Mischievous Muse

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Location: Austin, TX, United States

Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Summer House Calling


Going to the summer house, and straight from there to the airport on Wednesday, so no internet, email, or blogging until my return home to the U.S. Hope you all have a great weekend :)


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Quiz: Which Fantasy/Sci-fi Character Are You?

'Bout time for another Quiz, dontcha think?

Princess Leia

"A strong-willed herald of causes against injustice, you passionately strive to right the wrongs around you. Someone has to save our skins!"

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mens sana in corpore sano

...or in this case, happy heart with a happy tummy!

Fréd, my brother-in-law, made crêpes for dinner. Salées, or salty ones with cheese, ham, and a fried egg (I had 2) and sucrées, or "sugared" ones, of which I had 3 — the first with raspberry jam, the second with banana and nutella (you know that hazelnut & chocolate spread), and the third with nutella and raspberry jam. They were all washed down with French cider from the Normandy region. Wow. I was stuffed to the GILLS with yummies, and nothing could have been better.

After our feast, we played 3 rounds of Yahtzee, and we all won once, which was cool. The neighbors will be glad when my sister moves, because they must have heard us hollering every time someone got a Yahtzee. Mwahahah. Fun.

In other news, Ronja (my mommy's little dog) and I went for two walks in the forest today and picked blueberries and raspberries. I read another book (I'm at 1-2 books a day while I'm here) and also bought new Japanese logic problems, where you color in squares... Katja told me I had to try them, so I'm gonna see how I do.

How is everybody? All quiet on the Western front? Oh, and dudes, I can't check my Netscape email while here because of this bedarned firewall, so if y'all need to get a hold of me, write to anniina@luminarium.org.



Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Home, Sweet Home

Two weeks is a long and adequate time to visit a foreign city at a time — one can only do so much sightseeing at a stretch, for example. Yet clearly, it is too short a time for visiting home, as I've come to realize.

Between the relatives and friends who all would like to see you on your once-yearly visit, you'd also want to just spend time with your family doing normal 'family stuff' — barbecuing, watching movies, playing games, shopping, etc. (and not necessarily in that order). However, time is an issue, and somehow everyone does and will feel shortchanged.

The biggest issue is, I think, that I'm here when nobody is on vacation, so I can only see people on evenings and weekends. Friday, we had a family BBQ which was nice, although it rained, and we ended up eating pizza instead; Saturday my sister had a party for her bridesmaids (we watched wedding pictures and videos of a year ago); Sunday my uncle (also my godfather) came up with my grandma, Monday I met with my BFF Katja, and tonight my mom treated me to a pedicure and facial. Nice!

So lots of fun stuff, but few nights left, because Friday-Wed (my return date) we're going to a summer rental with my mom and dad. Tomorrow I meet with my friend Tanja, then head over to my sister's to eat French delicacies cooked up by her Parisian husband, Thursday I meet with my aunt (also godmother) and then go to the "Night of the Arts" in Helsinki, when everything in the city is open and filled with artisans, artists, craftsmen, actors, musicians, you name it, all night. Friday we're off to the summer house, so my time, in a way, is up. It seems no matter how long I stay, it is always too short. I have had a lot of time to just sit around reading books, though, and will give y'all a full report when I get home and can post pictures again. Hope you are all well, ~A


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sonnetsday 22


Y love is strengthen'd, though more weak in seeming;
         I love not less, though less the show appear:
    That love is merchandized whose rich esteeming
         The owner's tongue doth publish every where.
Our love was new and then but in the spring
When I was wont to greet it with my lays,
As Philomel in summer's front doth sing
And stops her pipe in growth of riper days:
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burthens every bough
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
      Therefore like her I sometime hold my tongue,
      Because I would not dull you with my song.


Tags: Sonnets | Shakespeare

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Friday, August 18, 2006


Okay, so it totally rocked. Everyone and their cousin called today, and between my parents, grandma, and little sister, I got one zillion presents! wheeeeee! Birthdays rock after all. Bring 'em on! Age, I don't fear you!

Can blog, but can't read the blog for some reason, but ahh well. Might try at the library or my sister's place tomorrow. Now, off to bed. Nigh nigh!

Finland, Finland, Finland....

I made it here alive. I'm always surprised when I arrive somewhere, because I hate flying so much, and am petrified the whole time in the air that at any moment we're going down in burning flames. 'Cause let's face it - those suckers are not MEANT to stay up in the air. I don't believe in them. I always feel like I've been granted a new chance on life, when I survive a flight. Considering how much I've flown, my fear of flying is not logical. But hey, I've never advertized myself as a logical creature, now have I? I hope this admission does not preclude me from playing a Vulcan on the next Star Trek. I'll deny everything, yeah, that's what I'll do.

It's a beautiful sunny day, about 80°, and my mom's little dog, Ronja, is my shadow. We've been outside reading and just luxuriating. I'm trying to not pay attention to the fact that I'm aging as we speak - I was born 11:37 am, so technically I aged 30 minutes ago. I don't think birthdays would be half so hard, if we just ignored them. Or if we were closer to our goals, or fabulously rich, or had Scarlett O'Hara's waistline...

OTOH, I do have people in my life who love me, doggies who adore me, a roof over my head, and more. I guess it's just a matter of paying attention to the positives instead of feeling like half your life is over, and what the hell have you done with it. See, there I got again. I'll stop being a marshwiggle, I promise. My sister is throwing a barbecue for me tonight, and good eats are always a simple way to cheer this girl up. TTYL, all :)


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Leaving On a Jet Plane

(...tunes of Peter, Paul, and Mary fade into distance)

Yes, it is that time again. Yours truly is aging on Friday. To commemorate such a sad and civil occasion, I'm flying to visit my parents, sister, grandma, and other sundry relatives for a few weeks. Best of all, my Katja is there, so we get to hang out :) YAY! Wheeee! *skipping*

Blogging may be erratic or even non-existent because a) my mom's internet access is wonky because of an overzealous firewall, b) I've already got a "schedule" (I hate that word!) thanks to my type-A mom, and c) I might just feel too darn lazy, and would rather just grill sausages and drink Fanta.

So, stay well, everyone! I'll be back on the 30th.

*smooches* A

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I.M.Hosted Joins Comcast in Devil's Dominion


I had to switch Luminarium out of its old housing into a new home in the past month, and after research, the said location was ImHosted.com. More like I M TOASTED.com

Remember my rants about Comcast? Well, this is worse. The past couple of days, I've had a hell of a lot of trouble accessing my FTP server, and now when anyone types in "http://www.luminarium.org/" or anything within, the BASTARDS show a page saying

There is no website configured at this address.

Taking into account, that Luminarium has anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 individuals visit it monthly, that's a hell of a lot of people being disappointed right now. Not to mention, that finally today I finished the Renaissance Drama section, and had done a fair bit of e-marketing, adding it to search engines and directories, etc. Now all of those folks are thinking "what the f%$#!" And that is exactly what I'm thinking.

To add insult to injury, these &%#%$%$s who promised 24/7 tech support, say they will only talk to me online... problem is, since my site doesn't exist, I can't open a trouble ticket or get f&$#ing help.

For the first time in 10 years, Luminarium is down. That's why there's all these broken links here, too - no hosting.

Would you like to know how I really feel? :P

Please excuse my language. I'm just so LIVID right now, I can't stand it.

Okay, moving poor ill-treated Luminarium again. GRRRR...

Everything Will Be Illuminated

CoverYou know those nights when you're at the video store, and it seems like you've a) seen everything b) only things you haven't seen are movies you couldn't be paid enough to watch? Tonight was one of those nights.

Fortunately, I remembered hearing that Liev Schreiber's directorial debut film, 'Everything Is Illuminated' was a worthwhile watch. I had been hesitant to watch it because, frankly, the cover image creeped me out, making me think of Elijah Wood's gruesomely freaky character in 'Sin City' — a strange and unfortunate cover choice for this movie.

The film was actually superb, and the cover was indeed ill-chosen, for it reflected none of the lovely naturalism of the film itself. Elijah Wood plays a young man, who collects things that remind him of his family. After his grandfather passes, he travels to Ukraine to attempt to find the Shtetl his grandfather left only a week before the Nazi occupation. I don't want to say anything more about the plot, not to ruin the discovery for anyone who hasn't seen it.

In short, the movie is artfully and deftly crafted — the director's touch seems so light, one feels like events are really unfolding. The actors, who are all excellent, never seem to be 'acting', and the script is not the usual heavy-handed let's-spoon-feed-and-finger-point-to-our-audience crap. Schreiber lets the unspoken speak louder than words, and captures the fragile and vivid emotions of his characters. I've always said that the mark of a good writer is that he treats all his characters with tenderness—the entire movie is created with just such love and beauty of spirit. There is even a wonderful dog, "Sammy Davis Jr., Jr.," who is a storyteller in her own right, played by Mickey and Mouse, top dog actors if you ask me.

So some night when you wonder which movie you should rent, or what to stick on your Netflix cue, take this one. It is all-round exquisite.

Tags: Movies


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sonnetsday 21

Happy 31st Birthday, David!!


Y glass shall not persuade me I am old,
         So long as youth and thou are of one date;
    But when in thee time's furrows I behold,
         Then look I death my days should expiate.
For all that beauty that doth cover thee
Is but the seemly raiment of my heart,
Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me:
How can I then be elder than thou art?
O, therefore, love, be of thyself so wary
As I, not for myself, but for thee will;
Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary
As tender nurse her babe from faring ill.
      Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain;
      Thou gavest me thine, not to give back again.


Tags: Sonnets | Shakespeare

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Friday, August 11, 2006

V for Vendetta

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

"Our integrity, the very last inch of us, can be more important than our lives."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Zuzu's Petals

Atlas Carrying the GlobeMy dear friend Pete was feeling paralyzed with grief a few days ago, over all the sorrow and war in the world... the Germans have a name for this kind of feeling, "weltschmerz", or "world pain."

It is hard not to feel worried and grieved over the horrible things happening everywhere, locally and worldwide. It is only natural to wonder what kind of world our children, present or future, will inhabit. Or if there will be a world left. Despair lurks in the corners at times, but it must not be given power.

We have to remember that there are good people in the world. People who feed stray kittens, help a granny cross the road, who give of their time and possessions to charity, people who have ears to listen and hearts to understand, people who try to live with love for the world (even if they occasionally slip, while driving behind van-ladies). I'm blessed with many such people in my life and witness little acts of kindness by strangers to strangers regularly. And while I'm not trying to be Julie Andrews singing "These are a few of my favorite things" here, sometimes it is necessary to think of the things of light in this world, so our hearts don't fall into the gloom.

Just now, Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra movies popped into my head... Capra's movies often dealt with themes of financial depression, political oppression, corruption, etc., and the one message Capra's films always relayed was that of hope. Capra believed that good will outweigh bad, that each person has value, and that we can each make a difference. My favorite of Capra's "Everymen" was Jimmy Stewart. Here's a long clip from the Capra masterpiece "It's a Wonderful Life" — and remember: "No man is a failure who has friends." Thank you for being mine. ~A

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Monday, August 07, 2006

My MMORPG Double Life

Inspired by Riykere posting an image of himself and my alter-ego, and Mophia's post on the same subject, I thought I'd do a quickie post on my double life.

I've always loved role-playing; not surprising, since I chose to role-play for a living with the whole acting thingamajig. My first introduction to fantasy roleplay was AD&D, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. My first love (we were both 15) was our DM, and he invited me to play with the guys. I had a Lawful-Evil cleric named "Nightshade," who seriously kicked ass, until she read a set of runes on a wall and was busted into oblivion. Naturally, I created many characters since, but she was my first, my best. Next, this same young man got me hooked on the Ultima-series of games, which had the adventure though not the roleplay.

After I moved to the US, I got introduced to my first MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). I started playing one of the first to exist, on ImagiNation Network, INN, called "Shadows of Yserbius." I was a fetching wizardess named Nightshade (surprise, surprise), with a purple cloak and flaming red hair, though most called me "Nightie." I even belonged to a guild, and eventually became Questmaster.

At this point, yours truly got seriously addicted. I would play every waking moment—textbook case of addiction. It got to the point that I had to go cold turkey and simply quit. I even had physical withdrawal symptoms — I would be fast asleep on my back, my hands in the air typing into an imaginary keyboard on air. YIKES!  It was much, much later that I dared again to play anything. My first foray was into a text-based MUD (Multi-user Dungeon), which was kinda lame, but I did it to see if I could play and not get addicto. Success. For ages I didn't play anything, because life was so damned hectic, but then a few years ago I stumbled on another MUD, Legends of Terris, where I joined the Battlemages' Guild as Aleyara, and made lots of friends, some of whom I'm still in touch with.

Two years ago, I was in a play with someone who played FFXI, or "Final Fantasy XI", and I had to check it out. Wow, had the graphics and complexity of online games improved! I loved it. This game even had gardening and fishing, in addition to the usual quests and orc-slaying. I started out as an Elvaan Red Mage named Alaydhien, and one day in West Ronfaure, as I was fishing at the pond, I met a very silly elf named Shinjo, who cursed a very creative and constant stream, and a wonderful, sweet Galka named Riykere. These two were so much fun, and I joined their "linkshell" (a chat channel, similar to a guild in the old-fashioned way). Everyone on the linkshell is very nice and helpful, and I'm now a lvl 60 Blackmage, 37 Redmage, 15 Thief, etc. I mostly play blackmage, because I like to nuke baddies into smithereens with offensive spells.

The game takes power and a good graphics card, and the computer on which I play is in my "Basement of Doom," so until I fix that situation, I can't play. But I can't wait, so maybe very soon.

Riykere posted this picture of the two of us sitting in the Queen's Garden in our hometown of San d'Oria. We do a lot of that. Just find a pretty spot in the game with soothing music and just chat about life, Riykere's Latin homework, pizza, and what quests, armor, etc. we wanna go after next. Alternately, we go fishing until it gets too boring.

Riykere is my bodyguard, and he keeps bad monsters from killing me, over-zealous admirers from getting fresh, and cheers me up when I'm down. Even though I haven't played for almost 3 months now, Riykere and Mophia are both in touch often, which is so totally cool and sweet. Not bad for a second career, playing an elf-chick with nuking powers and fun folks to hang out with!


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sonnetsday 20

Can you believe it? 20 days of sonnets already!



OW can I then return in happy plight,
        That am debarr'd the benefit of rest?
        When day's oppression is not eased by night,
But day by night, and night by day, oppress'd?
And each, though enemies to either's reign,
Do in consent shake hands to torture me;
The one by toil, the other to complain
How far I toil, still farther off from thee.
I tell the day to please him, thou art bright
And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven;
So flatter I the swart-complexion'd night,
When sparkling stars twire not, thou gild'st the even.
      But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer
      And night doth nightly make grief's strength seem stronger.


Tags: Sonnets | Shakespeare

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Dennis Rodman and those Wacky Wacky Finns

On July 5, 2006, basketball star Dennis Rodman took part in the traditional Finnish wife carrying contest in Sonkajärvi. Yeah, really. Heheheh.

Here's a link to the press release:
Dennis Rodman Crosses Line with Wife

tags: Finland


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Exploding Heads

Seriously. I've been working on the Renaissance Drama site some 14 hrs a day for I think 2 weeks now (save last weekend) — this means that, in addition to just collecting and organizing 5 billion links to materials, I write biographical articles, design graphics, etc.

The toughest part has to be the "Introduction" section, however. There is no quick way to do it, because every article opens another 10 threads. It's like an encyclopedia project with no end. One part speaks of the transition from Medieval drama to Renaissance Drama — so of course I have to explain what it was before getting to what it becomes. In addition, it requires explanation of political climate, Renaissance cosmography and worldview, pages for the various playhouses and companies of players, etc. etc. etc.

Please don't misunderstand — I love doing it, and I'm good at it. I also love the "Neverending Story" aspect of hypertext; it's like a book without the sadness of a final page. I also love the subject matter and enjoy learning ever more. However, I do think a point comes when the human brain (or at least the brain of this particular human) must say "Stop the insanity!" and take a break. Which I'm trying to make AAAUGHmyself take, but... what about the gorgeous illuminations I could browse at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, or could type in more Sidney Psalms, or continue editing Ford's 'Tis Pity, or crank out the rest of the Rochester bio, or, or, or, or.......AAAUUGH!

I really have to figure out something non-scholarly to do for a bit.

A Poem on a Quiet Night

 The fairies in my garden
      Are quiet tonight.
Just a few
      Lazy lightning bugs
            Float on the air.
My heart hums
      In the warm silence,
Above me the sleeping stars.

Tags: Anniina's Poetry

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words: Modern Renaissance 6

Worth1000.com ran another Photoshop contest in which modern celebrities had to find their way into Renaissance paintings, entitled "Modern Renaissance 6."  I submitted 3 pictures, and while I didn't win the contest [insert childish fit involving thrashing on the floor with screams of  "UNFAIR!!"], all three paintings became Jury Selections, and I got a gold star for each *brag*. Here they are, much miniaturized — click on each to see the full versions.

Cate Blanchett in Luini's Salome with the head of John the Baptist
Cate Blanchett as Bernardino Luini's Salome

Owen Wilson as Van Dyck's Duke of Richmond
Owen Wilson as Van Dyck's Duke of Richmond

Viggo as Napoleon
Viggo Mortensen as Napoleon Bonaparte

The hardest thing about making these is trying to get the skin tones and colors to match and look like painting, instead of photograph, getting the shadows right (involves a lot of handpainting), and getting the texture to look identical between photograph and painting, so that you can't tell where the original and added materials merge. I'm wicked proud of my oeuvre :P

Oh, and to decrypt the previous post on the subject, Viggo is for Madeline, who is a "professional crazed fan" of his; Owen is for Katja, who is going to marry him and move to Texas, provided that his rumored wedding to an English Supermodel doesn't come to pass; and Cate is for me, since I'm firmly decided to come back as her in my next life. Mwahahaha.

Tags: Photoshop | Movies

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The World Map of Happiness

Happy World!Katja sent me this link to

The World Map of Happiness.

Created by Adrian White, Analytic Social Psychologist from the University of Leicester, it is a fascinating study of not only who is happy, but why. Health, Wealth, and Education seem to be key. It seems that the people of Denmark are a right happy bunch, coming in at 1st place. Finns (and if you've ever been in Finland in the winter, you would swear this a fraudulent result) came in at 7th, Americans at 23rd, the English at 41st, and the people of Fiji, as Katja pointed out, came in at 57.

*muttering: 'still wanna go to Fiji'...'my stapler'*