Dec 27, 2007

I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member

My dear Tracie told me I haven't written just a random post or rant in awhile. With her permission, I'll quote what she said this post could be about. "whatever you want, musings, rantings, creativeness, how great I am, do a survey, write more facts about austin, share a memory, write a funny random post, like a list of things that bug you."

So, in true Austin fashion. I'll do just that. All of the above. Etc.

But first of all, notice the new blog features. A poll at the bottom and a few links on the side. Take the time to take the poll, and you can go to the links if you like. I enjoy each immensely.

Whatever I want
Well, since I already got pretty much everything I want for Christmas, I'll skip this one for now. Other than saying that when you get everything your heart desires, you don't feel empty inside. Your stomach does the cha cha, your heart does the conga, and your lungs do the paso doble. It's a remarkable feeling.

I think it's funny that they say putting a big mirror in your living room makes the room look bigger. We have a very big mirror in ours, and no one has ever said, "Wow! This place is huge! Look, Margaret, they have a whole nother room in here! It looks just like the one we're in! What the-- How did I get in there?" Though, in all fairness, none of our friends are idiots.

If I ever have a stalker, I'm going to take a bunch of different pictures of him (or her) and leave them lying around all over my house. Then, when he (or she) breaks in, they'll see the pictures and go "What the-!? How did he get pictures of me? I feel so violated! Is that how this feels? Sheesh. I'm stopping right now." Then I'll sick my rottweiler/doberman mix attack dogs at them.

I haven't ranted in awhile. So, I'll just quote Family Guy, or rather, Dennis Miller on Family Guy.

Dennis Miller: I don't want to go on a rant, here, but America's foreign policy makes about as much sense as Beowulf making out with Robert Fulton at the first battle of Antietam.I mean when a neo-conservative defenestrates it's like Raskolnikov filibuster deoxymonohydroxinate...
[Peter is watching this on TV]
Peter: What the hell does rant mean?

Well, the only creativeness I've done lately revolves around my slowly progressing novel, so, here's an excerpt.

The kingdom of Kotas was the pride of the citizens from the lowliest peasant to the richest lord, the green kingdom was loved by all. The good king Eckred’s throne room was always a busy place, except for the king. Eckred believed his people were too important for him to deliberate about in a palace, so he was often among his own people, whether helping a local farmer sow crop, mediate a dispute among his barons, or fighting in his armies to push back invaders and encroachers. We’ll learn more about him (and even meet him!) later, but our scene takes place in the throne room with Talia.

The long bearded but perpetually sweaty Steward of Kotas, Piffle (yes, that was his real name) took it upon himself to act in what way he felt the king would, and spent his days in the polished halls of Kotas Castle trying to interact with the populace the best he could. This particular day, Piffle spent most of his time meeting adventurers and fortune seekers, who Piffle found to be at best insane for going on so many deadly expeditions simply for wealth, or “adventure” though he did so enjoy to hear them tell of their exploits, and admittedly slightly guilty in rewarding a bit more richly those that had more interesting or deadly sounding adventures than even those whose adventures benefited the crown more.

The beautiful cinnamon haired Talia (it may sound like a silly comparison, but Talia’s hair truly looked like cinnamon) was a regular in the halls, as her devotion to the kingdom (and her skill as an adventurer) rivaled none.

A rather short (even for an elf) elf with pompous looking robes had finished his tale and collected his prize walked out of the throne room carrying a large back jingling with gold, as he passed Talia he gave her a rather lewd look, and remarked, “Good luck, he’s in a mood today.” Talia was not surprised, Piffle the steward was always in some kind of mood. Though she was more annoyed att his elf's brazen leer, she would teach the little elf a big lesson, were she not next to speak with Piffle.

The throne room of castle Kotas was said to be the most beautiful and expensive room in the castle, if not the entire kingdom. The floors were black marble, polished so as to sparkle like clear undisturbed water at midnight. The walls were filled with alcoves holding some of the great and significant treasures of Kotas: The diamond sword bestowed upon the first king, Dromind, the golden armor of his son Hanpol, in which he slayed the fearsome firey dragon Xul’raxxamagretaconachofinkobinkozimmyzummygummyslat, the mystical ivory musical box of princess Dumi, which no one had ever opened. (Of course, no one had ever tried). Talia, washed up and looking her best, approached the sweaty steward, and prepared herself for the formal speech of archaic Kotasi, which she somehow spoke and Piffle was quite fond of using.

“Greetingseth, nobleth Stewardeth ofeth Kotas. Eth. I haveth cometh toeth announceth thateth I eth haveth defeatedeth the Blackmasketh campeth thateth hadeth stoleneth the eth kingeth’s treasureth. Manyeth are deadeth, the eth otherseth areth noweth ineth prisoneth.”

“Dear Talia, there be no great need to speak in the old tongue here. Middle speech will suffice. What is it you want?”

Talia sighed. She hated middle speech worse than old speech. The middle speech of Kotas consisted of arguing back and forth with shows of humility, sometimes for hours, about how undeserving each party is, until they reached a proper settlement.

“Well, you saideth I mean said I would be rewarded, but service to the king is my greatest reward.”

“Oh, Talia, no. For you have done our kingdom proud, and the king thanks you. But please, you are so deserving of the treasure you have collected, I implore you to take it.”

“Nay, kind steward. I have brought traitors and heathens to justice, and one in service of the crown cannot ask for more.”

“But Talia. The king has little need of this treasure…”

They went on like this for quite awhile until she walked out with her treasure, though she insisted half of it go to the poor and needy, and she would be shocked if the steward didn’t take his share.

“Before she left, the steward’s apprentice, the Vice Steward approached her and said, “Come back tomorrow. There is a quest that King Eckred has for you, and you alone. One of much importance and prestige.”

Talia thanked him, promised she would return, and walked through Kotas at dusk to her abode. The sun painted the buildings purple and orange, and, though she had seen it hundreds of times, Talia marveled at the beauty of the city.

Talia spent that night in her home, or hovel is more like it. While she enjoyed the adventurer’s life, Kotas was the center of civilization, and she liked having a place to call her own, at least when she was in town.

To call Talia’s home modest was an understatement. There were holes in the roof, it was terribly dusty since she spent less than a night a month there, and it was terrible small; more of a room than a house. But it was hers. Talia smiled to herself as she surrendered to her night’s sleep, thinking of the silly bureaucracies and double talk they have to put up with just to do her job, and she wondered what tomorrow would bring.

How great I am
Tracie is so great. Great great great. She's great. My wife is really the best.

Do a survey
Do I like Beans?
Do I like George Wendt? George Wendt? What has he done since Cheers? Anything?
Would I like to see a movie with George Wendt eating beans? Not particularly.
How about Beans eating George Wendt? Now that's just silly. Of course!

Write more facts about Austin
Austin likes bubble baths.
Austin loves Tracie's new black bean chicken burritos
Austin wishes he was ambidextrous just so he could use that word in his everyday speech more often.

Share a memory
I was supposed to do the laundry at lunch today. I forgot.

Write a random funny post

Write a list of things that bug you

My thanks to the writers of Scrubs for giving me Dr. Cox's rant that I will paraphrase for my own evil purposes.

I suppose I could riff a list of things that bug me. Let's see... low carb diets, Michael Moore, the Democratic National Convention, Kabbalah & all Kabbalah-related products, Hi-Def TV, the Bush daughters, wireless hotspots, the OC, the UN, recycling, getting Punk'd, Danny Gans, the Latin Grammys, the real Grammys, Jeff that Wiggle that sleeps too darn much, the Yankees payroll, Rosie O'Donnell, Barbara Walters for letting her on the View then firing her, the View, every hybrid car, people that say we don't know what it was like in Vietnam who have never been to Vietnam, people who badmouth our president, people that don't badmouth the president, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, the state of cartoons today, taking out the garbage, having a metal leg, Cholera, Dr. Elmo, Michael Vick, war, people who "get" Andy Kaufman, Andy Kaufman.

That's about all I can think of for now.

Dec 26, 2007

What a haul!

Oh the weather outside is frightful! But the gifts are so delightful! And since we've no place to go: Let it flow let it flow let it flow!

Instead of just pasting some cool facts about Christmas (since my mistletoe post was SO well received) I'll write about my Christmas haul. Because THAT'S what you came here to read about: What AUSTIN got this Christmas!

Makes one all warm and tingly.

OMFG! (that's Oh My Fetching Goodness! for those of you who are curious) I haven't been this spoiled since I was a kid! And it feels good. I must thank all those people who gave me presents. Tracie, Mom, Dad, Alex, Andrew, Tyler, Cheryl, Tyson, Alan, Kris, Nana and Grandpa and Nana and Grandpa, and Santa. We got lots of great stuff. Among these were a: iPod(!), marble, 7 seasons of shows, (Friends 8&9, Sliders 1&2, Lois & Clark 4, Animaniacs 1, Scrubs 4), 3 video games for our Nintendo DS (Jam Sessions, Brain Age 2, Drawn to Life), 4-in 1 grill and griddle, 3 Cary Grant Movies (Bringing up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, Arsenic and Old Lace), 2 Tolkien books illustrated by Alan Lee (the Children of Hurin, and some book called "Hobbit"), candy candy candy, i got a fog free mirror for admiring myself i mean shaving in the shower, Tracie appealed to my nostalgic inner child and bought me 2 of my favorite G.I. Joes (Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes), the Alchemist (the book by Coelho, not an actual Alchemist. that's for next year), the Complete Collection of Calvin & Hobbes, The Austin Powers Trilogy, Stardust, and MORE! (Some of those were things for Tracie, but I love them too).

I'm greedy, I know, but like Tracie said, everyone deserves some spoilage.

Merry Materialmas! I mean Christmas! I miss my family very much this time of year, but I enjoyed spending Christmas McNeil style. That is, great food, lots of laughing, family bonding, karaoke, and getting my butt kicked at Halo 3.

It was also great to see the California McNeils, Maddie and Eric and their parents, Troy and Jen. They're growing up and getting cuter by the day! (Maddie and Eric, that is. Troy and Jen maintain roughly the same levels of cuteness)

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas, and will have a happy new year!

Dec 18, 2007

The origin of Mistletoe

This is from

Few realize that mistletoe's botanical story earns it the classification of "parasite."

When the Christmas decorations come down, mistletoe fades from our minds for another year, receding into the mists of mythology, rituals and enigma. Particularly in regions where the plant is not native (or is rare), most people do not even realize that mistletoe does not grow on the ground, but rather on trees as a parasitic shrub. That's right: as unromantic as it sounds, kissing under the mistletoe means embracing under a parasite....

The variety common in Europe was imbued with religious significance by its ancient denizens. We find the source of "kissing under the mistletoe" in Celtic rituals and Norse mythology. In Gaul, the land of the Celts, for instance, the Druids considered it a sacred plant. It was believed to have medicinal qualities and mysterious supernatural powers.

This ancient Scandinavian tradition comes from the myth of Baldur.

Baldur's death and resurrection is one of the most fascinating Norse myths and stands at the beginning of the history of mistletoe as a "kissing" plant.

Baldur's mother was the Norse goddess, Frigga. When Baldur was born, Frigga made each and every plant, animal and inanimate object promise not to harm Baldur. But Frigga overlooked the mistletoe plant -- and the mischievous god of the Norse myths, Loki, took advantage of this oversight. Ever the prankster, Loki tricked one of the other gods into killing Baldur with an arrow fashioned from mistletoe. The demise of Baldur, a vegetation deity in the Norse myths, brought winter into the world, although the gods did eventually restore Baldur to life. After which Frigga pronounced the mistletoe sacred, ordering that from now on it should bring love rather than death into the world. Happily complying with Frigga's wishes, any two people passing under the plant from now on would celebrate Baldur's resurrection by kissing under the mistletoe.

It goes without saying that, if we were to peel off the layers of custom and myth surrounding "kissing under the mistletoe," we would find ourselves in the midst of ancient erotica. Mistletoe has long been regarded as an aphrodisiac and fertility herb.

THE NAME MISTLETOE: Crap on a stick

The word originated from the perception in pre-scientific Europe that mistletoe plants burst forth -- as if by magic -- from the excrement of the "mistel" (or "missel") thrush. According to Sara Williams, "It was observed in ancient times that mistletoe would often appear on a branch or twig where birds had left droppings.

'Mistel' is the Anglo-Saxon word for 'dung,' and 'tan' is the word for 'twig'. So, mistletoe means 'dung-on-a-twig'." Not exactly a word origin in keeping with the romantic reputation of mistletoe plants!

A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice.


I've made an interesting discovery: even though I've got all my Christmas shopping done, (I had it done last week) I still have to shop. I still have to deal with the crowds and long lines. But, I don't have to deal with the stress. I can smugly look down on all those that haven't bought their presents yet, and claim that I know the true meaning of Christmas, i.e. shopping early.

No, no. That's not right. I'll talk about the true meaning of Christmas later.

This Christmas I think I've looked forward to more than any Christmas since I was still under the magic of believing in Santa. Why? Well, sadly, the reason is pure materialism. I'm really excited to give my wife so many things I know she wants. But I'm MORE excited I'm going to get so many things I want. Yes, yes. I know. I'm a horrible person. But, in one week, I'll be a horrible person with a lot more STUFF!

Why is it that we feel so much joy in receiving? I mean, I know we receive joy in giving, because it makes you less selfish, you're able to make others happy. But still, we can't deny the pleasure of opening a gift from someone else and going "Wow! This is now mine! thank you so much!" I know it's not typical holiday behavior to address the joy of acquisition, but it's still there. We still feel happy seeing presents under the tree with our own names on the "To:" column. Don't we? Is it simple selfishness that makes us feel good receiving?

I don't know. All I know is I'm getting lots of presents! (I'm giving lots too)

Now that you know what a horrible person I am, let me move on.

Well, the semester is over, and I didn't humiliate myself too much. In fact, I did well. I think I'm ending with an A in Student Success (aptly) and a low B or high C in Math (depending on how understanding and nice my professor is, and how I did on my final). That brings me to NEXT SEMESTER!!!

We already know I'm taking English Writing 101 again, as SVC credits (now known as SVU credits) aren't acknowledged by UVSC, (soon to be known as UVU). Oh well. (Soon to be known as DANG IT!) I'm also taking Art History again, which I'm excited about, and I'm taking Geology. That's right. Rocks. There's a whole class devoted to rocks. It fills my Physical Science requirement, plus, now if I'm ever at a party and someone says "Who knows the difference between Igneous and Metamorphic?" I can say something besides "Well, metamorphic is the hidden ability held by all the Power Rangers, (in addition to marketing marvels), and Igneous is one of the bad guys they had to defeat with their Zords." I'm looking forward to all three, though I'm looking more forward to the more advanced and therefore more interesting classes they are prerequisites for.

Work is still work, though it's barely that at times.

I really miss my family, and am heartbroken that I don't get to see them this year. I don't think I saw them at ALL this year, except at the beginning, when we were in Texas for New Year's. I am really looking forward to seeing them again, though, as 1 year is much too much too long for a self-proclaimed Mama's boy such as myself to be away from his Mama. (And Dada, and brothers.)

The true meaning of Christmas isn't family. It isn't traditions, (many of which have a base in Pagan beliefs). It isn't gifts, giving or receiving (contrary to what I say), it isn't decorations, peace, or goodwill to men.
The true meaning of Christmas is that we celebrate an event, the second most important event in the history of the world, and the history of God's children. Approximately 2007 years ago, in a stable in David's city, a child was born that made it possible for each of us to return to God's presence. Though his birth was humble, angels sang Alleluia!, something that had been promised since before the Garden of Eden was finally coming. The Savior and Redeemer of the world, Christ Jesus was born of Mary in Bethlehem.

Merry Christmas to all!

Dec 12, 2007

The Twelve Days of Christmas Fun! (Ok, actually there are 13 left) And not so much fun.

We all know the song, right?
I'll sing the abridged part.

On the First Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
A Partridge in a pear tree.
On the Second Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
Two turtle doves etc.
On the Third Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
Three French Hens etc.
On the Fourth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
Four Calling Birds etc.
On the Fifth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
Five Golden Rings etc.
On the Sixth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
Six Geese a laying etc.
On the Seventh Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
Seven Swans a swimming etc.
On the Eighth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
Eight maids a milking etc.
On the Ninth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
Nine Ladies dancing etc.
On the Tenth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
Ten Lords a leaping etc.
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping. etc.
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:
Twelve Drummers Drumming etc.

I did this once in Elementary school. If you add them all up, that makes for 12 Partridges in Pear trees. 22 Turtle Doves. 30 French Hens. 36 Calling Birds. 40 Golden Rings. 42 Geese a laying, 42 Swans a swimming, 40 maids a milking, 36 ladies dancing, 30 lords a leaping, 22 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming. Final Total: 364.

Here are my questions: First of all, over 12 days, your "True Love" gave you 364 things of poultry, people, and golden rings. What did you give them? Next, what exactly do you mean your true love gave you 40 maids a milking, 36 ladies dancing, 30 lords a leaping, 22 pipers piping, and 12 drummers drumming? Is your true love a slave dealer, just giving you 140 people? And if so, what do you plan to do with them after the 12 days? Regift the lords & ladies? Keep a few of the maids and pipers for yourself when you get lonely? And when you get the 42 swans a swimming, what exactly are they swimming in when they're given? Did you get 42 ponds as well?

Those of you who think this is a rant, you're right. But here's another song that cracks me up about the infamous 12 days of doom.

The Twelve Days AFTER Christmas
By Frederick Silver and shared by surfer Jennifer H.

The first day after Christmas, my true love and I had a fight
And so I chopped the pear tree down and burned it just for spite
Then with a single cartridge, I shot that blasted partirdge
my true love, my true love, my true love gave to me

The second day after Christmas, I pulled on the old rubber gloves
and very gently wrung the necks of both the turtle doves
My true love, my true love, my true love gave to me

The third day after Christmas, my Mother caught the croup
I had to use the three French Hens to make some chicken soup
The four calling birds were a big mistake for their language was obscene
The five golden rings were completely fake and they turned my fingers green

The sixth day after Christmas, the six laying geese wouldn't lay
I gave the whole darn gaggle to the A.S.P.C.A
On the seventh day, what a mess I found
all seven of the swimming swans had drowned
My true love, my true love, my true love gave to me

The eighth day after Christmas, before they could suspect
I bundled up the eight maids a milking, nine pipers piping, ten ladies dancing, eleven lords a leaping, twelve drummers drumming (Spoken: "Well, actually, I kept ONE of the drummers" ) and sent them back collect
I wrote my true love, " We are through, love! "
And I said in so many words,
" Furthermore your Christmas gifts were for the birds! "

Merry Christmas to all!

Dec 7, 2007

Austin's Top Ten Christmas Movies!

You love them. I love them. It's not Christmas without them! Here's my top ten picks for Christmas movies Countdown!!!

10. Mickey's Christmas Carol
This was chosen for three reasons: 1) It's fun to see your favorite Disney characters playing a different role than themselves. 2) We had this movie when I was younger, and so I watched it alot. 3) It (to my knowledge) introduced Scrooge McDuck, one of my favorite Disney characters, to the western world!

9. It's a Wonderful Life
I didn't want to put this movie on my list. I really didn't. But, this is a Christmas movie list, and it's the law to include it. Not that I don't think it's not a superb movie (I do think it's a superb movie) I just think of it more as a "this is a good movie that happens at Christmas" rather than "this is a good Christmas movie."

8. Ernest Saves Christmas
It was either this or Frosty the Snowman, and, when I was young, believe it or not, Ernest was cool. I loved this movie, as Jim Varney's Ernest was just such a great big hearted gomer, he had the spirit of Christmas thing to a T. Know what I mean, Vern?

7. Scrooged
Even as a kid, Bill Murray's humor killed me. Even when I didn't get it. I especially loved the scene when he's talking to the Ghost of Christmas Future in the Elevator. "Did our people do that?"

6. The Santa Clause
You can't go wrong with this new Holiday Classic. And you're not American if you don't like Tim Allen. Tim turned out a great performance that everyone enjoys, and looks remarkably like Santa when the time finally comes.

5. Muppet Christmas Carol
Yes, this is the third, and yes, this is the last Christmas Carol adaptation in my list. Any movie with Michael Caine is not only worth the cost of admission (or owning the movie) but you're certain to get a return on your investment. The same can be doubly said for the Muppets. It's the fact that Gonzo, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie, Rolf, Sam the Eagle and friends are in this movie is what makes it my favorite adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic. (Any movie with the Muppets is my favorite. Muppet Treasure Island is my favorite Treasure Island Movie. The Great Muppet Caper is my, um, favorite... Great... Caper... movie.)

4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
That's right. The 1964 Claymation masterpiece. The movie that reached new technological levels of cheesiness. The songs. Sing along! "Silver and gold! Silver and gold! How do you measure its worth?" "Why am I such a mis-fit? I am not just a nit-wit! You can't fire me, I quit!" "We're on the island of misfit toys! How would you like to be a cowboy who rides an ostrich? Or a water gun that squirts jelly?" Ah, memories. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is like fruitcake. No one admits to liking it, but without it, it just ain't Christmas. "She said I'm

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated version)
We're down the final stretch now. Even the song "Fa-hoo-dor-ay" can't ruin this movie. What makes this one of my favorite holiday classics isn't the Grinch's superb voice, done by the monster man himself Boris Karloff, it isn't even the Grinch's sneer when he gets a "wonderful, awful idea" or the cute dog Max. What I love about it is that for the entire movie, you side with the Grinch. Those Who's in Who-Ville are annoying! Take their roast beast! Then, when he discovers the true meaning of Christmas, you discover it too! (Not really, I was kind of let down when he didn't ruin their Christmas.) Great movie.

2. Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown
Besides having one of the best dance numbers of ANY movie (Ammon knows what I'm talking about) this is the only Christmas movie that I can think of that actually quotes the Bible and tells the Nativity Story. Lot's of movies have Christmas, but this one actually brings up the first part of Christmas, minus the -mas. Plus, there's the horrible little Charlie Brown tree that only needs to be loved. A++

1. A Christmas Story
Well, what did you expect? While I could list the classic scenes of this movie (Ho, ho, ho! You'll shoot your eye out! Oh, no, it's OLD BLUE! Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra ra! Flick getting his tongue stuck to the Flag pole. Show me how the piggies eat! The battle of the Leg Lamp. Frah-Gee-Lay! Be Sure to Drink Your Ovaltine! He looks like a pink nightmare!) I'm not going to. It would take too long, one might as well watch the movie. A Christmas Story shows the importance and magic of Christmas in the eyes of a child better than any movie ever made. Period.

Thanks for reading my top ten favorite Christmas movies, sure to warm you up better than the best cup of cocoa!

Dec 5, 2007

Christmas, glorious Christmas! Around which the entire kid year revolved.

It's Christmas! Hooray for Christmas! I've been looking at Christmas quotes online, it seems there are a lot of too bitter people talking about Christmas. But I ain't one of them! Here's a funny quote, followed by a sentimental quote.

"I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas, with a note on it saying 'toys not included.'"
-Bernard Manning

“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”

-Oren Arnold

Seriously, kids. You know what I'm talking about. The joy of giving. The joys of receiving. The beauty of the first snowfall. The traffic to and inside the stores. Generosity of spirit. Selfishness when picking out presents. The overabundance of materialism. The magic of Santa. The smells of cookies and goodies baking. All the lights and decorations of Christmas. The time spent with family. Holiday Traditions. The time we celebrate the birth of our Redeemer. Christmas has it all.

Merry Christmas, and God bless us, every one!

I'm particularly grateful I have nearly all of my Christmas shopping done, so I can just enjoy the holiday and feeling of giving, not the stress of not giving. We bought our first Christmas tree, a beautiful very fake tree at a beautiful very reasonable price, especially since it came with lights on it. Even though our other decorations are sparse (the tree has 3 ornaments on it at the moment) having a tree with lights in the living room makes it Christmastime.

So long, NaNoWriMo! Yes, November is indeed over, as is my attempt at 50,000 words in a month. Final tally: 18,961. I've been stuck quite literally in a pit, with a case of writer's block. But, I finally have it now, and so the NoWriMoDe (novel writing month of december) should go better. I'm hoping to add another 20,000 words or so to my count before 2008.

As the year draws to a close, that means the semester will soon be over. I am sad, as I enjoyed both of my classes immensely, and will miss the instructors. But, I'm also looking forward to next semester. I plan on taking 9 credits, or 3 classes, though I'm having trouble deciding what third class to take. There are surprisingly very few classes being offered at 9 am. Right now, I'm finishing Student Success: Becoming a Master Student, and Math 1030 Quantitative Reasoning. Basically, the required math course for Liberal Art majors. I enjoyed it, as, with exception to logarithms, it contained a lot of information and math I may actually use in my life! I'm currently enrolled in English 101 Honors, the basic writing class for kids smart enough to be in Honors, and smarter enough to go to UVSC. ;) I'm also taking Art History, from the Renaissance to present, and debating on taking an art or computer class, or take one of my science GEs. The Science will probably win, as most art classes are all full. I'll keep you updated.

And that's about it, not too much interesting or wild & crazy stuff happening. Just the regular Austin Barrel o' fun!

Until next time, eat all your vegetables, clean up after yourself, listen to your parents, remember who you are, make good choices, and always, always, read my blog!