Thursday, August 30, 2012

let me forget about today until tomorrow

after class today, i walked to the shuttle stop and read the paper for fifteen minutes until the shuttle came. then i got on and listened to my ipod for the half hour ride home. then i walked home, got the mail, made myself dinner, and ate alone at the coffee table (i would rather have a library than a dining room) in complete silence. there was something really peaceful about the loneliness that brought back the wishes i had for living on my own between living with my family and living with my husband. (cultural reasons pretty much put a stop to this.) i have no real regrets about my life, but still... it would have been nice.

on a different note, class on tuesday confirmed that being a forensic examiner is a pretty awesome career choice for me, and not just because i have come to the conclusion that my forensic teachers are just about the awesomest people ever. all of them. according to my professor, to be a forensic examiner you have to have thick skin, be able to laugh at cry-worthy situations, like to rant, and communicate better in writing than speaking. there were other things, but those were the most note-worthy. (oh, and i like doing the actual forensic-exam-work-stuff, too.) but every time i decide that i really do like computer forensics and the decision to get into for my master's was a good one, i suddenly get a strong urge to write. or to edit one of my "novels" that are sitting around my hard drive collecting the proverbial dust. i think it's my younger self thinking that her dream of being an author is being threatened and refusing to let go of it. (not that i'm gonna let go of it.)

my family is coming back from saudi arabia tomorrow. 

i also have my anti-forensics class tomorrow which admittedly i was pretty excited for (i'm a nerd at heart), until i read the syllabus this morning. the professor is only going to "teach" for the first four weeks, and it looks like topics i've already learned in my other classes. then we have hour long student presentations for october, november, and december (while turning in ten page papers every three weeks). i don't mind the work, i just wanted to actually learn the subject in-depth. i mean we've skimmed over it in my other classes and it looks like this one will just skim too. disappointing. 

one day i will learn to write a blog post that doesn't jump around everywhere. also, the title is more what i was listening to at the time than what the post is about. 

*Mr. Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

i'm at a loss for words here

so this semester has been off to a good start, and i mean that dripping with sarcasm. i was supposed to have my first class yesterday, but i went to meet up with the professor beforehand to ask him if he thought i could take the class although i didn't meet one of the prerequisites. and oh. my. god. world class jerk. seriously, he was the rudest person i have met in the longest of long times, and all i can say is thank god i don't have to deal with him for the rest if the semester. (because, yes, in the midst of being a jerk he told me that i obviously couldn't take his class.) and then tonight i have the class that i added instead of the jerk's class which i'm not very excited about. it's another legal/ethics class and i've already done so many of these (but none of them the same so i can't even recycle work or sleep through it. i had the ethics in accounting, the legal in intrusion detection, the ethics in marketing, ethics in global markets, etc.). i remember that once upon a time i used to like school. i really did. i'm not sure where all my excitement for learning went, but i hope i find at least a little as this semester goes on.

but enough about school. (i wrote that sentence ten minutes ago and can think of nothing else to write about. i lead a pathetic existence.) 

oh, last night i had a dream that i was voldemort's driver? it was a really weird dream. and he had a creepy cat that had its own wand. being voldemort's driver is stressful because you're always worried that he's going to kill you. i have no idea what my subconscious is doing, but i think it must be high. even my stress-induced quasi-nightmares i had the night before about school and qual exams were pretty weird. 

*The Dutch Courage - The Spill Canvas

Sunday, August 26, 2012

a little place that sits beneath the sky

despite a ridiculously trafficky drive back home, i had a fantastic time in CT. filled with steam trains and steam boats, island tours, diners that have been around since before even my mom was born, castles and pirate stories, it was just a really, really fun time. and it in no way helped me prepare for school. which starts tomorrow. do you think i could teach myself the programming i was supposed to learn all summer tonight? do you think if i start studying for my qual exams right now it would do any good? or do you think i should continue to pretend that there is a month between today and tomorrow and i'll be just fine if i don't think about it too much? personally, i see myself going down the third route. and possibly regretting it later.

but back to connecticut. i'm normally not the kind of person that gives good reviews of trips with details and pictures and researched information (mostly because i'm way too lazy), but i thought i'd actually be a bit educational today. (though i'm not going to post pictures because i think my camera is still in the car.) anyway, while in connecticut, we took a tour of gillette's castle, which is nestled up in the hills over the connecticut river. (did you know that the state of connecticut was named after the river and not the other way around? me neither.)

originally the private residence of william gilette, the state bought the castle and turned it into a state park in '43 when his family claimed it was just too expensive to keep and put it up for auction. william gilette was an actor, playwright, stage-manager, cat-lover, train-builder, and all around awesome guy most famously known for his portrayal of sherlock holmes on stage. he's the one that gave holmes the deerstalker hat and curved pipe, and coined the phrase "elementary my dear fellow" which later got changed to "elementary my dear watson." he was a fascinating person who is pretty much forgotten now, and definitely worth reading about. he used to live on house boats, but fell in love with the view of the CT river and the hills and built his estate, seventh sister (named after the hills he built on) so he could always see it. (and you can't blame him. the views are breathtaking.) he had built in furniture that reminded him of his boats, mirrors strategically placed so he could see who came in the front door and who was at his liquor cabinet from his bedroom, secret doors for escape passages, and an elaborate fire extinguishing plan because he knew firemen could not reach his castle fast enough. he also built his own train, laid three miles of track around his property, and built two "train stations." einstein and president coolidge were two of his most famous visitors. (einstein and his wife reportedly thought gillette's train driving was terrifying.) gillette's house had forty-seven doors, and each one was completely unique. everything was hand-carved, he used straw matting meant for the floor to cover his walls with, and he loved cats. he had between fifteen to twenty cats at a time, and when he lived on his boat used to throw tea parties for them. his house was filled with cat statues and figurines (which reminded me of my grandma), and apparently when he had to give away some of his cats at one time he was so specific about who they went to that he required resumes and interviews before he made a decision. 

there were so many cool things to see in the castle, and so many interesting things to be learned about gillette, that this blog post could go on forever and still not capture it all. if you ever find yourself by the CT river, you should definitely make your way out there. totally worth it. oh, and his good friend (who he built a house for on his property) was the brother of the guy that gave the cherry blossoms to DC. i thought that was cool. 

*Midnight Show - The Killers

Thursday, August 23, 2012

i just can't seem to remember

sometimes i get these moments where a light bulb goes off over my head and i think, that would be a perfect blog post or poem or short story or whatever and i should really write this down but it's just such a perfectly awesome idea that there is no way it will ever leave my head until it is written down in all of its literary perfection so i'll just wait until later so i diminish it with bullet points. because my internal dialogue is usually one big run-on sentence. and speaking of dialogue, i'm never sure whether it's just dialog or with the ue. is one british? i write it with the ue but i've been told i'm being pretentious when i do. anyway, sometimes i get an idea and then i completely forget it later. and all i'm left with is, i know it came to me when i was thinking how bad a decision it was to wear a black shirt when all of my grandma's cat hair shows up clearly on it. did it have to do with cat hair? or black shirts? or cats who wear black shirts when they lose their hair? and then i'm stuck with a blog post that is not perfectly genius because i have the memory of someone with really bad memory.

but that's life. or so i've been told.

i've made a decision to wear necklaces more often because i have some really pretty ones but go through long phases when i don't wear any. in the spirit of random announcements, the liar next door had a bad day yesterday because he missed something that he didn't know about and then got yelled at for not being there. poor liar.

today we took one of my grandma's cats to the vet because she's having trouble breathing. then we went out to breakfast. then we went to a museum and drove by yale because none of us felt like walking through it after spending hours in the museum. now my grandma is taking a nap (she was up most of the night with her cat) and then we are going out for dinner with her friends. i am making a conscious effort not to think about the rapidly approaching semester every two minutes.

*I Keep Forgetting - Lee Ann Womack

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

you liar

so we're in CT. (and can i just say that despite the fact that the drive down to florida is twice the length of the drive up here, i would rather do that one in a heartbeat. so. many. tolls. and our gps tried to take us through ohio to escape them? yeah, i dunno what it was thinking. probably just jealous that it never got a name, because jasper's GPS was shouting at us not to listen to it.) but anyway, we get here and check into our hotel and call my grandma who arrives to take us on a small driving tour of the town i haven't seen in twelve years and my husband hasn't seen ever. then we went to dinner and came back to the hotel to unpack or watch tv or something equally boring.

while booking this hotel, i read a few reviews that said that the walls were thin. understatement of the century, people. the people in adjacent rooms might as well be living with us. every cough, every opening of a drawer or click of a pen can be heard as if i was sitting right next to the person. (which oddly didn't bother me too much.)

anyway, the guy to the room on our left was talking to his son on the phone. i only paused to listen because it sounded like he was having an argument and nosiness runs in my family. so anyone i hear him saying, "when i say, 'ian carlos' (i'm not a hundred percent sure of that one) you say, 'yes dad.' and apparently his son was just not getting it because he kept repeating it and repeating it and getting more and more frustrated. finally he said, "yes! yes, dad." so i guess ian figured it out, and then he said, "okay ian, i need to make a few business calls. good night." and he hung up. and then do you know what he did? he watched tv! for the rest of the night until he went to sleep. no business calls no nothing.

and i just felt that, if you're going to yell at your son on the phone for ten minutes while out of town and then make up a lie to hang up because you get bored quickly, then the least you can do is make it a good lie. i need to make a few business calls? pshht. how about, i need to go slay a dragon that's terrorizing the pizza place next store? or i need to go, my flying lessons are about to start and i still haven't gotten my cape? or i need to go fight superman?

liars tend to make interesting stories, though, so i'm keeping an eye (ear?) on you, ian's dad.

*Liar - Mumford and Sons

Sunday, August 19, 2012

we get too old

i mention the fact that i'm old a lot. probably more than i should and probably more than it really bothers me. but today i was hit in the face with the realization that i really am old and completely out of the loop with the "young people" and it was sad. early this morning my husband and i were walking around the mall window shopping at stores that would not be open for hours, and we noticed a really long line leading to what looked like absolutely nothing. a security rolled by on his little segway and i asked him what they were all waiting for. his answer, "some singer is coming and they're waiting to see him. *tries to think of name* i dunno who, some pop star that the girls all seem to like." i thank him and afterwards comment on the fact that nothing marks you as old quite as much as not knowing who "the kids like" while going through my list of young singers for possibilities.

and then i see it. a sign telling people to come get their pictures and autographs with cody simpson. i saw the picture of the blond kid and read the name again, but i had never, ever heard of this person before. ever. so i google him, see that he's actually pretty famous and start to feel super old for "not knowing who the kids like." i comforted myself with the thought that he was a new face and suddenly found himself with enough popularity to do a mall tour and put it out of my head.

later we went to toys r us with my nephews to buy eid toys (happy eid by the way) and do you know what i saw there? t-shirts and backpacks and lunch boxes with cody simpson and his face plastered all over them. which made me come to terms with the fact that i am completely alienated from all the young people and what they like. so thank you, fifteen year old kid that i had never heard of, for making me feel so old on eid.

*Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol

Saturday, August 18, 2012

there is no message we're receiving, let me know, is your heart still beating?

it feels like the little corner of the blogosphere that i inhabit has turned into a ghost town. updates to blogs i follow are few and far between. i'm lucky if i get more than three views on a post these days. and i think i saw a tumbleweed blow by here a few minutes ago. i dunno what happened, exactly, but i'm getting flashbacks of my fourth grade class taking the gold rush.

the inside of my head is pretty much deserted, too, which isn't a terribly great thing since school starts in a week and i am in no way prepared to pick up my preparations for my phd and act like i didn't just spend the past three months pretending school did not exist. and next week i'll be in connecticut visiting my grandma and pretending that my academic career ended six months ago like it would have if i wasn't such an idiot.

i keep writing and deleting fragments of thoughts and sentences and ideas. i can't follow a thought through to elaborate on anything anymore. hopefully a road trip will wake up my brain, and i'll come back to a repopulated blogosphere.

*Human - The Killers

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

just always talking about changing

so i've been reading harry potter and the order of the phoenix in arabic (result of an impromptu saudi bookstore trip and them not stocking the entire series). i'm only about halfway through it right now, but i thought i should still come here and point out the mistakes/changes in translation that have been slowing down my reading. (disclaimer: i probably wouldn't have even noticed most of these if not for the fact that i've read the series enough time in english to have it practically memorized.)

first of all, in the english series, there is a troll-leg umbrella stand in 12 grimauld place that tonks keeps tripping over. in the arabic series, it's just an umbrella stand. not a big deal except the added detail makes the image in my head change from a house that the banks (a la mary poppins) would live in to a house that dark wizards would live in. maybe it's just me.

when harry gets detention from umbridge, the english mcgonagall offers him a ginger newt. the arabic mcgonagall just offers him cookies. again, not a huge thing, but i loved how much detail went into the harry potter world. she could have just offered him a cookie, but she's a wizard and she keeps a tin of ginger newts on hand instead. along these same lines, butterbeer is translated into juice. (i kind of understand this one, but still.)

aside from the lack of details, some sentences are just translated wrong. for example, "harry's a free man" was translated into "harry's free, man." and "are you talking about lupin?" was translated into "did you talk to lupin?" once again, not major, but still enough to make me pause in my reading to say, "no. that's wrong."

i think my favorite thing about reading the translation are the little footnotes from the translator that come every few pages. when mcgonagall called students to be sorted last name, first name and then they went to sit down as first name, last name; or when a professor was suddenly called by his/her first name; or when someone refers to someone/thing with a nickname; or someones mixes up two words, there are lines and lines from the translator explaining how english people are weird and he swears he didn't make a mistake and he really did mean to write it like that and this is what everything would have been like if they were arab.

anyway, i realize that i'm probably being obnoxious and anal about this whole thing, but there it is.

*Changing - The Airborne Toxic Event

Friday, August 10, 2012

i don't know why i go to extremes, too high or too low there 'aint no in-betweens

i think one of my biggest problems with writing is that, underneath all of my insecurities and doubts and the little voice in my head telling me that i really truly definitely cannot do this, i have this grandiose notion that i am destined for great things, that i am somehow better than the rest of the world. i am flying way too high and sinking way too low, and there's a paper and pen somewhere in the middle waiting patiently for me to just get myself together, sit down, and write. i rarely visit the middle ground.

when i was in sixth grade, i fell in love with se hinton (and i never really fell back out). but somewhere between the time that i read the first sentence of the outsiders and the time that i realized she was sixteen when she wrote it, the idea that i would have written and published a book before i was twenty lodged itself in my head. it wasn't that i wanted to or hoped to or aspired to, it was that it was going to happen. it didn't matter that i gave up on most stories before the halfway point. it didn't matter that i refused to let anyone read my writing. it was going to happen.

then sixteen rolled by, and eighteen, and suddenly i was twenty with absolutely no literary acclaim. none. and i proceeded to wallow in the depths of, "i should be better than this." and you know what? why? why in the world should i be better? why should i get to be a published author without doing much or any work by my early twenties when other people slaved away at their craft for years and years and years before getting anywhere. sometimes my arrogance astounds me.

my life has been littered with experiences like this, and though i'm trying to keep all of myself somewhere in the middle now to see if i really do have it in me, it's proving much easier said than done. i am arrogant and self-loathing and presumptuous and insecure and egotistic and fearful and i want to be a writer dammit.

*I Go To Extremes - Billy Joel

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

do you still remember how we used to be?

i am wearing gummy bear earrings and my tongue is burned. i am also wishing i had gotten myself a mango pepsi from the kitchen when i was in there getting two hershey kisses for breakfast. but i think soda exacerbates a burnt tongue, so actually i'm glad i didn't. i burned my tongue while cooking yesterday and forgetting that when you put something on the stove it gets hot. sometimes i do things like that, and it makes me wonder how people could possibly think i'm smart enough to get a phd. i'm having a problem with my "o". i think junior is starting to get old and his keyboard is getting a little hard of hearing. this makes me sad because i remember when i first got him the day i finished my last undergrad class, and it seems like just yesterday but also a million years ago. i also remember that the very next day my capstone professor gave me a C. i'd like to say i've gotten over that, but to be honest i'm still a little bitter. i don't think i'll ever fully recover.

last night i ate a caffeinated brownie, and then i fell asleep fifteen minutes later so i don't think caffeine does much for me.

i don't think i ever mentioned on here how upset i was that the spice girls didn't perform in the olympics opening ceremony. i mean, i didn't give it much (read: any) thought beforehand, but while watching the thing and seeing harry potter and mary poppins and a bunch of bands that i didn't really know, i kept waiting for them to come out. and then they didn't. the spice girls were huge in the nineties. i don't understand why they weren't there. my cousin (who we made get us the spice girls movie way back when) had to listen to me whine abut it for a while. i mean, there were other people there too (my husband and cousins' children) but i think he was the only one that truly got it because he was the only one that knew me back when i was a big fan. (i still have some of their songs on my ipod. should i be confessing that?)

i'm trying to decide whether to make peanut butter cookies or tiramisu cheesecake, and the fact that i can sit here in a quiet apartment, listening to the lawn mowers outside (and a few floors down) my window, and have that be my biggest concern makes me feel incredibly grateful.

*Viva Forever - Spice Girls

Monday, August 6, 2012

say what you need to say

i think i mentioned that i've been reading a lot of poetry lately. and prosetry. and short stories. and basically anything that doesn't take more than a few minutes to consume completely. i'm just in one of those moods where the thought of having enough attention to devote to something that could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to finish is laughable really. but this is not the point. some of what i have been reading are actual books and published stories, but a lot of it has been by virtual unknowns who like to publish their words online.

and i have found a new pet peeve: people who censor bad words in their writing. i'm not talking about people who use other words instead of the bad words, because you can use whatever words you want. i'm talking about the people who, instead of writing ass will write a$$ and instead of writing shit will write sh!t. oh my god it really kills me. 

like i said before, use whatever words you want, but if you're gonna use a word then use the word. putting an exclamation point instead of an i does not change the word. people will still read it as it is intended to be read, so why do it? if you feel uncomfortable writing it then don't use the word. if you feel uncomfortable having people read it, then don't use the word. but trying to use it without really using it is just obnoxious. and it totally ruins the whole mood of the piece for me, as well as the integrity of the writer's voice. it feels like s/he's trying to be someone s/he isn't and makes the whole thing sound childish and fake, which isn't fair to the piece or the emotions it is trying to express. like holden caulfield would say, s/he comes off as a phony. 

so please, for the love of my sanity, stop trying to use words without using them. it's not working for anyone. 

*Say What You Need to Say - John Mayer

Saturday, August 4, 2012

i aint got nothing to say

it's crazy how fast i can go from clean apartment to tornado just blew here and left a neck-braking mess in its wake. sometimes i wish i was the kind of person that liked to clean. the kind that would pick up the mess on the floor instead of just picking a complicated path through it on the way to the kitchen for another cup of fruit punch. but mostly i'm just happy that i'm the kind of person that has a fairly high tolerance for mess. it makes it so much easier to be lazy.

i don't think my mind has realized that i am back home. i sit on the couch everyday compiling lists of things that i need to do, and only realizing that i could and should just do them right now when it's too late. i'm living in a moment of suspension. where i can spend a morning making chocolate covered cake balls and reading poetry and then laugh carelessly when someone brings up school and professors and exams. i'm starting three hundred different stories, poems, ideas and stopping them mid-sentence, mid-thought, mid-care. i'm opening novels just to stare at the letters on the page, letting my mind wander somewhere up on the ceiling - in the corner that holds sunlight even after darkness has claimed the rest of the room.

i know i should buckle down and finish something more than a chocolate bar, but i think i'll continue to float here, making friends with dust motes, until life and the real world decide to bring me down.

*Dancing in the Dark - Bruce Springsteen

Thursday, August 2, 2012

i just don't know what to do, i'm too afraid

you know who i think are really brave? self-published authors.  they're willing to stand up for their work, to say i'm good enough to have people buy books with my name on them, even if a traditional publisher doesn't agree with me (or even if i don't want to use a traditional publisher). i don't need their validation. i will risk the stigma of self-publishing (which admittedly is starting to fade a bit. slowly, but it's starting) and get my words out there. it's amazing really.

about a year and a half ago i decided that i wanted to self publish a book of prosetry. then i got scared and changed my mind. then i decided that i wanted to do it again. then i thought, who do i think i am trying to make people pay money just to read me? the audacity of me. then i decided that i wanted to do it again. then a bunch of religious implications were thrown at me and i got scared again. (wow that's a lot of thens and agains.) basically it's been a long cycle of want, fear, insecurity, and self-doubt. and you know what it's taught me? self-published authors are really, really amazing. at the moment, i'm in a want to do it phase, but by the end of the week i'll probably chicken out again.

to be honest, i used to look down on self-published books like most everyone else. i'm not sure what changed exactly, but a few years ago i found that i was completely willing to give them the same chance i gave any other book. i mean, there are self-published books that are just pages and pages of complete crap, but so are a lot traditionally published books. for example, fifty shades of grey is a best seller and replaced harry potter as the most bought paperback ever. i mean, what?

since then, i've read articles about traditionally published authors who have switched to self-publishing for more control, better royalties, ability to publish good stories that don't necessarily fit into a sprcific genre, etc. i've read about self-published books that are wildly successful, ones that publishers want to buy, ones that have movie deals and crazy fan bases. but still, indie movies and music are considered cool, and indie books (which is basically what they are) are not. i don't get it.

but back to the point. i don't know if i'll ever have the guts or the faith in my work to self-publish. and people who do, i think you're pretty awesome.

disclaimer: wanting to self-publish a prosetry book has in no way changed or replaced my dream to traditionally publish a novel.

***UPDATE: i just found out that another twilight fanfiction has just gotten a freakin seven figure book deal. my faith in publishing and the human race is officially nonexistent.

*I'm Too Afraid to Love You - The Black Keys