Friday, June 7, 2013

Hey, it's been a while, hasn't it??

Yeah, just a little while...
So, here's the scoop. I'm starting another blog in addition to this one (because I totally have time for that, right?) and it's a Christian/Catholic theology blog using movie references to illustrate stuff. Pretty cool, huh?
Anyway, it's something I've been kinda wanting to do for a while now, so it'd be great if you guys would deign to follow/subscribe/join/read/add/whatever it.
Oh, link!

And don't worry, I'll still be posting on this blog occasionally, about writing and random stuff. The other one is more professional and specific.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mind-blowing events

The last week has been rather... Eventful.

Firstly, HABEMUS PAPAM!!! Viva Papa Francisco!!!!
We have the first-ever pope named Francis! Mind=blown.
We have the first-ever Jesuit pope! Mind=blown.
We have a pope who loves everybody he meets, and isn't afraid to take off unattended in the streets of Rome. Mind=blown.
And the minds of the Swiss Guard and the Secret Service=blown×1000. Poor guys, they are constantly terrified.

Speaking of the Swiss Guard... The pope is officially the coolest person on the face of the earth (not exaggerating), but the Swiss Guard are officially the second-coolest. There's no one remotely like the Swiss Guard. You don't mess with the Swiss Guard. Because they're the Swiss Guard, that's why.

Also, the pope's Latin title is Pontifex Maximus. That's Latin for "the greatest bridge-maker." He makes a bridge between Heaven and earth. Mind=blown.

Lastly, on a completely unrelated note, Evelyn Waugh was a man.
Evelyn Waugh.

P. S. Here is the Swiss Guard. They are mindbogglingly cool. I dare you to disagree.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vale, Benedictus XVI!

(I sure hope that was correct Latin.)

Anyway. Pope Benedict XVI resigned today, which means that there are approximately 1.2 billion Catholics roaming the earth with no Pontiff. Scary, right? But it'll all be fine, because they've always elected a new one, usually pretty quickly. I mean, excepting the time when Clement IV died in 1268, and the cardinals took, like, three years to decide, because there was major disagreement among the cardinals, plus nasty politics from the leaders of various countries who were all clamoring for religious power, etc. Long story short, somebody finally locked all the cardinals in a building and took the roof off, so they would get rained on until they made a decision. You know, desperate times calling for desperate measures and all that.
But that hopefully won't happen again, since nowadays the cardinals are treated civilly, but are not allowed to talk to any unauthorized personnel or watch/read/listen to any media until they've made a decision. They're supposed to decide without any outside interference. That's why it's called a conclave. Conclave is a cool word. It comes from the Latin for "with a key" or something. I know, I know, we Catholics can't help being awesome... B-)

Anyway, just thought I'd plop a rather clumsy post out there in appreciation of the pope emeritus (as they call him now).


(That's Italian, not Latin.)

Oh, and here's a thing I made, because I really like Sherlock, and the actor who plays Sherlock is also named Benedict, and I just thought there oughtta be a pic like this.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

10 Book Titles to Amuse and Delight (or Make You Say... What?)

So, another list. These are titles of books that I find to be particularly interesting for various reasons. Enjoy!

1. Hello... This is my Father Speaking. A book I read simply because of the insanity of the title. Shows what a good title can do for a book. The book itself wasn't quite as good as the title, but not terrible; it's a juvenile fiction story about a boy who attempts to play the stock market under his father's identity.

2. The Day my Butt went Psycho! A book I have NOT read, mainly because of the title. 'Nuff said.

3. The View from Saturday. I read this recently because it's a sort of classic, but also because the title sounded interesting. I like the idea of standing on Saturday and looking down the whole week, seeing it all clearly and simply in the relaxing weekend atmosphere. It sounds pleasant, thoughtful, slightly whimsical... And that's what the book turned out to be. It's about four sixth-graders who are connected in somewhat random ways, but become good friends and use their varied knowledge to win the Academic Bowl and solve their personal problems. Very good, in my opinion, but not everyone's type.

4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The first book of a very famous five-book (or six-book, if you count Eoin Colfer's addition) "trilogy". The title sounds brilliantly crazy, and it is brilliantly accurate. Basically, take Doctor Who, add a human version of Bilbo Baggins, and give the whole thing a Dave-Barry- or Eoin-Colfer-ish lunacy, and you have Hitchhiker's. I read it partly for the title's craziness, and was not disappointed. The titles of other books in the series are even better: So Long, And Thanks for all the Fish is probably my favorite title, though my least favorite book of the set.

5. Nobody Plays with a Cabbage. I have yet to read this, but it sounds absolutely wonderfully different from everything. And it's by the same person who wrote The Wheel on the School, if I remember correctly, so that must mean it's good.

6. If Harry Potter Ran General Electric. Another one I haven't read, but I saw it in a bookstore once and probably laughed out loud. It's a nonfiction book about leadership and such, and I'm not sure what Harry Potter has to do with it, but the title certainly gets one's attention, doesn't it?

7. It was on Fire when I Lay Down on It. Again, haven't read. I did read a few essays by the same author, about random things like crayons and gutter-cleaning, all in another wonderfully-titled book called Everything I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Apparently he has had experience with lying down on a smoldering bed and lived to tell the tale. Whether it's true or not, it makes a spiffy-sounding title.

8. The Great Typo Hunt. I read this absolutely because it was sitting there online with that beautiful title with a button next door saying Download. It's about --what else? -- a guy and some friends who travel the country and correct typos. An admirable quest, and a true story. For a book about grammar, it was amazingly interesting, funny, and story-ish. It would also make a great movie, weird as that sounds, but I doubt such a movie will ever be made.

9. I Am the Cheese. Hands down the weirdest book I've ever read. I just wanted to know why this person was calling himself/herself cheese, and, well... I don't recommend it. Unless you like books that make Wuthering Heights look cheery in mood and simple in storyline. It's one of those where you get to the end and just think... What? Which is probably what you think of the title, and definitely what you would think of any plot summary I tried to give, so I won't try.


10. What Do Fish Have to do with Anything? Never read it, but I am curious... What do fish have to do with anything?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Shine-on Something-or-other Award Thingy

So, Spork nominated me for this thing, so I'm going to attempt to do it.

The Shine On Award Rules:
1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you. That would be Spork!!!
2. Post the badge on your blog. It’s pretty. Do it.

3. Answer the questions posed to you. Regardless of how out-of-left-field they may be.

4. Nominate five bloggers who shine a little light in your day and be sure to notify them. Sadly, I only follow Spork on Blogger, but Spork puts a whole lot of light in my day, so she can count as five. :) Maybe I'll do this again whenever I find some more blogs.

5. Issue some questions you’d like them to answer. Well, this is awk, since she already did it. I guess I don't have to ask any new ones this time. I know basically everything about her already, I think...

So, here are the questions I'm supposed to answer:

Favorite recently read book? Hmmm... Probably Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The first three were amazing.
Cake or cookies? Hmmm... I guess cookies. But that's difficult, because it really depends on the cake and cookies.
If there was going to be a 10-ft statue of a carrot in your yard, would you rather it be made of wood or glass? Glass, because things in fairy tales are often made of glass, and the sunlight shining through the glass at different times of day would look really cool, and there's just something beautiful about glass.
Do you prefer sewing, knitting, or crocheting? Ummm... I don't do any of those very often, but I guess I like knitting.
Any skill you're working on or wanting to develop? Writing. Particularly finishing writing an entire book and making it really good. I'm not great at characters' personalities, and I'm also not great at remembering to put villains in the story for some reason, so I'm working on those.
If you could suddenly speak fluently in any language, what would it be? Either German or Italian.
And finally: What brought you into the blogging world? Spork! She blogged and was all cool like that, so I decided to join her. She's cooler than I am, obviously. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

What Too Much Sci-Fi Can Do to a Person

If you read/watch a lot of science fiction, you may notice that in general it makes practically no sense. Every rule has its convenient exceptions, the most basic tenets about the universe are constantly ignored or questioned, and there always seem to be more explosions and life-saving coincidences than real life could possibly support. However, we readerly types know that, buried in this mass of general wibbly-wobbley mish-mash and spacetime-continuum paradoxes, a kernel of beautiful common sense lies. The following is a list of the sci-fi rules one should always follow, no matter where in the universe you are.

1. Always keep a towel with you. Towels can save your life in a million unexpected ways.
2. Turn left.
3. If you come to a door, shoot the control panel. Whether you want the door to close or open, it will. Mostly guaranteed.
4. Don't kiss someone without first making absolutely certain that he/she isn't your long-lost twin.
5. Don't worry if you don't know the language. If anything important is being said, it'll be in English subtitles. Or a translator droid will be handy. Or you can just put a certain type of fish in your ear that will magically translate everything. You know, whatever floats your jet pack.
6. Be careful. Anything could literally explode at any minute. Also, you might be walking into a trap. Also, shortcuts are rarely short and are never a good idea unless you're the adventurous and invincible main character who needs to keep things suspenseful, in which case... Well, things will get suspenseful.
7. If you hear a helicopter, that means somebody's dead. This either means your life is now slightly easier, or it means you've lost your very best friend in the whole universe.
8. Time travel is generally stupid. Seriously, don't go back in time and try to fix things that already happened. But if you do, at least don't go anywhere near your parents.
9. Never Ever Ever Wear a Red Shirt. Red shirts are dangerous.
10. And whatever you do, DON'T BLINK!

May the Force be with you. ;)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Few Thoughts on Writing

Writing is a bit like vomiting. Sometimes you just have to do it and get it over with. It's like there's something deep inside you that needs to come out. And so you get it out, simple as that. Sure, it makes an awful mess, but once you clean it up you find...

Never mind. I'm not sure where that was going. Lesson of the day, kids: some things are better left unblogged.
It has come to my attention that all the writers who have gone before me have left behind quotable bits of wit and wisdom and whimsy for the rest of us to write on chalkboard walls and "like" on Goodreads. That is exceedingly wonderful, but what's depressing about it is that I don't think I've said a single original sentence in my life. Here's how it goes: I have a brilliant thought. I think of a sentence to explain it that sounds incredibly smart and witty. And then I realize, with a noise like the "GAME OVER" sound in a computer game, that someone has said practically that exact same thing before.
Great minds think alike, I tell myself, and then I ask how they got to be great minds if they didn't think differently now and then.
To take some specific examples: I thought to myself one day, "Writing is kind of like schizophrenia. You can have multiple personalities, and nobody cares!" Guess what: someone named E. L. Doctorow already said, "Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." I have often thought to myself, "It's awful, walking around with this story inside me and no computer nearby to type it with." Guess what: Maya Angelou already said, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." And I have thought to myself, several times, hundreds of times, "I have to just keep going if I ever want to get published. I have to just keep at it, and not get bored. I have to just write one word after the other until it's done." And GUESS WHAT: Neil Gaiman already said, "This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy and that hard."
If all these things have already been said, how will I ever get to say anything? I tend to get interrupted quite a bit when I talk aloud, which is, I suppose, part of the reason I took to writing. You'd think writing was a way to talk without being interrupted -- in fact, I had that thought, and in fact, Jules Renard ALREADY SAID, "Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted"-- but in spite of all that, I can't write a single thing that hasn't been already written.
Oh, wait. That thing about vomit -- did anyone else already write it? I should check Goodreads...