Have a Happy (and spooky) Halloween, everyone!

I've always loved musicals. Growing up on Disney probably taught me that people suddenly bursting into song and dance was something normal and expected in life. Ah, the lies of childhood. My first and strongest, non-Disney love was Singin' in the Rain. Why? It's funny! When I was younger I watched it for Donald O'Connor's slapstick (especially Make 'Em Laugh!) but now I've fallen into the cult of the induring hotness of Gene Kelly. There's so many male stars that would never be able to get a job in Hollywood now, but I would line up to see a new Gene Kelly film! Provided, that there was plenty of singing and dancing of course!

That said it's probably obvious why I love the TV show Glee so much. There's singing(!), dancing(!), and enough of a plot to keep the spaces between the singing and dancing interesting. Plus Sue Sylvester (played by Jane Lynch) is hilarious. That woman needs to win an Emmy or five. She gets all of the best lines and she delivers them with such conviction that makes even the most rediculous things sound normal.

"I'm all about empowerment. I empower my cherrios to live in a 
constant state of fear by creating an environment of irrational random terror."

Considering that I didn't have an iTunes account before I discovered this show (I had to buy the soundtrack! They made me do it!) and that I'm currently obsessively watching the clock until the Roommate comes home (she may murder me if I watch this week's episode without her... Only 4 more hours to wait....) I can safely say that this is the only show I've been this crazy for in years. Mad Men? I would pass up the hotness of Don Draper for silly singing and dancing. Heroes? Sorry Hiro, you've been replaced in my geeky heart. Glee is a show that gives me warm fuzzies from head to toe. It's completely unrealistic, unabashidly non-PC at times, and a little plot-weak at times, but I dare you to watch this show and not have a grin on your face after watching these guys sing 'Don't Stop Believeing.'

Glee Don't Stop Believin' from eliazar rodriguez on Vimeo.

And here's my personal favorite song, a mash-up of 'It's my Life' and 'Confessions' which was the reason I got an iTunes account in the first place!

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(Today's primary source is Myths of the Norseman by H.A. Guerber, as well as the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson translated by Jean Young. Today's picture was drawn by John Bauer and was found via Wikipedia.)

Who: Loki the Trickster god, father of monsters, Prince of Lies.

What: Personification of fire, especially fire that is underground. The reason why there are earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, geysers, hot springs, etc.

One of the major reasons why I am so drawn to the Norse myths is that, like Christianity, the myths define a clear past, present, and future. The mythic past is where the world was created, where the gods rose to power, and where they had most of their adventures. The mythic present is now and forever until the mythic future comes. It is at the end of the mythic past and for the entirety of the mythic future that Loki takes center stage.

Loki is probably the most difficult to describe of all the Norse gods. This is likely because he doesn’t seem to fit into European traditions of myths at all. With his tendency to create problems for the gods, but to always have the gods come out ahead, he more closely resembles the Trickster figure from some Native American and African traditions then anything else. At the same time, the Loki found in the mythic present/future closely resembles Lucifer from Judeo-Christian traditions. They’re both unabashedly evil and out to destroy all of mankind.

Yet it didn’t start out that way. Shortly after the world was made, Odin and Loki met and the two became sworn blood brothers for reasons left unexplained. It is very likely that this oath was made in an attempt by Odin to prevent Ragnarok. This attempt would ultimately fail, but for the moment Loki was on the god’s side. To commemorate their oath, Loki gave mankind the blood within their veins and instilled in us our passions and hot-headedness. Loki then moved into Asgard with the rest of our cast and fell into a pattern of annoying the hell out of everyone and escaping their wrath by the skin of his teeth.

Loki had at least eight children, but the most famous of these would be Sleipnir, Hel, Fenrir, and the Midgard serpent. Sleipnir was an eight legged horse which became Odin’s steed, actually born by Loki while he was in the form of a mare. Hel, Fenrir, and the Midgard serpent were all mothered by Angrboda, one of Loki’s wives. Loki had been hiding these three children when they were discovered by Odin and the others and deemed too dangerous to be allowed to be free. The Midgard serpent was cast into the sea, presumably so it would drown, but the monster grew to an enormous size until it encircled the world, coming around to bite its own tail. Fenrir, a giant wolf, was briefly kept as a pet by the war god Tyr, but we’ll get to that when we get to him. Hel, one of Loki’s only female children who was half beautiful woman and half rotting corpse, was cast into Niflheim, the underworld, where she was made the ruler of all who died of illness or old age. There’s no reaction given by Loki telling what he thought of the treatment of his children, but as he initially tried to hide them from the gods it’s likely that he wasn’t too happy about it.

There are plenty of ‘Loki annoys the gods’ stories, but I have to tell you one that shows that the gods usually always benefitted from Loki’s tendencies.

Sif, Thor’s wife, was well known for her beautiful golden hair which she prized highly. Yet, one morning the couple awoke to find that Sif had been shaved bald! Thor was outraged and swore to punish the one who had done this to his beloved and marched right over to Loki who saw him coming and fled. Unfortunately for him, Thor managed to catch him and began strangling the other man to death. Loki managed to get free and began to beg forgiveness from the more powerful god, promising that he would bring Sif a new head of hair, one made out of pure gold that would have the ability to grow like real hair. Thor thought this over and agreed that such a gift would be excellent penance and let Loki go.

Loki immediately ran to Svart-alfa-heim, the home of the dwarves and dark elves, and begged Dvalin, a dwarf, to help him make the hair as well as gifts for Odin and Freyr. (Remember from my article on Odin, that Odin, Thor, and Freyr were worshipped as a triple god.) Dvalin agreed, and created the spear Gungnir, a spear which never missed it’s mark, for Odin, the ship Skidbladnir, a ship which could sail the air and sea as well as be folded up to fit in your pocket, for Freyr, and Sif’s hair. Overjoyed with the gifts, Loki declared that Dvalin’s son Ivald was the greatest smith known. The dwarf Brokkr overheard the god’s praise and declared that his brother Sindri was an even more skilled smith and would be able to create items of greater worth and magical power. Thinking that this would be an easy way to get more treasures, Loki challenged Sindri’s skill, wagering his head for Brokkr’s that the dwarf couldn’t create the better items.

Sindri accepted the bet and with Brokkr manning the bellows, set to work. Loki then had a moment of doubt. He was rather attached to his head and didn’t want to risk losing it in a bet so he decided to try and sabotage the dwarves. Turning himself into a gadfly he stung Brokkr’s hand, hoping that this would cause the dwarf to falter and stop pumping the bellows. It didn’t, and Sindri produced his first item the boar Gullinbursti, which radiated light from its golden bristles and could run through the sky, for Freyr. He then got to work on his second treasure.

Loki, seeing the wondrous boar, got a little more nervous about the bet. Turning himself into a gadfly again he flew over and stung Brokkr on the cheek. Yet, the dwarf still didn’t falter and Sindri removed his second treasure from the flames. It was the arm ring Draupnir, an emblem of fertility which would drop eight rings every ninth night, which was for Odin. By now Loki was a little desperate so when the dwarves started on the third treasure Loki stung Brokkr over the eyes, drawing so much blood that he had to pause in order to wipe his brow. This managed to damage the third treasure, the hammer Mjollnir which always returned to its owner’s hand, by causing the handle to be too short. Despite this, Brokkr and Sindri knew that their gifts were the best so they went to Asgard with Loki to present them to the gods.

Despite the usefulness of the ship and spear and the loveliness of Sif’s new hair, the gods declared Brokkr the winner as Mjollnir, in Thor’s hands, would be an invaluable weapon against the giants. Realizing his head was forfeit, Loki attempted to flee again, but was brought back by Thor. Thor gave Loki to Brokkr, but forbade the dwarf from actually taking his head. Unable to claim his full vengeance, Brokkr decided that the next best punishment would be to sew Loki’s lips shut which he promptly did. Loki meekly accepted his punishment until he got sick of tolerating the god’s gibes in silence and got the stitches taken out. But the gods were able to keep their wonderful treasures, many of which would be very useful in the myths to come.

Pip and the Roommate

Try to tell me that this is not the cutest little kitty in the world. What's that? You can't? Told ya. Cutest kitty in the world!!

Meet Pip, the newest addition to my household as he cuddles with the Rommate. He's snuggly, soft, incredibly gentle, and does the most hilarious butt waggling maneuver when he kneads his bed or somebody's lap. He's also the new mortal enemy of Jade who thinks that the Roommate and I should be shot for even thinking of bringing a second kitty home. I can't wait until the two of them start getting along!!

Jade who refused to be seen with THAT other cat
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The Bad: Monday, while the Roommate and I were driving to school, the brakes to my car went out.

The Good: We weren't going downhill yet. If we had been there would have been some serious trouble as the hill that the Roommate and I live on is very steep. I honestly don't know what I would have done if the brakes had gone after we'd made the turn to go downhill. The only things I can think of trying seem suicidal at best and probably would have ended up damaging the car and injuring the Roommate and I. Seriously, what do you do when gravity is pulling you downhill and there are no brakes? The best thing I can think of is riding the shoulder and trying to pull into a flat side street and, if that failed, hitting a light pole.

The Bad: After getting the car to the side of the road, walking home, finding a tow company, calling the tow truck, and walking back to the car, I was hopelessly late for school and missed my first class.

The Good: The Roommate's first class started at 9AM (my first class was at 8) and the very, VERY nice man at the repair shop forced an underling to take us to school in time for her to make it.

The Bad: Monday and Tuesday the Roommate and I had to walk home. (We took a cab in the mornings... Our excuse was the cost was worth it if we got that extra 30 minutes of sleep.) Monday and Tuesday was also quite cold and damp. Which meant that Tuesday during an Economics exam I started feeling like hell and the feeling only increased during the day.

The Worse: When I picked the car up from the shop Wednesday afternoon, all I could think about was naps. The bill ended up being a little more then I could afford which means budget cuts are in my future (hello ramen noodles three meals a day!) and, worst of all, I found out that I really would have been screwed if the brakes had died while I was going downhill as the parking brake was also dead. How, I don't know. I'm not a car person. All I know is that every brake in my car was dead and I don't even have a past dark enough to claim that someone was trying to kill me!

The Even Worse: Thursday I woke up dead. Or at least I felt dead. The Roommate was forced to drive herself into school as I spent the day in bed wishing that Terry Pratchett's Death would hurry and show up to put me out of my misery. Lordy Lou, even my skin ached.

The (sort-of) Good: Between naps I got pretty close to beating the Professor Layton and the Curious Village game. Apparently illness makes me better at tricky logic puzzles. Go figure. Also, today I woke up and felt not-dead enough to come to school. Where I'm now sniffling loudly and using a public computer. Take that, school anti-illness propaganda!

The Better: I found a new, wonderful, online comic yesterday! It was the only thing that made me laugh hard enough to keel over in a coughing fit, but still be worth it! Check it out, I command ye! 2D Goggles

The News That Makes this Entire Week Worth It: Today I'm supposed to be bringing home my new kitty! The animal shelter has deemed him healthy enough to be released and I'm bringing him home after classes today! The Roommate and I are planning on naming him Pip and I'm SO excited!
Saturday, October 10, 2009

7:06 AM
The cat was kneeding in between my shoulders, meowing, when I awoke. This was a sign, a message saying "feed me before I go to Stage Two." Long personal experience has taught me that Stage Two means extended claws, louder meowing, and the occasional 'affectionate' nip, so I did what any reasonable person did. I got up, shooed the cat into the hallway, closed the bedroom door, and went back to sleep. Bliss.

9:56 AM
I awoke once more, the sounds of the Roommate moving about waking me. It's important to get to the bathroom before the Roommate as her morning rituals tend to take over an hour on cold mornings. And today was a cold morning. Fumbling wildly for my glasses, I scooted out the door, and darted into the bathroom. Bleary eyed, I made some show of waking up and exited. The cat was already there to trip me up as I stumbled down the stairs. We reached the bottom. I glanced up. I screamed.The Roommate came running. She looked and gave a shout of anguish as well. At just 10 AM, our day was ruined without hope of redemption.

The cause? Snow.

Yes, snow.

Dammit! It usually doesn't snow until just before Halloween! This is two weeks early!!!

Exams + Homework + Cold = No time for blog. Sorry.

But here's a hilarious video that Kate made me watch. I laughed until I cried.

Fry finds 'funniest ever' mating ritual

Thank you BBC News! I really needed that laugh!