Thursday, April 23, 2009

The flower and the Cactus

To apologize for not having a picture before, I'm posting this one today that has absolutely nothing to do with what I'm talking about. Wait. . . what am I talking about?

Let's try a new strategy: connecting this picture to some book or other.

The flower doesn't have the best focus here (I know, I'm not a great photographer), but I love its contrast against the cactus pad. They contrast in looks, but they're actually quite similar. The flower is pretty, but small and insignificant. The cactus pad is larger, but uglier, especially given all the holes in its flesh. So they're on pretty equal ground. Like. . . Jane and Rochester! (Somebody should probably start thinking about reading more than just Charlotte Bronte.) Of course, Jane is plain rather than pretty, but I'm thinking of who she is instead of what she looks like. She's a kind, devoted, beautiful person, though very small in the world. Rochester, well, he is kind of ugly. But besides that, he's higher up. You can see his status, his power. Cactuses are powerful things, storing all that water (like Rochester's inherited money) to live off of for so long. Then they both have their strength. His is more inherent; hers she has to work for more to survive in the desert they're in.

Well, to say "desert" figuratively, of course. I personally adore physical deserts. The weather is so beautiful now that the sun is actually warm again. That's why I just had to go on a photo shoot of all the pretty greenery, including this pair.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fish Names

My brother has a tank of five goldfish, so I decided that I would do him the service of naming them for him. I don't think he actually knows all the names I've come up with, but let's not talk about that. I just have to remind him some more.

I started off naming one "Phantom" because it has an orange cape on its back, like what the Phantom of the Opera wears in the movie. Then I named the runt with funny colors Mortimer, after Mortimer Mouse, who is also a little odd looking. But it's turned out that Mortimer is the biggest fish now and a the only solid, shining orange, so his name doesn't fit very well anymore.

I decided to go ahead and name the rest after characters, also. The one that used to be the biggest is Grendel, as the threatening one of the bunch. Then I decided to go along with the villain theme and name the other one Heathcliff, just because that's such a cool name.

What of the last? It didn't have a name for the longest time, but last night I thought I should do something my brother would appreciate. I thought, maybe something from Star Trek. He'd like "Picard," but that didn't seem right. So I thought about who the villain is on the Enterprise. Q. Yes, Q is the name for the last fish. Not literary or even booky, but it fits.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Images of Darkness

I wanted to have a picture on here today, but I don't have my camera with me and my small attempts to take a picture of the inside of my book with my laptop's camera didn't work out so well. Not that I tried very hard. . . So just imagine a page inside my copy of Heart of Darkness. It's quite frightening, actually. I like annotating in certain books, especially this densest of densest, so there are now marks from that first time I read it (about a year ago) and the ones I'm making now.

This book has countless layers upon layers, so it's interesting to see which things I'm picking up on now that I didn't get before or which things I noticed before that I might not have this time.

Unlike many, I didn't hate Heart of Darkness the first time I read it, but it was a challenging read. I couldn't get through more than seven pages in one sitting. This time, however, I'm in awe of the imagery in here. Like this part: "We called at some more places with farcical names, where the merry dance of death and trade goes on in a still and earthy atmosphere as of an overheated catacomb; all along the formless coast bordered by dangerous surf, as if Nature herself had tried to ward off intruders; in and out of rivers, streams of death in life, whose banks were rotting into mud, whose waters, thickened into slime, invaded the contorted mangroves, that seemed to writhe at us in the extremity of an impotent despair."

Lots of doom and gloom, but it's beautiful darkness, at least. The personification of the rotting banks and writhing trees is just amazing. Books like this are like puzzles. Not just the mystery in the plot, but in these layers of meaning that Joseph Conrad put in here. Every sentence carries so much weight; that's why it can be a difficult read if you're not used to it. But it's definitely worth it if you can get past all the heaviness.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Word of the Week 2: Ominous

(I know, that was way longer than even two weeks, but I've realized that spring is a very busy time of the year.)

ominous (adj) - giving the impression that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen; threatening; inauspicious

This is probably one of those words that sounds cool, but can easily be overused. It's just so easy to go right out and say "ominous" instead of creating an ominous feel with other, less likely words.

The book I'm just starting (another reread) is Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Talk about ominous. . . Maybe that's why this was the first word that came into my head and hence became this post's topic.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


(Um, yeah, you do remember the randomness I warned you about, right?)

Okay, so maybe bookmarks aren't that random. But they are important. If you didn't use a bookmark, you'd run the risk of opening up to a page further on and seeing a spoiler.

But I don't usually like bookmarks that they sell. They're too big or they have too many pictures or I just don't see the point in paying money for them. Yet neither do I like to use old receipts like some people.

What I use depends on what I'm reading. If I'm reading something with a touch of some form of suspense, I use a piece of white cardstock (cut just smaller than an index card.) That way, I can cover up the lines I haven't read yet to keep myself from skipping ahead in excitement. I used to use ribbons a lot, which was kind of nice because you could twist or chew them nervously while you waited to find out if Sam was going to win the fight with Shelob. (You should know this, but if you don't, that's from Tolkien's The Two Towers.)

Third option: a small rectangle of green cardstock. I have a few of these that I decided to recycyle as bookmarks instead of throwing them away. Oh, and let's not forget the handy already-present ribbons of the old Barnes and Noble classics!

Monday, April 6, 2009

I Act Like . . . Hamlet?

I should probably be glad that my work on Hamlet has been over for a little while now, but no, I decide to return to it on my own.

You see, as I was reading, there was something familiar. I probably shouldn't be too excited about finding a similarity between myself and Hamlet since people often make fun of him for his rambling speech and inaction, but I can't seem to help it.

Now, I don't speak soliloquies out loud or anything, but I do think sort of like Hamlet, minus the amazing sharp wit. We both have this idea in our heads that we constantly link to other things to examine in detail all the wrong things before in a very roundabout way at the same conclusion a simpler person would've reached right away. And the inaction thing . . . well, nobody likes to admit a fault like that, but I could probably be quicker to act, also. (Hmm, did I just blog about how I resemble a literary character's negative, not positive, traits? Well, depends on how you think of the overthinking part . . . )