Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Spend a Hurricane Issac Day

Who hasn't heard of Hurricane Issac?

Since I live in Florida, this terrifying hurricane has been everywhere. Not that, you know, I'm scared of hurricanes. We get them all the time, especially during the summer season. What worried me was that yesterday, Monday 27th, was supposed to be the first day of school. Would we get the day off because of the storm or did everyone have to drive through the wind, rain, and RNC traffic to reach campus?

Well, at the last minute, the schools closed. Monday had become a day off.

If you want to know the proper procedure for protecting yourself during a hurricane, you'd better read another blog. Because, like most hurricanes that hit here, the weather is bad enough that you shouldn't be driving, but it's nothing to really worry about. Stay inside. Have some fun. And that's what I did.

Here's how I spent my hurricane day:

1. Watch Dr. Who

When Dr. Who aired on the SyFy Channel a few years ago, I saw a smattering of episodes. Time travel, funny aliens, a lot of running and screaming - Dr. Who was very exciting, but it didn't quite grip me at the time.

I consider myself a fantasy girl. Give me swords over space ships any day. I have trouble engaging in - and sometimes even understanding - the technical aspects of science fiction. So when I was a little high schooler, watching Dr. Who for the first time, I thought it was just like the other sci-fi shows I'd watched growing up (like Farscape). I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything when I stopped watching.

However, I've since changed my tune.

One of my summer goals had been to watch EVERY EPISODE starting with the 9th Doctor. But then the reality of completing my thesis hit me - and I didn't do a lot things I said I was going to do this summer, haha. So when Hurricane Issac gave me an extra day, I turned on Nettflix and started watching. I've seen about six episodes so far, and I'm really loving the show.

Maybe I had to grow up a bit to be able to enjoy it, or maybe now is just the right time for me to start. I already jumped the gun and bought a "Bow Ties are Cool" t-shirt (not because of the show, but more so... because I really believe that). I can't wait to get to the 11th Doctor, but I will take my time and watch in order. I promise, haha.

2. Read Literary Journals

I have a big reading list, but more often than not I cross novels off my list rather than literary journals. There are two journals that I thought would be fun to read and I finally snuggled up on my couch and read them. Weird Tales and Shimmer are both journals focused on publishing speculative stories that are, of course, weird, whimsical, and surprising.

Weird Tales #358

Weird Tales has a long history, having been founded in 1923 (cool, right? I'd love to read some of those really old issues). Issue #358's theme was Hell (I had no idea when I bought it, haha), so I ended up reading about renegade angels and contract-wielding demons. Although the theme wasn't my cup of tea, I enjoyed all of those stories. Another great aspect about Weird Tales is that they also publish academic / non-fiction articles too that have to do with weird or speculative tales. The articles in this issue included a study of "weird" in film and how McQueen's fashion aesthetic could be considered "weird." interesting stuff.

My favorite story from this issue had to be "A Beginner's Guide to Sandcastle Alchemy" by Nik Houser. A group of boys from a specialized school go to the beach during a storm and build sandcastles - all the with purpose of trying to attract the attention of the Mermaid Queen. However, the boys have no idea what the Mermaid Queen is really like and what they are risking by following through with their whimsical sand structures. This story gave me the chills but it was very well done.

Shimmer #14

This issue of Shimmer didn't seem to have a particular theme, but the stories were strange and wonderful. From mud creatures to eerie trash men, I was surprised by how creative and exciting each tale was. Almost every story has an illustration too, made by the artist who did the cover. Very cool.

My favorite story here is "This House was Never a Castle" by Aaron Polson about a boy and his two sisters Rosamond and Olivia (who is ghost, having been eaten by a wolf). They live in a house kind of like a nautilus in that there are many rooms with shut doors - but there's no way in or out of the house without using a bit of magic. The siblings only leave the house to get food because the world outside is a dangerous place, full of soldiers at war, wolves, and disease. The boy struggles with his desire to stay small and protected, but knowing that he has to step up one day and be a man. This story was creepy and I got attached very quickly to the boy and sisters. I want to read more about them!

3. Bake Macarons

Ever since my mom and I started baking macarons, it's become like an addiction! While the trees out back shivered in the rain, we made two new flavors: banana and lilac. They both are delicious.

A note about the lilac: we bought lilac in the hopes of coming close to a flavor like violet. It would be amazing to make violet macarons, but violet anything is expensive and hard to find. My mom and I trolled all the health food stores in the area, asking for violets, to no avail. But one shop had lilac and so we decided to take a chance on that flavor. Thank goodness - it's really good and it does taste a bit like violet.

These are the flavors we used. Left to Right: Banana for the cookie, chocolate for the whipped cream center, and lilac water for the other batch of cookies and whipped cream filling. The Watkins brand of extract is amazing! I highly recommend.

The lilac water is sweeter than rose water... I dunno, I kind of like the lilac better, haha. I wish that the food coloring had been darker - we have to play around with that some more.

4. Play with Misty

Done and Done!

5. Listen to The Midsummer Station

I love Owl City. It's a fact. frankly, the new album, The Midsummer Station, couldn't have come soon enough. I listened to it for the first time while driving to and from orientation, blowing out my eardrums because, you know, I have to turn up the volume in my car.

During the storm, this energetic, cheerful music washed away the worst of the thunder and lighting flashing outside.

This album is better than I expected; typical of any Owl City song, it's hard to choose a favorite. However, I'm singling out "Metropolis" because there's something mesmerizing about it. Every time this song comes up, I have to pause for a moment and daydream. Here's the song and part of the lyrics:

Oh oh, I can't even take it in
Oh oh, I can't even take it in
Oh oh, I left my heart in metropolis

So far apart, I checked but the coast was clear
I feel like a postcard
I wish you were here

Subway through the dark, carriage through the park
Taxi down the street, get out and use my feet
Don't matter much to me what it is that I do
As long as I'm coming home to you

Oh oh oh, as far as I can see
You're the only one, the only one who can get to me
Like a hijacked plane or a runaway train
Or a speeding bullet, there's no stopping this
I left my heart in metropolis

A thousand miles feels like a million years
Like hundreds of postcards that say 
I wish you were here (I can't even take it in)
Airplane through the sky, greyhound racing by
Dirt bike on the beach, sailboat on the sea
Don't matter much to me what it is that I do
As long as I'm coming home to you


  1. ...I saw 15 minutes of a Dr. Who episode once! I know, so impressive. I'm obsessed with British TV yet I haven't seen either of the two shows people most associate with British TV (the other being Sherlock). I'm too busy watching British children's telly from the 90s, I suppose. ;) I keep thinking I'll get around to these shows someday, though. Maybe I need a year-long hurricane...

    Since I've been a slacker, I meant to comment on your last post but I never did and I'd go back and do so now except I'm still slacking, but anyway... I definitely need to come over to your house because I want to try these scrummy macarons you've been making!!!

    Aww, is Misty your dog? I can't remember ever seeing mention of her before. She's a cutie.

    This was a very rambly comment. I think I've lost the art of leaving comments. O.O Ah, who am I kidding? I never had it. :P

    I hope you all remain safe and everything!

    1. Yay! Well, I'm not feeling too impressive myself - especially after having my mom exclaim, "Hey, I've actually seen this one before!" way too many times. I wonder where I had been when these episodes were on, haha.

      Ah, I haven't seen Sherlock either. No one's really been bugging me to watch it, so it's not much of a temptation right now (I love me some detective stories.... but yeah. This whole TARDIS thing has me glued to the screen).

      No shame! There are TOO MANY shows in the world. I'd be impressed, and really worried, if I came across someone who has seen everything.

      YES! The macarons are so amazing! You should come over :D

      That's meh dog, haha. I haven't talked about her on my blog in a while. I think I need to give Misty her own blog post really soon. She's so cute *says the proud owner*

      I love your comments! It's always a pleasure when you stop by the blog :)

  2. Oooh, this sounds like so much fun. Particularly the macarons and Midsummer Station. *is currently listening to Bombshell Blonde*

    The lilac sounds a. maz. ing. When I was younger, my mom used to buy violet candies in a hippie-kind of grocery store in Austin. I ate them all the time, and I feel like the taste is permanently stamped into my memory. So I wish I could hop down to Florida and join you in some macaron-making. Mmm... :)

    1. *Has listened to Bombshell Blonde and I'm Coming After You way too much*

      Geeeh. Yes. It's a Midsummer Station kind of semester. It'll be Midsummer even in winter (if you can call it winter here). I have no intention of switching my CD out for anything else at this point. It's been a nice, upbeat drive to school and back so far.

      Yeah, they so are! I love those violet candies. I still have some from when I visited a vintage-selling candy shop in Tarpon Springs a few weeks ago. My dad thinks they taste like soap... and maybe he's right. But I'm so glad my taste buds approve!

      Yes, come visit! I'll throw a party :D

  3. Hi Kim!

    Finally checked out your blog again after a while. Read the last few posts.

    Just want to say I always love seeing people cook and bake, and your macaroons look AMAZING. Totally gonna try that recipe.

    Also cool that you had a productive day despite being kept inside. I didn't know Weird Tales was still in production; I always knew about it from like old timey pictures and pulp and such. Gonna have to check 'em out now.

    Anyway, you're probably super busy with school, so take care!

    PS: I've definitely enjoyed the new chapters of Boys and Bees so far =D

    1. Yes, you should totally try it! You seem like quite the cook yourself, so I'm sure you can make some great macarons.

      Thanks! Yeah, school has been pretty crazy lately (well, not just school, but you know what I mean). I hope to catch up with your writing very soon :)