Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Review of 'Still Alice' by Lisa Genova

 "What if every mempry you've ever had will be erased from your mind, and you have no choice but to carry on... powerless to stop it?

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build.  At fifty years old, she's a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children.  When she begins to grow disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life-- and her relationship with her family and the world-- forever.

At once beautiful and terrifying, the extraordinary debut novel by Lisa Genova is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer's disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Ordinary People."

I've never read A Beautiful Mind or Ordinary People, but this was a spectacular novel just the same.  I think I might just read other books by Lisa Genova!

It's been a while since I've read (listened to) a book about mental illness.  This might sound really twisted, but those are some of my personal favorites-- I love delving into the human psyche!

Before reading (listening) to this book, I knew very little about Alzheimer's.  I knew that it was something that had something to do with losing your memory.  What's nice about this book is you don't necessarily have to know anything about this disease in order to read (or listen to) this book.

Still Alice was a bit of an emotional roller coaster throughout the book.  From the beginning when she was upset that one of her daughters wanted to be an actor instead of going to college to feeling Alice's frustration and anguish when she couldn't remember where anything was.

It's been a little while since a book has coaxed an outward reaction from me to what was happening in the book.  Towards the end, I was screaming because of what was happening and where it looked like the story was going to go.

As tragic as this disease is, I thought it was really neat to see how this disease brought Alice and her family (and even a community of people outside of her family) together as a support system and as people who were constantly getting to know each other.

Still Alice was a beautiful novel that hooks you in and doesn't let you go until it ends.  I give this novel:
Thanks for reading!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

That Day That Comes Before Saturday (Even though it's Saturday Today)

Right.  I'm late.  Let's get to it!

The Blog Hop, Follow Friday, and TGIF are brought to you by Jennifer @ Crazy-for-Books, Parajunkee, and Ginger @ G-Reads, respectively (there are links that you may click on).

Summer love: where is your ideal place to take a summer vacation and get lost in a book?

More than likely, I haven't been there yet.  I plan on leaving the country on multiple occasions so that I may find this spot.  But I do have some criteria: somewhere warm and not-so-populated so that you can see the stars at night and also hear the waves breaking on the shore.  I'm not sure where that is, but if you think you know, feel free to inform me and I'll try my best to get there sometime before I die (morbid, but I'm serious).
The Blog Hop

When did you realize that reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?

My mom has been going through pictures-- she's making a scrapbook that she's going to work on all year and give to me when I graduate high school next June (that's another thing I have to wait for!  I also have two envelopes coming around that time too!  I might just burst with excitement!  And I've totally remembered that, so now I've ruined it for my future self... sorry self...).  

Any way, she's been finding all of these pictures of me reading or being read to as a little kid.  So in short, I've been reading forever and books and even writing have worked their way in and settled themselves into my life and now they're huge hallmarks in my life.  

I want to meet one reader who can pinpoint exactly when they found out that they loved reading to pieces.  It's really hard!

Follow Friday

In light of the Summer Solstice-- also known as Midsummer-- let's talk about fairies.  What is your favorite fairy tale or story that revolves around the fae?

Most of my knowledge of fairy tales (save for Ezra's 'History of Beauty and the Beast' posts Part 1 and Part 2) have come from Disney.  Sad, right?  I need to get out more... but my favorite Disney movie to watch was Sleeping Beauty.  I loved the three good fairies and Maleficent and the art in the movie was very astonishing!  This was probably the lamest answer you've seen, but it's all I've got... sorry!

What are your answers?  Leave your web address and a message in the comments if you would like and I'll try my best to come and visit your web site today or tomorrow!  

Have a lovely weekend!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Review of 'Girl, 15, Charming But Insane' by Sue Limb (Audio Book)

"Girl, 15, charming but insane, huge bum, massive ears, seeks... well, seeks Ben Jones, but failing that, seeks large burka-type garment to cover her deformities.

I'm trying to draft a personals ad, but instead I'm slowly losing the will to live.  I'm young, creative, only slightly mental.  I'm really quite attractive, when not standing next to my blindingly gorgeous best friend, Flora.  I think I look like Catherine Zeta-Jones... but my ex-friend Fred seems to think I look like Mike Myers in drag.  And gorgeous Ben Jones--well, gorgeous Ben Jones doesn't seem to think anything about me.  At all.

With her hilariously active imagination, Jess Jordan has a tendency to complicate her life, but now, as she's finally getting closer to her crush, she's determined to keep things under control.  Readers will fall in love with Sue Limb's optimistic heroine in this uproarious tribute to the kind of insanity that, strangely enough, can keep a girl sane."

I literally laughed out loud on a number of occasions whilst listening to this.  It's just the way Sue Limb puts words together (and usually in the most unexpected combinations) that makes nearly everything Jess says funny.  Not only that, but she's put in the most outrageous of situations from being filmed in the bathroom to cleaning up the flood that her granny started.

This book (audio book) basically deals with the life of the not-so-typical life of an average fifteen-year-old that wants to be a stand-up comedian.

Sue Limb's characters are distinctive from each other and very well-developed.  They create the story and it feels like she (the author) does not have any part in the creation part of this.  It's super cool!

I feel like I can't really tell you more in this review without babbling and gushing (a little) or giving something from the story away, so I'll conclude the actual review there and get right to the rating.

Sue Limb really knows how to create a great story that'll keep you interested for ages.  British humor is a wonderful thing.  I give 'Girl, 15, Charming But Insane':

Thanks for reading!


Monday, June 20, 2011

A Review of 'The Marbury Lens' by Andrew Smith (Audio Book)

"Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He is kidnapped.  He escapes, narrowly.  The only person he tells is his best friend, Connor.  When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses.  Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.

There is war in Marbury.  It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys.  Connor is there, too.  But he's trying to kill them.

Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he's losing his mind.

Connor tells Jack it's going to be okay.

But it's not.

Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and minds.

At first, I was a little confused.  I had to go back and listen a few times because I thought I missed something that happened between when Jack was kidnapped and when he and Connor went to London.  This was probably the biggest thing that stands out as not working so well-- the transitions.

I appreciated the many differences this book had from the other novels.  For instance, Jack was often at a moment of weakness whether that was puking his guts out after leaving Marbury or beating himself up in his own head saying, "F*** you, Jack."  Not that I promote and support this kind of behavior, but usually when there's a male protagonist, he doesn't get tossed around nearly as much.  And there certainly isn't trauma on the same level as the trauma that Jack experiences.

What was interesting was the relationship between Jack and Connor.  They're basically opposites, but they act like brothers.  Never before have I read of any characters in a situation where they just aren't awkward around each other-- no matter how much they try to be.  Nothing comes as a surprise because they've been friends for so long.  Many guys (in books and I've noticed this in real life too) give awkward hugs and then brush it off like it's nothing.  It's completely stereotypical and I'm really glad that Andrew Smith tried to add a level of realism to this novel.

I didn't quite understand how Seth fit into the story other than he appeared to Jack.  Certainly, his story was interesting, but I think this brings me back to the not-so-good transitions.

There was also one particular loose-end that I can remember.  Whatever happened to Freddy, Jack's attacker?  I didn't hear if he was ever found.

While there were many good parts (both interesting and well-written) and excellent character development, it was the bringing together of several parts of the story that made many parts confusing.  Therefore, I give 'The Marbury Lens':
Thanks for reading!


Amateur Hour: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's time for another recipe!  I haven't done this in a while, but I'm excited!
Setting Up: What Kind of Food Items?
1 1/4 cups of white sugar
2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
3 egg yolks
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Setting Up: What Sort of Equipment?
(the picture got screwed up... dang it...)
1 Big Bowl
1 Medium-sized bowl (optional)
1 Small Bowl
2 or 3 Cookie Sheets (depending on how big your balls of dough are)
Rubber Spoon (or whisk)

The Steps:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cream together your 2 sticks of butter (I recommend melting them first) and your sugar.  Mix until you can't see any chunks of butter in the mixture.

3. Add your egg yolks (do not include the egg whites) and vanilla to your butter and sugar.

4. After everything is mixed together into one smooth concoction, add your flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Mix together until you can't see any one ingredient in the mixture.

5. Make walnut-sized balls of dough in your palm and place on your greased cookie sheet.  Keep them roughly 2 inches apart.  Do not flatten them, they will flatten themselves out in the oven while baking.

6. Place in oven (after preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit) and set the timer for 10-11 minutes to start.  Add extra time if when you poke the cookies to check them, they are still jell-o like.  2 minute increments should suffice.
7. Take cookies out of the oven, let them cool, and enjoy!

Thanks for reading!


When You're Nervous...

I'm rather nervous right now.

It's a school thing, which shouldn't be happening, seeing as it's summertime, the time when school should not be a huge concern to me (except of course, if it's my job, which it's totally going to be, in a week).

Here's the situation: in order to graduate, I need to take a year of health and a year of gym.  That's four quarters or two semesters of each.  I have three quarters of gym and one of health complete, which means I have one last gym class (that's almost done) and three more quarters of health that I have yet to do before I can go on my merry way and enjoy an incredible senior year.

Here's my problem: I signed up for two online classes so that I can be half-way done with my health and gym requirements this summer, but I also signed up for summer school that I have to physically go to.  I've signed up for the gym class that I'm almost done with.  There was a mix-up with the dates and they both start on the same day.  So, just so I wouldn't screw myself over, I did not cancel summer school.  Summer school was my fall-back plan, and if online school fails me for whatever reason, I wanted to at least get that last 10% out of the way.  This whole situation is making me incredibly anxious.

I don't exactly know why I'm as nervous as I am.  It's probably just some kind of faulty wiring in my psyche.  The point is, I'm disappointed in the communication skills of the public school system in my city and I'm disappointed in my poor planning skills because I was fully aware of this problem before this whole thing was even a problem.

So now, I'm trying to combat this nervousness.  I'm resolving to stay up until midnight so that I can check and see if my classes are there in my online (which they aren't... I just checked... FML.  I never use acronyms on here, but FML.  This is so aggravating!).  Before this, I was listening to my current audio book 'The Marbury Lense' (you can expect a review within the next few days) and I was working on 'Murder by Rulers' (my writing project for the past several years).  None of those things really helped, so I came here, to the wonderful internet.  I'm writing a blog post to hopefully help me calm done because I am absolutely freaking out about this.  I want to graduate.  I want to be done with this crap.  I can't wait to go to work and have only innocence to deal with...

Needless to say, this blog post isn't being the most helpful.  I'm still freaking out.

I think I'm going to continue listening to 'The Marbury Lense' and play a game of solitaire.  I've found that this is a calming strategy for me.  My dog needed to get a shot and a blood draw today (purely procedural, nothing to worry about) and I began feeling sick, like I usually do when I'm around those kinds of things.  I went inside and started laying out the board and began organizing the cards.  I felt better.  I'm going to play one game, then go to bed, then wake up at six thirty and see if anything has changed.  I'm really, really hoping that the reason the classes aren't up is because there's no one working at the headquarters right now, what with it being 12:08 AM.  I'm going to check one more time and then continue with my plan.

Thanks so much for reading, if you did.  I'm sorry I had to come to you in a time of personal crisis (even if it is being blown out of proportion).


Update: I have had my situation mostly resolved.  I called the guy that was in charge of everything and he informed me that my application had been lost.  So he couldn't sign me up for the two classes that I needed, but he was able to give me one or the other.  So I'm doing health now, and I'm glad that I didn't choose gym, because I might have had to go running.  I hate running.  But health is actually relatively fun-- infinitely more interesting, any way-- and I don't have to do exercise journals.  After I got off the phone, my nervousness subsided and I was able to do an assignment or two before deciding that going back to sleep would be very beneficial.  Now I'm going to go make cookies.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Review of 'Before I Fall' by Lauren Oliver (Audio Book)

"What if you had only one day left to live?  What would you do?  Who would you kiss?  And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High-- from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot.  Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance.  Seven chances, in fact.  Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death-- and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing."

My first impression upon first listening to 'Before I Fall' were that one, it was a lot like the movie 'Mean Girls'-- not only the line "You're a b****, you're a mean girl," but also the voices that the reader, Sarah Drew, gave the characters.  Two, I thought that the voices were rather annoying.  All of the boys (save for Kent) had drunken stoner voices (just really tired-sounding) and all of the girls sounded mock sexy or like they were trying too hard.  They were really high-pitched and just a stereotypical stupid female (for lack of a better description).  Three, the book was a lot like the movie 'Groundhogs Day' where one man relives one day in his life over and over and over again until he gets it right.  I didn't appreciate the lack of originality in this sense.

Even though the voices were stereotypical and annoying at times, I eventually got used to them and I could eventually move on.  This is no fault of Lauren Oliver's.

Lauren Oliver does an excellent job of developing her characters.  I really liked how Samantha turned out.  In the beginning, I absolutely hated her because she was so mean to everyone she came across (friend, family, acquaintances...) and there just appeared to be nothing to her.  But throughout the book, she gained valuable insight and she was an overall more relate-able character.

A lot of the story was quite shocking, especially when it came to Samantha deciding not to go to school to hang out with her sister Izzy, or going to school but doing the opposite of what she'd normally do.

Another thing that I liked was the numerous opportunities for innocent romance scenes.  I absolutely loved those scenes (I'm such a girl...).

'Before I Fall' was such a beautiful, shocking, engaging, and satisfying read (or listen).  I give this book:

Thanks for reading!



Welcome to Friday!  Time for question time!

This weekend's hops are brought to you by Parajunkee (Follow Friday), Jennifer @ Crazy for Books (The Blog Hop), and Ginger @ G-Reads (TGIF).  Here are the questions!

Follow Friday

Genre Wars!  What's your favorite genre and which book in that genre made it your favorite?

My favorite genre (generally speaking) that I will unfailingly turn to is Young Adult Fiction.  It's books by Laurie Halse Anderson and J.K. Rowling that made me love this genre to pieces.  If you're looking for something more specific, I have started to fall in love with dystopian novels.  Recently, there has been quite an explosion of dystopian, so I have been able to get my fill.  It's books like The Giver and Matched that made me fall in love with this niche within the genre.

How many books are currently on your To-Be-Read (TBR) pile?

On the pile that I keep electronically, I have 638 books and counting on my TBR pile.  Good thing I don't have them all piled up around my room.  I think my parents would slay me, particularly if I was unable to find a place to put all of them... however, I do have two drawers of books that I have yet to read (and I will go over those in a book shelf tour, which will hopefully be created pretty soon, since my room is relatively clean now).  These drawers are more acceptable to my family.

And I quote: what are some of your favorite book quotes?

How funny that you ask, because I've been in the process of looking for senior quotes, and most of them come from books!

  1. "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."  (Albus Dumbledore)
  2. "My eyes aren't glistening with the ghost of my past!" (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
  3. "I'm not my name.  My name is something I wear, like a shirt.  It gets worn.  I outgrow it, I change it." (Stargirl)
  4. "The town was paper, but the memories were not." (Paper Towns)
  5. "I'm just saying, it's not all sandcastles and ninjas." (Going Bovine)
  6. "I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald's would still be open." (Life As We Knew It)
  7. "You forget all of it anyway. . . You forget who was cool and who was not, who was pretty, smart, athletic, and not. . . You forget all of them. Even the ones you said you loved, and even the ones you actually did. They’re the last to go. And then once you’ve forgotten enough, you love someone else." (Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac)
How did you answer these questions?  Leave a comment below with your web address and I'll try my best to come by and visit you!

Have a lovely weekend!


P.S. I'm such a dork... I entered my web address into the Follow Friday bin twice, because I didn't believe that it worked.  I'm sorry if you were tricked into coming here twice.

P.P.S. I'm an idiot... Domingo means Sunday, in Spanish... I knew I should have stuck with French...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Photo Gallery for this Past Weekend

Enjoy!  If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it (read it?).  I'm always looking to improve!

Have a good week!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Goosebumps Challenge

Hello there!

So, you might remember that I suggested this Goosebumps challenge.  Well, this post is to tell you that this is the official page of the challenge!

I'm having a little trouble working with the link-up tools, but I thought that this would work well enough with the comments and everything like that.

If you're interested in participating in this challenge, all you need to do is sign up in the comments using your preferred name, the name of your blog, and your web address.  As soon as people start signing up, I'll manually create a list of everyone and put it on the bottom of this page.  That way everyone can visit everyone's pages and see their progress.

You do not have to follow my blog in order to participate in this challenge.

Feel free to grab the button above, blog about it, tell your friends about it, etc.  This should be a lot of fun!

Level One: 3 Goosebumps books
Level Two: 6 Goosebumps books
Level Three: 10 Goosebumps books
Level Four: 15 Goosebumps books
Level Five: 25 Goosebumps books
Level Six: 30 Goosebumps books
Level Seven: 40 Goosebumps books

The Challenge begins on June 13, 2011 (today) and ends on August 31, 2011.

These Are the People Participating in the Summer 2011 Goosebumps Challenge
You could be the first!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Review of 'Going Bovine' by Libba Bray

"All sixteen-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school-- and life in general-- with a minimum amount of effort.  But that's before he's given some bad news: he's going to die.

Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit.  She tells Cam there is a cure-- if he's willing to go in search of it.  With the help of Gonzo, a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf, and a yard gnome who just might be the Viking god Balder, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America... into the heart of what matters most."

Holy cow (no pun intended).  What an interesting read.

First of all, Libba Bray has such an interesting cast of characters ranging from Cameron who has very eclectic taste in music and spends all of his time in the local record store searching for more of that off-the-wall music, to Gonzo who's afraid of dying of the silliest of things (the germs that can surely be found in the sketchiest of motels, among a laundry list of others), to Dulcie who turns up in the story whenever she darn well feels like it with little hints and feathers to throw Cameron's way, to Balder... for god's sake, he's a talking yard gnome?  Need I say more?

The setting tends to move around a lot, which is appropriate, because most of this book is a road trip (I love those kinds of novels!).  They go to some very interesting places that I personally never expected.  They go to a party house where several T.V. shows are being filmed at once, they go to New Orleans (which I was more than excited to read about because I've visited the city once before-- maybe I'll make it twice next year if Fate treats me right) where there is a jazz festival going on, and they travel to Disney World (where dreams come true!).  It's really cool and it's a good way to keep a reader on their toes.

I liked the imagery at the end of the book.  I felt like it pulled the entire book together and brought a bigger feeling of sentimentality to the book as a whole.  But I won't go into any more detail than that.  Here at "...It's Like a Whirlwind Inside of my Head..." we like to give away details, but never the ending.  And by "we" I mean me.

The one annoying thing that really started nagging at me closer to the end of the book was you kept losing track of what was real and what was being dreamt, if any of those things actually occurred at all.  And Libba Bray was definitely doing it on purpose, and I know this because of the line she gave Dulcie at the very end.  Writers... making everything so complicated...

Nevertheless, I give "Going Bovine":
Thanks so much for reading!


Friday, June 10, 2011


I was running out of ways to announce Friday in English, so I've announced it in French.  Practice makes perfect!  And I'm going to need plenty of it before Spring Break... which is quite a while off.

Cool.  Let's get into the questions!

The Blog Hop is brought to you by Jennifer at Crazy for Books, but this week, her friend Lori is helping out and hosting it for her.
What is the one author that you are dying to meet?

Seriously?  Just one?  I think I have a three-way tie with John Green, Gabrielle Zevin, and J.K. Rowling.  So whichever decides to come to my city first, I'll attempt to meet!  But I think John Green seems more likely at this point because my understanding is that he and his brother Hank are planning on doing a tour of the U.S. to promote the charity foundation This Star Won't Go Out to help families with children who have cancer.  

Follow Friday is brought to you by Parajunkee at Parajunkee's View.

The magic book fairy pops out of your cereal box and says, "You and your favorite character (from a book of course!) can switch places!"  Who are you going to switch with?

Hmm... I would switch places with Liz from Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.  I feel like I could be less annoying than she is and I would love to take advantage of living a backwards life.  What a great afterlife!  The cycle is just so amazing!  My only condition is that she never leave my house when she switches places with me.  I don't want her to be a jerk and complain all the time to the people that I know and love.

TGIF is brought to you by Ginger at G-Reads!
How do you feel about the "dark" books filling the YA shelves these days?

I appreciate those "dark" books that are filling the YA shelves these days.  One of the top five things that I appreciate in any book is honesty, and that means little to no fluff.  It shows that the author truly wants to bring the issue between the pages to the surface because they don't dance around the subject or ignore it all together saying that it happened but not exactly going into any kind of detail for the sake of the reader (even if the detail is implied).

I don't think what's on the shelves today is dark, it's just life.  You can't ignore the tragedies and the scary things that make up life, because in a way, that's censorship, which I do not believe in.  Who is one person to say that a certain age group can't read a certain genre or a particular book?  They don't personally know the other children that are looking at this material.  Their child might be ready, but my neighbor's child might be mentally mature enough to handle what's in between the pages.

Really, I could go on and on about this, and I kind of have already right HERE.  But for the sake of brevity (or what I can scavenge of brevity), I'll stop here.

If you'd like me to visit your website, leave a comment below with your web address in it and I'll try my best to come by and visit you!

Have a happy weekend!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Last Day of School

Today was my last day of my junior year.  Since I'm going to be a senior next year, I thought I'd do a little bit of remembering before I'm swept up into the arms of life and I become to busy, nostalgic, or uninterested in remember what the early high school years were like for me.  Perhaps we could compare :)

Freshman Year
What was exciting?

  • It was my first year in high school, so everything was absolutely magical.  
  • The maze on the second floor of my school was just begging to be explored and deciphered.  
  • I was really excited to meet new people.  I hardly hung out with any people from my middle school.  Maybe one or two.  Possibly three.
  • I met my current boyfriend and we've been inseparable ever since.

What was not so hot?

  • Having people from my middle school come up to me and want to talk about middle school, which I thought was unfortunate that they couldn't move on and want to talk about the new adventures they were having in high school like I was.
  • Playing scales in band... those things suck...
  • On the first day of school, someone I knew told me that upperclassmen take freshman, turn them upside down, and duct tape them to the flag pole.  So what wasn't cool about this was the fear that it would happen to me.  Luckily it didn't.  They just made it up.

Sophomore Year
What was exciting?

  • The main exciting thing was that I was no longer a freshman.  I felt like an old veteran of my school.
  • Being in classes with juniors and older.
  • Being in concert band (which, technically speaking, is level two of three band).
  • Hosting two French students (though not at the same time) and continuing to keep in touch with both of them.

What was not so hot?

  • APUSH.  Freaking APUSH... (for those of you that don't know, APUSH stands for AP U.S. History. It's a mandatory class, whether we like it or not).
  • Being in the middle of nowhere on the totem pole of high school; you're not a newbie, but you're also not an upperclassman.  So where does that put you?

Junior Year
What was exciting?

  • Getting into Wind Ensemble (level three band) and being able to go on my first tour, which was to Chicago (great city!).
  • Meeting new people, which I didn't really think would be possible for me because I thought that once you were an upperclassman, it wasn't a very good idea to make new friends just to let them go in another year or less.
  • Getting really challenged in my classes, even if I did get a grade that's nothing to brag about.
  • Learning new card games like Egyptian Rat Slap, Cribbage, and Hong Kong (though I've only played the latter once).
  • AP English and having a really awesome teacher that obviously like her job and the subject she taught.
  • Getting my first job

What was not so hot?

  • Knowing that this is your second to last year with the people you've grown close to since freshman year; your time is limited.
  • Nervously waiting for my AP test scores to arrive in late July.
  • Having to find a job after my summer one ends.

*Senior Year*
Let's switch the questions up a bit... What looks attractive?

  • Going to France, which means I'll get to leave the country and the continent for the very first time!
  • Going to Washington D.C. for music tour and getting closer to my friends that are in the music department with me.  Spending 23 hours on a tour bus one way.
  • Possibly returning to New Orleans for a second visit with my church.
  • Graduating and moving out later in the summer!

What looks rather sucky?

  • Being the only bass clarinet in band... blarg... no stand partner... I have to have inside jokes with myself now...
  • Having to say good bye to my friends that are younger than me and getting ready to go off to college, wherever that is.
  • So much to do-- scholarship essays, college applications, room mate assignments, soul searching, etc.
  • Saying good bye to the people who are your age.  Even though I know I'll still keep in touch with most of them, I won't be able to see them as often as I'm used to.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wreaking Havoc With Duct Tape

(Click the picture to make it bigger)

So over the weekend, I got together with Miss Ezra and we wreaked havoc with eight rolls of duct tape.  We have lost eight beautiful rolls of duct tape, but we have gained a back pack, a bag, and a wallet out of those rolls.  This was the final product of my back pack.  I used it for school today.  I need to figure out a better way to keep it closed.  Any ideas?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Review of 'How They Met, And Other Stories' by David Levithan

"Where did they meet?

It was on a plane.  It was at Starbucks.  It was in physics class.  It was during the war.

How did they meet?

It was a set up.  It was completely random.  They were dancing.  One of them ordered a pizza and the other showed up.

What happened?

It was instant.  It took time.  I was a disaster.  It lasted.

In this new gathering of stories, award-winning author David Levithan writes all about LOVE, and about all kinds of LOVE.  From aching for the one you pine for to (reluctantly) being the one pined after, from standing up and speaking up for the one you LOVE to the pure joy and happiness delivered on the smile of someone else, these stories explore the mysterious magnetism that draws people together in ways both expected and unexpected."

My love for David Levithan has only been further cemented.  First of all, I loved that he wrote all of these short stories over a series of Valentine's Days.  It's such a good idea.

I like how he doesn't just stick to the usual "boy meets girl" story.  As an aspiring writer who is still actively learning, I probably would have written that typical story.  Instead, David Levithan explores the worlds of boys and girls and watches as they collide with each other or collide within themselves.  The settings of these stories are different, even the endings are different (they aren't all happy endings, spoiler).  The only thing that is consistent throughout all of the stories is love, the feeling.  While things may not turn out the way they ideally should, feelings of love for one person or another is always present-- and it's beautiful.

My personal favorite was the one where the two meet on the plane.  When, and if, you read it, you might just know why.  The physics one I couldn't help but laugh at because I had that growing realization that he was using physics vocabulary (it slowly dawned on me, I apologize).

David Levithan has written a beautiful compilation book all about love.  I give 'How They Met, And Other Stories':
Thanks for reading!


TGIF, Blog Friday, Follow Hop!

Happy Friday!  

This is a bit late, but I'll do it any way.  I've love getting visits!

First, TGIF, brought to you by Ginger at G-Reads:
Do you share books with others?  Who was the last person you sent a book to?

Absolutely I share books with others!  It's too much fun not to!  The last book that I let someone borrow was 'This World We Live In' by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  I recently got my friend Avery interested in the Moon series and she's just been eating them up, to my delight.  I'm glad I have a fellow Pfeffer fan to talk to!

Second, the Blog Hop, brought to you by Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books:

Share your favorite post from last month and tell us why it's close to your heart!

I actually have a couple.  I leave a list of links for you and you can check them out as wish.

This is kind of hard, because I'm proud of everything I write.  I would never post something that I wouldn't want to read myself, because I can imagine that that's quite boring for everyone else as it would be for me.

Third, Follow Friday, brought to you by Parajunkee:

What are you doing to prepare for an upcoming Zombie apocalypse and/or the return of Mel Gibson to the silver screen (both of which could be terrifying)?

I am playing zombie survival games on the internet.  And I really want to pick up the Zombie Survival Guide and do a review on that as well.  It's on my TBR list for sure!

What are your answers to these questions?  If you'd like me to visit your blog, leave a comment below with your web address and I will try my best to come by and return the favor!

Have an excellent weekend and stay cool!


How Fun!

First of all, that strawberry shortcake looks yummy ^_^

Second of all, thank you Lisa (Lisa Loves Literature is her blog) for thinking of me for this award!  If you get a chance during the day (or night, whichever) you should definitely hop over and pay her a visit.

Thirdly, I have questions to answer and bloggers to nominate!  I'm supposed to tell you seven random facts about me and nominate fifteen bloggers.  I'm not sure if I'll reach fifteen, but I'll really try!

Seven Random Facts That You May or May Not Have Wanted to Know About Jude Rosenberg

1. I'm obsessed with the cello.  I have never come anywhere near learning it (except maybe for the violin) but it's at the top of my recently updated list of instruments I want to learn to play.

2. I keep lists.  To-do lists, shopping lists, lists of songs, lists of possible senior quotes (there will be a post as we get closer to the due date asking for your help in narrowing down my choices), lists of R-rated movies that one of my friends and I need to see over the summer, goals, lists of things to accomplish during the summer, lists of new books to read... you name it!

3. I pride myself on being considerably patient, no matter what the situation.

4. I sleep with many objects in my bed.  Mostly stuffed animals and books (hey!  They need company too!  I just move them if their hardcover binding gets in the way)

5. I make my own cards instead of looking to the Hallmark section in my local Wal-Greens (free advertising, you're welcome).  It's just more fun that way and I feel like it's more personal than Hallmark could ever be.

6. I've done this on a number of occasions... in order to fully understand what exactly they're talking about, I will go back to season one of a TV show (Buffy) or the first YouTube video (The Vlog Brothers) that was ever made and watch every single episode/season/video until I reach the end or the most current.  I've spent weeks of my time doing this.

7. I have many projects and ideas (all possibilities) floating around my head and if I had to put a numeric value on how many of those plans are actually accomplished, I would say 10-20%.

Nominated Bloggers That Totally Deserve This Award

I'm going to stop there because I haven't followed very many new bloggers lately.  Plus, I have to contact everyone.  

Thank you again for this lovely award!  

Thanks for reading and have a lovely weekend!  Stay cool.