Hey! Did anyone miss me?
Of course you did, all four of you readers with (may I say) impeccable taste.
I’m back to give Trident here a little dusting, and announce that I’ll be on hiatus for the next couple of weeks. Finals season drains me so much that blogging coherently would be the last thing on my mind…and likely beyond my abilities.
Not that I’m being remotely as productive as I want to be at the moment, but that’s a different story.
In other news: I somehow ended up reading Anne Frank’s diary after I was done with I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I know, I thought I was gonna start on The Book Thief or 3,096 Days too. Once again, I didn’t. It’s funny because I want to read them, so what’s the deal?
The answer, I suppose, stands reiteration: I don’t like being told what to do, even if the orders are coming from me. I’m just going to stop predicting what I’m gonna read next. Whatever my mood lands on, so be it.
The diary was an almost surprisingly absorbing read. (It only took me a while to get through it because I would force myself to stop before I spent the entire day scrolling through the PDF file). I say “almost surprisingly” because I tried reading the diary several years ago, and found it almost painfully boring: I never got past the first few pages. But the “definitive edition” is the one where almost every entry Anne Frank ever made in her diary is included. (There are other editions, notably one that had been “cleaned up” by Anne’s father, Otto. Before publishing her diary, he took out several entries criticizing her family, most notably her mother, and open discussions about her budding sexuality).
I was more patient and curious about the book this time around as well. Knowing how Anne Frank’s life ended before even starting the diary made it increasingly sadder the more I read it. Anne relayed her hopes and ambitions often, and was a diligent student and a clever, if somewhat harsh, observer. She was a talented, intelligent and freaking spunky kid. I think she would have made a great writer and influential speaker if her life wasn’t snuffed out at sixteen. When she described day-to-day life in hiding with seven other people (only three of whom were family members) there were times where I wanted to scream. I’m not the most spontaneous or adventurous person in the world, but my routine is often by choice. Hers wasn’t. I can’t imagine living in constant fear that I’ll one day be caught and, in all likelihood, killed. Not just that, but be reduced to living with the same people day in and day out, all day, every damn day, for two years in a couple of hidden rooms in the back of a warehouse. Often unable to even flush the toilet because it might blow their cover.
Yet she never lost that spark, and although there were entries where she was depressed or feeling hopeless, she always managed to bounce back. Not something you see every day in a kid under her circumstances. Reading it made me feel half-depressed and half-admiring, which—I suppose—is an odd but hardly unexpected mix.
I finished reading Anne Frank today, and after that I really needed something light-hearted. So I dove into Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Cheech. (Yeah, rapid change of course). I tried to put it down, I really did, but dude. I got through that book in one sitting. Granted it’s far below my age level (12-13-year-olds) but it was one of those stories I remember Neo talking about when we were kids. I had downloaded it on a whim. (I have a lot of whims, it seems).
I recommend it, no matter how old you are. Mary Lou Finney (the protagonist) is hilarious, opinionated and the characters are spunky. Very few are truly three-dimensional, but those whose characters are fleshed out are fleshed out in rather unpredictable ways. Keeps you wanting to know more and more without tearing your insides out or anything. It was even poignant at times, and tugged at your heartstrings in the end. Good book to end a night on.
And speaking of ending the night, or—now that I’m looking at my watch—wee hours of the morning: Good mornight!
See y’all on the other side!!
Well, instead of starting The Book Thief I ended up going for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
Because even when I’m totally going to do something, my mind decides that, no, actually, you’re going to do something else. Because.
In essence, I was grabbing a snack and, for some reason, the former didn’t strike me as an “eat and read” kind of novel. (Yes, I do have “eat and read” books on hand). Instead, I thought I’d get into a chapter or two of Angelou’s and then save the rest of it for later. (You may be asking why hers is an “eat and read” memoir. No bloody clue. I don’t have criteria for this stuff; the book either has it or it doesn’t). Turns out, without even the remotest sense of purpose, one chapter lead to another and I had crashed into the novel so hard I pretty much spent all my free time in the past two days finishing it.
And that, my friends, is the mark of a freakishly great writer. It’s like when you decide you’re gonna have a tiny slice of cake and somehow the entire thing is in your system and you have no idea how it got there in the first place.
The best part is, instead of spending the afternoon in self-loathing or puking your brains out, you’re pleasantly surprised and have that never-can-be-duplicated “I read something kind of awesome and now my brain is in its happy place” feeling.
I’m at a bit of a limbo when it comes to the next book I’m gonna tackle. I was still going to go for The Book Thief, but now Suijin and Acaso are reading 3,096 Days by Natascha Kampusch, and it’s also piqued my interest. They want to see the movie it spawned, which is coming out here pretty soon. I figured I might get reading the memoir out of the way if we’re going to see the movie together.
Here’s the thing: I learned through experience with Harry Potter that reading the book soon before the movie is a critical mistake. The movie starts to suck at the first sign of deviance from the world I concocted in my head and the enjoyment is gone forever and ever and it can never be fixed or redeemed. Ever.
Yes, I’m a melodramatic nitpicker—it’s a curse.
However, if I watch the movie, will I still be as excited to read the book? I’d like to give the written version a clean start without movie-interpretations dancing in my head. So I guess that’s what I’m gonna go for.
Indeed, my problems are truly mind-bending.
Seven books down in 2013! (Well, five full books, one short story and one graphic novel). I’m now starting in on The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I read a sample of it before, and it’s super-promising!
It’s that coveted time of the semester when I have to break out an Excel spreadsheet and litter it with a finely tuned schedule of “to-do’s” for the remaining four weeks of the term. Oy vey!
I hate that I feel like I have everything to do and nothing to do at the same time. Mah lyf needs a makeover, y’all.
Anyways, instead of regaling you with my odd existential crisis thingamabobber, I’d like to introduce a song: Lucky Me by Sarah Slean. I remember hearing the acoustic version once on TV when I was 17 or 18, and for some reason I remembered it the other day. (I’m serious when I say I heard the song only once in my life. But for some reason I took note of the name and title and haven’t forgotten it).
I looked it up and found the video. It isn’t originally acoustic, apparently, but that doesn’t detract from how much I like it. Sarah Slean is a Canadian artist and kinda crazy. (In a good way, natch). Enjoy!
That’s how much is left until classes are done, done, done!
I have three or four finals after that, but I count those separately because it keeps my optimism levels above the bare minimum. I honestly can’t wait to be FINISHED.
I’ve been juggling a couple of part-time jobs I’ve nabbed recently, but I’m already second-guessing if I should drop one or the other considering they’re eating up whatever free time I have left.
To a procrastinator like me, free time is especially important. Once I waste it, I have juuust enough time to finish the things I need to complete. But what if I have no free time to waste? I’ll end up killing hours I actually need!
See? I think about this stuff.
One job, which should start tomorrow, is tutoring two high school boys in prepping for the TOEFL. I was supposed to get the TOEFL study guide from the kid last week, but I never managed to make it to the office to pick it up. Why? Murphy was being a bit of a jerk, as he is wont to do.
This means that within the three-hour time frame I have tomorrow, I need to:
- Run to the office and pick up the book.
- Read through it and figure out a lesson plan for the day.
- See a lady about my graduation credits. (No appointment so I can’t know if she’ll even be there or not).
- Give a new Visitor’s Bureau tour guide a tour test.
And not necessarily in that order. I love it when I have to do everything at the same time, yo. Lucky, lucky me.
My second job is at the AUB Art Gallery, where they have a new exhibit. I’d worked there last summer when they were featuring paintings by a Lebanese artist named Khalil Saleeby, who first started his career in the late 1800′s.
It’s a quiet and relatively boring job, but not too shabby. My boss nabbed it for me and a handful of other ex-VB’ers because we’re no longer allowed to be paid tour guides. (We were only allowed one year on the job. It’s an utterly stupid rule, but one we can’t work against, unfortunately). I started working in the gallery on Thursday night, which was the opening, and stayed there all day (from 9:00 to 4:00) on Friday. I don’t mind being there, and am glad for the opportunity, but I have half a mind to drop it because it does eat up my hours and I’m not in dire need of the job. I guess I’ll see.
Anyways, I got stuff to prepare for next week and time to kill before doing it. Wish me luck!
I’m officially on Twitter, guys. After avoiding it for more years than I can count, I went and signed up. I’m not really sure why.
I’m oddly kinda liking it so far. So…follow me if you feel like it, I guess?
I have my Twitter feed in the sidebar in case you can’t get enough of my witticisms.
Oh and yeah, I still have a ton of crap I need to do so this post won’t be any longer than this last word right…here.
Would you guys like to hear a story? Sit, make yourself at home while I spin this (completely and utterly true) tale:
The year was 1994 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and I was but a wee child in the third grade. I found, during one of my recess-time adventures, a caterpillar. An absolutely beautiful one, exactly like the photo. Look at those gorgeous stripes and the soft chunky body! What eight-year-old kid wouldn’t want such a pet? I had quite an affinity for them, as well as worms and snails. (I grew up in a house that fostered a love of the crawly stuff…except for roaches. I hate those with a fiery burning passion). I had also learned all about butterflies the year before, and knew just what to expect if it lived long enough. This was going to be FUN and AWESOME!
At home, I put it in a round and roomy see-through plastic container with holes poked through the top. I dutifully fed it on what was known among my friends and I as “milk leaves”. (They were thick and furry leaves with white insides that grew in school. Wikipedia tells me it’s actually “milkweed”, and most likely this type).
Anyways, it was an extremely low-maintenance pet, needless to say, and it seemed happy enough. Eating when it liked, and only having to creep along my fingers if I took it out to play with it. Oddly, despite my penchant for naming things, I never gave it one. But for the sake of the story, I’ll call it Squishy. (Yeah, whatever reference you just thought about. Yes).
Over time, all that I had seen in books last year was coming to form before my eyes. Squishy had climbed to the top of the container, and was hanging down in the familiar J-shape that I had been told about time and again in class. Slowly the brilliant green chrysalis formed and took hold of his little body. It seemed to stay that way for weeks. (Then again, I was eight years old…what I felt was weeks could have been a matter of days). I decided to not tempt myself with fooling around with the container and put it up on a shelf where I couldn’t easily reach it.
After what felt like a season or three, I decided to check on the little guy. I feared he had died, because I had kept him out of easy reach for so long. How was he? Had he grown out of his cocoon?
I slowly took down the container…peeked inside…
And, lo! Squishy was magnificent.
I was absolutely elated. I pulled open the lid and he flew. Or rather, fluttered about clumsily. I reached up for him and he landed on my arm.
Heart pounding, I ran as quickly and carefully as I could to show my parents. My mother was beaming as she immediately pulled out the camera and snapped a few photos of the two of us.
My brain was flashing with the final heart-rending scene: I take Squishy outside into the garden and let him free to roam the great outdoors. As he flew away, I would lean against the wall and watch him, thinking deeply about what a wonderful experience it was to care for this boy and see him grow into such beauty.
But before I could think about going downstairs, Squishy decided to flutter off me…
In all his fluttery goddamn glory…
And as I chased after him I witnessed in horror his lumbering dive…
Straight. Into. The goddamn standing lamp.
Let that sink in.
Squishy burned to death before my eyes not even FIVE MINUTES after I had him out of his plastic home.
Literally burned to death. Smoke rose from where his body lay, complete with the painfully accurate “Fsssshhttt” sound…..and he was GONE.
I think my mother would have had a pretty epic picture of my shocked and crestfallen face in that moment but she wasn’t cruel enough to snap it. My dad lowered the lamp and I took him out. Perfectly preserved, except his wings were singed on the edges. I was so utterly heartbroken, I cried for three days. I felt overwhelmingly guilty for taking him out at home instead of waiting until we got outside. He could have been free! He could have done so much! But no, he had to end his life in its prime in a butterfly’s version of Hell.
For whatever reason, I kept his body in the same plastic container for…months? More? Years maybe. He just stayed in my room and sometimes I’d take him out to take a look at him. After all, he was perfectly preserved.
Interviewer to Neil DeGrasse Tyson: “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the universe?”
I highly recommend the full video too, it’s just gorgeous.
Thanks to Hummus for Thought for leading me to this :-) And as corny as this may sound, I haven’t reacted to something this strongly in a long time.