Monday, November 22, 2010

#BooksWithBeddes: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

So for my Literature for Adolescents class, I've been reading like a madwoman. (Sorry Goodreads friends...) Anyways, I had heard a lot from various people and professors that The Graveyard Book was a good read. At first, I wasn't sure I believed them. I tend to be a coward when it comes to reading material and anything the least bit scary or suspenseful I avoid. But I was intrigued. So I picked up this little jewel of a book yesterday and basically devoured it. SO GOOD.

There is a reason why it won the 2009 Newbery Medal and the 2010 Carnegie Medal.

Neil Gaiman wrote Coraline and Stardust and Mirrormask, so if you are familiar with any of those titles, you have a pretty good idea of how imaginative his is. His craftsmanship is supremely evident in this book. The sentences are just gorgeous! I know that may seem like a strange way of describing a book, but I can't think of any other way which emphasizes my love of this book.

The story is very similar to The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, in the sense that a boy is orphaned and brought up in unique circumstances. Nobody Owens, as the boy is called, is raised by a graveyard full of ghosts, after his family is murdered when he was just a baby. The graveyard and its residents protect him from the murderers who want to finish the job, but they can't protect him forever. Bod grows up and faces his fate.

It's a suspenseful tale that kept me turning the page frantically and annoying my roommates with my agonized gasps. I definitely recommend it to anyone willing to take a chance.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Words of Inspiration

"Know all the books in your local library better than the librarian. Go there every night. Live there. Educated yourself. Know all the stock in the local book store. I do. There is no day in my life I do not go to at least one book store. Go to art galleries. Look. Fill up. See every film ever made. Fill up on that medium. Know everything that is bad. Only by knowing what is bad can you avoid badness. The snob who refuses knowledge in mediocrities remains always second-rate himself. I have collected Prince Valiant for 30 years. Listen to bad music and good music and great music. Study architecture. Read science-fiction, because it is the one fiction which is curious about ALL the above, all and everything, on every level. In sum: run, shout, search, be puzzled, go on, from day to day, with high enthusiasm."  
~Ray Bradbury
Source: Witkin, Mitzi. "A Defense of Using Pop Media in the Middle-School Classroom." The English Journal 83.1 (1994): 30-33. Print.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This was FHE or Family Home Evening in our student ward on campus this past Monday. We went bowling

These two lovely ladies are my roommates. They are adorable.

My team.

I would just like to mention that my final score was 80. That is a whole 19 points higher than my last high score.


I still love bowling.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hurrah for Tugboats

I don't know how many of you heard, but off the coast of southern California, a massive Carnival cruise liner has been stranded some 200 miles San Diego. There was an engine fire which knocked out power to basically the whole ship, also cutting hot water and electricity off. (There is a link to the article here.)
No crew or passengers were injured.
You would think, out of all the sea-going vessels, cruise ships would be some of the safest (Poseidon Adventure aside), especially with all that food. I never really thought about this problem, but with no electricity, the is NO REFRIGERATION. All that food, gone to waste. The US coast guard had to actually fly in emergency food supplies until the ship can make it back to land. 
Which, bring me to the purpose of this post.
How is a powerless, broken 113,000 ton (that means it's BIG) cruise ship going to make it back to land?
The answer, my friends, is tugboats.
Can you imagine it? These hearty little things are pulling that monstrosity all 200 miles back to safety.
My admiration level for these little boats has gone up immeasurably these past couple of days. I sure hope those passengers appreciate what is going in to save them, although I can pretty much assure that they are probably furious right now. 
Scared, maybe; furious, most definitely.
Anyways, as I was trying to find a picture of these brave little engines, these engines that could, I came across this delightful gem.
Who would have known!
(I'm kind of tempted to join now)
(...also, the style is very old school internet...the kind I remember learning about in elementary school. It kind of warms the cockles of your heart to see such nostalgia.)
Anyways, I'd thought I'd share what I've been following the past couple of days. Knock on wood that it turns out OK, and that everyone gets home safe.
Except poor Carnival...they are going to lose a boatload* of money.
*no pun intended.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Good Eats: Aebleskiver!

Look at how crafty I am!

I made aebleskiver!
They are this delightful little Danish...thing. A little like pancakes, but a little different.
Supposedly, the history of aebleskiver is something like this:

Once upon a time, Vikings were tired after a rather exhausting raid and so they got back to their ship and they wanted something to eat. Pancakes! However, they didn't have anything to cook it on but a badly dented shield, so they made do with what they had. Pancake batter in a dented shield and viola! You get aebleskiver

The name, when literally translated means "apple slices" which...doesn't make all that much sense seeing as there usually isn't any apples in them any more...but it's fun to say!
"abe-el-skae-ber" would be the phonetic way of saying it.'s all at the back of your throat, just swallow the words.
Anyways, this ^ is the type of pan you use to make them with. You pour in the batter and turn it as it cooks so it's done all the way in the inside and golden brown all around the outside.
I am going to make them for my History 201 TA class on Thursday. I get to teach and since there is a connection between  Scandinavia and the Kievan Rus, why not make class more enjoyable with treats!
Except, since this was my first time, they are a little gooey.
However, in the immortal words of Scarlett O'hara, "Tomorrow is another day!"
And tomorrow will bring more aebleskiver.
p.s. I made these Norwegian cupcakes a couple of weeks ago. They are really just chocolate cupcakes with the Norwegian flag in icing on the top. Still, I think they are pretty creative. They tasted pretty good too.
Here is Nay, modeling them for everyone.
Labor of love, I tell ya, labor of love.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kievan Rus, Heian Japan and Mali

Oh boy, oh boy!
I am so excited, folks!
I get to teach in my TA class about the post-classical civilizations of the Kievan Rus, Heian and Kamakura Japan and the Empire of Mali in Sub Saharan West Africa.
I made a prezi. (It's like powerpoint, but much cooler.)
Here it is!
Anyways, if you can't look at, give me a couple days and I will try to get it up here.
Stay tuned, I will give you a heads up of what next semester looks like
Oh goodie.
Yes, that is exactly what you should be thinking. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

World Awareness

It's weird. Whenever I blog, I just send it out in the great wide world, not really thinking of who is seeing it. I just found the stats section of blogger. And it's opened my eyes, man. There was people in Russia, who has seen my blog. Russia, of all places! And other places. Like Norway! That was exciting. I love Norway.

Suddenly, I feel like I should be more cosmopolitan in my blogging approach.

Any suggestions?
If not, I will continue to do what I do.
Put up stuff that I find unique, interesting, or just me.
Loves to the great wide world. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Crystal Stairs

Mother to Son

by Langston Hughes
"Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair."

Life may not be a crystal stair...
but it's worth it.

Keep that in mind as school tries to take it out of you.
with loves,