I Have No Memory Of This Place

ImageThis morning I awoke to find myself in a new place. Or perhaps and old one since it seems ‘broken in’. On the dresser next to the bed there is a book with a cell phone shoved in to mark a page. Almost as if the person was reading late into the night and got so tired they grabbed the first thing their hands touched. Drawers are left ajar, same with boxes, as if the person who opened them needs not to worry about someone else seeing the contents or running into them. My eye leaves the immediate area and focuses out into the rest of the room where one of two book shelves traps my attention. I arise to look at the books. The shelf is filled with fiction books, mainly dividing into either the fantasy/science fiction genre or mystery. Whoever belongs here spends a great deal of time being somewhere else (mentally). Above the shelf is a ‘wrought iron’ inspired rod that coordinates both with the bed and other pieces scattered about the room, as if the person who lives here likes the classics. However the black tie with lime green polka dots hint as something more. Clearly there is a person who lives here that has multiple fascinations (sketchbook on the bedside dresser filled with half completed sketches and a notebook filled with indecipherable half notes).

Fun prompt today that is quite timely. Just yesterday I rearranged the apartment so somethings are in my room that weren’t in there before, like my second book shelf and computer. To be honest the redecorating began Friday night and still isn’t done. Mainly because I’m easily distracted and not the most diligent. A lazy weekend of slowly moving stuff is what I’ve doomed myself to, but it’s such a bast!

I resolve to use my napkin

I feel that New Year’s resolutions fail partially because the person making them resolves to do something thing that isn’t in their nature, it’s a vague resolution, or both. For example ‘I resolve to work out for an hour everyday’ or ‘I resolve to be healthier’. The first is doomed to fail because it can be quite an undertaking to go from never working out to committing to 7 hours each week. The second is so nondescript that the sheer ‘nothing to go on’ – ness of it would make it broken in about a week.

With that in mind my buddy Allie and I set out to make some resolutions. As we brained stormed we tried to focus on various parts of our lives. In the social we discussed perhaps adding ‘date more’ or ‘put yourself out their more’ (for me). Those were nixed though. For starters they go against my nature (as much of a social creature as I am, I don’t really have the confidence to go out to a random place by myself  and strike up a conversation with some random person). Then there is the vagueness of the addition of ‘more’, going just once would be ‘more’ but wouldn’t really change me like resolutions are challenged to do. Thirdly they would rely on outside force to do something I try to avoid when making my resolutions.

In the end we both agreed we had to make quantifiable resolutions if we wanted any hope of meeting them. Although a couple of mine go against my nature (and one relies on outsiders) in the end I’m fairly happy with the list we came up with. Without further ado the list numbered in no particular order:

  1. Read three non-fiction books (I pretty much only read fiction, it’d be nice to diversify a bit).
  2. Participate in 150 minutes of active living a week.
  3. Learn to juggle three balls (eventually I want to be able to juggle pins. I have these old juggling pins as decorations in my guest room and they call to me).
  4. Write for fifteen minutes every day (blogging alone will guarantee that but I would like to journal ‘more’ too. Especially since my memory is particularly sieve-like).
  5. Go on ten day-ventures (originally when I started this blog I had aspirations of exploring Iowa, well this is the year it begins).
  6. Set a budget and stick to it (my only non-quantifiable one, but hopefully the money I’m able to set aside as a result will be quantity enough).
  7. Win a volleyball game. (This is a bit of a cheat since I am on a team of nine but hopefully, hopefully this one will be met in January. My volleyball team (the bruised lemons) has gone down a level so we’ll actually be playing people at our skill level. However since we got dangerously close to winning one of our tournament games I think this resolution is quite attainable despite having to rely on others).

Resolution NapkinThere you have it, my seven quantifiable resolutions for the New Year. Written, quite fittingly, on the back of a napkin. In an attempt of accountability I kept my buddies and she kept mine (she kindly sent me a pic of it though). Other resolutions that crossed my mind were learn guitar (which I am going to try but I’m terrible at keeping time and I’m teaching myself to play Hendrix style. Always brilliant, that’s me), learn Italian, or cook three ‘proper’ meals each week.

LOEB: Going on a trip – into a fandom, sort of

After taking a week off of the League, the prompts are back with: Take a trip to anywhere in pop culturedom. What fictional town, time, or world would you want to visit? Aka possibly the hardest question to date. I read way to much fantasy/sci-fi, so to figure out where to go I sat down and looked at my book shelf. HUGE mistake. Instantly there were too many ideas (Long partial list at the end of the post, wont bore those who aren’t into lists).

I ultimately had to follow Mr. Potter and go to school. I love the old Wizarding School of J.K. Rowling’s creation. If I could visit Hogwarts (and Hogsmeade) that would be amazing. Whether I tried to get points by throwing stuff through Moaning Myrtle or try to earn them for my house as we compete for the cup. Through thousands of pages Rowling spun a web that lay a firm foundation for those who have imaginations to leap from room to room, forever envisioning what goes on at Hogwarts when Harry and Company aren’t there.

I’d love to be stuck in literary limbo there. This may sound weird, but come with me on this tangent (or skip to the end of the paragraph). We did this play in high school called Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (by Tom Stoppard). That play follows the characters of Rosencrantz and and Guildenstern through their part in Hamlet. However, rather than inventing where there were in the story (for instance having tea with one another) we follow the characters into limbo. A state where they no longer truly exist, they just wait, until it’s time for them to be important to Hamlet’s story again. Now unlike these two, who were in a void, I’d want to be in Hogwarts. To just go out of my own story for a spell and have all the time in the world to traverse the trick stair cases or wander the halls. It’d obviously be a magical experience.

The best part about visiting Hogwarts are all the layers to the grounds. You have the school itself, then the permitted grounds (green houses, Quidditch pitch, etc), then the restricted sections (forbidden forests, tunnels out of the school, etc) but you’d also get to go to Hogsmeade. An all magical town with an awesome joke shop and candy store. When I was a little kid my family would take vacation out to visit family friends in Montana. In the town where the family lived there was this candy store that we were madly in love with. I’m pretty sure we got a jaw breaker every year, and every year it took us weeks to finish the thing. Of course that made it the best purchase, it lasted longer than the vacation. When I imagine Honeydukes I imagine that candy store, only on crack. Of course I’d have to finish my time in the village with a trip to The Three Broomsticks for a swig of butter beer before heading back home. (As a side note, I had a version of butter beer made of cream soda with a dash of rum and a dash of butter extract – if memory serves – it was oddly good. I’ll have to make it again for the Halloween season (which is the last time I had it).)

To follow other league member’s visits check out the master list, other vacation options include joining an otter in a band or check out a pretty interesting hotel room. Other members are visiting Q’s lab, Eternia, Gotham, Goodwill Haunting makes a roadtrip of it, Hill Valley, Jurassic Park, Zion, Paris Opera House (loved how they chose where to go!), the Power Broker, and Jathniel (like me) had many ideas.

Anyway, that’s my choice, Harry Potter – what a shock. (Although some might have assumed I’d stick with Sherlock or the Doctor)

Until next time ~ Q

Other options that flooded my brain:

  • 221B Baker Street-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I’ve actually been, there’s a museum. Although the real one was supposedly re-numbered because so many people wanted to see the real place where the character lived)
  • Asteroid B-612-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (the caged flower, with the volcanos that need to be tended)
  • Axis Institute-Catherine Jinks (With courses in basic lying, pure evil, manipulation, misinformation and mutation it’d be a school that’d always keep you on your toes)
  • Belesse Casle-Vivian Vande Velde (Not sure if that’s the name of it or not, but I’d love to take a stroll with Oliver the Cat)
  • Camelot (of Arthurian legend)
  • Camp Calamitas-J.I. Greco (Zombies anyone?)
  • Camp Half-Blood (or New Rome)-Rick Riordan (I’ve been to both Athens and Rome and I’ve always been interested in the mythology. I must go to these camps)
  • City of Progress/Freelan- James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet
  • Florin/Guilder-William Goldman (and the cliffs of INSANITY)
  • Giant Peach-Roald Dahl
  • Green Gables-Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • G.R.O.S.S. club house-Bill Watterson (Oh to be a fly on the wall when Calvin and Hobbes got in a fight about rule changes or decrees)
  • Haven
  • Heart Queendom of Wonderland-Frank Beddor
  • Highbury-Jane Austen
  • Hotel Dolphin-Stephen King (despite the likelihood of death, I need to know what is wrong with that room!)
  • Isle of Berk-Cressida Cowell (I want my own pet dragon!)
  • Illyria-William Shakespeare
  • Lyra’s World-Philip Pullman (Only so I could see my soul represented as an animal. When things are only theoretical, you can interpret them or explain them in so many ways. When it becomes physical, it gets harder. For instance it’d be harder to explain away why people call you a snake when one is with you always, showing others what you are)
  • Kingdom of Wisdom-Norton Juster (I’d want to skip any feasts though, and I’d need a quick trip to the Island of Conclusions)
  • Middle-Earth-J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Midlands-Terry Gookind
  • Narnia-C.S. Lewis
  • Neptune High (I could have totally been a Watson to Veronica’s Sherlock)
  • Neverland-J.M. Barrie
  • Oz-L. Frank Baum
  • Panem-Suzanne Collins (post the second revolution, that way I could look in the history books/old magazines)
  • Pemberley-Jane Austen
  • Pern-Anne McCaffrey (see Isle of Berk)
  • Shiz University-Gregory Maguire
  • Sleepy Hollow-Washington Irving
  • Stormhold-Neil Gaiman
  • Storybrook (I’d probably be stuck there having been the servant of some fluffy princess…or maybe I am stuck in a cursed town…Storybrook-Story City…it’s all so obvious now)
  • The T.A.R.D.I.S. (through all of space and time)
  • Troy-Homer (Was she really that beautiful, the face that launched a thousand ships)
  • Uglyville-Scott Westerfeld (or New Pretty Town. Uglyville has shenanigans and NPT has killer parties)
  • Uriel-Madeleine L’Engle (or the star watching rock throughout A Swiftly Tilting Planet)
  • Vincent Plum Bail Bonds-Janet Evanovich
  • Warehouse 13 (I never forget a face – obviously that means I have a secret ability that would work well at the warehouse)
  • Wayside School-Louis Sachar
  • Winterfell-George R.R. Martin (How big are dire wolves, or is it all hyperbole)
  • Wonderland-derived from the SyFy mini series Alice
  • Wonderland-Lewis Carrol (Tea with the Hatter and Hare is a must on this visit)
  • Wonka Factory-Roald Dahl (I wonder what the lyrics would be to my song as the Oompa Loompas carted me off)
  • Xavier’s school for gifted youngsters (If I got a power/ability to go with it)

A ramble brought to you by a sleepless night. You’ve been warned.

Usually I take Thursday afternoons off at work if I can. Yesterday I didn’t, which was no big deal, especially since my manager was feeling under the weather. So I got off work around 6 and quickly went home to change for volleyball practice. Oh, I think I’ve mentioned I’m playing league volleyball this fall. If I haven’t I am, and I’m terrible. Perhaps my saving grace is that I’m a willing student. Unfortunately that puts the role of coach/teacher onto some of my more knowledgeable teammates.

Anyway, my team was meeting in my town at the rec center for practice. I figured I should try to get there early. Not early enough though, I was 15 minutes early and one of them was already there. Anyway, practice was a blast. There ended up being 5 of us in all and when two of them had to leave two other people at open gym jumped in. We practiced for about  2 1/4 hours before deciding to call it a night. When I got home I noticed the light was on at work and went in to see what was up. My manager was there catching up on stuff since she had left early. We chit chatted for a short while before I finally headed home.

By this time it was around nine. I was exhausted. I just wanted to decompress and chill. I wasn’t really hungry but forced down an apple since I had completely skipped supper. After a quick shower I watched an episode of The League which I’m usually so amused by, but I was just so tired I decided to call it a night. Unfortunately I saw a book I’d gotten last week sitting on the counter.

I’ve been waiting for this book for months. I haven’t even finished it and I’m already cursing that the next one isn’t out until next year. I guess a year isn’t too bad of a wait considering other series books may be fewer and further in between. You ruin my life a little Riordan.

I was specifically put off starting it until I’d have long uninterrupted hours of time (such as this weekend) because I knew once I started it I would try to finish it. Even as I was telling myself ‘just one chapter’ I altered it to ‘just the first viewpoint’. This book switches which character is telling the story every few chapters. I couldn’t even do that, I read all of the first viewpoint and the first chapter of the second before yelling at myself to go to sleep.

So you’d think after hours of physical exertion and an hour of reading I’d be out in two seconds. Well you’d be wrong. Apparently my subconscious decided to start putting out “you’ve caught the bug from your manager” symptoms.

A fun fact about my nausea, I can usually tell it’s coming because my mouth starts to salivate with no food stimulus. So there I was, tossing and turning trying to convince myself I wasn’t going to be sick. I even told myself throwing water up is that absolute worse. It worked, besides the fact that it kept me up and when I did manage to sleep I was easily awoken. After the third random wake up I was convinced that the Greeks or Romans were the cause of my restlessness. Perhaps Hermes was up to his trickster ways and whispering in the dark. Seem random? It is, but The Heroes of Olympus series is all about the Greek and Roman demigods, so not so bad. Still ridiculous but that is what my sleep deprived mind went to.

Anyway, that’s my tale of my sleepless night. I usually don’t mind sleepless nights, I just don’t 100% appreciate them in the middle of the week. Since today is Friday, however, I’ll survive. Anyway, until next time ~ Q

What’s The League? Here’s a promo clip from Canada.

If you’ve ever seen the show you’ll know about Taco. I feel if I were in a league that’s who I’d be, sort of. Kind of random, kind of clueless, but minus all the drugs.

[Audio]Book review: 1408

I’ve finished 1408, it was both written and narrated by Stephen King. It’s one of his short stories and I came away from it quite confused. However to preface: my sister and I watched this movie years back so I thought I might have some vague sense of what would happen. I wont lie, I don’t remember the movie but what I do remember doesn’t quite jive with what I listened to. There is breaking news for you, a movie not precisely following the source material.

Sadly I didn’t listen to this version, are there 13 other dark tales about the room and I just missed them?? I’ll need to look into that.

I started listening to this book (one that I knew would be suspenseful in the least if not flat out scary) on a night I was walking to a campfire. It was part of a local festival to have a campfire (the Storytelling festival talked about in the Once Upon a Time…. post) and it didn’t start until 9 or so. As a result it was fully night and I was walking alone to the park listening to this story. Going to the campfire wasn’t so bad. Coming back it was worse. It was even later, the story was more developed and I have an over active imagination. A great combination for a restful slumber.

Anyway, my poor life choices aside, I enjoyed the story. Like I said it wasn’t how I remembered. The first 40-ish percent of the book was between the main character, Mike Enslin, and the Hotel Dolphin’s  manager, Mr. Olin. The manager was trying to convince Enslin, a writer whose specialty is to write nonfiction stories about his experiences in ‘haunted’ location, not to stay in the room. Well not so much convince, he’d given up that hope. No, he was just pressing on the writer the facts associated with the room (12 suicides and 18 natural deaths). He also made it clear that since the writer didn’t believe in anything (no angles or god, spirits or demons) he was at a higher risk to the room.

Olin successfully freaked out Enslin before then he made his way up to the room. So much so that Enslin almost turns back, but then the elevator door closes and he’s back on track to enter the room. While in the room he starts to lose it and I start to become unable to follow the story completely. Mainly because there would be random sentences thrown in as reflection. By that I mean there was a line about how ‘Mike put the recorder down for a moment. Everything from that moment on would be indistinguishable when he re-listened to the tape.’ So for moments they would jump ahead to when Enslin was out of the room and thinking back on his time in the room.

I’m still not clear on what was wrong with the room. I think that’s rather the point and on par for Stephen King. To be fair though, I haven’t read him before, just things I’ve heard along the way. With such a build up of the creepiness surrounding the room the rest of the story was rather tame. If you can call self-immolation tame. However after reading this book, and the unsettled-ness it left me with I would like to read more Stephen King. That is in conjunction of my love for the show Haven, which was based off of a short story, The Colorado Kid. Also a fun fact, the show incorporates lots of Stephen King references from his other books too. So once reading him more I might get the extra joke, fun times. In the Colorado Kid too, you never really find out what happened and are left wondering always. Just like in 1408.

LOEB: A reality show staring you

This week’s prompt from the league: Television executives have determined that you lead an amazing life and have pegged you as the next big reality TV star. What’s the name and the premise of your show? Where to even begin? A title I suppose. Here are a few options:

  • Life of a Loser
  • The Gals
  • Making an Intro an Extra
  • Stars Hollow Redux

The breakdowns:

Life of a Loser – Would just be following me around all day. The camera would roll while I am at work, capturing all the sometimes unfortunate things that escape my lips. (Like last week’s gem of me telling a customer I’d shoot them rather than I’d shoot them an e-mail. Perhaps not the best customer service).

Then the action continues as I go home and pick up a book to read. 

If you can handle that stay tuned for when I then go to browse pinterest

I don’t know if the viewers could handle such excitement.

The Gals – I video chat with my 3 high school friends 2-4 times a month (sometimes biweekly is all we can manage). We were all involved in the arts (over athletics) in school which was a necessary foundation seeing where we are now. Cheryl lives in Texas and is an engineer, Jamie is a medical illustrator in Georgia, Allie lives in KC and is an elementary school teacher, and then there is me. I’m pretty much living where we all spent our childhood, holding down the fort as it were. Cheryl is obviously smart, but sometimes I just can’t understand what she is saying. So she has that going for her, she is also recently married.

Jamie is in grad school to become a medical illustrator and lives with her boyfriend.He hangs out in hospitals (where he works), she hangs out in cadaver labs (where she studies). It seemingly makes sense though.

Allie once posted “May I be as zany as Ms. Frizzle, as inspiring as Mary Poppins, and as nurturing as Miss Honey!” Considering she once dressed up as an ninja to get her kids to remember an acronym, I’d say she succeeded. She is actively dating and is a social person.

Finally there is me. If the first reality show synopsis didn’t show you what I’m about lets see if I can do it here: I’m a designer (and occasional blogger) who spends most of my time alone and through chance only hangs out with women, so no real dating prospects on the horizon. My manager jokes about how she wants to set me up, but she doesn’t know anyone in their mid-twenties so I have, thus far, dodged that bullet.

Making an Intro an Extra – A reality show where they would attempt to make me more social and try new things. Perhaps There could be silly weekly challenges. One week I’d have to host a dinner party worthy of Julia Child.

Then the next week it’s something completely different, snare setting with MacGyver. I bet that would be better to watch.

Stars Hollow Redux – When I tell people about the town where I now live they comment I more often then not get is ‘That sounds like Stars Hollow.’

For those of you who didn’t watch Gilmore Girls it centers around a pretend small town in Connecticut where this single mom raises her daughter. The town always has some festival or activity going on. That is kind of how my town is. Sadly we don’t have giant town meetings, but what we lack in that we make up for in committee meetings. There’s the EDC board, the GCC board,  the planning committee, the org committee, the promotions committee, PTO, school board and lots more. Some of these even have subcommittees so really, it’s obnoxious. The sad thing is that each committee probably average 8 people so you can’t get away with snarky asides. However it is easy to see various factions within the committees, so that makes up for it. Currently I’m involved with 2 (just finished serving on a special committee for RAGBRAI) and it takes up time. The nice thing about this show option is that you’d get a slice of the heartland and what life is like in small towns.

That’s it, those are my pitches.

Monster Cafe is primed to pimp out his business for the show, Dorkhorde will give you a penny for your thoughts, Primordial Badger is gonna kick it with some birds, and our very own Cool and Collected (host of The League) will be playing What’s in the Box.

Ciao ~ Q

Book Review: A Study in Scarlet

So I finally have finished one of my summer reading books. I realized, after making my list, that I’d have to finish a book a week…which usually wouldn’t be a problem. I’ve done it in the past, but apparently I’ve gotten busier or something because its been tricky. However that is neither here nor there. On to the book.

I just finished A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I enjoyed this story, although I was thoroughly confused as to the second half of the book. It seemed to crop out of no where. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone so as fair warning SPOILERS AHEAD. The first half introduces us to the odd man that is Sherlock Holmes and a returning war veteran Dr. John Watson. Watson observes Holmes’ various acquaintances and is with him when he is summoned to a crime scene. There they discover a dead man whose face is contoured in anguishing fear. Sherlock methodically scours the scene, both the immediate area as well as out side. Then he quips off some facts that no one else as gleaned. Such as the murderer’s tall and sturdy frame and that they knew one another. Sherlock, after sharing some conclusions with Detectives Lestrade on Gregson heads out to conduct some of his own inquires. After a scene with a woman’s wedding band and a second murder both detectives are back in Homes’ flat. There, after a short while, Holmes’ delivers the murder – much to everyone’s surprise (the murder included).

Then the story shifts to several years before and across the ocean. The narrative picks up in John Ferrier’s point of view as he and a little girl, near death, are found in the Nevada dessert by passing Mormons who are on their way to the promise land. The story gets kind of odd after that, dealing with the Mormon lifestyle and beliefs. Long summary turned short, the girl was adopted by Ferrier and was the prize of all Salt Lake City. Ferrier promised her to Jefferson Hope whom the girl had fallen in love with. The leader of the town didn’t like that and decided that Ferrier had to either give her to his son or another Elder’s son. Ferrier is murdered while he, the girl, and Hope try to flee and the girl is brought back to Salt Lake. She died a month later, from despair. Hope vows then and there to seek vengeance again both of the sons. (One married the girl and the other killed Ferrier.) Of course the two murdered men were the sons. Then the story jumps back to London and ‘present’ time (Sherlock’s time that is) where Hope fills everyone in on what happened after he left Utah. That very night, after being brought to custody Hope dies of an aneurism.Then Watson and Holmes are chatting and he explains analytical thinking versus narrative thinking. Which, seemingly, is his secret. END SPOILERS

Over all I enjoyed the story. The one part that was tricky was the part that took place in Utah. I don’t know enough about Mormon culture to fully understand those parts. I got the gist though, but since I didn’t get it I wish that part of the book  would have been wrapped up quicker than it was, but it was still good. And the deductive bits, by all three detectives were so enjoyable it was worth wading through the Utah chapters. I think what I didn’t like was I had a sinking feeling for Ferrier and his daughter. I knew something bad was going to happen, if two murders were the result years later, how could it end happily? Yet I found myself rooting for Lucy (the daughter) and Jefferson to somehow end up together. My silly romantic side once again giving me false hope for a happy ending. When a person achieving his revenge is the happy ending you know you’re not reading a comedy. However a great beginning to the legend that is Holmes and Watson.

I enjoyed how he somewhat ended it with Watson telling Holmes that he would write Holmes’ story down so that everyone would know that it was he, not Lestrade and Gregson, who was the brilliant one. Holmes’ doesn’t seem to care though, he doesn’t want the publicity, even if he does comment that the others steal the limelight all the time. I guess part of him wants recognition, but not necessarily form the public though. I think he just wants the detectives themselves to not falsly take his credit.

Anyway the story ends with a Latin (or Roman) phrase: “Populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudo Ipse domi simul ac nummos contemplar in arca.” When I googled it I discovered it was from Horace, Book 1, Satire 1 and translated to “The public hisses at me, but I applaud myself in my own house, and simultaneously contemplate the money in my chest.”
I take that to mean it doesn’t matter what the public thinks, for I will be proud of my own accomplishments and think about the things I have done within myself. A nice sentiment. So overall, a good story, and I’ll be working my way through Doyle’s other works too, I’m sure.

Anyway, until next time~Q