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Greetings From Harrogate...
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Buddha Cat
Topic: Stream of Consciousness

This image came from a website recommended to me by a lady in my book club. (Click on the above link to view the photo at the website. From there you can navigate the rest of the site.) Apparently it's somewhat of a hobby for people to make these icons, which are cute cat photos with funny, grammatcally incorrect phrases. (See Wikipedia for more. For some reason, this particular image caught my attention. I find it IS incredibly peaceful, and for whatever reason, I get a sense of peace whenever I look at it. I had to share, so here it is.

Posted by hkvlayman at 5:23 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007 10:43 PM BST
Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Losing Things or, Errant Earring Back
Topic: Stream of Consciousness

I hate losing things. It's a Serious Pet Peeve of mine. Yesterday I wanted to wear a specific pair of earrings. After putting one in, I realized I couldn't find the back to the other. After looking around for a few minutes, it hit me I knew exactly where it was.

A few days ago I was vacuuming in my bedroom right by my dresser, when I heard something large and hard get sucked up. Didn't give it much thought at the time.


The earring back was somewhere in the morass within the vacuum cleaner bag.

I decided not to wear any earrings and went about my day.

Last night I actually dreamt of looking in the underside of the vacuum cleaner for that earring back. I don't remember if I found it or not, but oddly I did see the longer screws that I need to fix Ryan's closet. Weird. Anyhow, this morning I actually opened up the vacuum cleaner and took the very full bag out, and looked inside. It wasn't  at all realistic to think I'd actually find the earring back, but I had to at least look.

While peering into a grey-brown blob of cat hair, cat litter, lint, dust, and all those other wonderful things that wind up in a vacuum cleaner bag, the thought actually crossed my mind of opening up the bag, and sorting through it a la CSI.

Did I mention how much losing things Bothers me?

I realized that would be pretty gross, and probably a waste of time and effort. So with a sigh, I sealed the bag and put it in the trash.

It's just an earring back... right?

Posted by hkvlayman at 1:43 PM BST
Thursday, 24 August 2006
Topic: Stream of Consciousness

I posted a blog entry in my MySpace blog, and didn't think it was fair to those who don't have MySpace accounts, so I posted it here as well: (I wrote this as an alternative to filling out the "books" section of "my interests" on my MySpace profile.)

I don't know what was read to other kids as bedtime stories, but for me it was The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings by JRR Tolkien. I don't remember how old I was when my dad first started reading to me at bedtime, but I do know I wouldn't have wanted him to read anything else. It was a special time my dad and I shared, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the wonderful adventures Bilbo, then later Frodo, would have. It didn't hurt that my dad is blessed with an amazing voice, and talent for oral interpretation.

My dad read and reread those books to me every night at bedtime, until finally I began reading them for myself.

I loved any books having to do with scifi, and sword and sorcery (especially the sorcery!). I devoured Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series, as well as Zenna Henderson's books (where I got my second middle name, if anyone's curious), and the Lensmen series, by EE Doc Smith.

The funny thing was, I was only in seventh or eighth grade at the time, and here I was reading fiction written for adults. It was kind of odd for me to go back and read things aimed more at my age group. I loved The Chronicles of Narnia (which incidentally, I read all out of order because of when the school library had the various books in), and Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. There were two books that made a big impression on me, Veronica Ganz by Marilyn Sachs, and Fifth Grade Magic by Beatrice Gormley. (It's been so long since I've read them though, I'm not entirely sure why they've stuck with me.) Of course, I read all the Choose Your Own Adventure books, loving the ability to choose the outcome and alter the story.

In high school I had to read horrible things like Ethan Frome. I still had plenty of time for leisure reading though. I read a lot of sword and sorcery series, mostly.

Fast forward to the whole Harry Potter phenomenon. (You knew it was coming! :) ) I remember the first book, then movie coming out. Seemed a nerdy kid in round glasses was everywhere I looked (he kind of creeped me out, actually). I wondered what all the hubbub was about. At the time I was the kind of person who avoided popular things like the plague, so I steadfastly refused to read the books or watch the movies.

I don't know why, but sometime around the beginning of this year I caved. Like a fresh convert to a religion, I saw the light! :P Seriously, I began to see what the big deal was.

I'm not sure if I've explained this at some point in my Tripod blog or not. However, since things HP have popped up in my blog and conversation, I'd like to explain my current fascination with the Harry Potter books.

At the most fundamental level, it's just plain well-written. It's a classic story of good vs. evil, executed creatively and brilliantly. Of course, I love magic, so there's that as well. Beyond those things, is something very deep and primal I've only come to understand over the last two years: mother's love. In the story, Harry's mother's love for him saves his life. Love conquers evil. To me, that is so amazing and beautiful. It's a scary world we live in, and reading stories of love prevailing over evil is very uplifting.

Another theme of the books that is close to my heart is friendship. The friends in these books form an incredible bond, and would (but hopefully don't!) die for one another. To me, true friendship is something to be treasured, and unfortunately seems to be rare. (I count myself very fortunate to be able to say I have true friends.)

The icing on the cake is that there's a good, very well thought out plot, and it's a very entertaining read. It's so easy to fall into that world, because of all the work that went into creating it.

I'm not sure what I'm going to read next. I like all sorts of books. JoAnna and I read Not That Kind Of Girl by Catherine Alliot, and had a great time doing so! I've read The DaVinci Code and enjoyed it. I've discovered that books tend to find me, rather than vice versa. I'm looking forward to seeing what finds me next.

Posted by hkvlayman at 4:21 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 24 August 2006 4:24 PM BST
Monday, 5 June 2006
Wine and Headphones
Now Playing: My Own Eclectic Mix
Topic: Stream of Consciousness
Larry got a really nice new set of headphones recently. I think he got them mainly for using Skype and for language training. Tonight I am borrowing them for the first time. I used to have several sets of headphones. I realized now I don't have any. Ever since Larry got his, I've been eying them. I mentioned in this blog a while back that I used to listen to music on headphones for hours, immersing myself in it. I don't get that opportunity much anymore. However, last night (after Ryan went to bed) I borrowed Larry's headphones, and for just a little while, got to relax and truly listen to some music. (Larry kept his ear out in case Ryan needed something.) It was just as enjoyable - if not more so - than when I used to do it years ago.

Posted by hkvlayman at 10:58 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006 9:28 PM BST
Tuesday, 23 May 2006
"Follow Me Home"
Mood:  irritated
Topic: Stream of Consciousness
Warning: Rant on something relatively unimportant coming.
I HATE HATE HATE it when I hear a song, fall in love with it, then see the video and go, "WTF???" I LOVE the Sugababes song, "Follow Me Home." It's a beautiful love song, both lyrically and musically. I just now saw the video for the first time, and... I want to know what the heck the Sugababes were thinking. Creepy old guys with seemingly unwilling young girls, all in a cold war spy era type setting? Again, WTF (what the f**k, for those of you who might not be familiar with the abbrev.)? *sigh* Anyway, just had to get that out.
(This is what happens when I've had a glass of wine, my computer is on my lap, and I type away at will!)

Posted by hkvlayman at 9:57 PM BST
Tuesday, 2 May 2006
Good Morning
Topic: Stream of Consciousness
Finally Ryan has decided not to be up before 7am. :) As tempting as it is for me to stay in bed on these rare times Ryan sleeps in a bit, I have to say it's really nice to get a little time to myself in the morning, to check e-mail (guilt free) and sip a bit of coffee in peace. It's amazing what a difference to the start of the day it can make sometimes.
To those of you closer to my time zone, hope you have a great day! To those of you in the States, good night!

Posted by hkvlayman at 7:31 AM BST
Saturday, 18 March 2006
Now Playing: VH1(UK) 100 Greatest Movie Soundtracks
Topic: Stream of Consciousness
Music is amazing to me. There are so many different forms and endless variations that the one word, "music," encompasses. Music covers everything from someone whistling while walking down the street, to a symphony orchestra playing a classical masterpiece, and everything in between. I think music's true magic is that it is so emotional. Sure there's theory and math and all of that, but you don't need to know music theory to enjoy listening to or playing music.
I love a wide variety of music. The other day I mentioned being enthralled by Gershwin. Last night I got chills listening to Linkin Park's, "Somewhere I Belong." I love that music can evoke all kinds of feelings. Up tempo songs make us happy and want to dance. Slower songs can sometimes make us want to cry. Certain melodies and chord progressions have the same effects on almost everyone. I think it's amazing how universal music is.

Posted by hkvlayman at 10:18 PM GMT
Wednesday, 26 October 2005
Night Driving
Now Playing: (In my head)
Topic: Stream of Consciousness
Tonight there was a meeting out at MHS for the URG (unit readiness group) hospitality committee. I joined the new committee for two reasons: one, it's a way to meet people and two, I complained about the lack of welcome for newcomers here, so I figured I ought to put my money where my mouth was, so to speak. Larry was watching Ryan at home. The meeting itself was brief, just gathering ideas at this point. The best part wasn't going to the meeting. It was the drive to and from the meeting.
Driving is a grand tradition in my family. There are all manner of types of drives to go on. Tonight I was night driving. There are lots of types of night driving. The kind I was doing was solo. I love having the car (a blue 2005 Honda Accord EX) to myself. There's a sense of freedom. I can play whatever music I want, as loudly as I want.
Something happens while driving. I left the house around ten after six. To the west the land slopes upward. There were a lot of clouds, but wisps of light blue were still visible near the horizon. To the east, the scene was completely different. Night had completely fallen, and fog was gathering in the valley. I was in between, driving down the winding, rolling country road.
I have always enjoyed really listening to music. Sometimes I'd put on good headphones and listen to music for hours. I'd pick out an instrument, or a rhythm section, or a harmony, and follow just that through the piece, taking turns with every voice in the arrangement. I would turn up the volume, bringing the music closer, until I felt like I was inside of it. Alone in the car I'll turn up the music as loud as I comfortably can, wrapping it around me, filling the airspace in the car. Sometimes I'll sing along, sometimes not.
I love the feel of being in control of the car. As I'm driving along, a transformation takes place. I start to feel myself become one with the car, the car one with the road, with the music flowing through all of it. On the way home I was listening to a live, extended version of "Return to Innocence." The music was carrying me through the night on rhythm and melody. It was incredibly freeing. My thoughts matching pace with it all, flowing as they would.
I expect I get this mostly from my father, who loves to pilot all manner of aircraft and vehicles. I was thinking of him, and of how he would appreciate the experience I was having. I thought of Ryan too, hoping that throughout his life he will be able to appreciate the moment; to look around and take things in and see beauty in life.
There have been times in my life when I've been driving home at dusk, the light fading on the horizon, when I've wondered what would happen if I just kept going.

Posted by hkvlayman at 11:03 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005 11:06 PM BST

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