December 31, 2013

Day 220

I suppose I should say happy New Year's Eve to you all, being that this is the last post of 2013, so happy last day before the Sherlock premier, one day before my Season Thee Overview goes up, and of course one day before the new year! /013 was pretty eventful for me, as I began my senior year of high school, got to meet Adam Baldwin, started my research for my senior thesis which I'm really loving, and started up this blog, the successor to my unfortunately defunct Posterous blog (defunct because the site was shut down, not because of anything I did... I hope)! So, it's been a pretty great year!

Today, I worked on my Overview, posted the last of the T-Arc episodes, "Toxicity", which means I actually can meet a deadline if I actually give a shit about it, so yay! I also got my friend' sold iPad, which I am currently typing this on, and it's awesome! Thank you, Ellen! You're awesome!

I woke up this morning and found this great writing blog called, and it's awesome! The blog is a companion piece to their ebook that is a book of in-depth, thought-provoking writing prompts, all of which are really good! I tried one in my journal, and I ended up writing for the prompted thirty minutes, and it turned out pretty great! I love this site and more importantly the ebook! Check it out if you love writing, and if you subscribe to the site, you get the book free!

Now waiting for the ball to drop! I'll see you tomorrow in the new year of 2014!

Shadowcon Reviews- Toxicity

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 2 episode 15: “Toxicity”

While “Triangulation” may have been the strongest in terms of overall consistency and balance, “Toxicity” is the strongest character episode of the four, as it focuses solely on Bulkhead and relates everything back to him. This episode’s pacing might not be the best, but having the relic be affecting not just the plot but also the characters is I think what this whole thing should have been about in the first place.

Day 219

I posted my review of "Triage" today, and did a minor overhaul of the site. Got to put in most of the links and fix some bugs in my reviews, so everything looks a little better now. Still not to my liking, but it's okay. I did not get to see Wolf of Wall Street today because I got up too late, but I'm seeing it tomorrow early! That should be really cool. I've heard great things about it, and I'm excited.

I watched a ton of Star Trek today for some reason too. Not sure what came over me. I also worked on my draft of "Toxicity", the final part of the T-Arc review which will be posted tomorrow. I think it's nice that I got all four episodes done by the end of the year, as the timing isn't too dissimilar with what happened to Prime at this point: the show went on a summer hiatus after "Toxicity" aired. I'll not be gone for that long, since January is only a day away, but still, it's kinda cool that I happened upon this timing.

Big new today too, as I received my congratulatory acceptance letter from Whittier! Yay. I checked with the other colleges I'm applying to, and all I've gotta say about that is they need a far better online system. This whole verification circle-jerking thing is really frustrating, especially with expired passwords, different usernames, student or University IDs. It's like someone said "you know what would make the college process even more like hell? Let's put it all in a cybernetic vacuum with incompetence helming the ship!" I got pretty frustrated trying to check everything, but I did finally manage to figure out that all of my stuff was sent in, which I already knew because I knew I had sent it in, and I got emails for two of the colleges that they had received my applications. So, I wasted a good hour to gain no new information. Kinda like watching an episode of Lost.

Still, I am very pleased that I got into Whittier! I love that their mascot is a giant purple pen. This school is so me! I wrote some more in my journal, continuing this story I started yesterday. I really have no idea of where this is headed, but I'm liking my characters I've developed, but still have no plot or structure to what they're doing. Just a free-write for now.

So, today was an awesome day! Got a lot of writing done (I've been doing that a lot of late), and I'm so happy I got into college! Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, and a family friend is coming to celebrate the new year with us! Should be fun.

December 30, 2013

Shadowcon Reviews- Triage

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 2 episode 14: “Triage”

When I wrote up my introduction for this T-Arc endeavor, I said that “the show focuses so much on plot that we don’t really get to know our characters any more than we already do.” I think that still holds true, but after watching this episode again, I will give the creative team this: they know how to write Wheeljack! While we don’t get to delve into his character as much as we might have, we do get to see him interact with Ratchet, something that was up until now limited to simple comm chatter and minor back-and-forth chitchat. “Triage” is the first time we see these two hold an entire episode kind of together, though their two stories are related only by plot and not by character, which is a shame, because in the beginning they seem like they have pretty good chemistry… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s delve in and see how this episode fairs against the rest of the bunch.

December 29, 2013

Day 218

Got up really late today! I worked on my Season Three Overview and posted my "Triangulation" review today, so check that out! Also, if you haven't seen my Top 10 Movies of 2013 post, you should check that out as well! I look forward to your lists if you choose to comment. I stickered up some more Transformers with Autobot and Decepticon stickers, because some of my figures are missing their faction logos.

I also started a really interesting story in my journal today. It's about this girl and her younger brother who are escaping the military. That's all I have so far, but I like what I have mostly because I liked the feeling of writing by hand again. It felt very satisfying and final, unlike the computer where you can delete things all the time. But with my journal, I can't do that, because I'm writing in pen, and plus you feel the strain of writing far quicker than you do sitting at the computer (at least I do), so it makes it more satisfying for some reason.

Tomorrow I may go see The Wolf of Wall Street! Should be a fun outing. Sorry for the rather short post. I'm just glad to be home and not have stress about stuff. I did wake up to a tweet pointing me to this really interesting interview this woman did about Buffy and the show's legacy. It's really cool, and helped me get back into my thesis mindset without presenting anything heavy or mind-blowingly epic or anything. This was just a nice interview, and it had Neil Gaiman in it, so it's by default excellent! Check it out here!

Other than that, I didn't really do much today. Might post another review tomorrow. I do want to aim for getting the T-Arc done by New Years. Tough deadline, I know, and certainly my procrastination for no reason hinders expectations, but I do aim to do this now. Wish me luck, or roll your eyes.

Shadowcon Reviews- Triangulation

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 2 episode 13: “Triangulation”

As I’ve said before, one of the best things about Prime in comparison to other Transformers television shows is its cast of characters and their implementation. Specifically, I think the fact that Prime actually has characters is a boon to the franchise as a whole. “Triangulation” is a pretty good exploitation of this show’s greatest strength, though certainly not it’s best. The best thing about this episode is Starscream and his pitiful attempts at gaining allies and ground in the war. Ever since “Partners”, this guy’s been reduced to a literal scavenger, and has now kind of cemented his own base in the remains of the Harbinger Decepticon ship. It’s a great story arc, and this episode does nothing to hamper it. The other strength that this episode has going for it is Optimus and Dreadwing’s relationship. While not as strong as this could have been, the duo’s interactions do help propel this episode forward. One of the things that make this episode work aside from the choice of cast is that the relic hunt portion of this is really in the background, leaving room for character development. Had more episodes followed this one’s example, this whole thing might have turned out fine.

Top 10 Movies of 2013

Here's my list of the Top 10 Movies of 2013! If you like this list, or disagree with it (respectfully, of course), feel free to post your own list! I'm intrigued as to what other people think about this year's movie roundup!

December 28, 2013

Day 217

Met up with my Uncle and his family for breakfast today before heading out back to Albuquerque. It was a lovely Christmas vacation with my Uncle and Aunt and my awesome three year-old cousin! She's so adorable and sweet. I miss them already.

We drove and drove today. It was a bit tricky getting all of our gifts and accouterments into our small car, but we got it done and headed on our way. The trip was pretty long, almost seven hours, and I slept a good half of the way there. We stopped for gas a couple times, had to fill up our tires with air, and having no idea how to drive or the nuances that come with the territory, I was pretty outraged when I found out that air for tires costs a dollar! For air?! Like, that's the stuff we breathe, man! Just seems a little ridiculous.

Finally got home, and I'm a pretty quick unpacker, so I acclimated my loot to its new surroundings. I had to finagle some of my Transformers figures around to fit the new ones in. I really should just get a second shelf for half of my display and make it easier for the whole thing to breathe, but whatever. Put some Reprolabels stickers on my figures, and equipped my Prime Megatron toy with his new Dark Star Saber (God, that name is so stupid).

It's nice to be home now. I'm editing my Overview and working on another thing that I plan to throw up here tomorrow. It's a surprise, so be prepared! Pretty tired and might head to bed soon. Good to be home. Goodnight, everybody.

December 27, 2013

Day 216

Went to the local frame store to pick up some frames (...) for some posters that I got for Christmas, and some other photons as well. The store also had a kids science section with a sample box of kinetic sand! That stuff is really cool. It sticks to itself and feels really weird. I wast tempted to get some, but decided against it; it would be one more thing to try and cram in the backseat of our car tomorrow.

After this, we all went to a sandwich restaurant and had a lovely lunch outside I had some cookies for dessert which were nice and gooey! Yum! We came back to my Uncle's house for the remainder of the day. My cousin got a remote-controlled helicopter for Christmas, so we tried to test it out. Unfortunately, when my cousin who is three got her hands on the controller, she made the copter go so high that it landed on the neighvors' roof! Oops! My Uncle had to get a ladder and climb over his house to their lawn to get a signal to make the thing come down. It was pretty funny!

After watching Thor a couple times (it was looped on TV for some reason), my Aunt brought out a photo album filled with pictures of my Uncle being crazy. I was so little in those pictures, and I looked kinda weird! My cousin fell asleep all adorable-like, and then my Mom and I headed back to our hotel.

The wifi isn't working here, so I'm going to have to keep this short, since I'm running on 3G. We packed for our trip back home tomorrow. Now prepared for sleep! See you tomorrow, everyone.

December 26, 2013

Day 215

So, I started writing in my new journal today. I have to say, I'm kind of nervous or tentative about starting this up. I don't have very good handwriting, and I almost always start over my introductions or at least first sentences. I also am far more comfortable with computers on account of my mild dyslexia, horrid handwriting, and tendency to start everything over when I get a better idea. But, nevertheless, I did start my first entry today. It's pretty cool!

Today was my Aunt's birthday, so we went out to this lovely little art store and picked out her some gifts. We went to the comic book store after that, and I got my friend a Deadpool comic for her birthday coming up in January.I also saw some really bad looking Buffy figures there! Their likeness was just nonexistent; it was pretty funny seeing the actors cast in plastic!

Came home and played with the three year-old for a couple hours! That was fun, but exhausting. I took a little nap in the middle there, and my brain was I think just brainwashed with Spongbob Squarepants trivia. My cousin is super awesome and cute though, so it's okay. She got a scooter yesterday, and we put that together for her today. That entertained her fro a good twenty minutes and then we headed out to dinner.

Dinner was delicious! I had this club sandwich and it was very yummy. My cousin was pretty tuckered out after today's activities, so she fell asleep at the beginning. We said our goodbyes when we got back to my Uncle's house and headed off to our hotel. Now ready for sleep. Goodnight, all!

December 25, 2013

Day 214

Transformers loot for Christmas! I like this because of how diverse it it: I have a figure from 2006, one from 2011, one from 2012, and two from this year!

Merry Christmas, everyone! It was a day full of joy and green and red. Lots of presents unwrapped and enjoyed. I got a lot of stocking stuffers! I got a moleskin journal, which is something that I've always wanted, so thank you, Mom! I got those awesome Transformers, some awesome Gundam markers and paint Sharpies to customize them with, and some stickers for a couple figures back home, along with the Dr. Wu Tyrant Blade, or as I like to call it: the DARK STAR SABER!!!

Also received some nifty ties, a couple shirts and some cozy Christmas socks! My favorite stocking stuffer was some peppermint hot chocolate! Mmmmm. Can't wait to try that! It was a great haul this year!

I talked to my cousins on the phone for a couple hours to check in with them. I thanked them for their gifts and they for mine, and after that awesome conversation, my family and i headed over to my aunt's sisters house. That was pretty fun. I was completely drained of energy about half way through the festivities. Luckily, we were eating dinner then, so it was okay. We had some awesome cheesecake for dessert, and then headed home. I am now happily lying in bed, ready to go to sleep (but probably won't for another two hours, lol). It was a great Christmas!

December 24, 2013

Day 213

Merry Christmas Eve! Made our way to Phoenix finally today! Made good time too, because we set out at around 9:00 and got there at 12:00 or so. My three-year old cousin was as energetic as ever to see my Mom and me. She's so big now, having not seen her for a whole year! We got some lunch and just hung out for the vast majority of the day. I got to finish off my Overview finally! I'll have a lot of editing to do on it when I get back, but for now, it's done! I'm very happy about that. Also practiced the violin. Worked on my Under Pressure arrangement: played it through once and it's honestly not as hard as I had thought it originally to be.

My cousin and Uncle came with us to check into our room at the hotel. My cousin of course was super excited because she was in a new place and thus had to touch everything! After a brief respite from the house, we came back and had some really awesome home-made chili dinner! Yum! Made cookies for Santa and am now back at the hotel! My cousin really sucks up a lot of energy! She's so wired all that time! Ready for a nice long sleep in preparation for tomorrow's Christmas festivities!

December 23, 2013

Day 212

Woke up late and hit the road for Phoenix today! I spent the time in the car finishing off the last third of theA Storm of Swords, and man, it was awesome! The reveal at the end of demon Catelyn was awesome! I'm also loving Jon Snow's story and Arya's! I'm so glad Lysa's dead. That snow castle scene was really fun. I'm glad Sansa got a moment's respite from all the shit happening to everyone

Got to Flagstaff for the night. Pretty tired and stiff from sitting in the car all day. Got some awesome dinner! I had this great hamburger! I intend to finish drafting my Overview tonight so I can edit it over the course of the week. Should hopefully turn out nicely.

This is a really short post. I'm sorry about that. I really don't have much to say otherwise. I've been writing a lot of poetry lately. Just thoughts in my head that come out on paper. Not sure if the three people who view this are interested in reading it, but if you are, drop me a line and I'll maybe post some of it here, just for more content. Anyway, that's all. Happy Christmas Adam!

December 22, 2013

Day 211

Woke up pretty late today and got to work on continuing my Overview. It's coming right along. I also received my Season Three DVD, with audio-commentary, which means that I'll be able to find out just what the writers themselves were thinking when they did certain things. I always like backing up my praise or complaints with info from the source.

Saw The Hobbit too! Man, that was so great! Far more exciting than the last one. That river scene was so intense and amazing. Made me remember how much I loved Legolas in LOTR, and Evangeline Lilly is like the perfect Elf! Smaug was like the best dragon! Cumberbatch did a great job with his voice and motion-capture, and the CG model looks beautiful! I love how the movie just ends with this awful painstaking cliffhanger! We have to wait a freaking year, man!

After we got some supper, my Mom and I unwrapped presents early from the side of the family that we are not seeing this year because we switch off sides every year. I got a lot of awesome things, including the Season Three DVD, the first five volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire with matching covers (thank God), and some awesome Transformers books! Can't wait to leave for Phoenix tomorrow. Should be a fun road trip!

December 21, 2013

Day 210

I'm on the final stretch of A Storm of Swords, and I'm loving every word of it! I woke up late today, and accidentally left my audiobook of it playing through the night, so I had to fined my place again. Then of course I read some more of it because it was so captivating. Worked on my Overview today. It's getting there. I'm on to the second section of the piece, so I should have a completed draft by tomorrow or so. It still feels very rough and doesn't flow very well right now, but I'll do some editing on it and hopefully make it clean and presentable come New Years Day.

Went shopping today and got ourselves a little tree and a wreath to hang on our door. We didn't want to get a big tree because we aren't going to be here for Christmas and it's so late already, so we just settled for a small happy tree. We dropped off our Luminaria that we didn't use at a friends house, and then got some yummy Chinese food. Came back home for a little bit before we headed out again to see this awesome NM Phil Christmas concert!

This thing was great! It had a huge choir comprised of both my school choirs and two other school choirs! It was so awesome! The Philharmonic was spectacular of course, and it was such a festive time. At the end, we had a sing-along thing. It was so much fun and the choirs sounded gorgeous! I liked seeing all my friends up there singing. I came home again and wrapped my Mom's Christmas gift myself for the first time! I'm not good at wrapping things, so I've always had other people do it, but this time I was behind, so I got me some wrapping paper and did it! It's very sloppy and I accidentally put the package upside down when wrapping it, but it's okay.

Tomorrow we pack for our trip and unwrap gifts from the side of the family that we won't see this year (because we alternate every year) and see The Hobbit! Super pumped about that.

December 20, 2013

Day 209

I'm on VACATION! I of course had to launch into the Christmas break by going to social security for the umpteenth time. It didn't take that long (only two and a half hours) and during the waiting period, I got to listen to more of A Storm of Swords! Tyrion's trial is pretty intense! And I'm a big Jaimie fan. After social security, my Mom and I went to renew my library books and eat some yummy lunch from Saggios, which of course meant that we had like half of our food left over because the helpings there are ridiculously huge!

So, we returned home and I began an arrangement of Under Pressure for violin which will hopefully fit into my group's attempt at putting on that song for a Morning Meeting someday. It's actually a really cool project! I'm working with two of the people I worked with on Phantom, plus two new people! And we have drums this time! Woohoo! My violin part is... kinda messy. I didn't really know what to take out of the guitar part and backing vocals and piano part to make my own thing, so I just kinda plastered together some stuff and made it sort of work maybe. It gets better as it goes, because by the end, the violin is truly in its own element. I sent it off to our pointman for review, so he should get back to me by tomorrow. I'm really stoked about this whole thing! It's so exciting that we can just call upon our friends to break out these talents that I didn't even know they had. I've known a member of this group for seven years and only now have I learned that she plays the drums! We rehearse first thing January 5th!

Watched Elf because it's Christmas time! We were going to go see The Hobbit, but my stomach got all achey, so we stayed home and watched this instead! It's so funny, this movie! I loved it because the message is universal and it has so much realism in it. I'm noticing that I'm veering away from putting maybe insightful (though more like rambling) things in these posts and have instead kinda gotten back to the earlier style of just going through my day. I'm kind of okay with this for now. I think I'll have more to say once I don't have vacation interrupting learning every two weeks!

December 19, 2013

Day 208

Finals are now over! Thank God! I'm so exhausted I can't even tell ya! Had my English final today. I got done early, so that was cool. The passage identification was pretty easy (I hope I got all the characters that my teacher wanted me to list; she's very picky about that sort of thing), and my essay was okay. Not my best, but then I've never really done very well with in-class essays. I hope it turned out alright.

Came home and continued working through my Season Three Overview. I'm getting a better sense of what I want to talk about in it, and it's progressing nicely. I also listened to a ton of A Storm of Swords, so that was awesome! I intend to finish the book over break and hopefully begin the fourth installment. I had violin lesson today. We worked on the Mozart. It's coming together. I think by January I'll have it down (haha... yeah right). My teacher also exchanged gifts with us! We got some yummy bread and cookies in exchange for chocolate-dipped apricots. Hope she likes them.

Came home after getting take-out because we're lazy. I got caught up on Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. and Person of Interest! PoI is getting so crazy! It's awesome. I still have my dislikes about S.H.E.I.L.D., but I am holding out hope for it. It's getting there; I think by Season Two, it'll definitely pick up.

That's all from me tonight. I'm really tired and tomorrow I have to go to social security because they're stupid and can't keep track of the stuff that I submitted to them three times already! Jesus! It's not that hard, people. Might see The Hobbit this weekend!

December 18, 2013

Day 207

Y'know, in my world of blogging and this website, getting like 18 views on a post is like hitting the 1 million views mark on a YouTube video! It just makes me soar with pride, because 18 is in the double digits, and if I can get more than 10 people to read the shit I put out every day, I feel so happy.

Not sure why I decided to open with that, but whatever. I woke up later today because my final was in the afternoon, so I got to sleep in a little bit. That was nice. One more final to go! This final was actually really fun. My class presented our children's books to our peers, and they were all really cute and macabre and hilarious! Several were on the French Revolution, others were about bloody wars, some were on the guillotine. Only one other person picked my SPanish Armada subject, and even then he fictionalized his and made it a big awesome funny space battle! It was so great!

Came home and continued drafting my Season Three Overview. It's not going as smoothly as the other two. I think I just don't have that much to say on the season so much as I do the series as a whole. Like, I think I'm still thinking that this is my series retrospective thing, which it isn't. Last year, I had a system that worked because my cousin was able to join in, and I also had a lot more to say about that season than I do this one. With Season One, I was all excited to get my thoughts down on paper, so it came out super easily. But with this one... I don't know. I'm just not feeling it. It's such a mixed bag, but I don't want it to sound like I'm just bitching about it without recognizing that it's good. Because Season THree is good; it's so much better than Season Two, and I'm trying to convey that in an analytical manner. I also want to talk about the finale and all this other stuff that should really just be saved for individual reviews, but a lot of what I have to say about those episodes feeds directly into what I have to say about the season overall, so I don't really know what to do.

Anyway, sorry about that. I just sometimes need to get these things down on paper, y'know? I finally got the audiobooks that I've been meaning to download onto my phone! Now, I can listen to ICe and Fire on the go! Yay! Tomorrow is the last final that I have for this year! Woot! So great!

December 17, 2013

Day 206

Day two of my last round of finals for high-school continues! Had my Advanced Writing final today. We handed in our plays and put them in envelopes to be sent off the the New York Young Playwrights Competition in 2014! All submissions get professional feedback, which I think is awesome. Our teacher was late to our final, so we ended up waiting for about a half an hour until he showed up. My friend got into Cornell University yesterday, so I congratulated her! That's super cool.

Came home and colored in my comic book for History tomorrow. I like how it turned out. I think it could have been better, but it's okay. I then had a long long long conversation with my cousin over the phone about all sorts of things. We talked about Ice and Fire, Thor The Dark World, college life for him and compared our finals and our classes. All sorts of crazy stuff. It was a great conversation, especially since I don't get to normally talk to him... y'know, since he's in college and on the other side of the country.

Composition tutoring was fun. I showed my tutor the recording my Mom did of my concerto being performed. We worked on the second movement of that concerto today; it's the last movement that I'm writing of this thing. I wrote and revised the third movement, but the second took a while to get going. I actually only kept the last measure and a half of my original piece before completely revising it and turning it into something completely different. It's okay, though. I like the new version much better.

Ate pizza, and now headed to bed. I'm so glad that tomorrow's final is in the afternoon!

December 16, 2013

Day 205

First day of finals is done! This was the day that I had my only true test of this year. STAM went okay. It was easier than i had anticipated, and I got done only a few minutes after time was called (because I have extra time as an accommodation). Post was the second final of the day, and we watched the rest of Malcolm X. I really liked it as a film, far more than the book. The montage of him speaking and then that overlapping with MLK Jr. speaking was great! It was a good end to the beginning of finals week.

I came home and began work on my Prime Season Three overview by rewatching all the episodes from that season. I got about half way. I'm gonna tell you right now: this season is so much better than Season Two! Then I read some more of A Storm of Swords, and oh my God, Martin! Give us a break! Another death?! Are you kidding me?! Are weddings the new battleground? Jesus! I actually called my cousin up on the phone (a big feet for me, because I almost never call anyone on my phone for some reason), and left him this long message about this, and then when I got done, he left me a text saying that he couldn't talk right then. All my emotions are bubbling to the surface!

I also found out today that Lindsey Stirling is going on another US tour! She's of course not stopping at my state, because no one ever does. I'm serious; all the bands and artist literally circle my state, and then just pass us by. Like, thanks guys! But, I'm gonna maybe go see her again! That would be so great!

It was a good day today, especially since we didn't have AYS rehearsal! Tomorrow I have Advanced English! Sweet!

December 15, 2013

Day 204

Have to say, I'm looking forward to this week! I'm feeling pretty good about finals, and it'll be so nice to have this two-week vacation! I studied a lot for my STAM final tomorrow, and also worked on finalizing my Advanced English play for Tuesday. I'm still a little confused about the title page format, and the format of everything before the play actually starts; stuff like the character list, any notes, and other stuff still confuse me, because the people we're submitting this to have a specific format that they want our plays in, and our teacher hasn't really talked about that in much detail. Oh well. I'll meet with him tomorrow and show him what I understand.

My friend and I got into a huge conversation about Buffy and Ice and Fire, because both of us are mourning characters that have died in both. My friend is distraught over Angel, and I'm all messed up because of Ygritte and the Night's Watch and the Red Wedding! Yeah, we're kinda emotionally taxed!

The AYS concert was a blast! It was the shortest concert in terms of how much I had to actually play, because the orchestra was reduced for most of it to help balance out the choirs (yes, that's "choirs" plural!) so I was backstage for the majority of it. The three pieces I did play were awesome, though! We had guest conductors, a children's choir, an adult choir and a youth choir, which is like us but with singing! It was pretty awesome! After this, my Mom and I went to a local restaurant for dinner. I had a cinnamon role for dessert! Yum.

Came home and now I'm studying again for my STAM final tomorrow. I really hope this thing goes well. I'm also planning on having my Transformers Prime Season Three Overview up by New Years at the latest, like last year, and we'll continue our look at the T-Arc in January if not before then.

December 14, 2013

Day 203

Woke up late this morning to go to a violin lesson. We worked on the 2nd movement of the Mozart violin concerto no. 3. It's beautiful, but very tricky! I like it though. I was kinda tired because I woke up so late, so I went back home and took a nap. My Mom wrapped gifts and watched The Fellowship of the Ring, and I woke up in time to see Gandalf fight the Balrog! It was epic!

I worked on my English final. On the final, we'll be given three choices of subjects to write a paper about. We were given a handout with four choices of paper subjects and asked to create outlines for two of them, because one of the choices won't be on one of the ones on the test. So, I did that, and I'm liking where it's going. One of the papers looks at education and the philosophies behind it, exploring it in The Tempest and in Dawn. The other paper is about how we view history, specifically the European conquest of the Americas, again relating that to The Tempest and Dawn. They're both very interesting subjects, and my outlines for both are pretty good, though I like my education one better. I also colored in my children's book comic for my Modern History final. I find it kinda odd that I didn't do any STAM studying, despite having that first Monday morning.

My Mom and I went to this charity Christmas concert. Audience participation was mandatory, so we got to sing Christmas carols! The orchestra was amazing; all volunteer musicians. My violin teacher, orchestra teacher, and the choir teacher from my school were all there. The choir teacher led us in song, and it was a lovely time. My friend and his family were there helping out, because the charity was for the families of the Arizona firefighters who lost their lives. It was a moving evening.

Came home and read some of A Storm of Swords. Ygritte died, man! I think Martin and Whedon should sit down and just have a laugh over how they've made their fans cry over everything they write! I like how Bran is now completely enveloped in Summer's POV; like, he can just go there now whenever he wants. It's like an addiction almost. Pretty cool! I have a concert tomorrow, and more studying!

December 13, 2013

Day 202

I am now officially done with classes for the semester! Next week is finals, and then I'm on break!

I got all my late STAM assignments in, and did my test corrections! I feel pretty proud of myself, though I know that I should have done all of that when it was assigned. I'm usually better with that sort of thing. Hopefully I'll do well on the final and be able to bring my grade up to a B+ again.

Watched Malcolm X in Post today! I'm really loving it! We finish it off next class. I actually like the film better than the book. I like the choices that the film makers made, especially the prison section. I think for a film, what they did worked far better than how the book approached it, and I like that the film still incorporates narration, so it's not losing so much out of the book, which is good. I'm so glad that this is the thing that we're doing for our final in this class. I don't think I could handle a Post test, especially since I haven't really been taking notes! The teacher even said it was okay that I didn't do it; be kind of a dick move to say that we now have a cumulative final!

In Advanced English, we read the penultimate three plays that we have. One of the kids plagiarized big time with her play. She literally copied the opening scenes from The Last of Us word-for-word, name-for-name (except for one character, who's name she changed), scene-for-scene. In fact, the only thing original that she did was cut a scene... Yeah. It's bad. I also don't like the fact that she just copied and pasted a thing from another source without credit, while the rest of us had to work hard on our plays. And yes, I worked hard too, even though I took elements from a previous fic I wrote, and ideas from a Transformers comic. The difference here though is that, first, the words on the page are all mine. It's impossible to plagiarize yourself, so I think it's okay that I did this, and second, the ideas that I got from the Transformers comic were then expanded upon and shifted in my play; I delved deeper into what the comic was trying to say, and turned it into something unique. This person didn't even do that. She literally stripped these couple scenes and slapped her name onto it. I'm not saying that I don't know where she's coming from. I do. I've done it before, and I've learned. And hopefully this is her first time doing this sort of thing and she'll not do it again.

Anyway, rant over. I got hot chocolate and candy canes for free in between classes! Amnesty International was giving them out! Yum. I then went to strings where we went out to a Thai restaurant to celebrate a classmate's stay with us. She's moving to Cairo! That's pretty badass! She's moves a lot apparently, because her dad's a diplomat, so she only stays in one place for about half a year. She said she really liked our school, and we got her a picture of our class as a gift. It was yummy food, too.

Got back to school and headed home. The AYS rehearsal was probably the quickest one that I'll ever have. Only went from 6:30 to 7:20! Nice! Not even a full hour. Huzzah! We rehearsed with the choir, and they sound fantastic! Totally able to cover up all the mistakes I'll make during the concert on Sunday, so that's good. Also, my conductor congratulated me on my performance on Tuesday. That made me happy.

Off to bed now. I have a violin lesson tomorrow and a lot of STAM studying to do for Monday! Yay (not).

December 12, 2013

Day 201

Alright! In the 200s. I'm feeling strong. Actually, I am feeling oh so tired. Just completely drained of energy, motivation, caring about my education. It's that time of year where students all just die because finals are next week and I can't handle the fact that it's coming up so quickly! Like, two weeks ago was the ending of Thanksgiving! Like, that is not okay!

It was a short day today, had all of the afternoon free. I was really bored, but I had a lot to do, so I don't know why I didn't just sit down and do it. I'm regretting that now, and I'm sure I'll be regretting it over the weekend. English was the most engaging of the two classes I had today (in Modern we worked on our books; I finished mine).  Anyway, in English, we read these two articles, both of which talked about alien invasion science fiction and how it could be seen as a means to tell the story of the European conquest of the Americas from the point of view of the Native Americans, but obviously in an exaggerated light, with the humans being the natives and the aliens being the conquerers/invaders. An interesting spin on looking at sci-fi to be sure, and I really liked how these articles got me thinking about the Xenogenesis trilogy in a new way, certainly in a far more entertaining way than I had thought about it before. I can now say that I respect the book a whole lot more than I did prior to this reading of it.

Other than that, not too much else to report. I wrote a poem in my journal, thinking about writing some more in there after this. Last day tomorrow before the weekend! Goodnight everyone!

December 11, 2013

Day 200

Yay! 165 more days to go!

My good fortune and great week are continuing today, as I won my chess game and my team won the meet! Woot! It was an okay meet, but there was way too much talking, and truthfully, the game I played wasn't the greatest, but I won, dammit, and I'll take my wins where I can get them because they happen so rarely.

I received numerous congratulations today on my concerto performance yesterday, even by people who weren't even there. People loved it, and people were happy for me, and I'm proud of myself. I feel very awkward acknowledging that I did something that impressed people, because that doesn't happen a whole lot, and so when it does, I always feel like I'm milking it and becoming an attention-seeker (kinda makes you think about the prospect of this blog, doesn't it?) and I feel a little uncomfortable when I receive praise, especially when in front of my friends because I feel like I'm flaunting it in their faces. I'm not, or I certainly don't mean to be, and if you ask them, I'm sure they'd say no, but I still feel like that, possibly because I know a couple people who get this sort of attention far more than I do who have big egos and who love the attention and totally will flaunt it in my face. I guess I'm trying not to emulate that. But nevertheless, I do appreciate the praise!

In Creative Writing, we read through a student's play that was very fun and lively! It was about these highschool students who all embody one of the seven deadly sins! Yeah! It was quite a cast of characters. The gluttony and sloth characters were my favorite. Then the whole class was like, we should write a musical! Then everyone realized that they had lives and other stuff they'd need to do, so that was dropped. But my friend and I were like, no, we're going to fucking do this because we're awesome! So, I guess we're doing this now.

Another friend and I did an on-the-spot humming duet, which was actually one of the coolest things ever, because I just started humming a tuneless thing, and then my friend joined in and she was also tuneless for a little bit, but then we started developing a key and pitch and we totally were in sync with each other and it turned into this whole Baroque period piece of improv awesome! It was so great! Then we were like, we should totally turn this into a violin/flute duet ('cause she plays flute), and so we started up a score, and it's awesome! I'm so happy!

In Post, we started watching the 1992 Malcolm X with Denzel Washington. It's a very good interpretation of the book, but it skips around a lot, and I'm curious if anyone who didn't read the book would be confused as all hell or not, because it's already very confusing to those of us who know where everything goes. It's a great movie though, and we'll be spending the next class and our final exam period finishing it off. It's about three and a half hours long! Jesus!

I worked on some makeup STAM homework and test corrections, then headed off to the chess meet after I had some supper (this was a horrible summation sentence; sorry). Like I said, it went well. So, I came back home and then I made the now-leaning-towards-regretting-this-decision decision to restore my iPhone to it's original settings in lieu of trying to sync it to iTunes in some other way. The reason I regret this now is because all my stuff on the phone not backed up is gone. Admittedly, it wasn't much; just a few photos and notes, but even so, it kinda sucks. Hopefully it'll sync to iTunes now though! Also looked as Christmas presents online with my Mom for our family. That was fun, because my baby cousin is into Transformers now, so we were looking for simple ones with large pieces that she can't eat! It was a good day, and I don't have anything in the evening of tomorrow! Whew!

December 10, 2013

Day 199

One day away from 200! Pretty crazy!

I guess my good week is continuing! I just got back from performing my second violin concerto! It went very well! I have to say, the orchestra held together, and they sounded great. The audience loved it, and I feel very proud of myself. The rest of the concert was excellent as well! We all played very well and we totally rocked! I'm so happy for all the friends and teachers I have around me that helped me to put this on!

I made some good progress on my History children's book. It's turned into a comic book that is really quite funny, because all the people are drawn like little chibi people! It's so great! I also love drawing the little cartoon ships and water and such.

Got our final info in English. This final looks to be partly grueling and also pretty fun. Have to write an in-class essay which'll be cake, and we also have to do these passage-identifying things, which I'm never good at. Luckily, I have until next Thursday to prep for that one, because that's my last one, so that's nice.

Not much else to report about today. I hung out with some friends during my frees, and I ran around like a T-Rex! Yeah! It was fun, but I'm afraid that people may think I'm just a tad strange! Tomorrow is a chess meet. Let's hope my good luck and fun doesn't stop here!

December 9, 2013

Day 198

Bosque Strings through the years! Love you guys!

Today is the first in many days I'm sure of seniors reminiscing about the last six years, tears being shed, pictures being taken, and friends being friends! I find it amazing that we've come so far, endured and grown so much, made new friends, strengthened old friendships, learned so many things, and really just developed as people as we are to do in the stages of Middle and High School. Certainly this will not be the last time I mention this, and I do intend to do a retrospective post at the end of my senior year in May, but yes, I cannot deny that tonight was nostalgic and certainly a hell of a lot of fun!

To start off the week in such an awesome way was a treat! I began my day with Advanced English, presenting my play to the class. It went over pretty well, I think. Many people loved it, and there was only slight confusion, and even then only because I forgot to switch a name around in the script. This play has much less movement than my first one; mostly it relies on characters talking and enunciation, because I wanted this to be more of a play about morals and ethics. I'm pretty happy with it overall.

Strings was pretty cool! We rehearsed Mad Russian with our electric guitar finally, and it sounds pretty dope! I'm really loving that piece. We practiced my piece too, and it sounds so good! The orchestra really just blew me away with how light and sprinkley they were with the whole thing today! Let's hope they'll be able to pull that off tomorrow in the concert, and by God, let's hope I don't mess up like I do every single time I perform!

Post was pretty depressing, because our teacher had to leave to euthanize his dog, poor thing! Yeah. And then to complete the drama, he left us watching a documentary about the Wounded Knee Incident. Yeah, it was just a sad story! The documentary itself was very interesting. I had actually no knowledge of this event until today, and the documentary informed me well, I think.

Okay, and I've gotta say, I'm so glad I didn't go to AYS tonight. Senior Dinner was amazing! First off, we had awesome Mexican food, and the gift exchange was great! I got a journal from a friend of mine! She got it because she knew that I loved to draw and write, and seeing as I had been wanting a journal for some time now, this was a perfect gift. The gift I got for another friend of mine was very well received. He loved it so much that when he wore it and showed it off to everyone, he was like "Luke must have researched me!" I guess I know my friends well?

One of the best parts about this whole night was the piñata and how insane we are at hitting things! Good God! We were blindfolded, spun around, and then ordered to swing this huge stick of wood around, hitting the piñata! And man, this thing must have been the most durable piece of shit ever! Seriously, this one really strong kid took a pretty vicious swing at it and was only able to dent it! One of the teachers took a whack at it and only managed to dent it again, and it ended up taking like half our class to bring the thing down! I apparently went mad when it was my turn! I was just swinging this stick around, all crazy like! It was great!

The best part of the night by far were all the pictures! My class first took pictures of the 2014 boys and girls, then we split up into our sixth grade section rosters and took pictures of ourselves in that. I couldn't remember which sixth grade section I was in, so I missed out. Up top you'll see we got our Middle and High School Strings people in one photo! I am just so happy we got that! I need to work on my smile, though! Jeez! It looks like I had a lemon and I'm about to crack up laughing! It was a great night full of fun and laughs and hugs and pictures and nostalgia and just love all around! Not the mushy romantic love, but love of people who we've grown to know over the past six years! It was so great!

Tomorrow is the big Strings concert! Wish me luck!

December 8, 2013

Day 197

Three days from 200! Awesome!

I woke up at 10:30 this morning, feeling very refreshed after my 12 hours of sleep after that hellish cold day yesterday! I'm so glad that's done, I can't even tell you! I found some new music on Tumblr today, including Kelley Clarkson's new Christmas album and a nifty barbershop quartet version of God Only Knows! It's lovely.

A friend of mine is writing his thesis on the musics of Beethoven in comparison with Iron Maiden, which I think is really cool. He wants to do a live demonstration of the similarities between the two, and he's asked me to help him. Evidently, he doesn't know a mistake when he sees one. Not that I'm not excited and honored to be working with him, I'm just saying that there are about five other people far more qualified than I to be doing this sort of thing. He came over to my house today to work on an Iron Maiden piece, and it went okay, I think. I'll have to learn the notes, but they're pretty easy.

Last week of classes before finals! Kinda freaking out about History and STAM. Not that I'm not going to be prepared for either, it's just that STAM tests never go over well with me, and I have to focus a lot of my energies on creating this children's book about the Spanish Armada in History which I will present to the class as the final! So, yeah, kinda stressy. Nothing I can't handle, though, I'm sure. Tomorrow night should be fun. No AYS (thank God). Instead, I'm going to a Senior Dinner Night with all the senior class! Should be shiny!

December 7, 2013

Day 196

I'm always impressed at how devious Albuquerque weather can be. Like, it's sunny out but freezing, or it's cloudy out but sweltering. Today it was cloudy and cold and windy, though, so that was nice. I mean, it was nice that the weather wasn't deceitful as it sometimes is. It was hell today, though. Spent the day prepping luminaria bags for delivery. That's pretty much all I did today. I'm so stunned at how fucking cold it got! I had on two pairs of woolen socks, boots, long underwear, jeans, shirt, sweater, and heavy jacket, gloves and hat, and I was still so cold by the end, I could hardly move my toes! Jesus! Had to wake up at 6:30... on a Saturday! There should be a rule against that. Did the luminaria thing until 5:00. Yeah! Eleven and a half hours of tedium and cold. Must be what it's like to be in the constant company of Justin Bieber, only with luminarias there's less horridness and want of squeezing your eyes out.

On the bright side, as a result of the plodding day and tedious work, I got through a huge chunk of A Storm of Swords. The Red Wedding finally happened and holy hell! It was pretty awesome and sad and just made you want to punch GRRM in the face because Arya was so close, man! She was like right there! Right outside the freaking castle! Argh. I like how subtle it was too. Like Catelyn is all ooh, I don't feel well, then she's insulted and then BAM! It just hits you with no warning! That's how you do a massacre scene, man! Just make it brutal. And damn, Robb just gets it right there in the chest! Like, none of this half alive shit over here, no! He just dies like right there! I don't know, I think GRRM really hates the Starks for some reason.

I came home and had some hot chocolate, practiced the violin, worked some more on my play, and am now really tired and headed to bed. I'm sleeping in tomorrow, dammit!

December 6, 2013

Day 195

No snow day or two-hour delay today. It was okay though because I only had two classes today, and I turned in my PA finally! Woot! In English we read some Plato, which was cool. It was Plato's transcription of one of Socrates' dialogues on writing and how it's bad... this is pretty much why I think Socrates is an idiot. Anyway, then we tried to relate it back to the book we're reading, and it didn't work for me because unlike Plato or Socrates, what Octavia Butler is saying in her book through the aliens is not profound, noteworthy, and certainly not unique. Plenty of other writers have done what she is trying to do, and most have done far better than her at expressing their ideas of writing and human vs. alien societies and values. So yeah, I'm not really a fan of this book, nor am I a fan of how my teacher is trying to get us to look at a source far more sophisticated than the book we're reading and relating that source back to it. It just doesn't work for me.

History was fun, though. We looked at some examples of the History final, in which we are to present our own children's books about an event or person or phenomenon from the 1500s through the early 1800s. I first wanted to look at the Battle of Balaclava, but I did a little digging and found it to be pretty boring. It's just not really that interesting. The poem that came out of it is awesome, but the battle itself, or at least what I found out about it didn't really sustain my interest. So, I've decided to write and illustrate my version or interpretation of the Spanish Armada! Yeah! Blackwater Bay inspiration! That made me want to start up A Storm of Swords again, so I ended up reading for the next two hours before I left school.

Spent the night at the Luminaria house filling up the bags with sand and putting candles in them and then double-stacking them and then putting a dozen into trays. This is pretty much what I'll be doing tomorrow, and oh my God it was so fucking cold! I mean, it was so cold that when I got home and took off my clothes to take a shower because I was freezing, my toes were blue! Yeah! It was freezing. Had some yummy hot chocolate, though, so that was great, 'cause I love me some cocoa!

I came home and I found this horrible post about Joss Whedon and how he's not a feminist. Now, this is a pretty hot-button issue in that as soon as you say this, fans of Whedon will immediately jump down your throat and call you horrible things, and to some degree that's what happened when the person posted this on Tumblr: people got really upset. But then there were the people who said "y'know, I may hate that this is true, but it is true". Because all of the points that this guy made were facts. And people don't like to think that their idols are indeed flawed, even cruel asshole people sometimes. And yes, what this blogger pointed out about Joss Whedon is true, but I don't think that makes him a bad person as a whole. I think he just messed up. We all do it. This does not diminish what he's done for our culture in his television shows. And that's the other thing. People started coming down on Joss for how he writes. I'm sorry, but the man knows how to write good stories and characters. The fact that he slipped up a couple of times has nothing to do with his writing style and mastery at character development be it male or female. I agree that these things are bad, but what he's done for our culture is a huge amount of good, and if he wants to call himself a feminist because he supports equality for men and women (which is what feminism is at its core, or at least should be at its core), then great.

Here's the original post if you're interested. Also, check out some of the responses. Some of them are very interesting; others just make you want to kill the person who wrote them with your foot!

Anyway, I should get to bed now. Have to get up tomorrow to spend my Saturday filling up and shipping Luminaria bags for no reason because it's stupid.

December 5, 2013

Day 194

It snowed today! Unfortunately school was not cancelled as it should have been. It was okay for the morning though. In Post, we watched some snippets of '60s and '70s television like Star Trek, and The Bradey Bunch. It was a pretty relaxing class.

In Adv.anced English, we looked at three more student plays. They were pretty good. It was in this class that we got the news the my school was now on a voluntary dismissal, meaning that anyone who wanted to leave could with parent approval. This made the rest of the day feel very long and tedious because I couldn't get picked up.

In strings, we played through our pieces and also admired a really adorable pure-bread German Shepherd puppy! Yeah, he was super cute! The snow continued to fall pretty heavily and it created this kind of dreamy feeling. I don't know, it was pretty nifty.

Had a free in STAM, because the class was so small because everyone left 'cause of that whole voluntary dismissal thing, so the teacher dismissed us. I'm making my way through Lilith's Brood, and I've gotta say, it's getting worse and worse as I get deeper into it. Everything the aliens say and do is self-contradicting and stupid. The whole idea of these guys is one of the worst I've seen in sci-fi, and I've seen the Tack-Tack on Voyager, so you know we're talking seriously bad here! Anyway, I did that then left because my mom picked me up right after school. Turns out her worked got out early too ! Nice! Got some food, went home for a couple hours, then headed over to violin lesson.

Violin was good. We practiced my piece for the final time before Tuesday! I'm in pretty good shape, and my teahcer's even coming to see the concert! Awesome. I'm so happy and thankful that she worked with me on this thing. I'm hoping all the work I did with this pays off next week! Here's hoping for a snow day or two-hour delay tomorrow! Night everyone!

December 4, 2013

Day 193

I didn't die today! That's a good thing. I took the bus this morning, so that meant I had to get up super early (okay, half an hour earlier than I normally do, but it's significant for me, okay?!) it was an uneventfull ride, and I got to school a good fifteen minutes earlier than normal! Huzzah!

Today was Waffle Wednesday, so I got myself some yummy waffles for breakfast at school! Sweet! It was a nice way to start the day off. In Modern, we learned about the ending of the French Revolution and the beginnings of Napoleon and his life. Pretty crazy ! I love this history, especially the way the teacher teaches it because it's like a story that he's telling and it's awesome. Next class we're looking at our final project assignment which is creating children's books about something in the nineteenth century. I plan to do mine in the French Revolution, because I like that topic!

Strings was nice today, as we played through my concerto. The first violins are getting better, though my teacher made the threat that if they don't get the intro more solid by tomorrow, she'll have to cut it, which kinda sucks. I'm sure they'll be fine. I got new strings on my good violin today, and I'm to bring it in to rehearsal from tomorrow until the day of the concert for proper rehearsal with the sound I'll be using on the concert. The new strings sound pretty good. The G is a little tin-like, but I'm sure with time it'll get better.

Iin English, we talked about the first reading a lot. I really like the philosophical discussions going on in the book , but the aliens are just not doing it for me. We looked at the concept of choice, how we're often manipatsd into thinking we have choices when we actually don't, the positions of power and his that can influence choice, etc.  It was a neat discussion. The. We spent the rest of the time reading.

My Mom came and got me early from school today. I read the section of the book for English we have to read by Friday, and then practiced the violin. It was a nice evening. Really tired now because I got up so early. 'Night all!

December 3, 2013

Day 192

Beginning the day with STAM is always kind of an energy-drainer. Don't get me wrong, I like my teacher and a lot of my friends are in there, but the class itself I just find kinda boring. It's not one's fault, really, aside from mine. I'm not very good at math (which is odd, 'cause I'm a pretty logical and analytical person), so I guess this doesn't really resonate with me as much as my other subjects.

Post was really fun today. We looked at car culture, a perfect subject to look at out here in the southwest. It was a cool class, because we looked at the car's start, the designs, the horrible idea to make no safety regulations at all for the longest time, and the glass used in older vehicles. I like the 60s and 70s muscle cars! Those are classics. There was some obvious nostalgia coming from my teacher, and that was kinda funny.

Advanced English was nifty! Looked at three plays my fellow students did. They were great. The deliveries that some of the chosen students reading did were hysterical! I worked on my play a little after class too. I still have to come up with a satisfactory ending, but otherwise, it's pretty good. I'm liking the length of it. It's not too short, but not huge either, so it should fit into ten minutes time.

Ran through all our pieces in strings today. The concerto is sounding better. The first violins are really getting it! Really! Yep. It'll go great. After this, I saw my outside reader about my PA. I think I have a better understanding of what I should say in there, but I'm still a little confused about how and where I should say it.

Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. is pretty good. No new episode this week, but I did get to catch up on the one's that I've missed over the past three weeks. The show is so fun. I'm kinda torn on the tone of the show, though, because the Marvel movies are all epic and dark and feel thematic, at least on their own if not within the rest of the universe they've built. But this show feels a little like it's riding on the fumes of the movies before it, trying to use them to boost itself up. I guess that's kinda the point, but still. Feels a little forced at times. And someone needs to flesh out Melinda May's character! My God, what a wooden character.

Have to get up early tomorrow to take the bus. I get new strings on my violin tomorrow too. That should be nice. See ya!

December 2, 2013

Day 191

Back in school for two weeks before finals! Woot! Yeah! Started off the two-week adventure with STAM... not the most adventurous way to start things off. We're learning about qualitative variables and data now and how to interpret them, as well as going over some review for our final. It wasn't a bad class today, but it was kinda boring.

Modern History was great! We had the second half of our class present their thesis presentations, and I've gotta say, I want to read all of them! One student is looking at the similarities between sharks and serial killers behavior! That's awesome, and it led to a pretty wacky discussion. We were headed down a dark path, so the teacher had to break it up and go on to the next person. It was a fun class, and I got some comments back on my PA from my outside reader. He had some good suggestions, but I kinda got overwhelmed at how much he's asking me to put in here and modify. I'm going to talk to him tomorrow (hopefully) to clear some of it up.

English is awesome now! We're reading the first book of the Xenogenesis Trilogy by Octavia Butler! It's so great so far, though I have a personal qualm with aliens in science fiction that look like humans. Granted, these aliens here are far less human than most sci-fi aliens, but evolutionarily speaking, the concept of a being with tentacles surrounding his body, along with three separate genders, and all the specifics... it just begs the question as to how any of it could be evolutionarily viable. Not saying it's bad, but the plausibility of such creatures as the ones described in the book is eyebrow-raising, though not nearly as drastic as some. It's a fast-paced, engaging, thought-provoking book, though, so I'm happy! I read my assigned reading and plan to read more tomorrow, because it's so cool!

Strings was excellent. We ran through my concerto multiple times with me soloing. I did alright, certainly far better than I did the first time with no music and me not having it all memorized at the time. Now I do have it memorized, and I brought my music today, and it went pretty well. The first violins are struggling a little, but with some practice, they'll pull through because they're awesome people! I need to do some woodshedding on some bits of the piece, but I've got it pretty well in hand, I think. Great class today.

Dropped in on a conversation between some friends of mine about Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones (the TV show) and one girl had a theory about how the show was going to end. Another friend and I were kinda shocked at how close her theory was at mirroring what happens later in the books, though this was probably by sheer luck. It was pretty funny though! She had Danny, Sansa, and Arya all take King's Landing, Tyrion becoming the Hand again, and Melissandre sporadically greeting this with open arms, becoming part of the new matriarchy... I don't know, it was really weird but hilariously awesome!

Got to go home and relax for a little bit because I didn't have to be at AYS until 7:00! Sweet. I had a yummy dinner and read for a little while before heading over there. The rehearsal was short and nice. I got out early too, because they ended with a piece that I'm not playing, so that was cool! I got home at 9:00 instead of 9:30, so that's good. I'm going to bed now so I have enough energy for Advanced English tomorrow! Woot!

December 1, 2013

Day 190

Had a great violin lesson today! I got to play my concerto with my teacher accompanying me with the first violin part. It went very well, and I learned some new tricks to help master my part that much quicker. I think it's really coming together. The two parts fit together pretty well when everyone knows what they're doing.

So, I guess I hadn't visited Freddie Wong's channel in a while, because I missed all the second season of VGHS. I watched it all today, and it was so great! I'm really loving these characters and all the game references. It's such a joy to watch. We also finally raked up our leaves (I know). It literally took twenty minutes. That's it. Let it never be said that I am not one of the laziest people alive. I worked more on the next T-Arc review, so expect that sometime next... no, this month (dear God, it's December!)

Listened to Christmas carols all day today. It was pretty festive around the house, I gotta say, especially given that our house looks abandoned and dysfunctional. Went to Flying Star and had some yummy soup and a great awesome cake!!! Nom nom nom! Looking forward to school tomorrow and getting back in the swing of things.

November 30, 2013

Day 189

Woke up at noon today! I know, it's crazy. My newest review is up. I really need to work on the whole "one review a month" thing. I'm hoping that December will grant me enough free time to get the rest of the T-Arc finished before New Years, though I also have to write up my Season Three Overview. Couple that with school, finals, AYS... well, it's gonna be a little busy.

I saw Thor The Dark World today finally! Oh my God, it was awesome! That ending credits scene, man! And Loki! It was a great experience, though there was this child next to us who kept talking the whole way through the movie. I hate that. The Stan Lee cameo was pretty good too.

Other than that, the day was pretty mellow. I've been watching some of my favorite Frasier episodes. They're so funny! I have to get up before noon tomorrow, so I'll probably go to bed soon. The day was fun, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's vacation ending day.

Shadowcon Reviews- Tunnel Vision

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 2 episode 12: “Tunnel Vision”

Welcome back to Prime. I’ve been pretty busy with school, college preparations, lots of thesis reading, and a whole slew of personal stuff that interferes with, y’know, doing things that matter… like overanalyzing a kid’s TV show. I mentioned last time in “Flying Mind” that I’d be looking at all four T-arc episodes, plus “Hurt” and “Out of the Past”, the two follow up episodes to those before “New Recruit”, which kicks off the second half of Season Two. Four episodes to set up a plot structure that will be used from here until the end of the season (pretty much) plus retreaded again in Season Three, is a tad disappointing, and I think the primary reason that this whole relic hunt arc doesn’t work is because the show focuses so much on plot that we don’t get to know our characters any more than we already do.

November 29, 2013

Day 188/ Why Prime

Not much happened today, so I thought I'd talk about something that's been on my mind of late. Especially in light of me watching a slew of Buffy episodes with my thesis in mined, I think it's time for me to explain really why I do what I do, why I stopped reviewing Buffy, and why I think Prime deserves more recognition than it's getting right now.

When I started out my reviews, I began with Buffy, and it is no surprise that I... well, I kinda sucked at it. I was arrogant, far too playful with the episodes in question, and didn't have a handle on what Buffy was really about. I think a lot of that stemmed from the fact that I had just finished the show. Literally; I had marathoned it in about three months, and was now moving onto Angel, without really looking at or appreciating what I had just seen. Sure, I knew Buffy was great, but I didn't seem to know why it was great. It was not until I stopped reviewing it, until I actually went back and looked at the show again with an eye on character and thematic follow-through, that I found that this show was so complicated and loaded and deep, that frankly, I'm glad I stopped when I did. I leave the Buffy analysis to Critically Touched, a website that is certainly the most comprehensive coverage of Buffy that I've found to date. Oh, there are other books out there, essays, theses, but these are all looking at specifics of the show. Critically Touched looks at the show... like, all of it, and by God, do they do it well. That's not to say I'm not jealous, because I am. I'm also pretty embarrassed, because should those guys ever find this site and look at my reviews of Buffy, well they'd probably roll their eyes, yell at their computer screens, or just exit out of my site without a backwards glance, and they'd have every right to do that, because I did not know what I was talking about when it came to Buffy, and I'm still not sure that I do know the show as well as I could, even with my digging and rewatching and studying of it for my senior thesis.

So, Buffy and Angel were both out. That left me with the thing that I should have focussed on from the beginning: Transformers. Transformers is something that I do understand, and it's easy to see why. With no disrespect meant to the fans out there, the Transformers... phenomenon, for lack of a better term, is not complicated. You have good guys vs. bad guys, giant robots and huge obnoxious battles. It's pretty much a stereotypical male wet dream. So, why am I a fan? Well, I'm not a stereotypical male, if that's what you're thinking. I'm a fan because I'm drawn to characters, and Transformers, despite it's ludicrousness, despite it's blatant catering to young boys who just want to see things blow up, it boasts a surprising world-building scheme and depth, along with Transformers characters that, when written well, are as human as any of the human companions that accompany them.

Now, being drawn to characters, you might think it's funny that I dropped Buffy for... Transformers. "Really," you may ask. "Out of all the shows you could've picked up after messing up Buffy, you pick Transformers? A shoot-'em-up fest of a show that has nothing in it except guns, explosions, and wooden characters who are so bland as to be interchangeable? Why, man?" Well, you're right if you think this. Transformers is definitely a shoot-'em-up fest that has explosions, and there are certainly continuities and shows that have nothing in them but wooden characters who are so bland as to be interchangeable. However, when I get this complaint lobbied at me, I point to the myriad of other material that Transformers has manifested in. Look at the IDW comics, look at the more recent television shows, Transformers Animated and Transformers Prime. These are the things that make the Transformers universe worthy of being looked at as a serious piece of art.

What makes these Transformers-related materials stand out? First is undoubtedly the characters. While I'm not the biggest fan of Animated, I do not deny that it did have a solid cast of characters, all of whom had strong arcs throughout the show. I'll get to Prime in a minute. The IDW comics has some of the most amoral, grey, macabre characters I've ever seen. There is such a richness to the IDW universe which is only magnified by the masterful treatment and writing of the characters that populate it. The second thing that makes these three works stand out is the world-building and the richness of the universe. This mostly applies to the IDW comics, but both Prime and Animated had solid foundations of what the laws of their worlds were and how their characters were able to thrive in them. IDW's whole Transformers comic series is all about world-building. The amount of history that is housed within the pages of the comics, whether it be about the war, about Cybertron, about any number of the millions of characters running around in the universe, is astounding. It's like Ice and Fire for giant robots. It's insane. The last thing that makes these continuities stand out is... well, continuity. While not as high a marker as the other two criteria, continuity does impact how good these three materials are because, well... IDW, Prime, and Animated all actually have and rely on continuity. Story arcs and season-long arcs for Prime, relying on previous information for Animated, and deep foreshadowing and seed-planting for IDW all help make these three stand clear above the rest of the Transformers fiction out there.

So, with this in mind, my reviews quickly spun away from Buffy and instead began to tackle Transformers Prime, in my opinion the best Transformers television show ever made. To come back to my original intent of the post (because I know this has gone off track a little bit, and I'm sorry about that), my style of reviews really began with Prime. Sure, you can find my Buffy reviews entertaining, but by no means are they analytical, at least not to the degree that the show deserves. With Prime, I really wanted to show the world that this is a show worth watching. Why? It comes back to what I look for in a show. I look for plot, I look for fun and brain factors, but most importantly, I look for engaging, fun, relatable characters. I found in Prime all of these traits, and being that I actually knew a little something about the history of Transformers, as well as the fact that, unlike Buffy, Prime had not been analyzed to the point of actually reaching diploma status, I felt pretty comfortable taking it on as a serious, academic-like project. Prime is something that I feel strongly about, it's something that has affected me on a more personal level than Buffy ever did, and it's something that I feel should be appreciated where it clearly isn't, because people regard it as just a kids show. Buffy is not just a kids show, and people know this, and people respect it and admire it as a serious form of art worthy of analysis. I'm trying to do the same to Prime; maybe not make it an academic study, but I'm trying to make it be seen as more than just a cartoon for kids, because there is clearly substance in this show.

That's what I'm hoping to do with my reviews. This is not to say that Buffy is bad or that I don't appreciate it as art; I do. I feel that I'm unworthy to review it properly. I feel far more qualified to review Prime. It may seem like I'm taking the easy way out, that I'm somehow just dropping a challenging show like Buffy for something easy and transparent and obvious like Prime, but I don't think this is the case, and I don't want it to come across like that. I'm not really sure why I'm justifying this whole thing at all; this is my blog, I'll do what I want. I just wanted to put this out there more for myself than anyone else. I guess my "mission statement" would be to show people that Transformers Prime is more than it's title suggests, much like Buffy is more than it's title suggests. Yeah, I think that about sums this up.

The Tempest's Ariel to Iron Man 3's Tony Stark

Here is a paper I wrote in English this year, relating Ariel from The Tempest to Tony Stark of Iron Man 3. It's pretty cool, and I'm so happy that I got to write on something like this. Mine is apparently the first paper my English teacher has read that discusses Ariel in any fashion, which I find fascinating, because Ariel is a pretty interesting character on her own, and her role within the play is pretty prominent, and gives Prospero another reason to reform and become good. I think her role in the story is under-appreciated, and I liked this paper because it tackled something that, at least for my English teacher, had not been done before. Pretty cool! So, here it is, Enjoy.

Ariel to Iron Man

     Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 are two works that meet the three criteria that make good literature for me, that of informing, inspiring, and entertaining the audience. Shakespeare’s play informs us in the here and now about attitudes towards various cultures and peoples in Shakespeare’s times, with no clear-cut “yes” or “no” answer, it addresses issues of controversy, and it delivers an undercurrent of mysticism and wonder to the audience, making the work fun and balancing out the heavy-hearted moral issues it addresses. Likewise, Iron Man 3 gives us a deep character study, it takes an interesting spin on the subject of terrorists and the media, and it has some of the most innovative action sequences for its type of film. The Iron Man suits behave and operate more like actual machinery (much like Tony himself), functional but temperamental, and they also provide a bang-for-your-buck action climax that just leaves you giddy, once again balancing out but never overshadowing the serious character study of the film. But what makes these two works similar and worthy of each other’s company is the fact that Ariel in The Tempest could be seen as a template for the character of Tony Stark in Iron Man 3.

     Ariel, Prospero’s devoted spiritual aid, is yearning for freedom not just from Prospero’s command, but also from the island and from her paradoxically sheltered spirit-life. Ariel wants to do more in human affairs than just manipulate circumstances for Prospero’s enjoyment or whimsy. She wants to matter, she wants to use her magic and technology to augment her power and effect on human goings on in order to be a better person for society, to show Prospero that there is more to her than his wishes being fulfilled.

     “Do you love me, master? No?” asks Ariel of Prospero (Shakespeare IV.1.48), showing that she does indeed exhibit emotion, and perhaps a desire to experience love as humans experience it: physically and emotionally. This is something that Ariel feels she can never explore because of her nature. She feels powerless and small after what Sycorax did to her, and the only one she has as guidance in the realms of humanity is Prospero, the very person from whom she wants to escape. Ariel is personified throughout the play as humble and as obedient, but there is also an obvious sense of entrapment and a stated desire to be free.

     Yet she is also compassionate to the point where she is one of the only compassionate people in the play, far more than her human companions. Ariel says of Prospero: “Your charm so strongly works ‘em, / That if you now beheld them, your affections / Would become tender… Mine would, sir, were I human” (V.1.17-19, 20). And if only she were human, for as she is now she has nothing to work Prospero or her other human companions save for magic and guile. Her humanity, such as it is, can never be fully explored because she’s a spirit, a mere shadow of what a human can be. Yet she is so capable here that she is able to show emotions such that Prospero is guilt-tripped. Ariel is so desiring of being human, of interacting on a human level with the rest of the world, that even in her state of spirituality, she is able to express compassion and pity.

     I see Ariel as a spirit who has no other choice than to do what Prospero wants because she doesn't know what to do with herself; her allegiance to Prospero is a coping mechanism, perhaps because she is afraid of what the rest of the world, of those who may not be as lenient to her as Prospero has been, those like Sycorax for example, might do to her.

     Tony Stark, like Ariel, has an understanding of the world that revolves quite literally around technology; the Iron Man suit is what fuels Tony. Tony is akin to Ariel in that he feels very small, alone, and unprepared to face this new world that The Avengers introduced to him. The things that Tony experienced in The Avengers had a real human effect on him. In this film, Tony has been continuously working on the Iron Man suits, because even with all his gadgets and intelligence, he feels powerless and small after what he saw in New York in The Avengers, and he feels that building and building the suits is the only way to protect the people he loves, even though the forces that are out there still might be too much for him. Ariel’s desire for love is reflected here in Tony in that he is so hellbent on wanting to protect those he loves that he is isolating himself from those very people,

     “Nothing’s been the same since New York. You experience things, and then they’re over, and you still can’t explain them. Gods, aliens, other dimensions- I’m just a man in a can…. Threat is imminent, and I have to protect the one thing that I can’t live without: that’s you [Pepper Potts]” (Iron Man 3). This fear and this realization of not being able to contend with so much power that is clearly out there in the world is affecting his life, it’s affecting his sleep, and it’s affecting his relationship to the point where he is forgetting about what is most important to him. Tony loves Pepper, but their relationship is strained because Tony is invested far more in Pepper’s protection than his love for her. Tony’s character is unique among his fellow superheroes because he has what few other heroes have: he has an ego. He loves the attention that Iron Man gives him, and he’s not always a great guy, but he does try to do the right thing. Like Ariel’s attachment to Prospero, Tony’s attachment to the suits is a coping mechanism for how he wants to protect those he loves.

     Technology (magic) gives Ariel the means to exercise a power of which she is otherwise bereft; her lack of humanity grants her little pleasure or staying power in society, and so with her use of her magic she is able to gain a fraction of her satisfaction. Her capacity for love (Shakespeare IV.1.48-49), her desire to live life to the best of her ability (V.1.93-94), and her compassion throughout the play is strengthened, perhaps even caused by her use of magic. Magic plays up her heavy emotional function in the play, and it provides a means for spectacle, something akin to the Iron Man armors of Tony. The Iron Man suits give Tony a way to escape from his anxiety and stress by fueling his obsession to protect people. His past demons in the film come back to haunt him, and in the end, Tony destroys his enemy by trapping him in one of the Iron Man suits, blowing it up. Thus, Tony has defeated the villain and rid himself of his obsession, realizing that his life with Pepper is far more important than his life as Iron Man.

     Both Ariel and Tony Stark benefit from technology, and their circumstances of feeling alone and powerless next to those similar to them (humanity for Ariel and superheroes for Tony), make the two compliment each other in a great way. Zooming out of that, The Tempest and Iron Man 3 both have strong scripts, excellent thematic follow-through, and above all, great characters with humanity pushing through each and every one, even those who are spiritual and armored.

Works Cited

Iron Man 3. Dir. Shane Black. Perf. Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don
     Cheadle. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, 2013. DVD.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Ed. Peter Holland. New York: Penguin,
     1999. Print.

November 28, 2013

Day 187

Happy Black Thursday... Oh, I'm sorry. Happy Thanksgiving! There we go! Sorry, with all the stores open today, y'know, it kinda gets a little confusing. I love the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and I woke up in time to see the last little bit of it. It's always a great way to start the morning.

I finished writing my second violin concerto! I can't believe I've written my first playable concerto, full three movements, all of which were written in Sibelius. This is the first time I've done something fully in the program, and I'm pretty proud of it. It's something that I always find fascinating, when someone creates a piece of art, be it music, literature, film, television, video games, whatever; the creative process behind that is always interesting to me, and the meaning of what the creator was trying to say with their art is so interesting to me. So, I began thinking about what I've wanted to try and say with this concerto. I imitated Mozartian style mixed with a drizzle of neo-classical elements, and the creative process behind creating this thing is something of interest to me. I might do an in-depth post about it, I don't know.

So, then I went to Aaron's house for Thanksgiving dinner, and man, that was a treat. In tenth grade, I was kinda down in the dumps emotionally for a little bit there, so my friend created my ever-growing Things That Make Me Smile list, which has since evolved into the People and Things That Make Me Smile list, because there are people on that list too... not in a stalker-ish sort of way, just listing of people who make me smile. Anyway, this Thanksgiving is definitely going on that list. This is something that was super fun, because it was the first Thanksgiving in a long time that I had not spent with family, and I got to thinking about the other people in my life outside my immediate family, and how many friends I have around me. I've never really considered myself to be popular. I definitely have presence at my school (and apparently the lower classmen have built an idea or two around me), but I've not really given much thought to me being the guy everyone flocks to at the beginning of the day. I'm usually the guy at parties who stands in the corner pretending to admire a potted plant. But then I got to thinking about how many people I have around me who do care and love and respect me, and how many people I love and respect and care about. I think we tend to lose sight of that in our day-to-day lives, and it was nice for the night to reflect that yeah, I do have people I can talk to and hang out with and be myself around. It was just nice to think about that.

I ate a ton of food, and the pies that we brought over were excellent. I'm a big fan of stuffing, so I had a good portion of that, and I love yams, so I had far too many yams for my stomach. It was a great feast. Came home and now I'm really tired. I'm probably going to bed pretty soon. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And don't do Black Friday... it's one of the seven hells reincarnated on Earth, just don't do it.

November 27, 2013

Day 186

Slept in today. The furnace people came by and finished their work on replacing our furnace. They were here 'till 12, so it was really loud. Then, having done nothing up until then but stare at the computer on Tumblr, I took a nap because I was tired... I feel that I'm getting very old, even though I'm not. I just feel that if I'm not at school or doing something thought-provoking, I get tired, bored, losing all hope in humanity... well, maybe not the last one. Anyway, I think that's good. It means that I have motivation. Not enough to work on the T-Arc review, though, that's a little too much. Sorry. Anyway, I got up and... well, went right back to staring at Tumblr. It's so addicting. Lots of really neat stuff there, actually.

Here's a link to something unsurprising yet still eye-opening: a statistics chart of gender inequality in film. Now, I think this is really interesting, because it shows just how deep gender inequality runs, especially in the media. Relating this back to my thesis (yeah, see? This is what I do in my spare time: thinking about schoolwork), I think it's so interesting that we promote and are taken with "strong female characters", yet also do very little about the misogyny in our culture. Check it out here.

Pretty cool, no? I'm focusing on the top chart there for my thesis, but it's all very good information. I'd love to see where the NYA got it's stats, though. This of course made me go on a Buffy-spree, and I watched like five hours worth of it. I also got caught up on my Person of Interest, and oh my God, this show, man! It ended so well! I loved it. It got really dark all of a sudden, and it's awesome. That's my day today. I have a weird stomach bug thing going on today. Maybe that's why I've been so tired? I don't know. It will not be there tomorrow, because tomorrow's Black Thursday. I'm sorry. Tomorrow's Thanks Giving, and I'm seeing Aaron! That should be so great! Okay, goodnight everyone. I'll try to write a more in-depth post tomorrow.

November 26, 2013

Day 185

Grandparents Day at my school is always great. If you don't know what that is, it is a tradition at my school where students invite their grandparents to visit for half the day, mostly so that they can write big checks to the school, but also as a way for us to appreciate our heritage, our history, and our families, and it's a nice way to begin the Thanksgiving break.

As Grandparents Day was going on, the upper school strings were called on to play at the grandparents luncheon thing. It went very well. I of course neglected to bring a change of clothes for the rest of the day, so I was stuck wearing a tux for the entire day, so that was nice. Post was the most interesting class. We had a number of grandparents sit in on that class, and we had a whole fascinating discussion about the '50s and '60s and how our perceptions of history, humanity, social interactions, and safety has changed in a relatively short amount of time. It was a fascinating talk, and it was nice that the grandparents interacted with the students, often leading the conversations. A very successful class indeed.

Advanced English was next. Three of my peers presented their plays. All were very good, and what made the class so great was the teacher brought in his eight-year-old daughter, who was of course adorable! She even got to read a part for two of the plays and it was so great! One of the plays was a hilarious comedy about a flight attendant having ten husbands, four of whom were on the plane that she happened to be on, and all of whom were sitting right next to each other. It was pretty great! Another play was about ghosts and it was kinda sad, but touching too. The last one was about this drug deal. It was the weakest, but it was still very good. I'm so honored to be around such talented people!

I had free last block, so it was just kind of a lazy end to a great thought-provoking day. Composition tutoring was okay too. Working on my third movement to my violin concerto. It's coming along nicely. Now it is the break, and I'm so thankful for it. I worked on my play tonight. I have three scenes, and I'm not really sure how to end it.

Tomorrow, I get to sleep in! Yeah! Thank the Lord.