Sunday, July 31, 2011

Harry Potter

Today is Harry Potter's birthday! :) Happy birthday to the boy who lived. <3 I watched the first movie last night and finished the sixth book this morning. I understand why they're so popular now. They're wonderful, charming, touching, and simply magical. They are extremely well written: the characters are solid and tangible, the narration is flawless, and I wish I could read them for the rest of my life.

The movie is enchanting as well. The actors are adorable and brilliantly talented, and the special effects, composition, and music(by John Williams!) sparkle too.



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2671/3677142527_8e6977beba.jpg

I say the glass is twice as full as it needs to be.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

at this point, writing is like an abstract concept.

Yo! I have a lot to tell you guys and I went to a party and drank a lot of Coca Cola, and before that I read like half of Order of the Phoenix and so I don't really have the mental capacity to write my usual, well ordered, edifying, and grammatically correct paragraphs. So I will make a bulleted list.


Bulleted lists are used to create the illusion of order in writing, even when the actual writing behind the bullets is completely incoherent.

See, if you write a;2-afhl;ds;afjj;]][dp]daspf20g;asahdfhslafshj, people will think that your cat is dancing across the keyboard or something, but if you write:






  • a;2-afhl;ds;afj 
    •  j;]][dp]d
    • aspf20g;as
    • ahdfhsl
    • afs
    • hj,


    people will think it's some sort of secret code and the problem lies with them and not you.


    Anyways, here's the list.


    •  Dolores Umbridge is so weeiiiirrrd!(and evil and freaky)
    • http://www.hp-lexicon.org/images/film/op/umbridgeoffice-72dpi.jpg 
    • I love sailing at the Newport Sea Base! There's no other feeling. Also, the Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts of America are like the greatest institution ever. I feel so comfortable around other scouts. We're funny, creative, quick-thinking, we have awesome songs and we plan great parties! Our instructor, a Sea Scout named Dylan is so sarcastically hilarious.
    • http://www.fremontsailingclub.org/images/fj-1.jpg 
    • Some other sailing class at the Sea Base declared war on us! We're sailing Flying Juniors(like above picture). They were sailing RS Fevas. We splashed water at each other from our sailboats and we even capsized one of them! ;) 

    • I love Acrobatic Jazz! We're working on back bends(from standing up, duh) XD and front limbers now.
    • http://images.teamsugar.com/files/usr/1/12981/wheel.jpg

    •  I watched Avatar last night. Meh. Definitely not the next Star Wars.
    • We had a swim meet today! I improved my times by like one second. XD 

     I'm supposed to be entering this short story contest where I can win 250 bucks. It has to involve a library somehow. I have a few ideas but they suck. How about you?

    And that, my friends, is where the title of the post comes from.

    Later,
    Amaranthine

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

random adults ask me all the time...

"Amaranthine, what, exactly, what would you like to do with your life?"






Well................


Errr....................


Ummm........................
What I have checked out from the library so far, a fair amount unread.

I'm sorry for my pause(read: complete absence) from online activity. These days are craazy, way more than school, it seems. I owe you guys.

Every day now, I go to sailing camp from about 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

I have dance on Tuesdays(3:30-4:30), Wednesdays(6:30 to 7:30) and Fridays(5:30 to 6:30) not counting makeups.

I also have 1hr15 min swim practice every weekday afternoon and 6 hr. swim meets on Saturdays. I also practice an hour of piano a day, and do chinese and theory homework. On Sundays I help out/attend church starting at least 8 and often not ending till 1 in the afternoon.

It's hectic. Thanks for seeing me through this. You have no idea how much you all help me. So far I have gotten over 1000 comments. I love you all.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

can fantasy be harmful?

 http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_5cUBjcHBQJk/TL9bwFh3SsI/AAAAAAAACUQ/D_1N5m3-IPA/s1600/anime_fairy_water2-662395.jpg

inspired by-

"When you're a kid, you have no power. You're physically small and weak, and adults are constantly telling you what to do. So it's incredibly compelling to imagine yourself not only as someone to whom exciting things happen but as someone who is more than those around you. The problem is that then you begin to grow up and realize you're just a lowly muggle. … Is it possible that all of us, weaned on these stories, end up inevitably disappointed with mundane life as it actually exists?" 
Paul Waldman, writing for The American Prospect, on why Harry Potter (and other children's books, too) may be contributing to young readers' unhappiness 



 I read fantasy to escape, but also to empower myself. It's easy to see why. Books take me on an instant journey to everywhere, and on days where I'm put down, frustrated, and unsuccessful, an instant escape is very tempting. Well-written fantasy books take me into the hearts and minds of the characters, and make me be the character. Whether I'm blasting droids with Anakin or cracking puzzles(finished Goblet of Fire today, heh heh) with Harry, I enter the character's mind and heart as wholly as he/she enters mine. His success is my success, and his failure is my disappointment.
 
But, as the quote above says, can all this be harmful? Whether it's Percy Jackson or Star Wars or Harry Potter or Artemis Fowl or Twilight, the main character often starts off being different, normal and relatable, just like you and me. And then something happens, they change and become better, greater, more awesome, then everyone around them. They have their own special power and destiny, leaving the ordinary behind. 

And so we are conditioned to believe that we, some day, will also leave behind the ordinary for a great destiny. One day I'll put aside school, parents, money, rules, and go save the world, to the awe and envy of lots of people who were just like me.


And we spend our days waiting...waiting for our Hogwarts acceptance letter, our satyr, our-whatever, something that says "HEY! You're not ordinary anymore! Congrats!"

And it never comes. Instead....life as we know it goes on. Any achievements, great or small, come with a lot of time, sweat, and sacrifice. They don't seem worth it, compared with, I don't know, TIME TRAVEL??


Rather than face life for what it is, many of us go back to burying our heads in those books, where instead of being a B student, the slowest, the last, the least, we can be superpeople, and adults wither in the face of our witty sarcasm(Maximum Ride, anyone?). But when we grow up, we can't seek refuge in books anymore, so many grown ups turn to other things in an attempt to escape the mundane.


Of course, someday we will throw off the boringness, but we have our whole boring lives to survive first!
How can we use the fantasy genre to, instead of showing up real life with things like mind control, wings, and telekinesis, remind us how magical real life really is?







Friday, July 15, 2011

today is GOOD

because I'm going to the county fair today! eep! :D


At the fair they have great food and stuff to blow your money on! Like clothes and cute shoes!

I'll tell you all about it later ;)

And I had two dance classes yesterday, and one the day before..and we're starting prep for fouette turns! I'm so excited! I've always wanted to do them(they're on my bucket list).

Granted, it'll probably take a year+ to get perfect, since I can barely do pirouettes. >.>



These are fouette turns. It's not as exciting as Qui's news(Pointe. EEP!) But it'll do. ;)


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

but enough of that depressing business....

Here's my bucket list, for (life is too short not to)wear red shoes's giveaway!

Stuff I want to do before I die:

1. Go to England, Ireland and Greece:

http://www.beatthebrochure.com/admin/DestinationImages/b07ee2da92434506a90aa3e6fb0e64b1.jpg


2. Be able to do foutte turns, alaseconde turns, pirouttes, and grand jete's en pointe.
 http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2043/2286608331_d5efc8ddce.jpg 

3. Ride in a submarine

underwater pictures,submarine & atmospheric diving suit

4. Be able to sail a boat around the ocean by myself
http://www.watersport-insight.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/sailboat-1.jpg

5.  Meet my online friends in real life:
http://www.wondercomments.com/online_friends/online_friends_comment_12.gif

6. Have a set of real, fiberglass clone trooper armor:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3469/3318469228_2ccf9e2ba0.jpg



7. Be able to be JOYFUL and PATIENT in any circumstance, and to depend faithfully on God alone:

http://realdiablog.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/04/18/patience.jpg

8. Meet some of my favorite writers/and famous people, including Eoin Colfer, James Patterson, and JK Rowling. Famous people: Ashley Eckstein, George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, etc.


9. Become a bestselling novelist.



10. Live the life God has planned for me:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3401/3441170921_48c76ee7a9.jpg



toms shoes controversy

I take back my earlier post about TOMS shoes.
I don't support TOMS anymore. You might have heard about this, maybe not. Read this article and others for information. Basically, after the taping that I attended, a bunch of pro-gay/abortion online people started a petition and a bunch of flamy internet blog posts and Blake Mycoskie apologized and said that appearing on the show was a "mistake." They had a problem with Focus on the Family's traditional Christian(particularly the traditional marriage) values, and Blake Mycoskie(who is also a Christian) caved.

I won't go too into this..(not a good subject to talk about on the internet) but I'm really disappointed with Mr. Mycoskie. All the persecution/criticism/name calling comes with the Christian package. You even get kudos for it in heaven. But only if you stand up to it. But no:

Here's the official release:
"Had I known the full extent of Focus on the Family's beliefs, I would not have accepted the invitation to speak at their event. It was an oversight on my part and the company's part and one we regret. In the last 18 months we have presented at over 70 different engagements and we do our best to make sure we choose our engagements wisely, on this one we chose poorly."

This sucks. Focus on the Family is no hate group and treats everybody with respect. They just do radio shows and books, and they do them out of genuine love for the community. There isn't any anger, cursing, pounding of fists, tearing down houses and torching buildings or anything that comes with the label "hate group". They don't agree with everybody, but nothing does.

He "didn't know the extent of FoF's beliefs"? Seriously? All the angry blogosphere folks know the "full extent of Focus on the Family's beliefs" and they weren't contracted for an interview. Riighht. Like in the article, I'm sure he knew, but he didn't expect anybody to notice. And now that they do, he's suddenly dropping Focus on the Family like a hot potato.

It was an awesome event. They sold like 350 pairs of shoes. He told stories that made me laugh and cry. We prayed for him. How could he say that he regretted it?

The event inspired me and my mother to think differently and to make a difference in the world. My mom even emailed our relatives about it. No one said a word about homosexuality. They weren't even giving partners. FoF had no intention to go to Africa and force antigay beliefs down people's throats. It was just a show, like advertising.

There are only like 500 signatures on the actual petition. I know people with more Facebook friends than that. What kind of example in the "stand up against persecution and stick to your beliefs" department is that?

We were going to go to Nordstroms and buy a pair. Not anymore.  1500+ Focus on the Family supporters, including me, went to hear him and bought TOMS because we believed in his dreams and his vision, and it feels sort of like he turned his back on us. Just a little.


*Feel free to comment. No hate please. I moderate these. . I have a dragon that guards me and is very protective. Even better, I have Jedi~Chick and Ember.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

FYI

Stuff happened today and I could end up not blogging for a very long time. Just sayin'.  Pray for me please.

Artemis Fowl Forever,
Amaranthine


The problem with book reviews.

I think Elanor Lawrence did a similar post on this, and I was inspired to write another one.
 http://www.bearcave.com/bookrev/bookstacks.jpg
Read reviews for any book on goodreads or amazon, and you'll be really struck by how different different people's responses are. I've been reading reviews(for fun, heh heh) my whole life and it still shocks me. I think "Is this really the same book that they're talking about?" Some people praise and love the same aspects that other people despise. One reviewer will LOVE a character, while that same character is the bane of another reviewer's existence. A book will be devoured quickly by some readers, while others have to force themselves through the book.

The bottom line is, it all depends on where the reviewer is coming from and what the reviewer was expecting when he or she picked up the book. It also depends on a reviewer's interpretation and what he or she considers "good."  I, personally, take humor, fast paced plots, dialogue, and witty narration over character development, world building, and rich description. 

Some people have little things that turned them off books. I don't usually let things like that get in the way(Like in The Search for Wondla "futuristic" terminology. "Sneakboots"? "Jackvest"? I wanted to puke.)

Let's use Artemis Fowl and Inkheart as examples

Artemis Fowl- There are a bunch of vitriolic reviews of the book on goodreads that made me cry :((3.something rating, which is still pretty good).Also, the book's style and format were(and still are) very different from the middle grade-younger teen books on  the market today.

A lot of people were expecting the next Harry Potter when they picked  up Artemis Fowl, and honestly, most of them were disappointed. (Mostly because the two stories and protagonists were eherm, NOTHING alike. 12 year old male main character, in a story involving magic, does not Harry Potter make, people.)

Several people also felt that the main character was too negative in a story aimed at younger teens. Artemis lies, cheats, blows stuff up, etc. to get his way, and I think that's part of the complexity of the story. He does show signs of regret and at the story's climax does show that he's grown during the story.

Honestly, I think one problem is that Artemis Fowl  was pretty complex and unique for the age group it was targeted for, and people's expectations were skewed to begin with.Instead of traveling to mysterious lands, Artemis spends most of the novel seated in front of his computer in his study(my kind of protagonist).

So why did I, personally, like it? I'm used to wacky, bizarre stories with a touch of humor(I just finished two years worth of exclusively reading Star Wars books). I was never really one for the "Let's go on this fancy mysterious adventure" stories most books in that audience feature.

Inkheart-
A lot of people enjoyed this book. I, personally, didn't. Why?

It all goes back to what I was expecting when I picked up the book. Inkheart had this really awesome premise and synopsis, but I was used to flash-bang-blow-up adventure stories, where protagonists are on the offensive.

What I was expecting(basically):
"Yay! This girl's father can make books come to life by reading out loud! But he's kidnapped by this goat bad guy! So the girl and her random friends go to rescue him. They rescue him, and he gets a stack of books and reads some explosives, weapons, an army, and a bunch of other stuff out of the book. They attack the goat guy and he dies! The End."

I'm not used to stories where there's no action until the very very end. The protagonists spend a whole lot of time creeping around, running away, being imprisoned and randomly visiting random people. Everything was very nicely fleshed out and explained. But the reason I personally didn't like it was: Remember? I will always take a fast paced plot over a fleshed-out one. I'm willing to let some questions go unanswered if it lets the plot move along better. Some people would rather have authors leave nothing out even if it makes the plot crawl like turtles through  peanut butter.

So what are your preferences for books? What about books you liked that other people hated(and vice versa)?




 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Well, that was exciting. (and sort of scary, now that you mention it)

 UPDATE: Here's a video where you can see the fire starting around 0:58 and it getting bigger and everybody evacuating. It's funny how for the first couple minutes they ignore it and let the show play blithely on.


I just finished biking home from the 4th of July stadium thing. So we were planning to watch outside the gates when this guy came up and gave us free tickets. Which was schweet and all that.


A couple minutes later the fireworks started, and it was awesomely explosive as always. But fast forward a couple minutes and no one was paying a blind bit of attention because there was this pretty darn big firework fire breaking out near the trees at the edge of the stadium.

We were like "Umm......" >.> interesting show this year.


The fireworks continued a bit after that, but no one was paying attention because we were all nervously wringing our hands and getting ready  to go.

So a couple minutes after  when the fire was getting really big and catching on the trees and sparks were sparking everywhere, they evacuated everyone slowwwlly from the stadium.

There were fire engines with sirens and crying babies and smoky smoke and ambulances and firemen and the works.

I can still hear the sirens now. That was the most exciting 4th of July I ever had. 


I get how Qui feels....

So today for 4th of July we went to Newport Beach to go fishing. Newport Beach is apparently a majorly major tourist destination so the beach was full of people getting drunk and smoking and yelling and being crazy. Yeah, no better way to celebrate the country's independence than to shout obscenities and drop cigarette butts all over the beach. And I don't even live there. Now I get how Qui feels.





We went to the pier I wasn't planning to fish so I just sat in my chair reading a Maximum Ride book. My brothers stuck their poles in the water and schlepped around for a couple hours occasionally re-baiting the hook or whatever you do to fishing poles. They took a break to use the bathroom, and while I was sitting there on the pier the line started jumping around.




I went to look, and it looked like there was a fishy on the line so I tried to reel it in and for some reason, the handle chose that moment to stop working so I just grabbed the line with my hands and pulled it in.



It was a little anchovy whom(who?) I named Reginald. My brothers decided to chop Reginald up and use him for bait. Reginald was the only fish we caught all day. Hey, I didn't say we were experts at this or anything.




So, I'm loving the vacation. I'm not loving tourist beach destinations on holidays. And I love you <33.






OH-J and J productions, feel free to use the "8 lines that would have ended Star Wars real fast". Don't credit me as I didn't make them and I couldn't trace them back to the original owner.


Happy fourth.



http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lkdpqywS2K1qz7t0xo1_500.jpg






Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hi.

I was going to post my next God's Princess post.


I was. I really was.


But I feel really tired and beat up right now... I would really really like to feel like I belong with people. I smile a lot and I know a lot of people, but they all have their own friends and I end up by myself.





so instead I will post this instead.


Reading: Max, (Maximum Ride #5), James Patterson <33

Listening:"Atlantis Complex"(Josh Fix), "Monster"(Paramore), "Ramalama(bang bang)" Roisin Murphy

Drinking:Nothing
Eating: Hot dogs
Anticipating: fourth of july party, finishing Max, getting the next Artemis Fowl book, planning a surprise for The Lakehouse Sisters, etc. XD

Loving: the heat frying my hair so it gets all nice and tame, my online sistahs(today started out badly but it's getting better already.)
Looking: At people's blogs XD at my messy room and my dead fashion sense.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_LApz1zKRYq8/TEOZT1opHfI/AAAAAAAAABA/BM5jYrG2jXQ/s1600/flock.jpg
Look! It's the manga-fied Maximum Ride flock :) :) <33 Gazzy looks...interesting.


Friday, July 1, 2011

TOMS shoes

http://www.sharplily.com/wp-content/022807_toms_shoes.jpg
You may have heard of them. They're pretty popular around where I live. When you buy a pair of shoes, they give a pair of shoes away.  It can make a lot of difference in the lives of children.

Last night I attended a Focus on the Family taping with the founder Blake Mycoskie. He told a lot of stories that gave insight into the TOMS movement(Did you know that TOMS is short for "TOMORROW'S" but he couldn't fit it onto the tag?)
One reason he started a for-profit organization instead of a nonprofit is so that they don't depend on people's donations and can continue to provide shoes at a reliable pace.

Not many organizations focus on shoes, because people sometimes don't think shoes are important. But they are! A lot of kids in poor countries have never had a new pair of shoes. In many countries, kids need shoes to attend school! There are also a lot of cases where children's feet get infected and they die.
 
Mr. Blake told a story of when they went to put TOMS on children's feet, a woman came up to them crying. She had three sons and only one pair of shoes. The local school required shoes, so her oldest son would walk to school in the shoes on Monday, and come back and give them to his brother. They would all take turns wearing the shoes, so the oldest had to wait until Thursday so he could go to school again. TOMS changed their life.
So I will probably get a pair soon. How about you? Do you have a pair of TOMS shoes?














PS. Guys, remember when I posted about Jonny(my band/worship/high school ministry leader?) He had a heart attack, and he's only 19! Please pray! I heard he's getting better but he could still use your prayers! Thank you so much!
PPS. Jonny likes TOMS too. He has red ones. ;)