Monday, September 26, 2011

The State of my Education: Senior Year Thus Far (2nd Installment)

Apparently, sixteen days ago, I made a post similar to this one.  I'm here to share my thoughts about the end of my high school career in the past sixteen days.  I don't know if anyone is actually reading these 'State of My Education' posts, but that's okay.  I'm doing them for me.

Psychology continues to be my favorite class and surprisingly, Statistics has too (French is a staple, as is band).  I've kind of been playing with this idea to make what I'm learning in psychology into videos.  It's such as interesting subject and it wouldn't only help me, but it might also give other people a chance to figure out if this subject is something that they want to look into more.  I might have to do this with biology too, but they're not going to be as good, because I'll be studying the book by myself, basically.

I'm still trying to look for a group after school.  Tomorrow is an introduction with lights and sound for theater (I didn't end up getting a part in any of the plays that I tried out for this fall, but I ended up getting called back for both and had a lot of fun.  I received a very nice, unprovoked compliment from one of the student directors and now I'm extra motivated to try out for the musical and/or one-act plays in the spring-ish time.  If theater doesn't work out in the lights and sound areas (not that there's an audition process, it'll be more like, how available am I to do what they want me to do), I think I'll join the gay-straight alliance.

Band is going swimmingly.  I'm continuing to swim and not drown in the intricate and fast-paced music we've been given.  Earlier in the year, I was really worried because last year I relied on my stand-partner a lot.  I only really realized how much I was relying on her this year when I only had myself (and yes, other sections as well, but mostly me, being the only bass clarinet in the band) to figure out the music.  I feel as though I have conquered 7/8 and 8/8 time, which is a pretty huge feat for me.  I've gotten the counting down and now I don't really need to count as much and I can just play by feel.

English, while it will always remain my favorite, is kind of slipping for me.  It's not what we're reading and it's not the teacher.  It's the fact that I can never (hardly ever, excuse me) get a word in the discussion because there's one guy that jeopardizes the conversation, throwing quotes in every possible direction and reading into absolutely everything.  Not to mention what appears to be sucking up to the teacher.  I'll admit though, this guy has gotten a little better.  The teacher has noticed his over-participation and he's begun to make him cut back a little and allow everyone else to chime in every once in a while, which I greatly appreciated.  I'm starting to appreciate my teacher's teaching style more and more.  Discussion is always good and interesting.  I've learned that I need to learn how to think faster.  I mull things over in my head way too much.  I have yet to make a ground-breaking point in that class.  It's only a semester long, so I need to get a move on.  Taking notes seems to be the way to go.

Statistics is the one kind of math where I feel smart.  I don't know if it was because I had precalculus last year and algebra 2 the year before that, but everything just comes with a little to a moderate amount of work.  That's not to say that I don't ever make mistakes, but with some of the problems and concepts that people have stumbled over, I feel like I've managed to avoid most of those.

Biology... I'm sorry to say that I don't have very many good things to say about biology.  It's basically turning into an independent study for everyone.  Class time is wasted for one reason or another.  If we have a question, we're told to go and read the chapter.  Take notes.  Make a concept map.  It's a chore to find out what the homework is.  We could get to Friday and find out that we have three assignment due that day, two of which we were not aware of.  So we scramble to get them done.  My big issue is, I don't like being taught to take a test.  I want to learn what's going on in Biology and I want to be able to apply it to life in general, but so far I've only been learning how to take this one test in April or May that I'll never be able to take again.  I'm sad that it has to be this way, but I really don't have a choice.  I'd either have to switch into chemistry or physics (both of which I hated with a passion) or drop the Biology course, but that's really not an option at all, because I need to take an AP science class to graduate.  Boo...

I just had my first France trip meeting tonight!  I wrote my letter to my mystery host family (I can't wait to start corresponding with them and finally meet them!).  I filled out an interest inventory that will help me become matched with a family that fits who I am (or who I fit best with, since the company we're traveling through doesn't get to choose any family in Lorient, just those families that are willing opening up their home to let basically a complete stranger live in their house for five days.  It sounds a little scary when I say it here and when you're hosting someone from a different country for the first time ever, and it kind of is, but on a smaller scale.  You only know the people that are coming to live with you for a short time based on what they put down on paper.

Seriously, I'm not trying to scare anyone away from hosting a foreign exchange student-- it's really rewarding in many ways and it's something my family has never come to regret either of the times that we hosted.  Even if you find out that hosting isn't for you after your first time, you'll never regret that you tried.  That's the beauty of it.

Okay, I've already written a short novel, so I'll end this here and I'll start another 'State of my Education' post... soon.

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What To Do in the Event of a Snake Bite



This is for my online health class.  It's the first video that I've made in a long time, so I thought that I'd share it with you.  I call it my horrible masterpiece.  Enjoy!

--Jude

Saturday, September 24, 2011

LISTS!!lists!!LISTS!!

Excuse the obnoxious title...

This That Must Be Done This Weekend:
--Answer Biology End-Of-Chapter Questions (Due Monday)
--Take and Rewrite Psychology Notes
--Finish AP Statistics Homework
--Film and Edit Snake-Bite Video for Health (ahem, this shall be posted here when it's done... I'm sure it's going to be pleasantly awkward... and hopefully marginally educational)
--Finish Filming and Edit Alzheimer's Video (ahem, I'm planning on making two versions of this video.  The shorter one will be for my scholarship, the longer one will be posted here and on YouTube because it's such an interesting--but sad-- mental illness.  I want to educate the world.  Also, if I publish my video anywhere else, it will be disqualified and I won't be able to win moneys for college purposes...)
--Finish LONTEM Videos (ahem, if possible.  Weekends are far too short)
--Write One More Draft for English
--Take a Picture of Self and Finish Family Stay Letter Draft
--Fill Out Job Applications.  Also College Applications
--Take Pictures
--Write Whatever Reviews Can Be Written (ahem, I'm currently working on "Black Swan," if you're curious...)

Things I Learned Today:
--Writing Scripts is a Fun Activity!
--Wax Paper is Not Okay for Cooking
--Alone Days Are Nice
--I Need More Reading Days...
--It's Really Disconcerting Seeing No More Scheduled Posts... I Need to Fix This

Thanks for Reading!

--Jude

Extraordinary People

I knew this before, but today this truth really sunk in: I am surrounded by truly amazing people.  As much as I love you, dear followers, I'm referring to the amazing people that I know IRL (in real life).

As some of you know, I'm looking to head to France in a little over six months.  The only problem is, I don't have a steady job to pay for this trip all on my own.  My amazing job this past summer helped a lot, but sadly, it's not enough.  In the past week, I have received.... ugh, I can't think of a big enough word to use.  Extremely generous donations for my trip.  I almost cried when I received them.  I appreciated (and continue to appreciate) these awesome people to no end before, but in some cases, I wasn't even sure how much they knew about my trip other than the fact that I was going.  Just to know that they care enough to keep up with my life is the greatest feeling ever!

I'm lucky.  Some people only get to have one or two people like this in their lives.  I'm quite fortunate to have a plethora.

It's a little post, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Thank you IRL friends and family!  I continue to appreciate you to no end!

Love,
Jude

Friday, September 23, 2011

Challenges and Returnable Book Series

Welcome to Friday!  Home of the best day of the week!

This week, I'm only participating in Follow Friday and TGIF from Parajunkee and Ginger @ G-Reads respectively.  Now it's time for question time!

Follow Friday


Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again?  Tell us about it and why you keep on revisiting it.

On top of Harry Potter (because I know that a number of people are going to answer this or at least make them as part of their lists as I have done) I keep going back to 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' by Lemony Snicket.  I've just now realized that I've never actually reviewed any of the books, which makes me think that I'm going to have to reread them.  In order this time.  This series follows three orphans: The Baudelaire Orphans Klaus, Sunny, and Violet.  All have special talents and all use these special talents to get themselves out of a series of sticky situations regarding their... umm... distant relative Count Olaf who goes through a series of mostly fruitless plans to obtain the Baudelaire fortune.  The reason that I keep going back to this particular series is firstly, because of the amazing story and secondly because of Lemony Snicket's hilarious, cryptic, and even sarcastic tone of writing.  His books make me wonder, they make me frustrated (mostly because of the painfully ignorant adults), they make me happy, sad, insert emotion X here.  It's an amazing series of thirteen books.  If you haven't gotten around to reading them, please do so, you will never regret it.  I recommend going in order.

TGIF
Reading Challenges: Did you sign up for any this year?  How has your progression been?

I have been doing reading challenges!  I did the 2011 audio book challenge and I completed that in... August?  I think.  It was around that time.  I've also been doing the Off-The-Shelf challenge.  I have two more books to go to complete this, but I hope to keep it up all year, because I have so many books that I need to read that are just living on my shelf.  It's ridiculous.  I created my own challenge where I try to read 50 books (or listen to audio books) in one year.  I need to recalculate how I'm doing, but I'm not doing too bad, I don't think.  I'm trying to finish my "Read This and I'll Read Harry Potter" challenge (click on the 'challenge button in the right side bar to read more about that).  This challenge is kind of a bust so far.  I also started a Goosebumps challenge.  I'm a fail at my own challenge once again.  That's right.  I turned "fail" into a noun.

I hope you all have lovely weekends!  If you would like me to visit, leave your web address in the comments below and I'll try my best to come and visit you!

Thanks for reading and visiting!

--Jude

To Do This Weekend:
--Homework and notes
--Online Health
--Make videos (for scholarships, for health, for LONTEM)
--Read (for school, for fun)

A Review of 'Equus' by Peter Schaffer

"In Equus-- a play that took critics and public alike by storm-- Peter Schaffer uses, paradoxically, a deranged youth, who blinds six horses with a spike, and a psychiatrist to show us how materialism and convenience have killed our capacity for worship and passion and, consequently, our capacity for pain.  


Rarely has a playwright created an atmosphere and situation that so harshly pinpoint the spiritual and mental decay of modern man."

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I went to reserve this play at the library.  I had searched for the play on YouTube and I had read summaries of the play, but I wasn't quite prepared for the depth that would come with this play.

I liked the idea of a relatively small case (which means that there weren't very many characters to keep track of). The cast was small, but their parts left very little to be desired.

I was aware of instances of nudity, and with a book, there really isn't anything to worry about, but when the play is actually being performed, the nudity feels like it serves a symbolic purpose, and I can really appreciate that.  It's rather annoying when nudity, violence, or sex is thrown into a story or a movie purely for shock value.

The dialogue was extraordinary; it was extremely powerful.  For instance:
Dysart: And you will fail!  Forever and ever you will fail!  You will see ME-- and you will FAIL!  
The Lord thy God is a jealous God.  He sees you.  He sees you forever and ever, Alan.  He sees you!... He sees you!
Alan: Eyes!... White eyes-- never closed!  Eyes like flames-- coming-- coming!... God seest! God seest! ...NO!
No more.  No more, Equus.
Equus... Noble Equus... Faithful and True... God-slave... Thou- God- Seest- NOTHING!
(Page 105) 

It's one of my most favorite intense parts of anything ever.  You'll have to read it yourself to get the context and the full stage-direction.

One more thing that I enjoyed about this play were the psychology terms.  They used Placebo and put into effect the Placebo effect.  It occurred between Doctor Dysart and Alan (and at Alan's request!  He asked for a truth drug, and Dr. Dysart delivered as best as he could).  It was just absolutely fascinating.  

Equus is a slightly controversial yet incredibly powerful play (this is my kind of play!).  I totally plan on going to see the show sometime.

I give 'Equus':
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Review of 'A Map of the Known World' by Lisa Ann Sandell

"Cora Bradley dreams of escape.  Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt trapped in her small town.  Her parents are increasingly over-protective, and ever her best friend, Rachel, has begun to slip away.


So Cora seeks solace in art, drawing elaborate maps and envisioning herself in exotic locales.  The Cora's maps lead her somewhere unexpected: to Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died.  Cora forms a tentative bond with Damian-- himself an artist-- who reveals to her the truth about who her brother really was.  As Cora begins to piece together the fragments of her life, she finds herself falling for Damian.  But will she have to courage to follow the chart of her heart?


Critically beloved author Lisa Ann Sandell weaves a gripping tale of one girl's journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.  Poignant and lyrical, Cora's story is a reminder that sometimes, the most thrilling world can be found within ourselves."

I discovered upon reading the first few chapter that I've already read this!  But it wasn't finished recently, so I read it again.  I also discovered that this was the book that I kept confusing with Laurie Halse Anderson's 'Speak.'  They are similar in many ways, so maybe you'll see why I might have thought this.

I really liked the overall story.  I've found books like this to be interesting because it chronicles a family that has suffered a major loss and shows how they end up coping with the situation.  Cora's family is interesting to read about because, while their reaction makes sense, it also seems to be the opposite of how someone might act (withdrawn, etc.)

The character had well-developed back stories and these were inserted at good points in the book.

Something I didn't appreciate was the language.  Many times, I couldn't help but notice how forced the dialogue was.  I always imagined characters whining or being absolutely cliché during these parts because of how they said something or how they reacted to the situation, which leads me to my next point.

One other thing that I couldn't ignore was how quickly everyone reacted to everything.  Like, when Cora told her parents about going to London next summer, they flipped out like she had just told them that she was pregnant or into hard drugs (did you catch that 'Juno' reference?).  They completely went off the deep end..  Frankly, it was a little ridiculous.

While the story itself was really good, the dialogue and reactions were too much to ignore and they lessened my appreciation for the book slightly.

I give 'A Map of the Known World':
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Belated "In My Mailbox!"

Okay, I was kind of excited about In My Mailbox this time and even though it's almost Wednesday, I still want to share what I got with you!

On Friday, Avery, Jack, and I took the train to the down town library after school where they were having their fall book sale-- everything was already half-off, and most books were priced pretty low to start with.  I came home with these ones and I'm incredibly excited to get started on reading them!

"Last Week's Apocalypse" by Douglas Lain
 Of course I read the description on the back, that was what tipped the scale in the right direction, but I fell in love with this cover.  I'm really excited to read this one!  It's a series of short stories, which should be really interesting.  I've been getting into those lately... you'll see why.
"Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt
 Again, I picked it up because of the cover.  Also, I recognized the title from a list of books that are highly recommended for teens (it's the length of a thick novel filled with over 700 book possibilities... I'm making this my second project, although I'm not giving myself a time-limit in that case).  After I read this, if I like it, I might have to see the movie.  I love that it's a memoir too!
 "A Four-Sided Bed" by Elizabeth Searle
I'm not quite sure what to expect of this one, but I thought the title and cover were interesting.  I'll have to see how it goes.
 "Delirium" by Lauren Oliver
One thing that I love is that if I borrow something from the library and like it, I eventually get it for my own personal bookshelf.  I loved this so much, and now I get to read it and dog-ear my own copy!
 "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert
Another book that I read and loved to pieces.  The lady that sold me these books took one look at it and said, "Now don't you go running off to Italy, now!"  To which I responded, "I think I've already made up my mind about that." :)
 "Tell Me Another Morning" by Zdena Berger
Please, could someone tell me how to pronounce the name of the author?  I'd really appreciate that...
Again, I don't really know what to expect, but we'll hope for the best, won't we?
"The Grasshopper King" by Jordan Ellenberg
Avery actually found this one and tossed it over the shelf for me to check out (okay, not really 'toss,' but I digress...).  The cover was pretty spiffy and I remember that the description sounded interesting too.

I also got one more, but there were literally no pictures on Google Images.  Disappointment... so when I read and review it, I'll have to scan the cover of the book so that I won't have a boring-looking review post.

"The Fathergod Experiment" by L.A. Taylor
I'll tell you that the cover is a little eerie... one might go so far as to say horrifying, or at least creepy.  I was on the fence about this one, so hopefully whatever assumptions I have will be incorrect.

I have a large pile of books just waiting for me to read, so I have no idea when I'll be able to get to these books, but they will be read and reviewed eventually, I can assure you this much.

What else should I put on my reading list?

That's all for me!  Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Review of 'Goth Girl Rising' by Barry Lyga

"A Few of the Many Sings of Fanboy:


1. He kissed Dina Jurgens
2. I was in the hospital for six effing months and how many emails or phone calls or letters or IMs or texts did I get from him?  None, none, none, none, and none.
3. He's got this great graphic novel, but he's publishing it in Literary Paws.
4. He told me I'm a suicide wannabe.
5. He wanted to kiss me.
6. He didn't kiss me.
7. He never told me his third thing.


For all of those sins, he deserves pain.


Kyra Sellers doesn't get angry-- she gets even.  After six months in the hospital, where she was DCHH (Note: I almost always said it, 'Dee-Cee-Double H.'  Also, if you read this, you will find out what this means, so no worries), she has some matters to settle with the traitorous Fanboy.  Plus, Roger is being his typical pain-in-the-ass fatherly self, the Spermling is breathing down her neck, and that hypocritical Miss Powell deserves exposed for what she really is.


So maybe she does get a little angry..."

An interesting story that is equal parts commentary on Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman,' dark feelings, self discovery, and healing all while being brought back to the familiar world of 'The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl.'  I loved it better than its counterpart!

Before in 'Fanboy and Goth Girl,' Kyra was this seemingly abstract character, a stereotype shrouded in mystery.  With a story of her own, Kyra's personality pops on the page, mirroring how humans think.  That's probably what I appreciated the most.  There's a layer of realism that beams through as she begins to grow sentimental, creeping towards what Doctor Kennedy would deem a breakthrough, but then she would remember how other people see her and she would go back to plotting Fanboy's downfall.

There was a part where Kyra mentions her own fictional character named Katherine (her mother's middle name).  She made all of these bad things happen to Katherine.  I can't help but think that Kyra became her.  If you've read this book, let me know your thoughts.  I love discussions!

Kyra's story is one that shouldn't be taken lightly.  When she talks about getting revenge, it seems childish and you might think that this could be considered light reading, but I can assure you, it's not.  You will think, whether you want to or not.  But what she says is really fascinating.  Especially when she writes to Neil Gaiman ("writes," in quotation marks) or references 'Sandman' in comparison with her feelings and her life.

To read this book, you don't have to be familiar with 'Sandman' (I certainly wasn't).  But now I really want to read it.  That's going on my "To Be Read" list!

The ending is incredibly powerful!  That's all I'm going to say on that subject.

I know Kyra isn't a real person, but Barry Lyga is such a talented writer that Kyra could reach outside the pages and live and breathe in this world.  Barry Lyga will continue to go down in my list of favorite writers of all time.

I give 'Goth Girl Rising':
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Plotting


That's right, I'm plotting.  you know what that means...

No?

Well, typically that means that I'm making plans.  They usually involve a project of some sort.  I thought that I would bounce this idea off of you guys before it actually begins to take form.

So you know the LONTEM project that I'm currently neglecting doing?  My thoughts are that it's going to be something along the lines of that, only I'll be improving myself in different ways than learning new things every month.  I start college next year, which means that I'm already going to have to adjust to certain things.  So why not start now?  I could call it The College Countdown (TCC) or How to Win At College (HtWAC).  It would probably be shorter than the LONTEM Project.  The LONTEM Porject will come to a close on December 31 of this year (and hopefully I'll be all caught up with videos by then) and then in January 2012, I will begin TCC or HtWAC.

Whatever my project ends up being called, I will of course film what I do as I learn these habits as I have been procrastinating on doing for the LONTEM Project.

I've found out that there's actually a book called "How to Win at College," so I think I will base my list around the table of contents that I can get online.  I might just have to get this book though... and 'Miss Peregrine's...'

So here's my tentative list:

1. Write Outside of Class (I think I'll save this for April's Script Frenzy or the summer edition of NaNoWriMo).  Also, I'll include this one: Write As If Going For A Pulitzer.
2. Don't Undersleep, Don't Oversleep
3. Maximize Your Summers
4. Eat Healthy
5. Stay in Touch
6. Make Your Bed/Be Neat in General
7. Always Be Working on a "Grand Project" 
8. Seek Out Fun
9. Set Arbitrary Deadlines

This is subject to change of course, but I think that these points are things to do that can be done during high school and also over the summer before college.

I function well with projects and I think this will be more than a fun project for me to do (really, I can make projects whatever I need them to be, and fun is always right at the tippy-top of the list of criteria).

So I will try to obtain this books (and Miss Peregrine's...) before next year.  I'm looking at Amazon, and really, I think that's my best bet.  I'm so glad they sell used books!

Let me know if you have any college advice for me, I'm still making up my list and working out the details and also deciding whether or not this would be a good thing to do during the remaining months of high school (I know that everything is going to get really busy really fast, especially between the end of March through the end of May.  That's trips to testing to graduation).

So in this long-winded blog post, I'm asking you these things:

1. Do you think this is a good idea?
2. Do you think what I have on my list are good things to improve upon when it comes to college?
3. If you answered 'no' to number 2, what are some things that you believe would be good for me to work on?

Your input is greatly appreciated and I thank you in advance!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Review of 'Annie John' by Jamaica Kincaid

 "The island of Antigua is a magical place; growing up there should be a sojourn in paradise for young Annie John.  But, as in the basket of green figs carried on her mother's head, there is a snake hidden somewhere within.


Annie John begins by adoring her beautiful mother, but inexplicably she comes to hate her.  Adolescence takes this brilliant, headstrong girl into open rebellions and secret discoveries-- and finally to a crisis of emotions that wrenches her away from her island home.


Caribbean writer Derek Walcott wrote of Kincaid's work that 'Genius has many surprises and one of them is geography.'  In Annie John, Antigua pulsates with the exotic rhythms of the islands and becomes a rich backdrop for eight stunning episodes, each universally familar and movingly real."

At last!  A book assigned to me by my English class that I actually liked!

Side note: this semester, I'm taking CIS Lit (which is basically a college class) which means that there will be a number of books that you might arch your eyebrow at because it wouldn't seem like something I'd pick out willingly (which I didn't, but who's counting?).  These books will probably be written with more thought than many of the other books that I read purely because my class discusses them.  Hopefully that will show in my writing.

I've never read anything by Jamaica Kincaid, but I'm impressed by her writing.  At face value, this story is about a girl named Annie who is incredibly bright and likes to steal things as she grows up, but what I've noticed about books that are written about people (fictional or otherwise) is that they examine life (of course) and the things that make it up.  What I liked looking at with this book was how the relationship between Annie and her mother changed.  The first chapter seemed almost perfect-- well, innocent, any way-- as Annie's relationship with her mother is intact and she wonders about death.  But right away in the next chapter, Annie becomes older and her mother is separating herself from Annie.  It's gradual, but Annie takes this separation as a sort of slap in the face.  Her reaction is sad, but it happens.  It's totally real.

Her mother is separating her because she's getting ready for Annie to go out into the world and do something great with her life.  That's what I related to the most.

What I didn't understand was Annie's mother's attitude towards her daughter during the separation.  Why act so hateful and bitter?  Why cause you daughter confusion and pain or hatred if you're doing something so innocent and inevitable?

This was a thought-provoking story filled with symbols and meaning, but also with substance on a more basic level that anyone who picks up the book will find something that they can relate to.  You might just end up reading it again!

I give 'Annie John':
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Friday, September 16, 2011

WooHoo! Friday!

Hello there!  We've made it to Friday, which means it's time for the various hops!

TGIF and the Blog Hop are brought to you by Ginger @ GReads and Jennifer @ Crazy-for-Books respectively.  

Have you ever come across a book you were so stoked to read, but failed miserably in your eyes?


Absolutely!  Last year in my AP English class, we read a book called 'Heart of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad. My teacher described it before we even got to check out books from the media center.  Her description and this book were apples and oranges.  My teacher described a book of a dark adventure, and I was already sold on the title.  I mean, come on, wouldn't you pick up a book called 'Heart of Darkness' if that was all you saw?  That's what I did.  That book... I will never again read this book.  I only barely finished it, and that's only because I had to.

As a book blogger, how do you introduce yourself in your profile?

Here's the thing, I didn't really write anything on my blogger profile.  Well, maybe basic information, but nothing like I've seen other bloggers write.  Instead, I created an entire 'About Me' post so that readers old and new could come to see me as an actual person rather than text on a computer screen (which means I included interests, basic information about my blog, my friends, and other such things).  Maybe if it gets to the point where I'm accepting offers from publishers to read and review a book, I will put something there, but for now, I get my reading material through school, friends, and other such treasure-hunts, so a profile description hasn't really been necessary.

What are your answers to these questions?  Leave a comment below and I will try my best to come by and visit you this weekend!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Movie Time! 'Labyrinth'

"Journey into the fantastical world of LABYRINTH, starring David Bowie and a cast of incredible creatures created by Jim Henson and produced by the Master of Myth, George Lucas!

Frustrated with babysitting on yet another weekend night, Sarah-- a teenager with an active imagination-- summons the Goblins from her favorite book, 'Labyrinth,' to take her baby step-brother away.  When little Toby actually disappears, Sarah must follow him into the world of the fairy tale to recuse him from the wicked Goblin King (Bowie)!


Guarding his castle is the Labyrinth itself-- a twisted maze of deception, populated with outrageous characters and unknown dangers.  To get through it in time to save Toby, Sarah will have to outwit the King by befriending the very Goblins who protect him, in hopes that their loyalty isn't just another illusion in a place where nothing is as it seems!"

Hmm... kind of a twisted 90's movie... it's like nothing I've ever seen before.

For a 90's movie I struggle to decide whether it was good or bad.  It was good in that the story was interesting and there was tons of glitter to appease the masses, but it was bad in the sense that the directors didn't really know how to use green screen, so it was super obvious when they tried and the various costumes and puppets as well as the Sarah character... very questionable.  The music was good, so gold star for David Bowie.

It's not a bad kind of bad, but a nostalgic bad, if you know what I'm trying to get at.

If you're planning on having a nineties party or a nostalgically bad movie party any time soon, definitely put this on your list.  If you're looking for something kind of corny and cute, put this on your list.  If you're feeling a little down one day, pop this into your DVD player (or VHS player, if you're still awesome enough to have kept yours) and this movie will cheer you right up, I promise!


Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Art Day Collage!

I made this over the summer.  I went with my boyfriend to his grandmother's house (she's super nice) where she holds an art day.  We made collages and t-shirts (I put a herd of kangaroos on mine, so it was Australia themed).  It was great fun!  This is what I came up with (I tried to tell a love story without words.  Did it work?).  You can click on the picture to make it bigger.

I kind of want to try and do this again because it was so much fun to do.  I can't promise anything, but maybe you'll see another one of these in the future.

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Reviews

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Since Starting This Blog, I Have Read and Reviewed 248 Books!

A Review of 'Catalyst' by Laurie Halse Anderson (Audio Book)

"Meet Katie Malone-- straight-A science and math geek, minister's daughter, ace long-distance runner, new girlfriend (to Mitchell 'Early Decision Harvard' Pangborn III), unwilling family caretaker, and emotional avoidance champion.  Kate manages  her life by organizing it as logically as the periodic table.  She can handle it all-- or so she thinks.  Then, things happen like a string of chemical reactions: first, the Malones' neighbors get burned out of their own home and move in.  Kate has to share her room with her nemesis, Teri Litch, and Teri's little brother.  The days are ticking by and she's still waiting to hear from the only college where she's applied: MIT.  Kate feels that her life is spinning out of control-- and then, something occurs that truly blows it all apart.


Set in the same community as the remarkable 'Speak,' 'Catalyst' is a novel that will change the way you look at the world."

Note: a catalyst is used when one wants to speed up a chemical reaction.  More bonus points for integrating what I learned (sophomore year)?  You'll think about it?  Great.

Once more, Laurie Halse Anderson leaves me in awe.  I don't know how she does it.

At the beginning of this book, Anderson hits home for me as Katie applies to colleges (well, one college: MIT) and waits to hear what the verdict is.  Right from the start, I had a horrible feeling when Katie said that she'd only applied to one college.  I have a friend who's doing that, and I'm so afraid for her.  She's not applying anywhere as gutsy as MIT, but still, wouldn't you rather have that peace of mind that you have a back up plan waiting for you?  That's my feeling, and now I'm for sure going to apply to number of colleges, not just my first choice.

I felt that dread after (SPOILER) Katie gets her rejection letter and she has to figure out what to do next.  And the bad thing is, she struggles with this decision until the end of the book, which means I'm left hanging and sweating out this problem myself (which, in hindsight, seems a little silly, since this is fictional, but I guess that's the sign of an author doing an awesome job).

After this occurrence, the story takes an unexpected turn as Teri's-- son?  Littlest brother?-- Mikey dies of an electrical shock.  The response to this tragedy is sad, but awesome.  There is a large funeral and I loved it when Katie and her friends decide to create a sort of mural in the room that would have been Mikey's room.  It seemed like a good way to have closure and a good way to let the anger at the situation out.

Anderson's characters were very well-written, I continue to enjoy her writing style, and I was able to connect to this book emotionally (as well as understand the chemistry and math references... some of them... to a certain degree...)

I didn't care for this book as much as I liked 'Wintergirls' or 'Speak,' but it was very interesting nevertheless.

I give 'Catalyst':
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Sunday, September 11, 2011

About Me

(Baby Jude!)
Hello there!  I've decided to start making a few changes with my blog (nothing major, I promise) and one of those changes was attempting get rid of the 'Pages' bar at the top and replace it with pictures leading to an actual post.  We'll see how this goes.


Any way!  I got these questions from the Chapter Chicks and I thought it was a good idea!  So here we go!


Q: Why did you start blogging?This one sort of has a story.  Many, many years ago, one of my neighbors went to Mexico for a vacation that lasted a couple weeks.  He started a blog that detailed his trip (at the time) to San Miguel.  He's a great photographer and I was really impressed with what he did.  I wanted to start a blog myself.  I didn't know what it would be about, because I was really young and who wants to hear about the "hard life" of a twelve to fourteen year old?  Except in stories of course.  But as I started creeping into the world of blogging not too long ago, I discovered that many people were writing about what they were reading.  I thought it was a splendid idea!  So I kind of experimented a little, and I discovered that this style of blogging really worked for me.  And I could change and evolve as I changed and evolved.


Q: When did you start blogging?

Technically, late September or early October in 2009.  That's when I created this blog (I tried blogging before that, but it didn't work out.  Books are more interesting.  My previous blog has since been deleted).  So to answer this question, I became an active blogger in late 2010, when I had just become a Junior in high school.  It took about a year to turn everything around.


Q:Why did you name your blog "...It's Like a Whirlwind Inside of my Head..."
I gave my blog this name because basically, I needed a title.  I initially started this blog for a class and I was told that I didn't have to give it an assigned name.  In tenth grade, I was still riding the bus, which meant maybe twenty minutes or less of iPod time.  That was the song that happened to come up that day and it was still in my head.  It was this one, actually:


Q: Who designed your blog?
I did!  I've messed around with it quite a bit.  I found a solid colored picture on Google Images and then for the header, I took a picture of myself reading, brought it over to Pixlr (a free version of Photoshop, basically) and I traced around my shape.  Then I brought that finished project into Picnik and put the title in place.  I made my blog button in must the same way.  If you'd like me to make you a button, leave me a comment.


Q: Is blogging your job?
This thought spoils me.  I've considered monetizing my blog, but I figure I should try and get a "real job" before jumping into that.  Maybe someday, but as of yet, I don't want to deal with the pressure of keeping a consistent blog (I've tried, it's not really something that melds with my lifestyle, which is why I blog pretty sporadically, except for recently when I've been putting up scheduled posts every other day).  So, no, it's not my job, it's just a really fun hobby.


Q: How old are you?
I'm seventeen years old, turning eighteen in December.


Q: What is your favorite YA book?
Not a fair question.  Next!


Q: What Harry Potter House would you be sorted into?
Griffenpuff.


Q: How fast do you read? Not lightening speed, but faster than a snail's pace.  It really depends on what's going on in life at the time.  If I have nothing to do, I could decide to finish an entire book in one day, depending on how long the book is.  I have no numerical values for you.  Sorry.


Q: Do you read more than one book at a time?
Absolutely!  It makes life more interesting.


Q: Do you read ebooks?
I've given them a try, but I tend to gravitate towards audio books or physical copies.  There's just something magical about holding a book in your hands and smelling the mildew-y smell of an old book and hearing the crack of the spine of a new book.


Q: What program do you use to edit your videos?
When I make videos, I will use my Nikon and Gorillapod tripod to shoot the footage, then convert the video into a recognizable format with Any Video Converter (it's a free program), then put it through Windows Movie Maker (for titles and rearranging video clips).  After that, if I need to put words in the video, I will put that finished Windows Movie Maker video through Windows Live Movie Maker, because I can put the words wherever I want, unlike Windows Movie Maker.  It's a bit of a process, but it seems to work out.


Q: You're not the only one that's made an appearance on this blog.  Who have you pictured or mentioned before?
 The Dhermands (Left to Right: Pascal, Eloise, Marie, and Cecile).  Marie has stayed with us on two occasions now.  She was our first French exchange student, but recently she came an visited from France just this past summer!  And we got to meet her family!

Marie is basically my sister.  A couple of the kids that we babysat for when she was here asked me, "Where's your sister?"  It's kind of difficult to explain that we live in two different countries to a five year old.
 My Family (Left to Right: Lisa "Mumzy", Jeff "Father-Unit", Shannon "Shenanigans", Me)
 Avery!  We were kind of friends in middle-school, but once we both landed in high school, our friendship took off and we've been inseparable (well, almost.  She's not here right now...)!  She the one I take all of my trip to Half Price Books with.  She's awesome-sauce!
 My seester!
 Ezra Zee!  We make crazy art projects together and we've also been friends since middle school (probably when I was in seventh grade, which would mean she was in sixth).  She motivated me to write 'Murder by Rulers.'
And this guy, Jack, my boyfriend of almost three years now.  This is kind of an older picture, but that's okay :)

Q: Is Jude your real name?  It sounds like a boy's name... are you a boy?
No, I'm not a boy.  No, Jude is not my real name.  Yes, Jude can be a boy's name.  Jude is my pseudonym.  I love the Beatles and I also read a book written by an author with the first name Jude.  I loved it, so I made it my pen name and coupled it with the last name Rosenberg, because I thought it sounds awesome.

Q: What do you do when you're not blogging?
Reading, of course!  Either that or I'm writing, hanging out with friends, going on adventures, taking pictures, or trying to finish up high school.  You know how it is.

Any way, hopefully you liked this post okay.  If you have any questions for me, I'll be sure to update this page with an answer.

Thanks for reading!

--Jude