Friday, November 28, 2014

Life Post: Lots of School Work and Thanksgiving

I've been pretty terrible about blogging lately. It's been a week since my last post, and I've been pretty much as bad about posting Youtube videos. I've just been consumed with school and writing like I mentioned in previous posts.

The new Hunger Games fanfiction I'm working on has been sent to three beta readers, so I've been communicating with them a bit about that while they read over it and all of that. While they're doing that, I've been working on another draft of one of the stories in the original fiction series that I've been working on for years. I also signed up for the Avatar fandom secret santa again this year, so I've started writing the story that will be my gift for that.

That, of course, is on top of school work. The semester is almost over, so I have lots of papers to write and tests to study for. It's currently Thanksgiving break, and I'm still working on three different papers and studying for a test that I have the day classes start again.

Speaking of Thanksgiving break though, mine has been going pretty well. The only downside really is that my allergies seem to have gotten worse since I got home. I've been dealing with headaches every day, but it could be worse. Generally speaking the holiday has been pretty great. I've had two Thanksgivings so far. On the actual Thanksgiving day we had a kind of small one at our house, and then today we had my dad's side of the family's Thanksgiving. My mom's side of the family has theirs on Sunday.

I also got to go see Mockingjay Part 1 over break, and I loved it! I'm going to do a full review of it either here or over on my Youtube channel, but with that rate I've been going it may be a little bit before that happens.

I'm sure things will be a bit stressful for the next two weeks or so as I have finals week and everything, but after that I should have more free time and hopefully will start posting more. Project for Awesome was pushed up this year, and now it starts the day after my last final. That will be hectic, but I'll definitely have a video for it up. Other than that I just really hope I manage to post some here over the next couple of weeks and don't become too overwhelmed with school and all of that.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Naruto Shippuden Review: Episodes 206-210

It's been more than three weeks since my last Naruto review. I hadn't even realized it was taking me that long. Just more evidence that things have gotten hectic recently. I'm looking forward to watching as many episodes as I can over winter break though. Not that much longer!

Sakura tells Naruto she's in love with him in episode 206, and as far as I'm concerned that was a lie to get Naruto to stop trying to save Sasuke. Well, not a complete lie, I suppose. I do think Sakura loves Naruto, just not romantically like she was trying to make him think. And I prefer things that way. I love fictional friendships, and I don't like them being discounted in favor of romantic relationships. Naruto has had a crush on Sakura from the beginning, of course, and I don't want him hurt or anything, but I really love how they've grown to be such close friends. I prefer that more than any romantic relationship. I wouldn't be angry if they got together really, but their friendship is what's most important to me.

Also, I'm not entirely sure what Sakura was thinking would happen if Naruto believed her. Was she willing to play out a fake relationship with him? That could have ended terribly. It was heart-breaking enough to see his reaction when he knew she was lying. I can't imagine that having happened after time had passed where he believed her.

These episodes also reminded me of how much I love Naruto's friendships with both Sai and Gaara. I just love Naruto's friendships with everyone. Naruto's friendships are what make the show more than anything else for me. I love thinking back to the beginning and how he basically had no friends in comparison to know. I know I talk about that all the time, but it's only because I really do love that aspect of the show. In these episodes in particular there was Sai picking up on Sakura and Naruto's feelings and Gaara commenting on his friendship with Naruto as well as Sasuke. I loved all of it.

It was heart-breaking to see Naruto mourning about Sasuke though. It's amazing that he's been able to keep a good outlook towards Sasuke for so long, and now it's like it's crumbled in front of him. It's so sad to watch. I can't really imagine one of my closest friends becoming an evil person consumed with revenge, but I'm going to assume that it's quite a difficult thing to process.

I have to comment on the scene where Naruto hyperventilates because that was such a powerful scene to me. I'm positive I've never seen an animated character hyperventilate before, and I think part of it was the bit of shock I felt about seeing it. The entire scene just had me staring at the screen though. I thought that was a great bit of the story.

Most of the rest of the episodes revolved around Danzo and Sasuke fighting. The fight doesn't conclude until 211, which I've watched but am holding off talking about until next review, so I'm not sure how much I want to say about it for now. As bad as Sasuke being so obsessed with revenge is, I really hate Danzo, so it's hard to be against Sasuke's actions in this instance. The fight itself only made me hate Danzo even more. He's definitely a grey character. I'll give him that he does seem to think that he's doing what's best for Konoha, but I just can't like him after all of the frustrating things he's done.

I'll talk more about that in my next review though, since most of what I want to say involves the conclusion of the fight. Overall, I really liked the emotions surrounding Naruto in the earlier episodes of these five. There was some powerful stuff there as far as I'm concerned. That was the highlight of these episodes for me.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Reign Review: Season 2 Episode 7: "The Prince of the Blood"

Claude is basically what (or who) I remember the most from this episode. I'm not too fond of her at the moment, but I've been known to change my mind about characters after my initial dislike of them. I think it's the whole liking your brother thing. That tends to put me off towards people. I have no idea what they're planning to do with her. It seems like she's going to have some important story line with Catherine and Catherine's past, which has potential, but I don't know what they're trying to do with Sebastian. That just weirds me out.

I'm feeling even more confident that something terrible is going to happen to Lord Castleroy that ends his and Greer's marriage. I'm leaning towards him winding up killed and leaving Greer as a widow. I could be wrong, but with all the Protestant/Catholic stuff it definitely feels like it could easily go that way. I'm assuming that could bring a return of Greer/Leith, but that could just be wishful thinking on my part.

Can someone please explain to me what was up with Lola in this episode? Okay, so let's walk through this. Francis asks her to hide a letter in Narcisse's house, Lola is hesitant but agrees, Narcisse tells her the truth about Francis, Lola gets angry that Francis was making her betray Narcisse. Okay, but what did Lola think was in the letter? Did she think that it would be some sort of prize that Narcisse would hopefully stumble across one day or something? She had to have known all along that the letter was bad news for Narcisse because otherwise she wouldn't have had to hide it. Francis was open about not telling her the whole truth, and she still agreed to do it. Why wasn't she angry then? I don't understand it at all. It made no sense. She acts like he betrayed her when she knew she didn't have the whole truth but had to know what she was doing was bad news for Narcisse from the start.

I'm just very frustrated about that because I can't at all understand why Lola got so angry. It's only compounded by the fact that Narcisse is the creepiest guy on the show, and now she seems to want to protect him. That foreshadows terrible, terrible things in my mind. I don't like where I could see this going. I just want Lola to stay as far away from him as possible, and I don't at all understand what she thinks she's doing.

Conde's actions, especially his "I did it for you" line are making me think he's developing feelings for Mary. If Mary and Francis keep having tension, I could see that becoming a particularly troubling problem. I'm not entirely sure what I think they'll do with that though.

I really feel for Francis in this episode. I don't agree with every single thing he's decided to do, but he just became king at a young age, and he's having to deal with this. That's definitely overwhelming. Unfortunately, this is a television drama, so I don't foresee it getting better for him all that quickly, if at all.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Life Post: Writing Stuff Like Always. Plus, Ello and Mockingjay

I didn't blog for nearly a week before the book review earlier today. I can't even remember the last time that happened. I've seriously been writing or editing during every single free moment I have lately. It's not just this blog, but pretty much everything but school work has taken a back seat to writing. I'm not really regretting it, but I don't want it to become a thing where I abandon everything else either.

I posted the last chapter of the Hunger Games fanfic Rebuild and Recover today, and it feels great to have it all up. In addition to that, because of my insane focus on writing/revising/editing lately, I'm nearly finished with my first revision of the companion story to that one, and I'll be sending that out to a couple of beta readers on Monday. I'm really excited about that. Once they're finished with it, I have to edit it all again based on what they say of course, but I'm hoping to start posting it relatively soon.

It may not be advisable considering how little I've been on the accounts I already own lately, but I started an Ello account today. I signed up for the waiting list quite a while ago (since it's still in beta it's invitation only), and my invite only just came today. I'm still figuring out how exactly I want to use it since I already have so many different sites. I feel like everything else already has its niche, you know, and I have to figure out what Ello's niche will be for me. I do like the site from what I can tell, and I'm a fan of the concept of it. I just have to use it until I settle into how best to use it for me. Right now I'm tempted to just post to Ello exactly what I already tweet, but I don't want just a second Twitter or something like that. Ello is different from Twitter anyway, and I don't think it should be used exactly the same way. I feel like it should serve at least a slightly different purpose. Who knows what I'll do with it. I only have two friends at the moment, so I should probably start with that. Seeing other people using it will probably help me sort it all out.

I do have some invitation codes that I can give out though, so if you're interested in joining Ello, let me know. I'd be happy to send you one. No use just keeping them stockpiled around.

Other than all of that, I don't have much to update on for the past week as I've done startlingly little other than school work and writing. I had a realization today that Mockingjay Part 1 comes out in less than a week though, and I haven't at all given thought to when/how/etc. I'm going to go see it. I really need to figure that out because I need to see that movie. Mockingjay was my favorite book of the series, and they did such an amazing job with Catching Fire. Plus, all the trailers and TV spots look excellent. I can't even describe how excited I am.

Book Review: Blogging for Dummies by Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley

Published: January 24th, 2012 (first published January 2008)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Read from November 2nd to 12th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Building on the success of the two previous editions, this revision includes essential blogging basics, the elements required of a good blog, and the tools you'll need to get started.


This book is a great book to give you all of the basic information you need on blogging. I've had a blog for more than five years now (wow...), but I was hoping to still get something out of reading this. You can always improve after all. And I did get some really good information, but it wasn't really as much as I would have hoped. That's only because I already knew the vast majority of it Still, this book is great. I'd highly recommend it for those just starting to blog, and it does a great job of giving step-by-step instructions for a lot of different things. I could see it being very helpful for those who have no idea where to start.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Life Post: Rest

It's been such a nice weekend. Things have felt so calm. I've actually done very little the past few days. Even as far as homework is concerned I haven't had much. Weekends like this are so rare for me, and I love it, especially since finals are coming up and I know things will be crazy soon enough.

Most of yesterday was spent reading fanfiction and watching Naruto, Dawson's Creek, etc. This morning I watched the livestream One Direction did that was so close to devolving into a train wreck. Now I've been reading. I still have a bit of homework to do but not much. It's really nice. I actually feel like I'm going to be ready to dive into the week after this weekend. I don't know when the last time I could say that was.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Legend of Korra Review: Book 4 Episode 6: "The Battle of Zaofu"

I'm actually really surprised that Su and her sons fell for Kuvira's trap at the beginning of the episode. You would have thought they'd have been more cautious about that and now gotten trapped.

Korra, Jinora, and Opal in this episode were fantastic in my opinion. I was really excited to see Korra fighting Kuvira, and it was one of those fight scenes where I was on the edge of my seat and jumping up and down in anticipation. Jinora made a good point that all of the metal is out of Korra, so there's clearly something more happening with her. I was wondering if all of Korra's internal conflict was already solved so early in the season, and now I'm betting that it's not. I'm looking forward to seeing her confront whatever else she has inside as the season continues.

I was so frustrated when Kuvira lied to Opal about Bolin. I'm always frustrated when characters are lied to and I know they're being lied to but I can't tell them obviously. It drives me crazy. I just wanted to scream at Opal what had really happened to Bolin.

I also really loved Meelo and Ikki coming to save them on the bison. The best part was the giant air whirlwind I think. It looked cool, and I really liked seeing large scale airbending like that.

To be completely honest, I've never really thought of Varrick as smart. He always had a bit of the eccentric genius thing going on, but I always focused more on the eccentric side. I never really gave much thought to him being intelligent in any way. I think that's why I was so surprised when he managed to create a bomb and a timer and all of that like he did. I think it was the first time where I realized that he actually was some sort of genius or something and Zhu Li hadn't been the brains all along or something like that. I think I'd always known that on some level. I just hadn't acknowleged it because it didn't mesh with the rest of his personality.

Of course, his intelligence is overshadowed by the fact that he thought setting a bomb and then just trusting Bolin to get them out before it exploded with no prompting at all was a good idea.

I guess this means we won't be seeing the re-education camp. I'd been thinking about that a lot and how the camp was being built up to be something that I would never think Nick would allow to be shown. I just can't shake the thought that those camps have to be terrible, and the only way they can get away with it is by implying rather than showing what they're like. Maybe we'll see them later, but I'm actually betting we won't. I think they'd have to be toned down in order to appear in the show, and that would erase some of the power.

I do wonder what Bolin and Varrick will get up to now though. Will they go back to Republic City to attempt to find help or back to Zaofu or somewhere else? I don't think I even have a theory right now.

Even though the entire end of this episode was pretty heart-breaking, I think the disappointment the Beifongs show for Bataar Jr. was the saddest of all. He's really reminding me of Percy Weasley, especially starting in this episode, and I can only hope that he was a Percy-like coming around where he realizes Kuvira is crazy and turns against her. He really does seem to think that what they're doing is right, and I think he'll come around once he sees otherwise, which has to happen eventually. The more I think about it the more I really do think his story parallels Percy's really well, so hopefully it will in the future too.

I have no idea what the expect for the next episode, but it's called "Reunion" and Korra seems to be heading back to Republic City. I'm taking that to mean that she sees Mako, Asami, Tenzin, etc. again even if Bolin isn't there. I'm both excited and, oddly enough, nervous to see how that plays out. I can't believe we've made it this far into the season without them seeing each other again. I can't wait! I'm not sure what to expect between them though.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Reign Review: Season 2 Episode 6: "Three Queens"

If the episode includes lots of Mary and Catherine off by themselves getting some bonding time in then I'm probably going to love it, and this episode was no exception. The relationship between the two of them is one of my favorite things about Reign. Catherine can be extremely cold to Mary sometimes, but I stand by the belief that Mary is actually one of the few people in the world she truly cares about. Catherine just doesn't show it because of the risks involved in that. The end of the episode showed how much she wants Francis and Mary's marriage to be a happy one as well I think, and I thought that was nice.

I also like how the show played with the idea of no one knowing back then what the royal family looked like. The imposters were an interesting addition. I actually ended up liking that story line a lot more than I expected to when the imposters first showed up. I'm wondering if this means we should expect more plots from Elizabeth in the future. I'd think so because otherwise a lot of this episode would feel a bit random.

Lola and Kenna had a conversation about being women at that time that I also loved, and I love that they showed Lola's struggles to get money because she's a woman. I thought that was all great. However, I am not at all excited about anything at all happening between Lola and Narcisse. The guy's a creep. I feel like I'm supposed to find some part of him charming or something, but I don't at all. Plus, there's the whole ambiguous past hanging over him making me feel like we're just waiting for something terrible to happen. I feel completely alone in this though because so many other people seem to love the dynamics between them. I guess I'll see how I feel in the future.

I'm glad that the episode ends with things becoming right between Mary and Francis again. I hate when they fight, and that was a really sweet scene.

I feel like I had a lot less to say this week, but I feel like there were fewer story lines happening this week than usual. I really enjoyed the episode, especially everything with Mary and Catherine. I can't wait for next week!

Life Post: Lots To Do

Things are taking a bit longer to get done today than I would have hoped. I edited something short that I'd written quite a while ago, and I started editing the much longer Hunger Games fanfiction that's a companion to the one I'm currently posting. That's helped me feel really productive. I'm even done with most of my homework, yet I keep looking at my to do list and seeing I still have a done to do today. I want to do more editing for one thing.

Luckily it's Friday, so I can work on whatever I need to as late as I want. It helps me feel better about taking a break to watch the new episode of Korra. However, I know One Direction's new album leaked today and the fandom is freaking out all over Twitter and Tumblr. I feel really disconnected from all of that happening because I've only seen glimpses of whatever's happening while I've been working on everything. I'll have all weekend to get into that though. I've already done the majority of my homework for the weekend, so that's worth it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Book Review: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books by Harold Underdown

Published: May 6th, 2008
Publisher: Alpha
Read from October 22nd to November 1st, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Honest and precise, everything about writing for children there is to know.'Jane Yolen, authorHere is the comprehensive guide to writing, publishing, and selling for an ever-expanding and always exciting children's market, now in a new and updated third edition. - Includes new chapters on self-publishing and on "how to choose a how-to", plus revision and updates throughout.- Offers practical advice on getting started and on dealing with out-of-print books.- Covers picture books, chapter books, nonfiction, middle-grade and young novels, and common formats and genres.- Reveals what happens inside a children's publishing company, and provides guidance in working with an editor. - Sample cover and query letters, manuscript format, glossary, and recommended resources in an extensive appendix.- Plus information on agents, contracts, copyright, marketing and more. 


This book covers just about everything you could want to know about publishing children's books and also provides plenty of other resources if you want to learn more. It's clear that the author really knows what he's talking about as he's knows the industry well. If you're looking for a good book on the publishing side of writing children's books, I would highly recommend this book.

Life Post: Writing Time and Possible New Blog

A lot of things have happened the past twenty-four hours or so. And by that I mean that I've decided to try and do a few things, but most of them are things I don't want to talk about on here because I'm still trying to sort it all out. For one thing, I'm going to try and start getting more writing time in. I guess it could be considered in honor of NaNoWriMo this month even though I'm not participating. I've hardly had time to write since this semester started, and I want to change that. I've written 2500+ words today. The only downside is I still have homework to do as well as a grocery shopping trip with my sister. My writing time may make me even more frazzled than normal, but I think I prefer that to not getting anything done. We'll see how I feel in a few days. Maybe I'll keep it up and maybe I won't. I'm so close to finishing this first draft and have been for such a long time that it's ridiculous though.

The other biggest thing I've decided is that I'm going to create another blog. This one's not going anywhere. I'm going to have two. Some types of posts that I've written here are going to stay here while I start writing others types of posts over there instead. I still have to actually create the blog, and I also haven't entirely worked out where the line is between them. Some kinds of posts I know for sure, but there are others where I'm not entirely sure which one they'd be a better fit for. I'm still working it all out. My plan right now is to actually go about creating the blog tomorrow though, and I'm hoping that will help me make all of the decisions about that. Maybe I'll fall through and just keep this blog, but I think I can keep up with it. I've had this blog for more than five years now (wow), and it's still going. Plus, I wouldn't really plan to write more than I do now. Posts would just go up on either blog depending. We'll see.

I have a lot of other things to do today, so I have to wrap this up. I just really wanted to get all of that out there now. Actually saying I'm going to do these things is motivation to actually do them. Now it's embarrassing if I don't go through with it, but I don't know when I'll start talking about what the other blog is. I have to get it set up and everything of course, but I also want to really have plans down over the exact difference between that blog and this one. We'll see. I don't even have a name or URL idea for it yet, so that's my biggest concern to start with.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Life Post: A Great Monday

This will probably be a very short post because I only have ten minutes before I have to be out the door to my next class, but wow, it's been a nice Monday. It's probably too early to say that though, and I might be jinxing myself.

As much as I hate that the time change means the sun sets earlier, it's definitely nice that I can now walk to class in the morning in the sunlight as opposed to the dark. It helps me feel like I'm not up at a ridiculously early hour, and I honestly think that is the main reason behind why I feel so much more awake than normal this morning. Starbucks also has their holiday drinks out though, and I tried one for the first time that is officially the best Starbucks drink I've ever had. That's helping too.

I still have two classes left as well as homework and all of that, so there's plenty of time for the typical Monday feelings to set in, but so far I'm doing pretty good. I wouldn't mind it getting a little warmer later on today, but what can you do? I'm going to have to deal with that now that it's November.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Legend of Korra Review: Book 4 Episode 5: "Enemy at the Gates"

I reviewed episode four on my Youtube channel, and I forgot to post the video here like I have been trying to do. Whoops. Anyway, here are my thoughts on episode five.

I'm glad that Bolin has finally realized that Kuvira's crazy. He was amazing in this episode. I think him and Varrick were the highlight. I never thought I'd say that about Varrick, but I quite enjoyed him in this episode. I've mostly found him amusing in the past, but I wasn't overly concerned with anything about him really. I like his line about suddenly being concerned for others though, and I'm hoping he continues to develop into a better person while I'm sure he'll stay very comedic.

Speaking of Varrick, I should bring up Zhu Lee as well. I'm pretty sure we heard her talk more in this episode than possibly every other episode combined. I liked it. It's nice for her to get a bit of development, and I'm actually really happy with her decision to go with Kuvira because it actually makes her character interesting. I'm actually pretty sure she's going to double cross Kuvira somehow, but I'm not entirely sure of that. Maybe she was telling the truth. We really don't know enough about her to know for sure one way or the other, but that just makes her decision all that more interesting to me.

Back to Bolin, he was so, so amazing! I think this is the first time we've really gotten to see him bend so far this season, and it's so awesome to watch him lava bend. I love seeing it mixed in with the rest of his earth bending. The fight scenes in this episode were just all around amazing. I never would have thought Avatar fight scenes with those robot suit things would look as cool as they did, but the second the fight started I'm pretty sure my mouth dropped open in amazement. I was just watching the fight play out because, as weird as this sounds, it was such a beautifully animated scene. It was probably my favorite of the episode.

Oh, and his attempts to win over Suyin, Opal, and the rest of their family was so funny. I loved that, and I was rooting for Bolin and Opal getting back on good terms once he got a way from Kuvira. Now it looks like we'll be waiting a while for that. It'll be interesting to actually see one of these education camps though and see what happens. I'm not sure what to expect since my imagination can come up with some quite horrible stuff that I don't think Nickelodeon would allow. I guess we'll have to wait and see what exactly the camps are.

Asami's story line with her dad was also nice, although it felt a little out of place among every thing else. It was much calmer than everything else happening, which I suppose was on purpose. It just seemed like somewhat odd placement to me because it seems to have absolutely nothing to do with the larger story. Sure it's some character development for Asami, and I'm all about character development. I'm just not sure how I feel about it happening right here since it felt a little off. I'm wondering if the purpose was to bring her father back into the story because he'll have some importance later on. That would make more sense I think. It's not that I didn't like those scenes. I thought they were very touching and well done. They just didn't seem to go with the rest of the episode to me.

Next episode seems like it'll be intense. I'm expecting quite a bit of fighting, and I'm wondering if we'll see Bolin in that camp. Maybe he'll escape before getting there, but I'm kind of betting on him seeing it. I'm hoping for some awesomeness from Korra. She was great in this episode, but she wasn't really a huge focus, at least in my mind. I'm looking forward to her being more central to things, but I'm also hoping for some focus on Bolin since I feel like he's going to have a pretty great story line too.