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[30 Jan 2011|10:53am]
My favorite book, and a pretty awesome writer <333

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A Separate Peace by John Knowles [03 Jan 2011|09:34pm]
[ mood | calm ]

I honestly don't know how I escaped high school without reading this book. First, because I think it should be required reading in all high school American Lit classes, but also, I made a lot of my own reading lists in high school, and I really don't know how this one never made the cut.

I have a lot of lectures to tegrity from today, so this is going to be a brief little love letter to a book all of you should have already read.

I love reading books and feeling like I learn something from the writer. I don't mean necessarily that the book's content teaches me something, but that the actual writing style conveys something about how to piece together words and phrases to tell a good story, develop characters, or just make the reader reevaluate how they convey their own thoughts.

Knowles writes so cleanly and simply and I just loved it. I went through a very wordy writing phase in high school and college (aka the times when I wrote anything at all). I read some of my old papers and I wonder why I thought it was a good idea to use so many descriptors and clauses and semicolons in one sentence. None of it is necessary and it leads to very muddled writing. Knowles fleshed out some of the most vivid and real characters I've ever read, and he did it in a book that was less than 200 pages long.

That being said, when he does pull out a really long crazy sentence, it's kind of a magical experience. I submit, for your consideration, page 128:

Winter's occupation seems to have conquered, overrun and destroyed everything, so that now there is no longer any resistance movement left in nature; all the juices are dead, every sprig of vitality snapped, and now winter itself, an old, corrupt, tired conquerer, loosens its grip on the desolation, recedes a little, grows careless in its watch; sick of victory and enfeebled by the absence of challenge, it begins itself to withdraw from the ruined countryside.

And his characterization! Egads, I'm in love. Phineas was so cool, so perfect, and yet so believably real! I won't lie, the ending left me more than a little emotionally crushed.

Okay, back to hydrocephalus.

P.S. I'm kind of convinced that Phineas was the inspiration for Phineas and Ferb.
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Halloween [31 Oct 2010|02:47pm]
Last night a caesar salad came up to me and was like, "This may be really presumptuous... but I'd really like to make out with you."

I was like, how do you respond to that??

I chose to stay in character, and told him that maybe if he took me out to dinner at Breadsticks, we'd see how the night turned out.

But seriously. I guess that's what I get for dressing up as a cheerleader?

Everyone kept telling me that I looked more like Quinn Fabray, which was very flattering, but I'm supposed to be Brittany, darn it!Collapse )
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Oh, hi there [26 Sep 2010|02:04pm]
What a wonderful weekend it has been! We had our hematology/oncology/neoplasia (better known as heme/onc) exam on Friday, and since then I've just been chilling out, and it's so so amazing.

Something I have noticed about myself: Every time we have an exam, I go to the mall and buy something sparkly.

On Friday, I went out to the mall to buy new foundation and return a pair of shoes to Ann Taylor. Next thing I know, I find this incredible purple sparkly liquid eyeliner at Sephora, and who in their right mind would ever turn that down? So then I mosied on into Forever 21, because there was this super cute blue dress on their website that I wanted to try on, but le sigh, they did not have it. I did, however, stumble upon this fabulous skirt, which is pretty much just one big sparkle. I wore both the eyeliner and skirt out on Friday night, which was a very successful night out, including a pregame/girl-talk, 3 bars, 1 block party, and a house party (and a truly delcious goat cheese & artichoke appetizer).

Yesterday I saw Easy A, finally! I've been dying to see that movie for so long, and it didn't disappoint me. Emma Stone is so talented and rather adorable. I remember her from The House Bunny (another truly excellent movie), so it's nice to see that she's moving on up.

Now I'm just chilling out and watching the Saints game. It's kind of stressing me out. I won't lie, it's very difficult to be a sports fan sometimes.
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This is where my sister is [20 Sep 2010|07:04pm]
le sigh.

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My TV Debut... [17 Sep 2010|12:07am]
Sooo as kind of a timely follow-up to yesterday's post, this piece aired today on PBS.Collapse )
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[15 Sep 2010|11:09pm]
I had a minor epiphany/realization/breakthrough while working at Bridge House today. I mentioned to my T1 that I always end up with the chatty patients and how I love them, and he was like well that's probably a reflection on yourself. And maybe it is. I just really like getting to know people.

And it just struck me as we were discharging one of our patients and telling him to come back in 2 weeks once he knows if he needs surgery on his broken hand, that I won't be there in 2 weeks to find out what's happening to him, some other med students will be there and that's so frustrating!

I think I really am destined for some sort of primary care. Or at least some field where I'll have continuity of care.

Le sigh.
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What a day, what a day! [09 Sep 2010|10:52pm]
1. I got to talk to Dana today!!!! She showed me her room, which was just so cute and Frenchy with a balcony and a clothes line where she hangs her laundry. She said her friend said yesterday that "every morning here is like the opening song in Beauty and the Beast" which made her think of me and of course made me tressss jealous! I heard her jabbering away in French with her host mom and I was so impressed! My baby sister is quite fluent.

2. I got to see Taylor Swift perform! After waiting waiting waiting in line yesterday for wristbands and then waiting waiting waiting through a freaking THUNDERSTORM in the French Quarter (of course, following the storm, it got to be like 100 degrees and crazy humid and we were all wishing for the rain to come back) for 4 hours, Dave Matthews Band and Taylor Swift came out and played for us. It was so fun, and the stage with the backdrop of Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral looked SO pretty. Ahhh I love this city.

3. Of course, the NFL Kickoff concert wouldn't even have been here if it weren't for the SAINTS! They certainly kicked off the season well tonight with a 14-9 victory over Brett Favre and the Vikings. I mean seriously, shouldn't Favre just retire at this point? The man is getting on in years...

4. You may be asking yourself, Carlin, do you ever study? And the answer is... er, no not really. This weekend, seriously, I'll do some work (hopefully). Microbio ended last Friday and we started the neoplasia/hematology block of pathology, which really just means the CANCER block. It's all pretty depressing and terrifying, which may be part of why it's not much fun to study. Not that anything is actually ever very fun to study. (Although I did kind of like parasites.)
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[01 Sep 2010|08:11pm]
I just really freaking want these shoes.


That's all.

(Normally would not bother LJing about this, and would have just twittered... but I gave up twitter until this weekend, and I'm doing so well! Didn't want to ruin it :)
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Archive [27 Aug 2010|09:43am]
Byron, on his epic journey through every single fantasy novel ever written, is rereading the Dragonbooks (i.e. The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey), and while we were discussing them last night, inevitably the conversation turned to just how big of a nerd I was in middle school.

I was recalling the days of yore when I played in PbEM RPGs and MUSHs and if you don't know what those acronyms mean... well, then you were a much cooler 12-year-old than I was. I had a whole slew of zines (e-mailed magazines created with AOL) with several hundred subscribers each. And, wow, there are few things I have experienced that are more cutthroat than the zine-world was.

But I think the highlight of my computer dorkiness was my geocities site, that I started in 7th grade, and continued updating (albeit very sporadically) through college. Last night, while remembering all my online endeavors, I mentioned to Byron how sad I was that geocities shut down last year, and that I hadn't had the time to find a place to upload all my files. Well, whenever I'm feeling sentimental, I tend to start wikipedia'ing, so I looked-up geocities, and down at the bottom, found a link to another site, www.geocities.ws, that is working to archive all the old geocities sites.

Bingo! Maybe this is where I can upload my files.

So I mosied on over to geocities.ws and tried to make an account, but imagine my surprise when my old geocities screenname (Crimson110!) came back as unavailable. (Because, seriously, who else is going to try and make their username Crimson110?) Well, after a lot of digging around, and answering a bunch of security questions (What city were you born in? What is your oldest cousin's name? What street did you grow up on?), I managed to gain access to the Crimson110 account... and it was mine.

All my files were there. Everything was just like I left it on geocities. Someone had archived me! (and I didn't even know it!!)

I don't know who or why or how they did it, but I'm so happy! I feel like my old website somehow found its place in internet history. :)
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This is just weird [24 Aug 2010|08:00pm]
I like to watch TV while I make pharm notecards. Pharm is very boring. If you've ever studied it, then I'm sure you understand.

I put on an episode of ER (Random Acts, an excellent one from season 3!) and began making note cards... Next thing I know, Jeanie Boulet and her ex-husband are discussing their HIV meds, and how he's becoming resistant, and oh, has he tried those new nucleoside analogs?

Meanwhile, what am I making notecards for? Oh, nucleoside analogs, nbd.

(also, she made fun of him for being an adult and still eating oreos. Meanwhile, what is in my mouth at this exact moment? Oh, Oreos.)
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Today has actually been a pretty good day [19 Aug 2010|12:06am]
[ mood | happy ]

Here's why:

1. Our morning lecture that was scheduled to take 2 hours, only took 1 hour, which left Meghan, Suneeta and me plenty of time to make a quick run to the new Einstein Bagels in the public health building for a morning pick-me-up.

2. I had a lunch date with Carolyn, a fellow '09er W&M chem major turned Tulane med student, which allowed me to reminisce about P-Chem exams with 54% class averages, and made our 78% class average microbio exam seem rather less stressful.

3. I scored two standard deviations above the mean on aforementioned microbio exam.

4. All that reminiscing at lunch gave me quite a case of college-sickness, which prompted me to book a flight to homecoming in October. I am sooo excited, but also a little scared to go back. It's going to be strange and nostalgic and maybe a bit sad.

5. Alex went home on Top Chef. He was really starting to bug me. Good riddance.

Ohhh, William & Mary, my pretty pretty school, I have missed you so dearly. I may even stop into Swem for a bit of studying while I'm there, you know, just for old time's sake. ;D

I miss you too, TJ.Collapse )

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nola nola nola [30 Jul 2010|07:32pm]
Tay and I drove to New Orleans yesterday. It only took us 16 hours. Take that google maps!

We listened to Ender's Game for a good 8 or so hours of the trip, which was really quite a nice way to pass the time. I usually just reread the battle school bits, so it was good to hear it from the beginning.

(So, obviously, I started to imagine that the road was a vertical wall, and the car was rolling down it, and New Orleans was at the bottom. It was actually really easy, and I started to get a bit dizzy.)

The new house is very nice. We have some sort of insane cable package that includes HBO ondemand, so naturally, I'm taking full advantage of that and am watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince right now. (Harry just sectumsempra'd Draco.) Eventually I should go grocery shopping, but I just don't feel like it.

I just got back from happy hour at the Boot with Taylor and some of her friends. Ah, to be in college again. Or just, you know, still on summer break.
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[21 Jul 2010|11:11pm]
Alrighty, what have I been up to lately?

I went up north last weekend with Dana and my parents. It was really nice; the weather was better than last time, and we got some time in on the tennis courts. Dana and I are probably equally bad, but we can usually play well enough to get the ball back and forth a couple times. My mom and I went out again today, and it was crazy windy so our balls kept flying all over the place. Combine that with my knack for hitting balls clear over the fence into the next court, and it was quite an entertaining afternoon. But I do look darn cute in my pleated white tennis skirt.

I started reading War and Peace, but it's been slooooow going. I determined at trivia night last week that I really am deficient in Russian literature (Anna Karenina and nothin' else) so War and Peace seemed like a no brainer. I'm not sure how far I'll really get before I have to go back to school. We'll see.

Taylor and I are driving back to New Orleans next week. I'm kind of not excited to go back, but I kind of am too. I never want to leave home, but when I do, I always adjust pretty quickly. It's just another transition...
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Haha excellent [20 Jul 2010|01:24am]

I write like
Charles Dickens

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

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[14 Jul 2010|05:36pm]
Hello hello.

Drove over to Maryland with my mom and Archer last weekend for a lacrosse Tournament. It was a rather less than thrilling vacation except that I got to have lunch with Rachel! She drove up from DC and we went to Chipotle, which was pretty marvelous.

The other bright spot of the trip was that our hotel was across the street from a Borders, and I bought two new books. The Good Thief, by Hannah Tinti, which I'm mostly done with, and The Shadow of the Wind, which is translated from Spanish and should be pretty interesting.

I read The Princess and The Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison on the trip, which everyone was making fun of me for reading. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because I'm 23-years-old and still read fairy tales. It was really quite cute in a way that made me think it would make an excellent Disney movie, except it was 400 pages and definitely could have used some heavy-handed editing.

There's this fun little webpage: I write like that will analyze a snippet of your writing and compare it to that of famous authors. I plugged in one of my favorite passages from my ill-fated novel and got... James Joyce.

Of all the books we read in high school, I'm pretty sure Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was my very least favorite, so this is pretty fitting. Le sigh.
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[06 Jul 2010|03:07pm]
Drove out to Lake Orion (pronounced like 'orient' minus the T, not like the archer constellation... honestly, I have no idea why.) yesterday with Dana to visit her friend from Tulane at his cottage. I wasn't sure why they have a cottage that's 20 minutes from their house, but when we got there and saw how lovely the lake was, we stopped questioning it. My arms are super sore from tubing, though. Makes me feel like I should start lifting weights or something... but I probably won't.

I finished Tomorrow River, which was... fine. I liked it. I like Lesley Kagan's writing style. All three of her books have a similar tone. They're always first person, from the point of view of a child, set in the rural south in the 1960s, and there's always an aspect of mystery. This one may have been my least favorite though, which is strange, because it was the only one to come out in hardcover.

12-year-old Shenandoah Carmody's mother disappeared in the summer of 1968, and as the first anniversary of her disappearance grows nearer, Shenny becomes more desperate to find out what happened to her mother. She is certain that her twin sister Woody knows something, but Woody hasn't said a word in the year that their mother has been missing, and Shenny's attempts to decipher her sister's drawings are leaving her nothing but confused. Meanwhile, her father, once a superior court judge, has descended into near-constant drunkeness and locks his daughters in their root cellar at night so they can't leave their renowned Virginia estate. The story is packed with a wonderful cast of secondary characters, populating their small southern town.

Overall I did like it, but I guess that I just thought the ending fell a little flat. Oh well.
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The Invisible Bridge [04 Jul 2010|02:41am]
I'm trying to remember if a book has ever made me cry this hard. The Book Thief, maybe.

As I assured Archer when he crawled out of bed to make sure I was okay, I wouldn't be so upset if I didn't like the book. I only cry for characters that I love. Jack, who actually came to my aid before my brother, didn't seem to care what I was reading. He just climbed up onto my bed and snuggled up next to me and licked my tears away.

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer begins in 1937 with 22-year-old Andras Levi departing Hungary for Paris to study architecture after securing a scholarship at the Ecoles Speciale. By chance, he is asked to carry a letter with him to France, addressed to C. Morgenstern, with whom he begins a rather complicated relationship as everything in Europe begins to disintegrate.

Okay, I'll admit this first: I have never heard anything about the Hungarian Holocaust before. I don't think I ever even realized that Hungary was involved in World War II. In school, you hear a lot about the French occupation and the Warsaw ghetto, but not a word about the devastation that was brought on Hungary too. Hungary, whose leaders allied themselves with Germany, and then enslaved their Jewish men and forced them to fight for the Nazi army while their wives and children back home were murdered.

Back to the story. The Invisible Bridge pulled me in to Andras's life in Paris. His mentors and friends and loves and enemies. The entire first half of this 600 page tome was hardly a light story, but it wasn't yet a description of the indescribable horrors that would come later. It reminded me almost of Anna Karenina, the way that the every day life of the characters was so fleshed out. They became real. You could understand the souls of these fictional characters.

By the time the events of second half of the story were unfolding in their horrifying detail, I was too invested in the lives of the characters to stop reading. I did, I admit, put the book down for hours at a time, too afraid to keep reading for what might happen, but I always went back and pressed onwards.

I found out just now, via google, that this novel was actually inspired by the author's grandfather. That he had two brothers. That he won a scholarship that took him to Paris in 1937 to study architecture. That he was enlisted in the Hungarian labor service. That he survived the work camps and bombings, starvation and typhus.

I give the book five stars, but I can't actually recommend it. Heaven knows I'm never going to pick it up again. I know that it is important that these things are remembered, so I'm glad that books like this are written. But I don't think I'd ever tell anyone to read it.

P.S. I quite agree with Mr. Ervin at the NY Times Book Review.
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Spy School Blues [29 Jun 2010|07:10pm]
Sometimes it totally sucks to be a quick reader.

I've been waiting over a year for the 4th spy school book to come out. And... it came out today! I drove to Borders (was going to patronize Barnes and Noble... but I had a Borders coupon and had to reevaluate my plan), bought the book, drove home, and read it cover to cover in less than three hours.

Three hours after 365 days of waiting. Darn.

On the brightside, the book (Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter) was totally awesome and fully met all of my expectations. I'm not going to do my usual quick synopsis because the plot hinges a lot on it's prequel, but in short: There is a school for spies in rural Virginia. It's not quite a cool as Hogwarts, but it's close. I'm really pleased with this series, because each new book is better than the last. The first (I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You) is really fun, but nothing very special. It's the later books that become more addictive. Highly recommended.

Also, if you haven't seen the trailer yet for Deathly Hallows, go youtube it RIGHT NOW.
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Hello! [27 Jun 2010|08:06pm]
Just arrived back in GP after a lovely long weekend with Dana and my mumsy. The weather was mostly gloomy, but I still always have such a nice time up there. I don't know if it's because the people are so friendly, or because we don't really have any committments and can just chill out, or because there really is a lot of good food (and wine). Probably all three, and more.

Dana and I were on our own on Thursday night after we dropped off my mom at Boyne for Aunt Jackie's birthday party. We feasted on artichoke dip and the Thursday night make-your-own pasta special at Michawye, which began a weekend-long feast. Friday was a lovely relaxed day of Wimbledon in the morning (woo, Andy Roddick!), THE BEST REUBEN EVER from the BEST DELI EVER and reading by beautiful scenery on the patio at Otsego (I always forget how gosh darn pretty Michigan is) in the afternoon, and then an evening up at Boyne for some swimming and sunning before we retrieved mumsy. Saturday was a true Gaylord day, beginning with the farmer's market where we stocked up on Michigan cherries (fresh, chocolate covered, dried, and jam) and zucchini bread. Happily, the farmer's market is just around the corner from my favorite bookstore, which was the next stop on our itinerary. I set foot in that place about 3 times a year, and lucky me-- yesterday was the best day of all-- the annual free massage day! I bought two new books that I'm really excited about. The first is The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, which I am about 100 pages into so far, and really enjoying it. The second is Tomorrow River by Lesley Kagen. It's her first hardcover book (her previous two paperbacks were great!) and I have high hopes for it. I got my second Reuben in two days (yum!), built a vaccuum cleaner, and watched three episodes of The Nanny. It was an excellent trip Up North.

I did finish The Imperfectionists yesteday, and I have to say I'm disappointed. Maybe my expectations were just too high, but I finished the book feeling like I had missed out on whatever it was all the reviewers were raving about. The concept was interesting, at least. Each chapter was almost its own short story revolving around the many people tied to a failing international newspaper in Rome, but I wish that there were just more to it. More plot, more development, more something. It was enjoyable, but not memorable.
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