Tuesday, April 18, 2006

it's my blogiversary...

A year ago today I wrote my first blog post.

Since then I've kind of flailed around with this blog, experimented with the content, the template, etc. etc. etc. I've seen my average number of comments per post rise and fall and rise and fall.

Here's what I'm doing: I'm moving to a new site. Maybe it's silly of me but it seems like this has sort of been a practice blog and now that I have a better handle on what I'm doing I should make a fresh start. So from now on, you can find me at http://laughtrack29.blogspot.com. Update your links and all that if you will. I'll leave this site up at least for the time being but there will be no further posts.

A big thanks to all of my blog-friends (well, to my approximately three blog-friends) and I hope you'll follow me to my new address!

Friday, April 14, 2006

100 things about me

  1. I have no idea what to put as the number one thing about me. I mean, that's pretty defining, isn't it? Incidentally the items that follow are in no particular order.
  2. I do not handle stress at all well.
  3. I prefer dark chocolate.
  4. I was in love once.
  5. I am neurotic about organizing the files on my computer; for example, papers for school are arranged into folders by class, and further by semester, with the file names matching their titles, etc. etc. etc.
  6. I rarely ever drank coffee before I started college. Now I'm an addict.
  7. I can say "bless you" (like what you say when someone sneezed) in Arabic.
  8. When I'm nervous, I have a variety of odd ticks like pushing my glasses up my nose and constantly adjusting my watch.
  9. I play the trombone. Quite well, actually, if I say so myself.
  10. I am aware that hardly anyone reads this blog and yet I keep it up anyway.
  11. My two favorite-ever novels are The Beekeeper's Apprentice and Life of Pi, both of which are sitting on my desk next to me as I write this.
  12. My favorite play is Inherit the Wind, and one of the people who co-wrote it graduated from my school.
  13. I am a Trekkie.
  14. I never used to get fangirlish about movie stars, but I'm in loooooooove with Ewan McGregor.
  15. I have a half-sister and a half-brother who are much older than me (sixteen and eighteen years older, respectively, as I recall).
  16. I was one of those girls who made friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss, but I eventually moved on from that to making actually jewelry with beads and beading wire and clasps and whatnot, and now I'm glad I did because I have the ability to repair my own jewelry when clasps and stuff break.
  17. I was also one of those girls who drew pictures of horses in elementary school.
  18. And I used to be really into different alphabets and stuff -- Egyptian hieroglyphics, Elvish runes, Shavian, I tried my hand at all of them at some point or another.
  19. The most times I've ever gone to a single movie when it was in theaters is three. It was Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
  20. I was in second grade when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I'd written a mystery that year about a family of rabbits whose carrots were stolen by a fox, and it made it into the school district's literary journal.
  21. I have an extremely eclectic music collection. Classical, jazz, oldies, pop, movie soundtracks, Harry Potter fan music (a.k.a. "wizard rock")... yeah.
  22. My fingers are double-jointed; I can bend them back about ninety degrees.
  23. I am utterly incapable of touching my tongue to my nose. I have a really short tongue, I guess.
  24. I don't like tomatoes.
  25. I hate spending money. I got this from my parents, who are very cheap.
  26. I don't wear make-up. Hardly ever. The last time I wore make-up was for my senior prom.
  27. My favorite colors are blue and purple.
  28. I'm more of a cat person than a dog person.
  29. I used to speak German pretty fluently, but since I stopped actually taking German classes I've gotten extremely rusty.
  30. I went to see John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election.
  31. I have never owned a cell phone.
  32. I have four pairs of earrings and two pairs of socks with frogs on them.
  33. I got red highlights in my hair a couple times in high school, but for the most part I pretty much leave my hair alone. Wash it, dry it, put it up if it looks crappy down, and get it trimmed whenever it starts getting ratty.
  34. I don't really like to swim.
  35. I know the constellations (you know, the stars, in the sky) pretty well, but not as well as I used to.
  36. I'm not religious.
  37. I am very well traveled, especially for someone my age.
  38. When people give me backrubs it tickles. I squirm around and giggle.
  39. My high school graduating class voted me "Most Likely to Become a Politician."
  40. My first car was a silver Ford Taurus. I think the year was... '94? I have no head for such things. It used to be my dad's.
  41. I used to think it was immoral to burn CDs because it's, you know, illegal. I'm not that naive anymore. I burn CDs all the time.
  42. I don't think drinking is immoral, either; I don't even think underage drinking is necessarily immoral. But I'm not a drinker myself.
  43. I love ice cream. And cheesecake, though I didn't use to. And chocolate cake.
  44. I like coconut, and mushrooms, two thing that many people don't like.
  45. I've eaten sushi, but (as of this writing) only the sushi they have here on campus, and I have no idea how authentic it is.
  46. I was definitely a PBS kid. I watched all those PBS kids shows. (Though there were some different ones then than now. What happened to Kratt's Kreatures? I can seriously trace my interest in zoology right back to watching that show when I was six or so.)
  47. I have trouble working in a group if I'm not in charge. Usually. If I'm intimidated by other people in the group, then it just freaks me out, like when I had to lead a trombone sectional and my section included several music majors.
  48. If I were to ever get a flat tire while driving by myself, I would really be screwed. I couldn't change a tire to save my life.
  49. I can be very insecure about my friends. I always hate it when my friends do anything fun without me. I feel like I'm being left out of the loop or something.
  50. For an English project in my senior year of high school, we had to pick the four adjectives we felt best described ourselves. Mine were intelligent, creative, contemplative, and I forget what else. Out of curiosity I asked my best friend what adjective she would use to describe me, and all she could come up with was "musical," which I found rather irritating.
  51. People confided secrets in me surprisingly often in high school, and I didn't handle it well. Probably a good thing that no one at college has shown this tendency.
  52. I had braces, but only on the bottom.
  53. My only piercings are a single hole in each ear.
  54. I secretly think it would be cool to get my nose pierced. But I'm too chicken.
  55. I like reading the ends of books before I actually get to the end. I get more out of reading a novel if I know where the plot is heading. (For the same reason I like reading really good novels for the second time even more than the first.) My best friend thinks this is heresy.
  56. I cried when Dumbledore died in the sixth Harry Potter book, but not when my grandmother died.
  57. I can't decide whether or not I like the fact that I grew up in a small town in Ohio. It was cool to grow up somewhere where everyone knew everyone else, but on the other hand it was a pretty narrow-minded little place.
  58. I consider myself a feminist.
  59. I spent three and a half weeks in Germany without my parents when I was sixteen and I didn't try beer once.
  60. I think Katharine Hepburn is the greatest actress ever.
  61. I keep a paper-and-ink journal in addition to my blog, but I don't write in it nearly as much as I should.
  62. I finally made the switch from old-school pencils to mechanical pencils when I started college.
  63. My favorite word is "defenestration."
  64. My favorite city I have been to is San Francisco, probably closely followed by Berlin and Munich.
  65. I love Walt Whitman's poetry.
  66. The only computer game I own is The Sims 2.
  67. I've never taken piano lessons, but I borrowed a friend's piano books and taught myself the basics.
  68. I'm having a lot of trouble coming up with 100 things about myself.
  69. When I was little I thought Karl Marx was one of the Marx brothers.
  70. I'm a browncoat.
  71. I never spend change. I save it up in a jar, and when I have enough I put it in rolls and deposit it in the bank.
  72. I have never once in my life plucked or waxed or otherwise manipulated my eyebrows. It's just not a skill I've ever acquired. Maybe I should ask M to teach me.
  73. I've grown to like doing laundry, but I've never ironed anything by myself.
  74. I can bake some things, but not actually cook.
  75. I've been to all three American coasts (East, West, and Gulf).
  76. The first time I rode in a plane was at Kitty Hawk.
  77. I played with Barbies when I was little, but now I think they are evil and if I ever have a daughter she will NOT be allowed to have Barbies. Barbie clearly suffers from anorexia.
  78. I like dangly earrings, but not really heavy ones, because I'm afraid of getting my lobes all stretched out.
  79. I can tell a red-bellied woodpecker apart from a pileated woodpecker by sound alone. (That one's for Jen...)
  80. I know two people who got perfect 1600s on the SAT test (before they changed the scoring and made it out of 2400).
  81. One of them is the person I was in love with the single aforementioned time that I have ever been in love.
  82. I myself only got a 1450. Stupid math score brought me down.
  83. M got me hooked on Friends, but I can't pick a single favorite character: it's a toss-up between Joey, Chandler, and Phoebe.
  84. I learn the words to songs really quickly. My albums that I own and listen to regularly, I know all the lyrics to all the songs, and I do tend to sing along with them out loud when I play them. My roommates are amused by this. (All my lovin... I will send to you-oo-oooo... All my lovin... darlin i'll be truuuuuue...)
  85. I can also memorize things on the trombone pretty easily. I can still play all of the solo I did last year from memory, and most of the one from the year before that.
  86. My best friend and I have known each other since first grade. Now we're going to college together, which is pretty cool.
  87. My parents don't know I have a blog. Well, actually, my mom might suspect but she's discrete about such things, thankfully.
  88. I live in an all women's dorm.
  89. The quotes on my Facebook profile consist mostly of things I myself have said, because strange things come out of my mouth sometimes, such as "So if God didn't want us to make obscene gestures we wouldn't have been born with middle fingers?" and "I need to marry a former Pakistani cricket star so I can divorce him and date Hugh Grant."
  90. I have scoliosis - not bad enough to have ever needed a brace, but I do have it. (It means my spine is kind of curvy. You can't really tell unless you run your hand across my back, though.)
  91. When I was in sixth grade I had pneumonia and missed two weeks of school.
  92. Never once, all through middle school and high school, was I ever marked tardy for a single class.
  93. My very first "real" job was at a McDonald's; before that I'd gotten paid for giving trombone lessons and for playing trombone at a church, though.
  94. I sometimes filch things like staplers and paper from my roommates.
  95. I generally get along with people very well. There are a few people who extremely get on my nerves, but they tend to get on everyone else's nerves, too.
  96. I took a yoga class a couple years ago and loved it, and I wish I had time to take yoga now.
  97. I used to be afraid of thunderstorms, but now I think they're really cool.
  98. The movie Shawshank Redemption was filmed in the area around my hometown, as were a few scenes from Air Force One.
  99. I'm trying to think of something really definitive for number 100.
  100. Um... I hate sauerkraut. (Wow, Rebecca, really definitive.)
Now that I've finally finished this extremely narcissistic list, I'm off to do some reading.

harry potter internet finds

Five things Harry Potter fans might be amused by when they're bored and surfing the Internet...
  • accioBRAIN! A website featuring fan art by someone who styles herself Makani. Some of her stuff is really cute, so you should definitely go browse through the pictures. I had the one of Dumbledore and Fawkes as my computer wallpaper for a while.
  • Harry and the Potters. Taking filk (fan music) to a whole new level, these guys have helped create a whole sub-genre of indie music called "wizard rock" - that is, rock music (or something like it) based on the Harry Potter books. A friend of mine introduced me to their awesomeness and burned me copies of their albums. How can you beat lyrics like "A three-headed dog! A three-headed dog! Oh my God, a three-headed dog!"
  • Wizard People, Dear Reader. Intended as narration to be played with the movie version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, these recordings are also pretty entertaining just to listen to as an audio book. It's like a weird R-rated parody, and it's actually pretty clever at some points.
  • The Harry Potter Lexicon. There are a number of well-known fansites out there, such as Mugglenet and the Leaky Cauldron, that include news, discussion forums, and whatnot, but the Lexicon is unique in that it's essentially an encyclopedia of the entire Potterverse. What are the ingredients in a boil-curing potion? What was Sirius Black's paternal grandfather's name? This is the place to find out.
  • J.K. Rowling's Official Site. Finally, this is one is not run by fans, but by J.K. Rowling herself. A beautifully designed site with lots of trivia and Easter eggs that, if you're so inclined, will keep you occupied for hours.
Now that I have proved my eternal geekiness by giving you this peek into my list of Internet bookmarks, I'm off to class. If anyone actually takes a peek at these links then let me know what you think.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

could this be the world's greatest party, or what?

My parents are going to be in Arizona this weekend, so I can't go home for Easter (well, I could, but it would be pointless because my family wouldn't be there). I explained this to my roommate M when she asked me what I was doing this weekend, and we ended up plotting to do something fun ourselves to celebrate.

My roommate is Buddhist, not Christian, but apparently the Sri Lankan new year is Friday. Since our other good friend, S, is Muslim, I wondered out loud if there were an Muslim holidays coming up... and it turns out that yesterday was the prophet Mohammed's birthday. Now, picture a little lightbulb blinking on over my head! Yes, I said! That's it! We'll have an Easter/Sri Lankan New Year/Happy Birthday Mohammed party!

At first M looked at me like I was crazy, but then she started warming up to the idea. However, when I mentioned it to S this morning, she seemed perplexed.

S: I don't know if it's right to have a party for Mohammed's birthday, because actually he died on the same day.
Me: Oh. Crap. Well, could we make it a "We're Sorry That Mohammed's Dead" party?
S: ...
Me: Okay, maybe not then.

She wasn't really offended, just a little freaked out. Anyway, we probably won't do anything to celebrate except what we always do - sit around our dorm room, doing homework and watching old Friends episodes and eating junk food. But ya gotta admit. That would have been one cool party.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

bookshelves

You can learn a lot about someone from their books. For example, scattered around my room you will find textbooks on calculus, zoology, and music history, and the Charles Dickens novels that are required for my English class this semester, but there's also a smattering of personal books I don't have just because I need them for classes - a total of three bird books including Peterson's Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America; two of my all-time favorite novels, The Beekeeper's Apprentice and Life of Pi; Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, which I just finished reading; and Eats, Shoots and Leaves, an enormously entertaining book about punctuation - yes, punctuation.

Yesterday I went to my advisor/zoology professor's house for the third time, to do bird banding for our tutorial, and I was fascinated by his bookshelves. A biography of Charles Darwin, The Ring of the Nibelungs, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends shared a single shelf. In another room one can find the complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy mixed in with books about techniques for censusing bird populations. If I didn't already know Dr. Burtt, a glimpse at his books would have been enough to make me want to meet him.

This could be extended to music collections and all sorts of things... but my roommate M is calling me to come watch Friends with her, so I'll stop now.

Friday, April 07, 2006

muggle studies

A lot of potential topics for a post have been chasing around in my head lately; here's what I've finally decided to ramble about.

I've mentioned before that my roommate is from Sri Lanka and another of my good friends here is from Pakistan. (I'll call them M and S, respectively, just to be on the safe side.) They're literally from about as far away from Ohio as it's possible to be without leaving the planet, so obviously there's a pretty wide cultural divide and I'd be lying if I said there were never any awkward moments between us. Still, we get along fabulously most of the time, and you know what our biggest common ground is?

Harry Potter.

Yep, M and S are both big Harry Potter fans, and it's interesting because British culture seems to lie midway in between South Asian culture and American culture. They both went to British-style schools, and whenever they talk about prefects and head girls and houses I crack up because it sounds just like Harry Potter and they think I'm weird because it's just normal to them. On the other hand, the first time we had a big snowstorm they both were excited because it was "just like the snow in the Harry Potter movie." S and I are plotting to do our summer research at the same time so we can both be here when the seventh book comes out. Funness.

S's parents are both dentists. And she's very studious. Guess who I tease her about being just like? She's a Muslim, and she was thinking about taking a class on Islam here because she needed another humanities class and "it would be interesting to study it from the Western point of view..." I just couldn't resist pointing out that she sounded exactly like Hermione taking Muggle Studies. Hee hee hee.

Anyway, it's Friday night and I'm a college student so off to party. Okay, actually I'm going to read Bleak House and watch TV. See ya later.

Monday, April 03, 2006

writing

After I'd gotten my last couple rejection letters, which seemed partially to have been caused by the fact that my writing simply wasn't suited to the journals I was sending it to (an inexcusable lapse on my part), I got kind of down on my writing for a while. At least, I got down on submitting. I was thinking that maybe I needed to stop submitting my writing for publication for a while, take a break, focus on improving my writing before I send it off to others.

Today the school's new literary magazine, Confiscated, came out. (See the link in the sidebar.) I have both a poem and a short story in it. And... it was pretty cool to see my name in print.

And I sent in another new submission today.

I think what I need to do is be more careful about my submissions - not stop submitting entirely, but focusing on making each piece of writing as good as it can be and then finding just the right market for it. Maybe, eventually, I'll start having some more success.

Wish me luck!

...

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