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miscellany

books, miscellany, philobabble

The End is the Beginning is the End*

I’m graduating on Saturday. In an effort to combat the debilitating fear and impending doom, I’m trying to take comfort in the fact that I’ve somehow managed to incorporate a few of my favorite things into my academic career. I’ve managed not only to bookend my college experience with my favorite book, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, but I’ve also snuck in my favorite television show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer**.

Thesis Components. When one wants to write about identity, heroism, transformation, and regret.

Thesis Components: When one wants to write about identity, heroism, transformation, and regret.

My first encounter with Kavalier & Clay was in my senior AP English class. Our final assignment (outside of the year-long “Senior Project” which also incorporated Buffy- what? I’m nothing if not a dedicated fan!) was a simple book report. The catch was that the list included works like Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Isabel Allende’s The House of Spirits, and among them was Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize winner. It was the last book I read as a senior in High School, and by a stroke of luck, it was also the last one I read and wrote on when I transferred from one college to where I am now; finally, it’s become a part of my undergraduate thesis.

As trite as the symmetry is, I’m a little weepy. Of course, using it in my thesis was deliberate, but it was an easy choice given that this beautiful book is a goddamn tome; rich, elaborate, poignant, and inspiring. Naturally, it’s a story about heroism, but it’s also about identity and human connections. Through my third revisit, I still find myself getting emotional, if not more so, given that I’m already aware of how it all unravels.

Obviously, each time I’ve written on Kavalier & Clay has been on a different theme, and this time it’s used in conjunction with the idea of metamorphosis and psychological dissonance. Because, why shouldn’t I make the last major work a giant piece of actual self-help? Right?!

The inclusion of Buffy follows along the same points of choice, but considering that that her character is an inversion of some many traditional tropes, she’s a fascinating character to explore.

*Yes, this is the title of The Smashing Pumpkin’s song from the Batman & Robin Soundtrack (one of the best OSTs, don’t deny it!), and it’s also fitting because I’m including Batgirl into my thesis. Be jealous.

**Today is the tenth anniversary of the series finale! :’) *sniff*

miscellany

March Miscellany Madness

This past month has mainly been flooded with scrambling to get things done for school, interspersed with a lot of game playing, especially the new Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite. Whoops. However, given that the reboot of Tomb Raider is set on the island of Yamatai (thanks Square-Enix!), and that the emphasis of my major is in Japanese Cultural Studies, I’ve been rationalizing the use of my free time.

Alright, this screenshot doesn't really depict anything of Yamatai, but look how gorgeous the game is!

Alright, this screenshot doesn’t really depict anything of Yamatai, but look how gorgeous the game is!

Also, having since completed the game, that feeling of accomplishment has definitely gone a long way and into the territory of feeling productive and efficient. Yes, more rationalizing.

Now, this last week was spring break, and I’ve been able to add some “variety” to my activities. If my time could even be considered active, that is. While I’m only partially embarrassed to admit that I didn’t go anywhere, I’m not really complaining as I’ve taken marathon television watching, easy reading, lots of knitting, and copious game playing. What can I say? I’m an introvert. With those last two, I’ve also basically primed myself for early carpal tunnel syndrome. However, working through the first two seasons of Nikita; a re-watch of the first season of the new Doctor Who; reading Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone for the Vaginal Fantasy book club; finishing one panel on my Brooklyn Tweed Stranger Cardigan; completing Tomb Raider; getting into the Thieves Guild in Skyrim and acquiring the Nightingale Armor; and experiencing the world of Bioshock Infinite‘s Columbia totally seems worth the minor pain.

Yeah, I hear Ron Weasley saying “she has got to sort out her priorities” as well. Forgive the irony.

miscellany

Instagram Update: Nov 2012

To say that this semester has been kicking my ass would be an understatement. Despite this lull in blog activity, exciting plans and collaborations have been brewing “behind the scenes”, so once finals are over, late December and January will reveal some lovely new projects.

In the meantime, I’ve taken to using instagram to document my life. More or less:

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Saw Lydia at Cafe du Nord! Haven’t seen them since 2010


Joined in on @eliseblaha “Mile a Day” challenge…


But I’m getting out there, enjoying nature…


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The Early November “In Currents” Signed Vinyl Photobook: Great album, stunning book


Despite the appropriate shoes, I’m walking instead of running…


Even ominous rain clouds look nice!


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I can’t believe it’s already going to be December!

crafting, miscellany, philobabble

Stitch by Stitch

I have a penchant for procrastination. Although I finished this before the end of June, I didn’t block it until the second week of July and only photographed it on the 31st. Yes, that’s quite a bit of time in between. While the project deserves a comprehensive post of its own, I want to take a moment to discuss productivity.

I’m learning that I work best in obsessively focused, isolated periods of time. While I do have different projects all going at the same time, I can’t work on one for an allotted amount of time and then move on to the next, repeating day after day until completion. I need to work until I feel like I’ve reached a significant milestone before I can put it down and sometimes one project takes all my attention away from another.

It’s a process that can be as ineffective as it sounds. The key is in specificity; if I don’t detail the steps, I keep going until I can’t anymore– which is usually due to frustration or fatigue. Liberal list-making, here I come!

I’m always fascinated by the creative processes of others; how do you work best?

miscellany

Admired, Inspired 7.25.12

Short and sweet list of some of the sublime.

  • My friend Isabel (whose birthday was last week! ♥) took some time to appreciate the little moments in life. I need to remember to do this more often.
  • One who would remember to be appreciative, and one whose birthday was also a couple of days ago, was Henry David Thoreau! The following is not only one of my favorite Thoreau quotes, but one of my favorite quotes of all time:

    If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

  • An amazing example of such a castle is the strong and steadily growing empire that is the Geek & Sundry youtube channel. At this past Comic-Con they announced a number of upcoming shows; I’m so excited for the new shows! Watch part of their panel and witness their wonderful geeky love for the work they create:


  • The lovely ladies of the Red Velvet Shop have a sale on all of their eight ecourses, which runs until the end of the month. There are certainly a few that I have my eye on!
  • Speaking of learning, The Study of Light photography ecourse looks so exciting! It’s a self-paced eight week course and the outline mentions a number of different areas– everything from the resources, settings, and indoor/outdoor work.