Tuesday, October 18, 2005

National Novel Writing Month

Originally uploaded by Martina.
It is almost November, which means it is almost time for NaNo WriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. Will I actually have the time (or discipline) to do it? I don't know. Either way, I am now officially registered for 2005 and have grandiose dreams of writing 50,000 words in a month. I have even found my project.

As is my way, I am excited about it now, but who knows how I will feel about it tomorrow, after something shiny has diverted my attention. Yes, the big question is whether I'll be able to hold onto my enthusiasm for my story (it really is fun, if I do say so myself) long enough to actually do anything with it. While I really want to finish the heiress to the underworld story that I started writing a few years ago, I have myself 99.9% convinced that I am going to go with my new (but yet to be revealed, because I can't have my strange ideas perverted by outside influence at this stage) concept. So, for today, I say "Viva NaNo WriMo" and I mean that wholeheartedly for as long as my fickle allegiances commit themselves to this project!

P.s. What is up with my blog? Why have my picture, profile and link info all migrated down to the bottom? I do not like this, yet, being technically inept, I have no idea how to fix it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Martinaland Event Schedule

For some strange reason my normally boring existence has been pretty busy these past couple weeks. There are so many things I want to talk about, but I fear I will forget before I have time to do so. So, here is the short version, possibly to be revisted later. To make a short list, here is what I have been up to:

The Battle of the Hyacinths

Viewing the The Exorcism of Emily Rose
- Just as quick aside, I've gone to more movies in the past month than I probably have all year. I don't know what's possessed me, though I do know that my pre-Emily Rose self-creep out of wondering if I could handle the movie in all of its demonic creepiness was way scarier than the actual movie was.

Liederabend der Romantik (with Heidrun Kordes and Thorsten Larbig). I'm going to admit right now that Romantic Lieder are not necessarily my favorite genre of music. I really enjoy Romantic piano pieces. Vocally, the Lieder are sometimes just too much for me. Even though I appreciate the level of difficulty in singing them, I tend to prefer vocal music of a simpler, more melodic structure.

That said, the Lieder do have some definite plusses. The piano accompaniment is almost always gorgeous, and they mostly borrow their lyrics from Romantic poetry, which I do love. Best of all, though, is that they tend toward the gloriously melodramatic. Even the tortured soul program title "Let, oh world, oh let me be" was melodramatic. My favorite piece by far was Brahms' M├Ądchenfluch (A Maiden's Curse), which features lyrics like:

For, you see, Jawo has
Muddied the water.
How, then, o dear mother,
Could I have bleached it?
Curse him, mother, dear mother!
I will curse him too.
May God in bright heaven grant
That he might hang himself
On a terrible little tree...
On my white neck!
May God in bright heaven grant
That he might lie imprisoned,
Imprisoned deep in a dungeon...
On my white breast!

It goes on with the cursing from there, but I think it gives a good taste of the piece. In fairness to the performers, there was more to the evening than melodrama. Both really were incredible musicians. The particular style of music just isn't my favorite. Still, I am glad the I went. It was an interesting experience and I did learn a lot about the genre that I did not know, which is never a bad thing.

Seeing The Corpse Bride

Visiting the Shanghai Tunnels

Viewing Mirrormask

Continued visits to the gym (Soon I will be so buff, no one will recognize me! Well, either that or I will look a little less weebilesque.)

Taking the Northwest Earth Institute's Voluntary Simplicity course

Attending a performance of The Lion King
I know I said I would revisit this later, but while the feeling is still new, I just have to say WOW. The whole production was incredible. It even overcame my Disney prejudices! The costume design was beautiful and innovative in the most of the time I was not thinking "Huh. I'm spending two hours watching a grown men dressed up and pretending to pounce around like lions. Greeaat." The costumes were proportioned in such a way that, for example, the actor's face became the chin of the mask. The costumes managed to avoid being cumbersome and really did just become part of the characters.

Will I expound on all of these things as planned? Probably not, though hopefully I'll get around to a few. Either way, I have accounted for my whereabouts for a good portion of the past week or two.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

An apple a day keeps the troops away

Feed a cold, starve a fever. If you're feeling fluish, call the military. With all that's going on in the world, our fearless leader is wrangling for Congress to approve the use of U.S. military on U.S. soil in a law enforcement role (i.e. to force people into quarantine) to stop the spread of the avian flu pandemic should it become a problem.

I, for one, am so very pleased that our President is spending valuable time on this. Why waste energy on issues like feeding the homeless, solving the healthcare crisis in this country, ending the quagmire which is our war in Iraq, or finding housing more suitable housing than an astrodome for victims of Hurricaine Katrina? (Or perhaps President Bush shares his mother's sentiment that things are working out very well (see www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001054719, since blogger no longer allows me to do links the normal way) for impoverished evacuees from New Orleans, because they were underprivileged anyway.

But back to the bird flu. As it turns out, the avian flu is not communicable from person to person, only bird to person. This leads me to believe that the military should not be employed quarantining people, but hunting down lawless birds and rerouting them to the Cuban detention facilities where all of the other terrorists are held. Terrorists. That's what the birds are. Even more chilling, they have no need to hijack planes, because they are miniature planes themselves! Even more chilling, if highjacked by a malevolent leprachaun, the sick birds could become flying harbingers of magical disease and then even voodoo (oh, sorry, trickle down) economics won't be able to save us.

Joking aside, I find Bush's idea of repealing the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 a bit disturbing. If my superficial understanding (and the CNN article I read) is correct, it "bans the military from participating in police-type activity on U.S. soil." The Bush proposal comes in the wake of slow response to civil unrest in the wake of Katrina. The thing is (also according to the CNN article and more specifically Gene Healy of the Cato Institue) that the act does not apply to "the military's ability to respond to a crisis".

What disturbs me about overturning such an act are the doors it opens for using the military in other situations. Does this mean they could be employed to break up demonstrations? Does this mean that they could be employed to intern people for purposes other than medical quarantine? Maybe the power wouldn't be used for such things, but it's chilling to think that it could be. It reminds a lot of the stories my family has told about living under fascist and communist regimes, and that is a scary thought.