Thursday, March 27, 2014

Summer IS coming despite what the weather says

So, no topic means updates, right? Normally I don't have much to say for updates, but this week I do have a kinda big one, so I'll share (though you may have seen it on Facebook, in which case, sorry, but I'm super excited!)

Last week, I finally accepted an internship for this summer! I will be interning at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives from June to August, cataloging one of their LP collections. They need it badly, since they have maybe half of one shelf of vinyl cataloged total. Suffice to say I am going to be BUSY. And that means, I get to move in with Katie for the summer! WOOHOO!  :-)

Since this past week was spring break I went over to Cleveland to try to get a (paying) job for the summer, and I already have one offer for a part-time thing at the mall. I haven't officially accepted it yet, because there's a library job going only a little bit further away and I'd like to put my name in for that at least. I doubt I'll get it because they're probably looking for someone more permanent, but on the off chance I might, I'd like to try. That looks WAY better on my resume than part-time at a clothing store (not that there's anything wrong with part-time at a clothing store, but it's definitely not on my personal career path).

One other short tidbit before I go try to remember how to brain again after spring break - remember when I told you all I got a paper accepted to a conference in New York? Well, the topic is BBC's Sherlock and as a dry-run, I will be presenting it to Dr. Diehl's class (this semester's topic is Sherlock Holmes and I am insanely jealous!) on April 21st. I haven't run this by him yet, but if you are in BG at that time (say, visiting for Easter) I would love to have you come and heckle me. I need all the heckling I can get to make this paper really good for my first "big-people's" conference state-side!

Okay ladies, have a good weekend! (Aren't you proud of me for posting on time for the first time in FOREVER?!)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Apparently I am perpetually late

Oops, sorry, yadda yadda, thing an' a thing, you know the drill.

For most of the week I was at a loss for what to post. I have a lot of memories from childhood because I have a pretty good memory, but I don't think there are any that I would specifically call "favorite." My past is my past, and it's over with - I don't tend to dwell on it unless it's bad and the bad-ness was my fault. But I *do* have one memory that is pretty unusual, so that's what you get.

When I was younger, my family loved to go on camping trips. Not just "park the RV in a state park somewhere," but "huge tent in the middle of nowhere, sometimes with no nearby showers and only pit toilets" camping (we maintain that the other kind is cheating). So, one time, when I was about 8 or 9, we went across the border to camp on the Canadian side of... Lake Huron, I believe, but it might have been Lake Erie. When you're that little, specifics of where you are aren't that important. This park was right on the lake with a pretty beach and sand dunes and lots of trails for hiking.

The night before we left there wasn't a cloud in the sky, so we decided to walk down to this overlook and watch the sunset. It was beautiful - all pinks and purples and peaches over the lake. It took a while for the sun to go completely down, but it went straight down into the water. And then, just as the sun slipped below the horizon, in the exact place where it had been, a purple column rose. It was a vibrant purple, the kind of color you rarely see in nature. The column was pretty far away, but it looked almost exactly like a ghost ship rising out of the water and setting sail for the night. I borrowed a nice lady's binoculars to get a better look, but it didn't help much - the shape was still fairly unclear.

Those with less imagination would probably be able to tell you exactly what kind of cloud formation it was, and why the refracting light from the sun made it such an eerie purple under the bright orange sky. But I maintain that I saw a ghost ship, rising from its sunken depths to roam the lake in darkness.

Oh, and I was supposed to do earliest. I will swear up and down that my earliest memory is of riding the train into Disney World, seeing a little girl with Mickey Ears on, and deciding my life was incomplete without a pair of my own. My mother says that while this is exactly what happened, I must be remembering it from people telling me (I doubt it) because I was only about 1 1/2 years old at the time.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Brothers and Popsicles

My earliest memory is of falling down the stairs. I was two or three (though if I was three, this is not, in fact, my earliest memory), and as I remember it, there was a tornado coming, so we had to go down to the basement. My parents assure me that this is not true, that I was just going down to the basement to play, and I will acknowledge that they are probably right and I'm combining it with other memories in that house because basement=tornadoes in Illinois.

Anyway, I was going to the basement, and I had a popsicle in my hand, and I slipped and I fell all the way to the bottom. BUT! I saved my popsicle. It did not touch the ground once. And yet, my father took it away to replace it, but he replaced it with an orange popsicle, and the first one had been a cherry popsicle, and I didn't like the orange ones, and I was very upset.

I am intrigued that I remember the flavor of the popsicles in question but not whether or not there was a tornado.

My favorite childhood memory involves my brothers, which is an interesting statement if you know much about my childhood relationship with Matthew and Jeffrey. In short, we didn't get along.

But one summer, when I was about eight, we spent an entire afternoon in my bedroom, listening to Tom Chapin tapes and acting out the songs with my stuffed animals. It was a rare occasion free from sibling animosity, so I remember it very fondly.


And no, I'm not talking about the alcohol :-P

When I was five years old, and Angie was two, we were riding in the car with Mom in the way home from our grandfather's house, as he took care of us when we got off school every day. It was mid-May, around Mothers' Day, so it was warm enough to be outside, and people were walking their dogs. We turned down our street, and we see a dog being walked by its owner. I don't remember a thing about the dog or the people, just that both Angie and I turned to Mom and asked her (again) if we could get a doggie.

"No," Mom said, "I will be the one who ends up taking care of it."

Of course, being kids who REALLY wanted a dog and not understanding the amount of work that goes into caring for one, we insisted that no, *we* would do everything. But again, Mom said no, so Angie and I pouted for the remaining one minute of our ride home.

We got home, and when I walked into the house, lo and behold, there was a tiny puppy hiding behind my father's legs!  She was completely brown with a black nose and ears - a mix of Australian herding breeds and some terrier. Mom named her Kahlua because of her brown coloring, and she was our faithful, loving, obedient, and protective companion for fifteen years. I will never forget the way she stood firmly next to me when my first boyfriend came over to visit (I should have dumped him then), or the way she knew where the boundaries of her lawn were without being told, even when we moved. She once bowled Angie right over when she attempted to dash between her legs, and she would sit tall on the back porch and wait on the squirrels that would yell at her from the electrical wires and tree branches. We still miss her very dearly, even with three dogs in the house. As all pet owners know, your heart has room for many, but when one is lost, that hole cannot be filled.

Mom had no idea that Dad had picked up Kahlua that day. Turns out, she had told him earlier that year that, for Mothers' Day, she either wanted another baby or a puppy. Kahlua was Dad's answer to that question :-)

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Topic.  Sorry, it's a few days late ><

What is your earliest/favorite childhood memory?

So I have 2.  The first is from when I was like 3, and I am pretty sure that I don't actually remember it, I've just heard it so many times that I think I remember it.

So. .  . . I was in the bath chillin' and my mom walked out to get a towel because I was done and wanted to go outside to play.  (I couldn't I had just taken a bath and it was bed time.)  So while my mom was out getting a towel, well I decided to go outside and play.  So I did.  I got out of the tube and went outside. Naked. And grabbed my wheelbarrow.

Yeah.  Sorry of my childhood.  What? I'm not supposed to do that? Well, let me do it in way that's 20 times worse than if you had just let me get my way.

I do remember most of my preschool year.  Including one time when I cut my finger and had to go to the nurse for a band-aid. And then got in trouble for cutting my finger 'cause I was playing with scissors.

One of my favorite memories is from a birthday party.  Maybe 1 or 2 grade.  I was still friends with a girl that I later came to despise, so it was very early in grade school.  Anyways, she gave me this hideous sweater and when I opened the package my first reaction was to go "Ewwww. What is this?'  My mom very quickly reprimanded me. I looked at her and turned tot he girl who gave it to me (the girl I later came to hate) and said. "Sorry.  Thanks. I love it."  I don't know why I think this memory is so funny, but it makes me laugh. Maybe because I went from hating it to loving it.

Yep.  So those are my memories.  Can't wait to hear yours.


Hey Katie, at least you weren't the LAST to post on this topic! In my defense (and it's a pretty poor one) I was suffering from severe spring-break-itis on Thursday and could barely bring myself to do anything that WASN'T getting ready to get out of dodge. BUT, now that I have had a whole day off to myself and am sitting down to start on all the millions of school-related things that must get done over spring break (what do you mean, spring break isn't called "catch-up week"?) I'm realizing I didn't post on one of the posts that should be the easiest to write. Oops. In penance (and procrastination) I will answer extra questions from the list.

Day 03 - The best book you've read in the last 12 months
Adult: Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.
YA/MG: Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Day 04 - Your favourite book or series ever
I figure Harry Potter is a given, so I'm going to go in a different direction. I have read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern four times since I first discovered it approximately two years ago (twice by audiobook, which Jim Dale reads absolutely beautifully). You must all read it. Then, once you have, you are all invited to a midnight dinner at my place, because I SO want to have a Night Circus themed party someday. Or perhaps this could be the theme of our "Meet in the Middle" project?

Day 15 - Your "comfort" book
The Neverending Story, hands down.

Day 25 - Any five books from your "to be read" stack
This is probably NOT the best one to pick, because my "to-read" shelf on GoodReads is over 700 books long. In order to narrow it down, I've picked five sequels that I really need to get to, like, yesterday.
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Dark Triumph by Robin LeFevers
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
[The sad part is I either own or have checked out of the library all but one of these books since last August. Some of them I have checked out more than once. *facepalm*]

Day 39 - Favourite place to read? Can you read on a bus/car/train?
I can read anywhere. I'd prefer to read in a small space with a blanket, warmth, and very few people, because I get easily distracted by people walking by - in the car while someone else is driving is perfect! I hate to seem anti-social (I have enough trouble making friends as it is) so I tend to look up any time anyone goes past, unless I'm absolutely certain I'm somewhere where I won't run into anyone I know. That makes it hard to make any progress on reading, and gets too frustrating for me to really get into the story and enjoy it.

Day 49 - If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
This is a hard one. I can, and do on occasion, read in French, just because I think French is beautiful. However, I would prefer to read a novel in its original language if I could, so since many of my favorites were originally written in German, I would love to learn that (and I'm working on it as my second language for my degree, woohoo!). Also, someday I think it would be fun to learn Japanese so I could read manga in its original form. (And since I love languages, why don't we throw in Gaelic and Italian too - no, I'm not an overachiever, why do you ask?)

Day 55 - Favourite film adaptation of a novel? Most disappointing film adaptation?
As a kid, I loved the film The Secret Garden (Dickon was CUTE, y'all!). Recently I liked Stardust because even though it didn't stick to the letter of the original, it kept to the spirit of it. Also, the most recent one I saw was Austenland and it was adorabibble and terrible at the same time and I loved it. Most disappointing? I dunno, I have a pretty easy time of separating books from movies so I never feel like a movie completely failed. I had a few complaints about some of the Harry Potter adaptations I guess.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Failure at it's Finest

So it's still Saturday the 8th, right?  Because that's when I was supposed to post.  Fail...

Day 03:  The best book you've read in the last 12 months.

Basic Wills, Trusts, and Estates for Paralegals by Jeffrey A. Helewitz.

*snork*  No, no, that's just my smart-ass way of saying that I haven't had much time for "fun" reading throughout the past year because I've been in school.  In all seriousness, the best book I've read in the past year or so is The Diviners by Libba Bray (thanks, Anne!).  This book is set in the 1920s, the premise being that there is a series of murders occurring in New York City, and the main character, Evangeline (or Evi, as most call her), helps to solve them with a neat little gift she's had for the past few years.  Turns out that there are young people all across NYC with little gifts, and no two are alike (i.e., diviners).  So far the characters have not all come across one another; some still don't know about others, and it'll be interesting to see how they meet each other throughout the series.  This book is creepy as all get-out and hella interesting and I am very excited for the rest of the series.

Day 12:  A book or series of books you've read more than five times.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  Enough said.

Day 13:  My favorite children's book.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  I was *hooked* on this book as a kid.  When I was in preschool, we had story time every day, and every day, I would walk up to my teacher and request that this book be read.  I didn't care that it had been read to us every day of the week already.  I wanted to hear it again.

Day 25:  Any five books from my to-be-read stack.

So thanks to Anne, I have a number of book series started, but none of them have gotten past the first novel.  Here are all of the "book twos" I plan on reading at some point:

1.) Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, the sequel to her Throne of Glass.
2.) Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (released in March of 2015), the sequel to her Seraphina.
3.) Insurgent by Veronica Roth, the sequel to her Divergent.
4.) Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, the sequel to her Cinder.
5.) Dark Triumph by Robin LeFevers, the sequel to her Grave Mercy.

Okay, so maybe five wasn't enough...

6.) The Secret Prince by Violet Haberdasher, the sequel to her Knightley Academy.

And one more, that Anne *didn't* recommend to me =P

7.) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, the final book of The Hunger Games series.

There are others, but I should probably stop there, but I will mention that I've written down almost all the of the books that you guys have recommended in past posts =D

Day 27:  If a book contains __________, you will always read it (and books or series of books that contain it).

Dragons, dragons, dragons!  If dragons exist in a book, I am more likely to want to read it.  I think dragons are the most fascinating and widely interpreted mythical creatures in the world, and I love them.  Maybe it's because I was born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon, or maybe it's because I have a fascination with all animals, real or mythical, but dragons have always captured and kept my imagination and interest.  Dragons are a huge part of the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini (damn good books), and the Seraphina series by Rachel Hartman.  Not to mention The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  The only exception so far is Game of Thrones...probably not gonna happen...

Day 50:  The most intimidating book you've ever read?  The most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin?

Emma by Jane Austen.  Have you seen the size of that book?!  It's huge!

Day 55:  Your favorite and your most disappointing film adaptation.

My favorite film adaptation to a novel is probably Northanger Abbey, original work by Jane Austen, starring J.J. Feild as Henry Tilney and Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland.  The film-makers did an amazing job of portraying Tilney and his teasing, playful personality as well as the contrast between Tilney and the anti-heroes around him (namely John Thorpe, Austen's obligatory sleazebag, and General Tilney, Henry's father).  In a big city where innocent little Catherine is easily taken by people with questionable morals, she finds the gem of Henry Tilney, who shows her that trust can still be found, even in the most unlikely of places.  And she reads way too many novels, by the way.

My least-favorite film adaptation is Eragon, original work by Christopher Paolini and the first book in his Inheritance series.  Gracious, how Fox f***ed this up...there are missing characters, plot holes, inaccuracies galore, and why oh why does Saphina have wings like a bird?!  The book specifically talks about the membranes of her wings and how they are punctured and broken at various points during altercations, and the way they warm Eragon when she protectively drapes them over him at night.  Plus, it's just a stupid idea!  Dragons are reptiles!  They don't have feathers!  I realize it's a fantasy novel, but there is still such a thing as biological accuracy.  And I hear they're trying to make an Eldest movie, after the second book in the series.  How?!  There are so many missing characters and plot holes to the first one that they've buried themselves into a hole that they can't possibly expect to climb out of!

So yes, terribly sorry for posting late.  Life has been a bit insane.  As an aside, I was offered a job today.  It's for the local Municipal Court as a file clerk.  I don't know if I want the job, honestly, but I'm starting to think that maybe I should just go for it and see if something better pops up down the road.  It'll at least be a stepping stone, right?  What makes me feel guilty about doing that is that, from what I hear, everyone working there right now has been there for at least two years.  Jobs there don't have a high turnover rate.  They're a family, and they've thought enough of me to be a part of that family, so I feel bad thinking that I'll just keep the job for a few months and then find something "better."  I won't unload my entire thinking process here.  Suffice it to say I have a lot to ponder.

I love you guys!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

YAY, Books!

Day 02 - A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about.

I really like The Star Shards Chronicles. I originally found them in a bargain bin in a book store, so I assume they weren't selling well. But they looked interesting, and I read them, and I love them. And I wish more people knew about them an loved them as well.

Day 07 - Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise

When a character does something out of character or something completely illogical for the sake of the plot. It just completely ruins the story for me, especially if it's a series. Usually, if it's just one book, I can look past it (as long as it only happens once), but I've given up on book series when they employ that plot gimmick way too many times. Sorry, I was enjoying you, but no.

Day 26 - OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending

Tess of the D'urbervilles. WTF? Seriously.

Day 32 - Bad book habit? Do you ever dog-ear books? Do you ever write in the margins of your books? Not even with textbooks?

As most of you girls know, I'm very meticulous about taking care of my books. I don't dog-ear them, I don't crease spines, I don't write in the margins, and I don't use my dust jackets as bookmarks. But I do skip to the last page of every book to read the ending before I've actually gotten all the way through it. Every single book, the only exception being the Harry Potter series.

Day 40 - What is your policy on book lending?

Only if I know you are trustworthy enough to give it back or if I don't care about the book enough to care if you give it back.

Day 55 - Favourite film adaptation of a novel? Most disappointing film adaptation?

Favorite - honestly, any movie adaptation that I prefer to the book.
Most Disappointing - Ella Enchanted. Excuse me while I go cry in the corner.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Your Eyes Do Not Deceive You

OMG? WHAT? MAGGIE?  Where the hell did you come from?

. . . . Hi!  Soooooooooooooo, it's been a while, 'cause I'm awful at remembering to post.  I usually am thinking of you guys and I go, "Oh yeah, I need to post." And then it never happens. 

Story of my life.  

Anyways. On with the questions!!!

Day 01 - A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)  

Lemony Snicket  -You did not need 13 books.  I understand why you wanted them but the middle few are just painful to get through. 

There's a Manga called X-day.  It was only 2 volumes but it was freaking amazing and I wished they did more with it!  The ending, while realistic and fitting with the tone and the mood of the series (oooohhh look at me getting all English teacher-y), wasn't as satisfying as one would hope.  

Day 25 - Any five books from your "to be read" stack

1. Divergent 
2. Night
3. The Wave
4. Fahrenheit 451 

*All 4 of these are books we are reading in English 10 and I need to read them . . . not that it's really happening but you know.  I tried.

5. Shatterglass
*OMG I LOVE TAMORA PERICE - this is the last book in the Circle Opens quartet and I don't want it to end!!!

Day 40 - What is your policy on book lending?

They can keep it for all I care.   I very rarely re-read books.  It's hard enough for me to read through them the first time.  Honestly my policy is if I can't remember what you borrowed, then obviously I didn't care that much.  Now - this does not apply to ANY of my signed copies of books.  That's why you buy a non-signed copy. 

Day 52 - Favorite fictional villain?

Umbridge - she unites people in hatred against her. . . no one likes that bitch. 

Day 54 - What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

Everything.  Literally anything. . .oh shiny. . .sorry what was I saying?  Right I get super distrac

Day 55 - Favourite film adaptation of a novel? Most disappointing film adaptation?

Ok my favorite adaptation isn't of a novel per se - it's a graphic novel.  Batman: Under The Red Hood.  It was brilliant, wonderful. As a stand alone and with background.  They did a great job filling things in for people who are so-so with Batman, but stuck so true to the story line, and got such good actors that for a veteran like me it was like reading the book for the first time all over again. 

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters : WTF Why is Kronos alive? What the hell? Who is that? Is that supposed to be . . . ?  Are you freaking serious?  *Summary of my watching experience* 

Day 56 - The most money I've ever spent in the book shop at one time?

Don't want to talk about it. 

OK, well.  I miss you all terrible and hope to see you soon!!!  

LOVE!!!!!!! Mags  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Books, Books, and More Books

Whoo books! I think we're all fans, yes? Here are my answers to a handful of these questions.

Day 2: A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood. I love these books. They're like, Lemony Snicket meets Jane Eyre (I came up with that comparison all on my own, too. The fact that some book critic said the same thing on a dust jacket just shows how accurate a description that is), and yes, it works. The series is currently four books long; it will eventually be six books long, and more people need to discover it.

Day 3: The best book you've read in the last 12 months

Was this whole topic contrived so that I had an excuse to talk to you all about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell? . . . Maybe. But guys. Let me talk to you about this book.

I finished this book last week, and not only is it amazing, it is about us. Figuratively speaking, of course. Whenever any novel tries to cover people in a "fandom," we usually end up getting portrayed as weird social outcasts/deviants instead of real people with a passion. But Fangirl nails what it is like to be a person in love with and caught up in the fervor of a Harry Potter-like obsession. Fandom and fanfiction writers specifically aren't shown as deviant, plagarizing, slightly crazy stalkers in this book, but as real people who love writing and love getting the chance to explore and expand a world they identify so strongly with.

The non-fandom aspects of the book are brilliant, as well, and you should all go read it.

Day 25: Any five books from your "to be read" stack

The Unseen Guest and The Interrupted Tale by Maryrose Wood; A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan; Jane by April Lindner; and Underdogs by Markus Zusak

Day 31: What books do you have on request at the library? How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? How often have you returned books to the library unread? What do you currently have checked out at the library?

On Request: Cress by Marissa Meyer; Longbourn by Jo Baker; The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

How many checked out at any given time: Waaaaaay too many. I might have a bit of a problem. And I'm actually getting a lot better about returning books unread. It takes me a while and several renews to get through them, but I usually read the books I check out.

Currently checked out: All the books listed under Day 25, and also Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, and a collection of Emily Dickinson's poems.

That's all I'll force you to read for now! :) Looking forward to hearing some of your responses!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Books Books Books

Okay, so since it's late on Friday and I'm up and Maggie's not, I'm gonna take the topic this week and make her come up with one next week.

And I wanna talk about books. Big surprise, right? I always want to talk about books.

So, recently, an internet friend of mine showed me this amazing, massive, two-month-long Book Meme that is amazing and I'm totally gonna get around to it on Tumblr at some point. Now, don't worry. I am gonna post the whole thing here, but I am not going to make you fill the whole thing out. That would be madness, and none of us have the time.

Rather, I would like you to look over the list and pick THREE (or five or ten or however many you feel like tackling, but let's try for three) "days" to talk about, in some amount of depth. I want more than just a title; I want some whys and wherefores to your decisions. :)

All right! Here goes!

Day 01 - A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 - A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about.
Day 03 - The best book you've read in the last 12 months
Day 04 - Your favourite book or series ever
Day 05 - A book or series you hate
Day 06 - Favourite book of your favourite series OR your favourite book of all time
Day 07 - Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 - A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 - Best scene ever
Day 10 - A book you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving
Day 11 - A book that disappointed you
Day 12 - A book or series of books you've read more than five times
Day 13 - Favourite childhood book OR current favourite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 - Favourite character in a book (of any sex or gender)
Day 15 - Your "comfort" book
Day 16 - Favourite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 - Favourite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 - Favourite beginning scene in a book
Day 19 - Favourite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 - Favourite kiss
Day 21 - Favourite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 - Favourite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 23 - Most annoying character ever
Day 24 - Best quote from a novel
Day 25 - Any five books from your "to be read" stack
Day 26 - OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 - If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 - First favourite book or series obsession
Day 29 - Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 - What book are you reading right now?
Day 31 - What books do you have on request at the library? How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? How often have you returned books to the library unread? What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Day 32 - Bad book habit? Do you ever dog-ear books? Do you ever write in the margins of your books? Not even with textbooks?
Day 33 - Do you have an e-reader? What format do you prefer to buy books in?
Day 34 - Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
Day 35 - Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Day 36 - Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Day 37 - Least favourite book you read this year (so far?)
Day 38 - What is your reading comfort zone? How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Day 39 - Favourite place to read? Can you read on a bus/car/train?
Day 40 - What is your policy on book lending?
Day 41 - What makes you love a book? Is it the same thing that will inspire you to recommend a book?
Day 42 - Favourite genre?
Day 43 - Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Day 44 - Favourite biography?
Day 45 - Favourite cookbook?
Day 46 - Favourite reading snack?
Day 47 - Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Day 48 - How often do you agree with critics about a book? How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
Day 49 - If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Day 50 - Most intimidating book you've ever read? Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Day 51 - Favourite poet?
Day 52 - Favourite fictional villain?
Day 53 - Name a book that you could/would not finish. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?
Day 54 - What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Day 55 - Favourite film adaptation of a novel? Most disappointing film adaptation?
Day 56 - The most money I've ever spent in the book shop at one time?
Day 57 - How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Day 58 - Do you like to keep your books organized?
Day 59 - Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them?
Day 60 - Are there any books you've been avoiding?

The road to Hell...

So, the idea behind last week was to get myself to actually write something fictional for the first time in months. It was a fantastic idea... until I remembered I was driving 8 hours to Atlanta starting at 4 am on Thursday. *sigh* One of these days I'll figure it out and get some writing for fun done. Good intentions and all.

My life is both exciting and boring, because everything is about school and career right now. I'm taking four classes: Cataloging, Film Music History, Music Librarianship, and Musical Theatre. Cataloging is online and is pretty much the most annoying busy work I have ever done. Film Music History is fun and interesting. I'm learning a lot, even though it's easier than most of my other coursework. Music Librarianship has been not much work so far, but the final project is going to be LOTS of work (but totally worth it). I will be cataloging a collection of Leonard Bernstein's stuff that his family donated when he died. I will be building a system for processing and cataloging everything in the collection. It's really exciting because some of it has never even been unpacked - who knows what I will find! And finally Musicals class is fun, although it can be depressing sometimes. It's kind of like a book club. My final project is cool though! I'll be looking at the use of Musical Theatre tropes in A Very Potter Musical. I'm interested in how those tropes are used to create a different message than the one(s) inherent in the books.

Other career related stuff:
I just spent a weekend in Atlanta at the Music Library Conference. It was great for networking, and I got lots of good ideas for dealing with future projects. Plus it was fun to hang out with my fellow students and get to know them better. The weather was pretty crappy coming back, but I made it safely at least.
I also had a phone interview for one of the internships I applied to on Wednesday and I got it! Unfortunately it's the only one of them that doesn't pay anything, so I'm going to call around to the others and see where they are in their processes. If one of them is close enough that they can make an offer or rule me out by the time I need to let this one know, I'd like to know that before I make my decision.

And that's about it for now. Spring break cannot come soon enough!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Life Update: Craziness

So life is a little hectic right now. I think it's been two months since James and I moved into an apartment and spent every single moment of free time fixing up the house to get it ready to be sold. That was not fun. We've settled into the apartment nicely (once we got everything unpacked and organized). And things seem to be going well on the end of selling the house (knock on wood).

We're also building a house and planning a wedding. Building the house involves lots of meetings and decision making. And planning the wedding involves much the same. Both are very exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

We've decided not to hold the wedding at our original place of choice, which I think was the right decision to make. But I think we're going to have similar choices down the line where we're going to have to go on the feasible end rather than the ideal dream wedding end - not because it's not necessarily affordable but because: do we really want to spend a hundred dollars on center pieces that no one is going to want after the fact? i.e. we told our vender they could put whatever of their own things on the tables and we didn't care if matched. James and I are thrifty, and we don't like spending money on impractical things (for the most part). Dream weddings are fun to fantasize but oh my goodness, so not practical!

Speaking of dream weddings, I still really freaking want this cake!

Additionally, we got another cat. His name is Romeo, and he's a little stinker but also very adorable and lovable. He likes your lap and will pur like a motor. He was also previously a stray and isn't crazy about being an indoor cat and not being allowed people food, but he seems to getting more accustomed to the idea. He also DESPERATELY wants to play with Lucy and Karen, but neither of them are having it. He's also figured out that while Lucy and Karen will growl and hiss at him as ferociously as possible, they won't actually DO anything to him. So he just kind of forces himself in their space while they are sputtering at him and it's both hilarious and annoying because we have to listen to it. But I do think the girls are slowly becoming more tolerant.

Still working at Publics. Still looking for a job. My writing projects have gone nowhere, and I am now in 2 D&D campaigns. That is all I have to report.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Life is Snow Covered and Monotonous

I have no excuse for not posting yesterday. I mean, it's not like work exhausted me --- we had (another) snow day. I tended to my influenza-ridden fiance and watched a season and a half of Parks and Recreation. That was my day. I have no excuse. I just didn't get around to it.

But allow me (on this second consecutive snow day) to get around to it now.

Life is . . . not the most interesting thing in the world for me right now. I work five days a week (ostensibly), I go to choir practice, I go to church, I go to bell choir practice, and sometimes our friend Rachel comes over to the house to hang out.

Like, I'm not trying to complain, but I'm used to having a lot more to do with my time that is more varied. I miss my theatre work, and I miss my library work, and so, once the snow decides to leave us and I am subsequently able to walk downtown on a clear path, I am going to go bug the library about my volunteer application that has been ignored three times now.

There's also a theatre group down here, CYT (Christian Youth Theatre) that is hiring instructors for summer classes, so I'm waiting on letters of recommendation to send in, and then I'll be putting that application together.

As for my reading and writing goals for the year, I'm staying pretty well on track with them. I'm already at 25 books read for the year, and if you all aren't familiar with the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (futuristic fairy tale quartet - Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress have been published so far), then find Cinder and become familiar, because these books are wonderful and right up everyone's alleys.

As for writing, I spent January and February working on draft two of my Twelve Dancing Princesses novel. Draft one clocked in at 118,000 words, and my initial goal was to shave 40,000 off of that, but that goal quickly shifted to "Fix the plot holes for the love of God," so draft two ended up being 131,000 words altogether. It's kind of a monster (Katie, I'll get those last chapters to you ASAP), but a monster I'm more or less satisfied with for the time being.

March's project is to finish my three active WIP fanfictions that my followers keep clamoring for. Camp Nano first round is in April this year, I think, so I'm looking ahead to find an appropriate project for that.

Chase and I celebrate our four year anniversary tomorrow, which is exciting! I have to finish his gift today, and he went back to work so I actually have a chance to get it done now. We went out on our date last week, though, when we both had the time free. We saw The LEGO Movie which was . . . interesting. Enjoyable, for sure, but I'm still not quite sure what I watched. Music was catchy, though, and Will Farrell was surprisingly watchable, an opinion coming from someone who pretty much hates everything he does, so take that into account.

And I think that's all my news for now! Looking forward to hearing from all of you!


Monday, March 3, 2014

This Week's Post

I cannot believe I didn't post for my own topic.  I suck at blogging.

It's been so long since we had a life update posting that I don't know how far back to go.  School is going well.  I'm in my second and final semester at Lakeland, so I should be getting my paralegal certificate in May and (fates permitted) getting a job.  I have applied for a paralegal position with the Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, and I really want it!  Applicants turn everything in online though, and they don't give a time frame for expecting feedback, so I have no idea about anything right now regarding that.  I have also kind of found that I enjoy probate law (wills, estates, etc.), so I'm thinking about applying to law firms and government offices that do that as well.  My internship coordinator says I'm doing very well with them.  Attorneys who have accepted my legal memos (which are just documents outlining my research) have praised them, so that gives me encouragement since I'm still lacking some confidence in my research abilities.

And...erm...Matt is back in my life.  Not romantically at all, but we're hanging out again and talking on a fairly regular basis.  He sent me a message on Facebook awhile back, profusely apologizing for what he did and saying he doesn't ever remember acting that way with anyone else.  We messaged back and forth for awhile and patched things up.  I told him how I was feeling and, despite my fears, he listened and wasn't scared away.  When we hang out now, I have genuine fun just talking to him, and I guess he feels the same, since he keeps talking to me  =)  I'm not expecting anything but friendship from him right now, and it makes it a lot easier to hang out.  Though there is sometimes a pang of pain when he casually mentions a date he had during the time we weren't talking.

So, I think I may have gone bar-hopping this weekend.  And then came out of it with a date.  The funny part is, I wasn't even drinking...

Guess I should start at the beginning.  I met my friend Jen and some other girls at The Winking Lizard Tavern in Cleveland.  The intention was that I would finally meet this guy that she has been talking about for months.  She met him at a party and thinks we would be perfect together, or something...We ate dinner and they drank a little (amazing gyros there, btw).  Then we went to the Cleveland Rocksino.  (For those who are interested, it's nice, but boring as all get-out).  We didn't stay there long before meeting more friends at a bar called Flannery's down the street.  Jen and her husband's friends were there, and they are the ones I would be meeting this guy through.  We sat and talked, and they drank some more.

Then this guy finally showed up.  We'll call him "Vinny."  It was like pulling teeth to get Vinny to talk to me.  It involved an elaborate plan where people casually changed seats and distracted him until he ended up sitting next to me.  We talked a little, and he seems nice enough, but super awkward.  Jen had told me before that Vinny was smart, and that much was obvious.  After awhile, we then went *back* to the casino because Vinny wanted to shoot craps with Jen's husband.  I was agonizingly bored, and by then it was after midnight, and I was feeling my anxiety peak with all the bodies and noise in the casino, so I called it a night.  Last night, Vinny texted me and asked me out on a date this week.  We're going to a local seafood place on Wednesday night.

I'm nervous, but not so much for my safety or anything, but because I don't know if I want a relationship right now, so I'm nervous about possibly giving him "the speech."  I know, I know, I need to stop worrying about it and cross that bridge if it comes, but you guys know me.  I'm always thinking ahead and not always for the best.

Otherwise, things are going well.  The family and pets are all relatively healthy.  My sister has a cold right now, but that's the season.  I've had two so far, and neither has been fun to say the least.  The dogs and cats are hilariously insane and being their usual goofy selves.  My life is pretty mundane day-to-day, so all I really have to report are the "highlights."  I hope everyone else is doing well and I look forward to hearing from you guys  =)


Last Week's Post

So I totally didn't get my topic done for last week until, like, yesterday, which is why it's being posted more than a week late.  Sorry  :-(

I’m going to start by answering Heidi’s prompt, though I’m afraid I’m breaking the rules and going in the opposite direction…kinda…

I want Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas brought to the Broadway stage.  Every time I listen to “This is Halloween” and “What’s This?” I picture the way it would look on stage, and I want it to happen so terribly.  I mean, picture this:  as the cast sings “Skeleton Jack might catch you in the back, and…” a scarecrow on a scare-donkey is towed up the center aisle by a ghoul, and the scarecrow rises and starts to dance as they sing, “Our man Jack is king of the pumpkin patch…!”  Instead of Jack Skellington leaping into the town well as he does in the movie, there would be a trapdoor in the center of said well on stage, and after “Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween…!” he would simply drop through the floor.  Then, after “In this town we call home/Everyone hail to the pumpkin song…” he would rise up again as Jack Skellington, waving to the crowd of ghouls, demons, witches, and other creeps surrounding him.  I want Doug Jones as Jack Skellington, and Nathan Fillion as Oogie Boogie.  If they can sing, that is.

And yeah, a part of my inner childhood wants to play Shock, the little witch lackey for Oogie Boogie…

But now, for a story…

Her Gift Saves Her Life
A potential excerpt from that series I keep talking about where the characters are loosely based on us

To set the scene a little:  This excerpt is told from the third-person limited point of view of one of the main characters, Karina Cavanaugh.  Recently, her professor (Dr. Avery Jericho, who teaches critical thinking via cryptozoology) has told her (along with several of her fellow students) that she is blessed with a gift, one that very few others in this world possess.  What that gift is, even he isn’t sure, but he can sense when someone is…different...and he knows that Karina has something special about her.  She told him that there’s no way she’s special, with her near-crippling anxiety disorder that subjects her to painful panic attacks and the constant feeling that something is wrong.  She can hardly leave her dorm room, for goodness sake!  Special?  It’s not possible.  But Dr. Jericho stood firm and told her that, next time she feels a panic attack coming on, don’t try to fight it.  Instead, let it happen, no matter how scary it seems, and see what transpires.  Karina rolled her eyes and left the room, thinking, “He has no idea what he’s talking about.  If he understood how they hurt — how horrible the panic attacks are — he wouldn’t be saying that.”

“And, with that, it’s almost nine o’clock,” Dr. [NAME] announced.  Then he waved to the class.  “Have a good weekend and enjoy the weather.”
As the class adjourned, students rose from their desks and chatted happily about their weekend plans.  Now that the weather in mid-Ohio had finally broken from the frigid winter temps and unrelenting snow, students were less eager to stay in and do homework and more apt to spend their time outside.  The downtown area would be crowded with drinkers and partiers that night.
Karina, however, would be going straight back to her dorm room and turning on her TV.  She got up from her desk in the back corner of the room and gathered her things.  As usual, she was the last to leave, including the professor.  Sighing, she zipped up her spring jacket and stepped out onto the front stoop of the building.
It was a relief, the change in the weather, especially for Karina.  She loathed winter down to her very bones.  The cold kept everyone inside, where tempers stewed and neighboring rooms grew loud and crowded.  It was dangerous to walk around campus for fear of frostbite and slipping on the ice, and roads were treacherous for drivers.  Then there was all the stifling clothing she had to wear to stay warm.  She was little, Karina, and needed more padding than average-sized women.
But that was not the case that night.  The low was mid-fifties, so all she needed was her light-weight spring jacket and a pair of jeans to keep her comfortable on her twenty-minute walk to her dorm room.  There was no more snow on the ground, no more biting little teeth in the air, and no more salt on the sidewalks to stain the hems of her jeans and whiten her coveted black Converse.
And yet, there Karina stood, frozen to the concrete steps.  She shoved her hands in her pockets and shuffled her feet nervously, her eyes flitting from one darkened corner to the next.  No, it wasn’t the weather that would unnerve her tonight.  It was the dark.  Sunsets were still early in spring, so by the time Karina’s evening class adjourned, campus was completely dark save for the streetlights and bright-blue emergency stations.  During the day, the usual little animals scuttled around — squirrels finally awake from hibernation, birds that had returned from their southern haunts, and a kitty-cat or two from the nearby houses — but at night, everything turned still and eerie.
A rustling from above made Karina gasp.  She looked up, and nearly laughed at herself when she spotted a little black squirrel leaping among the branches of a nearby elm tree.
Karina watched the squirrel for a few moments as it leapt this way and that, seemingly without direction or purpose.  It scampered down the tree trunk head-first, only to whirl around and dart back up again.  The little creature calmed her wakened nerves, and gave her the little push she needed to step off the stoop and start towards the safety of her dorm room and her friends.  Maybe they would watch another movie tonight.  They still had to finish their Lord of the Rings marathon.
She made it out of the Administrative Circle of buildings and continued along the Eppler Complex, where a chattering noise caught her ear.  Karina looked up and saw that the squirrel from earlier was behind her, running among the branches and shouting in its broken little language.  She had heard squirrel vocalize before, but this one seemed to be genuinely bothered by something.  What’s more, it almost looked like it was following her.  She shook of that thought and quickened her steps.  Squirrels don’t follow people, Cavanaugh…right?
As she passed Eppler Complex and strode between the Business and Education buildings, Karina tried to hold onto the thought of where she was going — the thought of being surrounded by friends and safety.  It’s okay, she told herself, you’ll be back with them soon.  Besides, it’s just the dark.  But that squirrel kept its pace behind her, and a bird suddenly shrilled from atop the Business building.  Karina paused and turned to look, and that’s when it happened.  That’s when the air shifted.
The little robin seemed to fly overhead in slow motion as Karina’s adrenaline started to creep across the back of her neck.  She swore out loud.  This was the first sign of an oncoming panic attack.  Her hands in her pockets wrenched and writhed as she tried to fight back, tried to push the adrenaline back to wherever it came from.  But something was different; something about her surroundings had changed.  The gentle spring breezes had stopped altogether, leaving the air still and silent.  The little black squirrel was still there, its chatters echoing loudly off the buildings.  Karina looked up at it, and it seemed to be looking right at her, screaming in warning.  But again, that was ridiculous.  Squirrels don’t warn.  So then why was she feeling so anxious?
Karina had to force herself to move her feet, but with each step, she felt as if she was actually slowing down.  Though there was no wind, she felt as if she was fighting through a cloud of thick air, her legs numb and heavy.  Then the adrenaline in her neck turned white-hot and began to trickle its way down her neck and across her shoulders.  If she let it, the panic would begin to surge through her veins, and the pain would start.  If she let that happen, she would be immobilized and vulnerable.
“No…no, not now…” she begged.
But her legs were getting shaky, and her hands were clenched so tightly that her nails were nearly breaking through her palms.  The adrenaline made it down her arms, and she began to whine as it intensified.  She knew she only had a matter of time before the pain started — body-wide, systemic pain that would stop her dead and crumple her into the fetal position right there on the sidewalk.  If that happened, she would be completely helpless until it passed.
Karina had no choice.  If she was going to fight this, she had to stop so she could concentrate.  She leaned against one of the columns just outside East Hall, where the English professors had their offices, and let her head fall back onto her shoulders.  She tried to level out her breathing and quickening heart, tried to slow her blood that pumped the adrenaline into her muscles.  It hurt — it always hurt — but she had to breathe past it and try to calm down.
The squirrel’s chattering had turned to out-and-out shrieking.  It had followed her all the way from the Administrative Circle and was now perched above her head in a nearby tree.  It leapt from branch to branch in a panic, all the while keeping its beady little eyes on Karina.  It was strange behavior, for sure, but Karina didn’t have time to think about it.  As she tried to fight against the panic attack, she tried to push the chattering into the back of her mind and treat it like background noise.  Nothing else matters, she thought.  Just keep breathing.
All the wanted was to be back with her friends where she felt safe.  Why did this have to happen on a Friday night, with the entire weekend ahead of her?  Stupid anxiety…it was ruining her life.  How was she supposed to function in the real world, with a real job, when she couldn’t even walk home without having a panic attack?  And stupid Dr. Jericho, telling her she was “special.”  Bullshit…he was probably some kind of perv…
Then, all at once, a vision interrupted her concentration.  Karina could see Dr. Jericho in the black behind her eyelids, as if he was standing right in front of her.  He was dressed the same way as he was last week, and he was telling her again, “Next time, just let it happen.  See what unfolds…”
Karina opened her eyes.  The squirrel was still going insane above her head.  She pushed off the brick column and stood up straight, wondering…
She took her hands out of her pockets and let them hang at her sides.  She looked up at the crazy squirrel and closed her eyes, letting the dark envelop her.  She took a deep breath in, filling her lungs, and as she let it out, she let the adrenaline in.
It was the best decision of her life.
In the back of Karina’s mind, something gave way.  Karina started as she felt a strange pinprick on her mind, as if something was taking a dull toothpick to her brain.  Everything seemed to slow down as she let the prodding thing through.
No one had spoken, certainly not Karina.  Her eyes flew open again, and she was looking the little black squirrel dead in its eyes.  Confused, she was just about to step closer to the tree when she suddenly felt a strong arm hook around her neck from behind.
“Keep your mouth shut, bitch,” said a deep voice in her ear.
“No, no!  Go away!  Bad, bad man!” the little prodding voice in her head sounded again.
The world continued in slow motion as Karina wrenched free of the stranger’s grasp and turned to face him.  He was tall — about six feet — with a muscular build.  He was clothed entirely in black, with sunglasses over his eyes and a hood pulled up over his head.  She couldn’t tell how old he was, but her racing mind concluded that he was probably a student, prowling around campus for a victim.  In her heightened state of awareness, she could see the bright-white Under Armor logo on his hoodie and the black lines of a tattoo peeking out from his neck.
Karina didn’t scream.  She couldn’t wrap her head around the situation fast enough.  Instead the two charged at each other.  The man brought up his fists and aimed one at her face, but Karina ducked and they traded placed.  He charged at her again, and Karina planted the heel of her hand into his nose.  She felt the soft bones break under the blow, and heard them crack as the man staggered backward, holding onto his face.  All the while, the little squirrel shrieked in its tree, yelling little rodent obscenities at the man.
“UUGGHH!  You little bitch!” the assailant grumbled through his hands.  She had hurt him, but Karina knew it wasn’t over.
Sure enough, he recovered enough to come at her with fists clenched in rage.  Karina dodged under his punch and laid into him—stomach, solar plexus, chin, eyes, groin.  She watched the scene from the back of her mind, as if someone else was fighting for her.  How on earth am I doing this?
Finally, with one last blow to his left eye, Karina’s attacker staggered backwards again.  He fell back into one of the columns and held his head in his hands.  He grumbled and whined in pain, keeping a hand on the brick wall for balance.  Karina kept her guard up, preparing for another onslaught, but he was too broken and battered to continue.  With a glance at his would-be victim, the man righted himself and began to stagger away from her.  She let him — something she cursed herself for later — and watched as he turned behind East Hall and vanished.
Karina was left standing alone, breathing hard but steady in the wake of the attack.  Her head swam with questions.  How had she fought him off?  She had no martial arts training whatsoever.  What was that voice in her head?  And why had she been able to thwart a panic attack by letting it happen?
The squirrel, who had stopped its incessant shrieking, chattered once behind Karina.  She turned to look at it again, and met its eyes once more.  As she stared at it, two pieces of the puzzle seemed to come together, but in a way that Karina couldn’t believe was true.  No, she thought.  It’s not impossible…
Yet she found herself looking up at the little black rodent, saying, “I-I…thank you…”