Ten Random Tidbits

I like lists. A lot. Lists are awesome and amazing, and….um….they are great. So with that profound introduction here are ten tidbits about me. I know it sounds egotistical (which is what makes it fun!), but if you actually read them, I guarantee there will be some links you want to click–maybe about books or video games or other things you might like.

And if you want to include your own lists at the bottom about you, feel free to do so ūüôā Making lists about yourself can make you nostalgic, help you remember old things you had forgotten, or just help you learn new things about yourself.

Ten Random Tidbits about Taryn

1. I am deathly afraid of tornadoes.

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Look at that thing and tell me you wouldn’t rather die in any other way possible. That swirling tissue of connectivity from the sky to the ground is demon-spawn, hell-created, is responsible for almost every nightmare of pure and unadulterated terror I have ever had. Now, I live in North Carolina. We are not known for our tornadoes, although some do sweep by occasionally. But every time there is even a tornado watch, you can find me in my neighbor’s bathtub (they live on the first floor), with my nose pressed into the NOAA website on my phone’s browser.

I am not happy about my storm cowardice. In fact, I love thunderstorms. Give me a good ol’ safe bolt of lightning any day. Put me in a car with hail. Even hurl hurricanes at me during the season while I live on the water. Just don’t mention the unpredictable mass of fear that is a tornado.

At least my cowardice has an explanation. From about 6-8 years old, I lived in Iowa City, IA. Now, there’s a place that knows its tornadoes. We even had a cellar specifically designed to save us from these awful debris-spraying funnels. I think that cellar is part of the problem. It wasn’t no freakin’ cool hideout. It was a goddamned fallout shelter, with bare, stony walls and cans of shit I wouldn’t eat if the zombie apocalypse rained down on me. It smelled like rust and a little like being buried alive. Also, my parents are a little nuts. I’d say nuts in a good way, but not in this case. We lived in a huge, broken-down home near acres of cornfield, and you could see tornadoes coming from miles away. So they used to stand us in front of the tornadoes and TAKE PICTURES IN FRONT OF THEM. What the fuck. Good parenting at its best.

2. I played basketball in high school, and rode the bench like a champion. 

I use the term “played” very loosely. I was a power forward; big and ungainly, with no business running up and down a shellacked death-trap. I could shoot relatively well, but I was too scared to foul anybody, and if I had to dribble the ball- god have mercy on our souls. Fortunately, my high school team was too good to give a shit about me, so I spent most of my hours cheering on a team that led us to nationwide victory; and I proudly had nothing to do with it.

3. My first real kiss happened on the beach, under a full moon, when I was sixteen.

I hate cliches. Which is what makes it so weird that my high school life was just one, giant walking one. It was a perfect, sweet, actual kiss (not the grab-ass you play when you’re in middle school), and was before I turned into a total evil, slut-creature that all eighteen year olds become. Again, a cliche in the making.

4. I am obsessed with casual, online adventure games.

It is no secret that I am a PC gamer. I like other platforms, but I have just always had a knack for PC controls, and so that is where I stay, forever locked into my gaming niche. And I love adventure games. I grew up on Syberia, Sherlock Holmes, The Longest Journey, and Nancy Drew. But with growing technology, a new genre of completely useless, stupid gaming has evolved: casual gaming. And I am addicted.

Look here, here, and here¬†for free games.¬†Yeah, that’s right. They might be point-and-click. They might include little square boxes that pop up when you kit the I key. They might involve vapid characters, useless logic puzzles, and terrible graphics. But, damn, they are the best time waster out there. [I am being harsh on these games. A lot of them have amazing characters and graphics. But, let’s face it, most of them don’t.] (Look here, here, and here for some examples of great characters/graphics). My favorite casual, online adventure games are the ones where you go steadily along, finding items and unlocking codes, until you hit the grandaddy of all puzzles and you are stuck for five hours. You realize you should eat something, do schoolwork, or maybe just take the dog for a walk. But you can’t. Because by God you will figure out how these three separate colors fit together to match the treasure-poster on the wall.

5. The first book to change my life was Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder.

Sophie’s World¬†was far from the most poignant book I read, and it was far from being the best. I don’t say that with animosity or irony; it is just a fact that later on in life, there would be books which would touch me more deeply than the writing in Gaarder’s wonderful novel. But Sophie’s World was amazing because I read it at the perfect time in my life. It was right when I was aching to get out of the country, but was still too young to know what pilgrimages signified. I read it when I was in the midst of teenage anxiety and stress from the unknown, and when I felt like I hated and loved everything in the world at once. Sophie’s World is a wonderful novel about the history of philosophy and a girl navigating through a flexible reality. I felt much like this girl while I was reading the book, and I think I envied the way she was able to escape in the end. I now have a First Edition copy of the book because it represented a turning point in my life, and I own it so that I can be nostalgic about the passion I felt during those quintessential years of change into womanhood.

6. I hate squirrels.

They gross, they obnoxious. I’d have a pet cockroach first. Bam, nuff said.

7. I am addicted to Etsy, but too poor to actually shop there.

Every time I go onto the website, I see things I want. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Do you know what that is like? And they are always one-of-a-kind things which I immediately determine must be in my apartment, must be somewhere near or on me. I love the fact that Etsy has the weirdest shit imaginable for sale. See this, this, and this.

But you know what? I’d buy it. I’d buy it all. Etsy has a penchant for choosing some of my favorite things in the world and turning them into commodities which I require immediately. For example, think Adventure Time paraphernalia, bright colors, and just the adjective “vintage” makes me drool. Also, if I am on a roll, I might as well tell you that things like this, this, and this don’t help either. ¬†In fact, feel free to check out my favorite here: just don’t tell anybody that I was the one who got you onto this addiction.

8. I can’t just do one thing at a time.¬†

I am probably undiagnosed with ADD. Or some sort of multitasking disease. Judson and I have a debate over whether people can actually multitask. He insists that it is scientifically, and therefore physically, impossible to concentrate on two things at once. Instead, your brain moves from one thing to the other in rapid succession. My take on it is that the logistics don’t fucking matter. I have¬†to be doing two things at once or else I will be bored and useless. If I am doing schoolwork, some sort of noise must be happening. Whether music or the television (usually the latter). And, sometimes, which drives everyone crazy, I read two things at once…well you know, I’ll have two books with me and read like a chapter of each between them. I have to. While I’m writing this blog, I am reading my Israel book, watching TV, petting Fritz, and arguing with Jud about multitasking.

9. I am an INFJ to the fullest extent of its definition.

If you don’t know what an INFJ is, let me just tell you: they are fucking confused individuals. It means that they are incredibly passionate, but insanely logical. They are introverted to the extreme, but have to be around other people to feel fulfilled. They like success, but create challenges along the path of their goals. They like to teach, but they get frustrated when someone doesn’t want to learn. Basically, they are bipolar and sometimes hypocritical and completely emotionally nuts.

They are usually leaders of the free world, sucka.

10. I love politics.

This blog steers away from politics for the very reason that I love them so much. It is amazing I have friends at all. That is how much I love politics. I like knowing about everything that is happening internationally and domestically, and I like to talk about it. And if I get started here, this blog will never come back to video games and books and history and food, it will just melt into a lecture on why bipartisanism doesn’t work and how we are all fucked because we ruin the environment and don’t know how to make money. Anywhooo…..

I will end with this cute picture of a squirrel. Wait…squirrels can’t be cute…

Science Fiction and Wheel of Time Review

I put up another series of lists!

This time they are all about my love of science fiction books. The first list I added is courtesy of Librarything, which is a wonderful site where I keep track of books, and talk to other community readers about their love of books. One of the groups I am a part of on Librarything is a science fiction group. They have compiled a wonderful list of science fiction books which members of the group agreed were some of their favorites. That list can be found here. I also added NPR’s great science fiction list. This list has been shortened by NPR to a list of winners, but I hate leaving out nominees just because people didn’t vote for them.

Also, I thought I would give a review of the science fiction series I am reading right now: The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan.

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When I picked up the first book in the series, entitled¬†The Eye of the World, it was more from desperation than anything else. I was without a car, without a computer, and the only book I had to read was completely about my unending, terrible thesis. I have to admit, I looked at the cover of the book and chuckled to myself. It’s a man in full warrior garb riding a white horse in front of a full moon. Come on.

However, if anyone could capture an audience with just a few pages, it would be Robert Jordan. His prose is both full and flawless. You go through a thousand words without even thinking about anything, even turning the pages. Although the world Jordan creates is simple (the maps are very linear), the actual descriptions of each environment are complex and rich with colors, sounds, and smells.

The characters in the Wheel of Time series started a bit archetypal. The main character, a boy named Rand, is in the throes of his teenage years, is attached to his rural home, is shy and afraid and only mediocre with a sword. As he makes his journeys, he grows into a more confident leader, as any main character should, and does anything to protect the girl. A Warder (or warrior), strong, stoic, quiet, and the bad guy: power to rule the Earth.

However, to me, some of the peripheral characters are much more interesting and inspiring. Mat and Perrin, friends of Rand, are complete opposites, one encompassing mischief and sweet naiveté, the other logical and slowly working through an alien universe. The powerful Aes Sedai, Moraine, who has magical powers which are used for evil in ancient lore, but which are constantly used to save our main characters. And, my personal favorite, the strong and stubborn Wisdom (woman tribe healer, you could say), named Nynaeve, who wants to look after her village members, but has never experienced much herself.

All in all, the first in the series (not the prequel which was written later) is successful. I have a good time reading it, I can’t completely guess what is going to happen next, and, as I reach the end, I know I will pick up the second in the series.

If anyone has any books they would like me to read and review, or if I’ve already read something and you want an opinion, let me know! I love talking about books, and since it isn’t part of my job, I do it for fun ūüôā Have a good day readers.

 

UPDATE: After reading ten books in this series, I realize that this review does not even scratch the surface of how amazingly complex these books are. The first couple of books in the series are an innocent account of young people venturing forth into a complicated world. As they become more accustomed to their lives outside of their small village, they realize they all have a destiny much greater than their old lives. Most of them have integral parts to play in the ending of the world, especially Rand, who is fated to die at the hands of the Dark One. (This is not a spoiler- they say it all throughout the books).

There are multiple cultures, with people who have diverse styles, ways of speaking, and customs. There are interwoven threads of dozens of stories, and there is no omnipresent narrator, meaning that the characters are on their own, struggling to find their way through numerous problems. Although I have read some reviews that complain about the romantic relationships in the series, I think they aren’t taking into account the anthropological perspective (of course I say this.). Every culture has a different concept of love and a “normal” relationship with a life partner, and I think this series encompasses the difficulty of living life no matter where you are from. Around the sixth book there are so many plots and subplots, that I think a lot of people stop reading at this point. I would encourage whoever is reading this series to stick it out. Things start to fall into place, and everyone’s place in the story starts to become clear. If you start getting confused about the characters, I would recommend look at the Wheel of Time wiki, which I now know exists.

The only thing that hasn’t changed: Nynaeve is still my favorite character!

The Point System

Even though I’ve just moved, I’ve been kind of down in the dumps. I miss my boyfriend, I miss my dog, I’ve gained weight, and I haven’t really been accomplishing all the things I’ve imagined for myself. I thought the time leading up to this summer would have been productive: I was exercising and eating right (for the most part), I wasn’t drinking excessively (and that cigarette above is not really a cigarette, I swear), I was reading as fast and comprehensively as I could, and I was spending more time with my friends.

Unfortunately, the health setbacks have put me into the all-or-nothing mindset- I can either be healthy or I can be thin. Of course this isn’t true. It’s just a tendency of mine to think this way when I’m anxious. By the way, it was Nutrisystem that fucked me up. Sure I lost 10 lbs in a week and a half, but I paid the damn price. And now it’s all back, pretty much.

Anyway, in an effort to make myself more productive and feel better about my interaction with the world, I am creating my own point system. Productive things I do will give me a point (or more) and unproductive things will set me back. When I reach 50 points, I will reward myself. Books, probably. We all know I’ll go buy books. Bigger accomplishments earn me more points. And these accomplishments aren’t just material productivity. I am considering anything an accomplishment that puts me in a more peaceful state of mind- anything that helps me create balance or gives me more self-confidence. I am tired of obsessing over the flaws in my physical appearance. That shit is tiring! And…wait for it….unproductive.

Boo. Yah.

Taryn’s Productivity Point System

One Point For…
Every Hour of Creative Writing
Every Hour of Exercise
Every Hour of Visual Artwork (Including Photography)
Every Book Completed
Every Day of Only 1 Hour of Television
Every New Recipe Cooked

Five Points For…
Every Finished Short Story + 1 Revision
Every Finished Visual Art Piece
Big School Project Completed
Every Day without a Negative Thought
Every Thing I Build for the House
Cultivating a Garden
Every Month I Go Without Weighing Myself
Every Dinner Party Thrown (notice the key word here- dinner)

Ten Points For…
Every Story Sent in For Contest or Publication
Every Overall A in a Class
Every Craft I sell on Etsy
Every Month I exercise every single day

Lose One Point For…

Every Day I Judge Someone Negatively
Every Day I Judge Myself Negatively

And there you have it folks…my little, personal point system. I realize that doing things like this doesn’t help everyone become productive, that it doesn’t make everyone feel good, but, in a weird way, this type of organization gives me something to strive for. In every other area of my life, I am incredibly messy and unorganized- but I love to give a little order to chaos when I’m feeling down.

If any of my friends want to participate with me, that would also be awesome! Just let me know and I can even take pictures of the things we accomplish and put them on here.

Indiana Jones and Captain Jack Sparrow

I have been on hiatus for a month, and now I regret it. There are too many things to talk about, and it’s all spinning in my mind like a small, unfocused tornado. The most important news is that my dreams of becoming an archaeologist are on their way to becoming true! I was accepted into the MA program for Anthropology at East Carolina University. Which means, I am officially a pirate. Think Indiana Jones meets Captain Jack Sparrow (minus the facial hair and a few other key components) and you’ve got me!

That’s right, I’m a badass fighter.

Anyway, it’s great news because my dreams seemed to be shrinking on some distant horizon, and I didn’t see any way out of my current situation of aimlessness. But now I have nothing to do but be busy, busy, busy. I have to find a place to live in Chapel Hill in June (when our lease runs out) and then finding a place to live in Greenville, when I go to hit the books. Oh yeah, and they have to be places which will accept three animals. Easy.

As far as New Year’s Resolutions go- I am still not exercising and I am behind on my book list for this month. It’s all well and good though; I am not giving up on any of it. I want to be skinny, and I want to be skinny at graduate school, and I want to be skinny at graduate school while reading one of my 75 books.

I want Jud to look at me and say, “Damn, my woman’s hott.” Because I’m a feminist like that.

Just wrote this post so everyone would know I still plan on keeping this blog. I swear.

Fritz Paintings, Pride and Prej, and Other Things

We are almost into March, and, so far, I have only kept a couple of my resolutions. I’ve been reading a lot, sticking to a budget (more), cooking more, taking more pictures (as you will see in a second probably) and have actually started my triplicate paintings of the animals. The exercising and the writing have taken a back seat, which is not smart, considering those are the two things I want to accomplish the most. I keep telling myself that once we are financially secure it will be easier to a) stick to a schedule and b) have more energy but if anyone has some Adderall….now would be the time to hook a sister up. No, just kidding (insert hazy winky-face here).

As far as reading goes, I’m on my tenth book for the year (sixty-five more to go!). I’m reading Pride and Prejudice because someone swooned over the movie once and told me the book must be amazing. Seriously, I am not a fan of Austen. If you want some real women writers, look at Woolf or the Bronte sisters. Those bitches were cra-ha-zy! Therefore, their writing is infinitely better than Miss Austen. But since I’m in it, I have to finish. I’m OCD about that kind of thing. As I’ve said before, you can always follow my reading for the year here¬†as well. The other books I’ve read this year are:
1.¬†Tess of D’Urbervilles¬†by Thomas Hardy
2. Richard II by Shakespeare
3. Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott
4. Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande by E.E. Evans-Pritchard
5. America: The Book by Jon Stewart
6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
7. Daisy Miller by Henry James
8. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
9. Under the Black Flag by Erik Christian Haugaard

Check ’em out sometime. (Except Under the Black Flag…I found that slightly disappointing and somehow..don’t ask me how…sexist).

And, because you asked (and if you didn’t, what the hell) here are some pictures of things I’ve cooked!

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches with Cornbread

Chicken Parm with Spaghetti

Cajun Sausage and Rice with Cornbread Sprinkled with Brown Sugar

And as final proof of my awesome resolution-keeping, here are the VERY beginning stages of my picture of Fritz:

I promise when it’s done I will show the finished versions…they are going to be awesome: I want to make them pop art and cartoon-like with neon colors and intricate backgrounds. Just wanted to prove I was doing something after work.

And, as if that weren’t enough pictures, here’s a parting one of Wybie taking a cute, little nap. Until next time! Oh, and don’t forget your submissions for SDSF!!!! I’ve only gotten a couple so far. Don’t be shy, submit!

My (Late) New Year’s Resolutions

cute robot - Image - TinyPic - Share the Experience!"

If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I have a compulsion to make lists. I like lists of words, pictures, artworks, and especially books. So my second post on here is going to be of my list of (Late) New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve had them all for a long time, and some of them I am already better about than I used to be. As I keep blogging, I can also keep up with my progress for these.

1.¬†Write every day.¬†I would like to basically finish ten, fully developed short stories or manuscripts this year. But that isn’t a good goal for me as a writer. I will be productive if I can just write for an hour every day. This is the year I get published!

2.¬†Exercise every day.¬†I used to run every day last year. But, since Judson and I have been having money problems, I started working really hard and also didn’t eat regularly. I was incredibly tired, and exercising just stopped being a priority. This year, I have a regular job, etc. so it becomes a priority again.

3. Read 75 books this year. I have a Librarything account that explains this goal. Check it out here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/130500.

4.¬†Learn to Cook.¬†I am not a bad cook, but, again, haven’t been eating regularly. Now that we can afford some ingredients, I am going to start through our collection of cookbooks and cook as much as possible.

5. Take More Pictures. I have an amazing camera, but never take pictures. This is a no-brainer. I want pictures of my friends, my family, of me, and of the world around me.

6. Say Only Positive Things About Myself and Others. No explanation needed.

7.¬†Not Feel Guilty About Playing Video Games. I am a nerd. Truly. A nerd. And I love video games. Right now I am trying to beat the earlier Zelda on N-64 so that I can buy myself Skyrm when I get enough monies. Also, I love the Sims and would like to finish a legacy challenge. The list goes on: Portal, Indigo Prophecy, Modern Warfare (working on it now), Red Dead Redemption, etc. I usually don’t play unless it’s the weekend because I feel guilty. But why? I’ve decided I’ll just limit my time and be productive when I’m not playing video games instead of feeling guilty.

8.¬†Create a piece of artwork every month.¬†I like to draw and paint, but I need some practice. Judson isn’t very artistic, so sometimes it’s hard to find the time to sit down and practice. But I will this year.

9. Have adventures out on the town. Again, since we recently are able to start exploring more, I want to get to really know Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. I used to live in Carborro so I know that area pretty well. But I would love to explore Raleigh/Durham.

10.¬†Stick to a budget.¬†I am bad about what I call “living in the moment.” If I have money, I like to spend it on fun things or, more commonly, drinks for my friends. Sorry guys, I seriously cannot do that like I did before last year. Judson will help me with this one.


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While writing this list, I thought of a million other things I would like to do this year, but these are hard enough as it is. And everyone feel free to submit to me their own lists of New Years Resolutions or ask me questions on my asking page. Keep on the lookout for my next blog!