Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NaNoWriMo....yes!

Remember when I mentioned this NaNoWriMo last year? I said "someday..."

And in this fairy tale, "someday" comes true! :-)

Translation: I'm actually going to attempt to write an entire 50,000-word novella during the month of November...! Crazy, aren't I? Dan reminded me of this today when I read his blog, and I suddenly decided I'd attempt it this year.

Granted, I'll still keep up with schoolwork etc., but I think I'll be able to cram it into those extra hours... like this one.... :-)

So starting November 1st, if I don't post for a month, this is why. Good night.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Curly hair is lots of fun! etc.

And now for your sporadic update on the life of the ReaderSis!

1. I just went on midterm break last week... it was busy, but lovely. I love visiting my family. :-) I also love playing guitar for my church, so I did that over break too. (As part of the praise team... there are very few guitar players at church that will just look at the songs on Sunday and play them with minimal practice.) Those two things are probably what I miss most about being home.

2. I also got my hair cut over midterm break! And I love it! See, my hair has some natural curl... not too much, but just enough that I can sport a layered look and it actually looks good. I've gotten several compliments on my new haircut. And I don't have to do much with my hair in the morning. 'Swonderful.

3. I'm working on a paper now, about the bailout that Congress passed three weeks ago. It's fairly interesting. And as a result of some of my research, I'm now much more aware of the state of international economies....

4. (rant) I wish my college weren't so insular, so much of a "bubble." I'm sure very few students have any idea what's going on in the outside world. (/rant)

5. I'm also at work at the moment, and have about an hour to go to work on this paper. I'm about halfway done, possibly a little more since I've done the preliminary thinking for the rest of the paper!

6. IM and cell phones are quite lovely for keeping in touch with friends and family. :-) Believe it or not, I even IM one friend of mine on campus more than I see him! (We have clashing class/meal schedules.) It beats Facebook Chat which always seems to have problems staying connected.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Fairy Tale

The following is a fairy tale my sister wrote (and which I think is hilarious). It's basically all the fairy tales you ever heard rolled into one.

************

Of Mice and Men
Or, the Troubles of a Mouse
by mafia
(all rights reserved; don't steal this story!)

Once upon a time, in a forest filled with trees, there resided--for the time being--a little grey mouse whose name was Patrick. Patrick was very sad and lonely, because he wasn't really supposed to be a mouse at all, but a little boy; but that was such along time ago. Unfortunately, the other forest dwellers left him all alone because they knew he was different.

Today was an unusual day, for he was feeling more depressed than normal. Walking through the forest, there came an old, old man who stopped when he saw the poor little mouse sitting there.
“Little friend,” he said “be not so woeful, your troubles can be overcome. Travel to the Shining City you see in the distance, I'm sure someone can help you there.”

And with that the old, old man went on his way. Patrick was even more troubled by the sayings of the old, old man because the Shining City was so very far in the distance and it would take weeks to travel there. “But,” he said to himself “would you rather have your troubles or a little hardship? A little hardship.” And so answering himself, he started on his way.

After a few hours, Patrick started getting into a darker part of the forest. “What was that?” he thought, when suddenly this crazed , drunk-looking rabbit ran towards him yelling “Beware, Beware!”

“Beware of what, I wonder,” but it was too late to ask, for the rabbit had already stumbled away. Duly warned, he continued on his journey through the forest, but there were so many strange noises that he jumped at every loud sound, like the low growl he heard coming from a nearby bush.

“Who's there?” called Patrick, and he didn't like the answer he got – which was a chorus of growls. But where could he go? Then he saw a faint light, and hoping that it was the end of the wood, he started running as fast as his little legs could carry him, but the monsters behind him were gaining on him! Finally, he made it out of the forest just before the monsters could grab him. The monsters started howling, the sound of which was so fascinating that Patrick turned around to look.

It was a wolf pack that had been chasing him and, as he watched, the leader came towards him and said, ”Don't be afraid, now that you are out of the forest, there is nothing we will do to you; for we are like a fence keeping things in the forest by order of the Faery, and the Faery said nothing about those who were out of the wood. Be careful, do not lie down in the flower meadow for it is enchanted.”

So saying,the wolf pack disappeared into the forest, and Patrick continued on his way. By now, Patrick was getting hungry so he stopped in the wheat field and ate some wheat and laid down to sleep, for it was already dusk. When Patrick awoke he ate some more and went his way toward the Shining City.

The next week of his travels was fairly uneventful, going through other woods,and other fields, and some grassy meadows. Then he came to a flower meadow but because it had been a while since the wolf leader had told him not to lie down, and because he was so tired and the meadow seemed so wonderful, he gradually fell asleep. After a while, he woke up and heard a sound like millions of bees buzzing, and millions of bees it was, all in a circle around him.

“A little mouse come to sleep in OUR garden,” said one.

“Let's sting him,” said another, and they all moved menacingly towards him.

Patrick jumped up and ran as fast as he could out of the meadow, but he got stung at least a dozen times. Fortunately, as he came out of the meadow, a dozen -or so- birds flocked around the bees and started eating them. Unfortunately, a hawk grabbed Patrick and flew away with him. The hawk dropped Patrick in his nest and flew off, leaving Patrick – who was by now bloated from the bee stings – all alone high up in the trees with several funny sounding eggs surrounding him. Of course he looked down, but the ground was so far off that he'd have died if he jumped and, being a mouse, Patrick had never been so high in a tree before.

“Oh dear, what am I going to do now?” he wondered aloud.

“Psst,” he heard, then “You there, what are you doing in that nest? Get out of there before the hawk comes back or you'll be dead meat!”

Looking around he saw a chipmunk, just about his size, over on another tree branch. “I don't know how to get out,” called Patrick, so the chipmunk helped him out and once they were safely down Patrick thanked her profusely for helping him. He told her where he was headed and why (though not the part about him once being a boy) and she said she would help him along since she was going that way; so they happily went along for a while until this evil black squirrel forced them to stop.

“Anyone who goes through this forest must pay a toll!” said the squirrel.

“But we have nothing to pay you with!” chorused Patrick and the chipmunk.

“Then you shall be put in confinement until you can pay!” and so saying he dragged them to a wood cell where he left them locked in.

“Now how are we going to get out of this mess?” said Patrick.

“Use your head, silly,” said the chipmunk. “How small is the lock hole?”

“Pretty small.”

“How small is your tail?”

The light dawned on him. “Small enough,” so Patrick set about using his tail to unlock the cell, which of course he succeeded in doing because this is a pleasant story; if this were an unpleasant story they would be terrorized by the black squirrel and then eaten, but this is not that kind of story. So Patrick and the chipmunk got as far away from that woods as possible before they were exhausted, and stopped to rest, eat, and wash Patrick off from the bee poison.

“Hold still,” the chipmunk said.

“Ow!” said Patrick because the chipmunk had just poked him with a sharp object and the bee poison squirted out like juice from and orange.

“Feel better now?”

“Yes, thank you,” said Patrick, and they ate some scattered nuts and things, then went to sleep.

When they woke up, they checked the distance and it was still quite a ways to the Shining City. Out of the blue there came flying toward them a beautiful albatross who offered, after learning of their situation, to fly them close to the city so they wouldn't have to walk as far.

“Hold on, this will be a wild ride!” They did and it was a wonderful ride. After several hours they were close enough that the albatross let them off, wished them well and departed.

They had landed very close to an outlying town of the Shining City and had to travel through it, but the people were so big and in such a bustle that Patrick was afraid that they would get stepped on! They made it through though, with little mishap, but when they got to the gate of the Shining City, several of the villagers tried to stomp on them and shoo them away. The guards made the villagers stop and decreed that anybody – no matter how small – was allowed to go in the city as long as they had business in it. Patrick and the chipmunk managed to convey to the guard that they had business (though you can imagine how funny it looked to see the antics they had to go through) and they finally got into the city.

The city was made of glass, diamonds, and any other sparkling thing that you can imagine. It was so wonderful; after a while, they realized that they didn't know where to go to get help so they decided to go to the castle to seek help. When they got into the castle, to Patrick's surprise the old, old man was there and he seemed to be waiting for them.

“I see you endeavored to get rid of your troubles,” said the old, old man. “Do you still want to have your troubles lifted from you?”

Patrick looked at the chipmunk then he looked out at the villagers. “It is better to be with your own kind rather than masquerade as something you are not,” and so saying he hugged the chipmunk and said, “I will never forget you.” He turned to the old, old man and said, “I am ready,” then suddenly he became a human again (though not a boy, since time had passed him from childhood to adulthood).

Patrick looked to the chipmunk to see if she was afraid, but the chipmunk wasn't there. In her place there was a beautiful princess in fine clothes. He looked to the old, old man for an explanation, but the old, old man wasn't there, either! In his place was the King of the Realm (meaning the city and all they had traveled through), and he was saying, ”Thank you, young man, for finding my sister. You know her as a chipmunk, for a wicked woman cast a spell on her because of her goodness and beauty.”

“Y-Y-You're welcome,” stammered Patrick. Looking to the “chipmunk” he said, “Are we still friends?”
And Jennifer (for that was her name) said, “Yes we can still be friends.” Patrick then went to her, kissed her and they got married and lived happily ever after.

THE END :-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Airport insecurity...

"The Things He Carried:" an Atlantic magazine article by one Jeffrey Goldberg that details the absurd and dangerous items the author was able to sneak past TSA security checkpoints and onto commercial passenger flights....

...because I have a fair amount of experience reporting on terrorists, and because terrorist groups produce large quantities of branded knickknacks, I’ve amassed an inspiring collection of al-Qaeda T-shirts, Islamic Jihad flags, Hezbollah videotapes, and inflatable Yasir Arafat dolls (really). All these things I’ve carried with me through airports across the country. I’ve also carried, at various times: pocketknives, matches from hotels in Beirut and Peshawar, dust masks, lengths of rope, cigarette lighters, nail clippers, eight-ounce tubes of toothpaste (in my front pocket), bottles of Fiji Water (which is foreign), and, of course, box cutters. I was selected for secondary screening four times—out of dozens of passages through security checkpoints—during this extended experiment. At one screening, I was relieved of a pair of nail clippers; during another, a can of shaving cream.

And what confidence I had just went down the drain....

"The meditation of my heart"

So the chaplain this year--he's new--has been going through a sort of series on the ways Christians grow closer to God. Prayer, confession, the sacraments, reading the Bible, and so on. This week he's talking about meditation; and today, after a stripped-down version of the praise songs (i.e. just one singer/guitarist as opposed to a whole band plus several singers), he talked a bit more about meditating and letting God speak through the still whisper, then let us all either sit there and practice meditating, or leave early. (Like twenty-five minutes early.)

I brought my journal and meditated some. 'Twas nice to just sit for awhile and think, you know?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Interesting Focus on the Family website

Well, what did I do today but rediscover one of my favorite columnists?

Focus on the Family has this website for college students-- TrueU.org--for which a certain J. Budziszewski writes. This man, who also goes by "Professor Theophilus," wrote How to Stay Christian in College a few years ago, a book which I highly recommend. (I read it just before I graduated from high school.) I used to read his columns in one of my favorite teen-magazines every chance I got; and now I can access new columns, written for semi-adults (as opposed to teens), online! Que maravilloso.

(How I wish I could insert Spanish letter characters more easily than cutting-and-pasting from a Word document....)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Weekending

It's a lovely concept, the weekend. No classes... just a bit of homework and some actual work hours.

Last night I went to a small group event--an outing, a trip to a football game and a bonfire included. 'Twas lovely, though rather chilly.

And I can't really think of much to write at the moment... life is just slipping by, quite serenely.