January 31, 2014

Day 251

It is Friday at long last! I don't know about the rest of you, but this week for me went by so slowly! I can't believe that it was just four days ago that I was in AYS doing scrambled orchestra, or that my piano class was only this Wednesday. It just seems so long ago, which is odd, because I didn't have nearly as much stuff going on this week than I did last week, though I suppose that's the reason why it felt so long, was because there wasn't a constant next thing to be done, y'know?

Anyway, it was a good end to the week, I think. I had Advanced English, which was pretty fun. We wrote a story from a prompt and read some short stories, and I got to work on my story for next week in class a little too. The prompt was really interesting for the in-class story. It was something like write about you having a chance encounter with someone whom you have not seen in ten years. That was cool, because I got to imagine my future self meeting someone who I know now, and that was interesting.

In Post, we learned about the Iran-Contra Affair. Man, I think the United States is as close to a real life version of the Romulan Star Empire as we're ever going to get, because my God, we just love to sit back and pull the strings! Crazy stuff happened here (I'm sure you know about it; I'm not going to repeat it), and it was pretty fun to learn about. And then, just for kicks, we watched the crazy anchor man reporting the Reagan assassination attempt. Still one of the best reactions ever!

Had a really short strings class for some reason, but we got to play our piece one time through for Monday. I still think we should play the other one, but this one's okay. It's a gypsy tune, so that's fun. After this, I read for a little bit, had a pretty funny conversation with some friends of mine, and then went home. Now I'm really tired and dreading the weekend, because it's going to be spent doing things with AYS, and I am not looking forward to it.

January 30, 2014

Day 250

I had a really great day today! Paid a bunch of people bunch of compliments, which made me feel super good about myself, because doing something nice for other people illicit happy emotions in me.

Modern History was fun. We watched a documentary about how the Zulu tribe in Africa kicked the British army's butt and it was great, because towards the end, they started talking about how the Zulu were all high when they did this. Naturally, I made the conclusion that to beat the British, you only need to get high on mushrooms, and the rest of the class agreed, because it was just so ridiculous! My teacher tried to explain that what they did back then is kinda like what we do with coffee to wake up in the morning, but the way he phrased it was great. He said "I self-medicate myself before class with caffeine and coke," and the whole lass was silent for a minute, and then he had to clarify that it was Coca Cola that he was talking about, not cocaine! It was actually really great!

Well, after that peak into a teacher's mind I'm sure we've all wondered about, English came, and we analyzed the final portions of The Plague. I have to say, I really like the ending to this book. It provides a glimmer of hope in the final pages, and the human condition is once again brought to the forefront, and it's very nice. I liked the book overall, but it did get a little tedious and preachy at times. My teacher was in full English class analyzing mode, so when she said at the end that she had tunnel vision, we were all like "ooh, is that a metaphor for something?" Yeah... was everyone here just really stoned today, because this was a weird beginning to my day.

In Strings we took a picture, and then the teacher revealed that we would be playing at Monday's morning meeting, and we were pretty startled by that. And so, wehn we ran though the piece that we were scheduled to perform, the teacher scrappped that, and now we're doing this easier piece that  is far less exciting and less challenging, and it just kinda sucks. I don't know. We're playing for my school's Mexican Exchange visiting students, and the piece that we were going to play before we got rid of it for no reason was perfect for them! Now we're doing this weird tnago thing.

Added a lot more detail to my Advanced English story after class today. I'm trying to make it more personal and less description-y. I don't know how I'm going to end it, because I can see it going in one of two directions, both of which would probably take up another six pages, and I really don't want to write that. But whatever, I'm sure inspiration will strike me.

Had my violin lesson tonight. It was good. My teacher gave me some pieces to listen to, and we worked on the Mozart again. I'm getting to be kinda sick of it, but I still enjoy it. I'm learning to refine my technique, and this whole piece has taught me a lot about bow control. Very interesting! When I came home, I did my English reading homework, and also took a glance at Quantum Man by Lawrence M. Krauss, a book I started in 9th grade and never finished. It's about Richard Feynman, and it's super interesting! Also read more of Ice and Fire, so that was cool.

Well, I'm off to bed! Goodnight everyone.

January 29, 2014

Day 249

I can feel the weeks getting longer already! It is only Wednesday, and I'm already bginning to feel the strain of the week's activities and thinking about this weekend is not helping. Tonight was the first night in a long time where I ate at home with a home-cooked meal in front of me. Not because my Mom hates to cook (she does), but because I've just had so much stuff going on that time does not allow me to be at home before dark, able to eat dinner. Not trying to go for the pity points here, I'm just saying that I just reflected on how busy I am that I was surprised by the fact that dinner was not being given to me in a bag. Just something for me to chew on as I go about writing this post.

Today started off actually really nice with STAM. We filled out a sheet that asked us what our projects were going to be and how we were going to go about doing them. Mine is turning out to be analyzing the statistical data of the ratio of women in the director's chair and writing room to the frequency of the female lead on screen and how effective she is as a character (not talking about guys all the time, interacting with fellow women, etc). Should be pretty fun, and I can relate it to my thesis. It would also be interesting to see if the female character is portrayed any differently when a woman is writing her than if a man is, whether or not that deepens the character or makes her more realistic, or if the writer's gender doesn't matter and the character just turns out to be a stereotype anyway.

Post was really fun too. We talked about Ronald Reagan and his presidency. Bringing back the Cold War and spending a huge amount on weapons and defense and how that whole thing got started. We also saw how witty he was with the press and to the nation. Very interesting to me to see how the different presidents regard or interpret their job of running an entire country. We also watched the new report about Reagan's assassination attempt, and the news and the influence of it back then was just so different from what it is now. No advertisements on the bottom, nothing going on on the screen besides the news person and the footage of the attempt. Speculation is starting to creep in, but it's still early stage stuff. Pretty interesting stuff here.

Worked on my Advanced English story a little it, and handed in my first one with revisions. Advanced English wasn't very eventful today; we helped our teacher put together these packets for a poetry slam going on during an interlude period my school has during the day. Didn't really do much else, but it was fun. Also got into a great Disney geek discussion with some friends of mine about Tangled and Frozen. Super awesome! We got out early, so I continued to work on the bigger story and also glance at some thesis stuff. Read more of Leopold's Ghost and studied for an English quiz tomorrow.

Had my second class of piano tonight. This one was better than last week's because we started getting into more familiar territory with reading music and intervals. Actually, the way the teacher taught us intervals was really fascinating. His teaching style and the way he thought about these things was really fun to watch. I loved that he emphasized patterns in music and how intervals are all about pattern. And this is only the second class where no one in there except for me knows about music theory or harmony or whatever, and already he's introducing us to it. So cool! The way he looked at the connection between note and patterns was cool, and I think I'm going to be enjoying this class more as an observational exercise on how the class is taught. That is until we get into more interesting stuff with the music and learning about the piano.

Pretty tired now. I fell asleep in the middle of my chapter of A Feast For Crows, so I'm going back and reading it tonight. Tomorrow should be a fun day. Certainly the lightest of them this week in terms of after school commitments.

January 28, 2014

Day 248

Today was a pretty relaxing Tuesday. Only had English and History today, so that was really nice. Modern History was spent looking at the history of South Africa in the 1890s to the 1920s. Really interesting stuff here, but also very sad and tragic. We also took a quiz on Leopold's Ghost, which I'm pretty sure everyone failed, because there was a general outcry that this was so specific and awful! I only got one question right on the whole thing, which sucks, because I read it, and the teacher knows I've been reading it, and everyone knows that everyone's been reading it... so I don't get the point of this quiz. Well, my teacher seemed to agree, because he said that he'd not give a quiz this specific on the bookk again. Thank God!

English was much better in terms of tests, in that we didn't have any! We analyzed The Plague and some of the themes, particularly happiness and how even in grief, people can still find happiness because that's what keeps us going. We also talked about Camus' interpretation of Sisyphus, which I found very interesting. Basically, he's saying that Sisyphus is better than the Gods that sentenced him to this damnable existence because he has free thinking and such, and Camus looked at an implied portion of the rolling the stone up the hill story, that of  Sisyphus having to go back down again to complete the task over again. It was just a really cool read and the way we analyzed it was interesting too.

Worked more on my Advanced English story after this class. I'm still in the middle of my fight scene, and i don't really know where to go from there. It's turned into this kinda sprawling thing... I don't know. I feel it needs tightening. Also printed out my outline and introduction to my thesis and handed that in because that was due today. And then I read the next section in Leopold's Ghost. It's getting optimistic, because we have people in the book who are actually likable! Also printed out a string quartet to take to composition tutoring tonight.

Speaking of comp tutoring, tonight we analyzed a little bit of my string quartet and how I weaved around and sidestepped chord progressions altogether because I'm lazy. And we talked about some piano technique stuff. Usual tutoring session really, but it was still enjoyable. I also had a good laugh over the simplicity of the piano class which I'm continuing to take tomorrow. Right now it's very simple, but I'm sure it'll get complicated very quickly!

Came home, had some pizza, listened to the Frozen soundtrack, because I love it so, and am now heading off to bed. Goodnight everyone!

January 27, 2014

Day 247

Whoo! Okay, today was just a bit of a mess, but lots of cool stuff happened! Lots of laughing, smiling, and some good writing got done today.

Started the day off with Strings! That was pretty fun as we worked on our new music! It's this super cool thing but it has bitchin' hard rhythms and stuff! During that free period after the class, I worked on my Advanced English story! I'm right in the middle of a battle sequence! Pretty cool. Also worked on the outline for thesis which is due tomorrow, and read the final chapter for this reading of Leopold's Ghost.

STAM was okay too. I haven't talked about this class as often here because there really isn't that much to say about it, but I'm liking it a lot more now than I did first semester. Making an effort to learn things helps, as it turns out! Today we went over this packet and I got a better understanding of what was actually going on in it, and we discussed what we're going to be doing next class with our projects.

Advanced English was... yeah. This was actually the part of the day that was good, but also something that I don't really want to remember. Basically, we read our short stories aloud to a group of people and had them chopped down to 500 words (in the case of mine, I had to cut 400 words out!) and then the rest of the time was spent with our teacher pontificating about his life an telling us just these random stories about himself. It was very funny, but damn! And then, to complete the drama, he read this story he wrote a few years ago and he'd never shared it with students before... and with good reason! IT was this story about this man cheating on his wife and having an affair in the workplace, but the teacher must have written this with the spirit of George RR Martin in mind. That's the only explanation I can come up with for this story having some of the most graphic sex actions going on! I kid you not, one of the sentences was "he went soft when the doorknob rattled". Yeah... that... you just don't share that with people, especially with a room full of awkward teenagers! It was quite a story, and definitely funny, but the uncomfortable level kinda startled me. Not something I was expecting from this teacher!

So, after that trauma, I had Post, and we did an overview of the '80s! Really cool stuff here! Talked about Reagan, TV, cars, movies, and yes, the hair! So, yeah, that was fun. Also went over thesis stuff a little bit because people were freaking out about it for no reason. After that calss, I worked more on my Advanced English story and did my STAM homework.

AYS was pretty hectic, but overall quite fun. Scrambled orchestra was really a hell of a lot of fun, and the amount of improvement in just that hour was pretty remarkable. The conductor didn't even conduct, which at first I thought to be kinda weird and would serve only trouble, but it turned out that we really can listen to each other and be competent if we really try. Then we reverted back to the normal orchestra layout and the conductor gave meaningless speeches, and so it kinda fell apart in terms of being helpful and effective. This weekend is all AYS stuff, which sucks because I hate doing AYS stuff , especially on the weekends.

I gues I still have the rest of the week to worry about, though. I'm off to bed now. Goodnight everyone!

January 26, 2014

Day 246

Had a bit of a lazy day today as I woke up at around noon. Something awesome happened yesterday actually after I posted on here. I was on Tumblr, and I reblogged a whole bunch of pictures and videos of Lindsey Stirling because I hadn't checked out her stuff in a while, and I found some great videos of her playing live. She's gotten so much better with her contact point and bow technique while moving around all over the place. Anyway, I went on to Twitter at the same time because I was all connected to the web, right? And so I go on there and I have the Frozen soundtrack running through my head, so I shoot this tweet out to Lindsey:



And I'm like, "okay, that's cool. She never responds to anything I put out there, but a man can dream, right?" Well, apparently at that moment, she wasn't doing anything, so she just up and responded with this:


And now I'm like "holy shit! She just responded to me on Twitter!" Like, that's so cool! I never get responses from celebrities, and to get one from Lindsey was amazing! I wonder if she remembers me from two years ago! Probably not. But I just thought that was super fun, and really made my night all happy especially after me having blogged all those Lindsey pics and videos!

Anyway, today was okay. I wrote out a good chunk of my short story for my Advanced English class today. It's very Ice and Fire inspired, with sweeping descriptions and character introspections. I got to have a lot of fun with this one, but like the playwriting unit, the teacher isn't really giving us guidelines which I think is a real shame. As Nick Myer saiys, "art thrives on limitations", and so I feel that to give us this much freedom actually means that we're not able to produce anything of value. Certainly for me, I've been struggling trying to come up with a story idea and characters for a good three days now. I suspect similar things are happening with my classmates. But, I wrote out this story, or part of it anyway, and I think it's coming along okay.

Worked a little bit on my thesis, tweaking bits of it here and there. I think the draft is pretty much done. I'm so excited to hand it in and to get feedback from my primary reader, and to hear what my primary and secondary reader have to say about it together at my defense. I was reading over some of my sources for my thesis too, and I discovered this whole other section of analysis that I could do on the show, but I don't really know where to put it.

Went to dinner pretty early and came back and practiced the violin. Sstill working on the Mozart, because I want to play that for an upcomin concert. Also practiced my AYS music because tomorrow is scrambled orchestra. So, pretty lazy day, but still a happy one. Probably going to spend some time on Tumblr before I hit the hay. Goodnight, everyone.

January 25, 2014

Day 245

So, first off, I'd like to apologize for not posting yesterday's blog post until this morning. My phone I guess didn't connect to my ridiculously slow wifi when I set this to post, so I had to do it this morning. Sorry about that. Secondly, I posted my penultimate T-Arc follow-up review thing... I guess I need a better name for this project. Anyway, here's the link to my review of "Hurt". I've had some weird lapses in memory with this one; I forgot to post this with the picture in the beginning, and had to go back and put in all the links, and I had a hell of a time getting the Read More section to fit in with the rest of the line breaks... all of it's fixed now (hopefully), but it was still kind of a pain.

Ran some errands today. Went to the bank and deposited some checks, went to the comic book store, got some food, and then had my blood drawn. That last one was a doozy! I don't like needles, and apparently, my blood didn't like being sucked out my right arm, so they had to do the whole thing all over again on my left arm! It was horrible! Also dropped off the glass recycling. That was nasty business!

Came home and I read more of Leopold's Ghost! This chapter was just so horrible! It actually started out okay, talking about Stanley's wedding and Shepherd's Congo exploration and good natured attitude, but then it moved into the exploitation of rubber and just the barbaric things the Europeans did to the Africans who worked to collect this shit! They cut off their hands and shot bullets through their ears! Just so messed up! Really made me feel uncomfortable. Ugh! God. Well, after that reading, I went out to eat... didn't have much of an appetite of course, but ate anyway.

Actually, we ate at this really good restaurant that had this really great noodle soup! I had shrimp and egg roll noodle soup, and it was fantastic! The restaurant was also this packed area, but everyone was so happy and it just projected this air of welcome and kindness. Very good food. Came home and now going to read more of Feast for Crows to get the horrible taste of Ghost out of my mouth. Nothing like reading about Cersei's evil machinations and incestuous flings with Jaime to help bring hope back into the world after reading about chopped hands and severed heads!

Shadowcon Reviews- Hurt


Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 2 episode 16: “Hurt”

“Toxicity” put Prime on hold over the summer as a kind of mid-season breaking point. During the hiatus, the talk amongst the Transformers Prime community was focused on Bulkhead and whether or not he would recover. Some were saying that he would not, that Prime did not have the courage to kill off a main character. Some said that he would, that Prime had proven how dark and realistic it wanted to be by first offing Cliffjumper in “Darkness Rising, Part 1”, and that to do so with Bulkhead would flow pretty nicely with his story. This is what I was expecting to happen.

Other people were saying that Bulkhead would be killed off, but that this would be the lazy move, that the writers couldn’t find any use for him anymore so they decided to write him out of the show. Considering the arrival of Smokescreen, the building presence of Wheeljack, the pressure building within the Decepticon ranks, it would not have surprised me to learn that, had Bulkhead died, the writers did so to make room for other characters. But to say that this would have been lazy writing kinda flies in the face of what’s been going on: Bulkhead had undergone a character examination if not a significant development. Having him die this episode could have made this his swansong, giving him a badass battle to finish him off, like what they did with Dinobot in the Beast Wars series. And others still were saying that to have him live would be the lazy move, and guess what! These people were right… sort of. Let’s jump in and see how they handle this.

Day 244

Finally Friday! This has been a very long week, and I'm so glad it's over. Just a ton of stuff going on. I worked onmy thesis and now have a completed rough draft and outline ready to turn in next week! That's a relief!

Had to be taken out of school because I had to get a shot. Mad it back in time for the better half of English though. I liked the class because we talked about the Holocaust documentary we watched last class and if the teacher should show it again. Very interesting conversation arose regarding war and the media's glorifying of it and how we distance ourselves emotionally from it. Very fascinating.

Had Modern History as my final class of the day. We talked a little bit about Leopold's Ghost and then read our next assignment in it for the test of class. I think I'm one of the only people who is really liking the book; everyone I talk to doesn't like it which I find kind of sad.

Finally came home and I began drafting my second short story for my Advanced English class. I'm finding I have a pretty bad case of writer's block, so I had to put it aside. Now ready to get some much-needed sleep. Tomorrow's Saturday! Hooray!

January 23, 2014

Day 243

Okay, so I'm in a really good mood today! I think what started it off was that I got my rough draft of my Advanced English short story done today! Then, I got my audition recordings back on CD, and am now ready to mail them off! Got them all primed and ready, and made sure everything was all set. Going to have my Mom mail them off tomorrow! Super excited! Lastly, I had a chess meet tonight, and I won against a fairly even opponent! Cool! I always like it when I win, especially when it's a neck-and-neck game! So yeah, today was fun overall, but that's just a broad overview. Let's delve in to see what made the day work for me!

So, I started the day with Advanced English, and as I said, I got my rough draft for my short story done in there this morning. That's due next Monday, so this is good. I enjoyed writing it, and I enjoyed cutting stuff out of it even more (it had to be three pages maximum). I found the process interesting, because as someone who loves to embellish his stories, I tend to drag out descriptions and scenes for far longer than they need to be. So I liked cutting this down to the bare essentials and seeing what I was saying beneath all that fluff and spectacle.

I had a free next, and that's when I got my recordings back. I didn't actually do anything with them until tonight, but I was still happy to get them back. I'm so glad that those auditions are over! This week has gone by so slowly; it's incredible just how much stuff went on this week, and the auditions just kind of cemented that fact for me in my brain. I worked a little more on my thesis outline, cutting that down to turn it into an actual outline (since before it was basically my paper in bullet-point form... I mean with like all the full paragraphs stuff in it instead of succinct bullets of ideas). Also read the next chapter for tomorrow's History class of King Leopold's Ghost. This one I found kind of boggy. I don't know. The pace just felt kind of flat this chapter, and I think part of that was because it related what was going on in Africa and the Congo in the 1880s and '90s to the Holocaust, and so it felt very heavy... I mean, the whole book feels weighted, but this added an extra depth to that that made the reading experience a little tougher. Very effective, but not as page-turning as before.

In Post today we watched some '70s TV! That was fun! I loved how campy some of the shows were, but then we saw the episode of All in the Family, the one where they meet Sammy Davis Jr. It was pretty jarring, just hearing the language and how they talked to one another, of course the racism on display and the sexism too... still funny, especially when Davis Jr. just puts the smackdown on Archie, but a little uncomfortable to watch. We also watched a clip from The Six-Million Dollar Man, which... dear God, that show was just horrible. It's almost so bad it's good, but Jesus, is it bad! The purpose of the class of course was to expose us to the mindset of '70s television, how it was beginning to move in the direction that we now recognize as television, and it was very fun to watch these shows.

Had an early violin lesson today so as to make it back over to my school for the chess meet. We worked on the Mozart a little because I want to play it at an upcoming concert, and we tossed around some ideas about what to work on after that. I'm intrigued at this Beethoven Spring Sonata; that sounds fun! I don't know. Anyway, that was a good lesson, and then the chess meet happened. Y'know, as someone who regularly loses at these events, I feel pretty proud of myself for winning, but also playing a pretty smart game and against someone who was about on my level of skill, maybe slightly lower. Very nice ending to my day.

Came home (finally after like thirteen hours away from the house), and burned the two pieces to another CD with my violin concerto from December to be sent in for my music audition. Also received my Transformers Prime Gaia Unicron figure, which means I'm only one figure away from having the complete Transformers Prime television show cast as action figures! So excited!

Long day at the tail end of a long week! Ready to read some Feast for Crows before calling it a night! Goodnight everyone! Tomorrow's Friday (thank God), and I only have to worry about school tomorrow and nothing else for once this week!

January 22, 2014

Day 242

Pretty good day today! Ir actually started out pretty depressingly, because in Enfglish, my class decided to watch all of a Holocost documentary film when we were only planning on watching the first few minutes. The imagery was just completely messed up. What a horrible way to start the morning.

But then I had Modern History next... and we talked about King Leopold and the Congo. So, not much better here in terms of uplifting subjects! But it was all so fascinating, just the political interplay and manipulations that Leopold did, and how everyone later was just fighting over Africa. Just very jarring and also fascinating to me.

After that, I worked on my thesis a little bit before meeting with my outside reader. He and I talked and he helped calm me down and to not worry and that I was in good shape. He also gave ms some very good ideas about how to word some of my thoughts and now I'm all happy about my thesis again!

Then came the big music audition recordings! God, this had me freaking out, and at one point I wanted to cry and just give up because I was on like my tenth take with this stupid concerto and it just wasn't going well! Then I got my shit together and spliced up some stuff and it turned out okay. And the second piece I did only took two tries! I'm so glad to have that over with. I was there from 3:30 to 5! Yeah!

First piano class tonight! Because I didn't have enough musical stuff going on; needed to make sure my week was full of it save for Fridays! This class is very basic beginning material, but it's good for me to go back and refine my technique. At the end of the class in the last like five minutes we finally got around to playing a broken C chord... again at the end of the class! I'm sure it'll pick up pace very quickly, though, so I'm liking it!

Came home and now off to bed. Tomorrow is another big day because I have a chess meet! Wish me luck!

January 21, 2014

Day 241

It was great to be back at school today! Had Post first. We listened to more '70s music! Some David Bowie and Pink Floyd, which is totally dope, and we also discussed some of the counter culture stuff that was happening then too. Some of us brought Rubix Cubes into class today, and our teacher said we'd talk about those when we cover the '80s, because those were I guess all the rage back then.

Advanced English was fun too. We had an activity where we wrote a short story with every sentence beginning with the following letter of the alphabet, with the first sentence starting with A and working our way up to Z. Plus, one of our sentences in this story had to be 100 or more words long! Yikes! Well, that was cool, because I wrote about this boy who was walking on a beach and who was lamenting killing all of his classmates accidentally because he was trying to defuse a bomb. I'm not damaged, I swear!

Strings was okay. My teacher wrote and sent off my rec letter to Willamette so that was nice. I thank her for doing that. Oh, and just as a side note, I got in to the University of Portland! Woot! I'm three for three! That's great. And I worked more on my thesis a little bit today. I have a meeting with my outside reader tomorrow, and audition recordings tomorrow, and my piano class starts tomorrow (which I'm so looking forward to)... man, I got a lot of shit on my plate!

Since the chess meet was moved to Thursday, I went to comp tutoring tonight with none of my stuff because I didn't realize until I got to school that there wouldn't be a chess meet tonight. So, my tutor and I did some basic piano stuff to prep me for tomorrow (though based on what the class is for, I'm already way ahead of where it's going to be starting off at), and discussed some theory. I was pretty fried after that, and now I'm home, ready for bed. Read the last chapter for tomorrow's reading of Leopold's Ghost! Really sad, but still very interesting! Looking forward to where it goes from here (and yes, I realize I can just google all this stuff, but I like this history book, dammit!) So, anyway, goodnight, all. I'm having quite an eventful day tomorrow!

January 20, 2014

Day 240

I felt very cooped up today. I had the day off which was nice and all, but I just felt so lethargic. I got the first two thirds of my short story for my Advanced English class done, but that was about it. I should have worked on thesis stuff, but I decided to take a break from it for a little bit to give myself some breathing room. I'm still sick, mostly just tired and stuffy. I had a nap this afternoon which really took a bite out of my time today.

AYS rehearsal was tonight. It was the same as always: long and tedious with just a sprinkle of fun mixed in. I really wish I could quit the program, but I do feel that the experience I'm gaining from the orchestral setting and the fact that the music we're playing in there is cool to be enough to pull me through. I don't know. We signed up for rooming for our New York tour, so that's nice.

I really wanted to get some more stuff done today, but I realized I don't really have much to do. I'm going to read the next chapter in Leopold's Ghost now before calling it a day. Sorry these posts are so short. Just not feeling well and pretty tired. Glad to be going back to school tomorrow. It'll give me something to do.

January 19, 2014

Day 239

Slept in today on account of me being sick. I'm getting better, but am still pretty congested and have this aweful cough. Spent a good portion of the day working on various sections of my thesis. It's getting there, but I'm still not satisfied with what I'm doing with it yet. I think my main problem is that I'm not articulating my ideas very well. I'm also finding it very difficult to say things that my sources haven't already said far more eloquently than I do. But, regardless, the paper is coming together okay I think.

Also read more of Leopold's Ghost! It's getting very interesting and heated. I love how engaging the book is. I also like how I'm spacing out the reading. I find a chapter a day sets a good pace for me.

Not much else to write about for today, I'm afraid. I'm so glad I have tomorrow off. I get to recover fully and get the next section of reading done.

January 18, 2014

Day 238

Birthday post! Super happy today, as today was my birthday, and I went over to a friend's house to actually celebrate his birthday which is next week, but the people there were nice enough to include me in on the celebratory fun! The party was actually really great! A lot of people showed up and we had some great laughs. Watched Despicable Me 2 there after the dinner and awesome cheesecake! Yum.

Birthday haul was awesome too! The biggest item financially was a wicked awesome carbon fiber violin bow! I went to the violin shop today with my Mom (this was her gift to me) and I tried out several bows before deciding on the one I wanted, and thankfully for my mother, it was not the most expensive one of the bunch! Yay. Lots of iTunes and Amazon gift cards, so that's awesome! And I finally have The Art of Prime, the companion piece to the Transformers Prime show that I have been so excited for ever since they announced (the book... though I love the show too obviously)! This thing is awesome; it has great artwork and designs for all the characters and sets and backgrounds and stuff! Really great. Also got some Transformers figures and some movies. Fun stuff!

Overall, a really fun day! And just to feel good about myself, I worked on my thesis to prove to the world that I'm not a totally lazy bum! Off to bed now. Really great to be 19! Thank you to everyone for their generosity and thoughts and love!

January 17, 2014

Day 237

Finally Friday! This week feels like it's gone by so quickly! Unfortunately, I'm still sick, though on the bright side, I just finished watching The Princess Bride, which just makes me so happy every time I watch it! I've spent the better part of today working on my thesis, getting my thoughts on Buffy down on paper and trying to figure out the order of stuff and what to actually include and not include in the vast list of things I can talk about in a character study of Buffy Summers. Pretty cool paper so far, I look forward to working more on it over the weekend!

So, today's my last day of being 18! That's pretty crazy! Aaron and I are having our annual birthday celebration in February due to our various schedules not meeting up until then, but suffice it to say, we're both pretty stoked about our birthdays this year! We're planning on a Disney marathon and that can now include Marvel and Star Wars, so that's pretty kick-ass!

In History today we watched this hilarious documentary simply entitled "The Worst Jobs in the World"! Yeah, that should tell you right there how funny and disgusting and egregious this show is! Basically, it had this guy go around and look at the jobs that people had in the 19th century during the Industrial Revolution, and needless to say, if you had any of these jobs, your life kinda sucked! I found the soap-making and match-making and mining to be of particular note simply because of how nasty they were. My teacher told me at the end of the day that as a joke he said that we should make our own soap from roadkill. Yeah, that's like to get him fired! It'd be pretty funny though if some visiting students came by our classroom and saw us cleaning off the bones of animals, the families staring on in horror as we work tediously away!

I'm very glad it's the weekend, and a long weekend for us, and that means sleeping in and doing nothing productive on Monday (and no, AYS does not count as productive because that would imply some actual work and competence was being put on display during the tedium that is that organization). Anyway, pretty tired now, still sick, and am going to bed pretty soon. Tomorrow's my birthday! Super pumped!

January 16, 2014

Day 236

I'm pretty doped up on nyquil right now, so this one's gonna be short in favor of me getting to bed because I'm super tired. I rewatched some episodes of Buffy today, because I realized that even with all my sources and analysis books and all of that, I have very little from the show in terms of specificities to support my analyses for my thesis. I watched "This Year's Girl" and "Who Are You?" to get a better sense of the Buffy/Faith relationship (one of my favorites on the show).

In Advanced English we are finally starting to write something. It's a short piece that's due next week. Only s'posed to be 500 words. I don't know how to write that short of a story. That's gonna be really hard. We read this interesting short story about this grandma and her family being accosted by this murderer person and it was okay I guess. One of the students had a minor complaining fit about signing up for our big story presentation date, allegedly because she has too much work to do. I was kinda annoyed by it, and it really only served to drag the class out. I don't know.

Man, you ever write something drunk? I haven't, but I'm sure this is what it's like, y'know? You just keep writing no matter how screwed up your mind is. Mine is totally on the fritz right now. Get to write about thesis tomorrow in English. That'll be great. Hopefully get a bunch of work done in there. In Post we looked at the letter Elvis sent to Nixon and how hilarious yet sad it was. We also watched this interview with Nixon about Watergate. It was pretty interesting. I like how he skirted the issues brought up in the questions. Such classic politics!

Oh, and I almost forgot! My Advanced English teacher also teaches ninth graders, and in the ninth grade English class, they watch a production of Macbeth which stars Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. So, as per ridiculous school happenings, this teacher had the ninth graders write to these two in England about this production. And to my amazement, Ian McKellen wrote back! He endorses the school! I mean, God damn! Again, let me rephrase that in terms that you might be able to understand: the wizard who defeated a Balrog endorses Bosque School! How kickass is that?! That just put a huge smile on my face this morning, and made the day go so much better.

Okay, really tired now. Hands starting to shake and make lots of typos on my computer. Goodnight everyone. I'll maybe be better in the morning. I better not be sick on my birthday. That would just suck!

January 15, 2014

Day 235

I think I'm starting to get sick. I have that horrible beginning back-of-the-throat scratchiness that also collects all the saliva you swallow and it makes your throat all thick. Yeah, I have that thing. I think I got it from my English teacher who's been sick but still teaching for some reason and now my Mom is saying that she's feeling sick, so who knows? But anyway, I feel sick, and it's not fun.

So, everyone says that I should start writing my thesis rough draft, and being that we have a work day in English on Friday to work on our theses, I'm going to do that. I think I'm ready, or at least have enough to talk about to start the draft. Twenty pages? Well, I already have ten of them, and I can easily spend another ten on discussing Buffy alone, not to mention all the other things that she does and represents... yeah, I'm gonna be fine.

I think today was pretty productive. History was the best class today. We learned about city life in England during the Industrial Revolution. Essentially, it sucked, but then that might as well be the middle and lower class's tagline during this time period. We also discussed Leopold's Ghost a little bit and got assigned our next reading. I'm loving the pacing that we're doing. Two chapters a reading is a nice steady pace, and I'm reading one a night, so it works out. I'm loving the book still.

I had a discussion with my English teacher prior to class today about my thesis, and in it she asked me why she would want to read a paper of mine that was using sources that could probably explain what I'm saying a lot more eloquently. I answered the way she expected: because I have unique insight into the show, and I'm also a generation younger than the authors of the books I'm sourcing, so that would give me a new perspective on the show as well.

And then I got into how I write, and how I think we all channel people we listen to or read (for me, it's reviewers and analytical essayists online), and I started kind of thinking out loud and asking where the line was in the sand between just regurgitating what others have said in a new fancy packaging and actually expanding their ideas into your own, and also how your ideas should not be tailored to your inspiration's ideas. It was an interesting thought exercise I did, and I'm still not sure if there's a right answer.

English itself was okay. We talked about the morals and ethics going on in The Plague, and how there's this great discussion about God, the meaning of life, death, belief, faith vs. pragmatism, just really interesting stuff. The book is very good, and I'm loving the analysis we're doing on it in class.

I got caught up on my TV tonight with the Season Four premier of Being Human (US) and the newest episode of Person of Interest! I'm so glad Being Human is back! I just love what they're doing with all the characters; always mixing them up and putting them in such unexpected situations. They're season premiers are not the strongest ever; the seasons tend to grow in enjoyment and excitement as they go, so this one was pretty average for a Being Human episode. Still, so glad that it's back!

Watched the Game of Thrones Season Four trailer again tonight because I just love Daenereys, and am now heading to bed! Goodnight everyone!

January 14, 2014

Day 234

It feels like Friday. I don't know what it is about this week, but I can already tell it's going to be a long one. This Tuesday was pretty cool. In STAM, we did a really fun project with popcorn, and we got to eat it afterwards too! Yum! I'm trying out a new tactic this semester after finding out that my midterm grade for this class was... well, kinda shit, and that tactic is um, actually putting in some effort. So, yeah, this class really isn't my favorite, but it's by no means bad, and if I try, I know I'll do well because as has been proven, I can churn out a nine page paper like nothing if I'm under the right amount of stress... hell, I can do that anyway, but the point is that I'm going to be making a concerted effort to do well in this class this time around and hopefully bring that grade back up.

In Post, we learned about Presidents Carter and Ford (not in that order... obviously), and also listened to some disco music of the '70s! Yeesh! Y'know, I figured our teacher's job was to educate us, not subject us to physical pain! Anyway, the class was quite good; I especially liked learning about the Presidents and the mindset of the '70s. I also read the second chapter of Leopold's Ghost for tomorrow's History class. I'm loving this book! The cartoonish circumstances and wild personalities of all the historical figures involved in here just amaze me because I'm so baffled that anything like this with the people that this involved actually happened! Very interesting to learn about this stuff!

Strings was super fun today, because we got new music! It's this really crazy insane four-movement modern piece, but unlike most modern and post-modern bullshit neo-classical music, this has hints of Mozart that compliment the tone, and I love the chromatic side-stepping used in this thing. I can't remember the name of the piece nor the composer... I guess I should probably learn that so that I can post a link to it in the Music tab up top there!

Speaking of composers, I analyzed more of the Bach violin concerto with my composition tutor tonight at my composition lesson. Really interesting stuff here, though I was kind of out of it tonight because I had just gotten a sound verbal beating from my Mom about my STAM grade not being that great and it naturally left me in a bit of a shock (my Mom is really scary when she gets mad, by the way). So, yeah, I didn't really get everything that was going on (with Bach, not with what my Mom was talking about). Anyway, the lesson was fun, and I'm liking the analysis a lot.

Pretty tired now. Might write in my journal a bit before calling it a day. Goodnight, everyone.

January 13, 2014

Day 233

I am now at 300 posts! That's pretty cool, I think! I had a pretty nice day today; only two classes which gave me ample time to work on my thesis, which I think is shaping up nicely... I wouldn't say that it's perfect yet. The outline for this thing in my view is just all over the place. I'm referencing stuff and talking about stuff in great detail in order to contrast that with Buffy's character, and it's getting to the point where I'm losing focus on what I'm trying to say. At least, that's how I see it. My reader love it, and he think that the paper itself will transition into all of these points very well. Maybe so, but I'm wondering how well my argument will be able to float above all this other stuff in the paper.

In History, we started reading King Leopold's Ghost, which man oh man, is it great so far! I'm loving the history and the way that this is being presented, I'm loving how ridiculously over the top Stanley was... I mean, holy hell, that guy is suck a dick! I'm sorry, but that guy is about as nefarious as Megatron... but he was fucking real, and he was alive and he did all this stuff to make himself look better. I mean, this guy is just a fucked up individual. I'd call him laughably evil, except this is a real person, and what he did in Africa and what he did to give himself all this attention and good press and whatnot is just straight out of a Bond film. Yeah, this Stanley guy is fucking messed up. However, the book is very... I don't want to say enjoyable, but it is very engrossing to read. It really puts you in the period, it gives you a shit ton of interesting facts and history about a whole bunch of really fascinating stuff, and I'm only on the first chapter, and I can't wait to read more!

English was interesting. We did a very broad crash course overview of philosophy. Like, all of it! One of the things that impressed me most about this overview was that the teacher defined the big philosophical branches but was very careful about how she used her language in doing so. Oftentimes, I'll see a definition of philosophy that uses a trait that is so much more prominent in another philosophy and then the definition doesn't clear up the one philosophy from the other... and it all gets very confusing. Here, the teacher made sure to clarify each one, using different words and ideas for the ones we covered. Not at all easy to do, and I'm very impressed that she did that. We also talked more about The Plague. I'm really still loving this. It's so human!

AYS was okay. Not much to say about it here tonight. It's getting awfully apparent to me that we as an orchestra are not getting anywhere. It's not because we're not trying or that we can't count. That's part of it, but the conductor is so bent on placing the blame entirely on us that he doesn't seem to realize that about 90% of what he tells us to do amounts to nothing. Seriously, the advice he gives is so broad and vague that he could say anything and we could all just take it and turn it into something ourselves because he's not teaching us. He's patting us on the head and telling us what our lazy brains want to hear instead of making us actually think and work harder to get the stuff we screw up right.

So, that was my day today. I think this week is going to be very fun. There are a lot of things going on now that school is back in session, and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

January 12, 2014

Day 232

Worked more on thesis today, watched the Sherlock Season Three finale, and also watched a whole lot of Buffy to pass the time before the big surprise party. The party was fun, but ran a little long for my taste. I don't do well at social functions, and I really don't like surprise parties, but this one was fun I guess. A lot of my friends were there, and the recipient seemed to love my Deadpool comic book gift. Not much else happened today really. I'm pretty tired, a little disgruntled, and looking forward to the week. Last week of being 19! That's exciting! Not sure what else to write about here. I know it's a short post, and I'm sorry about that, but there just wasn't much going on today. Tomorrow will be more eventful, I promise.

January 11, 2014

Day 231

I didn't do much today really except see Frozen for the second time. I think I'll be talking about that today more so than my daily activities, because I have a lot to say about my reactions to seeing the film for a second time. Maybe I should put this as a second Mini-View, or maybe a follow-up thing to the Frozen Mini-View, but whatever. I will definitely be addressing my reactions both times in the full review (which'll probably come out in a few years, given how brain-dead my work ethic is... sorry).

So, I loved Frozen the first time I saw it. I still like it, but as with any second viewing of most any film, you notice things a second time around that you hadn't upon the premier, and man oh man, did I notice stuff this time! I've actually never had this type of reaction to a film before. With Frozen, I loved it when I saw it the first time, and I only enjoyed it tonight. When I got out of the theater tonight, I began thinking about how problematic the film was. Now, I'm not going to give you a breakdown of everything going on in the film, such as themes, characters, plot, etc. (again, saving that for a review), but the structure of the movie is what caught my attention the first time around, and it's the thing that does not stand up to multiple viewings. With this time, I noticed how flawed it actually was. That's not to say it was bad, but I think with just a little bit of rearrangement to a few characters and scenes, especially in the middle, I think this could have been far better.

Hans as the villain still bothers me, but while watching Frozen for a second time, I caught on to how weird Kristof's motivations were and how they could have fixed the character, or maybe rewritten the story to better fit his circumstances. Anna and Elsa's relationship is still one of the more enjoyable parts of the film for me, but again, with a second viewing, I just wanted to see more of their friendship and love for each other develop over the course of the movie. So, yeah, I notice a few problems with the film this time around, but I still do like it, and in terms of Disney breaking out of the routine, this succeeded in doing that. I just wish the road to get there had been paved a little bit smoother.

Not sure what else to write about. I'm thinking about maybe using this as a launching pad for a rough draft of the review... I don't know. Looking forward to tomorrow and the birthday celebration! It looks to be a ton of fun!

January 10, 2014

Day 230

Friday! Man, this week has gone by quickly but it felt slow as it was going on, y'know? Like a roller-coaster ride where it feels long while you're on it, but then you get to the end and you feel like you've flow by. It's like that. Actually, today was pretty great because I got a lot done. I'm getting back into the mindset of thesis, so much so that I, in a bout of stress and worry, composed my entire outline and a rough draft of my introduction today, two weeks in advance of the due date! Yeah! What's more, the outline got to be six pages long! So, not to brag here, guys, but apparently put me under stress with an assignment having to do with a passion of mine and I will crank out something for you on the spot. I have no idea how this'll turn out; I talked to my secondary reader about it, and he said that he might have time to look at it this weekend (but no promises), and shared it with my primary reader for him to look at whenever, but this is very clearly a rough attempt at this. I don't like writing with outlines, but for this type of paper and the scope and topic ranging, outlines are essential.

Advanced English was pretty fun today. The teacher was back, and he had us go around the room and share one rule that stood out to us from the dozens of rules from the forty-one writers paper. One of them read as follows:

"Regard yourself as a small corporation of one. Take yourself off on team-building exercises (long walks). Hold a Christmas party every year at which you stand in the corner of your writing room, shouting very loudly to yourself while drinking a bottle of white wine. Then masturbate under the desk. The following day you will feel a deep and cohering sense of embarrassment."

Now, I don't know about you, but I found that one to be hilarious and awesome! This comes from Will Self, who I don't know anything about, but if his books are as hilarious and nonchalant as this quote, consider me a fan! Anyway, the teacher laughed very hard at this because it mentions masturbation, and then later when a student proposed a wild theory about a Hemingway short story, the teacher jokingly accused her of being on LSD. Then, he went into a whole tirade about how he was only joking and vehemently opposes the taking of LSD, and being a dramatic person, he ended his spiel by delivering one of the greatest quotes I've ever heard from a teacher: "Don't do LSD. Don't commit suicide. But masturbate all you want!"

Man, this was a really messed up day...

In Post, we discussed the Presidency of Richard Nixon... not really helping to detract from the weirdness factor of the day, but whatever. A pretty bad dude, but like all figures of history no matter how evil, he was still human, and the teacher did attempt to show that by going through his life not in terms of the wrongs he did, but in terms of looking at those wrongs in the context of the time. This by no means excuses what Nixon did, I'm just pointing out that the approach to the teaching of the class was a good one, and one that I don't often hear about in other schools. A good class today, and a nice way to end the day (the day ending with History, not with Richard Nixon...)

Got home. Now really exhausted. I'm so glad it's the weekend! Get to watch some Buffy and maybe see Frozen again! I also am going to a surprise birthday party on Sunday! Should be fun.

January 9, 2014

Day 229

One of the things I find fun to look at is the Top Posts menu on my site, because it lets me see what is popular and isn't popular, or in another light, what does and does not work on my site. It seems to be a bit random: in the All Time viewings view, you all seem to enjoy my essays most, the ones from school or the ones on writing and art and stuff like that. My reviews don't really factor into the viewing pleasure too much it seems. This is kinda saddening, but also tells me that maybe I should do more essay-type stuff (I'll be doing this with my full Frozen review, treating it as a school paper more so than a review). Not that the reviews'll be going away, but maybe an increase in essay-style material would do my blog some good. I don't know. Looking at the stats just got me thinking.

Speaking of essays, I had a free block this morning and I started skimming through one of my books for my thesis called Sex and the Slayer: A Gender Studies Primer for the Buffy Fan, which is really fun, and I loved delving back into it! I read this new passage in there about Giles and his evolving role over the course of the series and how he grew to be a father figure. Buffy herself was also discussed as a mother figure and the topic turned to how that cast her as a defined woman with this masculine role of the slayer and how that fed into modern-day understandings of the working-class woman and all of that... just really interesting stuff and I'm so glad I'm getting back into the thesis mindset!

English was pretty good. We discussed The Plague and it's characters, talked about the narrator and what he knows to be true and what sources he uses for information. I'm really loving this book! It's very... detached, kind of cold, but not boring. It's not badly written, but it definitely has this outside-looking-in feel, which is interesting considering the narrator is supposedly one of the people from the town. We read more of it for the rest of class. I'm loving that this book really tackles how real people would react to a plague like this, and the book's characters react in a very real way: first with mild concern and annoyance, then with that slow realization that there's a plague coming on, and then with panic, and then when the town in quarantined, first with outrage and rebellion and then with just defeat and submission. Very real here, and I like that this doesn't apply to everyone; people do react in different ways than this (the above outline is for the general population). The main characters are all their own persons, so they react differently and have different agendas and use the plague's presence and power for their own purposes. Very suspenseful!

We had an overview of the Industrial Revolution of the 17 and 1800s. Pretty interesting, though nothing I hadn't known before. My teacher made the stuff fun and exciting, though, and I did learn about the social mindset the IR had on humanity in general: a continuation and expansion of the Renaissance Era's general "science rules all" mentality. Pretty good lecture class, though I'm liking Post more this semester (which is odd, because it was the other way around last semester, but whatever).

Violin lesson today was really productive! I have to say, I've gotten a lot better at the Mozart, more comfortable with it, more confident. I'm starting to phrase it better, which is saying a lot, because I'm so focussed on creating the proper style of the music that I often loose sight of the emotion carried along with it. Still, I'm working towards getting it in good shape, and I better get cracking, because my recording date is slated for the 23rd, so yeah! I think it'll be okay. Better work on the Bach too though! Oh my God, too much stuff!

Great day today overall! I'm loving getting back into the thesis mood. I had a meeting today about my Preliminary Analysis. I got a B+, which is pretty good I feel for my first time at this. Next comes the introduction and outline. Pretty crazy!

January 8, 2014

Day 228

I'm really liking getting back into the swing of things. I blocked out a shit ton of events in my calendar happening in the coming month, and the second semester is kicking off with a bang.

Advanced English was okay. Our teacher wasn't here for some reason, so we had a sub and did this worksheet that involved writing down ten rules culled from forty-one different writers, all of whom had about fifteen rules each on average. It was an interesting exercise. One of my favorites came from Kurt Vonnegut, who says of the writer "be a sadist". That is such a great rule, I'm so happy that he said that! We were all then asked to write a short one-page story about our interaction with two writers from the list, and we couldn't use their names. Instead, we were supposed to describe who they were based on their rules of writing that we had looked at on the sheet. It was an interesting exercise, and I think my story turned out okay. We also got a copy of our book for this unit, The Half Known World by Robert Boswell, a very interesting look at fiction writing and how to and not to proceed with it. The book is a collection of essays, and I finished the first one, and I'm so glad that he said that the typical workbook questionnaire character things just don't work, not for a fully-developed, three-dimensional character. Very fond of this book.

I got with the recorder who recorded the December strings concert to get a copy of my violin concerto to send in to schools. I also talked with him about setting up a recording session to record additional material for auditions as well. Did this during strings because the class was devoted to All-State practice for tomorrow and Friday, and since I'm not in that program, I got to do this instead. After this, I finished reading my regular English reading for tomorrow, and I have to say I love this book, which is saying a lot because I hated Camus' The Stranger. I've never had such a split reaction to two works by the same author. I either love most or all of the writer's work (and the books I don't love I still enjoy), or hate an author's work and that's the end of it. Never before have I had a complete opposite reaction to one book by an author to another book by the same author. It's just kind of interesting for me.

STAM was okay. We went over the outline of what we're going to be doing this semester, which is going to be a project where we take a survey based around a topic of our choosing. I'm actually pretty stoked about this one, as I may be able to incorporate this into my thesis if I play it right. A fellow student told me that she's seen Frozen and is obsessed with it just like me, so we had a great time talking gleefully about it! Ah, a nice return to the norm.

In Post, we began our look at the '70s. Dear God, the '70s! I love the powerpoint subtitle too: Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'N Roll! We did a broad overview of the decade today, and it was great, because at one point, the teacher is talking about how for a short time, X-rated films were being shown in mainstream cinemas. He mentioned a porno called Deep Throat, and the resulting conversation went something like this:

Teacher: "So there was this film called Deep Throat, a porno film, and next time, we'll see-"
Student: "Wait, we're gonna watch it next time?!"
Teacher: "Oh, God! No! I'd fire myself from the school if I did that! I'm not sure parents would approve!"

Yeah. So, anyway, that was a hilarious moment, and the rest of the class was spent looking at the various types of movies, television shows of the '70s and how they reflected a more open "anything goes" attitude in a rather depressing time. Really fascinating stuff, and I can't wait to start in on this decade next class with Nixon.

That was the end of the school day for me. I wrote in my journal some more today (seriously, I'm gonna be done with this thing by the end of January at the rate I'm writing at), and came home. Watched Person of Interest, and man! I freaking love this show! One of the best crime dramas I've seen, and the mystery and suspense and pacing are al really great! This episode in particular had a great exchange between two characters that really enhanced both as people. Very impressed with this show's third season thus far! And Amy Acker is in it, so that's just default awesome right there.

I'm loving getting back in to school right now. I'm sure when the homework and thesis come back I'm going to dread it, but for now it's great! Can't wait for tomorrow.

January 7, 2014

Day 227

Back at school today! I had a really nice day back overall. I started off the day talking with my Advisor about Frozen, because he'd seen it, and surprise surprise, he liked it, and this is coming from someone who doesn't like Disney movies. I also told a bunch of people throughout the day to go see it. It's still on my mind. Can't get it out of my head. Must see it again.

Anyway, classes were great, especially since I only had two of them today! English came first. We started off by discussing the philosophy of existentialism. I hate existentialism, in part because it's just stupid, and also because what I've read of it hasn't been all that interesting. However, the book we started today, Albert Camus' The Plague really is engrossing! It's written very... wavy, like the language of it is rather mellow in tone. Very open-minded. Really cool. I think I'm going to love second semester of this class even more than last semester!

In Modern History we discussed what's coming up in the thesis (dear God, I don't even want to think about it!) and then looked at the industrial revolution by way of drawing! We started off drawing a little village, and then gradually added to it until by the end of the class, my paper was covered in factories, churches, hospitals, jails, pubs, a freaking train track running through the city, and a whole bunch of stuff that had once been houses but had since been drawn over to make room for other stuff because I kept running out of room! It was a very awesome but somehow pretty stressful project!

Had some alumni come back and visit! They were here because they don't start back until next week at the earliest, and we have an annual Alumni Panel where people ask the alums questions about college life. It's very interesting, and being that I'll be in college in August (holy shit), I found it quite informative and I'm glad I went to it. Saw some old friends, too! Very nice to see all the old faces... that I only saw briefly last year, but some of the seniors last year were my friends and it was cool to see them again.

Hung out with some friends of mine for the rest of the day before heading over to composition tutoring. This was a fun day more so than usual, because since I'm arranging the song for senior graduation, I needed to have a crash course in choral writing. Talk about complex being simplified! This stuff sounds really easy when dumbed down and condensed into a ten-minute lecture, but I'm sure once I get cracking on this thing it'll turn into a mess. Also listened to some Bach and analyzed a score of his in the last five minutes. Very interesting course.

Came home, ordered pizza, and watched some S.H.I.E.L.D. Damn, poor Coulson! That dude has been through so much, and while I don't think this story is going to be as strong as Buffy's in her sixth season, I'm still looking forward to what they do emotionally to this character. I'm hooked (only took ten episodes)!

Now off to bed. Have a full day tomorrow! Looking forward to being back in strings and all that. And we start our fiction writing unit in Advanced English tomorrow!

January 6, 2014

Day 226

Today is Monday, and that means the return of the AYS program. It was a rocky first night back, I have to say. I was not in shape at all for the music's return, as I had practiced it only a couple times over the break. And the rest of the orchestra was pretty shaky too. I'd forgotten just how hellish these three hours could be if everyone isn't prepared and having fun. Tonight we were definitely not prepared and only having fun to humor the conductor. Anyway, our concert is in four weeks, so we better get cracking!

Watched the second episode of Season Three of Sherlock today. It was pretty good! I have to say that the writing really made you feel the embarrassment and uncomfortableness when Sherlock was delivering his best man speech at the wedding, and the laptop conversation was brilliantly done! I love what this series is doing with it's use of tech, because it's not just about "look, here's Sherlock in the modern era". It's about him using the tech to do more quickly what his 19th century counterparts already did. Very real! The final episode airs next Sunday (I'll probably see it on Tuesday), and man, just like that it'll be on hiatus again!

The Under Pressure rehearsal went alright. Our tempo is kind of all over the place right now, but otherwise we sound pretty good. Like Phantom, I love how tightly knit my school is. The fact that we could just call each other up and schedule something like this is so cool, and that we're all willing to participate is also great! No complaining here. I think I'll have to modify my part a little bit; it just doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the people right now. Off to a pretty good start.

AYS, on the other hand... yeah. I already talked about this above, but man, was it tiring! Tomorrow is back to school, thank God! Being cramped up in this house for the past week has made me oh so bored with the world.

Oh, and just as an aside not having to do with anything here: I just love the random posts the "You might also like" thing generates at the bottom of all of my posts. Always funny to see posts not having anything to do with the one being viewed be shown at the bottom of it. Just something I noticed. If anyone knows like an algorithm or something to make posts that are actually relevant to a certain post show up, please let me know.

January 5, 2014

Day 225

Remember back in the 100s, when I said I was done just taking you through my day... and that worked out for a little bit, but recently it's gotten back into that three-(very short)-paragraph structure of just talking about my day with no real insight into anything. Not that I want to be all philosophical or think you need to be preached at, but I'm just saying that the blog has lost a lot of it's depth (?) I don't even know if that's the right word. When things get going again with school and everything, I think I'll have much more to say.

I've been reading a lot. I read an article on cracked.com about how the zombie apocalypse is stupid (which it is, even though I love zombie-related stories). It was pretty cool, and tackled a lot of the logistical problems that Hollywood tends to ignore. Of course, then I found out that they also wrote several articles on why zombies could actually come about, so who knows. I read several articles on this new blog I discovered called Den of Geek, a really nice geek news website. And finally, because I'm obsessed with Frozen, I read a great review of the movie here, as well as a cool post about Brave and feminism (not all of which I agree with, but it was still a cool article).

That's what I read today. I think I'm getting Disney-obsessed too, because I've been reblogging and blogging and liking all this Disney stuff on Tumblr and it's just a little bit worrying! I kinda want to watch Tangled again, even though I just saw it not four days ago! I also really want to rewatch Frozen, but I don't know how mch longer it wil be out in theaters!

Caught snippets of Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey on TV while I hung up some pictures in my rom that had been sitting on my fireplace hearth for about a year (okay, six months, but it felt like a year, dammit). Also framed some other pictures.

Went out to Flying Star per usual Sunday tradition, and came home after having had an awesome creme brulee doughnut thing! It was crazy good! I'm glad I have off tomorrow, but I have a rehearsal with some friends of mine and then AYS rehearsal... which is mostly not with some friends of mine.

January 4, 2014

Day 224

Woke up late today. I really want to see Frozen again! That movie, man! The more I think about it the more I love it. Anyway, we wrote our Christmas thank-you notes today (better late than never, right?) and I wrote in my journal a little bit.

Went to see The Wolf of Wall Street today, something that I had been looking forward to for a while now. If Frozen was my biggest surprise of the new year thus far, this has to be the biggest disappointment. I'm sorry, I just did not like this movie. It was slow, bloated, and I think the biggest problem I had with it was that I expected based on all the reviews I had read and seen that this would be a quippy, Aaron Sorkin-like dialogue fest. This wasn't it. I think it's main problem would have to be that it's not slick enough. The story isn't slick, certainly, but I think that translated to the script and just the way it was shot... it didn't feel as polished as I would have liked.

I am glad we saw it, though. I do like DiCaprio as an actor, and this just wasn't a style of directing that I'm a fan of I guess. Came back home and had some pizza for dinner. My friend texted me out of the blue and asked if I would be willing to arrange a song for the graduation ceremony that people would perform volunteer-only. So, I said yes, but being that she hasn't yet gotten the volunteers together, I don't know what the instrumentation is. I came up with a quick piano sketch of the song (we're doing Carry On by Fun), and am waiting to hear back from her. It's a pretty big honor, doing this, I think. Should be cool!

Now off to bed to see if I can't get my sleeping schedule back under control. Goodnight, everyone.

January 3, 2014

Day 223

Woke up today and had a weird drive to rebuild a lot of the Transformers I had forgotten I owned because they were thrown in a drawer. It was a pretty impressive haul. I rebuilt a good five whole figures, and when your bins and storage spaces reserved for Transformers contain mostly bits and pieces and not full figures, that's a good number. Also found all my 3.5-inch Iron Man figures! Those things are so awesome. Pity they don't have a Mk. 42 in that size-class.

Mom came home at around 10:30 and we went out to Staples to get a new shredder (yeah, exactly) and I got a keyboard for my new iPad! It's pretty nice. I can see this becoming a surrogate laptop. Had some lunch and went to the comic book store. I got caught up on all my books for the past two months and I got another stack of bags and boards. Came home and having just watched Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph, I'm now all into the Disney fandom on Tumblr., so I looked at that stuff for a while.

Went to the train station to pick up my Mom's friend (she's also my friend, but she's also around my Mom's age... I know people were curious about that) from the train station. We had a hell of a time getting there and finding out where we were supposed to go once we got there. We did finally figure out where to stand and which train to look for, and after Ellen (that's the friend's name) arrived, we all went out to Flying Star. It was a yummy and satisfying dinner.

Now seeing about making a Disney playlist in iTunes. Seriously, I am just all over it right now, it's awesome!

January 2, 2014

Day 222

My Mom and her friend went to Santa Fe today. They're staying overnight, so I have the whole house to myself! Pretty cool (except the wifi's out)!

Watched the Series Three premier of Sherlock today! I loved it, though I think it was the weakest of the three premiers. It wasn't bad, and I did like how Sheelock is obviously not quiet back yet, but the whole thing tended to drag. That's probably just me though.

Then I saw Tabgled, and that was very fun! In the wake of seeing Frozen, I wanted to see the other Disney films that came out in the 2010s, just to compare them to hoe good Frozen was and I had heard good things about Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph. Beautiful animation and pretty good characters made Tangled  immensely enjoyable! I loved the characters and the chemistry between them and the animation is gorgeous (especially the scene where they're on the boat with all the candles in the air). I thought the last act kinda rushed and there's a huge plot/continuity hole in here. Nevertheless, still really fun, and the songs are pretty good.

My violin teacher came over for our lesson today. We worked on the Mozart, getting the rhythms right. Lots of duples off of sixteenths here and I tend to rush. Still, I'm getting better and it feel pretty confident about it.

Watched Wreck-it Ralph next. Really fun, great pacing, but ultimately the leads memorable of the two I saw today, and neither as good as Frozen. Everything I had heard about Wreck-it was really positive, and I loved all the video game references in here (Sonic the Hedgehog is in a movie! That's so cool) but the characters, particularly Ralph, left something to be desired.

Now heading to bed unless I can miraculously get the wifi to work again. Goodnight, everyone.

January 1, 2014

Day 221

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you all had a happy first day of 2014. I like how we celebrate the Earth completing laps around the sun; just kinda puts things in perspective, doesn't it? Also posted my final Transformers Prime Overview! It's pretty monster! Check that out here!

Went and saw Frozen today! Man, the more I think about that movie the more I love it. It's just such a harkening back to classic Disney movies, y'know, when they were good, and it was such a refreshing thing to see! I really want to see it again. I did a Mini-View on it because I loved it so much. Check it out here, or better yet, check out the movie if you haven't seen it. And if you have, go again!

Went to lunch after that and had some yummy breakfast, because that's what I have for lunch apparently all the time. My mom and her friend went to get a massage after that, and I stayed home. Practiced the violin for a little bit, then messed around on Tumblr. for a while.

Ate dinner pretty late, and now I'm really tired. First day of 2014 was really kick-ass! How was your first day? Good? Bad? Leave a comment. I always feel silly doing this. No one ever comments on my blog anyway, so this is just kinda sad. Anyway, goodnight, everyone.

Shadowcon Mini-Views- Frozen

So, I just got back from seeing this, so all of this is going to be just first impressions (and lots of gushing). Spoilers if you haven't seen this (and you should see this), so be warned!

I went into this movie not knowing a lot about it. I had heard a couple of the songs and had heard good things about it, so I was optimistic, and my God, everyone who said that this movie was good was not kidding: this was excellent! Possibly the best made Disney film in a good long while (obviously excluding Pixar stuff), Frozen has so many little things that make it unique among other films of its kind, the first of those being the love story. This isn't a love story in the sense of romantic love; there is certainly a romance in here, but that's a part of Anna's character on her own and not the focus of the film's main plot. The love story here is familial love, sister love, and to take what could have been a romance story with an addition of this sister rivalry and turn it into a sister bonding and reconciliation/redemption story with this romance thing as a side-story was such a breath of fresh air! And I love that throughout the movie, the romance is played up almost in a mocking way, like the film is already aware of this trope and so plays with it as expected but in the end makes it so that it is Elsa, not Kristoff, who saves her sister out of love, and that was very nice to see.

The characters themselves are very real and three-dimensional. This is definitely a woman-empowering movie, which is great, especially with the twist love ending, that this is about saying "look, women don't have to always be involved with romantic love", and I think that's a message that isn't emphasized enough in media, and especially in Hollywood, even when films and TV shows are considered woman-empowering or they advocate for women in leading roles. Frozen did this so well in that it kept the romance as a secondary motive, and had it's primary motive be about acceptance and understanding of who you are. Elsa's character is really great, and Anna's character is independent without being "strong". She's a person, and having her femininity show itself first as a romantic vessel and then be playfully mocked for it by the rest of the characters was a great thing to see happen to her, and again the film surprised me by making the trope of romance and the female role in romantic films be realized as a trope by the characters and then be a focus but not the main focus of the movie; very real.

And that's just with the characters! The animation- holy shit! I don't think I've seen a more realistic depiction of ice in animation in a good long while! In the beginning when the ice miners were cutting up the ice into huge cubes and stuff, I was like "holy crap! This is ice! They just put animated people in a movie mining real ice!" I mean, it looked that good! And as the film went on and we saw all the different stuff Elsa did with her ice powers, the prettier it got. All the crystals and different types of ice and snow, all the textures and the way the ice acted, it was all very real looking. Impressive ice animation indeed, and I loved how versatile the ice was. It wasn't like Elsa did one thing with her powers; she was making snowflakes, gusts of snow, different shapes, different textures, all these things of ice that were all unique in both how they grew from her imagination and how they turned out once completed. The way the light reflected and refracted off the ice and water was really cool. It reminded me of some of the animation in Transformers Prime, but better because this was a movie. The animation was gorgeous, and really makes this movie memorable.

If I had one complain about the film, it would be the spontaneous revelation of the villain. It came a little too late, and the fact that Prince Hans was the villain all along seemed a little out of nowhere. He had been introduced as a good guy, presented throughout the film up until the point he turned evil as a good guy, and the film already had such a strong story with the relationship between Elsa and Anna that this just seemed kinda tacked on. Messing with expectations seemed to be this portion's main goal, and I get that (and having the villain be Hans instead of the Duke was admittedly surprising and a nice bit of script trickery), but if they had left this section of the script out, I don't think we would have missed much.

Besides that though, the film handles itself very well. It is well-paced, brilliantly animated, and the songs are memorable and catchy. This felt like a musical that just happened to be animated, a feeling often lost nowadays. I hadn't felt like this about a Disney movie since the Disney Renaissance Era. and a return to the animated musical style after so much of the "being a movie with songs in it" just put a smile on my face. Had I seen this in 2013, this would have totally been on my Top 10 Movies list, maybe even in my top five of that list; I missed it by one day! Go see this. It's still playing in theaters, and it is well worth your time!

Shadowcon Overviews- Transformers Prime Season 3



Shadowcon presents
An opinionated look at Season Three of
Transformers Prime

Well, here we are, with our final look at Transformers Prime in the Overview style. There will still be more reviews (obviously, since I haven’t already covered all of the episodes in the show individually), but this is the last time I’ll be looking at this in an Overview. Discussion of the finale itself will be saved for the “Deadlock” review whenever that happens, but this Overview will touch on the show’s ending in its relation to the series as a whole, as well as a retrospective of what made the series so good for me.