Friday, July 30, 2010

Hypervelocity Star

Goals. Everybody has them, though it's often a love-hate relationship. Today, I've made a new one. I want to live my life like HE 0437-5439! That's the fastest hypervelocity star in the Milky Way discovered so far. Once, it was a triple star system until it nicked the massive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way and was torn apart and reborn.

I used to think writing was all about the creativity, the perfect hook, the eloquence of the line, but now I know I was wrong. Equally vital is what you lose along the way, between the periods and the pages. Pride. Hope. The last shreds of identity and notions of talent. Writing is never static. It's an act of constant eclosion, shedding skin and gaining brand new eyes and limbs to grasp the intangible WORD. But before that can happen, the core of all your assumptions about yourself must be broken down to that last speck of perseverance. The grit makes the pearl, after all (see Emily Dickinson's poem "We play at paste").

So I refuse the coward's comfort. I would rather blaze out in a rush of ink than fade into an easy mediocrity safe beyond the event horizon between fear and possibility. Denise Crow quotes astronomer Warren Brown, who states, "These exiled stars are rare in the Milky Way's population of 100 billion stars. For every 100 million stars in the galaxy lurks one hypervelocity star."

One in one hundred million? I'll take those odds, and run with them. Now if only I could type at hypervelocity speeds!

You can check out the rest of the hypervelocity star's amazing bio here:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Against the Fall of Night by Arthur C. Clarke

When readers think of Arthur C. Clarke's works, perhaps 2001: A Space Odyssey or Rendezvous with Rama are the most often remembered. But my favorite novel by Master Clarke will always be Against the Fall of Night.

Imagine an Earth of salt and sand, where oceans are a memory millions of years old and the remnants of humanity have gained great longevity even as their population dwindles away in an immortal city of machines. Alvin is the last child born in the Port of Diaspar in seven thousand years, and far too curious for his own good. He embarks on a forbidden quest to seek answers beyond the city's crumbling walls: is there anyone, any life at all beyond Diaspar? Who were the Invaders that pushed man's empire from the stars and nearly destroyed the human race?

Alvin's lonely restlessness holds the reader captive till the last page, and makes his journey, your journey.

Friday, July 23, 2010

For the love of shoes!

I read an MSN article today that astounded me with the claim that women spend an average of $25,000 on shoes in their lifetime. I'm more of a clearance diva myself. I've waited an entire semester for a pair of gold sequin shoes I lusted after to get down to 5 bucks, and once I even scored a pair of brand new red kitten heels for 1 dollar. Alas, I must admit that clearance is also my downfall . . . the deals do my wallet in. Only last week I bought a pair of sandy-silver ballet flats that I daresay would make even Cinderella jealous!

Speaking of Cinderella, check out this dream chandelier. If I were ridiculously rich, I would totally install such a chandelier in a walk-in closet devoted entirely to the worship and amassment of shoes.,r:3,s:0

Shoe article:>1=32002

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ink & Chlorophyll

If I could only choose one thing to be grateful for in the whole world, I would have to go with trees. The dark-jeweled shadows their leaves cut against the sunlight, the windward lash and sway of their branches, these are things I carry with me when nothing else makes sense. For millennia trees have been humanity's vital other half, first by providing physical kindling, nourishment and shelter, and later by providing a hearth for the kindling of the mind: Paper, a fragile plane for butterfly lines and curves to ink out a world of ideas. As if that weren't bounty enough, they purify the very air we pull between our teeth! Come Autumn, they scatter a treasury of colors that crackle underfoot like poetry.

Truly, I have never seen nor heard anything quite so lovely as a tree.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Princess Mona Leia

Leonardo da Vinci must be turning in his grave! I was mall-shopping with my sister when I came across a most peculiar work of art: a Mona Leia t-shirt. That's right, Princess Leia of Star Wars. Her classic bunhead visage was plastered over the Mona Lisa's coyly smiling face. Of course, as a proper Star Wars nerd I was sorely tempted to buy one. Yes, I must confess I was one of those girls who dressed up as the bunhead princess for Halloween!

And while we're on the subject of Princess Leia, check out this marvelous Star Wars on the Subway clip.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Great Riddle

Face it, we humans are a questionable lot. We're full of boundless curiosity and throw ourselves at the horizons of the hypothetical for all we're worth.

Perhaps one of the greatest questions ever posed is Shakespeare's "To be, or not to be?" uttered by Hamlet. Another equally perplexing question is posed by Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter: "How is a raven like a writing desk?" And the greatest question of them all . . . . Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, wonder no more!

Today, scientists announced that they've cracked the chicken vs. egg mystery. The chicken came first! The chicken's ovaries contain a protein essential to egg formation, therefore the egg could not exist before the chicken. I feel immensely enlightened, don't you?

You can check out the rest of the story here:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Legendary Unicorn

This just made my day. No, make that my week! I love it when nature laughs at human assumptions of the impossible.>1=42007

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Changeling by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

I've decided to start a mini-spotlight for books that I believe should be on every Earthling's reading list (and non-Earthling, as the case may be!). There are so many books to choose from, but I can't resist. I'm going to begin with The Changeling by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

I was about twelve when my parents first introduced me to Zilpha's books, but The Changeling will always be my particular favorite. It's a middle grade novel that juxtaposes the transcendence of two children's imaginations against the brittle harshness of reality. But it's not about escaping your own reality, more, shaping it, I think.

Martha Abbot is a lonely, suburban-born coward who forms an unlikely friendship with Ivy, a member of the notorious Carson family that is always skipping town for trouble with the law. Martha is fascinated by the peculiar, almost otherworldly Ivy, who claims she is a changeling switched at birth with the real Ivy. As they grow up together, Martha and Ivy get into all sorts of scrapes and weave an intricate dream world where both belong, but neither can stay.