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01 November 2009 @ 11:50 pm
If you could go back in time to another decade, which decade would you choose and why? Would you want to return or stay there? What if you could bring one other person with you?

Paris during la belle epoque

Salons.  Music.  Art nouveau.  Montmartre.  Impressionism.  Cabaret.  Expressionism.  Political stability.  Literature.  Poetry.  Sepia photographs.  Avant-garde.  Dresses.  Operettas. 

current location: dorm
feeling: chipperchipper
listening to: "I've Just Seen a Face" by The Beatles
Who is your favorite lady detective from movies, books, or TV?
From television, it would have to be Bones' Temperance Brennan; see an earlier Writer's Block post about identifying with fictional characters for exactly why.

From literature, I would have to say Mary Russell of The Beekeeper's Apprentice fame.  She is famous for her peripatetic reading, is on par with Sherlock Holmes in terms of her reasoning capabilities, and is an admittedly anachronistic feminist reading theology and chemistry in the middle of Victorian England.  She's just such a fantastically interesting character!  I am in the middle of rereading The Beekeeper's Apprentice for the fourth time, and I still find new reasons to admire her strength, intelligence, and acute sense of justice.
current location: home
feeling: goodgood
listening to: "Keep Breathing" by Ingrid Michaelson
18 June 2009 @ 05:14 pm
What fictional character do you most identify with?
From the time I was very young, I have been told that I bear an uncanny resemblance in personality and appearance to Hermione Granger.  I can be a bit of a know-it-all, bossy, intelligent, with notoriously thick and bushy brown hair.  For a long time, I really identified with her for these reasons; for most of elementary and especially middle school, I was shunned because I read too much and enjoyed talking more with my teachers than with my peers (recall Hermione going to speak with Hagrid because she was on the outs with her friends).  It was a bit of a lonely existence, because my friends were few and far between, however - like Hermione does - I eventually grew into a more confident person who didn't base all of her identity and self-worth on her ability to quickly recite information.

Nowadays, I identify with many fictional characters, but I can't identify "most" with a single one.  Different aspects of my personality connect me to a myriad of fictional characters; I'll outline them below.

Elphaba Thropp - I identify with her hatred of injustice and her political sensibilities.  I identified with her most strongly during 2005-2006, when I was campaigning for Fair Wisconsin against the constitutional amendment banning civil unions.  I also identified with her feeling of despairing disillusionment when I figured out that Wisconsin is either a.) a lot more homophobic than I gave them credit for, or b.) much stupider/more illogical than I initially assumed.

Remus Lupin - I identify with the statement that Ms. Rowling used to describe him - that is, that he's "so happy to have friends that he cuts them an awful lot of slack."  I'm also bookish, as well as loyal to a degree that is truly ridiculous.

Temperence Brennan - She's intelligent but consequently tends to analyze social interaction a bit too logically.  I am frequently criticized for ridiculing social "rules" because they don't make logical sense, and for failing to possess the same humor as my peers.  (Remember that time that Zack Addy tried to get Bones to "pound fists" because it's an anthropologically recognized signal of success, and Angela quips that she loves it "when you two try to act like humans"?  That's me.)

Ianto Jones - Because I have this strange compulsion to serve other people.  I'm the one who's always cleaning up after other people, and cooking for other people, and organizing schedules, and enjoying it

That's all that I can think of at the moment.  If I remember more, I'll add them.
current location: home
feeling: nerdynerdy
listening to: "Beautiful Thing Medley" by John Altman
28 April 2009 @ 08:03 pm
I've just purchased a new Toshiba laptop (well, technically my parents purchased it as a graduation present, but close enough to the truth) for college, and I shall name her Zoe. 

The Mac 2000 finally kicked the bucket; an attempt to write "The" on the Mac produced "ehT" because, while the typing continued, the cursor stayed in the same place.  It was surreal.  Additionally, the backspace, space, "l," period, comma, "o," numbers, and arrows keys were completely non-operational - so we retired Mac and went about purchasing a replacement.

This is my first LJ entry on Zoe - thought that I should mark the occasion.
current location: dining room table
feeling: jubilantjubilant
listening to: none - I'm waiting for iTunes to load on Zoe
26 April 2009 @ 08:24 pm
I'm sitting on the floor of my living room, with my dog curled up beside me and the front door propped open, absorbing the thunderstorm that's currently raging outdoors and watching Boys Don't Cry on Youtube. 

I deserve the relaxation; the fact that someone posted the movie in its entirety on Youtube less than a week ago when I've been looking for it for months, along with the thunderstorm (I adore thunderstorms), is the universe's way of rewarding seven hours of Calculus work.  The worst part about it, though, is that I should still be working on it, because I only have about twenty hours out of the sixty I need by May 4. 

But my brain is fried.

So instead of studying integrals, I will enjoy the thunderstorm and the brilliance that is Hilary Swank.

ETA: Incredible movie; I couldn't watch certain parts, though - the rape scene and the murder were too much for me.  It was so terribly sad, and it makes it so much worse knowing that someone actually was subjected to all of that.  I would recommend it to my friends, but I don't think that they would be able to handle any of it; they're not the most tolerant of people sometimes.
current location: living room floor
feeling: busybusy
listening to: thunderclaps
26 April 2009 @ 02:21 pm
Do you volunteer your time or donate money to any charitable organizations? Which ones, and why?
I donate my time to WAFER and our local Salvation Army, typically helping to run the food pantry; I have have also volunteered at our local public library since the fifth grade, with only a brief interruption when I didn't have time during the summer after seventh grade.  I spend a lot of time writing letters for Amnesty International and helping our local chapter to raise awareness.  We didn't have a national week of student action this year, but our current President was the one who established the GuluWalk in the La Crosse area, and we had a regional week of student action in conjunction with the UW-L chapter. 

I don't have a lot of money to donate - poor student, remember - but when I have a little extra, I like to donate it to local families in need of assistance.

current location: dining room table
feeling: stressedstressed
listening to: "The Rocky Road to Dublin" by the Young Dubliners
25 April 2009 @ 10:14 pm
Well, on a whim I went to see Motion City Soundtrack in concert with L1 and R1, the latter of whom I still have not completely made up with - which made the four hour car ride to Iowa City a bit awkward.

The trip down was fairly uneventful; we got lost twice, were almost hit by a truck, and spent almost the entire trip with the windows rolled up and the air on circulate due to the ridiculous number of swine farms in Iowa.  In a little town called Strawberry Point, we stopped in someone's front yard to take a picture with the enormous purple school bus we saw there; I laughed at L1 and R1 because they had been foolish enough to wear short sundresses on a windy day and in front of impressionable little old ladies at an outdoor cafe.

We spent some time with a girl whom had graduated from our high school last year, and who now goes to Iowa State as a journalism major.  Went out to dinner at a fabulous little restaurant that served all-vegan dishes made completely from locally grown and organic foods; I had a vegetable curry without remembering that it would stain my teeth an attractive shade of mustard yellow, and subsequently spent almost a half of an hour brushing my teeth furiously in the dorm room...

Then we went to the concert.  I had never heard Motion City Soundtrack before, but because I had resolved to go to a concert once before I left for the East Coast, I agreed to go along... It was an interesting experience; at the beginning, just before they began playing, L1 leaned over and muttered something along the lines of: "And don't worry - I mean, these concerts can be really dangerous because they can mess up the rhythm of your heart - but I know CPR!"  Encouraging.

L1 had to be on the bus to Concours Oral Francais at 4:00 AM this morning, so we couldn't stay in Iowa City last night and instead opted to drive back four hours to La Crosse on very little sleep.  I was designated the navigation queen, while R1 and L1 took turns behind the wheel and sleeping.  We accidentally went about an hour and a half out of our way, and barely made it back to my house by 2:15 AM, which meant that R1 and L1 could crash here for about an hour of sleep (and so that L1 could take some medicine for the migraine she had developed somewhere around Dubuque) before heading back into La Crosse proper to drop L1.  

It reminded me intensely of our canoe sojourn last summer, only less dramatic and smellier.

Then E1's senior dance recital was today.  It's going to be odd to leave them all!

Make new friends
But keep the old
One is silver
And the other gold...
current location: home
feeling: distresseddistressed
listening to: "Drowned Lovers" by Kate Rusby
25 April 2009 @ 09:55 pm
Out of all of your favorite books, pick just one you'd recommend everyone read. As a bonus: why did you pick that one?
I'll never be able to choose just one.

I would recommend Les Miserables for what I perceived to be its central message of the importance of being compassionate and forgiving, and of treating your fellow humans with respect and empathy even (particularly) in the face of wretched circumstances, as well as the fact that it's a spectacular exercise in literary endurance (the unabridged version is over a thousand pages long but well-worth the time spent).  I would also recommend Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West because it's spectacularly well-written and Gregory Maguire has done such a magnificent job of recreating an entire culture a complete cast of characters - the political overtones were incredibly well-done and believable.  Finally, I would advise everyone to read a lesser-known novel called Sophie's World because it is a quick and painless way to learn the basics of philosophy. 

ETA: I just realized that two of the novels I recommended were later made into musicals, neither of which possessed half of the merit or quality of the books.  Well...

feeling: lazylazy
listening to: "Matt and Nat's" by Natalie MacMaster
21 April 2009 @ 11:46 pm
Well, reading through a community for writers seeking factual accuracy, I stumbled across the following:

Apparently, in Germany in the 1960s-70s, "born on the 17th of May" was a euphemism for being gay.

This would not be particularly amusing - except my birthday is May 17th. Sometimes the universe is just way too much of a coincidence. I laugh.

Here is the exact quote:

"The nearest I can think of with any reference to homosexuality may be too vintage for you - when I was young, in the 60s and 70s, the German euphemism for "gay" was "born on the 17th of May" (am siebzehnten Mai geboren). This was because in those days, before homosexuality was legalised, the relevant clause in the German penal code referring to it was 175. I don't know if this usage survived legalisation. But I'm pretty sure nobody outside Germany would have understood it, translated or not."
-- little_details
Tags: ,
current location: home
feeling: amusedamused
listening to: "Hiding Behind the Moon" by Jeff Hanson