April 22, 2014

For There Is But Unity...

These last few days I've plunged back into my The Heritage of World Civilizations textbook, and am currently going over the section on the Islamic World from 1000 to 1500 C.E. (A truly vast world already by then!), and fell on this really interesting piece of poetry written by Jalaluddin Rumi.

Rumi, who died in 1273 C.E. was a very influential Muslim mystic, though at one point he appears to have stopped seeing himself seen as being one way vs. another, as he put aside duality:
Jalaluddin Rumi

What to do, Muslims? For I do not recognize myself; not
a Christian I nor Jew, Zoroastrian nor Muslim....
Not of India am I nor China, not Bulgar-land nor Turkistan;
not the Kingdom of Both Iraqs nor the Land of Khurasan.
Not of this World am I nor the next, not of heaven or hell;
not of Adam nor Eve, not of Paradise nor Ridwan.
My place is no place, my trace has no trace; not body
nor soul, for I belong to the soul of Love.
Duality have I put aside, I have seen both worlds as one.
One I seek, One I know, One I see, One I call.
He is the first, He the last; He the Outward, He the inward.
~Diwan-i Shams-i Tabriz*

A truly inspirational piece that tells us to put our differences aside.

*Translated from Arabic by John Alden Williams, reprinted from The World of Islam, ed. by John Alden Williams (1994).

April 15, 2014

Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!

Since I'm currently working on an illustrated book series for (very) young readers whose principal hero is a kitten, my interest was peaked by the following article on cat facts. Here are a few I thought I'd share with you:

  • A group of cats is called a clowder or also a clutter. (I really like the second one.)
  • In tigers and tabbies, the middle of the tongue is covered in backward-pointing spines, used for breaking off and gripping meat. (I suppose this means tabbies are part tiger?)

  • Cats can literally taste-sense the air...
  • ...but they can't taste anything sweet.
  • The frequency of a domestic cat's purr is the same at which muscles and bones repair themselves. (Is this for real?)
  • Adult cats only meow to communicate with humans. They can even change their meowing to manipulate humans (sounding for example like a baby when they're hungry or scared).

  • Cats are often lactose intolerant. 
  • Bezoar =  scientific term for cat hairball. (I'm sure Harry Potter fans knew this already.)
  • A cat's brain is more similar to that of a human than a dog's.
  • Female cats are typically right-pawed while males are left-pawed.
  • A cat has five toes on his front paws, and only four on his back paws, unless he's a polydactyl (in which case he'd have five toes on his back paws too).
  • When cats leave their poop uncovered it's a sign of aggression (aka they don't fear you and contest your territory).
  • Cats use their whiskers to test whether they will fit in a certain space. (Like a tiny, weeny box.)

  • Cats' noses are ridged uniquely, like humans' fingerprints.
  • If a cat rubs on you, it's cause he's marking you as his territory...
  • ...while they lick themselves to get your scent off. (Hey, you're their slave, hooman!)
Pretty interesting, eh?

April 8, 2014

Progression Of An Angry Note

I currently live in an apartment complex where parking spots are so tight that, even if you're parked straight in the middle of your assigned space, you're bound to get your doors banged and nicked (which is why I just don't understand why anyone would want to have a nice-looking car worth a year's worth (or two) of income when living here.

In any case, I once got to come back to finding my neighbor's car parked so poorly (diagonally and partially on the line between our spots, that I had the toughest time getting to park in my spot (and, having become thoroughly Americanized, I wouldn't park it 5 minutes away on the street either). Please note that on the other side of my car are metallic posts, so my ability to park further away is severely limited.

Needless to say, after a horridly long day at work, I just didn't have any patience left, and ripped a page out of my precious notebook (the very one I use to keep all notes on the Morgana Trilogy!!!) to write out a note to my parking neighbor:

Great job on the parking, motherf@#$#$T%!!!!

I breathed heavily upon finishing up note #1, which allowed me to cool down just a tad bit. So I tossed that note aside, ripped another piece of blank paper from my notebook, and wrote note #2:

Great job on the parking! Next time you park like that, I'll have your car towed!

I opened my door and had to squeeze through to get out. While doing so, I realized the car wasn't actually over the line, so while I walked to the other side of my car to pick up my personal belongings via the passenger side, I decided to write note #3 (grosso modo):

Your parking made it nearly impossible for me to get out in and out of my car. It was very inconsiderate of you.

I left note #3 on the other car's windshield and tossed the first two to the bin.

The next morning, I had a blast watching (from a secret position) my neighbor try to pull his car out of his spot without hitting my car but, and this really surprised me, I got a note the morning after (via the trustworthy means of the windshield and wiper blade combo) from my neighbor how profusely apologized. Which made me feel so much better and changed my opinion of him from dirtbag who can't drive to cool guy.

My lesson that week was to allow anger to cool off before confronting someone when he/she's doing something you don't like. And to do so politely, for people then react much more amenably and are less inclined to argue back (no ruffled feathers).

April 1, 2014

Children, children, don't forget!

Children, children, don't forget
There are elves and fairies yet.
Where the knotty hawthorn grows
Look for prints of fairy toes.
Where the grassy rings are green
Moonlight dances shall be seen.
Watch and wait: O lucky you,
If you find a fairy shoe:
For a ransom he will pay,
Hobbling barefoot all the day.
Lay it on his mushroom seat,
Wish your wish, and go your way.
If your wish should be discreet,
Never fear but he will pay.

~Dora Owen