Saturday, April 30, 2011

One Cup of Tea and a Busy Day Ahead

To Do
--Finish Human Geography homework and worksheets
--Finish translating French historical figures article and answer questions
--Do book file for 'Eat, Pray, Love'
--Start working on April LONTEM Project video
--Finish up Script Frenzy Play and prepare a post about it (rain check on blog post, it'll be in the LONTEM video)
--Write review of Audio book
--Rewrite 'Murder by Rulers'
--Make banana bread (?)
--Put physics equations on flashcards
--Write abstract for English

If you're reading this list, you're probably thinking, "Jeepers, this girl has a ton of homework!"  You're right.  And do you want to know why?  I'll blame procrastination, small attention spans, and AP testing.  'Nough said.  Hopefully I'll get all of that done so that I can post again later or else do something that is of greater interest.

Thanks for reading, if you did!


Friday, April 29, 2011

TGIF, Blog Hop, and Follow Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome to the weekend!  I never thought it'd get here...

Book Blogger Hop

The Blog Hop Question

Summer is coming quickly (though not quick enough, it feels like)-- what 2011 summer releases are you most looking forward to?

I have a wee list for you!  I'll put pictures and then put links to their Good Reads pages.

The TGIF Question

Stand Alone Vs. Series: What's your stance?

I'm pretty neutral when it comes to which kind of book I prefer.  They both have their pros and cons.  In a series, you get to know a number of characters very well.  In a stand alone, the author has to be a spectacular writer to pull this off well.  In a stand alone, if it's good, there's no danger of it being ruined by a bad sequel (it's very much like movie sequels).  In a series, the author has a lot to live up to if his or her first installment was absolutely phenomenal.  Stand alone novels are nice because they are stories you don't necessarily have to wonder about afterwards.  They have a handful of great feelings and central points that you can ponder later.  In a series, the central points can be so plentiful and they can vary from book to book, those themes and feelings and ideas can drown each other out or lose balance with each other and make it so that you miss several things the first time you read it.  On the other hand, this ensures that you're reading a different novel, in a manner of speaking, every time you pick up one of that series.  So I'm pretty even-keel when it comes to Stand Alone books and Series novels.  Both are equally great and horrid, it just depends on what kind of story is being told.

The Follow Friday Question

Keeping with the dystopian and apocalypse theme that seems to be running rampant on, I have one very hard question for you: If you were stocking your bomb shelter, what books would you HAVE to include if you only had space for ten?

1. "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert (to have something to think about whilst the bombs are going off)
2-8. Harry Potter 1-7 (something to entertain me, something to guide me in survival, etc.  Harry Potter has tons of uses!)
9. "The Hunger Games" (for obvious reasons, if you've read it)
10. H.G. Wells Anthology (just in case of alien attacks)

So that's it for me!  But how about you guys?  I would love to read your answers!  Leave a comment and your web address below and I'll at least respond to you in the comments if not visit you.  Have a lovely weekend, everyone!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Review of 'Storm of Iron' by Graham McNeill

"On the nightmare battlefields of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, few foes spark more fear and dread than the Chaos Space Marines.  Nurturing a hatred that is millennia-old, they attack without mercy, spreading terror and destruction in their wake.  Now hell has come to Hydra Cordatus, for a massive force of terrifying Iron Warriors, brutal assault troops of Chaos, have invaded the planet and lain siege to its mighty Imperial citadel.  But what prize could possibly be worth so much savage bloodshed and destruction and how long can the defenders possibly holdout?

Storm of Iron is the essential Chaos Space Marines novel by Graham McNeill, author of the highly popular Ultramarines series."

So, picking this book to read has a bit of a story behind it.  I'll keep it brief...

Once upon a time (one or two years ago) a teenage boy decided to lend this book to his girlfriend who adored reading just about anything you could imagine.  One or two years later, the boy's girlfriend is still trying to get through the same book for the first time.  The End.  (Pardon me, my stories are usually on hundred times better than this).

I'll tell you why this book has taken this girl one or two years to even come close to finishing.  I like lists, so we'll do it that way.

1.  It's too militaristic.  Not that there's anything wrong with wars in books.  It raises the amount of interestingness in a book.  The problem is, that's all the book is about.  I can't remember any hints of romance or mystery or, God forbid, happiness.

2.  I have no idea what's going on.  I have stopped on page 320 of 409 and I have no idea what any character's objective is.  What is driving them?  What are they trying to obtain?  I feel like I've picked up in the middle of the series.  If it's a series at all... there's no indicator for that.

3.  I don't know any of the characters.  This one requires a little bit of explanation.  While I can't name off every single character in the book, I figure I could pick the names off of a pre-assembled list.  What I mean by this point is that the characters feel very flat.  I don't know anything about them or their history.  I don't have a reason to care about any one of these characters.

4.  I can't visualize anything.  Sometimes it's from a lack of description, other times it's from poor description or the presence of obscure terms.  I'm not familiar with what certain guns look like.  I'm not familiar with many science terms.  When you give me terms or objects in a book that I'm not familiar with, it helps to have that term or object compared with something that I am familiar with.

5.  This book is meant for those who play Warhammer 40,000.  I have nothing against those who play the game, that's not what I'm trying to get at.  This book doesn't allow passerby to know what's happening.  You have to be "in the club" to know just what's happening or know what anything is.

So, after one or two years or struggling with this book, I am closing the book and moving on to something that is either more important or of greater interest (knowing me, it'll be something that's of greater interest rather than something that's super important).  I have to admit, a great burden has been lifted off of me.  I don't feel guilty about setting this book down (I've never set a book down because I didn't like it.  I was really determined to finish this one, but it just was not meant to be).

I give Storm of Iron:
Thanks for reading!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Review of 'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert

"By the time she turned thirty, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern, educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want-- a husband, a house in the country, a successful career.  But instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed with panic, grief, and confusion.  She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love, and the complete eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be,

To recover from all this, Gilbert took a radical step.  In order to give herself the time and space to find out who she really was and what she really wanted, she got rid of her belongings, quit her job, left her loved ones behind, and undertook a year-long journey around the world, all alone.  Eat, Pray, Love is the absorbing chronicle of that year.  Gilbert's aim was to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her nature set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well.  In Italy, she studied the art of pleasure, learning to speak Italian and gaining the twenty-three happiest pounds of her life.  India was for the art of devotion, where, with the help of a native guru and a surprisingly wise Texan, she embarked on four months of austere spiritual exploration.  Finally, in Indonesia, she sought her ultimate goal: balance-- namely, how to somehow build a life of equilibrium between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.  Looking for these answers on the island of Bali, she became the pupil of an elderly ninth-generation medicine man and also fell in love in the very best way-- unexpectedly.

An intensely articulate, sensible, moving, and funny memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment.  It is also about the adventures that can transpire when a woman stops trying to live in imitation of society's ideals.  This is a story certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change."

This book is the epitome of the reason why I love memoirs.  This is the true story of what a woman does to achieve true happiness.  This memoir is brutally honest and yet funny; it makes you appreciate different parts of your life more than you thought you could appreciate them.  Elizabeth Gilbert's words made me rethink my own life and reflect on it.  Some of the things she said I found to be quite profound to think about, so I dog-eared the pages.  This might be one of those occurrences where I dog-ear a page for another reason other than to hold my place.  If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to quote them for you:

1. "'...And please don't laugh at me now, but I seriously believed David was my soul mate.'
   'He probably was.  Your problem is you don't understand what that word means.  People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants.  But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.  A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake...'"

2.  The entirety of chapter three.  Her views on religion are just so interesting to read about.  For a few years now, I have struggled with my religion as well as the concept of religion as a whole.  I call myself a weak agnostic, but I'm embarrassed to say so because, though for the time being, it's true for me, it sounds bad because, to my knowledge, the rest of my family is not like that.  I feel free, but guilty at the same time.  Miss Gilbert's thoughts fascinated me and have doused my thought process in a new kind of light.

3.  "...Before dawn the roosters for miles around announce how freaking cool it is to be roosters.  ('We are ROOSTERS!' they holler.  'We are the only ones who get to be ROOSTERS!')..."

I just found this spot to be incredibly funny.  I literally laughed out loud.  Liz's syntax just impresses me so much because her humor definitely comes out and it's just totally unexpected!  I love it!

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this book off the reservation shelf, but I'm really happy that I did read it.

The people Liz meet are so extraordinary in their own way.  I think I liked the people from Indonesia (Bali) best because they were just so happy.  Sure, they're had their share of hardship, but still, they were happy.

I have never wanted to visit any of these countries more (well, Italy and Indonesia, any way.  No offense, India.  Maybe someday though).

An excellent read!  I give Eat, Pray, Love:
Thanks for reading!


Friday, April 22, 2011

March: Wildcard Month

An extremely late third installment of the LONTEM Project!  It's almost time for part 4...

If you are just joining me, I think a little bit of explanation is in order.  At the beginning of the year, I made a new year's resolution.  That resolution was to learn at least one new thing every month (thus the name of the project, Learn One New Thing Every Month, or LONTEM).  If you are interested in seeing the other videos that I've done thus far, you may click on the LONTEM Project tab above next to the other page tabs.  The video links are high-lighted in blue.

This month, I learned how to knit, how to make tie-blankets, and how to Hula-Hoop with the help of my friends Laura and Avery and my grandma.



A Review of 'The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella" by Stephenie Meyer (Audio Book)

"Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, super human reflexes, and unstoppable physical strength.  Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood... life before she became a vampire.

All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has a few certainties and even fewer rules: watching your back, don't draw attention to yourself, and above all, make it home before sunrise or die.  What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.

Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as her.  As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust.  But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?

In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of the newborn  army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion."

I have to say, this was no great.  There aren't very many books that I've read and/or reviewed where I can say that about them.

I was okay with 'Twilight' and the rest of the series.  We're good acquaintances; not too friendly, not too formal.  I think we could exchange fist-bumps if the need arose.

What I didn't like about this book was it tied into Twilight, but not really.  I did a little bit of research after I finished listening and I found out that Bree Tanner was a character in Eclipse.  I'll be honest, Eclipse felt like a filler book, which is why I really don't remember what happened in it besides Bella was trying to convince Edward to turn her into a vampire (and I think they get engaged too, spoiler).  So when I found out that Bree Tanner was a bigger character in the phenomena than I though, I tried to think of where in Eclipse she turns up.  I couldn't think of anything.

What I liked was through this book, we get to learn a little more about newborn vampires.  Those I do remember from the series.  The fact that they were used as tools for combat was interesting too.

Not only did this novella make me feel clueless and lost, but it also made me feel like I was listening to another one of the 'Twilight' books.  Once again, there's someone after Bella and they don't understand the Cullens or their dynamics.  Overall, I could have lived without this read.  It just felt useless and I really wish that it had been different in many ways.  I give 'The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner':
Thanks for reading!


Thursday, April 21, 2011


Happy Friday!  It's going to be a chilly one, but I have the day off and it's going to be wonderful!

The Blog Hop, Follow Friday, and TGIF are brought to you by Jennifer @ Crazy-for-Books, Parajunkee, and Ginger @ GReads.  You may click on their buttons above and below to visit them and join in the crazy hopping fun!

The Follow Friday Question

What is on your current playlist right now?

I am currently enjoying these guys right now:
--My Chemical Romance
--Julia Nunes
--Hank Green
--Jack's Mannequin
--Imogen Heap
--Linkin Park
--Shiny Toy Guns
And of course a plethora of musicals and other artists... I don't really have a playlist, just an iPod with a little bit of everything on it.

The Blog Hop Question

When you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?

I most certainly do!  Well, if the first book I found was good.  I did this for David Levithan, Gabrielle Zevin, John Green, and Laurie Halse Anderson's books.  I highly recommend all of these authors if you haven't read anything of theirs before.

The TGIF Question

How do you feel about explicit language and/or sexual content in YA books?

These are things I'm not very sensitive about.  If it's in the book, I'm still going to read through those parts.  If I get overly uncomfortable, I will skim through the part until it passes or else find something else to read.  This mostly applies to sexual content in books.  There are certain instances where it just gets to be too much.  As for the language part, I don't really care what's being said.  I'm in high school, I've probably heard every single word that's being said in the book sometime between middle school and where I am in high school right now. It's nothing new and I've become quite desensitized by it (which is unfortunate, but unavoidable).

What are your answers to these questions?  Leave your web address in comment form below and I'll try my best to come by and visit you!

Have a lovely weekend!


Book Blogger Hop

Friday, April 15, 2011

Follow Friday and The Blog Hop

Welcome to Friday!  I hope everyone had an awesome week.  I had testing for two days, which threw everything else off-kilter, which made for a very easy week of schooling.

The Blog Hop and Follow Friday is brought to you by Parajunkee and Jennifer at Crazy for Books (you can click on their buttons to go and visit).

The Blog Hop Question

Book Blogger Hop

Outside of books, what is your guilty pleasure?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  My current obsession (and I'm sure all of my friends are tired of hearing me talk about it).  Over the past few weeks, I have sat down and watched every single episode.  I'm now on Season 4 of 5.  I also love The Vlogbrothers on YouTube (check them out if you haven't already).  I love correcting the grammar on random notes and I also love cheesy pick-up lines and I've looked them up just for fun and for a wonderful laugh :)  I don't feel guilty about any of these things though.

The Follow Friday Question

Do you have anyone that you can discuss books with in real life?  Tell us about him/her.

I'm really lucky to have several people like this in my life.  My mom joined a book club several months ago and because of this, we've begun to talk more about the books we read.  I have yet to find a book of mine that she likes, but she's recommended 'Water for Elephants' (which I loved to death) and 'The Help' (which I have yet to read.  It's really fun.

I also did an exchange of books with my friends Ezra and Avery.  Avery, I introduced to John Green books (she liked 'Looking for Alaska' and another one of them she found very strange, but I can't remember which).  She lent me 'The Golden Compass' and the rest of that series, which I've started, but I'm really excited to get through, because I liked what I've read so far.  As for Ezra, I've traded Laurie Halse Anderson books and she lent me 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.'

I can also talk about books with my boyfriend, Jack.  It's different because we have very different tastes in books.  He talks to me about science fiction (I still have a book called 'Storm of Iron' which I really must finish.  I also have some C.S. Lewis books of his).  I've lent him 'The Book Thief' and I got him to read Harry Potter with the help of his sister.  I think he's stuck on book four...

My grandma is the person I can mainly talk to about books.  She reads historical and mystery books, and they're always very interesting to read.  Last time I went to her house, I came home with an entire stack of books that I wanted to read.  I'm probably not going to finish them for several months, but hopefully during the summer I'll be able to get through a large percentage.

I'm interested in reading everyone else's answers, so if you would like me to visit, leave a message in the comments along with your web address and I'll try my best to come by!  Have a lovely weekend!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Review of 'Love is the Higher Law' by David Levithan

"First there is a Before, and then there is an After... The lives of three teens-- Claire, Jasper, and Peter-- are altered forever on September 11, 2001.  Claire, a high school junior, has to get her younger brother in his classroom.  Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parent's frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he's okay.  Peter, a classmate of Claire's, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.  Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event.  As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other's in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.  David Levithan has written a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption as his characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever."

What I love about David Levithan's work is that he's able to take one powerful central event or emotion and then break it down into what went into this thing and what came out.  If that made any kind of sense at all...  But really, it's so cool how he can take something this big and fit it all into a powerful short story (short chapter book?).

David Levithan was brutally honest in his writing.  He doesn't skirt around the fact that two of his main characters are gay.  He dives right into the problems they experience.  The scene with the blood drive was so aggravating and effective at the same time.

Though we don't get to know the characters as well as we do in Harry Potter, but they are still extraordinary characters that you grow to care about.  They're amazing.

This is one of those books where you really can't help but start to think.  It was mostly Claire that got me to think, but Jasper and Peter also had their own things to share.

The one problem I had, and this is in no way David Levithan's fault, I can only remember little things about that day.  I think I was at school.  I was seven because second grade had just started.  My mom tells me that I came home from school and told her that I didn't want to talk about it.  Though I don't really know why I didn't do that.  I was basically mirroring what everyone else was actually feeling; they were sad, so I had to be sad too.  That's just how I was.  Because of this, I don't have much of an emotional connection to this event.

Overall, I give 'Love is the Higher Law':
Thanks for reading!


Monday, April 11, 2011

A Review of 'The Sky is Everywhere' by Jandy Nelson (Audio Book)

"Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, book worm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister Bailey.  But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life-- and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two.  Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own.  Joe is the new musical talent.  For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it.  But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole world exploding.

Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable."

I was so excited to find this as an audio book at the library!  It must have been out longer than I thought it was...

The woman reading the book, Julia Whelan, was definitely a good choice.  I love a reader who a) reads out loud so they can b) add voices and accents for the various characters.  I also like it when readers (at least the ones that record themselves reading) don't botch up the French language.  It's my soft spot.

Let's move more towards the book now.  My favorite description was that of Lennie's town.  She described it as a place for hippies (or it once was).  It made me feel more like the hippie that I never believed I was when morning meditation in the gym was mentioned.  Hey, I thought that that sounded fun!  I liked the idea of a hotel room outside as well.  It was super cool!  At least the picture in my head was.  It was an interesting concept.

One thing that I didn't like was I still don't know what caused Bailey to die.  Maybe it was mentioned in the book and I just missed it, but I've gone through all six CDs and I still have this question.  Maybe it just wasn't crucial to the story-telling... either way, I'm curious.  If you know, perhaps you could enlighten me.

The fact that Lennie was getting involved with her sister's boyfriend (would he be her ex-boyfriend now that Bailey is dead?  Wow... way to be classy, Jude...) was kind of weird for me.  Maybe I'm too sensitive, but my brain immediately put my sister and me into Lennie and Bailey's place.  If I was gone, I'm 100% certain that my sister would not try to be with my boyfriend and her own at the same time.  It would be a huge form of disrespect... sisterly disrespect... it would also be a little weird for both boyfriends involved, I'm sure.  Why should Bailey and Lennie's situation be terribly different?

On top of that, Lennie is shifting between two guys.  What a horrible thing to do, toying with their emotions like that.  Of course both boys were hurt when they found out what was happening (honestly, I don't understand how they didn't figure out what was going on earlier).

The good thing that came out of those two things is they provoked strong reactions and one of them I was able to place myself into the situation (not through experience though, mind you).

I loved Gram very much!  She was such an interesting grandmother.  The characters were all very interesting in their own ways and they were well developed.

The sub plots were also interesting.  I was very interested in hearing about Lennie's mother and the Lennie plant (the plant reminded me of 'E.T.').  Overall, a very nice read.  I give 'The Sky is Everywhere':
Thanks for reading!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Doing Some Artistic Experiments

Yesterday, Ezra Zee came over to my house and we had planned to do two things: make sock monkeys and make something out of duct tape.  Well, the sock monkey idea fell through when my Houdini/Poltergeist dog somehow got in my room and stole one of the socks and ripped it to shreds... so we went ahead with making something out of duct tape.  

After french fries and googling, we decided to make a pair of shoes.  This was the result:

They're very comfortable and easy to make!

Thanks for looking!


Spring Time

Friday, April 8, 2011

Follow Friday with the Absence of the Blog Hop

Hello my followers new and old!  Welcome to another glorious Friday!  It's even more glorious now that it's getting warmer by the day.  Before we know it, it'll be summer and then we'll want it to be spring or fall again, as is the pattern.

This weekend, there will be no Blog Hop, but there is still Follow Friday, so we get right to it!


Do you judge a book by its cover?

In the literal sense, yes.  I'm a sucker for beautiful cover art, what can I say?  I find a wonderful cover, then I decide whether I want to read the book or not by reading the description inside.

Books with covers like this ended up being some of my favorite books in the entire world.  But what I've noticed is that a lot of book covers from different countries end up looking a lot better than the U.S. editions.  That's also fun to look at: the different covers for one book.

Thanks for dropping by today!  If you would like me to stop by your blog this weekend, leave a comment below with your web address and I'll try my best to come and visit you!

Have a lovely weekend!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Review of 'The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl' by Barry Lyga

"'Is this my hidden mutant power-- the ability to screw up absolutely any decent situation?'

Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell.  The bullies have made him their favorite target, his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and popularity), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form known as Fanboy's new little brother or sister.

Fanboy, though, has a secret: a graphic novel he's been working on without telling anyone, a graphic novel that he is convinced will lead to publication, fame, and-- most important of all-- a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and away from all the people who make it hell for him.

When Fanboy meets Kyra, a.k.a. Goth Girl, he finds an outrageous, cynical girl who slaves his love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies.  Fanboy can't resist someone who actually seems to understand him, and soon he finds himself willing to heed her advice-- to ignore or crush anyone who stands in his way.

But Kyra has secrets, too.  And they could lead Fanboy to his dreams... or down a path into his own darkness."

The thing that I like best about young adult novels is what the character ultimately wants is to find themselves (whether they say that that's their intention or not).  Fanboy and Goth Girl is not an exception to this.

The main character (and the narrator) remains nameless throughout the book.  If someone needs to get his attention, he's referred to as 'Fanboy' (in the case of Kyra).  This helps the readers of this book put themselves in the place of Fanboy.  Ultimately, I think this helps the reader to identify certain qualities in themselves.  I've always been a fan of this literary technique!  It's really, really interesting how this works.

Another thing that I really like about Fanboy and Goth Girl is the use of comic books and graphic novels.  It was incredibly interesting because it wasn't just a useless add-on to the story.  It's really a central part of the story.  Once 'Schemata' is introduced, it's the thing that Fanboy refers to all the time; He makes comparisons with his life and his graphic novel, which is appropriate because many of the things that make up 'Schemata' are based on his life.

The characters are also interesting because they're so different from each other.  The only thing that was a little frustrating was the way Kyra acted.  The way she talked about shooting 99% of the entire school, whether she meant it or not, was startling.  I've never read any dialogue where a student just talked so nonchalant about it.  But that was only one occurrence.  There were two instances where she flashed someone in the book.  Kyra was an interesting character as a whole.  It's my understanding that she's the narrator in the sequel, which I borrowed from the library (it's currently in my possession), so I'm pretty excited to take a read.

What I found coolest of all was the party scene towards the end of the book.  Fanboy is completely out of his comfort zone, but then he meets his crush from afar, Dina.  She starts talking to him and she become more and more real instead of just a pair of legs with breasts.  And Fanboy acts awkward and still cute around her because he really likes her as well as her beauty.  What I like about this part is all of those people that Fanboy had a grudge against (or who were on the list) are given a little bit more color-- more life-- breathed into them.  It just helps to make the story that much more real.

Overall, I like pretty much everything about Fanboy and Goth Girl.  I would argue that Barry Lyga is a literary genius.  I now open this debate in the comments if anyone is interested in participating!

I give Fanboy and Goth Girl:
Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Snapshots from Chicago

These aren't all of the pictures that I took.  It's just all of the ones that I edited and that I feel are ready for presentation.  Enjoy!

I'm still planning on making a video, so that will tell you a lot more than these pictures.  I'm not sure when that will come though.  Patience is a virtue, I guess :)


A Review of 'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison

"First published in 1952 and immediately hailed as a masterpiece, Invisible Man is one of those rare novels that have changed the shape of American literature.  For not only does Ralph Ellison's nightmare journey across the racial divide tell unparalleled truths about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators, it gives us an entirely new model of what a novel can be.

As he journeys from the Deep South to the streets and basements of Harlem, from a horrifying 'battle royal' where black men are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies, Ralph Ellison's nameless protagonist ushers readers into a parallel universe that throws our own into harsh and even hilarious relief.  Suspenseful and sardonic, narrated in a voice that takes in the symphonic range of the American languages, black and white, Invisible Man is one of the most audacious and dazzling novels of our century."

Another book that I've had to read for my English class.  Let's get right into it.

Looking at the book in its entirety, it was really just an okay book.  There were many good things, but there were also many bad things that made me lose feelings for this book.

There was powerful symbolism and at one point or another, it turned into a game for me.  I was looking for the color white almost the entire time.  Looking for blindness/sight motif was also a good pastime while reading.

My favorite part to read was the paint factory.  It just felt like more things were happening in that part.  It was like watching a clumsy teenager at their first job.

I didn't like that even though I knew I was probably reading something vital to the rest of the book, I didn't care.  I hate not caring when I read a book because then it just feels like I'm wasting my time.

Another thing about this book was I always had this feeling that the main character was holding something back.  That's the author's job, not the characters'.  Then again, maybe I missed the memo...

While there are many things that I didn't like, there are some redeeming qualities to it.  Because of this, I give Invisible Man:
Now I'm off to write a paper so that I can be rid of this book.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mental Breakdown

I'm really stressing out about one class that I'm taking...

Perhaps you've experienced something similar (I think I'm mainly speaking to those who are in high school and college/university... it's a very specific mental breakdown).

My school has this thing where you're able to check your grades and find out what you scored for certain assignments or find out what you're missing.  It's an awesome tool, but sometimes it causes unnecessary freak-outs, like tonight's.

Tonight I logged on to this website and to my shock and horror, I was receiving a failing grade in my physics class.  Now, I knew I wasn't good at physics and that I had to work harder than some just to stay floating at a C or B.  Tonight, after stressing a lot at school today because of extra work in another class (which I discovered tonight that that class is the least of my worries), this was the last thing that I wanted to see.  I was pushed into the deep end.  I fell apart in front of my dad because after I told him what I saw on the grade website, I was afraid of what he thought and I was afraid of what my mom would think when she saw what I was receiving for that class herself (because parents can look at this website as well, and she's very good about that).

Let me start at the beginning of this week.  Actually, Sunday.

Sunday, I was on a bus for eight hours.  I was reading a book that has a tendency to make me fall asleep (if I recover, you will hear about it later this week when it gets a review).  I just barely finished it.  I'm aware that I have a lot of other work that I need to get done, but I know that I have an extra day to do a lot of that work. Apparently my Sunday sub-conscience didn't pass that memo on to my Monday sub-conscience, because when I get back to class on Monday, I'm freaking out over all of these things that I have to do that I couldn't do over the weekend due to my lack of computer access.  I had a mini meltdown in that class, though it was mostly contained and no children were hurt.  The adults survived as well.  Fast forward to Tuesday (er, today).  I've turned in some of the things that I needed to, but there are some new assignments that are due this Friday and some things that I need to make up for.  I'm still stressing about those things because even though it probably isn't a lot of work, it certainly looks like it is, and for now, that's all that matters.  My stress level rises a little when we get an assignment that I only sort of know what I have to do.  Math is surprisingly not a contributing factor to my stress.  Thank god... I really don't need that... We get to fifth hour and I get my individual test that I took yesterday.  I got 15/43.  I'm not proud of it.  I shouldn't even be justifying that score by saying, "At least I didn't get a one like someone did."  Someone did get a one on that test and I was happy that it wasn't me, but I was basically in tears after finding this out.  I told Jack what I got and he said, "Well, physics isn't your thing."  He was trying to make me feel better, but it only made me feel crappier for whatever reason.

Did I mention that I have testing next week?

My phrase of the day is: Keep calm and carry on.  I don't know who said it or where it came from (besides a t-shirt), but those are words of wisdom, my friends.  There is very little I can do at this point.  A found a missing assignment for fifth hour, I'm constantly working on the large pile for the other class, so that is slowly but surely becoming a smaller pile.  My stress is slowly melting away as everything begins to resolve themselves.

I apologize for the frantic and passionate blog post.  I'll try to keep these to a minimum.  This is one of those instances where the blog post really needed to be written.  In fact, I feel a lot better having written it.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. The thing that made me smile while writing this post was looking for a picture to go with it (which never happened, quite obviously).  I went to Google Images and typed in 'mental breakdown.'  One of the first few pictures to come up was Brittney Spears with her shaved head :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I live!!!

You probably think that this post is going to be a re-cap of my weekend trip to Chicago, yes?  Unfortunately, I must inform you that this is not that post.  I'm planning on making a video of everything that happened so that I may conserve space (because the really long posts are super annoying to read, I'm sure.  Just when you think you're done, you have several more volumes to get through).

I'm not quite sure what my homework schedule is going to be like.  If I have a free moment though, videos will be my priority.  In the near future, you can expect:

  • Two reviews (which, incidentally must still be written)
  • A LONTEM video that is overdue
  • A Chicago Recap video
But like I sort of said, school is my priority, so all of this will just have to wait until after all of that stuff.

Sorry to bore you tonight.  I promise to be a little more interesting in the near future.