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Unnamed

This is Currently Unnamed Kitty. Don’t let that innocent look fool you – she’s a beguiling little feline!

So my writing buddy at work, a.k.a. my little brother, has been lost in the Great White North since last Friday, and one of the last things he did before he left work was put me in charge of his desk pal, Currently Unnamed Kitty, or Unnamed for short. He picked her up, casually walked over to my desk, and placed her atop my two thinking pals, Ryuji the Ninja and Persephone the Kitty. It was clear that I was to “cat-sit” for my little bro while he was gone for the week. And cat-sit I would (and did!).

Even though I was busy writing web copy, blogs, and press releases galore, Unnamed Kitty would occasionally get into a spot of mischief. Typically, she sat atop my inanimate pals, staring blankly yet happily in my general direction. Today, however, was a different day. Unnamed was becoming restless, and she was going to have some adventures, darn it, whether I liked it or not!

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sunshine

The sun before it got all eclipsed and stuff. 🙂

Unless you live under a rock, you probably have heard that today was the fabled, long-awaited total solar eclipse, which cut southwest from Oregon all the way to South Carolina. As luck would have it, I was very, very near the path of totality. And as luck would have it once more, I was able to go out and enjoy it on a little field trip with my coworkers.

After getting my happy butt to St. Louis via bus and MetroLink, I met up with my “little brother” (and practically glomping him to death, poor kid), said a quick hello to his two sweet cats (I really wanted to take one home with me!), and ventured off to our destination – New Melle, Missouri.

The trip over was really fun. I learned a lot about my little bro and his experiences growing up, where all he went to school, the place where he had his nasty bike accident when he was a little kid, all sorts of neat things, really. I could easily picture him growing up in the calm country surroundings away from the bustle of the city.

surroundings on eclipse day

Our surroundings on the day of the eclipse.

We finally arrived at our destination where our other coworkers were waiting, and we set up camp, as it were. That is, we sat on the south side of a building in the grass, hiding from the sunshine. If you weren’t outside near St. Louis today, let me tell you, it was HUMID. And hot. And I wore jeans like a doofus. So we were all sort of chatting around each other as we waited for the moon to begin its descent on the sun. I got kissed to death and sort of mauled by my coworker’s little Shiba Inu puppy (he’s going through that teething stage). I didn’t care. I was just sort of like, “PUPPYYYYYY!!!!!!!” We joked with a lot of other coworkers, made “Total Eclipse of the Heart” jokes and references, and my brother and I laughed at stupid videos he pulled up on his phone as we waited.

Then one of the girls yelled, “IT’S STARTING!”

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Ryou Bakura unconscious in hospital bed

Maybe I shouldn’t have cosplayed as Bakura since he’s always getting hurt or winding up in the hospital. *_*

When Halloween came around last year, I was pretty darn excited. I was going to work cosplaying as one of my very favorite anime characters, Ryou Bakura from Yu-Gi-Oh!, in the hopes of winning the costume contest. I had the perfect outfit, the hair, and a handmade Millennium Ring all with me, and I was ready for an amazing day, even if no one at work knew who I was.

I didn’t expect my life to turn itself on its head that day.

It started when I was driving to work. As I drove down a pretty large hill on the interstate, I started getting very dizzy and woozy out of nowhere, my ears buzzed, and my vision began to black out. The road was suddenly encompassed within a circle of black as my heart raced in panic. What the heck was happening to me? And why?

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Saturn and Titan

You’re also an album full of ear-worms. 😛

A few months ago, my “little brother” introduced me to a band called Brave Saint Saturn, which is a side project of former members of the band Five Iron Frenzy. My buddy Aaron is a HUGE Five Iron Frenzy fan, so I’m a little familiar with their songs (“Canada,” “You Can’t Handle This,” all that stuff). I figured it would be pretty similar stuff.

Anyway, my little brother told me that Brave Saint Saturn’s album The Light of Things Hoped For was one of the few albums that he could listen to from start to finish with no problem. I have a few like that myself: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis and Dimensionaut by Sound of Contact (I’ll be writing about that later!) are good examples. So I found the music on YouTube, popped in my earbuds, and listened as I typed away on some copy at work.

The first time through, I felt mildly interested. There were 2 or 3 songs that caught my attention, but I thought it was nothing to write home about (sorry, little bro). After all, Christian rock isn’t really my thing (even though I’m Catholic) – I’m more into rock, pop, progressive rock, that kind of thing.

Fast-forward to maybe, oh, I dunno, a week ago, and something got in me to listen to the album again. And again the next day. And maybe again the day after that.

Dang it, this album has dug itself under my skin and won’t stop bothering me. >_<

So I thought, well, why not go ahead and sort of give my own thoughts/interpretations and such on these songs? So here you have it: thoughts about Brave Saint Saturn’s The Light of Things Hoped For, an album that depicts a crew on the S.S. Gloria who have been surveying the moons around Saturn for 5 years and have run into a bit of life-threatening trouble.

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Sufjan's "Mercury" live

“All that I dream – where do you run? Where do you run to?”

I was a bit late to the party and didn’t know that this happened until this afternoon, but OH, MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS, Sufjan Stevens and his buddies, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and James McAlister, performed my very favorite track off their new album on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night. And it was glorious!

There was much squealing. Or at least, I was trying very, very, very hard not to squeal with delight at my desk when I saw it on Asthmatic Kitty’s Facebook page.

Promoting their new album, Planetarium, Sufjan and crew brought out the gentle yet powerful tune called “Mercury,” my absolute favorite off the entire album. It was a more abbreviated version than both the album version and other previous live renditions, but it was still just as beautiful. Sufjan sounded a little nervous, but the song can prove difficult to sing, and he still did such a wonderful job, especially on the last portion of the song: “All that I dream/Where do you run?/Where do you run to?”

Oh, my heart.

Hearing this song felt as if someone took all of my worries in their arms and wrapped a warm, fresh blanket around my shoulders. I particularly appreciated the harmonizing in the song and the reemergence of the brass in the 2nd half as the planet Mercury danced on the television screens behind the band.

Check out their latest rendition of “Mercury” here and see for yourself! 🙂 It’s, ahem, out of this world! (…I’ll be here all night… okay, I’ll show myself out.)

Isle Royale and the Milky Way

Okay, so I didn’t see THIS, but it was still gorgeous and awe-inspiring. 🙂

No, seriously, do it. And I’m not talking about going outside, looking up, and seeing maybe one or two stars in a light-polluted area. Get outside, go somewhere dark, and really look at what’s above you.

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Sometimes I get a little weird.

Well, okay, I’m always weird. But even still, I have moments. I’m not ashamed to say it anymore – I’m an anxious person, or at least anxiety is part of my life. If I could achieve a doctorate in something, it probably would be in apologizing profusely. I’m self-conscious, awkward (until I’m very comfortable with others – and even then, I still have blips of awkwardness), repetitive, and painfully aware of my flaws, both physically and mentally.

Sometimes when I get like this, I want to make like a turtle and retreat into my shell. Or run away. Or run away, find a pit to jump into (not literally because, yeah, I’m a klutz and am not exactly adroit at upper-arm activities), and retreat there for a while – sometimes too long. Other times, when I tell the nonsense inside my head to shut the heck up and listen to reason, I’ll reach out for things that bring me comfort.

This portion of my life is something I’m working on (and failing at kind of frequently), so I thought I’d mention the things that give me comfort, dig me out of the proverbial hole, or cheer me up. Maybe a few of these things will resonate with you, too! Continue Reading »