Monday, November 29, 2010

The iPod-Whisperer

I do believe that I have discovered the secret to making iPods work.

You'll think I'm crazy. I believe it to be true.

Lots of other people have resorted to this method known as iPod-whispering in order to coax their iPod into working as it should (for example, if you're trying to get it to register on your computer and it doesn't feel like it has to).

The secret?

Flatter it.

Talk to it like it's your best buddy in the whole wide world.

My favorite little sister just saved up enough to buy an iPod Touch and when we plugged it in, it sounded like it was going to work, but it didn't. We updated iTunes and for a while, it still didn't work. So what did we do? We started to stroke it (not in a creepy way) and we called it...

The iPod Touch Goddess of Wonder!

Sure enough, the little iPod came around and decided that it really did want to work after all! It just goes to show you, iPods are a little human too :D

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beat Radio

Some of you out there might be young enough to remember this cartoon that used to be on T.V. called 'Doug.' One day, I was strolling about YouTube when I found a fake trailer by Comedy Thunder for 'Doug: The Movie.' I decided to watch it again, and I found a thumbnail that led to the soundtrack music for this fake trailer. I loved it! The music was mellow; it was ambient, but not at the same time. Any way, I really liked it! I wanted to share Beat Radio with you guys. They're too awesome to keep to myself :)




They also have a blog that you should definitely check out. They have playlists with all the rest of their songs plus a lot more than I could ever hope to share with you. You can click here to visit them! I love the title of their blog too. 'A Cinema of Sunshine.' Doesn't that just sound beautiful? I think I'll save up for these albums...

I just wanted to share this with you today and I also wanted to welcome all of my new followers that arrived this weekend. I'm glad to have you here! Thank you!

Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday!

--Jude

Saturday, November 27, 2010

To My Pleasant Surprise

Guys! Guys!! Guys!!! I have some wonderful, happy, exciting news for you! "...It's Like a Whirlwind Inside of My Head..." has received it's first award! Thank you to Caroline from Words and Whispers for thinking of awarding it to me. I am truly honored.
There are a few things that the new recipients must do should they decide to accept this award. They are:
1. Thank and link back to the person that gave this award.
2. Answer the 10 survey questions.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic.
4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked to let them know about the award.

Now for the questions:

1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this; if you are not anonymous, do you wish that you had started out anonymously so that you could be anonymous now?
  • I'm anonymous, in that I don't use my real name. I'm very happy doing this. My pen name is like a security blanket, but people still seem to respect me for it. It feels like it's working out really well for me! I have no regrets. Plus, this way, if I decide that I want to use my real name, that's still an option for me.
2. Describe on incident that shows your inner stubborn side.
  • I'm sure there are plenty... I've been told that I contradict everything, but I don't believe that to be true (see? There's a contradiction right there). My memory is horrible, but my "inner" stubborn side usually comes out when I absolutely do not want to do something.
3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?
  • The person that wants to keep everyone happy. The soft-spoken one. Someone thoughtful, with their wheels always turning.
4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?
  • Pink lemonade is my summer buddy! Actually, that's a lie. Pink lemonade is my buddy year-round.
5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?
  • When I take time for myself, I'm usually by myself. If I'm feeling especially girly, I'll paint my nails and that whole thing, but on any other day, I'll take time to draw or work on something I actually want to do. I might even get my typewriter out!
6. Is there something that you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it?
  • Are you kidding? There's so much that I want to do in life. Here's a little list for you. It's just the top five:
1. Become a published author
2. Become a photographer for National Geographic
3. Graduate college
4. Travel abroad for a year to Europe and/or Australia
5. Be a photojournalist

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching?
  • (I'm still in school ^^ ) I would say that I'm a mixture of the class overachiever and the quiet person. I enjoy putting forth all of my effort into the various projects that I do for school (my stop-motion, my government picture book, etc.). But I'm also rather quiet while doing all of this. One guy in my precalc class asked me, "What's the highest number of decibels that you've hit?" If that doesn't prove my point, I'm not sure what will.
8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?
  • I would have to say making rabbit houses (long story) during recess in elementary/middle school. It's how I became friends with one of my current best friends.
9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?
  • I'm pretty flexible with what I post about. I enjoy writing about books, but I feel like my personality comes out in those reviews. That doesn't scare me at all.
10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?
  • No offense to my real-life friends out there, but I would rather read. It's not that I'm anti-social... no, that's not the case at all. I feel like I can't communicate with the spoken word as well as I can with the written word. I think it has to do with the thought process that goes into what I have to say. It's just simpler to write it down.
Now for the cool part! I get to pass this award on to fifteen other bloggers that I've started to follow recently. You guys really deserve it! Everyone should go and visit them when they have the time!


Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Jude Rosenberg Still Writes Letters

That's right. I have a correspondent that I like to write letters to. She's a writer by hobby like I am, so we send our pieces back and forth through the mail.

What I like about sending mail is that I'll probably get a letter back. I love getting letters in the mail! That's why I like my birthday so much. There's always a couple things in the mail!

I guess I was just wondering, does anyone else send letters? It would be kind of nice to know that the computer age hasn't completely obliterated perfectly good means of communication.

I think today is going to be fun! Jack is coming over and (if the car is still here) I get to go and pick him up without the assistance of my parental units (can you tell that I'm still getting used to the idea of a driver's license?)

I hope your days are great too!

--Jude

P.S. I think I have found a new band to love:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Blog Hopping (4) and Friday Follow (2)

Hello! Welcome to my blog! If you're new here, feel free to stay as long as you like, comment on old posts, or just plain say hi. I'll do my best to get back to you sometime this weekend (no guarantees for today, November 26, 2010). If you're a returning follower, welcome to you too! Most of you

I'm participating in another Blog Hop and Follow Friday, so... without further ado, here we go!

Book Blogger Hop

This week's Blog Hop question is, "What is your favorite book cover?"
My answer is something like this:
This isn't my only absolute favorite cover though (I'm sure everyone who has answered this question has run into this problem). My problem is that I choose to read books because of their beautiful covers (and then I read the descriptions inside to see if I really want to read them). I'm a sucker for black-and-white photography, if that helps though.

As of yet, there isn't a Follow Friday question, but if there is a little bit later, then I will update this post.
Until then, I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving (if you live in the U.S.) and just a fantastic Thursday in general if you do not live in the U.S.

I have a couple questions for you in return:

If you don't live in the U.S., has all of this talk about Thanksgiving been driving you up a wall?

If you do live in the U.S., did you stay home and have everyone come to you or did you travel somewhere for the holidays?

Thanks for stopping by!

--Jude

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm Thankful For...

Everyone else is doing it (or something like it). Plus, it's a really good thing to talk about what we're all thankful for. This is my list, in no particular order.

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1. My wonderful Camero matchbox car :)

2. My friends and family. They're so supportive of me. They deal with me in my "I love the world and everyone in it!" moods, my "I hate the world, leave me alone" moods, and my neutral moods where getting a few words out of me is a battle.

3. Dancing. Nothing makes me feel more loved than to be held in that special someone's arms just moving with whatever music there is. Who cares if we're horrible!

4. Food. Not everyone has enough food or is lucky enough to be in the presence/related to excellent cooks. I feel fortunate about what I have here at home.

5. Health.

6. Stringed Instruments/General Musical Instruments/Music. There's always something to express. What better way than to belt out a few notes or strum so hard that your strings snap in two or your lungs hurt.

7. Words. I have no other way where I can express myself as effectively (you may have noticed this from my videos. That's why there are so many jump-cuts and edits).

8. School Counselors/teachers. I feel like everyone takes them for granted, but really, they are our greatest resource. Especially in high school when we're supposed to be preparing for our futures, wherever they may take us.

9. Photography and Movies/Videos. The source of a majority of my entertainment.

10. Imagination. Without this, I would be nowhere.

11. Curiosity. The yearning to know something bigger than yourself and to explore new things and places. I hope to indulge this a little bit more as I get older and more experienced.

12. Bravery/guts. The courage to grit your teeth and get past those hurdles, whatever they may be.

13. My followers. Without you guys, I would be here talking to myself (again). Thanks for giving me an audience and encouragement, even if you just stop by briefly. Just the fact that you decided to check in here means a lot. Thank you.

14. Stop-motion films. You know, like a select few Tim Burton films and ones like this:

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This is just for fun, but all of it is completely true.

Now, I'm off to get something warm on and then crawl into bed where I can warm up and sleep until sometime before ten, because then I have to get up and go play Mario Kart and/or Age of Empires III all day long (Aw man! (You sense the sarcasm, yes?)).

Sleep well and sweet dreams!

--Jude

My New Car!

That's right! Now that I can drive by myself, I got my own! My family is the best!
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Do you believe me?
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If you don't, you're smart. Here's how big it really is:
But it isn't any less awesome!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
--Jude

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's my Thanksgiving so far:

This morning, I woke up and I could smell wonderful smells. Turkey smells. Stuffing smells... I'm not sure what other smells there were. All I know is that they were good.

My mom was in the kitchen making everything, my sister was still sleeping, and both my dad and my mom were cleaning up to get ready for my family to come. I'm not sure when they're coming...

I cleaned my room, the litter box, walked the dog... now I'm here! Making pretty pictures on MS Paint and blogging to my heart's desire!

How are your Thanksgivings so far?

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Confessions of a NaNoNite: Failure?

How are you feeling so far?
  • Despite the circumstances (which you'll read more about below, should you decide to continue), I'm feeling pretty darn good about myself!
What has stood in your way from getting your word count goal for the day? How did you overcome that thing?
  • School, really. Not that I dislike school, but when you need to write a novel and your teachers want to give you tests on Force and Pressure, French, and Precalculus as well as make you write a three page paper on Heart of Darkness with quotes, there's just no time for anything else. Also, when Harry Potter movies release and you would much rather go to those than be anti-social and sit in your room at your computer and write a novel. Stuff happens :)
There are six days left in NaNoWriMo. Will you make it?
  • Absolutely not. As much as I would like to have that epic burst of energy and inspiration that will allow me to write all of those words that need to be written in order to win, I don't think that it is realistic to believe that it will happen.
Would you do this all over again?
  • I most definitely would! You will see me again-- soon actually! Like, in the summer! I'm going to practice! I'll make it 50,000 words then, because I like the wonderful challenge and I'll most likely have more time over the summer (depending on which month). You will also see me next November when the real event starts. I am determined to conquer this whole shindig!
What is something that you would do differently?
  • I would prepare more. What I mean by this is go through and outline my story scene by scene. Then I just have to worry about getting my words on paper rather than thinking about where I'm supposed to go next in the story.
What worked for you?
  • I think the word quota for the day basically worked for me. If life hadn't gotten in the way, I would certainly have been on schedule for my word count goal. But, life goes on and it has no intention of stopping any time soon.
What have you learned from this experience?
  • I have learned that I can exercise my inner editor. I basically gave him a sleeping pill and he's been out for a month (except when school's in session and I need him). I have learned that this is possible. I have learned that I am really distracted and I need to rein myself in a little bit.
Just for fun, do you have a word count update for us?
  • Sure, why not? As of today, I have 11,426 words which comes out to 38.09%!
So, do you really feel like you failed this month, like your picture suggests?
  • If you're looking at what I'm supposed to do for NaNoWriMo, then technically, yes, I did fail. However, I'm not feeling failure in my system, so my picture is a bit of a hyperbole of a picture (that's for you Mrs. Hayes! But I don't think you're reading this and I'm not sure if I used 'hyperbole' correctly in a sentence).
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

On The YouTube!

These are just a few videos that have been my recent obsessions. I watch them almost every time I log on to YouTube. Check them out!






A Review of 'Godless' by Pete Hautman

"Fed up with his parents' boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god-- the town's water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin; cute-as-a-button (whatever that means) Magda Price; and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of it's own. While Jason struggles to keep his faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting-- and dangerous.

When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.

Pete Hautman, author of Sweetblood and Mr. Was has written a compelling novel about the pwer of religion over those who believe, and over those who don't."

This was an amazing read. I found Godless both thought-provoking and enjoyable. The character of Jason Bock has an interesting sense of humor-- sarcastic yet challenging. His humor pulls you through the story. It's thought-provoking in that the points or arguments that he brings up are things I've never thought about before.

Jason represents something very real: A kid that stops to think and starts to question his beliefs.

Jason's father was not my favorite. Up until the end, it felt like he was force-feeding religion to Jason who just coughed it right back up. Anger just built up in me when I read what he had to say in the book.

The water tower was an interesting concept to me as well. Out of anything that Jason could have built his new religion around, he picked a water tower. After reading Pete Hautman's bio on the back inside cover, I found out why.

I feel like this book has a good representation of two general groups: the believers and the non-believers (for lack of a better fitting term for each).

I give Godless:
One last request: if you feel so inclined to leave a comment, please keep it respectful. That's the unspoken rule for commenting on any post, really.

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Review of 'Obedience' by Will Lavender

"When the students in Winchester University's Logic and Reasoning 204 arrive for their first day of class, they are greeted not with a syllabus or texts, but with a startling assignment from Professor Williams: Find a hypothetical missing girl named Polly. If after being given a series of clues and details the class has not found her before the end of the term in six weeks, she will be murdered.

At first the students are as intrigued by the premise of their puzzle as they are wary of the strange and slightly creepy Professor Williams. But as they delve deeper into the mystery, they begin to wonder: Is the Polly story simply a logic exercise, designed to teach them rational thinking skills, or could it be something more sinister and dangerous?

The mystery soon takes over the lives of three students as they find disturbing connections between Polly and themselves. Characters that were supposedly fictitious begin to emerge in reality. Soon, the boundary between the classroom assignment and the real world becomes blurred-- and the students wonder if it is their own lives they are being asked to save."

A very interesting read indeed... this book kept me thinking the entire time. I tried to use my own logic and reasoning in order to figure out just what happened to this Polly in the assignment.
Not only that, but the story and the characters within it really kept me on my toes. Every time they thought something-- came up with a theory-- they would follow that lead and present their theory next time they had class. Sometimes they would be right, other times, they would be hopelessly wrong and they would have to go back to the drawing board.

As I neared the end of the story, everything started to explode. Mary and Brian were being told one thing and then another, and sometimes it wouldn't make sense, or it took a while to wrap their head around what they had been told.

I liked that this book was very psychological. They're my favorites! The ending was surprising and... yes, it was just an interesting way to wrap everything up.

Comments and Thoughts on HP7

Here's your first warning...
Proceed at your own risk! If you have not seen HP7 yet, don't bother with this post!
SPOILER ALERT!


I'm really sorry if this video upsets everyone. I felt like this video needed to be made. I needed to talk about it and comment on everything, being the critic that I am. I feel a lot better now.

This will probably be the last Harry Potter related post for a while. I'm not sure what would cause me to do another Harry Potter post unless I reviewed the books.

Thanks for putting up with my geekiness!

--Jude

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In Which I Try to Have Hair Like Hermione's

Today, I'm off to see Harry Potter! I'm going to see it with one of my best friends-- Rosemary. We decided that we were going to dress up. I was initially going to be Hedwig, but dressing up as an owl is over my maturity level (as in, I couldn't figure out how to do it), so I decided that I would go as Hermione or Fred Weasley. I was really leaning towards Fred, but I didn't have enough time, nor the attention span, to sew a giant "F" to my shirt (you know, like Mrs. Weasley's sweaters!). So I decided that I would try and do Hermione hair.

I went to my sister, the Fashionista, and she braided my hair while it was wet and then put her little orthodontic rubber bands in to hold the braids (don't worry, the rubber bands weren't used).
(Front and Back view and also my band t-shirt with the Stevie Wonder quote on the back)

When I woke up this morning, around 7:20am, I went to the bathroom to take out the braids and rubber bands and then brush out the waves that were left. Here's my result:
I'm extremely happy with it! It feels really weird when I touch it, because my hair is normally straight and/or up and out of the way.

I want to post pictures of when we go to the movie, but... I have to go there first! Expect a post later!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blog Hopping (3), Follow Friday (1), and Vlog #3!

Book Blogger Hop



Just in case you absolutely hated this format of blogging, I won't be doing this all the time. My reviews of movies and books will be typed as per usual and the other posts when I'm too lazy and incoherent to create a video blog. No worries! There'll be something for everyone!

Also, John Green gave the pep talk for NaNoWriMo today. I just about died of excitement (as if I haven't done enough of that already!).

Thanks for reading/watching!

--Jude

P.S. Geez... I still have a lot to figure out about this video-blogging thing... the annotations are off, I apologize...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vlog #2


Note: It's really weird watching yourself in a video...

--Jude

Monday, November 15, 2010

In Which There Are Violins...

Hello everyone!

I'm actually going to post today! I posted so many thing on... Saturday or Sunday (I forget which day exactly) that I didn't want to post anything else for a little bit.

I come to you bearing news!

Piece of news Number 1!
I have "discovered" a string quartet that I'm absolutely obsessed with. I'll post a few videos below:


Piece of News Number 2!
I took my second driver's test today and now I'm allowed to drive around by myself! Hurray! It's about time...

I had a bit of a challenge going on with a guy that's one year older than me. He also did not have his drivers license. I had made it my mission to get my license before him. I failed the first time, and I panicked because he was taking his second test in a few days. He came back and reported that he did not pass. So now I brought my piece of news and he was so bitter about it afterwards...

Piece of News Number 3!
Oh my goodness, Harry Potter comes out pretty soon! I AM SO EXCITED (you know, just in case you couldn't tell...). I have my ticket for the movie (I'm going on Saturday) with a friend and we're hopefully going to dress up. I'm trying to be Hedwig, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to pull it off. My last resort is that I'll dress up as Fred Weasley. You know, preserve his memory...

Piece of News Number 4!
I don't think I'll post another 'Confessions of a NaNoNite' thing for a while. I mean, it must get boring to be reading those when I'm not making a lot of progress, right? I'm hopefully going to be getting together with Ezra and we'll make a box-blanket castle, drink hot chocolate, and of course get a crap-ton of writing done. It's my understanding that we're both so behind that it's not even funny... pictures will be taken, words will be written, and so much hot chocolate will be consumed... it's going to be great!

That's all I have to tell you today...

Oh! Also, just because I won't be posting about NaNoWriMo doesn't mean that I'll be posting at all over time. I'm about half-way done with 'Obedience,' so you can expect some kind of review in the near future.

You may or may not have noticed a couple new tabs at the top of the page. One includes some tidbits of information about this blog and about me and the other is a challenge for myself in 2011 where I'm going to try to read 50 books throughout 2011. If you're interested, they'll be here for a while.

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Challenge to Bo...

Dear Bo from Bo's Tick,
I saw your post about avenging yourself and building snow people like some of your friends. You definitely should! But I'm going to throw a curve ball at you. You may choose to accept it or ignore it.

I challenge you to create a version of one of the 'Calvin and Hobbes' snowmen. Perhaps one of these:
(by their creator, Bill Watterson, the comic genius)
Just a thought :) If you don't, I'll certainly give it a try!

If you decide to accept this challenge, I'll be very excited to see your craftsmen ship.

Sincerely,
Jude

Movie Time! 'Dragonfly'

"Dr. Joe Darrow's (Kevin Costner) world is shattered when his wife (Susanna Thompson) is killed while performing medical relief work in Central America, and his patients-- after their own near-death experiences-- begin delivering messages to him from the great beyond. On a quest to determine what his lost soul mate wants, Darrow is forced to accept the impossible. Kathy Bates co-stars in this romantic thriller with a surprising twist."

Since it's snowing and everything, I figure I'll start my little hibernation with some media-- books and movies. That's why Netflix is so great!

The beginning of the movie was very intense. You see that the wife is in Central America (because just about everyone is speaking some dialect of Spanish).

One might think that this sounds like the Sixth Sense. It isn't like that at all. The kids that tell Joe Darrow what his wife is telling him have had near-death experiences, whereas, as far as we know, the little boy in the Sixth Sense does not. The little boy also sees dead people while he's fully awake and functional. The kids in 'Dragonfly' are in a coma or their heart has stopped temporarily.

The ending was beautiful. I definitely didn't see that one coming. Don't worry, no spoilers here!

There was one instance that really stood out as extremely unbelievable to me. There was one point where he jumped in a river in Venezuela to get to the bus where his wife met her doom. He gets his leg caught while inside as the bus lurches through the water. He's underwater for over two minutes, and he's still conscious, though he does see that famous white light. He lives even after his guide dives right in and pulls him out. He's lays out for an hour and he's completely all right again. He's okay enough to start running through the jungle once again.

Really? One would think that he would be brain dead after that long underwater... or at least have severe brain damage from lack of oxygen.

If you're in a critical mood, I don't recommend watching this movie, however, if you want a decent movie to watch on a Friday night, why don't you give this one a shot?

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

A Review of 'It's Kind of a Funny Story' by Ned Vizzini

"Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life-- which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness."

Ned Vizzini is one of my favorite authors! This is one of the first ones that I read before I dubbed him as one of my favorites.

This story really illustrates the pressures that go into a teenager's life today. I don't know what it's like to live in New York or what the school system is like, but for me, I equated Craig's trying to get into the best high school there is with my experience with preparing for college. He had to take these great big tests-- they're like the SATs or ACTs for college-- and then after that, keep up with that really great school that he got into.

Eventually, these things become too much for him and he becomes depressed... so depressed that he plans to jump off the bridge that he passes over every day.

What I thought was really remarkable was that he didn't give in to that feeling. As soon as he thought these things, he called the suicide hotline, where he was able to talk to someone. They told him that he could check himself into the emergency room for this. That's just what he did.

Vizzini's story is beautiful. It uses love, but it doesn't use it as the main driving force of the story. That's not the first thing Ned Vizzini uses to get the story going. It's really a breath of fresh air. There are no vampires, no really dramatic love epics... that's what makes this story great.

Because of these things, I give 'It's Kind of a Funny Story':
There's also another thing, and I'm kind of excited about it...


That's right, it's going to be a movie! I'm so darn excited for that too!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

A Review of 'Heart of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad

"Heart of Darkness follows one man’s nightmarish journey into the interior of Africa. Aboard a British ship called the Nellie, three men listen to a man named Marlow recount his journey into Africa as an agent for the Company, an ivory trading firm. Along the way, he witnesses brutality and hate between colonizers and the native African people, becomes entangled in a power struggle within the Company, and finally learns the truth about the mysterious Kurtz, a mad agent who has become both a god and a prisoner of the "native Africans." After "rescuing" Kurtz from the native African people, Marlow watches in horror as Kurtz succumbs to madness, disease, and finally death. Marlow’s decision to support Kurtz over his company leaves readers wondering about his moral integrity, and possibly asking the question: "He did WHAT?!" The novel closes with Marlow’s guilt-ridden visit to Kurtz’s fiancĂ©e to return the man’s personal letters."
--Summary courtesy of Schmoop beta

This was a novella assigned to me for my AP English class.

What I disliked about this book is what I like to call The Wall of Words. It's basically just that. Joseph Conrad has this story laid out where his main character, Marlow, is telling the story. So whenever Marlow talks, it's in one long paragraph... because he talks the entire time. When he's back on the boat with the other sailors, the format reverts to how we're used to reading books; every time someone says something, there's a new paragraph and it's broken up more. In my opinion, it would be a more effective book if it had been written this way. But I guess we'll never know.

I thought the characters were interesting. Kurtz was this mysterious character that was only a voice and an influence for 2/3 of the novella. Finally, he's given a physical form in part 3.

Another thing that bothered me was that I could grasp what was going on half of the time. I don't know if it was a problem with my inner wiring, or the time of day that I read the book, or if it was the format of the book. More than likely, I'm the cause of this problem because a lot of other people in my class were able to pick up on certain things that I had missed.

There was a lot of repetition as well. That made the book feel like it was lagging.

Overall, this was an okay book. It had a basis in reality (the themes were very real as well as the parts about ivory) and the characters were fine. It could have been better though. Feel free to disagree, but I give this book:
Of course, I would like to make one amendment to this star system. It wasn't a waste of time, it's just a two-star book for me.

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

"...The Horror.... the horror..."

This morning, I woke up in sheer terror...

I got out of bed and I saw...

This:
Freaking snow! And tons of it!

I went out into the living room of my house, where my mom was. She pointed out the window and showed me...

This:
It was snow heavy enough to knock down this branch in our front yard-- it had snapped clean off of the tree that is rotted between two and five feet away!
I went outside in my rain boots (snow boots are overrated... I'll wear warm socks...) and shook snow off of this tree. It's young, so that would really suck if the branches just broke off.

Maybe this will give you the idea of how much snow there really is, because I don't have any measurements for you again.

It's not too cold out. I was able to go outside in a sweater, thin flannel pants, and no socks in my rain boots.

So far this morning, I moved that stupid branch off of what is really the sidewalk (even though you can't see the poor thing any more), retrieved the shovel from the garage (after digging it out behind a wheel-barrow, a box of wood scraps, and some kind of saw-horse device), and relieved that little tree of a great burden.

Welcome to winter, everyone.

--Jude

Friday, November 12, 2010

Confessions of a NaNoNite: Day 11 and 12

How are you feeling today?
  • I'm fine. I'm in that in-between stage where I'm tired, but I'm not tired. It's very surreal...
Now that we're almost two weeks into this whole shindig, what do you think about it?
  • It's starting to become a part of my life. Like, I think that I'll do this even after NaNoWriMo is done, just without the stressful setting.
Do you have something to say that's not related to NaNoWriMo?
  • I do indeed! Thank you to all you blog-hoppers out there for stopping by my blog! For those of you that left comments, I have read them and they have made me smile. Unfortunately, I was a bit preoccupied for a couple hours that took me away from the computer and I was not able to answer everyone as they commented. I tried to visit everyone at their own blogs, so I will try my best to acknowledge you on your own Blog-Hop post. I will definitely get better at this as time goes on!
  • I had a concert to perform in tonight! From what I heard, a majority of the group thought we did excellent. Sure, there were a few mistakes here and there, but if you're in the audience and you don't know the music, you would probably never know about some of the things that went down.
Do you have a word update for us?
  • Sorry to get your hopes up... I have written more, but it's not typed. I'm rather tired right now, so I'm going to wrap this up and go crawl into bed with a good book, my notebook, and a pencil (you know, just in case). I will be sure to give you a percentage and word count tomorrow though! Hurray for Saturdays!
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Blog Hop! (Nombre Deux)

Book Blogger Hop
It's time for another blog hop! Hurray!

First thing's first... I guess that there was a challenge that went with the last hop. I can't remember which posts I commented on, but I'm sure that it was more than five. However, here are some of the new blogs that I started to follow (in no particular order):


... and a few more too.

I chose to follow these wonderful bloggers because it looked like they were reading some interesting books and what they had to say struck me as interesting.

And now, the new question!

"If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?"

I really should, but sometimes I don't. For some books, that works; they could easily be stand-alone books. However, some books just don't quite work that way. They might refer to something that happened in another book before that-- something crucial. That's when I'll stop, go find the first one, and then work my way back to the first book I picked up.

When I was reading 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' I was a rebel, and I started with book 10, went back to 7 or 3... there was no rhyme or reason to how I read them. Then I read them all again, but in order. I'm not sure if one method did better than another.

Geez.... sorry for the long answer...

Any way, feel free to look around, and happy blog-hopping!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Confessions of a NaNoNite: Day 10

How are you feeling today?
  • I'm actually feeling quite calm, despite the fact that I'm tired, I still need to read a little for school tomorrow, and I'm still behind on my overall word count. I think NaNoWriMo is giving me mood swings... in case you couldn't infer that from the previous pictures.
What got in your way?
  • Lack of time. I started typing, but then I had to do my homework, then I had to go to a class, then I had to come home and finish up that homework. There wasn't a lot of time to just sit down and type everything that I was thinking in one sitting (hey Jude, what are you doing now? I know, I know...).
How did you overcome that obstacle?
  • I am writing things down in a notebook. I'm not just letting perfectly good ideas go to waste. So today wasn't a total loss for writing. Just for typing everything up.
What are you going to do tomorrow that you didn't do today?
  • I'm going to try and type more of my novel onto my computer. But I also have more commitments tomorrow, so we'll see how this goes. I'm going to try and get my homework done right away, then type a little, then go to my friend's concert, then come home and type more if there happens to be a little time left over.
Okay, I'm off to read the rest of 'Heart of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad now. I have a test tomorrow, and I haven't yet finished part three... oops...

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Confessions of a NaNoNite: Day 8 and 9

*Warning: the following post may contain teenage drama. Please bear with me.*
How are you feeling today?
  • Earlier today, I would have told you that I was going to explode, but now, things seem to be peachy-keen, thank you very much.
Why didn't you make a separate post yesterday?
  • I tried to, I really did. I had internet failure (does that sound like a disease to anyone else?). I tried several different Wi-Fi networks, but for some reason, internet was over-rated last night.
What's with the picture?
  • There was a college fair at my school today. Of course there weren't any posters that said any of those things, but it certainly felt like that. They were all from around my state, which I wasn't terribly excited about. I want to get out in the world, but it looks like I'm going to be staying closer to home for one reason or another... there is good news though. I found a really cool college that I will definitely apply to once I have a portfolio together and when it gets closer to next year.
What stood in your way the past two day?
  • Mostly homework. I got done with it at a decent hour, but once I was done, all of the creative energy had just sort of seeped out. All I wanted to do was read (which worked to your advantage, because there's another book review that you can check out (below) if you so desire. Today, it was just the lack of time. I've had to do all of my writing tonight.
How did you overcome those things?
  • I made sure that I at least wrote some things on notebook paper. That way, I didn't feel like I wasn't doing anything.
What is most frustrating right now (in NaNoWriMo)?
  • I had an answer for this originally, but now I can't remember what that was... Oh yes! I'll have these ideas and movie-like images in my head that I really want to add into my story, but for some reason, I'm incapable of putting them into words. It's the strangest thing. That's the part that sucks about being a writer-- when you're at a loss for words.
What are you going to do tomorrow that you didn't do today?
  • I'm going to try and make up for the last two days. I'm still a couple thousand words behind and because I know about what's coming up this week, my biggest fear is that I'm going to get even more behind than I already am.
Do you have a word count update for us?
  • Certainly... 23.64%. Not too bad, but definitely not where I'm supposed to be at this point in the game.
There might have to be another dual Confessions post because I have a class that I need to go to tomorrow night. Either way, hopefully I shall have another post tomorrow!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

A Review of 'Margarettown' by Gabrielle Zevin

It could be about anyone—you, your parents, your best friends. But it’s not. It’s about a woman called Margaret Towne, and a man who falls deeply in love with her. What he doesn’t know is that loving Maggie means loving many women at once. After a brief and intense courtship, the two young lovers set off to meet Maggie’s family: Old Margaret, Marge, Mia, and May—five women of different ages, all living together in a house called Margaron, in a place called Margarettown. Part fable, part memoir, part journey through the many world of one woman, Margarettown resonates with the wisdom and stylistic brilliance of a born writer.

Shelfari is an amazing tool for book-lovers. That’s where I find a lot of the books that I end up putting on my “To Be Read” list. After looking up ‘Gabrielle Zevin,’ I found this and then I reserved it at the library.

I enjoyed it while I read it. Some of it was hard to wrap my head around. From my understanding, this is primarily a love story. Sometimes it was cute and it made me smile, while other times, the story went in an aggravating direction (I won’t say how). What was amazing to me was how they treated each other after either N. (he’s never given a full name, just a letter) or Maggie did something that not many spouses would be pleased to hear about.

What was interesting was how Gabrielle Zevin portrayed the complexity of women. The many layers of Maggie are shown through her different ages and phases.

This is a really interesting read. Why don’t you go and check it out?

Thank for reading!

—Jude