Saturday, July 30, 2011 | By: Brianna

The Day After...the Ball

The clock struck the first toll of twelve, and Cinderella ran.  The second toll of twelve, Cinderella was at the door to the castle.  She dashed down the stairs, stumbling as she lost one of her glass slippers.  At the third toll of twelve, Cinderella glanced backwards at the stairs, only to see one of her shoes laying on its side halfway up the second flight of steps.  But she was losing time.  By the sixth toll of twelve she was inside the pumpkin carriage and on her way home.

In the morning, Cinderella found a pumpkin on her doorstep and a single glass slipper at the foot of her bed.

"Cinderella!"  The shrieking, grating voice of Cinderella's stepmother reached her ears from the farthest end of the house.  Swaying as she sat up, Cinderella swung her legs over the edge of her bed and stood.  "Cinderella!"

Cinderella trod on her bare feet down the infinity of stairs, all the way down to the kitchen where her stepmother sat at the table, reading the morning's newspaper where there would be written up an account of the previous evening's ball at the castle.  The newspaper featured a long-winded critique of one particular princess' pearly white gown and her interesting choice of footwear.  But Cinderella had no way of knowing this, of course.

"Good morning, stepmother," Cinderella greeted cheerily, only to receive a responding grunt from her stepmother as the two stepsisters tripped down the stairs and into their customary places at either side of their mother at the table.  "Good morning, stepsisters."

The stepsisters were still talking about the ball.  It seemed as if they had stayed up all night, their hair was disheveled but held onto the massive amounts of hairspray they had worn to the ball.

"And I couldn't believe what Margie wore to the ball, magenta is so not her color," commented Stepsister 1.

"And did you see Edith's shoes?  Emerald green, of course, but the collage on their soles was so last season," critiqued Stepsister 2.

"So the ball was enjoyable?" Cinderella asked, already bored by her stepsisters' prattle.

Here she was, morning after the best night of her life and nothing had changed at her home.  Shoeless, in possession of a pumpkin, and unimpressed by her stepsisters' account of the ball, Cinderella was back to the drudgery of everyday life with no hope of being rescued by her Prince Charming.

"Would you look at that, the prince posted an ad in the morning's paper," Stepmother commented, displaying the ad for her daughters and even Cinderella to see.  "FOUND: 1 glass slipper, seeking beautiful princess to marry the prince.  Prince Charming will visit the homes of every eligible young lady in the kingdom."  "He must really love her or something."

Maybe Prince Charming would rescue her after all.

"You say good-bye,
away you fly,
but on your lips you'll keep a kiss,
all your life you'll dream of this, 
lovely, lovely night."
- Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
Friday, July 29, 2011 | By: Brianna

I Wish to Go to the Festival...and the Ball!

Q:  What's this about a ball?

A:  I'm going to a ball!

Q:  A ball?

A:  You don't have to be so surprised about it.  Don't people get invited to balls all the time?  Don't the dreams of every young girl culminate in dancing with a prince at a ball and transforming into Cinderella?  Don't you ride in pumpkin carriages to balls every time you fall asleep?  Okay, maybe not the last one, but the rest are true, right?

Tonight I'm going to a ball.  The Printer's Ball, actually.

When my friends and I went to the Printer's Row Lit Fest earlier this summer, we were walking around, gazing longingly at the scrumptious leather bound books and the beautiful journals and the tiny little car crammed with books, and we happened upon the Poetry Foundation table.  Now I had heard that the Poetry Foundation was in the process of establishing an address downtown because I have my sources, but I had no idea that they would have a table at the Lit Fest.  And my being a great fan of the Poetry Foundation, I decided to drag my friends over, and we chatted with the literary folks running the table.  They gave us a bunch of free stuff (including a button with a Pegasus on it) and also a flyer for the Printer's Ball which they described as the biggest party for literary people in Chicago, where you need to bring a very large bag to carry all the free stuff you'll get.

We decided then and there that we would go.

When I looked up the Printer's Ball online, I found that it was themed.  "It's Aliiiiiiive!"  And also that costumes are encouraged because there would be a costume contest.  I had no idea what I would dress up as.  I had a list that looked something like this:
- Cat in the Hat
- Hester Prynne
- Miss Havisham (even though I've never read Great Expectations)
- Mary Poppins
- Nancy Drew
- Tonks
- Jane Eyre
- Mrs. Bennet
And on and on.  I consulted my mother, and she added to my list, but no decisions were made.  Until this week when my mom said, "Let's face it, Miss Havisham is the best costume on this list.  Let's do it."  And I said okay.

So we adventured to the local Salvation Army with the view of picking out a wedding dress.  The only dresses that were hanging from the ceiling that looked vaguely bridal were over our budget of $20-40, so we went into the aisles where we found multiple white dresses, none of them fitting until we found The One.  Which was cream, but perfect, and a high collared shirt I could wear under it to give the appearance of a high collar on the dress itself.  Turns out the dress was "missing a piece" (apparently) and we got it for $7.50 instead of $15.  A bargain.

I then ventured to my "local" library in the nearest suburb with my mother's library card, and I got Great Expectations, the book on tape.  Which I learned had 17 hours and 28 minutes worth of some man reading the book aloud and providing voices for each character.  And just looking through the DVDs on a whim (because the website had told me the movie was checked out), I found that the website had lied to me and I could watch the movie if it turned out that "reading" Great Expectations in a matter of three days wasn't doable.  (Though I'm happy to say that I'm 3/4 of the way through and the ball is tonight.)

The last couple days I went searching for suitable shoes and tights for my costume, to no avail.  Until yesterday, after offending the people at Fantasy Costumes by asking for a pair of slippers, I found a pair of decent white shoes.  Now all I need is the tights.

And tonight I put on my veil and my wrinkles, and I go to the ball.  A modern Cinderella dressed as a sadistic, cruel, old hag, Miss Havisham.  I'm certain to meet my Prince Charming (or Mr. Darcy) at this assembly.  Fingers crossed Miss Havisham doesn't interfere.

"Oh well.  What's a royal ball?  After all, I suppose it would be frightfully dull, and-and-and boring, and-and completely...Completely wonderful."
- Cinderella (Disney's 1950 version)
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | By: Brianna

Rule Breakers

Q:  Have you ever broken a rule or a law?  Did you get caught or did you get away with it?

A:  The simple answer?  Yes.

In my high school, we have the student handbook as part of our planners.  Of course, being the person I am, I found it amusing to read the student handbook on certain days when I was really bored.  I found out that "shoes must be worn at all times while in the building."  Now I really like socks.  I kid you not, my favorite article of clothing is socks.  (Is?  Are socks...?  Hm.)  Anyway, I decided then and there that that rule would have to be broken at some point in my high school career.  I talked about running down the hallway in rainbow toe socks throughout my high school career, but I never got around to it until my senior year of high school.

It was May of 2008.  I think.  And two of my friends and I ran down the hall in our socks.  Take that, Loyola!  We are rebels.  What can I say?

That's me in the middle.  Tie dye and rainbow toe socks.  Classy, eh?
And then there were my pennants.  Pink and orange pennants that I shouldn't write a blog post about.  Because the authorities are probably still looking for me about those...

"Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it."
- Henry David Thoreau
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 | By: Brianna

Literary Favorites

Q:  Who is your favorite literary character?

A:  With all things, I have a problem picking just one character.  So I have a list of favorites that I continuously add to.

Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

The most recent movie adaptation that I literally JUST watched.
You have to love Elizabeth Bennet.  If you've ever read Pride and Prejudice, you know that Elizabeth is Jane Austen's most famous heroine, and with good reason.  She's opinionated but witty, beautiful, studious, and hell, she gets Mr. Darcy.  And who doesn't love Mr. Darcy?  I love Elizabeth because of her courage of conviction.  She's fiercely loyal to her friends and family (which I can relate) even though some of her relatives are completely ridiculous.

Mrs. Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

Mrs. Bennet from the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice
I LOVE Mrs. Bennet.  Maybe it's because I played her in my high school's production of Pride and Prejudice, but I loved the crazy old woman before that.  I love her because of how completely ridiculous she can be, and yet she really does mean well.  She can plot to have her eldest daughter set up with the dreamy Mr. Bingley, and though she very loudly declaims that it would be an advantageous marriage, I'm convinced that Mrs. Bennet can sense the love between the two.  So it's really not just the money.

Dustfinger (Inkheart)

Paul Bettany as Dustfinger in the movie adaptation of Inkheart
Being a fictional character stuck in the real world has to be difficult, but Dustfinger is by far the coolest character that could be stuck in the real world.  I love that he's so attached to his story and that he really wants to get back to his wife and children at any cost.  And even so, he manages to have a soft spot for Meggie and Farid, even when he tries not to.  Dustfinger's character has so many different facets, it's difficult to tell whose side he's truly on, but it's that mystery that draws me to the character.

Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter)

Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Who doesn't love Albus Dumbledore?  He's the ultimate good guy, and yet he has a sense of humor, and he really does get stuff done.  As we find out in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore isn't all sunshine and rainbows, but isn't part of growing up learning that our idols are really just human?  I love Dumbledore's affection for Harry, his humor and his genuine concern for the well-being of Hogwarts.  The school really couldn't ask for a better headmaster.

Arthur Dent (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

Arthur Dent from the movie adaptation of the Guide
I love Arthur Dent.  Sure, sometimes he's a whiny git with an endless hankering for tea, but I love his sarcasm.  When I read Arthur on the page, I can hear his voice in my head.  So maybe it's the deadpan delivery that I give him that's so amusing, but I really love this character all-around.  He's so spectacularly ordinary yet he's thrown into extraordinary circumstances.  Following his adventures is endlessly entertaining for me, and I just love him.  All the time.

Rosalind (As You Like It)

Rosalind from Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of As You Like It
Rosalind is amazing.  I LOVE how amazingly clever she is.  I love her wordplay.  I love her cross-dressing madness.  And I love how she manipulates complicated situations to benefit her.  One of William Shakespeare's most verbose female characters, Rosalind is truly a spitfire and a force to be reckoned with.

Other favorites:
Voldemort (Harry Potter)
Artemis Fowl and Butler (Artemis Fowl)
Kiki Strike (Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City)
Thursday Next (The Eyre Affair)
Monday, July 25, 2011 | By: Brianna

Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy: Grimm Theatre

The Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy's entry on "Grimm Theatre" is a bit spotty, but supplemented by first hand experience from one of the Guide's field writers.

Today marks the end of my fourth year directing fairy tales for The Grimm Players, a troupe of actors I organized.  Considering this is the end of a summer's worth of hard work, I feel that I should be sad or depressed.  It's not that it was a burden, so I'm not jumping up with joy that it's over, but I'm glad that we finished up successfully.  I'm proud of our group and all that we've accomplished within the past four summers.  We started out as a group of four actors performing three fairy tales written and directed by one me. Oh, and four milk crates.  And by now we've expanded to six actors, three writers, two directors, and six milk crates.  We have truly grown in size, talent, creativity, and innovation.  Today I can safely say that I've never been prouder of that little troupe that I started and how far we've come since the summer of 2008.  To put it simply, we're amazing.  There's no room for modesty here, we really are amazing.  While I've had nothing to do outside of this pursuit due to my unemployment and inactivity, my actors have juggled this commitment plus full time summer jobs, summer classes, drivers ed., and family commitments.  I really appreciate everything these talented people have brought to this project.  And all that's left to say is "Well done!" (Field Agent 061508, writer/director/producer of The Grimm Players)
 The Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy would like to apologize that this entry is full of incomprehensible and partially sentimental nonsense, but that is where the entry ends.  A new field agents is scheduled to be assigned to this entry during a summer some time in the year 3025.  Thank you.

"What an excellent day for an exorcism."
- The Brothers Grimm (movie)
Sunday, July 24, 2011 | By: Brianna

A Bit of Advice

Q: What advice would you give to someone who was about to start college at your school?

A: Because I'm going to be working in a first year building for the second year in my Residential Life career, I should probably give this a little thought.  Even though I might not be interacting with the first years outside of crisis response-ness.  All the same...thought should be given.  Even though I'm not that great at giving advice.


When you get to school, do not go home within the first month of being there.  All of those annoying college books will tell you that you shouldn't go home the first month that you're away at school, and they'll give you all sorts of really important reasons, but the most important reason that I can think of is that that first month you're at school is when everyone is establishing friendships, building community and getting to know one another.  You don't want to be known as "the person who goes home every weekend," because once that happens, there's the possibility that people will distance themselves from you because you're not going to be around once the weekend rolls up.  So stay at school.

Make friends with your roommate.  This seems like a no-brainer, but I know a lot of roommate pairs who weren't friends with their roommate, they just lived with them.  And even though that's an acceptable relationship, and as long as you can deal with it, that's cool, but what I'm saying is that if you make friends with your roommate, you have an instant ally.  You have someone that you can hang out with all the time.  And you can always go to them for advice, help or support.  Living with that kind of support is really one of the best things about college.

Along that line of thought, if you're going to college with someone from your high school, please, please, PLEASE for the love of everything that is holy, do NOT live with them.  Because you will hate them by the end of first semester.  I promise.

More specific for my school....

On movie nights in Hansen, don't forget to get a raffle ticket.  It doesn't matter what movie it is, they're going to have raffle tickets at the desk in Hansen for when they raffle off the movie poster.  You're going to want a raffle ticket, because 1) they're free and 2) even if you never win anything ever...chances are you'll win something at Hansen.  And also, get popcorn.  It's also free.

Go to Hattie's for quick service and double punch Tuesdays.
Go to the Dugout for sub sandwiches.
Go to Tommy's for breadsticks.
Go to the Coffee Shop when you have time.  Lots of time.

Don't call the dining hall "Bertholf Commons," or every upperclassman on campus will know you're a first year.  It's called "Saga."  Don't question just is.  Okay, let me explain.  Saga used to be the food provider before Sodexho.  It just stuck.  Plus "Sodexho Dave" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "Saga Dave."

If the event is on campus, chances are it's free.  So go to it.  It doesn't matter if it's a cheesy program put on by your RA or an event organized by RHA or Student Senate.  Now is the chance to go to things that you never would if you were required to pay for them.  So go to the speakers.  Go to the pep rally.  Go to football games and concerts.  And even if you have to pay to see the should go.  Because they're good.  Trust me.

Go to Ames, but if you want a study room, go early.  An hour really does make a difference.
Study in the Dugout, but only if you have time to people watch too.
Study in Hansen, but only if you can study with music playing over the speakers.
Study in CNS in an open classroom, stay for Amnesty International.
Go to Buck for the treehouse computer cubbies.
Go to Shirk for fitness classes.
Read on the quad.

Use your dorm kitchen.  Yes, it may be gross, so bring your own all-purpose cleaner and soap, but really.  Cook in the dorm kitchen.  You'll meet so many people just by making something delicious because they'll pass by, smell what you're cooking and stop to ask what it is.

Make friends with the Desk Aides, and your RA.  Because if you ever need something, they can help you.
Know people on RHA (Residence Hall Association).  Because they'll tell you what's going on on campus.
Say "hello" to your building's custodian.  Because they make life so much better in your dorm.

Join a group you're passionate about.  There's an RSO (Registered Student Organization) Fair at the beginning of the year, and nearly every club and organization on campus will have a booth.  So go and visit the booth for the Anthropology Club and sign up for Pseudonym Required's mailing list.  If anything, you'll get informative e-mails even if you don't go to meetings.  (See Brianna and Circle K.)

Skip class when you're sick.  Really.  Don't torture yourself.
Go to Health Services.  They have free cough syrup and cough drops and aspirin and condoms...

Dial "0" on any campus phone and ask the Main Desk to connect you to any public phone on campus.  Or just learn the last four digits of the number that you use the most.
Call your friend's room phone in the middle of the night.  It's great fun when your friend's an RA on duty and stays awake until 3 AM!  (Just kidding...)

Find a professor you like and take as many classes from them as you can.
Choose classes based on professor, not on what time it's at.  If you can help it.
Don't take all 8 AMs.  You won't like it, no matter how convinced you are that you "just got out of high school where you started at 8 AM every day."

Say "hi!" to people you don't know.  It's a small campus, you'll meet them sooner or later.  Plus it always brightens someone's day to know that someone took time to greet them.  It's just a word or two, and it only takes a second, so why not?

Scientia et Sapientia
Saturday, July 23, 2011 | By: Brianna

How We Met...

A great whoosh and a groaning of gears and they were off.  Brianna grabbed onto a rail attached to the center console, still not completely accustomed to the rocky take off.  As a result of her sudden lurch, the fedora on Brianna's head was knocked askew, covering up her eyes.

"...and we'll just coast in for a nice visit to the Prohibition era and see if we can shake things up a bit in Chicago and--you okay?" the Doctor paused in his cataloging of all the things they would do that day in Prohibition era Chicago, a grin playing across his face as he took in the sight of a disheveled Brianna with her hat over her face.  He raised a single eyebrow and tapped the fedora so it would fall back on Brianna's head.

"Oh, yeah, fine, what were you saying?" Brianna asked, releasing her death grip on the rail and playing it cool as she edged away from the center console.

The Doctor laughed and jiggled a knob on the center console, sending the TARDIS rocketing in the opposite direction.

"That wasn't supposed to happen..." the Doctor muttered.  The man in the bowtie took another circuit of the console and re-examined every fact and figure about their destination.  "Come on, old girl, what's wrong?  Where are you taking us?"

"Is everything alright?"

"Yes, fine, brilliant even," the Doctor assured his companion just as the TARDIS ground to a halt.  "We seem to be somewhere in the Horsehead Nebula.  And there's something about the TARDIS' wiring that's unhappy."  The Doctor dove under the console, shouting to Brianna that she should go ahead and explore ahead of him because he had to see what was wrong with the TARDIS.

Brianna would have sworn that she had heard the Doctor refer to the TARDIS as "sexy" just as she slipped out of the door, but it was completely possible that she was imagining things from the stress of an emergency landing.  Where they had landed in the Horsehead Nebula was a mystery to Brianna, but the sky was full of a purple mist, and you could actually see the wind picking up the dinner plate sized leaves of exotic trees.  It was like misty blue gray hands pulling the leaves up to dance.  Brianna took three steps from the TARDIS' front door and immediately fell into a ditch, once again dislodging her fedora.

"I really need to get a fedora that fits..." Brianna muttered, struggling to find some way to stand when it seemed she had fallen underneath something.  A pair of strong hands lifted her up under her armpits and brought her to a standing position.  "Thanks, Doctor, is everything--" Once Brianna's fedora was off her face, she turned around to see what had helped her to her feet and stopped short.  The creature that stood before her was clad in a scaly sort of armor.  Where she presumed its neck was was a ring of squid-like tentacles, but over its face was something that looked like a gigantic dirty white sock.  "DOCTOR!!!"


"Observe, a footprint of the Callimadraga.  It is shaped somewhat like a humanoid footprint with one distinct difference that it has an extra toe located at the heel of the foot."  A bespectacled gentleman in a lab coat pointed out the footprint on the ground with a green laser pointer for the benefit of his students.  The group of students sketched out the footprint with surprising accuracy, but it would come down to their illustrator to record the footprint for posterity.

But the illustrator's mind was elsewhere.  While her colleagues could think of nothing but the fascinating Callimadraga, Lizzie Claire thought of the stars back home.  More specifically watching the stars trace their way across the sky from the perch on her family's boathouse.  She smiled.

"Lizzie Claire!  We need you!"  The lead scientist beckoned Lizzie Claire over to the footprint, indicating how much of the surrounding dirt he needed illustrated.  Taking up her old-fashioned pad of paper and sketching pencil, Lizzie Claire silently set to work as the scientists looked for another footprint to observe.  She was meticulous in her illustrating and could only focus on that while she was doing it, otherwise the drawing would be worthless.  "Look!  Look at that!  It appears we'll be able to observe a rare decapitation ceremony!"

Lizzie Claire's ears perked up and she looked around the group of scientists, taking a silent count of everyone and establishing that indeed everyone was present and accounted for, so there was no need to worry that Annabelle had gotten lost amongst the trees and was about to be decapitated.  Standing on tiptoe to see over the heads of the scientists, Lizzie Claire caught sight of a small platoon of Callimadraga carrying what looked like a young lady in a fedora.

"It appears to be a human sacrifice that the Callimadraga are about to decapitate!  Oh, this is a rare treat!" the lead scientist was saying just as Lizzie Claire took off at a run after the group of Callimadraga.  "Lizzie Claire! Where are you going?!  We need you to illustrate the Callimadraga scat!"

But Lizzie Claire heard none of this as she raced behind the Callimadraga, keeping them in sight but keeping out of sight herself.  She was a bit out of breath, but she managed to keep up with them, listening to their clicking language and watching them carefully.


"But the head is deformed," a Callimadraga complained, indicating the fedora on Brianna's head.  "Should we not merely remove its intestines to skewer for earrings?"

Brianna raised her hand in the cage where she had been placed for the time being.  "I'm fully willing to donate my intestines for accessory purposes.  I'd love to keep my head."

"Silence, prisoner!" the Callimadraga said all at once.  There were at least five of them, all tall and imposing, and though they couldn't agree on whether to go through with the decapitation ceremony, they could all agree that Brianna talked far too much.

While the Callimadraga discussed the various pros and cons of actually decapitating their prisoner, Lizzie Claire managed to sneak up next to the cage near Brianna.


"Who's that?!" Brianna demanded, whirling around and looking for the "psst"-er.

"Shhh..." Lizzie Claire bid Brianna, motioning Brianna to crouch down so they could speak at closer quarters.

"Who are you?" Brianna asked, lowering her voice to a level that she hoped the Callimadraga couldn't hear.  Though it wasn't quite a whisper, it was somewhat lower than her usual speaking volume.

"I'm Lizzie Claire, I'm here to rescue you!" Lizzie Claire declared, smiling as she did.  She gave no thought to the lock on the cage or the group of Callimadraga guarding the cage as she had all the confidence in the world that she would succeed.

"What about the lock on the cage and the group of squid things guarding the cage?"

"Don't worry, I've got it under control."

With that, Lizzie Claire straightened up and approached the Callimadraga.  She tapped one of them on the shoulder and grinned.

"A suitable sacrifice!" the Callimadraga rejoiced.

"I don't think so," said Lizzie Claire, not pausing to consider that she actually understood what they had said.  Taking a complicated ninja/yoga pose, Lizzie Claire began chanting a mixture of seashell, rabbit and Italian.  As she did, the Callimadraga swayed and softened their postures, crossing toward the cage and releasing Brianna.

"Come on!" Lizzie Claire said, pausing for only that second to beckon Brianna out of the Callimadraga base.  Continuing her chanting, Brianna led Lizzie Claire from the base.  Once they were out in the open air, Brianna took Lizzie Claire's hand and dashed off to the TARDIS.

"You saved my life!" Brianna exclaimed as she ran, tugging Lizzie Claire along behind.  "Your ninja skills are amazing!"

"It was nothing, really," Lizzie Claire said.

Finally, when the two reached the TARDIS safely, the Doctor popped out of the door and announced that all the wiring was perfect and that the TARDIS had never looked better.  After making quick introductions and explanations, Brianna asked if Lizzie Claire could join them on their adventures.

"Well...why not?" the Doctor said, grinning and welcoming Lizzie Claire into the TARDIS.  And with that, the three travelers took of for their next great adventure.


The Doctor
- The Doctor
Friday, July 22, 2011 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- How to Be Alone

"How to Be Alone" by: Tanya Davis

Today, while on StumbleUpon (surprise, surprise) I found this poem.  And there's quite a bit I like about this poem.  The performance and the filming, for one and the sentiment for another.  I like the reassurance that being alone is okay and that even though society is afraid of being alone...being alone isn't the same thing as being lonely.  I like that Davis creates words like "chow downers."  And I love the pacing and the energy of the poem.  Even though the subject matter could easily be taken in a depressing direction, Davis manages to pack the poem with optimism.

1.  What do you do when you're alone?  ONLY when you're alone?
2.  Make a noun out of a verb in the spirit of "chow downers."  There are too many nouns that are verbed, so why not go in the opposite direction?
3.  People often talk about being alone in a crowd.  What does that actually mean?  Do people choose to be alone in crowds?
4.  Have you ever had a conversation with a statue?  Like an in-dept conversation.  If not, go and do it.  What does the statue have to say?
5.  What inanimate objects do we hang out with instead of hanging out with ourselves?  Are cell phones and laptops the only things you can "hang out" with?  Does music "count"?

Idris: You call
The Doctor: Only when we're alone!
Idris: But we are alone...
The Doctor: Well come on...Sexy!
- The Doctor's Wife

Lessons Learned

In the course of the last week or two, I've learned quite a bit.  So it seems as good a time as any to create a list.

  • Paper will probably burn a lot better than you want it to when you only want to burn the edges.  And it'll leave a really nice "burnt" smell in the air for a long time.
  • Mass brewings of Earl Grey tea covers up the smell of burnt paper quite nicely.
  • Guy Fawkes was one of a number of conspirators, and is burned in effigy on Guy Fawkes Night (or Bonfire Night).
  • The library will not have what you're looking for.
  • It will rain torrents on the day you planned on walking to the library.
  • Pizza is better when you have to wait for it to be cooked fresh.
  • Chocolate milk is the best thing to drink after a work out.  (Apparently...)
  • Michael's does not sell gray foam.  But Hobby Lobby does.
  • That Borders gift card that says it had $15 on it?  It lied.
  • Every book that you want will cost $15 or more, even the eighteenth edition of a short classic.
  • Your brother and his girlfriend will insist that the window paint you put on the car will never come off.  Even though you know full well that warm water and soap'll fix it.  You know because you cleaned multiple windows at school that way.
  • Having your own "workshop" for crafting is REALLY convenient.
  • Tom Felton is in the Chicagoland area.
  • Stories about drunken unicorns won't write themselves.
  • Neither does your blog.
  • "You have a little something just there...oh.  Wait.  Nevermind.  That's a hickey."
  • Teenagers are endlessly obnoxious.  But is it really their fault?  (I can't believe I'm just learning this now...)
  • "And now...we dance!" - Life in Ruins
Thursday, July 21, 2011 | By: Brianna

A Letter to the Craft Gods

Dear Craft Gods,

My name is Brianna.  I'm the girl sitting at the dining room table surrounded by newspaper scraps, colored foam sheets and a slew of pinking shears.  Or maybe I'm the girl on StumbleUpon (my greatest weakness) looking up craft ideas so I can make things out of Starburst wrappers or plastic grocery bags.  Regardless of where I am, I'm probably covered with ink or glue, so you can't possibly miss me.

I have a series of questions and comments for you, but I'll number them just to make everything simple for us.

One, how many of you are there?  It's just a matter of curiosity because I've never sent a letter to an unknown number of beings, so I should probably know how many copies to send so you can all consult your own instead of circulating one copy.  I would imagine you each rule over a different realm of the crafting world; one god for yarn crafts, one for paper crafts, one for sewing crafts, and one whole god for glitter.  Just glitter. It would also follow that there would be a god who manages all the financials for the group of you.  Perhaps a god of financial affairs.  Someone to take care of the crafting stores of the world.  Which brings me to number two.

Two.  Who is this god who manages the crafting stores?  I would like to pose a question about Michael's.  They have a good selection of just about everything from glitter glue to scrapbooking supplies to tie dye kits, but when it comes to sheets of foam, they just don't have what I'm looking for.  Having visited two different Michael's stores in the neighborhood, I was forced to conclude that only Hobby Lobby would answer my prayers for gray sheets of foam.  Why is it that Hobby Lobby is infinitely superior to Michael's, but can only be found in suburban areas?  Or in places like the town where my university is?  Is it because people in the city don't craft as much?  Maybe they don't have the time, but should that really be grounds to punish those of us who have both the time and inclination for crafts?  This gray foam is really a serious topic.  But I would like to take this chance to assure you that Hobby Lobby did indeed offer a wider selection of foam colors, and gray was one of them.  Thankfully.

Three.  Why is it that glitter glue costs $2.99 a bottle?  I'm not talking the gigantic bottles full of enough glitter glue to cover a small car, I'm talking the baby bottles of glitter glue.  $2.99.  Which is ridiculous.  You can get glitter glue in any color you can imagine (at Hobby Lobby) for the base price of $2.99.

Four.  I would like to thank you for your generosity today, because without you I would never have found the final color for the door decorations I'm making for the RAs on my hall staff.  I promise it would have been disastrous if I had been forced to spray paint white foam gray.  I can just picture myself purchasing gray spray paint now...probably more than $2.99, but at Home Depot.  I shudder to think.

I am forever in your debt.  May your generosity never wane.


"Other kids did drugs; I did crafts.  I never knew where I fit in."
- Kathie Lee Gifford
Monday, July 18, 2011 | By: Brianna

Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy: Walking

The entry on "walking" in The Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy is highly illustrated, picturing humans young and old strolling through a variety of locales including (but not limited to) parks, gardens, cities, country roads, and the moon, but only for casual strolls.  Then there are also the people walking about in sweatbands and athletic shorts, drenched in their own sweat.  These humans presumably walked a great distance in high temperatures, or have had a bucket of sweat poured over them for the purposes of taking the photograph.

An expert in the study of walking observes:

Walking is exercise for the people who don't exercise.

Eloquently put, this observation is held among elite circles of people who venture out into the world for the express purpose of creating perspiration.  But there are other folks who walk for both fun and recreation.

Walking is a simple matter of falling and catching yourself continually until you get to the place where you're going.   There are some humans who find this practice difficult and manage to forget to catch themselves, thereby falling on flat ground and injuring themselves (though not permanently.  Experts have concluded that such consistent falling takes a toll on a person's "pride" more than anything else and once that store of pride has been depleted, it is quite difficult to win it back.).

See other entries related to this one: walking on sunshine, walking contradiction, walk the dog
Sunday, July 17, 2011 | By: Brianna

Free Write 1

She wasn't one of those people who could handle social situations without great amounts of mental preparation prior to being thrown into said social situations.  After brushing her teeth, combing her hair, straightening her clothes, she might be ready to meet with a neighbor or family member.  "Might" being the key word there.  With Lily, social situations were just complicated for reasons unknown.  Well, unless awkwardness counted as an acceptable explanation.

If Lily was awkward in situations where she knew everyone in the room during an event that she couldn't possibly mess up, she was even more awkward during dates.  Lily's date counter topped out at a total of three first dates.  None of Lily's dates had ever been compelled to invite her on a second date, leading Lily to the conclusion that she wasn't worth seeing a second time and also leading her to question why that was.

"Maybe I'm a mutant," Lily wrote in her journal, drawing curlicues around the word "mutant."  Golden hair and green eyes didn't really seem to fit the profile for a mutant, but who knew what the human male's definition of "mutant" entailed.  Especially the high school human male's definition.

Date #1 -- dog walking through the neighborhood
Date #2 -- movie and walking around
Date #3 -- lunch and a walk

There seemed to be a pattern in Lily's track record that indicated that the one thing her first dates had in common was walking.  Taking strolls must be her downfall.  The only possible solution to this problem would to be to walk as little as possible during the course of her next date.  That meant no walking to the restroom, no walking further than the distance it took to get to and from the car.  And absolutely no walking around the block.  Lily wrote in her journal that it would be necessary to take note of what she looked like while she was walking, because if there was any chance she looked like a duck, it would be safe to say that that gait was unattractive.

Observe possible duck walk.

The only other commonality amongst her dates was her.  The only other possibility would be that there was something seriously wrong with her.  Her awkwardness could also be another contributing factor.  Uncomfortable silences continually penetrated the conversations in which she took part, leaving her helpless to fix them.

Personality makeover.

It was the only lasting solution.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | By: Brianna

House Pride

I'm a Hufflepuff.
The last couple times I told people I was a Hufflepuff, the response I got was "aw!"   And that's not a "oh how cute!" aw, it was a "aw, that's so sad," aw.  Because there are very few people who actually want to be a Hufflepuff.  And Second City acknowledges that in its own way:

When the Harry Potter books first came out, I classified myself as a Gryffindor.  Hell, everyone was a Gryffindor in those days.  When I grew older, I started identifying myself as a Ravenclaw.  Because I was smart, and I liked to read, but I wasn't as brave as the Gryffindor I thought I was.  Since the books have stopped coming out and I've stopped waiting on my doorstep for them to arrive, I've come to the conclusion that I'm a Hufflepuff.  After taking countless Sorting Hat quizzes it was time I came to terms with my Hufflepuff-ness.  I've found that this quiz: is a lot more reliable than those quizzes where all you have to do is answer "What's your favorite color?  Red?  Green?  Yellow?  Blue?" or "What would you do?  Save them?  Kick them in the face?  Study with them?  Or do nothing?".  Mostly because this quiz gives a percentage of each house that you are.  Usually I'm 90% or higher on Hufflepuff.  So there's really no denying it anymore.

Team Starkid's A Very Potter Musical took a fun take on Hufflepuff, so by the time I had watched the entire musical, I was feel a bit better about it.  Especially since the "good guy bad guy" thing characterizes Gryffindor and Slytherin really well.  Well, stereotypes, but it's is it still a stereotype?  I've taken to answering people with "Hufflepuffs are particularly good finders!" whenever I get the pity "aw," so it's only a matter of time until I find someone who will answer me correctly.

Okay.  But let's think about this.
You might belong in Hufflepuff,Where they are just and loyal,Those patient Hufflepuffs are true,And unafraid of toil.- The Sorting Hat (book 1)
Now tell me what's so bad about being hard working and loyal and just?  In the last Sorting Hat song that we witness in Order of the Phoenix, we learn that Helga Hufflepuff basically took in all the strays and taught the lot of them.  So is Hufflepuff the misfit house?  And is that really a bad thing?  Hufflepuffs can be finders, they can be helpers, they can be completely off the wall crazy, and they still fit into their house category.  One Ravenclaw slacks off on a test and the whole category goes to shit.  Hufflepuff seems to me to be the non-category category.  The miscellany house where they have a tendency to be "nice."  As opposed to the other houses that aren't?  It's really not true.  There's a whole community of Hufflepuffs in the Harry Potter Alliance, and you can find their discussion about Hufflepuff awesomeness HERE.

My most recent theory about the Hogwarts houses goes a little like this.  Ravenclaws and Slytherins are fairly similar, leading me to believe that Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors are as well.  My theory is that Slytherins (excluding the "bad guy evilness" assumption) are just applied Ravenclaws.  While Ravenclaws are studious, they're more of theory people and Slytherins are more of action people who put their plans into motion.  Ravenclaws might do the research, but Slytherins are the ones who get it done.  Same with Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs.  I get the feeling that because they both have "good" assumptions (even though Hufflepuffs are more "goody two shoes" and Gryffindors are "good guys but rebels"), but that Gryffindors are the extroverts and Hufflepuffs are the introverts.  Yeah, it's a broad theory and it might take a little stretching to fit, but that's where I'm at right now.  Though I can totally live with not being an introverted Gryffindor...I'm fine with just being a happy Hufflepuff!

Ministry of Magic suggests that Hufflepuffs want to have a good time and stick around with their friends, and I can live with that.  (I only know about this song because a friend of mine sent it to me after getting really excited about my being Hufflepuff because that meant she could rally enough people to sing this song!  Because it's totally awesome.)  And that doesn't merit a pity "aw."

This song that I found posted on another friend's Facebook wall (because I'm a class A Facebook stalker) pretty much sums it up.

So what I'm trying to say is that there's no shame in being a Hufflepuff.  We're not the outcasts and we're not the misfits, and even if we are, that just makes us ten times cooler than we already were.  We're friendly, kind, brave, loyal, witty, everything that makes a good friend.  So if you're a Hufflepuff, raise your wands and show some pride!
Sunday, July 10, 2011 | By: Brianna

Into the Woods

She went to the woods for answers.  It was the customary place for figuring out your problems because there was something about the Enchanted Forest that encouraged reflection.  Her father had gone to the woods for answers about his marital issues, her uncle had gone to the woods for answers about his mother, and today Princess Camilla went to the woods for answers about her boyfriend.  Well, he wasn't her boyfriend per se, but she kind of wanted him to be.

He was a boy she had seen in the market on one of the days her parents had taken her on a carriage ride through the kingdom.  He was driving a cart full of cattle to wherever he was going, and his horses had nearly collided with the the horses drawing the king's carriage.  The driver gave him a hard time about it, and when Camilla looked out the window to see what the hold up was, she saw him.  Their eyes met for barely a moment, and she knew that she would rather go for a cart ride with this boy than with Prince Aubrey Stephen who had a massive mole on the side of his nose.

"So what am I supposed to do here?" Princess Camilla asked the open air, turning around and taking in every enchanted inch of the woods surrounding her.  "I'm just looking for some answers here!"

"Answers?  She's looking for answers?" said a voice, causing Camilla to jump and shudder.

"Who's that?" she demanded, whipping around.

"Who's that?  So many questions.  Which answers do you actually want?"  the voice asked.

"Show yourself!" Camilla said.  The voice laughed, "Down here."

Once Camilla's attention was directed in the correct place, she found an emerald green frog sitting on a log nearby, looking at her with a slight leer in its golden eyes.  He licked his lips with the tip of his tongue and smiled a froggy grin.  Camilla jumped once again, sidling away from the frog once its tongue made an appearance.  Her face said "ew..." but her voice was trained to be polite so she didn't verbalize it.

"How do you do?" she asked, making the stiffest of curtsies and smiling carefully.

"Another question.  Fine.  A frog.  And you're supposed to look for your own answers," the frog replied, crossing its little arms over his chest.

"But what am I supposed to do to find them?" the princess asked.  The frog rolled his eyes at the realization of  her increasingly slow thinking.

"Maybe if you sit still long enough they'll find you," the frog observed.

Camilla smiled mildly at the frog and inched a bit to the left, saying, "Thank you, you've been such a help" right up until she was hoisted up into a tree by a person-sized net.

"FINALLY!" came another voice hidden within the trees.  The source of the voice leapt out of the bushes and revealed itself to be a disheveled looking man, leaves stuck in his hair and dirt staining his once fine clothing.  "I think you found your answer..."

Thank you to Sunday Scribblings for the prompt "Woods".

"Into the woods, into the woods, into the woods and out of the woods and happy ever after!"
- Into the Woods
Saturday, July 9, 2011 | By: Brianna

Movie Likes

Q:  What movies do you enjoy watching?

A:  I like to flatter myself by calling myself a movie buff, if only because I can quote a multitude of obscure movies, and some that I've never even seen before.  Although that might be a testament to my watching too many AFI specials/countdowns.  So the short answer is that I enjoy a lot of different types of movies.  Although it depends on who I'm watching them with.  If that makes any sense.

I'm a big fan of 80s movies, and I find myself watching them with my mother a lot of the time, maybe because those were the movies she went to see in high school or heard about while she was there.  Last year I went on a really long kick during which I watched all the Bill Murray/Dan Ackroyd movies I could think of: Stripes, Caddyshack, Animal House...and I feel like there was another one, but I can't remember.  The Blues Brothers might have been in there.  Anyway.  There was also my "F-inn 80s" marathon during which I watched: Footloose, Flashdance, and Fame.  Although I only really liked Footloose.  I LOVE John Hughes movies, but I've only ever seen the Molly Ringwald trio: The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and  Sixteen Candles.  And I think one of those wasn't John Hughes.  Oh well.

At school, I tend to watch a lot of romantic comedies, or just comedies.  Our "go-to" movie tends to be Love Actually because it is the quintessential romantic movie, it's filmed really well, and it's something that all of us can agree on.  Even if we saw it earlier in the week, Love Actually is a movie you can definitely handle seeing again.

I have another group of friends at school that enjoys action/superhero movies, and they're the reason I've seen Kickass and V for Vendetta.  Both of which I enjoyed.  I also watch a lot of action movies with my little brother, or we just watch and re-watch the action/heist/military/superhero movies on our home movie shelf.

Then there are the kid's movies.  The Disney movies, and other animated or non-animated awesomeness.  I LOVE these so much that I'll probably watch them with just about anyone.  That and it's another genre that nearly everyone can agree on.  Which brings me to why I'm writing this post.  It's really just a ploy to announce that I'm going to my friends house to watch How to Train Your Dragon!  A movie that's completely adorable, beautifully animated, and so beyond fantastic that I can't wait to share it with our one friend who's never seen it.  Yes, I'm 21 years old and I'm going over to a friend's house to watch an animated movie.  You have to admit that that's pretty awesome.

"You just gestured to all of me..."
- How to Train Your Dragon
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 | By: Brianna

Cemetery Walk

Q:  Do you believe in foreshadowing in life?

A:  Foreshadowing as in something happens that hints at something else happening later in the piece of literature/movie/comic book/etc.?  But in life?  Foreshadowing in life.  As in something happening within life that hints at something similar or related happening later in life.

Q:  Yeah, that.  Do you believe in that?

A:  I think that's called "coincidence" when it happens in real life, although many people mistake that for "irony."  Which is an honest mistake, I do it all the time, so I'm not holding it against anyone.  Or maybe not coincidence at

In life, foreshadowing could also be called an "omen," of which there are good and bad varieties.  If you believe in omens, you might also be a fan of superstitions (which I can't spell, so thank you Google Chrome for helping me with that one).  There are very few times when I find myself thinking "Oh, that's a bad omen," and a lot more times when I thought in retrospect that "Hey, that must have been foreshadowing."  I only ever notice it in retrospect.  Kind of like knowing the general ending of a book and being able to point out things that foreshadow the ending or some mystery that you're not supposed to know about a book until you've read it through at least once.  That's my experience with Jane Eyre.

Today I went walking in the cemetery.  For the first time.  I'm fortunate enough that none of my closest family members have been relocated to the cemetery, so I'm not really obligated to go there for any specific reasons.  But today I thought I would take a walk there.  When I first walked into the cemetery, I felt like I shouldn't be there.  I don't have anyone to visit, so why should I be there?  I kept seeing zombies and ghosts and vampires rising up in the 10:30 AM sun within the confines of my imagination, but I knew that couldn't be right...I was just worried that I would disturb legitimate mourners.  I read people's names and their dates, and I discovered that the headstones in the section for the nursing home people had the month and days whereas the ones in the regular section of the cemetery just had the years.  I righted some flowers and made sure that I didn't step on anybody, but that necessitated my stepping on their headstones.

There were statues that were just part of the general cemetery, like the statue of St. Francis of Assisi which was close to the gate I entered by; and then there were statues for families.  There was one statue of an angel holding lilies, but her other hand was gone, as were her wings.  It was almost as if earth wanted her grounded to keep that family safe.  The loss of wings or partial wings seemed to be the case for a lot of the angels I saw.  A lot of the headstones had Polish writing on them, but they probably shared the theme of the headstones written in English because everyone was someone's "beloved ________".

I was just thinking about how I should bring a watering can the next time I walked in the cemetery to water the living plants when I found an empty milk jug hanging from a makeshift hook in a tree.  Luckily, it was right across the road from a water spigot.  So in an effort to honor the departed, I watered a couple plants for those who were nearby.

Here's where the foreshadowing/coincidence comes in.  When I was on my way home, I was just nearing a street corner when I saw a car drive through the stop sign with its hazard lights on.  That car was followed by a hearse which was followed by a line of cars with the orange funeral flags on them and their hazard lights blinking.  Foreshadowing or coincidence?  Or is it an omen?  Whatever it was, "eerie" is what I would call it.  

"There's no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery.  You can't do any business from there."
- Colonel Harlan Sanders
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 | By: Brianna

Disney Favorites

Q:  What is your favorite Disney movie of all time and why?/Who is your favorite Disney character?

A:  My favorite Disney movie for some time was Sleeping Beauty, and I think that might have been because it was Mom's favorite Disney movie, and I wanted to be just like her.  I'm also a fan of Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, and Brother Bear (though my mother laughs at me every time I say the last one).

Since about sophomore year of high school, or whenever it was that I got the movie for my birthday, I have LOVED Lilo and Stitch, making my favorite character(s) the two title characters.  I love the animation with all the rounded bubbly edges, and I love the script (because it's absolutely brilliant).

Lilo: It's Sandwich Day.
Hula Instructor: .....
Lilo: (deep breath) Every Thursday I bring Pudge the Fish a peanut butter sandwich.  But today we were out of peanut butter!  So I asked my sister what I should give him and she said a tuna sandwich!  Do you know what tuna is?
Hula Instructor:  Fish?
Lilo:  It's fish!  If I gave Pudge tuna, I'd be an abomination!  So I'm late because I had to go to the store to get peanut butter because all we had was...was stinking tuna!!!
Hula Instructor:  Lilo, why is this so important to you?
Lilo:  Pudge controls the weather.

Most of all I enjoy how absolutely adorable the relationship between Lilo and Stitch is.  It's fascinating to see the relationship between a small Elvis-loving Hawaiian girl and a convict from outer space develop.  Plus the aliens are pretty cool.  I'm always a sucker for a good alien.  (See Doctor Who.  I rest my case.)  I genuinely enjoy watching Lilo and Stitch every single time I watch the movie because I always manage to forget something about the plot or the little things that happen in between scenes, and it opens my eyes to the magical experience all over again.  I may or may not have a new appreciation for Elvis all because of this movie.  I feel that I should like at least a good part of his music if I'm going to watch Lilo and Stitch because so much of the soundtrack features The King.

So right now (even though I haven't seen it in a while), my favorite is Lilo and Stitch.  I even dressed up as Lilo and brought my Stitch to a Disney themed birthday party while I was in high school (back when I had super long hair):
Myself on the left, and Belle on the right!
Plus it's such a comfy outfit, it's hard to resist wearing it on a daily basis.  If I had enough floral dresses, maybe I would.  There's really no telling.

And it's a smart, touching movie.  Really beautiful.  Love!

But recently, since I only just saw Tangled, I'm growing to like that quite a bit too.  I wanted so much to make The Princess and the Frog my favorite, but it didn't hold the same magic for me that Lilo and Stitch does.  Anyway, I love Tangled, and I'll have to purchase it and watch it over and over and over again to see if it lasts like Lilo and Stitch.

"Ohana means family.  Family means no one gets left behind.  Or forgotten."
- Lilo and Stitch
Monday, July 4, 2011 | By: Brianna

Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy: Independence Day

The entry in The Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy is somewhat lacking in that it only covers the Independence Day of one country on Earth: The United States of America.  The pages of this particular entry are stained with a red, white and blue substance called "Kool-Aid" and smeared with various condiments from barbecues that range from yellow mustard to neon green relish.

Thank you, Google!
All the same, it's a difficult entry to read, but seems to go a little something like this:


Which seems a little dated.  Today's celebration of what is commonly referred to as "The Fourth of July" is centered around barbecued foods, red, white and blue decorations, and displays of large exploding fireworks that are shot into the sky for the enjoyment of people of all ages.  The history of this holiday is rooted in the signing of The Declaration of Independence by a man named John Hancock and some of his friends, thereby declaring the country's independence from the "mother country" of England.  Today's celebrations feature patriotic ditties and outdoor activities, though few people meditate on the history of the day.

All the same, the Americans on Earth find the Fourth of July a joyous day of celebration that usually goes out with a BOOM!

"The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object."
- Thomas Jefferson

Nose to the Grindstone

So I have definitely been failing with the "post on your blog every day" resolution for the summer.  Which isn't really that surprising considering the allure the summer season holds for all of us.  Well, for me.  Mostly the allure of being able to spend as much quality time with Jacques (my laptop) as I want without feeling too guilty.  And also watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 6.  And spending WAY too much time on StumbleUpon looking up craft ideas (I've gotten to the point where I'm starting to see some of the same crafts over and over again) that I may never get around to doing because that would cut into my StumbleUpon time.

(This is "oh woe is me" time.  Just in case you weren't aware.)

Granted, I have been doing some productive things.  I made a hedgehog hoodie for my fairy tale show (although I still have to add the finishing touches and perhaps a set of ears) out of a cut up brown hoodie and painted straws.  I also made one of the Marauders Maps that I'm making for my staff at school.  Sure, it took a long time and I have to make six more...but they're going to look SO GOOD!  And I have the time.  Provided I sacrifice quality StumbleUpon time.

And I have read.  A little bit.  Not as much as I would like, but a little bit.  I'm still reading Jane Eyre, which I probably could have finished a while ago, but I also recently started Neil Gaiman's American Gods which is REALLY good.  I'm enjoying it so far.  Although it's leading me to the conclusion that I should study the mythologies of places other than ancient Greece because Zeus and Athena aren't really appearing in this novel right now.  But I love the way Gaiman does everything.  Which is really specific, I know, but it's just so good.

And I now have an assignment.  I'm supposed to write a story about a drunken unicorn because one of my friends said that I would do well with that prompt.  I've never written about a drunken anyone, so we'll see how "drunken unicorn" goes.  I'm supposed to share this story with two of my friends, so no pressure there.

So that inevitably leads to my solution to everything.  Write a "to do" list.  If only so I can get myself to do something.
Saturday, July 2, 2011 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Ode

[I had every intention of posting this on Friday.  It didn't happen.  Fail.]

So today, StumbleUpon (this is really a problem, I think I need to seek help) brought me to this lovely poem that was just so wonderful that I had to copy and paste it here:

Arthur O'Shaughnessy

We are the music-makers,

   And we are the dreamers of dreams,
    Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
    And sitting by desolate streams.
    World-losers and world-forsakers,
    Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
    Yet we are the movers and shakers,
    Of the world forever, it seems.

    With wonderful deathless ditties
    We build up the world's great cities,
    And out of a fabulous story
    We fashion an empire's glory:
    One man with a dream, at pleasure,
    Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
    And three with a new song's measure
    Can trample an empire down.

    We, in the ages lying
    In the buried past of the earth,
    Built Nineveh with our sighing,
    And Babel itself with our mirth;
    And o'erthrew them with prophesying
    To the old of the new world's worth;
    For each age is a dream that is dying,
    Or one that is coming to birth.

After doing a quick Google search, I learned that Gene Wilder quotes the beginning of this poem in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  I also learned that a re-write of the screenplay for that same movie adds in Willy Wonka's quoting a number of famous literary sources, and that's part of the reason Roald Dahl was so upset with the adaptation of his book.  I wonder if Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory made amends with the Dahl estate.  Hm.  AND one final fun fact that doesn't have to do with Willy Wonka...this poem is where the term "movers and shakers" originally came from.

I greatly enjoy that it seems this poem was written as an ode to art in all of its forms.
The first stanza introduces the artist/poet/composer/etc. as "dreamers of dreams," and though it sounds redundant, the sound of those first two lines gives me the chills.  This stanza sends the artist toward nature as a form of inspiration, and it seems as if the artist is alone, emphasizing the idea that art is a solitary creation.  And despite the fact that artists are the "world-losers" and the "world-forsakers," they are the ones who make the most lasting impact on the world with their moving and shaking.  Though looking at this poem now, "movers and shakers" would be a cliche now, but in this poem it rings with a sense of power because the artist has the power and responsibility to move people with their art and shake them up.  Art isn't supposed to let people be comfortable in their own happy bubbles, art is meant to prompt questions and spur action.

The second stanza explains how abstract things like "ditties" and "story" can create concrete things such as "cities" or an "empire."  I think this is particularly powerful because it further illustrates the power of art.  Something that can be considered so trivial like a "ditty" has created something gigantic and permanent, not only impacting a person but also architecture.  It also sounds like though a man can conquer a kingdom with a dream, three men with a song can trample the empire down.  That sentiment reminds me of the Biblical story about trumpeting down the walls of Jericho.

The final stanza describes the idea that we live in a world that's buried in the past, and the only way to shake off the dust of the past is through art's prophesying because art is a way of seeing the world anew, as well as seeing the new world's potential.  Then of course there are the Biblical allusions here.  And though the idea of a dream dying is sad, the poem ends with the idea that "every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" (Closing Time - Semisonic). Which I love.

Overall, I absolutely adore the rhythm of this poem and the rhyme.  It's not a forced rhyme, and it makes the poem taste delicious on the tip of the reader's tongue.  The rhyme scheme also keeps it from sounding too much like Dr. Seuss, and enhances the beauty of the poem.

1.  Write about the power of art.  Maybe that's a grandiose idea, but write about the importance of art.
2.  Write about something abstract influencing something concrete.  What does love do to asphalt?  What does patience do to a toilet seat cover?  Do the abstractions improve or degrade the concrete things?
3.  Include geography in a written piece.  Is it fictional geography or real?
4.  Take the first two lines of this poem, and write your own take on it.  Does your version rhyme?  Or is it a piece of prose/prose poetry?
5.  Write about what it would be like to be a "world-loser" or "world-forsaker."  What's the difference between someone who renounces the world and someone who is renounced by the world.

"Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple."
- Willy Wonka
Friday, July 1, 2011 | By: Brianna

Dream a Little Dream

To make up for not posting on Wednesday, I'm going to post an extra post today!  (How many times can I use "post" in the course of one sentence?)  I had a really weird dream last night, so I figured I could share that:

Last night I found myself in the 1800s version of my neighborhood.  I remember thinking that it was a little strange, but I still felt at home.  I assumed I was a time traveler of some sort.  So I was following around and hanging out with this guy and the woman he was courting, as well as one of my actors from The Grimm Players.  We all went to this guy's house, but it was under construction.  Everything was new plywood and naked beams and there weren't any walls, but there was this rough floor.  I sat on one of the stairs along with my actor, and the guy (we'll call him George) was taking off his socks and rolling up the legs of his pants so he could wash his feet in the stand alone sink that seemed to be in the middle of everything.

"Ooooh, ankles!" I said, laughing as I did.  I turned to George's love interest and asked, "What is it that makes ankles so alluring?"  As if she knew the context for my question.  I always wonder this because I've read things about long tablecloths being needed because the table legs would excite the men, and the idea of ankles being seductive.  I only wonder because they're bony and kind of knobbly and weird.  Ankles are weird.  Anyway.

I was walking around the dark streets with George, this woman and my actor, and we passed this large group of college girls that I knew were from my time.  I knew them.  If I was a time traveler, I'm not sure how I would explain their presence in the 1800s...but they were all in Halloween costumes, and one girl who was dressed up as Superman was beating on another girl that I knew.  The first time I saw this, I just walked away with my group, but the second time, I literally stepped between the two girls and told the Superman girl to back off and that the beating was really unnecessary.  I remember thinking that I was putting my RA skills to good use in real life.  I stood there protecting the other girl for a while before all these people started coming to stand behind me to separate the two.  George did, as well as a number of people from the group with Superman girl.

And as all dreams end...I woke up.