The times they are a-changin'

Big changes are around the corner for A Silvertongued Serenade.

You might remember when I started A Dustland Fairytale. That blog was supposed to be something of a journal - a venue for personal stories, rants, etc. that were too long/uninteresting for my main blog. But then I forgot about A Dustland Fairytale and posted long, uninteresting things here anyway.

That, combined with more recent advice that I make the switch to Wordpress, combined with the frustration that is customizing Blogger layouts, combined with the fact that I'm graduating soon and it just seems more professional to have separate blogs for separate purposes, has prompted the change that is about to take place. Yes, Blogger, it is time for us to part.

Soon I will have three new blogs:

1. Silvertongue 2.0, the new home of all things creative. My writing, including stories, poetry, and the occasional philosophical discourse, will go here. Chronicles of my dreams will go here. My art - that is, photography and whatever crafts I've undertaken - will go here. It is the place for anything bestowed on me by my muse.

2. Mandarin Blue, which will replace the Dustland Fairytale I never used. Here you'll find the sort of things I would keep in a journal, from stories about life (many soon to be illustrated) to rants and ramblings about the injustices of the universe, etc.

3. Brewings of a Mad Barista, the new address of Claymore reviews and creations. With your help I think this could really take off. I have mostly exhausted the existing Claymore menu, and so, in 2011, I'll be taking suggestions. You can propose new combinations of flavors, unexpected ingredients (as Kenya added fresh squeezed orange juice to chai), or even other places to try coffee besides my own café. I'd love to branch out and see what the Boston area has to offer.

I hope to have all of this ready in time for the New Year, but as sick and exhausted as I feel right now, this may or may not be a possibility. Just know that it's coming.

Peace, love and candy cane brownies,
Miss Rex

A Festival of Lights

Merry Christmas.


I've been reading Hyperbole and a Half, and I've decided that my boring life stories need to be illustrated so as to be more captivating to you, my beloved and mostly-imaginary audience. I'm not sure yet what style I want to draw in - should I go with very crude stick figures, like H&1/2's Allie, or do something more like what you see here (which is actually easier for me, believe it or not)?

This picture is meant to be one of a series, but it was all I could get done tonight, A) Because I'm tired and not sure exactly what I even want it to look like, B) Because my only means of getting drawings on my computer is via crappy webcam or crappy camera phone, and C) Because I apparently broke Photoshop for life by making an enormous poster with 50 layers on my last day at Skipping Stone.

Now it's time to go to bed and wait for Santa Claus!

UPDATE: Apparently I also broke Blogger with my picture last night. But never fear, for I now have a card reader and can upload pictures of pictures that don't suck! Thank you Santa =)

Peace on earth and good will toward men,
Miss Rex

The End is Near

As evidenced by the dwindling number of stress-induced zits marring my face, the much be-groaned finals week has come to an end! Which means (drum roll, please... or rather, victorious trumpet fanfare) I'm on to my LAST SEMESTER OF SCHOOL for the foreseeable future!

I have eight more credits to complete before earning my undergraduate degree. Next semester, between advanced creative writing and my senior project, will be all about finishing a FULL DRAFT of my novel so that I can start sending out queries over the summer... with the promised guidance of Skipping Stone! Many great things lie ahead, and I can't wait to get started - but not before I've indulged in the annual Christmastime month of hibernation and, of course, the chaos known as holiday shopping, which promises to be even more chaotic than usual.

I had the great misfortune of leaving my debit card in an ATM and, consequently, having it shredded, just a few weeks before the biggest gift-giving extravaganza of the year. I finally got a new one this week, which I have been unable to take advantage of due to final projects, papers, and portfolios (although, thankfully, no formal exams). So now, with a week to go until Christmas, I have to purchase stuff for just about everyone I know and find time to hand-make gifts for the rest of the people I know.

The homemade gifts are actually the easy part. It's the grandmas I can never figure out. One of my grandmas I hardly even see except when she turns up on birthdays and Christmas to hand out $25 Macy's gift cards. The best thing I ever bought with one was a toaster oven. As great a purchase as that was (and I truly mean that; I use it every day in my apartment), I am always tempted to buy her a gift card she will find equally useless - to, say, Newbury Comics, which is my favorite store - and then offer to trade. But I suppose that would be rude.

Peace, love and white elephants,
Miss Rex

Finals week post 3: Random quotes

Some people collect stamps, string, or stickers. Others collect mugs, DVDs, and anything made by Apple. I happen to have a rather extensive CD collection, but the collection I'd like to share today is (a small portion of) my quote collection. Yes, yes, how predictable that the writer collects words. What can I say? My "Quotes" word doc is like a scrapbook to me. I'm terrible at remembering to take pictures, so all I have to remember some of the best days in life are the absurd things people said while I happened to have a pen handy.

Caution: This post is rated PG-13. There's some ast*r*sk*d language and subject matter I wouldn't speak of in front of your small child/conservative Christian roommate. But as the following conversation with my supervisor would suggest, you can probably handle it, and who doesn't need a little hilarity to get their hump day off the ground?

That Narnia Girl: I think I could handle it.
Eramer: Handle what?
Me: Profanity.
Eramer: What the f*ck’re you talking about?

Me: Guess what.
JW: What?
Me: I love you.
Taz: Well that was an easy guessing game.

Me: i didnt say lineart was for neanderthals, just that it was a simple concept. if cutting your toenails is that difficult for you then you probably shouldn't be attempting lineart.

Guy outside the window: AOSIUFINEUIFHAEFJDSKFHDFIUGA!!!!
Me: (yelling out window) could you repeat that?
Guy: Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your long hair!
Me: OK! Just hold on a second!!

Jinx!! You owe me a blow job!!

Taz: I’ve been singing “I’ve been working on the railroad,” but I clearly have not.

Me: Is that a lobster… or a baby?

Mnomanoms: She wanted an adverbjective.

Taz: I’m notcho momma!

Me: I hate that sherbet doesn’t have an r in it
Jo-Yo: Yes it does
Me: No, look. S-H-E-R-B-E-T
Jo-Yo: It has an R.
Me: But it’s not SHERBERT.
Jo-Yo: But if it didn’t have an R it would be shebet
Me: Shibbit! It’s gibberish for sh*t!

JW: My eyes are peeing.

Rad: They sold it for, like, really expensive.

Plunging a toilet is like giving a hand job.

That Narnia Girl: Most Voltorbs are red.
Me: Yes, I know. I’m not an idiot. I watch Pokémon.

Kenya: So how was the movie?
Me: Um… good.
Kenya: Did you… watch the movie?
Me: .....no.
Kenya: Yeah, didn’t think so.

Me: If there was one good thing I ever got out of cosmo, it was no sexin’ with socks on.

Me: Ravin just asked me when Thanksgiving is.
Mnomanoms: It’s on Thursday. Like it ALWAYS is!

Me: You wouldn’t kill our child! Even if it was a tree!

Puddlesauce! – me and Mnomanoms

Taz: This is a sign that we MUST go to Canada!

JW: Surprisingly, chewing on my bones doesn’t feel good.

Me: You’re closer to the blind-cracker.

Taz: Take off your little Scottish hat, mon

Eramer: Rex, don’t leave me!
Me: What day am I not allowed to leave?
Eramer: Ever! Never leave me.
Me: OK. Don’t worry, I’ll never leave you. But you’re gonna have to hire me.

Peace, love, and peppermint steamers,
Miss Rex

Finals week post 2: Kicks and Giggles


Thank you, Gandalf, for those words of wisdom. However, before you all get back to studying, give your brain a break and have a laugh with me. The pictures below have, throughout the semester, given me cause to giggle, marvel, or simply shake my head in disbelief.

Check it out: I got a window sheet. Unfortunately this was truly all I had for privacy my first week or so back at school for the fall...



Somehow I don't think this is what your bros are thinking of when they talk about a stripper in a cake.



Just in case you need to make guacamole for an army:



Glad this wasn't my car some Tuesday/Thursday morning at 8AM as I was trying to leave for Skipping Stone...



Sugar cereal cemented with sugar glue: Just what the doctor ordered for Taz!!!



Of all the problems I could have, this one seems like a good one.



Peace, love and Bridezilla,
Miss Rex

Finals week post 1: Magic!

It's finals week. I am too busy and exhausted to post anything of substance, and you are too busy and exhausted to read it. So my next few posts will consist of very few words.

Today I have two items of mind-blowing proportions. First, give this a listen. When you get to the bottom I'll tell you what it is.

by Shamantis

To complete your trippy experience, take a look at these crazy magic eye pictures!

From "Brother" (yes, the printer people):




Fixed-width text magic eye picture by Jason Unger:




The most epic thing I've ever found via the Interwebs, by I F F cool:



So that song you've been listening to since you got here? It's "U Smile" by Justin Bieber... 8x slower than the real thing.

Peace, love, and cappuccino,
Miss Rex

Required worship: Check.

The requirement that Go-Co students attend chapel has been something I've loved and hated about this school. For the better part of three years I bitched and moaned about going, and often with good reason - it was boring, the worship was horrible and fake (how could required worship be authentic?), and the speakers were too conservative for me to relate to.

Oh, we would have the occasional gem: Norm Jones would perform a dramatic monologue or a preacher from an urban church would come shake us up a little bit. But until this year, chapel was something I habitually resented. Sometimes I would try to get something out of it, spiritually or intellectually, but I would almost always walk away frustrated. I came to think of myself not as a Christian but as an agnostic.

I'm not saying things have gotten tons better. My faith is still a fragile thing. But, for the first time in four years, I was actually starting to get something out of going to chapel. Perhaps the number of "Christian life and worship" credits I'd earned didn't reflect that, but I was going twice a week ready to engage (as well as attending Sunday night candlelight worship, which doesn't offer credit), and that was a huge step for me.

Then, halfway through the semester, I had five extra chapel credits tacked onto my requirements, pushing me up to 35 for the semester. Between my night shifts at the writing center, my afternoon classes, and my internship, I literally could not attend afternoon and evening events. I counted, and there were not enough morning chapels left in the semester for me to fulfill the requirement.

They don't stop you from graduating if you don't make all your chapels. As a part-time student next semester, my record will be cleared anyway. But it was the principle of the thing. I asked for a reduction in chapel requirements and was refused.

Suddenly what little motivation I had to attend was replaced by the same familiar resentment that kept me from God over the past few years. The expectation that I, a Christian teetering on the brink of faith, should have to make better than perfect chapel attendance for the rest of the semester was absurd. I determined that the chapel office was run by a slew of heartless bureaucrats with no concept of the Christian concept of mercy.

I almost decided to boycott and start having my own private worship time. After all, the idea of Christian life and worship is to bring you into communion with God, and I could do that just as well on my own. I thought, who the hell are the bureaucrats to tell me whether my Christian life and worship is sufficient? Are they saying I'm only good enough for God if I'm good enough for them? But we are not trying to please men, but God! He is the only one who should be attaching a value to my Christian life and worship.

Well, today I completed my 35th chapel of the semester. I am done. I don't know how I managed it; maybe it was the Thursday night movie screening that I only went to because Skipping Stone had a hand in its production, or the debate on human suffering, or the visiting author whose discourse I had to attend for my writing class. Regardless, I did it, and I think that the victory is as pleasing to God as it is to the chapel office. I at least know that I feel better rounded and spiritually stimulated than I have in past years.

Put that in your censer and smoke it.

Peace, love and truffles,
Miss Rex

Ode to my baby sister

This weekend I had the enormous privilege of seeing my not-so-baby-anymore baby sister, Jay May, perform in her high school musical.

For reasons beyond comprehension, our clean-cut, suburban, 95% white school chose "The Wiz" for this year's show. And for reasons that I won't go into (cough*nepotism*cough), my brilliantly talented sister was not granted a lead, even though she is a junior and this will be her last high school musical, and therefore by rules of seniority alone she should have trumped some of the leads.

In the realm of talent, it could have been a one girl show as far as I'm concerned. The talent pool just isn't that big at a school as small as that. There were only 120 kids in my graduating class.

That being said, it was one of the better musicals I've seen my high school put on, and Jay May was just... stunning. She was Aunt Em, and she had a solo. The first one in the play. I couldn't believe how grown up she looked and sounded. She was so expressive, so confident. I found out later that she was nervous, but I never would have guessed it from watching her, which I've heard is the mark of a good performer. She hit all the high notes dead on and dipped to reach the low notes just right, too.

It was only after she sang that I realized how long it had been since she let me hear her sing outside of the shower. Years. She's had bit parts in the other musicals she's done in the past few years, and even though I could always pick out her voice, it was nothing like this. I'm so proud of her.

I've also learned that I am going to be a blubbering wreck when my kids grow up.

Peace, love and menthol,
Miss Rex

Excavations of Claymore: Almond Joy (at last!)

I've been meaning to review this one all semester, but me having Taz's meal card or cash with me never seemed to coincide with Claymore having coconut, almond and chocolate flavor syrups. I had a barista substitute hot cocoa mix once. It was bad, so I decided to hold out on the review until I could get all the witnesses on stand and give the Almond Joy a fair trial.


I'll give it this: The Almond Joy tastes exactly like the candy bar. I had never tried one but, for the sake of research, I accepted one from a classmate's Halloween stash.

It was... okay. Just like the steamer. If you're cuckoo for coconut, then you'll love this drink. If you have an insatiable sweet tooth, even better - you can skip the candy aisle and go for something with real calcium in it! But if you're the kind of person that keeps the mashed potatoes on the opposite side of the plate from the cranberry sauce, might I advise that you also keep your drink and dessert separate in this case.

Peace, love, and pumpkin spice,
Miss Rex

Billy Madison learned the most important thing in high school

How to BS.

I had never seen Billy Madison until a couple of weeks ago, and that was on purpose. Let me tell you, after it was over I really sympathized with the guy who said "everybody in this room is now dumber for having listened to you."

But Billy Madison learned the most important thing you can learn in high school. It's sad but true: The ability to BS will get you through just about anything in life, or at least the rest of your schooling. I have my theories that it will get you far in the corporate world too, but I have yet to personally test this theory, and I think I will find it easier to be passionate in that world, so perhaps BS will be less necessary than it has been for the past 16 years of my life.

The tragic truth is, students don't have time to be sincere and thoughtful. Even if we had no other work/family/friend/etc. obligations, coursework alone would leave us with too little time for sincerity and thought. So, we get really good at sounding thoughtful as we crank out paper after paper, sometimes spending as little as a single afternoon on a major 8-ish page paper.

I've had teachers throughout the years tell me that it doesn't matter what point you argue as long as you back it up with evidence. By these standards, Billy's blathering about a lost puppy being a symbol for society gets top marks.

And so will my twelve-pager for Communication Theories. Rawr!

Peace, love, and finals,
Miss Rex

tl;dr

I dreamed I was in my apartment with one of my guy friends, but it was the middle of the night, and our school has a rule that you can't have visitors of the opposite sex in your apartment past a certain hour, so we were blatantly breaking the rules. But no one would have known a thing if my apartment mates (who were not the same as my real life apartment mates) hadn't suddenly brought a party into our living room. A very loud party with girls AND boys.

Of course we got caught. I stepped out of my room to be like "WTF guys?" just in time to get nabbed with the rest of them. But when I told the RD I had no idea why there was a party in my living room, he let me go without saying a word about the friend who'd been in my room. I was so relieved he hadn't noticed. When I got back to my room, they had transformed the living room into an all-out bar (another no-no - we aren't allowed to have booze on campus, nor are we allowed to turn out the lights in mixed company).


A bunch of us went down to the first floor, which is a guys' floor. Apparently it was all right to be down there if we stayed in the main corridor, which was easier said than done since all the walls and doors were gone; the place was transformed into a huge cafeteria. I saw someone I knew and went over to say "hi," but it turned out he was a zombie, so I went back to my other friends. Suddenly we realized we weren't in the main corridor and thus were technically in violation of visiting laws, so we scurried back to safe ground.

Seconds later I got a text. I didn't know who it was from, but whoever sent it said they'd seen what I'd just done and I should turn myself in for it. I couldn't even tell where the corridor turned into restricted territory, and I'd only crossed for a second! Like hell I was turning myself in.

But this person kept hounding me. Every time I looked at a screen, and sometimes just randomly in the air in front of me, his messages would appear. They were always on a grid of hash marks that flickered in and out like the screen was about to die. It had a very creepy feel to it, like this person that I didn't know and never saw was some kind of ghost or demon, or worse yet, a Fight-Club-esque alternate self. My techy friend was trying to help me figure it out, but he was never there to see the messages and I started to get the feeling that he and the sender were actually one and the same.


Next thing I knew I was being held hostage in my bedroom at home. There was a party going on in my back yard, like a birthday party or something with lots of young kids who might have been my mom's piano students. I was standing in my back window looking out, thinking about how far down it was. The grass was so green and soft that I knew I could jump the one story down onto it without getting hurt, and I was about to when I got kidnapped.

Now I'm in the back seat of a car. I don't know where they're taking me, but it can't be good. They are not good people. I am working on a diversion of some kind. I think it involves food. The last thing I remember is preparing to jump out the back door while the car is still in motion...

Good morning, Saturday.

Luckily things only got better as the day went on. I spent the afternoon with JW and his family. They had about 20, 25 people over for Thanksgiving: Round Two - and that was only about 5% of the family tree. It was so fun. Big families are great. Remembering all those names was good mental exercise, too.

Then I drove home to see Adam Ezra playing in the town next door, in fact at the same place we had my post prom party. I went with my daddy, and it was nice to go do something with him, even though he wasn't crazy about the headliner (and I would have to agree that Adam's music is more my type). But I did get to have a good long conversation with Adam that touched on his tour with Enter the Haggis, the band's new album, my finals, my internship, and fantasy literature, especially our mutual love for The Golden Compass and the fact that, unlike a lot of people who say "your book-in-progress sounds interesting, but fantasy's not really my genre," he actually seemed excited to read what I'm working on. We agreed that when he finishes his album and I publish my novel, we'll trade. Cool beans.

Peace, love, and sweet dreams,
Miss Rex

Brewin's of a Mad Barista #1: Crackle Cider

As an OFFICIAL member of the Claymore crew, I now have the freedom to invent random drinks whenever I feel like it. Oh how I love this job. I wanted to squeeze in my first recommendation while it's still fall because anything based on apple pie goes out of style once winter hits like white pants after Labor Day.

My first mad brewin' is called "Crackle Cider," so named because it is so yummy that it might as well be made of crack. At this time of year, I would think almost any coffee shop should be able to replicate the recipe if you ask. I made a pretty name card for it with lots and lots of glitter glue, but someone took it down, so alas I do not have a picture, only instructions for your own mad brewin'.

To brew Crackle Cider: Start with a cup of hot apple cider, add a shot or so of caramel syrup, sprinkle in cinnamon and nutmeg, and garnish with whipped cream. Drizzle caramel syrup and/or sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top if desired.

It's like a fresh apple pie in a cup. Now some of you may be wary of food-in-a-cup after seeing how the people in Wall-E turned out, but don't let that stop you. It's just this once. It's a special treat. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone.



Peace, love and pie,
Miss Rex

These are a few of my favorite things:

It's Thanksgiving Day, but I won't bore you with an essay of the same things everybody is thankful for today. I have amazing friends and an amazing family and an amazing boyfriend. I have a roof over my head and plenty to eat, I go to a great school, I have a great internship, and I always have something to wear (even when I despair that "I have nothing to wear!").

Of course I'm thankful for those things. But there are a lot of smaller, less cliché things that I am also thankful for, and I think they deserve some recognition. This Thanksgiving, I give thanks for...

Light bulbs.


Forks.
Text messaging.
Candles.
Single stream recycling.
Plungers.
Soy milk (picture from Urban Blah).


Bass guitar.
Flannel.
Scott Westerfeld.
Swiss Miss hot chocolate.
Dirty feet.


Neon Trees.
Tuning forks.
Trippy dreams.
Vodka sauce.
Stickers.


Jalapeños.
Hot showers.
String.
Blue jeans.
Semicolons.
Ear goggles.




What random things are you thankful for today? If anyone says "friends and family," I'm spamming your comments section with pictures of slow lorises!

This post is brought to you by my favorite fingerless gloves.

Peace, love and free-range turkey,
Miss Rex

Excavations of Claymore: Thrilla in Vanilla

Ladies and gentlemen, after a very long and sad hiatus, I at last bring you the (I hope) dearly missed Excavations of Claymore. We shall begin with the Thrilla in Vanilla, a vanilla and mint latté.


I've never been anything but honest with you folks, and honestly, I was not thrilled with the Thrilla in Vanilla.

I love the name, and I love the flavors in it, and I really really tried to like the drink itself. I even sampled it more than once, made by three different baristas (including myself ^_^). It just isn't a good drink.

Something about the mint highlights the bitterness of the espresso. I realized that all the other drinks I enjoy that have mint in them either use peppermint (as in Starbucks' peppermint mocha), are iced, or don't contain espresso.

When I first started drinking coffee, I always got it with mint because it overpowered the flavor of the espresso. Now, connoisseur that I am, I have learned that it is better to complement the espresso with flavors like Irish Creme. Like the ugly new benches marring Go-Co's lovely campus every few yards or the hulking, enigmatic monument to gravity, the taste of espresso can't be hidden. Luckily it's easier to embrace than ugly benches...

But the Thrilla doesn't embrace. Perhaps it's just my touchy-feely taste buds, but I'm gonna have to give this drink two stars.

Peace, love and eggnog,
Miss Rex

What the radio doesn't know it wants

Remember how we are all so forward-minded and fashionable around this blog? Well I have another recommendation for you, dear trendsetters. This recommendation goes by the name of 54 Dice.


It's my friend Andrewp's band. Now I'm trusting all you crazy people to know good crazy when you hear it! These guys are experimental and bizarre, yet grounded in classics. By this I mean their foundation rests solidly on guitar, doing well what guitars have done since the days of classic rock, but with innovative interpretations of rhythm, vocals, and harmony vs. discord.

If you're looking for the kind of music the radio doesn't even know it wants yet, be sure to download their free four-song EP! (The website will ask for your email address, but don't worry; Andrewp has personally promised me "no spam!")

Peace, love and sleeping in,
Miss Rex

A Letter to Voldemort

Dear Voldemort:

Normally I would write to someone nicer about this (perhaps Albus Dumbledore or Sirius Black), but, well, first of all, you've had them both killed, but second (and more importantly), I feel that you have a special kind of expertise in the particular matter that concerns me.

I am speaking of the matter of sinuses. Since you, my dark liege, lack the protection afforded by a traditional protruding nose, I thought perhaps you would know of a spell or potion to combat discomfort or infection of the deep nasal passages. It has been a recurrent problem since the days of my youth; so recurrent, in fact, that I can pinpoint the day it will befall me before I even show symptoms. Precisely 365 days ago Monday, I was hospitalized for an especially brutal case of sinusitis. This Monday, I was forced to retire early by a sharp sinus headache and heavy congestion. I am sorry for the graphic description, although I'm sure my liege has seen worse in his decades of malevolence.

I know that you are very busy being evil, but if you get a chance, I would really appreciate your help in this matter.

Love,
Miss Rex

Why people don't write first-person fantasy books

When I began work on my current fantasy project, I was eager to be one of the few to write a fantasy saga in the first person. Now I am beginning to see why this is done so rarely.

With fantasy, there's a lot happening at once. Rarely do all of the important characters take the stage at the same time. So, you can either have characters narrate their in-the-meantime stories to the first person narrator upon their reunion, or you can use third person and tell the simultaneous stories more or less simultaneously.

There's also a lot that needs to be explained in fantasy books. When you write a non-fantasy story that takes place in the real world, you can assume your reader knows how things work in that world - he or she lives there! But if you've invented a world, complete with locations, races, religions, cultures, magical rules, politics, and history, it's entirely up to you to make sure your readers know pertinent details.

So your options are to have a really smart first-person narrator who already knows everything, which ruins the adventure by making everything too easy; to have your first-person narrator stumble across information in the form of wizened old sorcerers or mysterious books that reveal information in a conveniently timed fashion (which again makes it seem that things are too easy; the world is helping the character complete this supposedly impossible mission); or to tell your story in the third person, so that you can fill in the details necessary for fleshing out the world and perhaps even create some dramatic irony, which is possible but difficult with first person.

I thought that I would be able to achieve a more distinct and quirky voice for my main character, Anna, by writing in first person, but in fact the more fun and satisfying chapters to read (and to write) have by far been the ones I've done in third person. Somehow Anna has more of a voice when someone else is telling the story for her. Anyway I think she's a little busy combating evil and all that to be giving people a play by play of her adventure. So third person it shall be.

Peace, love and power naps,
Miss Rex

A pirate's life for me

All right, dear readers. I know you are all forward-minded fashionistas, so I feel it is my duty to bring this exquisite design to your attention.


It was designed by my friend the Hippie and it's eligible to win ten grand, at which point you'll be able to sport this epic yet elegant pirate on your bosom for something in the vicinity of $20. But you gotta give it your love! Cast your vote in the next 24 hours!

By the way, in case you ever wondered what the Hippie looks like, the answer is, he looks like this pirate. Yeah, he's pretty much Johnny Depp and stuff.

Peace, love and 1.5 martinis,
Miss Rex

Claymore.

Thus concludes my first weekend working at Claymore! Overall it's a pretty sweet gig. I get to make free drinks (well, one free drink per shift), which means Excavations of Claymore are soon to return! In just two nights, I've already created Crackle Cider and the Golden Mocha. At last my creative taste buds can be exercised to their full potential! Soon my tongue will be nice and buff, like Trogdor's beefy arm. Rawr.

It didn't take long for me to learn to make a quality latté. My organizational skills are a little lacking, but that will improve with practice. The only real downside I've seen is that, every so often, you get a psycho on the other side of the counter.

My first night, two other baristas came in partway through my shift, both thinking they were working a double with me. As they were sorting out the schedule, I was working on drinks for a few different people and paused to rinse off some things (because if the next person orders chai, they don't really want residue of hot chocolate in their drink). This girl at the counter loudly demands, "HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO ORDER?"

The other two apologized and told her they were just trying to figure out who was supposed to be there. She said something along the lines of that wasn't her problem and she'd been waiting there for blah blah (she'd only been there for like, three minutes, and there had been two or three people ahead of her).

I politely told her that I could include residue of banana and hazelnut in her order if she'd like to place it right away.

I think this will be my downfall. I don't take shit from people like her; I dish it right back. Hope that's not grounds for unemployment (grounds... ha ha... that's punny, cause I work at a coffee shop... get it? Ha ha...)

The other downside is, I'm gonna have to make it through my 10:30-2AM shift without making myself any coffee, because I was up until 4 this morning even with the time change factored in. But it was a darn good coffee. Soon to be excavated.

Peace, love and third person omniscient,
Miss Rex

Let's pretend we're in 4th grade, OK?

My internship affords me many wonderful opportunities, one of them being that I can now read books intended for much younger audiences without looking like a lamewad. Secretly I just love middle grade and young adult fiction, but at 21, I'm starting to need excuses that other people will accept as to why I still read high school material. So thank you, Skipping Stone.

Recently I've discovered a marvelous series that begins with a book called "The Name of This Book Is Secret." The second installment is called "If You're Reading This, It's Too Late." I'm about start the third, "This Book Is Not Good for You." I don't care that they were written for nine-year-olds; these books are GREAT!


The tales are quirky and fantastical mysteries full of puzzles and riddles that you can solve right alongside the characters, which is fun EVEN IF you're old like me and have probably heard them all before. And everything in the book is a SECRET, including the setting (that's right, now you HAVE to use your imagination!) Even the author's name, "Pseudonymous Bosch," is a secret. The story itself is so very secret that the narrator continually chickens out, refusing to tell the rest, before bribing himself into carrying on with rewards of cheese and chocolate.

Cass, the pointy-eared heroine, always carries a survival backpack in case of a catastrophe. Max-Ernest, the logical and loquacious hero, lives in a house divided down the middle by his divorced parents, who refuse even to acknowledge each other's presence, let alone cross into the other's half of the house. Guess it's true when they say can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Together these misfits set out to discover the truth of magician Pietro Bergamo's death, but they quickly get tangled up with the Midnight Sun, a society hell-bent on achieving immortality. At last the two prove themselves worthy of admission to the good guys' secret - I mean Terces - society.

There are a zillion reasons to love this series, but one of my favorites is that it's pretty much all about synaethesia. If you don't know by now, I'm obsessed with this strange condition, which cross-wires your senses so that you can see music or smell numbers or, in this case, see scents. So the Secret series is entertaining AND educational!


If you're a kid, put this on your Christmas list. If you're a parent, sneak it onto the end of your son or daughter's letter to Santa. If you're anybody else, just grab any random kid off the street and start reading to them. It'll look legit, I promise.

Peace, love, and coffee!!!
Miss Rex

Fall Back

There was frost on the quad the other morning. En route to an early meeting*, I noticed the tree outside the library was shedding leaves so fast that they had pooled around him, leaving a yellow ring at his feet. I had to wonder what the hurry was.


I always think of Robert Frost at this time of year. But it's never the poem you'd expect. I took the road not taken years ago and I walk it every day. Instead, "To Earthward" comes to mind.

On the last warm day we had in October, I took my shoes off to wade in Gull Pond and stretched out to dry on the rough sand, thinking of the poem's ending:

"When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,

The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length."

Or I think of "The Mending Wall" as I wander the bike trails with JW. Stone walls criss-cross through the woods as they crumble into the realm of the forgotten. They once told someone what land was his and what was not; they may have been the one and only tie between two farmers. I think of Frost and his neighbor, who never spoke except to repair the wall between them, saying "Good walls make good neighbors."

The bleak hour is nigh! Winter doesn't officially start until December 21st, but he's already lurking like a peeping Tom. In a few days, we'll change the clocks and night will fall at 4:00. My epic tan lines have faded, even the ones I got from wearing the same Tevas to camp all season (though I don't think the white bikini outline will ever go away). My allergies are getting worse. My acne is getting worse. Even my goddamn vision is getting worse - I had to switch back to my older, stronger prescription when I realized I couldn't read the slides in chapel anymore.

The time has passed for wading and sunbathing and skinnydipping. There will be no more bare feet and no more hippie dresses. It's a sad prospect.

But at least there's Christmas to look forward to! Now if only I can remember to stay away from shopping malls this year...

Peace, love, and hazelnut mocha,
Miss Rex

*I discovered moments later that the meeting had been canceled... to think I could have continued my 80s-cartoon dream about the Star Princess! Alas and alack!

Solidarity

Scott Westerfeld is the only author whose entire volume of work is on my "favorite books" list. It all started in sophomore, junior year of high school with a stand-alone book called "So Yesterday" (which apparently you can read in its entirety on Scott's website). I think, though, that Midnighters is my favorite work of his.

Well, anyway. Scott did an interview with Simon and Schuster on UStream last night. He answered questions received by tweet, blog and Facebook. It was enlightening. The question I asked was, "They say there's no such thing as an original idea. How do you come up with something fresh to say & say it in a unique way?"

Scott's answer: “There are obviously original ideas. What there isn’t is new ideas, completely new, and in fact if you came up with a completely new idea, I bet everyone would hate it. Because they wouldn't know what it was. They would be confused and freaked out and I have a feeling they wouldn’t actually like it. All the people who say they want something original, what they really want is something familiar that they already like but with a new twist they’ve never seen before… What you want is one new thing surrounded by many familiar old things.”

It was really thrilling to hear this guy I've looked up to for years talk about his work, and even more so to feel like he was talking to me - author to author. Someday I hope I can do what he's doing and be an inspiration to other young writers.

The whole interview is an hour long, but if you're into cool people doing cool things, steampunk, Manga, Miyazaki, the writing process, vegetarians changing the world, and how smart people plan for zombie apocalypses, check it out!



Peace, love and steampunk,
Miss Rex

No Teabaggin'

This here's my Silversteinian request that tea bags be put in their proper place in the apartment. Yes, I have found them in all of the places named in the poem. Except the trash. In all fairness, they might appear there on occasion; I would not know, for I do not root through our trash. That's Garby's job. Garby is the imaginary dog Mnomanoms and I plan to adopt to be our garbage disposal, since at present there is no standard operating procedure for compostable materials....

You know, someone told me today that 80% of what people say is miscellaneous rambling. I would have to agree with this stat.



Peace, love, and Leviathan (more on that laters!),
Miss Rex

Bird!

I woke up from a crazy dream this morning. First I was on a long bus ride from an Italian airport, trying to get to Assisi. My family and roommate were there. Suddenly it was time for us to get off, but I wasn't ready and my shoes were off. I tried to put on my Chucks and found a teabag in one of them. Surely this reflects the number of random teabags sitting out to dry in my apartment (although this situation has improved since I posted a poem called "No Teabaggin'" over our trash can... will post photos later).

Then I was in a posh hotel room with two king-size beds and a whole wall of windows. The decor was mod, mostly reds, blacks and whites. My mom and grandma were there, trying to decide what to order from the hotel's in-house restaurant. I finally convinced them that we'd be better off taking a walk and seeing what was in the area. I checked Facebook to see if my Italian beau would be available for a visit, but he was in Canada.

Next thing I knew I was on the roof with my mom. In the distance I saw an enormous black bird (think Howl in Howl's Moving Castle, except bigger, and not a big softie at heart). The sight of him gave me chills.


Suddenly the bird attacked us, fast as a flying arrow. We battled her up and down the gables and precipices of a spooky old castle and finally warded her off long enough for my mom to say, "Well. You have some really f*d up friends."

The bird was coming back, but my alarm went off before the final showdown... alas.

I need to start blogging again. I told myself I'd keep up with Claymore reviews, but they never have any flavors when I go. Tis a sad state of affairs. But the happy state of affairs is that I will be a barista there come Friday! THEN I shall have flavors! *Insert maniacal laughter here*

The other reason I haven't been around (well, one of many) is that, when I'm not in class, at Skipping Stone, doing homework or working at the writing center, I'm putting all of my creative energy into my novel. Next semester I'll be a part-time student, and both of my classes will allow (in fact, they will require) that I work on my book ALL THE TIME. So I'll probably finish it by summer. And maybe have time for blogging in between.

Then, on to the headache that is publishing! I am blessed to be at Skipping Stone, where our director of publishing has agreed to look over my work and point me in the right direction, whether that be to an agent or editor or publishing house (she has connections with HarperCollins and Penguin... not to mention, Skipping Stone itself publishes YA fiction). I have high hopes, dear friends, that you will be able to hold a copy of Before the Empty Moon in your very hands in the semi-near future!

And now, before your boredom degrades into full-out unconsciousness, I bid thee adieu!

Peace, love and toilet paper,
Miss Rex

Anniversaries

Today, is an anniversary. First of all it's my parents' anniversary (and, crazy kooks that they are, they're taking me and JW out to dinner... this somehow seems backwards, but who am I, a hungry and broke college student, to complain?).

The popular thing to do these days seems to be divorce. When there's a hitch in the going, the hitched get going, or something like that. Contrariwise, my mom and dad have stayed together through thick and thin, and I admire that.

But their anniversary is not the only one I'm celebrating today. I'm also celebrating my own anniversary, the anniversary of my freedom from my last crap-tastic relationship. I guess it was kind of selfish of me to get dumped on my parents special day, huh? But alas that is how it happened.

I thank that breakup for reminding me how to love God school, for getting me into Adam Ezra Group, for making it permissible to sneak out of monasteries to make out with Italian boys in the middle of the night, and for scaring me into working seriously on my novel (I'm scared to end up like that).

I thank that breakup for acting as foil to the relationship I have now. Without knowing the worst, I would have no idea I'd stumbled upon the best (or been stumbled upon by the best, as the case may be). The most I could muster would be a half-appreciation. JW deserves better than that.

I thank that breakup for re-defining and re-outlining who I am. I'm not your average Christian, but I'm feeling close to God for a change, and I sure couldn't say that last October.

I think we celebrate a lot of frivolous things in our culture (half birthdays, national kids day, etc.), but this isn't one of them. You can celebrate an ending as much as you can a beginning. After all, as Semisonic said many a year ago in the song Closing Time, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

Peace, love and apple cider,
Miss Rex

Flashy flash flash

When I was 11, I got my first laptop. Yeah, I know: Spoiled. But I WAS in the middle of writing a novel; I suppose my parents justified it as their contribution to my child prodigism.

Not long after that, I got my first flash drive. This was back when flash drives were first invented and held, like, 256 megabytes of info (read: not a lot). It was always a hassle plugging it into the USB ports in school computers because the ports were set back farther than my drive would plug in.

But you know what? I'm still carrying that thing around, something like eight years later. I've had other flash drives along the way, but they always seem to disappear. Maybe I've kept track of this one because it's so big and ugly and useless.

Suffice to say, it is time to buy a new flash drive. One that holds more data. One that looks... cool.

For the days I'm feeling classy:


For the days I'm feeling kawaii:


For the days I'm feeling vintage:



For the days I'm feeling witty:


For the days I'm feeling rude:



For the days I'm feeling geeky:



For the days I'm feeling badass:



In my endless quest for epic, it seems pretty clear to me that I should go for the one that can simultaneously house my fantasy novel AND light things on fire.

Not to mention, I won't be able to afford a SWAROVSKI flash drive until AFTER said novel makes me sickeningly rich and famous. (Dreaming big is good, right?)

Peace, love and gigabytes,
Miss Rex

Another end-of-the-world story

The end of the world didn’t come the way everyone expected it to, and Ravenna was the only one to realize what was happening. She sat in the cupola of her hilltop house and watched as the stars lined up behind the moon, single file like a gaggle of goslings behind their mother, and as the ocean drew back and back and back as if the Atlantic was baring its teeth before sic’ing. It was only a matter of time, she thought, before everything would end, and since there was nothing to be done about it, she simply sat and watched.

But dawn showed up anyway. The sun, rising in the south, must have missed the memo that the world was over and he could go on his way now; the Earth no longer needed him. Ravenna did the only thing she could think to do, what was the thing she always did: she got ready for work and rode her bike out to the atrium.

Her boss was nowhere to be found, nor were the animals she always tended. It seemed her charges must have known what was coming and fled, trampling the flora as they went.

Ravenna wandered the grounds and found nothing but yesterday’s traces of life. Nothing moved, nothing twittered, nothing scurried into the bushes.

That was when it dawned on her that she hadn’t seen a single car on the road that morning. Suddenly panicked, she leapt back onto her bicycle and rode until her legs couldn’t pedal anymore, through the business district, to the harbor, down the coast on the wrong side of the Jersey barrier. There wasn’t a moving car on the street.

She finally arrived at her old house. The family car was still there, but her family was gone.

A balmy breeze swept through the yard, though New England was waist-deep in November. Ravenna could only shiver in response. The world had ended, all right, and she’d been left behind.

-----------------------------

I wrote this a few weeks ago as an exercise for my class and forgot to post it. Thoughts? Comments? A simple Like or Unlike?

Peace, love and California dreamin',
Miss Rex

Excavations of Claymore: Cooney Cooney

Rich. Dark. Handsome. What's not to love?



This is a coffee-lover's coffee. There's no sweet, spicy, or minty masking of what's in the mug; it tastes like what it is. It's good, honest coffee. Flannery O'Connor was the first to say that a good coffee is hard to find, but tonight we can call off the search: It's been found.

Cooney Cooney's bitterness may bite, but luckily he's a smooth talker. The drink's creamy overtone softens the taste without sugarcoating it, just like a good writer's workshop. It all evens out to a rich, earthy experience. Dark, yes, but even the land of Oz had its dark places, and you can be sure that was magical.

Take it from a girl who likes her milk and sugar with a smidge of coffee: This drink is bomb.

Peace, love and procrastination,
Miss Rex

-----------------------------
As you can see, Excavations of Claymore have returned! Thanks, Michael, for demonstrating that the baristas do indeed have their shit together. At least some of them...

It's time to cast your vote for the next drink of the week. There are only a few left! After that we will venture together into the great unknown! I.e. I will let you all list random flavors, throw them together in a drink and see what happens.

Almond Joy
Cocoa-nut Island
English Challenge
Prickly Cactus
Thrilla in Vanilla

Highlights

If you've been wondering "Where's Miss Rex?" the answer actually ISN'T school this time. I mean, I've BEEN at school, but I haven't been without free time. I'm only taking twelve credits this semester. Granted, I'm balancing an internship, my job at the writing center, a fiction writing class, the communication theory class from hell, and a relationship, but I am not without free time.

I am just choosing to spend it away from the dear old blog.

All of my creative energy right now is funneling into one place: My novel. I am determined to finish a FULL draft by graduation in May, or maybe even by Christmas now that I've had this conversation with my supervisor at Skipping Stone Media:

Eramer: You should definitely see [movie I shamefully hadn't seen]. It's directed by [director whose name I didn't know].
Me: *Blank stare*
Eramer: It's got [actor whose name I'd heard but whose face I would never recognize].
Me: All right, I don't know my directors or actors at all. Sorry. I've always been a book person.
Eramer: Hah. I'm a movie guy. I don't read books.
Me: (Thinking: but you run a publishing company...) Out loud: Well you should. Would you read a book if I wrote it?
Eramer: Sure. Of course I would. But I would rather publish it.

So you see? I've got myself a deal now. It's practically in writing and everything. Now all I need is the manuscript.

Actually, I have many a tale from the internship, so I guess that's what this post is going to be about now.

My first day, I spent the morning brainstorming ideas for the website. Alone. I am the only intern on site from 9-1 on Tuesdays. Then Eramer comes in and drops a stack of green paper about two inches thick on my desk. "I know you really want to read this, so... just go ahead. Have fun."

It's the script for the new Narnia movie. I practically pee my pants with excitement. I'm told I will be guillotined if I leave a page lying around anywhere but the office. There's a fake title page, just to throw people off in case I don't heed the guillotine threat and leave the thing lying around on some table in a food court somewhere.

I'm pretty sure that would be about the same as leaving the Hope Diamond on a food court table somewhere.

On to the next story. What, you think I'm going to tell you about the script? I value my neck, thanks. So on to the next story.

I showed up the next Tuesday about twenty minutes before Eramer or anyone else. When he got there, he let us in and started unpacking at his desk while I got the TVs in the lobby going. Then Eramer started laughing. "Hey, can I share a moment with you?" he said, poking his head out of his "office." "Look at what my daughter did." He showed me his briefcase. It was full of his little daughter's Mickey Mouse and Cookie Monster toys.

Someday I will have a kid that cute.

Nothing especially funny happened today, except that I got chastised for being the only intern not wearing purple. This is ironic because, as a general rule, I am more likely to wear purple than the average person. I may show up in my purple jeans on Thursday... that will show them.

Peace, love and GaGa,
Miss Rex

P.S. Claymore Drink of the Week coming soon! I'm waiting for the baristas to get their shit together. Right now Kenya's the only one who seems to know what's what, and I don't drink coffee at the hours he works.

Now I know what Mom went through

If you ever want to know what your mother went through when you were a teenager, try losing your roommate.

As crazy as she is, Taz is a creature of habit. She goes to bed early, gets up early. She hangs out with boys but won't let them touch her. She's random, but not reckless. JW, Jo Yo and I invited her to come see Adam Ezra Group with us tonight, but she declined on the grounds that her sleeping pattern had had a rough week and she wanted to get to bed early.

She made plans to watch an Adam Sandler movie with Abs, one of JW's apartment mates who she might be crushing on a little bit. Last I saw her she was vacuuming our living room in anticipation of his arrival, which was not at all extravagant for her - she goes all out for her boys. She will make a wonderful girlfriend when she finds the right dude.

Fast forward.

Went to the show. Paid three times more than we should've for parking because there was an event at the Agganis Arena next door. Lost tickets, found Rob (bassist), got new tickets for free. Got deafened and danced upon. Didn't stick around for drinks because the show went so long that last call was already over by the time we got out. Came home at 2:10AM to an empty room.

I was just going to go to sleep when it struck me how very odd it was that Taz was still out. It would have been less odd if she hadn't specifically said she wanted to go to bed early... but it still would have worried me. So I did what my mother always taught me I should do at at time like this.

I panicked.

Cue frantic phone calls, texts to JW asking if Abs was in the apartment (his light was off and JW was worried he'd wake up the roomie, so we never did find out), midnight wake-up call for Mnomanoms, and (half an hour later) a last-ditch effort sprint to the dining hall. I expected Lane to be closed at such an hour, but it was the last place Taz had told anyone she would be and the last place I could get into without a key to search for her.

It was open. This was the first time I've ever looked at our dining hall as a beacon of hope, and will most likely be the last. Sure enough I found Taz and Abs sitting on a couch downstairs, just talking. Taz was quick to point out that my fly was down. I was quick to point out that I'd been halfway into my PJs before the notion struck me that she was probably floating face down in Coy Pond and I had better go find her.

So, Mom, this post is for you. For the random times I didn't make it home when I said I would, or somehow failed to communicate what time I would actually be home, and for all the times I was over friends' houses with no cell phone reception (which was usually, because everyone I know lives in dead zones)... I'm sorry.

Peace, love, and undead roomies,
Miss Rex

Cheap thrills

I've always loved carnivals, especially at night. I love the atmosphere, with its chatter and sparkle; I love the smell, between the fried dough, fried potatoes, and fried sugar (also known as cotton candy); I love the competitive spirit drawn out by the games and the wide array of people you find there and the romance of it all. I know it's not all magic and innocence, but if you pay no attention to the carnies behind the curtain, you can imagine it is...

Best of all I've always loved the rides, from the little dragon roller coaster, spinning swings, and Crazy Bus I rode as a kid to the flying pirate ship and the circling hang glider I grew to love as a teen. Really the only one I DIDN'T love was the Ferris wheel, and that was only because I never had a boy to kiss at the top.

But there were a few things I'd never tried. I remember passing on rides like the Zipper and the Kamikaze because none of my friends wanted to try them or blaming it on the long lines. I think I was secretly just a wimp.


JW and I spent most of last weekend at the fair in his hometown and I decided there was no time like the present to give those crazy rides a spin (pun intended). After all, soon I'll be grown up and then I will be boring and get motion sickness from carnival rides and have to miss out on all the fun.

We warmed up with the hang gliders. It was worth how dizzy we felt afterward for those few minutes of soaring. There is nothing I would love more than the ability to fly.

Once the spins went away, we tried the Zero Gravity ride, which is the one that spins around so fast that centripetal force pins you to the wall. You'd think we would have passed on this one after getting dizzy from the glider, but our sense of logic isn't as strong as our adventurelust.

And so I found myself standing in a little cubicle the width of my shoulders with a little cloth harness buckled loosely in front of me, as if I would need that once the centripetal force kicked in.

It was the strangest predicament, being unable to move my head at all. When the ride stopped, I didn't feel all that dizzy... just like my brain was all squished toward the back of my skull.

After that we tried the Orbiter. It has six arms protruding from a center point (imagine a Daddy long legs). At the end of each leg is a group of seats arranged in an X. When the ride starts, the X spins around the end of the leg and the legs spin around the center point. It felt so odd that I couldn't help laughing throughout the ride, but I wanted to curl up in a corner somewhere when it was over. That one made me dizzy.


After that, we called it quits on the rides for the night (though not, of course, without the obligatory top-of-the-Ferris-wheel kiss ^_^).

But we came back the next day. With a vengeance. There was one ride we had yet to tackle: The Air Force 1 (also known as the Fireball, Afterburner, or Freak Out).


Like the Orbiter, the Air Force 1 has a spinning segment at the end of a long leg, but in this case there's only one leg and it swings back and forth like a pendulum. At the climax, you're nearly upside down.

This was by far the best ride we tried all weekend. Neither of us felt sick or dizzy afterward - just exhilarated. Now I feel brave enough to tackle the scariest rides of all... even the Zipper or the Kamikaze.

What's your favorite carnival ride? Which one are you afraid to try?

Peace, love and cheap thrills,
Miss Rex

Chapstick, Chapped Lips, and Things Like Chemistry

On my way back from chapel this morning, I caught JW on his way to class and said hi. Like any good girlfriend I gave him a hug and a kiss and said I'd see him later.

Not two minutes went by and I got a text saying, "Put on chapstick. I just took half a stick from you :)"

I smiled; JW always notices and pokes fun at me when I'm wearing Chapstick. Secretly, I sometimes use the mentholated kind on purpose because he's so cute when he can't figure out why his lips are tingling. But it made me wonder - what is it with me and Chapstick? I've had this crazy obsession with it for as long as I can remember. I keep three sticks of it in my purse at all times.

And I'm not even as bad as I used to be. I used to refuse to go to sleep without putting some on because (in the words of the monstrously over-quoted Napoleon Dynamite) "my lips hurt real bad."

Which has led to some interesting developments. Ravin and TPO will remember the first time Ex slept at my house, which was before we were together - in fact, it was the first time we'd even really hung out. The four of us were going to stay up all night but Ex and I got tired and decided to go to sleep. My lips were dry, so I put on lip balm, and BAM! Make-out sesh.

I really did want to sleep that night, too.

I think that was when I learned that you shouldn't put nice-tasting things on your lips if you don't want someone else trying to taste it, no matter how bad your lips hurt. Dammit, Ex. This is why we can't have nice things.

Even before that, at the beginning of college, I did a twelve-day orientation/survival stint in the woods sans soap, shampoo, and deodorant. I brought mentholated lip balm and all week long I just kept saying that it was the only luxury I had in the world. I would put it on and smack my lips and go "mmmm...."

I've thought about it all day, and I've come to the conclusion that Relient K is to blame for everything. Their 2003 album "Two Lefts Don't Make a Right (but Three Do)" was the first album I remember falling in love with. And track number one was all about - you guessed it - Chapstick.

They're also to blame for my subsequent obsessions with mood rings (track two), the 80's (track five), speaking in gibberish (track 13), Canadians (their lead singer hails from the great white north), and boys in plaid (said lead singer also wears plaid 95% of the time).

It's good to know that the things you love as a teen will affect you for the rest of your life.

Peace, love, and good-night sleep-tight don't-let-the-bedbugs-bite,
Miss Rex

Threehundredthpostapalooza!

Today my blog turns Old. It's the big three-oh-oh for A Silvertongued Serenade. If the Internet could eat a cake, Silvertongue's would probably look like this:



But the Internet can't eat cake, so instead I made my very first video blog ever! Come take a virtual tour of my apartment, a.k.a. The Fishbowl II (fondly named after the Fishbowl we lived in last year).



Fan-freaking-tabulous it is not, but it is very orange and blue, which surely counts for something.

Peace, love and vinyl,
Miss Rex

"You're waiting for a train...."

Last night JW and I were talking about my book, which led to the topic of dreams, which led to the topic of lucid dreaming. I've done it a little bit but I've never used any of the techniques they say can make it work other than doing reality checks. We both decided to try it.

I was trying a technique called Nap Induced Lucid Dreaming. You wake up after 6 hours of sleep, stay up for about an hour, and then go back to sleep. I also did a dozen reality checks when I went to sleep and again when I woke up, and a third time right before the nap. But then I couldn't fall back asleep.

I was about to give up, especially because some asshole outside of my window kept yelling shit. I thought that I swore, got up and was leaning on the bedpost, looking out the window to see who it was while complaining to Taz about him being a jerk. But this was in fact a dream.

Then I was lying in bed again without any transition between the two, but it didn't strike me as strange that I had gotten back into bed without moving and I still thought I was awake.

The asshole yelled outside again and I decided to get my really noisy fan and station it next to my head to drown him out, but I couldn't move at all. It was a familiar feeling: I'm lying there with no power to move, and this icky tingling spreads all through my body, and I hate it. It used to happen all the time and I thought demons were besetting me.

Now I know it's just sleep paralysis and there's nothing to fear (although considering I was already dreaming, who knows if this was real paralysis or dreamed paralysis?).

So I talked myself through it. I said, you're finally falling asleep, and you already know it - you're not even dreaming yet. It's just sleep paralysis. You're all right. It's just paralysis. Be calm.

And I was. The tingling was the most unpleasant on my neck so I tried to move my chin and ended up wiggling my tongue, breaking the paralysis.

There was nothing in my dream when I got there. I remembered picking a dream destination but couldn't recall what it had been. The moon? I read about someone going there, but it wasn't where I was going. Then I remembered: rough stone walls. I thought about it last night and drooled at the prospect of going back to Italy in full lucid-dream detail.

At once I was hovering over the castle-capped hill that is Assisi. I had done it! I believed myself to be in a very light, very fragile sleep and decided the world around me needed more detail to suck me deeper in, away from the yelling asshole.

As I drifted over the hill, I could hear myself narrating. It was nighttime and there was a car parked at the top of the hill near the castle. I knew who was in it. It was me and the guy I had a fling with while I was there in real life.

There was daylight on the other side of the hill. The narrating faded away now that I had truly placed myself in the setting. But everything was sideways, and this was when I became aware that I was floating rather than watching a movie in IMAX. For some reason I'd fallen into the dream sideways.

I righted myself and surveyed the scene. It was not as green as I wanted. In fact, it was kind of industrial and dreary. Lots of dingy brown. In the distance was a stack of red numbers that said 10:26 sideways (with the 1 on bottom). It occurred to me that it might be my alarm clock and again I felt the fragile nature of the dream. I remembered reading about spinning to keep yourself engaged in a dream, so I did a barrel roll. It worked... for a second.

Then the asshole outside yelled again, and it all melted away. I realized that the numbers HAD been my alarm clock - it was now 10:27 - and the dreary colors were the side of my desk and the radiator; I'd had my eyes open the whole time. The reason the dream looked sideways at first was because it WAS sideways; I was lying down.

I wanted to go back to Italy, but I was wide awake. So I cursed the yeller for real this time and got up, and here I am. If I find out who that was, I'm going completely menstrual on him.

Peace, love, and track meets on the quad even though we HAVE a track that is far, far away from my window,
Miss Rex

Might as well jump

I confess I don't usually pay attention when other people post playlists in their blogs. Whether it's because I'm at work with no headphones or my music wish list has grown unmanageably long or I've never heard of any of the artists, I just don't.

But I'm posting one anyway. Why, you ask?

I'm not posting this to make you listen to or download these songs (although all come highly recommended). I'm posting it because it's funny. Lady GaGa next to UnderOath next to Van Halen. That's funny. Gosh darn I love my musical ADD.



However, if you're battening down the hatches in wait for Hurricane Earl and need some tunes to keep you company, might I point you toward "Oh, It Is Love" by Hellogoodbye and "Lisztomania" by Phoenix. Might I also point out that it does not matter where you park, because even if a falling tree doesn't hit your car, a cow probably will (words of wisdom from Poppa Rex).

Peace, love, and like a rhino,
Miss Rex

Reasons to love Facebook

1. Advertisements.

I try to ignore advertisements on most websites, but every so often I stumble across a Facebook ad that is pure gold.


I'm not sure what I posted that made them think I needed help being a parent, but I can assure you that baby Rex will not be coming along for a while yet.


I understand WHY I got this ad. I just don't understand who thought they could attract writers with that kind of grammar and unprofessional formatting.

2. Translation.
Ever since I got back from Italy, my Facebook has been in Italian. For a while it was because I wanted to learn the language. Now it's just because I'm too lazy to switch it back. Plus, I enjoy seeing other people's confusion when I check my Facebook on their computers and leave the log-in page in another language.


Translation fail.

3. Glitches.


Virtual anarchy: If the system messes with us, we'll mess with the system!

4. Every so often, someone amazing posts something life-changing, like this picture Ravin took of a real-life Caterpie:



Compare to:


POKÉMON DO EXIST!!!

Peace, love, and sleeping until lunchtime,
Miss Rex
 
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