“Any fool can know. The point is to understand” — Albert Einstein

Finally. Here I am. Gatwick airport on the way home. It really doesn’t feel like it’s been a year. Over a year, actually. But that is not the point of this post. Although I could probably write several hundred words of rant about some of the lovely people in the airport. This one, the one in Edinburgh….just great, great airport employees.

But instead, I will share some of the things I learned from my week here in Scotland. Most of it is about history or random stuff that the tour guides told me. But I find it all really fascinating.

So of course, if we’ve talked recently, you know that the second I set foot in the highlands, I’ve been enamored with them. Maybe you didn’t know that…now you do. And it’s the whole thing; the rocky hills, the lochs and glens. The highland cows, hairy coos, the thousands (millions?) of sheep. Everything. It’s gorgeous, and I’m sure when it’s actually green, or purple actually, it’s even more beautiful. The castles! Although there are a ton of castles all over Scotland. Like seriously, a ton.

Anywho, I spent three days in the highlands. The first day I went to see Loch Ness, the second Loch Lomond, and the last day back over towards Loch Lomond again, but also to Loch Fyne and Invarary.

The lowlands, where Edinburgh and Glasgow etc. are is pretty too. Stirling castle and William Wallace, which the tours guides all made very clear, is not the same person as Braveheart, nor did he wear a kilt, nor was he a highlander. Oh! The Kelpies! There is a fabulous statue near Stirling…I think, of these two huge kelpie heads. It is one of my favorite things I saw. (Kelpies are white horse, beautiful, that are sometimes mermaids that drown people and then eat them. So that’s fun.)

But here some of the things I learned, besides the history of William Wallace and how he was not Braveheart: Robert the Bruce, whose heart was Braveheart, Rob Roy, Mary Queen of Scots, James the Ist…who then became James the IVth? And some more general stories of the various clans and history of the people of Scotland. Oh! And Mac is son of but Mc is second son of….

Also, and I’m not sure if I really believe these, I heard the origin stories of the terms blackmail and armed to the teeth. Or I should say black meil and armed to the teith. Right, so blackmail. This is a part of the much longer story of Rob Roy, who was basically a cattle thief. But at some point he realized that stealing cattle was not making him enough money. So he went around to the landowners and told them that for a small fee, protection money, he would protect their highland cows from thieves, ie he would stop stealing them. Also, if someone else stole them, he would go out with his expert cattle thief-gang and get them back. So here’s the blackmail part. The highland cows were originally all black. It was only after a crossing with some less shaggy breed of cow that they all became gingers. AND meil is apparently the old Gaelic (pronounced more like gal-lick) word for money. Then there’s Armed to the teith. There is a village somewhere near the border of the highlands and the lowlands, where the lowlanders and the clans people used to meet to trade and sell and buy supplies. They would arrive in the morning, buy what they needed to buy, the go with whatever money they had left, or whatever money they had made that day, and proceed to drink a whole bunch of whisky. According to the tour guide, they would then get in a lot of great, messy, bloody fights. Then rinse and repeat. The village, unsurprisingly, didn’t like this very much. So they set up a check point just outside the village, where you would have to turn in all your armaments, swords, guns, knives, etc., before you could go into the town. Hence you were armed (up until you got) to the teith. And teith sounds a lot, identical even, to teeth. So there you go. Again, I’m not sure if I believe that. I mean why not, it seems to make sense. I certainly don’t know any other reason for these saying to exist. I guess I choose to believe it, until something forces me to actually look it up and check it out.

And I almost forgot! You know “You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low…”, right? I mean telling someone to ‘take the high road’ comes from that doesn’t it? I’m not sure. I’ll possibly look that up. But, what I think I knew, but probably had never heard was the song it comes from. Which I think is called On the Banks of Bonnie Loch Lomond. But really, I am not sure about that. I also did not know that the song was originally a letter from a Jacobite imprisoned by the English…yes. And for sure, the song is super dark and deeply depressing when you know the back story. So it’s a letter right, from one Jacobite to his family back up in the highlands, I think. But he gives to his friend, also a Jacobite, I think, who has somehow been released from jail, because the first guy has been sentenced to hang or be executed however they did back then. I guess beheading was still big? Mary Queen of Scots got it real bad with the beheading.

Back to the song. Here are the lyrics as I understand them, not to be taken as fact, but as I listened to the song and then remembered it. Words may have been changed or left out, but the general ideas are still there.

You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low, and I’ll get to Scotland afore ye.

But me and my true love, shall never meet again, on the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

So some break down: high road – land of the living, low road – land of the dead as in underworld low, I’ll  get to Scotland afore ye – time is apparently immaterial to the dead, the rest of the song – he’s dead, so of course he’s not gonna meet her…not unless she dies too. So not a cheerful song. But the versions of it I’ve heard are beautiful. There’s more, this is just the chorus, but I did not catch the lyrics to the rest of it. I think it’s just more stuff about Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond. Very catchy though.

That’s the majority of the fun facts that I learned. Of course there was a lot more history. Particularly the history of the fight for independence. Lots of William Wallace and Rob Roy and Robert the Bruce (although Rob Roy doesn’t really fit that category). Some more stuff about various clans whenever we went through a particularly interesting/important/relevant glen. But I am not sure about which clan did what, so I don’t want to get it wrong. And a little about James the first/fourth and his mother Mary Queen of Scots. And some stuff about Whisky/Scotch.

It was really interesting. Not having studied any of it in school in America, particularly when you’re focused on the other side of the world (cough cough Japan) it’s pretty cool. I really, really liked it. And I can’t wait to go back, but I know that most of my time will be spent studying in the city.

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“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” — Albert Einstein PART TWO

Subtitle: Buses and Blizzards

Today, dear friends, we return to the exciting adventure of our hero, Samara. When last we saw our intrepid adventurer, she was waiting to board the flying machine that would take her to the frozen north, Hokkaido. Has she arrived? Did she accomplish her quest to ski? And, if so, how did she do it? I will keep you in suspense no longer! Thank you! you will exclaim. Thank you! I’ve been worried sick over all of it! 

And to this I say, calm down and we will begin!!

Indeed, our hero did arrive in Hokkaido safely. The flight, though delayed a few minutes, was soon up in the air. It was a short flight, and the adventurers next to our hero shared their gum with her.

She was most grateful for such an alliance, and began the second leg of her quest in high spirits.

The airport in Hokkaido was nothing, easily explored. But, unknowingly, she walked straight into the second test.

THE BUS!

Our hero was smart about planning her adventure, even if her packing was a little..last minute. She had been assured passage from the airport to the quest location lodgings. However, the second test was not to be so easily conquered. She would need to discover the place of departure for the bus. The first step: procure a map of the location. Quickly done, our hero had a map of the location of the map.

If she had a map, you interject, how hard could this test be? And your questions are not unfounded. Our hero too, took the test lightly, proceeding to catch some lunch and lazing about by the cars for hire.

In fact, this test was not one of difficulty or intelligence. This test was one of group thinking. Our hero, having understood the directions she was given, proceeded to the location of the bus, only to find out that this was, in truth, not the true location. She’d been duped!

If only, instead of trusting the counter dwellers she had negotiated with for the map; if ONLY she had read the map, she would have realized a second step to obtaining the true map. For indeed, she only had a map of where to find the map of the bus!

If she had followed the other lost looking foreign adventurers, she would have known. Eventually though, after asking help from a herder, she found her bus.

At last! you think. She is truly on her way now.

And so she was. The trip was a long and not particularly dangerous one. Over hills and around harbors they traveled, the outside world obscured through a veil of snow.

How is that not a concern! you interrupt, again. And if you had let me continue, I would have describes this veil, thus: It was a threadbare veil. The majority of the cloth holes.

You sigh, and slump back into your chair relieved.

Truly the only point of interest at the place in our narrative is that somehow our hero had picked up an unknown sidekick. A small ladybug rode with our hero part of the way, until it landed on her face. And since our hero had no knowledge of this companion, swatted it away to search for a more welcoming party.

The sun set, and our coach finally reached the lodgings out hero had secured. It was quite nice lodgings: warm with central heating, which is all out hero could really ask. She quickly was shown to her room, and without a moment to lose, set off to truly begin her quest. She sought out, the dreaded rental cave!!!

The lodgings, catering to daredevils such as her, had its own questing site, complete with lift and storage for the various items one needed to equip for a large range of quests. Or hero need not delay from her quest, though the sun had set.

In fact, her lodgings were well equipped for NIGHT QUESTING. 

Ah-ha! Night questing! Could it be so easy?!  you ask, curiosity running over and around your tongue, tripping it up. So much so, that your exclamation sounds something similar to: Ah-ha! Nigh guesting! Cout ib eezo izzy?!  But I understand you dear listener, I do. My answer to your question is INDEED IT WAS! Within the hour, our hero had been equipped with weapons for defeating the downhill slope, and set off to do just that! And in the process, she conquered another mini-quest.

Another?! Could it be? Did she really?

But don’t forget, dear listeners, this is Samara, hero and adventure! Of course she managed such a feat!

The mini-quest: gain secret intelligence. Our hero: easily completed this task, while looting for the perfect equipment to slay the mountain dragon! The rental cave denizens, suspecting our hero to be just another traveler, happily chatted away in front of her. It was not until she was leaving that they discovered her understanding, and amid smiles and laughter all around she set off to ski!

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” — Albert Einstein PART ONE

Subtitle: Adventures in Airports

Once upon a time, a specific time in fact, there was a girl. This girl’s name was Samara. And one day she woke up. Well, she woke up almost everyday, In fact, it was so close to being every day that we might as well just say she woke up every day. But there was one day in particular upon which she awoke that we are talking about. It was a Sunday, and it was early.

Earlier than usual, but there was a very good reason for this. It was after all the day she set out on an adventure. An adventure?! you may be thinking. And the answer, as I just said, is yes. An ADVENTURE!

To where? would be your immediate response, quickly followed by, For what purpose?

To the frozen north! I would respond, and then for further clarification, Hokkaido, the northern most island of Japan. If this still did not satisfy your curiosity for knowledge of exactly where this adventure was to take place, I can only suggest you look it up on a map. I mean really.

But why? you’d scream, the need for knowledge tearing at your very being until tears fall from your eyes. Why would she go there?! What is the adventure? WHAT IS IT!

A little taken aback at this show of emotion, I would first: clear my throat, second: hand you a tissue, and third: say the following,

TO SKI!

in a very loud and kind of important announcement like voice.

For to ski was she going. Downhill or across country would she ski. She would ski in the morning and then again in the afternoon. At least, she planned on doing so.

But we are ahead of ourselves in the story and need to backtrack. It was Sunday, she awoke early, for an adventure. She gathered her bags and (after turning off the lights, heater, and checking that everything in general would be alright, locked the door and) set off. She walked and for meters and meters to the train station, and then took a train minutes upon minutes to a bus stop! From there she bought passage on a bus bound for the airport!

This was however her first trip within (domestically, by air) a country to which she was foreign, and she was not sure of the correct procedures. Not wishing to offend, and perhaps delay her trip, she was cautious.

Why was she cautious? you ask. Was there a dragon or giant troll to defeat? A magic spell to break? 

Again, I would clear my throat, this time a little irritated at the intrusion on my narrative! And say, with a stern look in my eyes:

It was still early. In fact it was…three and a half hours early. Having grown up in  country where air travel had become a complicated dance of government issued paperwork, large sums of money to exchange as a bribe for more official papers and the need to wear easily removable outer layers and shoes, she was prepared. She had forgone the easily removed shoes in favor of sturdy walking boots, but she was prepared to remove them when necessary to prove her worth to the guardians of the flying machines.

However, upon entering the airport, she found that she was TOO early.

The shock upon your faces says it all. Indeed, she was two hours too early. Still, she check in her more cumbersome baggage, and set off on a mini quest! To find a warm cup of coffee!

Have succeeded, quite easily and quickly, in finding coffee she sat and waited, ten, twenty, thirty minutes. Still here flight number had not appeared. She began to worry.

All she had was a piece of paper that said, in a script that was new to her, e-ticket. What this strange ticket was, she was not sure. There was not seat number, no gate information. She asked, but was assured that she would be granted passage, at the appropriate time. So she returned to the seat to wait. Another fifteen minutes passed.

We are skipping a lot of time here… you mutter. And yes we are, I agree. But unless you would like every detail of the pinteresting (I’m sorry I had to!) way in which she distracted herself, it is not that important to the adventure!

Soon, she saw the flight number appear on the announcement board. She join the queue to enter into the belly of the beast, so to speak. As we have covered there is no beast here, just a metal flying machine weighing thousands and thousands of pounds and consuming the long-dead liquefied remains of actual monsters.

Slowly, she moved closer and closer to the guardians of the flying machines. And was surprised to find that not only were shoes left on, but so were coats and scarves. She grew wary. Her ticket, this lax guardianship, would it be alright?

She approached the first guard and handed him her ticket. He took it, scanned it, and gave her the information she had been missing! A seat number! A gate! Huzzah for the first guard!

She slid her remaining baggage along the metal chute, removing all electronics from her carry on belongings and prepared to be asked to remove her coat as well. Instead the second guard waved her through, and when the sensors did not beep, let her pass. She felt relief and moved ahead, to await the arrival of her backpack.

However, she could not get away as smooth as this! It was an adventure after all. Something must happen to give our hero a fight!

As so, the third guard approached. Her baggage had been sabotaged?!

WHAT?! you exclaim. The horror of such action against our hero bringing rage and fear into your eyes. When!?

But I will not keep you in suspense. The third guard took her bag and again ran it through the metal scanner. The adventurer behind her had passed a bottle of water through the same scanner and had proceeded easily. What could be causing such an exertion with her bag? Had she not complied with their unreasonable decrees. That no liquid above 3.4 ounces be obtained, and that no fragile or explosive or dangerous items be included with her belongings?

She was sure she had! But wait! She had packed carelessly the night before, scoffing at the seriousness of her adventure in favor of the pursuit of making pancakes! What if in her hurry to cook dinner she had indeed included something she had best left at home?!

The backpack returned along with the third guard. She asked permission to open the bags and look, in person, at the objects within.

The small bottles of liquid and creams that our hero had fretted over were passed by. What could it have been? What could be in her belongings that would cause her to be delayed from her adventure?

Her pen case was taken.

It was scanned a third time, and the third guard returned.

Her pen case! Of course! in her absent-minded packing she had left her pen case in her bag. The scissors, collapsible as they were, were still inside. Would they be taken? If that was all that was wrong, she would gladly give them up.

The third guard took them, and pulled out a measuring stick. She examined the scissors carefully, and pronounced them acceptable.

What! Our hero thought. She was allowed to keep her scissors? Could it be?

But the third guard waved her on, and she hurried away.

Oh! you say, relaxing back into your seat. The muscles you hadn’t known you were tensing relaxed at the easy resolution of this first test of our hero. Good, I’m glad. 

And so you should be. For, to be sure, this stage of the adventure is not over, and our hero only awaits being called to the gate. Unless some heretofore unforeseen  foe should appear, all will be well.

But this is not the end of our hero’s adventure! This, friends, is only the beginning.

What will happen? Will she ever complete the quest? What kind of skiing with she be able to accomplish? What awaits our hero in the frozen northern lands? Stay tuned, friend. Stay tuned.

“Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.” — Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

I have heard others say that the Japanese health care system is not so great. (Something I don’t want to get into, but feel I must mention: Is America’s, though?)

Here is my opinion, or rather my experience today, fresh off a visit to the doctor and pharmacy.

No appointment: I just straight up walked in and was like, My body is fighting off tiny invaders. Can I see the doctor?

They said, Sure! But first, fill out this rather basic information chart. (Compared to the extensive family history you need to see a doctor in America, this was rather pleasant, if in a foreign language with a rather complicated writing system. No longer did I need to guess whether or not my great-grandmother’s husband, or my mother’s great-aunt twice-removed was the one with an upset stomach after eating a questionable potato salad that one time.) In fact, they did not ask one single question about anyone else in my family. (I was there about a cough though, so maybe that just didn’t come up.)

The only weird things I was expected to know, weird because America uses a ridiculously complicated and unique measuring system, was my height, weight, and blood pressure. Luckily they had a blood pressure machine!

AND, the machine did not take three or four tries to acknowledge that I was a living thing. It is rather annoying when no one can find a pulse. Even worse when a machine can’t.

So I waited a couple minutes, let’s say 20, and then was talking to a doctor. He spoke English, which was awesome! Because in my illness-raddled brain I could not remember the word for throat. He took my temperature, (a slight fever, which again, didn’t really understand until I looked up the conversion to American), listened to my breathing, and then was like, X-rays for everyone!

They took two, in five minutes, I waited another…let’s say 15, and then I was back sitting with the doctor looking at my lungs and heart and boooooones. (Are lungs just supposed to show up as two black expanses surrounded by bits of bone and a weird shaped heart thingy in the middle? I hope so.) The doctor seemed to agree that I looked free and clear of plague and pneumonia, So he gave me a prescription and sent me off to pay.

Less than 20 dollars. Seriously.

I did have to walk to a pharmacy to get the medicine, but that’s okay. Normally, when my lungs aren’t trying to escape my body, I like walking. It’s pleasant. Today, every time I had to cough,  I instead was treated to my leg trying to do a jerky dance as I tried to walk and regurgitate bits of organs at the same time. I probably should just stop trying to multitask.

At the pharmacy, I  had an equally easy experience. I did have to fill out another very similar looking form for a medical history. This one had more medicine related questions though. Like do you eat three times a day? And how much coffee do you drink a day? (Yes, I might have fudged that one a bit, mostly because I haven’t been drinking a lot of coffee with this particular cold.) They also had one about driving and drowsiness on medicines but it’s cool. I don’t have a license here.

When they called my name, I swear, only 10 minutes later, they gave me FOUR…I’m sorry, wait a minute…FOUR different medicines. FOUR!

And the best part was that for a 5 day dose, 3 times a day, of four different pills (well ones a powder…ish substance) I paid 5 dollars. 5 dollars. 5!

Either they’re sugar pills or they think I’m in a gang, cause that’s the cheapest medicine I’ve ever seen. Though for three of them, I’m not exactly clear on what they do. Something, I hope.

I guess you can compare this to your own recent doctor visits and make your own judgement. Though do keep in mind, if this wasn’t my first year on the social health insurance, I would be paying at least twice of what I am now a month. Win some, lose some.

“Until I feared I would lose it, I did not love to read. One does not love breathing.” — Harper Lee

I know that it’s been a while. And I have been told to update. I thought I mentioned that it was going to be NaNoWriMo, but that is no excuse. So as it is Thanksgiving for me now, I will put up as many posts as I can. Even though A and B are not mutually exclusive, but I have three hours of sitting and waiting to get through.

I heard it snowed stateside! I wish it would snow here, not just for the obvious and eternal ‘maybe-I-don’t-have-to-go-to-school’ reason, but also because then it wouldn’t be cold enough to rain. It’s not fun trying to decide what to wear in 40 degree rain. Nor is it fun to wake up and walk to school at 7 in 40 degree rain. Nothing is fun in 40 degree rain, except sitting inside under a blanket and pretending you’re asleep.

And on my four-day weekend this week, I did just that. On Saturday, because I could, and what else does one do with their Saturday morning? Stuff, Errands, Chores? No. I should have been writing. I always should be writing, or finishing applications, but you don’t need to tell me that. I know! I know! It’s getting done. Slowly, surely, it’s getting done.

What else is new? I have hiccoughs right now and it’s driving me crazy. And I know it’s because both my brain and my body agree that I should take a nap, but somehow I don’t think the school would appreciate that. Plus it’s like they’ve never heard of insulation. The walls are so thin, or made mostly of glass, and the BOE announced this week that the heaters should not be turned on until December. Because it’s not like there’s the flu going around or anything, and I know that’s not how germs work, but I’m sticking to it.

On the plus side, you can find every size and type of hand warmer you could dream up in seven-eleven. Like small or large, or stick on or for your toes. So if it gets too bad I’ll just layer those on under my suit. Well this has been fun and rant-y.

I wish you could find turkey here. Or anything other than fried chicken or ham. That’s what I really want right now is turkey and stuffing. And just thinking of all the pies and cookies and mashed potatoes and green beans. Man, I miss thanksgiving food. I don’t miss the food-coma that come after it, or black Friday adds. And cyber Monday. I can’t think of anything dumber.

But that means it’s Christmas time! Officially. There is nothing in between that you can throw at me and say: “it’s too early! What about __________?!” After tomorrow, Christmas songs will no longer lurk among the random radio stations and muted shopping store music. They will be blasted unapologetically from rooftops and anything that could remotely hid a speaker. TV stations will begin pushing their Countdown to Christmas events like crack cocaine and no one can stop it! Charlie Brown, the Grinch, Rudolph, and three ghosts of Christmas will gang up and take over, like some sort of evil Christmas affiliated Avengers team. Elevators will play the Nutcracker suite, and candy canes will sprout like weeds everywhere you go! It’ll be weeks until you can even hope to get the scent of evergreen out of your nostrils. And the increasingly popular measurement that we all live our lives by, the Starbucks peppermint latte, needs no longer hid behind the red and white snowflake cups! It’ll be everywhere; you thought the pumpkin spice latte needed to take a break? The pumpkin spice latte is the peppermint lattes unpopular kid brother! I love Christmas.

Unfortunately, Christmas in Japan means a bucket of KFC and some vaguely log shaped cake. Blech. I don’t know how that came about, but it makes me very sad. And the Starbucks here? They’ve been taking liberties with their menu. First – they didn’t even have the pumpkin spice, and now? They’ve replaced the peppermint latte with the snow maple toffee latte. Which, I will admit isn’t that bad, and hashtag-first-world-problems all you want, I still want some peppermint latte on the few occasions I can make it out to a Starbucks around here. (Though seriously if you hashtag at me, we won’t be friends anymore, because outside of twitter, it’s dumb, and even on twitter, it’s still dumb. Twitter is dumb.)

Back to Christmas in Japan…KFC is gross. I think everyone can agree with me one that. It’s just not good. But you have to order like weeks in advance to get a bucket of chicken on Christmas here. It’s so weird. So weird. And Santa? He doesn’t come in through the chimney, mostly because they don’t have chimneys here, but he also doesn’t leave presents under the tree. Though they do have those little fake, plastic-y, sad-looking trees in the stores here. So I guess Santa breaks in through the window and flies around on stolen tooth-fairy wings (which is another thing they probably don’t do here. I dunno) and then magically sneaks a present into your bed. I’m not sure, and I’ve in no way checked anything I just wrote, but I think that’s probably what it is. Definitely, maybe. (Which is a pretty good movie, also.)

And snowmen! Snowmen here are only two snowballs! Two! I drew one on the board the other day, and everyone laughed because there were three sections. Personally, a snowman with only two sections looks a little ridiculous to me, but that’s probably cultural. Most likely. I wish I knew why that was though. Like, who decided how snowmen would look?

If you’re interested in some new Christmas songs to listen too, instead of the same old versions of the same songs, I’ve come upon some really good ones recently. Straight No Chaser, an a capella group has some pretty funny versions of songs. There’s the 12 Days of Christmas version of their, that I’ve probably made you listen to. It’s along the lines of other 12 Days of Christmas-like songs. But it mixes in different carols and popular Christmas music – it’s good, let’s just say that. Then there is the Christmas Can-can song, which is hilarious and awesome. And the Nutcracker song, equally hilarious. Check out all three. But then realize that there is nothing wrong with Alvin and the chipmunks, and listen to that album too. Do we still have it on a record, like a vinyl record? I think we might…do that instead. That’s better, somehow.

Then go caroling and get a peppermint latte because I am STILL NOT OVER THAT!

Then send me a picture, so I can show it to a barista here while crying and maybe they’ll make me one out of pity.

Just kidding about the picture part. But really, Happy Thanksgiving to all! And to all a good night!

Oh and then totally check out the Thrilling Adventure Hour, especially the episode in which they rewrite T’was The Night Before Christmas poem for their (dark knight) batman/aquaman character – Phillip Fathom. Because (1) TAH in general is hilarious, (2) it’s written by two guys named Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, seriously, like really, that’s their names, and (3) the best way to pull through a food coma is to laugh all those calories off! Remember the average American will gain 7 pounds this holiday season! Do you seriously need any more of a reason? Ooo. Rhymes.  

“To espresso or to latte, that is the question…whether ‘tis tastier on the palate to choose white mocha over plain…or to take a cup to go. Or a mug to stay, or extra cream, or have nothing, and by opposing the endless choice, end one’s heartache…”– Jasper Fforde

Today’s prompt was to write about anything, for exactly ten minutes again.

And something about widgets, which I did last week. I’m not exactly sure if anyone noticed, because they are in the menu, and that seems to be an almost invisible button up at the top. But hey, write about anything, you say?

A daunting task. I had honestly no idea what I was going to write about, and still don’t. But I have been thinking about Jasper Fforde recently, having just finish the ‘The Song of the Quarkbeast’ (and quarkbeast being perhaps one of my favorite words to say, try it!) I decided I would find an ingenious quote from him and start there.

And lo and behold! I found one about coffee. I believe, and this might betray my obsession with his books, although I swear, I’ve only read each Thursday Next book once, and they just trigger something in my brain that decides what should and should not be remembered, but I believe that it comes from the “Something Rotten” book. A short Google search proved that to be correct. Well it proved that to be the title, which I did not know I knew, if you know what I mean.

Long story short, Hamlet trying to order coffee. Perfect! Hilarious! Smart! Incredible! All these things and more! It’s like the “Shakespeare-ize” song lyrics I put up in an earlier post. It’s just so…intelligently funny. It’s amazing!

And we all know the intelligent is the new sexy. Don’t we? I mean, SHERLOCK. But I won’t get started on that, because there is no way I’ll be able to stop at ten minutes. And if you haven’t love Sir A. C. Doyle for more than the past four years, shame on you. He’s no Jasper Fforde, and considering they write completely different genres in completely different ways and voices, who would want him to be?

They’re both so great! Fantastic! Wonderful! BOOKS. WORDS!

26 little letters bending and twisting into anything you can imagine! And MORE!

I’m done. Thankfully. I do not know where we would have ended up if we had gone down that road. But all of a sudden I would like to read “The Phantom Tollbooth”….

“I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else” – Pablo Picasso

Monday’s prompt (yes, I know it’s Wednesday) was to update your ‘About’ page. I like my about page, but I did add a few things. You can check it out, but if you know me, then you probably know all that stuff already. It’s nothing new.

In fact, I was super-duper tired when I wrote it and I think it sounds a little mean. I didn’t mean for it to, but I guess my brain didn’t like being forced to think at 10 in the morning. It also could have been the papers I was grading. Grading is the wrong word. Editing, checking, marking…. Writing ‘good job’ at the bottom of every page.

That was only a problem because half the time, the kids didn’t even bother to try. They just wrote out whatever word they wanted to say in Romaji or roman letters. Which meant I had to look up what the English was for them and write it in so they could learn.

And I had to tell one kid Alaska was part of the US and not Canada.

And I had to deal with almost all of the papers being in passive voice, because the kids just “copy-pasted” what the teachers wrote on the chalkboard. So almost all of them started with some version of “There is Machu Pichu in Peru”; just change the underlined parts.

They killed my red pen too…it’s out of ink, and I don’t know where to get more. But it was a cheap pen, so maybe they don’t make refills for them?

My head is not awake right now. I apologize for that.