The Update

It’s been years.

Joking. (Well kind of).

I didn’t stop writing. In fact, if anything, I’ve written more in this past year than I ever have.

It just never made it to the blog.

I’m not entirely sure why, though I do have my suspicions.

Much of what I wrote so much about was deeply personal. All things I wouldn’t share on a public blog.

Another sizable chunk was spent writing for work. Work-writing is fulfilling for me but also doesn’t translate well to blog-space.

And of course, my other short stories and anecdotes and general mayhem made it to my writing classes, or Facebook, or didn’t get written at all because I was so very busy and tired and didn’t feel like it or…

But, as always, I missed this.

No promises this time. I don’t know whether I’ll update in a day or a month or ever again. But it feels different this time. I feel different. I think my last two years have played a major role in that.

Anyway, it’s good to be back.

 

Attack of the Rafter

Me, two days after moving in to my new place, to my housemates:

“So, do turkeys usually swarm our front yard?”

My housemate Cheri gave me a strange look followed by a long, drawn-out, “no…?”

She then followed me to the front door and gazed upon this:

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This picture contains about half as many turkeys as had actually gathered. Several flew away while I was trying to get close enough to take a picture.

Turkeys, just wandering through our yard and pecking at the desolate, drought-stricken grass-scraps that pass for a lawn here in northern California.

Now, I don’t actually live near a forest, in fact I live in a neighborhood that’s nestled between a highway and another fairly busy road that leads to a college. It’s not exactly what you would call a wildlife refuge. In fact I have yet to see a deer (which are quite common) anywhere near the area. But for whatever reason, on this particular morning, about 20 turkeys decided to visit my house.

Bonus fact: when I was telling my parents this story, my dad informed me that it was not a “flock” of turkeys as I had incorrectly called them, but actually a “rafter.”

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Done moving + new schedule + the window of darkness

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I am in a new location. Physically, anyway (bloggy’s still in the same place, don’t worry). Sorry for the lack of postage lately but moving+school starting+working a graveyard shift = not a lot of time to create wondrous blog content.

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Not menacing at all.

My new place is smaller and cheaper (woot) with the added bonus of being right down the street from my school, which means I can walk everyday and save gas money (once again: woot). But my favorite part by far has to be my bedroom window (see picture at left) which for some reason unbeknownst to logic and the sanity of architects everywhere, allows me a scenic view of our darkened garage.

My initial theory was that the window originally did look outside when the house was much smaller, and that it was covered up when the owners decided to add on a garage. However, my housemates (who have lived their much longer than I) told me that the window was in fact a recent addition, only added in the last year, when the garage was already in place.

This begs the question: why did the owner feel the need to include this? Did he/she believe the room needed a little something “extra”? Did they simply enjoy the darkened window aesthetic? Perhaps they supposed the usual pangs of claustrophobia would be assuaged by the promise of an escape, even if that escape only led to another darkened hole of existential despair.

We may never know.

On the upside, the window is directly above the washer and dryer, so I can check the state of my clothes without walking all the way around the house, which is nice.

In other news, school’s off to a rip-roaring start. I have realized however that my weekday schedule allows very little room for anything other than sleep, work, and school (not necessarily in that order) so you can expect most bloggy updates to occur on the weekends (like this one).

If you’re in the US, enjoy your Labor Day weekend. Everyone else: enjoy your regular/(insert local celebration here) weekend!

The Best Thing Since Sharknado?

Not actual poster

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present:

Moose Jaws.

The tagline is… wait for it…

Jaws.

With a moose.

Brilliant!

Yes, it’s a real thing.

Even better, this movie is the last in a trilogy of Canadian-based horror-comedy films directed by Kevin Smith of Clerks fame. No, I’m not making this up. [link]

The first movie, “Tusk” follows a man who slowly turns into a walrus. It’s already out, so you can watch at your pleasure. Not that I’d recommend it.

Tusk_(2014_film)_poster

Actual promotional poster

The second movie in this epic trilogy is titled, simply, Yoga Hosers. It comes out this year and will apparently follow two teenage girls who travel the countryside (of, naturally, Canada) fighting supernatural powers. They are also yoga fanatics (and convenience store clerks).

Moose Jaws is scheduled to be released sometime in the next year.

The Funnest of Facts #1

One of my jobs for the morning newscast is writing THE MORNING FUN FACT. Which involves myself finding 1) a fact 2) that is fun. So I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite facts that are fun. BONUS CONTENT: some of these fun facts were too ridiculous/creepy/gross for our morning audience so you get glorious FRESH CONTENT.

1. THE PHANTOM BARBER OF HAIRCUTS IN THE NIGHTTIME

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Scene: 1940s Mississippi

Story: A man, a plan, a pair of shears, and utter disregard for personal space.

The tale of the Phantom Barber of Pascagoula is one of those stories that, in the bright light of modern day, seems hilarious, but at the time was probably utterly terrifying.

It began in June of 1942, when two young women at a convent awoke to find a man climbing out of their bedroom window. Both girls were fine, save for the fact that they were each missing a lock of hair.

Several more attacks followed, each ending with a terrified person (usually female) waking up in their own home and missing a lock of hair. In one case, a couple was actually violently attacked with an iron bar.

A few months after the final secretive snips, the police announced they had found the man responsible–a 57-year-old named William Dolan.

Despite his claims of innocence, Dolan spent 10 years in jail for attempted murder. He was eventually released after taking and passing a lie-detector test.

To this day, it is unknown whether or not he was actually responsible.

Sources:

Mentalfloss

Telegraph-Herald newspaper story

A woman who wrote a book about her experience

2. THE SQUARE WATERMELONS THAT OF COURSE ARE FROM THE JAPANESE

800px-Square_watermelon

The Japanese are at it again – this time with cube watermelons.

The melons are grown in iron boxes, which forms them into nice squares. The shape makes them much easier to pack and transport.

Unfortunately, the melons are picked before they are fully ripe, which makes them inedible.

In Japan, they’re mostly sold as gifts, and can fetch prices of upwards of $100.

Since they were clearly unsatisfied with bending nature to their will only once, the Japanese now have heart-shaped watermelons as well.

Sources:

The tale

The thrilling video

How to grow your own square watermelon

3. THE SEAWEED THAT TASTES LIKE BACON OH LORD

Dulse (Photo by BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)

Dulse (Photo by BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)

It was the best of foods, it was the worst of foods. And then, somehow, we managed to combine both.

I can claim a bit of hometown pride on this one, seeing as it was my alma mater that patented this particular bit of scientific wonder.

It’s technically a strain of red algae (though that doesn’t sound nearly as tasty) known as dulse.

Though it was originally created as a superfood for edible sea snails, when researchers looked into its many benefits (i.e. it’s fast-growing, packed full of nutrients, and tastes like bacon when cooked) they decided we may as well just skip the snail part and start eating the stuff straight.

However, there’s no word yet on whether the seaweed-bacon has the same sizzle and crunchy texture we all know and love.

Sources:

OSU

Time Magazine

4. THE ARMY ANTS USED AS SUTERS FOR GAPING WOUNDS WHAT

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Dorylus,is a species of army ants in East Africa (as well as some parts of asia) that I could do fine without ever meeting.

The ants are large, fiercely defensive, and prone to swarming. The soldier class of the colonies are also able to sting you (of course) but usually rely on their powerful jaws to dispatch enemies instead. The jaws are so powerful, in fact, that when they clamp shut, they can remain that way, even if the ant’s head is separated from the rest of its body.

That’s where the suturing comes in.

Indigenous tribes use the ants as a form of natural surgical staples to close up gaping wounds. They do this by getting the ants to bite the edges of the wounds shut, and then pinching off their bodies, leaving only the ant heads in place.

The makeshift stitches would last up to three days, after which, they can be replaced with fresh ants if necessary.

Sources:

Video of the ant-head suturing process (WARNING: if you’re not a fan of bugs sinking their mandibles into human flesh, you might want to steer clear of this one)

Ted.com

And of course, my personal favorite:

5. THE SERIAL SPANKER OF LONDON

Whipping_Tom

Welcome to the story of one “Whipping Tom” a mysterious man who prowled the streets of 1680s London, accosting and spanking women at random.

He would apparently, grab women on the streets, lift their dresses and spank them vigorously on the bottom while shouting “Spanko!” before running off. His preferred smackdown tools were either his own hands or the occasional birch rod.

Things got so bad at one point that armed male vigilantes began dressing up as women and wandering the streets in hopes of catching him. Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain.

He was never captured.

Sources:

Full article (more sources within)

Jeff Goldblum’s Laugh From Jurassic Park

A few years ago on a whim, I practiced Jeff Goldblum’s laugh from Jurassic Park until I could do a passible imitation. Though I never thought it would actually be of any use, I have actually brought out this gem on more than one occasion.

I’m not entirely sure what brought this to my mind today, but if you’ve never experienced the awkward nasal strains of Jeff Goldblum attempting to laugh, please do so now.

Back in Black (or an orange striped t-shirt)

A smattering selection of my current journal collection.

A smattering selection of my current journal collection.

What can I say?

That this year was crazy?

It was.

That my life has changed in ways I never thought possible?

It has.

That I’m back after almost a year, to romp and roam amongst the pixilated pages of this blog once more?

I am.

I know we left off abruptly. I moved, my life picked up speed and momentum and, for a while, it became easier to not.

To not write. To not speak. To not even check up on poor bloggy. Later, it was easier to to not because it’s what I was already doing.

Besides, sometimes it felt like the writing area of my life wasn’t going anywhere.

It was easier to ignore when the other parts of my life were flourishing. I got accepted into the school I’d always dreamed of attending. I moved to another state to attend and within a month had made dozens of new friends. School began and changed my life. I became intensely ill (not so fun) but through the process learned that I could depend on my new friends, my family, and God more than ever. I got an awesome job at a TV station, and within four months was promoted to a better-paying position that utilized my college degree.

Now, that’s not to say this past year was only filled with peach cream and roses. (And seriously, what’s with peach cream metaphors anyway?) The aforementioned sickness wiped out a month of my life and replaced it with pure pain. There were lengthy, anxiety-inducing struggles with finances (especially after I got out of the hospital) and at times I was certain I’d be crushed in the heart-seizing hands of fear. Homework abounded. My awesome job was (and is) an overnight shift, meaning once I started I saw considerably less of my awesome friends. And so on.

However, rather than swamping all the good parts, the bad sections complemented them, allowing the sweet to stand out against a harsh backdrop. (This is in retrospect of course. In the midst of the difficult times, I was considerably less eloquent and level-headed).

In short, this year was everything I’d hoped for, with two exceptions:

  1. I wish my best friend could have experienced it with me. (Alas, she’s off becoming a doctor or some nonsense like that).
  2. I wish I had written more.

The last one kind of sneaked up on me.

Amidst the whirl of my new life, something had to give way. And it was far easier to remove something I was unsure about–something that I had to go after myself that wasn’t in my face demanding my attention everyday–than it was to set aside time.

It helped, of course, that I was burned out from the slew of endless, pointless essays one is expected to churn out in college (especially as an English major).

Whatever the case, I stopped, and in the overwhelming rush that has been this past year, I never took the time to examine what fruit that decision had wrought in my life.

Then came summer. Life slowed down. School was out, the demands on my life lightened. And something was missing.

I tried to go back, in my myriad of notebooks, and find the missing piece. That’s when I realized how little I had written down. There were lots of notes for school. The occasional pages written in the aftermath of a soul-wrenching life change. But other than that, there wasn’t much. I didn’t even update my Facebook that much (not really sorry about that one).

But slowly, over the last few weeks, I’ve started writing again. After nearly a year, getting back into the swing of things is taking longer than I hoped, but no longer than expected. The blog’s going back up. I’ve started back in on my fiction and nonfiction stories. Facebook even got updated.

This blog has, and likely will always be, an experiment and a practice session for a life I’ve always wanted and one I’m steadily working towards.

And after nearly a year, I think it’s time to jump back in.

Greetings From California

Redding, specifically. Which means for the next few months I get to see a lot of this:

photo credit (x)

The beautiful Shasta Lake. (x)

And this:

(x)

The breathtaking Sundial Bridge. (x)

And, of course, plenty of this:

Oooooooooo

The fabulous Redding Civic Auditorium (x)

My feelings about which can be summed up as such:

Awwwww yeah!

Life Update: 8/27/2014

I figure this is way overdue, but here’s what I have been and am going to be up to.

Past adventures:

• Gradumacated College (with an English Degree no less). Oh wait, you already knew that.

• Went to freaking Disneyland (courtesy of a graduation present from Kris’ parents, who are incredibly awesome). To be clear, it was Kris’ present, I just happened to get dragged along. I also celebrated my birthday there, which was simply icing on the Disney cake, a cake which is already made entirely of icing.

• Worked as a raspberry lab-tester all summer. And by “testing” I mean “mixing chemicals with and investigating under a microscope,” not “taste-testing.” Unfortunately.

• Went on vacation and crashed my bike into a tree at high speeds. This is why I can’t wear nice shirts.

• Watched Sharknado and Sharknado 2: The Second One all the way through for the first time in my life. I’m still recovering from the experience. Also, Wil and Anne Wheaton cameo in S2 = fabulous.

Future Adventures:

• I will be moving to California in four days. Specifically Redding. Cheers.

• Oh yeah, and Sue Games. (I really need to finish that, don’t I?)

• There’s something else I’m forgetting to mention, I’m sure. Oh well. . .

From x.

Om Nom Nom.x.

Writing Prompt: Brainstorming Edition

Inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy’s Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and John Scalzi’s “The Human Division.”

Step one: Create or find a music playlist. I used the aforementioned Awesome Mix Vol. 1.

Step two: Open a blank word document/get out a sheet of paper.

Step three: Begin the playlist and start writing whatever comes to mind. You have the duration of the song to write down as much as you can.

The rules: Every time a song ends and another begins, stop what you’re working on, skip down a few lines, and start a completely different story/idea/chapter/train of thought/whatever.

Go until the playlist ends, or you hit a few really good ideas and want to spend more time with them.

This method is great for coming up with ideas during a time crunch. Only have fifteen minutes? Pick a fifteen minute playlist and go. It also helps keep you from getting too bored or frustrated with the beginning of a story and allows you to work on different aspects of a story, even if you’re not sure how they intertwine yet.

I got about a thousand words split into ten different sections. Not bad for forty-five minutes.

Enough reading, go forth and scribble!