Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Diving Once More

It seemed like my last post about getting stuck on my English paper was very helpful in getting me to find my topic and just going for it. So, this is me trying that again. Below is the sandbox for random thought processes, lines of inquiry, segues, and ramblings [...I think].


[Insert Creative, Unique, and/or Witty Title Here]

Society is obsessed--worships--Success and Independence. Two very hard things to pin down their exact meaning, especially within Society as a whole. Most readily, Success is linked with the accumulation of  things. Some examples include wealth, material possessions, and ideals that many people group together: big house, full of luxurious and expensive items getting married; a steady-paying, 9-to-5 job; having kids, enough money to live comfortably.

Hungarian psychology professor, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi explains in his essay What Is The Self? that personal objects help create an ideal image to those around someone, while "the objects one collects in the home seem to serve a different function. As they are more private, their function seems to be to create inner order and clarity in the owner's conception of self, rather than making an external impression." (256)

Whoever says the choice for careers is "college or flipping burgers" clearly has never seen Dirty Jobs.

I have a one-liter bottle of water next to me while I'm working on my paper, and I'm wishing it's some other kind of drink. Is there such thing as "liquid courage" for college--something like "liquid inspiration" or "drought of productivity"??

We want our women in seductive, form-fitting clothes that don't easily allow other things--like a wallet or cell phone--to be carried without disrupting the appeal of the clothes. Are we secretly wanting our women to be completely dependent on us during dates? The solution for women: purses.

The violent wind slams the unrelenting brick, slapping against the windows, slowly stirring a revolution in the air within the rooms: to join its cause and spread an icy domain within the dorms.

The Saints coolly light their cigarettes while the wind whips outside. Their halos are undisturbed by the violence.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Diving So Deep You Sink

So, at the moment I'm working on a 5-page working draft due tomorrow, and am somewhat floundering. I dove so far into my line of thought and paper that I'm treadmilling. Wishing to stay away from the idea-beaching shallows and sandbars I dove into the deep-end of the bay to find the pearls of wisdom I sought, but have found the waters more vast and engulfing than originally expected.

I'm going to use this open, and less formal-feeling post page as a proverbial anchor to tie myself to; a raft to collect my thoughts; and a float for support between dives. 

Perhaps this "informal" venue will act as an old, experience-weathered fisherman who is teaching his apprentice (me) in thought-diving, whispering nuggets of advice and seasonal-teachings in this lost art. From the stationary raft he watches me take a deep breath and sink into the dark, mysterious depths of Thought. As the water laps around the raft he remembers the light and lightness that can be discovered in those deep, dark waters. Diving too quickly and too deep, one becomes disoriented, and may even dive deeper instead of rising above and viewing the writing as a whole. One has to breath from time to time. A safety line is almost always required, just to find which way is up.

You as a reader will more than likely not see, read, or experience what happens between my dives, but at least I've given a somewhat entertaining and fresh look at writing, assigned or otherwise.

Yeah, I got an A- on this one! Hoorah, for diving!

Full Steam Ahead

Here is another post (#5) for Megan Writes 365!

Look up an image of a boat (or "ship" if you're fancy), and then write something starting with "The ship's sails..."

Even though I gave all the rules, you can still go to the page and see Megan's video, etc.

[This wonderfully steampunk ship is not my work, but found it on this blog--and found it's from fellow DeviantArtist, CreepyBlueStorm, so go check out the art!]

And now, the story:

The ship's sails had been ripped apart by the harsh, vengeful winds the previous night. It had been a bitter battle against the fierce side of Nature. Captain Antoni scanned the calm seas, in total awe at how quickly his Mistress could change. But that's why we all love Her, he thought. You can never tame the Sea, but merely define yourself within her shadow. You can fight and oppose her all you want, but eventually she holds all of us within her beautiful, cold grip. We all belong to the Sea.
He hobbled his way back inside his Captain's Quarters, and brushed off a pile of spilled books and journals off his desk, revealing the ship's com-system. Flipping on a switch and adjusting a few dials, the ancient device crackled and hummed to life. Reading the various gauges to determine it was back to full power, he spoke to his crew. His orders and and plans to keep heading North would be somewhat discouraging to his crew, but he knew these men. His most loyal sailors and life-long friends, they would follow him to the very Gates of Hades, and they knew that would most likely be this venture's destination, even if their mission was completed.
The com-system crackled and then remained silent as Antoni dialed it off. We must conserve as much power as we can, he thought. As he heard the ship's massive engines humming and then chugging back to life he flipped off all of the cabin's lights. For a moment in the darkness he imagined Shadows closing in all around him, but the images burned away as he flung open the heavy-canvas curtains to the giant, wrap-around window at the back of his quarters. The water around the ship started to circulate and bubble, as the mighty screws beneath the waves churned and rotated, slowly pushing the ship ever Northward.
After scrawling quick notes and calculations in a log, Antoni went back on deck, into the brisk morning air. Using his personal pair of binoculars, he spotted the Cornelius and Olympus IV just before the horizon to his East. The night hadn't been fair to anyone, no matter how experienced or prestigious. Antoni slightly smirked at the thought of Prince Andrew's precious steamer Olympus IV, beset by the prevailing winds and rough seas. Not even Royalty can match Nature.
We are all Hers, Antoni announced to the wind.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Here I am, stuck in my crib...

And no one is paying attention to me. Yes me, Charlie Angus "Baby" Treeflinger, the first brown-haired, green-eyed Treeflinger in the last two generations, and one day the world's mightiest Treeflinger!

But for now, I must stay in this crib, slowly biding my time when I can crawl among the grass and fling as many trees as I can. Why are you looking at me funny? You know, trees! Those little, thin brown things in the grass that fall from those huge brown things covered in green outside--Yeah, those giant things that whisper when the clouds blow on the grass. Anyway, I love flinging trees all over, and I laugh so loud when I do it. Sometimes I laugh so hard my parents sniff the air and look at me with funny faces.

Then after that I'm whisked away and put on a table somewhere, and daddy always makes funny faces while dressing my legs. He looks like he ate something slimy, like a slug. Side note, don't ever eat those. Ech. I don't like them that much, but I like "peamut-budder and shelly" a lot a lot--but only cut in triangles. Never squares.

My older sisters ask me to play with them, even though they're in first grade. (What does that mean?) Other girls they know come see me, and dress me up in colorful clothes, like mommy sometimes wears. Then they take a pen and press it to my lips and laugh and giggle. I just smile and laugh at them. They're so funny, and they all have long hair, like Belle from "Beety and the Best". I like her. She sings and has a funny daddy.

I'm so tired of this crib! I'm gonna play with my t-rex toy. He can growl, but has teeny-tiny arms that can't throw trees like I can! I member in a movie he says "IAVEABIGEDANDLILARMS" I laugh so hard I snort like Ms. Piggy!

You're boring, I'm gonna not play with you!


If you haven't figured out by this point, this was another write for Megan Writes 365; Day 4!
Now, time for me to go, because you're boring. Or maybe I meant asleep, like I should be??

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mid-Quarter Resolutions

This post isn't really related to mid-quarters or even college in general. Just another prompt write for my friend Megan's project Megan Writes 365. Just to help her out, and spread around the joys of Nerdfighteria, I created a link just for her blog. Enjoy, Megan! You can take the following link and post it anywhere online to spread it around!

New Year's Resolutions;
every year we think and
we say we're gonna do it;
yes, finally treat our goals like Pokemon and
e-raticate them in the next 364 days.
As usual, our strong minds
renounce the old ways, but only for
so long, and then we're the same as last year:
running back to the computers and couches,
entreating ourselves to the joys of not changing, but
surrendering to what we hold familiar.
Outraged after 342 days, we jump up in arms, and swear an oath against
laziness and procrastination.
Usually, this means that once again, we write a resolution
that we will actually follow next year.
I on the other hand have come up with a solution,
obtain a time machine and convince yourself you'll
never actually finish a resolution for a year, so try one just for the

Early-morning Write

Gonna follow the second day's prompt as part of Megan Writes 365. If you don't already know, my friend Megan is trying to write as often as she can, and posting prompts for her and other people to do to help make their writing better.

For today's prompt, you can click here.

And now, my piece:

The post card arrived from the Christian camp in the middle of the state yesterday. The card was of a sunset over a hill with a pair of birds silhouetted against the colorful clouds. One of the birds had been crossed out by a dull pen, so there was a scratchy white X violently etched into photopaper. The writing on the back of the card was written so heavily I could read the reverse through the once-pristine image of the sunset: "!OUY KCUF"

I chuckled to myself as I browsed through the rest of the day's mail. Just more political ads and coupons for coffee places I'll never go to. These I tossed in the recycling bin upon leaving the Post Office, but I kept the post card. I drove home and push-pinned it onto the corkboard above my desk at home. Yeah, the one I place all my little accomplishments on--like the clippings of articles that are awarded, the rejection letters from prestigious publishing companies, and the young fans that write just to say how much they love what I write.

I woke up this morning, poured coffee into my body, and sat in front of my computer. As it hummed to life I smiled at the not-so-innocent post card, and then went to work. All the while, I could just picture the woman that wrote the words, and how she was doing at the camp. Of course, going there she didn't know it was a Christian camp, she had merely taken the offer to drive out there and relax for the week, all for free. She had heard what I said, "It's a consolation gift." A consolation for what, I can only imagine what her mind twisted and fabricated to suit her own feelings, her view of our history, and how I somehow still owed her something. She had failed to decode the meaning of my words as I handed her the tickets and gas money. It was a consolation for me, even if it was just a weekend. Just knowing she would be with a group of people that wouldn't take her prissiness and dramatizing everything was enough to get me smiling. The fact she took time to buy the over-priced post card and send it to me was the icing on this deliciously cold cake.

I had gotten over what she did (a few times) about a year after we broke up. We never talked, and that was perfect for me. It was only about two weeks ago when she got in touch with me after the success of my second book. Figures. I admit I might've been half-blinded by the thought of getting a jab at her, but the adolescent side of me that wanted at least a little taste of vengeance, despite the immaturity. I just gave in to it.

My fingers hovered over the keyboard, anxious to start typing and start moving the clock's hands, sentence by sentence:
"Today, I received word from my ex. Ex of a few years, I should add. She absolutely loves the gift and tickets I bought for her, and sent me the nicest card. I'm expecting a call from her in a few hours once she's on the road and headed back to civilization."

Monday, November 1, 2010

College: Intra-Urban Geographies

Edit: Nov. 25, 2010 - Pictures added

Today, the Bellingham Weather System decided to stop denying that it is officially fall in Western Washington, and it's been chilly and raining all day. Because of this torrent of water, more and more puddles are forming all over campus, especially where there's tons of brick (which is everywhere).

One vast expanse of brick is known as Red Square, and today walking between classes I have discovered a hidden quality of it: there's a miniature terrain in the bricks.

Through age and imperfections in the Square, brick-lined estuaries, lakes, straits, islands, peninsulas, and other water-land relationships are created in miniature. As rainfall increases, there is a miniature urban flood that only conflicts with foot traffic through the square.
This accidentally man-made landscape slowly redirects the ebb and flow of students between classes. Those who wish to avoid getting soaking socks choose increasingly hop-scotch-esque routes among the "dry" brick-islands, while those with tall shoes, rainboots, or aren't concerned with wet feet, merely walk undaunted through the tiny lakes, creeks, rivers, sloughs, and channels that are created. Everyone that walks through Red Square in the rain is a wayward explorer, landing on dozens of unnoticed islands and mini-continents that will remain unclaimed.

Of course, there is the possibility that the apparent "flaws" in the way the brickwork sits may be on purpose. Perhaps a team of brick-layers worked together to replicate familiar (and perhaps imaginary) landscapes and terrains through the reaction of brick and trapped water.

On this track, I was immediately reminded of the plaza on campus just a little further south, Haskell Plaza. According to WWU's Walking Tour with Artists--Part of Western's Outdoor Sculpture Collection, Haskell Plaza is a miniature, familiar terrain:

"As you walk from Hamrol’s work further into Haskell Plaza, you will notice an increase of segmented, grassy mounds. These mounds along with the patterned brickwork represent the San Juan Islands just beyond Western and Bellingham Bay. The landscape architects, Campbell & Campbell of California, wanted to connect us through its miniature version to the larger world outside campus." [*] p.22

Whether on purpose or not, Western Washington University has at least two miniature worlds that connect students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the outside world; even if it is not as obvious to most people. Perhaps an intra-urban cartographer will one day map out the wavering brick-archipelagos and lake systems that are located within Red Square on particularly rainy days.

This line of thinking has me wanting to go browse through Geoff Manaugh's BLDGBLOG some more. Even of you aren't one for architecture (like I used to be), you should still check out his stuff!

Since tomorrow is my "off day" and it should be rainy out, I'll try to snap some pics of people interacting with these miniature systems and post them here.

I seriously have no idea why it took this long.

Examples of the micro-environments located in Red Square, Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. Tried to take the shot from the same angle on various days to show the changing aquatic elements, as well as the way people travel around them.


[*] -