Friday, December 27, 2013

Why I Suck at Blogging

Happy Anniversary! It has officially been one year since I started this blog, and I only have five posts to show for it. This deserves some explanation.

Firstly, college. Anything that doesn't have a due date and isn't graded will not get done, like blog posts.

Second, I have too high of expectations for myself. At the same time that I'm not trying hard enough at this, I'm also trying too hard. I dismiss every idea that I have for a blog post because it's not good enough for me.

Third, and possibly most important, I procrastinate. Blog posts are something that can always be done later, and "later" never turns into "now."

Luckily, all of these problems have a common solution: create a due date. A consistant due date will make me put blogging on my To Do list and will force me to lower my expectations for each post since I can just try to do better for the next due date. So henceforth, I must post something on my blog every week before Sunday at midnight. (This will become once every two weeks after winter break is over and I'm back at college.) Sound good?

This kind of sounds like a New Year's resolution, which reminds me of the resolution I made last year to read 50 books in one year. Right now I am on book number 23... In my defense, four of those books were from the Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones). At about 1,000 pages each, those books are quite a feat (I'll have to post something about my conflicted feelings toward that series sometime). Also, 50 books was a rediculous goal to give myself in the first place. I'll do better this year, with both reading and blogging.

On an unrelated note, what do you get when you combine a joke with a rhetorical question?

Friday, June 21, 2013

What Not to Name Your Steamboat

During my first year of college, I worked at our school library’s Special Collections and Area Research Center, where we specialize in (you guessed it) steamboats. Our steamboat collection “consists of over 40,000 photographic images of steamboats on the inland waterways of the United States, primarily the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri rivers and their tributaries.” 

More than a few times my job required me to pick through these stacks of old steamboat photographs to see if we had a particular shot of a particular steamboat in a particular place, which is even less interesting than it sounds, I assure you. However, my exploits into the world of steamboats did alert me to a pressing problem: people are very unoriginal in the naming of their steamboats. This creates more work for me because if there are five different steamboats named Queen, then I have to go through five times as many folders to find the right photograph. 

Therefore, I have decided to make a list of overused steamboat names so that future steamboats can be spared the ignominy of having a repeated name. You’re welcome, steamboats.

What Not to Name Your Steamboat:  
(These examples are names of actual steamboats.)
  •   Anything with “Queen” in it
-          Queen
-          Island Queen
-          Queen of the Mississippi
-          Queen City
-           American Queen
  •   Anything with the Name of a City in it
-          Cincinnati
-          City of Parkersburg
-          City of Owensboro
-          City of Alma
-          City of Alton
-          City of Baton Rouge
  •   Anything with “Belle” in it
-          Belle of the Bends
-          Belle of the Coast
-          Belle Vernon
-          Bayou Belle
-          Belle Creole
-          Belle of La Crosse
-          Exception: Belle of the Golden West (because Jacky Faber is an exception to everything)
  •   The Name of a State
-          Wyoming
-          Indiana
-          Alabama
-          Alaska
-          California
-          Colorado
  •   A Girl’s Name
-          Susan
-          Anna Lee
-          Sarah Edenborn
-          Elsa Marie
-          Betty Jean
-          Grace Devers
-          Elizabeth

Awesome Steamboat Names:
(These examples are completely made up.)
  •   The Name of Your Favorite Lord of the Rings Character
-          Samwise the Brave
-          Gandalf the White
-          Peregrin Took
-          Lady Galadriel
-          Legolas Greenleaf
  •   Any Spell from Harry Potter
-          Alohomora
-          Diffindo
-          Expecto Patronum
-          Riddikulus
-          Wingardium Leviosa
  •   Any Color plus Any Mythical Creature
-          The Violet Phoenix
-          The Silver Centaur
-          The Amber Nymph
-          The Puce Gargoyle
-          The Lavender Leprechaun
  •   Awesome Alliterations
-          Dangerous Dave’s Dinghy
-          Ray’s Rusty Rig
-          The Beastly Barge
-          Vanity Vessel
-          The Courageous Craft
  •   Names in Foreign Languages
-          Don Quixote (famous Spanish book)
-          Amore (Italian for “love”)
-          Kuroshitsuji (Japanese for “Black Butler,” good manga)
-          Monsieur (that’s all the French I’ve got)
-          Wienerschnitzel (German deliciousness)

I hope this post has assisted all of the people who I know are struggling with the naming of their steamboats. I wish you luck. Please don’t take too many pictures.

On an unrelated note, I have only read ten books so far this year, which means that I must admit an early defeat in my goal of reading fifty. I still have hope for reading thirty-five books though, since the summer is young and that’s when I read the most. With busy friends and not enough hours at work, I should have plenty of time to read and (hopefully) to blog. No promises!

PS - I wanted to include a couple steamboat photos in this post, but I’m not allowed to do that because the images “cannot be copied or reproduced without the permission of the University.” Instead, please enjoy this picture of an alligator with a turtle on its head that I saw in Florida.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

On the Importance of Dreams

It is my humble opinion that dreams are extremely important. I do not think that they reveal a person’s soul or that they expose anything psychologically significant (at least my dreams don’t). I think dreams are often just a random compilation of thoughts and feelings that have occurred in a person’s head relatively recently. The reason I believe dreams are important is because they can be incredibly entertaining. Right when you wake up and can still remember what you dreamt, I highly suggest writing down dreams that are particularly interesting or awesome or just plain weird. If you do, then you will come across them later, after you have completely forgotten about those dreams, and you will giggle because they make no sense.

The reason I bring this up is because I was rereading one of my old journals, and I came across a few dream entries that were just ridiculous and wonderful. Here is one such nonsensical entry that I had completely forgotten about until I reread it:

I was running from the police through a series of grocery stores. They falsely accused me of kicking bananas or puppies (it switched halfway through). I would have turned myself in and explained the misunderstanding, but they wanted me to turn in my steel-toed shoes, which I refused to do because someone important gave them to me. Most of the dream consisted of me running from the head cop who was a really scary and buff guy. Unfortunately, he had spies by all of the banana stands, and there were an excessive amount of banana stands, so he kept finding me. Eventually, I turned myself in because I was tired, and the head cop promised to keep my shoes safe. I somehow proved my innocence by correctly identifying Libby [my cousins’ dog] amongst a bunch of Pomeranians. That’s when I woke up.

Maybe I find it funnier because I can kind of remember the dream from this description. I think anyone would admit that it’s a pretty odd dream though. I also found one about a battlefield and ninjas and Hogwarts, but that one would take a long time to explain.

Write down dreams!

On an unrelated note, I have learned that college life is not conducive to blogging. However, college does provide opportunities to make creative coasters!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Kite Runner Review

My initial reaction after finishing any book is that I desperately need to tell someone about my feelings toward the book. Most of the time, I cannot give in to this urge to discuss the book because my mom can only fake interest in a book she hasn’t read for so long. However, a few hours ago, I finished reading Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, and I remembered that I have a blog. In other words, I have a place to have one-sided conversations about books.

No spoilers. I promise.

While I did not make it through the book dry-eyed, I also did not find it completely depressing. The few specks of hope and happiness that were sprinkled throughout the story were enough to distill the gravity and melancholy of the novel’s subject matter. It was an eye-opening story concerning the violence that occurred and continues in a war-torn Afghanistan, a country that I knew next to nothing about before. The development of the main character Amir is wonderfully done, but for me, it is Hasaan’s character that makes the book so meaningful and touching. It was an altogether well-told story with a satisfactory ending. I enjoyed reading it and highly recommend it.

On an unrelated note (but also kind of related), I made a New Year’s resolution to read 50 books this year. Soon after making this resolution, I realized that this meant reading one book per week. I regret this resolution because I like to read big books and have a life. I mostly just want to read more than the pathetic 24 books that I read last year. Unfortunately, I already wrote my resolution down in my journal in pen, so The Kite Runner is book one. Forty-nine to go!