Music I Like (that isn’t older than I am)

Leave a comment

My sisters sometimes tease me about the fact that I don’t like any current musicians. We all like oldies, but they like more new music than I do. There are some recent songs and artists that I like, though. For the sake of pointing out that fact, here is a list of current or recent pop music artists that I enjoy. (Listed in no particular order)


Artist: Adele

My favorite songs: Rolling in the Deep, Set Fire to the Rain, Someone Like You

This is a new discovery of mine; there were no Adele songs on my most recent list of favorite 100 songs because I didn’t know any. Actually, I kind of doubt that Someone Like You will make the top 100 next time, either, but the other two probably will.


Artist: Michael Buble

My favorite song: I Just Haven’t Met You Yet

There are others I like, but most of them are covers, like Cry Me a River and Save the Last Dance for Me. I don’t think that I Just Haven’t Met You Yet is a cover, and if it is, I’ve never heard of the original.


Artist: Paramore

My favorite songs: That’s What You Get, Ignorance, Monster, Crushcrushcrush

My sisters, last I knew, totally do not agree with this one, but it’s probably my favorite of everyone on this list.


Artist: Muse

My favorite song: Knights of Cydonia

I don’t actually know anything else by them, and I only know Knights of Cydonia because of Guitar Hero. Still, it’s a very cool song, and at one time, I knew it by heart.


Artist: Expose

My favorite songs: I’ll Say Goodbye for the Two of Us, I’ll Never Get over You Getting over Me

One could argue that this doesn’t really count as current or recent, but many of their hits were released during my lifetime.


Artist: Chameleon Circuit

My favorite song: Exterminate Regenerate

They’re a band about Doctor Who. That pretty much says it all. Unfortunately, there’s only one of their songs that I know very well.


It is also worth noting that my very favorite song as of January 2012 is Stowaway, which comes from the Doctor Who soundtrack from 2007. Still, it’s true that a large portion of said list consisted of old stuff like Beatles songs and Irish folk songs.

The Zombie Apocalypse is Real! (Sort of)

Leave a comment

I am kind of fascinated by the idea that monsters and other supernatural scary stuff are metaphors for real-life scary things. For example, vampires stand for people, situations, or diseases that slowly take away your energy and strength. (Like the last week of classes before final exams, for example, or like financial aid paperwork) Ghost stories are pretty straightforward because they come from people’s fear of death and their uncertainty about what happens after death. The zombie apocalypse legend, obviously, comes from people’s fear that the world will be destroyed by mindless hordes.

It is worth noting that zombies are actually fairly real compared to other imaginary monsters. Basically, a zombie is a person with a non-functioning mind and a functioning body. It almost goes without saying that the body is dead; I’m going to assume that if the mind is completely and permanently absent, the person is dead.  Technically, a person who is sentient and alive but not actually thinking at the moment is acting like a zombie.  I’m not just talking about being absent-minded. There are various diseases and parasite infections that can put a person in a very zombie-like condition. If you don’t believe me, google Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, which is the human version of Mad Cow disease. Or the nodding disease, which is a problem in some parts of Africa. Or rabies.  And while you’re at it, go ahead and google ‘fugu poison and datura stramonium’, because that involves actual zombies and it’s quite weird.

Of course, none of those diseases involve eating people’s brains, but that’s a very important part of the zombie stories. Loss of intelligence and sentience is the main idea here. Mindless hordes are much more creepy and disturbing than hordes of regular people with average intelligence, mainly because regular people with average intelligence are capable of listening to reason. (In theory, anyway)

Even aside from the zombie diseases mentioned above, a collective loss of intelligence is a real concern. I personally have a phobia of stupidity and live in fear that my IQ is dropping, and while that’s kind of a silly fear, it’s true that people can become stupider. That’s less of a problem for individual people than it is for humanity as a whole. It’s pretty undeniable that popular culture is being dumbed down in this generation. If you don’t believe me, compare any current popular novel with something written in the 1800s or early 1900s. Even if the old novel you’re looking at was a particularly bad one, it’s still going to have a richer vocabulary than anything written recently. Or you can watch a children’s TV show while you inevitably feel pity for the poor little kids who watch that stuff on a regular basis. Or you can just go to a public place like a grocery store or a bus station (places I have been recently) where you will quickly discover that people who are lacking in intellectual aptitude are not exactly abnormal. I know that IQ goes up over time and that IQ tests have to be constantly revised to maintain the mean and constant deviation, but IQ isn’t really a perfect indication of actual intelligence, which is much more abstract and difficult to measure.

The zombie apocalypse is real, but it isn’t really an apocalypse and it doesn’t really involve zombies. To defeat it, rather than shooting zombies, we all need to do clever stuff. Any kind of clever stuff will work. I intend to defeat the zombie apocalypse by spending all of my free time this summer reading and writing science fiction and getting really good at certain games. Come to think of it, another good clever thing for someone else to do would be to find cures for the aforementioned zombie diseases. (But if you really want to shoot zombies, I’m sure there are plenty of awesome computer games for that)

The Problem with Cat Treats

Leave a comment

This morning, I gave my awesome cat Bo a cat treat, and then I gave my awesome cat Heidegger a cat treat. At least, that was the idea, but Bo pushed Heidegger’s face out of the way and snitched it from under her nose. I gave her another one, but she was still pretty angry about the situation. I can’t say I really blame her. A little later, I took Bo out on the deck. Bo loves being on the deck, and Heidegger doesn’t; she only likes the outdoors when there’s a window in between it and her. Here is a picture of Bo being happy on the deck.


Out of anger and spite, Heidegger jumped up onto Bo’s windowsill in the kitchen and drank out of Bo’s water bowl. I told her that wasn’t a great idea, but she thought it was pretty funny. Here is a picture of Heidegger on Bo’s windowsill.


Here is Bo noticing that Heidegger is on his windowsill.



I opened the door to let him back inside, but she quickly ran away from the ensuing wrath before he even got through the door, so he decided to stay out on the deck. Unfortunately, his good mood was already ruined. After that, he couldn’t take his eyes away from the window. It’s a little high for him to have a good view of the windowsill, so he tried jumping up onto it. There’s no window ledge on the outside, so he had to grab onto the screen with his claws and hang on to keep from falling. He did not enjoy being in that position, so I pried him off, for which he was quite grateful.  There are now a couple new holes in the kitchen window screen.

The moral of this story is that one should never give cat treats to a cat when there’s another cat in the room.

Bat Noises

Leave a comment

I have often heard it said that the sounds made by a bat cannot be heard by human ears because they are so high pitched. I would like to make it quite clear that this is untrue. Not only are bats audible, but they are quite talkative little critters. I spent probably about two hours of this evening sitting outside to watch the bats emerge from the bat-house, and I can definitively say that I heard them chattering the entire time. I also recall having been able to hear bats in caves before, but in those cases, there usually were other people who couldn’t hear them; my hearing range apparently is greater than most people’s. I’m pretty sure that these bats in my family’s bat-house, though, would be audible to most people. It is a high pitched noise, but it’s only slightly higher than that of a birdcall.

If anyone ever tries to tell you that people can’t hear bats, just know that they’re wrong. Also, bats are not blind. Just sayin’.


Leave a comment

Exactly one year from today, I’ll be graduating college. In a little bit less than one day from this moment, I’ll be watching the graduation of friends and former classmates who are a year ahead of me. Graduation feels a little weirder every year as the people who are graduating seem more and more like my peers. When I was a freshman, I didn’t know a lot of seniors, and the ones I did know seemed so much more experienced than me that I definitely saw them as my superiors. Last year, when I was a sophomore, I knew a lot more of the graduating seniors, but not nearly all of them. They were obviously closer to my age, but I still thought of them as being pretty far ahead of me. This year, though, there will be people graduating who have been in classes with me many times, have discussed assignments with me, and, in many cases, have asked for my help with their papers when I’m at work in the Writing Center. (I’m a peer tutor, which is most of the time a pretty awesome job, especially because it means I get to tell people that I’m a professional grammar Nazi) I think that the majority of the graduating class this year is people that I know personally, or at least that I’ve talked to a number of times and will recognize their names. The weirdest part is that for most of these people, this will be the last time I’ll see them. That isn’t quite as sad as it sounds, but it’s still a little bittersweet.

Ascension Day

1 Comment

It’s time for yet another holiday post. The holiday to which I am referring is not the first day of summer break, although that is incidentally also today. Technically, the first day of summer break isn’t actually a holiday; I mention this event merely because it’s kind of a big deal. Anyway, today’s holiday is Ascension Day, and to be honest, I almost forgot about it ahead of time. It’s a good thing I have a Lutheran calendar that reminds me when all of the church holidays are.

In honor of today’s holiday, here is an Ascension Day picture. I chose this one because Jesus is fully dressed in it, and I think it seems likely that Jesus generally wore clothes. It strikes me as being odd and a little sacrilegious that many artists, particularly those of the Renaissance era, like to portray Jesus as if His attitude towards clothes was similar to that of Captain Kirk. (In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Captain Kirk apparently has an aversion to wearing shirts) It is true that Jesus wasn’t fully dressed when He was crucified, (Matthew 27: 35) but the Ascension occurred forty days after the Resurrection, so Jesus probably would have found the time to get dressed at some point.

Actually, it isn’t really important what Jesus was or wasn’t wearing at the time of the Ascension.  If it did matter, the Bible would have been specific about it. Thus endeth my random speculations and comments about Jesus’ attire.  And now I’m going to stick a couple bible verses at the end of this blog post so that isn’t random and pointless.

“Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 KJV

“Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.” Ephesians 4:9-10 KJV

Mother’s Day and Lysander’s Birthday

Leave a comment

Today is two very important holidays. The first one, of course, is Mother’s Day. Since I think I should write a blog post for every important holiday, I figured I should say something about Mother’s Day, but I wasn’t sure what. It wouldn’t make sense to just write something telling my mother Happy Mother’s Day because, as far as I know, she doesn’t read this blog. (In case I’m wrong about that, hi Mommy! Happy Mother’s Day!) I didn’t think it seemed right to say stuff about my mother without asking her ahead of time if that was okay. The only other kind of Mother’s Day post I could think of would be a really cliché and generic paragraph or two about how wonderful mothers are in general and how my mother is especially wonderfully mother-ish, but I didn’t want to write something cliché and generic. In case my sister is reading this, I would like to point out that there is in fact a reason why I chose to use the non-word mother-ish instead of the word motherly. The tone is completely different.

Anyway, my dilemma about the ideal Mother’s Day post is solved by the fact that there is a second holiday today. This second and less well-known holiday is Lysander’s Birthday. Lysander (1986-2004) was one of the cats who graced my family’s home with his presence for much of my childhood. He was also my adoptive third parent. There are no words to describe his awesomeness, but if you want to see a list of words that come close, get a thesaurus and look under ‘affectionate’, ‘loyal’ and the adjective form of ‘kind’.

Here is Lysander’s baby picture.




I have recently invented a new word which I think should become commonly used in the English language. The word is quasycle, (rhymes with popsicle) and it is a noun referring to a small object which can be used to store a disproportionally large amount of something. For example, digital storage devices, such as flash drives and CD-ROMs, are quasycles, and a book is a quasycle.  Mary Poppin’s purse and The Doctor’s TARDIS are both quasycles. It is worth noting that quasycle is worth 22 points in Scrabble, not counting the points from bonus squares and not counting the 50 point bonus for using all seven tiles. (In order to play the word quasycle,one would have to use a letter that is already on the board. Also, such a move could only occur in a game where the players had mutually agreed that quasycle is a real word, which is unfortunately not very likely.)


Why I (kind of) love finals

1 Comment

Today was my last day of classes as a Junior in college. Now I just have a week of finals, and then I’ll be completely done with the school year. Even though I’m obviously really looking forward to next Wednesday at about noon when I’ll be finishing my last exam, today is the day that I’ve been counting down to for the last several weeks. In part, that’s because I believe in counting down to the soonest available landmark because, when you’re counting down to something, little numbers are much more motivating than big numbers. (I’m graduating in 374 days, but somehow, that doesn’t seem like such a big deal at the moment.) Anyway, besides that, I actually do tend to enjoy finals week. It’s not that I like final exams or final papers, it’s just that life in general is better during finals week. For example:

1. Study breaks. When you have classes all day and have to cram all of your homework and studying into just a few hours every evening, you can’t really afford to stop for a while to play some computer games or to watch some science fiction or to wander around aimlessly in circles, pondering the great questions of life, human existence, and what caused that discolored spot on the carpeting. Having the ability to take occasional breaks and to use your brain for something besides school is good for you not only because it’s more fun, but also because it’s a stress reliever and it’s good for your mind. You just want to make sure you’re doing something productive with your study breaks and not wasting your time. In the grand scheme of things, I think it’s more important for me to be good at Scrabble than to solve the mysteries of my dorm room carpeting.

2. Sleeping and eating. Once upon a time, I was a small child and had enough time and a flexible enough schedule that I could count on eating three meals a day and sleeping every single night. This is no longer the case. During finals week, though, I have plenty of time for eating and sleeping. The sleeping part actually isn’t such a big deal to me; I never actually grew out of the stage where I hated going to bed, and even now, I’d much prefer to watch science fiction all night than to sleep all night. But the eating thing is a big deal. Food is awesome stuff.

3. It’s an excuse to do things that count as stress relievers. Last night, for example, I had to stay up all night long, so I got a multi-serving bag of M&Ms and ate them at regular intervals throughout the night. It wouldn’t be a good idea to do that every single night, but last night, I was working on several final projects and the M&Ms were totally necessary. Tonight, I think I’m going to stop studying for a while so that I can watch an episode of Dr. Who. I shouldn’t really take out the time for that, but science fiction is an ideal stress reliever, so it will actually make me do better on my exams. Right?

4. We’re all in this together. I’m not really a very social person, and I definitely prefer to study alone, so I tend to really isolate myself during finals, but at the same time, there’s something reassuring about the knowledge that every single student on campus is experiencing the same things I’m experiencing. While I’m worrying about a difficult exam or a paper that just isn’t getting done very quickly, other people all around me are having the same problems, and when I’ve finished all my exams and turned in all my papers, everyone else around me will be finishing their exams and papers and will share that sense of relief and accomplishment.

5. When it’s all over, it’s all over. It’s not like midterms, when you just get a couple days or a week off (depending upon whether it’s the fall semester or the spring semester) and then have to get right back to work before you’ve even had time to recover from the stress of the beginning of the semester. Once finals are over, you’re completely done with all of those classes. Forever. They’re called finals for a reason.

May the 4th be with you!

Leave a comment


In this blog, I intend to write a post for every major holiday. Today, as I hope everyone knows, is an extremely important holiday. Sadly, since I’m currently in the crazy part of the semester right before finals, I don’t actually have time to watch Star Wars today, which is not cool. I might try to make time to watch the first hour or so of A New Hope tonight, but I’m not counting on being able to do that. Anyway, in celebration of this occasion, I will now list my criteria for awesomeness in a movie, thereby demonstrating that the Star Wars movies are the ultimate awesome movies.

1. Plot

In my opinion, the plot isn’t as important to the overall awesomeness of a movie as it is for a book, mainly because the fourth and fifth elements on this list don’t apply at all to books. Still, for a movie to be really great, the plot has to be interesting. Since the definition of interesting is relative, I’m not going to try to define it in specific terms, but I think that it’s pretty safe to assert that Star Wars is interesting.

2. Characters

Ideally, the viewer should like, dislike, or be somewhat afraid of most of the major characters. Even if you can’t stand Jar-Jar Binks, you have to admit that he’s a very memorable and distinctive character, as are Yoda, Chewbacca, C3PO, R2D2, Jabba the Hut, and pretty much everyone in all six movies. And Darth Vader, of course, is the ultimate movie antagonist. It just isn’t possible to find an awesomer bad guy than Darth Vader.

3. Quotable lines

Really good movies always have at least a few really good quotes. Sometimes they’re funny (“Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder!”), sometimes they’re dramatic (“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine”), sometimes they’re somewhat inspirational (“Do or do not do, there is no try”), and sometimes they just make really good catchphrases (“May the force be with you”).

4. A really cool soundtrack

While it isn’t necessarily the first thing that I think of when I think about a movie, the soundtrack is definitely important. If anyone actually thinks that Star Wars doesn’t have an excellent soundtrack, they need to have either their head or their ears examined.

5. Special effects

Seriously, Star Wars pretty much invented modern special effects. Yes, I am aware that the special effects in the original trilogy aren’t so impressive by our jaded 21st century standards. Real life also isn’t so impressive by our jaded 21st century standards. I don’t think we actually need to be judging movies by contemporary standards. Exploding spaceships are pretty awesome, even if they don’t look quite like what an exploding spaceship ought to look like.

Actually, all of that pretty much goes without saying. Everyone who’s cool already knows how awesome Star Wars is. Have a happy Star Wars day!

Older Entries