Archive for the 'Nature' Category

What a Wonderful World

The world is a great big beautiful place.  For those of you who have been running around all week, here are some pretties for you.  My brain is mostly fried from work so the thing with the words on the screen isn’t working too well.  I provide pictures.  I took these a few days ago about town.

After all.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

White Flowers in Ashuelot

Black-Eyed Susans

Old Cola Signs

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The World Around Us

As a writer, I am terrible (terrible) at setting.  I know in my head what I want, and I see it all very clearly, but I often forget to actually relay it to my readers through the written word.  For example, in ‘Tweens, Timothy has a recurring dream where he starts standing at the top of a spiral staircase that descends deep into the earth.  I know for a fact that I have relayed that the staircase is wooden, rickety, and painted white.  The white paint is chipping and peeling off, and it leaves little flakes like dandruff on the creaky steps.  That’s what I tell the reader.  But there is so much to setting that I don’t tell.

I don’t tell that there are pine trees and elm trees in the distance, and the sky is a dull, grayed twilight.  There is a gentle wind, but barely enough to move the stagnant air.  The air itself is warm and heavy with humidity, but the breeze, when it does come by, is cool and refreshing.  The abyss itself is an anomaly.  It’s a hole in the earth with crumbling dirt walls that harden to rock the deeper into the earth one travels.  The air smells like rotting meat and honey from a buzzing bee-nest that is buried in the ground a few feet away from the hole.  The land all around the hole, until it stretches out of the trees and to the distant mountains, is grassy plains.  In some places, there are dandelions, and in some areas the grass is much taller.

All those things are beautiful and they paint the image in my own head.  Where, in writing setting, should we draw the line?  I’ve learned through photography that no matter how good the camera, how good the photographer, we cannot grasp the true image as our eyes see it.  What is enough?  What is too much?  Great writers, such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien spent pages devoted to the setting.  How much does it take for The Modern Reader to get bored?  That, in the end, is where the line is.  If The Lord of the Rings had been written in 2010 exactly the way it was when Tolkien first published it, I don’t think it would get the same response, because The Modern Reader doesn’t have the same patience as he used to.  Two pages into the twelve (twenty?  fifty?) at the Council of Elrond would be enough to make the reader put the book down.

How much time do you spend devoted to setting?  How important is setting to your work(s)-in-progress?  How many details are too many details?

Melted Chocolate

John and Heather playing the waves.

Good morning sunshine. It’s 10:25 in the morning at the temperature outside is already about 93-degree.  Temperature inside?  Honestly, about the same.  I’m (not) looking forward to 12:30 when I head to work.  It’ll easily be over 100-degrees (at this rate) and I have no air conditioning in my car, and only one window rolls down.  That’s okay, though, because work has air-conditioning.  And there are Reeses in my locker at work.  So between the good ole a/c and chocolaty-peanut-butter-goodness, I think I’ll manage.

I am working on trying to see the good and the bad in everything.  Usually I swing one way or the other.  With my friends, I’m incredibly optimistic, trying to make them see that their situation isn’t all that bad, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  In my own life, I tend to see only the bad.  So I’m working on trying to be more balanced.  Actually, I want to be a more balanced person in general.  I need to balance work-stuff with relaxation (mostly, I do more working than relaxing, but my goal to change that.  I’m stopping my internship (little by little) and I have ever intention of taking Fridays off just for me this year.  To do homework, if necessary, to read a non-school-related-book (ha ha), to draw,, to write… to do something, y’know?  As I type this I keep looking at the massive pile of editing I need to do for my internship.  Aye-yi-yi.  I’ve got three weeks, though.  Heh.

I need to balance eating and exercising.  I thank God constantly that I grew up with a great metabolism, but I am up now, and that metabolism is no more.  I really enjoy eating.  I love the flavours and textures of different foods, so I eat not just because I’m hungry, but because something tastes good (Mexican Wedding Cookies for the win).  I dislike exercising because I find it a boring waste of my time.  I’ve tried exercising at home (only a treadmill, and my landlord is in the basement all the time and he’s a sketchy old man), at the school gym (they’re all athletes and I feel like they’re judging me).  I’ve settled on WiiFit, which I like, except the space to do it isn’t always there and I have to fight for the tele (we only have one television in my house and my family watches a lot of movies…all the time.  Also, the living room is relatively small and it needs to be void of other people to have enough space for certain exercises).  Despite all my usual complaints, though, today marks the first day since I got WiiFit that I haven’t exercised.  You know, I left my water bottle at work, and it’s 93-degrees, and I’m pretty sure that exercising without proper hydration in that temperature isn’t healthy anyway.  And I’ll be burning calories at work, so yeah, not concerned.

I need to balance social time and self-time.  I tend to fill my free time with too much of one or the other.  If I fill all my free time with social interactions, then I feel overwhelmed and I get really short with people.  If I fill it with too much self-time, then I get lonely and whiny and bored (even though I have plenty I’m supposed to be doing).

Those are my goals.  I think they’re fair enough.  I want to learn to appreciate everything I have instead of complaining about everything I don’t have.  Seeing the chocolate instead of the fact that it’s melted.  Hey.  In the end, it’s still chocolate.

It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).

Oil-covered sea-turtle

“Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed. Tell me with the rapture and the reverent in the right – right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.” ~ from It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M.

I’ve noticed a not-so-surprising correlation in my statistics here on WordPress.  The less I post, the fewer views I get.  Remedy?  Post more.

I actually didn’t know what I was going to post until I wrote in the title.  The title inspires me to write about two things – the oil spill, and Facebook.  Two such different, unrelated things.  And they are going to stay different and unrelated (I have no conspiracy theories about how Facebook may have been an indirect cause of the oil spill in the Gulf).

Oil in one of the waves.The first- the oil spill.  Wow.  Everyone’s been talking about it.  Of course they have been- it’s big news!  It has even come up in our improv group (in a light-hearted, respectful manner).  Serious news almost never comes up there, unless it’s directly related to our lives.  Since it’s a group of teenagers in New England who aren’t going to the Carribbean or anywhere else adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico any time soon… you know that it’s pretty big news.  But what do we do?  Do we boycott BP, do we just scold them?  In the end, was it really their fault or was it a disaster waiting to happen?  I think everyone has to make their own decisions on the matter.  It’s a question of environmentalism, of ethics, and of rationality.  In the end, nobody will truly have a correct answer.  I think the real answer to the question of the oil spill isn’t finding a place to point fingers (Obama, BP, none of this is productive).  I think it is in finding a solution.

Everybody and their mom is mad at someone for this tragedy.  In the end, it’s hard not to be.  We’re human beings- we need to find someone to point fingers at because once we have someone to blame, we can lift the responsibility off our shoulders and on to theirs.  If we need someone to blame, there’s no one person we should be blaming- it is all of us.  Why are we drilling so much oil anyway?  Because the public demands it.  We use oil in plastic, and we use plastic in, well, everything.  So if you’re concerned about the oil spill, why are still getting plastic bags when you’re shopping?  In Washing ashore in Louisianathe end, that’s made of oil.  BP and other companies wouldn’t be drilling it if they didn’t think they could make money off of it.  Food for thought.

But anyways.  I mentioned a solution.  Every since attempt to completely stop the flow of oil has failed.  I think a lot of the pictures I’m using speak for themselves as to the tragedy of this event.  All the pictures of the spill, by the way, are from Huffington Post, and there are hundreds of them, just in Louisiana.  If you feel like getting your heart broken, go take a peek at them.  I digress (again).  I’ve found that a lot of people out there who are enraged at the oil spill have no idea about Kevin Costner.  Pshaw, Kevin Costner, he’s that actor, right?  Who did Dances with Wolves?  Yeah, that guy.  And I didn’t like that movie, but I do appreciate what he has been doing to help out with the oil spill.  Yeah, so he’s profiting from it, but the point is, he’s doing something.

What is he doing?  Excellent question!  There are news articles all over the web to this effect, from NY Daily News to this CNN video to, of all things, StumbleUpon.com!  In short, if you’re too lazy to click those links, Kevin Costner has been working on a machine for upwards of Oil-covered birdsfifteen years that will separate oil from water.  He was inspired by the last huge oil spill, and this time, his machine may be essential to saving our environment.  As you can see from the pictures embedded into this entry (and elsewhere on the web), the oil is devastating the ecosystem in and around the Gulf of Mexico.  BP has purchased 32 machines from Costner and is planning to use them to remove the oil from the Gulf and all surrounding areas.  It’s not going to be an overnight process, that is for certain, but it’s a start, and that’s better than nothing.  Now we can see why we idolise movie stars!  Every once and awhile, we find one who’s a real hero.

For those who live in areas that are currently being affected by the oil spill, or close enough to get to them… stop pointing fingers at Obama and BP and find out what you can do to help clean up this mess!  We can point fingers later.  Since I live in New Hampshire, a good while away from where the spill is (for now; we’ll see what hurricane season brings) and I have no means to travel to Florida and Louisiana, my goal is to stop buying plastic products and to absolutely stop using plastic bags.  I know that I’m only one person, but heck, if a quarter of the United States started doing it, maybe it will catch on.

And now, on a completely different subject- Facebook.  It is entirely irrelevant, but it makes me a little worried about Judgment Day, for those Facebookwho have had the (mis)fortune of being acquainted with the Terminator series.  Facebook has this kind of evil voodoo that attracts every computer saavy and some not person with an internet connection in the entire world to it.  I am such a victim.  Chances are, you are too.

I think almost everybody knows about the privacy issues that have been going around on Facebook.  While Facebook itself may not actually be snagging users information to use it in the great big wide world of spam, it allows other things to do so.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that does mean that when you buy Island Cash on Treasure Isle, you’re not only allowing Zynga Games to know your information and spam your email account, you’re also giving them the 16-digits to steal your soul.

And yet… not a lot of people are acting up, despite all the claims.  I’m one of those guilty people.  See, I don’t think I give Facebook enough information to steal my soul (i.e. I do not spend real money on that social networking site, kthx).  Only, despite my self-assurance, I probably do.  See, I have over fifty photo albums, and it’s hooked up to three email addresses (one doesn’t even exist anymore) and I regularly play Bejewled Blitz and Treasure Isle and FrontierVille and use the Bumper Stickers application.  All these things learn a little bit about me as a human being.  Ever since I “liked” Disney/Pixar, I’ve been getting offers from advertisements to go see Toy Story 3.  Um, more information than you need, A.I.!

Treasure Isle Loading ScreenBut the information that Facebook gets from me isn’t all I feel I need to be concerned about.  I feel like I have a pretty good feeling of what does and does not need to appear online.  There are things that you do not tell people face-to-face and they don’t want to know about it online, either.  Things like stalking and oh-my-gosh cyberbullying have become huge, huge issues, thanks to Facebook.  The internet creates a place where there are no boundaries and you don’t have to be yourself.  Inhibitions?  Totally gone.  Not always a good thing.

Annother huge issue I have with Facebook is a similar issue that comes up with blogging, or with chatrooms, or with LiveJournal or any other online system- there is no more personal contact.  You see your friend in real life and they go to tell you a story, but BAM!  Not so much, I read your Facebook status.  Oop, fail.  Suddenly you don’t need real friends, because you have Facebook friends, and being plugged in is so much more interesting than real life, because you can chat with your friends and play Farmville at the same time.

Yikes.  What is this world coming to?


tweet-a-twitter-twoo?

something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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