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Boys and girls, the time has come. I now have a Wordpress blog: http://quoththegirl.wordpress.com/.

It's basically this blog, but with pressed words, so at least there are fewer wrinkles. I finally got fed up with my pals, those Russian spammers, and various other Livejournal limitations, though the final straw was the recent bout of site downtime. I'll definitely still keep the account and probably still fiddle around on here too, if only for fandom purposes.

Hope to see you at the new digs!
Mood: creativecreative
23 July 2011 @ 08:04 pm
I was going to post something all meaningful up here, but by the time I got through putting in the links below and raving about books below that, I ran out of steam. Er, next time?

Internet treasure trove.Collapse )

I read The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when I was quite young (12, I think) and loved the adventure and excitement. Reading it 12 years later, the adventure is still good fun, but the racism does rather taint things, and I found many of the characters to be more irksome than I remembered. I still enjoyed it, overall, but I think Doyle might've done better to stick to Holmes.

I recently reread My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart because I wanted to be able to discuss it with a friend who was reading it for the first time. Mary Stewart's novels are difficult to classify: Wikipedia calls her one of the founders of the romantic suspense subgenre, which comes close, but still doesn't seem quite accurate. She does not write romance novels, though there is romance in her books (and the friend reading her book for the first time called it an "intellectual romance). Stewart is a lady, in the best sense of the word (as well as in the nobility sense--she married Sir Frederick Stewart); one need never worry about inappropriate material cropping up. That sounds stuffy, but it's actually extremely refreshing. Her books are infused with literary and historical references, and her descriptions of foreign settings make you feel as though you'd been there. This book is set in and around Delphi and is packed with classical references--one has to be intellectual indeed to catch all of Stewart's allusions, as she is frightfully well-read and taught literature at university.

I read The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers the other day. Urgh. Not a fan. This reads like a bleaker version of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio or T.R. Pearson's A Short History of a Small Place, but isn't as good as either one. I get what she was trying to say about human isolation, but somehow the way she said it just rubbed me the wrong way.

Right now I'm working on Wheelock's Latin, The Frigates by Henry Gruppe (in the same series as the clipper ship book I was working on the other week), and Queens' Play by Dorothy Dunnett, the second book in the series. All are fascinating in their own radically different ways, which is making for a somewhat schizophrenic but thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.
Music: "Some Boys" by Death Cab for Cutie
Last night two friends of mine and I all dressed up as cows and got free meals at Chick-fil-A! Highlights of the excursion involved hats with cow ears, getting my braid pulled by somebody in a legitimate cow costume, and consuming ridiculous amounts of chicken. Afterwards, we all studied Latin, still in bovine dress, just for the heck of it.

There have been incredible amounts of good times in general lately, including pell-mell adventures on the 4th in which several friends and I chased down an ice cream truck in a neighborhood none of us lived in, got caught in the rain waiting for the city's no-show fireworks, and ended up watching our neighbor's (no doubt highly illegal) fireworks display from our balcony instead. Earlier in the weekend, more friends congregated for the consumption of spaghetti made according to Audrey Hepburn's recipe, phenomenal homemade cake from Sarah of Culinary Quixotic fame, homemade blueberry soda from the same source, and fresh bread from the farmer's market. It was quite the day!

Behold, the internet spoils from the past two weeks.Collapse )
I did manage to finish The Decameron at last, in spite of abandoning it to the cleaning crew's clutches at work for one weekend. By the end, I didn't hate it anymore. As Boccaccio says in his conclusion, "My tales will run after nobody asking to be read." Nobody made me read it, so perhaps I shouldn't complain!

Right now I'm working simultaneously on The Clipper Ships by A.B. Whipple and a collection of Best Loved Celtic Fairy Tales that Kim bought for me in Ireland. The former has beautiful maritime paintings, and the latter has gorgeous illustrations. Earlier in the week I read John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, which was absolutely hilarious. Giant three-legged rats are attacking the telepathically controlled birds used as transport! Oh no, Carter has been captured by the dreaded skeleton men of Jupiter! Classic scifi is adorable. You'll be happy to know all ended happily if fairly egocentrically with Carter consistently saving the day and being pretty cocky about it.
Mood: energeticenergetic
Music: Steven Sharp Nelson
Went exploring today with Sam, thinking we were going to a lovely arboretum in Apex. Turns out the arboretum hadn't actually been built yet, so we explored around the brush and old buildings that were there instead. I love the feeling of exploring a new place, when you have no idea what you're going to find next. As it happened, we didn't find anything terribly exciting today, but just the anticipation made it a blast.

My friend Sarah has a new blog, the Culinary Quixotic. This is relevant to your interests.

Dear Photograph.
Gravity, kindly shared by Ian.
The 30 Harshest Author-on-Author Insults in History. Pretty amusing...
Quite the late fee, there.
How to Become an Author in 5 Incredibly Difficult Steps.

Abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans.
What happens on the internet every 60 seconds.
The elderly can be mighty fearsome.
4 Reasons Why Trying Parkour Can Ruin Your Self-Esteem. I believe it.
Place your bets.

Desktopography, how have I been unaware of your existence all this time?

Judy Garland and Ray Bolger.
"Good Morning Moon" by the fabulous Marian Call, a song written to wake up the astronauts on the space station.
The All Ways cover Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," and it does not suck.
The First World Problems Rap.
You're going to hate me for this, and you will not succeed in getting the song out of your head. *twirls mustache evilly*

In a tragic accident, I left The Decameron at work over the weekend, so I couldn't finish it as I had planned. I'm 150 pages from finishing it, and it reminds me more and more of The Canterbury Tales, not because of the obvious similarities in structure and premise but because good grief, these stories are raunchy. I was 12 when I read Canterbury and was utterly scandalized by several of the stories. Twelve-year-old Stephanie wouldn't even have known what to do with The Decameron, where every other story includes adultery in some form. Those medieval Italians...tsk tsk. I kind of feel like I have to finish it now, after spending so much time on it. :/
Mood: jubilantjubilant
Music: "Good Morning Moon" by Marian Call
18 June 2011 @ 02:02 pm
I had a tiny chip in my windshield, which my parents warned me would crack and cause all kinds of mayhem, so I called AAA out to patch it. The glass dude was quite the character, a hard-core Bostonian with an accent that could probably cut glass all on its own.

"Girl, you're killin' me, you can hardly even SEE that chip! You brought me all the way out here for this? You better have a couple of cold ones for me."

And after seeing my braids: "Girl, that is some hair. Boy, am I going to have something to talk about on Thirsty Thursday. I'll make it a really good story, too: 'Yeah man, she was in a bikini and she had hair down to her knees!'"

...Well, I got the chip fixed.

My shockingly talented friend Elizabeth (Kiki) entered her notebook in The Sketchbook Project, and you should check it out.

I know what I'm doing at the pool this summer.
Bedtime paradox.
So evidently it's now a thing to put text from A Softer World with pictures from various tv shows, because I've been running into them everywhere. Now Doctor Who is getting in on the game.
Steampunk smartphone.

This kind of sounds like a scifi recipe for disaster, but see-through planes?? HECK YES.
We expected nothing less, Sean Bean.
Bark! Bark! Bar--oh, I didn't see you there. Uh, meow.
Inside the ghost ships.

"Winter Winds" by Mumford and Sons.
Stream the new Bon Iver album.
Supakitch and Koralie art. Perfectly incredible.

I just finished Veiled Rose by my friend Anne Elisabeth Stengl,
the second novel in her Tales from Goldstone Wood series. You should definitely check it out if you're into YA fantasy!

Now I'm working on The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. I have an ancient, musty, humongous copy that I picked up for 10 cents somewhere and which has an inscription dated 1937 inside the cover. It's...interesting. I was reading it at work, and someone smiled and said knowingly, "Ahh, you like to read the Good Book on your lunch?" I informed them that it was very definitely NOT the Bible, but rather was a medieval Italian work from 1350 in which Florence is succumbing to an epidemic of the Black Plague. People don't ask me what I'm reading at work anymore.
Mood: happyhappy
Music: "Winter Winds" by Mumford and Sons
07 June 2011 @ 08:19 pm
If anyone finds out what happened to May, let me know. I seem to have lost it. People say time seems to pass more quickly the older you are; at the rate I'm going, by the time I'm 60 years old I'll blink and miss a whole decade.

My brother is the coolest young entrepreneurial upstart poised to take over the world out there, and don't you forget it. Also, please hire him.

I'm half-heartedly toying with the idea of switching to Wordpress or Blogspot or something. One by one, my friends are deserting LJ for more "grown-up" blogging sites, and not without good reason. My Russian spammer friends are really getting on my nerves: I get more spam comments than legitimate comments. Granted, I don't get that many legitimate comments so that's not really saying much, but it's the principle of the thing. I'll still always keep this journal, though, if only to keep up with the fan communities. Seriously, they work via psychic link; if some obscure bit of fandom isn't on the comms, it's not on the internet.

Click here for outdated links! I need to post more frequently.Collapse )

Sheesh, Faulkner, you just have to make my life difficult, don't you? I finished Go Down, Moses, and I confess that the only times I've ever used SparkNotes in my life were to figure out if I was figuring out a Faulkner novel. Turns out I'd missed one important bit of genealogy, which made a suicide more understandable (you guessed it: incest!), but otherwise I think I got the main points. I'd read The Bear before, but it was better in context (such as Faulkner's context is). I still think I liked parts of it, but sometimes Faulkner seems to obfuscate purely for the joy of it, and that irks me. Also, the word "repudiate" was starting not to sound like a word anymore by the end, but such is to be expected, I guess.

Then I read The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, upon which the old movie by the same name was based. In a rare turn of events...the movie is better than the book. The novel was downright bleak and occasionally boring, both crimes of which one could never accuse the movie, certainly. I don't think I'm cut out for 1930s crime novels after all.

I read a novella by Arthur Schnitzler (hush, don't make fun of the poor man's name), "Flight into Darkness," the last of three novellas in a book of his that I bought for the class Love and Death. This one would've fit right into the syllabus. Spoilers: he dies, but not before going mad over the course of the novella and killing at least one person in his delusion. Whee! Fun times. Not a big Schnitzler fan, however thought-provoking he may be, but I wished we could've thrashed this one out in class.

Currently, I'm working on The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis. Goes without saying that it's brilliant. I especially find it fascinating historically because much of it was written during WWII, and a lot of his essays and sermons deal with related subjects.

Off to go for a run! Last time a tiny mouse ran alongside me on the trail for a minute. I felt like a very sweaty Cinderella.
Mood: creativecreative
Music: "Rox in the Box" by The Decemberists
29 May 2011 @ 10:27 pm
Angsty, stressful week! No more of that.

I took a very last-minute trip to Tallahassee, Florida, escorting a friend. The day ultimately went well, but on the way home the flight from Tallahassee to Tampa was probably the most exciting of my life. I walked out onto the tarmac, and the plane was TINY. Eight windows on a side, double propellers. They tried to start the engine as we passengers walked up, and it just coughed pathetically the first two times. I felt like cheering when it finally caught on the third try. Inside, there was one seat on either side of the aisle. When I say tiny--I was sitting in the left window seat, and from there I could reach over and touch the right-side window. The guy I thought was the attendant turned out to be the copilot, and he retreated behind some incredibly flimsy plastic doors, leaving us passengers to our own devices. Literally--some guy played on his smartphone the whole flight. If we had all crashed and died, I would've been extremely cross with him.

It seemed touch and go whether we would get off of the ground, but we made it, even if it was only to slew around wildly for most of the flight. The cabin wasn't pressurized, and there seemed to be a very small hole in the wall right next to my seat, through which shockingly cold air poured. Every so often the propeller on the right made an alarming hacking sound. At some point the copilot opened the flimsy doors, and we could watch them in the cockpit. This was particularly interesting during the landing--I thought that process was mostly automated, but this time it took two guys constantly pulling levers and possibly looking just a little bit worried, going by the expression on the backs of their heads. But we did land successfully, even if it did sound like the landing gear snapped off in the process. No one else seemed concerned, so I decided not to be, either.

Speaking of airline pilots...Collapse )

Been on an unbelievable old movie kick lately, thanks to my wonderful roommate, who came well-equipped with a very large collection of old Hollywood when she moved in. I definitely have an increasing appreciation for the films of the 30s, 40s, and 50s! I'm currently reading Errol and Olivia by Robert Matzen, which (obviously) tells the story of Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, stars of some of my very favorite old movies, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Captain Blood. Spoiler alert: Errol was a perfect jerk, and both of them were desperately unhappy. Guess Hollywood really hasn't changed much.

I had lots of time to read on Monday, as I risked life and limb in various aircraft. I read Long Ride Home by Louis L'Amour, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman, and The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis, all in one day. (It was a very, very long day.)

The L'Amour western was nice and easy, and I hadn't read any of his books in ages. I first got hooked on Louis L'Amour westerns when the tiniest, sweetest, little old lady at church revealed that she possessed every book he'd ever written, and proceeded to lend large quantities of them to me. The mental image of this geranium-and-knitting-loving lady reading L'Amour's descriptions of bloody gunfights and brutal brawls still cracks me up a bit.

Fadiman's descriptions of herself and her reading could have been descriptions of me; it was hilarious to read her spot-on characterizations of voracious readers and how ridiculous they can be at times. And, I hope, how fascinating. I highly recommend all my readerly friends check this one out. :)

Lewis is brilliant, as always, and I sort of wish I hadn't saved him for my last flight home when I was already so tired, because his thoughts require a fair bit of digestion. Lewis puts things in ways I hadn't thought to consider them, and even if I don't necessarily agree with him, he's certainly mind-stretching. And eventually I do find myself agreeing on most things. It's only some of his generalizations about women that irk, and I think maybe he just didn't meet enough interesting and intellectual women during his lifetime.

Right now I'm also working on Go Down, Moses by Faulkner. I know. I have a masochistic streak. I'm 185 pages in and am still a bit hazy as to what exactly is going on, but I certainly do prefer it to The Sound and the Fury, that's certain. Will report!
Mood: discontentdiscontent
Music: "Nattoppet" by Detektivbyran
Oh dear, it's been forever, and I have accumulated so many things to share with you, most of which are now old and outdated.
Old and busted.Collapse )

All kinds of reading has been happening lately. I finished Ozma of Oz and then read Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz and The Road to Oz, after which I sort of felt like I'd been stuck in Oz for years, to the extent that it was all I was dreaming about. Which is fine, but you can only have so many dreams about talking chickens before you realize you need a break.

I read A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury, and oddly enough there was a thunderstorm every single day I was reading it. There was a particularly heavy deluge whilst I was reading the story "The Long Rain." Strangely, however, there were no dinosaurs or butterflies. I really liked the story "Fire and Ice," which I had never read in any previous collections.

I made quite a few reading detours I hadn't meant to take, then. A friend is going through a tough time, so I read How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me by Susan Blauner, which was extremely useful. Or I think it was. Then a coworker lent me Bless Your Heart, Tramp and Other Southern Endearments by Celia Rivenbark, which was hilarious and so light by comparison with the former book that I felt somewhat like I'd been breathing helium. After that came Coraline by Neil Gaiman, which says it's a children's story, but I wouldn't let any child of mine near it with a ten-foot pole. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much, and look forward to the nightmares it will no doubt cause.

Then I read Murder at the Vicarage and Sleeping Murder, Agatha Christie's first and last Miss Marple novels, respectively. I'd read them a very long time ago (maybe when I was 10 or so), and I had forgotten just how enthralling Christie mysteries are. I couldn't put them down until all was revealed...it's pretty nice re-reading a mystery novel 14 years later because I had no idea who the murderer was.
Mood: anxiousanxious
During the last meeting of the esteemed Literary League (currently comprised of myself, Sam, Sarah, Charity, and Anne Elisabeth, with satellite member Danielle), we got to talking about literary characters we sighed over when we were young. Anne Elisabeth and I said we should definitely write our book heart-throbs up for our blogs, particularly since so many of them were the same characters. AE was, as always, miles ahead of me and promptly posted hers. Here is my considerably more belated version, for any out there who want to read the salacious details of my literary love life. :P

This is possibly the most girly thing I have ever written in my 24 years.Collapse )
Mood: flirty?
I'm always pleasant surprised when it turns out there's a word or phrase already in existence for something like this that would normally take far too long to describe with the typical set of vocabulary words.

Check out The Saga of the Lemon Poppyseed Cake, a hilarious blogpost by friend Anne Elisabeth Stengl, who also just so happens to be a published fantasy writer. Yeah, my friends really ARE that cool.

Click for more of the internet.Collapse )

I loved The Game of Kings, and the main character turned out to be right heroic after all, and I loved the language and the style and the setting. But oh, good grief, finishing that book was like pulling teeth. I have no idea why; it was wonderful. But I just couldn't seem to FINISH the darn thing. I dragged through the year 1547 in Scotland like a particularly sluggish (albeit very entertained) snail, and I'm puzzled as to why it was such an arduous task. I'm definitely going to give myself a bit of a break before tackling the second one in the series.

Then I skipped through From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury in a few hours, which felt much like going for a sprint after a very long, very cramped car trip. It's a novel, but it's put together from a variety of short stories he wrote at various times, so sometimes it does feel a bit cobbled-together. I admit that most of the Bradbury I've read that has been published after 2000 hasn't been quite, quite as good, but it's still so excellent that it's well worth one's time.

Now I'm zipping along with Ozma of Oz, which is pretty surreal. It's been so long since I've read the Oz books that I can almost pretend that I haven't, except for the intense feelings of deja vu I get every so often. Also, a terrible movie called Return to Oz was made in the 80s, and it combined the second and third Oz books into one incoherent storyline that (I would imagine) bore more than a passing resemblance to a really bad drug trip. Also, it was utterly terrifying and I strongly suspect no child should ever watch it. Reading the text version of the nightmare-inducing Wheelers is considerably less traumatizing. Stick to the books, kids!
Mood: peacefulpeaceful
Music: "Lean" by Oh Land