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To Camp in Gerunds - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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August 6th, 2007


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09:47 am - To Camp in Gerunds
Things That Are Amusing/Interesting/Fun/Hilarious/Notable While Camping in Sequoia National Park with Your Family:
  • Finishing Stardust, which, though good, is different from the movie in several ways and quite anticlimactic in the way Gaiman often seems to be.
  • Requiring five people to put up a tent.
  • Being told it is a FEDERAL CRIME to park on the dirt.
  • Seeing three wild deer just walking around in the grass.
  • Violently thwapping branches against trees and logs to break them (the branches, not the trees and logs).
  • Noticing that bears who get a taste for human food and become dangerous must be "destroyed," rather than "killed" or "put down" or "executed" or anything else that doesn't sound like they blow them up with a fucking rocket launcher
  • Referring to your ten-year-old cousin as Bear Bait.
  • Reading in a tent by flashlight.
  • Roasting your sock over the campfire to dry it.
  • Playing with your mom's foldable cane.
  • Seeing the largest living thing on earth, by volume: General Sherman, the Giant Sequoia of Giant Destiny.
  • Noticing the various accents, languages, and ethnicities represented by the tourists.
  • Walking into Crescent Meadow, a lovely array of tall, white flowers, and laughing at your siblings and cousins pretending to be in a Bollywood song-and-dance routine.
  • Seeing a rattlesnake on the trail, slithering away and shaking its rattle.
  • Almost being killed by a tiny pine cone that drops from hundreds of feet in the air and makes an unholy zoooooooming sound right in front of you.
  • Wondering what its terminal velocity was.
  • Slapping a giant sequoia's absurdly soft, spongy bark.
  • Hugging it afterwards.
  • Checking out Tharp's Log, the log that Tharp lived in for years, with a wooden table and a wooden shelf and a wooden bed and a wooden...you get the picture.
  • Rushing to the side of a standing-room-only shuttle to catch a glimpse of a bear, a bear!
  • Wondering what mad genius decided graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate would make a potent combination.
  • Using a lantern.
  • Listening to your Shuffle as a way to escape from the madness.
  • Experiencing the rejuvenating powers of the gold-filled Hume Lake.
  • Discovering that the band name Straylight Run is a Neuromancer reference.
  • Finishing Neuromancer and realizing that countless video games like Shadowrun, movies like The Matrix, and books like Snow Crash (and even Perdido Street Station) were all influenced by it.

Current Mood: rejuvenatedrejuvenated
Current Music: Incubus - Here in My Room

(41 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:jennythen
Date:August 6th, 2007 04:59 pm (UTC)
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* Leaving the GGMM to assume you're dead.

Walking into Crescent Meadow, a lovely array of tall, white flowers, and laughing at your siblings and cousins pretending to be in a Bollywood song-and-dance routine.
Hee!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
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Ha! That'll teach me not to mention any sudden absences!
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From:duchessdogberry
Date:August 6th, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
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Seeing three wild deer just walking around in the grass.

What did you expect them to be doing? A foxtrot?

Wondering what mad genius decided graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate would make a potent combination.

I believe his name was Dr. S. More.

Sounds like a good time was had and you saw a lot of that nature stuff that people talk about.



I'm glad you're not dead.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
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What did you expect them to be doing? A foxtrot?
Yes.

Sounds like a good time was had and you saw a lot of that nature stuff that people talk about.
Nature is so natural!
[User Picture]
From:punzerel
Date:August 6th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
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I wish my life included more Bollywood-style song and dance routines.
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From:tamarai
Date:August 6th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
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Fun! And now I have more reading to add to my growing pile. Sigh.

*hugs your tree-hugging badass self*
[User Picture]
From:janedoe4
Date:August 6th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
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Checking out Tharp's Log, the log that Tharp lived in for years, with a wooden table and a wooden shelf and a wooden bed and a wooden...you get the picture.

I could Google, but I'm lazy: Who is this Tharp fellow and what possessed him to take up residence in a log?

[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)
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He's...just some dude who discovered the forest, basically. And he lived in the log because he was Tharp, and he knew that years later, people from around the world would come to see Tharp's Log. Some people are just like that, I suppose.
[User Picture]
From:daynr
Date:August 6th, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC)
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Oh, it sounds like a fun family excursion! How uplifting!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
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It was far less angst-ridden and stressful than our last family camping trip, perhaps because it was shorter and there were fewer people.
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From:daynr
Date:August 7th, 2007 01:57 pm (UTC)
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I just love that as angsty-ridden as you get sometimes y'all still do these family things. Maybe you have no choice, no se.

I avoid all happens with my twit of a father, but perhaps some day we'll camp in Sequoia like when I was a child and I'll successfully refrain from murdering him or wanting to.
[User Picture]
From:idreamofpeace
Date:August 6th, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad you had a good time. It's easy to forget how awe-inspiring nature is.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
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I saw a free preview screening a couple weeks ago.

Yeah, the story is sort of...story-like. It's nice, and I enjoyed it, but I wasn't ga-ga about it.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
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I don't think you were supposed to forget you were reading a story. That's part of its charm.
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From:tibicina
Date:August 6th, 2007 09:49 pm (UTC)
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Did you have the illustrated version or the just text version?

I like the story, but Vess' illustrations really add something to it, I think.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC)
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The text version.
[User Picture]
From:missquita
Date:August 6th, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
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Ooo, Sunil, you were so close to my home! Did you drive in through Visalia on 198 and pass a sign for Exeter? That's me! Where in Sequoia did you camp? Isn't it beautiful?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
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I...may have passed a sign! As you can see, I was reading and not paying much attention.

We camped in the...Dorst area? The trees were very tall.
[User Picture]
From:missquita
Date:August 6th, 2007 08:45 pm (UTC)
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The trees there have a tendency to be tall.

I figured the sign was a long shot. :)
[User Picture]
From:latropita
Date:August 6th, 2007 09:03 pm (UTC)
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I'm not a huge fan of camping, but that sounds kind of like fun. Except for all the tents. And being attacked by nature.
[User Picture]
From:jeeperstseepers
Date:August 6th, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
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Walking into Crescent Meadow, a lovely array of tall, white flowers, and laughing at your siblings and cousins pretending to be in a Bollywood song-and-dance routine.

I would pay to see that.

While I feel like some of Neil's work is anti-clamactic, Stardust is not one of those works. I think everything gets tied up at a very nice pace and I always close the book with the perfect bittersweet sigh.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)

Spoilers for Stardust!

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But...all the chasing goes nowhere. The witch-queen just sort of gives up, and Septimus gets taken out by some random-ass witch for no good reason. I like the way it ends, ultimately, but it's like the book has no climax.
[User Picture]
From:jeeperstseepers
Date:August 6th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)

Re: Spoilers for Stardust!

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If it has no climax, then it can't be anti-clamactic, now, can it ;)

What do you mean when you say Septimus got taken out by a random-ass witch for no good reason? It was the witch-queen. He was attempting to kill her to avenge his brother's death. That's not random.

I didn't feel like the witch gave up; she lost her chance. I like this ending more than a typical "and then they kill the witch!" ending (except, it would probably be more like "the witch dies in a way that is TOTALLY NOT THE HERO'S FAULT because good people never ever ever ever kill, even if it's to defend themselves against people who are trying for the eighteenth time to kill them!"). And I didn't feel like the chasing led nowhere. The chasing led to Tristran and Yvaine reuniting, developing feelings for each other, ending up back at Wall and wrapping up Tristran's old life and discovering his new one.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)

Re: Spoilers for Stardust!

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If it has no climax, then it can't be anti-clamactic, now, can it ;)
Anti! It's against climaxes!

What do you mean when you say Septimus got taken out by a random-ass witch for no good reason? It was the witch-queen. He was attempting to kill her to avenge his brother's death. That's not random.
Okay, it was hard to tell because that scene was from Septimus's perspective, and I thought he thought it was her but it really wasn't. That's better, then.

I like this ending more than a typical "and then they kill the witch!" ending (except, it would probably be more like "the witch dies in a way that is TOTALLY NOT THE HERO'S FAULT because good people never ever ever ever kill, even if it's to defend themselves against people who are trying for the eighteenth time to kill them!")
Wrong. They kill the witch with THE POWER OF LOVE.

And I didn't feel like the chasing led nowhere. The chasing led to Tristran and Yvaine reuniting, developing feelings for each other, ending up back at Wall and wrapping up Tristran's old life and discovering his new one.
I guess I'm a fan of ye olde protagonists and ye olde antagonists having more than one meaningful interaction.

It was a nice little tale, but I guess I didn't fall in love with it like you did. I just liked it.
[User Picture]
From:jeeperstseepers
Date:August 6th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC)

Re: Spoilers for Stardust!

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Anti! It's against climaxes!
Huh. I never thought of the word that way. Interesting. But anyway, there are a lot of good pieces of literature and cinema that don't have traditional climaxes.
It was a nice little tale, but I guess I didn't fall in love with it like you did. I just liked it.
I think I've come more protective of it since the finding out about the movie being made. Before, I just liked it a lot. Now, I'm resentful on its behalf.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Spoilers for Stardust!

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Heh. Sadly, I may have had a more positive reaction to the movie because I saw it first. I shall never know how I would have felt about the book had I read it fresh.

Also, Webster's sez:
an event, period, or outcome that is strikingly less important or dramatic than expected
[User Picture]
From:miniglik
Date:August 6th, 2007 11:42 pm (UTC)
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DUDE! You're posting in list form! (Although numbering it makes it far easier to reference. Pfft.)

Almost being killed by a tiny pine cone that drops from hundreds of feet in the air and makes an unholy zoooooooming sound right in front of you.
Wondering what its terminal velocity was.


Hee. Death by pine cone.

I loved Sequoia National Park. There was something about those trees and their scale that... I dunno, was a bit perspective-altering? I was far more impressed with the trees than the Grand Canyon, in fact.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 6th, 2007 11:54 pm (UTC)
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They're SO TALL. And SO OLD.

DUDE! You're posting in list form! (Although numbering it makes it far easier to reference. Pfft.)
Dude, I have a tag. This is a different type of list!
[User Picture]
From:shpyum
Date:August 7th, 2007 02:19 am (UTC)
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I can't figure out if I mostly love Gaiman because he also loves Loki? I'm in the middle-end of Sandman and definitely feeling the anticlimactic frustration. On the other hand, Loki.

I feel like I should call you and talk about juvy fantasy, and then I feel like I can't afford the phone bill.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 7th, 2007 02:37 am (UTC)
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Do you have to pay if I call you instead? I don't know how phones work anymore.
[User Picture]
From:toughcookie42
Date:August 7th, 2007 02:22 am (UTC)
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Chelsea once said that her heaven is an eternal camping trip with her friends. I said, "I'm one of your friends. If you go to heaven, I'm going to hell."

But actually... you make camping sound more fun than I'd expect. Don't tell Chelsea.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 7th, 2007 02:37 am (UTC)
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Hee. It's pretty fun! You get to roast socks!
[User Picture]
From:sterope
Date:August 7th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)
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This makes me want to go camping or into some sort of wilderness area like, right now.
[User Picture]
From:niteflite
Date:August 7th, 2007 05:57 am (UTC)
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Ah, General Sherman...

..

I remember him well. (speaking of the tree of course)

More often, I end up going to the state park next to Roaring Camp in Felton. I feel soooooooooooooooo bad that I have temporarily forgotten what its name was but... anyways, it makes more sense to go there when I visit my uncle and cousins at their work. You know, with trains. Big, awesome, period, steam trains.

My family is into trains, you see.
[User Picture]
From:electricmonk
Date:August 7th, 2007 06:46 am (UTC)
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  • This makes me all nostalgic 'n shit. I need to go camping. Maybe not with my family, though.
  • You hug trees too! There's a reason we're friends, see.
  • Have you seen Grizzly Man? See Grizzly Man.
  • (Deleted comment)
    [User Picture]
    From:spectralbovine
    Date:August 7th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
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    Seriously, dude. 1984!!
    [User Picture]
    From:alliterator
    Date:August 8th, 2007 06:13 pm (UTC)
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    Who is Tharp?

    It's been a while since I've read Stardust, but I remember liking it, but not liking liking it, like I did with The Sandman. I still want to see the movie, though, because, hello, Robert de Niro and Claire Danes and Michelle Pfiffer! Although, seriously, there should be some English actors in there, too.
    [User Picture]
    From:spectralbovine
    Date:August 8th, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
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    Tharp is the guy who lived in Tharp's Log.
    [User Picture]
    From:alliterator
    Date:August 8th, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC)
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    Thank you, Department of Redundancy Department!
    [User Picture]
    From:zetetyc
    Date:August 10th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
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    oooh sounds like fun. i just got back from communing with nature, myself. it's good stuff. i think nature makes for good family vacations, because my trip was similarly one of the better ones in memory.

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