17 December 2010
If you're on this blog, you probably know Project for Awesome already. It's a day where YouTubers from all over post videos about their favorite charities. The point is for people to comment and rate and favorite as many p4a videos as they possibly can so that tomorrow, when people log onto YouTube, all they see on the front page are videos about charities.
There's a lot going on for this so check out the p4a2010 YouTube channel for more information on donating and raffles.
Don't forget to be awesome and donate to a good cause (whichever one you pick).
16 December 2010
I am also going to point out that I love these Hitler parodies. This one is about vuvuzelas at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But I've seen one about the band selection at the 2009 Freak Fest on State Street in Madison. And I've seen one other but I can't remember what it was about, only that it was funny. So here is your starting point for your enjoyment. Go surf and tell me where you end up in an hour.
09 December 2010
It means that I found a contest that I love and want to share with everyone reading this! Beth Revies is the debut author of anticipated YA novel Across the Universe (a link to her blog is to the right of this post). In anticipation of her upcoming release in January, she's holding an EPIC CONTEST OF EPIC that is so grand I want to be able to do something like that.
The EPIC CONTEST OF EPIC will give away 100 prizes to people at random. So of course I entered my name and address. The catch is that winners are notified with the prizes arriving on their doorstep; Ms. Revies isn't going to announce the winners on her blog.
In order to win the GRAND PRIZE featuring a plethora of cool swag, you must do one of three things. 1). become a fan of the book on Facebook; 2). blog about the contest (like what I'm doing now), or 3). pre-order the book from B&N.com, Amazon.com, or your local indie bookstore.
Here is a link to the contest and the list of cool prizes. So go check it out! It's so awesome!
If you finished your draft, AWESOME JOB! COOKIES FOR YOU!!
If you stopped halfway through: DON'T GIVE UP NOW! You can still finish!!!
If you completely and utterly failed: KEEP GOING! Continue your NaNo experience into December and January! (January might be best, but I don't know your own personal schedules, so it could very well not be.)
And if you're unsure of what to do with your finished manuscript, there is a plethora of things you can do. My personal favorite is printing out the entire thing and dropping it on a table. The thump of the landing papers is very satisfying no matter how much you think it sucks. The second thing would be to take a small break and start editing it. It will call for a lot of rewriting of the scenes and reworking of dialogue and character development, but that's what writing is all about. The magic happens with revisions, I say. You can also forget you wrote the thing entirely, but that's completely your choice. But why waste the idea and the month, you know?
Whatever you choose, I hope you succeed in completing that task. Good luck on revisions and don't forget to be awesome.
01 December 2010
Meanwhile, there is a call for donations to help with the prize money. Because if you're awarded a prize, some money would be beneficial. For more information about donating (and the prizes that might come your way), check out this link here.
Meanwhile, I'm going to look into these speculative fiction books that are translated into English. Some of them might be really interesting.
Meanwhile, there's only a few more weeks left to donate to Patrick Rothfuss's Worldbuilders Fundraiser. (The link will take you to his blog homepage, so if you click it after December, you won't be reading about Worldbuilders.) Check out the prizes in the lottery, the store, and the auctions going on, and donate to his cause!
30 November 2010
First, they're only going to keep the movie in theaters for a few months. Perhaps once the hype has died down, they'll take it out. In June, they're going to release the DVD for Part 1. This way, everyone will buy it right before they see Part 2 coming out in July. Part 2 will stay in theaters until they start to lose money from it. Then they're going to release Part 2 on DVD. For the holidays next year, they're probably going to release both movies together on one DVD with two extra discs loaded with special features and the like.
My plan: wait until both movies are on one DVD.
I wanted to wait to buy Avatar because I had heard they were going to re-release it in theaters and then probably re-release the DVD too. But, really, no one knew what else to get Dad for his birthday. And now look what happened: there's the Geek-Version of the DVD with all the extra stuff they cut out and deleted scenes and you can watch the whole thing, including the deleted scenes in one go! I want that version for Christmas! (It shall be mine, as in, it will be with me in Madison and not with my parents.)
So Dad and the rest of my family, don't fall into this marketing trap. Be patient and wait until the entire Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is on one DVD. It's so much more cost effective.
24 November 2010
Speaking of aspiring authors and their exploits, Patrick Rothfuss is auctioning off critiques for manuscripts on his Worldbuilders fundraiser going on now. If you're an aspiring author with money to spare, bid on an editor and get your manuscript critiqued by a professional! And while you're at it, donate to Worldbuilders and get your name entered for a chance to win one of many awesome books and swag. There's even a store this year in case you want something specific (like a tee shirt or poster).
If you're unfamiliar with Patrick Rothfuss and his book The Name of the Wind, then go read it. It's great; trust me. I love it. It's a wonderful frame story about a hero telling his tale to a historian. And that's all I'm going to say on that because I discovered what it was about as I read and it made the experience even more enjoyable for me. So check it out!
In other news, hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is being rebooted for the big screen without Joss Whedon. Since I just heard about this, I don't have much of an opinion. I got through four and a half seasons before I stopped watching it (only because my roommate took the DVDs back to New Jersey for the holidays and didn't bring them back). But I would be willing to start up again if only for corny teen-hero goodness. Even so, Buffy without Whedon is about as sad as a Firefly reboot without Joss Whedon. Makes you really upset about the whole thing, no?
22 November 2010
- 1 small jar of tomato sauce
- 1 package pasta (any kind)
- 1 package of beef
- Italian Herb blend
First, cook the meat in a frying pan. As it's cooking, start boiling water. Meanwhile, begin chopping the vegetables. Personally, I keep the meat cooking until the veggies are all chopped. Once it's all cooked through, I add the vegetables. Treat the meat and veggies like a stir fry and just let it all sizzle until it's lightly toasted all around. Meanwhile, add the pasta once the water is boiling and keep that going until pasta is tender. Once the veggies are lightly brown, add the sauce. Stir that around until the sauce evenly coats the veggies and meat. Let that cook on low until the pasta is done. Once everything is finished, I like to mix the pasta with the sauce together. But if you're not the only one eating it, feel free to serve separately.
Serves roughly 1-3 people. Maybe 4. I don't know, I just know I have quite a few meals after I make this.
13 November 2010
Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup:
- 1 package gnocchi noodles
- 2 cans creamy chicken soup
- 1 chicken breast
- 4 mushrooms (small size)
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 giant carrot
- Italian herbs
(additional ingredients*: onion, lentils, bok choy, bean sprouts, peas, herbs that go nicely with chicken, a glass of white wine as you cook and while you eat)
Boil the gnocchi noodles in a large enough pot. While you're waiting, chop the chicken breast and fry it until it's cooked. Also slice the mushrooms, chop the celery, and slice the carrot. Once the chicken is cooked, add the vegetables to the frying pan and cook them as well. When the gnocchi is done, drain the water out of the pan. Add the creamy chicken soup to a large pot. Right away, add the gnocchi, chicken, and vegetables. Stir around until it's heated. Add the Italian herbs for flavor. Let it cook until it's really hot when you taste it.
Annoying questions I might have if I had read a recipe:
- Exactly HOW MUCH of the Italian Herbs should I add?
If you can barely see the herbs mixed in the stuff, then you've added to little. If you see giant clumps of it, then you've added too much. Add enough where you see a reasonable amount mixed in with everything.
- What do you mean by Italian Herbs?
I mean a small container with a label "Italian Herbs". I found my container at a Tesco in the UK. Hopefully there's something akin to it in the US. Otherwise, ask to see which herb would go nice with chicken or just omit the herbs entirely.
- How small should I dice everything?
Small enough to be bite size. If you have to eat it in two bites, it's too big. Take a fun size candy bar and cut it in half. That's the size the chicken and vegetables should be (roughly).
-How do you know gnocchi is done?
Gnocchi floats when it's done (which suggests that it sinks when it's not). I added a lot of water when I boiled them so this would be obvious. Make sure to stir them around a bit once a bunch of them start floating, just to make sure everything is floating and ready to be consumed.
*Ingredients I did not have in my own soup but they sound nice enough to be added in another attempt.
Take Which Doctor Who companion are you? (girls) today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
Oi! Wotch it, Martian boy! The Doctor thinks he can spout all kinds of ridiculous technobabble and 'Last Time Lord Angst' at you just because he's from outer space, huh? Well, you're not having any of it! You've got a heart of gold and a will of iron, and you're a rather boggling combination of a romantic idealist and a staunch realist. But you never let logical paradoxes get to you; you prefer to shoehorn the universe into a little box of your own perception. More often than not, it fits... probably because the universe is too intimidated to argue!
Go on! It's fun! Click the link and see who you're most like!
12 November 2010
My story confidante is my friend (secret codename) Herb. I met her when I got involved in the local writing group on campus. She's really awesome in that she sees stories in general from a different perspective than most readers, according to her. An example would be her view of the hit book Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins as compared to other people I've talked with. While some people don't like Katniss's character in the third book, Herb loves it. She loves how it really shows how war is a destructive force that rips you as a person apart. It destroys Katniss in the Hunger Games trilogy. And Herb embraces that fact and loves how its showed to the reader.
And its this kind of perspective I value in a reader because that's how I want my stories to be interpreted. So, whenever I get an idea for something, she's usually the first person to hear about it. Such as the case this past summer. I got this idea for this book. It didn't come with a grand finale, it didn't pop out of no where and get me so giddy and excited that I just started writing without bothering where it was heading. No. This started as an idea. And my talks with Herb help to strengthen this idea. And then it became more than an idea, and it became an outline, and then several outlines. And then I took my own advice and just shut up and wrote. And then the characters did their own things and the story took a different turn. Before I knew it, I was doing something other than what I intended to do. I would bounce ideas of Herb to see if she liked them or not.
Likewise, she's been doing the same for me. She sent me an email with two different scenarios. And then she told me about a completely difference scenario. Before I knew it, I was telling her my opinion about various other scenarios that seem totally different but apparently revolve around the same central theme. I didn't mind. Although I couldn't keep track of which aspect of the theme was being brought out in each scenario, I could give her feedback on which was cliche and which was more interesting. She took my advice and stuck with the Eastern influences (I think -- she didn't really specify what made her return to them). She also listened to me when I told her that her mermaid idea wasn't strong enough to stand on its own (this she argued, but she told me that she slept on it and the urge to write it really was weaker the next day).
In a way, we shape each other's stories based on our initial opinions. When we talk about these things, we talk about how a reader might react to such and such. Most importantly, I look for Herb's responses. If she doesn't like something, I'm more likely to change it.
It's probably a bad idea I have this kind of influence that affects decisions, but not always. When I first proposed my own story to her, she didn't like a few of the characters because she couldn't fully understand their motives. Being new to me as well, I didn't fully understand their motives either, but as their writer I knew they were important enough to stick around. Although a rational part of my brain told me to drop them and write about the people Herb likes, I didn't. And now that they're more developed in my head and I'm able to describe their motives and characterizations better, Herb is more sympathetic towards them. So although she does influence my decisions, she doesn't have full control over them. Likewise, I can only do so much when I tell her to "shut up and write. I want to read what you have, for Pete's sake!" She refused to get anything solid until NaNoWriMo this month.
I don't know if we'll collaborate again like this for later stories, but for now, I like our little mutual-partnership. What about you? Do you have anyone you confide in when it comes to new ideas? Who are they to you and what is it about their opinion that you value?
11 November 2010
I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo, but I know people who do and I admire them. Because it's hard being a student and writing 2,000 a day. Seriously, it is! There are papers to write and odd-ball things to read for classes. And THEN you have to do your personal work. And if the personal work doesn't get done, your weekends are suddenly so much more cramped with things to do than usual.
Keep working NaNo writers! Don't give up just because it's close to slum week! Add a new character into the mix. Continue the story. Write random scenes from random places in the plot! Just keep going because those 50,000 words don't have to be the most gorgeous writing you do on the planet. Just get it all done!
Also, when you're finished, print off your entire story and drop it. That's right. Drop it on a nice, hard floor (not carpet) or a table for the satisfying whump of completion. My friend DanPan said it does wonders.
06 November 2010
This is a late congratulations to everyone participating in this year's NaNoWriMo competition. I won't be involved this year, but come find me when April comes around and I try my hand at screenwriting. I might also have a personal NaNo some other time of the year (probably around spring semester finals, because I love to torture myself like that).
Now, NaNo folk, I know how hard it is to make that damn blinking cursor move with something you're willing to accept as your story. So here's a useful tool I recently discovered that will help me get going on my own work in progress and will hopefully aid you in your endeavors be it NaNoWriMo or otherwise.
I present to you . . . Write or Die by Dr. Wicked!
The link will take you to his blog which is updated quite frequently. Over on the right toolbar, you will see a few options. There's the Write or Die desktop edition, which is an offline edition of the program and costs $10 for a direct download. Below that, there is the Online edition, which I had just used myself. All you do is input the amount of words you want to write in the amount of time you want to write it in. Set how strict you want the program to yell at you, and off you go.
Not only do you write, but it makes you write. Isn't that awesome? A program that notices when you've stopped typing for a few seconds that goes "You aren't writing! Keep going!" The encouragements change depending on the setting you want, I believe. But it's fantastic. If you only have twenty minutes to dish out 1000 words, this will help you do it. If you can't get that first draft done because you're too distracted by things around you, this will help you too.
I read that Jodi Picoult doesn't believe in writer's block because, when she first started to write, she would only have twenty minutes here and ten minutes there. Being a stay-at-home mom, those small times add up to hours and hours on end. She doesn't believe in writer's block. When you only have small amounts of time between mommy-errands, you wouldn't either. This program will help you restrict the amount of time you have to write. And it'll scold you if you don't make your goal.
So go play with it for a while and when you're done, spread the word about it to other writers. Trust me, you'll love it as much as I do!
23 September 2010
16 September 2010
Now, I would address my own problems of procrastination, but I'm going to make the excuse that I'm about to depart for the other side of the world in a few days and sort of panicking in a very quiet making-paper-cranes-and-watching-documentaries-on-the-universe sort of way. (Interesting documentaries too; there was one about time travel).
12 September 2010
Did you know that people don't tend to buy hard booze in a store when they turn 21? They usually go to bars, but I figured that since I'm now officially legal, I can do what I want. So a bottle of white zin for me it is. Even so, I was kind of surprised when the woman checking me out said not many people buy stuff on their actual 21st birthday. Who wouldn't want to exercise their right to walk into a store and confidently show their ID that says "this person is clearly 21, but thanks for checking." Perhaps it's only me, though.
I'll be looking for fellow Pokewalkers to link up with. Keep an eye out for them if you have one too. I hear you get cool stuff. By the way, does anyone know what the watts are for?
05 September 2010
My congratulations to the 2010 Hugo Award winners. I didn't really follow everything that got nominated, but I will definitely follow this in future years.
Got back from my first ever convention today! Geek.kon is held in one of the first weekends in September in Madison, WI. It was small-ish and it is close to where I live. My friend talked with Chris Ayres about concept Shakespeare, how illegal fansubbing and bit-torrent downloading is destroying the anime industry, and marvel at Sheila the turtle who dressed as the turtle from the world of Terry Pratchett. Seriously. There was also a Victorian Tea Party which included a sabotage mystery not solved by me, Death Note mafia which is worth playing if you ever see it at a con (look for it in the Midwest), and a panel about the manly men of anime (in all its testosterone glory). The con raised about $800 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association; $300 from the Masquerade Ball I attended and the rest from the charity silent auction. I wanted to participate in Kon.Quest, but alas, I kept forgetting about it. Here are some pictures of awesome costumes.
|She called it the Dress of Doom. It's very complicated.|
|No Face going to the Masquerade Ball|
|Dr. Horrible in the video game room|
|Ash and Pikachu chillaxing in the lobby.|
|Eric Vale and Chris Ayres at their Q&A Panel|
30 August 2010
If you don't want to know what happens, don't read this.
You can also view the review on my Goodreads.
This is the first book in a long time where I finished it with such a sense of excitement and awe that I could barely fall asleep even though it was almost two in the morning and I had to wake up for work at six thirty. My initial thoughts don't represent the book as a whole, just my own initial emotions on several subjects that I noticed while reading. These are something resembling those thoughts (they've had quite a bit of time to mature this past week).
The first thing that's probably on everyone's minds is the whole Team Peeta/Team Gale thing. After a special statement from the good ladies at Oops . . . Wrong Cookie, I started to feel neutral. But my natural tendency was to root for Gale despite the shared experiences of Katniss and Peeta. I thought Katniss's feelings towards Peeta weren't completely natural. Her going with Gale would have felt like a more natural relationship --- until the events in Mockingjay happened. It tore my heart that Peeta was hijacked and that Gale was becoming someone Katniss couldn't relate to. In the end, though, I'm happy for the ending of the love triangle. That was satisfying. Besides, Katniss couldn't be friends with Gale after his hand in the final events. I wouldn't be either.
Truth be told, I saw Coin's assassination by Katniss's hand coming. I didn't know I saw it coming until she met with President Snow in his rose room, but I caught the hints for it. When describing the lifestyle of District 13, I saw something resembling the control the Capitol has over its people. Then I saw Coin's ambition and the fact that she was more of a politician than a rebellion leader. I noticed a few subtle comparisons between Coin and Snow, and that's when I noticed that Coin wasn't all-good. I saw Snow wasn't all-evil when he said he wouldn't sacrifice his own children for those ends.
One of the reviews I read mentioned that Katniss wasn't in character the last hundred pages or so. I would beg to differ. I didn't notice such a change in character until Prim died; even then I find the change fully justified. You don't lose an entire squadron of the only people you trust including the two men you love and THEN watch your sister burn without some consequences. Furthermore, the entire plot of the story takes place in less than two years. That's a freaking huge amount of death and war in a small amount of time. On top of that, Katniss is only a teenager. She's seventeen!! Did anyone else have some sort of revelation at that?
In terms of how the writing went, I've noticed passages that did nothing but skim events I thought were more important. But the fact that they were part of the 'skimming passages' meant that they were less important overall -- we the readers just thought they would be important because it's what we expected from a war story. Speaking of expectations, I thought the character development neatly dived away from the standard developmental tropes. No, Katniss was not going to rise to the occasion, become a powerful victor, lead a happy life, and finally retire quietly. Instead, she retreats to herself for months afterward and leads a quiet life avoiding anything that has to do with government and politics and especially war.
I liked the closure of the epilogue. It was a very satisfying ending that says "this is the end of her story, period." I like that. I like that some stories come and some go and others are ended all too suddenly (I think of Finnick as I write that). And I like the finality of this story. It's unsettling but it has a clear message. War leaves you broken and there's nothing you can do to stop it. All you can do is live with it and hope for the best. Love it!!!
26 August 2010
19 August 2010
I am currently reading the second book in the series, and I will probably be reading the third this weekend and the fourth by Monday. Why not? They're all here with me. I borrowed them from a friend so they have to go back eventually. (But not now. Definitely not now.)
Meanwhile, I went to Ann Arbor, MI last weekend. I was going to post a couple pictures, but my Bluetooth seems to be out of commission. I used my camera to take pictures and the only way to get them to the computer is by Bluetooth. Mayhap that'll be my project for Monday. In the meantime, go check out John Scalzi's blog. He wrote the book series I'm reading.
09 August 2010
*word debt: my marker for how many words I'm behind
02 August 2010
28 July 2010
The first episode I truly saw with David Tennant was the episode where the Doctor becomes a physics teacher in a school and Rose works as the lunch lady. Sarah Jane Smith makes a guest appearance in this episode. Wouldn't you know, Rose and Sarah Jane have a jealousy-fight. Who does the Doctor like the most? I think I might have face-palmed. Really? I thought, I'm not watching this show for the romance. I want to see some aliens!
I wound up warming up to the Doctor and Rose as a couple. And it did break my heart when she gets trapped in another dimension. It really did. Then the Doctor meets Martha, and I thought it was kind of cool in the beginning. The Doctor is lonely and, in a way, tricks this young woman to travel with him. Martha falls for the Doctor, doesn't realize that he lied to her. I have to commend her, though. I like Martha because she stands up for herself. She was the one that said "I'm not going anywhere with you until we've had a proper chat and you tell me about yourself." At the end of her run, she was also the one who said, "I'm getting out of this relationship." Because she was in love with the Doctor, but he never gave her a second glance. Kudos go to her for doing the right thing, but there was still the companion in love with the Doctor. Was this show going to have anything that wasn't related to romance? I thought.
I loved Donna from the beginning. She was really enthusiastic about traveling through time and space. Her heart was in the right place; in fact it was always in the right place. During "The Fires of Pompeii", she's the one that pleads for the Doctor to save someone. In "The Doctor's Daughter", it was Donna that taught the Doctor how he could love Jenny. And, I don't think I will forget this one, she was the one who shouted at the human CEO in the episode "Planet of the Ood": "Of course they'll trust the first creature they see! They're born with their brains in their hands!"
And not only her heart, but her attitude in general. I mostly see it during the episode "Turn Left". When we see her initially make the decision, her mom tells her that she's a temp, temporary, and the big businessmen of London will move onto another girl by the time she's done. Donna originally responds with, "Yeah, well they haven't met me." Later in that episode, while walking to their new house in Leeds, Donna yells at someone in another house. Her grandfather tells her she can't change the world by shoutin' at it. "No, but I can try," she mutters. Do you see why I love it? She's just awesome, plain and simple.
Donna also has some of the best episodes of the New Doctor Who. There's "The Doctor's Daughter" which I don't fancy too much, but I can see where it can be revered as great. Donna and the Doctor meet Agatha Christie in "The Unicorn and the Wasp". How many Christie titles can you find the dialog? (No searching Wikipedia) Of course, the entire sequence of "Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead" was amazing. It introduces River Song, a companion with a mysterious past in the Doctor's future. Hello sweetie, spoilers. And then we have a few of my personal favorites. "Midnight" explores the Doctor alone on a bus with several other tourists when a strange creature steals a passenger's body and, eventually, the Doctor's voice. It's intense. Go watch it even if you don't like Doctor Who. Following that is "Turn Left", which explores what would happen if Donna didn't met the Doctor. That one is intense too. The series ends with "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End", which had me at the edge of my seat the entire two episodes. It brings together everyone who was ever associated with the Doctor across the multiple shows that make up the Doctor Who Universe. And the ending is just heart-wrenching. I might go cry again.
So there you have it. In my opinion, Donna Noble is the best companion the Doctor ever had since the series' revival. She's the Doctor's best friend, she has the best plot lines, and you can't help but fall in love with her. Her attitude is just so awesome.
I'm sorry for the long post. You'll get a short one on Monday.
26 July 2010
19 July 2010
Somehow, I managed to drag somebody to see the latest and greatest movie release last Friday. Dad and I saw it in its Ultra Screen glory, and it was beautiful.
It’s a fairly simple movie. In terms of characters and their goals, everything is announced at the beginning. Corporate big shot Saito (Ken Watanabe) wants an idea planted in his competitor’s head. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) wants to return to his family and see his children’s faces. Ariadne (Ellen Page) wants to help Cobb get over the death of his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard). And everyone else wants to get the job done without a hitch.
This is not a movie where you can leave to refill your popcorn bowl. You miss a scene, you’ll be lost for about an hour. Each line of dialogue is carefully placed at exactly the right moment. There won’t be entire scenes explaining a simple piece of technology; it’ll be a sentence or two and then the movie moves on. I recognize this trick in a few televisions shows I’ve seen such as Angel and Doctor Who. You have to pay attention in those too.
The movie isn’t trying to outsmart you with complicated twists. Instead, it’s leading you through a plot reminiscent of the old films of yore. It does have that old-time movie feel. Here is the character, here is his trouble, this is his goal, now watch as he attempts to accomplish that goal.
It’s amazing how Nolan managed to fit some pretty sweet action and a really cool story into one two-and-a-half hour movie. My only qualm against it was the seeming lack of an arc with nearly all the characters. Cobb and Mal were the only ones who started at point A and ended up at point B in terms of character development. But other than that, this movie is great!
My favorite scene (and this would be my favorite scene) was when Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Ariadne were sitting a building with the projections looking at them. Arthur attempts to fit into the crowd with a kiss from Ariadne, but it didn’t work. His comment was “Yeah, it was worth a shot.”
The favorite character was Eames (Tom Hardy). His sense of humor and light-heartedness was a great addition to the cast.
Overall grade: A+
15 July 2010
Checked out two books.
- 2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clark
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Placed on hold two books:
- Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor
- Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
I expect to see Inception this weekend, so keep a watch for my thoughts or what it made me think of. According to the reviews, this movie is really good, well-made, well-written, directed with a sharp eye. Based on these, I am super excited to see this movie.
That is all.
12 July 2010
This blog has been on haitus since I started questioning the nature of it. But now I’m back. And I’m going to talk about something that terrified me as a child:
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clark and Stanley Kubrick
When I was a kid, I was scared of regular scary things like monsters and things that didn’t look natural. There used to be a tree outside my window with branches that grew long enough to touch the house. One night, I was sitting in my room, minding my own business, probably lost in a writing project somewhere, when something tapped my window. I looked up and jumped because I saw something reaching towards my window. It bounced like it was a live. An adrenaline shot later, I realized it was the tree outside my window. I never really liked that tree. I thought it was an alien.
When I say I believe in aliens, I mean that I believe in the aliens you come across on Doctor Who, the kind of beings that leave Earth alone for the most part. They can live at the same time we’re living, and maybe hover in orbit from time to time, but I don’t believe in aliens abducting humans for their own experiments. I don’t see the point in that because we’re an advanced life form not so different than those guys in flying saucers. We’re just grounded for a bit.
But what if aliens helped to shape our current society and technology? What if they just had a hand in pushing us towards the right path of evolution? And what if they did it with slabs of rock holding an unknown nature? Of all the things that scared me as a child, those giant monoliths and HAL scared me most of all.
First off, those monoliths were accompanied by some creepy music. Giant slabs of rock or no, the right music to a generic something makes a world of a difference. Case in point:
Normal chipmunk, right? No! This little guy is dramatic!
Normal piece of rock? No. The music tells you otherwise.
The second thing that scared the living lights out of me was HAL 9000, supercomputer on board the space ship Discovery. What was so scary about him? He had a calming voice and interacted nicely with the crew. And then he started to go crazy, but he kept that calming voice. But you couldn’t trust the calming voice of the supercomputer. Nope. Can’t trust the system that runs the entire ship. A supercomputer goes crazy. Growing up where computers don’t even think for themselves, it’s a scary thought. [I continue to be frightened of this during The Matrix and iRobot, who explore robots taking over humanity further. Don’t ask me about The Animatrix, I never got through it.]
I managed an attempt to get over the fear of the movie by reading the book. It made sense if you could follow along. Now I think I’m ready to try watching the movie again after ten years of avoidance. Let’s hope I can still get to bed the same night.
Both Arthur C. Clark and Stanley Kubrick wrote the screenplay, but Arthur C. Clark wrote the novel as an explanation for the movie. I call this the first book/movie pair in history to have the movie before the book.
Other things that frighten me:
- rotating helicopter blades
- popping helium balloons
- being in the ER alone
23 May 2010
I read an interesting phrase yesterday. While surfing around some book lists of authors I want to read, I came across the website of Jodi Picoult. While I’ve never read anything of hers, I did surf around her site because it seemed interesting. And because she’s said to be one of the greatest authors of the day.
Did you know Jodi Picoult doesn’t believe in writer’s block?
I find that interesting. And I encourage you to stop believing in writer’s block. Even if you feel you can’t write, write anyway. It’s better to edit something that’s horrible than completely write something else entirely. So go ahead and write a piece of crap. Edit, cut, revise, cut, edit --- like crazy!! And when you’re done, the worst thing in the world will be a the prettiest diamond you’ve ever written.
Stop believing in writer’s block. It does not exist.
12 May 2010
Yes, I’ve been gone. No, I haven’t been particularly busy --- I just a). kept forgetting about blogging, b). did not find anything worth blogging about since Spring Break, and c). had to deal with reading Paradise Lost for a class. And now I’m writing a paper on that same poem.
As an epic poem read by the literary, I can appreciate Paradise Lost for its beautiful prose, marvelous phrasing, and the subtle hints and references throughout all twelve books. I can appreciate it as the only epic poem written in the conventions of Homer and Vergil and quite possibly Chaucer and Spenser, but in a language that does not require translation into the modern vernacular . . . yet. The subtle language, the references to itself, to previous written epics, to the Bible . . . it’s all amazing to have been written by a blind man in hiding from the government. Can you imagine?
And yet, as with Homer, it’s quite boring.
Seriously, I attempted to read it. But to read nine hundred (!!!) lines of intense poetry where little if anything happens in a large amount of space is so trying, especially in these modern times where it’s “direct language or bust!” You really have to enter another mindset to read it. My way of dealing with that mindset is patience, which takes quite a bit of time, which is not allotted in class. So I would try, fail, try again, and still fail. And now I’m writing a paper on it (not my failing, the paper is about Eve).
This week is finals week, and I’m getting through the week with the promise of television shows, books, and a to-do list for the summer. Here is my list:
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Pushing Daisies
- FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Avatar the Last Airbender
- The Tudors
- Carnivale (though I’ve seen more than half of it already)
- Neil Gaiman
- Ray Bradbury
- Arthur C. Clark
- Laini Taylor
- Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (this may prove to be harder than it sounds)
- Y: The Last Man (books 3 – end)
- Astonishing X-Men (part 3 – end)
- graphic novels in general
I always add an extra point just in case. If you have any suggestions for things I might enjoy, please leave a comment below and I’ll look into it. Wish me luck on my paper!
23 March 2010
Which means I’m very excited. This show caught my interest when I first went to college and I’ve been keeping up with it until it was put on haitus. I am very unhappy about this haitus because the original creators stated in an interview that they were planning for the series finale to mesh-up with the date of the flash forwards. I do hope they keep that up. It’s a very interesting concept.
This is not a review, this is just me being excited.
Someone on the Hulu reviews mentioned that the character arcs seemed kind of cliche, which made me think that Flash Florward can be a bit of a cheese ball, which made me fall for it all over again. I am an uber fan of the Cheese Ball for reasons unbeknownst to me. If it can pull off corny and bad-ass-ery, I’m liable to like it.
Like Transformers and Speed Racer. Both are awesomely entertaining, but they are giant Cheese Balls. But they are entertaining, thus, I like them.
This is the kind of thing I’d like to work on someday.
19 March 2010
No where, really. But every time I think about this blog, I think about how few things I actually do outside schoolwork and writing. I don’t read as much as other people, and I have to admit, looking at things with a critical eye takes the fun out of it. So I’ve decided to also litter this blog with other things – like the cool videos I find on YouTube! And other things.
Laini Taylor is a fun blog to follow. She finds awesome writing advice including this pretty neat speech by Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat Pray Love. Check it out, my roommate loves it.
I am also a fan of The Big Bang Theory. I’ve been watching that whenever I have to eat alone.
And when I’m not really doing anything else, I find random YouTube videos. Like this one. Check that out too because it’s awesome. I almost want to go on Chat Roulette to find him, but I don’t want to see a quarter of the people I meet doing inappropriate things to their webcam.
And then when that is done, I feel like listening to Owl City’s Fireflies, so that’s what I do. And my surfing goes from there.
Internet surfing makes me think of the old 90s cartoon Reboot, which I watched last year and inadvertently found this Reboot revival movement. That was also interesting. But the show features a web surfer for a few episodes who uses a surf board and talks with a slight Aussie accent.
But Reboot was made in the 90s when the Internet and its potential was just speculation. Which makes me wonder what Reboot would be like if it were revamped with today’s technology and ideologies. To prevent copyrighting, there will have to be new characters. But they’ll still feature some sort of Anti-Spyware character, the main programming character, a character for each major program on the computer, and so forth. I say we keep the binomial characters because they’re cute, personally, but that’s just me.
A friend of mine mentioned something once. He said that we’ve now gotten to the point where, if a person is smart, you don’t have to hunt for a software problem at all. If a program goes bad, just uninstall it and then reinstall it – simple fix without the hassle. And any other problems you had would also disappear. So now the common folk don’t even know how computers are run, we just know how to work them. Does that scare you? Because if computers die, a lot of people's lives will die with them (mine included).
Inevitably, I end up picturing myself in a cool-looking protective suit with a surf board and wishing that whole thing was real. Damn, that’d be fun.