Casey: I think it’s time to post that spasming finger video : )
And I agree that the Westboro folks need to have a serious shaking.
Christina: I love the Gryffinclaw/Ravendor idea! If we’re going that way, I fancy myself a Ravenpuff. Huffleclaw just sounds weird.
Congrats on the psych lab job!! That’s very exciting. I’ll be spending a lot of time in psych labs this summer myself, but there ain’t no money for me.
AND even more congrats on the teaching position!! Je suis un petit peu jaloux, bien sûr, mais bien fait! Though I know you solely through the blogosphere, I’m proud of you!
Cassie: I remember being astonished the first time I heard people talking about how much you read (Other Friends, yes, it is a relatively common topic of conversation here). And good recommendations!
Alexandra: I’m impressed by your writing! I like to fancy myself a writer sometimes, but the ideas that float around in my head are often better expressed in ways other than writing.
As for my habits as a reader, I’m slightly embarrassed to report that I’ve slowed down my literary consumption in recent months. I’ve just not had time, between grad school applications (news on that later :D) and finishing up my undergrad. But I’ve done enough reading in my life to have some recommendations to make!
I tend to love a book if one of two conditions is met: (1) it has a good story with identifiable, complex characters, or (2) it speaks to concepts that already exist, often unlabeled, within my soul. I’ve categorized the following books according to which of those conditions they meet. Many of them I have not read in a while, so forgive me if my descriptions are a bit sparse : )
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandra Dumas, père, Condition 1
Boy, can Dumas ever write a story… I love everything I’ve ever read that he’s written, but Monte Cristo is my favorite. It’s a big book, but totally worth reading. The characters are fascinating, the plot is gripping (once you wade through the beginning—it can get confusing if you aren’t already familiar with the characters [by, say, having read it three or four times]), and it’s essentially just awesome.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, Condition 1
This book blew my mind. I’ve read it more recently than many on the list, so I can say more about its plot and why I love it so much. Long story short, it takes place in a mental hospital and things get weird. The story and characters will make you rethink everything you think about mental health and humanity in general. Sure, it was written by a hippie probably in the throes of an acid trip, and sure, times have changed. But this is one book you’ll be unable to put down.
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, Conditions 1 and 2
I haven’t read this since it was assigned to me my sophomore year of high school, back when I was still quite a devoutly religious child. Frankly, it shook me, more than I knew at the time. It set in motion a series of thought patterns and character examinations that have begun to serve as pretty fundamental factors of who and what I am today, and why I think the way I do. That’s maybe the vaguest paragraph I’ve ever written. Suffice it to say that this book will make you think, regardless of your current thoughts on topics like religion and human nature.
The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Condition 2
This is a series of 81 “chapters” (in reality, page-long proverbs) written in ancient China by a person, Lao Tzu, who may or may not actually have existed (his name means “Old Master” and may indicate more of a legendary existence than actual). I read it on a recommendation from my then-oboe professor. Its wisdom may seem to be common sense or even useless, like “The best teacher knows that there is nothing to teach.” But if you come at it from an angle of open-mindedness and let the wisdom sink in, you’ll be amazed. Tao Te Ching is not for everyone; it’s a love-it-or-hate-it type of thing. I, for one, love it.
Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch, Condition 2
I read this one on a recommendation from my then-English professor. It’s about how life is improvisation, and gives insight about where play (spontaneous, thoughtless, intrinsically meaningful action) comes from, how we can use it, how to achieve it, and how it affects our lives. It’s one of the most liberating books I’ve ever read.
And now, to write my Punishment about “Friday”, so I can reward myself by talking about something I actually want to talk about…
Fine. I’ll do it. As of right now, this stupid thing as achieved 100,360,596 views.
By the third viewing, it’s hit 100,478,646.
I can feel my soul melting as I refresh the page to listen to it a second time. … And a third time… And again…
Five viewings is my absolute limit.
These are the themes I came up with after five viewings, with corresponding evidence and thoughts reinforcing them. This is purely an analysis of the song itself; visual qualities of the video have not been taken into consideration.
“Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal”: Everybody’s rushin’, time is tickin’
THEN you get down to the bus stop!
Don’t get on the bus driven by a trained, licensed adult! Get in the car driven by child idiots!
What’s the difference between “kickin’” in the front seat and “sittin’” in the back seat?
Are they doing something different in the front seat?
Later: Underage-driving rapper complains about bus
Work all week, Friday is for partyin’, partyin’
Thursday, Thursday is clearly useless.
“Today, it is Friday, Friday.”
Saturday and Sunday (afterwards): Don’t want this weekend to end!
Rush through life, RB, and you’ll miss the excellence of life! I bet you already forget what it was like not to be a YouTube celebrity.
Monotony: Useless repetition: All friends the same? Every day the same?
“We, we, we so excited; we so excited.”
“I got this, you got this; I got this, you got this—now you know it.”
“Fun, fun, fun, fun”
And, of course: “Friday, Friday, gi’in down on Friday.”
Decisions: Only carefully consider the shallow ones. The rest can be made impulsively.
“Which seat can I take?”
“How is my life going to be affected if I post this video to YouTube?”
What exactly does “gi’in down” entail?
Legality of actions
Driving at 13?
Driving super fast and recklessly?
Does Friday make this okay?
Partying past curfew?
Don’t worry, tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards.
Horrible pronunciation of all words: What the heck kind of accent is this?
All other words
Chord scheme: I vi IV V I: Pretty bread-and-butter. Go figure.
Melody: Composed primarily of “do”, occasionally going to “re”, “ti”, and “fa” and others, always indicating a major thematic skip.
“Do” over and over indicates repetition and serious symbolism.
Upon some very disappointing reflection, I think I could probably write more than ten pages on this subject. Ew.
Ok, now I’m going to reward myself! Good news, everyone! I got into my favorite graduate school! I’ll be moving to Indiana in August to pursue a dual MA in Counseling and Social Psychology. I’m really glad I got in—I was planning on moving there regardless and making myself a nuisance in the department until they let me in. I really think I belong there. Like, really.
All right. I’m posting before midnight. Lesson learned : )
See you tomorrow, Casey!