Friday, July 5, 2013

Story Time: Julius the Magic Statue and the World's Most Evil Koala

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to the first-ever Story Time! Story Time is soon to be a time-honored tradition on this here blog. In Story Time posts, I shall choose five random photos from my hard drive and create a story using all of them. Don't like today's story? That's where you come in! If there's an image you want me to use during the next Story Time, simply comment the link and I'll use it. (Disclaimer: if it's disgusting or inappropriate, a) you have personal issues and I feel sorry for you, and b) there's no way on earth that I'm going to use it.)

And now, without further ado, here is today's tale: Julius the Magic Statue and the World's Most Evil Koala.

Once upon a time, there was a statue of Julius Caesar. But this was no ordinary statue: it was magic, and it could walk and talk. Once day, Julius got tired of being a statue, and so he stepped off his pedestal and went into the world to seek his fortune.

Julius traveled all across Italy and into the ocean. Because he was a magic statue, he didn't need oxygen like everyone else, and so staying underwater for a really long time was not a problem for him. He sank down to the ocean floor, and then he walked and walked and walked until he came to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. He surfaced, and walked out of the ocean dripping wet. He walked across Australia until he came to a small zoo, where he met a koala. The salt water had softened Julius' skin, and he wore a blonde wig as a disguise. That is why he looks like a blond woman in this photo. The koala asked Julius to rule the galaxy with him as a joint evil overlord. Because he had nothing better to do that day, Julius agreed.

For many years, Julius worked with the evil koala. All Julius' dark ways and evil deeds seeped into his heart, and gradually, Julius became a part-time weeping angel: a creature that can only move when no one is looking at it and turns to a stone statue whenever something is looking. Weeping angels feed off of a creature's time line, and if one touches you, you are sent back in time and your time line is eaten. Julius was so set in his ways by this point that no one could get through to him and bring him back to his senses, even those that used to be his friends. Even the koala had become afraid of him. Julius had become a monster.


One day, when Julius was in town shopping for basil, he ran into David Tennant. And David Tennant was Not Amused. David looked at Julius and said: "What happened to you? You used to be a good person, and now look at you! You're a complete menace!"

Julius looked down at his feet and said "I don't know what else to be. I've been a part-time weeping angel and a full-time evil overlord for so long that I've forgotten how to be good."

David reached into his suit pocket and brought out a sonic screwdriver. He buzzed it at Julius, and Julius was healed! "Never forget," said David as he walked away, "Always be original."

And from that day forward, Julius the magic statue was good again, and bought flowers for widows and orphans. The end.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Many Famous People Are Revealed to Secretly be Time Travelers. In Other News, Grumpy Cat is Jesus.

I studied art history this year with two of my friends. I led our very own student study group in preparation for the AP Art History exam. To be honest, we all had a complete blast, and for me (at least), there were times when it didn't even feel like work, just because I love art history so much.

However, every now and then I stumbled across a very familiar face in the course of my studies. I swear, some of the paintings I found look EXACTLY like various people nowadays. Conclusion: time travel.

Now, don't worry. I intend to prove it. Observe the following photos:

This is supposed to be a self-portrait, I'll grant you, but I still think that it's actually Julia Roberts in secret. This was painted by Zinaida Serebriakova during the expressionist period, and she obviously had a run-in with the time-traveling Julia Roberts.

This portrait, Man in a Red Turban, was done in the fourteenth century by Jan van Eyck. This picture was revolutionary, because not only was it probably the first self-portrait, but the subject stares straight at the viewer, an uncommon pose for that era. Now look at this picture of Jean-Luc Picard. Admit it: the resemblance is uncanny. Many historians think that Man in a Red Turban was a self-portrait, but it was obviously just a commemoration of a visit from a starship captain of the future who shared a few futuristic painting tips with van Eyck. 

Observe: Gustave Courbet's turn-of-the-century painting and Orlando Bloom. Need I say anything more?

And last, but certainly not least: Observe this Byzantine mosaic from Daphne, Greece. Jesus is depicted as Pantokrator (last judge). His stern expression is very familiar to those of us who spend time on the internet. Yes, friends, this work was obviously modeled on none other than grumpy cat. Someday, this feline will surely be hailed as the world's first time traveling domestic animal, and I will be cheering for him on that day. Though I doubt he will enjoy it in the least.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Annoying Facts Of Life That I Can Do Nothing to Change, Yet Love to Complain About

I am a big fan of the vlogbrothers, and I was recently watching one of their older videos on YouTube:

Now, normally I am a very positive person. But I felt such a kinship with Hank after watching this video. As my fellow member of humanity, Hank and I beat on together, boats against the current of all the petty frustrations in this life and in our shared experience as human beings. I was inspired with (for me) the somewhat uncommon desire to whine like a small child. However, where the technology of videomaking is concerned, I have all the mad skill of a drunk tiger attempting to needlepoint a representation of the quadratic equation, so I thought I'd best stick with the written word. Jane Wagner said: "I personally think we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain." I think she was on to something.

And so, without further ado, here are three of my own, petty, selfish, irrational pet peeves.

1: The Stealth Samaritan 

Imagine this scene: you have a cold. There is nasty, gooey stuff blocking your nasal passageway. You reach for a tissue, and, a few seconds later, there is slightly less nasty, gooey stuff blocking your nasal passageway. You are now faced with a minor problem: where to put the tissue? If it weren't for the Stealth Samaritan, that  well-intentioned person in your life bent on making the world a better place without warning anyone first, this would be an easy problem to solve. Your arm reaches out to the spot that you know the trash can is always kept, you release the tissue, and: it falls on the floor because someone decided to clean the bathroom and move the can not six inches to the left, not far away but right out the normal scoring zone. 

This should not be a big deal, but it drives be absolutely 'round the bend and back again. I feel tempted to either draw a chalk line around the expected circumference of the location of the trash can or to just nail it to the floor.

2: The Red Line of Ego

Spellcheck is really quite a marvelous invention. My only problem with it is the little red and green lines that underline text which the software stubbornly believes are not words and/or are grammatically incorrect. I have no problem with them when I have actually made an error. But there is a point at which they cease to be helpful and start to be more annoying than Ronald McDonald at a military funeral. Take the word 'deoxyribonucleic,' for example. I know that I am spelling it correctly, as it is a word that I had to use quite a lot in Biology class this past year. However, Spellcheck does not know this. Spellcheck does not even think it is a word. And so Spellcheck stubbornly underlines the word in red every time I type 'deoxyribonucleic' until I add the word to my dictionary. 

Do you have any idea how annoying it is to look at something you've just typed and see little red squiggles everywhere? Spellcheck has unjustly accused me of error and will not get off my back about it. If my relationship with computerized writing programs is Les Miserables, Spellcheck is Javert and I am Jean Valjean. Javert's intentions are to rid the world of petty crime, miscreants, befoulers, and mispelled words. In reality, he pursues me, unfortunate Microsoft Word Purchaser 24601, to the ends of the earth, over a crime that really isn't one at all. Now, the only thing I have left to do is write a 1,000+ page book about my suffering that will later be adapted into a musical and several movies. It'll be awesome. I'll let you know once I'm taking pre-orders for signed copies. 

3: The Human Embodiment of the "Buffering" Spinny Circle

As I am a human, one of my attributes is that I have many faults. One of these faults, I freely admit, is an astounding lack of anything resembling patience or the ability to wait. My attention span is too long to be measured in milliseconds, granted, but I have what I refer to as 'selective attention.' If, for example, I'm practicing piano, I can play for two and a half hours straight and not even notice how much time has passed, greatly concerning my family and friends because they think something has happened to me and causing them to prepare to come and fetch me from the place I am practicing. (Yes, that has actually happened). But, if I try to concentrate on something that I don't care about at all, I find myself daydreaming so badly that I come back to earth several minutes later when I learn from someone I'm talking to that I have just said "uh-huh" in response to "where do you want to get lunch?" 

But I digress. Basically, I'm really impatient when I have to wait for something. Something like a person who is walking inexplicably, inexcusably and mind-blowingly slow down a narrow space that they cannot be passed in. This makes me upset because they are occupying the space that I currently wish to be breezing through en route to my destination. These people, to me, embody the human equivalent of that spinning circle that one sees when a video is too busy buffering to continue to play. I was recently stuck on a hike behind three people of this nature who thought that they were being quite speedy. To make matters even more vexing, these three people happened to be 13-year-old males who wanted nothing more in life than to talk loudly about all the ways that they could kill electronic people in videogames, have the electronic people kill each other, and otherwise erect a fascade of the glorification of violence, which they evidently believed to be the epitome of masculinity. It's even sadder that one of them seemed to be under the vague idea that if I overheard all of this, I would be impressed.

And those are my three complaints for today. What irrational thing gets on your nerves? Comment below, so that we can all complain together, like one big, happy, whining online family!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Chillin' with Will

My favorite author of all time is William Shakespeare. I have studied his work since I was seven years old, and his plays are what got me started on my love of acting. Here is the story of me and Will:

Once upon a time, there was a young child named Maddie who didn't yet have a lot to do every week. Her mother decided to sign her up for a Shakespeare day camp with Maddie's best friend, Elli, who had taken the camp before and enjoyed it a lot. Little did they realize that this would change Maddie's life completely.

Maddie and Elli enjoyed the camp immensely, and learned more than they could ever put into words from their wonderful teacher, Heather Sanderson. They did many more 'Stageplay' camps with her and several semester-long classes as well. They learned how to memorize lines. They learned how to 'get into' a character. They learned how to understand the marvelous language of Shakespeare. They learned how to act with their whole bodies, choose a costume, tell a story, improvise, and most of all, have the times of their lives learning new things. This is what they looked like during those years:

The girls are much bigger now, but Maddie's fashion sense and passion for hats has not changed in the slightest. 

However, as with all good things, Stageplay had to come to an end. When the girls were about 11, Heather had to move away, and Maddie sought theater opportunities elsewhere. She joined the Homeschool Theatre  Troupe (and so did Elli, after a while), and made many new, wonderful friendships and learned a lot. Our young heroine had an absolute ball with her new theater troupe, and was very sad when the rehearsal schedule changed such that she could no longer audition. Once again, she went to look for more theater opportunities, hoping to find some that involved Shakespeare.

Maddie discovered that the Shakespeare Theatre Company was accepting applications for their Young Company. Excitedly, she filled out her application and sent it in. Recently, she received an email that said that she had been invited to come and audition, and she is now over the moon with excitement.

~The End~

Greetings and Rantings (and Fabulous Hats)

Hello there! Welcome to my blog. This is my first time here as well as yours, so if this turns out to be terrible, we will suffer together, my friend.

I had a blog before this one. On it, I documented my various artistic endeavors. (You can check it out if you want: However, because it was so specific in content, I hardly ever posted anything. For many months now, poor Singing Dragons has sat all by itself, reminiscing of better days and probably writing sentimental poetry, in the hopes that one day-- one, golden day that will live on forever in the memory of the internet-- I will return, and post things on it again. If you do visit Singing Dragons, please don't tell it that I now have a new blog. That would only break its poor, electronic heart, and I don't think I could live with myself after that.

This blog will include many posts about the art that I do, just because that is such a huge part of my life, but I'll also write about all sorts of other things that I make happen or that happen to me. Here's a photo from a Doctor Who episode that pretty much sums up what this blog (and Doctor Who, for that matter), is like:

This seemed to me to be an appropriate description, because I am incredibly varied in my interests, and so that will inevitably be reflected on this blog. I am just as likely to spend the morning watching Veggie Tales videos on YouTube as I am to spend it making Steampunk hats or writing music or reading about art history or... well, you get the idea.

So! If you don't know me in real life, you're probably wondering what I'm like, and if you're not, too bad, because I'm going to tell you anyway.

My name is Maddie. I'm 16. I'm homeschooled. I have passions for Shakespeare, acting, music, jazz, piano, singing, ukuleles, tea, photography, steampunk, hat-making, animals, traveling, reading, writing, hairstyling, plants, languages, Doctor Who, fantasy, sci-fi, Harry Potter, Sherlock, art history, music theory, teaching children things, swing dance, the 1940s, literature, sketching, and the out-of-doors. I am weirdly good at blacksmithing and I still climb on things like a little kid. I'm a Christian. I like to think I'm good at composing music, and I'm probably right to do so. I dislike haters, but I love hatters (particularly those of the mad variety). I love my friends, and I made the hat I'm wearing in this photo. I'm goofy. I'm shy. I'm not afraid to make an idiot out of myself (and in fact, I rather enjoy doing so whenever the opportunity presents itself). My outlook is that you can't take life too seriously, or you won't get enough time to enjoy it.

Ta ta for now,