Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And the adventure begins

Hey all!

I'm catching my train to the airport in about an hour! And I'm going to be in Reykjavik in seventeen hours!

I'm not sure if I will be posting at all while I'm in Iceland, but even if I'm not, I promise plenty of stories and photos when I return. I'll likely be on Twitter occasionally if not on here.

Wish me blisterless adventures!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

This is exhilarating

This coming Tuesday I fly out of Chicago, first to New York, and from there to Keflavik International Airport.

I will be in Iceland for seven days, staying at a hostel in Reykjavík. I will return to school next Wednesday night.

I've purchased my tickets, and I think I've chosen a hostel - but that's pretty much all I have planned for solid so far. I suppose I'll just take the adventures that come to me.

I could say a lot more about why I'm going, but I think I'll let that wait for now.

And right now? I am laughing at how outrageous and crazy and wonderful it is to just pick up and go to Iceland on my own on less than a week's notice. I am excited and kind of incredulous, and sometimes a little terrified. Insanity is pretty liberating, though.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Here is the big news - this is not a joke

I'm kind of horrible at making decisions. Not that I necessarily make poor ones, just that I have a very hard time actually reaching the decision.

So here is what I have been shrieking about so vaguely on Twitter for the last couple days.

I am seriously considering a solo trip to Iceland over Thanksgiving break.

I've gotten the final go-ahead, everything has fallen into place, and now I just have to make my decision.


So, prayers would be much appreciated from those of you who pray!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bare branches and a blue-gray twilight

A scalding sweet Americano in my belly and an armful of feminist thought (reading is always worth the numb fingers) - this wind, I would guess, blows straight out of some arctic Heaven and my mind is very, very clear. I cross the street with my thrown-flat giantess shadow, her limbs stretching away from the headlights into the darkness.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Announcing this week's flavors of awesome

Fresh Christmas lights in our room

Reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland aloud with my roomie at bedtime. From an awesome 1933 edition I just got for seven dollars, too. [ I hold that reading aloud is one of the great simple pleasures in life.]

The prospect of seeing Jason Mraz perform on Saturday FOR FREE

Glowing hermit crabs

Biscuits for breakfast in the dining hall

The word "textrovert." I kind of think I might be one.

Wallace and Gromit as fashion models

Gigantic apples that make me feel like a child when I have to hold them with both hands as I eat them

Practicing my French pronunciation with my suitemate by reading scenes from Cyrano de Bergerac. I think our interpretations are quite inspired, especially considering that only one of us has the slightest idea (and it is slight) what we're actually saying

Starting to look ahead to my semester in Germany! It's more than a year away, but beginning to plan makes it feel much more real. Eee!

My professor telling me that I would have been ready to take a semester at a German university midway through freshman year. Blush and double happy, man, seriously.

The awesome bloggers I've "run into" and started to connect with over the last few weeks

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Girl with a bird she found in the snow..."

"Boy With a Coin" by Iron & Wine has one of my most favorite music videos.

I love Iron & Wine in about a dozen ways. And a video with flamenco dancers to indie alt/folk music? Brilliant and beautiful.

There is something so haunting about flamenco's lovely intensity - or ferocity, even? I think it is a perfect match for the song. (I must say, though, the students have a cooler part than the teacher.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

A blustery day to blow the world away

The first time I read this poem, the imagery of the middle stanza enchanted me and puzzled me. The second time through, I appreciated it for its suggestion that all the solid things we build our lives in and on are nothing more than cleverly painted sets.

I can't help but think that by the end of the poem we are supposed to take our cue from the chickens and question whether we've misplaced the faith we have in our rickety world.

Also, situated in Chicagoland as I am for the time being, an evocative poem about wind is always in good taste.

Windy Evening
This old world needs propping up
When it gets this cold and windy.
The cleverly painted sets,
Oh, they're shaking badly!
They're about to come down.

There'll be nothing but infinite space.
The silence supreme. Almighty silence.
Egyptian sky. Stars like torches
Of grave robbers entering the crypts of kings.
Even the wind pausing, waiting to see.

Better grab hold of that tree, Lucille.
Its shape crazed, terror-stricken.
I'll hold on to the barn.
The chickens in it are restless.
Smart chickens, rickety world.

-Charles Simic


Poetry Friday round-up at Yat-Yee Chong's place.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Anticipating snowcakes

Do you know what I have on my desk at this moment?

Can you tell what it is?

Your eyes do not deceive you - it is a pan for making snowflake-shaped cupcakes! I found at the Official College Student Suppliers (a.k.a. Target) for a mere two dollars.

I am on a baking hiatus of sorts right now, but once there are snowflakes outside, you can be sure there will be little snowflake cakes in my room.

P.S. Did you know that in Britain cupcakes are called fairy cakes?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bad punctuation: don't take it lightly

Spotted in Brio magazine. Girl's cruise? How do they decide who the one girl is who gets to go on it?

When I was getting college mail, I remember one college advertising itself as "one of Latino's top choice for college." I seriously regret not calling the admissions office to ask how they managed to make the acquaintance of THE Latino and learn his higher education preferences.

eta: As a commenter on Apostrophe Abuse pointed out, "get-a-way" is also hyphenated incorrectly. (Get which way?)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Seer wanted

A month or so ago I drew a life map for myself one Sunday evening when I didn't feel like doing homework.

I did it more like a map of geographic possibilities than of an actual path - there are the wild borderlands of institutionalization, mountain ranges of books, the deep jungle of immediate post-college life, the river of early college crisis with the ford of Choosing a Life Path, the scrublands of vicarious adolescent angst for when I have teenaged children, and so on.

Today I was rummaging through some loose papers, of which said map was one, and didn't notice that I had a hangnail until I glanced at my life map and noticed it had spots of BLOOD on it.

Blood on my life map.

Good thing I'm not superstitious? Haha.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nocturnality à la Holly

I'll make do by catching the sunrise--
you lay sleeping--I was escorting it to you.
-Bella Akhmadulina

Or, what to do when everyone but you is asleep.

Because night-owlishness is basically my unofficial major, I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to pass the uncommon hours.

  • go to the nearest playground and swing until you've almost-but-not-quite given yourself a stomachache
  • play dress-up and assemble a really awesome outfit for the morrow
  • blog
  • burn a mix CD of excellent and sing-a-longable tracks, relocate a laptop or CD player to the bathroom, and enjoy a long shower to your new soundtrack
  • quiet-dance wildly around your house/apartment/dorm in a weird costume (or no costume at all) - iPod optional
  • read an book's worth of pages - but instead of going straight through one whole book, read chapter one from one book, chapter two from the next, and so on
  • write a letter
  • decorate upcoming pages in your journal
  • wrap yourself up in Christmas lights and settle yourself in front of your RSS reader
  • play Guitar Hero with the sound off
  • take advantage of the empty streets and go for a bike ride/longboarding
  • if you have a bathroom scale, drink lots of tea and watch your weight go up and down over the course of the night
  • memorize a poem or Shakespearean monologue, and resolve to find an excuse to launch into it sometime during the next day

Friday, November 7, 2008

"It smells like snow," I will say.

For today's Poetry Friday, I present an excerpt from a longer Franz Wright poem. The poem is called "East Boston, 1996."

You already know I'm a Franz Wright junkie, so I don't have to tell you that I love these words. The last five lines of this section in particular linger in my mind in the most powerful way — I find myself thinking, Unendurable, unendurable at strange times.

The smell of snow is a bit of a motif throughout the book of poems that this one is from, God's Silence. I take my cue from this poem, the first in the book, and interpret it as a sign of hope — hope that one can change and begin over again.

Night Walk

The all-night convenience store's empty
and no one is behind the counter.
You open and shut the glass door a few times
causing the bell to go off,
but no one appears. You only came
to buy a pack of cigarettes, maybe
a copy of yesterday's newspaper—
finally you take one and leave
thirty-five cents in its place.
It is freezing, but it is a good thing
to step outside again:
you can feel less alone in the night,
with lights on here and there
between the dark buildings and trees.
Your own among them, somewhere.
There must be thousands of people
in this city who are dying
to welcome you into their small bolted rooms,
to sit you down and tell you
what has happened to their lives.
And the night smells like snow.
Walking home, for a moment
you almost believe you could start again.
And an intense love rushes to your heart,
and hope. It's unendurable, unendurable.

– Franz Wright

Poetry Friday round-up at Check It Out

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

So much for mellowing with age

There are one or two ethical/political issues that I cannot discuss calmly - I mean, really cannot. The first of those is factory farming.

I made the mistake of bringing up a factory farming-related proposition (2 in California, if you're interested) with my roomie yesterday, who is a fair bit more conservative and a whole lot more carnivorous than me. Oh dear.

Thankfully, she is quite hard to get riled up and knew to cut the discussion short with a quick, "Well, you have your opinions and I have mine" before I started yelling. I had to bury my nose in my voter information packet and start pretend-muttering to myself about Prop. 3 in order to keep my mouth in check.

Felt like feeding her apple cider to my potted plant as revenge, but then she finished it herself and I didn't have to be wicked.

I'd forgotten I could be passionate about important things. It's kind of gladdening that college hasn't made me as cynical and apathetic as I thought it had.

Oh yeah, and the highlight of my day? My supervisor at work was wearing a Gandalf for President button.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Drumroll, please

Very early this morning, I cut up a bajillion pieces of paper with your names on it for your entries, threw them in my amazing Nepalese earflap hat, and The Freshman Across The Hall (thanks, Camilla!) drew five names out of it. The winners are...





Winners, please e-mail me at wieeinlied[at]hotmail[dot]com with your addresses! And then if I have any more questions for you as I'm assembling your packages, I will have your e-mail addresses as well.

To all who took part, thank you. I enjoyed reading your responses each day, and entirely aside from the giveaway, I'm so glad that blogging's given me the chance to interact with all you lovely, interesting, intelligent people, and that I can look forward to many more wonderful conversations in this small corner of the internets. :)

with much appreciation,

Read in October

1. Kiki Strike: The Empress's Tomb, by Kirsten Miller
2. Coraline, by Neil Gaiman
3. Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
4. Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff
5. The Plain Janes, by Cecil Castellucci
6. The Queen of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner
7. The Opposite of Invisible, by Liz Gallagher
8. The Geography of Girlhood, by Kirsten Smith
9. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman