vorpal: Illustration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland putting on a crown (Default)
2012-01-25 01:57 pm
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For My Sister

I miss
car rides on roads lined
with trees, green and swelling,
reaching over,
threatening to block out the sun
completely
and engulf us in their leaves.

I miss
children's books for your
internship read aloud
on the way home, 
punctuated with giggles, and
remember
coffee flying out the window?

I miss
filling your ears with
school and books and movies,
the crescendo
of our voices rising with love
for our loves
and for someone to share with.

(c) Alyssa H. 2012
vorpal: Illustration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland putting on a crown (Default)
2011-08-11 05:30 pm

Booking Through Thursday Aug. 11: National Book Week

It's National Book Week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you. Go to page 56. Copy the 5th sentence as your status.

Its site was now nothing more than a weed-infested patch in Cater Street, just round the corner from the Thirteen Drakes.

- from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, which I highly recommend, by the way.
vorpal: Illustration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland putting on a crown (Default)
2011-08-09 01:44 pm
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That's My Answer! for August 9: Tiaras and rings

How much jewelry do you wear on a typical day?

Not much. I'm not a huge jewelry person, which is kind of ironic because I used to make my own jewelry. I usually only wear earrings, sometimes a ring or two, and on rare occasions a necklace. If I didn't have to semi-dress up for work, I probably wouldn't wear any jewelry at all most of the time.
vorpal: Illustration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland putting on a crown (Default)
2011-08-05 01:17 pm
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Friday 5 for August 5: Lifelong Learning

  1. What’s something you recently learned how to do on a computer?
    I just started a new job, so I'm learning how to use a new database system. I've done data entry for the past three years, so I'm having a really easy time picking it up.

  2. What’s something you recently learned in the kitchen?
    I finally learned how to make my mom's meatloaf exactly the way she makes it. It takes a lot of work, but the result is well worth it.

  3. What’s something you recently learned about the town where you live?
    They're opening up a specialized high school this year for students who want to focus on math, science, or technology in the old L&N railroad station downtown.

  4. What’s something you recently learned from television?
    I've been watching a lot of History and Discovery lately, so I'm sure I've learned lots of things, I just can't think of any of them right now!

  5. What’s something you recently learned the hard way?
    Not to settle for anything. To go out and achieve what you want; pursue happiness. That has been my big life lesson this year, and it will define 2011 for me.
vorpal: Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer holding a scythe and looking ready to kick some ass (Buffy)
2010-10-09 05:58 pm
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Buffy is So NOT Whiny

It's been a while, Dreamwidth. I'll post a real entry soon, but for now I just feel the need to share some awesome reads. Here are three great blog posts about female characters in pop culture and why we should love them:

Connecting with female characters in geek television

Push(back) at the Intersections: "I Just Don't Like That Many Female Characters"

Buffy is So Whiny
vorpal: Illustration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland putting on a crown (Default)
2010-04-15 08:55 pm
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A Few Random Thoughts

I love pictures of cities and open roads. To me, they represent endless possibilities.

I'm craving Nutella crepes like whoa.

I'm so over winter. Bring on the sun!

Granola with raisins, strawberries, and banana sounds pretty awesome.

Five places I'm dying to go to right now: Toronto, Prague, New Orleans, Universal Studios, and Knoxville.

I'M MOVING BACK HOME!!!
vorpal: Illustration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland putting on a crown (Default)
2010-04-13 01:24 am
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Confessions of a Pack Rat

My parents decided to have a yard sale over the weekend. They told Adam and me to gather anything we wanted to get rid of, and they told my sister and her fiance to do the same. Then they helped us lug it all to my grandmother's house, and we spent Friday and Saturday trying to pass our junk on to other people in return for some quick cash.

As I was going through our apartment, trying to find things to get rid of, I discovered something about myself that I had always suspected was true: I'm a pack rat. I hold on to things I don't need purely for sentimental value, or because I think that maybe, someday, for some unknown reason, I might end up needing them after all.

Some of the items I've kept are useless, like the cards my co-workers gave me at my going-away party when I left my last job, not to mention all of the other cards from various people that I've accumulated over the years. On the surface, they're just glorified pieces of paper, but the words written on those pieces of paper meant something to me at one time. I've even kept some of the cooler cereal box toys I've found, like a Star Wars lightsaber spoon and a plastic Star Trek badge. I tucked them away in drawers because I thought they were neat, but they're little more than trash.

Then I have stuff that's worth holding on to, like old video game systems, Batman comics, Disney Adventures magazines, and Babysitter's Club books. Things I want to keep because they have nostalgic value, and they might actually be worth more than yard sale money someday.

I spent a long time debating whether or not to get rid of some things, just standing and holding them in my hands, weighing the sentimental value against extra space and money. Eventually I somehow found the courage to place them in boxes and take them to the sale. Now my apartment is clear of a lot of stuff I didn't need, but I still can't help but feel a slight pang of loss. I'm going to end up like Monica in that episode of Friends where Chandler and Joey discover that she has a secret closet full of junk.

In the end, though, I'm glad I got rid of it all. We split the money we earned three ways, and mine and Adam's portion will fully cover the deposit on our new apartment. Although the pack rat in me had a hard time letting go of things at the yard sale, the couch potato in me is very glad that we have less stuff to pack for the move.

Disclaimer: I am nowhere near as bad as the people on the TV show Hoarders. Watching that show depresses the hell out of me and makes me want to clean, even when my apartment is spotless. D:
vorpal: Stock image of a forest with sunlight filtering through (forest)
2010-04-08 02:38 pm
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Mr. and Mrs. Awesome

I've been watching How I Met Your Mother, a funny, feel-good sitcom about five friends in their mid-to-late 20s living in New York City. Its concept and structure (laugh track, running gags, etc.) are similar to Friends, but it's original enough to stand on its own. The best thing about it is, of course, the characters. Barney Stinson, an egotistical womanizer who's played brilliantly by Neil Patrick Harris, has quickly become my favorite. I also can't help but love Marshall and Lily (played by Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan), an engaged couple who have been together for nine years at the start of the show.

Marshall and Lily (Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan)

Marshall and Lily's relationship is presented very realistically. It's not perfect, but it's healthy, and their love for each other is never in question. They don't just love each other, but they genuinely like being around each other. They have fun together, even while doing mundane things, and when they tease each other it's in good humor. And they manage all of that without ever making me want to gag! In many ways, they actually remind me a lot of Adam and myself. I feel like I can relate to them, which is rare for me. There aren't many couples in entertainment media that I can relate to. The only other one I can I think of off the top of my head is Jim and Pam from The Office. The Office is full of awkward and non-sequitur humor, but Jim and Pam still manage to be down-to-earth and realistic, not to mention incredibly cute.

Jim and Pam (John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer)

It's nice to see normal, functional relationships in TV and movies. Sure, Marshall & Lily and Jim & Pam go through rough spots like any couple, but ultimately they're happy and healthy and realistic. I'm not saying that I want all TV shows and movies to revolve around happy couples, but as someone who's part of a happy couple myself, it's good to have one to relate to every now and then. It's a nice change of pace from shows in which the husband and wife constantly berate each other or shows with on-again-off-again couples who are always cheating, fighting, and breaking up.
vorpal: Illustration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland putting on a crown (city skyline)
2010-03-22 02:48 pm
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Supergroups

This post was originally published on March 22, 2010 at my blog. I'm republishing it here as part of a series of backup posts that I want to keep while in the process of deleting and restarting my blog.

Lately, it seems like all of my favorite musicians are recording music together, and I'm more than okay with that. After all, the term "supergroup" basically just means "conglomeration of awesomeness."

Last year, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and M. Ward of She & Him formed a supergroup called Monsters of Folk. They had previously made a habit of performing at each other's shows, so it was only natural for them to eventually get together in a studio and record one of the best albums I've ever heard. My favorite songs off of their self-titled album are "Baby Boomer," "Temazcal," "Losin' Yo' Head," "Ahead of the Curve," and "His Master's Voice," but believe me when I say that every song on the album is pure greatness.

Now, two more of my favorite musicians have joined together to form a group called Broken Bells. They are Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley and a million other things) and James Mercer, lead singer and guitarist of The Shins. The Shins kind-of-sort-of-almost disbanded back in 2008, so it's nice to see that James Mercer is not fading into obscurity.

The more I listen to Broken Bells' self-titled album, the more I love it. Standout tracks, for me, are "The High Road," "Your Head Is on Fire," "October," and "The Mall and Misery," but as with Monsters of Folk, there isn't a song on the album I don't like.

It's best to let the music speak for itself, though:

BROKEN BELLS, "THE HIGH ROAD" from EJ on Vimeo.

vorpal: Illustration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland putting on a crown (Default)
2010-03-21 11:55 pm
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Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland Review

Tim Burton's Alice in WonderlandTitle: Alice in Wonderland
Year Released: 2010
Director: Tim Burton
Genre: Fantasy / Adventure
Rated: PG

Basic Plot:

Based on the classic books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland takes place thirteen years after Alice last went down the rabbit hole. As a young woman, she still dreams about Wonderland, and she is expected to wed a man who she has no desire to be with. At her engagement party, she spots the White Rabbit and follows him back down to Wonderland, where she discovers that things are not as she left them.

Things I Liked:

  • I liked the fact that Tim Burton expanded on the original story while still staying true to it. Aside from a few minor aesthetic differences, everything in Wonderland was pretty much the same as it was described in Carroll's books, at least from what I can remember. Alice in Wonderland is a story that has been rehashed over and over again, so it was a nice change of pace to experience a new story set in the same world.


  • I adored the March Hare! I love that he was just completely insane, constantly twitching and seeming like a million things were running through his head. I also loved how the other characters had grown accustomed to ducking when he randomly threw dishes or cups at their heads. :P


  • The acting was great. Helena Bonham-Carter was the perfect choice for the haughty yet insecure Red Queen, Anne Hathaway was gorgeous and charming as the White Queen, Crispin Glover made a wonderfully villainous Knave of Hearts, and Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar might just be one of the best casting choices ever.


  • It looked stunning. Tim Burton has a distinct visual style, and he was pretty much able to run away with it in Alice in Wonderland. I loved that some parts of Wonderland were colorful and whimsical while others were desolate and almost nightmarish. Tim Burton does a great job of creating both types of scenery.


Things I Disliked:

  • Johnny Depp's performance was kind of all over the place. He channeled both Jack Sparrow and Willy Wonka at times, which just made his portrayal of the Mad Hatter seem like a mixture of recycled gimmicks. His character wasn't as endearing or original or even as quirky as I would have liked him to be. I usually love Johnny Depp, but I just wasn't feeling his performance in this film.


  • I would have been more than okay without the dance scene.


Overall Rating and Comments:

8.5/10

I loved it! It's a great follow-up to the original story. The visual effects are unlike any I've seen before while at the same time being very Tim Burton-ish. I will definitely buy it on Blu-ray when it comes out!
vorpal: Illustration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland putting on a crown (Default)
2009-07-21 10:53 pm
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Old Poems

The Effect

One look and I
shatter into
a million pieces.
No need to try
to pick myself up;
it would only be in vain.
Lips tremble as
words pour out
like a waterfall
with no direction.

One smile and I
melt into an
unrecognizable lump
of wax and
adoring eyeballs
staring up at you
as you gather me
and hold me close
against the heartbeat
that keeps mine beating.

Laziness

My name is Procrastination.
My best friend is Never On Time.
My days are spent in sleeping
And my nights are all out of line.
My bed is much too comfortable.
My desk is not comfortable enough.
The stairs are much too long
And the ground is much too rough.
My life drags on too slowly
Sometimes I think I should change.
But then I think I'd have to get up
And that would be insane.

(c) Alyssa H. 2009
vorpal: Illustration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland putting on a crown (Default)
2009-07-04 12:37 am
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The Jabberwocky

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
vorpal: Stock image of a sugar maple in autumn (autumn tree)
2009-07-03 11:46 pm
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The Smell of Grass

Originally posted at my LiveJournal on April 5, 2008.

Going home from work the other day, a pretty 70-degree day when everyone was outside trying to enjoy the weather while it lasted or get one good lawn mowing in before the spring rain started up again, I had my window rolled down and could smell the fresh green grass. I breathed in deeply, over and over again, trying to keep the scent from escaping my nostrils. It reminded me of my childhood...

I used to play outside in the springtime with my cousins, Ryan and Darin, who were also my best friends. It didn't matter whether we were at my house or theirs because both places were home and both had huge, expansive yards. The scent of grass was always prominent. We'd go on adventures upon adventures -- whatever we could think up. Our tree house was a spaceship, taking us to a different planet each time we descended the ladder. The fort we built in the woods was a hideout from our enemies or a shelter for our expedition. One spring, a tornado blew through our backyard and felled a tree. That huge, fallen tree provided a perfect hideaway for "secret meetings" beneath its branches.

We'd climb trees, dig our hands into the earth, run through weeds and brambles, and go back inside a mess of pine sap, dirt, and scratches. We'd take baths, down glasses of chocolate milk in just a few gulps, and dream of a new day outside until the sun rose again.

Rainy days meant forlorn faces staring out windows, hoping against hope that the downpour would let up. We'd occupy ourselves with video games and comic books or attempt to have our adventures inside the house, much to our parents' dismay. No day spent fully inside was as satisfactory as one surrounded and nurtured by nature.

That was my childhood, and that's what the smell of grass reminds me of. As long as green grass grows, I'll always have those memories.