August 31, 2006

Still a Citizen

We took a piece of the naturalization test in Government today, and Chazen joked that he was going to revoke anyone's citizenship who didn't pass. Well, I did, with a hair over half the class. Darionte and Lauren Martin were among those who got the axe... well, they better hurry, I heard Canada was closed on weekends. :P

Yes, move to Canada, closed on weekends, ha ha, funny. Canada owes me five dollars in REAL quarters. Oh, I'm a liberal, I'm so mad at Bush I think I'll move to Canada...

It's all flattering enough, no? And certainly rather harmless. But there does seem to be a general attitude in the US that Canada can't quite be taken seriously, like it's our mildly French, mildly eccentric twin brother who says "Eh" and "Aboot" a bit too much. Now, I'm as willing to laugh at good natured fun as anyone, and maybe no one cares, but I do wonder how the Canadians feel about this.

Think about it. Or don't, whatever suits you. Anyhow, say there's an election in Mexico, and people are mad at the one who wins, so they joke around and say they might just move to the US.

How would we view this? Am I the only one who cares? Bah, I really went off subject. But what's this blog aboot, eh?

Mostly Wet

The heat has broken, and the world feels... mostly wet. The sky has been grey for a week; the mornings start out cool and the afternoons turn to just comfortable. This is not a spring wet, but an autumn wet, and the difference is thick in the air. There are no tender green stems shooting up through the soil, but instead fungi creeping up beneath walls and mushrooms spreading below stretches of clovers.

The Cicadas are still sticking it out. They drive their metallic creaks into my mind like a nail when I would listen or when I would have silence, but otherwise they blend nicely into the background and I forget. I do not enjoy them, but I do wonder, Is a summer without Cicadas still a summer? This is the sound: There is a tentative rubbing, fast and short, a sort of cree-cree.... cree-cree.... .... cree-cree-cree. It advances; becomes almost a wowowowow... they do this the most, and I think the sound is most akin to an electric toothbrush in use. Then, for a few sustained moments, utter chaos, loud, almost defeaning, the kind of sound that makes you look up into the branches below in amazement that the musician is not visible.

Yes, they are still here, but I'm not sure how much longer they will be. They have begun to litter the sidewalks, decaying corpses swarming with ants for days, leaving first only their tiny sets of translucent wings, and then, nothing at all.

At lunch I set my pita bread down on my pudding so neither would touch the planter, and when I came back, lifted it, and took a good healthy bite, I was met with incredulous stares and laughter. They had all thought it was some amazing mutant mushroom, and I had to admit, it did look convincingly like one.

Oh the Mirth

Life's not been great here lately. Okay, it's been bad. No bonus this summer, so we're lower than we've ever been, Dad's still in Mainz, the house is full of Hormonal Females, Tidbit's developed a taste for trash, and the good old domicile itself is falling in around us. So far, the water heater turned itself into a bomb and my toilet and tub conspired to leaky mutiny over our family room ceiling.

Oh, not to lie, it's been bad. But, we're recovering, picking up pieces. We'll live, I suppose. :(

August 28, 2006

Almost Funny

It's almost funny, actually. I thought I had a good day at school, until I got home and found out otherwise.

That File

I read that file. I know what I am.

And now maybe we're both damned, maybe she is broken, and maybe I have broken her.

I can't help what I require. Nonetheless I'm sorry.

We're both screaming. Then I'm on the floor, crying, saying I'm sorry again and again.

We got closer this summer, we thought. The only closer we are is closer to breaking.

Now I'm in the basement where maybe it'll take her longer, nexttime, to find me, to tell me she can't be everything to me, that I've goddamn killed her, that she can't take any more, as I plead, wait, wait until tomorrow.

I don't know if it's the time of the month or the time of our lives, but this is the worst day of mine, right down to that day last spring, when at least I had family, my mother. The worst day.

Why does she keep calling me up? She keeps asking me to look at her. Then she turned out the light and left, told me to shower and do my homework. She spoke in a voice neither warm nor cold, like the voice you use when struggling with voice recognition, a tired, mechanical voice.

In the basement, I won't turn on the light. Maybe a spider will come out of the darkness and bite me and I'll die. Or maybe the water heater will explode again, really blow, this time, and I'll die all but alone in the basement, burn all the way up.

I won't say I want for these things to happen. Just that they might. It's possible. Then, what would I do? I wonder what would happen. I think maybe when you die you relive your life, over and over again. That wouldn't be so bad. I'd be happy again, as I was happy once. As I was happy for a long time. For the longest time. And happy as I was last spring.

Now I feel like throwing up again. Strange, how pain turns itself to nausea for me, always has. And I'm thinking fragmentally, in ten different languages at once, like colours sifting out of a prism.

You know, I read that file. I watched those tapes. I know the problems I had as a little one, the problems I still have. I laughed at them. I acted like they didn't bother me. But they did. All week, I've tried to apologize, though I'm not sure how I can. I've tried to apologize for having been what I was, the child I was. But...

She just said they did it because they loved me. And I don't know where that leaves us now; perhaps merely exhausted, perhaps something more. She tells me, these are your problems, not mine, don't you dare pin your problems on me. No. I won't. My problems are mine alone. If anything, I pin yours on me, because I read that file.

I read that file. I'm sorry.

August 26, 2006

Geography 911

"Is Russia bigger than the U.S.?"

When my mother asked this, I dutifully selected my favourite atlas and returned to the room for a little Geography Lesson. I was glad I did so. My mother is an intelligent woman, but she also happens to be a woman who cares very little for learning for learning's sake. Anyhow, some disturbing comments:

"Where's Africa?"

"Egypt's in Africa?!"

"You can diss the U.S. all you want, but no one else lives like we do. How is that, we're not that big?"

"So there's Norway..."

Again and again, I showed her the places that we went as a family, roughly traced the extents of empires, narrated the silk road and Hannibal's crossing of the Alps. I said it before; she's a smart lady. I could almost see her putting the pieces together. I guess it just goes to show that you can take nothing, not even Geography, for granted.

August 24, 2006

Music and Trees

Everythings so pointless and vaguely depressing. I know everything will get better, but I can't help but feeling... Like maybe it won't. Maybe it's a human disease. How can I explain it?

It's like Music, right? We like Music, but do we like it every day, every minute, as we seem to? Or is it just that we can't find silence, and so we figure we might as well cover their noise with noise of our own choosing? Sometimes, you know, I crave the silence and the quiet, but there are always sirens and car horns and 141 and the horrid Saint Louis Cicada's, saying, it seems, "Hey-a, Hey-a... Why-a, Why-a..." from dinnertime to midnight.

And then theres trees. They're as beautiful as they always were, but they just... depress me. This tree has too few leaves, this one too few branches, this one has that awful disease with the tumours spread out on its twigs, this one is just perfect, just familiar, but someday it will change, this one is tall and beautiful and I can't even comprehend it.

I want to change my life so completely that it doesn't even occur to me to look back and cry for what was good and what was bad, both. I'm so tired of remembering.


The richness of Spanish for palabrotas or swearing is unmatched on the planet, according to most who witness it . In general the word for 'to shit upon' serves to link any series of resonant combinations. It starts with the reflexive ME cago - I shit - EN something . Like " Me cag(o)en tu puta madre" or "me cago en tu muerto o tu puta muerto". Or on all your dead (family) - "me cag' en todos tus muertos" or on the saints, etc.

A specially common colloquialism acceptable between thirsty men of even an education, but under temporary release from pomposity, would be to say "Me cag' en La Virgen (v)amos a tomar una cerveza" .

The most normal working man , with a family and a church , can easily and shamelessly shit on the virgin and all the saints at once ("la Virgen y todos los santos" if he receives sudden unexpected work-pain.

- Somewhere on the Web, it closed itself kindly... :(

Tall Kid

After the Fire Drill I was waiting to get back in the classroom. The only other one there was this absolutely enormous black kid. I mean, he must have been six and a half feet tall. He's certainly the tallest in the class. When I saw the size difference, I suddenly felt very dizzy and almost as if I had to throw up.

Beating the Heat

I came inside to the air conditioning at Lunch. It was simply too hot out in the Peace Garden. I meet Layla at the Salad Bar and narrate my woes to her sympathetic ears. I explain that I need to date some male from, say, Sub-Saharan Africa, because I find myself fleeing sun and seeking cold, literally dreaming of snow when the slightest sweat appears on my skin. She laughs, but has to admit that it's not a problem for her.

"Actually," She says, "I don't mind hot, dry, searing heat."

"Well, Layla." I say, "Wouldn't that make sense considering where your from?"

"Well, I guess so..."

"Now see, I don't know where I'm from, so I don't have any real foundation there."

"Do you really not know where you're from?"

"They tell me Scottish, English, Irish, French, Native American, something Mediterranean, probably in that order. Most likely why I find the idea of ethnicity so romantic. Anyhow, I might as well wait until Spring to find my African, eh? We're almost at the tipping point, one wasted summer later..."

August 22, 2006

"F" For "Freak"

"If you fall under Liberal or Authoritarian, mark "L" for "Liberal". If you fall under Conservative or Libertarian, mark "C" for "Conservative." If you fall under Moderate, mark "M" for Moderate...

All day was full of political tests to mark where our opinions put us. I was amazed by how liberal I've become... I got a score of -60 on a scale where 0 was Moderate and the negatives were to the left. The class ran a nice gambit, though, from 30 to -80, and at in the Honours Coursesl the Conservatives are few and far between, so we were lucky to have that 30. Anyhow, I was fourth as far as Liberal went; First Andrew, who you can never tell if he truly believes in that or if he's just pushing pot, then Christy and Layla (She and I had nearly identical scores), then me.

But on the next test, there were five areas; Liberal, Conservative, Moderate, Libertarian, Authoritarian. So he gave us the above speech.

"But, Mr. Chazen, what if you're on the line between Liberal and L..."

"I'll get to that! Okay, if you're on the line between Moderate and Authoritarian or Moderate and Liberal, mark ML. Vice Versa, mark MC. Now, compare your labels with the last survey..."

"Um, I don't have a label yet."

"... What are you?"

"I'm on the line between Liberal and Libertarian."

"What? How the hell can you be on a line between Liberal and Libertarian?"

*Examination of Sheet, Results Found to Be Legit*

"Okay, mark "F" for "Freak.""

*Scores of Laughter*

Is that an option on Facebook?

(P.S. For all those wondering, Freak Status can be achieves by following nearly consistantly liberal personal-social attributes, and half heartedly following conservative fiscal attributes.)

August 19, 2006

New Desktop Background

Everything Dies

Now our luck may have died and our love may be cold but with you forever I'll stay,
We're goin' out where the sand's turnin' to gold so put on your stockin's baby 'cause the night's getting cold,
And everything dies baby that's a fact,
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back...

- Atlantic City, Bruce Springsteen

August 18, 2006

Where Summer Left Me

I wondered how the summer would leave me. Well, it's left me with a quite altered personality. According to everyone I'm more mature, it's evident I'm more reflective, a little quieter. Those make it sound as though the change is for the better; I cannot tell. My moods are also not as stable as they once were; while they're not quite at the level one might classify, "Swings", they are, perhaps, "Mood Tilts".

Those who I used to consider rather close friends are now prone to boring or annoying me at intervals, at no fault of their own. I simply find their jokes no longer funny, their energy no longer catching. Half a year ago I had four people I had the potential to become good friends with, save one obstacle, and three best friends. The situations with the four have not shifted, my three best friends have each left me, in their own ways.

This leaves me with a simultaneous loneliness, desire to be alone, and desire to branch out so fully that I depend not in the least on any one person or relationship.

I still feel inspired to take on big projects, and to talk to new people. I have a desire to take on the problem of our schools Latin Curriculum; have even done some research to my ends, and to promote the establishment of a Foreign Language Honors Society at West. I was excited to recieve two postcards in the mail earlier this week (total count now 5!) and to discover I had a foreign exchange student from Italy, a foreign exchange student from Brazil, and a girl who just moved from Brazil all in my Math Class! It almost makes Math Class worth it, and I have have talked with two of them now at some length. I feel like getting to know everyone, my shyness seems to have evaporated.

It's strange. I care what others think about me, but mostly with anger at them. Seeing girls whispering and darting their eyes to their friends, about me, perhaps, or about freshmen, or about some guy, or some girl who was their friend yesterday... It fills me with the foretaste of rage and then fades into deep disgust. I want out of that entire world, but at the same time, I don't care. I feel greatly as if they don't matter. Talk about me. Go ahead.

Strangely enough, the group of people I respect enough to value their opinions has shrunken to awful proportions. And my parents made the cut, believe it or not. As did most of my teachers (roughly 75%), and nearly all of the other adults I'm close to. The group of high school and college students I value, however, is pathetic, considering that I probably wouldn't meet my own requirements.

Teenagers all go through periods of finding themselves, but it's strange. I don't feel as though I have searched; I feel as though I have awoken to find that I am changed, for the better or the worse, and it is nearly strange to me. When I am with an old friend or in an old place, echoes of my former feelings pass through my mind, but they are also foreign to me.

I feel alernatively like taking on the whole world and the whole school with everything I have, and like going into my room and shutting my door and learning the world inside and out through the safe windows of books, and like taking a long, long walk into the august sunset, tracing the rays of the vanishing sun to the west and beyond.

And that's where summer left me.

More Words

Rubber Policeman
Me Permite...
Estaba Ausente
Verbo con Cambios
Entre Paréntesis
Entre Comillas
Dos Puntos
Un Punto de Admiración
Punto y Coma
Del Género Masculino
Del Género Feminino
Gut Gelaunt
Schlecht Gelaunt
Der Sohn
Die Tochter
Der Zwilling
Das Kind
Das Hobby, Hobbys
Die Leichtathletik

As class imposed vocab lists come upon me, my 'just for fun' languages will have to wait until I have a minute to spare... :P Spanish today focused on Grammar and Punctuation related words, while German confused me by putting the words for "Discus Throw" and "Son" in the same vocab list and level... o.O

P.S. - It's the weekend, so I'll be able to do some real blogging soon. :)

August 17, 2006

First Five

Well, the homework in German tonight was to read the first five pages of the book, and I was ambitious. So I wrote down all the words I didn't know on the first scan. Then, I went back, and used word parts I already knew, sometimes taking words apart, and made my best guess at their meanings. Finally, I looked them up, although in one or two cases the dictionary didn't have the word. Results:

beliebteste - (be-liebt-este) - Most beloved - Most popular
Reiseziel - (Reise - ziel) - Travel - Destination
zahlreichen - (zahl - reich - en) - Empire - Numerous
barocken - Baroque - Baroque
malerischen - Picturesque
Forstwirtschaft - (Forst - wirt - schaft) - Forest...?
wichtig - Relevant
zunehmend - Increasingly
Rolle - Role? - Role
Lüftmalerei - (Lüft - Malerei) - Air Picture - ?
Gasthaus - (Gast - Haus) - Guest House - Inn, Hotel
Zwiebelturm - (Zwiebel - turm) - ? - Onion Steeple, Tower
Halstuch - Bandanna, Scarf


Here are my words to learn and or review today:


First Day of School

Oye! Guess who's an upperclassman? Yes, I'm wearing pink, and yes, I had homework last night. They mailed it to us. Catcher and the Rye essay. But I've gotten quick at that kind of thing; nailed it in an hour flat.

My schedule this year includes Altadonna for Spanish 4 (She's hard, but I actually want a tough teacher in Spanish... and, she's nice. ^^), Keller for Honours Chemistry (Even Mrs. Kiser gave me one of those looks.... O.O), and Trieschman for English. (The unprecedented horror!)

However, I bridge in; first semester I have such easy classes as "Walking for Fitness" and "Business Management", whereas after Christmas I trade those in for "Honours Government" and "Advanced Placement Honours Government and Politics.". The second one is basically a college class; I get a college credit on it if I pass the big test thingy at the end. O.O We'll see. Anyhow, I don't know how one can have Honours and AP together, but the computer seemed to sanction it, so...

Wish me luck, all! :D

August 15, 2006

Favourite Songs

I've decided that these are my three favourite songs:

Suteki Da Ne - Rikki
Vi Er Ett - Lion King II :P
The River - Bruce Springsteen

For your listening pleasure, since it seems legal to download music if it's attached to a video file:

Suteki Da Ne - Rikki

Vi Er Ett - Lion King II :P
I just love the Norwegian version of this song! I know it's disney and corny but I like it. :)

The River - Bruce Springsteen
Never mind the animation, but the sound will give you a bare idea... it's so much better if you can nab the acoustic live version from Live 1975-1985 (Disc 3) by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. It's my favourite rendition; not as bad as some live versions, but this is a song that works better emotionally than crystal clear. It's brilliant in that version, still wonderful in others... :D Remember; With Springsteen, it's 60% lyrics, 40% music... You can forgive the voice, it doesn't have any weight to carry. ;)

August 14, 2006

Mrs. Burroughs

I went to help Mrs. Burroughs last week, mostly to get caught up, and also because I got school service hours. First day, I plugged in computers. The cords were tangled up with themselves and live spider webs... not fun. But, I eventually worked it all out and even got them all prettily organized, rubber banded together, and out of the way of middle schoolers feet. After that I cleaned Cabinets. These are the things I found in Mrs. Burroughs's stuff: Photos from a 1995 pioneer day, boxes of cereal that expired in 2002, empty sugar packets, 20 pairs of headphones that traced their evolution since probably the 80's, and several unopened thank you notes. I made it all very lovely. After that she had me design a board. The theme was imagination, and she asked me if I remembered how to draw fairies and stuff. I did, so I drew one; not the most beautiful piece of work, but sound, and with several creative touches like the folds of her cape opening up to reveal a subtle night sky complete with bats' eyes winking in the darkness. Then, we wanted a quote on imagination. We were having a hard time finding one that suited our fancy... actually went to and typed it in as a keyword. I came across an old friend...

"Love is the Triumph of Imagination over Intelligence.

- H. L. Menken"

Wouldn't you know, she fell in love with that one? We put it up on the board, along with an 'about the artist' section, which she wrote mostly to flatter me. :P Even made me sign it. After that we went to Duffy's... they have a good french dip, amazing burgers (I wouldn't know), and (I would know) one of the best Caesar Salad's I've ever had, second only to The One at Wal-Mart, and The Ones in Curacao, which after all were my first so they might be ineligible.

The roof leaked so bad over the summer there that it's looking like one of the inner city schools shown on Oprah! But, the staff is solid, and the building will recover. The library Carpet may have to be completely redone, though... when working on the roof, some tar fell through in a giant staining explosion. As if that wasn't bad enough, someone stepped in it and tracked dark as stamp footprints through the library; as clear as if they were made to be there. All stains... I said,

"Wouldn't you notice that much tar getting stuck to your foot?"

A laugh. Mrs. Lelonek, the principal; "That's one of your gifted students, isn't it?"

"Yes." Mrs. Burroughs says.

"Who is that?"

"Miss Miranda M-------." A man says; a man I wouldn't have expected to know any of my names. He was the Seventh Grade Principal when I was in Eighth. The first two years, everyone remembers you. After that, no promises. Mrs. Burroughs will likely always remember me, and Mrs. Reenstjerna, and most of the foreign language department should for sometime. But the others? Take Mrs. Burkes, my counsellor all three years. She squinted as she walked past me once, then said,

"Miranda? Is that you?" The second time. Barely knew me, and I went to her more often then the average student. Then Mr. Booger (As Stina called her Principal) knew me... That is the way thing's go...

I've written of Mrs. Burroughs' tree lady before... I heard a great deal about everything at Oxford, including that woman, all over again. Fascinating stuff. Mrs. Burroughs loves it there. She's wondering what she's doing still at West Middle... probably won't be there much longer. Will either teach Theology at the University level, or else be ordained as a priest. (Not a Catholic one, though, she's not that radical.) She's working on yet another higher education degree... and I swear she'll never be out of school. These are the new things I've learned about England: The pepper is awful, even ruins scrambled eggs, Italians touring there are talented at singing "Yellow Submarine," and he hall at Christ Church has famous paintings that you find on Google Image Search in it... the originals. And here are the things I've learned about the Tree Lady herself: She is at least 300 years old (Mrs. Burroughs' own words...), she enjoys eating only ice cream for dinner, and she won't let anyone photograph her. With Mrs. Burrough's having spent the summer in Oxford, and Layla in Harvard, I'm feeling downright uncultured, don't you know it!

She begged me to come back the next day, although I had to babysit at 11 and head out of town afterwards. So I did, especially as the kid got sick and I got out of babysitting. I was there on time, at 8: turned on her lights, tried to call her, poked around, waited for a half hour, had her paged, waited for a half hour, tried to call her again, asked to help Mrs. Meldrum, got redirected to Mrs. Van Winkle, helped her for a while cleaning and reorganizing the Honour Roll Display Case. She was an odd lady but had a neat taste in music. All chanting and etc. She was also obsessed with fonts; had far more than my 700. O.O Wow!

After all that... turns out Mrs. Burroughs was just being lazy and poking around the building. But how can you even get mad? She just says, "I'm glad you're here!" We finished the board and then went for Ice Cream. Maggie Moo's... The best ever. Just like at Duffy's, she wouldn't let me pay. They didn't have Chocolate Raspberry, which I tried last time and loved, so I gave Cinnamon a go... Wow! Also, Mrs. Burroughs got cream flavoured with fresh strawberries mixed in... that was exquisite too...

Then, when I was poking around the school, it was just littered with memories. Some were mine and some preceded us, some followed. The stairway, for instance; some of the panels there were of periods in art, starting with the cavemen and working their way to modern squares and etc. They did a few of those per year, drawn by students, and the year I was there they asked two of my friends; Laura Berrong, and Brooke Weaver (See: Amazing Artist), to paint "Down Staircase" and "Up Staircase" signs, respectively. How familiar they were! I watched them sketched and painted, week by week, in art club, with Mr. Taylor! And what a rich bowl of memories that dips into!

But alas, that was everywhere. It's funny to see the marks of your life and those who lived with you; in the form of younger siblings or in handprints left behind. I got the strange feeling that we were legends, in some small way, for of course we were. Part of us is still there.

And another thing about legends, although maybe this doesn't apply... There's something about living and working with them, too. You don't have to be the legend yourself; in fact, then, you can hardly see yourself living and growing, you know? I may be famous for foreign language, but I am as fond of Brooke's art, and Charles' math (he taught himself Calculus in sixth grade), and Layla's GPA (5.0). I love them... And so I love the Middle School, for all it's imperfections and tar spots, for being a stepping stone in our lives.

And who exemplifies that more than our own Mrs. Burroughs?

August 08, 2006

South American Fantasy

Today was a day of major planning for the South American Fantasy.

I've set up two cultures, not fully, but a little. Again, I'm trying for the whole 'seperate but equal' thing, on the other hand the people who start out seeming uglier and savage turn out to be a little more reasonable.

I'm also telling it from the POV (third person, but limited) of two people who are, at least in the beginning of the conflict, only minimally involved and unimportant. That means that the stuff that happens with the king and queen and whatever will mostly be told through rumours, etc. I might add more POV's as I write, possibly even one or two of the royals, but their conflict are only part of the story.

I've spent about 3 hours weeding through my Quechua English dictionary finding good names. Several things have two names, one from each culture, although the share a language. For instance, while both call the rainforest Yunka, the people who live below call the cloud forest the "Wayra Munti" which is something of, "Forest of fog, mist, and the wind that carries disease, death, and evil spirits in it's wake.", and the people who live in the cloud forest call it "Sach'a", which is just a rather pretty word for forest.

I should start writing a bit tomorrow...

August 07, 2006

The Wonders of Wal Mart

I did a little shopping today. For the school year. I got rice cakes in brown sugar cinnamon and kettle corn flavours, three kinds of cheese crackers, soup-in-hand tomato and chicken noodle soup, potato crisps, ramen with shrimp, ramen with chicken, pretzal and peanut butter sandwiches, cinnamon sugar and garlic herb pita chips, french bread garlic crisps, snyder's garlic pretzal nibblers, three cheese parmesan, 1% organic milk, vanilla malted milk, wisconsin summer sausage, mild chedder, town house crackers, vegetable beef soup, chicken noodle soup, minestrone soup, clam chowder, shrimp bisque, popcorn shrimp, frozen garlic shrimp, orange roughy, cod, garlic herb alfredo sauce, angel hair pasta, bow tie pasta, garlic bow ties, spinich alfredo noodles, thai peanut chicken, curry chicken rice bowl, lemon grass chicken rice bowl, and peanut butter chocolate kisses. 30 packs of unlined index cards, 29 colours of full sized sharpies, 10 plain pocket folders, 5 design pocket folders, 58 plain college ruled notebooks, 5 colours of highlighters, 35 mechanical pencils, 3 red pens, 10 blue pens, 10 black pens, 36 colours of coloured pencil, and college ruled notebook paper.

Lovely lesson in memory retrieval, just there.

Anyhow after that I had some time, so I walked around looking for interesting people. One woman speaking German on her cell phone, two women in saris, one mexican family, three old asian ladies, a teenage girl with an afro (albeit a tame one). Then, a jackpot; a whole family of... I don't even know what! The men had funny hats, badly managed beards, and robes, the girls had robe-like things too, no hoods, and the little girl of about 4 was just gorgeous, and smiled at me! :D They were talking really fast, and the language was just filled with laterals and didn't sound as harsh as arabic.

Sometimes I feel like I'm being creepy or something, but I love it! I love it! I love people, and the world, and that I can find a bit of it at Wal-Mart...

Brilliant Disguise

I hold you in my arms
as the band plays
What are those words whispered baby
just as you turn away
I saw you last night
out on the edge of town
I wanna read your mind
To know just what I've got in this new thing I've found
So tell me what I see
when I look in your eyes
Is that you baby
or just a brilliant disguise

I heard somebody call your name
from underneath our willow
I saw something tucked in shame
underneath your pillow
Well I've tried so hard baby
but I just can't see
What a woman like you
is doing with me
So tell me who I see
when I look in your eyes
Is that you baby
or just a brilliant disguise

Now look at me baby
struggling to do everything right
And then it all falls apart
when out go the lights
I'm just a lonely pilgrim
I walk this world in wealth
I want to know if it's you I don't trust
'cause I damn sure don't trust myself

Now you play the loving woman
I'll play the faithful man
But just don't look too close
into the palm of my hand
We stood at the alter
the gypsy swore our future was right
But come the wee wee hours
Well maybe baby the gypsy lied
So when you look at me
you better look hard and look twice
Is that me baby
or just a brilliant disguise

Tonight our bed is cold
I'm lost in the darkness of our love
God have mercy on the man
Who doubts what he's sure of

- Bruce Springsteen, Tunnel of Love, Brilliant Disguise

Winter Blues

... And I thought Stian was kidding about them sitting about with bright lights shining in their faces...

August 06, 2006

Catch Phrase

A few priceless quotes from the girl scout sleepover, most of them from the game Catch Phrase, where you have just seconds to get your teammates to guess a word based on other words you feed them:

Kate: You download it...
Miranda: Music! Porn!
Kelling: Email?
Kate: No, you get it on your computer!
Miranda: Virus! Games!
Kelling: ... Internet?
Kate: It's not hard!
Miranda's thoughts: Soft porn?
Kate: It's the opposite of hard!
Miranda: Ooooh, Software, right...

Liz: On the phone, the part you bring up to your ear...
Miranda: Hose! (The motions she was making, I swear...)

Christina: Forest's a daddy now. His fianceé just had a baby boy.
Miranda: Forest, Forest? (He was a guy we used to rp with...)

Miranda: It has the everglades! It's a peninsula!
*Blank Stares from Kate and Kelling*
Kate: Oooh, you should have said like Miami and Destin or something...

Miranda: I can't talk right now. I'm at a party.
Austin: Oh, I'm sorry. I'll call back later.
Miranda: We're playing Pokemon Monopoly.
Austin: I'll definitely call back later.

Miranda: Did you ever have to watch those Inspector Gadget films Mrs. Bechtold had? The one where he goes to Egypt and he's imitating a camel with a long neck, and he's undulating?
Gwen: Oh, the joys of a large vocabulary.

Kelling: It's a kind of computer... It's not a mac...
Miranda: PC!
Kate: Laptop!
Kelling: No...
Miranda and Kate: ...
Mary (on other team): Oh for God's sake Kelling, say "Bill Gates!"

Christina: So after work, I was trying to find the keyhole, and I had to call someone else and be like "Help, I can't find the keyhole, where is it!" and she was like...
Miranda: Where the Thrush Knocks?

And the Night's Best Quote:

Christina: If you're not dead, you're...
Gwen: Dying!

TriMo Update

5,218 words. :D Not too shabby... not too shabby...

Greek to Me

Right. So I've got the Alphabet down. I can say it all the way through, I can recognize the letters by name and sound, and I've got the vowel and consonant combinations (which are rather confusing, to be honest) all but down. There are still some letters that prevent me from reading words as a whole (as opposed to sounding them out), and those are, of course, the awful letters that look like one and are another. I've gotten used to "v" being "n", but not so much the "n" (with tail) being "i". X pretending to be H can get annoying, too, especially since theres this word, alarming in it's false simplicity, written "Xaipete". No scary letters, but believe you me, it's pronounced, "Harete".

Yes, the "p" pretends to be an "r", but the only time that catches me is when I'm still recovering from something hard like a capital "ksi". I know the misleading letters, but I can't see and feel them yet. It makes sense, as I have 10 years of conditioning the first way, and 2 days of the second. And capital letters take a good half a second longer to remember; not much unless youre going for reading proficiency. (Always the goal with an alphabet, of course). Getting there, though...

At that point, I started working on the first chapter of the book. It's pretty dense, for a "Teach Yourself" title. One page had no less than 5 or 6 ways to say hello and 6 or 7 ways to say goodbye. Actually, that part was confusing enough that they included a table showing times of day on the y axis and whether it was a greeting, farewell, or response on the x axis. Too bad I didn't see that until I had made the flashcards and incorrectly labled "Have a Good Afternoon." as "Good Afternoon."

All in all though, things have been progressing decently. It's not easy, but neither is it hard. Perhaps my new standard, a middle road? "Harder than Greek!" implies hair tearing, and "Easier than Greek!" implies easy afternoons lazily adding word after word to my mental ghlossia. :D I think that line of thinking puts French right on the easy side of Greek, and Latin right on the hard side. But I have yet to delve very deeply into two of those three... Scary Thought.

Rain Forests

My easy story was basically boring me, so I'm changing it. I will keep whatever I can, but the story's setting will be moved to a South American-esque world from a European esque world. Lovely, no? :P So, I spent a few hours today researching Rain Forests and Cloud Forests. Some interesting facts:

At least 80% of the developed world's diet originated in the tropical rainforest. Its bountiful gifts to the world include fruits like avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, bananas, guavas, pineapples, mangos and tomatoes; vegetables including corn, potatoes, rice, winter squash and yams; spices like black pepper, cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar cane, tumeric, coffee and vanilla and nuts including Brazil nuts and cashews.

The life force of the Amazon rainforest is the mighty Amazon River. It starts as a trickle high in the snow-capped Andes Mountains and flows more than 4,000 miles across the South American continent until it enters the Atlantic Ocean at Belem, Brazil, where it is 200 to 300 miles across, depending on the season. Even 1,000 miles inland it is still 7 miles wide. The river is so deep that ocean liners can travel up its length to 2,300 miles inland. The Amazon River flows through the center of the rainforest and is fed by 1,100 tributaries, 17 of which are more than 1,000 miles long. The Amazon is by far the largest watershed and largest river system in the world occupying over 6 million square kilometers. Over two-thirds of all the fresh water found on Earth is in the Amazon Basin's rivers, streams, and tributaries.More than 2,000 species of fish have been identified in the Amazon Basin - more species than in the entire Atlantic Ocean.

The climb up the mountainside brings a gradual change in vegetation, which signifies changes in soil, precipitation levels and temperature as well. At each altitudinal floor there are dominant plants that indicate another ecological life zone. At one level, a plant related to bamboo, called jimilile, grows so dense that it becomes difficult to travel through it. At another level grows a palm with a edible flower called pacaya. At yet another level, an abundances of mosses and fog give visitors the feeling that they're in a Dracula movie.

August 05, 2006

1001 Natural Wonders

I just got a book called 1001 Natural Wonders (And some bit about them being things you have to see before you die, but come on. If you are rich and travel obsessed, you might be able to go for 100-150.) Still, it's a beautiful book with inspiring pictures. Even on Google Image Search the pictures aren't as breathtaking. :D I think I'll post some of my favourites when I get around to it.

Ellesmere Island: Nunavut, Canada

The first entry in the book, Ellesmere is the 10th largest island in the world. It is filled with "undulating ice fields, rugged gray black mountains, and boulder strewn glaciers." It has the midnight sun and the polar winter, and, get this, fjords! There are only three settlements on it.

Another Day

Give me another day, and I'll be reading Greek. :D I've got the basic alphabet, still working on combinations. See what I can do?

Alfa, vita, ghama, dhelta, epsilon, zita, ita, thita, yota, kapa, lamdha, mi, ni, ksi, omnikron, pi, ro, sigma, taf, ipsilon, fi, hi, psi, omega!

I am Alpha and Omega. How tacky would that sound today? I am A and I am Z. Like a bad rap song. :P So, I've learned all those sounds, too. :D

Also, the more I look at the two stories, the more I lean towards the harder one, because really, I just feel lazy doing the other. I still like a few of the ideas, and would like to do a slightly more typical (for me) story, in multiple limited third person, with fantasy and the whole bit. But I'm going to make it fun by, at the very least, setting the basic plot and fun charector's I've designed into a unusual setting. We'll see...

Finally, I've pretty much mastered parts of the body in Spanish. Unless you're a doctor and need the names of bones or glands, I probably have it. I admit, that actually, I need to look up Jaw and Toenail, but I have everything else ranging from hand to liver and as specific as belly, abdomen, bowels, and stomach. Hurrah. ^^ Flash Cards all the way.

August 04, 2006

Rush Hour Greek

Dad: "You're in."

Greece is a go ahead.

Here are the words I know in Greek: Oreo, Hydro, Nike, Stefana, Polis, Philosophia

That won't get me too far.

In 45 minutes I'll be at Borders buying all the Greek Instruction books 70$ will buy. :D

Mark: "But what about midOctober team playoffs?"

Too bad for him. :P He's just jealous.

I've picked my overnight flight reading: The Iliad and the Odyssey.

August 03, 2006


No one will actually read this. :P It is long and rambly and probably of little interest to anyone else. Ah well, for me, then, for records.

I have figured it out. It is perfect. I will write a dreamy peace, five or six paragraphs long, only slightly more realistic than the prologue, for each of four seasons, Canis Arianna's first awkward year in Valencia. Yay for run on sentances. But anyway,

This is what I was looking for! Hurrah! I just felt like writing a piece about being in a field, and looking at flowers, and I started the piece with "It is Spring", and then things made perfect sense.

The summer is Canis' first impression of the city. Everything is loud, and smelly, and crowded, and hot: It's the perfect season to show the extent of her culture shock in moving to a hotter climate.

The fall is Canis learning, still rather astounded at the differences in her two worlds. This spares me from writing dialogue for a girl with almost no control of the language. She will still be making mistakes a year later, when the regular prose begins, but she'll be able to get her point across.

The winter is Arianna (Her name changes about this time) having some weather she is more familiar with, and also having bonded more with Dania. However, she is far from comfortable this season as... well, either her father will return or he will show up for the first time. She may also get to meet her two 'lovely' half sisters and rather distant half brother, depending on whether or not I want that to happen in normal prose or not.

The spring is a brief scene, showing an Arianna who is coming to terms with her new culture, but also slightly disagrees with it and rebels in little ways. The Southlands are very much with her even as she has become fairly adapted to her new world.

Honestly, as much as I'd like to have all that family stuff happen during the winter, I don't think I will. She may see these people briefly but not be introduced to them, or some such. I think the best place for me to put her meeting her father is between the prologue and the seasons, but Summer actually happens in the minutes before she meets her father. There's a chance I can still get away with it, but I'll have to ask around. At any rate, I want meetings to be in prose.

Gah! Now I feel like my solution has raised more questions! But, they are smaller; it's breaking a big problem into little ones, I guess, and even those have a smaller total size. So yay. I'm getting somewhere... Besides, what happens to her when she is little is probably remembered, years later, as rather dreamlike. So it works. I just have to figure out what to do with the meeting with her father, which I rather like, and a few other scenes that will be hard to hammer into my new framework. We shall see...

Also, today was the third day of TriMo, and I got 601 words, a little above the daily average, and a good bit of breakthrough planning. :D

Dan-De-Lion Pissenlit

The name dandelion is a derivation of the Old French, dent-de-lion, literally "lion's tooth" on account of the sharply lobed leaves of the plant. In German it's called Löwenzahn, which translated lion's tooth. In modern French the plant is called pissenlit, "urinate in bed", referring to its diuretic properties. Likewise, "pissabeds" is an English folkname for this plant, "piscialletto" in Italian and "meacamas" In Spanish (otherwise known as "diente de león", lion's tooth).

- Wikipedia

August 02, 2006

Home Stretch

16 days left in summer... Is that good or bad? I can't quite say. I want to get back into Spanish and German, I want to try out Government and Business class, and I want to start seeing my friends and interacting with a wide variety of human beings on a daily basis again. But, getting up early, PreCalc (is that what Math I'm taking?), and Chemistry 2 and 3 are welcome to postpone themselves indefinitely. English... Well, it's a toss up. Could be great, could be a semester from hell. Depends on the teacher, really. Trieschman's a recognized evil, so I have about a 10% chance of liking her. The other teacher's a complete unknown, so that's about 50%. That gives me a 30% chance of liking my English teacher. Gah!

Anyhow, this has, undeniably, been the worst summer of my life. The horrors need not extend into this school year, however, and with three fun trips and at least three fun classes ahead, I'll hope for the best!

TriMo Second Day

I have permission to split my word count between the two pieces. So far I have 2,340 words in the Easy One, and 300 words in the Hard One. So, that's going well. :D

August 01, 2006

TriMo First Day

Today's the first day of TriMo! Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? You write 50,000 words in one month. One of my forum writing communities has a similar, but less excruciating, challenge of 50,000 words in three months. I signed up. And... today was the first day! I want to be vastly ahead of schedule going into school, so when real life intervenes, I'll have a security system. I don't know yet whether I'm allowed to spead the word count between my really challenging first person memoir style piece and my rather simple just for fun fantasy piece, but I hope so, because otherwise I'll have to pick between making it more of a challenge than I have time for and making it an almost lazy experiance.

Anyhow, I started out today by starting the easier story, where I managed 1,730 words this morning. The actual average you should have a day is 556, so suffice to say I'm ahead of schedule right at the starting gate. But for how long? :P