Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer time is in the air...

Ohmigosh I love Graeters! For those of you poor souls who have never enjoyed the bliss of Greaters ice cream… well, there are just no words.

This week is my church’s big local outreach thingy, and I’ve been doing something every day since Wednesday. Tonight was one of the most fun activities: a free carnival for a low income area in our neighborhood. It was a blast. Little kids are always darling, and for the second year running I’ve helped out with the temporary tattoo booth. The reactions are always priceless. One little boy was in his daddy’s arms while I gave him his dinosaur tattoo, and his dad asked “Does it hurt?” I guess the little guy was convinced he was getting a real tattoo like the ones his daddy had, so he answered, “Yeah.” Both the kid’s father and I thought this was hilarious. The water might have been cold, but with today’s temperatures that would’ve felt fairly nice. Some of the little tikes need to be held by their parents, or automatically lean away from the cold sponge (thus initiating a game of lean-and-follow-for-thirty-seconds), and some of them just stick their hand out like regular little princesses. One little girl said “No” to everything, but her mother explained that she said “No” regardless of whether or not she wanted something, and in the end she was very happy with her tattoo. The best moment, however, was when a girl in a pink shirt came up with her mom, and my coworker and I immediately began offering different girly tattoos like butterflies, flowers and hearts. No dice. Then the mother said “Honey, they just see a little girl, not a tomboy.” We offered her frogs and bugs instead and we had a hit.

Back to my first comment: after we had finished baking in the sun, my mom and I headed to Graeters for a treat that we’d been planning. Mom had some left on an old gift card and wanted to get rid of that first. Turned out that her card covered it all, so now we get to go back sometime and I get to do the treating. Ah… ice cream….

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chateau Laroche

Today was fantastic. The sun behaved and had the modesty to hide itself behind a few thin clouds for the FOTF’s (the Fellowship of the Freaks) trip to Chateau Laroche, also known as Loveland Castle. This is good for vampires like me to turn cherry-red at the slightest hint of sunshine. Speaking of vampires, I got yet another vampire comment today thanks to my ashy skin. It was kinda funny. But, yes, our day! We arrived about the time the castle opened and spent an hour or so climbing up and down narrow spiral staircases, posing by suits of armor and oogling the impressive away of weapons the castle boasts. What’s great about the castle, however, is that there’s even more out back. Once you leave the confines of stone walls and weaponry, you can explore the beautiful grounds that rise in terraces behind the main attraction. They were created with soil moved while making the castle itself. Several new spots had been added since I last went, and we branched off probably a little deeper than we were supposed to into the woods. One of our new friends got little green bramble-burs all over her clothes, and she hadn’t succeeded in removing even half of them when we parted ways. Lunch was held on the watch tower, which overlooks a charming rock garden that is guarded by a stone dragon. No joke. There’s a sign warning people to stay out of that little plot, and there are bones scattered around the dragon’s head to prove the keepers’ point. Then we had a nice little chat with one of the knights who run the establishment and called it a day. This, I must tell you, is the same knight who got into a duel with my friend Jules (who fences). If I remember correctly, Jules won. I have the first segment of this battle on video, and I stuck it on Youtube, so if you’re bored search ‘Jules vs knight’ and you should be able to find it pretty fast.

If you’ve never been to this awesome place, you should. Admittance is cheap (3 bucks), and it’s well worth the trip, especially on festival days, which I have been told are now being held every third Saturday. I would happily volunteer to go with anyone interested, but I’m afraid that will have to wait until next summer, because I’m heading off soon to a place with older castles.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Naughty, naughty me. Stuff actually happens to me and I don’t write about it.

The latest news is that this past Sunday I attended a fabulous performance of La Boheme put on by the Cincinnati Opera. Years ago, La Boheme was my first opera, so this was quite a throwback for me, and after several years of going to and enjoying operas, I found that I had a better appreciation for Boheme this time around. Attending college also gives me a whole new appreciation for the quasi-bohemian lifestyle. Anyway, my dear friend – who we shall call Shrubby – and I went early in order to stand outside in the middle of the hot afternoon in full opera garb in order to purchase student tickets at the box office as soon as they came available. We split a sandwich, ate an apricot and tried to keep cool under the overhang of Music Hall.

Once we got our tickets, of course, we bumped into another roadblock, this one coming in the form of a very grumpy, stone-faced door guy. He was getting up there in years, and I think someone chiseled that frown into his face like someone carved the smile on the Joker’s. They let us into the little glass room that’s squashed between the outer and inner doors, but no one was really happy with that situation, and we weren’t the only students or other anxious parties trapped there. Soon cell phones were being pressed to the glass so the guy could see the time, but his watch was set for another time zone I think, and he didn’t believe us. In the end it was another door guy who came over and had to let us in. I told Shrubby that the job of door guy must always go to the grumpiest applicant.

Both Shrubby and I had invited our mothers to come and see the opera with us, so we had arranged to meet them by the gift shop (apparently mothers melt in sunlight, rather like vampires – joke, Mom). This was a bad idea for two reasons: 1, I had money, and 2, they had cute buttons I could stick on my bag and add to my collection. I bought two. One says “Life is short. Opera is long.” The other is the opera version of cover art with Rodolfo and Mimi painted in a pretty little scene. I was also tempted to get a really funny little book called The Bohemian Mainfesto. They were asking twenty for it, but it’s on Amazon for around five including shipping. Go me. When I have money again I’m getting it.

The mummies came, we went up a level and watched all the people in their pretty clothes milling around below, and finally actually watched the opera. At intermission Shrubby took me down to chat with her violin teacher, who happened to playing principle something-or-other in the pit for that opera. She was very friendly, and it seems that Shrubby talks about me when I run away to college. According to the teacher “You’re famous.” Scary. Now I wonder what parts of my insane friendship with Shrubby are common knowledge.

Once the show was over (great singing, great acting, good if somewhat colorless set, unimpressive costumes) I dragged my mom down with me to the green room. Now, the green room is not actually green at all. It is just a nicely furnished little room that the main actors’ dressing rooms branch off of. This particular opera was populated with some very cute guys, so enjoyed getting their autographs in my program. The best moment by far, however, came from a brief discussion with Ailyn Perez, who had played Mimi in the opera. I told her that I’d nearly cried – which was a rare thing for me, as there was only one other opera that had gotten me close to tears before. She agreed enthusiastically about the power of ‘Boheme’, and told me that “An old lady in Italy once told me that if you ever lose touch with your soul, go back to the last two acts of ‘Boheme’.” I would add that if you want to get in touch with your inner college student, all you need to do is watch the first two acts.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm a Meany

So, I’ve had a cold for a few days, took some sleepy meds to help last night, and had to stay awake this morning with coffee (ick). The result was a very fun, very snarky, very slap-happy discussion with the coffeeroom crew – meaning those of us who go to first service at church and have nothing to do for second.

The conversation turned to books, and one friend – who is one of the few remaining Inheritance Cycle fans I know of – remarked that it had been two years since the series was added to. Personally, I thought the first book was a fun ride for younger audiences who aren’t looking for something particularly well-written, but just want a quick little fun ride. After the second book I threw in the towel. The only good things about the first book (such as a quick pace to keep the reader engaged) had been thrown by the wayside, and the author had assumed that since he’d done well with his first novel that he must philosophize (badly) with the second. Once it became obvious that the author had gotten too big for britches, I lost all respect (read ‘mercy’) I’d had for his first book, Eragon.

The plot is a carbon copy of Star Wars. It opens with an orphaned rural farm boy, living with his uncle on a farm. An old town curiosity is the mysterious old man who knows much but keeps to himself in very mysterious ways. The quaint little farm is attacked, the uncle is killed, and the boy discovers that the old mysterious man is really a Jedi – Oh, I’m sorry, I mean dragon rider. So, the old Jedi – dragon rider – takes the boy, who turns out to be a new Jedi – dragon rider – on an epic quest. The newbie learns fun and awesome things. Then there is the princess in the dungeon, and the newbie goes and saves her. There are consequences, however, and sweet old Obi-wan – sorry, Brom – bites the dust saving the newbie. Then the remaining cast members journey to the hidden rebel base, where they promptly have a showdown with the forces of the evil Empire (do I really need to say anything on that one?). Good prevails. Later on it is discovered that the sweet old (dead) Jedi – dragonrider – trained the second most powerful villain in the Empire, who, coincidentally, happens to be the newbie’s dad.

Ripping off the canon series of Star Wars wasn’t enough for the author, however, so later on he reveals that the newbie is really his old, dead teacher’s son. Half the Star Wars fans I know of were cheering for Obiwan/Amidala complications in the prequels, so the author has simply proved that he isn’t above copying the fans of major motion picture series, either.

What about the dragons and the mindreading and the true names, though? That’s easy. Everything that didn’t come from Star Wars came from one of these other well-known stories: The Lord of the Rings (ERAGON and ARYA? He’s human, she’s an elf. Sound familiar?), Wizard of Earthsea, and Dragonriders of Pern.

Oh, and the entire point of the second book was to prove that not all homeschoolers are Christian. Just saying.

Hm. I should be my snarky self more often. This is a fairly long post.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fifty Things to Do in Ten Years (Because I'm a Dork)

Alright, so I’m totally cheating, but most of this post will be taken up with my list of fifty things to do in ten years. If this blog stays going I might report when things get checked off… because I’m just boring like that. On with the randomness!

50 Things to do in the next 10 years

1. Finish college with high grades

2. Pay off college debt

3. Graduation trip with three friends to Hocking Hills

4. Cruise

5. Write five short stories a year

6. Finish Transformers fic

7. Get a short story published

8. Weigh 130 (and maintain it)

9. Fold 100 paper cranes (per year)

10. Get an apartment

11. Take Mekenzie and Melissa to Ren Fest

12. Make gypsy costume

13. Rewrite Realm Perilous

14. Finish Spiral

15. Put blue streaks in hair

16. Try Mayan hot chocolate

17. Learn Japanese

18. Teach English overseas

19. Complete departmental honors

20. Take voice lessons

21. Fold 100 paper frogs

22. Go to a steampunk outing

23. Take Maribeth to Universal for 1 week

24. Go to Canada

25. Help Mom set up children’s museum/play place

26. Go horseback riding

27. Visit Seaworld

28. Read 100 books

29. Volunteer as a KOV squire

30. Go to Disney

31. Finish The Lady of the Fishpond with Niki

32. Spend a day in a cemetery

33. Make green eggs and ham

34. Have an epic 21st birthday party

35. Get a dog

36. Go snorkeling

37. Have a night on the town with a friend

38. Try sashimi

39. Go to Serpent Mound

40. Go kayaking

41. Go to King’s Island

42. Buy new earphones

43. Go to the observatory

44. Prank the entire campus

45. Learn to drive

46. Go to the zoo

47. Go to the Festival of Lights

48. Write a blog series on various Medieval and Renaissance Festivals

49. Get a car

50. Buy a ModCloth dress for graduation

I really do need to learn to drive. The fact that I can’t yet is just ridiculous laziness. And just think of all the trouble I could get into with my own wheels!

Since finishing the list I realized that I also want to go to an anime con sometime, because even though I don’t know much about very many animes, they just look like fun. And I could go in costume. That’s always a plus. If you ever want me to go somewhere just say “You can come in costume” and I’ll probably do it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Much Randomness

I must really have no life. I went to make a list of fifty goals to try to achieve in the next ten years and found that I could only get to thirty one. Does this mean that my life is very full or very empty? Not empty. No way. Not with my niece. I’ll need lots of origami paper, though, because one goal was to fold one hundred paper cranes and then another was to fold one hundred paper cranes. I’ll also need lots of money, because travel was involved with about half of the things. When I get to fifty I’ll post the list. It should be amusing. Does anyone know a recipe for Mayan hot chocolate?

So, I’ve come to a major, life-changing decision… ok, not really, but it will have a major impact on my writing life. I’ve decided to give up fanfic, or at least to give it up for the time being. Soon I will be posting the next chapter on my current fic, and the readers will decide their fate. If they review well, I will finish the fic before throwing in the towel. If they don’t, then I will put the fic on hiatus and let it sit for a while so I can devote more time to my short stories.

Now it is time for a salute to Emily, the lovely lady who can run three miles and pass off gas as the property of the old guy next to her. I can make it all of eight minutes before I’m panting and gasping loud enough to be heard over the machine and Beauty and the Beast. It isn’t pretty. Way to go, Emily. I shall forever be in your treadmillish dust.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


The mosquitoes have officially breached the line of all decency in the war between themselves and Mindy-kind. My original plan was to spend this post sharing the comical and ultimately pointless details of my small group (comprised mostly of folks aged 50 or so) sitting around in lawn chairs while batting a pink rubber kids ball at each other, celebrating a national holiday (happy 4th, by the way). I can proudly tell you that I clocked my uncle Gene several times. But the mosquitoes!

First, they attacked in their usual swarm. Even with bug spray I ended up with about a dozen bites by the end of the evening. One even had the audacity to try for my neck. It must have had delusions of grandeur and figured that it was really a vampire. It needed to be reminded of its heritage, so I gave it a good slap.

The true violation, however, was an attack from the rear. Literally. I had just sat down in a lawn to chair to watch some very fabulous – and rather illegal, but who in Ohio cares – fireworks, when I felt a pinch upon my bottom. Then the pinch began to itch and when I went to take I shower, I verified the fact that I had been viciously violated by a sneaky little skeeter. This is an assault upon the honor of our conflict! For years I’ve been the poor soul scratching at five bites while everyone else in my party gets off itch-free. My mom insists that it’s because I’m sweet, but I have no interest in being any skeeter’s sugar. What’s worse is that I know it’ll itch even worse tomorrow, like all mosquito bites inevitably do, and that I will parade around the house itching my bomming. At least I don’t have to go anywhere for the next day or so.

Remember, though, the next time you see someone scratching their rears in public, that they might have been violated by a mosquito too.