Friday, January 31, 2014

Life Post: Much Less Stress, The Fault in Our Stars Trailer, Midnight Memories Video, and Salute

It's been more than a week since I've done one of these. It's just been a pretty stressful week or so, but that should all be over. The big portfolio that's been stressing me out is due Monday, but I've already finished it. Honestly, I had most of the actual portfolio done last semester, and it's just been other aspects of it that were causing stress. I have the stack of papers that just need to be hole punched and put in a binder, which I'll do tonight. Then I just have to turn it in on Monday and sign up for an interview. I'll start to worry about the interview then of course, but I'm trying not to think about that now.

It's been a pretty good week, even with the stress. The Fault in Our Stars trailer and the Midnight Memories music video were both released. The Fault in Our Stars trailer looks absolutely amazing, and after seeing it, I have complete faith that it will be an amazing adaptation. I absolutely cannot wait to see it.

I really like the Midnight Memories music video as well. It's one of my two favorites off the new album (and one of my all time favorites), so I was thrilled when it became a single. Overall, it's not what I would have done with the music video really, but I do like it. It's fun, and I've already watched it a million times.

I'll probably watch it a million more times this weekend, which is hopefully a pretty relaxing one. With most of the stress gone, I should relax more than I have so far this semester.

Oh, and Salute is out in the United States on Tuesday! That means less than four days now! I already bought the album from England, but I preordered it on iTunes because I want it to do well in the United States. I'm looking forward to having it on my phone. I just really hope it sells well. It's an incredible album, and I'm not just saying that because I love Little Mix.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book Review: Wicked by Gregory Maguire

ISBN: 0061350966
Published: September 25th, 2007 (first published September 29th, 1995)
Publisher: Harper
Read from January 5th to 26th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?
Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.


I've known about the Wicked musical for years, and even though I've never actually gotten to see it performed, I've listened to the soundtrack millions upon millions of times. Hopefully, one day I'll actually get to go see it.

Because of the musical, I've been wanting to read the book for the longest time, and I've actually owned it for more than a year now without getting around to it. I had heard nothing but great things about it, so I had high hopes for the book. I think it managed to reach them.

I love getting any type of backstory to an already existing story. I think it makes things interesting, especially when it comes from a different author so you get another point of view. Few people read or watch (only watched in my case) The Wizard of Oz and feel sympathy for the Wicked Witch of the West, but in Wicked, she's Elphaba. Readers get to know her from when she's a young child, and it isn't until late in the book that the title Wicked Witch of the West even starts to be mentioned. By that point, you've gotten to know here too well to really hate her.

The book weaves together aspects of The Wizard of Oz really well while also making itself very unique. There were some things that I recognized as different from The Wizard of Oz movie, but I'm going to assume that it lines up with the book and that was a result of changes in The Wizard of Oz's movie adaptation. This book is also much more adult than The Wizard of Oz, and it's probably best that younger readers not pick it up. There's one scene in particular that comes to mind.

What Maguire did of making Elphaba sympathetic while also showing her as the same Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz is very impressive. That alone makes the book enjoyable. However, I think even someone who knew nothing about The Wizard of Oz could get plenty of enjoyment from the novel. Nothing in it requires prior knowledge, although being familiar with The Wizard of Oz does help you pick up a few references and things.

I would recommend Wicked to anyone who is curious in a different take on The Wizard of Oz and a different view on The Wicked Witch of the West.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book Review: Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

ISBN: 0452279070
Published: May 1st, 1997 (first published 1975)
Publisher: Plume
Read from January 16th to 25th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Published in 1975, Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be. An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century and the First World War. 
The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J.P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud and Emiliano Zapata slip in and out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow's imagined family and other fictional characters, including an immigrant peddler and a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violence.


I read this book for my American literature class. Although the book was published in the 70s, it is set during the time period that we're beginning to study, so our professor thought that Ragtime would be a good introduction to the time period.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect going into the book except what time period it was set in, and to be completely honest, I didn't really enjoy the book that much. There were bits and pieces of it I liked, and I can definitely see that it was merit in certain ways. I just didn't find it enjoyable to read.

It was cool to see so many historical characters, and it was interesting to see them interact with the fictional characters. The fictional characters not having real names got a bit annoying towards the end, but overall I could have handled that without caring much. A much more annoying aspect of the book for me was the dialogue not being in quotations as that made it a bit difficult to follow at times. The extremely long paragraphs that happened at times also made reading difficult at some parts.

Overall though, I could have enjoyed the book even with those aspects. I just wasn't interested in the story. When I read a book, I want to feel invested in either a plot or characters or (ideally) both. I didn't get either of that in Ragtime. There isn't really one overall plot so much as it's just following a large cast of characters around for a certain number of years, and because there are so many characters to keep track of, I never felt any particularly strong feelings (whether love or hate) for any of them, which made me a bit uncaring about what happened to them. I didn't think Ragtime was a bad book, but it lacked everything that I enjoy having in what I read.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Why I Got a Single Dorm This Year

Having a dorm all to myself is a bit odd. Sure, I have a suitemate (technically two but one's never there), but all we share is a bathroom. I'm so used to living at home where my family may knock on my door but they'll barge right in afterwards or having a roommate that comes and goes as well. I've never had the amount of privacy that I do this semester, and to tell you the truth, I absolutely love it.

I am a very introverted person. I want to be around people sometimes of course, but I absolutely need my own space. I love having a place where I can go and be completely alone whenever I need to without the worry that I may have to be around other people. It's the best, and I think it's helped me as far as stress goes. I'm constantly stressed if I have to be around people too much, and sharing a dorm last year was like that for me, even though I appreciate having had the experience. It's why I knew I needed a single this year. I just couldn't deal with that for another year. It had nothing to do with my roommate or any problems, but I could not put up with that level of stress for another year. I needed my own space.

It only became more obvious how much I needed the space when I was home for winter break. With Jenny in my room as well, I didn't really have my own space or any privacy at all. I was about to lose my mind by the time I came back to school. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with Jenny using my room, and I enjoy seeing my family. However, I just didn't get enough time away from people over break, and it drove me a little crazy. Being back at school has been stressful in its own ways, but I've been extremely thankful to finally get some time to myself.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Life Post: I'm Just a Little Stressed

I'm having a day that's more on the stressful side of things. Really, that's been my whole past week all because of my portfolio. I won't go into details because it would take a while to explain, but basically I have a really important portfolio due in about a week and a half that's part of the process of becoming a teacher. Now, of course this is stressful in a number of ways, but I'm handling all of that pretty well. (I turned in my application today! It was nerve-wracking actually turning it in, but at least that part of the process is over.) The most stressful things is that I have to get two professors to fill out an evaluation form and then get a recommendation letter from a professor. The evaluation form isn't too bad because I think I know who I'm going to ask and I see them on a daily basis. For the recommendation letter though, I asked a professor to write it last semester. I emailed her twice last week, but she never emailed me back. I never see her on a daily basis, and I have class during her office hours. I've been by her office hoping she'd happen to be there, but no luck. So I don't really know what's happening there, and I'm getting a bit desperate. I'm going to email her again just to see what happens, and I'll keep going by her office in case I get lucky. I just really want to get it sorted out so I'm less stressed.

I feel like there was something else big that happened today too, but I honestly can't remember. My stress over the unanswered emails drowns out everything else. I can say that I am extremely tired of the freezing weather and snow we're having. You're completely frozen just walking between buildings, let alone across campus. It's ridiculous, and from what I can tell, it's not ending any time soon.

Well, I still have two classes today, so I need to go get ready for my next one. I'm going to go by the professor's office once more when I finish with classes today, so maybe I'll be luckier that time. I doubt it though since her times on her office door didn't make it seem like she'd be there. We'll see.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Fictional Couples in Books

This topic came from Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I'm going through and doing all of the old themes whenever I get a chance here and on my Youtube channel.

Apparently I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday since October! That's just ridiculous. I got so behind on everything else that it got pushed to the side. Hopefully they'll start coming quicker again. We'll see.

You should expect a lot of these couples to come from the same books because they're fandoms I participate in and read (or even write) fanfiction for. The only sad part for me is that it's confined to books because otherwise I would have a lot more favorite couples to add.

*There may be spoilers for some books here as the couples I mention may get together later in a book/series.*

1. Ron/Hermione from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. This can't be surprising for anyone who knows me. Ron and Hermione were the first couple I shipped, and that was before I even really knew what shipping was. I love their dynamic, and I've since started to realize that I tend to look for Ron/Hermione-like relationships in other books as well. I just love that dynamic in couples. Plus, they're my two favorite characters in the books.

2. James/Lily from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. My love for James/Lily came pretty soon after my love for Ron/Hermione. I actually went through a period where James/Lily fanfiction was all that I read. I hadn't read any for a while until I found a really great one recently. It's made me miss them. I know they aren't actually in the Harry Potter books much, but they're Harry Potter's parents for crying out loud. That automatically makes them awesome.

3. Katniss/Peeta from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. First of all, if I was given the opportunity to marry any fictional character, it would be Peeta Mellark. He's just kind of perfect to me. I know a lot of people have some hatred towards Katniss, especially when it comes to her and Peeta's relationship. However, I actually like how she talks about not deserving Peeta. She's fully aware that he loves her and is always trying to help her while she's entirely focused on herself and her family. But over the course of the series you see Katniss come to care for Peeta and view him in an entirely different way. As far as I'm concerned, she redeems herself with their relationship. Plus, I think the resolution of the series is absolutely beautiful. They've both gone through horrific things, and those things are never going to entirely leave them, but they are trying to be as happy as they can together.

4. Magnus/Alec from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. This is a new edition to the list since I just started the Mortal Instruments recently. I've still only read through book three, but I'm absolutely in love with Magnus and Alec. I've said before that I think the strongest point of the books is the characters, and Magnus and Alec are definitely my favorite in the series. I guess it's kind of like Ron/Hermione where it's my two favorite characters in a couple. That's never a bad thing. I do have some idea of what happens to them even though I haven't read the books because of spoilers. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books and seeing where their relationship goes for myself though.

5. Remus/Tonks from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I remember getting extremely excited about Remus and Tonks as a couple as soon as I read Half-Blood Prince, even though I'd never given it much thought to it before. I remember reading the first chapter of Deathly Hallows and finding out they'd gotten married. I was reading the book while my family was sleeping, and I started running around the house I was so excited. I even woke my dad up just because I wanted to share my excitement. I didn't even react that passionately when Ron/Hermione got together. (I think because I'd been waiting for that for so long that I could only stare at the book in amazement that it had finally happened.) And Teddy... I have so many emotions about that.

6. Kit/Nat from The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. This was one of my favorite book from the time I read it in eighth grade, and I'm pretty sure it's made these lists before. I was in love with their relationship as a fourteen year old, and looking back on it I'm kind of proud of myself for it. Kit and Nat don't have a stereotypical romance story relationship. They're living in the very Puritan Connecticut colony, and while they care for each other very much, the values of their society come through a lot. That's very interesting to me, and one thing I love about them. It's just odd to me that I was intrigued by that even as a fourteen year old who you'd think would be more into the overly romantic and sappy relationships that are usually in media.

This is getting harder than I thought it would be. I've read so many great books with great relationships but I'm having so much trouble picking out certain ones.

7. Hazel/Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Of course! How could I forget Hazel and Augustus! I'm pretty sure this book winds up on pretty much every list too, but come on, guys. No one who's read it can begrudge them having a place on this list. I mean, they fall in love despite the fact they each have cancer, and they're not really sure how long they each have to live. Everything about their relationship is beautiful and absolutely heart-breaking.

8. Eden/Kiran from the Star-Crossed series by Rachel Higginson. Eden and Kiran are going to be the only star-crossed lovers type of couple on this list. I've made it no secret in the past that the Star-Crossed series are some of my favorite books ever. I'm typically turned off by "star-crossed" type romances, but for some reason I absolutely love Eden and Kiran's relationship. To me it's the perfect example of how to actually pull off star-crossed lovers in a non-cringey way. They definitely have the whole star-crossed thing going on, but both characters grow through the series, especially Kiran in my opinion. Kiran does some questionable things (end of the second book especially), but he betters himself. While they're relationship isn't perfect in the first several books (and I would have hated it had it ended there), they've worked to better themselves over the series which has made their relationship an even better one.

9. Laura/Almanzo from the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Does this count if they're real people too? I wasn't thinking about them at all, but browsing through Goodreads for ideas I came across the Little House books. I remember when I first read them, and I was so excited to get to the part where Laura and Almanzo met and then started "courting" (or whatever you want to call it) and then married. There are a lot of things I admire about their relationship that aren't in the Little House books but that I've learned about them over the years as well.

10. Remy/Dexter from This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. I knew I wanted a Sarah Dessen couple on this list (since I love her books), but it was hard to choose because she writes some great couples. There are three Sarah Dessen books that I consider my favorites. Just Listen because I read it first, and it got me hooked on her books. And then The Truth About Forever and This Lullaby because they both stuck with me in certain ways. All three of the couples in those books are amazing ones to me for different reasons. Remy and Dexter usually win out as my favorite though. I love Dexter a lot. He's one of my favorite fictional guys (if I couldn't marry Peeta, it's possible I'd choose Dexter). Remy's a bit frustrating, but I like what she learns about herself over the course of the book.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Life Post: Just a (Kind of) Lazy Sunday

Today has been the epitome of a lazy Sunday. It's now past seven at night, and I'm still not done with the work I need to do today. It's crazy. Luckily, it's not that much, but my sister has also asked me to proofread her paper sometimes tonight so there's that. I did manage to get quite a bit of writing done today (possibly why I haven't gotten all of my homework done), so that was nice.

I'm really happy that tomorrow is another day off. I'm hoping to get even more writing in before classes start for the week.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Life Post: So This is Why I Enjoy Weekends

I always forget how amazing weekends are during breaks from school. After this past week I definitely remember though. I was so excited to sleep in later this morning, and I actually laid in bed for a while after waking up. It was fantastic. Plus, I get two more days of it thanks to the three day weekend. I'm ecstatic.

My plan is to get quite a lot of writing done this weekend since I didn't really have time this past week (and doubt I will in the coming weeks either). I'm still really excited about the fanfiction I'm working on, so I go crazy when I can't work on it for several days at a time. I was loving writing it every single day during break. While I enjoy my classes so far this semester, the workload means it's doubtful I'll have much writing time until May. We'll see how long it takes me to get through even the first draft of this fanfiction. When I do write, I typically get a good deal of words in, so it may not end up being that bad.

Other than writing I also hope I get a lot of reading done this weekend. I feel like I've been reading the same two books for quite a while. Wicked is a bit on the longer side, which is the reason for that, but still, I'd like to get through it. (Wicked's great so far, but I also have City of Fallen Angels sitting next to me. I need to get to that book.)

We'll see what all I manage to get done this weekend. I also have some homework of course, so I can't push that to the side. Still, I think I'll manage to spend most of my weekend writing, reading, and what not.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Life Post: Week One of the Semester is Finished

Today marked the end of the first week of classes. I'm feeling good about this semester. I went into a little shock the first couple of days and had to get back into the swing of things, and I'm also a bit stressed about some things going on, but overall, I think this will be a great semester.

In one of my previous posts, I said that my humanities class had three professors, and two of them were the same as last semester while one was new to me. The new to me one gave her first lecture today, and I think I'm going to enjoy her lectures. She was interesting to listen to, and she was one of those professors where you can really tell that she's passionate about what she's talking about. Plus, she's giving us study guides for each lecture, which isn't a bad thing.

My literary criticism class is also still interesting for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that some of the literary criticism we read is over literary works that I haven't even read, yet I still find it so interesting and feel like I learn so much from it. It makes me want to read what the criticism is on of course, but I just really find it interesting how much I can learn from a piece of criticism even when I'm really not familiar with what they're writing about. I have a feeling I'm going to get a lot out of that class.

Now we have a three day weekend. I'm sure it'll throw my days off when I'm still kind of adjusting to the new semester, but I'm still not going to complain about an extra day off. I plan on writing a ton this weekend. I did so much over break, and it's been strange not writing much at all this past week. That's definitely my biggest priority for this weekend.

My Annoyance with ID Pictures

My school ID has been bugging me lately. I know that sounds pretty ridiculous, but when I got back to campus at the beginning of the week and had to start looking at it daily again, I started getting really annoyed with my picture on it. It's not this huge annoyance. I'm not spending hours obsessing over it like I am other annoyances this week, but every time I look at it I get a small feeling of annoyance, even if it goes away soon after I put the ID away.

Everyone always complained about school pictures, but I was never particularly bothered. Yeah, they end up in the yearbook, but honestly, yearbooks aren't looked at that often. Plus, yearbook photos don't usually turn out that bad. I have a few examples of some not so great ones in my yearbooks at home, but most of the time everyone looks decent. ID photos, on the other hand, always look horrible. I have yet to see a flattering one on anyone. You just can't do it. They never have good lighting. They don't care about how you pose or the angle. And most of the time you can't even smile.

Of course I have this problem with my driving permit as well. That picture is actually worse than my student ID. However, I never even look at my permit. It just sits in my wallet, and I never even look at it when I open my wallet for something else. My student ID is something I have to look at multiple times daily though. I don't know if other schools do this or if it's a rarer thing, but our student IDs are necessary. If I leave my dorm room without it, I'm screwed. It acts as an electronic key to get back into both my dorm building and my specific floor. Plus, I pay for my meals in the dining hall with it, as well as being able to use it to pay at the Subway and cafe on campus.

That means I'm carrying the ID around with me everywhere throughout the day, and I'm always looking at it. I have to face that picture far more often than I do my permit picture. My student ID picture was taken at the very beginning of my freshmen year. The worst part is that I had just cut all my hair off, so it's pretty short in the picture. I don't really regret cutting my hair off because I donated it to Locks of Love and that's great, but I absolutely hated having that short of hair. Plus, I'm still trying to grow it back out, and every time I see that picture I'm instantly reminded of my annoyance at how slow my hair's growing. Also, this isn't really an annoyance, but I've started dying my hair since the picture, so my hair's different in that way too.

I know I'm going to have to keep staring at that ID for another two years at least, so I"m going to have to suck it up and ignore it. That is, unless I lose my ID or something and have to get a new one, but that would be another problem all on its own. I guess unflattering ID pictures are just one of those things you have to put up with in life. I'm never going to escape it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

HIMYM Review: Season 9 Episode 14: "Slapsgiving 3"

I'm just going to throw it out there that this is likely the most negative review I have ever had for How I Met Your Mother. There's been a lot of controversy over this episode, and I've seen people who both think it's racist and who don't think it's racist. I really don't want to get into the specifics of that in this post, especially since I know it's been written about very well in a number of other places. Instead, I'm just going to focus on my own specific feelings about what happened in the show.

When we first see Robin dress up as a stereotypical Chinese person, I immediately thought that it could cause some problems. However, I thought it would be a quick thing and then we could move past it. After all, How I Met Your Mother has had problematic moments before, but I've never found them carried through an entire episode (at least from what I can recall, I could be wrong). Instead, the show went on to show Lily and Ted dressed up in the same way, and each time it happened my dislike for the episode increased even more. It was as if each time I thought it couldn't get worse, it did. It wasn't just the fact that it could be taken as racist though. It just wasn't well written, and I didn't find it enjoyable at all.

Aside from that extreme turn off to the episode, the story itself just wasn't that great. Now, I'm not sure how the story would have been without the potentially problematic elements, as that was really the core storyline of the episode. I was just overall unimpressed.

I know many people are getting annoyed with all of the flashbacks. I completely get that. I don't necessarily have a problem with them if they are done well, but obviously that wasn't the case for this episode. I do think there have been plenty this season, and I would prefer episodes that aren't flashbacks. Still, I'm holding out hope that if we do have more flashback episode in the future, they will at least be enjoyable.

Apparently the next episode involves Barney not being able to lie. That has a lot of potential to be interesting I think. Hopefully it doesn't disappoint.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Life Post: Long First Week of Classes

This week has been quite the long one, and it's only Wednesday. I'm sure a lot of that has to do with starting classes and just adjusting to everything again after break. I'm eager for the three day weekend, even though I'm pretty sure that'll throw things off even more. Still, it'll be nice to have a bit of a longer break after this weekend.

Today I had my first humanities discussion, so I've now met with all of my classes. It'll be interesting to see how the discussion group goes this semester as it definitely will be different to my discussion group for humanities last semester.

We also had our first lecture in humanities today. It's a bit odd having the second part of humanities immediately following the first because in a lot of ways it's the same, but there are also things that make it different. I kind of feel like I'm still taking the same class, but I also have to adjust to some things. For instance, of the three professors who lecture in that class, two are the same I had last semester, and one is a new professor who I'm not entirely sure what the expect from lecture (and exam) wise. Overall though, I think it will be incredibly similar to last semester.

I'm also still enjoying my history of literary criticism class. We do have to write a paper for that class that's a bit daunting, but what we're doing right now is very interesting to me. There's usually a bit of literary criticism in literature classes, but I love having the opportunity to look at it more closely. I feel like this class is full of things that high school students always hate about their English teachers when they read novels. You have to think about all of the exciting literary theories and the different ways something could be interpreted, as opposed to just focusing on what you got from it. I actually happen to like that a lot so far, although we haven't done much of it. Mostly we focused on an article that was discussing Jane Eyre. I haven't read Jane Eyre (yet), but I found the views the author of the article expressed very interesting. We also read a piece by Gorgias that defended Helen of Troy that I really enjoyed. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in that class.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Life Post: The Start of Classes

I don't know why I'm writing this when I just woke up, and I'm still tired and such. I'm having to wake up earlier than I have in quite a while this semester because of my classes, and I have a feeling it's going to be tough to adjust. I still have more than fifteen minutes until I have to leave for class though, so I somehow ended up writing this post. (I'm too anxious about being late that I had to wake up even earlier than it was necessarily needed.)

The first day of classes yesterday were a bit stressful. We're definitely getting right into the swing of things, and I already have a good deal of work to do after going to two classes. I have two more to go to today, so I'm sure I'll be absolutely loaded with work afterwards. It's not necessarily fun, but I'm sure I'll be fine was I re-adjust to having school work. I'll definitely have more than I did last semester I think. That's mostly because I'm taking three literature classes this semester and humanities, which has a literature part, so I will have tons and tons of reading to do this semester. I'm an English major, so I don't find reading to be the worst thing in the world of course. I just need to get used to the amount of reading I'm going to be doing.

I'll end this post there, since I'm still not fully awake and I don't even know if I'm making sense. I took a nap yesterday, and even though I hated how disoriented I felt after it, I think it's going to become a thing this semester. I'll need the sleep. I'm already looking forward to taking a nap right after I get back from today's classes. It'll probably be a long day...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Film Review: The Magic of Belle Isle

The Magic of Belle Isle was another one of those movies that happened to come up on Netflix once, and I figured I might as well watch it because it seemed like it would be cute. Sure enough, it was.

I really enjoyed the movie. It was definitely a cheesy movie, and it was one that was meant to be that way. I think anyone who likes those types of movies would enjoy this one. Those aren't always my favorite movies, but I do like to watch them sometimes. I found The Magic of Belle Isle kept my interest, and I never found it to be so cheesy that it became cringe-worthy.

I would recommend it to anyone who likes more sentimental movies.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Life Post: Winter Break is Coming to a Close

After everyone being sick and the insane weather that kept everyone indoors, today is the first day where everyone in the family seems to be back to doing what they usually do. That also means this is the first time in more than a week where I've been able to have time alone for a significant period of time, and that's quite nice. I like being around my family and everything, but my introvertedness was making me want to scream for a while there. I needed a day like today.

There are only two days until I'll be heading back up to school. I still don't think it's hit me that classes begin on Monday. I really don't feel like I did much this break. My plans to see people all fell through, except for Summer, but since I hadn't seen Summer for more than a year, I'm extremely thankful that I at least got to see her.

I've been thinking about this coming semester a lot today since I finally had time to think today, and I just really hope it's a good one. I probably should have taken time today to pack honestly, but I can do that when there are people all over the house. I needed this time today to relax after everyone making so much noise and being around all week. Plus, most of my stuff is still at least in piles. Packing won't be too difficult. I could probably get it all done tomorrow if I wanted.

Since I'm not really sure how heavy my workload will be next semester, I'm not sure how much I'll be able to blog and everything else. I still will of course, but it may be stressful to if there's a lot of work. My classes sound interesting though, so I'm excited to see what comes.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why I Love Selfies

I spend a good portion of my day on Twitter. I was never into social networking before I got a Twitter account, but now I can never get enough. I like getting little pieces of the lives of others. Maybe it's the writer in me. It's a way to people watch no matter where I'm at or how many people are around.
It becomes even more like people watching when people post pictures. The most common form of picture posted on Twitter is the selfie, and I happen to be quite a big fan, although you would never be able to tell from my own Twitter account. I try to change my profile picture about once a month or so in order to keep things new, but other than that you will probably never see a selfie from me.
Read the rest at Yahoo! Voices.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Film Review: The Tale of Despereaux

Universal Pictures
Rated G
Directed by Sam Fell and Rob Stevenhagen
Written by Gary Ross, Will McRobb, and Chris Viscardi
In Theaters: December 19th, 2008
On DVD: April 7th, 2009
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:
A diminutive mouse strives to make a mammoth change in his troubled kingdom in this adaptation of author Kate DiCamillo's Newbery Medal-winning children's book. A long time ago, in the distant kingdom of Dor, a horrible accident broke the heart of the king, left a beautiful princess crestfallen, and filled the townspeople with despair. As the sun disappeared from the sky and the flowers were drained of color, the laughter slowly ceased in this once-magical land. It was into this darkened world that a tiny mouse named Despereaux Tilling was born, and while this virtuous little rodent may have been short in stature, his bravery was ultimately too big for such a small world to contain. An unlikely hero with oversized ears and a discernible wheeze, Despereaux was taken with tales of chivalry, and longed to one day become a noble figure among his people. Sometimes in order to realize their true destiny, heroes must first experience great hardship, however, and when Despereaux fails to adhere to the rigid rules of his society, he is banished from Dor. Later, while exploring the outer realms, the lonely Despereaux is joined by a kindhearted rat named Roscuro. Roscuro, too, has been excommunicated from his homeland, and still cannot stand to look into a mirror lest he be reminded of his painful past. Later, as Despereaux embarks on a treacherous quest to rescue the endangered Princess Pea, Roscuro is set down the path of self-destruction after receiving a painful rejection from his highness. Now, on their way to realizing their extraordinary destinies, these two unlikely heroes will face off against the malevolent leader of the sewer rats, who is plotting revenge on humans from his subterranean kingdom; befriend a common serving girl who longs to become princess; and meet a whole host of colorful characters that they will never forget. Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, and Tracey Ullman lead a powerhouse cast in this animated feature produced by Gary Ross and Allison Thomas. Also lending voices to the project are Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, William H. Macy, and Christopher Lloyd. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


I've had a slight interest in this movie for years just because Emma Watson is one of the voices in it. I never really sought it out because I wasn't very sure I would enjoy it, but when I saw it on Netflix, I decided it would be a good idea to check it out.

I did like the movie overall. I will probably never rewatch it because I feel like it would be quite boring after having seen it once, but I am glad I watched it the first time. I thought it was a cute movie. It's not really an outstanding movie, but it is cute and entertaining enough.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Life Post: Not Much Happens During Polar Vortexes

I think I'm finally over being sick other than a few minor symptoms that are still sticking around. For the most part I feel perfectly fine though, and that is a huge relief after feeling pretty bad for several days. My mom's still sick though, so it hasn't completely left our house yet. That combined with this whole polar vortex thing and everyone's been sticking around the house more than normal lately. I'm ready for everyone to get better and the weather to get warmer just because I need more freedom away from my family.

I haven't done much today. (I don't think most people have done much today with the way the weather is in large parts of the country.) I've spent the majority of my day writing other than taking some breaks to watch Naruto and Dawson's Creek. I think I'm finally done with that for the day though, so now I have to find other ways to occupy myself. I also filmed a video earlier, so I want to edit that and post it today.

I think tomorrow's supposed to be warmer, and as of now, my brother and sister still have school. I wonder if things will go back to normal then or if we'll all still be around the house sick and/or unable to go out in the cold. We'll see.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review: All You Want to Know About Hell by Steve Gregg

ISBN: 1401678300
Published: November 5th, 2013
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Read from December 16th to 23rd, 2013
Synopsis from publisher:
It is an undeniable fact that the very concept of hell is shrouded in mystery. We know what books and movies tell us hell is like, but we’re left with so many questions. Is hell simply a place where sinners are sent to suffer for their sins, or is it much, much more than that?
All You Want to Know About Hell breaks down the three most popular views on hell and tells us what the Bible really says about this terrifying and mystifying place. From the “traditional” view of hell as a place of eternal torment to the early Christian view that hell is a place of suffering intended to purge sin and to bring about repentance, no other book gives such in-depth biblical insight into the truths about hell that are hidden in all the hype.
Features include:
Complete coverage of the three most popular views on hell
Clear explanation of what Scripture really says
An easy and interesting read for laypeople, pastors, and scholars alike


This book covers the three different views of hell that are most popular among Christians. Each view is presented in two different chapters: one an argument for that view and one that criticizes that view. It is meant to help readers evaluate each view of hell for themselves and make up their mind on which view of hell they believe is right.

I was very intrigued by this book. For some reason the idea of hell is almost more intriguing than the idea of heaven. Maybe it was because we read Dante's Inferno in my humanities class last semester, which already had me thinking about hell, but as soon as I saw this book, I wanted to read it. I thought the book was very interesting, and I enjoyed learning about the different views of hell. I had never really known that there were views other than the traditional view, so I was very intrigued by the other views. The author does a good job at presenting the arguments for and against each view with plenty of biblical evidence. I also think that the author did a good job of hiding which view he thought was right, which helped the book not be biased towards one view. I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about the three different views of hell.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Life Post: It's a Little Cold Outside

Everyone's been freaking out for the past week or so over the weather we were supposed to start getting yesterday. It's cold here, guys. A lot colder than I can remember it being, although I know it's colder farther north. Even people in other areas of the country are talking about how cold it is in the Midwest.

I almost feel bad complaining about our cold when it's colder up north. I know Indianapolis is at least ten degrees colder than us, so I suppose I should be thankful that I'm at home and not up at school right now. Still, the wind chill is scarier than the actual temperature. When I looked last night, they were expecting the wind chill to get to about -25 degrees, and we're supposed to get a lot of wind. No one is really supposed to be traveling, so everyone around here is pretty much just stuck in their houses. I'm fine with that because there's no way I'm leaving the house in this weather.

I'm currently the only one up and awake (considering almost everyone is still sick), and I just heard the mail get delivered. I'm actually amazed the mail's still running considering everything, but I really don't want to actually go outdoors to get it. I haven't been out to feel how cold it is, but I really don't want to anyway.

Oh, I also just realized that I haven't really blogged since that first day I was getting sick when I said it was probably just a cold. Yeah, I don't think it was just a cold. I'm pretty sure now that I got whatever my sister had, although I didn't seem to get it as badly as my sister, dad, and now my mom. I felt absolutely horrible, but I didn't stay in bed forever like they did. I feel more miserable when I'm laying down though. With whatever I have now, I've been feeling absolutely horrible when I first wake up, and then I feel a million times better once I'm up and moving around. I feel better than I did now though, so I'm hoping that this is almost over for me completely. I'm coughing a ton, which I think is usually a sign that everything is ending.

Now, I guess I should go get the mail... Let's hope a few seconds outside won't be too bad.

I had to edit this post because I completely forgot that I got to see my friend Summer yesterday for the first time in more than a year. It was so, so great to see her. I love how we have one of those friendships where we may not see each other forever, but when we do, it's as if we've never been a part. She's one of my oldest friends, and it's always so much fun when I get to see her. We went out for lunch together, and then she stayed at my house for a while and visited my family who were all happy to see her. It was really nice, and I'm really glad that we got to talk.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Life Post: I'm Finally Sick This Season

Today has not been the best of days. Yesterday my sister stayed home from school because she was sick. Today my sister is home again, and my dad is home from work and sick. I realized last night that my throat was starting to bother me. It's only gotten worse. I couldn't sleep throughout the night because it was hard to breathe when I was laying down and I was constantly coughing. I feel horrible, even though it's entirely my head right now, and with my sister the biggest problem was her stomach.

I have no idea if we have the same thing. It doesn't seem like it. She seems to have a stomach virus or something, while mine seems to be a cold and nothing more at the moment. My brother has also had a bit of a cold, so I could have caught it from him. Either way, there are a bunch of us sick here now, and I'm a bit on the miserable side.

I'm just happy that I'm still able to function. I don't feel so sick that it's that difficult for me to do things, although I did feel a bit winded going up the stairs earlier. For the most part I'm fine other than coughing and such. I hope it stays that way. I'd really rather not spend the end of my break sick. I'm hoping this is over with soon. When I get colds though, they tend to worsen over a really long period of time and then get better over a really long time. They are never short. Still, I can dream and hope that it will be different this time.

To be honest, I'm not that surprised. I typically get at least one cold every winter, but I usually end up with two: one at the beginning of winter and one at the end. I haven't gotten one yet this year, so this is actually pretty late coming. I was really hoping I'd be able to say that this was the first winter in memory that I didn't get one though. After all, my allergies have been particularly horrible this year. You'd think that would be punishment enough.

However, my sister's laying on the couch in the room with me, and if that's not a constant reminder that I could be worse off, then I don't know what is. I'm just going to stay thankful that it's looking like it's just a cold and not whatever she has. As long as I don't get nauseous or run a fever, I'll consider myself lucky.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Life Post: Cold, Writing, and Twilight

It's decided to get freezing cold here again right at the beginning of the year, and I'm not a fan. We hardly got any snow last night, but I think we're supposed to get more soon. I don't really see it getting much warmer before I go back up to Indianapolis, and it will only be colder up in Indy. I guess I'll just have to power through that the rest of the winter.

I didn't get any writing done on New Year's Day, but I got a lot done today. I'm still loving the fanfiction I'm writing at the moment. I've reached the point where it's not pouring out as easily as it was at the beginning, but I'm still extremely excited about it. I also wrote an article today that I submitted to the Yahoo Contributor Network. It has to be approved and everything, but I'll let you know what happens. If it's published, I'll be sure to post a link here and on Twitter.

As I'm writing this post, Twilight is actually on the TV. My sister found it and turned it on. It's odd because I hadn't realized how long it had been since I watched it until I started watching it. I used to be such a huge fan, and now I criticize it more than anything. There will always be a part of me that has a soft spot for Twilight, but it also makes me cringe. It's definitely a love-hate relationship in so many ways.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Life Post: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope everyone had a great ending to 2013 and that your 2014 is starting off well.

I rang in the new year by reading Harry Potter fanfiction, and that is just perfect to me. My sister was having a party with a bunch of her friends, but I spent the night upstairs, although I heard all the fireworks they set off. I actually hadn't read any Marauder Era fanfiction in a really long time, so I was pretty happy about it.

2013 was a pretty good year overall. I met Little Mix over the summer, and I consider that to be one of the best days of my life so far. I also saw One Direction, Ed Sheeran, and Cher Lloyd in concert, and each of them were absolutely amazing. I became more sure of what I'm doing with my life, which is definitely a good thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm still terrified about the future, but I'm more sure of what my plans are, which makes me feel better. I'm sure there were plenty of other amazing things that happened that I'm forgetting as well. I really haven't put much thought in this post, and I'm not the most awake right now. (Turns out that your little sister throwing a New Year's party and having friends spend the night can make it a little difficult to sleep.)

2014 will be amazing as well, I'm sure. There's another One Direction concert to look forward to as well as things like The Fault in Our Stars movie and The Giver movie. I'm sure even more awesome stuff will come up as the year goes on. I'm pretty optimistic.

Film Review: Tinker Bell, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, and Secret of the Wings

I'd known that there were Tinker Bell movies for a while, but I'd never been really interested in watching them. I love Disney and everything, but they were straight to DVD and I'd never been fond of Tinker Bell (or even Peter Pan really) in the first place. Still, when I saw a couple of them on Netflix I figured I might as well watch them. I watched Secret of the Wings first because I found it, even though it was the fourth in the series. I hadn't even realized that there were four, even though I knew there was more than one.

I thought Secret of the Wings was really cute, and it actually made me interested in watching the others. I've since watched three of the four, and I only need to watch the third one. They're definitely movies meant for young kids, and I could see a few minor things that seemed a little inconsistent between the three movies I watched. Overall though, they were very adorable movies that I found very enjoyable.

Funnily enough, I find Tinker Bell to be unbelievably annoying in Peter Pan, and I really like her in these movies. Maybe it's because she actually talks which gets her personality across better. They did a nice job of throwing things into the movies that show she's still the same Tinker Bell she was in Peter Pan, but you're seeing more of her character. I really enjoy her in these movies, and I like the other characters as well.

While this movie is definitely geared towards kids, I really enjoyed it. Sometimes it's nice to watch movies like that in my opinion. I thought they were really cute. I definitely plan on watching the third one, even if it's not any time soon.