01 May 2011

Meeting K. A. Applegate!!

Yesterday, I met K. A. Applegate (really Katherine, but I always think of her as "KA"), author of the Animorphs book series. I found out that she was signing books at the Festival of Books. I hesitated because it's being held over at USC this year, but really there was no question--if she was there, I had to meet her.

I have a couple of my books here (#1-6), but they are very "loved" (aka ratty), and the rest are at home. So I went to B&N and bought the re-released #1 and #2. I was worried about traffic and parking, so I ended up getting to the booth an hour before her signing. I wandered around looking at various booths ... I actually bought too many books yesterday. You can't take a Kissinger to a Festival of Books and not have her walk out with tons of new purchases!

When I came back to the booth, there was a line, which grew after I got in it. Everyone in line was my age. When I was third in line, this guy came over to talk to me, and while we were talking I realized he was Michael! ("Yes, the infamous Michael from the dedication page.") And he pointed out his children, Jake and Julia.

The girl in front of me began crying, and KA teared up as well! I have to admit I kind of understood how she felt. My own hands were shaking as I took a picture for her. Finally, it was my turn.

I said how nice it was to meet her, how I'd been reading her books since 5th or 6th grade. I told her about how me and my friends would pretend to be the Animorphs. I told her that on the drive over, I realized that Animorphs was the first scifi books I'd ever read, which led me into the entire scifi genre. It was really from reading science fiction that I first decided I wanted to be an astronaut ... which has led me to being here, where I am today, a grad student in space physics. She really liked hearing that and called Michael over for me to tell him.

I told her that her books were the first ones that made me think about war, and what it meant for a person to go through war and be affected by it. I learned so much about animals from her books. Seeing a hawk made me think of Tobias and thermals. I can never trust a person named Chapman. I would order Happy Meals "with extra happy".

She was so nice and kind. It was really a great pleasure to meet her, to have her sign my books. She had a little notebook for us fans to sign as well.

I wish I could have explained to her how much Animorphs dominated my middle school life. How my friends and I learned to be creative and come up with elaborate plots and characters, based on her work. I made up my first fully realized character, Quantana, to give Ax a girlfriend--admittedly a bit of a Mary Sue. The way she wrote still influences my writing style! How I met my best friend by thrusting the simming at her and insisting that she write something. How I don't know anything about the Civil War, because it was so easy to sim in 8th grade history class that we never paid attention. How I met people on the Internet who became good real life friends, all from Animorphs Role Play. I wish I could have brought the +1000 pages of the simming to show her--maybe have her sign it!--but it's at home.

I still remember lying on the couch, and my dad handing me an Animorphs book to read. But it was #2, so I had no idea what was going on, or why their dialogue was in '<' and '>' symbols! Animorphs was also the first series, and remains one of the few, where I identified more with a guy character than a girl.

Animorphs were the first books I read that made me think "What if...?", where I realized that you could pretend anything you wanted and it could be better than the real world around you. The Animorphs were funny, they were smart, they turned into animals, and they struggled so much with trying to save the world. Just six idiot teenagers with a death wish, but they helped me to dream, to think, and to build powerful and enduring friendships.

For Jenni,

With thanks for being such an amazing fan!

You're awesome.


09 December 2010

Communication: Key to EVERYTHING

So last night, my partner and I had a fight.

We don't usually fight ... disagreements, yes, but very few fights. It wasn't really a big fight. In fact it was pretty stupid. He played a joke that I didn't find funny, I actually felt a little hurt by it, and then I felt that he dismissed my feelings as "silly" and "drama". Which, maybe they were, but we all know that when you're in the midst of a feeling, the last thing you want to hear is that it's ridiculous.

I spent a large part of the conversation stewing over this. In my family, if someone's mad about something, we used to just walk away, and after cooling off we wouldn't talk about it. Basically we pretended like it never happened. But this, I think, isn't productive. I (and I think the others in my family) have been working to change this. Maybe we go off in a huff, but then we go to the other person and talk about why we feel the way we do.

So while I was hearing about some aircraft thing or another, I was sitting there trying to figure out, "why am I really angry?" And I came to the conclusion that I wasn't really mad about the joke, but I was mad about how he (from my perspective) dismissed what I felt. That was what I was truly upset over.

Instead of just going off to be mad and cry, I told him I was mad and why. (Haha. Rhyme.) He didn't understand, at first. And I had to really struggle to see things from his perspective. I have a tendency in fights to not say a lot of what I'm thinking, because I don't want to say something I'll regret. This leads to a lot of long silences. It wasn't pretty. But we kept at it, we kept talking, we didn't give up and hang up the phone. I forced myself to say what I was thinking.

And you know what? I don't even remember what the resolution was. It wasn't some big thing of "I'll try to do this and you'll try to do that." I think it was just that once I felt like he understood and listened to me, I felt better. We talked for a few more minutes, then hung up normally. And I felt great.

In the experiences I've had in my life, it's become so clear to me that talking to others is the key to everything. A relationship can break down because one person doesn't tell the other how they're feeling. A misunderstanding can grow to huge proportions. You can sit in your room, weeping and feeling terrible, when if you just talked to the other person about what you're feeling, you might find that they feel the same way, or that they didn't even know you were hurting.

I'm not talking about accusatory conversations ... "You are wrong! I am right!" What I mean is a conversation about "when you do or say this, this is the way it makes me feel." If someone's actions or words hurt you, don't just tell me about it! Talk to THEM. Because they might not even know that you're hurting.

12 November 2010

Things I miss about England.

So, for those of you who don't know, I studied abroad in England. And it was the best thing ever. For seriously. And you're about to find out why.

Without further ado...

Things I miss about England:
1. all my England friends (note I don't necessarily say English friends because I have friends over there who are from all sorts of different nationalities) who are wonderful.

2. walking around Canters, getting lost, and using the Cathedral as a compass to know exactly where you are. Seriously, you look up, figure out which way the Cathedral is pointed, and voila! You're never lost. And it's the tallest thing around so you can't possibly miss it.

3. Nutella in glass jars instead of plastic... it just tastes and keeps better.

4. FOOD WITH NO HFCS or other weird chemicals. And while we're at it, soda sweetened with sugar. When soda is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, it's way too sweet. Sugar gives it more of an edge. And is less harmful to your body. Stupid corn.

5. Walking everywhere (although let me tell you, this did take some getting used to. For like 2-3 weeks in the beginning of my time in England, I got so frustrated, I'd think to myself, "I'm American! We don't walk, we drive! I want my car, I miss my car!!" but after a while you get used to it and start loving walking. Which brings me to...)

6. the -10 pounds on my body while I was over there because of the lack of HFCS and other gross chemicals designed to addict you to the food and need to eat more of it (thanks American government in bed with big processed food companies) and because I walked all the time.

7. The pubs. Especially Darwin Origins and Hobgoblin. And quiz night at Origins! Which brings me to my next point:

8. 18+ drinking. You can drink with freshers! Which brings me to my next point...

9. Pubs on campus. 5 of them. Seriously, let me tell you how awesome this is, and not just from a convenient party perspective. Can we say SAFE? If you live in a residential college (i.e. a residential building) and there's a pub/bar in the next wing over, guess how much driving home you're doing after drinking? NADA. None. Zip. No drunk driving here. In fact, not even as much sober driving here either, as demonstrated in point 5. It's just so convenient and safe, and the University makes a shit ton of money off of it.

10. The societies. Sort of like clubs would be at American universities, only there were more, and better. Seriously, there was a society for everything! There was a Pagan society, which I was deeply involved with (much love, PagSoc people!!), a PIRATE SOCIETY where you just DRESS LIKE PIRATES AND DRINK. And a poledance society (sadly, I didn't have time to participate in this one but I would have loved to) and a fencing society (KICKASS) and a photography/modelling society and a Rock society (which I was kinda involved in, but more just good friends of the people running that and so went to events now and then) and a Live Music society and a Rowing and Boating society and a Drama society and... seriously. I could just keep going on and on and on. There were so many! Something fun for everyone to do. It ROCKED, and it got you out of your room from playing video games, and socializing. Which brings me to my next point:

11. England is so SOCIAL. Seriously. The first night my mom and I were in London, we made friends with the gent who owned the Bed and Breakfast we were staying at, and his group of friends. We just hung out with them in a pub in Victoria like we’d all been great pals for years. You can talk to a guy in a bar without him expecting you to come home with him (well, I mean, obviously there’s going to be jackass exceptions here and there). People talk in grocery queues. Almost everyone is friendly, and let me tell you, for all the hype about how Americans are treated badly abroad… I don’t buy it. For one second. The fact that I was American interested people greatly, and was often a topic of friendly conversation. See that? FRIENDLY. Not “ugh, you’re American, you must be fat, lazy, indulgent and stupid” but “I want to know more about you.”

12. English money. I believe Bridget Jones wrote about this too, but ok Americans… you know how sometimes you’re digging in the bottom of your bag and keep finding coins, and all of a sudden, before you know it, you have like $3.00 in coins that you didn’t have before? You’ve got like ten quarters going on there, man. Well now imagine each of those quarters was worth two dollars. They don’t have one pound bills like we have one dollar bills, they have £1 and £2 coins. So you can EASILY find £10 or £20 in the bottom of your bag. At the present exchange rate, that’s about sixteen or bucks. You … just found lunch for two days, four if you go to McDonalds. Furthermore, English money is pretty and colourful. £5 notes are green, £10 are orange, £20 are purple and £50 are red. And even better: They’re different SIZES. So, blind people can use them easily. How cool is that?? And then you’ve got pretty coloured Scottish notes, Northern Irish notes, Isle of Man, Guernsey, etc. So pretty.

13. The change in vowels and pronunciation. Aluminium (different spelling too), garage, centrifugal, herbs… (I totally ganked all but garage off Eddie Izzard, if you didn’t notice) but most interesting to me… pasta and mafia. They pronounce the first ‘a’ in both words like the ‘a’ in ‘apple.’ And yet a lot of our ‘aah’ as in apple sounds they pronounce ‘ah’ as in father. Kinda funny how that switches. Also, they drop their ‘r’s at the end of words, as we all know, but add an ‘r’ to certain words (depending on the dialect, of course) like ‘pizza’ and ‘idea’ become how Americans would pronounce ‘pizzaer’ and ‘idear.’ CRAZY how that switch is made but I love it! While we’re talking about language…

14. Slang terms. I’m sorry, I just think ‘slag’ is the greatest word in the world. And Englishfolk aren’t afraid to say ‘cunt’ like Americans are. I think my favorite initial run-in with English slang was our 2nd or 3rd day in London, it was raining and my mother and I were in an elevator with two random English guys we didn’t know and weren’t with. A little backstory: the jeans and pants I always have to buy are too long for me, because nothing else fits my fuckin ideal-for-child-bearing hips, and as a result, when it rains, the part of my jeans near my shoes always gets soaked. So it’s raining, we’re in the elevator, and I’m irate that my ankles are soaked, so I look down at my ankles and say to my mom, “aww man, the bottom of my pants are just soaked.” And the two English guys look at me strangely, and then both burst out laughing. It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized ‘pants’ in England means ‘underwear.’ So… whoops. Haha.

15. The double decker buses. Those things are KICK ASS. Especially in Canterbury, it’s the most hilarious thing in the world to see them try to fit through Westgate. And it’s just fun being able to ride on the second story of a bus.

16. The ruins, and unruins-ed old buildings too. Let me tell you, American friends, if you’ve never been to anywhere in Europe, then you need to go. Pronto. There’s just this energy present there, this energy of these tons of people who have lived there for thousands of years. When you walk down Dane Johns in Canterbury, there’s just this peaceful sense of “three thousands years ago, people were using this exact place for relaxation and enjoyment, enjoying the grass and the trees and walking along the city wall, and taking their children to play and strolling through the park with their lovers. I am enjoying a place that countless people before me have enjoyed and left their positive energy and feelings of happiness for future generations. And people thousands of years from now will sense my presence and their presence when they walk here.” Seriously, all these awesome, amazing old places that have stood the test of time have this aura of that. It’s humbling and inspiring. One of the pub/restaurants we used to go to had a year marking on it, and I only remember it was in the 1300’s, perhaps 1340 something? But jesus, that building alone, that tiny little building in Canterbury is older than European colonization of the continent I live on. And then I remember walking with the guy I was seeing at the time (who was English) and he pointed out this huge, grass-covered crater in the middle of everything, surrounded by grass and trees. And he says “That was a crater from a bomb dropped in WWII.” And it’s really humbling, to see what a scar people can put on the land, and how the earth just takes it right back, covering it with grass and life. Anyway, it’s just surreal.

17. The Tube. It’s AWESOME. Seriously, they’ve got an awesome setup for it, so many lines to choose from, and if one’s blocked, there’s always a way to get relatively close to where you were going for. And it’s just so… CLEAN when you compare it to NYC’s Subway, or Philly’s El, or DC’s Metro or Boston’s T. And I love the lady who reads off the stops and says ‘Please mind the gap between the station and the train.’ Also cool? Every stop on the Tube sounds like some awesome place where you totally want to be. Woodside Park. Piccadilly Circus. Canada Water. Whitechapel. Ravenscourt Park. Bayswater. Maida Vale. MORNINGTON CRESCENT. Seriously, and like half of them have ‘green’ or ‘gardens’ or ‘hill’ or ‘valley’ behind them. FREAKIN AWESOME.

18. Speaking of transportation… the National Rail. Seriously, you can get ANYWHERE in the UK on a fricken train. Not like in the US, really.

19. English Television. Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Mighty Boosh. Red Dwarf. Black Books. I mean… seriously. I’m sayin’. I don’t miss the TV tax though. (Not that I actually paid it, since I didn’t own a TV.)

20. Prince William. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a taken woman (<3) but this won't hurt, ready? *drool*

25. Snakebites. Mmmmm. I was never a beer person until I was introduced to the Snakebite, and it was sort of a gateway drug to beer for me. NO, BAD AMERICAN, DO NOT REACH FOR THAT YUKON JACK. Stop! Put it down. There we go. Ok. A REAL Snakebite drink is comprised of the following: half ale, half cider, and some blackcurrant flavoring to give the entire drink a beautiful magenta glow and the best flavor you’ve ever had in your life. It tastes like soda but packs a nice punch. And for the mere price of a roundtrip plane ticket to England (allow one week at least between the outbound and inbound) I’ll tell you where on Kent Uni’s campus you can get a snakebite for only £2 instead of £2.75.

26. Other British drinks of awesomeness. Like the Shandy, if you’re not big into beer but want a nice cheap sometimes girly drink anyway. It’s half beer, half lemonade. Stop vomiting, lemonade doesn’t mean lemonade in England. Lemonade means Sprite. If you order a lemonade, and expect a lemon juice-water-sugar concoction, you’re in for some real disappointment, cause they’re gonna give you Sprite. England also just has better beer in general too. Particularly the Hobgoblin. If there’s a Hobgoblin pub in whatever British city you’re in right now (or visiting soon, hint hint) then go, sit down, and order a pint of the Hobgoblin on draft. SO FUCKING GOOD. I can get it bottled in the US and it does the job, but isn’t quite the same. Anyway. OH and England knows how to pour a Guinness properly. I get so angry in the United States when they pour all the Guinness into the glass at once and I get a head of like 82659823698260 centimeters. FUCK. THAT. In fact, I spent so much time in America getting shitty Guinness pours that my first Guinness ordered in England, they poured a third of it, and put it on the counter in front of me. I start drinking it, and the barkeep looks at me funny and is like, “Um… I wasn’t done pouring that.” And that’s when I learned… how you pour a Guinness.

27. Three words: proper English breakfast. *droooooool* except without the blood sausage, that never sat well with me. I know, I know what you’re going to say: Everyone in the world eats eggs and bacon and toast and calls it their own country’s special breakfast but hear me out. Ok, take the basics: Bacon and eggs (sunny side up) and buttered toast, now add sausage, fried bread, half a tomato, some cooked mushrooms, and … baked beans. Yup, folks, it’s the baked beans that make it. I thought it was the GROSSEST thing in the world when I heard of it, up until I tried it. And um… I’ve never gone back. (Unless I couldn’t afford breakfast or baked beans.)

28. The NHS. I don’t give two rat’s asses what comes out the mouthes of the dumbshit 50 year old white southern men who have never left the USA and are tea party members. If you haven’t been to England, and utilised their heathcare system, then face it: you know jack shit about it. I have personally used the NHS and I loved it and thought it was great.

29. British cell phones. If you make a call on a British pay per minute cell phone, then yes, you get charged minutes. HOWEVER… if you receive a call on your British phone, you don’t get charged. Nothing. If someone texts your British phone, you don’t get charged for a text. Anything you intiate, yes. Anything you receive, no. Seriously, kinda makes US phone companies look like crooks, doesn’t it? Oh wait… THEY ARE.

30. British ATMs. Guess what… NO FEES. That is right, ladies and gentlemen. Even internationally. I could draw money directly out of my credit union checking account and not get charged one pence or penny for it. TAKE THAT UNITED STATES BANKING.

31. Camdentown. You will never find another place quite like Camden. Seriously, the best mix of small, independent shops and vendors in the world, punk and goth clothing stores, handmade jewelry, masks, leather coats, t-shirts with bands, hilarious quips and puns, vendors selling handcrafted perfumes and handcreams, vendors selling foods from all around the world. And, of course, World’s End. And the river runs by with the gorgeous bridge, and at twilight there are lights that illuminate the trees (or maybe that’s just cause it was December?) Just face it, folks, nowhere you go will ever be as cool as Camden.

32. While we’re at it, London itself. I know, I know, I hear London natives complaining about how much they don’t like it, but you know what? Everyone dislikes where they live to some extent or another. *I* love London. It’s clean, it’s fresh, it constantly finds ways to reinvent itself when it gets a bit stale; it stays on the cutting edge. The architecture throughout the years has been stunning, and the city is jam-packed with awesome places to see: Tower of London and the gorgeous Tower Bridge (often mistaken for London Bridge), Buckingham Palace (when it’s open for tours), Westminster Abbey, Camden Market (I know, I won’t shut up about it), Big Ben, the London Eye, the Thames... AND FREE ENTRY INTO SOME MUSEUMS. Seriously. London is cooler than your face, no matter who you are. And you know it. Unless you haven’t been there, and you might not know it. But if you go, you’ll know. You’ll know.

33. The countryside. Green, rolling hills… quaint little towns and villages with cute little Tudor style cottages and gardens with fine ladies in big hats drinking tea… okay maybe not the ladies with hats since like, 1920. But you have to admit, England in general is just classy and gorgeous.

34. Stonehenge. If you disagree, fuck you.

35. Scotland. I know, Scotland is UK, not England but, boy, Scotland is pretty. The mountains just go right up into the clouds, and in the spring and summer, they’re just covered in pink and purple Heather. And the people rock! They’re almost even friendlier than in England. I love Scotland. But I might be biased cause I am part Scottish (Campbell Clan represent!).

29 October 2010

Growing in Love

Halloween seems to be the week for parties! I've been invited to all kinds of events this weekend. Unfortunately I don't have a costume because I am a creativity fail. But I can still eat candy! At that, I am not a fail.

One of the events was a barbeque for my research group on Wednesday. Although the grill was shut down by the fire marshal (eek!) it was fun and I spent most of my time hanging out with my fellow grad students. I did talk a bit with this undergrad that my co-advisor Vassilis introduced me too. He's new at UCLA and new to our group as well, so Vassilis probably wanted me to talk to him and make sure he felt welcome.

So I was describing the evening to my best friend on the phone afterwards, and after I mention my talk with this guy she sort of paused, and then said:

"I just think it's really impressive how you don't even like, look at other guys, or wonder for a split second what it would be like to be with someone else. It's like you don't even have to make a choice--Jay's it for you."

I was taken aback at this (just because it kind of came out of no where). My response was that well, of course. It would be like considering someone else for my best friend! A person's best friend has been with them through all sorts of fun and drama, the big excitements and the devastating tears. To me, it's like that: why would you even want to consider someone else? Since then I've been thinking about it a little more.

When I was single, I would hang out with guys and I would think, "Hmm, he's smart and funny, I kinda like him." In college I would tell my sisters and my best friend about mini-crushes that I had and we would debate the pros and cons of that person. But it's true that, now, I no longer have those thoughts. I don't wonder about whether some rando and I would be more compatible, or what it would be like to date them. It's not that I don't force myself not to, it just literally doesn't happen--and the only reason I'm even thinking about this in the first place is that Nicole brought it up.

Yes, Jay and I are very serious, but it goes beyond that ... I don't need to look any further. I've found the best, for me. I really don't like the term soul mate, because it seems to imply that there is only one person for you, which I don't believe, or even worse, that you are not complete without them. I am my own person without Jay, and if I ever have to live life on my own I will still be 'complete'.

With that said, for who I am now and what I want to be, Jay is the one I want to share my life with. He completes me, he is better where I am weak and vice versa. We share dreams and goals. We respect and support each other. We have three years of shared experiences and helping each other through tough times. Why would I want anyone else in the face of that? Why would I even think that?

The below video, although funny, makes the point somewhere in the middle that "love
is nothing to do with destined perfection, the connection is strengthened, the affection simply grows over time....
And love is made more powerful by the ongoing drama of shared experience and synergy and symbiotic empathy or ... something."

I think that really says it all. How could someone different offer me that same shared experience, the support of being there? As soon as if I'd ever wondered what it would be like to have a different best friend or a different mother. It's not even a thought.

You don't fall in love with someone--you grow in love. Together.

25 October 2010

Mmmmm coookiieeeeee

Ok. Look guys. You better be fuckin STOKED. Cause you've got a meanass Oatmeal Raisin Rum Cookie coming your way.

And I know what you're thinking so don't even THINK or SAY "oh, I don't like oatmeal raisin cookies, HOW BLAND" because


Yeah, so like normally when you think 'oatmeal raisin cookie' you think of a crunchy, stale, gross, flavorless cookie that really makes rotting deer flesh look better at that precise moment, but this oatmeal raisin rum cookie you're about to bake and place inside your mouthal cavity in your head is just...




So sit down, shut up, and make the cookies. You won't be sorry.
(Unless you do it wrong)

Freakin CRAZY Oatmeal Raisin Rum Cookies of Awesomesauce
2 eggs
2 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp rum
1.5 cups raisins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 cups oats

Lightly beat eggs, vanilla and rum. Add raisins. Soak for 1-3 hours, preferably in room temperature, covered with aluminum foil.

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Drain the egg mixture into a large bowl, and cream with the butter, sugar and brown sugar. GENTLY stir in flour mixture, only until flour is no longer visible. DO NOT OVERMIX OR YOUR COOKIES WILL NOT BE HEAVENLY.

Gently fold in the oatmeal and raisins. Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray. Plop cookies two inches apart, throw them in the oven for 11-12 minutes or until they still look a little bit gooey underneath the golden, crackly tops of goodness. (Yum.) Don't overbake them, but if you do, just sit them on top of a slice of bread overnight and they won't be completely unheaven-ized.

Enjoy. Especially straight out of the oven. Have a glass of milk and a soft place to swoon and faint on to nearby. Give them to everyone, watch the marriage proposals roll in. Bribe your state lottery executives with them, watch the moolah roll in.


(Note to Jenni: If you make these, make sure to call me and put me on speakerphone so I can tell you if you're doing it right since your cooking sucks kinda. BY WHICH I MEAN I LOVE YOU!!!)


PS. Food porn to come once I make them.

06 October 2010

Map of the Internet - Online Communities 2

Sweet, XKCD updated their old "map of the Internet". Check it out:

Some of my favorite things:
- Where the privacy controls are located in Facebook land
- Pretty much all of the named "Bays" and "Gulfs"
- The Great Firewall
- Livejournal! It's small but still there! Aww
- WoW island

Do that many people play Farmville? Seriously?

Here's a link to the old one if you want to compare:

Wow, look at how HUGE Facebook has become, and how MySpace has disappeared. I can't find a date for when the original was posted, but it can't be that long.

05 October 2010

Why I want to be THOR when I grow up.

10. Mjollnir. Seriously. Thor carries around this badass hammer. Not only does it have a cool name that looks like Thor just drunkenly typed it on a keyboard one time and laughed his ass off and it stuck, but the thing can pulverize shit and LEVEL MOUNTAINS. You can TERRAFORM the planet with this thing. That and it never misses its target, and always returns right to Thor's (I mean... my...) hand. It's like part boomerang.

9. In order to carry and use his drunken typo hammer, Thor had to wear a drunken typo belt and drunken typo gloves (look, the Vikings drank a lot, okay?) that doubled his strength. We can only assume that Thor thought the name of his hammer was so funny, he had to name his fricken awesome belt and gloves some names even more ridiculous: Megingjardir and Jarngreipr. Actually I'm gonna go out on a limb and say everything in Norwegian is a typo, but the Norwegians are so awesome that if you try to tell them that, they might invade your country and stomp your balls to teach you a lesson in linguistic respect.

8. Thor is so badass that he doesn't need human sacrifices like Odin did. He just kicks ass and takes names all on his own without needing the dead souls of warriors to do it with him.

7. Thor totally pulled a Mulan. One of the stories I just read involved some giant stealing his hammer, so Loki struck a deal that he'd marry Freyja off to this giant for the hammer back. Thor dressed in Freyja drag, and totally went to marry the giant, but stole his hammer back and proceeded to open a big can of whoopass all on the giant and any other giants he saw in the vicinity. Bitchin.

6. Why lie? The 2011 movie looks like it'll be pretty damn cool. And the guy who plays Thor has the same birthday as me.

5. For all his kickassness, Thor isn't just a blood-thirsty warrior. He's a god of the peasants too, so he's associated with blessings, hearth, marriages, justice, etc. He's all around awesome.

4. Again, for all his badassness, guess what his chariot is driven by? GOATS. Cute, fluffy scruffy goats like the ones your kids feed at the zoo and you sit there laughing and videotaping while the goats harmlessly chase and terrorize them. Hahahah, how cute, right? (Thanks, Grandma.) You'd think that. But these aren't just any goats... their names are Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjostr, which are Norwegian for 'Teethsnarler' and 'Teethgrinder.' Awesome. And Thor eats them every night and brings them back (nevermind that they were made lame by some kid who broke one's leg bone or something one night while eating it to get at the marrow. just ignore that part.) Goats. Driving the chariot of the craziest, most powerful freakin god in mythology ever. It's almost as though Thor is lookin at you getting ready to say, "Yeah go ahead and make fun of my goats. Do it. I will totally stomp your balls with lightning and then we'll see who's laughing."

3. Thor isn't allowed to cross Bifrost because all the other gods are afraid that he's so badass with his usage of heat and lightning and stuff, the bridge would just crumble. I'd like to see Chuck Norris have that on his resume!

2. He has his own day of the week! Thursday... Thor's Day (Thunor's Day?)... seriously, if you don't believe me, look at Wikipedia.

1. Look, I just always wanted one of those Viking helmets, okay? Is that so wrong?!?!

Sometimes the US sucks


You know, I'm all for "we're the greatest country in the world" rhetoric because for the most part we have it pretty good. But COME ON AMERICA. Stop being such a fail.

But what can be done? Kudos to Rachel Maddow for at least drawing attention to the issue. I kind of doubt it will have any effect.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

01 October 2010


Okay hopefully this appears in blue ...

Currently I'm reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. It's the first in a classic trilogy on humans living on and eventually terraforming Mars. It took a while to get going at the beginning, but now the characters are all arguing about terraforming ... most are for it, while a minority is against it. They want to preserve Mars, both for any native microbial life that may be there and for the beauty and geology of the natural planet.

During one of the debates, a pro-terraformer stands up and basically says, we are the life on Mars. His speech really resonated with me, especially this part:

And yet the whole meaning of the universe, its beauty, is contained in the consciousness of intelligent life. We are the consciousness of the universe, and our job is to spread that around, to go look at things, to live everywhere we can.

This speaks to so many of my own personal beliefs, and why I and many others are passionate about human space travel. What is the universe without life, especially conscious life? (I think it's a stretch to say that all humans are intelligent ;-) ). The stars are only beautiful because we are here to look at them. Without us it would be just so many atoms.

And as the only intelligent life we know of, it is not only our dream but our duty to explore, to leave the comfort of our known home and strike out into the vastness of the universe, not only to study and understand, but to live. It's hard to remember that when there are so many problems here on Earth ... but it is vitally important to our species.

First post!!!

Mostly I just wanted to see if it would post in red like I want it too. Cause what's the point of having a cool awesome tandem blog with meine schwester if we can't even make different coloured posts??! Fo shizzle.

So WHATSUP NON READERS SO FAR!! I don't think anyone like reads the first post of a blog ever. This is the unreadable post. Even if you're reading this, you're totally not, because you don't know this blog exists yet. ...or something like that.

I bet you're asking yourself, what is this dealio all about, anyway? What are they going to blog about? Cause all blogs have to have a topic, yeah? NO. BITCHES. (I'm an onion.) Our blog is going to be anything and everything. But it's a tandem blog. So some posts will be me, some posts will be her (in blue) and some posts will be created via GoogleWave (No product placement here, folks!) in conversation form.

And then I avoided the question! Kind of. Cause you wondered what we will write about, not who 'we' is. Well... a lot of stuff. Including but not limited to:
  • Apples
  • Politics, Religion, News, and other such offensive topics
  • Culture
  • Recipes
  • BOOKS!!
  • Dumb cool internet graphics and cartoons we might find
  • Shit we did that day
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll
  • Quotes
  • Folklore
  • Money
  • Pretty stuff, like faeries, gemstones, and gossamer
  • Beauty, cosmetics and bath salts!
  • Holidays and seasonal stuff
  • Music, movies
  • Cute Animals
  • Art (including my photographyyyyy)
  • Cool crafts and stuff
  • Aliens
  • Technology and Science
  • Funny stuff
  • Geeky stuff
  • Travel
  • Random rants, musings, etc
So yeah. Enjoy!

We rock.

Jenni and Heather are two sisters who live in completely different places, and do completely different things with their lives.