Updates and other thoughts
July 5, 2018
“Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast. And then the murders began. — from Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
A long, long time ago(2017), someone wisely said, “The first line of almost any story can be improved by making sure the second line is, “And then the murders began.” It kind of works as a way to give shock value to an intro. The questions are immediate: What murders? Why are the murders happening? Who murders?
I live exclusively on pizza crust, old memes, and books, and like any other reader I like a good hook, so here are some fun lines. Sources at the bottom.
- Once upon a time, a little girl named Laura traveled in a covered wagon across the giant prairie. And then the murders began.
- Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. And then the murders began.
- When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home. And then the murders began.
- Fortran was created by a team led by John Backus at IBM in 1957. And then the murders began.
- Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice “without pictures or conversation?” And then the murders began.
- ”Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug. And then the murders began.
- One sunny Sunday, the caterpillar was hatched out of a tiny egg. He was very hungry. And then the murders began.
- When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special significance, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton. And then the murders began.
- My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down. It was seventy-five degrees in Phoenix, the sky a perfect, cloudless blue. And then the murders began.
- “I just love October!” Barbie thought, stepping outside the country inn. And then the murders began.
- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
- some history of Fortran website/wiki that looked like this one
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
- Barbie: A ride for freedom by Victoria Saxon
June 23, 2018
Time for another biannual (?) update!
School is out for the summer, which means more time to write, look up manatees, make smoothies, etc.
And read. I! Will! Read! All! The! Books! It’s something I haven’t really been doing because of all the busyness, but now it’s like gulping down water after a mile run. I’ve been borrowing a friend’s copy of 1984 for at least four months, and I’m around halfway through. Maybe I will be done by the end of summer.
Other than that, I’ve sped through a couple of other books from the library and online, mostly YA fiction: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You by Joyce Carol Oates, and The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman.
Eliza’s protagonist is the shy secret creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea, who meets the most well-known fanfiction writer of her work. What I like about this book is how real the characters seem and how sensitively the author depicts them. They know that books or webcomics or art mean different things to different people—and no one is wrong. Plus, the characters reference both the webcomic and another series, Children of Hypnos, and bookception is always at least a little fun. The author has the first book of Children of Hypnos up online, which I of course had to read. I normally avoid the paranormal subsection of YA fantasy, but I’m excited for the second Children of Hypnos book if it will ever be written. My main problem with much of contemporary YA fantasy is that it sacrifices character and plot development for cheesy romance and all the melodrama that comes with it. Though the main character does have a boyfriend, her life doesn’t revolve around getting jealous of other girls who talk to him. They’re friends and they’re together despite their differences—she is a Dreamhunter, whose job is to protect civilians from Nightmares; he lives separate from her training school and society and is the average human (which makes it all the more tragic when he, well, read the book). The dreamscapes she enters with her dreamhunter partner, who she initially assumes is deadweight, are creepy and beautiful. There are conspiracies and secrets and gratifying monster bashing. I’m horrible at summaries, but if you want an easy fantasy read, you can find all of the first book of Children of Hypnos here. Eliza’s a great read on its own as well, and Monstrous Sea has some illustrations up on the author’s site which are cool as an expansion to the parts already in the book.
The Imperfectionists centers on a failing international newspaper and the lives of the people who depend on it, whether as employees, hopeful reporters, or readers. It’s a collection of related vignettes on each character, most of them tragic, with a little humor to keep them afloat. There are some lovely twist endings. In between, the history of the paper unfolds. I liked the book, especially for its final section.
Over here is the Alliance trilogy by E. Jade Lomax, who has offered the entire series on her website as free ebooks, also purchasable in physical copy. There are some scenes where the characters’ actions seem a little half-baked or people run around after what should be fatal or debilitating injuries, but overall they’re a nice read in medieval fantasy.
Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You I can’t compliment much. I did break my rule not to read any YA with pictures of an actual person’s face on the front without recommendations, but I thought it would be okay since the title wasn’t just one word and the cover looked decent. Yes, my methods are shallow—at least I read a little of the middle when I pick out books to read. Maybe I just didn’t understand the book since I started speed reading and skimming after the first half. In each of her own chapters one main character describes how she cuts herself, in graphic detail, until she almost kills herself and her friend’s ghost pops up. The last main character is described to be a 5’4’’ teenager, fat at 111 pounds, who has an obsession with her oblivious science teacher and suicidal thoughts. Then her friend’s ghost pops up. This mutual ghost friend actually did commit suicide as a result of her unhappiness with her home life and relationships. I guess at that point, after the ghost visits, everyone’s problems are fixed. I feel like I’m making light of a serious book because there are themes of eating disorders, all kinds of abuse, self-harm, and the stigma behind mental health issues, but I was annoyed. Even through the character switch, the tone of the book is constantly cutesy and self-conscious. It reminded me of the feel of the song “Dollhouse,” which would be fine in small amounts but not as 277 pages of angst. I wish the characters had gotten help, talked about their problems to work them out together instead of with a ghost in their heads. Considering some of their problems (there are crimes committed against them), they need legal counsel and professional therapy desperately, but they’re so concerned about their images that they don’t want to get help. This is exactly the wrong message to send to readers. It’s implied that everything is fixed at the end, but there are so many gaping holes to fill in, the conclusion is a dissatisfying mess.
January 1, 2018
- What I did for New Year's Eve / the New Year
- accepted a quarter of a chocolate cake
- ate baked bananas
- watched fake pirates
- ate fruitcake
- ate with family
- ate a lot of food
- but did not eat long noodles, which are symbolic of having a long life
The important thing, though: I wish you all a happy New Year. Make it a good one.
October 22, 2017
The problem with updating a home page as a way to inform people of updates is that you have to decide which updates are notable and which are not. And if your updates are just a minor bit of text, or a background change, or a shift in your font size from 12 pixels to 12.5 pixels, then it's easy to pick and choose from the lineup. But then where does the cut stop? What if you edited a dated ten-year-old dinosaur webpage to reflect that pterodactyls aren't dinosaurs? Is that important? How many times can I fit "up" or "date" into this update without confusing myself? Why do I have more fun writing updates than writing a nice little poem that's up-to-date? Why is this site so meta? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
So okay, this home page is a irregular blog/thought dump now, as well as an update bin. Because even if this is just whispering into the void, it might as well be (semi) quality whispering instead of updates on dates of dates.
August 20, 2017
Beginning slow rearranging of content because the current organization actually doesn't make a lot of sense to me anymore.
August 17, 2017
I take around 7257600 breaths in a year. Or something like that.
June 24, 2017
I now have time to update this site! So I'm doing that, semi-productively, and digging up some old frustrating pieces of writing that I look upon with both amusement and pride. And a dash of disgust—the kind you get from watching slugs grind down your youngest, tenderest seedlings, leaving slime trails all over the walkway after a rainshower. Read this stuff under Words. Laugh at it if you'd like. Lingering slugs, after all, won't do much to defend it.
March 25, 2017
March 1, 2017
It's been a long time since I've added anything. But a major purpose of this site was to be creative, so there is now a mini-section for scraps and junk that may someday be useful under Coding. I had way too much fun with that CSS animation. Breathe in time with it. Take the circle and add more spinning circles for a disco ball. Base a creepypasta on the soul of its pale yellow glow.
January 21, 2017
Added my book lists under Words. If you've got any reading suggestions, the cbox is open for use.
January 15, 2017
I've linked my first attempt at making a website, 2014/2015-ish, under Coding!
January 14, 2017
New year, new site design! The former one felt a little clunky, and I wanted to make something with circles, so here's this. It's far different from my original idea, but I like it. I will be linking old content and new materials slowly.