Barbara's Random Thoughts

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Poem Generator

Julie sent me this nifty little link yesterday. Type in a URL, and it'll generate a poem based on the site. It does take a little messing with, since it picks up some of the html. But I could totally play with this for hours.

My favorite attempt off my blog (I think it's the Oprah line) is Julie's contribution:

Just look unfriendly
for not-- I have no key card.
I get that I have been pondering this
I work to make known
my favorite classes with me,
This would come across
as rude, an extremely
serious manual on how to make known
my least favorite novel from boredom.
PROOF THAT Oprah Winfrey was rooting for me etc.
But again, I feel imposed upon when people call

And I tried it on Kristy's and David's blogs:


But I think everyone
goes through
can take into the time
and pain
The heartache that angsty teenager
phase, where my brothers, and then Paul
Buchanan gave me
up there and intelligent and
Thomas was about four
We revealed our sophomore

Also from Kristy's blog:

And phantoms of
course, the best experiences
where every stone; it feels strange. I
was held at
night See who you
know of! owl is geocaching


Africa a short time
walking by the stark aesthetic of
a fishing company that makes sense:
The small birds that she
a brief stop before I
begin to stage a bleak fate; what is
a whole it was
unhappy about

Africa is in New Haven, Connecticut, and
social cheers for
some intelligence officials
thought aloud to
carve a private army
that we read about
life of a prime minister
of them only a baby blue iPod.

In Bali when the plot has something
that he put my final
destination which,
move swiftly and there
is different.
| posted by Barbara | 11:51 PM |

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Why am I socially inept?

I've been pondering this question recently. At a party this weekend, a couple of people persisted in calling me "Barb," and I couldn't bring myself to tell them I hate being called Barb. Really, I feel like I have every right to make known my preference as to what people call me. And I know they were only being friendly, trying to be more familiar with me, etc. But that just made it worse--I felt like I would come across as rude and unfriendly if I were to correct them. So I sat there and let it happen, still inwardly cringing every time I was called "Barb."

This morning, I forgot my key card. I was kindly let in by a woman I frequently see in the hallways at work. There was another guy in the lobby who said he's working here temporarily, but since neither of us recognized him, she asked him to call the people he's working with to come and let him in. She commented, "I know you!" to me, and I thanked her for letting me in. We chatted a bit about the "don't open the door to strangers" policy as we walked in together, and I realized that I have no idea what her name is. This would have been a great opportunity to ask her name, introduce myself, and just generally be friendly. But did I do that? No, of course not. I thought about it, but again, I wondered how it might come across. I mean, maybe she does know my name and I'd just look unfriendly for not knowing hers.

There are other times in conversations where I don't ask questions that I want to ask--and therefore I don't get to know people like I could or should--because I don't want to intrude too much, or because I'm not sure what others will think of me. And yet, I never feel imposed upon when people ask me questions about myself. I don't think differently about others because they're interested in who I am. I guess I self-censor too much. I swear, it's like social paralysis. Somehow I just don't know how to navigate the initial social interactions. Once I'm past the small talk and the introductions, and I actually know someone, I'm fine. Pretty much. Sigh.
| posted by Barbara | 10:14 PM |

672 Pages of Potter

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Scholastic has released a page count for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. At 672 pages, it's shorter than its two most recent predecessors: Order of the Phoenix at 870 pages, and Goblet of Fire at 734. There will also be a 704-page "Deluxe Edition" available (priced at $60), which will include a 32-page insert with black and white art.

Still can't wait till July 16. (Just in case you were wondering.)

| posted by Barbara | 7:35 PM |

Something that made me smile today

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I miss my little sis.
| posted by Barbara | 12:03 AM |

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Tolstoy & Snicket

A belated year-end publishing tidbit from the Chicago Sun-Times: Little events in the publishing world that "helped keep 2004 from boredom."

PROOF THAT AMERICAN POP CULTURE HASN'T QUITE OVERRUN THE WORLD: The reaction of Larissa Volokhonsky, translator (with her husband Richard Pevear) of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, when told that Oprah had named their edition her summer reading selection. Volokhonsky said the name Oprah Winfrey "was for me totally unknown. I didn't understand what it could possibly mean." What it meant was an increase of 800,000 copies in Penguin's press run for the book.

WHO SAYS GOOD BOOKS CAN'T REFORM BAD CHILDREN? In Wichita, Kan., a boy stuffed a book under his shirt at Watermark Books and headed out the door. But when he passed a life-size cardboard cutout of Lemony Snicket's evil Count Olaf, the figurine -- containing a motion-sensor chip that plays messages with sinister laughs -- bellowed, "Where did you get that book?" The kid stopped in his tracks and returned the loot.
| posted by Barbara | 11:11 PM |

Friday, January 21, 2005

Pepys meets the blog

This guy had the bright idea of presenting the diary of Samuel Pepys in blog form.

There's something indescribable about reading a 17th century blog.
| posted by Barbara | 8:13 PM |

Oddest Book Title of the Year

It's award season.

"Rick Pelicano and Lauren Tjaden's extremely serious manual on how to Bombproof Your Horse is today hailed as runaway winner of the prize for the oddest book title of the past year."

Personally, I was rooting for Applications of High Tech Squids.
| posted by Barbara | 7:50 PM |

Thursday, January 20, 2005

This I have to see.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne has the distinction of being my least favorite novel from my least favorite period in literary history. (Ironically, I read it for one of my favorite classes with one of my favorite professors.) And now, it's being made into a movie.
| posted by Barbara | 7:41 PM |

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Movie Meme

Found here.

1. Pick one dozen movies that you have special feelings about.
2. Pick a few lines of dialogue that mean something to you.
3. As people guess the film, strike out that entry.
4. After the film is guessed, explain why that movie made the list.

I'm not going to follow instructions exactly, because I doubt there will be a mad rush to comment/guess. And I can't be bothered to explain "why." But here they are anyway, a baker's dozen of movie quotes that mean something to me--or just make me smile.

-You can never get it back. It's like you get homesick for a place that doesn't exist. I mean, it's like this rite of passage, you know. You won't have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I miss the idea of it. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people who miss the same imaginary place.
(Garden State)

-You'll marry, all right. Some fool who will sit and read Tennyson by firelight, no doubt. Build you your castles in the sky. I know you.
(Anne of Avonlea)

-Who has been teaching you to say such things?
-Don't you think I could have thought of them myself?
(Lady Jane)

-Only grown-up men are scared of women.
(Sound of Music)

-It's like some hideous party game. Everybody's dancing, and nobody's getting the prize they want, because it's all third-hand and second-best.
(I Capture the Castle)

-All I'm saying is that somewhere out there is the man you are supposed to marry. And if you don't get him first, somebody else will, and you'll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that somebody else is married to your husband.
(When Harry Met Sally)

-The more I see of the world, the less inclined I am to think well of it.
(Pride & Prejudice)

-I don't want to go through life like my mother--afraid that I'm not really loved--even if it meant I could go through life with you.
(I Capture the Castle)

-That's your problem! You don't want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie!
(Sleepless in Seattle)

-I don't see anything I don't like about you.
-But you will! But you will, and I'll get bored with you and feel trapped, because that's what happens with me.
(Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

-What about you, is there someone else?
-No. No, but there's the dream of someone else.
(You've Got Mail)

-It is but a shadow and a dream that you love.
(Return of the King)

-It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live.
(Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone)
| posted by Barbara | 10:29 PM |

Friday, January 14, 2005

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life--

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

--William Stafford
| posted by Barbara | 7:16 PM |

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Tyranny of the Unread

I was surveying my bookshelves the other night, and, geek that I am, making a list of books I intend to read in the coming year. One of my roommates asked me what I was doing, and commented, "Oh, I thought you'd read all of those." Ha, yeah right. My continually unreached goal is to have read all the books I've purchased. Well, you know, the reading books. (This excludes textbooks, reference books, anthologies, stuff like that. Naturally.)

Anyway, in order to make myself feel guilty a year from now, I present to you (in no particular order) a list of the books I own but have not yet read, and intend to read in 2005.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
Atonement, Ian McEwan
Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson
Persuasion, Jane Austen
Rape of the Fair Country, Alexander Cordell
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, John Steinbeck
The Once and Future King, T.H. White
Watership Down, Richard Adams
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
I Know This Much Is True, Wally Lamb
China Boy, Gus Lee
Certain Women, Madeleine L'Engle
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
The Golden Key, George Macdonald
Foolscap, Michael Malone
The Man Who Was Thursday, G.K. Chesterton
The Language Police, Diane Ravitch

Wow, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I haven't read some of those yet. A Tale of Two Cities?! And I called myself an English major. This list doesn't even cover all of the books I own but have not yet read. Ah, the guilt of unread books. Perhaps one day I will conquer it.
| posted by Barbara | 2:38 AM |

IKEA: Swedish for "temporary furniture."

I love following random links around the internet. (aka, wasting time...) I'm not even quite sure how I got here, but it led me here, where I was enlightened by these comments:

"Jerker and Jerk (sic!) has their roots as nicknames for Erik and began to be used as Christian names in mid 17th century."

"Thanks, Jerker. I now know what to call my friend Eric."


The IKEA product referenced above reminded me of a kinda offensive but hilarious post at tequila mockingbird: ikea for the workplace.

And, while I'm throwing out links, go play the IKEA game.

On which, by the way, I scored 6 out of 10. Yoori had a KLUNSA, and I was with Heather when she bought the KELIG. And ya gotta love the NALLE. Oh, I know my IKEA.
| posted by Barbara | 2:20 AM |

Friday, January 07, 2005


One year. Happy birthday, blog.
| posted by Barbara | 1:49 AM |

Alias S4 Premiere

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My Alias is back. And last night was so much better than season 3. (Vaughn: "Last year sucked." Heh.)

Vaughn's as hot as ever (with the glasses! Woo!), Marshall and Weiss totally made me laugh out loud, and yay for all the cool gadgets and spy action. There were some great lines last night:

Weiss: Thank you for sweating.

Marshall: Sloane is here!

Weiss: Hi, I'm Eric, 38, single...

And Marshall having brunch with Sark, and his comment about RobotDixon...I've missed Marshall. ("I've lost my keys...where are they?")

But I'm gonna be annoyed if they've completely dropped the "who controls you"/Wittenberg documents reveal that was the cliffhanger at the end of last season. And are they completely dismissing the Rambaldi storyline? Grrr. They better pick up some of these threads, cause the continuity just ain't happening.

And come on, Syd, after all the times you've been lied to and just had to find out the truth (and of course, it always comes out), do ya really think it was a good idea to lie to your little sister? Not so much.

But those gripes aside, my Alias is back! After Lost! Ah, Wednesdays will be fun.
| posted by Barbara | 1:25 AM |

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Bullfighting and Disneyland

The latest alumni update from Chapman University includes a link to this story, the university president's account of his recent experience fighting bulls in Spain.

While I was at Chapman, I always enjoyed President Doti's end-of-the-year letter, where he would make summer reading recommendations based on his reading over the previous year. (I happened upon The Soloist from one of these letters.) But this narrative certainly tops the reading recommendations.

"The La Savoia Bullring is part of a toreador school. It is also a training school for bulls, presumably with the intent of turning normally docile bulls that had little interest other than contemplating the fairer sex and gently grazing into becoming nasty, ill-tempered brutes."

Ferdinand the Bull, anyone?

Possibly my favorite quote:
"I heard over the loudspeaker, 'And now entering the ring, El Presidente Doti from Chapman University in Disneyland, California.'"

Ah, yes, that's where I went to grad school. Disneyland, California.
| posted by Barbara | 3:59 AM |

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Randomly Generated Resolutions

In the year 2005 I resolve to:

Become anti-social.

Get your resolution here


In the year 2005 I resolve to:

Stop refreshing this page until I get the answer I want.

Get your resolution here

| posted by Barbara | 12:30 AM |

Monday, January 03, 2005

A link for the expectant ones

The 100 most popular names of 2004

"After three years at the top, Emma has unseated Emily as the most popular girl name in the United States, while Jacob remained the nation's most popular boy name for the fourth year in a row."

My word, it sounds like an awards ceremony. I wonder how my niece feels to know that her name has been officially "unseated" from its number one spot.

All three of my nieces have their names in the top 100: 3 (Emily), 8 (Hannah), and 60 (Rebecca--though she spells it Rebekah). And my nephew's at #38: John. Several of their middle names make the list as well, with #16: Grace, #65: Faith, and for Johnny, #6: Michael. I never knew my family was so trendy. Look at my sister, with the popular baby names...

Oh, and the Jayden/Caden/Brayden/Hayden madness should stop, now.
| posted by Barbara | 7:40 PM |


Here's what I read in 2004. I think there are a few I missed at the beginning of the year (Pullman's Golden Compass, and perhaps others), but that's pretty much the list.

Now I don't feel quite so bad about still not having finished Foucault's Pendulum.
| posted by Barbara | 6:22 AM |

Random thoughts at the beginning of a new year

Look how fast this year's gone by
Spring has somehow slipped away
I barely saw the summer sky
Autumn seems like yesterday
I never read those top-ten books
I never took that trip to France
Did nothing to improve my looks
I never learned to salsa dance
I didn't be all I could be
I didn't see all I could see
I didn't call on Mother’s Day
I cannot wash my sins away
And I would not dwell on the past
If time did not go by so fast
I can't believe already it's the last day...of the year

2005 sounds so...2 years ago. This is what comes of working for a publisher, where every copyright year is a year in advance, and editorial deadlines are even earlier. I'm starting work on 2007; why is the rest of the world 2 years behind?
I should have something profound to say. At the beginning of a new year, it seems I should wax eloquent as I reflect on the past 12 months and look ahead to the year to come. But that really seems contrived, and I hate contrivance in all of its various manifestations. I don't really have a lot of deep reflections about 2004, though I feel like I should--it was full of a lot of changes and a lot of new experiences.
I should make some resolutions. I don't really do New Year's resolutions. But this is what I was journaling about last night, so here ya go.

Speaking of...I want to do more journaling. Over the last 2 years, I've gotten out of the habit of journaling, and I want to be more consistent this year. Blogging has been good for me over the last year, but I want to do more personal journaling, to spend more time evaluating thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This way, I can be more profound in my reflections at the end of 2005. Ha.
In light of the two shoulds above: I want to stop being so driven by the word "should." Love, not obligation, should be what motivates me. AUGH! I just said "should." This is not going well...
These last two are related:
I want to more deeply recognize and rest in the truth that God's in control. Not me. God.
I want to stop being so insistent on my own self-reliance. Seeking deeper community is kinda in there as well.

Happy 2005, everyone!
| posted by Barbara | 5:57 AM |