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.

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?
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
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