Random Thursday: Donations Gratefully Accepted

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

What with one thing and another, I haven’t managed to venture out into the depths of the Interwebz to find blogworthy randomness this week.

Luckily, y’all have my back.

Thanks!

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Shiny Steve Swanson

First Instagram selfie from space.

Shiny Steve Swanson

And he’s wearing a Firefly tee.

According to the friend (hi, Sedge!) who sent me this, Dr. Swanson’s second selfie had him wearing a tee featuring the symbol of the Klingon Empire.

Dude. 

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Flight of the Brilliant Airline Attendants

I’m sure most of you have seen this at least once, but it’s worth seeing again—
how many safety speeches get this kind of applause?

(Thanks, Cha Cha!)

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Not Even a Remote Possibility

But points for irony. Or sarcasm.

Classy Tat

 And for being the future Most Easily Identified Resident of your assisted-living facility, 2076.

(thanks, Watson—if I do, I’ll spell it with a “K”)

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It’s true.  It’s all true.

Love the Liberry

It’s National Library Week!

To celebrate, I’m offering you the gift of Time Suck a look into what REALLY goes on at the average reference desk.

Just click on the image above and check out (ahem) the Love the Liberry blog.

(thanks, Mel!)

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Let Her Go!

This fixes the only problem I have with this movie.

Unfortunately, it takes away the single plot device that  makes the movie possible.

But at least The Song was spared.

(thanks, Siobhan!)

Poetry Wednesday: the Desires of Alpha Behn

National Poetry Month continues, ladies and gentlemen!

So give yourself a gift and think, really think, about something you’ve wanted with everything you have.

A place, a thing, a person. A self.

Something you should have, will have, do have, should never, will never.

Animal, vegetable, mineral. Rich man, poor man, beggarman, thief. That person at the bus stop with the biceps. Family.  Lunch. The place you know you’ll belong when you finally find it—the work, the garden, the house, the heart, the body.

Take up a piece of thick, rich paper and a felt-tipped pen.  Offer yourself a glass of wine, a cup of tea, lemonade, a cat, an afghan, a soundtrack.  Describe your desire in every way you can, black ink velveting the pale page.

The scents of spring, the sounds of summer thunderstorm, the touch of a comforting hand, the colors of your favorite pair of eyes, the taste of damp skin—his, hers, theirs—the ache of anticipation, the joy of fulfillment.

Whisper your words to yourself without embarrassment or fear.  Sing the song of longing, feel the delicious slide from attraction to necessity, suspend forever that single, unmasked moment of sharing heat, sharing breath, sharing everything you are—but not . . . quite . . . touching . . . yet.

You still have a couple of weeks to get it just right—or perfectly wrong, if that’s what you need.

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Aphra Behn, circa 1670Aphra Behn— rich woman, poor woman, writer, spy*, and all around fascinating lady of mystery—knew how to do this.

Widowed** and abandoned,*** she literally wrote herself out of debtors’ prison with plays and novels that scandalized and titillated and enthralled, and made her one of the best-known writers of her generation, though she maintained that if she’d been a man, no one would have made such a fuss.

She also wrote poetry, as so many did, to fill in the corners, as it were.

After what she’d been through—and she’d certainly been through it, by most accounts—she refused to count on anyone to support her, and I think that might be why several of her poems are so scornful of the romantic ideals of love.

But that didn’t mean she didn’t know what desire was; she just understood that love sometimes has little to do with it :^

The Willing Mistress
(Aphra Behn)

Amyntas led me to a Grove,
Where all the Trees did shade us;
The Sun itself, though it had Strove,
It could not have betray’d us:
The place secur’d from humane Eyes,
No other fear allows.
But when the Winds that gently rise,
Doe Kiss the yielding Boughs.
Down there we sat upon the Moss,
And did begin to playmoss bed
A Thousand Amorous Tricks, to pass
The heat of all the day.
A many Kisses he did give:
And I return’d the same
Which made me willing to receive
That which I dare not name.
His Charming Eyes no Aid requir’d
To tell their softning Tale;
On her that was already fir’d
’Twas easy to prevaile.
He did but Kiss and Clasp me round,
Whilst those his thoughts Exprest:
And lay’d me gently on the Ground;
Ah who can guess the rest?

But she also understood that sometimes it does . . . but that guarantees nothing.

The Dream

(Aphra Behn)

All trembling in my arms Aminta lay,
Defending of the bliss I strove to take;
Raising my rapture by her kind delay,
Her force so charming was and weak.Perchance to dream
The soft resistance did betray the grant,
While I pressed on the heaven of my desires;
Her rising breasts with nimbler motions pant;
Her dying eyes assume new fires.
Now to the height of languishment she grows,
And still her looks new charms put on;
Now the last mystery of Love she knows,
We sigh, and kiss: I waked, and all was done.
‘Twas but a dream, yet by my heart I knew,
Which still was panting, part of it was true:
Oh how I strove the rest to have believed;
Ashamed and angry to be undeceived!

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*For Charles I, who refused to pay her or supply passage back to England from Antwerp, thus leading to her financial woes.  As my husband said, “Yep.  That sounds like Charles.”

** See previous footnote.

***Probably.  All we really know is that they were seen together, she took his name, and he died, leaving her with nothing.  Which is presumably why she took the gig with Charles.

^ She also had definite views about consent and coercion. “The Disappointment” is either a poem about a woman being seduced beyond the point of her principles or a man who does not understand that no means no, even when his own body decides it does.  Either way, the poet saves her sympathy for the woman. Read with caution—it’s sensual as all hell, but triggering.

(And if you ever have to do a paper for 17th Century Lit, try comparing Aphra Behn to John Donne—I love the guy, but there’s no escaping his misogynistic tendencies)

My Inner Fish

Jane was away at Concordia Language Camp from Thursday morning to Sunday night,* and while I haven’t heard the whole story about her trip, I know Sunny had a blast being the Only Child and Sole Wielder of the Remote.**

Her favorite show during this time was the first part of a PBS special called “Your Inner Fish,” which is based on a book by the same name and basically shows all of the clues and evidence that modern humans evolved from fish, or at least the fish who managed to drag itself out of the water on its flippers and breed feet out of them.***

bubble-guppiesAfter the first five minutes, I said, “”Honey? Are you sure you want to watch this? Bubbleguppies is on.”

“Shhhh, Mommy,” she said, staring at her flipper arm as the man on the screen counted off the bone structure.^ “I’m sure.”

And she was. She even had me pause it for bathroom breaks and record it in case she missed something.

And when I  took a bathroom break, and asked her what I missed—half joking, because it’s surreal to have your seven-year old glued to a discussion of the search for the missing link between the First Fish and the first Not-Fish—she told me.

Gravely.  In great detail.

Being the mother of a proto-ichthyologist is a strange and wonderful experience.

A few days later, we held Sunny’s birthday party^^ at the Art Museum, which offered a kid-friendly tour of the exhibits, a fascinating film about glass-blowing, and a clay sculpting craft for Sunny and her eight guests.

Only one set of parents had stayed, and my husband was taking care of their social needs, so I plonked myself down next to Sunny and grabbed some clay, too.

One kid made a lion, several made Pokemon, one made an entire cityscape, another made a sunflower on a tall stalk, and the boy across from me made a militarized centipede who listened to the radio through his antenna (Aiden is now one of my favorite kids ever). Sunny made a Frog and his friend, Fly Guy, who has the most longsuffering expression I’ve ever seen on a bug.

Frog and Flyguy

I rolled my own clay around, trying to think of what to do, when I realized I had a sort of smooth slug in my hands. I curved his tail around and gave him eyeballs and a smile, because it would have been unfriendly not to.

Now what?

“Give him spots!” Sunny said, sticking Fly Guy on top of Frog’s head.

“Give him feet!” said Keira, who was recreating Olaf from Frozen.

“Give him fangs,” Aiden said, adding another segment to Sergeant Centipede.

A spotted fanged slug with feet? Okay.

I added another spot and examined the results. “What is this, exactly?” I asked, showing him around. “He looks kind of familiar.”

Sunny giggled. “He’s your Inner Fish, Mommy!”

“My great, great, billion-great grandfish?”

She nearly fell off her chair. “Yes!”

So, I present to you . . . my Inner Fish.  Such as he is:

Clay Guy AClay Guy B

I can see the resemblance . . .

What does YOUR inner fish look like?

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*And I do mean night: the bus arrived at the school around 9:45pm, and we—meaning Jane, me, AND Sunny, because she really, REALLY wanted to meet Janie, and I am a sap when it comes to expressions of sisterly devotion—didn’t get home until 10:30. This explains, if anyone noticed, why there wasn’t a post yesterday.  The kids were fine the next morning, but I was Dead Mommy Walking.

**Unless she needed something from the DVR. Or to pause something. Or to record a show. Or to figure out which remote worked the volume. “Sole Tyrant of the Remote” might be more accurate.

***I went to work the next day and found Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin, who is a paleontologist and also a pretty good storyteller, though Sunny still opted for Calvin & Hobbes as a bedtime story.

^This may have been Dr. Shubin himself.  The bone count was fascinating—apparently, all limbs in all species who have ‘em follow the same general structure  from “shoulder joint” to “digits”:  One, two, little, lots.  It happens in humans, birds, frogs, and even our cat Toby, who was bemused at the sudden attention, but game.

^She’s already had two this year, if anyone’s keeping count—one with her immediate family, and one given to her by her godmother—but this one was for her friends.  Jane’s a bit jealous, so it’s just as well she had somewhere else to be.

Weekend Writing Warriors: The Anti-Cupids (Eyeroll Omitted)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!

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I have a kid’s birthday party to see to for most of this afternoon, so I’ll try to visit everyone beforehand—but if that doesn’t work, you’ll see me later today, I promise!

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Yes, Jack is still wondering why dating can’t just be about having a good time.

Dennis has an opinion about that.

I removed one eyeroll from this conversation for the sake of the sentence limit—feel free to guess where it goes!

Taxi of Shame

“Settling down with the right person sounds like a good time to me,” Dennis said, applying his eraser.

“Since when?”

“Since I started thinking it might be nice to have someone to come home to, instead of always going home from everyone else.”

Jack stared at him.  “That’s a beautiful thought.”

“Thanks.”

“Can I steal it for the Kreppsler Jewelry bid?”

 “Knock yourself out.”

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That image up there?  It’s the Taxi of Shame, my friends . . . or as Jack might call it, should his Prius ever break down, the Taxi of an Extremely Enjoyable Previous Evening.

(I’ve said it before: I have plans for Dennis.  Plans.)

Random Thursday: Literate Tattoos, Library News, and Thug Clues for Questionable Reviews


Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

Janie is off to Concordia Language Camp, so I have half an empty nest, a missing MP3 player, and a seven-year old who claims she needs to move into her sister’s room because she’ll miss her SOOOO much—though from Jane’s reaction to this during the morning commute, I’m thinking Sunny was just getting in one more dig.  Guess we’ll see tonight.

I accidentally used Janie’s body wash this morning—through blindness, rather than sentiment—and now I smell like a rainforest as interpreted by Suave’s scent chemists, who appear to think rainforests are made of grapefruit trees and Douglas firs.

It’s not bad.

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Reading Ink

Found me a new Time Suck, y’all.

Matilda Tattoo

I’ve been thinking about getting more ink for a few months now—which means I’ll have a final design decision by this Thanksgiving, maybe*—and while I was idly clicking through some images of literary tattoos, this homage to Matilda led me to Contrariwise, which bills itself as the original literary tattoo site.

 Even when I started skipping over all the variations of “So it Goes”—not because I don’t appreciate those words, but there are only three of them—I lost about an hour looking at the other quotes and images and symbols from literature that made such an indelible impression on people’s imaginations that they made them a permanent physical part of themselves as well.

Regardless of how one personally feels about body art, it’s a fascinating study.

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R.I.P. Reading Comprehension

A librarian friend shared a link to a list of one-star reviews of classic or prizewinning works of literature that say far more about the reader—and for most of thee, I use the term ironically—than the book.

This one is my favorite:

“Mr. Beowulf should be required to repeat his nighttime writer’s class at the learning annex.”

Beowulf Cover

I’m sure Mr. Beowulf would be devastated by this harsh criticism, if he weren’t the main character in a story written by some other guy about a thousand years ago** and if he hadn’t died at the end of it, making any claims of autobiographical elements in the subtext  just a tad problematical—by which I mean, of course, “box o’ rocks stupid.”

Having said that, I have to agree with the person who said that s/he would “never read another Shakespeare novel again.”

Neither will I, though mostly through lack of opportunity.

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Check This Out

Springwater Library in Elmvale, Ontario,
I salute you.

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Geek Ink

Turns out, there’s a site for geek tattoos, which is called—wait for it—Geeky Tattoos.

Who knew?

Geek Tattoo

The Geek Virus, designed and inked by Fien-X at Houston Body Art and proudly worn by IT Manager Eric.

Thanks for the suggestion, Kev.  I’ll keep it in mind.
Yes, that probably means no—it’s awesome, but my kind of geekery has more Kudzhul, Sindarin, and Sherlock Holmes in it.

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 Thug Help for the Hapless Reviewer

Need help understanding epic Scandinavian poems written down between the 8th and 11th centuries,
without losing your gangster cred?

Sparky Sweets, Ph.D  is all over that $#!%.

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*Hey, Mom—you still game for that apple on your shoulder?

**Seriously.  Somewhere between 700 and 1100 A.D.