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Things I should not do:
-put a mug of water near me when I'm doing calligraphy. I completely forgot I put it there until I stuck the pen into it to wash it off *facepalm*

-put off doing physics. I love the subject, actually, I just hate the stupid assignments. Especially the !@#% graphs.

Things I need to do:
-research the fall of the Roman Republic/Empire. Anyone have recs for good intros into the subject?

-write a review of A Wizard of Mars. And many more.

-write. In general. 

Things I should avoid:
-outdoors. Bad weather conditions.

-challenges, for the time being. I really can't take anything more on right now. But I am excited for diving again. YES. It terrifies me, diving, and yet I keep doing it XD
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I'm suffering from an Attack of Guilt that comes of completing things late. :( Especially when nice people are concerned. (Fic only half-finished *cough* six days past deadline *hack**wheeze*) Also, completely and thoroughly sick of writing about myself. I hate it when the application questions ask "tell me about your greatest achievements!" *mutters* I don't like talking about myself. I always feel horribly arrogant and I don't know whether or not to inject humour (I mean, what if they take it the wrong way?! Then what will I do?! Eee?!) Anyway. That is my life at the moment.

On the 'uh oh' side of things: I have no idea what I'm going to do for Nano. Some people, I wager, have a plot synopsis written out. I'd like to get a cover, but I'm afraid I have neither the gumption nor the idea for my novel. (I am not an organized writer. Proof: see excessive use of parentheses).

Last note: I would like to humbly request from any deity that is listening or reading this for some kind of control valve for mucus production. The hacking cough my cold has gifted me with is not pleasant and I am depleting the building of Kleenex. Thank you very much.
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Went to the supermailbox and discovered it was overflowing; I forgot to check it. I have a postcard from my friend who went to Tokyo! Very exciting. I am envious of both the travelling and her awesome writing. It's really like an elementary teacher's writing: perfectly like the workbook and squared off.
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Writing to-do list. Not including other things:
Wherein I babble about my writing list. It's long, but I'm optimistic. )

Writing on all of them is piecemeal, but it's better than that READING ONLY after Nanowrimo.

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Usually when I write in either French or Chinese--wait, scratch that, when I attempt--I open up another Word document, because compared to writing in those other two languages, English is a breeze. Analogy: because I'm far better in English than any other language (which, to be honest, I feel kind of bad about), it always feels like I'm trying to make really fine jewelery with thick gloves on. I know exactly what I want to say, exactly how it should come out--in English. In the other two languages, I'm stretching frantically for the words I know--and they all seem awkward, already-used, repetitive. In English, I have the luxury of fretting about the wording; sometimes in French, I'm utterly at a loss to find the word I'm looking for.

Oh, and also this. I have a book of poetry that I keep in my bathroom to read when I'm brushing my teeth. It's actually really nice, because it's a textbook of sorts, and has all sorts of wry commentary in the back of the book, but also this quote from Octavio Paz, who is, unsurprisingly, both a poet and a prose writer:

"Languages are vast realities that transcend those political and historical entities we call nations. The European languages we speak in the Americas illustrate this. The special position of our literatures, when compared to those of England, Spain, Portugal, and France, derives precisely from this fundamental fact: they are literatures written in transplanted tongues. Languages are born and grow in the native soil, nourished by a common history. The European languages were uprooted and taken to an unknown and unnamed world: in the soil of the societies of America, they grew and were transformed. The same plant, yet a different plant. Our literatures did not passively accept the changing fortunes of their transplanted languages: they participated in the process and even accelerated it. Soon they ceased to be mere transatlantic reflections. At times they have been the negation of the literatures of Europe; more often, they have been a reply.

"In spite of these oscillations, the link has never been broken. My classics are those of my language, and I consider myself to be a descendant of Lope and Quevedo, as any Spanish writer would...yet I am not a Spaniard. I think that most writers of Spanish America as well as those from the United States, Brazil, and Canada would say the same as regards the English, Portuguese, and French traditions. To understand more clearly the special position of writers in the Americas, we should compare it to the dialogue maintained by the Japanese, Chinese, or Arabic writers with the different literatures of Europe: a dialogue that cuts across multiple languages and civilizations. Our dialogue, on the other hand, takes place within the same language. We are Europeans, yet we are not Europeans. What are we, then? It is difficult to define what we are, but our works speak for us."

-Octavio Paz, 1990 Nobel Prize Lecture. Taken from An Introduction to Poetry, Eighth Edition (1994) Kennedy, XJ; Gioia, Dana
First: that is an elegant, beautiful metaphor for this. For me, personally, though, this is interesting. My parents learned English in school, sure, like Canadian children learn Spanish and French as secondary languages in school (Quebec, of course, excepted). But it wasn't until they moved to Canada, in their twenties, before they really used it. The language they had lived with all their lives was not English; the idioms and classics they studied were not English, American, or Canadian. I was born in Canada, raised in North America, and consequently speak English better than I do my parents' language, though I am fluent enough. Like Paz: "I consider myself to be a descendant of [well known writers of Spain]...and yet I am not a Spaniard". I am, I suppose, a strange conglomerate of languages, halfway in English, and halfway in another.

Sorry about the vagueness. I'd rather not put too much personal info on my LJ; I'm kind of paranoid.
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I know I complain about my life not infrequently, but really, I think I'm pretty lucky. I like my life, most of t he time, and I'm proud of what I've done; I wouldn't trade in my memories or life for a possibly better life. I'm not sure why I was born with so many things--freedoms and rights and education and all my basic needs met and more and a lovely family--and I wouldn't trade them in.
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My choral conductor uses, as said by my friend, "really weird metaphors."

And it's not as though the advice he gives us is bad or anything. It's perfectly legitimate advice, and it (to me, anyway) makes sense and captures exactly what we need to do. But they're so strange.

For instance, the female:male ratio in the choir is approximately 50:10 (at least 50 alto/soprano, exactly 10 baritone) and so there is a tendency for the baritone voices to get drowned out. Midway through rehearsals, he'll motion at the alto and soprano sections frantically: "Be QUIET and let the guys sing out!" through hand gestures. Then he will go and talk about how this relates to driving and passing on the street. Or how a choir is like a rugby team and not like a social studies class. Or whatever other idea he comes up with: they're all logical, I suppose, but strange metaphors.

The other really notable metaphor is the "pulling [taffy] horizontally instead of vertically", which he also uses hand gestures for. It makes lots of sense, if you think about it: don't project volume (vertical), but instead focus on filling your chest and stomach with air and rounding out your sound. But it's bizarre, because at first glance these gestures mean absolutely nothing, and I'm sure that our audiences are perplexed by all of this.


Mar. 9th, 2010 10:45 pm
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I swear that the buses decide to leave just as soon as you enter the station. My friend and I, who take the same bus, automatically sprint for the bus if it's in the station at the time, regardless of whether or not it appears to be leaving.

Oh, and if I had my druthers about buses--I'd love to have some kind of GPS system that could track where the bus was at any given point. When you're standing at the bus stop, shivering and wondering exactly where the heck that bus went, it'd be lovely to know where the bus is right then. As in: "The 20 is coming around that corner there...maybe I won't freeze into a popsicle before it arrives." Sadly, I imagine that'd be very expensive and likely the target of vandals.
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I have the greatest admiration for the people who faithfully post everyday. It amazes me that they can continually think of new things to write eloquently or humorously about--especially humor. I'm sure half of the English-speaking population knows this, but is updated everyday (just about, until very recently) and the blogger Jen is unfailingly funny and ready to pun you into oblivion.

My pitiful resolution, formed somewhere in the middle of February, was to post everyday. I know that more than 59% (that's just a random number, by the way) of it will be utter garbage which I will wince at later (I can't believe I wrote this stuff! And posted it!) but that kind of lack-of-constancy is not doing anything for my writing skills. The reason I enjoyed Nanowrimo so much (other than to simply push my inner editor out of the door) was that it put a deadline and a definite word count. And that forced me to write, and write, and write.

So, good, bad, or ugly posts are coming onto my journal, for at least 350 or so days. Some of them, I can already foresee, are going to be long-winded, completely disorganized rambles; others will be terse and snappish; a couple more rants are coming (*cough* pro-choice and the definition of choice). Stay tuned and brace yourself...whichever you prefer.


Feb. 21st, 2010 08:39 pm
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
The figure-skating and ice dance are Olympic sports, and yeah, the skaters are absolutely amazing to watch. The only thing is, they and their routines have never stuck in my mind quite as clearly as an amateur skater.

I doubt that girl was more than fourteen; dressed in the bulkiness of January-cold-snap-parkas and a silly woolen hat, she was in the middle of one of those awful community outdoor skating rinks. The ones that people spray in the middle of a field with water, and don't use the zamboni--they just push the snow off with shovels, and leave you to deal with the crevasses. It was the winter festival thing, and there were skaters of all ages--little boys with their tiny hockey skates pushing chairs to keep their balance, their fathers skating calmly backwards and keeping an eye on them, people between the ages of six and sixty, going around and around the oval.

I think she was practicing a waltz jump. It was obvious she hadn't much practice; there wasn't the liquid movement that repeated practices makes. But what struck me was that though her jump wasn't perfect, wasn't wrapped-and-tied-up-in-a-pretty-bow, it was real and I could see that she'd get it eventually. Even though there was a clear hesitation in her movements, you could also see the grace in the jump. Perfection can be dulling. But that jump she kept practicing, again and again, began to show that elegance that's so cherished in skating.


Feb. 20th, 2010 10:03 pm
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
While struggling with the ink for calligraphy pens that will get all over your  hands (and table, paper, and whatever is handy), I have come to the conclusion that while the the copperplate script is very pretty, technology isn't always bad.

It's a common curse to say: "Oh, useless technology!" and forget that really, it's very useful most of the time. I mean, can you imagine a world without scissors? (The prospect, I daresay, is horrifying. I think.) Or if we were still with the printing press? With the painstakingly set pages? We just like to complain, that's all.
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Sometimes I wonder what people who lived in the past that we learn about in the present would have thought of us studying them. We talk about historical events, the past, sometimes with absolutely sweeping, generalized terms: the Renaissance a reflowering of art and the beginning of the skepticism and all that. I wonder what the average person would have imagined of us, studying them. Are we mis-representing the peasantry of the Middle Ages? Since they were more or less all illiterate, it's not as if they could pick up a pen and write a letter to the future.
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No, not physically adhesive. I mean in the mind.

I was on the bus today, mostly staring out the window and wondering if we'd get more snow (it has more or less melted, leaving me with the uneasy feeling that we'll get another massive snowfall). The lady across the aisle from me took out a book, and it caught my eye: it was a travel guide, to Arizona.

Seeing that guide--think of the Lonely Planet book, only with a red cover--made me wonder. I live in the Great White North (although thanks, Vancouver, you're totally wrecking our reputation as a snow-bound land) and Arizona is a long way off--not just physically, geographically, but also in mind. I wondered if that lady had friends there, or family, or if she was going on a business trip, or just for fun. Would she fly there? Drive all the way? Was she going as a tourist? What was Arizona really like, anyway? I'd only seen a glimpse of it, as an air-trip stopover, and I have very little idea what it's like there.

It's not even a significant memory, but as I saw she put the book back into her bag, I had the feeling that the memory would stick.


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