Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Since the end of August life has been a little crazy. I got my bottom wisdom teeth taken out and a few days later went to Virginia where I worked for almost two months. During that time my mother was diagnosed with leukemia and spent a month in the hospital. But God proved His trustworthiness over and over, giving me His strength when I had none of my own. I literally had nothing else to rely on, and God came through every time. It sounds cliche until you experience it.

I have new questions floating around in my head. How to live in this world without pounding one's feelings into a rock to avoid emotional breakdowns when you're surrounded by difficult situations. How to survive as an introvert when you retreat into that cave in your mind to get by and it turns into pride. How to reconnect with a part of yourself locked behind a wall without letting out a victim, if it should be done at all. How many second and third and fourth chances to give people who make no effort to keep in touch or know you and then act like they have any business pretending to care about your life when you see them. And my view of God is being challenged as I read and compare the old testament and the new.

The rest of this post is about books and movies.

I read Tolkien's The Children of Húrin over the past month. It's definitely not for everyone. It's the tale of a family who fails to escape the tragedy that follows them everywhere under the curse of Morgoth. But it's a beautiful and delicate piece of fiction that I want to read again in the future. The only thing I dislike is an act that seemed out-of-character for the protagonist.

I'm now reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Oh, the prose in this book! It does drag sometimes but there are absolutely delicious sections. One of my favorites I read yesterday is this:

"And then there was Abenthy, my first real teacher. He taught me more than all the others set end to end. If not for him, I would never have become the man I am today.
I ask that you not hold it against him. He meant well."

Granted, I am a rather peculiar person, compared to most of the other people I've met, so it's quite possible no one outside of my writers' group would like it. But it does for me what cups of tea or high-quality chocolates or Beethoven or sports cars do for other people. Same goes for parts of The Children of Húrin (like, most of the first half or so).

I watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the first time the other day. When I started it, the dialogue was all in English, which confused me a bit because I thought it was in Mandarin. It matched up well with their mouth movements. But the voices and the body language were like cats and dogs. So I went to the menu and, thank goodness, there was an option to switch to Mandarin. Asian movies with English dubbing don't work for me at all (unless they're cheesy Jackie Chan movies, and then it adds to the effect they have in the first place). It throws off the...mood, artistic value, whatever you want to call it, so I watched it in Mandarin with English subtitles. That was more like it! There are a few iffy scenes but it was a good movie overall. To me it was an example of how pride can ruin your life and those around you. I find it so odd how America, a nation founded on Christianity, has fewer morals in the majority of their modern films than China. Anyway, I liked it enough to buy it so I bought a gently used copy off Amazon for $3.

I got another book today - 'Til We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis. I might read it after The Name of the Wind, or I might read Blink of an Eye by Ted Dekker, or try to finish Green.

I discovered a band last week the sound of which I really like. This is my favorite song of theirs so far.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm not giving up my blog forever, but I have a lot of things to think through right now. I'll hopefully resume posting in the not-too-distant future.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fowl Beasts

Okay, here's Chai:

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Here are some of the others being led back to the corral after the ride -

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- and here are some before the ride:

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I've been house- and pet-sitting with my sisters since I got back from Colorado. We do this every now and then for a family when they go on vacation. They have goats, pigs, chickens, guinea fowl, seven dogs (five inside, two out), and a cat. We've been living on their popsicles and ice cream bars [slight exaggeration], coming up with more elaborate blockades to keep the pigs from escaping (which they keep doing), trying to keep the dogs from killing the guinea fowl when they get inside the fence, disposing of the one they got a hold of, collecting chicken eggs, sharing a bed with a three-legged pug who snores and a basset hound/beagle mix who sticks his tongue out when he sleeps, and watching lots of TV and movies. It's fun, aside from being slowly eaten alive by mosquitoes and the occasional ant every time we go outside.

I'm of the opinion that guinea fowl are some of the dumbest animals in creation, dumber than chickens. One repeatedly tried to fit through the holes in the chain-link fence. Obviously, only its head went through. Two or three perched on top of the fence. I ran toward them yelling, "Be gone, fowl beasts!" (I didn't want the dogs to eat them) (P.S. - Fowl is for birds. Foul is the way your gym socks smell. I was being punny) but they just looked at me for a few moments before hopping off. They have three now that one is deceased. They travel around the yard in a pack. Hopefully Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli won't take offense at the fact I've been referring to the guinea fowl by those names.

I did write a decent-sized second entry about the Moot, getting to the more personal aspects of it, but I'm not sure if I'll post it. I'll have to think about it some more. Here's a picture I took of the campfire.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Moot Points

This post may or may not be very intelligible. I'm back from the Moot. It was one of the best weeks of my life. Never have I so felt at home as I did there. We're an eclectic group of people from California, Washington, Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, etc., brought together by our interest in writing, and when we hang out friendships click and cliques don't exist. It's amazing. I've never felt so comfortable with a group of people before. I love them so, so much.

August 4th. I had a smooth airport experience the day I flew to Denver. MOTS picked me up. We talked about movies and watched amusing YouTube videos (Julian Smith FTW) at her house until her sister Dolphin got home. Their parents took us to eat at Chipotle's because a beautiful storm was going on and the power kept going out so they couldn't cook dinner. We watched the first two episodes of Doctor Who season 4 when we returned and then went to bed.

August 5th. MOTS, Dolphin, and I drove toward Colorado Springs to meet up with the other CPeeps. It was a beautiful drive. I love the scenery in Colorado. We met in a unique little town with dreadlocked hippies playing guitar on every corner. It was somewhat overwhelming seeing everyone. Most I'd met before, but there were a handful of people I'd only spoke to online. Two of my Georgia friends and I went off a bit and I stopped shaking and started easing into the group. We had a good time at the park and walking around the town. We returned to the pavilion in the park to break up to our various host homes. It started pouring rain. The pavilion was down an incline and the water started pouring in. We ended up standing on the benches while we waited for our rides and then ran out into the rain to get to the cars. I had my cloak on, so I didn't get very wet.

Curritigris, Feowin, Anywhere and I stayed at Yellow Leader and Blue Monkey's house in the Springs. We played Whonu and Nertz and roasted marshmallows over a fire outside. Blue, Any and I trickled back inside as Feo and the boys discussed church denominations around the fire. They came in shortly to watch The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with us (a favorite among Clean Place members). I don't think any of us made it to the halfway point before going to sleep.

August 6th. Everyone eventually made it to the park where we filmed a movie with MOTs and Elder Fern directing. It's about a group of writers whose words are stolen by villains with names such as Passive Voice, Adverbs, Dream Sequence, Monologue, and Semi-Colon. The writers have to communicate using pictures and hand motions as they go on a quest to get their words back. I played one of the writers and the shoes of one of the villains (Yep. There's a shot with just my feet and the weapon of mass restriction, because I wore a pair of black, silver-buckled boots). We'd just finished up when it started raining and an impressive lightning storm went on over the mountains.

My group went back to Yellow Leader and Blue Monkey's house and watched The Deep (a documentary on the deepest reached part of the ocean). There were some fascinating creatures featured. Then we headed off to the mall to hang out with Balto (a member who lives in Colorado Springs but couldn't attend the rest of the Moot). We ate supper in the food court (yay Chinese food), went to a nicely nerdy store where we bought a Disney princess poster to send home to Maranar (his Clean Place-member sisters came to the Moot, but he couldn't make it this year. Yes, he's a guy, and we bought him a princess poster), and explored Borders, where we ended up reading aloud from Jonathan Acuff's Stuff Christians Like, a hilarious book. We signed the poster in the parking lot, went back to the house, and I went to sleep.

August 7th. We met at Mangycat's church and drove up the mountain. I was in Legolas's car with Elraen and Anywhere. It started smoking partway up the mountain so we stopped. There were some strangers driving up right in front of us and they stopped when we did and came over and said not to drive it until it cooled down because it was way overheated. MOTS and the crew in her van pulled up behind us and took Elraen and I the rest of the way up while Legolas and Anywhere stayed to take care of the car. Everyone settled in to their rooms in the lodge. I roomed with MightiMidget, Bree, Daeriel, Telpenen, and Dolphin. We got a rundown of plans and such, went for a walk, split into a few critique groups, and had a devotional that Rivus led. The rest of the night was spent with one group playing a language learning game called "Where Are Your Keys" and the other watching some member-made movies and such. I spent most of it photographing the group playing WAYK. I got some nigh-epic pictures. The point of the game aside from learning foreign languages is to be as ridiculous as possible to have as much fun as possible, so some very interesting facial expressions and hand motions were made. Whenever you have an "Aha!" moment during the game, when you figure out what something means, you have to throw your arms in the air and yell, "How fascinating!" It spread like a virus through the Mooters and was used over and over again in multiple circumstances.

The other days are something of a blur of wonderful people and moments. There was open mic night, where people sang and played instruments and danced and contact juggled and read poetry and read from Tolkien's The Children of Hurin. There was the play that some of the members put on, a musical with songs from The Phantom of the Opera and Fiddler on the Roof rewritten to apply to Clean Place members ("Cloakmaker, cloakmaker, make me a cloak"). We went hiking, climbed rocks, and did swing, two-step, and barn dancing. There were writing workshops and speakers (Scott Meyers, Jeff Gerke) and one of our members did a seminar on creating languages. During Mr. Gerke's talk, he said something that inspired everyone to simultaneously do the "How fascinating!" thing and I think we startled him rather badly.

We made up collaborative stories and haiku. I finally got to watch Stargate SG-1 with Mightimidget (life goal there, since before she left the site, we were Clean Place's biggest Stargate nerds). A group of us watched the 2003 live-action Peter Pan movie and made hilarious comments about how creepy it is. We played Dutch Blitz late at night and ended with a spontaneous, ab-hurting-laughter-inducing round of 52 Pickup.

One afternoon, the four of us who really wanted to go horseback-riding (which included me) got to go on a trail ride. The ranch's horses are absolutely gorgeous. Dolphin rode a lovely, light-colored palomino named Annie. Elraen rode a white-with-brown-spots appaloosa named Bill. Younger Fern rode a cute, short, dark brown horse named Cocoa. And I rode Buttermilk, a dark palomino stallion. The two ranch hands rode Chai, a chesnut, and a tall, dark bay whose name I didn't catch. It was so much fun riding along with a forest of aspens on either side, wildflowers and high, green grass, and the mountains looming up all around us. The terrain got pretty rocky at times. We got to canter up a steep hill once. Buttermilk tended to pull to the outside of Cocoa, the horse directly in front of us, so some of the skin got scraped off my knee by a tree. He kept trying to pass Cocoa so I held him back, and he kept reaching down for a mouthful of grass as we went along. I learned to pull his head up and give him a kick, so he only stopped the first time. It just added to the experience. I wouldn't change any of it. I loved it. I did think Buttermilk was a girl for a while because of his unmanly name. Poor laddy.

I took these pictures of him.

With the bay, right after the ride:

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That (Wednesday) evening, when the whole group was having a campfire a short distance from the corral (I was majorly distracted by the horses for the first part of the evening):

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A photo I took during the ride - that's Annie, Bill, and Cocoa (our guide was just ahead, out of the picture):

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Another, with a glimpse of the mountains and the back of Buttermilk's head:

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Me on Buttermilk, a picture Younger Fern took over her shoulder without looking, hence the blurriness:

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The helmets were required and turned out to be quite handy due to all the tree branches that would have been in our hair without them. I really, really, really like horses, in case you couldn't tell. I'll stop here with the pictures of them or I'd end up posting a gazillion. Well...okay...here's one more. This is Annie.

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And here's Cocoa.

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Oh look, there's Bill...

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I can't leave Chai out, can I?

Okay...yes, I can...must...stop.

Anyway. The Moot was fantastic. I knew I was going to have a good time, but it surpassed my expectations. It was a huge blessing. I'm going to stop here and write more about it later so I don't end up with a novel-length entry about it. I've been working on this post for a few days in between going through my 1,058 pictures from the Moot, so no promises on when the next one will be ready.

Monday, August 2, 2010


House of Heroes' new album, Suburba, is available to download for $3 on Amazon.com here and includes an Amazon MP3-exclusive track. I'm not sure how long this offer is good for.

House of Heroes is one of my favorite bands. :) I've twice seen them in concert.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rocky Mountain High

Okay. I really need to stop blogging for a time. Which is convenient, because I have to anyway. I'm flying to Colorado on the 4th and from the 7th to the 12th I won't have internet access to speak of. I return on the 12th and right after that my sisters and I'll be farm-sitting for some friends for a week and a half. I will have internet access there but I don't know how much I'll use it.

I'm a little excited about the Colorado trip (I'm not very excitable. At all. So a little excited is a lot excited for me). I'll be spending a week at a ranch in the mountains with a little over 20 other eccentric teenagers who are my best friends. We'll be doing writing workshops, critique groups, a play, a talent show, playing games, riding horses, talking as much as socially-challenged writers who converse more with the characters in their heads do, etc. Great. Now it sounds like rehabilitation for the insane. I assure you that we're all mentally sound, at least comparatively speaking.

I think my next writing goal is to finish the sci-fi story I wrote earlier this year. It's pretty short, so I might post it here when I'm done. I want to rewrite scene 5 and finish scene 6.

Yes, I listened to John Denver when I was a kid.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Golden hearts,
what do you beat for?
how long are you worth dying for?
When are you right,
and when do the stubborn
become fools?
Where is the line between pride and apotheosis?
Principle, when do you call us to fight
and when do you call us to surrender?
Do you ever make their blood
worthy of being spilled?
Should the innocent fall willing
under the blade of the lost?
Does the reason ever justify
the sacrifice of souls?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010


And now back to our regularly scheduled broadcast, whatever that is.

Pretend that never happened.


Instead of burning my story, which I would still like to do at some point, I celebrated the end of that dreadful excuse for a novel by watching movies half the day (what? I like movies). Firstly I watched Blade Runner, because 1) it's sort of a nerd classic and 2) Ridley Scott directed it. He also directed Gladiator and the recent Robin Hood movie, two films I enjoyed very much, so I was curious about Blade Runner. It was...interesting. I would be very selective in who I recommend it to. There are a few parts I really disliked.

I wanted a change of mood so I watched Kung Fu Panda, one of my favorite animated films, and this evening put in another movie I'd never seen, Hero. I put it in our massive Netflix queue and bumped it to the top and it came in today (well, Monday, but that disk had a crack in it; the watchable disk arrived today). My family didn't think much of it. My little sister left partway through the beginning and my mom and older sister are glad they didn't pay money at a theater for it.

I, on the other hand, loved it. I completely understand if foreign films aren't your thing, but I highly appreciate it on various artistic levels. The story is excellently crafted. I wasn't impressed in the beginning but it turned out like an onion - layers were peeled back until the core of the story was revealed. You have to pay attention or you'll miss something and won't understand it. There's some beautiful cinematography and the score is stunning at times. There's a shifting of color to represent differences in the layers. A qualm people may have is with the ending, but I like sad stories. As soon as it was over I got on Amazon.com and ordered a like-new copy for five bucks from their used section. I may be watching it by myself, but I'll be watching it again.

The Ixitprise

I finished. I wrote 50,155 words. I am not sure I have ever before been so happy to finish a novel. I doubt it.

Note: The rest of this post does not make any sense. Please do not call the men in white coats. I am not a danger to anyone. If you would like to keep thinking of me as an entirely sane human being (granted, it may be too late for that already), stop here.

I finished it out by writing an epilogue about Rex and Biddy living happily ever after. But partway through I got sidetracked by the blogs.

According to the epilogue the blogs, who had never been mentioned before, "are a race of swamp creatures who live in all the swampy regions of the universe. They say a lot of things that do not mean very much at all but make other people think or laugh or pay attention to them.

"Blogs are one of the most common species in some countries. They come in many colors and have widely varying opinions. We are not sure why people take some of their opinions so seriously. For example, many of their opinions have attention called to them in the village of !Oohay. We do not know why the village leaders choose certain blogs to be attentioned in !Oohay. Perhaps because they agree with them or at least think they will be controversial enough to be interesting. We cannot say, because the village leaders of !Oohay are a strange lot who do not know what is good for them."

I don't know where this stuff comes from. It's late, I haven't slept much, and I think there may be something illegal used to replace the sugar in the sugar-free Klondike bars. Mostly the lack of sleep thing. There comes a point when you're too tired to...finish a sentence. Like this. What I meant is too tired to...to...close the door in your mind that opens in to...whatever this is. Or you could, but you're too tired to care. Anyway. Shall we get on.

Narcissistic Blog took over a neighboring kingdom, then Rex and Biddy saved it, then the machines took over, then Rex and Biddy saved it, yada yada yada.

Then Dustan became king of the White Kingdom in the icy north.

"In his kingdom there were a lot of petals. Which you do not expect because you already learned that it is in the icy north. Psych! But the petals were there, and they were mostly lavender colored, and the fairies of the deep south would come up once a year and collect a very many to take back to the deep south and sew into beautiful fairy dresses and hats and purses and billboards. In return they put advertisements for the icy north on some of the billboards. They said things like, “Wear your fur year-round!” and “It is always time for coffee!” Also, they kept the icy kingdom from being buried in petals, which fell from the sky like rain every so often like rain did in less not normal places."

Dustan had a pet ladybug.

"He hoped it did not die. Would not, that is. For a long time. He hoped it lived a long and fulfilling life. For a ladybug.

"The bug went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize and the medical one and the science one and the music one and the literature one. It was a very talented bug. But the president accidentally stepped on it when they got together for a meeting. Needless to say, he was not reelected.

"Life went on much as it had been in the household of the king of the icy north. He missed the ladybug some days, but he was glad he was not in the spotlight so much because of a bug. It had drawn some attention to the icy north and they got more tourists than before. He had a ladybug, one hundred times the size of a real one, statue built of ice, but some kid who lied a lot melted it by accident. The kid learned his lesson. He was put it* in detention for fifteen years. He grew up to become the captain of the Ixitprise, a space ship that went into space and explored the final frontier."


See what I have to put up with?

I mean, a typo...seriously.

This is just what the epilogue is like. The rest of the novel is different. Badder (and contemporary sci-fi, not kingdomgs and stuff). So now I expect your support of my desire to see it go up in flames.

I am definitely returning to the fantasy and outlining route next time.

Maybe I should post one of my serious stories on here at some point.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


A song:

A picture:

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A verse:
"All discipline seems for the moment not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." - Hebrews 12:11

A quote:

"You are not only your pain. You are not only wounds and scars. You are also better things. You are possibility and promise, hope and healing, daydreams, favorite books and favorite songs. You are the people that you love and the people who love you. You are hope and change and things worth fighting for. This is all your story and your story isn't over." - Jamie Tworkowski

A website: ThinkGeek

A book I want: Ignore Everybody

A fact:
There are definite downsides to living in a neighborhood with a homeowners association. For example, it eliminates the possibility of setting up a blacksmith forge or building a miniature Anglo-Saxon village in the backyard.

A commercial:

A book I'm reading: Hood by Stephen Lawhead

A tv show I'm watching (on Netflix, so I can watch it in order. I haven't seen any of the current season yet): Doctor Who. The Doctor is one of the best characters in all of fiction.

A place I'm going this year: Colorado

A place I wish I was going this year: DragonCon. Hopefully next year...

A photograph I took:

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A haiku I wrote:

Stoic, smacking, gray.
Please do not grow a mustache
again, Agent Gibbs.

A Truth:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I'm almost to 48,000 words. I finished the story as much as I wanted to so now I'm writing random short stories in it. My preferred manner of celebration for when I reach 50,000 words is to print out the novel and burn it. I haven't given up hope on this but neither have I figured out where to burn it and whether or not my parents will let me use their ink cartridge.

I think part of the problem with this story, aside from the incomplete vision and lack of predetermined structure, is that I haven't read or written enough sci-fi to be able to do it well quickly. I have both written and read much, much more fantasy. I realized this when I stuck one of my characters in a pseudo-medieval virtual reality and suddenly found myself back in my element. If I do NaNoWriMo this year (it mostly depends on whether or not a film group costuming department opportunity works out), I think I'll go back to my roots. ;)

I've liked fantasy for as long as I can remember. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Medallion were among my favorite books as a kid (The first three still are favorites, and I haven't read the other two in years...I should read them again). They were (and are) important to me. All of the books aside from the Bible that have impacted me the most over my life are fantasy, or in the case of Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, at least have fantastical elements. If the stories were told, as close as possible, in a different genre, would they have affected me as much? I don't know, but they weren't.

Most of the stories I remember writing were fantasy. When I was 12 I started writing a fantasy story that ended up being 70,000 words long (It isn't finished. I haven't touched it in years. I am better at starting than finishing). My other novels and about half the stories I've written more recently are fantasy. I've liked it for so long that when someone asked me why, I couldn't really say. Why wouldn't I? But thinking on it, I suppose it is the escape from reality that attracts me so much, to worlds where anything can happen. One reason I like writing it is I don't have to do much research *innocent whistling* (though I have researched things like how to remove an arrow from a body). I can create an entirely different world with different laws and creatures and things. My hero can have wings. My heroine can go on a quest to close the Door to the North to keep the world from freezing over (no stealing :P). I can have dungeons and dragons and dwarves (spell-check says dwarfs, but that makes me think of Snow White, who is probably my least-favorite Disney princess ever).

The part of fantasy that I don't get along with well is magic. I very rarely use anything resembling it in my stories. I haven't settled on what's okay to use or approve of in fiction and what isn't because the Bible clearly states real magic is evil. In real life, when trying to find or use power, if it ain't God, it ain't good. People have a lot of different explanations for the vastly varying kinds of magic in their novels, and my opinions have slowly changed form some recently, but I'm not 100% sure on this matter. If you have any thoughts on it, I'd like to hear them.

"Some things can only be said in fiction, but that doesn't mean they aren't true." - Aaron Latham

Sunday, July 25, 2010


...was the last meeting of my church in its current format (it met on Saturday nights because it started as a little prayer meeting). I am not going to miss it. I was as good as invisible 90% of the time.

Have a song. It makes me smile. B. Reith is one of my favorite artists. His music is so...real. Yes, he is dorky. Lovably so.

It's interesting how people do the same thing they're trying to avoid through their attempts to avoid it. They want to be themselves. Something to do or say enters their mind that someone else would approve of. They realize this and because they don't want to conform to other people's opinions or expectations or change themselves to suit others, they do the opposite of the idea. But by this they're still allowing those expectations, etc. to direct their choices - it's just in a different direction. Half the time they don't know what they really want - to do, say, be. They don't stop to ask themselves.

On a lighter note, last night (Friday, I think) I saw, crawling down one of our hallways, the biggest spider I have ever met outside of a zoo. It was a couple of inches long. I'm the person my sisters call when they need a bug killed (sometimes I catch them and let them outside with my bare hands [the bugs, not my sisters] *flexes muscle...or maybe that's my humerus bone, no pun intended*), but that freaked even me out for a moment. I smashed it with a boot and then flushed it down the toilet for good measure.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


It's the weekend, so I've been using it as an excuse to watch movies. My older sister and I watched The Book of Eli Thursday evening (which isn't the weekend, but whatever). I was a little apprehensive at first but am pleased to report I was not scarred for life. It has more graphic violence and foul utterances in it than the movies I usually watch. I wasn't sure just how graphic the violence would be so I held a pillow at nose-level and whenever there was a fight, I put the corner between my eyes, effectively blurring things. It was an interesting movie. I like the concept quite a bit. But it brought up something that has been on my mind off and on over the months - when, if ever, is it morally justifiable for a Christian to kill someone? I don't know the answer.

Last night I watched Bella. It 's sweet, though the pacing is a bit off (slow for a long while with a rushed ending). I even teared up once or twice. And there is a Jon Foreman song in it. Happiness.

And then, today, I watched Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events because I bought it and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen used off Amazon.com for $3 each and wanted to make sure it plays without a problem (it does). I've seen it a couple of times before. It's too dark for some people but I like it.

A fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie is being made. Please, shoot me now. I like the first. The second was worse, and the third was terrible, because they slowly turned all of the characters into villains. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley (a.k.a. Will & Elizabeth) aren't going to be in it. Jack Sparrow is the main focus. Penelope Cruz is playing his love interest. Blackbeard is the antagonist (the only thing even mildly appealing I've heard about the film). Interesting how the two characters in media I think need to die the most are both named Captain Jack - Captain Jack Sparrow of PotC and Captain Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and its spin-off (at least he's not in very many Doctor Who episodes, and I wouldn't touch the spin-off, Torchwood, with a standard-issue ten-foot pole*). Regrettably, both seem to be immortal in their respective stories.

I'm more or less back on schedule for SuNoWriMo. I wrote 3,000 words last night and 3,000 words the night before. Whee

Now I am going to play Wii Fit (which I am laughably bad at) because I went jogging outside the other day and when I reached the top of the worst hill in our neighborhood, I almost passed out. Bothersome Georgia heat.

*Hero, Second Class reference. It's a good book. You should read it. If you like fantasy. Or making fun of fantasy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

You write like...

There's a website where you can enter samples of your writing and it tells you who you, supposedly, write like. First I entered all of my blog posts, one at a time. The overwhelming majority was that

I write like
Cory Doctorow

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

The runners-up were Margaret Atwood, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King, Dan Brown, and Chuck Palahniuk. I got them multiple times each. There were others I only got once each.

I was rather amused to find the result for my review of Hero, Second Class was

I write like
Edgar Allan Poe

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

and my poem "Jousting Horse" is apparently like William Shakespeare.

I've been entering pages of my SuNo at a time now. The first result was Rudyard Kipling. I was horrified (this is an exaggeration) to find the second was Stephanie Meyer. I must print this novel and burn it when I finish. I find this proof that Meyer is not a good writer, because the quality of my SuNo is pretty awful. Further proof of the lack of quality of my SuNo is that all of the other results said I write like Dan Brown. I haven't read any of Brown's novels, but I've read excerpts that were hysterically bad. When I pasted the whole 32,000 words in, the overall result was Rudyard Kipling, but it might have just analyzed the first part, since that was my first result.

For the last decent-quality story I wrote, the result was William Gibson, and for my current work-in-progress aside from SuNo, James Joyce. For my most recent really-short story (785 words) I got Ursula K. Le Guin.

I don't know who any of them are.

I need to stop wasting time on that website.

Have a good day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blue, Inception, and Cookie Dough

I've not gotten much sleep the past several nights and it shows, in my writing, a lot. I seem to have lost most of my ability to write anything serious. I was bored/stuck in my novel, because it needed serious writing, so I had my characters transported to a place with video-game-like mountains, blue dirt, and a person pushing a cart playing The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack. I'm not sure if it's real, like another planet or a man-made place in the middle of nowhere, or if it's a virtual reality.

If I were writing a novel I was going to try to get published or let anyone read, I would wait until my head straightened out, but it's SuNo. I can't stop. So I improvise. I have 32,031 words so far.

I saw Inception this morning. I wasn't much into it until about halfway through and then I loved it. The concept is fascinating. Minds are fascinating. So my mind really liked it. It's an interesting movie. I feel like I was just rather redundant there but in case you haven't realized it, my mind isn't functioning normally right now, so please excuse me. The overdose of sugar doesn't help. It's been people's birthdays and they bought a lot of ice cream. For the record, Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream is very tasty. The cookie dough lumps are the size of a small eyeball.

Which could be many sizes depending on how small the eyeball. But they're bigger than all the cookie dough lumps in all the other brands of cookie dough ice cream I have ever eaten, so far as I recall.

And no, I don't recall how many brands I have tasted. I don't pay much attention to that sort of thing.

I'm not sure what a brand tastes like, anyway. I'd imagine sort of burnt and skinny, with a hint of metal.

I'm reading Hood. It's good.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Silent night,
you give the writer
words to write.

Quiet moon
beyond the shade,
I want to see you soon.

Silent night,
you give the hurting
tears to fight.

Quiet moon,
is it dirge
or lullaby you croon?

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I think I'm going to post every other day or so instead of every day. For one thing, I don't want to put you through boring, forced writing. For another, there's some family & friend drama going on that has left me a bit drained.

My current word count is 28,008.

I like Palladio.

The swing dance last night, by the way, was the most fun of the ones I've been to, despite the underlying drama that left me so distracted I probably scared away a number of guys by brooding in the corner. I learned some new steps and such and most of the guys I danced with were fun, talented dancers. I like the faster, more energetic dances best. The music was all played on records that night.

Speaking of dancing, the Virginia Reel is so much fun. I learnt it last month. I recommend learning it if you ever have a chance.

This post, by the way, has nothing to do with Arkansas.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Got Malk?

I'm going to a swing-dance and might not be home until after midnight, so I'm leaving you with this video.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oh yeah...

I almost forgot to blog today.

I noticed tonight that I use the left side of the keyboard significantly more than the right, or at least I did while I was word-warring tonight. My left arm is weary. I got some of the biggest numbers so far (for me) this summer tonight. Most of the word-wars were around 10 minutes long, and while I usually get approximately 320 to 480 words in that time, give or take a dozen, tonight I reached as much as 652.

My typing record is 121 words in a minute (but in normal circumstances I never type that fast).

I have a little over 26,000 words now. It's not my original 2k-a-day goal, but at least I'm on track for reaching 50k by the end of the month.

I'm so tired that for a little while, I went off on a tangent about a man named Allard the Duck and his dog, Dustan the Adventurer of Great Old Times in May in New Hampshire. Allard wanted to write a story about his dog but only managed one paragraph because he kept browsing the internet. Then I returned to my normal (if you want to call it that) story.

While in the chatroom we use for word-warring, it was pointed out that one could change their display name without changing their forum name. So we ended up with BarbaraManatee (that was me *cough*), TheMoose, PlotPoodle, SnugglyPanda, and something about a pony, while our normal usernames are Zephyr, Rivus, Legossi, Tippie, and ShatteredSerenity (this is on a Clean Place member's site, not Clean Place). :P Sadly, no one else joined the word wars after we changed our names, so there was no one to confuse.

Bass Hunter makes me happy. When I listen to his songs, I get flashbacks of the time I spent in Texas in April (staying with friends from Clean Place), where I was first introduced to his music (the lyrical quality of which is generally delightfully cheesy).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I can't speak - oh, this song is so pretty. Have a listen.

Anyway, I can't speak (well, write) on trusting humans, because I don't do that much on any deep level. For one thing, I'm practically a hermit, which limits the opportunities, and for another, three of the people I trusted more than anyone else in the world betrayed that trust rather drastically at different times, so I haven't decided how much trust is wise to place in humans. But I have learned that trust in God is one of the most beautiful and freeing things in the universe.

2009 was the best year of my life thus far (2010 might give it a run for its money), in part because during it I went through the darkest period of my life in which I entirely lost hope in certain things for a while. I was just waiting to die (for various reasons I didn't consider suicide). When I made it through that, I came to trust God on a level I'd never experienced before. I'd been through a deeper valley than any in my history, and He'd led me out of it, though I was blind to His hand as I walked through (which felt more like lying in the mud at the time). After that, there's nothing I don't know He'll get me through, whether it happens the way I expect or not. I cannot express how much His trustworthiness means to me. It's my rock. It relieves worry and brings strength. Sure, I knew I could trust God before, but there's nothing like having that trust solidified and then really experiencing it through everything that happens, good and bad. It's like the difference between being told God loves you and actually experiencing that love. It's a drastic, life-changing difference.

At times we think our worry is justified, but it's not. The Bible specifically says,
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6)." It sounds cliche, but we can trust God through everything, no matter how dark, 100%. Trusting God has changed our relationship every day, not just when I'm having a hard time. It's deepened my love for Him and helped me even more to see Him as a real person rather than a cloud looking down on me from afar. ;) It's not something you can be told how to do. Trust builds the more you get to know a person. It's the same with God, but unlike everyone else, He will never, ever let you down. His answers to your questions and requests may not be what you hope for, but He knows better than to do everything we think He should. Peace comes with trust, peace in accepting His answers (or lack thereof).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Teh Novel

I reached the point in my novel (like, three days ago) where that first burst of inspiration died and every other word was a struggle. So I didn't write much. Week two is always the hardest. While I was trying to figure out how to get a new burst, I decided to use a plot dare I'd kept in mind.

On Clean Place, there's a thread where people who participate in SuNo have to post at least five plot dares and choose five of other people's to incorporate into their novel (one crazy person uses every single dare posted, though I'm not sure what she does when they contradict each other, like one that says not to kill anyone and another that demands it). A plot dare is simply an element or plot twist (Examples: Make your main character mortally afraid of port-a-potties, have your characters go on a picnic in the middle of the night, have a character lose both of his/her arms; after someone lies, their pants light on fire; name a character Baltimore, etc.) We're not limited to using or posting just five, but we have to do at least five. One of them was, "Include a scene in your novel in which nothing takes place except a wild bird finds a French fry." I decided to use this and make the most of it, so I named the bird Alabaster Hermit King Crown Fish Lady Buck Androose Mormon Excalibur Santa Fe Marble Exit Home Range. I used the name four times. Instant word-count-booster.

Then I spontaneously added another character, a conflicted villain of sorts, whose name turned out to be Dustan, and sent him to kill Biddy and Simba (but I sure hope he doesn't succeed, because that would be, well, lame).

Okay, so he's not going to succeed.

My hero, Rex, wasn't turning out to have much muchness, so I had him break out of the facility he was being held captive in, but then I realized I needed him to stay there for a little while longer so he passed out.

No, I am not planning on putting this story in the public eye.

But I got going at a decent pace again, and made it to 22,092 words today...yesterday...July 12th.

In other news, my family watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tonight, which was very amusing. My dad bought it on DVD at Wal-Mart the other day, from the $5 bin, though we own both 1 and 2 on VHS. I have already mentioned on this blog that when I was a kid, I really wanted to be a ninja turtle. They were da bomb. My younger sister and I pretended to be them a lot. I was usually Raphael and she was usually Leonardo, but we switched things up every now and then. The stories we acted out generally had to do with me getting beat up (make-believe beat up). The bar in the basement that my dad put weights on was hollow, so we pretended that Splinter could look through said bar and read the minds of anyone he pointed it at. We were...imaginative children.

Boneman's Daughters

I read Boneman's Daughters by Ted Dekker over the weekend. I checked it out at the library. It's one of those books that sucks you in and doesn't let go. The novel is about intelligence officer Ryan Evans who returns home after a mentally traumatizing experience in Iraq to find his wife in the arms of another man and the resentment of his daughter for never being there for her. Life turns into hell when Ryan's daughter is taken captive by Boneman, a serial killer who murders his victims, all teenage girls, by breaking their bones without breaking their skin. And *cringes at cliche* Ryan will stop at nothing to save her. Ultimately, it's about a father's unstoppable love for his daughter.

This story is mind-blowing. There are some amazing metaphors of God's love and Satan's hatred for us. It brought things home for me in a way that had never happened before, stirred up my mind so that I found it impossible to fall asleep until about 3 AM last night, after finishing the book five hours earlier.

The amount I relate to Ryan was surprising. It was on a mental level, not a life-experiences level, of course. He's used to making purely logical decisions but learns that emotion isn't all bad. He makes use at times of his ability to suppress emotion to do what needs to be done. He is very, very much like me in some areas, in the way he thinks, which I found interesting (now you can go read it and come to all the wrong conclusions about the way I think ;-]).

For me, part of the power of Dekker's writing is its simplicity. It's nothing fancy. When I read his books, the writing almost doesn't exist. I'm in it, living through the eyes of the characters, so I see the story, not the words, if you know what I mean. I've never read books with characters more real than his. They come alive. They could be real people you walk past on the street everyday. Dekker's writing immerses me in their minds, in their worlds (this is one reason I dislike his book Green so much - he spends a lot of time in the villains' points of view, and it's hard to distance myself because they're so lifelike. Considering how unpleasant the villains are, it's not an enjoyable read). There were a few instances where his writing tripped me up (liking repeating the same words too close to each other a couple of times). I had to laugh when he used the simile "like a bat out of hell" once. He way, way overused that phrase toward the end of my favorite of his books, Saint. I've noticed that he tends to pick up pet words or phrases per novel (like in Blessed Child, it was the word "ambiguity") and uses the life out of them, but I didn't notice him doing that in Boneman's Daughters.

Some people say the book sounds too creepy for them, but it didn't creep me out at all until I neared the end (which may be because I'm such a well-grounded person [Oh look, a birdie. I wish I could fly. Let's fly to Narnia; this world stinks]). Where was I? Oh right, creepy. Yes, I was okay with it. I didn't feel the urge to check the locks on all the doors when I finished. But I would really have to know someone's mind to say whether or not I thought this book would bother them. There are some very disturbing elements, obviously. And, as I said, it's very intense. At times, a single line felt like a slug* to the face. If you're a parent you might have an especially hard time getting through it. But I found it one of the most worthwhile reads ever. No excerpt or review can do it justice.

*I am not here referring to "any of various snail-like terrestrial gastropods having no shell or only a rudimentary one, feeding on plants and a pest of leafy garden crops."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wipe them out...all of them.

I have two pet peeves (aside from the obvious like people mistreating other people and such):

1. When people talk during movies. Sometimes, with friends, I watch a movie just to hang out, and then they can make all the comments they want, but most of the time I watch a movie to watch a movie, not to have a conversation with someone or listen to their commentary on it, however limited.

2. When people bend book covers. Bending the cover of a book is like abusing your dog, only you can't get in trouble for it (unless it belongs to me, and then your borrowing privileges will be revoked). There is a fine art to holding a paperback so that the cover doesn't pop open when you set it down. Everyone should learn it.

Just wanted to get that off my chest ;)

I changed the sounds my computer makes. When I log on, Darth Vader asks, "What is thy bidding, my master?"

When I empty the recycle bin, Darth Sidius says, "Wipe them out...all of them."

When I log off, shut down, or disconnect a device (such as my camera or flash drive), C-3PO says, "Sir, if you'll not be needing me, I'll close down for a while."

When I get a program error message, Luke says, "What a piece of junk!"

I replaced several beeps and dings with R2-D2 noises.

Not long after I changed them, I emptied the recycle bin and Darth Sidius made his comment. Having entirely forgotten about it for the moment, I was a little disconcerted.

In that vein, back on May 25th, which is Geek/Nerd Pride Day (Seriously. It has a Wikipedia page), I made a Stargate cake.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

So Cake Decorator's not on my list of Possible Future Occupations, but it was fun.

A note on coloring one's hair with a sharpie: You may wake up to find your pillow case is now the color you used.

I wrote all that this afternoon/evening, and then finished reading Boneman's Daughters. It can best be described as intense. I might write a review on it tomorrow.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


3:10 PM I don't really know what to write today. Yesterday I was terribly depressed. I think I'll have to be more careful when I write from the points-of-view of psychologically disturbed characters. Biddy is a mess and it was getting to me, so I took a break from her POV and got in Simba's head. Both of them think a lot more than they talk. Very shortly after I asked for prayer on Clean Place, I felt significantly cheered and was able to reach my word goal for the day (18,000). The people on CP are my family. I'm so thankful for them. And I get to go spend a week with a number of them at a ranch in the Colorado mountains next month. Horses! Oh yeah.

Last night, a character I knew existed before I started writing entered the story.

*plays a game called Quelf, which turns out to be pretty much awesome, and then goes to church*

11:25 PM So. The character. His name is Terrence, he dresses like someone from the 1800s, and he talks a lot more than my other characters. He also likes to whap people on the head with a Bible and shout, "Repent!" even if they haven't done anything wrong.

I have about thirty minutes to finish this before it's Sunday.

I saw the movie Despicable Me this morning with my sisters and a couple of guy friends. It was very funny and loverly quirky. An animated movie I'm really looking forward to is Tangled. You can watch the trailer here:

I didn't work on my novel at all today, what with seeing a movie and playing a long board game and going to church. The board game, Quelf, was a lot of fun. I'd never played it before. It involved pulling cards and following their instructions, like pretending you're a ventriloquist, the person next to you is your dummy, and having a conversation with your dummy about the time you rescued them from a rabid pheasant. Another commands you to do an interpretive dance about a man who wakes up, goes to work, and discovers he has no pants on. It was amusing, to say the least. Someone ended up drawing a card that said no one could speak unless it was their turn, so we had an interesting time communicating in grunts and hand motions.

I'm reading Boneman's Daughter by Ted Dekker now. I started yesterday and am already halfway through it. It's good. I'm glad, considering I dislike Green so much that, though I started it last year, I still haven't gotten through it. I was a little worried all of Dekker's books might have gone downhill, but they haven't. He's one of my favorite authors.

Church tonight was interesting. I discovered that if I stand in the backish rather than stay in my chair after the meeting is sort of over, people actually come talk to me. My church (for lack of a better word, because the church is all of God's people) is going through a transition right now, which is good, because it had gotten rather stale and conformed. I'm interested in seeing where it goes.

I think, sadly, that my novel will have to stay at 18,000 words today. I need some sleep every now and then. ;) I hope you have an amazing remainder of your life.

Friday, July 9, 2010

For Every Moment

I don't think I have anything to say right now that would be edifying OR make you laugh because I've had a very strange week, so I'm going to post a poem I wrote years ago. It feels very far away now, not in that it's any less true, but that I've changed so much since I penned it. I don't even like it anymore, but maybe someone will find it helpful. It's punctuated & capitalized the way I first learned to write poetry. A few of the forced rhymes nigh make me grimace (which is one reason I don't rhyme much in poetry anymore), but it's okay.

For moments when my soul feels rubbed raw
For moments when places in my heart need to thaw
For moments when I feel I’ve lost it all
For moments when so far I fall

I need to remember You’re here with me
Even in the dark when I cannot see
I need to remember Your love for me
That binds these chains and sets me free

For moments when my hope is dim
For moments when all life seems grim
For moments when fears come in the night
For moments when I lose view of the light

I need to remember Your faithfulness
I need to remember You’ll never love me less
No matter what I do You’re at my side
And there is no darkness in which I can hide

For moments when I’m drowning in my tears
For moments when I’m haunted by old fears
For moments when I feel alone
For moments when my life seems a dry bone

I need to remember Your love never fails
And brings me back when I’m off on bunny trails
I need to remember You’re holding me
And let You open my eyes so I can see

For moments when my spirit’s in turmoil
For moments when emotions boil
For moments anguish breaks my heart
For moments when I feel apart

I need to remember Your light will never fade
And there is a reward for those who dive instead of wade
Your river of life will sustain my soul
The gift You gave is what makes me whole

For moments when I have no friend
For moments when I just want to let the enemy win
For moments when the world closes in
For moments when I’m suffocating in past sin

I need to remember You died and rose for me
I need to remember Your blood set me free
By Your strength I can overcome
So now into Your waiting arms I run.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hero, Second Class

Hero, Second Class is a fantasy spoof by Mitchell Bonds. It follows the story of hero-in-training Cyrus Solburg and the villain Voshtyr Demonkin. Voshtyr is building a powerful machine called a P.L.O.T. Device to take over the world. Bonds ingeniously makes fun of many terms and cliches used in fantasy with a story serious enough to keep a person interested.

When I first started reading the book, my inner editor had a field day. I've been on Clean Place (online writers' group) for four years and have had numerous rules of writing ingrained in me, such as show, don't tell; adverbs are evil; passive voice will steal your soul; and don't dump much description or backstory on your reader at one time. I don't think Mitchell learned any of these. So at first, the I. E. (inner editor, not Internet Explorer) was going crazy. It's not that his writing was necessarily bad, he just broke a lot of the rules I learned (which I break too at times [a lot during SuNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo], but the first rule of rule-breaking is that you have to know the rules before you can get away with breaking them*). But I got so wrapped up in the story that I stopped noticing. By the middle, I'd decided the style worked for him, and by the end, I loved it (This is not to say you should go around breaking the aforementioned rules in hopes you'll end up published. The rules are there for a reason. You have to figure out how your story should be told). The one thing about his writing that continued to bother me is that he sometimes repeats the same word too close to itself. This lifts the suspension of disbelief, knocking the reader out of the story.

The characters are very likable. I even enjoyed the romance. I am usually not a romantic person when it comes to love stories (Snow White and Prince Charming? Sleeping Beauty and Philip? Cinderella and Mr. No Personality? They probably divorced or ended up miserable because their "love" was nothing more than petty infatuation. I mean seriously, they knew each other for what, a day? I digress). Anyway, my inner cynic usually prevents me from enjoying romance, but the romance in Hero, Second Class is cute. My favorite character isn't the hero, though - he's second (no pun intended). My favorite is Serimal, despite him not having a big part. Read the book if you want to know about him.

Another thing I like is that while there are Christian elements, they don't feel forced or preachy. Mind you, I'm a Christian, but I don't like stories that are basically sermons (normal sermons, anyway. The ones that may or may not contain valuable information but make you want to fall asleep or feel patronized or are sappy or sound like someone tried too hard to make it appealing to teenagers). In Hero, Second Class they come across, for the most part, as natural and believable. I was pleasantly surprised.

It's a very long book, about six-hundred pages. But I never got bored. There are a couple of parts that dragged a bit (because I wanted to get back to the hero [or Serimal] at that point and these parts were about other characters), but they were still enjoyable. The novel far surpassed my expectations. I found it well worth the read. It made me laugh and smile more than any book I've read in a long time. Perhaps ever.

The end surprised me. I expected more resolution. But Mitchell's next book is set to be published in April next year, so I'll be looking forward to finding out what happens.


This is the Title I Decided On

You know, I like getting comments on my blog posts. So even if you don't know me and/or hate my guts (or my toes, or my ideas, or my personality) feel free to comment.

On that note, I'm one of those people who would rather have someone tell me they have a real problem with me than keep it to themselves or talk about it to other people without talking about it to me or post one of those Facebook statuses where they complain about people on their friends list without naming names. The worst ending of a friendship I went through happened because someone took some things I did entirely the wrong way and didn't talk to me about it until they'd decided not to be friends anymore (but it was ultimately for good because, while it was very difficult for a long time, God turned it around and used it to show me things I needed to see and deepen my trust in Him). Please don't do this to your friends. They deserve a chance to explain their motivations and meanings.

If you ever have serious concerns about anything I say or do, I will seriously consider them. This isn't a promise to change my ways because I'm accountable to God, not you, but I will take any concerns before Him.

Purple Alien Jellyfish

Staying up really late seemed like a better idea then than it does now. At least I don't regret deciding to sharpie part of my hair purple sometime between 2 and 3 AM (don't worry, it doesn't stay in very long).

I dreamed that aliens were attacking but I pacified them and they all turned into little girls and started braiding each other's hair, so now I'm in good standing with the queen and the chief falconer.

Oh look! Someone remixed Jellyfish (you can find the original, which is way better because of the video, on my "About" page [no particular reason], but this one sounds cool [about as cool as that song can sound, anyway]).

When you're writing a story from the point of view of a blind character, remember not to forget that he or she is blind. I did that yesterday and had to go back and change a few things, like mentioning the scientist was in a white lab coat.

I want to learn to play the ocarina. Maybe when I get paid for this dog-sitting job I can afford the one I picked out online. They're not very expensive (especially compared to most other musical instruments).

Now go help end hunger and improve your vocabulary. You can do both at the same time at the link I provided.


It's after midnight. So this counts as my Wednesday post if I want it to.

Best event listed on Facebook: Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day

Best Youtube video I watched for the first time in the past two days (what?):

Best word I invented today: Nerdialysis (Elraen: "Maybe we should stop being nerds." Me: I can't. It's a condition I have. Acute Nerdialysis. A very cute Nerdialysis, actually.")

Best thing I watched on Netflix this week: Part of Doctor Who season 3.

Best quote from said show: "There's no such thing as an ordinary human."

Best quote I read for the first time this week: "Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him." - Napoleon Bonaparte

Best worst simile Sir Edgeron's squire posted on Facebook this week: "The little boat gently drifted across the pond, exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't."

Best thing I ordered online this year: This shirt for my brother

Best movie I've seen in a theater this year: Either How to Train Your Dragon or Robin Hood.

Best idea a friend carried out in the past week: Taking her coffee pot, with a tie on it, to her college's date night (yes, most of my friends are writers).

Best twentieth line in the novel I'm writing: with the flames’ energy. Rex shifted his grasp on the torch handles, every groove

Oh no. I have the Flintstones theme song stuck in my head.

P. S. SuNo Word Count: 12,334

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quotes by C. S. Lewis

"Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and can't really get rid of it."

"For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays." (The Horse and His Boy)

"The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it."

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."

"An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or of Practical Reason is idiocy."

"Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite."

"A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride."

"An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason."

"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."

"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."

"Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement."

"If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning."

"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair."

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this."

"Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become."

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."

"Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey people. People say different things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war... Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of the rest."

"The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is."

"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."

"We are what we believe we are."

"You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body."

My favorite: "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained."

And for good measure: "It's so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see one."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Words, Simba, Holmes

I wrote over three thousand words yesterday (yesterday being Sunday, because it's now Monday, just really early on), and I didn't start until after dinner. What is my secret?

Word-warring. Mwahahahahaha. Okay, anyway, word-warring is where two or more people set a time limit, a timer is designated (well, volunteers, usually), and they "fight" to see who can write the most words in their story before the time is up. My Clean Place friends and I do this over instant-messaging or private chat rooms (previously it was usually on IM, but this year we've been using the chat room of another member's writing and role-playing site) (we write in our word processors and then report the count to the others when the time is up). This is not a good way to produce high-quality writing, but it gets you through the story and bolsters your word count. Mine is now just over 9,000.

A new character forced his way into the story. His name is Simba, he has dreadlocks, is dying of genetic engineering gone wrong, can turn invisible, is trying to find his little sister before he dies, and is odd but not insane. It's nice to have a break from writing in the heads of psychologically disturbed people.

I hope you had a merry Independence Day. My brother and his girlfriend came over and we talked and ate and watched Sherlock Holmes. Not exactly patriotic, considering it's set in London, but I like it (I'm the one who bought it). I liked it exceedingly more the third time I watched it than the first two, and this, the fourth, was better. We ate food, not Sherlock.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Feminism and Chivalry

Over the years, there's been much-ado about women proving they're equals with men. Yes, we're equals. But many women don't realize that being equals with men does not mean being the same as them. Women comment on how they don't understand men, and men on how they don't understand women. It's because we're different. God created us that way. There are things that, in general, men are better at than women, and things that women are better at than men. There's no need to attempt to prove equality by trying to do everything they do.

I don't mean we girls should all get married, have kids, and knit. I myself am definitely not ready to get married and be tied down anytime soon. I don't know what God wants me to do with my life, but there are many things out there to see and do. My independent and adventurous streaks don't want to settle down into family life just yet, if ever. Respecting men doesn't mean having to be quaint housewives. It's more along the lines of acknowledging and coming to appreciate differences in the way we think and behave and the roles we were created for.

Girls complain about the "death of chivalry," but they also complain about guys treating them as weak. Chivalry, as I see it, is men respecting the differences between them and us. When girls try to prove they can do anything guys can, when they try to run with male packs, when they take male roles to prove a point, they aren't showing guys respect. They're undermining them and their God-given authority. Girls complain about the lack of chivalry when they, in fact, helped kill it.

I don't mean guys are off the hook. They, like everyone, are responsible for their every action. A real gentleman will be a gentleman no matter how he's treated. But I'm a girl, so I'm talking to girls here, and don't feel I'm in a position to address the guys' side of the matter.

Friday, July 2, 2010

This and That

I guess I'll try to blog every day.

I started my novel sometime after midnight on July 1. It's going pretty well. I don't know if I'll ever let anyone read it, but I really like my two main characters, despite the fact they're borderline certifiable. I've written 2,508 words so far. My goal is 2k a day to give me a bit of leeway in case I end up having to skip a day.

My cell phone alarm apparently doesn't know how to tell time. I set it for 9:00 but it went off a few minutes before 8:00 (which is better than 6:34, but still).

I really can't think of much to write right now (hmm...it's not like I stayed up 'til almost 3 last night...oh wait). So here's a poem I wrote a couple of years ago, a poem about writing.

There is something inviting,
about a blank page,
a new chapter,
an untouched Word document.
And yet while one is nearly bursting
with the mystery and excitement of words to come,
there is feeling of reluctance that often accompanies it,
a reluctance to mar that perfect serenity
of an untouched page.
And so a battle ensues within the writer's soul -
to lay that soul bare upon the paper,
or to refrain from making a mark upon it,
as if that would somehow throw the world out of balance
and send it hurtling toward that close star
that gives the writer light to write by,
where it is sure to meet a fiery death.
But the writer's muse often wins out,
and after a sentence is laid upon the page,
words flow.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jousting Horse

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your hooves on the sand
as you give your all.
your beauty and strength
as you pass me by.
Sunlight glints
on the metal of your trappings,
set off like fire
against your bright caparison.

your nerves
as a lance shatters.
the trust of your knight
in his companion.
Wind blows
through your glistening mane,
streaming behind
like the banner of your rider.

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Both the photos and the poem are mine.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

White and Sparkly

I edited my last post about twenty times, so hopefully you didn't read it before I finished. ;)

I stayed up until 2 AM last night since I wasn't sleepy. After I wrote the random fact post, I went in the kitchen, ate a few spoonfuls of whipped cream since I couldn't find anything to put it on, and read a chapter of Hero, Second Class (a fantastic fantasy spoof by Mitchell Bonds). I set my alarm for 9 AM so I'd start getting back on a decent schedule, but it went off around 6:34 for some reason. I neglected to reset it, went back to sleep, and woke up between 11 and noon. Oops. It turned out to be a good thing since I'd forgotten that my last driver's ed driving session was today and it might not have gone very well if I fell asleep at the wheel. As it was, I managed to successfully parallel park. I'm going to Colorado in August and plan to get my driver's license and a job when I return, so I hope I succeed at it during the actual test.

Some people have too much time on their hands. Proof:

Not that I'm pointing fingers. You know you're a geek when...you go through all 94 pages of a message board thread in which people speculate and debate on the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator personalities of fictional characters. Oh yes. And I love White and Nerdy.

I hear the new Twilight movie came out at midnight. I have two things to share with you.


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Those...you know...feelings.

Emotion is a subject that has occupied my mind for some time. It's a tricky subject, not something with exactly tried-and-true rules that I know of (it's something you have to get a feel for. Har har). Back around October '09, I became very frustrated with it. Emotions cloud logic and inhibit good judgement [if not handled properly], and logic is something I place high value on. I was frustrated with people around me who made negative life-changing decisions because they let their emotions control them. I didn't want to be in that place. So I began training my mind to control my emotions. Or more often, squelch them. I got very good at it and it's a skill I still have, with a decent amount of mastery over it. I liked it better than being emotional.

It made me...um, feel, stronger and more invulnerable. Nothing got to me. There were lapses, times my grasp on my guard slipped, but they were part of learning. I could make decisions and handle life from a purely logical standpoint. However, I found my behavior toward others becoming too stand-offish. My lack of emotion protected me from insecurity, but it locked the door to my soul and nipped things like compassion and sympathy. I couldn't relate to much of anyone (okay, that's never been my strong point regardless of feelings, but that made it worse).

Let me clarify something here - I wasn't completely without emotion (that, I think, is impossible, unless someone has invented Prozium*). One night, God was like, here, try it out. I felt nothing. I got zero enjoyment out of anything (considering I was reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it was very strange). Every activity seemed meaningless (okay, maybe that book isn't a great example). It didn't last very long, but long enough for me to grasp what it 's like. After that, I never wanted to be truly emotionless. Just mostly. :p

So, back to being stand-offish. I had an imbroglio on my hands. Previously, I was not a very confident person. When I started gaining more control over my feelings, I stopped caring what people thought of me, and that made me happy. I started liking myself. But eventually, I realized the reason wasn't a good one - I didn't care what people thought of me because I didn't care much about people, period. I knew I needed to change because I needed to love them. But being emotional made me feel insecure, and being insecure made me awkward and self-conscious, and being awkward and self-conscious didn't put me in a good position to love people. You have to love yourself to love others (see my first blog post), but I didn't love myself when I was insecure. My options seemed to be remaining hardened and working on being kind and loving there, or being insecure and hating myself and trying to love people anyway. So I went with the first, but I wanted a real answer to my conundrum.

I eventually decided being so unemotional wasn't good for me. I don't remember the whole thought process. But I started to let myself feel more freely again. I came to a point where I was feeling more than I wanted to, more than was comfortable, and got back on the seesaw of my options. Obviously my comfort wasn't a priority in the scheme of things. How much should I let myself feel? Was it an amoral question? Did God have a preference for me? Which pros and cons outweighed each other? I needed answers.

I didn't want to change. To be honest, I'd come to see emotion as weakness and hated the thought of letting it loose in my life. But another part of me knew it was important. That God didn't just give us emotion for kicks. That by suppressing it, I wasn't living up to my full potential. One night, the questions wouldn't let me sleep and I got on the internet. Vented a bit. One of my friends who'd been in the same place told me this:

"I decided, ultimately, that to feel is one of the most desperately important things there is - that without it, we are locking ourselves out of the fullness of God's plans for our stories. However, I think that's a decision that has to be made by each individual...for to feel is perhaps the bravest thing anyone can ever do."

And I finally let myself realize what I needed to - that to feel is okay. Normal. Good. It takes more courage to accept and allow that than it does to be the hard, untouchable girl. In the moment, it was a difficult decision to make, to allow much feeling back into my life. It was painful. A voice in my head said it was lowering myself, weakening myself, but another told me it was really living.

This doesn't mean that I sacrifice my self-control (Galatians 5:22-24. Self-control is fruit of the Spirit). This absolutely does not mean that I should/do let my emotions control me or make decisions for me ("The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it." - C. S. Lewis). It means that I stop being afraid of them. I don't give them free reign to wreak havoc on me as they please,; I examine my emotions when called for, and when they don't line up with who I am or who I want to be, I balance my head. I weigh them against common and Biblical sense. But I also enjoy them. Embrace being real, being me. Being vulnerable and broken, and the Healer who 's molding me into who He wants me to be. No matter how I feel, I've learned to accept who I am right now, when I'm up and when I'm down. Being sad or tired or withdrawn or moved or excited or happy aren't things we need to apologize for. It's part of life. Like everything, there is a balance to be found. I had to let go of some of my control-freak tendencies (when it comes to myself. I am not at all concerned about controlling other people or my environment or my circumstances - just me. In the other areas, I'm probably one of the most laid-back people you'll meet) and found that letting yourself feel doesn't mean you'll go crazy. Having been on both sides of the seesaw, my contentment doesn't depend on my emotional state of being - mind over matter - but I no longer restrain everything.

Emotion is part of the beautiful, messy experience of being human. To quote the movie Terminator Salvation, "What is it that makes us human? It's not something you can program. You can't put it into a chip. It's the strength of the human heart. The difference between us and machines." In the movie, machines are trying to take over the world. The human commander wants the resistance to attack a terminator facility without rescuing the people inside. But of course John Connor wants to rescue the peeps. "Listen carefully, if we attack tonight, our humanity is lost. Command wants us to fight like machines. They want us to make cold, calculated decisions. But we are not machines! And if we behave like them, then what is the point in winning?" (Yes, I'm a geek and proud of it. Leeeeroy Jeeenkins.)

*Remember the asterisk in that one paragraph up there somewhere? Prozium is the fictional drug in one of my favorite movies ever, Equilibrium, that balances the chemicals in the human brain so perfectly that no one in the society feels emotion. It's an excellent movie. I highly recommend it if you can handle intense fighting (it's rated R for violence, but there's little blood and no gore, unless you count the scene where someone's face is cut off with a samurai sword and slides to the floor. Close your eyes). A good book on the same general topic is The Giver by Lois Lowry. It's fiction and an extremely easy read, worth the two or three hours it took me to get through it.

I think I'm finished with this post now. Sometimes I fail to properly convey my meaning (and I stayed up until 2 AM last night), but I hope it makes sense to you.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Facts o' Random

It's time for another late-night post, because I'm up and I feel like it. Well, not that late (especially compared to last summer when I stayed up until 3 and 4 AM more than once working on a novel).

A bit of randomness does everyone good. So here we go.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teenage mutant ninja turtle.

When I was a kid, I read The Phantom Tollbooth eleven times.

When I was a kid, Newsboys and d.c. Talk were the coolest ever. Oh wait...they still are (but not Taitboys).

When I was a kid, I watched The Fellowship of the Ring several times a week. My best friend and I could quote the dialogue in its entirety.

When I was a kid, I daydreamed about having a robot German shepherd.

When I was a kid, I read The Lord of the Rings four times.

When I was a kid, I started writing a novel that ended up being over 70,000 words long (but I never finished it).

When I was a kid, I wrote a poem for my favorite dental hygienist. He framed it and put it in his office.

When I was a kid, I thought I was older than I think I am now.

Armadillos are small placental mammals, known for having a leathery armor shell.