocoa is quickly becoming my Sunday routine. Well, actually my Saturday routine, but yesterday was mostly taken up by a frisbee tournament. The tournament went well, but I could not stop thinking about frisbee as I was falling asleep, instead of the normal happy imagine-y thoughts that help me fall asleep. I hate when this happens. If I'm at the beach, playing in the waves, I'll dream of waves and get sea sick. If I was at an amusement park all day on roller coasters (well, I don't do that anymore, but when I was younger and less easily nauseated), I would not be able to get the sensation of roller coasters out of my head. If I was hiking all day, I'll dream of hiking. Same with frisbee. It's not that I don't like frisbee. It's fun, and I am enjoying playing it, but sometimes I really just want to think about corridors and fairies and stuff when I'm falling asleep.
Today should be a quiet day. I've done laundry, ate cereal, am drinking hot cocoa. I am attempting to write an essay outline, but I don't have a thesis and am struggling with it as usual. Two of three other housemates are around, but they've been quiet also, which is how I prefer things.



Struggling with a thesis, as always. It's so hard to think of a good one. English essays bore me. I liked our projects in last year's English, because only one of them was an essay. The rest were annotated bibliographies, ethnographies, and discussions of our personal moralities, which I found to be just so much more engaging than the usual speculation about the meaning of empathy and apathy in Miss Lonelyhearts.

As you may be able to tell, I am procrastinating. I want to get my thesis written by lunch, though, and hopefully with accompanying introduction. All I've done today is reading and laundry, and I want this assignment done and done away with by tonight, hopefully so I can kick back and do another assignment.

I don't understand why I worry so much about inconsequential things. Or even intangible things. Why do I wake up in the morning with a feeling of dread? It's a normal day, a quiet day, a day that would otherwise be perceived as a perfectly reasonable day. Yet pretty much every morning I get up and panic about everything that will happen today. I don't know why. It isn't logical. Maybe I have a paranoia demon living under my bed. I wouldn't be shocked.

Time needs to stop happening so I can do my work.
On the plus side, at least I'm not wanting it to speed up, I suppose.
____

It was beautiful weather this evening, nearly 70 degrees. It was beautiful! I got to play the ukulele out on the quad, which is good fun. I also got shiny new ukulele picks, which I am happy for!


Sunday, September 30, 2012

College: Weekend Adventures

More fun adventures this weekend! For my evolution class, I was required to visit the Museum of the Earth, an offshoot of the Paleontological Research Institute in Ithaca. I was initially intending to go with people, but they couldn't make it, so instead I had my first solo bus riding adventure! Yay!
I took the 70 to the Commons, and then transferred to the 14, which went out to the museum. At the museum, I wandered around, looking at the fossils and such and taking notes for my assignment (which was to write an article on the museum, and also evolution). They had a pretty neat exhibit. It's small, but it's jam packed with interesting fossils and such. I enjoyed myself!
After, I took a team photo with me and a velociraptor. I like taking team photos to prove I did something with the people I said I did, except this time it was just me.


The bus was half an hour late, so I took some pictures of fall foliage:


I took the bus back to the Commons, where Apple Fest was in full swing. The Commons were absolutely packed with people and the air was full of the scent of apples, fried dough, leaves...it was awesome. I got some free apple tea and a spice cookie from a cafe that was giving them away, and then I had some apple crisp for "lunch". It was very good apple crisp - more bready than I'm used to, which I liked.
Then I took the 30 back to campus except I missed my stop because I thought it went to a closer stop to where I got off, but it didn't. Upon realizing this, I signaled for the driver to stop, and got off at a random suburban street about a mile from where I wanted to be. Fortunately, I only had to wait another 15 minutes for another bus to come back the other way, but there was a good deal of unhappiness about it.


Here is the random suburban street corner where I was. Fun!

Then that evening, I went to the mall with Sam and Alex, and we ran some errands at Target, but then got dinner at Subway. I saw a man weaving with a 60 year old loom, making carpets. I've been curious about how looms work for a while, so I found it very interesting!
Then we saw Looper, a movie about time traveling telekinetic gangsters that was actually much better than my brief description makes it sound.

Oh, also, I figured you'd all want to know: I got a 92 on my stats prelim! My last prelim, for evolution, is this Monday. Nearly a third of the way through the semester! Wow!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ultimate Frisbee: First Tournament


I had my first frisbee tournament this weekend! It was exciting, because I've just started frisbee this year, and in fact have just started being athletic this year. It was also terrifying for exactly these same reasons. In all honesty, I was freaking out about it all week, and could barely sleep Thursday night because I was so nervous about going. I've been incredibly shy and insecure about this whole thing, even for me (which is saying something), so I'm really glad that everything went pretty well!
We left Friday night at about 6. I unwisely did not eat beforehand, but fortunately I was tided over by some strategic goldfish crackers and Clif bars. We slept on the living room floor of one of the team member's parents house (who live in Buffalo), which wasn't half bad. It was like a sleep over, and was actually kind of fun. It was nice to be in an actual house again, instead of dreary gray dorms. (I also had a great dream that I was sitting in the field behind my house singing a lewd song with two of my friends.)
Saturday, we got up at 6 in the morning, and scrambled to get dressed, brush our teeth, eat a bagel for breakfast and get out of the house to the field. When we got there, it was raining quite nicely, and just around 50 degrees. It was quite cold. Fortunately, I had planned well and brought rain gear and lots of plastic bags to put my things in.
We played four games. We won two and lost two. Ultimately, though I think everything went pretty well! I learned everyone's name. I ran hard. I actually made one point, which was awesome! Also, when you're hungry everything tastes amazing, so the bagel with peanut butter I had for lunch tasted like love itself. As did the pizza after the game, and the beautiful, beautiful dinner the parents of the team member whose house we were staying at provided for us. It consisted of so much pizza, and wings, and carrots, and cookies. It was amazing.
Sunday went well as well. I started the day off well with another awesome dream about defeating an evil sorceress who was turning people into puppet-slaves with awesome magic of my own, which was awesome. Then we played one game in the morning. I don't think I did as well, though I did try... I also wiped out a few times, one time falling on my back. I was fine, though. (I should really learn how to lay out. It seems like fun). We were absolutely trounced in our game, but that's okay.
Also - hot showers are amazing. As are tacos. And dinners.
And it's weird to say it, but after being away for the weekend, it feels okay to be back. It's nice to leave the campus for a bit and be reminded that, oh yeah, there's a world out there. It's not just going to be this place forever. I have to say, the sense of perspective might have been the best part.
No, wait, here's the best part: At the end of the last game, before I left, all the returning players told the new players to lie in a circle on the ground with our heads in the middle, and shut our eyes. Being highly suspicious by nature, I reluctantly complied. The returners started doing a cheer, and we all felt them pulling at the laces of our cleats.
"They're totally tying our laces together, aren't they," I muttered. But after a minute they told us to open our eyes, and I discovered that they had put this on our laces:


It's a crude duct tape rose, because the women's frisbee team is called the Roses. After being all suspicious and suspecting the worse, it was really awesome to realize, oh, they're actually just being really inclusive and nice and awesome.
I think this frisbee thing is going to work out. Also, I'm really liking being in shape. It's kind of a new feeling, as I'm sure you all know.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

College: What I've Been Up To

It's been a long week, but ultimately good. It was pretty standard as far as classes go. Wednesdays, as always, are exhausting, but everything else went pretty well. I'm taking a jeet kune do/mixed martial arts class, in which I get slightly beat up in the name of education, and the rest of my classes are going well enough. I have an ecology prelim Tuesday, and I have an essay to write this weekend, but it's pretty standard as far as college goes. (Sometimes I wonder if I should be worrying about those prelims more, but I don't really have the worry energy left).

I cut my hair for the first time by myself, and I managed not to completely destroy it! Actually, I think it looks pretty cute. It was getting too long in back, so I just snipped off a bit in the bathroom. It's not bad! I may have to take a little bit more off the sides to get the appropriate layering effect (right now it's a little too triangular for my liking) but I'm glad I didn't completely ruin everything! ...And think about all the money I'm saving, right?

The family visited this Saturday, which was awesome because obviously I missed them, and they're some of my best friends. They came up around noon, and we went to Waffle Frolic in the Commons. I don't recall if I mentioned the place - basically, they sell waffles, among other things, and they are great. (What really makes them is the name, if you ask me). I may or may not have gotten the giant Waffle Ice Cream sandwich, which is three scoops of ice cream sandwiched between two waffles and covered with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and caramel sauce, and I may or may not have eaten pretty much the entire thing by myself.
Afterward, we went to Robert Treman State Park, which was great fun! We walked the whole Gorge Trail, up past Lucifer Falls (got to love that name), and visited an old mill there. It ended up being a good 5, 6 mile hike, and took us about 2 hours.



Afterward, we bought me cleats, because I am playing in a frisbee tournament this weekend (we'll see how that goes), and I also got a poster to cheer up my vaguely spartan room. It's a sort of M.C. Escher - esque drawing of a warped castle at dusk. I like it immensely and could probably just stare at it for hours.


Then we ate dinner at Applebees, and went grocery shopping. It was a lovely, lovely day, and it's amazing how much I miss them already. I am so lucky to have such a great family.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Johnson



One of my favorite inside jokes with my friends is Lyndon B. Johnson. One day, in eleventh grade AP US History, there was a picture of the president we'd be talking about that day up on the overhead. When my friends and I walked in, one of my friends said, "Hey, look, it's Johnson!"
I gave her an incredulous look. "Um, Ashley, that's Reagan," I said. "Wow."
"Oh, huh, I guess it is," she said, and the issue was resolved until our teacher walked in and said,
"Alright, we'll be talking about Nixon today."
Laughter ensued, as well as defensive protests of, "It was an honest mistake! They're all middle-aged white males, after all."
Like all inside jokes, Johnson has just keep progressing from there, in ways that aren't even strictly relevant to the original situation. For instance, Johnson was known to loom over people and intimidate them, so occasionally I will attempt to loom over people when I'm being silly, and say things like, "Pass my legislation!" or "You are becoming intimidated." Also, somehow, we managed to work the phrase, "Johnson disapproves" into our joke.
Anyway, the reason I wanted to share this with you is twofold: one is that it's freaking hilarious. The second is that I found this.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mood-Altering Color-Changing Alarm Clock

My father got me an alarm clock, and it is highly entertaining. To start, it's a white cube that, when you hit it, lights up different colors.


Even better, the instructions are poorly translated from Chinese, and they are beautiful.

Here is the promotional segment on the back: 
"Living in a fast-paced society brings a lot of pressure and stress to people. How to soothe and relieve these problems has been an important project to researchers and scientists for years. They have discovered that light and color change can bring a significant improvement on these problems. Our cutting-edge product MoodiCare clock is made based on that idea. The special features are: it can soothe and relieve your pressure and stress which are caused by many other factors such as work; it is a fully functional alarm clock, ti changes colors with 7 different choices. Your mood can be adjusted while the clocks colors are changing. Please enjoy the MoodiCare color-changing clock with good mood!"

And here are the "attentions":
"1. Avoid fierce concussion and falling.
2. Don't lay in sunlight, high temperature, damp place.
3. Don't brush the surface with liquid with erosive ingredient or coarse cloth.
4. Please reload the button battery when the display is unnormal for puling out the isolating slice.
5. Don't mix new battery with the old one. Replace battery when display is not clear.
6. Put out battery to avoid leak destroying the appliance if used for a long time.
7. Don't detach inner component."

I love it when the directions make no sense. It's so entertaining.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

College: Family Visits

I've been here a good full two weeks now, though it feels so much longer than it has been. Normally, I'm like, two weeks? Pff! That's nothing, but these two weeks have been so full of everything that they've felt freakishly long. More proof that time hates me.
At any rate, my family visited this Saturday, which was beautiful. It was really great to see them all again. We went to Target to get some things I needed, like sneakers for my new running / frisbee playing habit. (I know, my sudden athleticism is weird, but exercise really does make me happy). Then we drove down the Commons and walked up a gorge and through some streets. We went to dinner at a place called Lot 10, which is where the Wildfire Cafe used to be, which was where the Lost Dog Cafe used to be. (The Lost Dog Cafe was better). Dinner was great, and having the parents near and with in communication distance is great, because I solve my problems myself, but they're always there for me to talk to and just have a reality check. I also forgot, just amidst everything, that one of the reasons I chose to go to this college is because it's within pretty easy visiting distance. It's only 45 minutes away from home, and I'd sort of forgotten that that was why I came here. So I can visit, and people can visit me. This is what I wanted, and as long as I'm doing what I can to do well in school and get involved with communities here, there is no reason I should be cut off from my family and friends! It's simply nonsensical.
After dinner we walked around the Commons some more, and then went back to the townhouse to unload our purchases and my stuff that they've brought from home, and then we had to say goodbye, and there was some sadness and crying.
I was upset that I was upset, too, because I've been feeling pretty decent this past week, but I want to be able to see my parents and family and not feel super sad. I don't want my contentedness to be contingent on my isolation from my "former" life. I want to be able to think about memories and good times, and not be filled with sadness. But I realized that I really enjoyed myself while we were together, it's just that goodbyes are always hard. And that was really the problem. I'm living pretty well on my own, but it has only been two weeks, and goodbyes are always hard.
Fortunately, they do live close, and we've more or less set a date for another two weeks from now, which seems reasonable. And, hypothetically, though this almost certainly won't happen, they could come up next weekend, if I really needed them to. This won't happen, but it's nice to know that they're there, and I'm not being a huge burden on them.
So, two weeks! I've done it once, I can do it again. And two weeks seems reasonable. Every week might be excessive, but two weeks is perfectly fine. And it won't always have to be right on the nose, and it can be spread out a little more in the future, or it can stay the same. But this is reasonable, and it's going to be fine.

Friday, August 31, 2012

College: Week Two

Since I'm quite busy, adjusting to the whole "uprooting more or less my entire life" thing, the blog may take a turn toward the more journal-ly, regardless of whether I actually have any interesting stories to tell or not.

Classes have been good. I've been staying on top of my work and getting into good study habits. I've been finding good study spots, focusing on my work, and learning the material. In high school, I barely had to study, a little more in the last year but still not really, so I'm working on developing good habits. I find a nice table, and I read the corresponding textbook chapter before the lecture, and I try to learn the material well-enough. Then after lecture, I've been doing the textbook questions for comprehension. So far, I've only done them for stats, but now that my evolution textbook has taken the turn for material I haven't covered before, I think I'll be attempting the comprehension questions for that as well, so I can be sure I know what I'm doing. The tough thing about college is that there aren't many ways to really test if you're learning everything. You pay attention in lecture, and there are activities for my discussion classes, but homework is sparse, and there are only a few tests, two to three prelims and then a final.
So far, classes aren't too hard. There are some days that are worse than others, but I've been putting in time and being sure I read the textbook and do the questions, and generally once I do, I have a good handle on the information.
There's a picture that everyone loves to throw about. It's the "pick two" diagram of college life. You can either have good grades, enough sleep, or a social life. And this was bugging me for a while - "There's got to be a way to have three!" - until I realized is that my idea of a social life is eating dinner with friends and taking Saturday off to do something. I get the impression that this is significantly less than most people's idea of a social life, so actually, I should be good.



One thing that bothers me about college is the fact that I'm stuck on a huge plot of land with a bunch of late adolescents and young adults. There are no family units, few adults, and very few children (there are live-in faculty members, but that's it.) We're in a little isolated world, and I don't like it. I like adults, for the most part. At least, I don't dislike them, and it's nice to have adults around a little more because they generally know what they're doing. People like us, just college kids, have pretty much no idea what we're doing and so it would be nice to not be so immersed in an environment composed of people who don't know what they're doing.
I've also realized that I only live 45 minutes away from home, and can visit fairly frequently, and, indeed, chose this college for partly that reason, so it would be silly not to. Also, I do miss home, and my friends, and I want to stay in the family. If I balance having a life here - doing my work, making friends, learning - I can still have a life at home, and see my family frequently, and see my friends that are close by, and visit home. I don't have to be cut off. They're still my friends and family, and in many cases, both.

In other news, my friend Ashley and I are also keeping in touch by old-fashioned, snail mail letters, which we've just been writing on loose leaf and doodling in the margins of. In the future, I'd like to send her little artifacts, but I don't know what yet so right now I'm sticking to stickers and pictures of dinosaurs.

This is all I have right now. We'll see how things go.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

College

College is an interesting amalgamation of things. I've met some pretty interesting people but also some very dull people. I've been excited by classes and I've been absolutely terrified by classes. I've felt really happy, and really, really sad.
Right now, I am feeling okay about the whole shebang. I like to think I'm getting the hang of it, and it's getting a little better, but it fluctuates. I feel the worst when I think about things I'm missing back home, but I try not to think of that. Instead I think about how well I'm doing, and the interesting friends I'll make, and how neat this whole thing really is.
At times it's really overwhelming. But I feel as though I am getting the hang of it, too. It fluctuates, as I said. Some days, or even hours, are better than others.
Skype is beautiful.
Here, I'll tell you about what I've been doing so far:

I've had three days of classes so far. I'm taking stats, intro to evolutionary biology, intro to ecological biology, and a freshman writing seminar on dark humor. My stats professor is Russian, but understandable, and the course mostly makes sense. My professors for evolutionary biology all seem amazing and hilarious and brilliant, and I am very excited for lecture, and to meet them. There's a biology open house on Wednesday, so hopefully I'll get to talk to some of them then. For ecology, the professors seem okay. I have only had one lecture with them, so I will have to see. I will also have to get there early to get a good seat, because last time I was way in the back and I do not like this at all. Lastly, for my writing seminar, I am very excited as the professor seems cool and the class seems hilarious. We watched the song "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" in our class as an example of dark humor. It should be highly entertaining.
All in all, my classes should be good. I am going to join study groups for the harder three if it's not too much time, as I think it would be beneficial academically and socially. Also, I have a lot of free time, and it's more productive than studying by myself.

Today, Saturday, I went and explored the bus system with my friends Sam and Alex. We took the bus from North campus to Wegmans, where we walked around that mall and went to Barnes and Noble (where I splurged on some books, and they're making me happy) and Panera Bread. Then we went back to North campus briefly, and then we went to Target at the mall, and wandered around. I also found a poster store, to which I should definitely return because my walls in my room are very bare currently.

Tonight there was a concert, but I'm trying to write an essay, so I came back. I ate dinner by myself (which was actually quite nice). I then played the piano for a bit in the bigger community center, and I actually had someone come up and listen for a bit, which was cool. Then I read my happy book outside for a bit. Now I'm doing a little bit of work, and also writing on my blog.

It hasn't been so bad. It's fluctuated. I've been crying sporadically, but then a few hours later I'm ready to take on the world. It doesn't really make any sense. I will think I'm getting better, and then I'll feel crappy again. Now I'm feeling pretty good, though, so I hope it lasts. I am doing something pretty fun tomorrow - I'm having brunch with my advisers and advising group, and then we're going on a gorge hike or something. Afterward, we'll be going to Clubfest, where I'll sign up for a bunch of things. I'm thinking ultimate frisbee and outdoors club, and a few other things that catch my eye. I can always whittle them down later.

Tonight I'll work on an essay and see if I can finish it, or get close to finishing it. Tomorrow I'll do a little bit of work before I leave, and then in the afternoon is a barbecue.
I should be okay.
I'm okay right now.
We'll see how long it lasts, but right now, I'm okay.

One more thing: the dusk here is beautiful. Dusk everywhere is beautiful, of course, but I especially appreciate it here, because I feel so far away and disjointed from everything I've known. Dusk reminds me that some things are constant.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thoughts on Destruction

I'm adjusting to college right now, so here's just some random thoughts on things you probably haven't read.

There's a character in Sandman (Neil Gaiman) called Destruction. He's one of the Endless, and is thus an idea or property metaphysically embodied in a conscious entity. The thing about Destruction, though (and all the Endless) is that they mean more than just their name. For instance, Destruction loves art, which seems odd for a, well, destroyer, until your realize that in order to create anything, you have to destroy, and by destroying, you create. If you carve a sculpture, you destroy the stone and also the state of the stone prior to carving. To create a universe, you must destroy the nothingness. To build a city, you destroy the night and stars with all  your lights.
Creation and destruction are inseparable, and so, in his purest form, Destruction is really more accurately called something else: change.
It's interesting how people associate "creation" with goodness and "destruction" with badness, because the atomic bomb was created and slavery was destroyed. First and foremost, words are tools, but people mistake words for ideas.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Leaving

One positive thing: I no longer feel like screaming incoherently. I still sort of feel like hiding under the furniture, but that's okay. Now that everything is all packed up in plastic tubs and ready to go, I'm feeling better. Maybe because there are fewer corporeal things holding me here. Maybe because I have one foot out the door.
Agh.
Macrocosmically, moving is so insignificant, but I'm not macrocosmic.
I think I'm still in denial. I can't believe I'm going.
I have always resented the phrase "think about things too much", but in this case it's applicable. Most people just keep living. I always feel the need to stop and take a moment to really examine what is happening here, and what I should do about it. Generally thinking about things is great and more people should do it, but when you can't do anything about it but worry, and indeed, don't want to, there's not much point.
The place looks so empty, now.
I always longed for adventure as a child, never really examining how reluctant I would be to set foot out of the door for who knows how long. Now that it's here, I hesitate. Maybe I would hesitate less if I knew there would be magic involved. My childhood adventures always involved magic. Bah.
I should go to sleep, but I don't want today to end. I have so little time as it is, I have no time for days to end.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Time and the Lack of It


Lately time has been moving at an increasingly rapid rate. By "lately", I mean within the past two or three years, because, as I mentioned, time has been moving increasingly fast. It used to be, two or three years was such a long time. In two or three years, the whole world would change. Now, on some level, I feel as though two or three years is forever ago, and yet, it's not. It feels close. It feels as if no time has gone by at all. If we extrapolate time's current acceleration, old age will seem like a blink of the eye. Though it might be nice for my years as a decrepit, senescent being to pass quickly, I still think I'll want my last days to be long enough to enjoy.

I wonder if the reason days seem shorter when you're older is because you are familiar with most things you encounter, and thus your brain filters out most of your day automatically, like how one no longer notices their own car air freshener, or fails to see the dust that coats their lampshades and curios. So, perhaps the old adage "stop and smell the roses" has more importance than we typically give to over-quoted cliches. By appreciating the little things in life, we stop and take notice of them, and remember them, and give our days more substance. By allowing our brains to filter less, we are giving ourselves time. We should brand this remarkable new therapy as a wholly natural, pain-free alternative that will, from your view point, increase your life span.

They say bad times go by slower than good times because when you're happy you don't watch the clock, but when you're miserable or upset, you hang on every minute. However, there is something lacking in this hypothesis because when you are dreading something, you also count the minutes, but they slip through your fingers like teflon-coated sand, and when you're eagerly anticipating something, you count the days and they drag on. And on. The more you dread, the faster time moves, and the more you expect, the slower it crawls.
I think the conclusion we can draw from this phenomenon is that time is a fickle bastard and a sadistic misanthropist. For example, another instance of its cruel influence on the world is how it gives you plenty of time when you're young and can't appreciate it, and takes it all away when you're old and desperately need it.

I didn't realize it was such a universal phenomena, how time speeds up as you gain years, but talking to the adults I know, they all remember the long summers of childhood, and now they never have enough time to do all that needs to be done. No one tells you about this as a kid, how time speeds up inexorably. They'll tell you about the homework and taxes and love but they never tell you about time, not until you figure it out yourself. Granted, though, I'm not certain that losing time is one of the things that kids understand. It's very hard to imagine winter nights when you're stuck in the heat of summer.

Everyone loves to pretend that time is some grand, immutable thing, consistently plodding along, second by second. It's not, though. It changes. We all know that even clocks can't measure it accurately, like how they slow to a standstill during the last five minutes of class. In truth, it's silly of us to think they would be able to measure time, because, after all, clocks move through time, too. They can't measure it because they're part of it. It's not like they're impartial. Clocks are perfidious bastards like that, like a bribed judge and jury together. They make you think they're unbiased, but really, time has been handing them money out in back all along.

Really, time has been conspiring against us. We should impeach it. And smash all the clocks.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Benjamin, Part II

I wrote a piano part for the song! I'm rather proud of it, mostly because I didn't know I could write songs on the piano and yet somehow did. It makes me very happy inside, and I should probably try to start composing/improvising in keys other than C, but hey, it's a start, right?
I love being able to do things.


I think probably the most impressive part of this video, though, is the part where I managed to balance the camera on a brass reading lamp.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Machiavellian

I found this article intensely interesting. It concerns the context of Machiavelli's The Prince. Turns out, Machiavelli wasn't nearly as, well, Machiavellian as we all attribute to him! His main love was Florence, his city, and in the turbulent politics of the time, manipulation and alliances were the only way to save the small city from encroaching belligerent nations and city-states trying to conquer it! His politik evolved purely out of his patriotism and love for Florence. Interesting, right? Here, read this. It's very interesting.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bible Study: The Eleventh and Twelfth Commandments

Fun fact: Did you know that in the Bible, the Ten Commandments are never explicitly stated? When Yahweh talks to Moses on Sinai in the desert, he doesn't give him ten discrete commands. He actually gives him a significantly longer list of laws, and the orders we recognize as the Ten Commandments are just mixed in there, with no special prefix. Therefore, it is apparent that when the Ten Commandments list was being created, someone just went through Exodus and decided that they liked these certain laws better than the other ones, completely disregarding the fact that Yahweh presented them all in equal importance.

We call this cherry-picking, kids.

Anyway, I've decided we need to right this historical wrong. Humans shouldn't just be picking what parts of the Word of God they like and which they don't! I propose we add an additional two commandments to the Ten, taken exactly from Scripture Itself. They are:

11. Thou shalt not eat yeast.
Yahweh hates yeast. I'm keeping a running tally, and so far we have about ten instances in which he expressly forbids the use of yeast, punishable by death. Therefore, we should all keep him happy by only eating pita bread.

12. Thou shalt not boil a baby goat in it's mother's milk.
Apparently this was a real problem in its day. It may seem a little archaic, but it's not like there aren't already archaic things in the Ten Commandments. For instance, keeping holy the Sabbath, or not coveting wives (wives are not possessions!), or keeping only one god. What, are you calling Hindus archaic? Way to go. That's so xenophobic.

I now thoroughly expect these to be posted wherever the Ten (now Twelve) Commandments are listed. You know, in churches, in public schools, in courthouses, in municipal buildings... You know.
Of course, if we're going to start taking the Bible literally, we're also going to have to stone everyone to death and start sacrificing animals.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Benjamin

I've been working on writing a few songs lately. They're pretty simple, but it is much easier to compose on Norton than on the piano. With a ukulele, you really only need to use chords and strumming pattern, but on the piano, you need to do much fancier things. It's also harder to remember, and I find it difficult to write music down.
Either way, I'm fairly pleased with the results. This song is a composition I started writing two years ago, but only just finished up today. The inspiration was a character of mine in a story, who is much different now than envisioned then, but I still named the song after him because I liked the way it sounded.
The video is awful, as usual, because I have next to zero practice performing, and also my camera is  just your standard digital camera and does not have beautiful recording quality. Please forgive me, and just listen to the pretty music. (It helps to read the words while listening).



Benjamin

 A white rabbit sits at the head of the table
Sipping blood as drink
I've been lost here for so long
Where are you? I think

That the black pine grove was real in my head
Why can't you see it?
“You're mad” I know the black bird said
Why can't I believe it?

And sometimes I miss you and sometimes I don't
And sometimes I see lights
Out in the orchard, amidst all the pine trees
Burning up the night.

And I know what the blackbird said was true
But it's kind of pleasant here
I have all my rabbits, and normal habits
And never all that fear.

Sometimes I'll see you, shouting in the pine grove
But I can never hear.
Sometimes the music's just too loud
But mostly I don't care.

If I ever come home, I'll be sure to say hello
But I'm not so sure I will.
The blackbird doesn't visit much
Neither does winter's chill.

And sometimes I miss you, and sometimes I don't,
And sometimes I just think
That the black pine grove was real in my head
And at the table the glasses clink.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bible Study: Bacon

So, lately I've been reading the Bible. I won't bore you with the details of why precisely I'm reading the Bible, but let it suffice to say it's not because I think it's fascinating literature. Well, it's certainly fascinating, sort of in the same way that Twilight is fascinating, or a horrible train wreck is fascinating, but what I'm saying is, the "Good Book" is possibly the worst misnomer since the history of nomenclature.

Anyway, I've bludgeoned my way through Genesis and Exodus, and now I'm partway through Leviticus, which is a book that mostly contains chapters and chapters of outdated laws that repeat themselves a lot. For instance, I discovered that Yahweh really hates yeast. And animals. And people. But mostly yeast. I've also learned that in ancient Mesopotamia, you can get excommunicated from the Israelite community for touching a dead animal, which makes me wonder how they sacrificed all the animals they spent 6 chapters detailing precisely how to kill in order to make Yahweh happy.
I could really go on all day about all the things I've found in Leviticus, but the reason I'm writing this today is that I have specifically one very exciting thing I wanted to share with you. One very special law that was repeated 3 times as of chapter 7, is that you are not allowed to eat the fat of an animal. If you do, you will be excommunicated from the community. (You can get excommunicated for a lot of things, by the way). This means, as I immediately realized, that eating bacon is akin to blasphemy.

Catch that? Bacon is blasphemy. BACON IS BLASPHEMY. Every time you eat bacon, YOU ARE COMMITTING A DEADLY SIN.
So, basically...bacon's better than ever now, am I right?

Mmm... Tasty, atheroschlerosis-causing blasphemy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I was told the stars were only buttons.

I wrote this little snippet last year around this time, and for some reason I find it very pretty despite its archaic mythology and out-of-contextual state. I'll use it in a story at some point, I'm sure, but at the moment, it's just a pretty little thing I have lying around.
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  “When I was younger, my father used to tell me that stars were the eyes of the ones we loved, looking down on us from heaven,” she said, resting her forearms on her knees and leaning forward. Her yellow hair twined about her face in a lovely fashion, reflecting moonlight.
“I was told the stars were only buttons,” the pale girl said. Head tilted upwards, she watched the stars with a certain curious intensity.
“Those must be some very shiny buttons, then.”
“Well, they're God's. They have got to be shiny,” she said solemnly.
“Of course,” Devon said, playing along. “God wouldn't walk around with dull buttons. Very ungodlike. No one would take him seriously.”
The pale girl turned to look at her suspiciously. Devon's face was the picture of innocence as she looked up at the stars.
“Funny things they tell us when we are children,” the girl said.