Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years

Hi!
I'm in denial about New Years. Far be it from me to further inundate you with cliches about how fast the year has gone....but I'm going to anyway. The year has sped by so fast I can't believe it. It seemed like yesterday I was posting LAST year's complaint about how fast the time passed, and now...ahhh.

I had a great trip! The highlights were going to visit Google's headquarters(THAT PLACE IS SURREAL. Free awesome food, free big park with climbing ropes/track/soccer field, swimming pool, bowling alley, free yellow/green/blue bikes. Android beanbags and life-sized smartphone, and a google maps room with a nearly-360 google earth panorama on like ten flat screen tvs placed horizontally.) and seeing Les Mis with cousins.

And I'm leaving again to go skiing! Yay!

Anyways, new years.

This past year has been insane. This year, I went on a mission trip, saw my blog traffic grow(and drop, and grow) experienced everything with my TLF sisters, and read bad sequels to Artemis Fowl and Maximum Ride.

I'm not really sure why I keep blogging on here, because blogging has changed so much from when I first started. But I like it, so I'll continue.

New Year's resolutions:

1.) the classic: lose weight. XD I gained five pounds this past week on my trip...I would like to be below 130 XD

2.) Get More Better At Dance: I would like to perfect my front/back walkover and do triple pirouettes. And get my middle split

3.) GET INTO COLLEGE O.O THIS IS THE YEARJDL:FSDFRWO$FUSDNMFJFSDJ

4.) Visit more online friends!

Please pray that I survive the rest of the junior year and get into one of those summer programs I'm applying for! And pray to help me keep my grades up and get good test scores.


Friday, December 21, 2012

my favorite month


 http://msuapx.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/winter.jpg


December is always my favorite month of the year, and now that most of the stressful things are out of the way,  I can see why.

I like cold weather. But because I live in Southern California, we never really get to see it for a while. Summer lasted a really long time this year. It didn't start to get cold until about two weeks ago.

I'm pretty excited for this Christmas! We've never had Christmas away from home before, but this year we're going to my cousin's house up near the bay area.  I really love their house. My city is very planned and clean and boring and suburban with houses that all look the same, but their house is in the middle of an epic pine forest and has lots of old interesting houses. One of their neighbors has a llama. A legit llama just hanging in the backyard.

This past month has been super busy for me! I'm applying to several super-exclusive summer programs, and the applications are almost like college applications.

I'm applying to:

MIT's Minority Introduction To Engineering and Science(MITES): a 6 week residential program with lots of math/science classes and engineering electives. I'm not really an underrepresented minority, but I wrote about being homeschooled in my app.

MIT's Research Science Institute: One of the most prestigious programs in the country. It is said that admissions to this guarantees you admission to prettty much any college in the country, because it's so much harder to get in. Like, a 1% acceptance rate. Through this program juniors can do scientific research on a topic of their choice ^.^ and present it at a conference. I am so underqualified for this it's not even funny XD. Their suggested PSAT score was 220, mine was 211 XD. My application should be good for at least a couple of laughs though.

Bank of America's Student Leaders: I actually haven't worked on this much cause the deadline is later. Leaders get a paid summer internship with a non-profit and a conference in Washington, DC.

Dance is going pretty well! I kind of mostly have my front and back walkover. :D I made some more acquaintances as well. Somebody's mom bought her a GIANT box of glazed donut holes. They attracted a LOT of attention. XD So a bunch of us sat in the hallways and ate them and talked, mostly about gaining weight. Imagine, if you will, a bunch of super-skinny dancers(excluding me) sitting and talking about how fat they are, while stuffing their faces with donut holes. Twas awesome.

61f8df0e79814ea89d38535180baa104_large 
it's me! bwhahaha nope. It's calkiradances at gifbloom.

I don't have a lot of time for reading or watching anime or fun stuff, but I finished Shadows in Flight(AND CRIED) and am almost done with Kuroshitsuji (aka Black Butler) season one. I love that show so so so so much. 

Oh, and I watched the first musical! The musicals are actually not that bad. The choreography is AWFUL, but the fight choreography is super good. I love every single one of the songs. The plot was decent, although not the best. Yuya(Sebastian) did an aerial! And a tour-jete :D 

This is a song that I like 8D

 RIGHT after our family reunion, we're going skiing in Mammoth. :D I love skiing, so I'm excited.

I hope that I'm done stressing, and that my winter will start looking up! It is already :)
 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

When writing makes me tired.

People get confused when I tell them that writing makes me tired. And it does. After writing any sort of narrative(aka school essays don't count) for a long time, my head spins and I get really cranky.

It was hard to explain why writing had that effect on me. Why does something that I love drain me so much?

Then I saw this passage by Roald Dahl in his memoir Boy, and I thought it was summed up perfectly:

"The life of a writer is absolute hell compared with the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn't go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him. If he is a writer of fiction he lives in a world of fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not.

Two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained. For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze.....A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I'm sure, is why he does it."
 


 


Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Ender's Game Still

I'm super excited about this article published by Entertainment Weekly yesterday, which includes this still of Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield and some army.


 http://img2.timeinc.net//ew/i/2012/12/03/fl-enders-game_810x543.jpg

It looks ah-mazing, but I'm still a little troubled. Because even though OSC SAID that almost none of the scenes of the movie were in the book, and vice versa, it's still scary. As in, in Ender's Game Graff never visits the barracks. O.O Also, the article says "He’s facing off with the imposing Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) over whether his emails to home are being blocked."  In the book, it's a given that they're blocked. And when did he write any emails to home anyway? >.>

In the comments of this and other articles, you can find many an outraged fan ranting over the stools next to the desks, the socks(!!) and the not one, but two girls you can find if you click on the entire picture  here.

Also, I wasn't too terribly upset about Major Anderson's change from a guy in the book to a gal(Viola Davis ) in the movie. I was upset at his/her downgrading to a "psychologist". Reading the book a second time, I loved Anderson's role opposite Colonel Graff, and I'll miss it. :(


Normally, I would just throw my hands up in the air and go weep bitter, bitter, tears. But the confusing thing is, everyone working on the movie really does seem to respect the book and love it. So I still have hope that they could pull off the movie, maybe different than the book, but still capturing that same awesomeness.

"Despite that change, Hood wants fans of the novel to know that he holds Ender’s Game, the book, in high esteem. (We already know he maintained the emotion-monitoring chip on the back of Ender’s neck.) “I am a fan,” he says, “and I have had a desire to do this and have been working on this now for nearly four years.” To that end, the director promises that the book’s dark ending (which I won’t spoil here) has remained fully in tact. “That ending — and the complex moral questions that it raises — is one of the reasons why I love the book, ” says Hood. “I promise you that it is very much there.” All together now: Phew!"

I wonder what they mean by that...Exactly which dark ending are they talking about? This is a totally legit question. Dark ending as in ending early in the normal, logical place, or the whole, way-too-much-closure, fifty years later, Speaker for the Dead ending in the book?
 

Read the whole article here.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

slightly obsessed with colleges lately

Not the actual work part. Just the "shopping" aspect of it, getting to look at all the different places and making a list, and annoying all my senior friends about their apps which they're trying to forget.

I didn't want to go to college here in California because I didn't want the same old boring sunny gorgeous weather, I wanted bricks and ivy covered buildings and snow and Hogwarts.

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/img/college-photo_8866._445x280-zmm.jpg

like so.


I'm excited to start the process, but I just have to concentrate on my grades and SAT prep and Gold Award and attempt at Scholastic awards. And it doesn't help that I spend so much time reading college rankings and college confidential.

http://www.providenceri.com/richardbenjamin/Brown_11_01.jpg

I'm still applying to three colleges here in California though. I do  have a history of homesickness. The nearest one is Harvey Mudd(like half an hour away O_o) EXTREMELY un-ivy and un-Hogwarts but a really awesome program.

I'm interested to see how my 11 years of online-schooling go over. Do any of you know homeschoolers who went to some pretty good colleges? My school has a list of colleges that their students got accepted into, they include some of the most prestigious colleges, but the amount I actually know is small. One of my friends was accepted to Cornell(and is going to UCLA) but that's it.
http://www.mansionsuites.com/img//CMU_campus_Cathedral_Learning_background.jpg

The newest addition to my now eight-college list is Carnegie Mellon university in Pittsburgh. I heard about it, but I wasn't going to look at it, but I just ended up looking at it anyway. I'm trying to decide how much of my decision is biased by the fact that it's in PITTSBURGH. Like, where Dance Moms is. XD I could totally dance at their studio(not really, I looked it up and it's 20 minutes away), but still.

What colleges are you looking at?  :) Anyone want to come to awesome Southern California? (there are some GREAT colleges here, but too close to home. :0 )

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello! Another Thanksgiving sneaks up upon us....

It's perfectly placed actually, because I've been feeling insecure and mopey and self-pitying lately. Cause of college and having to compete with all these epic smart accomplished people.

But as thankfulness is the antidote for all that, here is a list of what I"m thankful for.

1.) The One who saved me from my own sin and continues to save me from stuff every day. Thank you God , for always being there, as the song goes: never delaying, always coming through for me when I most need it.
2.) My awesome family. Thanks for staying sane another year!
3.) My awesome internet friends, including but not limited to: Fally, Auty, Rachely, Abby, Savannah, and allllllll the many many TLF girls. I love all of you(even if my life is several years shorter) and I couldn't imagine this year without you.
4.) My awesome but few IRL friends. Thanks for making me feel loved IRL and not totally anti-social <3 p="p">5.) The internet. XD
6.) School! I'm thankful that I've been able to stay afloat this year. AP Chem was kind of scary, but I'm okay now.
7.) Girl Scouts!
8,) Awesome books like Ender's Game
9.) Piano!
10,) Dance

Have a good Thanksgiving everyone!



Saturday, November 17, 2012

November and colleges


Hello!
I'm having a unusually relaxed November because of my lack of NaNoWriMo. I do miss it, a lot.

I've been thinking about entering in the national Scholastic Art and Writing awards, a prestigous recognition program that gives out awards in all kinds of categories, from fashion design to architecture to poems. I've been thinking about either submitting in the novel character(outline+first fifty pages) or writing a short memoir-type story about dance or homeschooling or something.

http://www.artandwriting.org/

Whatever it is, I have to make up my mind soon, because the submission early deadline is Nov. 29th and the regular is Dec. 7th.

Otherwise, things are going good on most fronts. I've been worried/researching about colleges recently. All the ones I like are really good, but I'm afraid I won't be good enough to get into them. My grades are as good as they can be, but I haven't taken the SAT yet(have been practicing/studying at least every other day, taken lots of practice tests, but...eep). Also, I'm afraid my extracurriculars won't be as good. I haven't won any like national awards or played in Carnegie Hall or been published, and if I go to exclusive colleges, I'll be competing against a lot of kids who have.

So far, I like:

Northwestern University(in Illinois)
Rice University(Houston)
Stanford
Cornell
Brown
Harvey Mudd(here in SoCal)

Have any of you had experience with these colleges, good or bad? Please tell me. :)


I'd like to double major in English and Bioengineering, (tentative, or just engineering in general  Do you have any recommendations? :)



Monday, November 5, 2012

Black Butler(Kuroshitsuji) and demons in entertainment


http://i.animecrazy.net/XXB.jpg
I recently started another anime/manga series called Black Butler, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things of all time. Set in Victorian England, the series follows the loyal butler Sebastian Michealis and his thirteen year old master, the earl Ciel Phantomhive, who became the head of the Phantomhive estate and company after a mysterious fire killed his parents. Ciel is also known as "the Queen's guard dog" as he follows in his family's footsteps as the patrol/crime investigation frontman of the London underworld. Ever at Ciel's side, ready to carry out any order to the letter, Sebastian is actually a demon in a supernatural contract with Ciel: once Sebastian helps Ciel carry out all his goals, including vengeance on those who killed his parents, Sebastian will be allowed to kill Ciel and consume his soul.

Black Butler can best be described as a dark, supernatural black comedy/thriller. The series' elaborate art and soundtrack(some of the best anime has to offer) pay plenty of tribute to the Victorian era that could entrance anybody. This, and the epic action scenes, humor both dark and light, and exquisite roller-coaster plot  all set up a poignant story about the relationship between a boy full of cold hatred and despair far before his time, and his composed, mysterious butler who is his loyal servant, protecting him from danger both emotional and physical...for now.


This gorgeous song, one of my favorites of all time, describes the series(and Ciel) perfectly
If God has forsaken me,
Then I shall forsake God, too.
Only the oppressed may possess a black key,
I close all doors
Thus I seal away all prayers.
However
who protects me?
From the most frightful: myself

Both Sebastian and Ciel are two of the most popular characters in anime history. Ciel is enchanting as a stoic Artemis Fowl-like earl who fearlessly patrols London's seedy alleys and black markets and unceasingly fights for justice, not because of his beliefs, but because of his duty. Yet he hides a despair and sadness so bleak that it compelled him to initiate the contract with Sebastian in the first place. Sebastian is hilarious as a witty, extremely skilled butler who is highly skilled at practically everything, and handles every task, no matter how impossible it is, with ease, stating it is only natural the butler of the Phantomhive household is capable of such.

http://www.watchanimeon.com/images/1076.jpg 

If I was simply judging on the storytelling and entertainment aspect of the series, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone, as it should entrance even the most die-hard anime hater.

However, judging by the pentagram engraved on both Ciel's patched eye and Sebastian's hand(the symbol of their contract), the dark symbolism of crows and ravens, and the discussion of heaven and hell prevalent throughout the series, Black Butler doesn't try in the least to disguise this fact: Sebastian is a devil(devil/demon used interchangeably throughout this series) and Ciel is the boy who, quite literally, sells his soul to him.

So what does this mean for me, and for other Christians who enjoy this series?

Contracts with demons are not uncommon in either anime or culture in general. The idea is thought to have been perpetuated(if not originated) by the classic German legend(and play by Goethe) Faust, and continues in many popular ballets, movies,books, classical and contemporary music, and of course, anime(such a deal is a major driving force between the contract with Calcifer the fire demon and wizard Howl in Howl's Moving Castle.).

In fact, Faust began as a cautionary Christian tale. So what(if anything) makes Black Butler different? Is it bad for us?

That's what I'm still trying to figure out.

Angels and demons are becoming more and more common subject matters in popular culture, perhaps the new "vampires and werewolves." I think this stems from our innate need for the supernatural.

Supernatural, by the way, just means (duh) above natural. Beyond the ordinary. Connected to something beyond just what we can see with our eyes. And we're called to live supernatural lives, real lives, every day.

We aren't made for this earth, we were made to live on a completely different reality, and we can't help but respond to that. But instead of funneling this innate desire into its rightful place, a personal relationship with our creator, it's sometimes channeled into books, movies, anime instead.

But what if we don't go to that extreme? For me, Black Butler is just a really good anime, a piece of entertainment. This stems back to my earlier posts about violence in entertainment. It's just entertainment. But entertainment is what we spend our time on, what we love, what sings to us in our dreams, what shapes our beliefs and worldview whether we like it or not. It's important.

There's a good reason why Christian groups fervently diss magic/supernatural/demonic media. And it's obvious. 

We fight so, so hard against demonic influences and Satan and their influences in our everyday life. Why invite them in the back door when it comes to our entertainment?  We wage a perpetual war against them in our hearts and minds, and they just show up on our coffee table in the form of DVDs and manga volumes.

"Now, that's taking it a little too far. They're not really Satanic. They're called demons, but they aren't actually like real demons", you say. Maybe that's true. I don't know. And Sebastian isn't the only supernatural creature(so far, I count 1 demon and 1 Grim Reaper). And reading and watching doesn't equal embracing or following. I'm definitely not making any deals with anything, just as watching a violent movie doesn't necessarily turn someone into a gun-slinging maniac. Is it different at all? I don't know.

Note that I haven't finished this series, I've heard it gets darker as it goes on. I'll keep watching, and keep reading and researching about this. And I'll update you as I go on. In the meantime, I'd like to know your personal opinions about this. It would help!

Thanks,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Disney buys Lucasfilm(including star wars)

also posted on The Lakehouse
 
"Media giant Disney has purchased movie and TV production house Lucasfilm for $4.05B in cash and stock. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga.

http://thenextweb.com/media/2012/10/30/disney-purchases-lucasfilm-including-the-star-wars-franchise-for-4-05b-in-cash-and-stock/

http://www.benzinga.com/news/12/10/3039512/disney-to-buy-lucasfilm-for-4-05b-in-cash-and-stock

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2012/10/30/mickey-meet-yoda-disney-to-buy-lucasfilm-for-4-05-billion/[url][/url][url][/url]

I'm going to die. I'm really gonna die.

This is like the first sign of the apocalypse.

I just have no words.



I really don't think this is a hoax....it's everywhere.
If it is a hoax, I apologize for being gullible and stupid. But seriously.
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!@!
iit's not april right? It's october?
Is this good or not?
Pros:
more movies
er more liscensing
more merchandise and stuff for SW
cons:
possible disregard of EU canon(Zahn timeline, anybody)
possible imminent collapse of everything I have ever known or loved
I loved you Star Wars.

I was originally going to do hardcore work on my chem lab and APUSH essay today, but this obviously takes precedence.






Monday, October 22, 2012

Maximum Ride #8: Nevermore Review

I was really, really, tempted to be like every other review of this book I saw and turn it into a rant with tons of reaction gifs and keyboard hitting....I may or may not succeed.
Nevermore: The Final Maximum Ride Adventure
IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WAS MAXIMUM RIDE . . . A GIRL. A FIGHTER. ... SEEKING HER DESTINY. AND NOW, THE END ISN'T NEAR . . . IT'S HERE. ..
One last chance...
for Max, Fang, and Dylan...
before it all ends.
Are you ready for the final chapter? Are you ready for the ultimate flight? Because THIS IS IT. One last incredible, explosive adventure with an astonishing ending that no one could have seen coming.

 It's been a pretty disappointing literary year as far as much-anticipated books go. After a disappointing final chapter to what had the possibility of being the best book series ever(Artemis Fowl), and not being able to break into any really excellent new series(besides the rest of the Ender's Game books, which I technically started at the very end of last year), I really wanted this book to be a good ending. I did.

I had to decide whether to review it as a individual book, or as part of the Maximum Ride series. Because the Maximum Ride series, off to a spectacular start in the first three books, has been spiraling downhill, crashing and burning ever since that "original trilogy" ended.

It's been quite a peculiar series. Maximum Ride is full of twists, strangeness, hilarity, and turns...but they never seem to lead anywhere. The first three were just pure fun(In fact, many MR fans consider them to be the only "real" MR books). James Patterson, as you all well know, is an incredibly talented author, and this series had the potential to be really something, if the books had been following a plan from the beginning.

After the first plot arc came to a close, the series has been wandering its way around saving penguins in the arctic, cleaning up the ocean floor, and randomly thwarting some wacko terrorist groups. Nothing tied the books together, to each other or to the series, save a vague sense that they're all leading up to "MAX SAVES THE WORLD" someday.

In short, the books just asked a lot of questions and provided a lot of setup, and it was all too much to be resolved in one book. So no high expectations.

Plot
90% of the plot was basically a rerun of the other books, which MIGHT have worked(as sort of a deja vu thing) but didn't, and there wasn't much of it to begin with. The flock goes to school(again) go rescue Angel(again), romantic angst(again), etc. 

We hear about some random terrorist group called the 99%ers, but we never get to actually go face to face with them or see anything of them at all. 

There was very little fighting or action in this book compared to the other books.

Much of the book is devoted to the love triangle between Max, Dylan, and Fang. Which is fine by me(Max/Fang is one of my top pairings) but:

Romance

 I don't like too much romance in general, but I LOVE Max/Fang. I've been rooting for them for like ever since Max came out. But even I didn't like the way this book focused on them. Max seems very off guard and confused when it comes to them, and although I'm not mad about who she ended up with, I didn't think it was resolved very well(even compared to The Kane Chronicles triangle ending, which, by the way, wins the prize for THE WEIRDEST WAY TO RESOLVE A LOVE TRIANGLE EVER. LIKE, EVER).

And there was very little real emotional sharing going on like there was in the other books. There isn't really talk about why Fang left, why he came back, why anything,.

Characterization
This is where most people were disappointed, I think(since MR was basically losing all semblance of plot anyways, heh).

I mean, it's the last book. We want Iggy and Gazzy to blow up stuff. We want Nudge and Total talking and making wisecracks. We want Jeb and Angel being all creepy.

I really thought that Patterson would at least bring the characterization part to a satisfying close. There have been so many new characters introduced, and I thought it would be nice to feature all of them a bit and bring things to a nice tying close. But Jeb barely appears beyond like, one scene where he does nothing (very disappointing, considering he was a driving forceI loved his conflicted relationship with the flock in the rest of the series) and he gets no closure at all(we don't really get whether the Flock loved or hated him in the end, I think they just kinda forgot about him).

Angel started off very well in the beginning of the book, with some very humbling things happening that I thought would at least knock the kid of her prophesying pedestal, but almost everything that happened in Angel and the early parts of Nevermore are reversed and I guess she remains a infuriating, alternately-crying-and-backstabbing know-it-all psychic until the end, but then again, it's not really clarified.

One of the biggest disappointments was how little the others in the flock were showcased. Iggy and Gazzy barely appear, and Total said about two words in the entire book. I loved all three a lot, and it was sad to see them all demoted to "prop".  Nudge gets a little time, and it was nice to see how her dynamics in a side-story that involved dating and her frustration with being a beautiful winged bird kid, but her conflict in the story also stays unresolved.

Max  was....Max. They didn't ruin her. I think we were able to see how she has grown up over the course of the series.

Finale

ALLLLLLLLLL throughout the series we have been hearing about Max's mission, Max's ultimate purpose, Max's this, Max's that....and the finale of this book, while certainly weird and explosive, was very.....passive for Max.

Like, she literally does nothing. No fighting. We never even see the 99 percenter people. 

Closure

The ending of the book was just as strange as the ending of the Artemis Fowl: TLG book.  It's pretty darn unexplainable..And they're right--NO ONE could have seen it coming.

 All things considered, the best thing I can say about Nevermore is that it was far from being the worst I was expecting. It was pretty decent, fast paced, and kept moving. I think it just ended too suddenly. Max was all gearing up to go fight the 99 percenter people or the big thing in the sky(whatever that was), and all of a sudden it just...ended. It felt like we were all set for the final ultimate showdown and the movie screen just turn off suddenly.

With that fixed, and some scenes that provided closure for the rest of the Flock, Nevermore would have been a pretty good book.

In general, Maximum Ride was a good, even great series that just dragged on too long.  I feel disappointed because this book is very representative of the whole series. The series was just juggling too much, branching out into small details and side stories instead of advancing the main plot. Extending roots to the side instead of moving the entirety of the story forward.

With more direction and purpose, Maximum Ride could have become really legendary. It deserved to be. 




PS. Here are some excerpts from reviews on Goodreads that I really enjoyed and thought were pretty good summaries:

One chapter its all Max going gooey eyed over Dylan, but oh, isn't she supposed to love Fang? But oh, Dylan smells so good and his eyes are blue like the sea and blah blah blah.

And the next its all Fang going gooey eyed over Maya, but oh, she's not Max even though she looks like her. But oh, being with her is so magical and blah blah blah.

Now, I'm going to post those ten questions we were promised would be answered in Nevermore. I won't give away those answers, but I will post my own reactions alongside.

1.Who will Max finally choose--her beloved Fang or steadfast Dylan?
No comment.

2.Who is The Voice Max hears in her head?
I admit, I was surprised. And completely unconvinced. (
Comment by Amaranthine: DUDE. I was not surprised. It was my first guess.)
3.Which Member of Fang's Gang will betray him?
Ah, Fang's Gang. How I hated you all. All I'll say here is: memberS

4.Whose side is Angel really on?
Will we EVER know who's side she's on? Okay, maybe I'm being a little unfair here, because Angel goes through hell in this book.

5.Is Jeb trying to protect Max and the Flock? OR is he working for the bad guys?
As with Angel, I don't think we'll ever really know.

6.Will Iggy ever regain his sight?
What a strange question.

7.Why did the Flock evolve to be able to breathe underwater?
Clever. Quite clever. It makes sense now.

8.Will Iggy and Ella ever be together?
Like I'm gonna spoil the fun for all you Eggy lovers out there :)

9.Is the apocalypse the result of human folly and hatred, a disease, a natural disaster, or an invasion from outer space?
I have NO idea. Like I said, the ending was a bit of a haze. Personally, I think it was aliens. Just 'cause.

10.Can Max really save the world?
Could YOU save the whole world?

11.And the most important question of all: who will die? (You didn't think it would end with out someone dying, did you?)
Oh happy days, oh happy DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYS

  Iggy, Nudge, and Gazzy basically cease to exist, and only say about one thing per book. Max, Fang, and an additional prop character named Dylan are caught up in a pointless love triangle. Angel is still a pretty prominent character, who suffers major (undiagnosed) bipolarism––sometimes acting like a sweet little girl, and other times acting like a sociopath. (But even when she does creepy things like threaten to kill Max, and acts like she totally doesn't care that Fang is going to die, Max still forgives her and thinks she's a total sweetheart. WHAT.) Oh yeah, and there's some vague, unexplained plotline about how there's supposed to be some fiery apocalypse and all the mutant kids are going to be the only ones who survive. But how anyone knows this apocalypse is coming, beats me. Also, no one seems to be doing anything about it, and the bird kids don't seem to give a crap about it because they're apparently too caught up in their stupid teenage drama.


and start frantically flipping the pages, thinking, no, there must be more, there must be a major cliffhanger, a plot twist, something. At least explain yourself! We don't know what happened to half the characters!-Avani

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Le Politics

I like watching and keeping up with politics, although I don't like talking(aka ARGUING) about it very much.  I watched the full presidential debates, and am about to watch the VPs go at it.  I'm not going to say who I'm for or against here, but I think they're both pretty good speakers.

Of course, this also means heated mudslinging, name calling, and flaming both on the internet and off. What is it about these elections that get everybody so worked up?

I think the presidential elections, in particular, have become more than just politics, and instead a part of internet/pop culture lately. People follow, argue, and keep up with them as if they were celebrities, rooting for the candidates as if they were sports teams.

Also, for many people  government is their religion. They put their faith in the government, or one of these two people to fix things. That's why politics are argued about in such an inflamed manner--they're very close to the heart. I do feel stings when people talk badly about the candidate I endorse. I do still believe in democracy, the Constitution, the American way, but since these people are not perfect, there's no way either of them could ever fully fix all the problems in America.


Like I said earlier, many people are into the election because its become the "trend" to be interested in. I know this many people weren't all that interested and informed before. I think it's a good thing actually, because the more informed people are, the better decisions they'll make.

And there are always the people who aren't that happy about either candidate. Of course, I know what this world really needs......
http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/148988_342801972448756_881857605_n.jpg

Can I get an amen? And also, a bumper sticker of this?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Real Life Anime People

Recently read this article on plugged in.com, on people who use extreme makeup/contact lenses/plastic surgery to make them look like(or similar to) anime characters on a daily basis..(similar to the whole elf ears thing)


















"The 19-year-old girl pictured for instance, is Anastasiya Shpagina, a Ukrainian girl who has hundreds of thousands of followers on YouTube and Facebook. Looking like someone right out of the anime world that inspires her, the 5-foot-2 woman reshapes herself with enormous eyes, flawless skin, a teeny-tiny waist, a coquettish pose, a defined butterfly-lipped pout and very brightly colored hairstyle. She's even taken on the moniker of Fukkacumi, a name straight out of a Japanese comic. Click here to see Anastasiya demonstrate how she makes up her eyes—a painstaking process complete with oversized contact lenses and huge eyelashes that can take somewhere north of 30 minutes per eye to accomplish. Britain's Daily Mail reported that the young girl is even considering constructive surgery on her eyes."





This.

This is why people are scared of anime fans.

But seriously.....the elf ears were at least subtle. I can see someone doing something like this at SDCC or Halloween, but every day? And surgery too....eeesh.

I mean, live and let live...I guess...As long as it doesn't catch on. This is how I imagine the Pretties surgery from Uglies to end up like.

Like, I love anime just as much as the next person...but this seems a little over the top  IS SCARY.


From a different point of view, the only really dramatic change is really really really really big fake eyelashes and the circle lenses that make the irises look bigger. People already wear super big eyelashes...and in the last picture they are sort of cute...in a creepy way. I think it's the makeup/surgery that makes her skin look so...plasticky.. AND HER WAIST TOO JUST LOOK AT IT.


I just don't think this is helping to break the crazy anime fangirl stereotype......I love anime(am listening to Hetalia's "Absolutely Invincible British Gentleman" as I write this) but I seriously hope I(and everybody else) don't end up this way. XD


 



Thursday, October 4, 2012

I got my back walkover yesterday!

In my acro class! I was so excited. XD. I think the back leg is bent though.... oh well. Now I'm working on my front! This is exciting. XD

This is what a back walkover is:






Monday, September 24, 2012

On life

Hello!

Can you believe it's the last week of September already? That's insane! Sometimes I just look at the calendar and panic. XD

I've learned it doesn't really help to be stressed out anymore...cause the stress is never gonna really let up on you, right? Once one gets out of the way, another one moves right in. So I've decided to just try and get through it. I haven't really been like really anxious about anything, but there's just always been more and more stuff to do. Plus, my weekends have been busy so that doesn't mean a lot of time to rest. Here's what I've been doing lately:

-School
School takes up a lot of time now. XD I'm a junior, and I can't just knock everything off like I could in my sophomore and freshman years. Before, I usually could understand everything and get good grades without putting in an extreme amount of effort. Now, it seems like everyday is a crunch day. If you haven't guessed, AP Chemistry is the hardest. I've never been so bewildered in a class in my life. Understand that before this year, I have NEVER had a class where I didn't understand more than like 10% of the stuff. Now, every concept is new, and the class moves quickly.

AP US History is better...There's a lot of writing, but I write quickly and the teacher doesn't grade very strictly. AP Literary Analysis and Composition, though......Writing assignments are still cool, it's the darn critical reading tests that get me! Like, those questions are REALLY REALLY difficult and subjective. It's like feeling your way through a dark room. I never though English would turn its back on me like this! It was my best friend before...........

-Piano
I have another piano competition/festival on October 22nd. :/. Expect panicky and anxious posts starting like two weeks before. In fact, it would help if you started praying now. Do you think you could do that? Thanks XD.

-SAT prep :/
 I don't really mind SAT prep, I just don't really like having to do a lot of it. XD I'm taking the PSAT again next month. I'm not sure when I'm taking the SAT, but I might take the November one. I have to study almost every day.... I haven't really even started prepping for the Subject Tests yet. I should take the English and Math II ones at least. Maybe even Chem too.

-Dance
I really wish I had more time for this...but I don't. I'm squished down the the bare minimum...Turns and Tech and Acro on Tuesday, Ballet on Friday and Saturday. WHICH IS NOT ENOUGH. I just really really want to be able to fit another ballet in....but I can't right now.

I'm working on my front and back walkover right now. I almost have my front! It's very frustrating! I can' barely make it back on my feet and feel the weight start to right itself and then I fall down again! I'm so close XD

I'm still very proud of myself for the center leaps that we did the other day. My middle leap is almost perfect! My legs make a straight line! They should really be more than straight, but since last year I just flopped around, I'm not too hard on myself this year.

-Um Gold Award sorta
I know what I"m supposed to do. I just can't bring myself to do it. Ack. I don't know...I'm just nervous I guess

-Piano teaching
I'm getting a new piano student! It's one of my parent's friends' kids.He's alright...but he's older, like 10 or 11, and more advanced. I'm kind of nervous. :o. Teaching makes me nervous XD. I don't even understand really why I do it.  :P This you can also pray for...

-Writing
I AM ONLY LIKE ONE MORE SCENE AWAY FROM FINISHING MY NOVEL. THE ONE I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON FOR LIKE A YEAR. TIS VERY EXCITING.
It's Life in the Bubble. It must be around 80,000 words right now, sheesh! I am squeezing every last available drop of writingness out to finish it.

-Online activities
I feel bad cause I haven't been on here or on TLF as much as I would like. Like I said, I haz a lot of busy. And I never feel like writing because I spend all my writing on school and my novel. I will be back though! Hopefully! And NaNoWriMo around the corner....gah. I don't even know if I can do it this year.

-Anime
With all this, I should not have time for anime.But anime is kind of my de-stressor. If I didn't watch it I would probably go crazy. XD I'm on like episode 39 of the fourth season of Hetalia. The fifth season can't come fast enough! I wish my library would get the rest of the manga volumes. As for Ouran High School Host Club, I'm on episode 5! Episode 1 is still my favorite. My favorite character is Haruhi or Tamaki. The ending and opening songs are really really catchy.   I have decided what I"m going to watch when I'm done with OHSHC--Black Butler!


So that's pretty much my life right now. :D Please pray for me! Thanks for reading!

 


Monday, September 17, 2012

Ack

Sometimes I'm amazed at people(even mature adults) who gleefully flaunt their sinfulness, naughtiness, and crudities as if they're something to be proud of.  Like, have I suddenly walked into a contest to see who can be the worst? blehhh



Life has been kind of slumpy lately. I feel really spoiled sometime...like everything's been going pretty well, but I can't seem to appreciate it. One thing that really helps me get through this is that our relationship with God and our life isn't based on feelings. It's alright to FEEL distant and blehh, it's natural.

Sometimes I wish we could go straight to heaven and skip all the guessing and trusting and worrying and stuffs.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

my life right now






image

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Keep An Eye Out For The Lakehouse on Cupcake Wars tonight!


http://images.tvrage.com/shows/26/25651.jpg
Tonight's episode of The Food Network's Cupcake Wars culminates at a special Star Wars-themed VIP cupcake party at Celebration VI!  Keep an eye out for TLF girls in TLF shirts, at the party when the show was filmed.

I hope we get to see at least one TLF gal tonight! I have been an live audience on a national TV show before, and they don't like having clothing with logos on it. But since it's CVI and there'll be a billion logos and costumes, I hope they don't mind!



If you have cable, look out for The Food Network at 8:00 PM ET/PT !

Speaking of TLF, today I got my package from JC! It includes a TLF shirt, wristbands, a picture of my TLF gals, a HU tote, and a card from JC! I'm so happy and I love it a lot.

I haven't had much time to blog or do much of anything, but hopefully I'll get a real post up soon!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Final Book Review: The Last Guardian(Artemis Fowl #8)





@kangjason on Deviantart

This is part of a series where I review final books in series. Part of this post was published on The Lakehouse Forums earlier this month.

Earlier this month, I read one of my most- and least-anticipated books of the year. Artemis Fowl and The Last Guardian. Most anticipated, because Artemis Fowl is my favorite series ever. The books are hysterical, poignant, suspenseful, engaging, and just enjoyable to read. I really didn't want this series to end, but after reading The Last Guardian,  I'm a bit glad that it did.

My deepest regret is to say that it was not, in fact, a slam dunk for this series. The general fan response has been favorable, but I was a bit disappointed. The book is a notable departure from the rest of the series.

The characters are mostly spot on, as usual. And it doesn't fail to make you laugh! Eoin Colfer is still the funniest and best writer(although perhaps not plotter) ever! The narration is amazing as usual.


The main thing I disliked(same problem with the book before, Atlantis Complex) was lack of plot complexity. It's still a relatively good plot compared to the field of children/YA fiction, but compared to the first six books in the series, with layers upon layers of intrigue and pwningness and defeating different antagonists/conflicts consecutively as well as simultaneously(there has been a lot of comparison with Opal Deception, where reading was like watching an intricate chess game between the two geniuses), it's just not as stunningly woven.

They went a little far with Artemis's redemptive spirit..he turns out sorta like a pansy. It's great that he's redeemed and all, but if you're like me, you kind of miss the days when he was just a deliciously-awesome ruthless evil genius. Now, he's just like SAVE ALL THE LIVES.

There are some GLARINGLY MAJORLY OBVIOUS continuity errors. They aren't really vital to the plot, but they do make you wince a bit.

My favorite part of these books was always the part when Artemis's "ace in the hole" big plan climax, was revealed. This book had one, but it wasn't as climactic as it could have been.

The ENDING. If you've read this book, you'll know what I'm talking about. The-the ending..it's just...ajfd;lsjfl;asdfjsdl;ajkfklasd. it's very.....different. Not really that "ahh, wipe away a tear" feeling I like at the end of books...it was more like "....?!!! huh? what the heck did I just read" At first when I finished reading it I was ready to flip a table at how darn weird and unnatural the ending seemed. I was convinced that someone had kidnapped Eoin Colfer and wrote the ending under his name, not to mention upset that the amazingly beautiful series that was Artemis Fowl had to endure that kind of ending.  I read it several times over and I guess I sort of warmed up to it...  the ending's not terrible...it's either very predictable or totally not predictable, depending on who you are.  It is predictable, I guess...but it still catches you by surprise in the "I-can't-believe-they-are-really-gonna-do-that-wait-did-that-seriously-just-happen???" way.  Of course Artemis Fowl was gonna end in a way that wasn't the usual book ending, but...it was just woah.

So how did it rank on my series ending scoresheet?

Break from tradition: 5/10 
The beginning and middle of the book was a bit like watching a replay of scenes from all the previous books stitched together, except with a different setting. They didn't really do anything special-someone important escapes, makes big plan to end civilization, Arty&co go to stop that plan, chaos ensues, Mulch saves the day, etc.

The end of the book was really......something. It certainly broke from tradition.

Climax of the series: 6/10
The world was certainly in more chaos than it had been in previous AF novels. The disaster/destruction did feel a little rushed.

As for "Artemis's biggest challenge yet", my frustration is that we never really got the chance to find out whether this Opal(alright, you know it's Opal if you've read the back cover) is Artemis's biggest intellectual match, or if she's just sheer numbers and luck. We only get a couple limited scenes with Opal's power, and no scenes with Opal's intellect versus Artemis's, unlike say, the Temple of Artemis scenes in The Opal Deception.

If I had to pick Artemis's greatest challenge, I guess it would have to technically be this one. If someone explained his situation to you, you would agree that he was pretty screwed. The book has a desperate feeling to it, which was nice although a bit depressing.
 
Suspense: 8/10
The suspense was mostly waiting to see what Artemis's plan would be. It didn't seem as urgent and I didn't read as hurriedly as I read the other books, although it is properly suspenseful and driven as a series as high-quality as AF should be. Artemis's plot and the subsequent reveal felt supremely rushed.

Deaths: 3/10
I say nothing. Besides the fact that I was disappointed with the deaths in the novel, how they were resolved, and the emotion they left behind. Deaths should make me feel angry/sad/moved, and I didn't.

"Ahhh" feeling. 7/10
I think the proper term is catharsis or closure. I wish there were more closure. I can't say anything about the ending without spoiling it for you. Nevertheless, most fans that have read it, I believe, either find it horrible or find it perfect.

One thing I really loved was that for each character, there were very short passages sprinkled throughout the book providing a perspective on them over the whole series. It's like each character is sort of closed off individually throughout the book, and the result is very unique and touching.

Overall: 7/10


 I agree with those who said that the series should have ended at The Time Paradox, as Atlantis Complex and this book just weren't up to par with the brilliance that was the beginning of the series. Nothing could make me love the series any less or tarnish that brilliance. The series is still a head above any other series in the field, but it wasn't quite the explosive ending we fans had hoped for.

Stay tuned for Kane Chronicles #3 The Serpent's Shadow review coming after this!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

XD XD


oh my gosh


funny facebook fails - VENGEANCE


Monday, August 20, 2012

three amazing--and relatively little known--psalms

So I'm reading Psalms in the Bible right now.

Well, Psalms is one of the three places I read from. I'm reading the Bible all the way through and read two chapters from three places--the Old Testament, the middle of the Old Testament, and the New Testament--every day. I'm in Deuteronomy and Romans in the other sections, but in the middle I'm still right where I started from-Psalms. Cause Psalms is really really long.

I was getting kind of tired of Psalms(which isn't really the right attitude to be reading the Bible in). But I realized there are some really breathtaking passages in Psalms, and I'm glad I read them. These are my three favorites:

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/11/89973075_ada64e5772.jpg
*Buck Forester on Flikr

Psalm 65
This one is about God's spectacular creation.

What mighty praise, O God,
    belongs to you in Zion.
We will fulfill our vows to you,
    for you answer our prayers.
    All of us must come to you.
Though we are overwhelmed by our sins,
    you forgive them all.
What joy for those you choose to bring near,
    those who live in your holy courts.
What festivities await us
    inside your holy Temple.
You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
    O God our savior.
You are the hope of everyone on earth,
    even those who sail on distant seas.
You formed the mountains by your power
    and armed yourself with mighty strength.
You quieted the raging oceans
    with their pounding waves
    and silenced the shouting of the nations.
Those who live at the ends of the earth
    stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
    you inspire shouts of joy.
You take care of the earth and water it,
    making it rich and fertile.
The river of God has plenty of water;
    it provides a bountiful harvest of grain,
    for you have ordered it so.
10 You drench the plowed ground with rain,
    melting the clods and leveling the ridges.
You soften the earth with showers
    and bless its abundant crops.
11 You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
    even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,
    and the hillsides blossom with joy.
13 The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
    and the valleys are carpeted with grain.
    They all shout and sing for joy!
 http://www.crystalinks.com/lightningsunset.jpg
This one is one my mom was trying to memorize. It is incredibly powerful.

Psalm 91
 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.

Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

http://www.edwebproject.org/oman-dubai/pics/muscat.beach.jpg 
*Andy Carvin at Muscat Project
This last one I read this morning. I'm memorizing it.

Psalm 139
O Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!
I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
12     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!
19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
    Get out of my life, you murderers!
20 They blaspheme you;
    your enemies misuse your name.
21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
    Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
    for your enemies are my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

I hope you guys enjoy reading these Psalms!