Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Review: Good Omens

The fact that I laughed out loud while reading this book practically every 10 pages speaks volumes of praise and recommendation. I have never laughed out loud at a book ever. I thought it was because I was immune to written jokes, but the real reason was because no author I've ever read has a comedic value that could compare to this pair's. Good Omens is so creatively written in a way I can't and don't want to explain. You have to read it for yourself--even a couple pages is enough, if you're not a book reader. Maybe you will be once you get into this one.

Title: Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Authors: Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett
Genre: Fantasy, comedy

Summary: Armageddon is nigh in a hilarious fashion, featuring a righteous angel and an Earth-loving demon who lost the Antichrist and a pair of humans trying to figure out how to stop the holy war before it begins.

Rating: 10/10
Would recommend to those who like: Implied humor, sarcasm, references upon references to other outside works, supernatural fantasy, the show Supernatural

Favorite Moments & Quotes*
*No spoilers!

1. “It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”

2. "It's Tchaikovsky's 'Another One Bites the Dust'," said Crowley, closing his eyes as they went through Slough. To while away the time as they crossed the sleeping Chilterns, they also listened to William Byrd's "We Are the Champions" and Beethoven's "I Want To Break Free." Neither were as good as Vaughan Williams's "Fat-Bottomed Girls."

3. "And on the other hand, you got people [demons] like Ligur and Hastur, who took such a dark delight in unpleasantness you might even have mistaken them for human."

4. "The color that flashes in bursts behind your eyes, behind the pain, just before you die, is infra-black."

5. "Crowley had been extremely impressed with the warranties offered by the computer industry, and had in fact sent a bundle Below to the department that drew up the Immortal Soul agreements, with a yellow memo form attached just saying: 'Learn, guys.'"

6."...Every couple months Crowley would pick out a plant that was growing too slowly, or succumbing to leaf-wilt or browning, or just didn't look quite as good as the others, and he would carry it around to all the other plants. 'Say goodbye to your friend,' he'd say to them. 'He just couldn't cut it...' ...The plants were the most luxurious, verdant, and beautiful in London. Also the most terrified."

7. "'I don't see why it's taken thousands of years to sort out.' 'That's because the people trying to sort it out were men,' said Pepper, meaningfully."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Blanket Fort a Month: Julgustemper '14

Noun. Jull-gus-TEM-bur. A pretend month combining July, August, and September, made-up by Carly and Silkworm because they were silly gooses and forgot all about their blanket fort tradition for two whole months.

We felt like we needed to make it up to our promised audience as well as ourselves. Thus, not only did we rearrange my bed to be able to make a different kind of fort than usual, but inside we worked on and finally finished the cherry on top of this month's blanket fort: a new zine called "A Guide to Building and Festooning Blanket Forts". The 16-page booklet, full of ideas and craft tutorials, is officially listed for sale at our Etsy shop. Go get one, they're $5 each.

As for the decorations, you might recognize them from past tutorial posts we've done! See how to make the star garland here and how to make a dream catcher here.

It's nice to have a fort in my room again. We missed being blanket fort dwellers.

Check out more photos of the inside of the zine on Etsy, where you can order one for yourself!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Would You Rather: Erin at The Halfway Point

Silkworm and I are launching a new guest post series on Zauberbear called "Would You Rather", wherein we're going to give each guest a Would You Rather question to answer as thoughtfully and meaningfully as they can. The whole idea is to get a deeper look at individuals and find inspiration at the bottom of their souls when they open up to pour out their answers.

This is Erin. She is a fairy-like being living in Australia who thinks a lot and blogs over at The Halfway Point about her life in all its crafty endeavors and life lessons learned. Once upon a time, she made the coolest handmade patchwork dress and now she's working on new goals to feed her mind, body, and soul. This is what we asked her:

Q: Would you rather live a casual life and die at 100 or live with a superpower and die at 35?

A: As soon as I read this question I knew what my answer was going to be, although if you’d asked me about a year back I probably would have chosen the other option. I’m going to say that I’d much rather live a casual life and die at 100 than live only 35 years with a super power.

Don’t get me wrong super powers are great. I mean flying and invisibility and whatever other super powers this world has thought up? Yes please! But there is so much more to life than what having super powers would be able to achieve. Even the best superpower isn’t going to make you more likely to find the beauty in the everyday, in fact I think it would most likely make it harder, and that’s what I believe to be one of the most important aspects of life: an ability to find beauty in the places you’ve been told there isn’t any.

As human beings we have a habit of playing down the amazing. Just stop and look around you for a few seconds. If you’re somewhere you’ve seen hundreds of times it’s probably difficult to find something truly awe inspiring in front of you, but keep looking. Now if you’re inside, look up, somewhere above you there’s most likely a light bulb. Do you look at it often? Do you absolutely lose your mind whenever you switch it on and it creates light? Probably not. But I’ll tell you what; if you were to go back a few thousand years and show that light bulb to people like the ancient Greeks they would go crazy, and I can almost guarantee it would be one of the most amazing things they had ever seen, and the ability to create glass as fine as that which encases the light bulb’s filaments? Well that would just be mind blowing. It’s things like this that prove to me how good we’ve all become at ignoring the extraordinary simply because we’re so used to it, and I’m trying a lot harder recently to stop doing this.

So what does that have to do with super powers? Everything. I think that after years of being able to fly etc. flight would lose its novelty just like everything else, and simply become a part of the every day routine that you take for granted. Our ability to walk upright on two legs doesn’t amaze us much anymore, but go back in time and it was revolutionary. People stop finding wonder in almost anything once they’ve become accustomed to it over a certain amount of time, and I doubt super powers would be any different.

But why live 100 years as we do now?

Just think about it. Think about all the things you’ve learned and experienced in your time on earth. That’s a lot of things isn’t it? Now think of all the things you’re still yet to experience or learn. That’s even more things. There’s some things that only the passing of time can truly teach you, and I’d like to make my time pass for as long as I can. If I lived only to be 35 my life would already be more than halfway over, and I know for sure that I still have a lot more learning to do that can’t possibly be crammed into the 16 years that I would have left to live, and those lessons could give me more than a super power ever could. I’d want to dedicate my 100 trips round the sun to learning and to teaching, to finding beauty and reminding myself of the wonders of a light bulb. Because when you have the ability to view life as the beautiful and magical thing that it is, simply living becomes a super power in itself.

- Erin

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Snap and Scurry

We came quietly in the morning, Silkworm on my shoulder and me holding the means of the mission in my hands. Together we tied it ever so casually on a tree branch at the start of the path and snuck away like backwards thieves. We drove away with butterflies inside us upon watching a pair of hikers approach the camera and snap a photo of their dog.

Several hours later, we returned only to pick the camera up off the ground where it must have been dropped by the wind. It had 18 exposures left, meaning--minus the photo we had taken--strangers had used up 5 exposures. We decided we didn't want to risk losing the camera after we knew it had at least a few successes on it, so we took it home then and there. A few days later, once we'd used up the rest of the film, we got the photos developed. These are the photos we found, courtesy of the strangers who were brave enough to participate.

We did end up printing doubles of the photos and taking them to the park to let whoever used the camera see what they shot and take their photo home. However, I'm thinking most of the photographers weren't frequent visitors, because we returned to the park a week later to find all but one photo still hanging on the sign where we'd left them. Next time, we'll definitely tell people to look for a hashtag on Instagram instead and let people know ahead of time what to keep looking for. We gotta get into the habit of using hashtags; we both know it's a good idea, but we keep letting it slip our minds!

This was a magnificent Mission, though. We can't wait to do it again, with a few tweaks.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September 8th's Full Moon

Silly me, thinking it was a good idea to take a magical stuffed bear camping on a full moon. Spoiler alert: it's not.

We got to enjoy the sunset--surprisingly, since we expected Silkworm to start showing symptoms of moon sickness as early as 6:00, with the peak being at 9:38 PM. The sunset was gorgeous, actually, but it was as if it was all in the moon's diabolical plans, because the delightfully hot pink sky stole our attention and ripped our guards down. Let's just say that when Silkworm started talking gibberish and I locked him in the car to keep my mom from hearing him (since she's a Non-Believer, and then I fell asleep, I wasn't necessarily ready to wake up in the middle of the night and battle the magical creature that had been released from the treasure chest Silkworm had dug up from out of the ground.

If we didn't have a guardian dragon watching out for us, we'd be the kind of toast that's so burnt, the crust turns to ashes when you poke at them. Thankfully, Raaisel was there looking out for us, though. Oh my butterfly, we owe so many lives to that dragon. I don't think we'll ever be able to repay him--especially when he keeps taking off so hastily! We never even get to say hello anymore!

And then there's the strange little bit about Silkworm's arm that sounds slightly irrelevant but it must have had something to do with our brawl with the creature. At some point last night, Silkworm lost a piece of fabric on his arm and the stuffing was exposed. He said it didn't hurt or anything. I planned to sew it back up when we got home the next day, but as it so happens, it seems to have patched itself up all by itself. Magic. It's got something for everything.