Dec 30, 2009

Karmatic revenge; rather, a bad cold

I'll upload some pics of family and events tomorrow when we return home and I am out of work. Some unexpected friends are appearing tonight, in fact in a few minutes.

I have come down with a sudden cold, stuffy nose and achy head all abound. I'm hoping the coffee shop we head to will help clear my head. If not a good night sleep is exactly what I need.

Saw Julie & Julia with parents and I must say it was great. I love cooking as always and watching both Julie's and Julia Child's story was worth the aching head and the voracious need to make delicious foods. I should lose 30 pounds so that I can wear more skirts and aprons. It leads me to wistfully desire making food with quality ingredients and the desire for meat. But I have neither so I hope my cheap ingredients can at least make me something good. Oh well.

More to come on me tomorrow. Also, I think that driving back tomorrow will finish off Ringworld, so I will give a synopsis on the plot and my opinion after work. Also, let's see if that will make the title in italics. Damn macs.

Dec 29, 2009

month long hiatus ended!! Old-time headliners back in style!!

     I am only going to explain my absence in one way: retail hell + final exams + ninja clan wars = busy Kai.

     OK, maybe not so much on the ninja clan wars, more like the ninja world wars.  No really. OK, it was exams for a week (where I ended up with 12 hrs of sleep for five days) and then closing at work so late that I woke up just in time to drag myself back to work.  Tad did come back for the holiday season and is staying through late January, so despite everything I am happy and still exhausted.  ::happy::  See?

     Christmas was good and kinda sad at the same time: we visited four, count that four! houses of relatives.  We visited my brother and my niece at their house but it seems the only thing two year-olds want is a Zhu Zhu pet and a coloring book.  Not bikes (which she got) and not just about any other toy, just coloring books.  Next year I'm going to get her crayons and I will be the best auntie ever.  Muahahaha.

     As for my present list?  I did get a new camera which was desperately needed as my old one won't even turn on now.  Best part is it has image stabilization so my crappy shots?  Not anymore.  Yay!!  Also, Tad is getting a couple of pots for his dorm's induction stove top which the in-laws are sending up to him once spring semester starts up.  That will save us lots of money on shipping. 

     I did get these awesome new sheets from sissy.  I finally have something to match the bedset (from IKEA).  Tad's napping away there, and in the corner you can see The Hour of Our Death, which I'm still trying to get through.  In note for other books, I got grandma's old Brother Cadfael books, which is only five in total but all ones I haven't read. 

     Lastly, listening to Ringworld audiobook that Tad found and we're headed back to visit relatives while I have a few days off.  I'm hoping to show off a couple more pictures of everything going on over there.  See you later!

Nov 26, 2009

Holidays and rest days

     Last day before the official season starts.  Happy thanksgiving to everyone out there.  I am thankful for having my parents I can always come and visit when I need comfort.  Also that I have friends to keep me company and that I can dote on when I need to show caring. Here's the family ready for the best dinner of the year. 

     I just hope there's someone to love and take comfort with.  If nothing else, remember, Buddha (and Jesus) loves you unconditionally.

Nov 21, 2009

2 for 1 review

     I started this entry about 5 days ago.  And I just deleted the single sentence I had written.  It's one of those days/weeks/weekends/months/etc.  On the book front I am doing great though.  Two more books off the list: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Stepford Wives.  As someone who was raised on the Gene Wilder movie and (unlike most people) enjoy the Depp version, reading Charlie was a bit of a wake-up call.  If you've ever read any of Dahl's works then you should know there's a deeply set belief in justice to a character based on who they are and how they act.  Mr. Wonka is in no way, shape, or form malevolent.  He is just a kookie old man who constantly gets befuddled when trying to deal with the children.  He is a bit obstinate, still acting partially deaf but it comes out at childish.  He genuinely cares for them but constantly claims that everything "will come out in the wash".  What that entirely means I don't know but I do know that Wonka is no longer holds a bit of a mad scientist air and instead falls under the absent-minded professor genre of genius.

     The other book, The Stepford Wives is actually written by the same author as Rosemary's Baby and if you've seen the movies you can start to guess the similarities.  There's a proactive female main character, a false and a true (deeper) conspiracy.  Also, there is no definite ending.  Sounds great.  Woo.  It was a short read, 123 pages, and should only take a few hours.  Definitely worth it but really, not a keeper.  I do want to read the other books by Ira Levin just to see if they also follow his pattern.  Also, according to the introduction by Peter Straub this is actually a satire, which I can also see.  The male reaction to feminism and gender equality illuminates that deep in the mind of men women are just inconvenient lower beings good for fantasizing and servitude.  The oddest part is that the main character's husband goes through the entire process from loving a real woman with, we can only assume, normal desires and regrets to idealizing and segregating the woman into an inconsequential and minor role in life.  Also they never explain if they kill the women or what so maybe there is more to the story.  I want to read a few critiques about the whole idea but at the moment I only know what Straub told me. 

     On the list coming up is Dahl's autobiography Boy: Tales of Childhood, which is a children's book as well and Primo Levi's The Periodic Table, which is a series of short stories written by a Jewish Chemist who survived Auschwitz.  So far it is just as good as I suspected it would be.
     I will update tomorrow if I have time about real life and my non-book projects but otherwise I expect to be detained by Retail Hell starting tomorrow and lasting until New Year's.

Nov 17, 2009

Finally another off the list

     Well, finally finished with one of the books I'm reading.  Unfortunately, it is not Age of Cathedrals which is getting nearer and nearer to the end but instead Out of the Silent Planet.  This, as a quick reminder, is the C. S. Lewis sci-fi book written with Christianity built in.  I think it can be described as Narnia for adults.  Where the whole Narnia series was an indirect Christian allegory Silent Planet is instead an argument with a de facto Christianity.  Actually, there was no Christ in this instead just an argument for the existence of god.  Hmm..  I wonder if the other books in the series (of which there are in total 3) go on to argue the other tenets of Christianity.

     Ok, I cheated and read Wiki about it.  It seems it is a bit of an argument against space travel as, we being a fallen species, will only bring destruction and evil on the good, untouched Edens of God's universe.  The next book has something about Venus I guess.  I dunno. 

     I did find out that the reason books like this one, the Barsoomian Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G. Well's War of the Worlds, etc have a dying Mars is because Lewell, some astronomer, misinterpreted results he got while looking at Mars' surface and said there were huge canals.  Obviously that means they were intelligently created and that Mars had these canals to drain water from the ice caps.  He was wrong on about all accounts but oh well, at least it was an attempt. 

     Well besides finishing this off and barely continuing anything else not too much has happened.  Worked more on my quilt but not much.  Did laundry and still haven't returned it to the closet.  Bought some dress patterns but want to lose some weight before I make anything.  Worked.  Worked.  Worked.

     Worst is that even after sleeping a full night I wake up exhausted.  I was trying to finish Silent Planet last night but I decided I was definitely too tired when my eyes closed and I was only woken up by the book dropping out of my hand.  Oops.

     Weather is still balmy and warm, highs in the lower 80s and lows in the 70s.  Nice for Florida but not cold.  Dammit.  Oh well, maybe for Thanksgiving.  Which should consist of my parents, me and maybe my niece.  She is two.  Not the greatest company.

Gonna work on some HW tonight before it is due tomorrow morning.  Then going to work on homework during the day which is due by 6.  Damn, physics sucks sometimes.

Nov 12, 2009

Shape up

Hum... I was going to post something but now I don't know what.  Well, this is useless.

Nov 8, 2009

An Embarrased Admittance

     Ok.  I admit.  I have now joined every 15 year old girl and read Twilight.  I can even see why they like it.  My biggest complaint is that it is written like an actual 15 year old wrote it.  The relationship is not real.  The main girl, Bella, is a Mary-Sue.  She comes to a town and everybody likes her and she doesn't see anyone.  She seems so self-centered and unrealistic.  She doesn't get moody or upset but and this still leaves me completely in disbelief, sacrifices her world so her mom can hang out more with a guy?  She was a freaking saint half the time.  The other half of the time she was an insipid, vapid moron.  I don't think she had a bad thought in her mind, geez.

     Doesn't Stephanie Meyers remember being 15?  I do.  There's a lot of drama shit going on everywhere with everyone and hormone changes.  The relationship is also a little creepy.  Edward, the vampire, is aggressive and controlling.  Also, there is no actual lust in the relationship.  I remember always thinking about kissing and Tad and all those things.  I feel like a virgin 15 year old with no real relationships wrote this.  She doesn't even make any real friends besides the vampires.  She also has no character besides her clumsiness.  She's intelligent, then not, she's brave, then not.  Nothing is definite about her.  It really cheezed me off. I'd read it if I was in high school but I don't think it's a must-read new classic.

     Really, has anyone who has read the book had a real relationship like Bella and Edward?  I mean Tad and I were chaste until marriage and even we were never as pathetic as them.  And yes, I think they were very very pathetic.

   On another note, I'm feeling better although still sniffly and all.  Just a head cold now and I'm doing my best to get past that.  Work is finally hitting the worst stage, fourth quarter.  New employees and everyone rushing everywhere.  If you aren't ready for the seasonal changes I'm afraid to tell you that they are already here.  I need to start thinking of presents for everyone.  Ah!

Nov 6, 2009

Weather Changes and Their Corresponding Sicknesses

     I have been out and about these last few days for more hours than I have been at home, making my days long and painful.  Tuesday was a normal day but Wednesday I had a quantum test!  Woo!  It was so bad that a good third of the class went straight to the only place on campus serving alcohol and started drinking.  Yea, so there goes my chance of a good grade.  After classes went out with Chris to dinner and then worked for an hour or so on PDE HW.  I still don't get how to find the zeros on a sine and cosine function.

     Today I went to PDE and then Chris and I drove to Gainesville to visit Hannah-chan.  I haven't seen my good friend in forever.  She now knits a lot more than she used to.  In fact, she can make socks.  I congratulate her on socks.  I can barely work on my quilt.  It seems Math grad level is more demanding than Tad's stuff as she has no time.  Or maybe it's the teaching thing.  In return, she didn't have to take out loans.  So, more time or more money, which is better.

     After a protracted lunch that was mostly waiting we returned to Orlando I headed off to work.  I have decided that I am getting ill.  My throat aches and I feel stuffy-headed and off-balanced.  Hopefully this will turn out coherent as I am not entirely willing to proofread this.  I get back the quantum test tomorrow but I do not want to.

     Thanksgiving is coming up faster than I'd like as is the return dates on a few of my books.  I still haven't been able to finish Age of Cathedrals and can barely make headway when I have time.  Twilight is due back soon as well but I don't worry about that.

     On a side note my jade isn't doing well.  The leaves are slowly blackening and falling off.  I think it's a lack of light.  I'm going to move it as soon as the entry is finished to the table where my sewing machine ends up at the window.  Don't die on me jade!  I love you!

Nov 1, 2009


     Well it's been a few days since the last update but not too much has happened on major fronts.  Tad's home to visit for the weekend.  It's been hard, as usual, to get used to each other the first couple days and we had a bit of a fight this morning.  We're OK now I think but it's hard sometimes to readjust yourself back into your old habits.  I was making Tuscan eggs this morning but we misunderstood each other and I turned the "scrambled eggs" into more of a quiche.  Costumes were pretty good, OK, they weren't amazing but at least we had fun.  Tad was Dr. McNinja and I was Wendy from Peter Pan.  Laura was Dorothy and she made her own ruby slippers.
     Besides the quiche I made a caramel apple pie and two caramel apple tarts from the remains of the pie.  I didn't have some but everyone at the party did and they enjoyed it.  We had it pie a la mode style, vanilla ice cream!  Made Welsh Rarebit last night, very tasty as always and bought Newcastle beer to go in it.  Newcastle is one of the few I can drink and I blame the English as any type of beer on that island chain is just amazing to me.  Give me a Guinness any day!  Also watched Blade II which Tad pointed out (a lot) that in this movie the director realized the full point of Blade: to kill vampires in the most stylish way possible.  He constantly ignores the surest and quickest way to victory in order to have a more stylish moment in the film.  Plot holes abound and in the end nothing new was determined or discovered.

     I don't know if I mentioned in the last post, as I'm far too sleepy now to go look, but I am in fact working my way through a quilt for either myself or Tad.  I haven't quite decided.  I will add pictures next entry which should hopefully be tomorrow. 

     Still plodding my way through Age of Cathedrals although I've gotten at least half way now.  Also took out Twilight to see what all this huge fuss is about.  I may just read the whole thing in one straight shot so I can get through it as fast as possible.  The best descriptor of it seems to be that it is a Twinkie.  Well, give me a few days and I should have an answer to that assertion,.  Going to bed though as I've worn myself out with my crazy fun day.

Oct 25, 2009

Paper faces on parade: Masquerade

     Haha.  It is still 85 degrees in the day here in sunny Orlando.  Sucks to be cold!

     BBC has caught me up again.  I finished listening to And Another Thing... as read by BBC 4 and stumbled around their site to listen to a very nice half hour show called The Grand Masquerade about the puzzle-book Masquerade written in 1979.  It created a whole craze about it since it was an actual treasure hunt.  There are some in America but most of them are about and in Britain.  The prize is usually worth every frustrated second of painful mind-bending and illogical puzzle solving.  If I had time and effort I'd definitely join this idea.  I used to do easy-peasy versions of this as a kid... although I did suck at those.  Maybe my mind is a little sharper now.  Although reading the answers to them are more convoluted than a well-fleshed conspiracy theory.

     So I don't want to brag but one of the roomies was editing a fellow's fiction paper.  I lent a hand since she was pretty flustered and all but this thing reads like an ideal version of the cult fiction I read about.  There was an idealized character who said everyone was blind except him.  He was isolated because he was so "smart" even though it wasn't anything great.  He had a philosophy that had to be understood without explanation and the whole thing reeked of Ayn Rand.  I commented that and in fact I was spot on.  Her writings were a cornerstone in the ideas for the story.  I called it straight out.  Although he didn't have black emo-hair.  Still, I got the big one.

     On the book front I have finished another two books: The Messiah of Stockholm and Animal Farm.  Neither were the book I had thought to grab at the library last post but oh well.  Messiah is an amazing book about  man discovering himself as a definition of who he is and not what he might be.  It's about losing innocence long after you should have lost it and how ideals can kill you as easily as save you.  Definitely worth at least a single read-though.  Animal Farm was just about what I expected although I kept applying it to Chinese Maoism as well as to USSR early history.  The pictures turned it into a gruesome storybook and made it a bit more horrifying to read.  Still working through some of the non-fiction on the 501 books but no luck getting through them yet.  They just drag on for so long!

501 Books current count: 35 read and 3 in the works

Oct 22, 2009

Interesting facts about authors

    OK, more a single interesting fact about a single author.  Poul Anderson who wrote classic fantasy and scifi titles from the 50's and 60's including Three Hearts, Three Lions and The Broken Sword was a founding member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms which is pretty much a permanent, more fleshed-out Renassaince Faire.  Tad and I (hah! he said I could use his name) joined it to enjoy it (and spend hours researching something we love) with some friends last year but now we have parted and it isn't as much fun.  We are 9th century nobles from China and Japan, respectively.  That's why I want to sew my Heian costume for Halloween and he has a facsimile of a T'ang scholars outfit.  Created by yours truely!  I have some Poul Anderson books and to give you an example of SCA just read Three Hearts, Three Lions.  In the end it is an idealized dreamworld of an earlier period of knights and courtesy and plagues.  Ok, not the plagues so much.

     On the book front I am working through Out of the Silent Planet another scifi by an unexpected author, C.S. Lewis.  In his attempt in 'Catholicism throughout reading' he has broken free from Narnia and explored into the depths of space.  I'm only halfway through it because I made an apple pie yesterday.  But no icecream.  I also took out an illustrated version of Animal Farm, sure I know the plot but I have never actually finished the book.  The illustrations turn this from a story into a macabre children's book.  Just think about it for a minute and tell me it doesn't disturb you.  I bet it does.

     I actually forgot Silent Planet today and I'm stuck in the library for another few hours until I finish helping a friend with his math so instead I will grab yet another book to begin.  I was looking for Hermann Hesse (he wrote Demian and The Glass-Bead Game) but the library carries neither of these.  Also 1984, Catch-22 and at least one other book I looked for are all checked out until next year!  Actually, I own an audio version of 1984 and read at least half of Catch-22 before I had to return it last time.  Still, not complete!

     It looks like I might be starting The Invention of Morel but who knows if it's actually on the shelf.  Stupid people reading books.  That's my job!

Oct 20, 2009

I never quite got the hang of Tuesday

     Well, I have another book to check off my lists: Clockwork Orange.  Turns out there is another chapter than the Kubrick movie had.  Despite the author's adamant protests I don't know if it was worth the change in the pace of the story.  I'm pretty bored and sleepy but the night keeps on existing.  I get to go to Disney Friday so hopefully I will have a few good photos to add on.  Until then, my friends.

Oct 18, 2009

Yay, I'm no longer talking to myself!

     I would like to thank Stacey and EqyLlzQ_yu67HbR3E9Q9YRzElzgx1g8-, whose unique name I will never remember, for being the first two people to follow my blog.  That means I can no longer just ramble on and on about anything without regard to decency and society...  Or can I?  Either way, it's nice to talk to an audience of any size besides 0.

     Well as I stated the intent of I visited parents and returned home with everything I came for (except a Pur filter as they use Brita) and more fruits and veggies than I know what to do with.  The weather finally went back under 80 degrees yesterday thus officially marking the beginnings of the fall-like non-season here in the most southern state.  As befits a lifer from Florida I was enraptured and then uncompromisingly cold. I mean, it is according to WUnderground 54.4 degrees.  In October none the less!  At least a third of the emotion stuffed in that last sentence was sarcasm although the rest may have been something near confusion and dismay.  Other great thing is I came back with a tin of Darjeeling tea to make constantly.  My first pot was amazing and reminded me to start working on Halloween costumes, which I mostly haven't.

     The hushand's costume has already come together a bit as he now has a ninja mask and I am providing a white lab coat.  That's right, what an amazing guess, he's Dr. McNinja!  I'd give a prize but it would probably be squash or something right now. 

     One last note here before my eyes cross completely: the earrings in the header up top here were made by a friend of mine Laura and I want to thank her here again because they have encouraged me to keep up a blog and be proud of it.  So thanks Laura!

Oct 17, 2009

Visiting parents

     Time for car registration renewal and since it still comes to my parents I headed over there for a good 24 hrs or so of their love and care.  I actually used my laptop to listen to BBC's In Our Time for three separate episodes.  I think that catches me up although I am slowly wading my way through a few new podcasts.  Was able to actually do my partial differentials HW today, despite my total belief that I wouldn't understand anything going on in the chapter.  Now all I have due is three HW for my electronics lab and even more joy!! I have to finish a take-home test as well.  Then I have two tests on Thursday one of which is relativity.  Blerg.  Without a doubt that will be the worst test I take.

     In other news I started advertising the blog out to others.  I posted it on my facepage ((haha, thanks for that Meeples)) and gave it to a few friends.  I haven't decided my policy on using real names yet although I think I'd better soon.  Some people don't like to be mentioned on the internet and others completely take it in stride.  Hmm...  Will consult others and get a general consensus of all those whose name would likely appear in it at some point or another.  I should start worrying about pictures as well.

Oh well, not tonight.  Right now the lack of sleep has caught up with me.  Time for the sandman and his A Capella group to come.

Oct 16, 2009

Quantum HW Hell

It is 6AM and I didn't sleep.  I spent about 4 of the last 6 hours working on quantum HW.  I just don't feel comfortable working normalization integrals.  No matter what I do, they never look right and I feel awkward even setting them up.  I just need to do them and stop wimping out.  I have 3 problems left.  I have been instead rediscovering the amazing group The Freelance Astronauts.  Just listening to them makes me a happy, happy person.  Not going to type more because I still have HW due and three problems to do.  Only really nice thing is that I plan on visiting my parents this weekend and getting my car registration, a new Pur filter and I'm sure something else.  Alas and I'll drive with no sleep...  Assuming it takes me another 2 hours to finish this damn chapter.

Oct 15, 2009


     Learned a new word today: psychomachias, which is the state of conflict in the soul between the spirit and the flesh or between good and evil, in a much more generalized sense.  That is the neatest thing to happen.  Met my brother and his wife and my niece for lunch.  My niece slept the whole time, of course, after having been screaming and blissfully crazy as Disney the whole day.  P.F. Chang's is very bland, really, nothing great in their ma po tofu in at least.  The fried green beans were good but I think that was more to do with the spicy sauce, very fatty and mayonnaise flavored than anything else.

     Made a new header for the blog even though I think I'm the only reading it at the moment.  Pretty good job with the picture I think since it was made without anything more fancy than a scanner.  I have no camera so the variegated background is because the earrings are propping the scanner lid up.  Reading a new book, The Hour of Our Death and so far seems great.  One of the books on the list, but I'll tell you all about it when it is over and done with.

     On the Halloween front, I don't even know if the roommates are having that party or not.  My costume was going to be Heian noblewoman.  Ideas are here (first pic) and here.  The second is a bit late, Tomoe Gozen the famous swordswoman who fought in the Gempai Wars in the 12th century Japan.  It involves about 6 layers, which with the weather still hovering between 80 and 90 in the daylight hours, is more absurd than I will admit to.  Still, it looks amazing and I need to get something sewn and soon.  I haven't moved the machine since I stuck it on the bookcase when I moved in two weeks ago.  Oh well, back to death and all our macabre traditions.

Oct 13, 2009

Cult Fiction

     Maybe you've never read one of these, a cult book. Not a book to start cults but a books that inspires people into cult-like behavior. After moaning last night about the end of Leibowitz I searched the University's library for any literary critiques or essays on it. I found a great resource for new books in Classic Cult Fiction: a companion to popular cult literature. As I was looking through the suggested literary cult classics I noticed that many were required high-school reading and others classics in their own rights. I include the list below with stars next to the ones I have already read. The ones in bold are also on the 501 Books list:
Against Nature
Animal Farm
Another Roadside Attraction
Been Down so Long It Looks Like Up to Me
Bell Jar
Brave New World*
Canticle for Leibowitz*
Catcher in the Rye
Clockwork Orange
Day of the Locust
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The Great Gatsby
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy*
The Killer Inside Me
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Look Homeward, Angel
Lord of the Flies*
Lord of the Rings*
Lost Horizon
Lucky Jim
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The Outsider
The Outsiders*
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Seperate Peave
The Sorrows of Young Werther
The Stand
The Stranger
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Sun Also Rises
The Teachings of Don Juan
This Side of Paradise
Time and Again
Trout Fishing in America
2001: A Space Odyssey
Walden 2
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mantainance

Canticle for Leibowitz

383:Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller, Jr.

I mourn the end of this book. It was that strange Hegelian feeling of wanting the end and shunning the coming parting between the book and myself. I hadn't realized how much time and effort I had spent reading and internalizing the precious agony of this book. Without a doubt this book will belong on my shelf. Next to a Latin dictionary, assuming I haven't already scribbled notes in the margin for the untranslated parts.

Quick plot summary:

Post nuclear war- knowledge destroyed, the priesthood hiding all knowledge remaining and humanity at the brink of complete anarchy. It is three parts, during the dark ages, the renascence of human ingenuity and the zenith of the following civilization. Also, random untranslated Latin which always whets my interest. I won't give plot devices away because I think this is a book to read yourself.

I always wanted to be a monk as a child, not a nun but a monk as pictured in the old novels. I wanted to glorify (not God, even as a child) in the knowledge and the preservation of it to the next generation preferably by reading. I am no Christian, although being raised Lutheran I have my own views on Christ and the "coming absolution" of humanity. I read the book as a focus of the human spirit and the divine (err.. not the best term but it is 2:30AM) qualities of our endurance and hope. This was written mid-Cold War.

One day I will draw a summary between the year a sci-fi book was written and the major themes of the novel. Even in this most imaginative genre there is little variation on a theme.

I believe this is a great random segue into the ending of this post. Next time I hope to introduce things a bit better and without the tangent at the finish.