howeverbrief: (Temp)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Uh.... a big 10-4 there, good buddy. My room was filled with stuffed animals as a kid. Because my dad still lives in the house I grew up in, I think the closet still is. When I was really young, I thought they were alive and talked and did stuff when I was out of the room. I also took special pains to not make others jealous when I was spending a lot of time with a particular stuffed animal.

(Toy Story came out when I was 12, if you're curious. That movie's not the reason I felt that way, though I did identify with that movie a lot. Haha.)

I wouldn't say that I had an absolute favorite. Different times in my life, I was obsessed with different toys. For example, when I had hernia surgery in the second grade, I took my bear Nyla with me. (I remember the nurses put a mask on her and gave her "anesthesia" as well.) Another year for Easter I think, I got a white rabbit in a green velveteen suit that I loved. (I really enjoyed The Velveteen Rabbit as a kid, which is probably more accurately the place I got the idea that toys were real. I think I won the book in a contest at school or the library. That was probably around that time.) A different Christmas, my mom had seen me eyeing a bear that was a chimney sweep named Sooty Sam. (I like Mary Poppins, but I'm not sure why I was so obsessed with this bear in particular. I must have really annoyed them with my screeches about "Sooty Sam!" that year.) When I was a little older, my parents brought back a bear that was wearing a shirt collar and tie. I then became obsessed with finding him a wife. (Not sure why. I was never wedding crazy as a kid. I just didn't want my animals to be without friends and mates.)

And along with all this, there were too many cat stuffed animals to count, some of which I even sewed myself. I'm pretty sure there's a row of them still in the closet at my parents' home because I organized things like that. I could probably still tell you all their life stories. Weirdo.

Do I still enjoy them as an adult? Uh... I don't have a guest room filled with them or anything. I don't talk to Mike with my squishible mini t-rex and the other dinosaurs plus various other characters I own an annoying and unhealthy amount of the time. (Wait, I do. Oops.) Not to mention I bought him a police officer puppet named Cyrus who is a filthy, dirty cop on our honeymoon who likes to talk about drugs and whores and who has since had a barely legal (or illegal?) teen puppet in a cheerleading outfit named Megan join him. (Mike generally voices both of them, though he insists my voice for him is creepier.)

Ah, anyway, I probably have more animals than a self-respecting 32-year-old should have, but there you go.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
I occasionally write in my paper journal still. Not nearly as much as I write here (which also isn't much of anything lately), but I thought I'd post it here too, slightly edited.

I watched a program (this program for those who are curious) that detailed the story of a mathematician (George R. Price) who, upon learning of evolutionary theory applied to social behavior, subsequently discovered a theorem that proves altruism is a trait strictly devoted to survival. The theorem was published, but then the man was so disturbed by the thought of altruism being driven by self-interest that he set out to prove it wrong by attempting to live a completely selfless life. Upon finding no way to prove or disprove such selflessness as being connected to any sort of egoism (as it was nearly impossible to prove such motivation even if it appears altruistic on its face), the man committed suicide.

It's an interesting paradox. On the one hand, it makes sense. You do good things to better your surroundings or make yourself or someone else feel good or whatever else, and it all leads back to self-interest. Even if you die saving someone else or perform another incredible act of bravery, it means genes live on (and you or your family reaps the rewards of such "kindness", thus helping their survival too). You've snuffed yourself but offered someone else's genes survival. On the other hand, it renders human kindness into a cold, calculated evolutionary goal, as if every nice thing you or anyone else has done is really all a ploy to make sure we all live to see another day in one form or another. It's a hard pill to swallow even if it does make sense-- a depressing take on what human beings really are at their core even if they think of themselves quite differently.

It made me think of the divide between free will and determinism, which I haven't parsed in some time, probably because it's another impossible riddle. In terms of religious tenets, it appears ludicrously hypocritical to me to imagine an all-powerful creator who also managed to impart free will on all us lowly subjects. It goes back to the silly question of a God being so all-encompassingly powerful that he can make a rock even he can't lift. It's ridiculous but also a fitting image for these issues of the mind and heart. If an all-powerful being set everything in motion and knows everything we're going to do before we do it, how is it possible that we are responsible for anything we do? In such an extreme, we have absolutely no power over what fate has thrust upon us, only that we're alive. On the other hand, free will breeds responsibility through choice in a system that is not pre-determined. On the contrary, it is chaotic and connection-less. Our actions have consequences, and we can effect change for good or ill. In such a system, we can't help but order (or mess up) our own lives and hope that somewhere in that chaos, we arrive at the right place. (Then again, the champion of free will theory was Sartre, and from what I've read, that guy was an asshole.)

Neither extreme is satisfying, but no one has come up with a foolproof theory concerning the middle ground of soft-determinism-- that heady divide between the two where free will works either inside a system of determinism or hand and hand or who knows how (that I know of anyway; I admit to being behind on current arguments in this realm). All I know is it's an interesting (if not frustrating) question. I suppose altruism is a different paradox, but that's what it reminded me of-- another problem I have no solution to.

...

On a different note, I got my hair cut today. I had a conversation with the woman cutting my hair that went something like this:

"What do you do?"
"Oh, I work for the legislature reading legal documents."
"Oh wow, like, all day? I couldn't do that. My eyes start burning when I read."
"Yeah, pretty much all day. Session is coming up, so that'll be interesting again. Lots of hours."
"Session?"
"Yeah, like where they pass all the bills into law."
"Oh, well do you get paid by the hour? That probably makes it worth it. People think I'm making it up when I say my eyes start hurting when I read, but it's true."
"Oh yeah, it definitely happens to some people, I've heard."
"Like my mom thought I was always making excuses, but it's true! Especially now that I'm out of school, it's a little easier for people to believe. It's funny though, because reading makes you smarter. My dad reads all the time and knows like five languages."
"Wow."
"Yeah, I wonder sometimes how we can hang out because we have nothing in common. Then again, when I was a junior in high school, I got really into reading those stupid Twilight books, like, read all of them really fast, and my GPA was a 3.8 where before it had been a 2.5. Kind of crazy."
"Yeah."

Not that I'm slamming this woman. She was really nice and good at cutting hair (also seemed really young, though that just might be me feeling old), but wow. Just wow.
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Yeah, I'm cliche and predictable to some extent. I'll admit it. I buy something then listen to it until I know all the words like the back of my hand. Though, even that's funny lately. I look at the back of my hand, and I see scores of new scars, the origins of most I can't even place these days. I suppose one can have a book with unknown chapters, even if the story is supposed to be your own.

Some people like to point to certain ancient Greek bards, the kind who could recite the Odyssey or Iliad by heart from any place in the poem, no matter where. Then we look at our attention-deficit ridden generation and wonder where our memory went. Well, a book I read recently (Beowulf on the Beach, which I forgot to mention when I originally wrote this) reminded me to look at how many lyrics we hum, the songs we know by heart even without trying. Are these things any less meaningful? Perhaps there was less to remember then. Perhaps we just want something to make ourselves feel better. Anything will do. Anything besides the stupid buzzing in our heads. Anything.

"The Graveyard Near The House"
-The Airborne Toxic Event

The other day when we were walking by the graveyard near the house you asked me if I thought we would ever die. And if life and love both fade so predictably, we've made ourselves a kind of predictable lie. the rest of the lyrics are under here )
howeverbrief: (Black)
Got a lot accomplished today despite getting up at 11:00 because I couldn't get myself to go to sleep for a while after the extreme excitement of session ending! Okay, it was more anticlimactic than anything else, but there's not a lot to compare it to at the moment. I'm paying for getting up so late with a massive headache (and my leg hurts for some reason?), but that's fine. So long as I can go to bed at a semi-decent hour tonight, I should be okay. We'll see if that happens. The day off was totally worth taking comp time, and hey, they might actually let us have a real weekend off. Really looking forward to that after having some time to myself today, even I spent a lot of it running around getting groceries, doing other errands, and cleaning.

As an aside, I bought a CD from these guys today because I instantly recognized the reference behind their band name. I'm super rad that way (and also relieved that the CD turned out pretty cool too).

Yeah, I'm still working through some other things, but I don't want to get into it right now. I don't really have much to say other than this-- sometimes I look around this place, and even though I've been working really hard and have finally (seemingly) gotten my life together after a long time of not knowing what I wanted to do, I still feel like I'm playing house far more often than I'm comfortable admitting.
howeverbrief: (Default)
Still reeling from having a whole weekend to myself. I got a lot accomplished yesterday, but there's still more to do. I feel like if I don't do a bazillion things in my time off, I'm just wasting my time. I'm not sure when this attitude cropped up, and man, I don't know if I could go back to doing nothing all the time. It's probably just out of necessity considering I don't have much of a life outside of work and am still figuring out where to put everything in my house/accumulating essentials as I go along. (I got more baking items and casserole dishes at Target yesterday. Kind of excited about that!) Given the chance, I'd be lazy probably (and not that I don't have my bad moments, especially concerning the internet). I just have too much I want to do. Whatever. I'm cool with it.

Woke up with my left eye in pain, though I can't figure out why. It looks slightly swollen? Other than that, I don't know. It hurts to blink. Awesome!

Oh right, it's May now. In thirty days, I posted twenty-four poems. (And I haven't worked the kinks out of one yet.) Stats? Nineteen new, three old, and two from other poets. Not too bad. I think that's about my average, come to think of it. Shrug.

I tried jogging again last night, and it went okay until I got home and realized that my ankle was really sore. It's better this morning, but not by much. What's messed up is this isn't the ankle I fell on years ago. You're supposed to be the good ankle, damn it! Maybe I'm just not meant to jog.

All right, if I don't get stuck on the internet, here's the bare minimum list of things I want to do today:
-Laundry *
-Vacuum (since I still haven't pulled it out of the box) *
-Sew (Baby blanket for a friend who had her baby like a month and a half ago, oops) *
-Bake cookies to take to work (Everyday cookies! They have butterscotch chips, coconut, and Rice Crispies in them. They're going to rule.) *

Alternately, if I find energy:
-Clean bathrooms *
-Make these *
-Play sims?

(*=Done! Final score? Everything but playing sims. Pretty damn good, I must say.)

Yep, I'm awesome like that. Ready? Go!

EDIT: And yep, I got stuck on the internet. Got to fix that shortly. BUT here's a debate on ebooks v. print I'm finding really interesting.
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Rules
1. People who have been tagged must write the answers on their blog and replace any question they dislike with a new, original question.
2. Tag six people. Don't refuse to do that. Don't tag who tagged you.

I stole this from frozendoll, and I'm also not tagging. Just looking for one last silly thing to do before bed.

Read more... )

Yeah, okay. This show sucks. Go to bed.
howeverbrief: (Smile)
As promised, here I am posting. Nothing new because I spent a good chunk of the day worrying about my grandpa being in the hospital with a blocked artery (he's out now), but let's see what 11-year-old Fiona had to say that was somehow worth publishing.

From Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans, 1995 Edition, page 115:


Books
new, attractive
opening, reading, folding
school, home, bathroom, bathtub
tearing, smashing, slamming
worn, wrinkled
recycled


And I wonder why I have so many damned books. Anyway, there you have it. My somewhat pathetic claim to fame. Maybe I should try to get more published? Aw, now I'm just being silly. I think the one beer I had is going to my head. How sad is that?

Be Me

Oct. 23rd, 2010 11:04 pm
howeverbrief: (Black)
I just took a two hour break to watch "Harold and Maude" and eat chicken tenders, crispy crowns, a salad, and peach pie. It was pretty glorious. You can do that sort of thing when you set your own hours. Ha.

Oh wait, I'm supposed to be working this weekend? Yep. I'm doing revisions to a project I started a few months ago, only this time I have a Monday deadline. One of the lovely parts of working freelance-- you never know when you'll get work or when it'll be due. Can't complain, though, and actually, I don't really want to. I like it. I just wish I had more of it.

(And ahem, state job? I'm never going to hear about you, am I? Oh wellz.)

Let's see. What else? My mom's in Italy on a quilting trip, and I surprised my dad yesterday by buzzing down to Smith for a few hours to see how he was. I don't think he eats very well, and I was hoping to see if he'd eat dinner, which he didn't. Then again, Mom says he goes to bed at 8:00 at night, and one of his life mottoes is, "Food is a hassle." Still, I had an enjoyable time talking with him, even if he did start spouting off about politics and how the current administration is running private enterprise out of the country because of too many regulations, taxes, and unionizing. I tend to nod my head and try to change the subject when he does that, mostly because I learned not to try to debate with him a long time ago, but it doesn't always work. He gave me an Anglo-Indian dictionary to read, though, so that ought to be interesting.

I have other thoughts, but they don't want to come out right now. So, I'll do the cliche thing and leave with a quote from the movie I just watched. Hope things are going well on your end too. <3

"Harold, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much."
-"Harold and Maude"
howeverbrief: (Default)
Does it ever seem like everyone else is more popular than you are? Apparently, it's mostly math.

Also, this struck me last night--
"Compromise, eh? Isn't it sad, growing up? You start off like my Charlie. You start off thinking you can kill all the baddies and save the world. Then you get a little but older, maybe Little Bee's age, and you realize that some of the world's badness is inside you, that maybe you're a part of it. And then you get a little bit older still, and a bit more comfortable, and you start wondering whether that badness you've seen in yourself is really all that bad at all. You start talking about ten percent."
-From Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Anyway, I've got a phone call to make (done) and an email to return (done), both of which I've been avoiding all day. Be back later.
howeverbrief: (Smile)
Kate Beaton has been doing a series of short comics based on Nancy Drew covers. Per usual, the comment section lead me to a great article on a related topic. After trying to reread his old set as an adult, the writer attempted to track down the original author of the first twenty-one volumes of The Hardy Boys to see why anyone would write such awful books. He didn't find the already deceased author, but the author's family offered a fascinating back-story of a man constantly under pressure to write a series (of which he was ashamed) in order to feed his family.

Here's the article: The Hardy Boys The Final Chapter

I remember voraciously tearing through both Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys series when I was younger, maybe some Boxcar Children as well, but like many people, I haven't thought to try reading them again. Apparently they are quite terrible, but who ever said that children have great taste anyhow? I'm a little scared to go back and see what I thought was so awesome about the books I used to read now, but maybe one of these days I will.
howeverbrief: (Smile)
The commentators on this dinosaur comic mentioned a weird novel this morning: If on a winter's night, a traveler.

From the Wiki-- Alternating between second-person narrative chapters of this story are the remaining (even) passages, each of which is a first chapter in ten different novels, of widely varying style, genre, and subject-matter. All are broken off, for various reasons explained in the interspersed passages, most of them at some moment of plot climax.

After reading the first chapter (which is really the second chapter of the actual book), the reader finds the book is misprinted and contains only more copies of that same chapter. When he goes to return it he is given a replacement book, but this turns out to be another novel altogether. Just as he becomes engrossed in that, it too is broken off: the pages, which were uncut, turn out to have been largely blank.

This cycle repeats itself, where the reader reads the first chapter of a book, cannot find the other chapters in his copy of the book, so he goes out to find another copy. But the new copy he gets turns out to be another book altogether.


Sounds fascinating! Has anyone read this book?
howeverbrief: (Default)
I woke up and couldn't sleep for an hour this morning. This is always frustrating, but sometimes, it yields interesting dreams when I finally do fall back asleep (even though my alarm clock woke me up again in the middle of it).

I'm in a very green and lush landscape with big, leafy plants all around. The weather is cool and misty, and I'm walking on a path that is cut into the side of a rocky mountain. I enjoy the walk, but I know at the end of it is my high school reunion, which contains many people I don't want to see and who don't want to see me. I walk up the slope until I see someone's feet and legs reclining on a grassy alcove. The rest of the reunion is just around the bend. I sit down and debate whether I want to go see everyone even though I've come this far.

After what seems like an eternity (and having a near miss where one of the reunion goers almost sees me), I get up and turn back. While walking back, I see that the path I walked up is actually really dangerously high. One false move will send me over the cliff's edge and most likely injure or kill me. Given my fear of heights, I end up crawling down the path, berating myself the whole time because I had gotten up the hill so easily. I reach a shallow concrete pond in the middle of the path and remember I have to swim through it to get to the other side of the path. I think it will be really cold, but at the other end of the pond, I am refreshed. To dry off for the rest of the journey, I sit on the grass beside the pond, which now flows beside the path.

Next to me, there is a tiny sign that says, "Read me and put me back" with an arrow pointing to the pond. I look and see there is a row of books floating in the pond with varied titles, mostly about magic and the supernatural. I pick one up and read it (it's poetry of some sort that bores me), so I throw it back in the pond just as a beautiful girl with long black hair sits down beside me. I know she's going to the reunion, but I don't recognize her from school. She asks why I threw the book in the pond, and I point out the sign to her. She picks up a book that looks more interesting than mine was and reads.
howeverbrief: (Default)
In this episode of weird things I learn on the internet--

Did you know that Gene Wilder of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and many other movies (just listing some favorites) is still alive? Did you also know he was married to Gilda Radner of SNL fame and has worked hard to raise awareness about ovarian cancer since her untimely death from the disease? (He has also suffered from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is now in remission.) Lastly, now he writes novels?

I certainly didn't.

Bonus fact- I thought to look him up after seeing this clip (warning: sound does not synch up) of him starring in a movie version of The Little Prince, a book I have never read. Would you recommend it?
howeverbrief: (Default)
I thought I'd do one of these instead of working again. From the lovely invisione:

Comment on this post. I will choose seven interests from your profile and you will explain what they mean and why you are interested in them. Post this along with your answers in your own journal so others can play along.

12:34
I seem to see this time at least once a day, sometimes twice. If not that, it's certainly very often. I like that I see it so often, but it still stands out to me for some reason, probably just the fact that everything is in sequence. Kind of spooky to me at the same time, too. Maybe I'm just oddly superstitious.

all kinds of corn
This is a quote from a silly song from The Brak Show. It's a strange cartoon they used to play in Adult Swim's early years on Cartoon Network. I actually didn't see the show, but my little sister had a CD with songs from the show. One of them talked about things Brak, the title character of the show, liked. He apparently likes all kinds of corn. I can dig it.

derrida
Oh, Derrida. <3 He was a French postmodern philosopher whose theory I fell in love with when I was studying it back in college. (My minor is in philosophy, in case you forgot.) His theory can be especially difficult to read and understand because he writes it in a form that deconstructs the philosophy. I haven't read him in quite some time, but I really should get back into it. Him and Foucault (and possibly Said) were some of my all-time favorites to study back in the day. Sigh. I was really sad when I found out in class that he died from pancreatic cancer in 2004.

house of leaves
One of my favorite books. I read it right before college, and that was before I knew about postmodernism. The form of it absolutely fascinated me. It has type that goes all over the page and is just as much a part of the story as the story itself, plus it has a few different story lines converging at once. It makes me wish I could re-read books, seriously. It did give me really bad nightmares for a while, though, because it's really... creepy.

moloko
I love Clockwork Orange. (I've dressed as Alex two different Halloweens because it is an easy costume.) I saw this as an interest on a friend's livejournal and added it myself because I thought it was fun. Moloko is milk spiked with alcohol. It is what the cool kids drink.

over-analysis
I have a love/hate relationship with over-analysis as probably anyone who has read this journal for any amount of time has seen. I have a bad tendency to pick apart really big problems that trouble me, such as world issues and politics, as well as really small problems that are quite insignificant in the long run, such as how I acted at a party and if I was a total jerk or not. I hate myself when I get mired in these long over-analytical conversations that span days or even weeks, but at the same time, they can help me figure out certain problems, what I feel about them, what I can do about them, etc. I know it can't always be fun to read my over-analysis, but it's something I can't seem to get rid of. I can only learn how to control it and see the better side of it.

transvestite movies
It all started with Rocky Horror Picture Show. Man, I love that movie. There's a whole list of movies with transvestites in them that I love: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Birdcage, Mrs. Doubtfire... I haven't seen every one known to man, but the ones I have, I really enjoy. I'm slowly working up a better collection when I remember to.

All right! That was fun. Who wants to play?
howeverbrief: (Default)
I want to do something fun today. I thought about going for a walk in the park, but it was snowing when I last looked outside. Even if it's not now, I'm not sure I want to be out in the cold. Maybe I'll go shopping instead? I should just stay in and catch up on my online class, but that doesn't sound appealing at all.

I do want to see Watchmen very badly. Anyone who knows me knows I don't watch a lot of movies or even anticipate them. (In fact, people are usually shocked by the amount of movies I haven't seen.) But I really want to see this one after reading the graphic novel, which was so brilliant. The trailer made it seem like it stayed pretty close to the book, though initial reviews I've read have been mixed and agree that the ending is rushed.

Bah! I don't care! I want to see it anyway!

EDIT: Saw the movie. Will tell my opinions about it later.
howeverbrief: (Black)
From invisione. I don't mention her much, but she's a cool cat. :)

The rules are:
A. People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blog and replace any question that they dislike with a new, original question. (Who ever does that?)
B. Tag eight people. Don't refuse to do that. Don't tag who tagged you.

Read more... )

Feel free to snag this meme if you want to play, of course, but I'm tagging Aurora, Pip, Eric, and my Arch Nemesis in particular. Thanks, as always, for reading. Time for sleep now!
howeverbrief: (Skull)
What's going on then? How about the short version. If you want to hear details about anything, leave a comment and I'll respond. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure I'll forget to give you more.

Read more... )

That brings us up to today, which was uneventful unless you count my productive cleaning earlier. Why can I only be productive when I'm avoiding doing other things? I'll be kicking myself for not researching at all this weekend later. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now.
howeverbrief: (Smile)
Emily Dickinson's Secret Lover!
I really enjoyed this article. It's interesting to see how our characterizations of authors past color how we continue to see them, even if new evidence is found that completely contradicts our previous notions. I can understand why this information about Emily Dickinson is being quashed, seeing as how we love to think of her holed up in the attic wearing a white dress writing poetry about things she'll never experience. We don't want to think of her as semi-normal, as if this would somehow diminish her brilliance. It is a little silly to make her conform to such an ideal, though. Superextraordinary? Perhaps not. A beautiful way of looking at the same ordinary things? Perhaps so.

Anyway, I have a midterm for medical terminology to do. I also wrote a short, personal essay I might post later. We'll see.

Elephants

Sep. 15th, 2008 11:20 am
howeverbrief: (Smile)
"In London, in children’s books, life is too orderly and one longs for the vitality of the wild; in Paris, order is an achievement, hard won against the natural chaos and cruelty of adult life; in New York, we begin most stories in an indifferent city and the child has to create a kind of order within it. Each of these schemes reflects a history: the English vision being a natural consequence of a peaceful nation with a reformist history and in search of adventure; the French of a troubled nation with a violent history in search of peace; and the American of an individualistic and sporadically violent country with a strong ethos of family isolation and improvised rules."

Taken from this New Yorker article about Babar the Elephant of all things.

This is just one of the many reasons academia is crazy. Thanks, Aurora!

EDIT: I liked this quote, too: "There is allure in escaping from the constraints that button you up and hold you; there is also allure in the constraints and the buttons. We would all love to be free, untrammelled elephants, but we long, too, for a green suit."
howeverbrief: (Ink)
I feel obligated to post a link to this comic. It references my favorite book of all time, even though I still can't bring myself to read it again.

AH, yes. Time for a shower.

EDIT: Oh, and thanks for the e-mails, Aurora!

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