Monday, May 30, 2011

Inspired Summer Challenge of the Day

So, whilst surfing the web, I decided to go to YouTube and in my subscription box, I saw this video by Neil Cicierega (that guy that created Potter Puppet Pals, if you're not familiar):

While I was listening to this little Masterpiece, I had this thought.  Actually, it was a thought conversation.  With myself.  Here's sort of how it went:

Me: Man!  I used to love reading Goosebumps when I was younger!
Subconscious: Dude, I totally remember that too.
Me: You know, I have a book blog.
Subconscious: No kidding...
Me: Nah, here me out.  I have this massively good idea.
Subconscious: Umm... 'kay... is this going to be like the 80% of the plans you think up that you don't end up doing?
Me: Maybe... but I feel really good about this one!
Subconscious: Okay then, shoot.
Me: What if I created a challenge for myself where I read through that entire series over the summer?
Subconscious: That would be awesome, but Jude, you're going to be working with the public school system this summer and then Marie is going to come back to visit from France with her family... where on earth are you going to find the time to do something like this?  Where are you going to find the time to eat, sleep, breathe, AND read all at the same time?
Me: Well, who knows.  But it'll be summer, the last summer I'll have as a high school student.  I don't think it would be the most acceptable to do this kind of challenge in college, or even the summer after high school and before college, so why not reminisce and be nostalgic about childhood while I still can?
Subconscious: I suppose you have me convinced... We'll give it a shot.
Me: I knew you'd come around some time!

There are lots of conversations like this between me and my subconscious.

So now my question is, would anyone be interested in doing this challenge with me?  If there are enough people, I could create a linky list that people can join at will.  It doesn't just have to be book bloggers, it can be anyone who is interested (I like flexibility).  I'm going to do it either way, I just need to know if a linky list is needed.  Go and vote in the questionnaire box up top (I'll call it The Questionnaire Box) and tell me whether or not you're interested.  I'd really appreciate it!

April: How to Write a Script

I acknowledge that this is not the most exciting video because I'm not actually doing anything in the video other than talking about scripts and duct tape shoes.  I put a lot of time into creating all of the pictures and also editing together the film footage and these pictures to make the video that you see.  Let me know what you think, and enjoy!


P.S. I'm sorry that I finished this video towards the end of May... that was not the intention and I hope nothing  pushes me to do that again.  If anything, it'll be sheer laziness.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Girls and Women Who Read

This was just too amazing not to quote and share with you all.  I almost cried when I read this because it's the most beautiful thing I've ever read that wasn't a book.  And it's totally not a cliché...
"Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve. 
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow. 
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. 
Buy her another cup of coffee. 
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice. 
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does. 
She has to give it a shot somehow. 
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world. 
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.  
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.  
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.  
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.  
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.  
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads. 
Or better yet, date a girl who writes."
--Rosemary Urquico (via Burnout)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Weekend!

Welcome to Friday!

We have three questions today: one from Ginger @ GReads (TGIF), another from Jennifer @ Crazy for Books (The Blog Hop), and the last from Parajunkee who runs Follow Friday.  Let's get started!

In 2011, which new/old authors have you discovered and loved?

Hmm... new/old authors... list time!
1. Cavanaugh Lee (Save As Draft)
2. Ally Condie (Matched)
3. David Levithan (The Lover's Dictionary, etc.)
For all of these authors, I had only ever heard about them, but I had never gotten around to actually reading their work.  Now I'm completely impressed and there's no going back!

Book Blogger Hop

What book-to-movie adaptation have you most liked?  Which have you disliked?

I have to say, I'm quite fond of the Harry Potter movie adaptations.  I go into them knowing that they're not going to be exactly like the book, and for that, I can appreciate them for the movie.  Also, the Masterpiece Theater version of 'Jane Eyre' was very well made (and true to the book too!).  I really want to see 'Water for Elephants.'  The trailer looked exquisite and I loved the book!  As for book-to-movie adaptations that didn't work, 'Twilight' stands out the most.  

Hmm... I could have sworn that I've seen more book-to-movie adaptations than these... perhaps I just can't think of them now.

How many books do you read in a week?  And in what format do you read them, or listen to them?

I usually finish one book every week, but this number really varies because of a few factors: everything that goes on during the week, how good the book is, how long the book is, who's reading the book, and whether I'm being told to read the book or not.  

Usually, I'll have somewhere between two and four hard copy books going and then maybe one audio book all at once.

So that's it for me!  But what about you?  What are your responses to these questions?  Leave a comment with your web address below and I'll be sure to come and visit you this weekend (I have a long weekend because of memorial day!).

Have a lovely weekend!


P.S. I'm definitely working on the April LONTEM video this weekend.  I'm fairly caught up on everything that I needed to be caught up on, so I'll have a little time.  This is probably a good weekend to wrap up the May video as well...  we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Review of 'Without You: a Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical RENT' by Anthony Rapp

"Anthony Rapp had a special feeling about Jonathan Larson's rock musical Rent as early as his first audition, which won him a starring role as the video artist Mark Cohen. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Rent opened to thunderous acclaim off-Broadway -- but even as friends and family were celebrating the show's first success, they were also mourning Jonathan Larson's sudden death from an aortic aneurysm. And when Anthony's mom began to lose her battle with cancer, Anthony found himself struggling to balance his life in the theater with his responsibility to his family. In Without You, Anthony tells of his exhilarating journey with the cast and crew of Rent as well as the intimacies of his personal life behind the curtain. Marked by fledgling love and devastating loss, Without You is an exceptional memoir of the world of theater, the love of a son for his mother, and maturity won far too early."

This book (which I also read about a year ago) was what made Anthony Rapp my favorite actor ever.  Okay, one of them :)

I like Anthony Rapp's honesty in this book.  How he came out to his mom and how she felt about knowing this about her son.    

It was cool to see how this one musical (and there were several others involved in Anthony Rapp's story) can shape someone's life so dramatically (both Anthony Rapp's and the people around him).  But this memoir wasn't all about RENT.  It only subtley revolved around it.  It was the torque, but not necessarily the force (I know I got that wrong... that's why I'm getting a B- in physics...).

As a humongous fan of this musical, it was really cool to "go backstage" and see the audition process, Jonathan Larson's script writing, sound checks, costumes, etc.  It was amazing and beautiful and you could tell that Rapp cared about everything he did and everything came with it (his own acting performance, the amazing people he was with, the list could go on and on.

If you want to read a memoir that is completely honest and heartfelt and you also love RENT, this book is for you!

I give 'Without You':
Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Review of 'How to Cook Your Daughter' by Jessica Hendra

 "How does a little girl find her way in a world where nothing is sacred? In 2004, Tony Hendra's memoir Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul, spent thirteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The book detailed his life as a comedian who helped launch the careers of John Belushi and Chevy Chase, wrote for and edited The National Lampoon, and performed in such cult classics as This Is Spinal Tap, even as he overindulged in alcohol and drugs. But there was a glaring omission in his supposed tell-all confessional: the sexual abuse of his daughter Jessica. After more than thirty years of silence, Jessica faced a harrowing choice. In this powerful book, she reveals how she came to the decision to publicly confront her father, sacrificing any hope of reconciling with him and setting into motion a New York Times investigation that shocked the literary world when it broke the story of abuse. But Jessica's account is neither a minor footnote nor an angry response to her dad's bestseller. How to Cook Your Daughter -- titled after a satirical piece her father wrote only a few months before the abuse began -- is an unflinching and unsentimental look at a childhood that never was, set in a time and place straight from the pages of the outrageous magazine that her father helped to create. Against the backdrop of the 1970s New York comedy scene, the memoir traces Jessica's journey from a lost and abused child to a young woman struggling with bulimia and anorexia to the mother of two who becomes convinced that challenging her father is the only way to reclaim a life that never seemed her own."

This book (which I read several months, if not years ago) was what caused me to take an interest in memoirs.  It was between this one and 'Without You' which will be reviewed at a later time.  I thought I might as well post a review of it because it was so good that I remember it even after all of this time.  

At times, Jessica Hendra's book was hard to read.  Not because it was poorly written, but because of what she was saying.  There was tension when she spoke of her father.  You could tell that she loved him, but she also resented him for what happened to her.  She tells us, as her audience, exactly what happens and leaves out very few details (but I suppose we'd never know if she did leave anything out, however small.  We weren't there).  She tells us everything from seeing her father's memoir in the book store in the very beginning (and throughout as well) to going into the times when she was sexually abused by her father and the consequences that came with this trauma.

I liked how Jessica Hendra structured her book.  She would go through her past in chronological order and then disperse pieces of the present (also in chronological order) between anecdotes.  It worked really well for this memoir.

She is very articulate with her writing.  Of course, writing is in itself being articulate, but she seems to know just what she's going to say and how she's going to approach different aspects of her life without being too explicit that no one will want to finish reading this book or too flowery so that no one will take her seriously.  She has hit a wonderful balance in telling her side of the story.

I also appreciate how her story isn't outwardly bitter towards her father.  I feel like if she had, her anger would have gotten in the way of telling her story, so really, it only helped her.  While there was a tiny bit of tension, it was nothing that could make a reader uncomfortable.

Jessica Hendra's story is shocking.  As I read, I felt emotionally attached to what she was saying.  Her words moved me in a way that I can't say another book has before.

I give 'How to Cook Your Daughter*':
Thanks for reading!


*The title is based on the title of something her father wrote for the National Lampoon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Review of 'Last Night I Sang to the Monster' by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

"Zach is a senior but he's in rehab instead of high school.  He doesn't remember how he got there.  Remembering sucks and being alive-- well, what's up with that?

'I have it in my head that when we're born, God writes things down on our hearts.  See, on some people's hearts he writes Happy and on some people's hearts Sad and on some people's hearts he writes Crazy and on some people's hearts he writes Genius and on some people's hearts he writes Angry and on some people's hearts he writes Winner and on some people's hearts he writes Loser.  It's all a game to him.  Him.  God.  And it's all pretty much random.  He takes out his pen and starts writing on our blank hearts.  When it came to my turn, he wrote sad.  I don't like God very much.  Apparently he doesn't like me very much either.'


'Last Night I Sang to the Monster' was such an honest book.  I appreciated that no gory detail was spared.  Not that this book was terribly gory.  Blood keeps appearing in Zach's dreams, but that makes more sense once you reach the end of the book.

What I liked was the perspective.  Zach is an alcoholic and he's eighteen years old.  Before reading this, if you had asked me how old someone has to be to be an alcoholic, I would have naively said twenty-one, because in the U.S., that's the legal drinking age.  I knew that people my age have gotten into alcohol in the past and will undoubtedly continue to get into it, but I was unable to place two and two together for whatever reason.  It was a lot more interesting to hear from someone who is practically my age.

Another thing that I felt Sáenz did well was character development.  Each of the characters was different from the other.  They came with their own sets of problems and hang-ups and personalities.  But they all interacted well together and everything just fell into place.  Very well done.

Something that was a little off was the ending.  Ultimately, I like how the book ends.  It was the getting there part that was iffy for whatever reason.  As much as I liked it, the ending just felt too good to be true.

What I didn't like were the terms "tore me up" and "wigged me out."  Half the time, I couldn't tell if these phrases had a good or a bad connotation (at least "tore me up" had that effect).  It was confusing and it seemed a little old-fashioned for a book published in 2009 (I associate "wigged me out" with the seventies or eighties).

Overall, a very powerful read!  I fully intend to read more books by Sáenz.

I give 'Last Night I Sang to the Monster':
Thanks for reading!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rant: The End of the World

Yesterday's Rapture was a bit of a bust... very anti-climactic...

You know, I was kind of thinking about the real end of world whilst walking over to a job that I had to do (deep thoughts, short distances) and I was thinking that when the real end of the world comes, no one is going to believe that it's the real end of the world.  This is because of all of the false alarms.  Not just the recent ones like what many believe will happen on December 21, 2012 and The Rapture on May 21, 2011.  Just for fun, I did a Google search about end of the world theories in history.  I'll tell you about some of my favorites.  I'll try and go in chronological order so as to avoid confusion.

1) January 1, 1000-- Christians in Europe had predicted that the world would end on this exact day.  Citizens had given up all of their possessions to the church knowing that they wouldn't need anything after the world ended.  Wars were waged against Pagan countries solely so that everyone in those countries could be converted to Christianity and be saved.  Unfortunately, the average level of education was so low that no one knew what the year was.  Luckily, the fear level was also relatively low due to this same reason.  Of course there were some consequences after this occurred.  The church did not return anyone's possessions after the world failed to end and many became critical of the church.

2) 1205-- Joachim of Fiore predicted (this is in the year 1190) that in this year, it would be realized that the anti-Christ was in the world and that King Richard of England would be the one to defeat him.  That's quite a job description for King Richard of England...

3) Circa 1832-- Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormonism) spoke to God who told him that he would see the son of man the year he turned eighty-five (which would have been 1890).  He wasn't sure whether this would be the year of the millennium.  What's interesting about this is so much mystery shrouds the real meaning.  It's not clear whether God meant something would happen in 1890 if he was alive or if something would happen regardless of Joseph Smith's living situation (dead or alive).  Either way, nothing ended up happening in 1890.

4) 1982-- John Gribben and Stephen Plagemen (two astronomers) predicted the Jupiter Effect, which is that all of the planets would line up with each other on one side of the sun.  This would cause tidal forces to create solar flares, temperature and rainfall disturbances, radio wave interruptions, massive earthquakes, etc.  The only flaw in this theory is that the planets line up more often than we think and nothing has happened yet.

5) 1986-- Moses David, the leader of a faith group called The Children of God predicted that Armageddon would take place in this year.  In short, Russia would defeat every country and communism would reign.  Christ would come again in 1993.

6) April 17, 2008-- An email was sent to Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry detailing the end of the world telling them that only 144,000 people were going to be saved and resurrected to create a new government 1,000 years after this date.

I'll stop there.  There were hundreds more on this website dating before the birth of Christ all the way into the apocalypses that are predicted in the future.  If you have time, they're quite interesting to read.  

My point is, there are so many theories out there (in the past, present, and future) that I'm wondering if we're going to be blinded when the world is eventually "ended," as it were.  And of course, I don't mean you, those of you who are reading this, because everyone, including me, will be long gone by then (unless the life expectancy of the average human shoots up significantly in however much time that is).  Many people I know, myself included, brush off the current end of the world theories and throw parties to mock them (okay, I haven't thrown a party yet, but I've mocked these theories before).  Billions of years from now, what are the future generations going to think when this crazy scientist, astronomer, theologist, what-have-you comes out and notices that the sun is bigger than he or she once remembered it or that he or she just had a revelation or received a personal message from [insert name of Deity here]?  They might have the same thoughts that many are having today and not believe the the end is near.  Maybe they'll be right and maybe they'll be wrong.  There's no telling.

This was the thought that I had on that short walk that I had to take.

Any way, we live to see another day.  Congratulations to you all!

Thanks for reading (and paying attention to my rantings, if you did).


P.S. I'll get back to regular reviews soon.  I'm almost done with another book.  I'll finish it and write the review for it.  Also, my precalculus project has been completed as of today and my physics video is done.  I have a bit of make-up work to do and online gym to finish, but I will start working on the April LONTEM video.  It's super overdue.  And I'm actively gathering pieces for the May LONTEM video, which is due very, very soon.  It might also be late because of how late the April video is.  I just thought that I'd let you know that.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I had to.  Simply had to.  Hate me if you would like, but I had too much fun drawing this velociraptor on MS Paint :)


Friday, May 20, 2011

TGIF, Hopping Blogs, and Following Fridays

Happy Friday!

Let's get right to the questions and then we'll do other stuff afterwards.  Yes?  Yes.

TGIF is brought to you by Ginger at G-Reads (click on the link to the left and join the others this weekend!)

What was the first book you reviewed on your blog?

Looking back to about July 2010, it looks as though the first book I ever reviewed was 'Between Mom and Jo' by Julie Ann Peters.  I haven't read it in quite some time, but surprisingly, I remember quite a bit about it and I remember liking it a lot.  You may click on the title of the book and be taken to the original review.  A warning, this review is like almost all of my other reviews in that I don't spare any details.  I pick the thing apart.  You've been warned!

Book Blogger Hop

The Blog Hop is brought to you by Jennifer at Crazy for Books (click on the image above to visit).

If you were given one chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?

I'm sure this is going to be a popular answer, but I would love to be in the world of Harry Potter.  I want to cast spells on anything and everything!  It would be so much fun!  My second choice would be in the place where many of Gail Carson Levine's stories take place ('Ella Enchanted,' 'Fairest,' 'Ever,' etc.).  I've always been incredibly fascinated by castles (and I get to see real live castles next year when I travel to France for nearly two weeks!  I'm so excited!).

Follow Friday is brought to you by Parajunkee (click on the image above to visit).

It's circle time.  Time for us to open up and share.  Can you tell us FIVE quirky habits or things about you?  We all have them...

Let's see... list time!

1. I talk to myself.  Sometimes people get confused as to whether I'm talking to them or not.
2. I'm ambidextrous.  I can write with both hands, but I put more emphasis with writing with my left while I do everything else with my right.  I confused a gym teacher that way when we were supposed to be playing Frisbee...
3. I tend to stare at people sometimes.  No reason in particular, I just do.  Does that make me creepy?
4. Every time there's a special event coming up for someone or they're sick, I always try to write happy birthday on their facebook walls, bake them a birthday cake, or make a picture using MS Paint.  It just depends on how well I know the person.  Acknowledgement is good.
5. This is more of an interest thing, but I like to pause movies and go through them movie still by movie still to figure out how exactly the cast and crew of the movie did something.  I've done this a lot for Harry Potter (the more action-oriented ones) and Star Wars, I believe.

That's all for me!  What about you guys?  I'm interested in reading your answers to these questions.  Feel free to leave your web address and maybe even a message, if that floats your boat, in the comments and I'll try my best to get back to you sometime over the weekend!

Have a good weekend!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reflection on a Valley Fair* Experience

It was like riding on the back of a wild stallion with rockets strapped to its back with my hair shaken loose and a plate of funnel cake in my hand with a large group of my friends also riding their rocket stallions in the middle of the wilderness, through a stream, and over many over-sized hills.  It was amazing**.


*Valley Fair is an amusement park in Minnesota where many children and adults come to frolic for as many hours as they please (as long as they leave by closing time).  I highly recommend you go there.

**It was mostly amazing due to the fact that I haven't been there in almost four years.  So I was pretty easy to impress.  Also, I tried funnel cake for the first time and it was delicious.

***Yes, those are wild stallions with jet-packs in that picture.  I just wanted to illustrate my point.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Doppler Effect: A Physics Final Project

For my final project in honors physics (or, as a tribute to Mr. Hewitt, that thing that starts with an "F" and ends in "Isics"!) I had to pick something that we had learned about in class sometime between the beginning of the year to the present.  We're in the middle of a unit about light and sound (mostly light), which was convenient, because I could apply lots of things about sound to my every day life.  I picked the Doppler Effect mostly because it was easy.  Also, I hadn't heard anyone else talk about doing it.  I like not copying people!

So any way, enjoy the video and I hope you learn a little something (because that'll mean I did my job extra right!).

Have a lovely week!  I'm still working on the last LONTEM video, I promise...


Monday, May 16, 2011

A Review of 'Her and Me and You' by Lauren Strasnick

"'I met Fred first.'

Fred: Hot.  Enigmatic.  Alex's first friend in her lonely new town.  Maybe her first... everything.

'I met Adina the following Monday.'

Adina: Fred's twin sister.  Cold.  Troubled.  Trouble.

'I kissed him.

She pressed her mouth to my mouth.'

People warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, but Alex is drawn to them.  She wants to be part of their crazy world... no matter their consequences."

This book felt like a vacation... a vacation where it rained for an entire week.  What I mean is, as soon as I got to the end of the book, I couldn't believe that the author had ended it as fast as she did.

Let's start with something good and try to end the same way.  I was really enjoying Lauren Strasnick's writing style.  It was choppy, in that there were many fragmented sentences, but I thought it worked well because it resembled the way certain people think.

I didn't like the way the book ended.  I was left with so many questions!  Does Alex's mom eventually get visibly better after the divorce?  What about Adina's anorexia?  What happened between Alex's mom and dad to make her father go together with Caroline?  It's questions like these that ran through my head.  In short, too many loose ends were left behind.

I liked Lauren Strasnick's characters, but I felt they could have been developed a lot more.  These characters felt like ideas of characters that could be rather than real people.  Fred was about as mysterious as Edward Cullen in Twilight, Evie and Alex both had horrible mood swings and the smallest thing could tick them off, I couldn't really tell what Adina's motives were for basically attacking Alex.  I guessed that she just wanted her brother to herself, but I'm not certain that I could back up my theory properly if you asked me to.

I also wish that Lauren Strasnick had developed the story a bit better.  Don't get me wrong, I liked what was there, but like I said above, many loose ends were left dangling and those could have been avoided with a longer book or some other method that I haven't thought of.  I wanted to see how Alex and Caroline resolved their differences and I also wanted to see if Adina's efforts eventually led to her downfall (and I'll be honest, I was hoping that she'd at least get shipped off to boarding school.  I would have been happy).

I like the short chapters in this book.  In my history of reading, those have been my favorite kinds of chapters because they tend to break up the story a bit more and it makes the story flow better (in my opinion).

The cover is absolutely gorgeous!  That was the main reason why I checked it out of the library (the interesting-sounding blurb was reason two).

While there were several good things about Her and Me and You, there were just as many not-so-good things that put a damper on the reading experience.

I give Her and Me and You:
Thanks for reading!


Sunday, May 15, 2011


One of the best nights in my existence!  Great Indian food for dinner (I just finished it for lunch this morning... still good!), beautiful corsage (that is currently in my fridge fighting for life), handsome date (^_^), and lots and lots of dancing!

 Anecdote time: While we were walking to the restaurant, on two occasions we were talked to.  The first, a nice guy and his car saying, "You guys look great!"  The second, two guys in a store.  One was confused and asked if we had just gotten married, the other one had it together and he said, "Naw, man, it's prom!  They're going to prom!"  Then they both proceeded to congratulate us (for what, I don't know) and told us to enjoy ourselves.  We were out until almost midnight, by which time, we were both deliriously funny from the need for sleep.

Now, I'm rather curious... if you've been to prom before, what was it like?  I find prom stories to be quite interesting, and believe me, I've heard a few today.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!  I'll be taking a field trip to try and finish my physics video and if I do get it finished and edited, I'll start working on the April LONTEM project video so that it's not two months late.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Severe Weather

Or, you know, not really... the news stations where I live just happens to freak out about everything from a gust of wind to twenty-eight feet of snow.  I turned into a crotchety old lady and wrote a perturbed email requesting that they keep their newscasts brief and not repeat everything that they say.

Any way, that's not what I intended to blog about.  I wanted to show you pictures from last night's storm... thing... enjoy!
I was having trouble getting a picture of the lightning, so to make up for it, I took a video and then took a screen shot of the video after I uploaded it to YouTube.
A random duck just decided that this tree was the place to be.  I've never seen that before...
None of these are edited.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Heads Up

Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that I may be a bit scarce this week.  I have my last two AP tests to take and then I have a whole bunch of assignments I have to make up for because of those tests... I also have my last band concert of the year and a piano recital coming up and I would rather not screw any of those things up.  There's a physics video that must be filmed and completed as well.  It will be about music.  I basically have it planned out, it's just a matter of filming and editing it.  I'll be sure to post the final video when it's done and I've run it by my teacher.

If I finish a book, I will post a review.  I do plan on doing all or most of the Friday memes because they're so much fun.

This is completely unrelated, but I have once again changed the look of my blog.  I got home today after school and I saw that the temperature outside is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  In May.  Eighty degrees.  In May.  Blarg... so to fight off the heat, I have changed the background to a cooler color.  Brown was too warm and stifling for this time of year.  Or for this day, any way.

Have a great week everyone!


Monday, May 9, 2011

A Review of 'I Am Not a Serial Killer' by Dan Wells (Audio Book)

"John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous and he knows it.  He's spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.

John is obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn't want to become one.  So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he's written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Dead bodies are normal to John.  He likes them, actually.  They don't demand or expect the empathy he's unable to offer.  Perhaps that's what give him the objectivity to recognize that there's something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat-- and to appreciate what that difference means.

Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can't control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could."

This is a very eerie read, especially if you begin listening at night before falling asleep, as I did.  John Wayne is extremely fascinated by dead people and on top of that, he helps his mom and one of his sisters (I think she's a sister) in their mortuary.  On the first CD, he goes through the embalming process.  It was uncomfortable to listen to, but it was really effective.

Another interesting thing is John Wayne's rules.  As said in the description above, John knows a lot about serial killers.  He researches them, tying them into his school work and even discovering that he shares a name with a serial killer.  John has researched the characteristics that most serial killers show before they even become serial killers.  John exhibits most if not all the predictors.  So in order to prevent himself from encountering a serial killer, he gives himself rules that he must follow.

More and more people keep dying.  There are suspects, but there aren't any strong candidates.  There doesn't seem to be a specific demographic this killer is targeting.  So far, the victims have only been men.  So what does John do?  He takes it upon him to solve this thing using his knowledge of serial killers.

There is a twist at the end that I really believe no one will guess.  It surprised me and I was really thrown for a loop.

I Am Not a Serial Killer was very intriguing and interesting to listen to.  It kept me on my toes and it involved psychology and a look into the human persona.  I'm rather excited to read/hear the sequel.

I give I Am Not a Serial Killer:
Thanks for reading!


A Review of 'The Forest of Hands and Teeth' by Carrie Ryan (Audio Book)

"In Mary's world, there are simple truths.
The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village.  The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her.  She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, the Guardians and their power, and-- when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos-- about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her.  And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?"

When I started listening to this book, I was confused as to what kind of book I could consider this.  At first, I thought it was dystopian, but there isn't one person controlling everything.  They have two groups: the Sisterhood and the Guardians.  So I couldn't call it dystopian.  I would consider this more of a young adult survival book.  Not knowing the genre did not hinder the readability of the book.  I was intrigued and hooked from the start.

It's always interesting when there's something in a book that all of the character are told not to go near or touch or pass.  It tells us as the readers a lot about the environment they're in.  They're afraid of these things that used to be human at one point in time.  They're afraid of the virus.  They fear these things because they don't understand them, but they recognize that if everyone in the village knew more, they'd be more afraid of what's on the other side of that fence, which is why the village has secrets.  Objects like this wall always cause me to dare the characters to do what they're not supposed to do.  Of course, they do just that and that's how the story take off.  It's human nature, I guess.

This book sort of reminded me of the movie The Village from director M. Shyamalan (he's my favorite!).  In The Village, everyone is told to stay out of the forest, especially at night, because there's something in there...

What I found most interesting was as Mary was moving through the abandoned villages on her way to the ocean, she's discovering the world we are familiar with right now.  As we keep reading (or listening), we realize that the book takes place in post-Zombie Apocalypse United States.  For me, this added a level of realism and the book popped a little more (stood out) because I was familiar with the setting.  When I first started listening, I thought for sure that I was reading about some past civilization.  I thought that this was an interesting way to open up this world.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth has a sequel, which I have borrowed and will be listening to sometime.  I can't wait to see what happens next!

I give TFoHaT:
Thanks for reading!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

What...? How Did You...? Ummm...

Hello Everyone!

I hope you had a nice Mother's Day!  Celebrate your moms and/or mother figures because they totally deserve it!

You may have noticed a change or two around here.  Maybe, just maybe.  I decided to go crazy and do a redesign today.  This included buttons, the background, and the banner.  Everything else remains the same.

I took on the style of line-drawings, which I thought was kind of a cool direction to go in when I was experimenting with Pixlr (it's very much like Photoshop, but free).  In case you were curious, the person on my banner and my button is me.  I took pictures and then I put them through Pixlr, adding a layer so that I could trace my outline.  Somewhat difficult and more than a little time-consuming, but I feel like I did an okay job.

So now, my lovely followers, I must pose a question to you: What do you think?  Should I change anything?  Is something just not working like it probably should?  I'd like to hear your feedback, if you have any.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day of Silence

This is about a month late, but I feel like it needs to be said.

Please understand my reasons for not speaking today.  I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies.  My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling, and harassment.  I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices.  Think about the voices you are not hearing today.”

On Friday April 15, I took part for the first time in the Day of Silence.  Upon my arrival at school, I picked up this speaking card and for the rest of the day, I was silent. 

I am not okay with the level of harassment that there is towards other people who are different from our selves.  Their differences and our own differences don’t make us bad people, it’s just the way we are.  There’s no way that we can change it and there’s no reason we should ask other people to change themselves to suit our needs and purposes. 

I’ve heard of people attempting to back up their reasoning using the Bible.  That’s all well and dandy, but I’m wondering, what happened to ‘love your neighbor’?  Does that mean that just because my neighbor is gay that I should stop loving or caring about them?  At least for me, that doesn’t make any sense for things to work like that.  I’m not gay or lesbian, but I know people and I have friends who are.  My silence is for them.  I don’t want them to be harassed by the thoughtless comments that are spewed into the world daily.  I don’t want them to feel like they can’t tell or talk to anyone about what they’re going through.  I want them to feel safe in any environment that they enter.  No one deserves that no matter what their situation is.  That’s why I participated in this Day of Silence.

I'm disabling comments for this post.  I just want to avoid confrontation because my beliefs can't be changed.


P.S. If you have stories to share or art relating to GLBT rights, click HERE and follow the steps.  We'd love to have you contribute!  Please proceed with caution, there is some strong language in at least one of the pieces.  Thank you!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday! And What a Busy One It Is...

Hello there!  If you're an old follower just dropping by for a visit, welcome back!  It's so nice to hear from you again!  If you're a visitor or a new follower, welcome!  It's good to meet you!

Okay, so this post is going to be a rather busy one.  Normally I ramble on and try and answer the questions as thoroughly as possible, but that won't be as much of an option this time.  Lots to say and not enough time to get through it all!

Let's start with the Blog Hop, brought to you by Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books!

Book Blogger Hop

Which book blogger would you most like to meet in real life?

This is a difficult one since I'm following so many bloggers... I've already met Ezra Zee, because we're friends in real life, so I don't suppose it would be fair to count her now (but you should still go check her out because she's amazing!).  I think I would most want to meet That Hapa Chick and/or Liddy from Y.A. Reviewz.  They just seem like really great people to know in real life (this is judging by the videos I've seen of theirs).

Next!  Follow Friday, which is brought to you by Parajunkee.

Circle time! Time to share. What character in a book would you most like to be, what character in a book would you most like to date?

In short, I'd like to be Hermione Granger and I'd date Peeta from the Hunger Games (I wonder how many people are going to say that...).

And now for TGIF brought you you by Ginger at GReads!

What occupies your time when you are not reading and/or blogging?

When I'm not reading or blogging, I'm writing (some writing of mine can be found HERE if you're interested), taking pictures (which you may get to see soon, because I just took a few more), creating videos, and attending high school (I think there's four weeks left for everyone who is not a senior!  So exciting!).

And now for an update for the Audio Book challenge that I committed to doing even before January 2011.  

I just did a count and I have listened to and reviewed three audio books, I've listened to a fourth, but I'm currently working on a review, and I'm actively listening to yet another one.  This would all add up to five, which puts me to almost the halfway mark!  I would say that that's not too shabby, considering we're not yet half-way through the year yet (but almost.  June is creeping up, slowly but surely...).  So that's my update!  How is everyone else doing?

Off The Shelf!

Speaking of challenges, I've decided to take up yet another one (stop the madness!).  It's called the Off the Shelf challenge.  What I must do for this challenge is read x-number of books that I own that are on my shelves that have not been read yet.  I've been meaning to do this for months, but not I have a little motivation behind it.  I'm going to shoot for level one, which is Tempted, meaning I'm going to try and read five books off of my shelves.  Had I started this early, I might have pledged level two, which is a significant step up to 15 books off my shelf, but alas, we're almost halfway through the year and that would not be realistic for me.

And now for just some final announcements that you may or may not care about but I'm going to tell you any way.  As I kind of said above, I'm currently working on writing another review and I hope to have that finished sometime this weekend between studying for my last two AP tests and other assorted school work.  I'm also trying to get my April LONTEM Project video created, but once again, school must interfere and I have to make a video about sound for my physics class which is due in exactly two weeks.  So again, I'll probably have another late video unless I finish the school one early, which I intend to do.

Okay, that's it for me.  What are your answers to the questions above?  If you would like me to visit your blog, leave a message and/or your web address in the comments and I'll try and at least respond to you as well as visit your blog.  Have a lovely weekend!

Thanks for reading!


P.S. How did I do blog-post-length-wise?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A "Serious" Discussion About Senioritis

I felt as though it was about time that I addressed this serious issue that is affecting high school and college students of all ages.  It's time that we've had a serious talk about Senioritis.  

The Symptoms
o Work is not appealing even when the person doing it knows it's good for them or knows that it'll alleviate their boredom
o Homework starts piling up to a point where the student doesn't know what to do
o A student is more excited about getting out of school and heading into summer 
o Usually occurs towards the end of the school year
o Student begins making whimsical decisions-- and they usually aren't for the benefit of humanity
o Fun and play is chosen over work (may or may not be related to the last point)
o Getting lazy and antsy even if the student is not a senior (in other words, it can happen at every age and to anyone)

What To Do If You Or Someone You Love Exhibits Symptoms of Senioritis
o Do not call a doctor.  This is not a serious medical condition.  It can be treated using home remedies
o Parent or compadre intervention may be in order to counter the effects of Senioritis
o More interesting assignments may need to be given (then again, they might not ever get done)
o If all other efforts fail, the condition will undoubtedly clear up by the beginning of the following school year when the afflicted realizes that there is more than a month of school left

Someone had to do it :)

Thanks for Reading!


*Yes, stuffed dolphins are a legitimate alternative to studying for any kind of test (AP Geography not included in this.  I've put myself on the hook by borrowing this book.  It just happened to be the only one I had).
**Do not take any medical advice from me whatsoever.  I'm afraid of the medical profession, so why join it?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

In Which I Ask For Your Input

So today, I learned how to create surveys (hurray!) which is super helpful, because now I will hopefully have an easier time asking questions and receiving feedback.  If you could fill out the survey below, I would really appreciate it!  It's nothing terribly intrusive, I just want to see how I'm doing so far.  Please be completely honest,  the survey is completely anonymous.  Thanks everyone!