Monday, August 31, 2015

"My Children"

This post is going to be something that most people would probably find embarrassing to admit, but for some reason, I don't feel that shame. While I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that I consider the Weasleys the greatest family of all time, I'm struggling to actually find a place where I've said it. Whether I did or not, just let it be known that they are my favorites, and if I were ever in a position where I had to choose a fictional family as my own, I would choose the Weasleys hands down.

I treat that fact as if it's well known because in my head it's like it should be. It's difficult for me to fathom why anyone would choose a different family over the Weasleys, and considering I'm hmweasley just about everywhere where I'm on the Internet, my feelings toward the Weasleys feel like they should just be a given to everyone.

What isn't remotely as obvious, is which characters I've regularly made a habit as referring to as my children. Because I have. It's a fairly recent development, and maybe it should freak me out because it might be a sign of my age or something. It's at least partially Tumblr's fault, but there still has to be more to the reason why I decided to adopt it all of the sudden. I don't know. All I know it that a year or two ago, it started to become a lot more common for me to use "my child" when talking about certain characters.

This isn't something that I say indiscriminately either, and it isn't about who my ultimate favorite characters are. I don't refer to Alec Lightwood or Hermione Granger as my children. For some reason, that would feel strange to me. Yet there are other characters where I have no problem doing it with. It's not age or anything either because that doesn't line up. For some reason, there's just something about certain characters that lead to me saying it without fully realizing that I'm saying it.

Until I say it enough about certain characters that it becomes ingrained in the way I talk about them of course.

I noticed it with Naruto first. There's a large possibility I was saying it about other characters earlier and just didn't realize it, but Naruto was the first one where I said it one too many times and stopped myself to think, "Wait. Why am I doing that?" I still haven't really got an answer to that either.

So, yeah, I regularly refer to Naruto as my son these days, although I've tried to avoid it so far on the Internet. It felt like it would come across as a little crazy, but I'm not sure why because I know this is actually pretty standard Tumblr speak. I know that had an influence on why exactly I keep doing this.


I even started referring to Hinata as my child, but that felt weird considering they get married. So now I've tried to start referring to her as my daughter-in-law instead. (But if I slip and just say "daughter" or "child" then I just go along with that be close enough to daughter-in-law anyway.) When I started doing that, I knew this whole thing was probably becoming a bit much.

I still refer to the two of them as "my child"more than anyone else, but here is a pretty definitive list of the characters I actually use the term with: Zuko for Avatar, Gaara from Naruto, Sai from Naruto, Harry Potter, and Teddy Lupin. I don't know why the group of them, collectively, became the only characters I ever really use this with. It couldn't really escape my notice how many people on that list are orphans or just have really terrible parents. That fact has to be at least some part of why my brain decided to throw the term at them.

No matter what wound up causing it though, it's becoming an increasingly regular part of my vocabulary, and I honestly can't decide if that's a good thing or not. While I don't really see any harm in it, sometimes I become a bit self-conscious of the fact that a lot of people would view it as either weird or just a bit too extreme of fangirling. But I can't see myself not referring to them as my children in the not so distant future whenever I'm watching or reading about them.

Life Post: So This Is Being a College Senior

A lot of what I said in my last post is still true. We've just started the second week of the semester, and things are just as hectic as they were last week. The only difference is that I'm settling into it and getting used to it again. I'm not sure if it's normal to be used to this level of stress or if it's a bad sign that I've adapted to be (after a brief period of panic), but either way, that's basically how it is. I had a pretty good idea going in that being a senior was going to be a lot of work, but knowing it isn't quite the same as actually being in it and having it all piled on top of you.

It makes the fact that I'm going to be a senior for three years all the more ominous, but I don't think each semester will be like this. I have senior seminar this semester, which I've heard is a ton of work and is so far proving that to be true, and I think that's going to be the bulk of my stress. I also have two teaching practicums though, so there's that in addition to my other classes. Next semester though, I'm not so sure it will be quite as bad as all of this. It might even be a sort of break. I have fewer credit hours, and some of my credit hours are finishing up the last few gen ed requirements that I haven't completed. It might be blissful in comparison to this semester. Then, of course, I have student teaching, which I'm sure I'll feel a ton of pressure about, but that's not for another year. I can't start focusing on that yet.

One thing that I've really been reminded of these past several days is that commiserating with your classmates is a huge relief. There have been several things really stressing me out over the past week, and I've had several conversations with classmates about how they're feeling the same way I am already. In the past, I tried to avoid these sorts of conversations because I thought they would only make me more negative, but I've learned by now that they actually have the opposite effect. After hearing that other people are stressed out and a bit worried, it makes me feel much more confident about things, so it calms my stress a bit. I think that's become my go to college tip for anyone starting college because I never would have thought about things this way freshman year.

Despite how hectic things currently are, I posted twice over on my writing blog. I wrote about what makes a character a hero. That particular post was actually written in the middle of the night (edited only a little bit later), so it's a bit of word vomit I think. I also posted about my indecision over joining NaNoWriMo.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Book Review: A Mickey Mouse Reader by Garry Apgar

ISBN: 1628461039
Published: October 1st, 2014
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Read from August 23rd to 27th, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ranging from the playful, to the fact-filled, and to the thoughtful, this collection tracks the fortunes of Walt Disney's flagship character. From the first full-fledged review of his screen debut in November 1928 to the present day, Mickey Mouse has won millions of fans and charmed even the harshest of critics. Almost half of the eighty-one texts in "A Mickey Mouse Reader" document the Mouse's rise to glory from that first cartoon, "Steamboat Willie," through his seventh year when his first color animation, "The Band Concert," was released. They include two important early critiques, one by the American culture critic Gilbert Seldes and one by the famed English novelist E. M. Forster.
Articles and essays chronicle the continued rise of Mickey Mouse to the rank of true icon. He remains arguably the most vivid graphic expression to date of key traits of the American character--pluck, cheerfulness, innocence, energy, and fidelity to family and friends. Among press reports in the book is one from June 1944 that puts to rest the urban legend that "Mickey Mouse" was a password or code word on D-Day. It was, however, the password for a major pre-invasion briefing.
Other items illuminate the origins of "Mickey Mouse" as a term for things deemed petty or unsophisticated. One piece explains how Walt and brother Roy Disney, almost single-handedly, invented the strategy of corporate synergy by tagging sales of Mickey Mouse toys and goods to the release of Mickey's latest cartoons shorts. In two especially interesting essays, Maurice Sendak and John Updike look back over the years and give their personal reflections on the character they loved as boys growing up in the 1930s.


This book is a collection of articles that have been written about Mickey from the time he was first created to present-day. They're divided by time period and create a really great way of seeing the way Mickey evolved over time and the changes to Walt Disney's story that happened as time progressed.

While it's definitely possibly to sit down and read the book cover to cover (I did), I think the vast majority of people would enjoy it as more of a coffee table book where they pick it up and read one of the articles here or there. If you read it all at once, you do get a bit of repetition with the articles, which is cool because it helps you see trends in the way Mickey and Disney were talked about at different times, but I understand that some people would find that boring if they were reading the whole book straight through.

I'd recommend this book to any Disney fans, even casual ones, who are interested in reading about Mickey throughout different time periods. The book as a whole creates a very valuable resource for anyone wanting to learn more about Mickey.

I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Life Post: Is It Only the First Week?

I'm going to keep this pretty sure because it's incredibly late, and I want to get to bed. It's funny I'm saying that because I wouldn't have thought it over the summer, but after the first several days of this week, especially today, I'm exhausted. It's not about waking up earlier or anything like that either. All things considered, I've woken up at the same time and gotten the same amount of sleep I got all summer. It's just that I'm already starting to feel stressed again, and it's making me so tired.

Here's hoping that's not an ominous sign for the rest of the semester. I think it's just an initial reaction to the workload, and things will be fine once I adjust again. There was one thing that happened today that had me really freaked out for a while, and I think I'm still trying to calm myself down from that in a way. (And in a way, I think the closeness of graduation is starting to hit me with continual references to me being a senior, and the awareness of how close that is finally hit me and is freaking me out in different ways.) It has my stress levels really high, but that's not entirely a reflection around the rest of the week.

The happiest thing I can tell you right now is that I don't have any classes tomorrow. Because of how my schedule turned out, I only have one class on Thursdays, and thanks to an all school mass, it's canceled tomorrow. After the day I had today, I'm fully embracing an extra day of no classes in the middle of the week. I just hope I don't spend the entire day continuing to work myself up over a ton of things that I can't even do anything about yet.

This is one of those times where I'm writing this in such a haze of tiredness that I don't fully know what I'm writing, and I wonder if it'll even make sense come tomorrow morning. I remember writing these last semester, and apparently they've returned much earlier than expected.

A large part of me doesn't want to bother linking to the videos I posted today, but I'm going to push through it anyway. I posted a vlog that has the "first" look at my new dorm in it, and I posted a video about my five favorite light-hearted books.

Now, I'm off to finish up a few things before I go to bed, which I am really looking forward to.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Naruto Shippuden Review: Episodes 261-265

These five episodes felt a lot like preparation for what comes after them more than anything else. They have gotten my really excited though. I really enjoyed all five of them as far as I can remember. Seeing all of the forces running together was really cool, and I like how impressive it feels because of the number of people. It helped make the war seem so significant and important.

There was also a scene with Temari and Shikamaru in episode 261, and since ShikaTema was the first couple I shipped in Naruto, that made me happy. I really enjoyed that bit, but I'll never be able to tell how much of that was just the shipper in me talking.

Speaking of Temari, I also loved the little bit where she was reflecting on how Gaara had become a great man. Temari's my favorite character, and Gaara's one of my favorites, so seeing something like that was really great for me.

The entire idea of all of these dead people that they know being reanimated and still having their minds intact yet not being in control of their actions is a really great one to me. I think it makes for all sorts of very dramatic and heart-wrenching moments. I'm assuming there will be a lot more of that in the future since there are still plenty of characters that haven't done much yet.

Since Sai is another one of my favorite characters, I really enjoyed (in a sad sort of way) seeing him have to confront Shin. I'm also really happy that we got the flashbacks with them that we did. Those were probably my favorite part of that episode. Aside from thinking it was just a nicely done episode, I was also just happy to get more of Temari, Gaara, and Sai in this set of episodes because the three of them are my top favorite characters with just a few others close behind.

It was nice to get a bit of Naruto practicing with Kyubi's chakra again too, since it felt like we hadn't seen that for a while. Considering the entire show is called Naruto, it always feels a little out of place when he's out of the story for a while.

Like with the Sai and Shin flashbacks, I appreciated the flashbacks of Zabuza and Haku. It's been so long since I last watched those episodes that I enjoyed seeing the clips, and it was definitely long enough that nothing about it felt repetitive. Those are the sorts of flashbacks that I'm completely okay with in moderation.

Overall, I'd say these were good episodes to me, but I also have that feeling of just wanting to keep watching to see what happens next. Now that I've started school again, I imagine it will be taking me longer to watch, and that's really a shame.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

First published: 1813
Publisher: Amazon
Read from August 7th to 23rd, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited, while he struggles to remain indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.


This was actually my second time reading Pride and Prejudice, but the last time had been all the way back in eighth grade. I remember liking it, but I wanted to see how it would hold up more than seven years later. As it turns out, I absolutely loved it.

Aside from a few books where I knew right away that they just weren't my favorite, my favorite Austen book kept fluctuating as I read through them. Now having read most of them within a little more than a year (and Sense and Sensibility four years ago), I can pretty confidently say that Pride and Prejudice is my favorite, although a couple of others are very close.

There's just something about this book that I absolutely love. I probably don't have to try too hard to explain it because so many people already get it. It's just such a great story and such a fun book.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Life Post: First Day of Classes (Fall 2015)

The first day of classes this semester is officially under my belt, and I'd say I'm feeling optimistic about this semester. I was also reminded of just how much work I'm going to have, but I'm focusing a lot this semester on reminding myself that I'm doing things I love. Last semester I really got caught up on how much work there was and started to hate it. My goal is to get my thinking back to how it used to be: I'm studying stuff I really love, and I really do enjoy it if I stop focusing on how much is being asked of me.

That may not work for everything. I have a theology class this semester, which is the only class that isn't for one of my two majors. My last theology class (freshman year) was terrible if we're being honest, but I'm hopeful this one will be a bit better, if not enjoyable. I'm trying to stay optimistic, but that first class isn't until tomorrow. Even then it will probably take a few classes before I really know what to expect from it.

As for the classes I've actually gone to though, both of them were English classes. That's all I have on Mondays and Wednesdays. It's interesting how that worked out.

I'm at the point of college that (helped by the fact I go to a small school) I've had all but two of my professors before. Of the two I haven't had, one's the theology professor, which I've only had one classes in, and the other is new this year. But I've actually met the new professor. She taught one of my classes last year for one class period as part of her test before being hired. We all spoke really highly of her to the professors who watched her too, and it was really warranted from the one class. So, while I haven't had her for a whole semester, I'm pretty optimistic about both of the classes I'm having with her. I haven't gone to either of them yet though.

That was a bit of a tangent considering I meant to talk about the classes I've been to. They both look like they'll be a lot of work. One's composition theory, which I'm really interested in, but I've never taken a whole class on it and am therefore a bit unsure about diving into it.

The other is senior seminar (specifically for my English major). That's going to be a ton of work, I know. I'm already beginning to comb through all of my past essays from college in order to choose which ones are going into my portfolio and which ones I'm going to expand on for my final fifty page essay. It should be an interesting process if it's nothing else.

I'm also really enjoying the weather today. That's always a bonus. There's such a small time frame where I can walk to and from classes without a jacket. It almost feels unnatural to be at school and not be wearing one. I plan on enjoying that while it lasts. I'm sure it won't be that long before it's getting cold again.

Over on my writing blog, I posted today about including aliens into my fantasy story.Yep. I have one alien in particular who plays an important role in the story, and I talk a bit about that in the post if you're interested.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Book Review: The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg

ISBN: 0307952509
Published: July 14th, 2015 (first published in 2014)
Publisher: Broadway Books
Read from August 15th to 22nd, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl
In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child – a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom.
The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents’ attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults.
At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America’s longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere.


This book is one of the best I've read this year. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect going into it, but the situations described in the book are fascinating. Even though it's non-fiction, I found myself getting very attached to the people described in the book, which is unusual for me. They felt so real, and I found my emotions responding a lot to what happened to each of them over the course of the book.

Inside the book, stories of a wide number of girls who disguise themselves as boys are presented. A lot of times, those switches don't work well for me as I feel disconnected from everyone due to the constant switching. I didn't feel that with this book at all. Somehow, I managed to connect with every single character in the book, although some did particularly stand out such as Azita.

One of the things I loved most about the book was how deep the exploration of gender, how it's constructed in different societies, and how patriarchy has affected how gender is experienced. It's such an important topic and one that is very complex and difficult to condense. It's interwoven extremely well with the characters' stories and really helps expand on what it is that is happening in Afghanistan and even other countries.

While these issues are very important in what they say about gender in Afghanistan, it's very difficult to read the book and not think about the same sorts of issues in other countries around the world and how it's both alike and different. I would highly recommend this book to everyone as I think this book helps add to a very important discussion and is honestly just a very moving book to read.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Life Post: The Last Day of Summer Break

It's a bit weird to think that this is the last day of my summer break and also my first full day living in a dorm again. I probably shouldn't be surprised that I didn't sleep all that well last night despite how exhausted I was yesterday. Here's hoping I adjust to the extra noise and light and everything soon. I don't remember it being a difficult adjustment in the past. Before freshmen year, I was such a light sleeper and college turned me into the heaviest sleeper I know. I kind of feel like I lost that after last night to be honest, but I really hope that's not the case.

Today might be interesting. I have no idea what I'm going to do except for a few preparations for classes starting tomorrow, like printing off my schedule. For the most part, I'm just going to be seeing what happens and just getting back into the grove of being on campus. Maybe I'll eat in the dining hall for the first time this semester and get that unfortunate milestone out of the way. I really am trying to figure out what I'm going to eat today because I'm dreading my first time in the dining hall, even if it's necessary.

As for right now, I'm going to try and get through the things that need to be done before tomorrow. That way I have the rest of the day to enjoy the end of summer break.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Life Post: Back at School and Moved In

I sat down to write this as soon as I got my computer plugged in and on after my family left. If I haven't been mentioning it enough recently for you to know, I moved back to school today. Technically, I'm in a different dorm than last year, but it's the first time I've had a room in the same building as before. So my dorm pretty much feels the same. The furniture is arranged differently, but since it's nearly identical to the furniture I had before, that only feels like a small change. I'm sure I'll have completely adjusted to being back to school really quickly. I'll hardly notice I'm even in a different dorm, which will probably lead me to try and go to the wrong floor at least a couple of times.

I know I talked about how much I was dreading moving in, but in all honesty, this felt like the quickest move in day yet. I have no idea if it actually was. Maybe I'm used to it now? I still feel exhausted though, and my legs heard from both the moving and grocery shopping afterward.

There's a whole dorm meeting tonight, so I still have that. Tomorrow feels like it should be the first day of classes because in the past we moved in on Sundays, so it's strange knowing tomorrow is actually free. I still have some stuff to do to prepare though. Namely, I need to print off my schedule, so I can actually remember which classes I need to get to when. That's probably what tomorrow will be devoted to.

Here's hoping that this year is a good one.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Life Post: Last Minute Packing

Currently, I have less than twenty-four hours until I leave to go back to school. Am I completely packed? No. But I'm really not sure if I've ever been completely packed this long before going back before. Maybe I was freshman year when I was terrified and beyond worried I'd forget something crucial. Now I've forgotten things enough that it's hard to be too worried about it. Even if I forget something that is inconvenient, it doesn't fill me with fear like it used to. And there are certain things that I've either forgotten or almost forgotten enough times that there's no way I'm doing it again.

I got a haircut today and also got my picture taken for my passport, both things I wanted/needed to get done before going back to school. While I'm extremely aware by now that I move back tomorrow, there's still a part of me that hasn't accepted that summer is ending. I've reached the point where this sort of thing feels so normal that I don't really feel excited or nervous. It's just a normal thing. The dominating emotion right now is dread over having to move everything into the dorm. I'll be happy when that's over.

Over on my writing blog, I posted the first haiku I'd written since high school. Over on Youtube, I posted another phone vlog. Unsurprisingly, I talked a lot about packing for school in it. I also mentioned in that video that I was going to post the second chapter of my fanfic later that day, and I did post that here.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Life Post: The Final Days

It's been several days since I last posted one of these, but for the most part, those days have been the same as they kept having been lately. I did finally get started packing, but I've hit a bit of a road block there. While I know there must be more stuff I need to take, I've packed everything I can think of. I can't decide it I really am overlooking stuff or if I've just downsized so much after doing this a million times that I really don't need anything else. At any rate, I've gotten a head start, and I'm sure I'll get everything before I leave.

I'm still going through the final edits of my Twilight fanfiction, but I did post the first chapter. I'm going to try and get a couple more up before I go back to school too even though I know I'll still be editing the later chapters.

And, of course, I've still be beta reading quite a bit, but luckily, that's slowed down over the past week. I don't think I could have kept up with the rate I was going before during the school year. That would have been a huge amount of stress. Right now I have it on my beta profile that I'm not even accepting requests at the moment, since I'm definitely not going to be able to help more people while at school.

I posted a phone vlog over on Youtube if you're interested. A lot of it is basically just what was in this post.

In the past twenty-four hours or so though, it's really started to hit me how soon school is. The fact that summer is ending finally feels real, and I'm starting to get that usual anxious feeling that I always get about moving both to and from school. I really am dreading the stress of move in day and getting everything in the dorm and organized. That's always the worst, but it'll be such a relief when it's over with.

Monday, August 17, 2015

My Dream Concert

Last month I had a dream that I was at my dream (pun not intended) concert. Every single artist that I most want to see (either for the first time or again) was there, but I woke up after only seeing one of them perform. We (the we being the people with me in the dream, and to be honest, I can't remember who that was) were talking and waiting for One Direction to come on stage when I woke up, so I never got all that far.

But the dream still made me think about who would be on stage in my actual dream concert. I may not have gotten that far into my dream, but this is my least. And it's pretty similar to how my dream would have played out if I hadn't woken up. (Also, this isn't in a particular order, and I'm just going to stick to five. That feels like enough.)

1. Little Mix
2. One Direction
3. Miss A
4. Ed Sheeran
5. Taylor Swift

Now, I could very easily add artists onto that, but if they all performed for as long as I wanted them to too, then I'd be far too exhausted after just these five. Of course, this concert is never going to happen in a million years. Aside from the fact that it would take a special sort of occasion and a lot of dumb luck, Miss A would be even more doubtful considering they're kpop.

In my dream though, it was possible, and it was insanely awesome for the brief period it lasted.

Life Post: Putting Off Packing

Well, it's Monday afternoon, and I can officially say that I have yet to actually start packing like I said I would. In all honesty, it slipped my mind that it was even something I needed to accomplish. Don't ask me how I managed that, but it just had yet to occur to me until I sat down to write this and remembered yesterday's post.

Technically, I'm partially packed already, but all that means is that I failed to unpack a few things at the beginning of the summer (winter clothes, kitchen stuff, etc.). That's nice since it's already packed away, but it's about a third of the stuff I need to take, if that. My clothes are actually about halfway packed too actually because I've been keeping them that way all summer. (It's amazing how little drawer and closet space I have. I have no idea where my clothes even went back in high school. I seriously don't have significantly more these days.)

Most of what I need to pack should be relatively easy to do, but I still need to do it. That's not what I want to make this entire post about, but I guess packing is (or at least should be) dominating my week anyway.

What I've been doing instead is editing my fanfiction and reading, like usual. I'm trying to get as much of that in as possible before the semester starts. I also watched an episode of Korra today because who knows what time I'll have for stuff like that once I have schoolwork. As much as I want to enjoy the final days of summer though, I really do need to start preparing more for school.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Which Harry Potter Book Is My Favorite?

For years I had an answer to the question of what my favorite Harry Potter book was. After Deathly Hallows came out, it was my answer, but I usually specified that Prisoner of Azkaban was a close second. These days, I don't really answer the question because it's not as clear cut for me as it was in the past. Or maybe I just don't see choosing a favorite as important anymore. That sort of thing seems to apply to more things for me now than in the past. I really don't single out things as my number one favorite anymore. I'm far more likely to lump a lot of "favorites" together, which some people may see as diluting the term "favorite." I don't really think of it that way.

I'm not sure when I stopped having a clear cut favorite book. I didn't notice the shift just like I didn't notice when exactly I stopped thinking of Hermione as my number one favorite character and whatever else. Over time the hierarchy of Harry Potter books that I had in my head just faded until I honestly can't remember what order exactly I used to list them off in. I have a vague idea.

For instance, I know that Goblet of Fire was always last. It was right from the first time I read it, but now I feel like it's been long enough that I should give it another chance. It's the one I'm currently reading for my Harry Potter re-read. I'm only a few chapters in, but I'm going to see if it manages to change my point-of-view this time around.

Of course, I still have a soft spot for endings, which I've mentioned countless times before just about everywhere on the Internet. The final books or the final episodes and whatnot tend to be my favorites. I enjoy them immensely at the very least, unless I can't stand them (which is rare).  For that reason alone, I know Deathly Hallows will always be special in my mind in a way the other Harry Potter books can't achieve, but I don't feel it necessary to label it as my favorite Harry Potter book anymore.

This does present a bit of a conundrum if someone asks for my favorite book and won't let me just say "the Harry Potter series." In that case, I'd probably just keep dropping Deathly Hallows as my answer, but that's largely because it's an easy answer. And because I like satisfying endings. There's that too.

Life Post: One Week Left

My mom is really forcing me to start packing for school. Today she pulled some of the bigger stuff for my dorm out of the garage, including the drawers that we're taking (because the dorms from last year and this year seriously have almost no drawer space). So now that's all sitting around my room as a constant reminder that I need to fill them up. Plus she's moved around the containers that we already in my room so that they can be more easily opened (and therefore more easily filled with stuff).

Tomorrow I'm definitely going to start packing. There's less than a week until I move now, so I obviously need to get to it. In the past I'd have started by now, but then I've always gotten everything packed that I could and had it sitting around until I left. Five days should be plenty of time, and I haven't been tripping over everything in my room for days now like I have this past day.

I think getting packed is going to take up a lot of time this week. I also have several other things that have to happen before I go back, so I imagine I'll be busy this week with all of that. Plus beta reading and editing my own fanfiction like I've been doing. My goal is still to get the first chapter of my fic up within the first week of school if not sometime this week. I'm back to thinking that I'll actually be able to get it up this week, even if things are hectic.

Over on Youtube, I posted a video about how seeing the first Harry Potter movie before reading the books affected how I view the universe. You can check that out if you're interested.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Goodreads and Bookish Websites

I'm going on five years of being a member of Goodreads, and I've used the site religiously over that time span. There hasn't been a book I've read since joining that hasn't been added to my shelves. (Although I've never taken the time to add all of the books I owned but read before then to my shelves.) I really love being able to easily keep track of books I've owned and/or read. I've used the site countless times in order to remember certain books or get a better idea of what all I've been reading lately and things like that. It's reached the point where I honestly don't know how I'd keep track of these things if it weren't for Goodreads.

Of course, I've never bothered to sit down and add the books I own but haven't yet read to my TBR on Goodreads. I always plan to do it in the future, but I've never felt bothered enough to actually do it. And when it comes to books I want to read but don't actually own, those are never going on a Goodreads list. I have a document of them, and it's thousands of books long. Adding that into Goodreads is just not worth it for me.

But while Goodreads has become almost a necessity to me, I know it has problems. More and more people aren't liking how it's being handled, especially now that Amazon owns it. I fully understand all of that. I'm not a huge fan of certain parts of Goodreads either.

More people are joining other book-centered websites. I've heard of various ones, and I even joined LibraryThing about two years or so back. I tried to use it regularly for several months, but I just couldn't bother myself with maintaining it. I already had Goodreads, and I couldn't find the motivation to switch things over to there. I like the idea of having an online catalogue, but I don't want to sit down and make one. Maybe someday when I feel like making that huge time commitment.

I've heard about a few other sites as well, but I honestly haven't even looked into any of those outside of a few things heard here or there. Do you use any other websites besides Goodreads? Are there any you recommend me checking out? Because I'd be up for exploring them even if I kind of give up like I did LibraryThing. Maybe I'll manage to find one I like even more than Goodreads and use it instead.

Life Post: One Week Until School

We're exactly a week away from me moving back to school now. This would be a good time for me to start packing, which I haven't. I think I'm going to hold it off for the weekend and start worrying about that on Monday though. I'm going to enjoy this weekend as the last weekend I have before I'm back up at school for each of them. I don't mean that in a "weekends at school are terrible" way, just that I'm going to enjoy actually being at home.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to do anything at all. I want to finish up this chapter of a fanfiction I'm beta reading so that I can get the chapter back to the author. And, of course, I'm going to keep going with the edits on my own fanfiction so that I can get close to getting that up. I also need to take the nerfighter census for the year since Hank talked about that in yesterday's video, so that will happen sometime this weekend.

Actually, it really doesn't feel like I only have a week of break left. My brain hasn't been convinced. I'm not sure it will be until I start packing. That would probably make it realize finally, but we'll see. For now, I might as well be in the middle of break or something because I can't fully convince myself that break is so close to being over.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Which States I've Been To

This post is one of those posts that I make because I want to post something but don't want to dedicate my time to writing out something that long. It's been a long time since I've done one of these sorts of posts, but here's what's happening: I'm going to try and list every single US state that I've been to without actually looking at the name of the states. Then I'll go through an actual list of states and see which ones I missed. Theoretically, this shouldn't be that hard because I really haven't been to that many states, guys, but we'll see what happens with this.

1. Indiana
2. Kentucky
3. Illinois
4. Tennessee
5. Georgia
6. Florida
7. North Carolina
8. Virgina
9. West Virginia
10. Washington, DC (Totally not a state, but we're going to lump it in here anyway.)
11. Ohio
12. Missouri
13. Alabama

Here's one confession. I'm sitting here trying to remember if we ever actually entered Maryland when we visited DC, and I honestly can't remember. I don't have any memories of actually being in Maryland, so I'm going with no... Whoops. I'm also having a bit of a hard time remembering if I was ever actually in South Carolina or not. I don't think I was...

Anyway, that's all I can remember, and I feel pretty good about having gotten them all, but now we go to see before.

14. Arkansas

Funny story about forgetting that one. I didn't forget Arkansas' existence while making the other list. It's just that I was convinced I hadn't been. Then I looked at the list of states and remembered that, while we were in Missouri once, we went on a train that went into Arkansas and then back into Missouri. So I have, in fact, been in Arkansas.

That's it. Unless I've forgotten about being somewhere. (Which we've established is at least a small possibility. It's actually really sad to me that I've been to less than half the states in my own country over the course of my life. I really want to change that.

EDIT: My grandma has let me know that I have definitely been to:

15. Maryland
16. South Carolina

So yay for two more states! That's a bit better than before.

Life Post: Finishing Off the Summer With Writing

I don't have much to say as I've been doing the same things as in my last several posts. I might have mentioned at some point in one of these that I stopped accepting beta reader requests from people last week because I'm beta reading for as many people as I can handle at the moment. It's like things suddenly boomed, and I'm working with more people than I ever have at one time before. It's cool, but it also means I'm busy with that a lot.

When school starts I imagine that all I'll have time for is school stuff, my own writing, and beta reading, but we'll see. I can't be sure how long I'll keep working with the people I'm working with. Some of these stories are completely awesome though, and it makes me really excited getting to help with them.

My own writing is at the same place it was yesterday when I posted. Well, not exactly the same place. I have worked on editing more of it, but it's nothing particularly note-worthy. I got through more edits of chapter two, so I still need to email out the new version to one of my betas. I haven't actually done that yet.

Most of my day has been split between writing and beta reading just like usual though. I did film a video earlier that I'm hoping to edit and get up today, but we'll see how fast it actually uploads.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Life Post: Beta Readers and Editing

We're at nine days until I move back to school now. These posts may start off with that countdown until the day comes because it's on my mind a lot. I have yet to start packing even though I really should get a head start on it of some kind.

Instead, I've mostly been beta reading today. I finished up a chapter for someone this morning and sent it back, and I have another chapter that I plan to finish up for someone else today. I also finished up the final edits of the first chapter of my new Twilight fanfiction this morning, so it's ready. I'm a bit undecided if I'm going to post it immediately or wait until I have a few more chapters edited as well, but I'm leaning towards the later.

At this point, I'm not expecting to have the entire thing finished by the time I go back to school. It's just not realistic with sending it back and forth with my second beta. (The first beta has already gone over the entire thing. She works amazingly fast, you guys, and also had some really great advice. To be honest, both of my betas are great, but I am amazed with how she accomplishes things.) However, I'm extremely confident that I'll have the first chapter up within the first week of classes. I suppose there's a possibility I'll become too focused on school then, but I think I'll have made enough progress that just having the first chapter up with be completely realistic.

I also posted over on my writing blog yesterday about how authors write work that's "quotable."

Which Harry Potter Character Am I Most Like?

There's a bit of a confession that I have to make when it comes to Harry Potter. I've mentioned it here or there recently, but I haven't sat down to actually say something about it without lumping it in with a lot of other talk.

For years, I considered Hermione my favorite Harry Potter character, but it went beyond that. She was my role model in a lot of ways. I wanted to be just like her, and because of that, I think I tried particularly hard to be like her. While some might view that as a bad thing, I don't. I think it was a perfectly normal thing to do for a kid. Most children look up to people (or characters) like that and try to be like them. This was no different.

But as I got older and more comfortable with myself, the need to try and be Hermione wasn't as strong. I was much more comfortable with just being me instead. And along the way, I started to realize that there were plenty of ways that Hermione and I were different. I'd known that on some level all along of course, but I never dwelled on it because I wanted so badly to be her.

Hermione is still one of my favorite Harry Potter characters, and she always will be because of her importance to me growing up. Although I have to admit that my need to have one favorite character in a particular book or TV show or movie has dwindled as I've gotten older as well, and singling one character out as my favorite isn't really a priority for me anymore.

Still, I can't help but think about which fictional characters I'm most like from time to time. Maybe it's a natural by product of thinking about fictional characters as much as I do.

In the process of that, I've realized that I'm a lot like a good deal of Harry Potter characters, and in many ways, I am as much like these other characters as I am Hermione. That's probably to be expected when I grew up with these characters and spent so much time with them throughout my childhood.

I was so focused on the ways I was like Hermione as a kid that I failed to realize that I have a ton of Ron and Harry in me too. All three of them influenced me a lot. I'd say I have bits of most of the Harry Potter characters in me actually, but the three of them might be there the most. Not all of that is down to their influence on me. I think it also has a lot to do with just being how I am. After all, you're going to be able to find something you have in common with most fictional characters. That's another thing I never realized much as a kid.

So now I'm much more aware that it's not just Hermione that's influenced me but most Harry Potter characters, and I think that's pretty awesome. There are much worse characters to be influenced by.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Life Post: Making the Most of the End of Summer

Today marks ten days until I'm back at school. The entire summer felt like it was lasting longer than normal until a few days ago. Now it suddenly feels like it's ending way too soon. There's no way I have less than two weeks until I'm back. That's crazy. And this is on top of school starting later for me than normal. It's so weird.

I'm trying to make the most of the last bit of summer though both by making plans with friends and getting as much writing done as I can. My Twilight fanfiction is now in the hands of two different beta readers, and I'm going to begin edits on it as I get chapters back from them. And I also started a new fanfiction yesterday that I'm currently 2500+ words into. I'm really excited with how that's going, although I'll only be working on it in short spurts in between getting edits back from my betas. I'm still hoping to have that first chapter of the Twilight fanfiction up before the end of the summer. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Growing Apart and the Friends That Truly Matter

You get told a lot at certain points in your life that you'll lose the friends you currently have and make more in the future. I remember graduating middle school and being told I'd make my true "life long" friends in high school. Then, upon graduating high school, I got told the same thing about college. I haven't graduated college yet, but I'm already hearing things along the lines of "you'll find life long friends after college."

I think the biggest thing I've taken from this is that everyone's friendships are different. There are people out there that maintain friendships from the time they're born, which is extremely impressive. I'm still friends with my kindergarten best friend, even if we talk sporadically, we do still talk. I'm also still friends with my first grade best friend, and we talk much more frequently. And I talk to most of the people I talked to in high school still. Our lives are different, we're living in different places, but I care a lot about those people. I still want to know what they're up to, and I just don't have it in me to let those friendships fade without putting in all the effort I can to maintain them. (Of course, it's a two way street, so they have to help me with that. And I'm very lucky to have friends that do.)

None of that is to say I haven't lost friends. Believe me, I have. There are people I was extremely close to as a kid who I don't talk to much anymore. I just found out one of those former friends is getting married soon, actually, and I was clueless to it. So I have the former friends whose lives I no longer know nothing about.

A couple of them just drifted away, but for the most part, I aided that pulling away because I came to the realization that I couldn't have them in my life for various reasons, ones I won't rehash here. When it comes to my friendships that are very valuable though, the friends who have legitimately been there for me through a lot, I can't move on past that friendship, not unless they give me a reason to.

These people have meant far too much to me for me to just let us grow apart, and I think that's why the idea of it has always terrified me. I've lived in perpetual fear of it happening. But I've got to realize that if such a thing happens it's for a reason. First of all, the fact that I'm working against it already diminishes the chances. If I'm doing everything I can to maintain a friendship yet we grow apart anyway, that's probably a huge sign that that friend didn't care about me as much as I did them, and in that case, it's probably best that we are no longer friends.

But with the friends who truly matter, we'll always maintain some form of friendship, even if it morphs and changes as we do. I can go a year without seeing my older friends in person, but when I do manage to see them, it's always abundantly clear why they've stuck around so long in my life. Because each friend contains another point of my life, and even if we're changing, what they did for me at that point in my life is extremely valuable. And each of them continue to be important in my life in various ways. They're still supporting me even if it's from a distance. I know each of them care, and each of them have proven again and again that they will legitimately be there for me when I need them. No matter how much older we get, that never seems to change with these friends, and for that, I am extremely thankful.

Life Post: Buses and Worry

I've had a much longer morning than anticipated. Today was my youngest sibling's first day of school and first time riding the bus. My mom had a meeting at work that overlapped with the exact time he had to get on the bus, and she was in this huge state of panic that he'd miss it somehow. She ordered me to be dressed and ready to drive him to school if I needed to. As someone who wrote the bus in high school, I was pretty confident that as long as he left on time, he'd be fine. Lo and behold, he was fine.

My mom's still paranoid he's going to miss it at the end of the school day though, so I have to be ready for that. I probably fueled that missing the bus in the afternoon the first day I rode it too, so there's that. I talked to him about it and told him exactly what to do though, so he's going into it less confused than I was. (Not that I really should have been confused. It was pretty straight-forward. I was just a ball of nerves the first day of freshmen year. I also dunked my hand into some ranch dressing at lunch on accident. So there's that.)

I think he'll be fine, but even if he misses it, I'll go pick him up. Nothing terrible is going to happen. Hopefully my mom will have more faith in him and the buses after this one day goes smoothly.

But at any rate, I was up earlier than planned to make sure he left on time. I went back to bed afterwards, but it wasn't all that long. It definitely left me feeling groggy, but I'm also thankful that I didn't have to get up and go to school. I get to sit around at home and write instead. Although I kind of feel like I'm on call even if he won't text me until this afternoon if he needs to. I still feel like I need to be prepared. I think my mom has managed to work up my own nerves just from how nervous she was. Otherwise, I'd feel completely confident that things would go fine.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Life Post: Writing Update (Betas and Outlining)

Two life posts in one day? Yep. I'm not entirely sure why to be honest, since not much happened to write about, but for some reason, I've felt a lot like writing these recently.

Anyway, as I already said, not much worth writing about happened today. Since my fanfiction is with my beta, I decided to take a bit of a break from writing today. I really don't need to since the beta has already gotten five chapters back to me. (She works really fast, and I also think her beta reading style meshes the best with me out of everyone I've ever worked with. I love it.) But I decided I needed a break anyway. In fact, despite what I said about working on that fanfic and nothing else until school started, I may wait until she's gotten through the entire thing before I go back to edit. I'm also seeing if I can find a second beta, since multiple opinions are always a plus, but that's difficult, of course. It's always hard to find betas who don't flake out on you after almost no time at all.

So while I wait on that, I may start outlining a new fanfiction. If I were to start actually writing it, it would be a sort of "just because" thing until I get ready to draft a new version of the other story that I've already written. We'll see what I decide. I'm kind of winging it. Since summer break is coming to a close, I'm being just a bit more lax with myself about what exactly I work on. I'll be stressed out enough with school work once the semester starts. I don't need to be hard on myself now.

Book Review: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger AbbeyASIN: B0084B008Y
Published: May 17th, 2012 (first published December 1817)
Publisher: Amazon
Read from July 27th to August 7th, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In Northanger Abbey, a young woman's penchant for sensational Gothic novels leads to misunderstandings in the matters of the heart. Austen's first, this is considered by many to be among her most charming novels.


I'm going to keep this somewhat short as this is a classic book, and I always feel a bit strange reviewing those.

If you remember, last year I got all of Jane Austen's books on Kindle and read most of them, but I wound up getting a bit burnt out on them and held off on Northanger Abbey. It took about a year, but I finally went back and picked it up. And I have to say that I think I made a good decision holding off on it.

Last year, I was getting a bit bored reading the Austen books that I picked up later, and it's not hard to believe I would have disliked this one more if I'd read it then. As it was, I think this was one of my favorites. This book was really cute to me, and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed all of the characters, even if I enjoyed Mr. Thrope and Isabella as characters by hating them.

The story was just a nice, fun, and light one to me. And I thought the relationship between Catherine and Tilney was really cute and adorable. I really liked them together.

Life Post: A Relaxing Yet Productive Sunday

I'm writing this post as soon as I've woken up, which is potentially not a good idea. I still don't feel entirely awake. In the past, I've mentioned waking up on the early side for most of this summer though, and today I actually slept in. Or at least I would consider it sleeping in. It might not be for other people.

Yesterday was the most relaxing Sunday I've actually had in such a long time. The strange thing is that I actually got a lot of work done. I'm beta reading for several people at the moment, and I beta read two chapters and got them back to people yesterday. On top of that, I finished a draft of my own story and sent it off to the first beta reader. I felt pretty accomplished getting through all of that, but somehow I still feel like I had a relaxing Sunday. It's probably because I finished most of that kind of early and then had the rest of the day. It was nice.

I also posted some stuff on my writing blog and on Youtube yesterday though. I wrote a really short thing called Escapism. I actually wrote that when something was on my mind, and when I look back at it, I'm not sure how I feel.  On Youtube I posted a video that's the story of how I got into fanfiction. I even admit that I wasn't always a Ron/Hermione shipper. Shocking, I know.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Book Review: I Have Something to Say by Kathryn Harper

Published: July 23rd, 2015
Publisher: self-published
Read from July 27th to August 5th, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Kathryn Harper suffered from selective mutism as a child when very little was known about this frequently misunderstood condition. In her teens and early adult years she developed further complications as a result of her untreated anxiety.
Today, it is important to Kathryn to share her perspective, which she has been able to develop using the benefit of hindsight, and a willingness to explore her past. She hopes that this book will provide insights and a greater understanding for people whose lives are affected in some way by selective mutism.
"I have wanted to write this book since 1985. As a six year old girl I had no idea that selective mutism even existed, but my silence was palpable and inside of it I was developing all kinds of conversations, explanations, questions, and insights ..."


I'm just going to start off by saying that  I highly recommend this book to anyone who suffers from selective mutism or knows someone who does. It's something that you hear few personal stories on, and I think personal stories are such a key part of people who suffer from these sorts of conditions actually being able to come to terms with themselves. For that reason alone, this book is very valuable. Harper both writes about her own experiences and offers advice for others, and both parts of the book are excellent.

Personally, I don't suffer from selective mutism, and I don't know anyone who does either. But I do have social anxiety, and I found myself relating to quite a few of Harper's stories through that. They're not the same thing, but it definitely gave me an empathy that wouldn't have been there otherwise. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I was in situations strikingly similar to those that Harper describes. I really think the book would have been helpful to me too when I was younger and before I really got that social anxiety was the root of what I was experiencing. Like Harper with selective mutism, I never heard the term social anxiety until I was older, so I fully understand why it is so important to her to get out word about selective mutism.

Talking about these conditions is so beneficial for people, especially children, who suffer from them. I think Harper has managed to achieve her goal of writing a book that can be hugely important to those people with selective mutism.

I received this book for free from Storycartel in exchange for an honest review.

Life Post: Allergies Aren't Fun

There's been one thing bothering me all summer that I've tried not to talk about on the Internet: my allergies. I've talked about them in the past, and I knew I'd reached the point where my complaining was annoying. I didn't want to do that anymore. As I've gotten older, they seem to have gotten worse, and I've also begun to realize that they're worse when I'm at home than when I'm at school. This summer as been the worst ever for them, but like I said, I've been trying not to talk about it.

By now I've reached the point where that's getting difficult though. The day of the One Direction concert, they were really bad that morning. So bad that I would have stayed in bed if it weren't for One Direction. Luckily, we drove to Indianapolis, and as I said about them being worse in my hometown, they got better in Indy. I'm thankful for that because doing anything is really hard on the days when my allergies are at their worst. In church with my family today, I got really light-headed and had to grip onto something to stand. Remember how I vomited at the summer social this year? The heat definitely contributed to that, but considering that was a first for me and my allergies had been bad that day, I think it contributed.

I take over-the-counter allergy medicine, but how much that seems to work depends on the day. I'm really considering talking to a doctor, maybe getting allergy tested. I really want a better way to deal with this. I know it won't be quite as bad at school, but they were still on the terrible side last year. I really think I need some doctor's advice on how to deal with this. Because it's making a lot of things very difficult.

When my head hurts and is incredibly congested, it starts feeling difficult to think. It's like being perpetually tired while also having a headache. Plus my head feels heavier, and I can hardly breathe. In other words, I'm miserable, and I want to do something about it. We'll see if I actually manage to do that before school starts back and I'm hours away from my doctor. (My school has a nurse, but as I've heard stories that she isn't that great and tries to STD test every single person that walks in there as well as get the girls to take pregnancy tests, I've avoided going all three years so far. I mean, I get her motivations, but according to the stories, she's a little overzealous.)

We'll see what happens with my allergies, I suppose.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Life Post: The End of Summer

I'm ridiculously behind on my to do lists. It's actually insane. I think today is the day I finally catch up though. I have high hopes. My high hopes have a tendency to always be too high, but we'll see. I've managed to get quite a bit done today already, and it's still only the afternoon.

My sister moved back to school today, which is a huge reminder of how close the summer is to over. Soon, I'll be back too and having to get back into the swing of things. I'm excited for this semester, but there are always the things I dread too. Actually moving is a huge pain, and one that I dread with a passion. I'll be so happy when that bit is over with. But I do hope that my classes this semester are great and all of that.

School is still a little bit off though. I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm sure there will be plenty of posts about it once it's actually happening, so I'd better not drone on about it already.

As for what's currently happening, this weekend I'm finishing up the first revision of my new fanfiction. I've started looking for betas, and it'll go out to them as soon as I find them. Like I've mentioned before, I'm going to be working on this one until it's ready to go up, and I'm hoping that winds up being before school starts again. But that partially depends on being able to find a beta or two that I'm happy with.

Over on my writing blog, I did an experiment with second person if you're interested. I'm happy with how it turned out actually. It was pretty cool to do, and I'm surprised at how easy it was to write in second person, when I'd never done it with fiction before. I guess blogging and whatnot really helped hone that for me.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Life Post: Science Center With Family

As I write this, I'm pretty exhausted. Most of my day was spent in Louisville with my grandma, some cousins, and a sibling. We went to the Kentucky Science Center, and it was a lot of fun spending time with them. I hadn't seen my cousins who went in months. Honestly, I can't even remember exactly when the last time I saw them was. I think it was their older brother's high school graduation party, which I'm going to go ahead and assume was in May.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun. We ate lunch and then explored the science center for a few hours. With the drive on top of that though, I'm really tired. (Plus I woke up even earlier than necessary to get some stuff done before we went.) My eyes aren't too happy about still being open right now, but I'm hoping I can rest over the weekend. We'll see what happens.

I did the chocolate book tag over on Youtube if you're interested. I actually managed to have some answers that weren't my usual ones, although Harry Potter makes an appearance of course.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Life Post: Celebrating My Birthday

Since my post about my birthday wasn't the happiest, I feel like I should definitely post something about today. I'm still avoiding social media at all costs. I actually haven't been on at all today (as opposed to yesterday when I kept stealing glances), so I think I'm doing pretty well.

It was easier to keep it up today because I spent most of it with my family. We went for Japanese food today for my birthday. It was really amusing because I was the only one at the table who actually knew what it was we were eating most of the time, and I got to watch my family all struggle with chopsticks. It was fun, and it was nice to spend time with them. It was much easier to forget everything else and not obsess over things again today.

Even now that I'm home, I'm not thinking about it much. Writing about it in this post was the first it occurred to me again. I'm actually exhausted right now. The past week or so haven't been the greatest for me as far as sleep goes, and it has definitely all hit me in the last hour or so. I can hardly keep my eyes open. I don't know how I'm going to stay awake in order to go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight.

Hopefully I do get a good night's rest tonight though because I have to be up tomorrow for another exciting day. That also means another day of probably avoiding the Internet. This is shaping up to be the longest break I've taken in a while. That's probably a good thing even though I'm somewhat bummed about it.

I posted a video on Youtube this morning that's a book review for Become an iMature Student if you're interested. I really did not like the book, so the review is basically me going through things I didn't like.

Life Post: I'm Feeling 22... And a Bit Tired, Honestly

I wanted to post something today since it's my birthday, but I'm doing it much later than planned. Today did not go that great all things considered. I know this all sounds extremely stupid to most people, but I say that mostly because of the One Direction fandom drama that's been happening. Before today, I'd never had a completely terrible birthday, so it wasn't like today had tough competition for the worst.

Today though I've had to avoid Twitter and Tumblr because being on both was just too negative and not how I wanted to be on my birthday of all days. Because of that, I've missed the majority of what's happened, yet I've somehow still gotten wind of enough that I can't believe how much has been happening. I'm just tired at this point, and I want it to stop. Even avoiding social media, I feel like it's all getting to me. I hate it.

I don't want this to turn into a huge negative rant about that though. It's still my birthday, and I'm ending it on as little of a sour note as I can. Of course, I have strong opinions about all of this stuff, but I'm avoiding actually going into that until another day. I probably will avoid social media again tomorrow since that's the day I'm actually celebrating my birthday with my family.

All in all, my birthday could have been better, but in my actual life, it wasn't all that bad. I can't complain on that front, and I'm trying to just focus on that. No matter how much One Direction is vying for attention at the moment.

Since I only posted my last one of these yesterday, I don't have much to post from other areas of the Internet. All I've done is post a phone vlog where I say essentially the same things I said in this post.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Movie Review: Paper Towns

I've been meaning to write this review since I saw Paper Towns, which now feels like ages ago, but stuff kept happening that put if off. Now I feel like the movie has become just hazy enough that I'll surely forget something that I had wanted to say.

I can still tell you that I loved the movie though. I thought it was so well done. It had been a long time since I had last picked up the book, and I loved getting to see moments that I had forgotten about all over again. The movie was hilarious over all. I feel like this movie is the best example of my sense of humor that there is, and I'm not someone who tends to find movies funny that everyone else apparently finds funny. So I appreciated that.

The actors really surprised me. I'll be honest and say that I was skeptical about Cara in a way that I'd be skeptical of any model that decides to act. She did a really great job though. The entire cast did. I think everyone was cast perfectly in their roles. It's hard to imagine anyone else playing the characters.

Hank Green did a video recently where he talked about the movie. I'm actually glad that I'm writing this after having seen that video because I agree with essentially everything he says in it. It does a great job of putting my feelings into words too. I'm going to go ahead and point you to that video instead of repeating what he said because a lot of my other points are already made in that video.

Life Post: Seeing One Direction

I haven't written one of these in more than a week. Wow. There were several times where I actually considered writing one, but I decided against it since all of my time was really being spent writing. I finished up the first draft of my new Twilight fanfiction, and I've been editing it. Now I'm looking for beta readers as well in order to get it completed and up. I'm hoping to start posting it sometime in August.

In addition to that, I've been beta reading for other people. I do that one and off all the time, but the load increased a lot more than usual the past couple of weeks. There's one story in particular that I've been beta reading and am really excited about it. The concept of it is so cool, and it's also a crossover story of two fandoms that I love but have never beta read for anyone in. So that's pretty awesome.

Other than that, there has been one hugely notable thing recently: the One Direction concert. I actually meant to blog about it much sooner, but I've been exhausted ever since it happened. After the craziness of that day, I got behind on my to do lists, and I'm still trying to catch up. So this post is only just happening now.

The day was amazing though. We drove up to Indianapolis that morning, so we were there for essentially an entire day. Even though we got there hours upon hours before the concert, it took ages to find a place to park. We wound up on the top floor of a parking garage that was the only one with places still available. In a really crazy twist though, it was also cheaper than all the parking garages around it.

We got to the stadium hours early, and we wound up sitting around outside of it for a really long time. When it got a bit closer to when the gates were opening, we started walking around the building. We found a place where they'd blocked off the sidewalk because it's where cars went through. Fans were standing around waiting for One Direction to drive through. A bus drove through soon after we got there, and people freaked out. (I think it was crew, but I could be wrong. At the time, a lot of people standing around assumed it was One Direction.) The gates were opened soon after that, and a lot of people actually left.

Because of that, we managed to get up to the front of the barricade. I think a lot of people had assumed that was One Direction and that was it, but it was obvious from how the police were acting (and the fact that they hadn't removed the barricade) that the boys were still coming. The police were purposefully trying to get as many people to leave as possible. So we stayed.

It was maybe ten or fifteen minutes after that that the boys showed up. They had a police escort and a lot of black SUVs. I still can't believe I was even that close to them. I really can't. They waved at us, and I really can't believe I survived the moment. That was probably the closest I'm ever going to get to One Direction, and I actually just had to take a break from writing this as I relived the moment.

The removed the barricade right after that, and we went to go get in the stadium. The concert itself was amazing as always. I can't believe I've been to three One Direction concerts by now. The best part (although labeling any one part of it the best is difficult) was that we got to hear Drag Me Down live for the first time ever.

When they released the single as a surprise the night before, I'd been shocked. It had seriously happened right as I was going to bed, and our concert was the next day. It was unbelievable. Leading up to the concert, I really hoped they'd perform it, but I also didn't want to get my hopes up if they didn't. But they did, and everyone freaked out. After the song, everyone was screaming so much that the boys actually had to stand there for a bit and couldn't talk. It was a level of screaming that none of the rest of the show matched, and that's saying something because the screaming was always crazy.

Between seeing One Direction in their cars to being one of the first people to hear Drag Me Down performed live, that day was definitely one of the greatest of my life. I still can't believe it happened. I'm getting so excited all over again just thinking about it. It was amazing. So amazing. I can't even stress how amazing it was.

In other news though, I've been getting a bit of writing done like I said, and some of that has been on my writing blog. I tried to write a limmerick. I also wrote about Miles' name in The Society. And I wrote more flash fiction. Over on Youtube, I posted a vlog. I also reviewed the book Christendom Destroyed and did my wrap-up and TBR for the month.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

ISBN: 0553496646
Expected publication: September 1st, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Read from June 18th to July 25th, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.


I enjoyed this book a lot. The premise of it drew me in immediately. I've never come across another book about a character with SCID. A story that revolves around a girl who hasn't been allowed to leave her house since she was a baby sounded intriguing, and I would say that it lived up to that intrigue for the most part.

There is a plot twist that I saw coming fairly early on. Actually, I considered it, and then I sort of had the thought, "There's no way that's actually what will happen." I thought it sounded like too much of a cop out of sorts, but when it happened, it didn't actually have me feeling that way as much as I thought it would. I still don't know if I like that the book went that way or not, but I dealt with it and still found it to be a good book overall. The way the twist is played out was better than I had imagined it possibly going in my head. It didn't feel like quite as much of a cop out, but it did have this too good to be true feeling to it. Although the very end of the book felt unrealistic to me as I'm not really sure how that would play out if the book had carried on past that point.

That was my only "issue" with the book though, and I'm not even sure it could be considered an issue. This book was a fun, entertaining read. I really enjoyed how diverse it was from depicting SCID to racially diverse characters. I don't think I'd ever read a book before where the main character is half black and half Japanese. I appreciated that.

The book also includes romance, but the romance felt like it was of a lesser importance than romances often are in YA books. I liked that. I thought it was a good level of romance for the story, and I was happy that it didn't take away from other aspects of the story.

If this book captures your attention at all, I would say that it's worth a read. It's very enjoyable, and I appreciated it a lot, even if there were a few parts of the story that didn't necessarily hold up for me.

I received this book through Netgalley for an honest review.