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2nd Apr, 2010

reading shakespeare

A meme or something

There you go:

[x] I am shorter than 5'4.
[x] I think I'm ugly sometimes.
[ ] I have many scars.
[x] I tan easily.
[ ] I wish my hair was a different color.
[ ] I have friends who have never seen my natural hair color.
[ ] I have a tattoo.
[x] I am self-conscious about my appearance.
[ ] I have/had braces.
[ ] I wear glasses
[x] I would get plastic surgery if it were 100 safe, free of cost, and scar-free.
[xxxx] I've been told I'm attractive by a complete stranger.
[ ] I have more than 2 piercings.
[ ] I have piercings in places besides my ears.
[ ] I have freckles.

[x] I've sworn at my parents.
[ ] I've run away from home.
[ ] I've been kicked out of the house
[ ] My biological parents are together.
[ ] I have a sibling less than one year old.
[x] I want to have kids someday.
[ ] I've had children.
[ ] I've lost a child.

[ ] I'm in school.
[ ] I have a job.
[x] I've fallen asleep at work/school.
[x] I almost always do my homework.
[x] I've missed a week or more of school.
[ ] I've been on the Honor Roll within the last 2 years.
[ ] I failed more than 1 class last year.
[ ] I've stolen something from my job
[ ] I've been fired.

[x] I've slipped out a "lol" in a spoken conversation.
[x] Disney movies still make me cry.
[ ] I've peed from laughing.
[x] I've snorted while laughing.
[x] I've laughed so hard I've cried.
[ ] I've glued my hand to something
[x] I've laughed till some kind of beverage came out of my nose.
[x] I've had my trousers rip in public.

[ ] I was born with a disease/impairment.
[x] I've gotten stitches.
[ ] I've broken a bone.
[ ] I've had my tonsils removed.
[ ] I've sat in a doctors office with a friend.
[ ] I've had my wisdom teeth removed.
[ ] I had a serious surgery.
[x] I've had chicken pox.
[x] I have/had asthma.

[ ] I've driven over 200 miles in one day.
[x] I've been on a plane.
[ ] I've been to Canada.
[ ] I've been to Mexico.
[ ] I've been to Niagara Falls.
[ ] I've been to Japan.
[ ] I've Celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
[x] I've been to Europe(i live in europe).
[ ] I've been to Africa.

[ ] I've gotten lost in my city.
[x] I've seen a shooting star.
[x] I've wished on a shooting star.
[x] I've seen a meteor shower.
[ ] I've gone out in public in my pajamas.
[x] I've pushed all the buttons on an elevator
[x ] I've kicked a guy where it hurts.
[x] I've been to a casino.
[ ] I've been skydiving.
[ ] I've gone skinny dipping.
[x] I've played spin the bottle.
[ ] I've drank a whole gallon of milk in one hour.
[ ] I've crashed a car.
[x] I've been Skiing
[x] I've been in a play.
[x] I've met someone in person from the internet.
[x] I've caught a snowflake on my tongue.
[ ] I've seen the Northern Lights.
[x] I've sat on a roof top at night.
[ ] I've played chicken.
[x] I've played a prank on someone.
[x] I've ridden in a taxi.
[ ] I've seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
[x ] I've eaten Sushi.
[ ] I've been snowboarding.

[ ] I'm single
[x] I'm in a relationship. (one open relationship and one affair that is turning out to be a little more than that)
[ ] I'm engaged.
[ ] I'm married.
[x] I've gone on a blind date.
[ ] I've been the dumpee more than the dumper.
[ ] I miss someone right now.
[ ] I have a fear of abandonment.
[ ] I've cheated in a relationship.
[ ] I've gotten divorced
[x] I've had feelings for someone who didn't have them back.
[x] I've told someone I loved them when I didn't.
[x] I've told someone I didn't love them when I did.
[x] I've kept something from a past relationship.

[ ] I've had a crush on someone of the same sex
[ ] I've had a crush on a teacher.
[ ] I am a cuddler.
[x] I've been kissed in the rain.
[x] I've hugged a stranger.
[x] I have kissed a stranger.

[x] I've done something I promised someone else I wouldn't
[x] I've done something I promised myself I wouldn't.
[ ] I've snuck out of my house.
[x] I have lied to my parents about where I am.
[x] I am keeping a secret from the world
[x] I've cheated while playing a game.
[x] I've cheated on a test.
[ ] I've been suspended from school.

[x] I've consumed alcohol.
[x] I regularly drink.
[ ] I can't swallow pills.
[x] I can swallow about 5 pills at a time no problem
[ ] I have been diagnosed with clinical depression.
[x] I shut others out when I'm depressed.
[ ] I take anti-depressants.
[x...] I'm anorexic or bulimic. (I wish I were)
[x] I've slept an entire day when I didn't need it.
[ ] I've hurt myself on purpose.
[ ] I'm addicted to self harm
[x] I've woken up crying.

[ ] I'm afraid of dying.
[x] I hate funerals.
[ ] I've seen someone dying.
[ ] Someone close to me has attempted suicide.
[ ] Someone close to me has committed suicide.

[ ] I own over 5 rap CDs.
[x] I own an iPod or MP3 player.
[ ] I have an unhealthy obsession with anime/manga.
[ ] I own multiple designer purses, costing over $100 a piece.
[ ] I own something from Hot Topic.
[ ] I own something from Pac Sun.
[ ] I collect comic books.
[ ] I own something from The Gap.
[ ] I own something I got on e-bay.
[ ] I own something from Abercrombie.

[x] I can sing well.
[ ] I've stolen a tray from a fast food restaurant.
[ ] I open up to others easily.
[x] I watch the news. (Well, I READ the news)
[ ] I don't kill bugs.
[x] I hate hearing songs that sacrifice meaning for the sake of being able to rhyme.
[x] I curse regularly.
[x] I sing in the shower.
[ ] I am a morning person.
[ ] Paid for my cell phone ring tone.
[xxxxx] I'm a snob about grammar.
[ ] I am a sports fanatic.
[ ] I twirl my hair
[ ] I have "x"s in my screen name
[ ] I love being neat
[ ] I love Spam
[ ] I've copied more than 30 CD's in a day
[ ] I bake well.
[x] My favorite color is either white, yellow, pink, red or blue
[ ] I would wear pajamas to school.
[ ] I like Martha Stewart.
[x] I know how to shoot a gun.
[ ] I am in love with love.
[ ] I am guilty of tYpInG lIkE tHiS.
[ ] I laugh at my own jokes.
[ ] I eat fast food weekly.
[ ] I believe in ghosts
[ ] I am online 24/7, even as an away message.
[x] I've not turned anything in and still got an A in a certain class.
[x] I can't sleep if there is a spider in the room.
[x] I am really ticklish.
[ ] I love white chocolate
[x] I bite my nails.
[x] I play video games.
[x] I'm good at remembering faces.
[x ] I'm good at remembering names
[x ] I'm good at remembering dates.
[ ] I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life.

[x] My answers are totally honest


10th Sep, 2007

see you later, slick

What one stumbles over when turning into an insomniac...

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works. It's okay. I understand.

Social Nerd
Drama Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Anime Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

So, you caught me. Sometimes, I find myself indulging in the little silly pleasures the internet has to offer. As if I hadn't known I was a nerd, before. And as if there could be any doubt whatsoever as to what kind of nerd I am... although I do have to say that lately I have been making an effort to be interested in things other than books and movies. And since I can't go completely without those I have tried to widen my horizons within these fields, meaning I read books from genres I don't usually read, I watched movies I wouldn't normally watch but consider to be "clever"... education is everything, nowadays. While I am not even sure why I am still posting in this blog, I suppose it is fun to put my thoughts somewhere, even (or because?) nobody will ever read them. But - like the wise test result above states very clearly - I am in love with the written word (that much at least really is true) and probably just use this journal to practice my writing skills... subconciously.

21st Aug, 2007

waiting for my life to begin

Robin Hobb - Ship of Magic

As a victim of fantasy literature and a big fan of Robin Hobb (aka Megan Lindholm) I couldn't but finally, after years of quasi-abstinence from her writing, pick up the first part of the second trilogy of trilogies. Confusing? Here's the deal:

The Farseer Trilogy
  - Assassin's Apprentice
  - Royal Assassin
  - Assassin's Quest

I'm sure I have raved about this series at least once in this blog. If not, let's just pretend I have. Those books are superb and achingly well written. They tell the story of young Fitz, a royal bastard (well-named, isn't he?) who begins his life at court, not as an accepted member of the royal family but as the king's secret assassin. It is much more complex and interesting than it sounds.
Anyway, Fitz' story doesn't end with the third volume in this trilogy. The Six Duchies, the world where this all takes place, has a lot more stories to tell, among them the story of

The Liveship Traders
  - Ship of Magic
  - The Mad Ship
  - Ship of Destiny

which is the series I have just started to read. Fitz doesn't appear in these, I'm told, but the Fool (the most interesting character, perhaps, I've ever read about) does and the war that takes place in the first trilogy is mentioned in this one. However, we will find out what happens to Fitz and the Six Duchies, in

The Tawny Man
  - Fool's Errand
  - The Golden Fool
  - Fool's Fate

in which Fool and Fitz are reunited and the story picks up 15 years after we left Fitz in the first trilogy. All these trilogies are connected and can thus only be read in order... which makes me very eager to finish the second (and biggest!) trilogy fast so I can return to my beloved characters from then. On the other hand, this new story is so well written and has sucked me in already, so I think I won't rush it after all.

I am aware that I am a complete geek, yes. But I think I can live with that. After all, other people just don't konw what they're missing.

19th Aug, 2007



July 20th of this year was a busy day for me. I went to Vienna to visit old friends from school and to attend the only, and therefore rather large, Harry Potter Launch Party in all of Austria. There were dressed up shop assistants, the ORF, the radio, lots of dressed up kids and grown-ups, waving make-shift wands and murmuring "lumos" and "expelliarmus", there were quizzes, there were games but above all, there was excitement to finally hold the last volume in the Harry Potter series in ones hands, to open the cover and start reading that very last adventure of our favourite wizard.
At 1:00 am we were all handed our copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and most noses vanished into the first pages.

It took me a couple of days to finish the book and I haven't touched it ever since then, unlike some of my friends who have re-read certain chapters or passages. I didn't dare. While I am an absolute Potter addict and normally wouldn't say an unfriendly word about the series, I do have some critique about this last tome.

The book starts much more quickly than its predecessors, due to the fact that Harry won't go to school anymore but plunges right into his search for the remaining Horcruxes. I was very positively surprised by Dudley's change of sentiment towards Harry although I didn't miss him or the Dursleys one bit. The idea of making six Harry "clones" in order to keep the real Harry safe was as original and fun as anything I'd expect from Jo Rowling. Hedwig's death was a terrible blow, though. Much more terrible than I would have thought and - surprisingly - more terrifying for me than the death of Mad-Eye Moody. Rowling isn't very gifted in writing prolonged death-scenes which is good, at least for my taste, but Moody died so unspectacularly and we are told this in such a "by the way" manner that I couldn't feel too sorry about his death.

Once the search begins, I remember feeling horror about how the wizarding world had changed. Radio stations, the ministry, everything seemed to be under Voldemorts control. Snape, who makes such a striking appearance in chapter one, was still - as far as my instincts were concerned - one of the good guys and would later redeem himself... of that much I was sure.

The middle part of the book, while giving the reader some of the little details we have come to love so much, was the most boring one. Kreacher's Tale and his change of personality were very nice but the farther the story went on, the more worried I became that they would succeed in finding and destroying the horcruxes. The fight between the trio was absolutely horrible and while I didn't cry (which is quite an achievement for me, the book cryer) I felt just like Hermione did... torn between the wish to help Harry do what he must, and to reunite the trio.

Unlike some of my friends, I had absolutely no clue as to who could have conjured the doe patronus but I very much enjoyed the destruction of the first horcrux by Ron. That's what I've been waiting for. Later on, the story picks up a lot of pace and things seem to happen all at the same time. The short visit to Gringott's was spectacular and showed us once more that Jo Rowling has not lost her talent or her gift for story telling.

The best part was, however, the showdown in Hogwarts and the Forbidden Forest. As sure as I was that Snape was good, that Harry would survive and that Ron and Hermione would end up together, as much did I fear for the rest of the Weasley family, the Hogwarts staff and, above all, Hagrid. In fact, I expected him to be one of the victims of this war.
The ending was stunning, Harry's sacrifice, the wand lore (that took quite a while of researching on the internet before I had completely figured it out) and the sentence "Not my daughter, you BITCH" uttered by Mrs. Weasly... I can't say what I liked more.

My all-time favourite chapter in all the seven books is, without a doubt, The Prince's Tale  in which Snape gets, indeed, his redemption, in which we learn about his undying love for Lily Potter and thus for his secret (and loathed by himself) affection for her son, Harry. That he had to die was, in my eyes, an unnecessary cruelty but, on the other hand, it made the scene in which he gives Harry his memories, all the more touching and I must confess that this is about where I did start crying, after all.

Lupin and Tonks' deaths, as casually as they were mentioned in the book, made me sob like a baby. Not only was Lupin one of my favourite characters and the last living Marauder but this also meant that little Teddy (whose grandfather had died only chapteres before!) was now an orphan, just like Harry. The most unnecessary death was that of Fred Weasly, though. Hadn't Jo Rowling talked about TWO main characters dying? How many has she slaughtered off now? I understand fully that this was necessary to show the readers the cruelty of this war and, like I said, I like crying when I read a good novel, but killing off Fred?!?

Now the one thing that made this whole book worse was the epilogue. What, by Merlin's beard, was Mrs. Rowling thinking when she put that childish, mushy, corny, cheesy, silly, badly written waste of an epilogue in the book? I thought we were going to find out what happened to all of the surviving characters but all we know is that everyone got married, had a bunch of kids (one of them named Albus Severus - poor chap, and - surprisingly - none Sirius!) and that Neville is now working as herbology teacher in Hogwarts. What are Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and the others doing for a living? How did George get over his twin brother's death? What about Teddy - other than coming to dinner four nights a week? What about the political situation? The ministry?
Lots of questions left unanswered but lots of scenes that made me want to puke. The only thing that was missing from the epilogue to make it true trash was the sentence:
"And then, unexpectedly, Hedwig flew in..."

Conclusion: A good book, a worthy end for one of the best book series, but don't even bother reading the epilogue.
reading silhouette

Ian McEwan - Atonement

I took a (very) long break from posting to my journal, not only due to the fact that I have returned home from my semester abroad and had to get used to "home" again but I also just returned from a two week's visit at Britta's and Vedran's in Cologne. Maxime was there, too, so my closest friends from France and me were reunited for a (much too) short while. It was wonderful. But now, that all I am doing is studying for the upcoming Spanish exam - and boy, do I have lots to study! - I think I'd like to take a time out every once in a while and keep my English up. Especially since there are so many new books and movies that I could rave about for hours and hours.

First and most amazing among them was Ian McEwan - Atonement which I have finished reading but am nowhere near finished processing and musing about.
I think what makes this novel great are three things:
1. The idea that a series of coincidences, none of them very striking, can change the course of   a person's life so severly that the whole world seems to have been overturned.

2. The fact that the book is achingly well written and makes the author's ideas blossom in the reader's mind - I still catch myself thinking about that scene where Briony tries to understand how her finger is moving just because she wills it to.

3. The difference between the essentially three chunks the book is devided into. First, the very detailed story of what happened at that particularly hot summer's day when Briony made a discovery, read the signs all wrong and thus, doomed the life of young Robbie. Secondly, Robbie's experience in the war in France, and thirdly, Briony's new life as a war nurse, trying to atone for what she has done.

If I had to decided which part I liked best, I'd be torn between the first and the last but I believe that I like both of them so much because they build a sort of frame for the story. In the end we find out the truth not only about what Briony does to atone for her deed but also the truth about the very book we (the readers) are reading...

I am quite impressed by this novel and Ian McEwan's name is forever noted in my head.

27th Jun, 2007

reading shakespeare

Ian McEwan - Atonement

After my first trip into the world of Ayn Rand and her wonderful way of putting words together into sentences, I thought it would take a while until I found another book that could just touch me like that. But one of the good side effects of a huge PUB (pile of unread books) is that it works like natural selection. Out of the thousands of books published every year, I buy the ones that will probably interest me and out of those I took some with me to France that might particularly interest me, and out of those I sent only those back home that I won't want to read IMMEDIATELY - which leaves a couple of books that I should love. Still, I am surprised.

Atonement is my first Ian McEwan although I have heard a lot about this writer who is often named with such acclaimed authors as William Somerset Maugham or John Updike. When I started reading this book, the first thing that struck me was the lack of explanation, of establishing characters, of what I have come to expect from a novel.
McEwan just throws the reader right into the story, into a day in Briony's life, the 13-year-old girl who has written a play for her brother who is to return the next evening. Within few pages I felt drawn to that character, this young girl who loves to write, who has a way with words, although that was really all I knew about her or her family.
The next chapter was told from her elder sister Cecilia's point of view and although she seems a nice person I can't tell that I like her quite as much as Briony. However, the storyline with Cecilia and Robbie Turner, the gardener who has grown up with the rich Tallis children, is highly interesting.

Chapter by chapter I was sucked deeper into the power of this book and when I came across this passage, I simply had to take a break and write it down:

She raised one hand and flexed its fingers and wondered, as she had sometimes before, how this thing, this machine for gripping, this fleshy spider on the end of her arm, came to be hers, entirely at her command. Or did it have some little life of its own? She bent her finger and straightened it. The mystery was in the instant before it moved, the dividing moment between not moving and moving, when her intention took effect. It was like a wave breaking. If she could only find herself at the cresst, she thought, she might find the secret of herself, that part of her that was really in charge. She brought her forefinger closer to her face and stared at it, urging it to move. It remained still because she was pretending, she was not entirely serious, and because willing it to move, or being about to move it, was not the same as actually moving it. And when she did crook it finally, the action seemed to start in the finger itself, not in some part of her mind. When did it know to move, when did she know to move it? There was no catching herself out. It was either-or. There was no stitching, no seam, and yet she knew that behind the smooth continuous fabric was the real self - was it her soul? - which took the decision to cease pretending, and gave the final command.

This did not only impress me because it is very nicely written but for several other reasons: one, I have found myself doing the exact same thing as Briony more than once in my life. Trying to understand the difference between giving your brain the command to give a command and... just doing it.
Two, I am just stunned by the human body as a whole. This wonderful machinery that workes perfectly. The fact that I could type (and quite fast, too) that paragraph is amazing, isn't it. I can command my hands, each finger indivudually to do what I want them to do... I am getting very metaphysical here and unfortunately, I lack the words to fully describe what I'm thinking. But one way or another, the above paragraph still is an amazing observation of human character.

Sadly, I have to get some work for the French Conseil Général done but afterwards I am plunging right back into Atonement.

23rd Jun, 2007

reading silhouette

James McAvoy and Becoming Jane

There finally is an official trailer for the upcoming movie about Jane Austen's early life - Becoming Jane - which I absolutely have to see the moment it comes out. Until then, however, youtube is my friend and provides me with loads of interviews with the lovely James McAvoy who, when he doesn't suppress his Scottish accent, is even cuter.


Here is an interesting interview about the movie with some facts I didn't know about Jane Austen. I knew that she was probably quite infatuated with this man named Thomas Lefroy but I had no idea that it went as far as her staying at his house in London, which is saying a good deal. Also she burned all their correspondence after they separated (if you can call it that, since they were never together) and asked her sister Cassandra to burn all remaining letters, as well.
There is one small fragment of a letter in which Jane tells Cassandra that her flirtations with Mr Lefroy are completely over now and that she has shed many tears over the whole affair.

Whenever people ask me "If you could choose any person, living or dead, that you could meet, who would it be?" my first thought is always Jane Austen. I am sure there would be wiser or more intersting choices (such as DaVinci or Einstein) but for some reason I think I would most enjoy talking to this woman who had such a sharp wit and such a gift with words...

19th Jun, 2007

Peter Pan

John Steinbeck - Cannery Row, some Ayn Rand

You will not be surprised to hear that I have gone back to reading a book I started in April... I've always liked Steinbeck but Cannery Row is quite different from his other work - at least the ones I have read so far. While it is considered to be comic, there is still a very Steinbeck-y side to the story. The people living and working on Cannery Row grow so very dear to the reader in so little time, just like in Of Mice and Men. But unlike the protagonists in that book, these fellows actually have their funny moments, only to end up like very Steinbeck-y characters. Meaning... uhm... well, tragic in a way, but happy in another. It is difficult to say.

What else have I done these last few days? Oh yes, on youtoube I have discovered a great (and ancient!) interview with Ayn Rand. After three seconds I knew I liked that woman. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=pRDgIXn2IWs) If you want to watch it, there are five parts, all very interesting. Not only do I like Objectivism - not all of it, mind you, but most - but also Ayn Rand seems to be a very intelligent woman. And I love that she speaks with some traces of her Russian accent left because when you read her books it feels like nobody masters the English language as she does.

If you care to know, I just spilled salad dressing on one of my favourite shirts... and I am not sure I will get those greasy stains out. I need my mommy! Sorry for the immaturity moment but while I could stay here forever with my friends (Britta and Vedran above all) I am looking forward to going home, because Vedran is leaving tomorrow night, Britta on Sunday and then it will be just me, Daniel and Isabella for a week, which is not bad but I know how sorely I am going to miss those other two who have become my best friends here and some of the best people I have known all my life.

16th Jun, 2007

i wish life was like the movies

My Fair Lady

Ever since Funny Face I am on a discovery tour through Aurdey Hepburn's movies, not only because she is a lovely actress but also because I like her kind of movie - old ones where the sun is always shining, where people spontaneously burst into song and where the good man gets the beautiful girl in the end and everybody is happy.
Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of modern movies that show the world as it is (or at least try to) but I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with movies distroting reality as those old musicals do. After all, we have real life every day when we wake up. Why not dream a little? Sometimes it is nice to believe in a world where dirty flower girls with dreadful accents can become beautiful ladies with perfect phonetics skills...


15th Jun, 2007


Ayn Rand article


The Fountainhead
being read and me left without another Ayn Rand book to read, I had to scour the internet for any information I could find about her. The article above from the New York Times is really interesting, as it discusses Rand's version of man as he should be and if this is realistic or even achievable.

Other than that I am doing quite a bit of writing these days as I am working on my essay for the Great Britain lecture. I chose to write about Oscar Wilde although the choice was truly difficult. Deciding between Oscar, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, and E.M Forster... for a book nutter like me it was like putting Hamlet in a Starbucks!

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