Saturday, December 31, 2011

25 New Year's Resolutions

My Hopes and Dreams for 2012

1. Continue to be awesome

2. Get in fabulous shape

3. Learn to drive like Jason Bourne

4. And fight like Jack Bauer

5. Post more regularly on my blog, and write shorter posts that don't make people fall asleep

6. Remain awesome

7. Acquire mad skillz on the guitar

8. Write my mystery novel, which will be epic

9. And which will also be picked up by Christopher Nolan, who will make a movie of it and cast Vincent D'Onofrio, Liev Schrieber, Kiefer Sutherland, and Cate Blanchett in starring roles

10. Meet previously mentioned stars

11. And refrain from swooning

12. Learn to speak French

13. Keep up efforts to be awesome

14. Finally muscle past my loathing and read a Jane Austen book

15. Take a road trip of some sort

16. While being awesome

17. Attempt to refrain from becoming insufferable braggart when  my boss's awesome book with my equally awesome illustrations tops the New York Times bestseller list for three months

18. Find true love

19. Just kidding. That one should have been, "Get over heartbreak after realizing that my true love is fictional."

20. Turn 20 years old

21. Become obscenely wealthy through nefarious means

22. Reform

23. Distribute wealth to deserving charities

24. Stay awesome

25. Oh yeah, I probably should have put something like, "Learn to be more patient," or, "Become kinder and more tolerant." Ah well, there's always next year

Cow and Boy, by Mark Liekness

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Devil Just Loves Public Schools

It strikes me as profoundly ironic that so many fundamentalist Christians place such heavy emphasis on God's ways being mysterious and completely hidden from man

and yet

they are able to tell you with uncanny specificity everything the devil is thinking. 

Beware of those who are on better terms with Satan than with God. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Criminal Minds

     I read a lot about crime. The psychological profiling of criminals interests me greatly. It may sound a bit odd, but knowing how these people’s minds work gives me great comfort. It makes me feel safer, somehow, like I have the upper hand. The offenders in whose psychology I am most interested are the violent ones. It’s not that I like violence, mind. It’s just that these people are so different from ordinary humans that their emotions (or the chilling lack thereof!) are likely to be darkly fascinating. And so they have proved to be. The men I am studying are mostly serial rapists and murderers, or a terrifying combination of both. And I’ve learned a lot. The information has led me to some stunning and unsettling conclusions.

     First I must ask you if you are familiar with the question of whether or not immodesty encourages rape. I have heard, from sources that, frankly, I would not trust as far as I could throw, that it does. And by “sources” I mean websites and speakers who espouse the same twisted teachings I learned in Repentance. Men, these sources would like you to believe, are little more than sex-crazed animals, and all it takes to set them off is a brief glimpse of some indecent girl’s cleavage. In short, if a rape does occur, in many circumstances it would be the girl’s fault because she willingly presented an irresistible temptation.

     I’ll get to the more obvious flaws with this hideous philosophy in a few moments, but I want to stop here for a second to say that the whole thing is downright sickening. It’s utterly despicable that any rational human being would place a shred of blame on the victim of a rape. I honestly cannot put in words the depth

Monday, December 12, 2011

Grace and Guitar

     I’m learning to play the guitar, and I’m actually doing pretty well. I’ve stuck with it for more than one month, which is actually rather a big deal for me. I rarely commit to learning new skills. I get frustrated easily when I make mistakes, and it’s easy for me to give up if I’m not making visible progress. Plus, I’m lazy, which means I don’t practice as often as I should. But I really want this! And I’ve been practicing consistently. And guess what?
     I’m making mistakes.

     Many, many mistakes.

     My fingers, usually my staunchest allies, turn against me. They are conspiring, I believe, to make sure I can’t learn certain chords. It’s their way of taking revenge on me for burning them so often while I cook. Also, I’m left-handed, a fact upon which I like to blame every problem I encounter in life. I’m slow. In addition, all the musical instinct I possess could fit quite comfortably in a thimble. These things, combined, do not tend to shoot one toward instant success. Fortunately, my teacher is patient.

     But I did not tell you all this because I thought you would be interested in my quest to become a Grand Master of Supreme Guitar Awesomeness (I so will). It’s because I had an epiphany the other day whilst struggling to play a simple song, which (I thought) any fool should have been able to do. I was making mistakes, you see, and more than I would like. I grew dismal and frustrated. I wailed and gnashed my teeth. I despaired for my musical future and my intellect in general.

     But then I realized…

     is like this.

     I don’t mean that everyone gets frustrated. I mean that nobody just picks up a guitar and plays beautifully straight off. The process of learning is a process because of the mistakes. It's completely natural. Maybe I make more mistakes than others, but that's just how it works. We all have to mess up.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My (Fully Justified) Loathing for Twilight

     I never hated Twilight. Such a thing would have been, I felt, arrogant, since I had never seen the movies or read the books. I felt, at most, an amused contempt at the idea of glittering vampires with strange superpowers (although now I think about it, amused contempt is always pretty snotty anyway). But then I received some information which compelled me to break my vow of abstinence and at least watch the first movie.

     And now I hate it.

     Why on earth, with characters like Jack Bauer and Robert Goren— and one mustn’t forget John Thornton! — out there, has the female American population attached itself to this monstrosity, this Edward Cullen? There is not one aspect of his character or looks that is superior to that of any of the fine gentlemen listed above. And the Bielski brothers! Why have we picked Edward Cullen over the Bielski brothers? It distresses me.

     Ignoring, for a moment, the glaring flaws and complete lack of personality in any of the characters, I shall focus on the more alarming and criminal aspect of the thing. Because there is a definite criminality in about the whole business. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the plot, though I doubt it. Just in case, though— it is, in a nutshell, this: the teenaged Bella Swan must move to a new town in which, it seems, it is perpetually raining, and falls in love with one of the residents, a vampire named Edward Cullen. He repeatedly warns her that his raging vampiric bloodlust may one day become too much for her and he will on that day slay her and drink her blood. Bella, however, believes that their love is stronger than this and vows to remain forever by Edward’s side, although she gets into nasty trouble over it all.

     Is it just me, or is this entire idea unsettling?

     First off, it alarms me that, of all the people I’ve heard say they hate Twilight, not one of them saw fit to mention the fact that

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Peg Boards and Police Officers

     So this post is going to be majorly exceptional in that I will not open it by mentioning my obsession with Jack Bauer or my crush on Robert Goren. Nope, not even going to think about it. But this post will also not be exceptional in any way in that it will open with a reference to some television show half of you either have not seen or care nothing for, and it will discuss some philosophies I picked up at Repentance and my revised views on them.

     Changing the subject, I am always vastly entertained to watch the show Phineas and Ferb. Dr. Hans Doofenschmirtz is the best villain ever, with all his half-baked and semi-evil schemes for conquering or revenging himself upon the entire tri-state area! The best part about him, though, is his Emotionally Scarring Backstories. He always has one to explain the motives behind his latest dastardly deed, because how will you know why the villain is villainous unless he just straight-up tells you? Anyway, I would like to share with you an Emotionally Scarring Backstory from the distant archives of my youth.

     When we went to Repentance, I actually had it pretty good. I was always the Good Girl, which was important because gender roles were absolutely rigid. Women were supposed to be quiet, sweet, submissive, and possess an inordinate fondness for housekeeping and an infinite capacity for work. Except for being sweet, I got along fairly well. I have rather a passive personality, I’ve never minded housework, and I love children. I always thought it would suit me grandly to just marry and settle down. Also, I possessed, in great quantities, the convenient lack of any sense of self-worth. Practically the only thing I didn’t do was sew my own clothes. And to be scrupulously honest, I didn’t really feel like I was being forced into any of this. I fit, beautifully, the mold they constructed for a Good Woman.

     Now we’re out, I feel so different that I wonder if I was ever a good girl at all. Maybe it was all due less to my own personality than to my very human ability to adapt to social pressure.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ten Days Of Madness~ The Glorious Conclusion

     Sir Glancelot sat at round table with a plethora of admirers, a goblet of wine, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into four triangles. (That's the way that Glancelot liked his sandwiches. He detested having his sandwich cut into squares. His mother had cut them that ways when he was young and he had never forgiven her for it.)
     Glancelot had just selected the second triangle from the top (clockwise) and was taking his first, long expected bite when the unthinkable happened. Instead of sinking his glistening pearls into that delectable treat, Glancelot found himself crunching hard bone.

     Glancelot was appalled. "Why," he demanded, "is there a bone in my sandwich?" 

      He didn't expect anyone to reply. People were generally too afraid to talk to him when he was angry. So he was shocked when he heard a gloomy bass voice say, "That would be mine."
      More surprising than the voice was the fact that it came from thin air. But no, Glancelot realized when he looked closer, not thin air. It was little more than a slight, gaseous discoloration at first, but the longer he stared at it, the more solid it became. And at last it assumed definite, if rather smoky, form. It was a wraithlike beast. A ghostly dog. 

     “Is this what your mother would have?!” demanded the ghostly dog. “Here you sit with a world of food to explore, yet what do you do? You refuse to eat anything but PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWHICHES!”

      I’m not sure how much of this Glancelot was retaining. The utter shock and surprise of have one’s meal interrupted by an ethereal Labrador robbed him of any faculty of recollection. 
     “How many times did your mother try to convince you that there is more out there than this peasant’s snack? On your mother’s grave, a curse to you- a Putty Tongue curse!”
     Glancelot's shock gave way to sheer panic as a most inexplicable sensation overtook him. His mouth suddenly became filled with a substance which was by no means familiar: something like an eel and something like raw pie crust and altogether a hideous feeling indeed. Glancelot gasped, the full weight of this sepulchral visitor's words hitting him... Putty... Tongue... Curse. No taste! No speech! No taste!!
     "My mother?" he choked incoherently. "She sent you here to curse me? How could she do this?"    
     “Were I you,” barked the Labrador, “I’d worry less about my mother’s sense of humor and more about how to break the curse.”

     Glancelot gazed dejected into the mirror the next morning.
     "Wediquwas!" he blubbered. The inside of his mouth looked no different than anyone else's except for a small splinter of bone that was wedged between his back molars. He picked at it, trying desperately to get it out.  
     Useless. Not only was the previous night's party a terrible disaster in which he was brutally laughed at, his own servants were sneering at him behind closed doors. His own dear Gwen was no doubt spreading the rumor among her close maids.
     "Enoufwpt!" cried Glancelot. "Thith thall not go on for anover moment! I must find a way to bweak thith dwead cuwse!" he continued meditatively.  

     The very faint sound of stifled giggles burst from outside his chamber door. He glared severely at the door, wishing intensely to throw some verbal abuse at the unseen mocker. Glancelot turned again toward the mirror, probing at the splinter of bone with his tongue.
     "Ow, Muvvah!" he wailed desparingly (but softly), "if onwy your spiwit would guide me again!"
     "You could say please," said a familiar bass voice.
     "You!" shouted Glancelot.
     The ghostly dog nodded.
     "Perhapth," Glancelot continued, remembering his manners, "you have a message fwom my Muvvah that will help me?"
     "I might. First," demanded the ghostly dog, "Answer me this:  
"I am the tiniest bomb, ticking 1200 beats
before dropping the weight of a penny
on some unsuspecting intruder
to my territory.
Who am I?"

     Those words were already nothing more than ghostly echos as the Labrador vanished back into thin air.
     "A Widdo!" cried Glancelot. "Just wah I needed! A widdo!"    
     Glancelot sat down gloomily on the edge of his bathtub until the servant finally arrived with the bath salts.   
     As the door opened, a tiny object shot through opening, knocking the servant aside.  
     "A bird!" said Glancelot. "The tiniest bird!"   
     The bird alighted upon his windowsill.
      "The answer to the widdo," cried Glancelot. "But wah doeth it mean? And be off with you!" The servant bowed out.
      Glancelot turned to the space where the Labrador had been and stared thoughtfully at it, as though it held the answers he sought."A bird," he said again. "Ith thith the message from my dear Muvvah?"
     And it hit him. The key to the curse was held in this riddle. Birds... what was it the Labrador has said before cursing him? Something about food, a world of food...
      "But wah doeth food have to do with birds?" he wailed. "Oh, Witto bird," said poor Glancelot in dismay. "Is dere anything such a smwall fing could do for my poor dejected self?"
      The tiny bird jumped up and began buzzing excitedly around the room. It hovered close to Glancelot's mouth confusing him for more than a moment. Hesitantly, Glancelot opened his mouth and the tiny creature flew into his mouth and, grasping the wedged bone with it's tiny jaws, plucked the bone free. A delightful sensation beyond anything he had ever experienced flooded Glancelot's mouth as his tongue loosed, his lips tightened, and his jaw began to work once again! 
     “Huzzah!” he shouted. Such was his rejoicing, he capered merrily about his chambers. “Lollipop! Poinsettia! Candlewicks! Oh, all glory be to heaven! I can speak!”
     Glancelot saluted the bird smartly. “Thank you, ghostly Labrador! I see it all now, little bird. Riddles! Birds! A world of food! My dear mother wished only the best for me, and now I am able, I shall order myself the handsomest of omelettes. And I shall not stop there! I shall delight myself in the daintiest delicacies this glorious world has to offer!”  
     And so he did, to the end of his days. 

The End