Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Easy topic is Hard

This week's topic was actually a struggle for me because my favorite song changes weekly if not daily. I also have a problem of getting bored with the radio because they tend to play the same songs over and over again, so I have these periods where I don't listen to music. And I'm currently in one of those periods.

Anyway, I was in the ice cream shop today and two songs came on the radio that I really like, and I couldn't choose between them. So you get both.

The first song is "A thousand years" by Christina Perri. I know it was written for Twilight, but I can't help myself. It's a very pretty song. I love the tune, the melody, and Perri's voice. I'm not very big on the lyrics, but I love the sound of the song. It moves me every time I hear it. It reminds me a lot of the "The Call" by Regina Spektor, which I also love for pretty much the exact same reasons.

The second song that came on the radio is "50 Ways to Say Goodbye" by Train. I love this song for the lyrics. It's just hilarious and fun. Instead of posting the lyrics, I'm going to give you the music video (with lyrics) because  it's just as fantastic as the lyrics themselves.

Just keep living...

So I'm cutting it close (as I tend to do) but here are the lyrics to yet another Jason Mraz song, also from his album "Love Is a Four Letter Word."

"Living In The Moment"

If this life is one act
Why do we lay all these traps?
We put them right in our path
When we just wanna be free

I will not waste my days
Making up all kinds of ways
To worry about all the things
That will not happen to me

So I just let go of what I know I don't know
And I know I'll only do this by
Living in the moment
Living our life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home
Living in the moment

I'm letting myself off the hook for things I've done
I let my past go past
And now I'm having more fun
I'm letting go of the thoughts
That do not make me strong
And I believe this way can be the same for everyone

And if I fall asleep
I know you'll be the one who'll always remind me
To live in the moment
To live my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home

I can't walk through life facing backwards
I have tried
I tried more than once to just make sure
And I was denied the future I'd been searching for
But I spun around and hurt no more
By living in the moment
Living my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home

I'm living in the moment
I'm living my life
Just taking it easy
With peace in my mind
Got peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Oh, wherever I'm going, I'm already home

I'm living in the moment
I'm living my life
Oh, easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
Peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home
I'm living in the moment

I'll tell you why I love it and it's because to my mind this song is all about trusting God.  
Letting myself off the hook for things I've done: Romans 8:1 
I let my past go past: Philippians 3:13
I will not waste my days...worry[ing] about all those things that will not happen to me: Philippians 4:6-7
So I just let go of what I know I don't know: Matthew 6:32-33
The idea of the entire song as a whole:  Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 4:23 

It's about paying attention to our thoughts and not letting them rule us.  We can have all sorts of thoughts run through our heads on a daily basis that are unhealthy for us.  We have to choose to let the good ones stick and not give the unhealthy ones room to settle.  We can't stop thoughts from popping through our brains, we can only choose to measure them against what we know to be true and to discard thoughts if they prove to be false. The truth is so much greater than the lies we can let ourselves believe.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Long Distance Sucks

So, I have a playlist on my iTunes that's called "Current Obsessive Listening" and it has, oh, eight or ten songs that I'm currently just in love with. The favorite at the moment is Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up," specifically as done by a capella artist Peter Hollens who is brilliant and an astounding musician and you should listen to him here. Like, now.

I Won't Give Up

When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
Well, there's so much they hold

And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

Well, I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it
No, I won't give up

I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake

And in the end, you're still my friend, at least we did intend
For us to work, we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up, still looking up.

Well, I won't give up on us (no I'm not giving up)
God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We've got a lot to learn (we're alive, we are loved)
God knows we're worth it (and we're worth it)

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up.

I adore this song. It has a lot to do with being in a long distance relationship for the past seven months. This has become my go-to "Things Suck Right Now But They Will Get Better" song. I've just been looping it and playing it over and over.

It's been a very busy weekend, and I hope to be able to tell you about it at some point and the conference I went to in DC. But I'll save that for later.

Are you all impressed that I got Maggie to post yesterday? You're welcome. :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm not Radioactive I swear

Radioactive by Imagine Dragon 

I'm waking up to ash and dust
I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I'm breathing in the chemicals

I'm breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse

I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive

I raise my flags, don my clothes
It's a revolution, I suppose
We're painted red to fit right in

I'm breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse

I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive

All systems go, the sun hasn't died
Deep in my bones, straight from inside

I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I'm radioactive, radioactive

The reason I love this song has nothing much to do with the lyrics.  I love the music and the cords and how it was put together.  Though the lyrics definitely appeal to my love of dystopian and apocalyptic literature.   

Also, HI!!!!!  So I'm really bad at doing these things.  Though with Cassie now living with me I may actually get better. :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wish You Were Here

"Wish You Were Here"

I dig my toes into the sand
The ocean looks like a thousand diamonds strewn across a blue blanket
I lean against the wind
Pretend that I am weightless
And in this moment, I am happy

I wish you were here
I wish you were here
I wish you were here
I wish you were here

I lay my head onto the sand
The sky resembles a backlit canopy with holes punched in it
I'm counting UFOs
I signal them with my lighter
And in this moment I am happy...happy...

I wish you were here
I wish you were here
I wish you were here
I wish you were here

The world's a roller coaster
And I am not strapped in
Maybe I should hold with care
But my hands are busy in the air

I wish you were here (until fades)

I love the lyrics to this song.  One of my fondest memories is of being on the beach at night, looking out at the surging water and smelling the salt as it blows in on a gentle breeze.  The verses in this song describe what it looks like perfectly.  I know the chorus isn't creative in the least, and to be honest, the melody and musical aspects of the song aren't all that awesome, but I love the imagery.  At night, that's exactly how the ocean looks - like countless diamonds strewn across a gigantic blue blanket, with the sky resembling a backlit canopy with random holes punched in it.  I hear these lyrics, and I can immediately feel the sand between my toes, the breeze through my clothes and hair, and smell the salt water.

Adding to the appeal of the lyrics is the fact that not only is the singer so happy to be where he/she is, but he/she also wants to share that happiness with another.  Clearly there is someone missing from the experience (because he/she is absent altogether, because of a break-up, or simply because he/she is sleeping in the hotel room), and although "in this moment" the subject is happy, there's still the slight feeling of something(one) missing.  A listener can relate to this song in two ways: either being the subject singing, wishing for the company of another, or the "you" in the chorus, thinking, "Yeah...I wish I was there, too..."  I think it's beautiful, all of it, and this song will forever stay on my Favorites playlist  =)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Music Week

I hope everyone's week was awesome  =)  I know some of us have had some rough and stressful times lately, so this week's assignment is pretty easy (or, what I hope will be easy).

This week, post lyrics to a song that you love and then tell us why you love it.  It doesn't even have to be the lyrics that you love, it could be something about the music or melody as well.  We all listen to different styles of music, and different artists, so I'm hoping this gets interesting.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Me too!

I really should have thought through how complicated my answer would be before assigning this, huh? Oops!

For me, there are two different kinds of vacation and I kind of have a dream vacation for both.

Active Vacation (a vacation on which one goes somewhere and attempts to see ALL THE THINGS
in the least amount of time possible)

My dream active vacation sounds a lot like all of yours. I would take a month (3 months, a year, however long it takes) to go around the world and visit all the places I haven't been to yet. Some highlights would include:

Australia: Sydney Opera House and the famous... rock... things?
Japan: anywhere
India: also anywhere
Egypt: Pyramids, Sphinx, any ruins of old Egyptian cities/temples they might have left.
Greece: I have a sort-of internet friend in Crete, but also just GREECE!
Somewhere in Eastern Europe: It sounds fascinating doesn't it?
Russia: anywhere (but only in the summer)
Switzerland: anywhere, and for more than 2 hours so I beat last time. Also, they have Alps, and I have yet to go skiing in my life (something that I'd like to remedy)
Scandinavia: preferably Sweden, I have more sort-of (as in haven't heard from them in YEARS but still like them generally) friends in Sweden.
Iceland: I'd like to pay tribute to that volcano that forced me to spend an extra day in Paris, at least to say thanks :-P
Spain: Anywhere - somehow we missed that in our tour.
United Kingdom: For spending a whole year there, I missed out on A LOT of things. I hardly did any of the London stuff (my boyfriend at the time was a rubbish tour guide, but since he was the native Londoner I let him do the planning - my mistake!) Also, Harry Potter Castle, Cardiff (and ALL the geeky things), Hadrian's Wall, Cornwall, and IRELAND. All I got to see of Ireland was Dublin (for a whopping 24 hours) and that's not particularly different from any other large European city.
Canada: The northern bit, again only in summer, and Edmonton to visit a friend.
United States: Far west (only been as far as the Grand Tetons), Hawaii, Alaska, the Grand Canyon, the Pacific Northwest, and possibly Texas so I get the middle too.
And a cruise, because I have to take a cruise at least once in my life.

Relaxing Vacation: (a vacation on which one goes somewhere with the specific purpose of relaxing as much as humanly possible)

On this one, I would go to either:
  • Rural Italy (Sienna/Florence area is beautiful!)
  • Southern France (Provence!)
  • Rural England (I quite liked the middle bit where I was, but really anywhere)
I'd stay for a few months on a single carry-on of clothes (I'd have a washer and dryer obviously) and pack my checked bag absolutely full of reading material as well as notebooks and pens for writing. I'd rent a small cottage and spend my whole time just soaking up the atmosphere.

Now if only I could find the money...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

All Around Europe

Hey girls,

A few years ago, back when I wasn't sure I'd be in grad school and I had savings to spend, Maggie and I had been planning a summer backpacking trip around Europe. I still have the list of places we wanted to see.

  • Barcelona
  • Santiago de Compostela
  • Toledo
  • Rome
    -Vatican City-coliseum (supposed to be really pretty at night)-other old stuff
  • Naples
  • Pompeii
  • Venice
    -the canal

  • Oswiecim
    -Auschwitz -Birkenau State Museum

  • Berlin
    -Berlin Wall
  • Munich
  • Fussen
    -Neuschwanstein (freaking awesome castle) 

  • Paris
    -Eiffel Tower -Louvre-Notre Dame
  • Pierrefonds
    -Château de Pierrefonds (Merlin filmed)
Take ferry from Dieppe, France to Newhaven, England to see the Seven Sisters Cliffs (Robin Hood filmed)


  • London
    -Big Ben-Palace-Platfrom 9 ¾-Westminster Abby 
  • Liverpool 
I also wrote down Stonehenge, but not a location.

Somewhere between England and Scottland, I wanted to find "Sycamore Gap" along Hadrian's wall which is where my favorite scene in Robin Hood was filmed.


  • Edinburg
    -Elephant House (café Jo wrote HP in)
    -Maggie also wanted to look for Jo's house, which I thought was major stalkerish. :-P
  • Drumnadrochit
    -Loch Ness

  • Dublin
    -Cliffs of Moher
  • Crotty's Rock, Comeragh Mountains (for Katie)
  • Blarney

  • Cardiff
So, yeah, that ended up being our refined wish list. I have another one where we just wrote down everything that came to mind, and then in this list, I tried to string them together in a logical order based on how much time we could spend in each place and how we could travel in between. The idea was just to see and experience as much as we could. I would still really like to do it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

'Round The World In...?

If money and time were no issue, there are several places (realistically, anyways) that I would love to visit.  What also would have to be eliminated are my anxiety issues.  I tend not to travel well.  This trip would take place around the world, in one fell swoop, for whatever amount of time it would take, and the visits wouldn't necessarily been in this particular order.
    • Harry Potter Exhibition
    • Platform Nine and Three-Quarters
    • Cardiff
    • Doctor Who Exhibition
    • London.  This includes all major tourist sites: the London Eye, Big Ben, and riding a double-decker bus; I also want to sit in a pub during the annual rugby game between England and the New Zealand All-Blacks.
    • English Countryside.  I would love to spend at least one night in an old English castle)
    • Crotty's Rock and Crotty's Lake.  For those of you who don't know, I have an ancestor by the name of William Crotty (which, btw, was my father's name) who was a highwayman in Ireland.  He would rob from the rich who passed underneath Crotty's Rock and re-distribute part of the wealth to the poor in the area.  One day his best friend betrayed him and soaked the gunpowder in his horn so he couldn't fight back, then he went and notified the authorities of Crotty's whereabouts.  Crotty was caught and hung for his thievery.  A song has been written about him by his wife, who was pregnant at the time of his execution.  Legend has it that she jumped off a cliff, clutching her newborn in her arms months later.  Legend also has it that there is a buried treasure somewhere in Crotty's Rock - remnants of the treasure that Crotty and his fellow highwaymen stole from the rich.
    • Dublin
    • Irish Countryside.  As in England, I would love to spend at least one night in a haunted castle, preferably the one whose hauntings speak of a creature only referred to as "It")
    • The Great Barrier Reef.  SCUBA diving, of course!
    • I want to swim with Great White Sharks!
    • Staying in a traditional Asian hotel, where the floors are made of bamboo mats and the doors are made of rice paper
    • Cherry Blossom Festival
    • Geisha performance
    • Japanese countryside
    • Japanese spa.  Acupuncture treatment, Japanese message, the works!
    • New York City.  Broadway musical, shopping, Statue of Liberty, Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, NJ, going on a search for the legendary Jersey Devil,...
    • Florida.  The Magical World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios, Animal Kingdom, Sea World, Magic Kingdom (where I would stay a night in the princess suite), Busch Gardens, FL, Epcot
    • Georgia.  Georgia Aquarium
    • California.  Tours of the studios of all my favorite TV shows and movies, Disneyland
    • Las Vegas, Nevada.  Madame Truseau's Wax Museum, any and all Cirque du Soleil shows, Believe by Criss Angel
    • Colorado.  A week living on a dude ranch (one with electricity and running water, please)
    • One week at an exotic resort, where the water is crystal clear, the air is peaceful, the beach is nearby, and the sun shines.  I want to go snorkelling and meet some sealife, sunbathe on the beach, go to a spa for an all-inclusive treatment, and spend the week writing, drawing, or doing nothing at all.  Oh, and seafood.  No way am I going to the Caribbean without eating seafood.
  • BALI

The best part about this vacation is that I would take all of you with me.

Surprised Face? Anyone?

Anywhere in the world, huh? Money and obligations no issue?

Guys, I want to go back to England.

In 2009, as you probably know, I spent 10 glorious days in London, seeing the sights and a crap-ton of theatre. And it was marvelous. And I loved it. But it was only 10 days.

There was so much I wanted to see and couldn't because we didn't have time.

I want to see Matilda in the West End.

I want to go back to the Tower of London.

I want to see a Shakespeare at the Globe.

I want to see the Harry Potter Exhibition.

I want to see the Harry Potter Graphics Display.

I want to revisit the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park and Westminster Abbey and the British Museum and the British Library and Portobello Road Market and did I mention the Tower?

And then I want to get out of London and see the countryside and Stratford-upon-Avon and the Hampton Court Palace and castles and ruins and oh, so many other things. I'd also be totally cool with skipping over to Cardiff and seeing the Doctor Who exhibition.

I want to go back to England.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Summertime and the living is easy!

Having just got back from a family vacation, I would like you to tell me about yours - more specifically your dream vacation:

If money/planning/time/whatever's stopping you were not an object, where would you go and why?

You can choose anywhere in the world (or out of it, I suppose, though I'd prefer the answers be at least realistic ;-) for any length of time and for any reason.

Have fun! :-D

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This Dog Lover has Cats

I love Lucy and Karen very much. They can be hilariously entertaining. But they are cats, and they just aren't the same.

There's just something about the bundle of joy that is a dog that doesn't compare with cats. A dog is desirable of your attention and appears thrilled to pieces once it has it. In fact, in nearly everything a dog does, it usually appears thrilled to pieces.

Thrilled to freaking pieces. How can you not love that face?

A cat just isn't the same. They are much more independent and less desirable of your time. They are quite content to be on their own. If you want to give them attention, they are just as likely to walk away from you as they are to nuzzle your hand.

The flip side of this is training. Cats pretty much know how to use a litter box. Dogs have to be trained not to go in the house, and I can't say I've ever had a dog that was perfectly potty trained. Karen may get a little fussy if she feels the litter box isn't cleaned to her standards, but at least she goes right outside the litter box and not somewhere else in the house. A dog will do its business any number of places.

I've also never had a dog I could trust to leave alone in the house. They know things they aren't supposed to get into when you are home, but when you leave, they are all over it. I've always had to cage the dog whenever we went out. I've never had to do that with a cat (though Karen and Lucy are also prone to getting into things they aren't supposed to). 

And therein lies the great dilemma. James has said we can get a small indoor dog once we find homes for the two large outdoor dogs. But then I worry about the house being ruined by a joyous little bundle of terror. And outside dogs aren't the same.

The Adventure of the Really Smart Bear

I don't have nearly as much to say about animals as you ladies do (though of course I love them) so I thought I might entertain you all with a story I'm pretty sure you haven't heard - the time I met a wild black bear!

Once upon a time my family used to take long vacations to an area to do ALL THE THINGS there are to do in that area. This particular time we were visiting the Smoky Mountains - a section of the Appalachians in the North Carolina area. Well, you can hardly do ALL THE THINGS in the Appalachians without spending some time hiking the Appalachian Trail! And to do it properly (which my family is big on) you really should backpack along the Appalachian trail - that's what it's for after all! At the time I was in junior high and I thought this would be lots of fun, so I was very excited.

As it turns out, it wasn't exactly the fun I was planning on. Hiking is hard work and hiking with a pack makes it harder. So, when we got to the lean-to where we were to sleep, I actually managed to sleep fairly well, despite the hard wooden shelves and lack of pillows. There were two other groups with us - a father and his two sons and a college age guy on his own. The college guy had decided to get up early and walk to a nearby ridge to watch the sunrise the next morning. He took down his pack from the pulley system (to keep things out of the reach of bears, just in case) and less than 10 seconds later he heard the bear approaching. He sprinted back to the lean-to, closed the gate and woke us all up just in time to see this huge bear only a few feet away grabbing his pack and taking it off into the forest. All the kids thought it was really cool - the adults on the other hand were kind of freaking out, since we only had a flimsy chain-link fence between us.

Anyway, we sat around for a few hours waiting for the bear to go away so we could get the guy's pack back. He was really lucky (and the bear was really smart) because somehow the bear figured out how to work the pack's zippers - nothing was badly damaged, and once the bear decided he was done with the pack, we were able to get it back no problem. Still, great story for the grandkids, eh? :-)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Aah! Animals!

A couple weeks ago I went hiking with my dog and some friends of mine and one of those friends' dog. My friend's dog is very well behaved, but only when it comes to obeying her "come back here" commands (forget about food). Rufus, my dog, however, is very not. Let him off his lead and his name changes to "white lightning." Well...the trails were far enough away from the road that we thought, "why not?" After the initial sprint which taught him very quickly that running through the forest is nigh impossible, Rufus was surprisingly well behaved. He at least kept us in sight hen he went frolicking off into the woods. 
There he goes!  And while we were out we caught some beautiful sights: 
The last one's my favorite. Here's a picture of both dogs all tired out on the drive home:
At one point they even went chasing after a flock of geese across the pond. DeMarco (the poodle) is not very graceful nor is he any good at stalking/swimming. It was pretty funny watching him try to wade through the mud with the way he hops with excitement as he runs! Rufus was much more methodical and thought to use the docks to get nearer the birds, but as proud as I was that he was thinking the plan through I was so thankful he didn't leap in after them!

Love you girls! Sorry I skiffed last week.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

ANIMALS! Twenty Animal Facts =3

WOOHOO!  My favorite topic of conversation!

Okay, so I know I did some animal stuff last week, but let's face it: animals are awesome!  Here are more weird and awesome animal facts:
  • Koalas, both male and female, have two sets of genitalia.  That's right.  No one knows why (at least not that I could find), but female koalas have two vaginas, and male koalas have two penises.
  • A group of kangaroos is called a mob.  And with legs that can knock a fully-grown man on his ass, it's probably best if you listen to "the offer you cannot refuse..."
  • Lemmings don't actually jump off cliffs and commit suicide.  This complete myth was born during filming.  Back in "the day", documentaries weren't filmed out in the wild like they are today.  So they brought lemmings in to film them and put them on a fake terrain.  What happened?  They were so scared that they just dashed right off the edge!  But no, it wasn't to commit suicide.  They were just scared shitless and too stupid to know what else to do.
  • A giraffe has the same number of bones in its neck as a human being.  They're just a lot bigger.  (I had to put something about giraffes in here for Cassie and Maggie  =3).
  • All polar bears are left-handed!  See Heidi, you're not as alone in your left-handedness as you might feel!
  • Elephants are the only mammals that can't jump.  I, personally, think that's a good thing.  Also, an elephant's tooth can weigh up to twelve pounds!  That's as much as Oscar!
  • Rats can't vomit.  That's why rat poison works so well.
  • Owls are one of the few types of birds that can see the color blue.
  • Evan and Jaron sing, "...the furthest distance I've ever known is from my head to my heart."  For most people, that's about three feet.  But the shrimp's heart is actually in its head, right next to its brain!  I bet love would be a lot easier if that were the case with humans...
  • Hummingbirds are the only type of bird that can fly backwards.
  • There is a species of earthworm living in Australia that can reach ten feet in length.  I wonder how early the bird has to be to get that meal!
  • Roosters can only crow if their necks are fully extended.
  • Mosquitos are responsible for the most animal deaths per year.  This is because of all the diseases they carry.  Of particular mention is malaria, which is the number one killer of human beings worldwide.
  • A drunken ant will always fall over on its right side.  Now, while it is fascinating to know that there's an animal out there that's exclusively right-heavy when intoxicated, for me, this begs the question of, "Who the f*** is so bored that they thought it would be a great idea to get an ant drunk?!"
  • Only half of a dolphin's brain sleeps at a time.  The other half stays awake so it can keep the dolphin swimming to the surface so it can breathe.
  • Crocodile fetuses don't have sex chromosomes.  The temperature of the nest is what determines the sex of the newborns, not genetics.
  • A snail can sleep for up to three years at a time!  Don't I wish...
  • A group of frogs is called an army.  I wonder how the U.S. Army would feel about this...?
  • Santa's reindeer are all female!  That's right, according to the Fish and Game Warden, male reindeer lose their antlers in the winter, but females retain them.  All depictions of Santa's reindeer show them with their antlers intact, so they have to be females, since Christmas occurs in winter.  I guess that explains why the group of deer is able to haul Santa's fat ass all around the world without getting lost...
Nature is fascinating!  I'm sorry this post is late ladies.  Angie and Chris moved out of the house yesterday, so in all the chaos, I completely forgot.  I was up until 4:00am this morning, helping Angie put things away.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend!  <3

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vague Topic

So I thought I'd go ahead and post next week's topic while I was thinking about it:


And I'm going to leave it that vague so you can do whatever you want with it.

Funny how fast things can change

First and foremost: EVERYONE IS OKAY. No persons, animals or houses were harmed in the taking/creating of these photos.

If I had written this post earlier this week, it would have been very short. Like, 1 paragraph short, because let's face it, there's only so many times one can say "I'm moving in X weeks and freaking about all the studying/packing/whatever I have to do. Oh and this week I bought a car." But, as often happens, Mother Nature had other ideas. Like knocking over half the trees in our yard:
This is our yard on "STORM!"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Right. I'm supposed to post something...

So... I'm still looking for a job. Mom and I phone conferenced and tweaked my resume a bit, and I'm feeling optimistic... now if I would just hear back from someone.

In other news, James and I are in planning mode for the wedding. We are currently working on sorting out things with the wedding cake. We're pretty sure it's going to have a dragon on it, and we're in the process of finding a cake decorator to do it. That part doesn't look like it will be too much of a struggle.

This guy was getting passed around Facebook, and I just love it. :) I'm also rather found of the guy below, which I'm pretty sure is a two headed dragon.

Aren't these just awesome?!

The problem we are running into is with cake toppers. We'd really like to have the bride and groom posed to be fighting off the dragon, and such a topper is going to have to be custom made. So, I'm poking around Etsy. I'm optimistic but worried about pricing. We'll just have to see.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday is doing a crazy thing

Hey girls.

Sorry, you're not going to get a lot from me this week, and probably not next week, either, as life is currently packing, family reunion, and major freaking out.

Guys, I need all the positive energies and good thoughts and reassurances you can muster because I'm getting a little terrified by my own daring at this point. I'm packing up a solid, comfortable life here in Bowling Green, uprooting myself, going someplace where I have no job, no apartment, no guarantee that I'll find and be able to afford either, and the only person I'll know is Maggie. I vacillate every day between confidence and utter panic that I'm making a horrible decision.

So . . . yeah. That's life right now, and next Monday is moving day, and . . . this is the craziest thing I've ever done.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's Still Saturday, Right? 0=)

Yep, even though it's 9:10pm on Sunday, I declare that it's still Saturday, so my post isn't late!

Looks like it's another "So, how's life?" week!  There's not much to tell, since it hasn't been too long since our last one.

I miss you guys, first and definitely foremost.  I hope everyone is doing well.

Mom and I are slowly but surely getting Angie and Chris ready to move.  I bought them a new salt/pepper shaker (and yes, it's a salt and pepper shaker IN ONE!!!), and will eventually be filling up their spice cabinet as well.  Mom has bought them kitchen towels and washcloths, and will probably buy them more stuff as we proceed  =P  I saw the house for the first time a couple of days ago, and although it'll be really cute once Angie and Chris have it all fixed up the way they want it, it's a little old-fashioned right now.  There's wallpaper covering the kitchen walls, green carpeting in the living room and first-floor bedrooms, and faux wood panelling downstairs.  I guess there's asbestos down in the basement too...eek!

We are trying to re-home Sport to avoid putting him in another cage at a shelter, but so far all the leads we've had have dried up.  I really hope something gives soon.  I keep imagining his face when the shelter staff lead him away...D'=

Oh, and ANNE HAS A CAR!  The reason *I* am allowed to be so excited about this, apart from her being my friend, is that it's my father's Mazda Miata that Mom didn't have the heart to sell after he died.  It's been sitting around, undriven, since then.  It's in pretty good shape (amiright, Anne?), it just needs to be driven!  I'm very happy she's taking it and that Mom won't have to worry about it anymore.  It's a good deal for all involved.  Although Dr. Lake was eyeing it a lot too  =P

I love you!  Have a good night and good week!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Let's go meta!

Time is really tight this week ladies, so I thought I would go meta and treat you all to:

Top 10 topics I would write a top 10 post on if I had the time to do it properly:

1. Top 10 tv shows/movies that don't get enough attention. (I've recently gotten into older shows and Bollywood - not as terrible as I once thought!)
2. Top 10 places I'd like to visit/live in before I die - ALL OVER the freakin place! Goal 1: set foot on every continent (except maybe Antarctica). So far, I'm stuck at 2. 
3. Top 10 reasons the US/world is too big (Mostly based on #2 and where you all live)
4. Top 10 reasons August is coming up both too fast and too slow. *starts counting all the things on TODAY'S to-do list* *runs out of fingers and toes and goes hunting for more to count on*
5. Top 10 creative projects I wish I could work on right now. Why is it my brain picks the times I'm most busy to provide me with ALL the awesome ideas?!
6. Top 10 reasons I need to move out of my parents' house (this one would likely turn into something closer to 20... or 100...)
7. Top 10 people, living and dead, I would like to meet (and why)
8. Top 10 things that drive me nuts about the job I love (most of them due to a basic failure of logic...)
9. Top 10 favorite literary tropes/plotlines
And finally...
10. Top 10 reasons I don't have time to write a top 10 list this week.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ten Favorite Video Games

Hey, guys. Today I'm going to share my top 10 favorite video games. This has come to pass because I just recently started a Let's Play channel on YouTube (if you don't know, a Let's Play is when someone records their live playthrough of a game with commentary). I'm subscribed to a couple Let's Play channels and I decided I wanted to give it a shot. But I also needed to take some time to figure out what games I would feature on my channel, so here goes. I don't have them in any particular order (though I would say my more favorite ones are in the top half) so they are not numbered.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic is a Star Wars role play game released for the xbox and pc in 2003. You start the game as a Republic solider who develops force sensitivity and is trained as a Jedi. In your mission to stop Darth Malak and save the galaxy, you find yourself as a pawn in one amazing plot twist.

Why I like it: I'm a Star Wars fan. And the storyline and characters are awesome.

Best Moment: The plot twist. Seriously, it's even more life changing than "Luke, I am your father!"

Jak and Daxter (1, 2, 3)
Jak and Daxter is an adventure game series, with the first game released for the playstation 2 in 2001. You run around throughout the series collecting eco (the energy that holds the world together), collecting precursor orbs (the precursors being the long lost beings that created the world's technologies), and also discovering clues to your own destiny.

Why I like it: It's a fun, comical game. Jak and Daxter are both strong characters that I care about and want to see through to the very end, which usually means playing through the games all in one go.

Best Moment: Anything that comes out of Daxter's mouth. True, he's often used for comic relief, but he is also often the force that pulls the game along, especially during Jak's darker moments and in the first game where Jak never speaks.

Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 is a first-person shooter game released for the gamecube in 2005. You play as Leon Kennedy, former police officer of Racoon City, who has been charged with finding and rescuing the President's daughter from a cult with goals to implant and you and her with mind-controlling parasites.

Why I like it: It's fun. The characters, game play, story elements, enemy battles - every aspect about the game comes together in this perfect synergy of game playing that the Resident Evil series hasn't accomplished before or since.

Best Moment: The live action events where someone is coming at you with a knife and ohmygod!Press"A"now!

Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet
Star Fox Adventures is a gamecube adventure game released in 2002. For the first time in the series, Star Fox steps outside of his aircraft to walk among dinosaurs as he works on putting the crumbling planet back together.

Why I like it: If it isn't obvious by now, when it comes to gameplay, I'm all about the fun factor. It doesn't get much more fun than exploring a planet of talking dinosaurs. The dialog is really good, and the way the planet is structured and how the dinosaurs all have their own tribes and customs is really clever. The dinosaurs even have their own language!

Best Moment:  This was hard to choose . . . Fighting with the staff is a really cool and fun game mechanic. Fox is told he can't use any lethal weapons, and the staff ends up as a really nice alternative that isn't just melee combat but also has a few powers that can be unlocked.

Kingdom Hearts (1, 2)
Kingdom Hearts is a kind of Final Fantasy meets Disney game. The Disney villains are in command of creatures called the Heartless and are using them to capture the Disney princesses. The main character becomes the chosen of a key blade, which can unlock people's hearts and destroy the heartless.  

Why I like it: Again, fun factor comes into play. Who wouldn't enjoy a game where your companions are Donald and Goofy? The storyline and characters are also well done.

Best Moment:  Fighting alongside Mickey!

Dragon Age (1, 1.5, 2)
Dragon Age is a roleplaying playstation 2 game with the first game in the series released in 2009. You play as a member of the Grey Wardens, a group of humans, elves, and dwarfs, charged with the task of safeguarding the world against the Darkspawn, creatures that rise from the earth and devour everything in their path. 

Why I like it: Depth. The characters are very well done. Also, there's no good or evil in Dragon Age. You just play as you would and see how your choices pan out. You even have the opportunity to grant mercy to the main villain, travel with him for a while, and find out why he did what he did. Or, you know, you could just kill him. But as revealed at the end of the game, your decisions have an effect.

Best Moment:  Killing a freaking High Dragon. 

Batman: Vengeance
Batman Vengeance is an adventure game released on all major platforms in 2001. I don't remember the main plot, but the important part is that you play as Batman, battling major villains such as the Joker, Mr. Freeze, and Poison Ivy. And you have the help of Oracle the entire way.

Why I like it: Pure fun factor here. It's just a fun game. The dialog is good, Batman's gadgets are fun to use, the individual missions are all unique, and I think it's voiced by most if not all of the actors from the cartoon series. 

Best Moment:  Taking down the Joker.

Exmortis (1, 2)
Exmortis is a little different than the games I usually play. It's an online horror flash game (the first game released in 2004) that has stuck with me since the first time I played it. Your character wakes up in the woods with no memories as to how you got there. You are freezing and decide to go into the house you find. But you are immediately locked in, forcing you to investigate the house and discover it's gruesome past with the Exmortis cult.

Why I like it: It has a pretty detailed story line with intriguing characters. And with the demons of Hell (basically) trying to take over the earth, there's a lot at stake.

Best Moment:  You'll never look at a red sunrise/sunset the same way again.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a puzzle-adventure game released in 2003 for various platforms. The main character is tricked by the evil Vizier into releasing the Sands of Time which turn everyone in the palace into sand monsters. The Prince must travel the palace, collect the sands, defeat the Vizier, and put the sand back into the hourglass to reverse his actions. The puzzles are filled with things trying to kill you with the often added threat of falling to your death. To ease the frustration, the main character can use the Sands of Time to reverse any mistakes.

Why I like it: Again, it's fun. The dialog is quirky, the characters are different than what you would expect from your typical heros, and being able to reverse time  is just plain cool.

Best Moment:  The Prince telling his companion to please not help him with combat because she'll probably shoot you. And then finding out that, yes, she will shoot you.

Fable 2
Fable is a roleplaying game that never quite seems to live up to its potential, but it's still a fun game to play. Fable 2 was released for the xbox in 2008. Your character is one of the last Heros and is on a quest to overthrow the bad guy and take the throne. 

Why I like it: The concept of the series is the player's ability to make choices and through those choices change the game around them. The problem with the concept is most of these choices don't really affect the storyline itself and only do tiny things like alter your character's appearance. Still, it's fun and intriguing. The second game of the series also has some very interesting characters, dialog, and combat choices.

Best Moment:  Getting captured by the big bad.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Top Ten Fictional Platonic Relationships . . .

. . . with an oddly specific set of criteria.

This list is born out of a couple conversations between me and Matthew, talking about how severely under-represented platonic friendships, specifically male/female friendships, are in today's fictional worlds. Everyone wants romance and sexual tension, and it is therefore refreshing to see the few times an author or showrunner or scriptwriter decides to include a purely platonic friendship. So I decided to do a top ten on the best ones out there. My criteria:

1. It has to be a male/female friendship
2. The participants have to be old enough to be romantically aware
3. The participants may not be related to one another (awesome sibling relationships is another list)
4. The participants should be of a similar age to one another (awesome mentorships is another list)
5. The participants should never have shared any sort of canonical romance or sexual tension 
6. I can't ship them outside their canon (Mahoney and the Mutant from Mr. Magorium, for example, would fit this list quite nicely except that I ship them hardcore)

This is my list, my top ten favorites, so feel free to agree or disagree as you will!

10. Sam and Carter from A Cinderella Story
 Yes, I'm a fan of this movie. No looks of judgement, please.

What I love about Sam and Carter is that there is zero romantic tension between them. None. Carter has a crush on the popular girl; Sam is pining after her anonymous IM partner. They heckle each other back and forth about these crushes, but they are also 100% there for each other. They support one another and help and are just great best buds.

          Carter: Rhonda told me where you might be. I thought you could use a friend. Come here.

9. The Tenth Doctor and Donna from Doctor Who

You're all Doctor Who fans; you knew this one was coming, and do I have to explain it? We went from total and complete and excessively obvious romance between Nine and Rose and Ten and Rose, to the unrequited love story of Ten and Martha, but when Donna showed up on the scene? She made it very clear that there would be none of that ridiculousness going on. She became the Doctor's best friend, she shared his burdens, kept him humble (as much as possible), and wasn't afraid to stand up to him and call him out on being an idiot. It was lovely.

        The Doctor: I just want a mate.
        Donna Noble: You just want to mate?
        The Doctor: I just want *a* mate!
        Donna Noble: You're not matin' with me, Sunshine!

8. Lily Aldrin and Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother

I love a lot about HIMYM, and there are a several platonic friendships I could have chosen, but Lily and Barney's has to be my favorite. Yeah, Barney jokes about fantasizing about Lily, but that's more about winding up her and Marshall than ever being really serious. In fact, Lily's the only girl who Barney has ever let spend a night in his apartment without trying to have sex with her. And Lily is the person Barney goes to when he legitimately falls in love, for her advice. Slowly but surely, Lily is helping to turn Barney into a person, and I love how hard, in return, he roots (secretly) for her successful relationship and marriage with Marshall.

        Barney: You- you spooned me against my will!
        Lily: Hey! it takes two to cuddle!

7. CJ Cregg and Toby Ziegler from The West Wing
   God, I love CJ and Toby. I love that they have a history and long standing friendship that existed long before we know them in the series, and I love how much it weathers over the course of the show. They support each other, but not unconditionally, and I love that CJ is never afraid to stand up and tell Toby he's being a jackass; neither is Toby afraid to tell CJ she's acting irrationally. They don't always agree with one another, but they do have each other's backs.

       Toby Ziegler: Listen, I don't know what you're doing for dinner tonight but Josh and Sam and I...
       C.J. Cregg: It's about damn time you asked me! I've been sitting here for two weeks turning down all kinds of very, frankly, glamorous invitations from people I like a lot more than you! You can't ask a girl at the last minute...
      Toby Ziegler: Well, if you can't come...
      C.J. Cregg: No, I can come! I can come! I can come!
      Toby Ziegler: Good.
      C.J. Cregg: Should I bring anything?
     Toby Ziegler: Yeah. Do you know how to, you know, cook food? 

6. Sandy, Tris, Daja, and Briar from The Circle of Magic books by Tamora Pierce

Picture by vifetoile on Deviant Art

So, you all may or may not be familiar with this one, but this is a great series from Tamora Pierce. The focal characters are three girls and one boy, and over the course of nine books, we follow them from age 10 to age 18, and I love that there is never, never even a hint of romance between any of the girls and Briar. These four go through so much and are bound literally closer than family over the course of it, and that relationship is strained and tested and tried, but it remains steadfast and true.

Quote: (from The Will of the Empress)

Lady Sandrilene fa Toren sat in the room that was her study in her uncle's palace. In her hands she held a thread circle, one that included four lumps spaced equally apart. It was a symbol not just of her first magical working, but of the magical bond she shared with her foster-brother and two foster-sisters, who had been away from home for months. Today was Sandry's birthday, and she missed them. Normally she could have reached out through their connection without even touching the thread, and spoken with them, magic to magic, but not in the last two years.

5. Archie and Patrice from 13 the Musical

The main relationship in this musical (romantically speaking) is between Patrice and Evan, but long before Evan shows up, Patrice's best friend is Archie, a social outcast like her who suffers from muscular dystrophy. But this isn't a friendship of pity or mutual outcast status. Archie and Patrice are the only students in their grade who are above, in many ways, the popularity race. Archie's fatal disease gives him a unique perspective on middle school life, and Patrice is old beyond her years, and that's why they get along. Archie helps patch things up between Patrice and Evan when they need to be fixed, and Patrice sticks by Archie when everyone else looks down on him.

        Patrice: I got your text. But what does ‘CQDBTIOE’ mean?
        Archie: Come quick! Danger beckons! Time is our enemy!

4. Fitz Williams and Gigi Darcy from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

So, the LBD is my new favorite thing, and by far my favorite characters in it are Fitz and Gigi, master meddlers and matchmakers. Their antics are wonderful, and their relationship just makes me happy. They almost didn't make it onto the list because Fitz is gay, but these are awesome enough that I don't even care. Based in the books, Fitz is the one person besides Darcy who knows everything that Gigi went through with Wickham, and because of that, in this version, they have a close and powerful bond. Fitz looks out for Gigi, but in a less over-protective way than her brother, and watching these two help Lizzie and Darcy get together is just amazing.

        Gigi: Just give me the number! And don’t tell my brother!
        Fitz: Okay, yeah, that convinced me. I’m just gonna get right on that.

3. Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne from Firefly

Mal and Zoe are amazing, as I hope I don't have to tell all of you. They may have a relationship that Zoe's husband gets jealous of, but it's not because of any romantic implications, which is made perfectly clear over the course of the series. The only two surviving members of their company during the war, these two trust each other without even thinking about it, a trust and team of leadership that is instinctual. Zoe heckles Mal and questions him and is amazingly sarcastic in a way that makes Mal a better Captain, but when it comes to his orders, she obeys as any good lieutenant would. And in return, he respects Zoe's opinion and skills and uses them to his crew's best advantage, always.

       Mal: Your husband has demanded that we sleep together.
        Zoë: Really?
        Wash: What? Mal, come on...
        Mal: He seems to think it would get all this burning sexual tension out in the open.
            You know, make a fair fight for your womanly affections.
        Wash: No! That was the torture talking. Remember? The torture?
        Mal: I know it's a difficult mission, but you and I have to get it on.
        Zoë: I understand. We have no choice. Take me, sir. Take me hard.

2. Pete Latimer and Myka Bering from Warehouse 13
 These days, it seems like no crime-type drama is complete without a male/female partnership and a healthy dose of sexual tension, which is part of the reason why I adore Pete and Myka so much. Because there's none of that, and it is so refreshing. They start from the predictable Odd Couple beginning -- Myka is straight-laced, by the book, while Pete is much more casual and go-with-the-flow. But they quickly become the type of partners who depend on each other entirely, complementing one another perfectly, and saving each others' lives on more than one occasion. And when they're not rescuing the world from dangerous artifacts, they go back to bickering and pestering each other, but like siblings rather than an old married couple. And completely supportive of the other's romantic pursuits.

            Pete: Use your feminine wiles. Smile. You're pretty when you smile.
            Myka: I am?
            Pete: Yeah.
            Myka: So what does that make me when I'm not smiling?
            Pete: Kind of frightening.

1. Harry and Hermione from Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Okay, you guys knew this one was coming, right? I mean, it's Harry and Hermione. How much do I really have to explain? They are a perfect platonic friendship, the best example I have to offer, and I love, love, love that the strength of their relationship lies in the very fact that there has never been anything remotely romantic about it. 

Quote (from Order of the Phoenix):

'You should have told her differently,' said Hermione, still with that maddeningly patient air. 'You should have said it was really annoying, but I'd made you promise to come along to the Three Broomsticks, and you really didn't want to go, you'd much rather spend the whole day with her, but unfortunately you thought you really ought to meet me and would she please, please come along with you, and hopefully you'd be able to get away more quickly? And it might have been a good idea to mention how ugly you think I am too,' Hermione added as an afterthought.
'But I don't think you're ugly,' said Harry, bemused.
Hermione laughed.