Category Archives: Miscellaneous

A Few Plugs, An Announcement, and Related Vaguely Fascinating Miscellany

I’m officially back in school now, and so far, everything is going swimmingly. Unfortunately, I’ve been rather neglectful of my blogging duties, and my ever-deteriorating blogging schedule is in shambles. Suffice it to say that, at the moment, you can reasonably expect one post per week, probably over the weekend.

I have been busy with a few other projects you may be interested in, though. I recently wrote a guest post for Visibility Fiction,  LGBTQ Characters in YA and Why They Matter. I usually don’t blog about my moral views here, but if you’re interested in that, I point you to that article. Visibility Fiction as a whole is a really awesome project that focuses on and supports young adult literature featuring so-called minority characters. They also have a great interest in encouraging young writers. VisFic is an up-and-coming project that deserves every ounce of support it gets.

Over at Teens Can Write Too!, we have a relatively new side blog on good ole Tumblr, so if you’re a Tumblr person, be sure to follow us there. Also, sign-up for the TCWT September blog chain is wide open–you can join here.

I’m afraid that’s about it for now. From this point onward, you can expect longer, well-thought-out posts, just much less often.

 

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The Toujou Blog Award

Thanks, Nevillegirl!

Rules

1. If tagged you must tag five others, giving each a quick sentence as to why you always read their posts, and tell them that you’ve tagged them.

2. If tagged you must post your five favorite words. I know, I know, most people do facts, but facts are hard to think of, so…

3. If and only if you want to/can be bothered to/have time to you can put up five questions for the people you’ve tagged. If and only if you want to/can be bothered to/have time to you can answer the five questions your tagger set. If you want to answer questions but your tagger left none, answer your own questions.

First off, I’d like to thank Nevillegirl again for her kind words: “Allegra writes really good book reviews and strange ramblings about random things.” To have my blog described as “strange” is the highest praise I could ask for.

Now, for my nominees.

John Hansen at The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer. John always writes informative, entertaining posts on the publishing industry, and besides that, he’s a great, encouraging writing friend–one of the only people who can put up with my morbidity.

Aloha at Embracing InsanityAloha doesn’t blog too often nowadays, but her posts are always witty and fun to read. I’ve been reading her posts religiously for about a year now.

Tayqlor at Novel JourneysShe writes lots of great book-related posts and is very well-read. I trust her taste.

Miriam Joy at Miriam Joy WritesMiriam’s posts are always well written and thought out, and she makes great commentary on the life of a young writer. She’s also a fellow fan of Doctor Who and Sherlock, which makes her automatically awesome. (Miriam: I know you already got the award, so you don’t have to go through the rigmarole again. Unless you really want to.)

Pherisphena Ladea at The Word Asylum. Pheris writes wonderful posts on a variety of topics and is also a good Twitter buddy of mine. She was the first to comfort me when Pottermore put me in Slytherin instead of Ravenclaw.

All right, now onward with my favorite words!

  1. Taphophilia. This word is derived from the Greek “taphos,” tomb, and means “a love of funerals, graves, and cemeteries.” I love words with “ph” in them, and taphophilia has two. It’s also relevant to my life and my writing.
  2. Zounds. Why would anyone say “wow” when there’s “zounds” instead?
  3. Petrichor. This word describes the smell after a rain in a dry region. I only know about it because of Doctor Who, but it’s stuck with me.
  4. Heir. I love how this one looks and sounds.
  5. Ennui. This fancy French-crossing-into-English word for boredom appears in Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies. And yes, if Gashlycrumb were an actual word, it would definitely be on this list.

Now to answer the questions that Nevillegirl left for me…

  1. Would you dress up in a gigantic chipmunk costume for a day, and why and why not? Yes, I would, because I love chipmunks’ natural color schemes and it’s always good to resist the norm.
  2. Who scared you most when you were little? The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. I adored that movie and wanted to be just like Dorothy, but I always made my parents fast-forward past the parts with the witch. She terrified me.
  3. What do you think the color purple tastes like? Rich and decadent like a lava cake, but without the chocolate part. It would definitely be a sweet color, not a savory color.
  4. What kind of shark would you be, and why? I’d be a spined pygmy shark, because it uses bioluminescence to disguise itself from predators (as I tend to hide my true personality until I’m absolutely certain a person is trustworthy) and has no economic value and is not fished commercially (as I’m strange and useless and people tend to leave me alone).
  5. What is your favorite palindrome? Murder for a jar of red rum.

Now here are the questions I present to anyone choosing to act on their nominations.

  1. If you had a chance to start life over as a character in your favorite work of fiction, would you take it? Why or why not?
  2. What’s your most loved article of clothing?
  3. Would you be more likely to survive a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?
  4. What would your preferred undercover alias be?
  5. What’s your favorite month?

Wear The Shnorts Day 2012

I return from my hiatus a day earlier than planned to participate in Wear the Shnorts Day, hosted by Musings From Neville’s Navel. The goal of this wondrous festival is to replace the word “shorts” with “shnorts,” because the latter is clearly more entertaining than the former. In order to celebrate WTS Day, we participants have been asked to post a picture of ourselves wearing our favorite pair of shnorts.

You have no idea how much I went through to get that one webcam shot. My shnorts are still askew and my head is semi-effectively cut off. (Fandom secret: I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to show my face or not, so I went for somewhere in the middle.) Oh well.

Now, here is a brief poem about shnorts that I am composing on the spot.

When the weather gets hot and pants are too long

And for many of us capris seem wrong

Whether you’re going out or lying low

Shnorts are the only way to go.

It doesn’t matter what type they are

Even if they’re micro or go down pretty far

Shnorts are sure to serve you well

Who could say that they aren’t swell?

Sorry, But I Don’t See How That’s Awkward

“Awkward” is turning into a trend, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has mixed feelings about it. While it sure is nice to see widespread recognition of the fact that not everyone always knows the right thing to say or do, those with genuine social anxiety may find the events labeled as awkward to be ludicrously trivial. Why would we get embarrassed over encountering someone cute when not wearing our favorite shoes, or returning everything we take into a dressing room? We do things like nervously greet our superiors with “you today how are”  and fall up the stairs, hitting someone in the face with whatever we were carrying, on a daily basis.

How does something classify as “awkward”? Well, first let’s see what awkward is really meant to signify. According to the omnipresent Dictionary.com, awkward is

  1. lacking skill or dexterity
  2. lacking grace or ease in movement
  3. lacking social graces or manners
  4. not well planned or designed for easy or effective use
  5. requiring caution; somewhat hazardous

I suppose that those are fairly straightforward definitions; but overall, at least the way I see it, an awkward situation is a situation that makes one uncomfortable and/or embarrassed. We all know it happens to everyone–probably even flawless individuals like Jennifer Lawrence and Benedict Cumberbatch, if they count as “everyone”–but that hardly makes it easier to take. I can’t be the only one who’s kept up at night agonizing about something stupid I said or did last year. Please tell me I’m not the only one, or I’m going to start losing sleep for admitting that.

So now we know what awkward moments are, and we know how widespread and painful they are. How did awkward become a trend? Well, I’m no expert, but my guess is that it all started with that now-overused phrase, “That Awkward Moment When [insert something considered embarrassing here]“. Maybe people from my neck of the woods are a little behind the times, but I still here it used as an everyday expression at school. It’s gotten to the point of “that awkward moment when you just said ‘that awkward moment when’ for the tenth time today.” It’s awkwardness within awkwardness–spooky!

Then there’s the Socially Awkward Penguin meme. I personally apologize for dragging such scourges of the Farthest Reaches of the Internet into our little WordPress haven, but it’s worth it for the sake of illustration.

As generic a device of expression as the meme is, it is undeniably easy to relate to, and most variations that I’ve seen manage to balance everyday embarrassments with real social anxiety. Somehow, it’s comforting to see oneself so well reflected in something created by another. That’s one of the upsides of the awkward trend–a sense of camaraderie, even if it is a tad overdone.

I Am Burdened With A Glorious Award

Specifically, the One Lovely Blog Award.

The Rules

  1. You must thank the person who nominated you.
  2. You must tell 7 things about yourself.
  3. You must nominate 15 blogs and tell them that they’ve been nominated.

Thanks to Liam, Head Phil for the kind nomination! He’s stuck with this blog for a long time, through the URL move, through debates in the comments section, and through a lot of stupid filler posts. I don’t think I ever express how grateful I am, not only to Liam, Head Phil, but to all my other readers and friends. So thank you.

Here are my Seven Facts.

  1. There is a sign on my bedroom door from Yellowstone National Park that warns against stampeding bison.
  2. I like to collect feathers. The prize piece of my collection is a completely intact crow feather I found in the cemetery.
  3. I’m currently reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark.
  4. If I reach out to the left, the first thing I’d touch is my clock. To the right, the first thing I’d touch is my bookcase.
  5. My friends insist that I’m adorable. I refuse to accept this adjective.
  6. I hate tomatoes.
  7. My best final average in school this year was in English. My worst was in chorus.

Now for the nominations. Fifteen blogs is a tall order, and Liam, Head Phil (I will never, ever just call him Liam) has already nominated most of the TCWTers. In addition, I’m writing this post in advance, as I will be busy on Tuesday and Wednesday, and therefore unable to notify nominees in a timely manner.  Feel free to throw rotten fruit at me, but just this once, I’m going to be abominably lazy and pull the good old “if you’re reading this and want the award, it’s yours” card. I can always chalk it up to generosity, because all of your blogs certainly are lovely.

The Appeal of Fiction

Sometimes I forget that not everyone identifies as a nerd, geek, etc. It’s somewhat hard for me to believe that not everyone my age spends their days blogging, writing, and crying about fictional characters–how could there be any other way of life? But it would appear that some people actually find other ways to spend their time. I wonder what it’s like to inhabit a brain that’s not constantly experiencing Reichenbach Feels, planning cosplay, or untangling issues with writing.

But all this makes me stop and think–what is it about the wide world of fiction that appeals to me so much? Why do I find it so hard to slow down and live in my own life, in the present? Well, simply and broadly put, fiction is more interesting than real life, so why wouldn’t I want to constantly inhabit it?

The endless possibility that comes with fiction fascinates me. Even though I know that everything came out of someone else’s imagination, just as my stories come from mine, it doesn’t feel like it; it seems like these places and events are real somewhere. This does add up to a certain amount of wistful longing. If only I could live in Tortall and be a lady knight! Or better yet, have the TARDIS crash-land in my backyard. If I went to Camp Half-Blood, who would be my godly parent? Daydreaming about the possibilities set out by my favorite works of fiction is one habit I’ve never gotten rid of.

Perhaps even more enthralling than the fictional settings and events are the characters themselves. It’s funny how real they seem to us. We can imbue them with wonderful qualities or make them deliciously flawed. If you’re anything like me, these figments can make you very happy, quite sad, and often a sort of bittersweet mix of the two. When you create your own characters, they’ll start to run away from you and seem to develop minds of their own, which only adds to the feeling that somehow, somewhere, they’re real.

As for why anyone wouldn’t want to live in this world of fiction, I don’t know. Maybe they just have yet to discover it. Or–I shudder at the thought–they have such involved real lives that they don’t have time for it. That would be truly unfortunate.

Two Awards, Neither As Scarring As Mrs. Sparkly

Liam, Head Phil has passed on a few blogging awards to me! Gratias tibi ago, Liam–you’ve saved me from having to write a boring post on John Steinbeck, as I had planned.

This first one…I must agree with Liam on the fact that the spelling is making me twitch. Luckily it isn’t as visually assaulting as Mrs. Sparkly. The rules for this one are as follows: you must answer ten questions, give ten random facts, and pass it on to seven other bloggers.

What is your favorite song? At the moment my favorite song is “No Light, No Light” by Florence + The Machine, but this will surely be different in a week or two.

What is your favorite dessert? There’s this monstrous dessert that can be found in a certain restaurant in New Hampshire–it’s called Mississippi Mud Pie, and consists of coffee and chocolate ice cream in an Oreo shell topped with hot fudge and mounds of whipped cream. Yeah, that one.

What ticks you off? Ignorance above all else.

When you’re upset, what do you do? I go for a walk in my friendly neighborhood cemetery. Being alone with the headstones and crows always calms me down.

What is your favorite pet? I’m partial to pet birds.

Which do you prefer: black or white? Black.

What is your attitude? Usually, or right now? My standard attitude is snarky,  but at the moment I’m fairly serene.

What is perfection? A myth invented to make us feel bad and spend money. (Oops, maybe I am still feeling snarky.)

What is your guilty pleasure? Tumblr. I know I spend much more time on it than I should, but there’s no going back now.

Now for those random facts:

  1. I was recently disappointed to discover that it’s illegal in the United States to keep any native species of raven or crow as a pet. There goes my dream pet idea.
  2. I was Pottermore sorted into Slytherin after identifying as a Ravenclaw since I first got into Harry Potter. I’ve since embraced my House fully.
  3. My Meyers-Briggs personality type is INTP.
  4. I’m currently listening to the album “Siberia” by Lights.
  5. I’ve been seized by the wild desire to learn to draw. My obsession with art is coming close to my level of passion for writing.
  6. I’m still recovering from the emotional upheaval that resulted from watching the Sherlock season two finale.
  7. Today my friends said that, and I quote, “Allegra does not participate in tomfoolery and whimsical activities.” Make of that what you will.
  8. Narcissism is probably one of my biggest flaws.
  9. The only things I drink regularly are water, milk, and apple juice. I really love apple juice.
  10. I’m trying to learn “Beatdown” from the Homestuck soundtrack on the piano despite being extremely bad at playing this particular song. It’s gotten to the point where I’ll only practice it when no one else is within earshot.

This one looks much better than the “Kreativ Blogger.”

Rules:

  1. This award is for book bloggers only. To receive this award the blog must be at least 50% about books (reading or writing is okay)
  2. Along with receiving this award, you must also share your top five favorite books you have ever read. (More than five is okay)
  3. You must give this award to 5-10 other lucky book blogs you adore.

Top five favorite books? All right, here goes nothing. In no particular order:

  • Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Here are the joint recipients for both awards:

The Word Asylum

Novel Journeys

Comfy Sweaters, Writing, And Fish

A Farewell to Sanity

Kirsten Writes!