Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Don't Worry, I'm Not Dead

Hello Everyone!

I just thought I'd clue you in as to the happenings on this blog.  As you might have imagined, school has started up again for me.  Senior year!

This is relevant to this blog because... list time!

1. I won't be around as much as I was over the summer.  Of course I'll still be posting, and I'm trying to keep everything as regular as possible.  I have four reviews lined up and every other day, starting on the fifth, there will be a review.  I'm not sure if this trend will continue, but I really hope so.

2. Eventually, there will be a ton of pictures to put up.  I'm anticipating going on two pretty big trips this year.  One to Washington D.C. (I've never been to that part of the U.S. before!) and another to France.  So you can expect pictures in later April or perhaps May, if not later, because April and May are going to be super busy months what with AP testing and graduation and other family events.  This leads to my third point.

3. This doesn't necessarily apply to now, but it very well could.  You might see a very strung out and stressed Jude Rosenberg at times.  I'm going to try not to post angry posts here, but if in my anger or strung-out state I feel that I need an audience, I might end up posting here and you're more than welcome to ignore.

These are really the basic things that I wanted to tell you.  By Tuesday, I'll have finished another book, if not two, so I'll try and write those and get them lined up and start the next one right away.

Those are the goals for this school season, so wish me luck and I'll see you next time!

Thanks for reading!


A Review of 'Will Grayson, Will Grayson' by John Green and David Levithan (Audio Book)

"It's not that far from Evanston to Naperville, but Chicago suburbanites Will Grayson and Will Grayson might as well live on different planets.  When fate delivers them both to the same surprising crossroads, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in new and unexpected direction.  With a push from friends new and old-- including the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, offensive lineman and musical theater auteur extraordinaire-- Will and Will begin building toward respective romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most awesome high school musical."

One of the most hilarious books I've ever listened to!  I love John Green and also David Levithan.  When they get together, they work magic like nobody's business.

I was a little worried about listening to this book as opposed to reading it because of the two Will Graysons, but that didn't prove to be too big of a problem.  The authors have distinctive writing styles, so if you have read any of their previous works, you might be able to tell.  Otherwise, John Green wrote the odd chapters and David Levithan wrote the even ones.

Tiny Cooper was amazing and I absolutely would have seen his musical!  The lyrics were awesome and they spoke the truth.  I also appreciated that the men who read the chapters were willing to sing Tiny Cooper's lyrics (that's an extra special treat you get when you listen to the audio book!).  That made listening to this book as opposed to reading this book completely worth it.

If you have ever been in love-- or lust-- of any kind, it will be easy to relate to this story.  And if you've struggled with your sexuality, you'll appreciate this book as well.  It's beautiful and honest as well as funny.

In summation, 'Will Grayson, Will Grayson' will appeal to anyone that like a young adult, kind-of-love, self-acceptance story saturated in humor.

I give 'Will Grayson, Will Grayson':
Thanks for reading!


P.S. I have a large number of reviews coming your way, for real this time, but I'm going to schedule them so you aren't bombarded.  The next one will be next week!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Traveling Teacher

Recently, (like, within the last two or three weeks) I have started watching a lady named Paige on YouTube under the username hopeonatenspeed (click to pay her a visit).  She is such an inspiring person.  Not only does she consistently find a reason to be happy, but she's also done many amazing things so far in her life.  One of the things that she did was move to Korea to teach English for a year.  Pretty soon, she's moving to Thailand to do the same thing.  She has been on road trips around the U.S., she went to Northern Ireland to complete her Masters degree.

While all of these things sound absolutely amazing, I'm only going to focus on one of those things.  That thing is something that I'm currently planning for myself.

I'm talking about teaching English in another country.

One of the big things that I want to do in my lifetime is travel.  I plan on living in another country for at least a year in college, but after that, I didn't know what I would do.  Before I found out about this, I assumed that my options would be to look into Grad Schools or to get a job.  While both of these things are really good to do (and I'll more than likely end up doing them), at this point in time, they don't seem like the most appealing things to do.  So when I started watching Paige, I became inspired to look into teaching in other countries.

I did some Googling, and I found this online school that would allow me to earn a certificate to teach in other countries and learn how to teach English to those who were born in a country where English isn't the primary language spoken.  It's called TEFL Institute.  While I'll have to do a little more research (maybe even dropping an email with questions that haven't already been answered), this option looks very good for me.

It's an online class.  They let me do 100 hours of online work and then 20 more hours of in-person training.  After that, they'll help me get a job in a country I'd like to go to and wouldn't mind living in.  If online doesn't seem to be a good option for me, they also offer in-person training to make up for those 100 hours.  That would take a month to complete.

After that, it looks like I'd never have to renew this certificate and they'd help me with pre-departure dates and to-do lists, so I wouldn't be on my own through this whole process, which is comforting.  They could help me find a job during the summer (though the countries are more limited) or they could help me obtain teaching contracts anywhere from 6 months to an entire year.

I could even start this training right out of high school (though I would like to attend a typical college first)!  They only require that you have your high school diploma and that you're a native or a fluent English-speaker (which I am!).

All of that is a super-long way of saying that this program sounds absolutely amazing and I really want to do it as soon as I finish at least four years of college.  I'd basically be getting paid to travel.  And to teach.  How awesome is that?

After looking at the list they gave, I think I'd like to teach in Greece, Italy, and Indonesia for sure.  But there are so many other countries to visit and look into... that decision is going to be the hardest part, but making the decision to actually do this will not be hard.

So, I thought I'd just throw this out there, because I think it's so freaking amazing that this is out there.

I promise I'll have reviews up later today.  I have about three or four of them just waiting to be typed up and published on this blog.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. Sorry for repeating the picture :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Following Friday!

Welcome to Friday!  I'm sort of trying to get back into the swing of answering these question at the end of the working week.  I call this progress :)

TGIF, The Blog Hop, and Follow Friday are brought to you by Ginger @ GReads, Jennifer @ Crazy for Books, and Parajunkee.

Which genre, authors, or particular books do you think people associate with your reading style?

Among my friends, I like to think that I'm associated with Young Adult Fiction that tends to be dark and depressing.  I can't say that I disagree with them.  I love books like "13 Reasons Why" by Jay Asher, and anything by Laurie Halse Anderson.  I guess that's because it's neat to see a protagonist fight against an enemy that's not human.

Non-book related week!!  Do you have pets?

I do indeed!  My house is a little bit zoo-like and I'm sure you'll know why as soon as I tell you.  First of all, I have two cats.  The oldest one is Sophie.  She hangs out in the basement all day and all night and does not like to be placed in the empty and dry washing machine.  I don't understand... the youngest cat is Quincy.  She is sociable and fluffy.  Then there's our dippy dog Louie the Beagle.  He enjoys sleeping on his back and being generally dippy.  There's Sullivan the hamster who is three years old and is still going strong!  He loves to run and play dead (no, he's not really dead.  I've checked because he's freaked me out so many times).  Also, I'm pretty sure he's fluent in French because of all the French music I play.  Lastly, there's Senior Fluffy, my sister's hermit crab.  It's fun to babysit him!  He enjoys trying to escape (and he's gotten pretty close, astonishingly).

I'm too lazy to post pictures, but trust me, there are pictures floating around this site (except for pictures of Fluffy, because he's new to the household, and Sullivan, because he's super fast).

In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series, the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world.  Which mythical creature do you wish would come out of the closet, for real?

This one:
You know, as long as Norbert stays this size.  He's cuter that way ^_^

Thanks for reading!  I'd love to read your answers, so feel free to leave your web address below.  I'll try and pay you a visit to your site this weekend.  Have a good one!


Thursday, August 25, 2011 Blog Scholarship Entry

In a year's time, I'll be packing my life up in boxes and moving out of my house that I've lived in for seventeen years and moving into whichever college I get accepted to.  Ideally, this college would be the University of Minnesota- Duluth (UMD).  I would live on campus for a year, if not two, before seeking out an apartment.

While I was meandering around, I, alas, could not find an apartment in or around Duluth, so I assumed that I was going to the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota.  I found an apartment that was nearly perfect for what I was hoping for in an apartment (for a first apartment, any way.  I have big plans for that dream home!).

This apartment is owned by Bowers Real Estate Development (you can click on the owner's name to check out the page for it).  I picked this apartment because it fulfills my basic apartment necessities checklist and it fulfills a couple romantic notions of mine.

My basic apartment necessities checklist in a few years will more than likely consist of decent rent, enough room for two people (myself and a roommate), and access to public transportation (with optional lake and bike trail access).  This particular apartment has a two-bedroom apartment available, which would make my hope of having a roommate completely possible (roommates make life interesting).  With this dream roommate in mind, the rent would be much lower if we split it between the two of us.  So that takes care of the first two things on my basic needs checklist.  The last thing is access to public transit and/or lakes with bike trails.  Though this isn't mentioned in the ad on, I happen to know the area quite well.  There are three lakes nearby complete with bike trails that connect to each other.  I would definitely utilize these trails and lakes because by hobby, I'm a photographer that prefers to take pictures of naturally occurring things and I also like to ride bikes whenever I can.  While I seriously question the origin of these lakes (I'm fairly certain at least one of them is man-made), lakes are things found in nature, and I appreciate that.  As for public transportation, this would be the main way that I get around.  I'm planning on studying abroad for at least one year, if not two, and also teaching in a different country (if not several) as soon as I obtain my degree for teaching English.
The point is, I don't believe I'll need a car for quite some time.

As soon as I looked at the lone picture on the page, I noticed one really awesome thing.  This apartment is situated next to, if not directly above, a Murder Mystery book store called Once Upon a Crime. Being a book blogger and lover, this could be a very dangerous living situation, however, I'm willing to take the risk.  This was one romantic notion of mine.  The second is having a lot of adventures.  Taking a city bus to and from college means that I would come back to this apartment with tales of the many interesting people that I saw or met.  I have a few already, and while they were scary at the time, they make for great stories to tell to friends now.  Not only that, but with city bus access, there are many opportunities for going on adventures around the city and maybe even outside the city.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this apartment, but there are a few things that I would change upon moving in with my roommate.

First of all, I would change the color of the walls.  In the picture, they show that the walls are stark white.  Like a hospital.  I hate hospitals.  I don't want my beautiful apartment to look like a psych ward in a hospital.  If my landlord doesn't let me paint the walls themselves, I'm collaborating with my roommate and we'll frame every picture we've ever taken of anything and hang them on the walls.  They'll be the most interesting walls in existence between our travels, friends, maybe even times in high school or else a five year reunion, and artistic photographs.  Also, bookshelves.  Lots of them.
The second thing I would change is putting in a garden.  I don't mean that I would go nuts and break holes in the floor just to find a place to put dirt in.  I'm fairly certain that that wouldn't go over well with my landlord and my roommate would probably move out.  At least in my room, I would have a corner for plants.  Because of a project that I have done this summer, I have discovered a love for gardening and now I don't think that I could not garden even if I wanted to.
This apartment would be perfect for me and for a roommate of a similar disposition as me and there are very few things that I would actually have to change to make it feel and (hopefully) look excellent, which is only an added bonus.

Thank you very much for reading!

--Megan Bernard

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Class Schedule for Senior Year!

First Semester:
1. Psychology (Berglund) Hurray!  A class that I actually want to take!
2. Wind Ensemble (Carter) Hurray!  Second year!  Not because I failed, that's just how it works :)
3. CIS French 4 (Davis) Hurray!  Preparing for my trip to France!
4. CIS-Intro to Lit (Rathbun) Hurray!  College credit!  Also, first year my fourth hour isn't a math class!
5. AP Statistics (Niemiec) Meh, not as excited about this one.  But I like the teacher!  He's cool!
6. AP Biology (Teacher A) Not sure what to think about this one... I don't know who this "Teacher A" is... I also don't know where my classroom is, because the room number they gave me is that of a storage closet.  What do I do?

Second Semester:
1. Holocaust (Anderson) Dang it!  No abnormal psychology... sad day... but it should be interesting nevertheless.
2. Wind Ensemble (Carter) Hurray!  Washington D.C.!  
3. CIS French 4 (Davis) Hurray!  France!
4. Lit and Film (Bormann) Hurray!  My first 'fun' class!
5. AP Stats (Niemiec) Not excited about AP testing...
6. AP Biology (Teacher A) Hurray for... consistency?

Alas, my summer is drawing to a close... I'm fairly excited for my last year of high school!  I'm so ready to get out and see the world!  These classes seem like a good way to go out.  Along with applications, FAFSA, and scholarships... you know how it is.

So yes!  I just thought that I'd throw this out there.

Thanks for reading!


We Interrupt This Program...

Dear Blog Readers,

One of the upcoming posts is purposely breaking away from the normal book/movie review posting routine (if you can call it a routine) for the sake of paying for my education (you'll know which one).  I have found a scholarship where I must find my close-to-ideal apartment and then write a short essay about why it's ideal and what I would change about this apartment.  But instead of electronically or physically submitting my essay to their "Bunker," as they call it, I must make my essay a blog post and send them the URL.

Please bear with me, everything will go back to normal after that (or until I find another scholarship that requires me to do some kind of project in which case, I will more than likely share the finished product with you!).

Thanks for your understanding!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Cabin Trip!

My neighbor (whose family owned the cabin mentioned in this video) was bugging me about getting the bike jumps put up on Facebook.  So when I woke up around 10 today, I got right to editing.  It took about five hours (probably less, because there were numerous snack breaks thrown in there), but now it's done and I can make other videos now.  Hurray!

Enjoy!  Let me know what you think, if you're so inclined (I love feedback!).


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday Questions are Back!

Title is self-explanatory.  Let's move on!

TGIF, Follow Friday, and The Blog Hop are brought to you by Ginger @ GReads, Parajunkee, and Jennifer @ Crazy for Books (in that order).

Have you ever read a book and not wanted to review it?  Are some books too personal that we want to keep our thoughts our own?

I guess there are two examples to answer this question.  The first example is laziness.  If you've been following before, you might have noticed my sporadic reviews, promises to write everything, and then a humongous wall of reviews of many sorts.  

The second example of not wanting to post a review (it was written, but I wasn't sure if it would be offensive or not) is when I read books based on religion.  I'm fully conscious that many of my followers have different religious backgrounds and I don't ever want to impose my opinion on anyone that doesn't want to hear it.  When I read 'Godless,' I felt this way because I hated the dad in that book.  He kept trying to push Christianity on his son and he obviously wasn't interested, but he kept pushing any way.  I was so angry about that, and I'm pretty sure that anger made an appearance in my first draft of that review if not the final and I was worried about how people would respond to such feelings.  Eventually, I did end up posting it and those who commented were positive in their responses.  So, now I figure that since this is my blog and people come here to see what I think about certain books, I should just be honest.  

In a nutshell: there are books that are incredibly personal to the reader, but I think if you do end up reviewing them, you'll find that you're not the only one that thinks that way or that finds a personal memory they can attach to the story.

Excellent question!  That really made me think.

If you could write yourself a part in a book, what book would it be and what role would you play in that book?

I think it would be really cool to have a part in Harry Potter.  I wouldn't have a big part, like, I wouldn't kill off Hermione and take her place, but maybe something to scale with Neville Longbottom-- someone who lerks and helps out whenever they're useful, and then have the possibility of having an important part at the end.

What's the LONGEST book you've ever read?

Physically (as in the number of pages), the longest book I've ever read was probably somewhere in the Harry Potter series or the book I'm taking on now, 'The Other Boleyn Girl.'  

Mentally (as in what felt longest), was 'Storm of Iron,' because I could not tell what was going on, I didn't understand the Warhammer references, and it was just plain boring, which made it drag on forever and ever and ever.  It sucked.  I hate those kinds of books.

Thanks for stopping by!  If you'd like me to visit your website, leave your web address in the comments below and I'll try my best to get to you today!  I'll be working on a couple LONTEM Projects this weekend when I can, so for the most part, I should be online to come visit.

Have a lovely weekend!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Movie Time! 'Insidious'

"After moving into a new home, Josh (Patrick Wilson) and his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) confront terrifying tribulations when their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) falls into a coma and his body starts to attract malevolent forces from a mysterious netherworld.  But when the family decides to move again, hoping to leave the evil spirits behind, they realize that their problems are just beginning.  James Wan ('Saw') directs."

While I enjoyed this movie immensely, I thought the timing was bad for it.  There are so many paranormal movies that have been made in the past five years at least.  It's too bad that it didn't come along sooner, because it's better than those movies.

I liked that it wasn't like either of the Paranormal Activity movies or Paranormal Entity, in that it didn't look like an amateur had shot the film and it actually had a plot to work with.  I appreciate both of those things.  Also, while I know this movie isn't reality happening and being caught on film, it made it feel real.  Not like those fake-feeling paranormal movies.

I didn't find this terribly scary, though I'll admit that I did jump a few times when creatures jumped out or doors randomly opened.  Also, dead old ladies are just plain creepy.  Just saying.

The whole "empty shell" or "body as merely a vessel for the soul" concept was great.  In my (admittedly minimal) experience as a movie watcher (I watch a lot of movies, but not a great variety), I can't say that I've come across this idea before and it was really interesting to see how everything turned out.

 The pacing at the beginning of the movie was a little questionable.  At times it felt like things were moving too slowly-- the family would turn around thinking that they saw something, and then dismiss that something as a trick of the light.  Of course for a horror film like this, that's necessary to do, but you can only drag it out so long before it's boring or it doesn't work any more.  Other times it felt like things were moving too fast-- jumping to conclusions and deciding to immediately take action.  Oh yeah, and Dalton's grandmother is involved.

As far as characterization, I wasn't too connected with the characters, but I wasn't totally disconnected either.  A little more back story from the other characters (not Josh, because he's such a big role in this story) would have helped.  I would have cared more.  Josh's mother was a cheesy character, acting like the warm grandmother one moment and then taking on a darker and somber woman with a secret.  Those things made her feel like two different characters.

Overall, a good movie to watch.  You certainly wouldn't be wasting your time, because this movie has so much to offer, despite what I mentioned above.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, August 15, 2011

The Hi-5 Experience

On June 29 of this year, I began my first job.  Yep.  My very first formal job (formal meaning it wasn't my neighbors that hired me out for a few hours).  I had applied to the program known as the STEP-UP Summer Jobs Program.  Some will be familiar, others will not be.  But any way, it's great!  They help to place you with a job that you like, based on the requests you've given them.  I've applied three times, have been accepted twice, and gotten a job once.  The key is to make your requests as general as possible, given the state of affairs with the working world.


I was given the opportunity to work in a Hi-5 classroom in a school that's really close to where I live.  Apparently I was recommended for the Hi-5 program as a helper.  I'm not quite sure how that worked out, considering I wasn't supposed to give STEP-UP any references that I already had on my resume.  Unless I put them on my application... that's beside the point.

I had done some babysitting in the past, but I had never actually had the chance to actually get to teach.  It was kind of cool being responsible for molding young minds.

I remember, the first day was really confusing.  Not just for me, but for the teachers that worked there and for the kids that were coming in for summer school.  There was confusion as to where we were supposed to be, who was supposed to be where, and at what time.

After the first few days, everything got a little bit easier.  In the morning, I waited in the lunchroom and herded my kids (I've taken to affectionately calling them "my kids."  Sorry if that seems strange) to one table and opening up all of their food, pouring milk on cereal, spreading cream cheese on bagels (I secretly hated that.  I hoped that everyone would get cereal every day.  Do you know how hard it is to spread cream cheese with a flimsy plastic spork?  It should be an art form...), and then picking up garbage and uneaten food and putting them in the proper bins.  Red for plastic, green for organics, and then separate tubs for unused liquids.

When everything regarding breakfast was done, it was time to line up and go to specialist classes.  On Monday, they had music, Tuesday there was gym, Wednesday Media, and Thursday Art.  Personally, I enjoyed Media and Art best.  I think the little kids enjoyed gym the most.  They have so much pent up energy!  It's ridiculous!

When specialist class was done, we'd go back to the classroom, the Hi-5ers would practice writing their names, and then it was time to read books and go to the group area.  The group area was where they would practice the days of the week, months of the year, numbers, and patterns, all using the calendar.  They'd read one book for the whole week, so they read six assigned books (plus some that were just for fun) having to deal with the theme that week (it was always one habitat for animals that made up the theme).  After that was Centers.  It was a circuit.  There would be four or five centers total where the little kids could play with math tubs, practice putting the letters of the alphabet in order, play a shape or bingo game with me, practice the sounds the letters make, etc.  We'd do this until lunch time.

Lunch time was, for a while, not my favorite time of the day.  The main teacher, Ms. AZ, and I ate lunch with the Hi-5ers, unlike the kindergarten, first, second, and third grade classes.  The teachers dropped them off and left.  There were only two or three teachers in the entire lunch room to hold down the fort.  I feel so bad for them.  Those other kids were so wild and crazy and that wild and craziness was contagious for my kids.  They couldn't walk in a proper line after lunch was over.  Lunch time made me realize how lucky I was that I was placed with a Hi-5 class.

After lunch, we'd finish the centers and then went outside for recess (mostly so the Hi-5ers wouldn't have to compete with the older kids on the playground).  This was when Ms. AZ has her duty-free break, so that means I stay outside with the minis and make sure they don't spontaneously combust or something

On the playground, I'm awesome (that's called modesty, right there).  I give underdog swing-pushes like nobody's business.  My pushes made the swings a relatively popular place to play when a game of "Monster" wasn't being played.

After recess, everyone would make a line (a very spaced-out line.  There's so much to take in when one is walking that sometimes there is a ten or twenty foot gap between the straggler and the person in front of him/her) and they would go inside for nap time.  My break-time started right after everyone was settled in for rest time.  I finished a decent amount of books during those breaks collectively.

After naps, there was free choice until it was time to talk out to the buses.

During those six seeks, I learned so much.  Not just Spanish words/phrases like, "En la fila," "pequito," and anything many of the Spanish-speaking boys and girls would tell me, but social things as well.  Like getting a painfully shy boy to get off the bench and go and play with the other boys and girls, cleaning up a little girl that fell off some equipment and landed face-first in the sand, and explaining something to younger kids no matter what their dominant language was.

Do you want to know something really cool that happened?  Okay.  One day, Ms. AZ took the day off for her daughter's birthday, so it was just me and a substitute teacher that was accustomed to teaching fifth grade and up.  She didn't really know what to do other than what Ms. AZ told her to do in her note, so I helped to move things along.  I led the line wherever it needed to go (to specialist, to the bathroom to wash hands before lunch, outside...), I sang the songs in the morning to get them to learn the days of the week and the months of the year (also patterns).  So while I wasn't the only one in charge, it felt like I was running the show and it was a lot of fun!

I didn't expect to get nearly as much out of this experience.  I thought it was going to be like babysitting with more structure, but that totally wasn't the case.  It was interacting, it was putting yourself out there and not being afraid to look silly, it was creative, because I got to draw all of the coloring sheets, it was business (nothing terribly tricky, but I got to run the copy machine on many occasions).

On the last day, I cried.  When it was time to line up at the door to go home, Ms. AZ told them that she was going to say a letter, and if that was the letter that their name started with, they could go get their back packs and line up.  They each knew what letter their name started with.  I couldn't have been more proud of them!

The best thing about this experience is that Ms. AZ wants me to come back next year and do another six weeks.  What's even better is that I totally can!  It'll be the summer between high school and college, and I might have to give up a trip to New Orleans, but that's okay, because I'll have two other really awesome trips to places I have never been before.  Plus, I've already been to New Orleans.  So I hope to do that next summer before going off to college!

Below, I'm including a slideshow of some of the pictures that I took over my six weeks there.  It's mostly from the beginning and end of my time spent there, but that's okay :)

Thank you very much for reading!


Movie Time! 'The Time Traveler's Wife'

"Due to a genetic disorder, handsome librarian Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana) involuntarily zips through time, appearing at various moments in the life of his true love, the beautiful artist Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams).  Also starring Ron Livingston as Gomez, the soul-stirring romantic drama was adapted from the best-selling novel by Audrey Niffenegger by Bruce Joel Rubin, the screenwriter behind the beloved weepy 'Ghost.'"

What a beautiful film!

As of yet, I can't comment on how accurate this movie is compared to the book that shares the same title (fear not, I've recently acquired it, so that's in my reading cue).  But as a movie separated from the parent, it was splendid!

You must pay attention when watching this.  Henry jumps through time quite often and it's hardly ever in any kind of chronological order.  One moment, Clare is a young girl and the next she is a grown woman, upset because Henry has been missing in action for two weeks.

However difficult it was to keep up with where in time Henry was (of course this statement is relative to each person who sees the movie), it was easy to become attached to each of the characters.  Clare, when she wants nothing more than to bear Henry's child.  Henry as he struggles to keep up with where he is in time and take on a household as best as he can... their struggles are both relatable and not, but that hardly matters because all of their problems register on an emotional level.

But the movie wasn't all sad and not all the scenes were inconvenient (I'm thinking of when Henry travels).  There were also many parts where humor was brought in, particularly surrounding the wedding, and there were parts where is was quite suspenseful (again, the wedding, and towards the end of the movie).

Overall, a beautiful film that will appeal to those that love a good romance.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Movie Time! 'Water for Elephants'

"In this captivating Depression-era melodrama, impetuous veterinary student, Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson) joins a celebrated circus as an animal caretaker but faces a wrenching dilemma when he's transfixed by angelic married performer, Marlena (Reese Witherspoon).  An affinity for elephants brings together the young pair, but the warmth between them sends Marlena's cruel husband, animal trainer August (Christoph Waltz), into a frightening fury."

I was quite impressed with how this movie was done.  I was sort of anticipating this movie to be... well, less than desirable.  But that wasn't the case.  I was concerned about the casting decision of Robert Pattinson.  Mostly because of the 'Twilight' movies.  But now it's been made plain to me that this guy isn't the problem in that series.  But I won't get into that now.  Robert Pattinson proved to me that he's capable of portraying very strong emotions-- I've always appreciated that in an actor.  In my head, Robert Pattinson has made a similar comeback to Zac Efron.  Efron had 'High School Musical,' but then moved on to movies like 'Charlie St. Cloud.'  Pattinson had 'Twilight' and moved onto greater films such as this one.

Reese Witherspoon was absolutely stunning, as always.  It was different seeing her outside of 'Legally Blonde.'  But she's such an amazing actor that it doesn't matter what part she plays, she just makes it amazing.

Stepping away from casting decisions, I was quite impressed with how certain scenes turned out.  Putting down one of Marlena's horses, the hotel room, August finding out what was going on between Jacob and Marlena... They were great!  They kept me engaged in the movie and I thought they fit well.  The director/writer wasn't just referring to the book the entire time.

I was a little disappointed that they left out parts that took place in the nursing home, including the part where another old guy claims that he used to carry water for the elephants in another big circus.  So anyone that hasn't read the book might be a little confused because the title doesn't seem to make a lot of sense with the rest of the movie without that scene, but then, I don't know how they would have fit it in otherwise.

Overall, there was very little I was actually disappointed in.  A very well-done movie!

Thanks for reading!


A Review of 'Delirium' by Lauren Oliver (Audio Book)

"'They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever.  And I've always believed them.  Until now.  Now everything has changed.  Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.'"

I have truly discovered my love for Lauren Oliver.  Actually, I know very little about the author herself, so I amend this statement to, "I love her writing style!"  I've only read/listened to "Before I Fall" and now "Delirium" (please tell me, are there any other books written by her?) and they were so different from each other, but they still managed to work quite well!

Allow me to shift the focus completely  to "Delirium."

The societies portrayed in this book were so interesting.  One was sterile and dull (or, perhaps 'controlled' would be a better word to use) on the epidermis, but once you got through all of that, you realize along with Lena that this new world isn't as flawless as those in charge want everything else in the society to think.  When you head into the Wilds, it's so desolate and even desperate.  Here, no one tries to stifle love.  In the end, both worlds made sense, as odd as that might sound.  Futuristic United States demolished love and there were fewer wars and conflicts because these things require a kind of twisted passion.  The Wilds keep love because even if parts of the world suck with love in it, there is nothing like the feeling of being in love.  It just seems to fix everything, even though in reality, it probably doesn't.

Lauren Oliver does an excellent job of portraying all kinds of people and giving them all personalities (or lack of one, if they've been cured).

I'm still really interested in hearing about Lena's mother.  So you can imagine that I'm crossing my fingers for a sequel, if that's what Lauren Oliver has in store for us.

I give 'Delirium':
Thanks for reading!


P.S. With this review, I have officially finished my goal for the 2011 Audio Book Challenge!  Hurray!  And we're only 2/3 of the way through the year.  That's a scary fraction... Hurray!  I guess that means an official announcement post, huh?  Nah... this will suffice :)  I'm still trying to catch up with posting!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gallery Walk-- August 10, 2011

Hello there!

Just to get some blood flowing (figuratively, of course) I thought I put up a Gallery Walk, since I just got back from my weekend trip Up North.  Hopefully this will tide you over until I can get up some actual posts with substance (namely, reviews and videos... I've got a few of each brewing).  But for now, hopefully this will suffice!

 There's a little "cove" without a cave where there's really shallow water (that's not including the who knows how many feet of mud underneath) and there's tons of lily pads and flowers.  It's gorgeous and so peaceful.
 This will be one of the first places (definitely not the last time) where I've been a bit of a camera-creeper on this trip.  This is my neighbor (one of them).  We went on this trip with them, because they were so nice to invite us!
 A little bit of a fishing for fish was going on, but also fishing for crayfish that lived under the dock.  Don't worry, we put them back.  There was only one fish that lost its life because it was stupid and basically swallowed the hook.  There was nothing we could do.
 This was on a day where the weather was weird.  One minute it would be sunny, then it would start to pour, then a few minutes later, there would be blue skies again.  As a solution, we decided to go into the town (city?) of Ely.  This was an old land office, but I like to think of this as my debut in Urban Exploring.  I love this style and this kind of photography, so hopefully I'll get to do more in the future!  Cross your fingers for more abandoned buildings...
 My friend Marie who's visiting my family and I from France.  We're at the Bear (berr) Center.  I love candid shots :)
 The sunset on our last night at the lake.
Everything from the moon to the stars was absolutely clear last night.  I think this one is better than any of my other moon pictures.  But practice makes perfect, so here we go!

I've got tons more pictures and I will edit more and gradually put them up, but I like to put recent pictures on here, so most of them will probably end up in the video I'm throwing together tonight.  

So, about the internet situation... I completely forgot that there was no internet access, only what we could get through cell phone towers, and then there was one iPad (which are great fun!) to share between ten people.  But really, it was nice to be away from the internet.  But because of this, I have some projects to do within the next few days (reviews, videos, picture posts, etc.).  That's something to look forward to, I guess :)

Thanks for bearing with me!  More posts to come soon!

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

To-Do Lists

Note: This is mainly for my benefit.  I need something to motivate me to put up some posts soon, and if I tell you, I'm putting the pressure on myself to do it.  So here's a list, if you're really curious:

Post That Must Be Written And/Or Posted Soon
--Movie Time! review of 'The Time Traveler's Wife'
--Movie Time! review of 'Water for Elephants'
--Reflection post about my first job
--Post with a video about end of the week goings on
--Finish and Post May LONTEM Project video (find all of the pieces first)
--Review of 'Delirium'

To Do This Weekend
--Read.  A lot.
--Relax a little
--Take Pictures
--Don't edit any pictures until the evening hours, because there are better things to do during the day

A Second Note: Most of this won't be done this weekend.  I hope to at least get the written stuff caught up on, but the videos will come if I get to them.

Thanks for reading (seriously, this was really boring)!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Once Upon A Time...

... there was a seventeen year old kid who liked to dream.  Oftentimes when she went to sleep at night, she would dream the most vivid dreams.  The night before, she dreamt of her beloved Nikon and that he was once again whole and in perfect working order.  She firmly believed that life itself was trying to torture her.

When she woke up the next morning, she immediately met her family's first exchange student from France and was sad that she did not have a camera of her own to document this wonderful trip and the return of her friend.  Many hours later, a phone call was received, but no one was available to pick up the receiver on time.  Her dear  sister informed her that National Camera Exchange had contacted her and that there was a message waiting for her to review.  

The kind gentleman that had left the message for the young maiden to find had called to inform her that her camera had been repaired (or was it replaced?  That's not important...) and it was waiting for her to pick up at their shoppe in Ye Olde Edina.  

The young maiden leapt into the air and immediately went about calling her mother and father to ask if they could "pretty please with sugar on top go and pick up" the beloved Nikon from Ye Olde Edina...

...and of course they said yes!  So what does this mean?  My camera has been fixed and I get to bring it home today!  Hurray!!!

So what does this mean?  Well a couple things.  List time!

  1. Some shopping is in order.  When I go and pick up my camera today at National Camera Exchange, I'm also going to pick up the tripod that I've been looking at.  One of the nice things about working is the pay checks, and now it's easier to afford things like this awesome flexible tripod!  This will mean more interesting pictures (hopefully) and an easier time when it comes to making videos (no more piles of books and a swivel chair or even my arm holding up the camera during videos!).
  2. I'll be able to catch up on my LONTEM videos pretty soon.  They'll probably be a little out of order, but they will be done by the end of the year, I promise.  This month, I'm going to learn how to make soap with my neighbor (I won't release her name, because I have to ask first).  So far, I need to make videos about gardening, juggling, and communicating in sign language (that's right, the list has changed a little bit).
  3. I get to document the rest of my friend Marie's second trip to the U.S. while she's living with us and when her family comes to visit in less than two weeks.  This was such great timing!
  4. I'm going up to a cabin between Sunday and Wednesday, so I'll have my own camera for that and I won't have to worry about setting my mother's camera to my own preferred settings and then have her change everything back to her preferences.  And I'll never have to use flash (I hate flash).
That's it!  I just thought I'd write a really long post about my camera because I'm so freaking excited!  

One more list.  Posts that you can expect in the near future:
  1. I just finished my first formal job, so I want to tell you how that six weeks went.
  2. I just finished listening to 'Delirium,' so there will be a review.
  3. I finished two plushies and I would like to share them with you, if you wouldn't mind.
Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

In Which I Inform You That I'm Still Alive

Hello Everyone!

It's been a while since my last review and I know that I have a couple movie reviews brewing, but I've been too lazy to write them/post them.  Also, I've been busy with other things.  Here's a list:

  • Reading/listening to other books (namely 'Delirium' and 'A Million Little Pieces')
  • Working (I finish work on Thursday and then I start up the job hunt again)
  • Making plushies (there will be pictures, I promise)
Any-whosers, I just thought I'd inform that I'm still alive.  I also thought it would be a good idea to post something other than reviews.

I've let you know I'm alive, so my job is complete.

Thanks for reading!