Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Wow, what a Christmas season it’s been.

I’m sitting in my living room typing this into a Word document and surveying my Christmas loot. I got just about everything I wanted and more. I had a lot of fun watching my parents opening their presents.

From my parents, I got:

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman

The Creative Collection of American Short Stories. I’m not sure who to credit this to, since it’s a collection of, well, creative American short stories. You probably figured that out. I pointed it out in a bookstore a few weeks ago, so I wasn’t exactly surprised, just very happy.

Steampunk: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and Other Victorian Visions by Brian J. Robb. It is a thoroughly awesome book. I was totally surprised. Dad had caught me looking at it in Vroman’s and noticed that he had to drag me away, but I didn’t think he’d remember. I have a feeling that it’s going to be incredibly useful when I’m writing my Steampunk Sherlock Holmes stories (currently planning out the second one).

The Henri, le Chat Noir 2013 Calendar. YES!!!

A knitted purple shawl from my mom. She knitted it herself, because she’s awesome that way. I just had to shove one of my cats off it. I don’t want his claws catching it.

Oh, and there’s the mysterious box-yet-to-come that my dad keeps hinting about. Hmm.

Other notable gifts from my relatives include a handmade wooden sign with my name on it from one of Mom’s sisters and her family, The Telescope: A Short History by Richard Dunne (that one’s from my dad’s brother and his family) and a whole lot of Godiva chocolate from one of my mom’s other sisters. Seriously, a lot of chocolate. She sent me three chocolate Santas (2 dark, 1 light), three Christmas triangles/trees (likewise) and a beautiful three-pound tin of assorted truffles and chocolates. A three-pound tin. That, my friends, is a whole lot of chocolate. Aunt Janet has this tradition of sending me chocolate for birthdays and Christmas and believe me, I’m not complaining. It is awesome.

Notable gifts that my dad got:

A yard-long tube of popcorn (from me)

A tin of acai tea (likewise)

A Perry the Platypus T-shirt. I bought this right under his nose when we were shopping for Mom. You should have seen his face.
And from Mom, he got a single sock.

In Mom’s defense, it’s a very nice sock. She knitted it herself, which isn’t easy with her hand injured (she had surgery this summer after an accident with a car door, so her hand isn’t what it was. Wow, that sounds really stupid. Of course it wasn’t what it was). She didn’t have time to make the second one, so she’ll give it to him for Valentine’s Day or something.

Mom’s notable gifts were a copy of Sense and Sensibility from Dad, four of my photos from Photography class, and a phone case and Peet’s gift card from Dad and me.

So after we opened our presents (which was actually after I got back from feeding the cats and birds I’m pet-sitting at the moment) we had a nice breakfast and then lounged around reading for a while. It’s really nice to just lounge around reading with your parents on Christmas. Dad and I went for a bike ride after lunch and this afternoon we finished A Christmas Carol. We have this tradition of reading A Christmas Carol together every year. That book’s great every time.

Tomorrow, I swear I’ll write up a few of last week’s highlights, which include Kris Kinds and me playing the cello at Carol Night. Ciao for now.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Burned Out

Di immortales, I am exhausted. Just totally burned out.

I've been meaning to write all weekend but I never had time. I also keep meaning to respond to my emails but I haven't had time (sorry, Harry. I started a response but didn't finish). On Saturday I had two Christmas parties to go to and Kris Kinds shopping to do and Sunday was eaten by the Scopes Monkey Trial. I have a giant project for that, which I'm presenting tomorrow. I made a Keynote and wrote a 4-page paper and everything.

Something I want to address:

Look at the top of this webpage. The URL, to be precise.

What do you see?

I'll give you a minute...

If you said that the error is that "book," as in "bookworm," is spelled with 3 'o's---you're right.

I actually messed up the web address when I made the blog. And didn't notice until my dad pointed it out.

Dad noticed because he and Mom couldn't find the blog.

The thing is supposed to say "rowanbookworm," I swear. But now it's "rowanboookworm."


2 classes later: It's amazing how much better a few dark chocolate M&Ms can make you feel. I love Kris Kinds!

It's now the end of the day. I am just...woof. Brain dead.

Anyway, back to the web address: Do you think it makes me distinctive? Does it set me apart from other bloggers? Am I not amazing?

Thank you, thank you. I think so too.

Now I have to go. I swear I'll write something longer next time. Vale! (That's 'goodbye' in Latin.)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oww, my hands...

So I know it's early for another blog post--what with it being the same day and all--but I just want to rant for a minute. I have had NO time to write anything but essays and religion homework. I actually wrote Memories pt. 1 a couple days ago and didn't have time to finish (hence the pt. 1).

Quick rant:

On Tuesday, I tripped and fell on a cactus.

Well, it wasn't quite a cactus. It was more like a succulent with really, really sharp thorns. I tripped and fell and my left hand went into the harmless ivy while my right hit the plant and promptly started gushing blood. It was actually quite painful.

I'm hoping I at least get a cool scar out of this. It's weird--everything happens to my left hand. That's the one with the scars on the wrist (accident with glass) and now this.

Then today I was practicing the accompaniment for The Little Drummer Boy with the vocal group (I play the cello, so on LDB I'm playing the part that the bass would sing if we had a bass section. Which we don't, because it's an all-girls school). My part is pretty much bah...bah...bah...bah and then bah-bah-bah, bah-bah-bah the entire way through. It involves a couple of chords that aren't hard, but oh my God are they painful. My wrist is still so sore.

So that's my entire rant, for now. I love having a blog. It's so wonderfully narcissistic.
 Now I need to get back to homework. I'll write more about Waldorf when I can.

Waldorf Memories, Part 1

Yesterday I got my class yearbook.

I say yearbook, but it's really more like a memory book. My teacher, Mrs. M, who'd been with us since first grade, promised to make it. I guess she finally got it done. It was a year and a half late, but it's here.

A few words about my old school: It's what's called a Waldorf school. We had one teacher from first grade to eight grade and a lot of the kids (including me) stayed all eight years. It was...I suppose it was a good experience, although looking back I almost wish I'd transferred to another school after fifth grade. I had a total of two real friends in the class (who I'm still in touch with), but the whole class was actually fairly close. My mom was the administrator until she quit last year, so she was at the school from my 4th grade to 8th grade.

It was interesting to look back at all the photos. Our plays (Don Quixote de la Mancha in 7th grade and You Can't Take It With You in 8th were the best), class trips (the girls TP-ing the boy's room in Monterey, sketching the sunrise on the dunes in Death Valley, swimming in Hawaii...) and general events are all there. There are a few emotional pictures of our graduation and a lot of stuff I'd nearly forgotten about.

I have to say, overall I'm happier at my new school. For one thing, I actually love having a uniform. Most of the girls in my old class were skinny and beautiful, whereas I'm a lot bigger and I always dressed for comfort rather than fashion. I was always a little out-of-place since I wasn't wearing tight shirts and skinny jeans.

I also think that my new school is just a nicer place to be. Sometimes things at my old school got pretty...vicious. I had rough seventh and eighth grades especially. I was actually in therapy for a while. I have a lot more friends here than I did there, which helps.

A lot of the memories that stick in my head aren't great. I have a vivid recollection of a group of girls (who shall remain unnamed, tempting as it is) who, in fourth grade, literally came up to me and said that although they liked me, I wasn't popular enough to play with them. A close approximation of their exact words would be "I mean, I'd like to play with you, but then people would go 'Eeww, they're playing with Rowan.'"

The really sad thing about that memory is that I agreed with them.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

He's a Semi-Aquatic Egg Layin' Mammal of Action...

Wow, a lot has been happening.

Now what was I going to say?

Well, first, there's a yellowjacket stalking my friends at lunch. I don't care about the thing, so it doesn't bother me, but everyone else jumps up and runs away every time it gets close. It got part of Felix's lunch once, so it keeps coming back. I warned her about feeding the bees, but did she listen? Nooo.

Another gross bug experience: I have this new dental appliance to wear at night. It's big and blue and I can't talk with it in. It goes on top of my invisiline. So I woke up on Tuesday, took the blue thing out... and realized that I'd spent the night with an ant stuck in my retainer.



Can you imagine if that had happened at school? "Hey Raina, do I have anything in my teeth?" "Uhh..." (Or "AAH!")

So besides all the bug drama, my life has been hectic. I had two tests and two quizzes today (this is out of five classes, since we have an activity period on Thursdays). My brain is fried. So fried that I just typed "fired" instead of "fried" and had to fiax it. Whoops.

I am so jealous of my dad! While I was slaving away in school yesterday, he got to go to California Adventure! For WORK! Seriously, his boss took him and a few other guys to scope out the changes they'd made to the park. (My dad, by the way, is in the entertainment business. So it does kind of make sense. But still.)

Dad did try to appease me, though. He sent me a video he got of this Phineas and Ferb car (Dad and I are both avid Phineas and Ferb fans. I got him into it.) Let's see if I can upload it.

Yay! It worked! 
Wait, did it?
Yes, yes it did. (Just not at school--I'm currently checking it a few hours later)

He also brought me back something awesome from the gift shop...guess what it is...

He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of action...

That's right! It's Perry the Platypus!
More specifically, it's a Perry the Platypus piggy bank! 

(The slot's at the back of the hat there.)

Yay! Go, Perry the Platypus!

So yeah. I've pretty much forgiven my dad for going to CA Adventure without me. (Especially since, you know, he had to.)

Another fun thing I did today was going to see the school production of Charlie's Aunt during activity. Oh my gosh, it was so funny. It's this British comedy of manners where these two guys, Charlie and Jack, want to invite a couple of girls over. This would normally be scandalous, but Charlie's rich aunt from Brazil (where the nuts come from...XD) is coming to visit. At the last minute, their friend "Babs" stops by and then they get a message that the aunt can't come. But they still want to have their girlfriends over, and Babs happens to be playing an old woman in an amateur stage production...it all spirals out of control from there.

One thing that was especially funny about THIS production is that this is an all-girls school. So we had a girl playing a guy pretending to be an old lady.

Convoluted, anyone?

Also, someone broke a shot glass on stage. The way it happened was this: The glass was on a table. The table was at the end of a couch. One of the characters launched him(her)self at the couch, which crashed into the table, sending the shot glass over the edge. Whoops.

This is apparently the second shot glass they've lost, too! My friend Felix said that one day there was a wet spot on the ground and one of the glasses was missing. Nobody ever owned up. Draw your own conclusions.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The First Steps to the Dark Side...

Oh my God, I've done it.

I have taken the first steps...towards an epic betrayal of all my friends.

No, you don't get to know what it is yet. (For one thing, it's too embarrassing.) Suffice it to say that it involves the library and a certain person my friends all hate.

Oh! Speaking of libraries, I went to one on Saturday. And I wasn't scared a bit! Granted, it was a very small library, but still. I am totally library-fear-proof. See, libraries? I was right! Nothing CAN stop our love!

Although I may have some doubts about the teen volunteer party next year.

See, the teen volunteer party is a party for the teens who have volunteered over the summer. We congregate in the library after hours, eat pizza, play lame games and play not-so-lame games. The lame games are the ones involving making up monsters/aliens and seeing which is the best. The not-so-lame ones involve relay races on swivel chairs through the bookshelves. (Last August one kid went straight into the DVD collection.)

And the best part?


In the dark.

Seriously, the librarians turn off all the lights and let us run around in a darkened library. It's pretty awesome...until you start thinking about Vashta Nerada.* Yeee. As if the bookshelves weren't creepy enough already...

(Although that might not even be an issue next year. Last time it got pretty wild--someone knocked over a shelving cart in the children's section. I think the librarians might be re-thinking that particular game.)

And now for a random picture! I actually made this last year, when my mom was watching Glee and I had some extra time after school. Enjoy.

Click here to learn about Vashta Nerada. But I'm warning you, spoilers.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pride and Prejudice and Unicorns and Wasps

I’m annoyed with Word right now. Somehow I messed up the settings so it always wants to double-underline everything. Grr.

But actually that’s not what I was going to talk about at all.

First off, something funny: have you ever searched everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE, for something…and then found it right where it should be but you never thought to look?

I’m reading Pride and Prejudice for school. I have two copies: the nice hard-cover one my parents gave me for Christmas and the paperback one I can annotate. Mom wanted to borrow the hardback to re-read, so she asked me for it. About a week ago, actually.

I’d pulled it off the shelf and I couldn’t find it.
If you’ve ever seen my room—which, of course, you haven’t—this shouldn’t surprise you. Here, I’ll take a photo.

No no no, I wanted Photo Booth, not iPhoto. Whoops.

Ah, here we go.

Darn you, Word, I did NOT want this underlined. Ah, that’s better.

Anyway, I searched on and off all weekend. All long Thanksgiving weekend, actually, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then tonight, since I’ve got all my homework done, I ask Mom if I can watch a Doctor Who.

Here’s how my watching Doctor Who works: I ask at the beginning of the weekend. Mom says “Maybe, if you get all your homework done.” I do all my homework (or I DON’T do all my homework and subsequently don’t watch Doctor Who). After I’ve done my homework, I ask again. Mom assigns an additional chore or two (usually stuff that she already told me to do and I forgot about). I do the last chore(s), and finally, FINALLY I can watch Doctor Who.

This time the additional chore was, as you may have guessed, finding Pride and Prejudice. So I donned my gas mask, protective radioactivity suit and heavy-duty gloves and looked through my room again.

After about five minutes, I hadn’t found it, so I put on my deerstalker. (I actually do have a deerstalker, by the way.)

Anyway, what was I saying?
Oh yes, finding Pride and Prejudice. Let me renumerate the facts of the case, Watson. Did I spell renumerate right? No, I did not. Wait, is that even the word I should be using?

Imaginary Watson: Ahem. The facts?

Right. The facts: The book was in my room when I last saw it. I have searched extensively and have not found it. Therefore, I must have moved it. Add to this the fact that I have a bad short-term memory and the probability of my having moved it increases dramatically.

I walked out of the room to check my parents’ room…and suddenly spotted it on my own bookshelf.

To be fair, there was a Madame Alexander doll in front of it. So I can’t be totally blamed for not seeing it the first twenty-three times I looked…right?

Anyway, happy ending: I found it. And there was much rejoicing. Mainly by me, because I now got to watch the Doctor Who episode. Yaaay!

I love Doctor Who, but I only got into it this summer, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I’m currently on the Tenth Doctor, who is absolutely crazy and brilliant and wonderful. Donna Noble, by the way, is my favorite companion thus far. God, she is funny…

I’m in the 4th season, so the episode I watched was The Unicorn and the Wasp.

I had heard that it was pretty bad, but I quite enjoyed it. Sure, the plotline was pretty silly and didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and yes, some of the minor roles were over-acted a bit, and the whole thing was over-dramatic, but I like silly things and I like the 1920s and I like murder mysteries, so it was a good episode for me. The mystery kept me guessing and the actual villain took me by surprise. I think they were trying to parody a cliché of a murder mystery and they very nearly pulled it off.

Tomorrow I’m going to return The Big Sleep, which I never had time to finish but kept forgetting to return, to the school library and check out an Agatha Christie mystery because now I am really curious about them. I wonder if Clue was based off of her work? (Professor Peach, in the library, with the lead pipe…)

I’m a little bit nervous about the next episode, The Silence in the Library. I’ve got a vague idea of what to expect from the Chameleon Circuit song Count the Shadows (Chameleon Circuit, by the way, is a Doctor Who themed band. They started Trock, or Time Lord rock), but that’s not the problem. The problem is that my friend Sally* says that this episode will forever change the way I see libraries…kind of like Blink forever changed the way I look at statues.

I love libraries. Libraries are my friends. Seriously, if I’m stressed out, direct me to the nearest library or bookstore. The presence of books comforts me. I could spend hours in the library. Actually, I HAVE spent hours in the library. I have two libraries close to my house. The librarians of the one within walking distance know me by name and the librarians of the one within 10-minute driving distance know me by sight. (“Oh, hey, it’s that weird girl who always checks out sixteen books at a time…I wonder how many late fees she’s paying today?”) I don’t want to be scared when I walk into a library!

But the other problem is that I can’t skip the episode because it has all kind of important plot stuff. Yays. I’m all for important plot stuff.  But must they do it in a big scary library?!

I’m messing with you, you know. I’m sure it won’t be too bad. Nothing can ever change my love of libraries. YOU HEAR THAT, LIBRARIES? NOTHING CAN STOP OUR LOVE!

Just being silly now…good grief, is it that time already? I need to get to sleep.

By the way, this blog post is being written on the night of Sunday the 25th. I’ll post it on Monday the 26th when I actually have internet access.

*I decided to use pseudonyms for my friends, to protect their privacy. Sally is not actually my friend’s name; I chose it because it’s phonetically similar to her name and also as a Doctor Who reference: Sally as in Sally Sparrow. More on pseudonyms later, when people actually start reading this. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! Also, First Blog Post!

Hi! My name is Rowan. This is my brand new blog, launching as the holiday season approaches with alarming speed and ferocity. Actually I guess it started yesterday, during Thanksgiving.

I was not expecting to enjoy my Thanksgiving. We were driving up to my dad's cousin Paula in Yucca Valley to spend the holiday with her, her husband Elvin, and her parents. I'm a teenager and I was the only person under 50 in the house.

A little background: Paula is, as I said, Dad's cousin. Since my dad's parents are dead and my mom's live in Texas, Paula likes to say that she's my surrogate grandmother. She's really sweet and a lot of fun to be around. I don't see her very often so I'd kind of forgotten how much fun she is to talk to. Elvin, her husband, is a nice guy too although I don't know him very well. I don't know Ruth and Stewart well either, having seen them a total of maybe four times in my life.

Paula had made most of the meal, with my mom bringing a quinoa (keen-wha) dish and desert. The quinoa was partly for Dad, as were the gluten-free brownies, because Dad is gluten-intolerant. He's also a bit of a health fanatic, but more on that later.

It was a really good meal. Dad and I got a kick out of the fact that Paula had made Waldorf salad. Any Fawlty Towers fans will know why. I discovered that I prefer dressing to stuffing and mashed-up cranberries to the weird gelatinous ones that come out of a can.

Did you know, by the way, that roadrunners are carnivorous? I certainly didn't. Elvin grossed my mom and me out by telling us about how they hunt little birds in the backyard. They'll lie in wait and then drag their victim off and eat it right there. Mom apparently knew that they would eat roadkill. I was totally surprised by the whole thing. I shall never look at the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote the same way again. O.O

After Paula and Mom and I finished doing dishes, I went out in their back yard to look around. The backyard was pretty much this large expanse of dirt with a lot of cacti growing in it. This is the desert. Some of the cacti look really, really weird. They're flat and spiky and they look like mutant Mickey Mouses (Mickey Mice?) forcing their way out of the ground. Seriously, picture the top of a Mickey Mouse head with thorns and two or three deformed extra ears. Totally scary.

While I was out there, I learned the hard way not to walk in between a pencil cactus and a silver cactus. There I am, trying to stroll in between them, and suddenly--bam! I've got this inch-and-a-half long thorn stuck in my leg. It didn't bleed, but it hurt quite a bit, especially when I sat down and yanked it out. I still have it taped in my diary.

Elvin had this story about how once he fell straight into some kind of big, scary cactus. He had thorns stuck all down his leg. He was wearing these big army-type boots too and the thorns went straight through the soles. I kid you not--the things punctured the soles of boots.

I was a lot more careful after that.

Have you ever seen a Joshua tree against the sky?

That's not quite what it looked like, but it's close. They're very weird and cool looking, like aliens that are going to reach out and grab you at any moment. I got to see a few before we left.

Sorry to end this so abruptly, but my dad and I want to watch a Sherlock so I have to go. He hasn't seen the last one of Season 2 yet! Oh boy...he is so going to cry...