Friday, January 25, 2008

A Pairty!

It is none of my intention to turn this into a poetry blog; however, I find that today's topic is, again, poetry. For today is the 249th anniversary of the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Burns is one of my favorite poets. He was brilliant in his ability to be eloquent about commonplace topics, and in his ability to be sentimental while maintaining an aura of toughness. He's the only person I know of to write a song with great sentimental power that is also one of the greatest drinking songs the world has ever known. Also, reading his poems aloud is great fun, what with the Scotch dialect an' all.

So, the Burns mini-pendium:

A column about him at AllPoetry, with links to some of his best poems.

The only decent version of Auld Lang Syne on apparently all of YouTube.

Great Real McKenzies song from a great Burns poem, The Smokin' Bowl (the song, I'm not sure if that's the poem's name).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My New Favorite Poem

Just thought I'd share. Ask Nat if you want it explained. :P

if i believe
by: e.e. cummings

if i believe
in death be sure
of this
it is

because you have loved me,
moon and sunset
stars and flowers
gold creshendo and silver muting

of seatides
i trusted not,
one night
when in my fingers

drooped your shining body
when my heart
sang between your perfect

darkness and beauty of stars
was on my mouth petals danced
against my eyes
and down

the singing reaches of
my soul
the green--

greeting pale
departing irrevocable
i knew thee death.

and when
i have offered up each fragrant
night,when all my days
shall have before a certain

face become

from the ashes
thou wilt rise and thou
wilt come to her and brush

the mischief from her eyes and fold
mouth the new
flower with

thy unimaginable
wings,where dwells the breath
of all persisting stars

From "Tulips and Chimneys", 1923

Friday, January 18, 2008

Late Night Literary Stream-of-Conciousness

So, first week back here has been fine. I could write an update, but I'm not interested in being more verbose on that subject at the moment.

I was thinking again of Octavia Butler. I'm probably picking on her more than I have any right to, given the extent of my reading of Parable of the Sower, but she is currently the unfortunate catalyst for my thoughts.

I described the aforementioned book as "really annoying," which it is, for reasons listed in a previous post. It occurred to me that this was a form of angering me, and further that couldn't it be argued that that is what literature is supposed to do? Pull one out of one's element, force one to think about sensitive topics--in a sense, make one mad?

I do believe that literature should make people mad, and that a book is intrinsically worth very little save light entertainment unless it offends someone. But, and here's the difference between Butler's book and, say, A Canticle for Leibowitz, bad literature pretending to be good literature is like an annoying little brother repeating "[your name] and [theoretical lover's name] sittin' in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g" over and over--annoying, yes, perhaps even angering, but not at all life-shattering, or at least contributing nothing new to the argument. A good book, on the other hand, is like having a trusted friend say to you, "I think you like [theoretical lover's name]," and outline exactly why they think this. They may not be right, and they may make you mad, but at least they have thoughtfully contributed to the argument and, if they're wrong, they've at least forced you to think about it, and think of reasons why they're wrong.

This may be literature's function, after all: to ask questions. I've heard it said that literature cannot be a persuasive argument-good literature is always interpretive. A novel that tries to force you to think one thing and one thing only is not a novel-it is, at best, a parable or a sermon. But what literature can do is force you to face those big questions-what is life? Is there a God? What is happiness? And so forth.

My analogy is imperfect, and except for the previous paragraph, I think this is mostly stuff I've said before. But it is where my thoughts have led me, this newly-minted morning.

(Exit, pursued by a bear)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Back to School...

Well, I couldn't resist one last post.

A few days ago, I saw the movie The Great Debaters. There was a line therein that made me not mind going back to school (I didn't mind that much already, but it made me mind even less). One of the characters is kind of a waif, but he keeps ending up coming back to college. When one of his professors asks him why, he replies, "College is the only place you can read all day."

Hm. Never thought of that.

I mean, if you count class lectures as reading, and good lectures (in most subjects) are very akin to that, it's basically true. At home, I couldn't really read all day because I was doing family stuff, or whatever. Were I not in school, I'd be working, and that would take up my days. But now... yeah. I'm glad I was shown this now, rather than, say, four years on.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Books! Pt. 2.

Books I actually finished. Haha.

Feed, by MT Anderson. Yes, of Whales on Stilts fame. This book is less loopy than the Thrilling Tales. It is set in what has become a fairly common SF future: virtual reality, chips implanted directly into the brain, an internet-ish Feed displayed directly across the eyeballs, etc. Anderson uses the setting excellently, taking a set of kids two or three generations on from ours and showing the kind of vapid little buggers they seem almost destined to be. This book is an indictment of the profane, ignorant, unthinking, willfully unintelligent side of our society; the side that is seemingly becoming the dominant mode. Don't get me wrong, though, there are some very funny bits. Further, the subversive character, the one who likes to think independently, etc, is homesechooled.

Extras, by Scott Westerfeld. The sequel to the Pretties trilogy, and not a particularly good one. The characters in this book aren't that interesting, and there is none of the transformation or emotional depth of the other three to keep one involved. The story is rather dopey; it seems like it was drawn from an old issue of Galactic Science Fiction. The most interesting bit is the futuristic setting and scenery, the descriptions of various incredibly advanced body-mod surgeries available four hundred years from now. But apart from the surgeries, the ultra-computerized setting is something I've seen done a hundred times, and Westerfeld does nothing particularly new with it. Recommended? If you've read the other three, and have nothing else do to for an afternoon. *shrug*

Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein. One of those classics of sci-fi, that also happens to be fairly entertaining. A novel of the army in the future, obviously written by someone who's been in the army. At times, it almost seems like Army propaganda, and at others, like propaganda for Heinlein's own philosophy. However, while the author's views are strongly there, they're always thought-provoking, and he never quite gets to shoving them down your throat. A good book.

Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami (translated from the Japanese). Now here's an interesting book. The totalitarian Republic of Greater East Asia takes 9th-grade classes, strands them on deserted islands with weapons and survival packs, and has the kids kill each other. The last one standing wins. This book is not for the weak of stomach; things are described with what I found an unnecessary level of detail. Despite this, the scenario itself is almost irresistibly intriguing, at least for a while. (The book is about 1/3rd too long.) Whether there are any redemptive qualities, that is the question. There are a couple interesting points. Ultimately, whatever redemption is achieved is done so through trust, but not a sort of hippie "free love" trust--it is trust that comes at a great cost.

There were a couple scenes that had the aura of life in a microcosm: the boy who has a crush on a girl, seeks her throughout the game despite sustaining several wounds, finally finds her-and she, having no idea, shoots him. There is something infinitely-and classically-tragic about the way this scene plays out. Worth reading if you don't mind the violence.

No Country For Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy. An incredibly interesting book. I'm tempted to also label it "incredibly good," recommend it, and leave it at that, for it is also hard to summarize. It's about a hunt for treasure, a battle of wits between two desperate men, crime. It's about a guy who goes around murdering people. It's about a world that is quickly becoming no country for old men. And yet, it's about none of these things. Violent in places, though rather a let-down after the last book. Ah well. Read it.

Light, by M. John Harrison. I'm actually in the middle of this one now, and will hopefully have it done by the time I start school again. This is a really bizarre sci-fi novel, the kind of mind-blowing story that could only be told by someone with a good grasp on quantum theory, and a similar willingness to throw it all out the window. This is the kind of book that while you can read it fast, you can't skim. Harrison creates both a future and a present where everything seems alien, and if you skip one paragraph you might as well have missed a key chapter. This is rare, these days. (Ubiquitous warning: as with too much modern fiction, there are some sexually explicit scenes.) Recommended if you already read books that ought to have the previous warning attached.

In summary,

Avoid: Parable of the Sower

Must-reads: Feed, No Country For Old Men, Starship Troopers.

Only read if you must: Extras.

Books! Pt. 1.

As a parting shot before I return to Radio Silence, I figured I would post some quick reviews of stuff I've been reading over break. I set out to catch up on my reading, and while I am not caught up and probably never will be, apart from that I think I succeeded spectacularly. Highlights to follow.

First, I would like to note that it seems to have become even more difficult for a book to satisfy me. I have read too many, perhaps, and so unless a certain book is in one way or another (prose, plot, setting, ideas) though preferably in several ways really good, I have trouble staying interested. Further, there are so many books to get through, that I feel no compunction to waste time on a book unless it is 1. Necessary or Valuable To Have Read (ie, classics--I will slog through various "classics" because they are greatly helpful to be familiar with if one wants to be well-read; similar with various fairly bad sci-fi books, if they're part of the founding-stones of the genre), and/or 2. Enormously Entertaining (this is pretty self-explanatory). (How's that for a sentence, Nat? ;)) So, perhaps appropriately, we will start off with a couple books I didn't completely read.

Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge. This book, as its subtitle suggests, is about "discovering the secret to a man's soul." Eldredge is searching for the "mystery of masculinity," from a Biblical perspective. Now, I'm not going to pretend to give a fair review here, seeing as I got through no more than Chapter 1. The author gets points for being well-read, and he is right about a lot of things (the feminization of both society and the church, etc). But he is incredibly, annoyingly melodramatic, and he makes sweeping generalizations that often don't quite work, and I just don't trust him. I don't particularly like this sort of psychological "soul-searching," so to continue reading this sort of thing the author has to be someone I wouldn't mind being strongly influenced by (probably part of the reason the only book in this vein I ever really liked was The Four Loves, by CS Lewis). I agree with Eldredge that masculinity is a great mystery; I'm just not really interested in his solution.

Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler. I believe Butler was the first black female sci-fi writer to be published, or at least to make it big in the genre. She gets kudos for that, as well as for having a cool name. Additionally, she is a good writer. That is where my praise ends. I read the first fifty pages of this book, before putting it aside. I wasn't fed up, but was getting there. The main character has all the metaphysical answers to life the universe and everything all worked out, at fifteen years of age. Her theological ramblings are not only pastiche and idiotic, they are internally illogical. The semi-post-apocalyptic setting is interesting, but it too is pastiche, save for a certain unnecessary grittiness. Just, really annoying.

The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald. I know, I know, I know. MacDonald is one of the founding-stones of fantasy, he's a classic, all sorts of people love this book, and on anon ad nauseam. After fifty pages, though, I couldn't get past the condescending style (or seemingly so) and the general loopiness of the prose. Ah well; I'll read MacDonald's Lillith yet. It was more influential anyway; hopefully it will go better. (And no, this isn't a contradiction of my statement three paragraphs ago. This particular book wasn't all that influential; anyway, I will probably return to it when I have a bit more time.)

<_< This post seems almost to have gotten out of hand. Very well. It will be its own, negative, with the balancing post containing books I actually finished to follow.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


If it seems like I have been blogging an inordinate amount this past week, it's because I have been. I've been posting all the stuff I should have posted over the course of the past four months, but have been prevented by the need to keep a respectable GPA and so forth. So this makes up for the general silence, and will hopefully make up for the fact that I'm unlikely to post much between now and late March. So if one wanted to read a post or two at a time between now and then, pretending they were showing up periodically rather than in a torrential aggregation, one could. ;)

(Exit, pursued by a bear)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

True Love ("Twue Wove")

Some people, I've noticed, seem to consider this concept of "True Love" as if it were a theological point--something worth mulling at length, considering, forming an opinion on, and trying to argue others out of their opinions if they think them wrong. This is all, in my opinion, incredibly stupid.

Love itself, especially the romantic kind, is an incredibly slippery concept. It seems that no matter what brilliant conclusion you've reached about it, no matter what platitude you decide to subscribe to and spew forth, there is always something--a historical precedent, a possible scenario, logic--something to disrupt said conclusion.

Asking someone if they believe in "True Love" is liking asking them if they believe in the Hero With a Thousand Faces.

Ask me to explain that sentence. I won't. It is its own explanation.


Faithful readers of this blog, or even sporadic ones who are unusually lucky, may remember a post a while back during the course of which I talked about Whales On Stilts, by MT Anderson, the first of "MT Anderson's Thrilling Tales." For those who don't know, this is a juvenile fiction series (well, there's two books so far) making fun of basically all juvenile fiction series--the Hardy Boys, the Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Goosebumps, Tom Swift, Bobsey Twins, and their ilk.

I gave a positive review of the first book in the series, because it really is very funny, especially if you're at all familiar with the aforementioned childrens' series. Well, the second book is even better. The send-up of the Hardy Boys alone makes it worth reading. But there are very occasional glimpses of the fact that MT Anderson is a very good writer. The strongest one occurs here:

She knew it was a good time not to say anything. Sometimes sadness is beyond words, because it is not an idea but a sensation, like hunger or pain.

There are other passages I would offer as proof, but they would require more explanation (yes, more than none). It was surprising to open such a seemingly inane book and find, well, truth.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Walking in the Fog.

A dense fog has settled over my town. I love it.

I love the isolation, the feeling that you're in your own little bubble and the trees and houses around you are the only things that are real, and aught else is mere myth and hearsay.

I love when a car goes past, and you can see its taillights fading into the mist and then they disappear and it's still close enough you could throw a rock and hit it, but you can't see it.

I love the way everything goes indistinct, and then you're right in front of a house and you can see it in detail, every line of every board and every color standing out, bright somehow in the gloom.

I love seeing a streetlight, but all you can see is this floating orb hanging, lonely, in the air.

I love when a figure looms in the mist, dark and foreboding, and gets closer and larger until it resolves into a small old woman.

She grunts hello.

"Hi," you say, "Nice night for a walk."

She grunts again, and is lost to the world.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was a flagrant homosexual.

Oscar Wilde produced some of the most Christian stories ever written.

I've had various people tell me I oughtn't to put those two sentences in proximity to each other. To those people I say, tough cookies. They're both true.

I have neither the expertise nor the time to research the vagaries of homosexuality and Christianity, or the possibility of their co-existence, though it is an interesting topic and debate, and it's one of the things I plan to look into more in the future. Wilde himself never claimed to be a practicing Catholic; his conversion happened on his deathbed. But he had flirted with Catholicism his whole life, and some of his stories, as I said, had strong Christian themes. Take, for example, his story The Selfish Giant.


The Selfish Giant

EVERY afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children used to go and play in the Giant's garden.

It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. Here and there over the grass stood beautiful flowers like stars, and there were twelve peach-trees that in the spring-time broke out into delicate blossoms of pink and pearl, and in the autumn bore rich fruit. The birds sat on the trees and sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games in order to listen to them. "How happy we are here!" they cried to each other.

One day the Giant came back. He had been to visit his friend the Cornish ogre, and had stayed with him for seven years. After the seven years were over he had said all that he had to say, for his conversation was limited, and he determined to return to his own castle. When he arrived he saw the children playing in the garden.

"What are you doing here?" he cried in a very gruff voice, and the children ran away.

"My own garden is my own garden," said the Giant; "any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself." So he built a high wall all round it, and put up a notice-board.


He was a very selfish Giant.

The poor children had now nowhere to play. They tried to play on the road, but the road was very dusty and full of hard stones, and they did not like it. They used to wander round the high wall when their lessons were over, and talk about the beautiful garden inside. "How happy we were there," they said to each other.

Then the Spring came, and all over the country there were little blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it was still winter. The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower put its head out from the grass, but when it saw the notice-board it was so sorry for the children that it slipped back into the ground again, and went off to sleep. The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost. "Spring has forgotten this garden," they cried, "so we will live here all the year round." The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. He was wrapped in furs, and he roared all day about the garden, and blew the chimney-pots down. "This is a delightful spot," he said, "we must ask the Hail on a visit." So the Hail came. Every day for three hours he rattled on the roof of the castle till he broke most of the slates, and then he ran round and round the garden as fast as he could go. He was dressed in grey, and his breath was like ice.

"I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming," said the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold white garden; "I hope there will be a change in the weather."

But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant's garden she gave none. "He is too selfish," she said. So it was always Winter there, and the North Wind, and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the trees.

One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It sounded so sweet to his ears that he thought it must be the King's musicians passing by. It was really only a little linnet singing outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the world. Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open casement. "I believe the Spring has come at last," said the Giant; and he jumped out of bed and looked out.

What did he see?

He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. In every tree that he could see there was a little child. And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the children's heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing. It was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was still winter. It was the farthest corner of the garden, and in it was standing a little boy. He was so small that he could not reach up to the branches of the tree, and he was wandering all round it, crying bitterly. The poor tree was still quite covered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it. "Climb up! little boy," said the Tree, and it bent its branches down as low as it could; but the boy was too tiny.

And the Giant's heart melted as he looked out. "How selfish I have been!" he said; "now I know why the Spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children's playground for ever and ever." He was really very sorry for what he had done.

So he crept downstairs and opened the front door quite softly, and went out into the garden. But when the children saw him they were so frightened that they all ran away, and the garden became winter again. Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that he did not see the Giant coming. And the Giant stole up behind him and took him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree. And the tree broke at once into blossom, and the birds came and sang on it, and the little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the Giant's neck, and kissed him. And the other children, when they saw that the Giant was not wicked any longer, came running back, and with them came the Spring. "It is your garden now, little children," said the Giant, and he took a great axe and knocked down the wall. And when the people were going to market at twelve o'clock they found the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.

All day long they played, and in the evening they came to the Giant to bid him good-bye.

"But where is your little companion?" he said: "the boy I put into the tree." The Giant loved him the best because he had kissed him.

"We don't know," answered the children; "he has gone away."

"You must tell him to be sure and come here tomorrow," said the Giant. But the children said that they did not know where he lived, and had never seen him before; and the Giant felt very sad.

Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen again. The Giant was very kind to all the children, yet he longed for his first little friend, and often spoke of him. "How I would like to see him!" he used to say.

Years went over, and the Giant grew very old and feeble. He could not play about any more, so he sat in a huge armchair, and watched the children at their games, and admired his garden. "I have many beautiful flowers," he said; "but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all."

One winter morning he looked out of his window as he was dressing. He did not hate the Winter now, for he knew that it was merely the Spring asleep, and that the flowers were resting.

Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder, and looked and looked. It certainly was a marvellous sight. In the farthest corner of the garden was a tree quite covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were all golden, and silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath it stood the little boy he had loved.

Downstairs ran the Giant in great joy, and out into the garden. He hastened across the grass, and came near to the child. And when he came quite close his face grew red with anger, and he said, "Who hath dared to wound thee?" For on the palms of the child's hands were the prints of two nails, and the prints of two nails were on the little feet.

"Who hath dared to wound thee?" cried the Giant; "tell me, that I may take my big sword and slay him."

"Nay!" answered the child; "but these are the wounds of Love."

"Who art thou?" said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him, and he knelt before the little child.

And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, "You let me play once in your garden, today you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise."

And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.

I post this story here because it's the shortest example that best makes my point. "The Happy Prince" and "The Nightingale and the Rose" are both supremely interesting to read on this point; they're both at

Further reading:

A Catholic article about Wilde's "Long Conversion" to Catholicism.

An article by an unusually fair-minded "queer critic" about Wilde's tendency toward self-destruction, that touches on Wilde in regards to Catholicism.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Art For Art's Sake

All my sources dismiss the Aesthetic Movement as a sort of transitional phase, moving out of Victorianism and into other styles; a fairly minor blip on the radar of artistic history. In furniture and decorating, it apparently served as a bridge to "Arts & Crafts," and that is as far as my very limited knowledge of those subjects takes me. In literature, its best-known representative is Oscar Wilde.

I mention this movement mainly because their motto, "Art for art's sake," has great appeal to me. This is the part where I may be transmogrifying how the Aesthetics actually thought, but I'm purposely redefining their phrase to suit my ends.

The idea of "Art for art's sake," as far as I can tell, is that art need not have a purpose outside of itself. That is, it need not exist to instruct, inform, promote, change, protest, etc (though art can do all these things): it need only exist to be enjoyed, admired, even loved. (This was a rather anti-Victorian idea: to Victorians, for example, all stories should have a helpful moral.)

In The Four Loves, CS Lewis says something like this about God: that He need not have created us, that is, there was no necessity in the existence of human beings: we were created to love and to be loved. So in creating something that exists simply to be loved in one way or another, the artist is a reflection (however imperfect and fallen) of the Creator.

This is one of the things I like about the film Napoleon Dynamite. There is no moral to that story, no earth-shattering message it's trying to get across (granted, there is little to no story at all). The movie exists simply to make people laugh. (It says some subtle and true things about our generation at the same time, and they are things we may or may not want to be proud of.) In a sense, it really doesn't matter whose artistic standards it does or does not live up to, or whether individual critics (paid or amateur) like it: the movie was a huge success if it made one person laugh. And it did, millions of times over.

I'm not saying here that all art is good, or that just because one person thinks something is worthwhile that it is worthwhile. Rather, as Wilde said, "The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is useless."

In the White Stripes song "Little Cream Soda," there's a line that goes: "And every beautiful thing I come across tells me to stop moving and shake this riddle off, oh well." As usual with the Stripes, this could be interpreted in several ways. It could easily be talking about art: good art demands to be stared at or read or listened to, demands that you shake off all the riddles that plague you daily and widen your eyes and receive it, like a child listening to a story. (I also think Jack White could easily be a follower of "Art for art's sake."

I don't know if I had a point, or if this was simply a conceptual ramble. Ah well, draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Another Day Older, In These Exiled Years...

So, it's 2008. That means there are only two more years till the new decade. I know that's a largely insignificant fact, but it makes me feel old, somehow. We're getting beyond Science Fiction territory, now. All the old stories, it seems, take us up to the millennium or just beyond it, or make the leap into the year 3000 or something. There is very little literature to guide us past, say, 2010.

For New Year's Eve, Zeke and I went to the Gehlbachs' (who are insanely awesome) for an insanely awesome New Year's Eve party, where we had enormous fun with a group of MouthHousers and the like. I would write a post about it, but Nat has already done so, and what I wrote would basically be that post with the viewpoint shifted.

However, it does strike me that I haven't posted here since school started, since "Tag" posts don't count.

School has, in all vital aspects, been going very well. A large percentage of the students there annoy me in one way or another, but that is only because it's extremely hard to find a group of more than five of my peers where the majority of them don't annoy me (the crowd at Gehlbachs' being an exception). I have made a few awesome friends, and I prefer a few awesome ones to a bunch of average ones. My introversion does come into play, though, as there are a few others I would like to have gotten to know better but haven't. Ah well.

The adjustment to school wasn't particularly difficult, at least in regard to obstacles. The worst thing was leaving my family. Oh, I was excited about it in August; I had a mental list of stuff I was happy to get away from. However, by the beginning of October, the list of stuff I missed was longer and more convincing. I have (necessarily) been far more extroverted at school than ever before, which wears on me sometimes. The biggest thing, though, has been the necessity of getting up, getting dressed etc, and being in a specific place on time each day. Also, the whole actually having to have homework done when it's supposed to be done was a bit of a change. But, while these things were new, they weren't really challenges. (I overslept a total of one time the whole semester, which surprised even me.)

While I'm not hopping for break to be over, I'm not dreading next semester, which is a good sign.

Thus the obligatory ramble. It hardly seems long enough to make up four months of silence, but such is life.

As for New Year's Resolutions, I don't really make them. They always end up being the same resolutions I make every day and have an equal success or failure if I make them specially at the beginning of the year. While a good reason to, say, have a party, the New Year never seems like that big a deal to me. "The thing that hath been, is that which shall be, and the thing which is done, is that which shall be done, and there is no new thing under the sun. And all is vanity and vexation of spirit."