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Thursday, September 30, 2010

*pew pew*

For those not, as the children say, in the know, *pew pew* is the sound ones makes while making shooting motions with one's hands, in order to indicate some sort of victory or coolness on the part of...one.

My sentence got a little garbled there.

BUT, some of you sharp readers may have suspected that my *pew pew*ing currently IS ALSO A PUN. Regarding that stupid Pew quiz about various world religions. 'Cause yeah, I served that quiz some massive ownage, but I see little reason to be proud of that, because it's idiotically simple and I feel bad for all the religious types who didn't do as well as my shining 15/15. Apparently everyone is in a snit of defensiveness, if they're religious types who aren't among the religious types who did well overall--Jews and Mormons--and I guess the atheists are gloating because they know more about Christianity than Christians do.

As a former Mormon and a current sort-of atheist (the term I really feel applies to me is "apatheist" but we'll set that aside for the sake of clarity), I am completely unsurprised by all of this. OF COURSE Mormons know plenty about other sects of Christianity, given that a) most of them are trained to go off and be missionaries in foreign climes, including places heavy in Baptists, and b) most of LDS dogma and ceremonies are ganked from some other Christian group anyway (and the Masons). Jewish people tend to be smart in general (which of course is a great blanket statement, but I can't really speak on that topic because I am not and have never been Jewish. Most of the Jewish folks I know are freakin' informed, though). As far as atheists go, OF COURSE a minority group of any kind is going to read up on the majority group, especially if that majority group feels about the minority the way that most Christians feel about atheists.

Also unsurprising is the apparent fact that many Christians don't bother to read their own holy book. Der. I, being a former Mormon, have read the entire damned King James Bible plus all of the LDS scriptures, and found the questions on the quiz concerning the Bible to be laughable. I was expecting begats or the name of the (totally awesome) woman who staked an enemy leader's head to the ground or SOMETHING HARD. NOT who led the damn Israelites out of Egypt. Srsly? DREAMWORKS MADE AN ANIMATED FILM ABOUT IT (can I hear the Prince of Egypt love? Yeah! Moses was kinda hot in that movie). Oh yeah, Charlton Heston too. /Metatron I mean really, let's get something out of the way right now: if you claim yourself as some stripe of Christian and you don't know that "do unto others as you would have done unto yourself" isn't one of the Ten Commandments, give me your Christian card NOW.

Predictably, miffed Christians, embarrassed by their own lack of knowledge, blame public education for not teaching religion in schools. I assume they mean a course like "world religion" but forgive me for suspecting an ugly subtext. Personally, I'd love to see more comparative religion classes taught in public schools--they could easily be incorporated into social studies courses. Of course, then kids would learn about religions other than White Christianity and maybe start studying Judaism or Buddhism or, baby Jeebus forbid, Wicca! See? SUBTEXT. I guess a "Bible as Lit" class in high schools would be beyond the pale, since it would encourage discussion of authorial intent, likely culminating in the agreement that God is a psychopath and the Bible is overall a shitty piece of literature with completely uneven style. It's clear that the majority religion doesn't REALLY want any sort of nasty comparative religions course--they just want their brats to learn about Christianity. In school.

Moreover, the last question on the quiz--which most people regardless of religious affiliation missed--indicates that religious studies are not the only thing lacking in the noodles of America. History needs to be taught better, too! WELL DUH. America at large doesn't care for history, or at least it doesn't like to think about portions of our history which are unsavory (which is why you see challenges to To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn so often. White people don't care about whether the word "nigger" is offensive to blacks, they mostly just care about not looking bad), and this shows. Americans at large are woefully ignorant of world history, but we also know nothing about our own, not even White Christian history.

People. The phrase "The Great Awakening" should REALLY mean something to you if you're of some Christian denomination. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is a bona fide classic of colonial-era literature and it is the gold standard for every fucking fire-and-brimstone sermon any megachurch idiot has hurled at his audience. Maybe the creators of the Pew quiz put this question in to be assholes, but either way, the evidence is clear: history (and literature, since I didn't learn about Jonathan Edwards until I took an early American lit class in college) needs to be taught. The citizens of a country should be familiar with as many parts of its history as possible, and hopefully they should ALSO be taught to give a shit about other countries' histories too, because let's face it: the bulk of the non-reading types who got the questions about Islam and Hinduism correct were lucky at guessing. Knowing that Pakistan is next to India isn't going to do you a lick of good if you don't know anything ELSE about Pakistan and the only thing you know about India is that lots of Indians are Hindu.

Mostly this quiz gives me a bad case of Doppel!Willow.

("Bored now")

Not only did it not stretch my brain, but the whole shebang didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Most Americans are ignorant. Most Christians never bother to crack a book, even the Bible. I do have one quibble about the quiz, though--the penultimate question is about the concept of nirvana. The correct answer is Buddhism, but I'd forgive someone for choosing Hinduism, given that Hindu philosophy does cover nirvana. It has a different meaning, but still. I thought this question was badly worded. Then again, for most people "nirvana" just refers to a crappy grunge band, so what am I bitching about?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

HART attack

Bad puns, hooray!

Anyway. Around this time last year, my dear faithful Honda Civic hatchback (vintange 1990) finally gave up and died on me. At the time my bank account was drained on account of some unfortunate dental occurrences (don't forget to floss, kids! OTHERWISE YOU WILL HAVE A ROOT CANAL), and I don't have any credit cards, so I consigned myself to riding the bus until I could save up for a used car.

This meant two things: the University of South Florida's shuttle system, which has reasonable reach (it goes off-campus to Walmart, the mall, and a few other plazas), and the Hillsborough County Regional Transit's bus system, which goes throughout Tampa Bay and surrounding suburbs. The HART buses cover a ton of area, which is good, but are HIDEOUSLY underbudgeted and my conclusion after using HART for nearly a year is that Hillsborough County hates poor people.

Duh, Diana! you say. EVERYONE hates poor people! True. But experiencing it is a whole 'nother ball of wax. HART has over 30 mainstream bus lines; count in the flex routes and paratransit and it edges close to 60. (I think) there are 6 main transfer centers where the routes connect, as well as 4 Park-N-Ride centers throughout the county. 16 of these routes provide late-night service. There are some really good things about HART--free or reduced fares for students with valid ID, bilingual services, a variety of passes (1-day, 5-day, month-long, etc.), but the simple fact that on the bulk of the lines, a bus comes along ONCE EVERY HOUR mostly cancels out the good. If you miss that bus, you're screwed (and not in the I-want-to-hear-you-UPBEAT! "WE'RE SCREWED!" way). If you had a connecting bus to catch, you're doubly screwed. Might as well walk, because you're going to be late anyway.

So basically, in my year of public transportation use (which I admit is not a long time), I grew convinced that the people in charge of our public transit really do hate the poor. "Poor" in this case means "anyone without a car". And I realize that this attitude is really an American one at large, not just a Tampon one ("Tampons" are what citizens of Tampa are called. "Tramps" is also used)--you're walking? you're waiting at a bus stop? YOU MUST BE POOR YOU POOR PERSON WITHOUT A CAR. 'Cause you know, walking is for hobos. Public transportation is for plebes. GAH. Spare me. Maybe in the big American cities this is not the attitude (surely NYC and San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, etc. smile kindly upon those who wish to remain carless), but we are in the parochial hell that is Florida. Here, walking along a street means you are a) homeless or b) a hooker. Dig if you will an image of me sitting at the neighborhood bus stop sometime in May:

Diana: *reads, checks watch*

Dude in car: Hey, let me give you a ride.

Diana: Actually, I'm waiting for the bus.

Dude: So let me give you a ride.


I mean really. I got more catcalls, yelling and whistling, rude remarks, and slowing-your-car-to-pace-me when I was walking everywhere and waiting for buses than in the last four years of college.

Know what else bites? The stops themselves. I will hazard a guess that between my home stop and my work stop, there were roughly forty bus stop locations going one way. Out of that, perhaps one quarter were covered. Maybe half were stone or wooden benches rather than plastic ones. PLASTIC BENCHES, people. PLASTIC. IN FLORIDA. You will fry your ass off sitting on one of those. Also, this is Florida...As Eve would say, We have weather. A non-covered stop is a bitch during the rainy season (which, hello? February through October). But come on--only poor people use the bus system! Who cares if they get wet? Their clothes are crappy anyway! Who cares if they get sunburned and develop skin cancer? They're going to die of heart failure by the time they're thirty anyway! Poor people and their terrible eating habits!

Ok, that is another post entirely.

Something else that grates my cheese is that lots of lovely suburbanites in Carrollwood and New Tampa are trying to get rid of the light-rail initiative in our area. That's right, rich white people who've never used public transportation in their sorry lives. What use have they for light rail? Why should the county pour money into something THEY'LL never use? And other whitepeopleproblems.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Happy Banned Books Week, everyone! I love Banned Books Week. I don't love that it has to happen, because its mere existence speaks to the profound idiocy of some people in our fair country, but I love celebrating it and read-outs and buttons and awesome displays in libraries and bookstores.

(don't be a robot! Or at least be a robot who reads)

I encourage my dear readers to engage with some awesome book this week. Lists of frequently-challenged and banned books can be found at ALA, and here are some of the titles I'll be bringing to my library's read-out on Wednesday:

+The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

+The Chocolate War, Robert Cormier

+Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

+Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson

+Beloved, Toni Morrison

+Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson

+A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving

+Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt

+In the Night Kitchen, Maurice Sendak

There's really a title for everyone, kids and adults alike, no matter what genre or format you prefer. Remember: free people read freely. Take advantage of your opportunity to expand your mind.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Librarians vs rock stars

I am a librarian. NEWS FLASH OK NOT REALLY. However, the Bronte sisters and their amazing bank of literature, present an interesting dilemma. Librarian or rock star? Emily or Charlotte? Cathy and Heathcliff or Jane and Rochester? See, the trouble here stems from my other identity: degree-carrying English literature snob. I can appreciate both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre for their LITERARY merits: I love WH because of its complex set-up and balls-deep characterization and I love JE for its sympathy to women and balls-deep characterization.

I hope I'm the first to use the phrase "balls-deep characterization" when referring to Bronte writing. That would be awesome to put on my resume.

Anyway, the point is that I am not sure most degreed English lit snobs would go out of their way to choose between Charlotte and Emily's most famous books. Sure, I hate Cathy and Heathcliff with a fiery passion equaled only by their hatred love feelings for each other, but that doesn't mean that it's a bad book. I don't really like Jane and Rochester either--Jane's a bit too retiring and Rochester keeps his wife locked in the attic, for crying out loud--but again, the book they live in is an amazing text.

(Author's note: I will argue to the death that Rochester is a worse man than Heathcliff. JUST TRY ME)

Furthermore, I would like to bring up the matter of the third Bronte sister, the one everyone ignores: Anne! Oh, Anne. Anne is my favorite Bronte and she wrote my favorite Bronte book, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, in which you will find my favorite Bronte heroine, Helen Graham. Helen is AWESOME. She speaks her mind, to men and women alike; she slams her bedroom door in her husband's face and refuses to do him the "duties of a wife" because he's an abusive asshole; she runs away from him and marries someone else. And oh, the book is saucy--vice everywhere, on the parts of men and women both, adultery and gambling and corruption of children! Wildfell Hall was a real bombshell when it was published, and remains a jewel today. Vive Anne and Helen!

So what do we call people who admire Helen and prefer Tenant to either of the two more lauded Bronte tomes? Mouthy Bitches? Feminists? Independents? As Mercedes Jones would say, Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Meme: Parts 20, 21, and 22

Yesssss it is the meme that will never die. Well, it WILL die. It will just take about four more entries to do so. Like the most long, drawn-out, theatrical, melodramatic stage death ever. Like a shitty Polonious.

Part 20--Favorite kiss: Hm. I must not read very many romantic books. I can think of a few goodies from some recent YA reads--the dream sequence in the Caves of Sighs between Kartik and Gemma in The Sweet Far Thing is pretty damn sexy. I always liked the wake-up kiss Satsu gives Buffy in Wolves at the Gate (as well as their love scene. HATERS TO THE LEFT, as Cleo says). Kel and Cleon's first kiss in Squire is fairly excellent; Kel thinks, Oh my, which is exactly what my first kiss inspired.

Part 21--Favorite romantic/sexual relationship: This is sort of a similar question as the previous BUT OH WELL. Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan has a wonderfully developed romantic relationship between the two main characters, Miranda and David and the pay-off is...excellent. As noted, I liked that Satsu and Buffy got it on, if only that one time. Maurice and Clive's initial relationship in E.M. Forster's Maurice is very sweet and moving, but the decline and fall-out are heartbreaking. Jessica and Marcus in the Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty are sexy and smart and fun. Oh and let it be known, please, that this here blogger ships Harry/Ginny all the way and was very happy that they worked out. And had oodles of oddly-named children. It's not really about Harry; I just really like Ginny and am glad she's happy. Haters, please see Cleo's aforementioned evacuation strategy.

(Yeah, Dracula is back. Buffy's banging him, too! Or is she...?)

Part 22--Favorite non-romantic/sexual relationship: Oh friends are so much easier than lovers! Scout, Jem, and Dill from To Kill a Mockingbird, Jimmy/Thickney/Snowman and Crake from Oryx and Crake, Aziraphale and Crowley from Good Omens, the four mages from Circle of Magic, Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...there are so many. Writing great friendships is something I admire in authors. It's so easy to get lazy and make one half of the friendship a token, especially if the other half is the narrator or main character.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A for awesome

Original, I know. But it's been a loooooong semester so far (plz ignore the fact that we're only four weeks in) and my brain is calcifying.

ANYWAY. Easy A really is quite great. Emma Stone is winsome and hysterically funny, Penn Badgley is much less annoying as Lobster/Woodchuck Todd than as Lonely Boy Dan Humphrey (which meant I could drool over observe his biceps in peace), and I wish Stanley Tucci were my awesome hot dad. Some dudes can really rock the bald thing. Amanda Bynes for some reason now looks a lot like Snooki, but her role in this consists mostly of aping Mandy Moore's unbeatable Hillary Faye, and that's ok with me (I have a weird love for Amanda Bynes. Not the gay kind, which will we get to in a minute). Once it's out on DVD I sense I'll be pairing Easy A with my other favorite Millennials-in-high-school film, Superbad, for nights when I need to laugh.

Of course, the film ostensibly deals with the topic of how girls are treated in high school and the larger society once they've "lost" their virginity (quotation marks used because I loathe that phrase). Emma Stone's character, Olive Penderghast, DOESN'T actually get it on during the course of the film, but since her peers think she does, the effect is basically the same. Overall I liked the way the film dealt with what girls--and women--go through once people realize they're sexual creatures; over-the-top in some cases, to be sure, but generally people ARE assholes about such things, so mostly realistic. However, the movie could've used somewhat of an attitude change about the act itself--there is no conversation in which anyone states that oh yeah, it's actually OKAY FOR GIRLS TO HAVE SEX. The closest the film comes, har har, is Olive's closing line, which states that when or if she has sex is "nobody's business". Which is true. But still skirts the ba-derk-a-derk that having sex is ok. The typical high school virginity comedy shows guys doing it and rainbows and puppies appear, and girls doing it and turning into sluts; Easy A doesn't exactly subvert this as much as revel in it--what Olive does for various boys turns them into studs and her into a whore (which she decides to embrace by wearing lingerie and a scarlet A patch). It's fun and funny and sad and relatable, but still doesn't quiiiiiite make it for social commentary.

I wanted that conversation to happen. I wanted so badly to hear Olive lay it out: WHY girls are turned into sluts when they have sex. The film just doesn't go there. But a failure, the film is not. For what it is--a teen sex comedy--it does far more than the average pretty-girl-meets-cute-boy fare.

...also I just love Emma Stone. She is pretty high on my Would-Go-Gay-For list. Girl has it all--looks, funny, everything--and the bulk of the awesome in this movie belongs to her. I laughed A LOT, which...I mean, I laugh pretty easily, but not always at movies that are supposed to be comedies. This one makes it so. Prepare to strap on your lollerskates.

In other entertainment news, you may be amused or horrified to learn that yesterday I watched all of the first season of Glee in preparation for tomorrow's premiere. My awesome BFF and fellow Glee marathoner DR SHE BLOGGO is doing a posting countdown, so jaunt over and check things out if you enjoy obsessiveness the way we do. :B

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Furry bastards

First-ever cat post on this here blog:

(l-r: Ronnie James Dio and King Diamond)

Dio has a fat butt, King D is insane. Typical cats.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I want my TV

Not MTV. You can keep that. But television...I love me the television. YES I HAVE OFFICIALLY GOTTEN PAST MY UPBRINGING.

You see, television in my household growing up was, like, taboo. Reading Rainbow and Wishbone were all I could get away with (and now you know why I am the way I am). Everything else was verboten, and let's do keep in mind that we only got about six local channels. There was very little harm that could be done. Even still, I snatched bits of Batman Beyond and Hysteria and Animaniacs when my mom was at her vet tech classes (and now you know why I am the way I am), and even The Drew Carey Show and Third Rock from the Sun when I was in middle school. I can still sing that damn radio spot that the local FOX network used to pimp out that block of scheduling: "Now after Drew it's time for Dick! What could be more fun? (''Cause I'm an IDIOT!').

(Wow. How much brainspace am I wasting?)

Then we had cable for about a year in high school (so my parentals could watch BYUTV, natch), and I covertly watched VH1 videos in the morning before getting on the bus, and fell in love with Stargate SG1 in the evenings when my parents were out fulfilling their callings. O I was such a bad seed! And then...oh, and then. See, the very weekend I graduated from high school my parents moved to New Hampshire and left me with my grandmother until I went to college. GRANDMA HAS BASIC CABLE, PEOPLE. Lawdy it was a glorious summer. I watched Firefly before it got canceled, Grease about a zillion times because it was on VH1's "Movies That Rock", a good chunk of some season of The OC. It was delish.

And every time I visit dear G-ma, I spend most of my time there eating and watching TV. I love television. Mom would be ashamed, but come on! I still read more than anyone else alive, probably. I have learned to love more than one form of media, that's all. It's like loving broccoli AND cauliflower.

All this to say that I am very excited for the Gossip Girl premiere tonight, and that excitement leads me to wonder if people can be judged by their taste in television shows. I love GG, yes, but I also love Mad Men, everything in the Whedonverse, Stargate and X-Files, LOST (except for that damned finale), True Blood, and pretty much every cartoon Bruce Timm ever touched. I adore Glee. I love Justified. I watch Dexter with bated breath. Some of these fall into some modes or genres, some into others. My reading taste and general proclivities predict that I should be watching Spaced, 30 Rock, Mad Men, and maybe The Office. My musical taste suggests that I ought to gravitate toward Metalocalypse and other Adult Swim programming. My movie tastes indicates that I should be viewing Futurama and Star Trek. Where are these trashy pop shows coming from? What in my psyche sees something recognizable and true in Gossip Girl? I HATE rich people. What does it mean that I really want to watch Nikita and will likely torrent the first ep when I get home tonight? Why do I find Glee endlessly compelling? It ain't because it's deep (it's probably because I love musical theatre).

Television. I have no answers for these very significant questions. Only excitement at downloading tonight's vision of Blair and Chuck making up and having a lovefest right? rich white indolence.

The home within

Dear readers, today I direct your attention to a a recent post on Apartment Therapy which I think is worthy of our time. I love Apartment Therapy (though, is it just me or are a lot of the commenters snipey assholes?) and I love home decor and nesting and other husfrau-y things. I even like cooking sometimes. My mother would be so happy if she could read that! And here is me hoping that she doesn't read this blog.


So this AT post centers around the concept of "the home within us", indicating that the home we live in will ideally be the home that we envision in our heads as what home SHOULD BE. The author and presumably many other people had a different conception of home when they were growing up than what they were actually living in--I suppose most children do; likely it involves a house made of cupcakes or a castle. I love the house that I grew up in (and I will never, EVER forgive my mother and stepfather for selling it when I was 17, so if you are reading this, Mom, YOU ARE UNFORGIVEN LIKE A CLINT EASTWOOD FILM) and there were many fine, homey qualities about it, but the apartment I live in currently is far closer to my inner vision than my childhood home. However, the apartment is still a long way off from what is inside my heart. Behold, three lists!

Future Dream Home of Outstanding Awesomeness: Things That Must Be

+bookshelves. LOTS of bookshelves. A room full of nothing but books, if possible
+media of other kinds--music, movies
+no bare wood except perhaps for the floors; painted wood furniture is all right
+preferably tile floors
+small house, big yard; lots of trees and houseplants; a real garden--lanterns of all kinds, weird statuary, paths that go nowhere (or do they?), stone benches
+a king-size bed and a clawfoot bathtub
+fun art from all over; travel souvenirs and things; postcards
+windows, windows, windows
+bright colors and interesting furniture

Childhood Home: Things That Jibe, Things That Don't

+dark wood, Louis XIV (or whatever) chairs, embroidered seat cushions=yuck
+tile floors=awesome!
+big yard with a great garden=awesome!
+round kitchen table=yuck (I prefer corners. Not sure why)
+"Diana, get out of the shower!"=yuck (Sorry utilities bill, I love long showers)
+always, ALWAYS clean=awesome! and I don't know how she did it
+homemade food at all times=see previous
+a reasonable amount of books, mostly living in my room=awesome!

Current Apartment: Things That Jibe, Things That Don't

+bright colors all over and interesting furniture...well, we're on our way
+no bare wood...again, getting there; the table and chair set will be painted soon enough, as will one of my bookcases
+lots of books, but THERE CAN ALWAYS BE MORE. Same with media in general
+interesting furniture-->well, we do have a bright red armchair and a great eclectic porch set
+houseplants, if I don't manage to kill them o.O
+fun art. I feel like I have a good handle on this--we have a pair of molas, two Haida prints, a screenprint of a photo my uncle took in the 70s with his surfboard, tons of awesome superhero art, interesting mirrors...but again, there can always be more. I love art and will someday have a wall full of framed art.
+queen-size bed. Almost there!
+no yard, obviously, but we have plants and our porch is reasonably green

Our current apartment is very satisfactory. And I like living in apartments generally. But there is always that vision of the home within, something to work toward, something to dream about. What does your home-within look like?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Via Womanist Musings

NO, you people. The answer will always be no. Whether the book in question is a copy of the Christian Bible, Mein Kampf, the Bhagavad Gita, Ulysses, the Quran, some Kabbalist text that only Jewish mystics can read, Aleister Crowley's Book of Lies, or And Tango Makes Three.

The answer is always no.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Listen up, y'all

AND PLEASE DO NOTE THAT "Y'ALL" IS THE CORRECT CORRUPTION OF THE PHRASE "YOU ALL". Never let any high-falutin northerner tell you different (the spelling "ya'll" hurts my eyes).

SO, there will be no concert review tomorrow, because there is no concert tonight. As noted previously, Kamelot's lead singer, the literally inimitable Roy Khan (my number one metal hottie), is Really Fucking Sick and back in Norway and the band has decided to postpone their North American tour 'til he is better. So y'all will have to miss what usually amounts to me spewing adoration all over the screen--writing is just masturbating without the mess, amirite?--though I confess I was sort of looking forward to seeing what that replacement singer had for pipes.

If I prayed anymore, I'd be praying that Khan recovers from whatever flesh-eating plague he has, because he's hot and his voice is like the darkest chocolate possible, like that 85% cacao Brazilian kind which hails from the most humid depths of the Amazon basin. Except he is Norwegian.

On the topic of prayer, I decided to completely steal a leaf from Eliza R. Snitch's blog (and just what is the cyber version of "leaf" anyway?) and do a profile. For Mormon.org. Written as though I had never become a science-worshipping, man-hating, R-rated-movie-watching short-haired feminazi agnostic/pagan CREATURE OF HELL (though it is worth noting that even when I was a good LDS girl I had very short hair. BAD SIGNS FROM THE BEGINNING). Less do this shit! For giggles. I make y'all, ALL SIX OF YOU, read mostly-boring entries about my hard-on for action films and my favorite books, so have some funny. Note: unless you find religion not-funny, like my sister. HI CARA!

About me: I'm 23 years old, born and raised in south Detroit west Philadelphia Florida. I have been blessed to be a member of the Lord's Church since I was five--well, clearly I wasn't baptized then, I was baptized at age eight like everyone! But my mom joined when I was five, so I count it like I've always been here. I went to the University of South Florida in Tampa when I was eighteen and got my undergrad degree in English Literature. Then I applied to go on a mission, since by the time I turned 21 I hadn't realllllly been on a date ever, and most of the guys in my singles ward thought I was scary and overeducated, and was sent to beautiful Boise, Idaho! Then I came home and am in the process of getting my master's degree in library and information science. Still no dates! I work in for a technical college in the position of assistant librarian and also have been teaching! I have extreme public speaking fear, but I know I was asked to teach these classes in order to work through my fear, and it's been such a blessing.

I love reading, writing, and reading some more. Deep down I love heavy metal too, but I know that kind of music drives the Spirit away, so I stick with good bands like the Foo Fighters.

At church I'm currently called to teach Sunday school and am the second counselor in the Relief Society. I don't have many church friends, and I feel bad about wanting to spend most of my time with my school friends.

Why I'm a Mormon: I know this is the true Church and have a really strong testimony of the prophets and the scriptures. Even though I have never had an answer to a prayer. Also, my mom would be DEVASTATED if I left the Church and I love her too much to hurt her.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Relief Society?: One of the oldest women's organizations in the world! It's the women's auxiliary in the Church and gives the sisters a chance to be together to complain about their husbands or boyfriends or children, to make ugly crafts, and to learn about how awesome it is that eventually we'll have lots of babies.

How can I know Mormonism is true?: Pray! Read the scriptures and pray. The prophets have promised us that if we read, ponder, pray, and listen, the truth of the Church will be revealed to us. Even though that never happened to me and I read the whole dag-nabbed 4-in-1 TWICE

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?: No. He was the first of the Restored Church's prophets, and even though we venerate him to the point where even Catholics would goggle, we DON'T worship him. Our worship is reserved for the Lord.

Dudes. This is not even a joke. Well, it IS, but it's also a good estimation of where I would be and what I would be like if I hadn't gone apeshit three years ago (literally--those biological anthropology classes were the catalyst. Lots of apes!). There was no sorta-kinda, almost-there, I-hate-the-Koolaid-but-I'm-still-drinking-it for me. One week, I was at church; the next week, I was as close to being an atheist as it's possible to be for someone who considers atheism to ALSO be a religion. Presumably enough doubt and refusal to tolerate the BS had built up and been squirreled away that by the time that bio-anthro class came around, that was all that was needed: some sort of kicker. After that kick (o hai Inception, it's actually called a "myoclonic jerk"), Fawn Brodie's proverbial winter coat was shucked. It was a relief. There was no guilt, no doubt. The veneer of Mormonism--and that is all it was--peeled off like an old sunburn and I was free.

And here we are. Thanks again, Edgar. You're an awesome teacher and I owe the rest of my intellectual life to that class, and my boyfriend owes you for teaching science so well that it convinced me to take my pants off at looooooong last.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Book Meme, Parts 18 and 19

Part 18--Favorite opening scene: This is a toughie. Let's see...the first pages of Howards End, with Helen's letters to her sister, are pretty awesome. Bridge to Terabithia's beginning, with Jess running in the wee hours, is a practically-perfect setup to the whole story. The opening to The Yearling, with Jody watching the smoke rise from his home's chimney, about to skip out on his day's work and run off to the spring, is about as evocative as they come.

Part 19--Favorite book cover: Favorite book cover ever? Ever-ever? HOOM. Well, I do love the cover of Atonement by Ian McEwan.

Anne of the Island has many editions and covers, but this one is my favorite:

...whew. Sort of a slow day here at the blog. HOWEVER. Thursday I shall have a concert review for you, dear readers, as my favorite band will be in town tomorrow and it should be even more interesting than usual, since the lead singer took sick and will be replaced for the tour by someone else. o.O

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Book Meme: Parts 16 and 17

Part 16--Favorite poem or collection of poetry: Hm. I am not much of a poetry fan, that is, I don't actively seek out collections, but I do have definite likes and dislikes. I like a lot of older poetry--Yeats, Keats and Shelley, both Brownings. I also love Billy Collins, who was poet laureate a few years back. I love Gwendolyn Brooks. And I love Thomas Hardy's poems--that's right, he wrote poetry! Not just insanely depressive-yet-transcendent novels. After Jude the Obscure was published, he was so shaken by the general reaction that he stopped writing novels and wrote poetry until he died. This is one of my favorites of his:

"The Voice" by Thomas Hardy

Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me

Saying that now you are not as you were

When you had changed from the one who was all to me

But as at first, when our day was fair

Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then

Standing as when I drew near to the town

Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then

Even to the original air-blue gown!

Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness

Traveling across the wet mead to me here

You ever being dissolved to wan wistlessness

Heard no more again, far or near?

Thus I, faltering forward

Leaves around me falling

Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward

And the woman, calling.

My favorite poem, PERIOD, is "Merlin" by Geoffrey Hill:

I will consider the outnumbering dead

For they are the husks of what was rich seed.

Now, should they be gathered together to be fed,

They would outstrip the locusts' covering tide.

Arthur, Elaine, Mordred: they are all gone

Among the raftered galleries of bone.

By the long barrows of Logres they are made one

And above their city stands the pinnacled corn.

Part 17--Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellettes, etc.): This is a bit harder. What comes to mind when I hear "story" and "story collection" is kids' books--Winnie the Pooh, The Wind in the Willows, Brambly Hedge, etc. And I do love a number of those--especially animal stories, obviously. As far as "adult" stories go, a favorite collection is a selection by Kate Chopin, collected in one of my editions of The Awakening (yes, I have two). It includes "The Storm", "The Story of an Hour", and "The 'Cadian Ball". Also in the mode of idiosyncratic editions, my copy of At the Mountains of Madness also contains some of my favorite Lovecraft stories: "The Dreams in the Witch House", "The Shunned House", and "The Statement of Randolph Carter". The Compass Rose is an excellent collection of Ursula K. LeGuin's stories; The Adventures of Alyx collects all the disparate Alyx tales by Joanna Russ. And of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention Neil Gaiman's fabulous Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things.

(the "tales of terror" bit ain't just a tagline)

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