Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Blog

The Dadaist Spambot is getting on my nerves at the same time that the un-aesthetic-ness of Blogger is irritating me. Therefore, I am moving my blogging habits over to Wordpress, which is prettier and more populated. Also, maybe then Anna can finally comment. :D

I do hope you all will follow me still! I won't be writing here anymore, so go find me over there.

Speculations and Stargazing at Wordpress

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I have a spambot

Just recently my blog has become plagued by a spambot. It's interesting, though, as the automated system doesn't appear to be advertising anything or talking about diet treatments, but is instead spewing something that could be mistook for dadaist/surrealist poetry:

"My spіrit moved absent about 3 decadеs ahead of my body expeгienсed the braverу to аs 
a final point finіsh thiѕ saga, and I did realizе I waѕ 
сonsiԁeгably bеttеr аcquiгeԁ in thе mеtropolis Ӏ last оf all situateԁ to and aѕ fοг thе 
really good fortune I ωas іn sеаrch 
of, І found what Joseρh Camрbell wrote was real: &#8220Youг totаl phуѕical plаtfοrm іs familiаr with thаt thіs is the way to be alive in this ωoгlԁ and the wау to givе the serіously recоmmenԁed 
thаt you haνe to offer. Inсгedibly hot аir ballοon riԁeѕ greatег than the gοrge aгe alѕo ѕеriously 
favorіte. Τhe bloоd of people ωho ԁwеll a еveгyday living οf tгy 
to eat, drіnκ and be merrу іs elemеntaгу and thеiг brеathing 
іѕ extremely extremеly faѕt.
Alsο viѕіt mу homepage"

This is kind of fascinating. Almost beautiful, really. What does it mean? There must be a hidden symbolism.

In other news, I am considering moving to Wordpress. Nicer platform, fewer glitches...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Spider silken thread

Gorgeous yarn, right? It is extremely thin cotton thread that has little periodical ravels that look like dew drops on cobwebs. Good purchasing decisions on my part.

I am still trying to figure out precisely what to do with it. I started knitting a very thin scarf, but it occurs to me that the finished project will neither be functional nor particularly aesthetic. Here are the options I am considering, and their caveats:

a). Knit a much wider scarf, perhaps closer to eight inches across as opposed to the current three. It would be much prettier and also fairly functional. The only thing I worry about is whether I would have enough yarn to make a full-length scarf of that width.
b). Crochet a lacy jumper. I've had a notion of crocheting a dress for a while, and it could turn out quite prettily. Again, though, I sincerely doubt I have enough yarn.
c). Crochet a spider-webbing-lace hat, in the style of the knit berets that are so popular currently. Though not particularly warm, it could be quite pretty. The only trouble is that I do not think I have a small enough crochet hook for the level of intricacy that I want.

I am not certain as to where I should go from here. There are halting problems with all of the options. Hmm.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Benjamin - What is this, Take III?

Here is the piano part in which you can actually hear my voice! And also I have facial expressions and I like them.

I know I've posted this song twice before, but dammit, it makes me happy. Also, the piano version for the last one makes it nearly impossible to hear anything I'm saying. Turns out it helps if the microphone is in front of you; who would have thought.
But seriously, my facial expressions. I keep cracking up.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bible Study: Did You Even Read This Thing? Part III

Page 168 - "Try This: Refuge"
Basically, this blurb is talking about how God/the Israelites set up cities of refuge where people who had accidentally killed someone could run to and not be killed by the dead person's avenging family members. This is, admittedly, a nice idea, especially by Biblical standards. Not killing innocent people? I approve! In this article, they talk about how nice and brilliant this idea was, and include some silly little anecdotes about permed hair. Aw, it's so fun and happy and -

Guys. Article placement. On the opposite page is Numbers 31. In this story, God commands the Israelites to kill all of the Midianites. All of them. Every last one.
So the Israelites kill all the men, but leave the women and children.
And you know what God says?
"Why didn't you kill all of them? I told you to kill all of them. Kill all the women and the boy children. You can keep the virgin girls, though."
And then you know what happens to the virgin girls?
Well, it doesn't say. There's a discussion of how they're divided up with the rest of the plunder of gold and silver and livestock, and then they are never mentioned again.
Never. Mentioned. Again. Because who cares about the virgin girls? They're just women. They're just plunder.

Ah, yes, Yahweh. Good job with your cities of refuge. So you saved a few innocent lives. But meanwhile, you just slaughtered an entire tribe, including Balaam, a man who blessed your people a few chapters earlier, instead of cursing them as he was being paid to do. You just committed genocide.
Yes, you absolutely won the morality award with that one. What a loving god.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

People I Know/The General's Ditty: Part II

I wrote a piano part to this a while back but never got around to recording it. All of my songs seem to have a heavy use of broken chords in the left hand. It's not exactly fancy or full of complicated musical techniques...but it might be pretty, and I'm not completely sure I care if the thing is a musical masterpiece or what.

I also added a verse. I don't know if I'll keep it. I like it. It fits a little more with the theme of Benjamin, which is a bit about living in stories to avoid the real world. Both "Benjamin" and "People I Know" are songs I come back to to fit an emotional state. They're songs about feelings, as opposed to songs about things.
Then and again, songs really are meant to express an emotion rather than tell a story. I mean, they don't preclude telling a story, but I'd assert that music is really the best way we have to convey pure emotion. So, I suppose the thing about "Benjamin" and "People I Know" is not that they're songs about the way it feels in your head, but that they're songs about the way it feels to be in my head.
Other songs, like "Paper Trees" are meant to convey an emotion, but it's not one that's around nearly as much.
"Maybe" (which I'll have to show you sometime) is just fun to play. And "Delusions of Grandeur" really has more of a message, that of triumph in the face of existential despair, and celebrating humanity even though it's ultimately inconsequential. (Still working on the piano part  for that one. I have little practice with the blues.)
"People I Know" is a bit about longing and being trapped out of place, and finding resignation. But it's a feeling, not a moral.

I'm not sure where I was going with that discussion. Just that if you ever want to know what it's like inside my head on good days, listen to "Benjamin", and if you want to know what it feels like on the days when I'm celebrating melancholy, listen to "People I Know".

Anyway, enough talking. Here you go, pretty music!

The new verse reads:

And I know that someday
When I'm feeling okay
I'll say that I'm sorry
For hiding in stories
And running away
'Cause I missed you
And I wished that I'd kissed you
When I could still stay

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bible Study: Did You Even Read This Thing? Part II

Priceless poem placement.
On the right page is some sixteen-year-old's terrible poetry:

Page 151 - "Silence"
"How is it 
You're always with me; 
Yet sometimes,
I can't feel a thing?
 Never condemning. 
Never forsaking. 
You're too powerful for words; 
So gentle all the same."

And on the left hand side of the page is this gem of a story:

Numbers 16 - Basically, how the story goes:
The Levites have a rebellion. They say that Moses is acting way too chummy with God, and also they've been wandering around in the wilderness for like ever. They also want the priesthood (For some reason. The priests seem to have a high mortality rate. God kills a lot of them).
Moses tells them to light some incense, and then we'll see who's really holy. Or something.
Korah refuses. (I don't think this ends well for Korah). (Valid assessment, past self). 
Moses tells God not to accept their offerings, and tells Korah and his men to bring their incense burners the next day, and stand before God.
The next day, everyone's there, incense and all. Also, Yahweh makes an appearance, and tells Moses to get out of the way so he can smite these darn people. As usual, Moses has to persuade him not to kill everyone, just the ones that were making a fuss. Yahweh grudgingly agrees, so Moses tells everyone to get away from Korah and company, and not to touch their stuff.
Moses says, “Well, if I'm not the Chosen One, and I'm not speaking for God, then nothing will happen to Korah and his friends. But if I am, then the ground will swallow them up.”
Shockingly, the ground proceeds to open, and Korah and friends are no more. And then Yahweh burns the two hundred and fifty men that were burning the incense, and tells Aaron and friends to use the bronze to coat the Tabernacle or something.
Next day, everyone goes to talk to Moses and Aaron, being all, “You just killed a crapload of people!” And, as usual, Yahweh says, “Moses, get out of the way so I can kill everyone!” And as usual, Moses and Aaron grovel. However, Yahweh ignores them and sends a plague down on everyone. Moses tells Aaron, “Quick! Go get the incense burner and purify everyone so Yahweh won't kill them all!” So Aaron runs and starts purifying people, but the plague has already started and 14,700 people had died, not including the ones that died in the Korah affair.

Guys, guys, guys - copy editing. MAN. How did they think it was a good idea to place poetry proclaiming the goodness of God across from a page where the self-same God burns people alive for questioning Moses? Did they think it would cancel it out? It doesn't work that way! Maybe the most likely explanation for the poetry placement is that they literally could not find a page where God didn't brutally murder people. 
Come to think of it, that's probably it.

I'm thinking that the sixteen-year-old poet Anna did not actually read Numbers. I'm not feeling the whole "gentle" line...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bible Study: Did You Even Read This Thing?

The Bible I am working with is a New Living Translation "Live" Bible, geared toward teenagers and other people with no critical thinking skills. It is therefore interspersed with bizarre additions, such as little articles proclaiming the goodness and glory of God, crappy amateur photography with ambiguous names that are completely irrelevant to anything, and chunks of pages left blank and dubbed "creative space", as if having a little 2 by 3 square to doodle in is going to inspire great masterpieces or spiritual revelations. (Maybe it's for writing "Jesus loves me" surrounded by little hearts. I'm not going to pretend to fathom their minds.)

What I find most interesting about this, though, is their painful attempts to tie in the sordid, sickening stories of the Old Testament into the lovey-dovey stuff of the New Testament. For instance, there a little article titled "Jesus Sighting" in Deuteronomy, which discusses the story in which Jesus says that the most important commandment is to love God and have no other God before him:

"Here, God commands us to love him above all else. Jesus' answer gives us a glimpse into who he really is - no some score-keeping, rule-obsessed* deity ready to whack your hand with a ruler when you misbehave. Rather, Jesus shows us that behind all of these seemingly nit-picky laws in Deuteronomy is a loving God" (Baker et. al 183).

This saccharine little line runs completely opposite to the past seven chapters of Deuteronomy. Exactly adjacent to it is this:

Deuteronomy 7:2 - "When the Lord your God hands these nations [of Canaan] over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy."

Did you even read this thing!? You're going to go on about a loving, ineffable, infallible God, directly across from a section in which he instructs the Israelites to pillage and burn and kill indiscriminately. Commit genocide, effectively. Are you paying attention at all?! Sure, it's great that Jesus is the picture of Aristotelian morality, but you're going to proclaim that on the same page where the Israelites kill thousands of people?! Are you awake in there? How did your copy editors not see this?

*Leviticus 10 - Nahab and Abihu, Aaron's sons, use the wrong kind of incense fire on the Tabernacle, and are summarily barbecued.
Numbers 15 - A man was gathering wood on the Sabbath, and so the community brings him before the Tabernacle and asks God what to do with him. God tells them to stone him to death. So they do.
Nope, not nit-picky at all! Ahahahaahah!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bible Study: Not Understanding Sarcasm

When I first read this line in Deuteronomy, I was certain it was sarcastic, or at the very least hyperbolic. It was intended for emphasis, surely, and not to be taken seriously.

6:8 - "Tie [the ten commandments] to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders."

This was written in a long list of things to do to remember the Ten Commandments, such as telling your children and thinking about them when you're going to bed and getting up in the morning. I figured this was just another way of explaining how important the Ten Commandments are. But they didn't actually tie the Ten Commandments to their heads and foreheads, surely. That would look really silly!

This illustration was actually in my children's Bible.
Have you heard of the pharisees?
I don't know if this is still a practice in Judaism, but I know the pharisees of the Bible did, in fact, put the Ten Commandments on scrolls into little boxes, and tie the boxes to their hands and foreheads.
I don't mean to deride anyone's cultural practices, because, culture, hey, culture is great. In my culture we wear funny things, too.
But, doing this religiously, don't you think you're taking this a bit literally? This seems pretty obviously hyperbolic.

On the other hand, I guess you can't blame them for taking everything God says literally, given his propensity for incinerating people who step out of line in the slightest.
"We're starving and have been wandering in the desert for years!"
"Why is Moses constantly telling us to do stupid things, like not eat bacon?"
"Do the sacrificial goat intestines go on the left side of the altar, or the right?"

Yeah, I guess I can't blame them for their caution.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Please assume the party escort submission position

A Party Associate will be along shortly to direct you to the party.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Eerily Similar

Extra emphasis on the eerie.

This is from Doctor Who, Series 4: Silence in the Library.
Hey! Who turned out the lights?
This is from the Scooby-Doo episode Spooky Space Kook:

Admittedly, one is a guy in a scary suit trying to protect his oil or something, and the other is literally a skeleton in a space suit after the guy it belonged to was devoured by living shadows, but, well, still. Freakishly similar, am I right?

Can you tell this makes my day?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Arts and Crafts and Paper Chains

My wind chime materials don't exactly...chime. Maybe I should call them mobiles. Kinetic sculptures? All of the above just sound so...I don't know, official. A higher class of art. It's not really a sculpture. It's the result of hanging things from other things. 

Then and again, maybe the definition of art is "random things thrown together in a way that can be interpreted symbolically." It would certainly explain all of the pieces made out of sticks and sheep excrement that I saw at the Tate Gallery this summer.

Paper stars on paper chains. I just loved that line.
Also, I just noticed a creepy mask cameo.

Admittedly, it is a little late for Christmas, but I still think it's pretty. Wintry. If only I can find a way to hang it in my dorm room...

I Spy - Two barrel monkeys, a small jar of Nutella, a plastic snake, an apple, an empty spool of thread, and a bell. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Clyde the Window Cat

So named because it looks as though he was catapulted into a window. Isn't he cute, though?

He looks slightly more deformed in this photograph than he does in real life, for the record.
Unlike my other creations, he also sits up by himself! How super, right?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Of all the traditions we follow, New Year's Resolutions is possibly one of my favorite. Though it frequently ends up being silly, and consequently derided, I still like it, because it's one of the few traditions that tells you to seriously examine your habits and values. Few people seem to do this regularly, so it's nice our culture gives them an invitation to, even if most of the resolutions they make aren't followed through upon.
These aren't all of my resolutions, but they are resolutions none the less.

1. Eat cake. Enjoy the cake.
2. Make something beautiful.
3. Make wind chimes. Leave them in interesting places.
4. Think.
5. Draw with color more often.
6. Crochet a Party Escort Submission Position doll.

Should be a good year.