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Not Mina Harker

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December 10th, 2007

04:12 pm: Gravity is not caring about you.
I don't think I've yet written in this journal about my Astronomy lab teacher. Imagine, if you will, an eternally optimistic Russian woman who looks almost exactly like Mrs. Achenbach and who laughs and smiles her way through the language barrier with encouragement and life lessons at the beginning of every lab session. For example, today before the final Astronomy exam, she wanted to be sure that we took with us in our lives some important lessons of Astronomy.

(You have to read this part in a deep Russian accent so thick and gooey you could cut it with a spoon, and imagine the teacher smiling brightly the whole time.) "You see, scientific law, they are always there. And if you are deciding 'I do not care about scientific law, I am not caring about gravity,' and you go to window and throw yourself outside, law of gravity will make punishment for you because gravity is not caring about you and will work no matter what you do."

Then there are the life lessons, that will be helping us for always, not just today, if we can be attentive to them. Today, she drew a rough pie chart on the board and filled in the percentages to show that 70% of the universe is dark matter that we can't observe. "But you must try, try very hard in your lives to be radiant good energy, and to take my positive energy that I give to you and to use it in your Astronomy class and in your lives, and to always strive to be making harder choices to be good and in the thirty percent of the universe that is bright and luminous and beautiful like all of your beautiful selves." Yay for adorable Astronomy teachers, even when they take up twenty minutes of the exam period encouraging you to do well instead of administering the exam so you can do well.

So I saw Golden Compass this weekend, and not to spoil the ending or anything, but I can't. Grr. Hooray for Prince Caspian coming out on May 16th, 2008! Hopefully it will be more endingful. I have watched the trailer many times, scrutinizing it for plot details and things, and I really like the way Narnia looks in this movie. That might have been my problem with Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe--watching it again recently, it occurs to me that it doesn't feel like Narnia. It feels like some place pretending to be Narnia. Now, I never liked LWW the most out of all the books, and the Narnia in my head is a greenish-type one rather than the hundred-year-winter Narnia, so this Caspian summer-version Narnia does naturally come closer to my mental vision. The ruins of Cair Paravel look good, and I like Georgie Henley with longer hair. It flatters her. Oh, sadness... this is probably the last time we'll see Susan, unless they make The Horse and His Boy, which would make me really happy but probably make some movie producers really not. The Horse and His Boy is kind of to Narnia what parts of The Silmarillion are to Lord of the Rings: an interesting side-story that takes place in the same world, but that has nothing really to do with the main storyline. Not a good formula for a movie. If they don't make The Magician's Nephew, though, I will punch somebody at Walden. It is my very favoritest of all the books and if I don't see The Return Of Tilda Swinton In All Her Pre-Icy Glory I am going to be very angry. [/fangirl]

I'm excited about going home for break, but worried about the job that I really have no excuse not to get now. I do need the money, and I need the work experience even more. But... gah, I'd be happy doing nothing but unpaid theater volunteer work the whole time, I don't want to go to some scary place and have to fill out job application forms. Mruf.

December 2nd, 2007

08:09 pm: We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty.
I spent the day squeezing through the muddy vagina of Mother Earth, and I feel fantastic! I really wish I had a visual to accompany that sentence, but my fellow caver has not yet put the pics of the trip on the Book of Face.

Yeah, so caving. Awesome. SO MANY SLEEPY BATS! I wanted so much to take off my gloves and pet them, but I knew that would be bad and would disrupt their hibernation, rendering them unable to last the winter without starving to death. Mostly Myotis lucifigus or some other closely related myotis, with one big brown fellow that must have been an Eptesicus fuscus. I can't describe how adorable they were-- little balls of fuzz with cute, itty-bitty ears poking out and their teeny-weeny wings all curled up tight like little sleepy children... awwwww!

This cave was a lot wetter than the last one I went to. As in, this cave had a river in it. As in, we had to swim in the freezing cold muddy river. That was an experience. There was one stretch that was particularly hard: a short swim under low-hanging rock, then a climb straight up a tube to a teeny passage where you had to lift your body up with your arms and then fall sideways into a crack and wiggle like a fish till you flopped out into the mud on the other side, and then after a short rest in a medium-sized room, you got to climb up and go through a hole the UNCA Outdoors trip leaders had nicknamed "the Birth Canal." It's an oval passage roughly the size of a human body (if the human body in question has stayed away from McDonalds) and about three feet long, and you have to again lift your body up sideways and horozontally with your arms, then squeeze and pull and wiggle through that oval without letting yourself slide down to the bottom bit of the oval which was a trap that would grab your pelvis and not let it go. Yeah, my pelvis hurts now. But it was totally worth it!

I only got claustrophobic during one of the water crawls-- all the other times, I was struck by how not struck I was that my butt was wedged between really close limestone rock walls deep underground with no natural light and limited air and thousands of tons of rock and earth between me and the world I knew. Mostly, I was just thinking "damn this passage is a motherfucker."

One of the coolest things was the total darkness games. Way back in the cave, we turned off all our headlamps and all got quiet and experienced total silence and total darkness. It was so weird-- your brain won't let you believe it's completely dark. You see light at the edge of your vision, but there's nothing there; you think you can see the walls or the ceiling of teh cave, but you reach out and you can't touch them where you "see" them; you think you can totally see your hand waving in front of your face, but you can't see anyone else's and you know it's just your brain playing tricks on you. It's crazy. Also, the trip leaders showed us something so cool! You know those mint lifesavers? The plain white ones? They took a bag of those down with us, and then told us all to eat one, chewing it and cracking it in our teeth with our mouths open. THEY MAKE BLUE-WHITE GLOWSPARKS! If you don't believe me, try it in a really dark bathroom with as little light as you can manage. It is so friggin' cool, man.

Hopefully I'll have pictures of this, some time.

November 28th, 2007

10:29 am: We're all lying in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars
So I'm taking an Astronomy lab science, and one of our semester-long projects is to pick a planet and track it as it moves across the sky. I picked good old Mars, which should be easy, I thought, since it moves at a steady clip of 0.5 degrees (or the width of the full moon) per night and stays pretty visible for most of the evening. Hah. Easy. It would have been, had I remembered to go out and track the thing.

But it's all right, since no one else in the Astronomy labs seemed to be tracking their planets for real, anyway. Julia, my friend who is also in Astronomy, and I have been using her computer program KStars to fake our data, entering the dates and searching for Mars. I felt guilty, but it got the job done.

So, walking home from Julia's dorm late last night, I looked up at the sky and saw a bright, reddish object. "Huh," I thought, "wouldn't it be ironic if that were Mars?" So I kept looking, and the stars surrounding the reddish object... well. That little cluster up there certainly looks like the Pleiades, and it's at the right angle and distance to that V-shaped formation, that might be the Hyades... which means that's the constellation Taurus... which means that, yes, that bright star is Aldebaran... and then those bright stars over there are Castor and Pollux... which means that formation, yes, I can make it out now, is Gemini...

I checked my faked observation for tonight's date. Perfectly on the dot.

I have no idea why I never did this before. It was indescribably awesome to be able to look up at the sky and see all this shit and know what it was-- I kept staring and going over what I knew in my head, and I found Casseopeia (no-brainer, the bent W shape that's always visible) and from that, found the much fainter constellation Andromeda and the Andromeda Galaxy, M31. I knew that Draco was curled around Casseopeia, but that constellation is made up of very faint stars, so I couldn't find our fair-headed slashdarling. But I spotted Aurigula the Goatherder up over the horns of Taurus, and he might represent Aberforth Dumbledore.

It was pretty awesome, I must say. I felt like a real astronomer for once. Damn, why didn't I ever do this before? Tonight looks to be a night just as clear as last night, and I am totally doing this again.

November 11th, 2007

08:25 pm: Everybody does better in bowling shoes.
Ah, college, that esteemed hall of higher learning, where bright young scholars come together in intelligent discussion on topics ranging from the classical philosophical questions of existence to pressing current issues, where young minds are constantly opened to new horizons of understanding, where the boundaries of knowledge are continually questioned and expanded.

Or...

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where Karim, Gabi and I stay up until 1 AM talking about homemade mustard gas and Prostitutios, the new breakfast cereal out from General Mills.

Truly, we inhabit the hallowed halls of learning.

Would write more, but I really ought to be writing my paper for my class tomorrow. I would save it for the morning, but OMG REGISTRATION AHHH! There are four slots left for LIT 241. I, Gabi, and Jasper have LIT 241 on our schedule wishlists. Tomorrow morning, when online registration opens for freshmen, there will be blood.

October 22nd, 2007

12:10 am: On Dumbledore's Sexuality.
So. J. K. Rowling responded to a question about Dumbledore's romantic past by revealing that he is gay and was in love with Gellert Grindelwald. Many people are angry because there is no evidence of this in the books. Others note that there is no evidence to dispute the fact. Most say that it has no relevance to the books.

Ahem.

So what.Collapse )

Oh, and if we're talking about plot and character realism here, I think the more pressing issue is TONKS AND LUPIN. WHAT THE FUCK. Dumbledore liking the men makes a helluva lot more sense to me than that pairing.

October 21st, 2007

05:13 pm: "Dumbledore's got style!"
It is canon.

Dumbledore is gay.

LOVE.

October 10th, 2007

10:45 am: Ballet, Busses, Bats, Bullshit, Break.
COLLEEEEEEEEGE.

A couple of Fridays ago, my roommate Gabi and I went out to get us some culture at the Asheville Ballet. It was cool; I think I'm not entirely a lost cause if I can appreciate ballet. After the ballet, I hopped over to Asheville's only comic book store and bought a set of SERENITY ACTION FIGURES OMG! The Sword and Grail is a pretty awesome comic book store. It's been described as a store too geeky for even Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.

On the way back to school after the ballet, we had to chase the city bus three blocks past the overcrowded drum circle at Pritchard Park in order to get on. The Asheville busses aren't all that reliable at stopping for people at designated bus stops. Another night, I and several other UNCA students were standing under the Bus Stop sign at Pritchard Park and holding out our OneCards, looking expectantly at the bus, as it drove right past us without even slowing. What the crap?

In her ever-expanding quest for knowledge of the proper use of the English Language, Gabi has become a disciple of Lynne Truss. She has borrowed my copy of the Sacred Scriptures (also known as Eats, Shoots & Leaves) and is instructing herself in the ways of Our Lord Grammaticus. Amen.

I might get a chance to go on the World of Work trip that UNCA's career center sponsors during Spring Break. You go to some city, talk with some UNCA graduates about their jobs, etc., etc. Sounds pretty dull until you realize that this year the trip may be going to AUSTIN, TEXAS this year. Austin. As in the headquarters of Bat Conservation International. As in enormous column of Mexican free-tailed bats emerging from under the Constitution Avenue Bridge at dusk. As in the home city of No Pants Day. As in I could totally get an internship or something at Bat Conservation International. As in I could spend my summer up to the elbows in mealworms and snuggly cuddly BATS. I am so going on this trip, unless it goes to the other choice, Chicago, in which case, who cares?

Speaking of Chicago and bats, I think I've got a funny idea for a story about Batman and his Batcave... but that's for later.

I went on this walking tour of "Haunted Asheville" with my parents when they were up for Family Weekend. It was... pretty bogus. Also, the tour guide failed to omit needless words.

TOUR GUIDE: And people in this church have described hearing a whispering voice in their ear, or feeling a tap on their shoulder, but when they turn to look, there is simply nothing there.
EMMA'S INNER MONOLOGUE: Well, duh. It's a ghost tour. We know there's supposed to be nothing there. What did you think we thought it was, another person asking if they could scootch into the pew?
TOUR GUIDE: Sometimes they are the only person in the church, or there's somebody else sitting way in the back of the church, but there is no one close by. There is simply nothing and no one close enough to have made that noise.
INNER MONOLOGUE: Um... yeah, buddy, we get it.
TOUR GUIDE: There is simply no way that someone could have come all the way from the other side of the church and made that noise or tapped that shoulder and made it all the way back to the other side of the chuch in the time it takes for the person to turn their heads. There is just simply... nothing there.
INNER MONOLOGUE: Get on with it!

Later that tour...

TOUR GUIDE: Many years ago, what is now Pritchard Park was the site of a massive war rally for the Civil War Battle of Asheville. Confederate defenders of Asheville gathered here and danced and sang and beat drums, and to this day, some shop owners report hearing sounds of drums coming from Pritchard Park.
PRITCHARD PARK'S WEEKLY SUMMER DRUM CIRCLE: *makes loud drumming sounds*
TOUR GUIDE: Clearly this must be caused by ghosts.

Later that ghost story...

TOUR GUIDE: And there were no Confederate casualties from the Civil War Battle of Asheville, which means that us Confederates were awesomely invincible!
INNER MONOLOGUE: If there were no Confederate casulaties, then who the hell is doing the haunting?

Ah, ghosts and those who claim to commune with them. Your paranormal antics are so laughable.

Went home for Fall Break this weekend, and it was nice to hug my pets and hang out with my parents. Got my teeth cleaned, was admonished that I must floss for at least 18 hours out of every day, bought some high-fiber, oat bran cereal to help lower my cholesterol, played some more Syberia with Dad and went out to the movies with Mom. A good break. On the ride back home, my driver Amy stopped in Chapell Hill to have lunch with her brother. So, Hannah, Matthew, Alex, Caitlin: I R IN UR TOWN, EATIN UR REASONABLY PRICED COLLEGE STUDENT FOOD. I didn't see you, but damn do you guys have the quintessential College Town(TM). I'm having serious college-size envy.

September 9th, 2007

10:21 pm: Because everybody loves Harry/Draco proto-slash
There are probably a ton of these kinds of fics around, but I wrote my own anyway. This is extremely rough and bad and unedited, but I like it, especially the chance that Harry gets to chide Malfoy for his stupidity--so refreshing to see a Slytherin brought gently off his high horse by a Gryffindor. Because dammit, good old Gryffindor goodness is what a lot of people need, not sly Slytherin smarmy snarking. Like Harry says, it's just a choice to do good things--to simple to explain to an "intelligent" Syltherin. So, here you are:

Too Simple to Explain-- major DH spoilersCollapse )

P. S. -- those artistically inclined readers of my journal are welcome to try illustrating this. I would myself, but I lack skill in drawing human anatomy.

September 8th, 2007

10:45 pm: MAL SHOT FIRST
Well, if I weren't so cheap, I'd have a paid account and I could do this as a real poll. Sadly, I don't, so I'll just pose the question:

What if Malcolm Reynolds and Han Solo got in a fight?

a) They would both shoot first.

b) They would start fighting, but after a few minutes, they'd just start laughing and go get a beer together.

c) They would start fighting, but after a few minutes, they'd just throw down their weapons and start making out.


Post your answer in a comment, or make up an original one of your own! (Hint: other acceptable answers include "River Tam kicks them both in the face" or "Harry leaves Ginny for Draco, who is hotter anyway")

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday over Facebook or LJ or email or in person or whatever! I had a very fun birthday. My roommate Gabby and the Catholic Student Association gave me a surprise birthday party--they all burst into my room with a giant birthday poster and a game of Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey, with a donkey named Lontie, and my suitemate JJ brought over her blender and the makings for smoothies. It was a ton of fun! The cold I've had for several days was the only bad thing about this birthday--with this sore throat, I sound like a 40-year-old smoker who is being used as the mouthpiece of Satan. I've been invited to go down to the campus radio station and sing a song at 2 am tonight on top of that. I might just do it, since the song is Da Vinci's Notebook's "The Enormous Penis Song," which is worth singing even if my throat feels like soggy steel wool.

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