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Mar. 22nd, 2011

black rose

A Thousand Paper Cranes

Origami paper was on sale at two of my favorite craft stores.  I buckled and bought... 556 sheets of gorgeous paper.  So I guess I'm on the thousand paper cranes trek. Upon folding a thousand paper cranes, so the story goes, the folder will be granted one wish.  I'm a perfectionist and a slow folder, apparently, so it's taking me about half an hour each crane.  Good thing I have so many seasons of How I Met Your Mother to watch.  One crane each episode.  It's a good idea in theory...

It's going to be difficult to keep the cat out of the paper.  Silly cat.

Mar. 21st, 2011

black rose

Bleh

I shouldn't have bragged about not getting sick last semester. So far this year I've spent four days in the hospital, had two UTIs, and seen the doctor more and taken more prescription meds than I did all of last year.  Add to that the fact that I've seen the inside of the ER waiting room three more times (due to friends being sick/in car accidents) and sat with a friend for two days while he was in the ICU, and I'm getting mighty tired of the American healthcare system.  Oh, and I had a cold sore.  BLEH.

On the plus side, my own hospital stay made me reevaluate some of the principles on which I've based my life (more on that at a later date).  I'm slowly becoming more independent, and getting my life back in order. I even got a tattoo.  I've only been meaning to get one of those for about six years... it just took me that long to figure out what I wanted and where. I couldn't be happier with it.

Will start reading off the BBC book list again soon.  Must first organize distractions, make lists, and... yeah, I'm just procrastinating.  Who am I kidding?  But I'll do it soon, promise.

Nov. 2nd, 2010

black rose

November

NaNoWriMo has begun.  Goodbye world, see you again in December. 


I will try to read from the BBC book list (only 30ish pages left in The Lovely Bones), but no promises this month.  If my NaNo project goes well, I can spend 2011 revising it, and turn it in Spring 2012 as my thesis.  Hopefully.

Oct. 25th, 2010

black rose

#64: The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (Update)

So last week I started reading The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold.  I'm just over halfway through at this point.  Here's a couple thoughts:
1. Easy read.  Accessible language.
2. Main character isn't really a character - she's not interesting at all.  If the story were actually about her, I would have stopped reading ages ago.
3. I enjoy the fact that the omniscient 3rd person narrator is actually a character in the story.  Not sure this would work in any other story, but it's pretty cool.
4. Smooth transitions from heaven to present to flashbacks.  A complex timeline that isn't difficult to follow.

That's about all I've got for now folks, time to go register for my spring classes!

Oct. 21st, 2010

black rose

Ready, Set, Go!

I randomized the book list.  Wrote each book (that I currently have access to) down on a single line of college-ruled notebook paper, cut the lines apart, folded twice, and stuck into a coffee mug randomized.  Basically I couldn't be bothered to make such a trivial decision such as what to read first, so I decided to do an extra hour of meaningless work to circumvent the decision.  I am awesome. 

And the winner of the first random book draw is... The Lovely Bones.

But for now, post-espresso crash and sleep.  Good night world.

Oct. 19th, 2010

black rose

Books on the BBC Book List I/My Folks Have Already... And Those I Need to Acquire/Borrow

Because I like making lists.  I'm very good at it.  Sometimes, I make lists of things I have to do, instead of actually doing them!  Yay, lists.

Books I Have (Access To)


A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Dune - Frank Herbert
Emma - Jane Austen
Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
The Bible
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
The Inferno – Dante
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte


Books I Still Need

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
Bleak House - Charles Dickens
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
Charlotte’s Web - EB White
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
Germinal - Emile Zola
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
Life of Pi
Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
Middlemarch - George Eliot
Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
On The Road - Jack Kerouac
Persuasion - Jane Austen
Possession - AS Byatt
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
Ulysses - James Joyce
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
Watership Down - Richard Adams
Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne




So, I have my lists, and my work cut out for me.  Woot!

black rose

BBC Reading List/Project

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

[X] 1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

[X] 2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

[] 3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

[X] 4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

[X] 5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

[X] 6 The Bible

[X] 7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

[] 8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

[X] 9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

[] 10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

 

Total: 7

 

[X] 11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

[] 12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

[] 13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

[X] 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

[] 15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

[X] 16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

[] 17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

[] 18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

[] 19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

[]20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

 

Total: 3 So far: 10

 

[X] 21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

[X] 22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

[] 23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

[] 24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

[X] 25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

[]27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[]28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

[X] 29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

[] 30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

 

Total: 4 So far: 14

 

[] 31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

[X] 32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

[X] 33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

[] 34 Emma - Jane Austen

[] 35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

[X] 36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

[X] 37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

[] 38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

[X] 39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

[] 40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

 

Total: 5 So far: 19

 

[X] 41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

[X] 42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

[X] 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

[] 44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

[] 45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

[X] 46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

[] 47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

[X] 48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

[] 49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

[] 50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

 

Total: 5 So far: 24

 

[] 51 Life of Pi

[X] 52 Dune - Frank Herbert

[] 53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

[] 54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

[] 55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

[] 56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

[X] 57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

[] 58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

[] 59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon

[] 60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

Total: 2 So far: 26

 

[X] 61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

[] 62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

[] 63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

[] 64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

[X] 65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

[] 66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

[] 67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

[] 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

[] 69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

[]70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

 

Total: 2 So far: 28

 

[] 71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

[X] 72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

[X] 73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

[] 74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

[] 75 Ulysses - James Joyce

[] 76 The Inferno – Dante

[] 77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

[] 78 Germinal - Emile Zola

[] 79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

[] 80 Possession - AS Byatt

 

Total: 2 So far: 30

 

[X] 81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

[] 82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

[] 83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

[] 84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

[] 85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

[] 86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

[X] 87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White

[] 88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

[X] 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

[ ] 90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

 

Total: 3 So far: 33

 

[] 91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

[] 92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

[] 93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

[] 94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

[] 95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

[] 96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

[] 97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

[X] 98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

[] 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

[] 100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

 

Total: 1

 

Altogether:34

 

*98 is merely a repeat of 14, is it not?  Hmm... Also, 33 contains 36.  They really should have edited the doubles out of this list, I think.

*Also, I am well aware that as a graduate of an English program, I should have been exposed to far more of these than I was.  The only one I had to read for a class above the high school level was The Great Gatsby.  Sad, really.




So, here is my idea.  I'm going to read/reread all of the books on this list, devoting at least two hours a week to the project, and then blog about each book as I go along.  Expect spoilers.  Yes, this will probably take me well over a year to complete.  It will be fun.  I've already begun acquiring the books on the list, and am looking forward to sinking my teeth into them.  Expect posts on books soon.  Woo!  (Omg the Bible is going to take forever to get through... aaaah!)  Along the way, I'll also take suggestions on other books to add to my reading list, and attempt to compile a list of books everyone should read before they die.  So, start suggesting stuff!

Sep. 22nd, 2010

black rose

Wahoo!

Okay, so that worked.  I have officially broken the more than 15 month streak of writers block.  Man that feels good.  And now that I have no time left to work on more than one project before I need to turn things in for workshop, for better or worse, the story I started last night is going to have to be turned in.  Let's just hope it's not a total piece of crap and up to MFA standards.  Because I really don't want people judging me on the crap I turn in, lol.  I'd much rather have them live in fear of my awesome writing skills!  

In fact, I'm gonna go hone those skills RIGHT NOW!!
black rose

Mid-September Update/Give Me Ideas to Write About!

So September 1st I moved out of the house with the noisy neighbors and pesky roommate and into my own, personal, roommate free, security protected, newly remodeled, historically renovated, complete with giant claw foot tub, apartment.  Just me and the cat.  (On a side note, I really shouldn't have put the litter box right next to the desk.  Whoops.)  This grande-sized and expensive decision was fueled by the fact that only two weeks in to my first full time semester as a graduate student, I had already started to fall behind in my classes, and even worse, stress sleep.  Stress sleeping is my little term for oversleeping through several alarms when I know I have something super important to do that day.  Like get to an advisor meeting, or a class where a large paper is due, or anything of that sort.  I have never slept through work, though I have been almost 15 minutes late before because of this stress sleeping.  I wake up feeling worse than I did when I went to sleep, and have lost about 18 hours in the process.  Yeah, it's bad.  Nothing ever stayed clean, the tv was always on, was always just a little too loud, the other cat in the house would pester mine and there'd be a nasty cat fight to break up, and to top it all off I needed sunlight.  Moving to the basement of the house at the beginning of the summer meant that I didn't hear the tv as much, but also meant a serious vitamin D deficiency.  When the pesky roommate replaced all the light bulbs in the basement with blacklights for one of his parties and never put the regular light bulbs back, that was just about the last straw.  I moved out a few days later.  

Living on my own has been... amazing.  The kitchen no longer magically cleans itself about once every two months, but it also never grows sentient mold creatures, either.  My building is quiet, the few neighbors I've met are all very nice, and that claw foot tub is excellent to soak in.  I actually fit!  I'm too tall for regular tubs, so being able to just lay comfortably around in some bubbles any time I want is practically divine.  I've even lost weight!  I used to sit in my bedroom and eat a box of candy or chips or whatever was on hand for breakfast and lunch rather than venture up into the scary kitchen and domain of the pesky roommate.  Now I have three solid meals a day and feel fantastic.  The box of candy I bought before I moved, that I assumed would last about a day, still has some pieces left.  My snacking has declined to a point where I haven't even opened the bag of chips I bought two weeks ago yet.  I also don't feel stressed or nearly so overwhelmed by my classwork, and I haven't stress slept since I moved.

As far as classes go, 9 graduate level credits is a WAY larger load than 9 undergraduate credits, like I took last fall.  I coasted last fall comparatively, even though all three of those classes were fairly work intensive.  I'm barely keeping my head above water with my current workload, but I enjoy it (particularly now that I have my own space, blacklight free, in which to get my things done).  I have a four day trip planned for this weekend (heading to Wisconsin, yay cheese curds!) that I'm not entirely sure I should be taking.  If I could trust myself to actually get some homework done while I was there, I wouldn't worry so much.  But the 18-20 hours of driving is going to take a lot out of me, and I have trouble motivating myself to work anywhere other than school, my desk, or my kitchen table.  Since I will have none of those things this weekend, I am slightly terrified that I will fall behind.  Which is not an option, in any of my classes.  Period.  

In other news, I haven't been able to write, creatively, that is, in quite a while.  I just haven't had the juice to get started, or something.  Which is a problem since I'm in a graduate level Creative Writing program, and doubly so since I have to have a manuscript to turn in for workshop on Monday evening.  In all honesty, I haven't written a story since LAST SUMMER.  I haven't been able to write.  THIS IS A PROBLEM, FOLKS.  I have started to read quite a bit more since the move, and that usually starts the creative going a bit, but so far no luck.  One of the suggestions in workshop was to write in a journal for a few pages before turning to fiction, and perhaps that's the real cause for this update - I'm trying to get started writing.  I don't know how much I'll get written at 2am, but I suppose a start is better than nothing.  Right?  Now taking suggestions on characters/plot lines/probable causes of friction between proposed characters.  Readers of LiveJournal, send me some ideas!  Please?

Aug. 26th, 2010

black rose

Danika Preview

Here's a little teaser of what's to come on the design front...



All red and shiny.  Lacy, too!

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