Thursday, June 30, 2011


When I get into a series, I get really into it.  I find fansites, forums, etc., and I love to hear what other people think about the books.  One thing that I've noticed in a lot of these fandoms is that there's always a group of people who's disappointed with the ending.  This isn't limited to books either.  I've also seen it in TV series.

Sometimes this group of people is large, and sometimes it's small.  However, in all of the fandoms I've been a part of, I've never been in this group.  I started thinking about why this could be the other day.  If you read my post about the Harry Potter epilogue, then you might already see why a bit.  I'm just not a person who's disappointed in the endings of series.

I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I don't often let my expectations get to high.  I see some people with a long list of details that they absolutely want to see happen in the series.  On the other hand, my list is often extremely short.  As long as everyone's happy (minus the villians and maybe a few deaths) I'll probably be happy, or if the author has a good reason, I can even accept one of my favorite characters ending up miserable (though I'll always prefer a happy ending).  Because of this, no matter what the author decides to do, I'm open to the idea.  This, I think, is the biggest factor in my lack of disappointment.

I'm glad that I'm not someone who's constantly let down by the endings of my favorite series.  I love the fact that I read and enjoy the final books just as much, if not more, than I do every other book in the series.  I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter epilogue, I loved Mockingjay and thought the hijiacking was done amazingly well, and I even liked Breaking Dawn.  (I honestly don't see how Breaking Dawn is worse than any other Twilight book, but maybe that's just me.)  In fact, the final book is usually my favorite of the series especially if there's a happy ending involved.

(These past couple posts about happy endings have made me realize that I'm an incredibly cheesy person.  I love it.)

Book Review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New WorldISBN:  0971075697
Published:  January 2003 (first published 1932)
Publisher:  Everbind Anthologies (different edition pictured)
Read from May 26th to June 10th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads (of another edition):
"Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of Aldous Huxley's utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a "Feelie," a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take for granted today--let's hope the sterility and absence of individuality he predicted aren't yet to come.

Brave New World was one of the novels assigned to my AP English class for summer reading.

The first word that comes to mind when I think about this book is "strange."  I actually read the forward (unlike others I talked to) before reading this actual book, and it interested me that this book was actually how Huxley feared the world would be in the future.  I can see some similarities between our society and the society of Brave New World, and I'm very happy that our society isn't exactly like the one in the novel (and hopefully it never will be).

I loved this book.  It was a fascinating story, and I loved reading about the society.  It was almost scary to me that Huxley (in 1932) thought the future may look like this.  I definitely hope that the world is never like the society that's described in this book, and I don't think it ever will be.  Although, I can see how we've moved closer to that society in some ways since Huxley's time.

I greatly recommend this book to everyone.  It's a very interesting novel, and I'm glad it was assigned for summer reading.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Review: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Puppies by M.A. Gorman

The Complete Idiot's Guide to PuppiesISBN:  1592574505
Published: February 7th, 2006
Publisher:  Alpha
Read from May 26th to June 25th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Preparing for the new addition …

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Puppies covers everything new pet owners need to know to care for and bond with a new puppy, which will prevent future problems and ensure a great relationship with the new pet. Readers will discover how to find the right puppy, the basic dog breeds, positive dog training, and in-depth healthcare specifically geared to the needs of puppies.

This book is great for anyone thinking about buying a new puppy.  I think both first-time and experienced dog owners would enjoy having this book as a reference.  It has a lot of useful information about a variety of subjects.  I've read a lot about dogs over the years, and I still found a few pieces of information that I hadn't known before.  I think this is a book that all prospective puppy owners should pick up.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nineteen Years Later: My Thoughts on the Harry Potter Epilogue

I've heard a lot of people say they aren't fans of the epilogue in Deathly Hallows.  I've never understood this because I was a huge fan from the moment I read it.  Then again, I'm a sucker for happy endings.  I love finishing a book and knowing all (or at least most) of the characters end up happy.  The epilogue gave me that, and I love it.

This is a little embarassing to admit, but around the time of Order of the Phoenix or Half Blood Prince (I can't remember which exactly) I'd already come up with a bunch of kids for a lot of the characters.  (I've always been a little proud that I actually gave Remus and Tonks one son, and I made his middle name Remus.)  I loved reading about their kids, and I loved that they were all happy.  I honestly don't care if it was a little cheesy.  Harry and the others deserved that after everything they'd been through.

I was really happy with the ending.  Other than having a few less people die, I couldn't think of a better ending.  (I do understand that people had to die though.)  I was happy with all of the couples at the end, which isn't surprising as I tend to support canon couples.  I had kind of thought about Neville and Luna being together, but I wasn't so into the idea that I was dissapointed.  Overall, I thought it was a brilliant ending.  I still smile everytime I read it.

Did you enjoy the epilogue?  Is there anything you'd change about it?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Top Disney Outfits

Yep, this is yet another Disney post.  I've been trying to write so many posts in such a short amount of time, and this is something easy to do.  I hope you're not getting annoyed with them.  This one is going to be some of my top favorite outfits.  I'm not a fashion person.  I could care less what a person is wearing, and I hate wearing anything other than jeans and t-shirts.  Still, occasionally I think a particular outfit looks pretty.  These are just some outfits from Disney movies that stick out to me.

1.  Belle's blue dress.  Belle's my favorite Disney princess, and when I think of her I always picture her in this dress first.  Am I the only one?  People seem to usually think of her yellow dress first.

2. Belle's yellow dress.  Yep, Belle again.  I absolutely hate the color yellow, but I love this dress.  (And it's not just because Belle's my favorite princess...or maybe it is...  Who knows.)

3.  Pocahontas' outfit.  This probably wouldn't make many people's list because it's just a Native American outfit.  However, I love learning about Native American cultures, so I love her outfit.

3. Cinderella's ball gown.  I had to include this dress.  How could I not?

5. Mickey Mouse's outfit.  I needed one more, and somehow I thought of Mickey.  I decided to include it.  I need a guy outfit on here anyway, and his outfit is definitely a very iconic Disney outfit.

What are your favorite Disney outfits?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's Wrong With the Prisoner of Azkaban Movie?

I love the Harry Potter films.  They'll never be the books, but as far as movies go, I really enjoy them.  However, there will always be a few things in each film that annoy me a bit everytime I rewatch the movie.  The end of Prisoner of Azkaban (PoA) is full of those things.

I have a love-hate relationship with PoA.  On one hand, it's been one of my favorite Harry Potter movies since it was released.  (Recently, it's been put into third place by Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Part 1, and then there's the fact that Sorcerer's Stone will always be special because it's what made me a fan.)  However, I also have a lot of problems with it.  While I feel it's a good movie, they don't explain quite a few things that are important to the story.  So many people I know only watch the movies, and they're left extremely confused at the end of PoA.

I don't think the word marauders is mentioned once except in reference to the map.  That's a crucial bit of backstory that they never even address.  At the end of the movie I believe it's Remus who says something along the lines of, "The map never lies."  However, it's never explained how he knows this.  Furthermore, Harry, Ron, and Hermione never seem to wonder or question how he knows this, which doesn't make sense to me.

It's also never explained why Sirius and Wormtail are animagi.  Now, since Harry doesn't know about the Marauders, I can see him not really wondering that.  Even so, the Marauder's should have been explained, and the animagi thing should have come up.  That was a great bit of backstory.  One of my favorite bits of the PoA book.  I love learning about the Marauders.  Then there's the fact that, because the animagi thing is never explained, you never learn why Harry's patronus is a stag.  Again, I can understand why this wouldn't be of crucial importance, but I feel like it should have been included.

Including all of that backstory could have slowed the movie down, and that may be why the filmmakers chose not to include it.  However, I think they're creative enough that they could have pulled it off if they'd tried.  Maybe instead of just Sirius and Remus standing there talking, they could have done a flashback or something.  It wouldn't have mattered to me.  I just wanted it in the movie in some shape or form.  I think not including it was a really bad decision.

What's something that happened in the Harry Potter books that you wish had been included in the movie?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Favorite Disney Kisses

It's another Disney post.  This time I'm going to be listing some of my favorite Disney kisses.  Like I said in past posts, I may have forgotten some, and they're not necessarily in a particular order.

1.  Lady and the Tramp.  I just had to put this first.  Who doesn't remember the scene with the spaghetti?  I think it's adorable.

2. Beauty and the Beast:  The Enchanted Christmas.  I've already said that this is my favorite Disney movie, so it isn't probably so surprising to see it on this list even if it is the sequel.

3. Cinderella.  Surprisingly, this is the first time I've included Cinderella on any of these lists.

4. Aladdin.  This is another one of my favorite Disney movies.

5.  Mulan II.  I love them together.  I love all of these couple together of course, but I just really enjoy these two's relationship.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Most people have something that they wish they could do, but in reality they're probably never going to get the chance.  I have several things on my lists that I'll try my hardest to do, but it still may never happen.  One of the things I want to do the most is travel as much as possible.

After college, I plan on applying to teach English in a foreign country.  I'm hoping it will be in Japan or South Korea, but I'm open to going to another country.  It would be amazing to live and work in a place so different from the place I grew up.  It would be an amazing experience that I'm sure I would never forget.

I've never been out of the United States, but I've wanted to for as long as I can remember.  All of our vacations have been confined to our part of the U.S.  I think the farthest I've been is either Orlando or D.C.  (After looking at Google maps, it seems that Orlando is farther.)  My family tends to visit the same place multiple times.  (I can't really complain.  I have asked to go to Orlando two years in a row, but it's LeakyCon.  You have no idea how much I want to be there.)  When I have the ability to travel without my family I plan on traveling to lots of new places.  (I've already talked to my sister about going to NYC with me next year, but I doubt my parents will allow it.  After talking to my grandma, we may go with her in two years though.  Better later never going at all.)

Some of the places I want to travel in the future are Washington D.C. (I went once, but didn't have time to see everything I wanted to.), Los Angeles, New York City, Britain, Japan, South Korea, Italy (particularly Rome and the Vatican), Haiti (I know it's not a great vacation destination, but my church has a sister parish there.  I'd love to visit.).  This isn't all of course.  I'd travel pretty much anywhere if I was given the opportunity.  I hope I get the chance to see many, many places in the future.

What's something you hope to do in the future?  What are your favorite vacation places?  Where do you hope to visit in the future?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Writing: Outlines

When I write stories, I love having an outline already planned out.  I find it really convenient.  I've only started using them in the past year or so, and I think it's really helped.  I never write a story now unless I already have an outline written out.

Depending on the story, the outline may be really detailed or just have a brief sentence for each chapters.  The outline for the story I'm writing now isn't very detailed at all, but one I'm currently planning is going to be much more detailed.  The story I'm writing now has four main characters whereas the future story is going to follow many different characters.  Obviously, with all of the additional characters I need a more detailed outline.  One problem with having so many characters is keeping track of what each of them are doing at all times, especially in relation to what the other characters are doing.  That's why I love having an outline.

I haven't actually begun the outline for this future story yet.  All I have are some ideas floating around in my head.  When I do begin the outline, I believe it will take a long time to complete.  I want to make sure that I have what each character's doing and all times down before I begin the process of actually writing.  It may take a lot of work, but it will make the actual process of writing a lot simpler since I won't have to figure all of that out then.

I love outlines.  Since I've started using them, it's made writing stories so much easier.  I always know how the story's going to pan out.  Of course, I always end up changing some things while I'm writing but having the outline there is very useful.

If you're a writer, do you like to use an outline?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Beauty and the Beast

This post is about my favorite Disney movie of all time:  Beauty and the Beast.  I can't remember a point in time where I didn't love this movie, although I don't think it was always my number one favorite.  I think the Beast scared me a bit as a child at the beginning of the movie, but I loved the story.

I joke around now that this movie forshadowed my future love of werewolves (I think they're awesome).  The Beast isn't really a werewolf, but he's kind of werewolfish.  Maybe he's the reason I like werewolves.  Who knows.  Besides his werewolf-like characteristics, the Beast is probably one of the favorite male leads in a Disney movie.  He's not like the typical Disney prince, and I love that.  I think (although I may be wrong) that he's the only Disney prince that we ever see a bad side too.  As far as I can think of, all of the others are only portrayed in a postive light.

Belle is also my favorite Disney princess.  This is, of course, helped by her love for reading.  Other than that though, I love that she's so independent.  She doesn't marry Gaston even though every other girl in town would love to.  She sees that he's an arrogant jerk and turns him down.  She also stands up for herself against the Beast.  To me she's the bravest and most independent of all of the Disney princesses.

I also love the message of the movie.  I love romance stories, and this is my favorite of all of Disney's.  In most of the Disney princess movies, I feel like the romance is unrealistic, but I don't feel that way about Belle and the Beast.  They actually had time to get to know each other and develop romantic feelings for each other.

Plus, all of the other characters are amazing.  I love all of them.  I even find Gaston amusing (if highly irritating).

What's your favorite Disney movie?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Leaving for Two Weeks

This post is to inform everyone that I'll be gone for the next two weeks.  Sunday morning I'm going to Ohio with some people from my church for a mission trip.  We get back from that next Saturday, and I'm leaving for Hoosier Girl's State the next morning.  I may get a post up that Saturday night, but I wouldn't count on it.  More likely than not, I'm going to be way too tired to worry about a blog post.

I've been writing some posts and scheduling them to post over the course of the two weeks.  So far I have four posts, and I'm going to try and get some more written today.  They'll just post randomly over the two weeks I'm gone.  I'm trying to space them out a bit.

I hope everyone has a good two weeks while I'm gone.  It's going to be so weird being cut off from everything.  I won't even have my phone for the first week.

Funniest Disney Quotes

It's time for another Disney post.  This time it's a more light-hearted topic.  I'm going to list some of my favorite funny quotes from Disney movies.  These were only ones I could think of at the time.  It's entirely possible that there are some great ones I missed.  I kind of searched around places online to try and find ones that I'd forgotten about.

1. From Lilo and Stitch:
Hula Teacher: Lilo, why are you all wet?

Lilo: It's sandwich day. Every Thursday I take Pudge the fish a peanut butter sandwich...
Hula Teacher: "Pudge" is a fish?
Lilo: And today we were out of peanut butter. So I asked my sister what to give him, and she said "a tuna sandwich". I can't give Pudge tuna!
Lilo: Do you know what tuna is?
Hula Teacher: Fish?
Lilo: [hysterical] It's fish! If I give Pudge tuna, I'd be an abomination! I'm late because I had to go to the store and get peanut butter 'cause all we have is... is... stinkin' tuna!
Hula Teacher: Lilo, Lilo, why is this so important to you?
Lilo: [calm] Pudge controls the weather.
2. Mater from Cars, "I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park."  I love Mater, and pretty much all of his lines.  He'd probably make it on here multiple times, but I'm going to try and just put one for each character and/or movie.

3. Dory from Finding Nemo, "Es-cap-ay thats funny, it's spelled just like Escape."  Dory's also one with a lot of great lines, such as the "Just Keep Swimming" song and when she's speaking whale.

4. From Mulan:
Mulan: My ancestors sent a little lizard to help me?

Mushu: Hey! Dragon. Dragon, not lizard. I don't do that tongue thing. 
5. Jack Sparrow from The Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Man's Chest, "I've got a jar of dirt!  And you can't have it!"  This will probably be the only quote from a non-animated movie.  That's probably my favorite part from all of the Pirates movies.  I'm one of the few who actually enjoys those movies.

There are a lot of hilarious Disney quotes, but I think I'll end if there.  What are your favorite funny quotes from Disney movies?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Top Disney Villians

I'm a big Disney fan.  Most kids watch Disney movies growing up, but I doubt I'm ever going to outgrow my childhood completely.  I still get in sentimental moods where I go back and re-watch shows and movies I loved when I was little (and, I'll admit it) still love today.  Disney is at the top of the list of movies I loved as a kids.  In this post, I'm talking about my favorite Disney villians, in no particular order.

1. Scar from The Lion KingThe Lion King is one of my all time favorite movies.  It would probably make any top disney post in some form or another.  "Be Prepared" is one of my favorite Disney songs.  Scar is just awesomely evil.  I hate him.

2. Ursula from The Little Mermaid.  I have a love hate relationship with The Little Mermaid.  There are things about it I love and things I absolutely hate.  Ursula is one of the things I love.  She's a wonderful villian, and I love the song "Poor Unfortunate Souls."  (Can you tell that I typically love songs sung by the villian?)

3. Jafar from Aladdin.  Jafar is one Disney villian that actually creeped me out as a kid.  He terrified me.  He just looks evil and creepy to me.

4. Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.  I'm actually not a huge fan of Sleeping Beauty, but Maleficent used to scare me to death.  She looks like a stereotypical witch with her green face and horns.  I think that may have been one of my reasons for hating the movie in the first place.

5. The Queen from Snow White.  I was just as terrifed as her as I was of Maleficent.  I also wasn't a huge Snow White fan, and again, I think it might have been because of my fear of the Queen.

6. Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmations.  She also scared me a bit.  The thought of killing dogs to turn them into fur coats was absolutely terrifying to me as a kid.  (It would be now too if I actually heard of it happening.)

7. Captain Hook from Peter Pan.  Captain Hook didn't scare me as a kid.  In fact, I found him funny.  I was always really amused, and I remember thinking that he was really stupid.  I loved him and Mr. Smee.

8. Gaston from Beauty and the BeastBeauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie of all time.  Gaston always annoyed me.  Other than the fact that he tries to kill the Beast, I've always hated arrogant people and his constant attempts to get Belle to marry him annoy me.  I do like the song they sing in the pub.

I think those are my picks for top Disney villians.  Some were chosen because I thought they were amusing and others because they actually scared me as a kid, but all of them are the most memorable villians to me.  What are your favorite Disney villians?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Favorite Settings

I'm going to try and talk about writing more on here.  It's something I enjoy a lot, and I love talking about it.  It's just that I'm kind of hesitant to bring it up a lot of the time because I'm scared people will criticize my writing and tell me it's horrible.  Constructive criticism is always a good thing, but I'm scared that people will completely hate it.

Anyway, the first thing I want to talk about is setting and/or universes in writing.  More specifically, what type of settings I like to write stories in.

So far, all of the stories I've written have been set in present day, present day but with mythical creatures, the Harry Potter universe, and the Avatar (of the bending variety) universe.  I love writing in all of these, but in the future I hope to write more fantasy (in my own universe of course) and historical fiction.  I'd love to write a book in colonial America or on the frontier sometime in the 1800's.  I have plans for stories that take place in all of these settings.

So far, I think the story that I had the most fun with the setting was this short story I wrote in eighth grade.  Unfortunately, I lost the story a long time ago, but the idea's never left my head.  I have a lot of plans to go back and turn the idea into a whole novel.  I've already changed a lot in my head, but the basic idea has stayed pretty much the same.  It was my first time creating a universe of my own.  It was set in present day America, but the main character was a witch and there were many other mythical creatures.  I don't want to say much more because I do plan to go back to that someday.  I already have a lot of the rules and stuff in that world worked out.  It was just written as a short story for class, but I don't think any story I've ever written has had as much backstory as I have for this idea.  I love coming up with new ideas about that universe.

I think it's cool that you can write a story that takes place in any time period or universe you want it too.  I plan to write stories in many, many different settings.  It's always fun to try new things.

Are any of you guys writers?  What are your favorite settings for your stories?  If you're just a reader, what's your favorite settings for books?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Review: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: and Related Readings (Literature Connections)ISBN:  0395775507
Published:  January 26th, 2008 (first published 1884)
Publisher:  Houghton Miffllin Company
Read from April 21st to May 10th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN This is Twain's masterwork written at the height of his power. Twain himself refers to it as "a book of mine where a sound heart & a deformed conscience come into collision & conscience suffers defeat."

The book contains belly-laughing humor intertwined with themes of profound moral significance. Huck, escaping from the confines of his existence on the shore, has found life to be "free and easy living on a raft" with Jim, a black man fleeing from slavery. When faced with the crucial decision to turn over Jim to his rightful owner, he studies the consequences, then says to himself, "All right, then, I'll go to hell."

I read this book for school and completely forgot to write a review for it.  I have mixed feelings about this book.  Some parts of it I really loved, and other parts I found really boring.

We talked a lot about the symbolism in class, and I loved that part of the story.  After reading the story, I was surprised at how much I liked the characters.  It took a little bit to get used to some parts of it.  For instance, it was hard for me to understand Jim first, but I got used to it after a bit.

I think this is an American classic that everyone needs to read.  Most teenagers today would probably find it boring, but I think they would benefit from reading it.