who the heck knows anything, anyway

Friday, April 8, 2011

Things I Have Learned Today [#2]

Apparently, I am fond of titling blog posts "Things I Have Learned Today". My previous entry (which I just revisited) was from back when I was trying to write a paper on the Gragas Laws.*

Oh, undergrad! Such a funny time.

Aaaanywho, I'm learning lots of new stuff today, too! Coincidentally, most of it has been difficult to find on the internet, rather like widely-available research on viking ethics.*** Actually, a lot of today's learning is only somewhat resolved--like the discovery of a mystery. I'd probably be frustrated if I didn't find an occasional challenge dreadfully exciting.

--First: algae and prokaryotic cyanobacteria are two different things! Wow! Algae is not just pond scum and slippery green bits that stick to your toes. It's like wee baby seaweed! In fact, seaweed is algae! Very complex algae, but still. That's news to me. 

Algae: not just the stuff that causes red tide
Anywho, the differences between algae and cyanobacteria are rather subtle. For instance: the photosynthetic capabilities of algae are "derived from cyanobacteria." What? But, they're different things. This is confusing. Granted, being a casual researcher into this business, I am mostly relying on wikipedia articles. Maybe this one was written by someone who knows so much about algae that they are unable to condense their knowledge succinctly for lay people. 

However! If I had never looked up algae, I would not have discovered cyanobacteria, would never have known they had subtle differences, and probably would have incorrectly referred to plant-life in my short story as straight-up "algae" when what I really meant, specifically, was "charales".****  Man, writing is hard. I have to have at least a basic knowledge of anything I mention, or people get all up in my grill. I fear such delightful criticisms as: "PSH. A boat would not have been made of oak in that country. Did you get your degree at a public university or something??*****" So I do a lot of potentially unnecessary research because I'm rather proud of my public university training (also of my brain in general),  and because I would rather have people appreciate/criticize my writing than focus on that one time in which I may have discussed clay when, clearly, I was referring to silt. YAY! Glad I have the internet to satiate my rabid researching.

--There is an Irish saint whose feast day is my birthday******. Her name is Cróinseach, and I cannot find any information about her on the internet. I can barely pronounce her name (KRONE a shach...?). But, but...I thought the internet knew everything! Even obscure medieval saints about whom, potentially, naught has survived but their names on a calendar! Boo, internet time machine. Boo. 

--The main character in my short story needs a name. Funny how that works! I'm open to suggestions. (The character is female. That might be helpful.)

view of downtown from my grandpa's houseboat, 1965
--I started swimming again today! Swimming makes my life fantastic. So does the sun. Seriously, I'm bangin' out paragraphs, doing tons of research, only occasionally dicking around on facebook--I have not been this productive in weeks. ADDITIONALLY: While walking downtown a bit on a post-swimming sunshine jaunt, I noticed that the city smells like water again. This is why I live in Seattle. The sun stirs up the freshwater/saltwater smells and stirs them around in the air. The result is rather how I imagine the effects of a love potion to feel. Lord, I love the smell of murky water. Isn't it fantastic to remember why you love a city so much? 


Oh, and my little brother (the 16 year old) is hopping a train to come visit me this weekend. I'm stoked. 

A day like this reminds me what I'm capable of, reminds me about the things I love, reminds me that bad moods and the weight of all those daily defeats are temporary, and may also demonstrate that I should always live in a place with about six months of sunshine. 

Pomegranate season may be over, but Persephone's home, guys. Holla.

ADDED @ almost 6 pm:
--Ok, totally forgot to add something.
I was also researching mummification tools a la ancient Egypt! Turns out, the only term I can find for the little hook an embalmer uses to squiggle your brains about through your nose is: an embalmer's hook. Enlightening, right? Sigh. I just assumed it would be called something awesome...or at least be called an "embalmer's hook" in Egyptian. Oh well! Good enough for me.

*Which was hard.

**because such a thing as "widely-available research on viking ethics" does not exist. ANYWHERE.^
^ in English, at least. It's not my fault that I don't speak Old Norse! Or New Norse! Or any of it!!
***hilariously, blogger thinks the pointy brackets around the word "nostalgia" is legitimate (if ineffective) html-speak and thusly made them disappear when I published this. So just imagine, won't you, that nostalgia is flanked by pointy brackets instead of parentheses  
****which I just found. Woo!! Three cheers for workin' the internets!
*****I did.
******I missed having my birthday be the feast day of St. MARY MAGDELENE by ONE DAY. Instead, I have St Brigit...of Sweden. I mean, Sweden's great and everything, and St. Brigit of Sweden also shares Patron Saint of Europe status, but St Brigid Goddess-Turned-Best-Saint-Ever of Ireland gets more Awesome points. But I'm getting off topic. I want a rad Irish saint on my day of birth, and now I have found her. HOWEVER...