Monday, December 29, 2014

Movie Review: Arthur Christmas

Rated PG
Theatrical release: November 23rd, 2011
DVD release: November 6th, 2012
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:
The 3D, CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas, an Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation, at last reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child's question: 'So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?' The answer: Santa's exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the heart of the film is a story with the ingredients of a Christmas classic - a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns. -- (C) Sony Pictures


I know Christmas has already passed, so it seems rather useless to be reviewing a Christmas movie now. Still, I discovered the movie that may quite well be my new favorite Christmas movie of all time (or, at the very least, have tied with The Grinch and The Santa Clause). This has been a long time coming too because I've wanted to see Arthur Christmas ever since it was first released, but it just never happened. When I saw that ABC Family was showing it as part of their 25 Days of Christmas, I was excited to finally get to see it, but I definitely wasn't expecting to be as in love with it as I was.

There's just something about the humor in the film that is pretty much perfect as far as I'm concerned. I've pretty much been pushing it on everyone as much as I can since watching it, and Grand Santa is probably my favorite version of Santa Claus that has ever existed. There's not much to say about it other than that.

It may be late in the season now to be watching Christmas movies, but I'm going to recommend this one anyway. Personally, I still think it would be awesome to watch it. I'd probably watch the movie year-round, but I at least recommend checking it out when next Christmas comes around.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Life Post: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you're all having a great day, even if you don't celebrate the holiday. My Christmas has been pretty great although it mostly happened yesterday. My dad's side of the family got together, and when we came home, we opened all of our presents. We usually open them in the morning, but apparently my parents didn't want to deal with everyone waking up at different times.

My favorite present by far is my new Olaf sweater. Perrie from Little Mix (i.e. one of my favorite people in the world) has the same sweater and posted a picture of herself wearing it about a month ago. I said something about absolutely loving it, but I was completely blown away to open it last night. My mom apparently bought it from somewhere in Europe. She image searched the picture of Perrie to find it. I didn't even think my mom knew that was something you could do on the Internet. Anyway, I was beyond shocked, and even wore it to midnight mass. My sister got a different Olaf sweater, so we were matching.

I got some other awesome stuff as well, but just listing it all off would be boring. A few highlights is the How to Train Your Dragon 2 DVD. The first movie is on my all time favorite movie list, but I never managed to see the sequel in theaters, so I'm beyond excited to actually have it now. My Little House DVDs are also now complete. (I thought they were last Christmas and then discovered there was one season I didn't have. Now I really should be set though.)

In addition to the sweater, my mom bought me some Little Mix stuff that you can only get in the UK, which meant it had to be shipped, and I'm so thankful for that since I've been looking through their store forever trying to decide which item I wanted the most since it was all expensive with shipping.

Then I got a Keurig to take to my dorm since I've only started drinking coffee this past semester. It's nice because this means I don't have to go to Starbucks every single day, but the Starbucks on my campus also sells K cups that I can buy with my meal plan money. So it's even more convenient since I can fix it in my room, and I'm assuming I can get more coffee out of buying those than buying actual drinks at Starbucks every single time.

And then the last gift I'll mention is the Harry Potter mug that my sister actually painted. The most impressive part is that my sister painted a grim inside as if it's tea leaves. I tweeted about how cool having a mug like that would be months ago, and somehow my sister made one yet claims to have never seen my tweet. It's just this really strange coincidence. She also painted a lightning bolt and glasses on one side and the world "Always" with the "A" a Deathly Hallows symbol on the other side. It's really cool.

Anyway, I'm going to have to wrap this up because my sister is very insistent that I go see her immediately. I have no idea why, but I suppose I'll go find out.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Life Post: Secret Santa and Other "It's Almost Christmas" Things

There's no way there's only two days until Christmas. I refuse to believe that. I've been watching Christmas movies almost every day since a goal of mine this year was to watch more Christmas movies than I have in the past several years, and at first that seemed to be convincing me that it really was Christmas time. That doesn't seem to be working anymore though. I can't believe it's the twenty-third. It doesn't feel like it.

It also feels kind of weird knowing I wrote a life post only two days ago after I was posting them so far apart. Not much happened yesterday other than waking up half an hour before I was supposed to be at the dermatologist and then getting there late. We were still in and out really quickly though, so that was all good.

I also posted my gift for the Avatar fandom secret santa yesterday, and I received my gift. Last year I never actually got my gift, so I'm so excited that I did. It's such a fun story too. My secret santa did a great job. The person I made my gift for hasn't commented on their present yet, but I really hope they like it.

As for the rest of my day, I think it's going to consist of baking butterbeer cupcakes (which hopefully turn out well), watch more Christmas movies, and editing my new Hunger Games fanfiction Move On and Recover (I want to start posting it really early in January). I'm definitely a bit nervous about those cupcakes, but I'm hoping for the best.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Life Post: Still Catching Up

I finally feel like I'm getting caught up on everything I was behind on during school. However, my blog doesn't really show that since I've only posted here a few times. I did get the End of Year Book Survey up today, which I wasn't expecting to get up until much closer to the end of the year because of other things I wanted to post. That thing took me forever. More than two hours I think, and it's not like it was writing. Most of it was just formatting and looking up book reviews in order to link them. In other words, much more tedious to me than just writing.

Since my last life post, I've gotten another one-shot posted, and I've gotten some awesome feedback on it, which is great. I had so much fun writing that one. I plan to get back to editing Move On and Recover (i.e. the newest Hunger Games fanfiction I'm working on) tomorrow, which has already been partially beta read. I'm hoping to start posting it as early in January as I can manage, but some of that depends on how much time my beta readers have. It's the holidays, so I have no problem with that coming first for all of them.

I've been really good about getting Youtube videos up lately. I finally reviewed the first half of season four of Supernatural. (I'm actually almost finished with season four already, so look out for another review soon.) I also reviewed Mockingjay Part 1 over there, which was basically me just gushing over how great it was. And yesterday I did the Ultimate Book Tag and answered some questions about books/reading/etc. It's made me feel incredibly productive. The long upload time here at home makes me feel like it takes more work to get videos up than it actually does though. My Supernatural review started uploading first thing when I woke up and wasn't done until past midnight. It was ridiculous.

It's hard to believe that it's now actually the week of Christmas. I've been watching Christmas movies and all of that, but it doesn't feel like the holiday should be quite this soon. It's also the first day of winter, which I'm only excited about because I want more daylight. Somehow I'm still surprised about how early it gets dark every single day.

End of Year Book Survey 2014

The End of Year Book Survey has been hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner for five years now. It's a way to kind of sum up what you've read over the course of the year. This is my second year participating. You can also read my 2013 edition.

2014 Reading Stats

Number of books you read: 77 (as of December 21st; My best guess is that I'll finish one more before the year is out.)
Number of re-reads: 1 (This is hard for me to say for certain, but I'm fairly sure that the only book I re-read was Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen. I don't re-read books as often as I would like.)
Genre you read the most from: This is also difficult since I never sort my books by genre. My best guess is fantasy, but contemporary seems pretty close.

Best in Books

1. Best book you read in 2014?
I added exactly one book to my all time favorite's list on Goodreads this year: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't?
I don't think I had any huge disappointments this year where I'd built a book up to something it didn't live up to, but I was hoping to like Matched by Allie Condie more than I did. I did like it and want to continue the series (I just bought the second recently.), but I thought I'd like it more based on the premise.

3. Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read in 2014?
I read Candide by Voltaire for my humanities class, and was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did.

4. Book you "pushed" the most people to read (and they did) in 2014?
I've gotten people to read a few different books this year, but I can't think of one in particular. I'm going to go with The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. That seems like an obvious one since the movie also came out.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best sequel of 2014? Best series ender in 2014?
Best series I started would the the Piercing the Veil series by C.A. Gray which starts with Intangible. I actually read the entire series this year, and it was all really great. It would almost be my "best series ender" too, but I have another in mind... (Also, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson almost got this.) Best sequel is going to go to Unsoiled by Lelia Eye, which I have yet to write a review for since I just finished it a few days ago. Poison Tree by Kacey Vanderkarr is another one that I'm still in the middle of, so I can't really officially give it the "best sequel" title yet. For best series ender is it really going to be surprising that I say City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare? I loved that book so much that I did a four part video review for it and each part is at least 17 minutes long. It was ridiculous.

6. Favorite new author of 2014?
Maureen Johnson. I'd been following her on Twitter for years, so I'm happy to have finally read one of her books. Technically I read Let It Snow a long time ago, but that's not quite the same.

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is one I never would have picked up if it wasn't assigned in class. Mostly because I had never had a good experience with Ernest Hemingway before reading it.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I think I'll have to go with City of Heavenly Fire again.

9. Book you read in 2014 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
We've already established that I'm terrible at re-reading, but I have to say City of Heavenly Fire again (and the other TMI books I read this year) because I've already re-read parts of it whenever I start getting emotional about particular scenes.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

11. Most memorable character of 2014?
I could go on and on about Alec Lightwood, so let me just leave you with this:
“I did not make a pie,” Alec repeated, gesturing expressively with one hand, “for three reasons. One, because I do not have any pie ingredients. Two, because I don’t actually
know how to make a pie.”
He paused, clearly waiting.
Removing his sword and leaning it against the cave wall, Jace said warily, “And three?”
“Because I am not your bitch,” Alec said, clearly pleased with himself.” 

12. Most beautifully written book in 2014?
 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2014?
Again, going to go with Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

14. Book you can't believe you waited until 2014 to finally read?
So many. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson is definitely one since it was sitting on my shelf for ages.

15. Favorite passage/quote from from a book you read in 2014?
See questions 11. I could also pull out multiple quotes from Fahrenheit 451, but I feel like I'm overusing that book at this point.

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2014?
I've read a lot of self-published books with "unknown" page numbers on Goodreads, which makes this a bit of a guess. Shortest: Rumspringa Break by Kristina Ludwig. Longest: Currently, City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, but I'm reading No Higher Honor by Condoleezza Rice, which will beat it if I finish it before the year is over.

17. Book that shocked you the most?
I need to stop saying City of Heavenly Fire.

18. OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!)
Magnus and Alec from The Mortal Instruments series, including City of Heavenly Fire although I read more of the series this year. I said them last year too, but since the series is over, this is my last chance! It's been such a long time since I've shipped a couple from a book this much. Simon and Isabelle were also so close after CoHF.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
I'm a huge fan of friendships in books, and I've been lucky enough to read about enough great ones this year that I'm struggling with this. As much as I want to avoid answering The Mortal Instruments anymore, I'm going to choose Clary and Simon for this.

20. Favorite book you read in 2014 from an author you've read previously?
Ignoring The Mortal Instruments, I'm going to answer What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen for this.

21. Best book you read in 2014 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?
Maybe The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read it for a school paper, but I chose it because I felt like everyone put me had read it, especially among English majors.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Simon Lewis from The Mortal Instruments. Technically I had read about him last year, but it was in the books I read this year that he really solidified himself as one of my favorites.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
I've read a lot of great self-published books this year that were debuts, and I've mentioned them each already. I'd say it's a tie between about three different books.

24. Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?
The Piercing the Veil trilogy by C.A. Gray.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?
Beastly by Alex Flinn since I haven't mentioned it yet, and I love Beauty and the Beast retellings.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014?
City of Heavenly Fire had me crying for the last, like, three or four chapters nonstop.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
Again, all of the great self-published books I read this year. There were a few misses too, but I did find a good amount of really great ones. I'll go ahead and say Reflection Pond by Kacey Vanderkarr since I'm reading the sequel now and loving it.

28. Book that crushed your soul?
Yet again, City of Heavenly Fire.

29. Most unique book you read in 2014?
I'll say Girl at the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther because it seems to stick out among the other books I read this year. I think it's the only memoir other than the book I'm currently reading, which is also entirely different.

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?
City of Heavenly Fire made me experience every emotion to the extreme.

You blogging/bookish life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?
There are several great ones I could say, but I'm going with Nose Graze.

2. Favorite review you wrote in 2014?
This was a video review, but doing four different videos for City of Heavenly Fire was memorable.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
I wrote about death, and apparently that drew in a lot of people. I think it might have gotten hits because I used a John Green quote as the title to be honest.

4. Best event you participated in?
The release day blitz for Impossible by C.A. Gray.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?
I've had a lot of really great "I'm so glad I'm an English major" moments this year, even if I've also had moments of insane stress levels.

6. Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My review of Silence by Natasha Preston. I'm really surprised because it's self-published, but it seems to be a fairly popular book for a self-published book, so I guess that's why.

7. Post you wished got a little more love?
I'm almost definitely going to be skipping over some posts that I was actually really happy about. I do wish more people read by Legend of Korra review though because I love that show, and I love fangirling all about it with others.

8. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I've found so many Etsy shops with amazing book-inspired items. I've started a list of things I want. It might be a problem.

9. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of the year?
I set my Goodreads reading challenge at 60 books, and as of today (Dec. 21st) I've read 77. Yay!

Looking Ahead

1. One book you didn't get to in 2014 but will be your number one priority in 2015?
I have the sequel to Matched setting on my shelf. It's going to be my first of my goal to finish as many series that I've started as I can in 2015.

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2015 (non-debut)?
Sarah Dessen's newest book. Even though she already has one book out that I haven't read yet.

3. 2015 debut you are most anticipating?
I've felt so out of the loop with book releases lately (and everything else) due to school. The fact that I have no idea about any 2015 debuts is really making that obvious right now.

4. Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2015?
These are already out, but the Star-Crossed series by Rachel Higginson had it's two final books come out this year, and I desperately need to get to those. (That's one of my favorite series of all time.) As for actual releases, I'm going to say the third book in the Shade of London series by Maureen Johnson even though I still have to read the second.

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2015?
So many things. I want to catch up on series I'm in the middle of, or make progress at least. As for blogging, there are so many things I want to do but never do. I've wanted a new blog design for years, but I have no idea if that will happen. I'm also currently working on creating another blog (which isn't going to be predominantly about books), so I have that in progress.

6. A 2015 release you've already read and recommend to everyone?
I'm not cool enough for that.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Life Post: Winter Break is Here

Wow, it's been a while. It had been more than a week since I posted anything before the Reign review that I posted this morning. Finals were crazy, and I feel like I've been rushing to catch up with all of the things I got behind on ever since winter break started. The odd thing is that I've only been on break for about a week now, but it kind of feels like it's been longer. It doesn't seem like I was only taking finals last week. I have to keep reminding myself what day it is.

My finals went pretty well I think. I only know what grade I got on one of them so far. I just now thought about this as I was writing, but more grades may actually be up. I should check, but I haven't bothered so far.

As for how break's going, I've gotten quite a bit of writing done. My Avatar fandom secret santa gift is ready to be gifted when the gifting period begins. I've also posted one other one-shot so far, and I have another one to post tomorrow once I finish up editing it. It's been nice to get both of those finally completed as they were each pushed aside and only worked on in small increments for what was probably a couple of months. I haven't actually worked on either the Hunger Games fanfiction or original story I've been writing since break began, but that's coming once this one-shot is up tomorrow.

Keeping up posting about what Youtube videos I've put up here, I've posted two since my last life post here. I participated in the Project for Awesome again this year, as I have for quite a few years now. I made a video about This Star Won't Go Out. I highly recommend checking them out even though P4A is over. I also posted a review of Korra two days ago finally.

Speaking of Korra, the series finale is posted online tonight. I can't believe it. I'm not watching it until tomorrow though because I don't think I could sleep afterwards if I watched it tonight. I'm kind of just trying to avoid thinking about it because I know the end will turn me into an emotional mess. It's just so hard to process the fact that it will be over in just hours.

Reign Review: Season 2 Episodes 9 and 10: "Acts of War" and "Mercy"

I know I'm incredibly behind on this. Episode eight was reviewed over on Youtube, but even then it's taken me two weeks two review episode nine and a week to review episode ten. I'm slowly getting caught up on these sorts of things now that it's winter break though.

Having this long gap in between seeing the episodes and writing a review might have been a good thing though considering the subject matter. I thought that it might kind of seem like I was avoiding the reviews in order to not write about the rape scene, but while I wasn't, I do think this had the nice effect of giving me time to process everything that happened.

Normally I would write about everything more or less in the order it happened (except for my frequent sidetracks). In this case, however, I want to talk about the rape scene before anything else, because otherwise it's just going to be looming over this review. I just need to finally get out all of my thoughts in a way that isn't a few tweets in the couple of days after the episode aired.

I was extremely worried about the rape scene from the moment we found out there was going to be one. I didn't know if it would be portrayed in a realistic manner, and I was really worried about how it would play out. Two weeks after the scene aired, and I still don't know entirely what to think. The biggest positive for me is that they seem to be trying to keep the aftermath of the rape realistic for Mary. I give them props for that. (And for having Adelaide Kane provide a hotline at the end of the episode.) They didn't just shove the rape under a rug and have Mary easily capable of pretending like it didn't happen. I also like that Catherine has mentioned her own rape because that provides a more realistic treatment of what happened to her as well. I know I had seen some criticism in the past about them throwing out that Catherine had been raped and then just never mentioning it again, but now it is being mentioned.

The scene itself really shook me up. I had a hard time thinking about anything else for a couple of days afterwards. It was very difficult to watch. I really don't know what else to say about it. It's one of those things that's so terrible that I just don't really have words. The biggest thing I want to say is that I thought Adelaide Kane's acting of the immediate aftermath for Mary was amazing.

I guess that overall I'm still not sure if I really think the scene was a good idea. I'm going to hold off judgement on that until the entire season airs and we get more of how it affects Mary, but so far I'm more on the optimistic side of how they seem to be handling it. We'll see.

I'm also not sure what to do about the fact that she killed all the men who attacked her. Like, there's wanting revenge, but wow... Of course, I keep reminding myself that everyone kills people in this show. I guess thinking about that makes it a bit less shocking.

Now, let's try to talk about the other things that happened in these episodes. The things that are harder for me to recall because they more or less got overshadowed.

The next biggest thing in these two episodes for me was all of the Castleroy/Greer and some Leith stuff. I've made it no secret that I ship Greer and Leith, and I'm not all that into Castleroy and Greer being married. As soon as the Protestant stuff popped up and we found out Castleroy was Protestant, I thought it could very well be hinting at an end to their marriage. Now, they're still married, but they're going to be living a part for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, Greer and Leith are in the same castle. I'm definitely sensing this going down a similar path to one I was envisioning all along. That being said, I'm not thrilled by the idea of Greer possibly cheating on Castleroy. I do like the guy even if I don't want him married to Greer, and I don't condone cheating of course. Still, I do want this concluded with Greer and Leith together somehow. I'm kind of expecting Castleroy to get killed for being Protestant, but we'll see.

Claude is really growing on me. I quite like her. She's so much like Catherine, and we all know that Catherine is my absolute favorite character. At first I just couldn't get behind Claude as a character. I think it had a lot to do with her seducing her half-brother. That's a bit off putting. Oh, and killing your younger sisters as a young child. That's downright terrifying. I'm starting to pick up on a lot of aspects of her character that I like though. I hope she sticks around for a while.

Conde being in love with Mary wasn't surprising, but I'm also dreading this story line. Conde seriously needs to work on this "falling in love with married women" thing he has going on. Has he ever been in a relationship where the woman wasn't already married? This is especially coming at the worst possible time as far as Mary's concerned. I don't know what they're possibly planning to do with that because Mary can't even sleep in the same room as Francis anymore. What do they expect her to be able to do about Conde's feelings for her? That's just shaping up to be the biggest mess imaginable, and I don't like it. I don't think that's a story line that's at all needed after what Mary just went through.

Narcisse breaks and agrees to do whatever Francis wants. That's cool and all, but I just see it backfiring at some point.

And the last thing I'll mention is Henry's "return." This show really has a thing for ghosts. I don't get it. I still don't know if the twins or Henry are supposed to be real ghosts or figments of Catherine's imagination. I'm leaning towards the later as this show has yet to actually show a ghost that was real. However, I also don't want this to be a sign that Catherine's going crazy. As has been well established, I love Catherine, and I just don't want to see that.

I know I've definitely skimmed over some things without mentioning them. Since this is a review of two episodes instead of just one, I feel like it's impossible to get everything in. I think I covered all of the biggest things I wanted to mention though. Now we get the mid-season break. I guess to continue processing what all just happened. I think I might really need this month.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Life Post: In the Midst of Finals Week

Since I don't actually have any finals today, I figured I should blog for the first time in five days. Funnily enough I'm feeling much less stress now that we're in the middle of finals week. I still have three more finals and two papers to turn in, but they're not even bothering me that much. The papers are basically written. I'll still go through and edit them a bit, but it's nothing that has me stressed out. As far as the finals go, I was most worried about Spanish, but I figured out that even if I get a 0% on the final I'd still get a B in the class. Since I'm fairly certain I can at least get above a 0%, that has me feeling a lot better. With my other two finals I'm not sure about what grade I need, but at least one of them is just like the next test of the year instead of being cumulative and over everything, so that's always a bit less stressful.

I also think I'm going to finish editing my gift for the Avatar fandom secret santa today. I'm still a bit iffy over how I actually feel about it. It's the ending I think. I'm not too proud of it, but I had to end it somehow. This isn't something I can make insanely long because if it got out of hand I'd never have it ready in time. Overall, I think it's pretty decent though, so I'm not too upset about how it ends.

I've also kept up editing my original story I've been working on while I was editing the secret santa gift, and I think I'm going to finish up a new draft of that sometime this week as well. I don't know how I managed that on finals week too, but somehow I did.

That's really all I've got since I last posted. Most of my time has revolved around finals and, if not that, writing/editing. It's going to feel amazing once finals are over. I really hope I start getting even more writing done. In addition to the original story and the secret santa gift, I have three other fanfictions sitting around waiting to be edited and posted. It's kind of crazy.

Oh, and I almost forgot mentioning any Youtube videos here. I did post a quick phone vlog because I feel bad about posting so little, but it was nothing significant.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Life Post: The Semester is Almost Finished

The end of this semester is continuing to consume everything else. I feel like I've hardly had time to breathe lately. Today was the last day of classes though. Now I just have two papers to write and finals to take before I am finished for the semester. Just one more week! Hopefully during break I'll get better at actually blogging again (and everything else I've been neglecting).

In my last life post I mentioned that I'd started writing my Avatar fandom secret santa gift. Well, it's now written, and I'm just editing it. Writing is pretty much the only thing besides school that I've been doing lately. I'm actually not sure how I feel about it yet. When I finished writing it, I thought it was terrible, but now that I'm editing it I'm starting to feel like it wasn't quite as bad as I had thought. That's a good sign I suppose. It definitely seems like it'll be ready to go up ahead of time though, which is great.

After my continuing failure to post my Youtube videos here as separate posts, I'm going to try out mentioning them in these life posts. Then I can just put down all of them that I've posted since the last one. So, since my last life post I have posted a video about my Thanksgiving day, a tag about the web series Job Hunters, and my wrap-up and TBR video that I do monthly about what I read the previous month and will read this month. Writing that all down makes it look like I was more productive over on Youtube than I was here recently, but I guess two blog posts since then isn't all that bad in comparison.

Anyway, I still have finals to prepare for, and I have yet to study or anything today. I'm actually quite behind on what I need to get done, and I want to watch Disney's A Christmas Carol on ABC Family tonight. I've wanted to see it for a while, so I'm going to push off Reign to tomorrow in order to watch it. I'd like to have my work done by then.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Legend of Korra Review: Book 4 Episode 9: "Beyond the Wilds"

I haven't reviewed Korra here in a couple of weeks because I reviewed episodes seven and eight over on Youtube.

Apparently Ryu wound up with the airbenders at some point over the three years. I can't decide whether I think he got tired of his mother and left on his own or if his mother dragged him there kicking and screaming, but somehow he wound up as a tour guide. I'm kind of in love with the idea of overly proud parents going along on a tour led by their children. Also, Ryu makes a terrible tour guide, but at least he seems to have a bit higher of a drive to actually do something than before.

The thing that got me is how fast they realize Ryu hasn't come back from giving his tour. If I remember correctly, not that much time had passed. How closely to the airbenders monitor each other?

I didn't think about this before, but someone on Tumblr (I wish I still knew where the post was) pointed out that it shouldn't have been that easy for Bolin and Varrick to get into a room with a bunch of world leaders. At least they were actually harmless. If that were reality though, I feel like Lin would be firing some people.

We hear Fire Lord Izumi (she has a name, guys!) speak for the first time, which we all know I have been not so patiently waiting for. I'm still hoping we get to see Zuko again, but I can settle for just getting to hear his daughter speak if that's all we get. I'm actually quite fascinated in the different between the Fire Nation in the first series and this one. While it's quite frustrating from a viewer's standpoint not to have her help bring down Kuvira, it also makes a lot of sense. (It could also be taken as a broader political statement outside of the show if you wanted, which wouldn't be a first for Korra.) What excites me most about this entire thing is that she does agree to help with border security, and that could totally lead to her showing up again if they wanted. (I can hope and dream.)

Another aspect of this episode that I've been waiting for is Bolin and Opal reuniting. I may have gotten a little too excited over it. And when Bolin lied to Opal it was tough to resist banging my head on something. As it was happening, I was just like, "No. No. Bolin, you did not. Please tell me you did not." I'm excited for him going with Opal and Lin to the Swamp though. Because, guys, they're going to meet up with Toph, and then we're going to have Bolin, Toph, Opal, and Lin all fighting together. Is that not amazing? Bolin gets to meet Toph. Toph who is his hero. I may or may not be freaking out about it just as much as Bolin would be. Part of it is just getting to see Toph again, and part of it is the thought of the four of them taking on Kuvira. I'm ready for it.

The Korra, Mako, and Bolin hug deserves a mention too. I'm always a sucker for group hugs, and now we have one with the Krew except Bolin's missing and one with the Krew except Asami's missing. I really need all four of them in a group hug before the series is over. I think that's a reasonable request.

Asami agrees to work with Varrick, which was something I didn't expect, but I'm exciting for anything that can allow Asami to live up to her full awesomeness potential. I'm ready to see what amazing thing they come up with that saves the day.

I also most certainly did not expect Korra to confront Zaheer. I didn't even give much thought to Zaheer still being around. The idea of him helping her because of a common enemy was an interesting one though, and I continue to be very interested in the idea of Zaheer being so spiritual yet a villain. I wonder if he'll play another part in the last episodes or if this was the last we'll see of him. That also may have been the end of Korra's spiritual struggle, so I'm wondering if the rest of the series will just be focused on taking down Kuvira or if another spiritual problem will pop up. I guess we'll have to wait and see!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review: The First Family Detail by Ronald Kessler

Published: August 5th, 2014
Publisher: Crown Forum
Read from October 27th to November 16th, 2014
Synopsis from publisher:
As in a play, presidents, vice presidents, and presidential candidates perform on stage for the public and the media. What the nation’s leaders are really like and what goes on behind the scenes remains hidden. Secret Service agents have a front row seat on their private lives and those of their wives and children.

Crammed with new, headline-making revelations, THE FIRST FAMILY DETAIL: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents by Ronald Kessler tells that eye-opening, uncensored story.

Since publication of his New York Times bestselling book In the President’s Secret Service, award-winning investigative reporter Ronald Kessler has continued to penetrate the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service, breaking the story that Secret Service agents who were to protect President Obama hired prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia and revealing that the Secret Service allowed a third uninvited guest to crash a White House state dinner.

Now in this new book, Kessler presents far bigger and more consequential stories about our nation’s leaders and the agency sworn to protect them. Kessler widens his scope to include presidential candidates and former presidents after they leave the White House. In particular, he focuses on first ladies and their children and their relationships with the presidents.

From observing Vice President Joe Biden’s reckless behavior that jeopardizes the country’s safety, to escorting Bill Clinton’s blond mistress at Chappaqua, to overhearing First Lady Michelle Obama’s admonitions to the president, to witnessing President Nixon’s friends bring him a nude stripper, to seeing their own agency take risks that could result in an assassination, Secret Service agents know a secret world that Ronald Kessler exposes in breathtaking detail.


This book reads like pretty much any tabloid you would pick up in the checkout line of a store except it's about those protected by the Secret Service, who aren't mentioned all that often in the tabloids. This book really doesn't have all that much to offer. I read it because I was intrigued by the idea of it enough, but I don't think I'd make the same choice again. It felt more like a waste of time than anything else.

The author clearly has a bias that comes across in the writing. Every single person talked about seems to be a straight up villain or a saint. It's also all over the place and jumps around. You never know who the author is going to be talking about because it changes so frequently. I'm also pretty sure that the author complained about how the Secret Service is run more than anything else. It kind of felt like the author wanted to write a book all about how the Secret Service is doing a terrible job because it isn't being run correctly these days, but he didn't think it would sell so he wrote this instead. For the most part I hardly even felt like the book fit the synopsis.

If you're someone who has a guilty pleasure about tabloids and want something that involves politics, then maybe you'll get some enjoyment out of this. Most people won't I don't think, and you definitely shouldn't go into it expecting much of anything at all. It's also not something you read and trust all that much at all. If that sounds like you're kind of thing than maybe you should pick this up.

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

Friday, November 28, 2014

Life Post: Lots of School Work and Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 21, 2014

Naruto Shippuden Review: Episodes 206-210

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Life Post: Rest

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

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

Saturday, November 8, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 7, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life Post: Lots To Do

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

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

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

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


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

Life Post: Writing Time and Possible New Blog

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

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

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

Life Post: A Great Monday

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

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

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

Saturday, November 1, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 31, 2014

Reign Review: Season 2 Episode 5: "Blood for Blood"

A lot happened in this episode. I don't even know where to begin. Do I say that every week? I feel like I do, but it's only because it's true every week.

Let's start with Catherine, and my weekly gushing over how awesome she is. It felt like she was just sweeping around the castle in this episode appearing to characters, saying her perfectly delivered lines, and then immediately sweeping off again in a way that showed she had some very important business to get back to. She didn't really do much in terms of the plot this week (unless I'm forgetting something), but she was definitely as amazing as always.

I tweeted about this during the episode, but this whole Catholic-Protestant conflict has developed fast. Last season made it seem like all of the peasants were pagans or something, and now there are suddenly no pagans but Protestants are secretly everywhere. Protestants are way more realistic of course, but storywise it's a bit of whiplash. It's interesting that they're going to route of Mary and Francis not wanting to do much at all about the Protestants. It's as if they want to give people religious freedom and are just hoping it won't develop into a political conflict that endangers their reign. I don't know the specifics of the real Mary and Francis's treatment of religion, but I'm not sure that any monarch at the time would have been very keen to take that outlook. Maybe I'm wrong. It definitely says good things about the Mary and Francis characters on the show though, and clearly, that's what they're more worried about.

Turns out the servant lady wasn't really possessed with Henry's ghost, and I have to say that I'm glad they went the realistic route with that. Although Francis kind of looks like an idiot now. I can forgive him considering his mother believes Nostradamus can really see the future. (I just realized that Nostradamus's visions were such a large part of season one, and we haven't had that at all in season two. Huh.)

I also have to say that that servant woman is a good actor. I can understand why Francis wouldn't think a random servant could act so well. I didn't see Narcisse being behind it coming at all, but wow, he's turning out to be quite the villain. He's definitely infuriating.

Also, him lying to Mary at the end has me so angry. He may be trying to protect her and everything, but I'm pretty sure the lie hurt her far worse. I get what he's doing, but I don't agree at all. I'm also worried about what this means for the state of their relationship in coming episodes.

I'm very amused by the fact that Kenna reads about some random guy whose name she doesn't know and just suddenly decides that Lola should be with him. It feels very middle school-y, and I'm not sure what the point is. I guess the point is that the guy turned out to be Narcisse, but I saw that coming honestly. I don't know why that would be a big deal. It's not like she was emotionally attached to this guy, and finding out it's Narcisse should theoretically just end any interest. Instead we're almost for sure going to get something between them I bet, and I can't say whether I'm intrigued or uninterested in that. I guess I'll just wait and see.

Greer and Castleroy are now officially married. I'm very upset about this as a Leith/Greer shipper. Leith was amazing in this episode too. Helping Sebastian in his new job and then trying to help Castleroy but also wanting Greer to know. I love him.

I suspect Castleroy being Protestant will cause a lot of problems in the future for him and, by extension, Greer. I don't think the end of the love triangle is over because they're married either. I could definitely see religion playing some sort of role in ending their marriage. (I'm predicting Castleroy's death because of his faith.) And then I'd assume that we'd be back to Greer and Leith. Maybe that's wishful thinking because I'm a shipper, but I just don't think that's over.

As for next week, I think I'm most interested in seeing how this Narcisse/Lola thing plays out. I could see it being a good story line, but I could also see it being one I hate. I guess we'll find out.

Life Post: Scheduling Problems Never End Apparently

I keep thinking that I'm done with schedule problems and then something else pops up. I had everything set, and then I got an email from one of my advisors that there was a mix up and one of the classes I signed up for wouldn't be offered next semester. Now, she was so nice about it and so helpful figuring out what to do, but after the mess it took to figure out my schedule the first time, I was significantly stressed out over the news. I practically ran to her office the second I got her email. She couldn't believe I'd gotten there so fast, but I wanted it out of the way. We figured out a solution in no time at all and had it all worked out. Everything should be fine now.

I'd just been to see her the day before and then to the registrar's office to adjust my schedule because I needed special permission from both of my advisors to sign up for two of the classes I'm taking, so this week ended up being a bit more stressful on the schedule front than I had been hoping. I'm signed up now though, and I feel like changing my schedule twice after having registered is enough. There's no way that can happen again, right? I'd like to think not.

That's all in the past now though, and this week was actually really nice. Not even the schedule stuff was that bad, since it was all worked out so soon after the problem was developed. The problems only feel bigger because of the mess I went through the week before. Generally speaking I had a really nice week. Last night was trick or treating for the alumni's and staff's kids around our dorm buildings, so there were cute kids in costume running around campus. That's always fun.

I hope everyone enjoys their Halloween. I'm not dressing up or anything like that. The idea of putting together a Halloween costume has become more appealing to me in recent years (I haven't dressed up since I was about eleven), but I just can never be bothered to put together a costume because I always seem to be so consumed with school at this point in the year. NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, and that's another thing I want to do every year but don't because school's taken over my life. One year they'll both happen. Maybe...

Anyway, as I said, I hope you all enjoy your Halloween. My biggest celebration is going to be watching the new Korra episode a bit later. What more could I ask for?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A College Diet

One of the things I dislike the most about college is living on a meal plan. I'm not sure what it's like at larger colleges where there's more options, but here our only options on campus were the dining hall or Subway until this year when we got a Papa Johns, Starbucks, and this grill place. I definitely enjoy having more options, but you don't want to eat at a fast food restaurant all the time.

And our dining hall food is not the greatest. Actually, I'm being kind here. It's probably the biggest complaint most current students have about the food. The only time it's decent is when "important" people are on campus, and as a warning for any high schoolers making college plans, "important" people includes potential students. Just keep that in mind when you visit a school and they feed you at the dining hall because it's probably not what you'd be getting regularly. The food is either bland or bland and spicy. Bland and spicy may not make sense to some people, but I promise you that's what half the food in our dining hall is. It's like they just packed heat into it to disguise the fact that there's no other flavor, and they choose to do this with the strangest foods that you don't expect to be hot at all until you bite into them.

Needless to say, I don't eat in the dining hall all that often, which I feel sort of guilty for. Living on campus, having a meal plan is required, and this year they changed it so the only meal plan available involves unlimited meals in the dining hall. (They also upped the money on our accounts to spend in the restaurants, so that's a bonus.) Because I paid for this unlimited amount of meals, I feel like I should take advantage of it much more than I do. This almost always results with me feeling determined to start eating there almost every meal, and then it stops after several meal times once I realize that I just cannot stomach that food that often.

I don't know what college students did before microwaves because I'd be in a mess if it weren't for mine, although I'd also love to not have to spend money on groceries when I already bought a meal plan. Still, I know that I have access to food, and that's more than a lot of people, which I'm thankful for. I just really wish the dining hall would stop it with the strange hot foods. It's a tad bit weird.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Naruto Shippuden Review: Episodes 201-205

I'm really loving the episodes of Naruto that I've been watching lately. I feel like the story is actually getting somewhere after ages and ages of filler. I'm really into the political sorts of stuff going on with the different hidden villages and the summit and all of that. I love this kind of stuff.

These episodes talked more about Naruto's and Sakura's feelings for each other than I think has been discussed for a very long time. I don't really ship Naruto and Sakura together, but I'm not horribly opposed to it either. I think I'm going to hold off discussing this at depth for now because I've already watched episode 206, and I'm definitely going to talk more about it in that review. I do think it's a good idea to address all of this since Naruto had a crush on Sakura forever, but I would prefer them staying friends for the entire rest of the story just because I enjoy their friendship more than anything. I'll talk more about this in my next review.

I also love where Sai's character development seems to be going. I love watching him discover how to make friends and exploring having those sorts of relationships which he's never gotten before. Since Danzo seems to have gotten a bigger role at the moment and currently has people spying on Sai, I'm wondering if that's going to come to the forefront of the story soon. I'm always excited to see Sai's character more.

We also get quite a bit of Gaara in these episodes, which I love. He hasn't been around for quite a while I don't think. Gaara's one of my favorite characters, but it's one of those things where I forget just how much I love his character when he disappears from the story for long lengths of time. I really love how loyal you can see he is to Naruto in these episodes though. It's nice to see their friendship. If you can't tell by now, I'm a sucker for well developed friendships, and Gaara and Naruto's is probably one of my favorites in Naruto.

Naruto, Kakashi, and Yamato have a bit of a talk with Madara, and I loved the emotion of Naruto hearing all of that about Sasuke, although I really don't think I have much to say about it at this point. I can really only think of one other comment, but it has to do with episode 206.

I really enjoyed these episodes, and I'm insanely excited to see what happens in the next few. Hopefully it won't take me long to watch them so I can get another review up!

Life Post: Positive Start to the Week

It's still early, but I have to say that this week is going far better than the last so far. Monday went pretty great as far as Mondays go. I realized that I have almost all of my in class assignment points for sociology, which means I'll get to finish out the semester without worrying about doing anymore of those assignments, and it was just all around a pretty good day.

Today is shaping up to be pretty good as well, although it's still early. We took a quiz in Spanish today, and she just gave us all full points for it instead of grading it. Then I had a meeting with my advisor, and I now have my schedule absolutely set for next semester. That's a weight off of my back. As long as I can get into all of the classes tonight when I register (and I don't foresee there being any problems), then I'll be good. That's a lot of stress that I no longer have to worry about.

I also just realized recently that we have less than a month now before Mockingjay Part 1 is released! It's snuck up on me, and I'm so excited for this movie. As much as a lot of people hate Mockingay, it was my favorite of the series, and since they did an amazing job on Catching Fire, I'm hopeful that they'll do just as good if not better on Mockingjay.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Life Post: Calming Weekend

This weekend has been amazing for the simple fact that I have done basically nothing. After last week, I needed this so much. It's been nice to not really worry about anything for a couple of days. I had some homework, but it was hardly anything in comparison to what I usually have. I also managed to write for the first time in a while. I'm so close to the end that I'm itching to finish up this first draft. I have such a clear idea of exactly how I'm going to tie things up.

Other than that, I've had a lot of time to read, which is another thing I haven't gotten to do much lately. I just wish I had more time. Tomorrow feels like it's coming too soon. Hopefully I don't get stressed all over again once tomorrow comes. There's no way this week can be as bad as last week was. I hope not at least. I do register for classes this week, but since the schedule is set now, that will only go wrong if a class is full (which I don't see being a problem but who knows).

I'm determined not to let anything get to me this week like it did last week though. I can't handle that again. Besides, it doesn't look like any bugs have decided to crawl into my room today (watch me just have jinxed myself), and that's the first time that's happened in at least a week. I take that as a good sign.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Reign Review: Season 2 Episode 4: "The Lamb and the Slaughter"

This episode was fantastic as far as I'm concerned. Catherine is always great, but she was particularly so in this episode. Almost every single line out of her mouth seemed to be hilarious. From the beginning when she just walked in on Mary and Francis not caring at all, I could tell it was going to be good. That scene was probably my favorite in the episode, but she managed to have some really great moments throughout the episode.

I was really enjoying the fact that Mary and Lola have managed to stay friends, so I was a bit worried about them. I'm glad they made up though, and it's so nice that Mary became the godmother of the baby. I love that they're remaining friends and able to forgive each other. I think that sends a great message (although I also think Mary has a right to get angry and they both have the right to feel awkward).

Narcisse just gets worse and worse each episode. I feel so terrible for Estelle. That was such a sad story line.

As soon as we found out Mary was pregnant, I saw a miscarriage coming. That was a heartbreaking story line as well. I loved the scene where she told Francis though. I thought that was very well done. I wasn't expecting it to happen in the very same episode really, so that was kind of a surprise. I'm interested in seeing how that affects things in the future. So many people knew she was pregnant and there's been so much pressure for her to produce an heir. I'm sure this will create even more pressure.

I was not expecting Greer to go back to Lord Castleroy, and I'll admit that I'm not all that happy about it. I love Greer and Leith together, so obviously I'm a bit biased. I like Lord Castleroy for the most part, but I haven't quite as much this season, which also makes it hard to get behind them being together.

It also looks like we're going to be getting some more ghost stuff in the future, which should be interesting. I wonder if it'll be real ghosts this time or something more along the lines of the whole Clarissa thing. The bit with those two little girls and Catherine was definitely interesting.

I'm really looking forward to next week's episode!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Life Post: Adjusting Life Plans

I've tweeted about this several times at this point, but it's not really getting easier to actually admit. I'm going to be staying an extra semester at college. There's just no way I can get my remaining credit hours in without killing myself in the process and paying a ton more money (since each credit hour over a certain limit is a ton of extra money at my school). I'm pretty torn up about it, although today is better than yesterday. I suspected it might happen, even mentioned it in pasting in a previous post, but I was really hoping it wouldn't come to it.

I think the biggest thing I knowing how stressed out about it my parents are too. That makes things harder to get over. And I'll admit that I'm a bit bummed about graduating in December instead of in May when I would have graduated. If I actually want to walk, I'll have to come back the following May for it, and since I have to find a job obviously, I'm not sure if that would even be possible. I know actually having a graduation ceremony is just about the least important part of getting a college degree, but it might be the second biggest thing upsetting me about this. As unimportant as it may be, I kind of feel like I'll have earned a graduation ceremony, and now I don't know if I'll get it.

Anyway, I'm trying to put it all behind me and just accept that it's happening. I have a set schedule for each of the remaining semesters, and because I was so upset, I seriously sat down and created a ten year plan last night. It's not the first time I've done that, but it was the first time in a long time, and it looks completely different now. It makes me feel much better just having that, but it was also a reminder that it's all hinging on the fact that I actually get hired after college. Not something I particularly enjoy contemplating.

At least my schedule for next semester is set now. I just have to meet with one of my advisors one more time to confirm that everything looks right, and then I'll officially register for classes next week. Rationally speaking, everything is actually going perfectly fine. Lots of other people are in my same position, so my advisors don't even see it as a big deal, although they were very aware that I probably would and acted sensitively about it. I'm sure I'll feel fine about it once I adjust and get used to the idea that that's the plan now. My biggest issues are just moving past my parents' feelings and the graduation ceremony stuff. It will all be good.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Life Post: Scheduling Troubles Part II

I'm about halfway or so through my day, and I'm just trying not to fixate on everything that's going on. I met with my English advisor earlier today over next semester's schedule, and I'm almost certainly going to be in one class this summer. I may also be paying a lot more for tuition in a coming semester because I'll have to go over the credit hour limit my school has. I'll find out for sure on that one when I meet with my education advisor later today, so let's hope for the best. It all depends on some education credits I may or may not need (with everything having been switched around, my English advisor thinks I may have been grandfathered out of the requirement but I have to check for sure with my education advisor).

Right now is the only break today where I actually have time to get things done, so I've been studying for a test I have tomorrow and doing some reading for another class. I still have some reading to do, but I'm getting more done than I would have expected. Hopefully I can have everything more or less done by my next class because I have two meetings back to back almost immediately after my next class. Any homework I don't get done will have to be done somewhat late tonight, and I get incredibly distracted once it's dark outside.

In order to actually get it done though, I should probably go actually work on it. It's also getting around lunchtime, so I need to get some food. Here's to hoping I get my schedule set down later today. I can deal with taking a summer class or two, but I just want to know for absolute sure what exactly I need to take and when. I'll feel a lot better once I have that down.