13-year-old Patricia Wrote the Best Story You Have Ever Read

So while giving James Fox a dramatic reading of my 7th grade journal, because that’s just the kind of thing we do, I made a shocking archaeological discovery!! Namely that when high school me started to transcribe my journals she left whole sections out, I assume because she thought they were too embarrassing. Revisionist Journal Transcribing! Shame on you, 16-year-old Me! Shame!!

This is especially upsetting because she decided to leave out literally the best part of the entire corpus of Things I Have Ever Written. I read it aloud to James and we both almost choked to death on our laughter and/or admiration for Middle School Patricia’s genius. This story has everything: love, betrayal, ridiculous unpronounceable names, fake olde-timey language, a commercial break. Oh my god the commercial break. James agreed to illustrate it for me to fully bring MSP’s vision to life. Prepare to be spellbound by MSP’s brilliance. Also her spelling, all of which I left intact.

Aulderon: Penons in the dust

Peenon_01

“Twas some time ago,” the elderly hero said, “but it seemth to me that in my youth I was the finest knight on life. I strove to saveth that fair country which once was from sheer turmoil. It hath been many a long year since that time of fair Aulderon. The castles hath all turneth to rumble heaps and the peonons of mine fallen comrades doth lie buried in the dust of antiquity. Why shouldst I repeat those far off memories, that couldth easily hath been but a dream in my withered mind?”

“Please,” begged the small boy, “I want to hear a story, Grandfather. Tell me of Aulderon and its castles, knights, and kings. Tell of your adventures and conquests. Please.”

The old hero sighed. He was not prone to resurrecting the long forgotten civilizations of old. Nor did he enjoy recounting his own history, which had been a tragedy in itself. It was quite a story, though, and the stories of Aulderon would only live so long as they were told.

“Many, many years ago,” he began, “I was deemethed Sir Calebert, Viscount of Trinity and Lord of the South of Aulderon. For indeed, Trinity wasth the largest land in Southern Aulderon. It seemth that I recall five of us. Myself, Lord of the South, Marquis D’Ewartila of Brentell, Gentle Overseer of the East, another Knight, Sir Wartagell of Twarten, Brave Earl of the Frozen North, and yet another knight, Sir Bantaren of Rougen, Tyrannical Baron of the West. It also seemth that I recall a one High King who ruleth us all and all of Aulderon. There wereth many kings. Some wise and just, some it seemth to me a trifle dense. The house of Trinity hath always been beside the king and so I was.

It seemth I was great friends with one of the last Aulderon kings, a fine young man who hadth cometh out of some university in the capital city of Aulderon, Bowinton. He cameth to the throne of Aulderon at the End of the Peace of Aulderon time period. He hadth a promising start no doubt. He seemedth quite capable and always friendly to us Lords. He fell in love a short while later, it seemth, with a young lady at court from her home in Brentall to the East. She was the Countess Derlesia. They weret soon married. She seemth a good enough Queen, a little, or perhaps more than a little, dense, but she servethed her purpose at functions and it seemeth she really didst loveth his majesty. In time she blessed him with a daughter.

She was a beautiful Princess that looked like a sunrise with golden blonde hair made, it seemth, of the finest gold and with eyes as crystal blue as the sky on a cloudless day. She grew with grace and beauty and was keener than both her parents put together at a young age. She spent many a summer in Trinity and I did love her with all my heart.

Peenon_02

“That doesn’t make sense, Grandfather,” the boy interrupted. “How could you love her if she was so much younger than you?”

The old man sighed again. “Tis a sad tale you wish to hear, me lad,” he said.

In short, when I was a youth, just recently acquired my knighthood, I went exploring in the forests of the North and happened apoun an old Hag stuck in a tree. I was quiet full of myself, and thinking myself the greatest knight, I rescued her.

Peenon_03

“A reward ye be gettin’ for this,” the hag said. “I shall grant ye one wish. But take heed. If thou shouldst proclaim thy wish with ill intent or self gain, it shall not be as thou shouldst expect it.”

I did not heed the Old Hag’s warning, however. I said, “For the deed and service I hath given to thee, I ask in return that none mine enemies shouldst ever strike me down.”

“So be it,” the Hag replied. Then she vanished. So it was. I have never been killed and never will die for my wish was made with a puffed opinion of my own self worth.

Peenon_04

It was in the time of the king’s daughter, Arleanna, that I had maintained my youthful appearance for so long. I loved Arleanna and would have given up my lands and titles for her. It appeared that she wouldth have the throne after her father for his wife never had a son or other children.

Unbeknowst to myself or anyone else at the time, however, Queen Derlesia was not as suitable as she seemed. She had for years, in fact, been in love with Sir Bantaren, Lord of the West. She knew that she was trapped in her marriage with his majesty, however, and the sly Baron of the West knew of her love and used it to his advantage. She wouldth performth anything for him and so it was that when he asked for fair Princess Arleanna’s hand in marriage she would not refuse. Queen Derlesia pleaded the case to his majesty who granted it without thought. So it was the engagement between Princess Arleanna, heir of Aulderon, and Sir Bantaren, Baron of the West, was made.

Peenon_05

Princess Arelanna was not at all happy about this and managed to escape from the palace and ran to Trinity, entreating me to help her. I knew it was treason. I knew, if caught, my lands and titles would be taken away. But my heart could not refuse Arleanna, for indeed her predicament was perplexing. For a time I hid in my castle, but someone with such unearthly beauty as Arleanna’s is not easily forgotten.

One day a traveler from the East came to my door begging a place to stay for the night. I did not refuse him. He claimed he was going home from a visit to the West. When I inquired upon his occupation he replied that he was a mapmaker and was trying to more accurately map the lands surrounding Aulderon. I gave him a room for the night. Little did I know that the traveler was not a mapmaker, but a spy sent from Sir Bartaren. He had grown furious at the disappearance of Arleanna, and knew where she was likely to be found.

“Now wait a minute,” the boy interrupted again. “If this Baron of the West was so mean, how is it that the king let his daughter become engaged to such a man?”

“Ah, the king,” the old knight sighed. “He had been a good strong King, but as the years progressed he grew feeble and the real ruler of Aulderon was Queen Derlesia.”

The spy of Bartaren crept about the palace that night. He came apoun a small library where Arleanna had a habit of staying up reading. Having seen her he knew the situation and quickly rode off in the middle of the night. We had not known who he was and having not been aware of his discovery, we did not worry.

*******************************************************************************************************

We’ll return to Aulderon: Penons in the Dust right after this.

Hey Tricia! I like the things you do! Hey Tricia! If I could I would be you. You’re the one and only Tricia, the one and only Trish, You know how to make a breakfast, they’re great! Frosted Tricias, they’re more than good, they’re great!

Now back to Aulderon: Penons in the Dust

*******************************************************************************************************

When Bantaren’s spy returned to him, he rallied his troops preparing to march on Trinity. I got wind of this and organized my knights. Queen Derlesia was informed of the situation and demanded that I return Princess Arleanna. When I refused, she added her forces of Bowinton to Bantaren’s. She commanded Marquis D’Ewartila and Sir Wartagell to add their military forces to crush me, but Sir Wartagell refused. He had also been a close friend of Arleanna and I, and he was on our side. Marquis D’Ewartila was quite undecided. As I said, he was the Gentle Overseer of the East and sympathized with me, but war and strife were not to his liking. He refused to lend his small militia to Queen Derlesia’s cause, but didst not lend them to me either. He did however, not delay Wartegell’s knights as they traveled to join my army.

We met Bantaren’s army on a plain lying between South and West. Little did I know as the gory battle waged, a spy disguised as one of Wartegell’s knights rode through our ranks and on to Trinity. The gate was opened for him, of course, and being admitted, he kidnapped Princess Arleanna, and under the cover of night he brought her to Bantaren at his camp.

Now Bantaren had his long sought bride, but before marrying her he decided he must thwart me, his archenemy. So it was we awoke to find his army had retreated to Rougen with the Princess. A lone messanger was left. He fearfully informed us of what had happened and offered me Arleanna’s favorite necklace as proof that she was really his. I formed up my men and marched them on Rougen.

Being older than dirt can be helpful, for I knew of a secret passage leading to the cellar of Bantaren’s castle. While the battle waged, I found it and traveled to the cellar. Surprisingly, in the room adjacent to the one I emerged in, I heard talking and one of the voices sounded like my beloved. I peered through a crack in the door.

Arleanna was in there alright, as well as Bantaren. Arleanna was chained to a wall. Bantaren was pacing, talking to her in a distracted sort of way while she wearily struggled to get free. “Your beloved Sir Calebert should arrive soon,” he was saying. “Then we shall see. I have long wondered who had more knightly skill. Calebert has had more experience, but I believe I have more given talent.”

“So I’m to be a prize in a sword contest then?” Arleanna cried angrily.

“No, of course not,” Bantaren assured her. “You will not really be a prize. You are already mine. I will simply by protecting you from the madman.”

“You are the one who is mad,” she argued. “You’ve kidnapped me, and I suppose you’re going to force me to marry you?”

“No, not really,” he replied. “You don’t have to marry me if you don’t want to. You’re mine all the same, however.”

She shrieked. “Your even more despicable then I thought,” she cried.

“I never pretended to be otherwise,” he said. “Your beloved is late,” he mused. “I was almost positive he’d have been here by now.”

“Why do you keep saying ‘Your Beloved’?” she asked.

“Grandfather!” the boy interrupted again, “you said you and Arleanna loved each other.”

“I did not,” he argued. “I said that I loved her. She never expressed such love for me. It had been my hope that some day we should marry and she would grow to love me in time, however.

Peenon_06

Anyway, Bantaren then said, “You are ignorant, Princess. Haven’t you noticed? Sir Calebert, a distinguished bachelor, would hardly go to so much trouble if he did not have some inner feelings for you.”

“We are the best of friends,” she replied indignantly. “That is all I will ever ask of him, and that is all he can honorably ask from me. You wouldn’t understand, of course.”

“Oh, of course,” he agreed, “but all the same, it is my belief that the Dear Duke of Trinity has some emotions locked away somewhere for you, my fluffy-brained Princess.”

“Why did you want my hand in marriage then?” she asked.

“I don’t love you,” Bantraen said. “Don’t flatter yourself, dear. Your beauty is beyond compare, but some people want more than a pretty face. What I do want is power. You are the Key to Aulderon. Whoever you marry becomes King, or hadn’t you realized that? I want Aulderon. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Even killing your beloved.”

Peenon_07

“That’s a stupid plan,” Arleanna said. “Even if you did kill Calebert, you’d still have to deal with Wartegell and D’Ewartila.”

“Yes,” he agreed, “but Sir Calebert, the Immortal Champion, who has triumphed over death itself, or so the legend goes, is fabled to be invincible. When I kill him, the others will surely be afraid.”

“What makes you so sure you’ll triumph?”

“I have his weakness right here.” He laid a hand on her neck and kissed her. I came slamming through the door at that point. “You see, Princess?” Bantaren said amusedly. “Thou art his weakness. Thou art his failure.”

Peenon_08 (1)

“Is this true?” Arleanna asked me, her eyes pleading for the answer to be no.

I sighed. “I wouldst not lie to thee, Princess,” I said.

She sighed. “It is so then,” she said. “I am the cause of war and battle. It is me.”

But I didn’t hear her. Bantaren and I had already rushed at each other, swords aloft. Little did I know, Arleanna had stolen the key from Bantaren, when he had kissed her and even whilst we tried to tear each other to pieces she was freeing herself. When she was free she reached into her cloak and pulled out a dagger. “Lo, good sirs,” she called, “the cause for your strife has ended.” She plunged the dagger into her heart and fell tragically to the floor.

Peenon_09

“NO!” Bantaren and I cried, rushing to her side, he for politics, and I for reasons of the heart. Yet she was dead. Newly enraged by this sad turn of events, Bantaren and I leapt at each other. We fought for a while but finally I struck him a fatal blow. He fell dead to the floor, and I was left alone in the cellar to weep.

*~*~*The End*~*~*

Peenon_10

Special thanks to James for all his great drawing work!!! And Middle School Patricia for being so incredibly ridic that it still brings me joy 16 years later.

Previously: More journals; More James Fox

Top 10 books with less than 200 reviews on GoodReads

I saw this idea on someone else’s blog, a fellow member of my penpal club. It got me curious about my own books, so I headed over to GoodReads and sorted my books based on total number of ratings.

I was surprised by how hard it was to narrow it down to just ten! It turns out I’ve rated a lot of books well that are not so popular. I discounted all the picture books, since picture books are not really in GoodReads’ target audience. Some of these are relatively recent, so perhaps they will acquire more attention as time goes on. Here’s what I finally narrowed it down to:

This Day in the Life: Diaries from Women Across America ed. Joni B. Cole, Rebecca Joffrey, and B.K. Rakhra

top1011

Year Published: 2005
# of ratings: 190
Avg rating: 3.57
My rating: 5

This book is a collection of journal entries different women in the US kept on the same day. Most of them are very ordinary, but offer a really interesting look into the lives and perspectives of different people. As an avid journal-keeper, I am all about it.

Augie and the Green Knight by Zach Weiner with illustrations by Boulet

top1010

Year Published: 2014
# of ratings: 176
Avg rating: 4.16
My rating: 5

This book is hilarious and also really well-written and illustrated. It’s a retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from the perspective of the Green Knight and his sidekick, Augie. (Augie would say the Green Knight is her sidekick). I wish it had been around when I was a kid.

Why’d They Wear That?: Fashion as the Mirror of History by Sarah Albee

top109

Year Published: 2015
# of ratings: 169
Avg rating: 4.12
My rating: 4

A history through fashion covers two of my interests in one, and does so with great pictures.

Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, and Other Small Structures by Derek Diedricksen

top108

Year published: 2015
# of ratings: 146
Avg rating: 4.00
My rating: 5

This book was SUPER interesting, with lots of great pictures about how these tiny houses are constructed and manage to fit everything in.

No Place for a Lady: Tales of Adventurous Women Travelers by Barbara Hodgson

top107

Year Published: 2002
# of ratings: 111
Avg rating: 3.71
My rating: 5

I think about this book a lot. It tells the stories of a few brave women who decided to travel the world at a time when it wasn’t socially acceptable or safe for women to do so. Their observations are so interesting, and their ways of dealing with their detractors are informative even for modern life.

Teen Angst: A Celebration of Really Bad Poetry ed. Sara Bynoe

top106

Year Published: 2005
# of ratings: 59
Avg rating: 3.46
My rating: 4

Pretty much what it says on the cover, and you KNOW I am here for that.

African Princess: The Amazing Lives of Africa’s Royal Women by Joyce Hansen

top105

Year Published: 2004
# of ratings: 25
Avg rating: 4.08
My rating: 5

This book introduced me to some really cool historical figures I’d never heard of before! I wish I had been exposed to more African history beyond Ancient Egypt earlier in life.

The Barbarian Princess by Laura Buchanan (aka Florence King)

top104

Year published: 1978
# of ratings: 21
Avg rating: 3.95
My rating: 5

This book is what you get when a historian is forced to write a trashy romance novel to fund her alcoholism. Because that is exactly what it is. Set in the final days of the Roman Empire, the heroine meets a bunch of historical figures and also is like a reincarnated druid princess or something (you can pinpoint the exact chapter in the writing process where the author decided, fuck it, writing drunk is good enough). Despite all of its ridic flaws, it’s probably the most researched trashy romance novel I’ve ever read. And you know my credentials on that.

Foods That Make You Say MMM-MMM by Bob Garner

top103

Year Published: 2014
# of ratings: 18
Avg rating: 4.06
My rating: 4.00

Bob Garner reviews restaurants for our local PBS show, North Carolina Weekend, but he also knows a lot about the state’s food history. I learned a lot from this book, and there were some good recipes. More about it here.

The Knit Parade: 12 Statement Sweater Patterns, 12 Motifs to Meddle with by Wheres Me Jumper

top102

Year Published: 2013
# of ratings: 5
Avg rating: 3.60
My rating: 4

This is the book I read that taught me how to do this:

Look at this beast

Look at this beast

I didn’t include this as part of the ten, but felt like I should add as a post script:

The Knight, the Wizard, and the Lady Pig by Patricia R. Ladd

top101

Year Published: 2004
# of ratings: 4
Avg rating: 4.75
My rating: 5

Gotta give your own book 5 stars on GoodReads, guys.

2016 Goals: Halfway

The year is half over! So time to check in with my yearly goals.

1. Cook every recipe in Sally’s Baking Addiction: 67%

I have 24 more to go! My favorite that I made since last time is the peach pie! Something about adding vanilla to the filling made it nicer than my usual recipe.

Lattice could use some work

Lattice could use some work

2. Finish all my 2014 Goals: 79%

Killin it

2a) Read T-Z in Brewer’s: 43%

W has been taking me a while.

2b) Make 7 pies: 100%!

Besides the handsome looking peach up there, I’ve also made both a lemon meringue and a coconut cream pie recently! These pies marked a huge accomplishment for me, since I previously have sucked at custard-like-things.

2c) Make a new fancy drink every month: 50%

I tried to make another green smoothie, which went about as expected (disappointing), but the raspberry smoothie bowl recipe worked out pretty good! Then last month I tried to do blackberry lemonade, but it just ended up tasting like seltzer.

2d) Get everything then on my to-read list off it: 100%

I knocked this one out early.

2e) Update my blog 7 times: 100%

Ditto

3. Finish all my Craftsy classes: 60%

At this point, I have two left: Knitting Fast with Continental Knitting and Sewing Vintage.

4. Complete a temperature scarf: 48%

I’ve fallen a little behind on this one. I tend to leave it for a week or so, and then knit everything I’ve missed at once. Here’s what it looks like right now:

Orange an average temp in the 80s

Orange an average temp in the 80s

5. Read At Least One Book a Month someone else recommended to me: 50%

In April I read:

The Core of the Sun

The Core of the Sun

Recommended to me by a coworker at the library. It was an interesting dystopian novel about gender issues and pepper addiction.

In May:

The Thief

The Thief

Recommended by someone in my penpal club! It was a nice fantasy about a small band of various sketchy people trying to steal a mythic artifact.

In June:

My Little Pony comics humble bundle

My Little Pony comics humble bundle

Guess who recommended this. It was fun!

Total: 61%

And, because I made a promise to the Internet, here is Steven’s assessment of his own goals:

1. Cook one vegetarian meal a week

“Badly. I’ve given up. I love meat too much.”

2. Learn a new violin piece every month

“(sigh) I got like two months in and then forgot.”

3. Finish all Craftsy classes

“Pffffffffffff”

4. Make at least one case or bag out of leather

“Ummmmmm year’s not over yet. Still on track. I mean, I made a shower case thing. Whatdoyacallit. So yeah, I’m totally on track. Made my first small one. You’re not writing this verbatim are you?”

Previously: Jan-March

Terrifying Don Bluth Films: Ranked

Don Bluth left Disney to pursue his own dream: to scar children for life. But which Don Bluth film is the most terrifying? To decide, I chose to rank them entirely based on my unreliable memory from whenever they last terrified me as a child.

9. The Pebble and the Penguin (1995)

The bad guy in this movie was a weightlifting bro-penguin rapist named Drake.

Voiced by Tim Curry

Voiced by Tim Curry

But honestly the scariest part is how they try to distinguish between the penguin sexes by giving the girl penguins ludicrous human curves:

Why would penguins need boobs???

Why would penguins need boobs???

8. A Troll in Central Park (1994)

I mean, yes, this movie was scary-bad, so it automatically ranks higher, but the scariest part is honestly that these two infants are left to wander around New York City alone:

Do you HAVE parents??

Do you HAVE parents??

Honestly I’m thinking the trolls they meet in central park are a childish imagining to block out their real abductors and the trauma that ensues.

7. Thumbelina (1994)

I don’t remember a ton about Thumbelina (besides this annoying-ass song) but there were at least two terrifying parts. When Prince Cornelius is frozen in ice:

How does this even HAPPEN?

How does this even HAPPEN?

I remember it really bothered me that his finger was still sticking out. That shit is going to turn black and snap off, Cornelius. Of course, even scarier is when Thumbelina is roped into marrying Mr. Mole, who hates sunlight and probably smells like mildew:

And you do NOT want to see what's under that cumberbund

And you do NOT want to see what’s under that cumberbund

6. An American Tail (1986)

Besides the countless times someone almost gets stepped on or worse, you have this:

Which I think speaks for itself

Which I think speaks for itself

5. Anastasia (1997)

Granted, I was a little older when this one came out, which I think is the only reason this guy doesn’t rank higher on the list:

He's like a creepy demon zombie sorcerer

He’s like a creepy demon zombie sorcerer

4. Rock-a-Doodle (1992)

I don’t have as clear a memory of this one, besides that it included live-action footage of bad flooding, which hit pretty close to home.

Also this thing

Also this thing

3. The Land Before Time (1988)

Yeah, sure, kids love dinosaurs. They also love tons of violence and the worst on-screen parent death until Mufasa.

I'LL HAUNT YOUR NIGHTMARES UNTIL JURASSIC PARK MAKES ME ALL THE MORE REAL

I’LL HAUNT YOUR NIGHTMARES UNTIL JURASSIC PARK MAKES ME ALL THE MORE REAL

Kids love them some emotional trauma

Kids love them some emotional trauma

2. All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)

What the fuck is this movie

There is literally a dog hell

There is literally a dog hell

And even if the protagonists don’t end up there

THEY STILL END UP DEAD WTF WTF WTF

THEY STILL END UP DEAD WTF WTF WTF

1. The Secret of NIMH (1982)

It is impossible to find a screencap of this movie that ISN’T fucking terrifying.

Creepy

Creepy

Is that a good guy? What the hell?

Is that a good guy? What the hell?

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT

STOP

STOP

IT JUST GETS WORSE

IT JUST GETS WORSE

In conclusion, this movie still haunts my nightmares.

Previously: Disney Villains Ranked by Scariness

Hate Book Club: Interview with the Vampire

Sketch722285-1

Brian and I read this book for Hate Book Club and then kind of forgot about it. For all the hype I’ve heard about it over the years, it’s a surprisingly forgettable book. Read his review here!

And it has this shitty cover

And it has this shitty cover

As always, I’ll begin by thinking of 3 compliments for the book.

1. It was published in 1976, but didn’t feel particularly dated.
2. It failed to scare me even a little bit at all so I had no nightmares while reading. Which I guess means it failed at being horror, but I think we all know this book is gothic romance.
3. This amazing description of a vampire:

The smooth white substance of his face moved with the infinitely flexible but minimal lines of a cartoon.(4)

I therefore pictured this whole book as a live-action/animation hybrid a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

Here is a plot breakdown:

Lestat gets in a fight with his vampire boyfriend Louis and they end up turning a 5-year-old girl into a vampire despite the fact that we all know how Vampire Child Drama ends:

BADLY

BADLY

Louis and Child-Vamp Claudia kill Lestat and it’s weird. Then they go on a Vampire Journey of Self-Discovery through Europe, eventually ending up in Paris where they meet a group of older vampires led by Armand. Louis and Armand are in love, but SURPRISE Lestat isn’t dead and leads the other vampires to kill Claudia because she’s an abomination and also HOW COULD YOU LOVE YOUR CHILD BRIDE MORE THAN ME, LOUIS??? Louis escapes, The End.

The movie HAS to be better

The movie HAS to be better

Claudia was definitely the weirdest part of this book. Turned into a vampire as a five-year-old plague victim, she keeps the body of a child, but supposedly her mind matures into a woman in a child’s body. Louis is clearly in love with her, and everyone is creeped out by it forever. Especially me.

I was interested to see how popular this pairing was with fans, since a good portion of the book was Louis angsting on and on about how THEIR LOVE COULD NEVER BE BUT I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT HER. So I took a sample of around 80 Interview with the Vampire fanfics and recorded the pairing(s):

ffpairings

More than half of the works in fan literature feature the Louis/Lestat pairing, probably helped along by the fact that these Whiny McAssholes were played by Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the 1994 movie. Louis/Armand was the second most popular pairing, but it had only about a quarter of the fics Louis/Lestat had. Louis/Claudia was third most popular, featured in 11% of fics, some of which I noticed made disclaimers like “In my version Claudia is magically an adult.” Okay, if that helps you sleep at night. Lestat remains the most popular character for whatever reason (???people are big fans of fiery vengeance???) so the fourth most popular pairing was Lestat/Original Character (read: Author Insert). Three percent of fics featured Lestat/Claudia, and I found one fic each that featuered Lestat/Armand, Armand/Original Character, Lestat/Edward Cullen, and Lestat/Thomas Jefferson.

Let me repeat, the “TJ” in that graph stands for third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. I hope that fact made your day like it made mine.

In conclusion, this book was pretty atmospheric, kind of gory, and not at all scary. So to sum up in gif form:

blood

Don’t forget to read Brian’s review!
Previously: Hate Book Club: The Art of the Deal

New Bern!!

Steven and I went to New Bern for a weekend! It was the original capital of North Carolina back when it was a royal colony, so there was lots of historical things to do with people in period costume!

Tryon Palace!

Tryon Palace!

Fancy period gardens!

Fancy period gardens!

Tryon Palace's back lawn

Tryon Palace’s back lawn

And then there's this nerd

And then there’s this nerd

We stayed at a bed and breakfast that ratcheted the fancy up to 11! This was our room:

The King George III room!

The King George III room!

Here's King George III preparing to watch me sleep

Here’s King George III preparing to watch me sleep

Look at this fancy-ass bathroom

Look at this fancy-ass bathroom

SERIOUSLY LOOK

SERIOUSLY LOOK

Honestly it was hard not to spend the whole weekend in the bathtub. But I made other plans. Like a tour of town in a Model A Ford!

So rickety!

So rickety!

Of course there were costumes

Of course there were costumes

New Bern was an important port city back in the day because it lies at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse rivers that lead out to sea.

Selfies by the water!

Selfies by the water!

One of the best parts about bed and breakfasts are the elaborate breakfast, and this place did not disappoint! Every morning there was a fruit-crumble-like appetizer followed by a choice of 3 entrees. I was usually all about the pancakes:

PANCAKES

PANCAKES

The menu changed every day.

BUT NOPE MORE PANCAKES

BUT NOPE MORE PANCAKES

Steven's French toast was good too

Steven’s French toast was good too

New Bern is also the birthplace of Pepsi! I talked Steven into going in. It was WAY less fancy and ridiculous than The World of Coke we went to in Atlanta. Basically just a soda fountain.

Steven begrudgingly experiencing history

Steven begrudgingly experiencing history

But the best thing about New Bern are the bears!!!! They were decorated and put up all over town to celebrate the town’s 300th anniversary in 2010. I tried to get my picture with all the ones we passed, but there are way more:

"Bearer of Rights" bear lol

“Bearer of Rights” bear lol

Mitchell Bear (he works in a hardware store)

Mitchell Bear (he works in a hardware store)

"Flag Bearer" I hope you like bear puns because New Bern is all about that

“Flag Bearer” I hope you like bear puns because New Bern is all about that

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2016 Goals: Jan-March

Time for my quarterly update on mymy yearly goals! I’m pretty much rocking it.

1. Cook every recipe in the Sally’s Baking Addiction cookbook: 52%

I started this one strong, and I have only 35 more to go!

These gingersnaps were pretty great:

Mom's Ginger Snaps

Mom’s Ginger Snaps

But so were these blondies:

So yum

So yum

It’s hard to pick a favorite

2. Finish all my 2014 Goals: 56%

I already feel better about this.

2a.) Read all of T-Z of Brewer’s: 29%

I finished T, which was fairly long, and U, which was fairly short. W is the longest section left.

2b.) Make one pie a month 7 pies: 29%

I’ve made two pies this year! One was a traditional apple pie for Pi Day (with apples from the farmer’s market, so a little nicer than normal), the other was a carrot pie!

Carrot pie?!?

Carrot pie?!?

It was kind of a weird experience, but ended up tasting pretty good. Carrots have a natural sweetness to them, and if you think about it, it’s no weirder than sweet potato pie.

2c.) Make a new cocktail mocktail once a month: 25%

During the ice storm in January, I tried to recreate me favorite cold-weather cocktail, the hot toddy. The recipe used rooibos chai tea, apple juice, and lemon juice:

And ginger!

And ginger!

The key ingredient turned out to be cayenne pepper for a kick. It was no hot toddy, but it was okay.

Again, it helped that it was an ice storm

Again, it helped that it was an ice storm

Then in February I made a much more successful crock pot hot chocolate!

But March let me down again with a weird celery/cucumber/pineapple/lime smoothie. The recipe came from a magazine.

Still not as bad as the time Rob made me drink strawberry-pickle juice

Still not as bad as the time Rob made me drink strawberry-pickle juice

It wasn’t awful, but it was too weird to finish.

2d.) Get everything (then currently) on my To-Read List off it: 100%

Since I’d done some work on this in the intervening time, I only had two books left, and I read both in January!

How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran was funny and real, mixing stories from the author’s life with feminist analysis.

The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb seemed like a cool premise: family secrets, potentially haunted house etc, but was really sloppily written.

2e.) Update my blog once a week 7 times: 100%

My book wrap up posts really helped me knock this one out:

1. 2015 Goals wrap up
2. 2015 Books: The Good
3. 2015 Books: The Bad
4. 2015 Books: The Ugly
5. 2015 Books: The Pretty
6. 2016 Goals
7. Princess Celestia and the Summer of Royal Waves review

3. Finish all my Craftsy Classes: 40%

I finished Tunisian Crochet! I also finished 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know. Three more to go!

4. Complete a temperature scarf: 22%

I decided to average the high and low temp for the day to determine what color I should work with, using this chart I made:

The average hasn't been less than 20 degrees, so I haven't had to figure that out yet

The average hasn’t been less than 20 degrees, so I haven’t had to figure that out yet

Here’s what it looks like so far:

Data visualization!

Data visualization!

5. Read at least one book a month someone else recommended to me: 25%

In January I read:

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

It was recommended to me by someone in my penpal club. It’s kind of like urban fantasy but with Russian folklore, set during the Russian revolution. So like communist house elves, basically. It was pretty good. Narratively kind of weird, but pretty good.

In February:

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

This was recommended to me by a coworker. It’s historical fiction about a girl who rides one of the orphan trains from New York City to Minnesota. It switches perspectives between her growing up and the present day old-her cleaning out her attic with a troubled teen assistant. It was a quick read, but I liked it.

In March:

The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth

The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth

I assume this book was recommended to me by my friend Roque since he mailed it to me. The star of the book is definitely the pseudo-olde-englishe language Kingsnorth developed to better reflect the setting: England 1066. The protagonist, a Saxon whose entire village is destroyed by Norman invaders, is unlikeable, and the plot spends a lot of time meandering, although it seems well-researched (not that I’m a great judge). The language just makes it really hard to get through, at least for me. I felt like I was back in high school.

Total: 38%

Not bad for March!

Steven’s Goals

Steven doesn’t keep spreadsheets like me, so I had to verbally interview him about how his goals are going.

1. Cook one vegetarian meal every week

“Failed. Totally forgot about it.”

2. Learn a new violin piece every month

“2/3 right now. It’s too late for March.”

3. Finish all Craftsy classes

“Pretty much done no work on this. I made popcorn once.”

4. Make at least one case or bag out of leather.

“Actually just bought another Craftsy class to help me out with that.”

So, not that this is a competition, but clearly I am winning

Previously: 2016 Goals

Sailor Senshi Attacks: Ranked

Sailor Moon attacks are ridiculous. You just shout a bunch of random English words, and your enemies explode in a fit of hearts/sparkles/butterflies. I love it. But which Sailor attack is the best? Here’s your answer:

33. Star Gentle Uterus
gentleuterus

This is the worst Sailor Senshi attack and the inspiration for this list. It belongs to Sailor Star Maker, and I don’t care what it does, the word “uterus” (and also “gentle”) shouldn’t be in your attack name.

32. Twinkle Yell
twinkleyell

This is a Sailor Chibi-Moon move, where she rings a magical bell to summon Pegasus to give Sailor Moon the power to defeat the enemy. So it’s not even really an attack so much as a fancy, less-useful cellphone.

31. Pink Sugar Heart Attack
pinksugarheart

Sailor Chibi-Moon’s other “attack” just kind of annoys the enemy briefly.

30. Venus Love and Beauty Shock
loveandbeautyshock

This Sailor Venus move involves her blowing a kiss and then throwing hearts at the enemy. Pretty much a hyped up version of Pink Sugar Heart Attack.

29. Moon Tiara Stardust
moontiarastardust

This Sailor Moon move can heal a lot of zombies at once, so it’s not so much an attack. Also, it’s only ever used once.

28. Silver Moon Crystal Power Kiss
silvermoonpower

These things are not threatening, Sailor Moon. I’m sorry. A “power kiss” sounds like the weirdest work out move ever, and this attack involves so much more weird posing than the others, if that’s even possible. Also the sound effects for this one are the weirdest.

27. Jupiter Oak Evolution
oakevolution
Sailor Jupiter twirls around and throws leaves at you! Run in fear, Sailor Galactica!

26. Bubble Spray
bubblespray
This move fills the nearby area with bubbles to confuse the enemy. It’s good at that! But…

25. Moon Princess Halation
halation1
halation2
What the fuck is a halation
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