March 31, 2014

Day 310

First school day of the last quarter of high school! Had a great day today and it began with seeing all my friends again which was awesome! Modern History was really nerve-wracking because we went over what we are now supposed to do for thesis presentations, and I gotta tell ya, I am nervous as all get out by this thing! And the overview of what we are now doing did not ease my terrified little soul! And final drafts of theses are due tomorrow! I'm pretty excited about that, actually. A year's worth of hard work and tiredness and fascinating research and editing and writing and I am handing in the product of all of that tomorrow ! I'm so giddy you have no idea!

Had English next and we have started Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest! Oh man is this just a fun romp from beginning to end! What made it all the more enjoyable was that some of my peers read for characters in the play, and they all adopted British accents, but some of them were worse than others, and so there was a case where someone reading for high Victorian nobility had an accent teetering between English sub verbs and Australian and it was great! So happy to have started this book!

Had strings last. Again, it was super fun to see everyone again in there, and we worked on a Vivaldi cello concerto that we're performing with the principle cellist from the NM Philharminic, which is a real treat! Also worked on the Holburg suite, which is sounding pretty good!

Track was excellent. Got the times for the meets this Friday and Saturday, and got the field event materials all sorted out. And we now have a roster! That's exciting! Overall a very good practice.

AYS... I hate this program so much. Not sure if I've made that clear prior to now, but yeah. I hate this. Worked on the two Copland pieces, which are sounding excellent. We had a guest conductor who I will take over our current dictator any day; he was really excellent! Our actual conductor gave a really rambling speech about auditions (and I thanked the Lord once again that I am a senior), and then worked a little bit on the Barber violin concerto. Good practice tonight; I just do not like being there in general.

I'm off to bed. Sorry to end this on such a sour note. Super tired and also excited to turn in my thesis tomorrow! Goodnight everyone!

March 30, 2014

Day 309

Had a very good day today! I have a Facebook account now, so my social networking branches are now fully utilized I guess. I really hope that this doesn't become like Tumblr... not that anything could be like Tumblr, I'm just saying that I hope I don't get addicted to this as I am now to Tumblr! People are very welcome on there, and I'm pretty happy I got a Facebook.

Went to the comic book store today and picked up the remaining issue of Dark Cybertron, one of the best arcs that the IDW Transformers series has put out so far! Really great, epic scope, character driven, super neat art... really almost all of this is what Noah wasn't, so there's that. And I picked up the latest Superior Spider-Man, and Iron Man, because you can never have enough of those two books! Went to Home Depot to get some supplies for further house cleaning and refurbishing, but upon coming home, found that one of the curtain rods was too short for the length of the window, so my Mom was angry. Watched some more Being Human and oh my god! What are they doing?! This isn't bad any means, but god damn! The storyline is just getting crazier and crazier! And wasn't it around this time that the UK version stopped being good? Because that says a lot about how different these shows are.

Went out to dinner and now I'm back home. I have school tomorrow! Finally! I'm really looking forward to seeing all my friends and such again for the final quarter! Can't believe we only have a month left of classes...

Shadowcon Mini-Views- Noah

Well, I think the book did it better...

Alright, so let me state that I went into this movie having read some of the reviews, and being that the reviews themselves were giving this movie light praise, I was hoping to be genuinely surprised by the movie. The problem was, well, the movie just wasn't willing to meet me half way by being good.

What we have here is a disaster movie that tries oh-so-terribly hard to masquerade as something more, as though it's trying to be a character drama when we all just want to see God beat the living shit out of Earth. I'll start off with what I didn't like about the film and then move into the things I did appreciate, so that we can at least end this on a good note. First off, the characters. Oh my god, the vapid, void, blank, boring, characters... except one, but I'll get to that later. The characters with whom Noah surrounds himself are stock and generic as all hell; even the good acting isn't able to salvage the script's almost mocking way in which it handles it's characters. Emma Watson and especially Jennifer Connelly both were so wasted in their roles it took me a good while to recognize them on screen; I'm used to seeing these two give... y'know good performances, but they just seemed like they were walking through their parts, not that the script gave them much to do anyway. And someone needs to find Logan Lerman and fucking give him some goddamn acting ability! I really don't like him, and while I usually don't rail against the actors themselves, I must say that when you fuck up a role like Percy Jackson, you're getting my wrath in full force for ruining a beloved book series that could have so easily been translated into film... but I'm getting off track.

The plot of this thing is... okay. To compare it to the Bible wouldn't really be fair to the Bible, because while this is an adaptation, it's also riddled with Hollywood tropes and practices. What made me kind of happy was that the flood portion of this takes place at the beginning of the second act, and so after this, we're treated to more character growth, which I was all looking forward to when I realized what they were doing, and indeed it might sound great on paper (and God knows we need it), but in practice the characters don't grow, they just kind of go through the motions, much like the actors portraying them.

Ultimately what took me out of the experience watching this movie wasn't that it wasn't a Bible movie (I'm not one of those people who are pissed that this isn't the flood story from the Bible), it was the fact that this world didn't seem fully realized. The fallen angels were weird and didn't make a whole lot of sense, the mythos and the magic in the world was cheep and overall things felt like they were there more for the plot than because they needed to be there naturally in that world. Not nocking the Bible; I'm just saying that for this movie things felt just kind of disjointed and plot-dependent.

So, what did I like about the movie? First, big props to Russell Crow, man! He was great! And the Noah character is the best part of the film for me in terms of characters. The struggle that he has to deal with, both externally and internally, you could just see it in his eyes; this is a broken guy, torn between his love for his family and his devotion to God (or the Creator, as they call him in this; don't want to piss off any more religious people than we already have!) Noah's character was very well done; Crow does bat-shit crazy really well, and I liked his just brazen no-nonsense attitude about this whole thing.

Second, I loved the action! The flood was epic, and Ark was a sweet-ass looking set piece, and the effects for the rock angel things were pretty good. When the action is happening, you are fully engaged and immersed in the world, not really caring about the characters; we just want to see God piss on the Earth, and that is what we're seeing when this is going on (we're seeing the flood, not God actually... nevermind)! The action is suspenseful and epic and engaging. The problem is that this stuff only encompasses maybe twenty minutes of the whole thing (admittedly I'm estimating this figure prior to actually having eaten anything today, so take that for what it's worth). The experience feels way too truncated and abrupt, and especially in the third act, the fight between Noah and Tubal-Cain is nothing to get excited about. I did like the ending. When they're all settled on land and Noah and his wife are reconciling, that was a very nice moment for the two of them and really brought the film back to the moral of the story: that man is capable of good despite all the evil that he's done to the Earth, that in the end we are worth something despite our flaws. A little high-horse-ish for me, but whatever. And I liked that the dove that came back was white and the rainbow and all of that; it was a satisfying ending.

Overall, I did enjoy parts of the film, but I think it could have been so much stronger had it focussed only on Noah and the flood, or if it wanted to be a character piece had it fleshed out the secondary characters more. The effects are epic, and the Ark is a staggering and awesome looking boat (however unseaworthy it may appear), and Russell Crow does a fine job as leading man in the movie. See it for the action, but don't expect anything more from what it has to offer.

March 29, 2014

Day 308

Well, I had a super productive day! Got up and my Mom and I primed the windows in the spare room, my bathroom, and my Mom's room, and then we did some more cleaning! It really is like the definition of spring cleaning and stuff. I'm very happy that we got this done, especially considering that it only took three hours; not sure why we didn't do this before now, but whatever!

And hey, I hope you all like the new background and minor Tweens to the site. Finally got the bugs fixed on my end in terms if me being able to edit the look of the site, so I decided to try it out again. For whatever reason, the blogger design customization tool was busted for me, but now I fixed it, so hooray! Worked a little bit on the second movement of my piano piece, and then my Mom and I went to see Noah. Probably going to be doing a Mini-View about it tomorrow vrcause Ii do have so e things to say about it. Came back home and watched a whole bunch of Being Human. Trying to catch up on like a month's with of the show, so that's why I'm super late blogging. Sorry about that.

I'm off to bed now. Really tired. Goodnight everyone.

March 28, 2014

Day 307

So, I literally slept for half the day today! I'm not even kidding; I woke up at 12:15! I'm honestly not feeling very well now, and I'm wondering if it's because I slept too much? I don't know.

Anyway, not much happened today. Worked on my book outline and my piano piece, and then my Mom and I went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was an alright movie. Ralph Fiennes was fantastic, and the style and color of the work reminded me a lot of Bazz Lurhmann. Upon learning more about it, I've come to very much appreciate the film as a phenomenon. It was a very interesting movie, but I can say that it was not made for me. Might see Noah this weekend; that looks like a rollicking good time!

Had dinner, came back home, and now I'm off to bed. I'm not feeling too well right now. Hopefully tomorrow will be more eventful!

March 27, 2014

Day 306

Yeah! So, I found this on Tumblr, and it is honestly one of my favorite things ever! I crack up every time I watch it!

So, I had a pretty nice day today. Woke up pretty early and did some house cleaning, made some eggs (this is the most ambitious I've gotten with breakfast because I'm a spoiled person), and generally had an active morning of cleaning, cooking, and writing. I worked on my novel a little bit and finalized my first movement of my Piano Sonata and drafted the first theme of the second! I'm on a roll with this thing, and I love it.

Violin lesson was really cool tonight. Worked on the Kabolevsky Concerto for the majority of it, and it's getting better. I'm able to play some of it quickly, while there are sections that I still must practice nailing the pitches before speeding them up. Csardas is going well too. My teacher said that I should stop worrying about the precision of the rhythm and start making the beginning more interpretive. And congratulations to her, because I found out that her daughter is getting married, so that's awesome!

Came home and watched Tuesday's Person of Interest! It's really going strong this season! Now that Root is essentially and uneasy ally, things are picking up pace and intensity, and the stakes are just getting bigger and bigger. This show is so great, and I cannot wait until this season is out on DVD so I can watch it again!

Well, I'm off to bed. Planning on seeing a movie tomorrow with my Mom because she has the day off. See you all tomorrow.

March 26, 2014

Day 305

So, I made this awesome Oreo cookie mouse dessert thing (linked here), and I was suuuuuper happy about it! I couldn't eat the whole thing, one because it was waaay too rich, and two, the whole thing is supposed to be eight servings, so... y'know, I'm just a normal sweet-toothed person; I don't have a hankering for chocolate at all times, and this thing was super rich anyway. Here's a picture of my successful concoction:

Yeah, don't I look happy?!

I printed out my thesis for my Mom to read today (yes, all fifty pages of it), and then worked some more on what has now become my first piano sonata! I'm super happy about this, because I've been wanting to write a sonata for a while now, and I liked this and thought I could turn it into one by adding another theme, expanding and messing around with the first one, and then bringing it all back... just like the form of a sonata; music is very logical that way. I got it imported into Sibelius 7 and began touching it up with all the fancy Sibelius-y stuff like cross-stave beaming, cross-stave slurring, continuous pedal marks, etc.. Again, I'm really excited about this, and I cannot wait to go back to composition tutoring next week to show my tutor and get his invaluable input!

Practiced the violin and piano, and then I went off to piano class tonight. Having missed last week, I was a little rusty with the material that we worked on tonight, but it was actually fun and somewhat challenging, which was nice. It was a smaller group than normal, and we watched a section of a piano documentary, this one focusing on pianist and composer Glenn Gould. What an amazing man! Plus he's Canadian. Came home and listened to the full Bach Piano Concerto in D Minor. I love it! Worked some more on my Sonata, and am now ready for bed. Goodnight, all!

March 25, 2014

Day 304

Had a pretty relaxing, non-descriptive day today, that is up until tonight. I worked on my thesis some more (I'm printing it tomorrow for my Mom to read; we had to get more paper for the printer!), worked on my outline for my book, which is coming along nicely. I'm also getting ready to put my thoughts down for Frozen, of where I feel it could have been stronger, and the things that it had that could have made it better had those elements been more in focus. Watched some Buffy today just for the hell of it, and generally had a nice relaxing day.

I did clean the garage a little bit as part of our spring cleaning project. I swept up all the leaves which made me happy (seriously, our garage floor was covered in leaves; I don't know why we've waited this long to clean them up, but there you go!) And I read more of A Feast for Crows. It's getting pretty cool, but it does feel substantially more wander-y than the previous three felt. Especially in comparison to the third book, this definitely feels like a breather book with less stuff packed in. Still an enjoyable read through.

Composition tutoring was awesome tonight because this launched me on my newest project! It's a piano march theme and variations thing, which is quickly getting really out of hand in terms of difficulty as so many of my pieces do! It started from this sketch that I showed my comp tutor, and while I had intended it to be a slow lullaby-like piece, he played it as a march, and now I really like it like that. Might reuse it as the basis for a slower thing, but for now, it's turned into a march, and it's really neat. When I came home, I also watched last week's Person of Interest, and holy shit! What a bunch of information, themes, character drama and interplay, and scope last week's episode had crammed into it! But it didn't feel crammed! It felt very dense, but nothing was overdone or felt like it outstayed its welcome. That episode was fantastic, and really raises the moral and ethical stakes as well as the emotional ones to whole new levels! Really happy about that!

Well, I'm continuing to mess around with this piano thing! Tomorrow I'm planning on making an Oreo Mouse recipe that I found online. Shouldn't be too hard... I'll probably burn down the house while making it, but it should be fun and yummy. Goodnight, everyone!

March 24, 2014

Day 303

Woke up early again today because I wanted to get this review out so that I'd have something up besides these Project 365 posts for the latter half of this month. Got my review of "Regeneration" done which made me very happy. Worked more on my synopsis for my book (it's not following the outline or the play, but that's okay), and then read my thesis out loud to myself just so I could hear it and see if there were any mistakes. There were like ten total typos, some awkward sentences that didn't sit right in the mouth, and I think the final section could either be split up into two or shortened, but otherwise I think it turned out quite well. I'm planning on printing it out for my Mom to read this week before I send it in April 1st! Can't believe that it's taken a year to get this done yet it feels like it went by so quickly. That's kind of how I feel about the year in general.

I also listened to a few Transformers TFW podcasts. For those who don't know, Transformers World 2005 boards is a TF news site with its own podcast run by my longtime favorite YouTuber Vangelus and it's super great. I listened to a few of those and they were really interesting. They mostly talk about the Transformers toys, new pictures of stuff surfacing on the boards, and news surrounding Transformers. Very informative and insightful. These guys also did a weekly Prime Time supplement to the show where they put their thoughts out there on Transformers Prime. I got a lot of my inspiration to do my reviews from them, and they're just really cool. I couldn't find a link to all of the podcasts ever, but here's a link to the latest one. If you're into Transformers, you should check it out (though you probably already have; I don't keep up to date on this sort of thing, so I'm out of the loop, but most TF fans listen to these I imagine).

Went to AYS tonight, and it was actually really fun! Apparently last week's rehearsal went so well that we started this week off with prepping for our New York tour concert and played through the Tchaikovsky March and the Dvorak No. 9, 2nd Movement, one of my favorite movements of any symphony ever. We also worked on Huapango and some of our current pieces. Everything was exciting and refreshingly energetic! Maybe it was just the fact that I had had a break from it, I don't know, but everything just felt very alive tonight. And there were no speeches by the conductor! It was a really cool rehearsal, and the Barber Violin Concerto is coming along pretty well.

Well, that's all from me for today. I'm so happy I have this week off! I'm not sure if I've made that clear yet; this is so great!

Shadowcon Reviews- Regeneration

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 2 episode 25: “Regeneration”

I read a great review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen once that just sums up the film ever so nicely: “Few elements of Fallen are completely odious unto themselves, but rolled together it becomes a wave of inescapable proportions.” While this is talking about one of the worst films ever and I’m covering one of the best Transformers shows ever, I think the principle of the review is still relevant to the second season of Prime. Season Two’s elements that drag it down are not weak unto themselves, but put together they make the season a really long and overstated affair.

However, with that comes the recognition that while Transformers Prime’s second season is certainly the weakest of the three (not “odious”, but certainly not gourmet goodness), it has elements in it that Fallen lacked, that being actual elements of a good story. It got off to a great start with the “Orion Pax” arc. As a follow-up to the “One Shall Rise” arc, “Pax” was able to flesh out characters and situations in a terrific way. Some of the episodes even in the T-Arc and a few after Smokescreen joined the team were pretty well paced and had enough action in them to keep you entertained. My problem with Season Two (and from what I’ve read, a vast majority of people will make this problem far more egregious than it actually is) is that it just failed to make the best use of what it had. And what it was setting up for, especially in this episode, could have propelled this season or the next season into greatness had the writers not been so set on playing it safe. That said, this episode on its own and in conjunction with the finally I am happy to say, is really, really strong!

March 23, 2014

Day 302

Got up early today and began my rough draft of my next review of Transformers Prime. Going to be taking a look at the Season Two two-part finale which will lead into this summer's look at the start of Season Three, and then we'll go from there. Pretty excited to do this one because it'll allow me to articulate more of what I liked in Season Two and what I didn't like and how I think there was so much potential for good in this season that I didn't really get at in the Overview. Hopefully, this'll turn out to be a good project.

Not much else happened today. I mostly sat around and read some books, shopped on Amazon (seriously, this is becoming a serious debilitation for me), and started to flesh out my synopsis for my book idea from the play I posted a few months ago. It's being fleshed out a lot, and really the whole thing is being overhauled, so in the end it probably won't even resemble the play at all, but that's the genesis of the book, which I think is neat! I can't believe that I'm writing about me writing a book! It's early in the process of course, and most likely nothing will come of it past the first, oh I don't know, like ten pages or something, but this is super cool for me! So, I'm working on that.

Gained a new follower on Twitter that I'm very excited about because he's a YouTuber whom I've followed for years. He goes by the name Peaugh on YouTube and he's a Transformers toy reviewer! Really awesome guy, and I really appreciate him following me. This happened right after I asked him what his favorite symphony was and he replied and then I said that that's really cool, and then he followed me! Sweet!

Well, I'm off to bed. Having this week off will be very nice. I'm planning to read through my thesis and have my Mom read it before making final edits and submitting it on April 1st!

March 22, 2014

Day 301

Got up really early for a Saturday to go play some chess! Given that three out of the four members of our chess team were with me on our Winterim trip, from which we got back at around 9:00 last night, it should come as no surprise that we were all really exhausted this morning and as such did not do as well as we would have otherwise. I myself won the first game by sheer luck (and a really badass ending position!) Everyone else lost that first round, which was really surprising considering that our first board person is the state champion right now! I lost the other two games, unfortunately. I was really out of it by the end, and was only vaguely paying attention to what I was doing, because y'know, sleep deprivation and jet-lag and all that.

Anyway, came home and watched Frozen! I love the film, and it was such a joy to watch it again. I'm really conflicted about doing a review on this. On the one hand, I do want to get my thoughts down on paper on what I think worked and didn't work in the film, but on the other hand, so much has already been written on the film (most of which I agree with) that I don't really see what putting my voice out there would add to the mix. Also, given that I've already done a Mini-View of it, a review might seem redundant. Whatever, I'll figure it out.

Went out to dinner at this awesome Indian restaurant, and then came back home and I have now begun watching Pushing Daises! I love the quirky style and the guy who did the Harry Potter audiobooks narrates this, so that's awesome. Looking forward to watching more of this show! Might work on thesis a little tonight before going to bed! See you all tomorrow.

March 21, 2014

Day 300

Sixty-five more days, man! Sixty-five!!!

Returned home today from DC after first visiting Arlington National Cemetery. The cematary was very touching and just so beautiful. We got to see the changing of the guard which was pretty neat. And the view from Robert E. Lee's house is just spectacular!

We left fro the airport six hours before our flight was supposed to leave because some of us wanted to see the basketball game... I don't know why; we're history nerds, not sports fans, come on! Anyway, I entertained myself by laying out the beginning grass roots of an outline for a novel I've been tossing around in my head for a good two years now. It's incredibly sloppy, but I'm glad I have it down on paper.

Then there was the long flight back, and now I'm here! Man, it's been a long week! I loved it, though. There was so much to see, so much to do, and I got to geek out over history! Like, that's so cool! Came home and was greeted with two surprises! One was my copy of Frozen got here while I was away, and now I can watch it again finally! Might do a review of it, but aI'm not sure, only because so much has been written on it already. The second piece of news is that I got into Reed College! Hell yeah! I am so happy now. No I'm ust waiting on money options from them and then I'll have real decision making to do!

It's been a fantastic week. Tomorrow I have a chess meet! Wish me luck.

March 20, 2014

Day 299

Had a fantastic day today! Went to the Smithsonian today, and it was fantastic. The art gallery was amazing! Such beautiful paintings and sculptures. After this, I went to the American History museum, which was neat. I loved the history of warfare. I noticed that prior to the WWI section, there was very little of the news snippets and more matte pictures of things. But once you got to the WWI and especially after WWII, you really started to see even in this museum this news and media craze. Documentary footage everywhere, television screens, news snippets, models are bigger, etc.. It was really fascinating!

The Air and Space Museum was the place I really wanted to visit, and it was stunning. I'd been there once before with family, but this time was different obviously, and I loved all the exhibits. I spent a good while in the gift shop, got a friend of mine two Star Trek books, and another friend a space pen!

Returned to the hotel for an hour to change and headed out to dinner. Had an awesome crab cake sandwich and then we were off to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and it was hilarious and awesome! I love the play; I had seen it before performed by a high school, and this one was of course better, but I just loved seeing it again!

Well, it's been an awesome trip! We leave tomorrow after Arlington. See you all tomorrow!

March 19, 2014

Day 298

Went to the Frederick Douglas House, which I really enjoyed far more than I thought I would! He's such a fascinating character, and he played the violin, so that's awesome! Here's a picture of Douglas' piano and one of his many violins. Probably not the Stradivarius, but it's still pretty neat!

The drive to DC was long, but well worth it. The DC Ford's Theater exhibit was super cool! All those Lincoln books, man! Awesomeness! We'll be going there tomorrow to see a real play after a fancy dinner, but this was a sweet prelude.

Finally, after dinner, we had a lovely tour of the DC monuments at night. The Lincoln Memorial was packed, of course, but it was so gorgeous! Just being around all these monuments of history and commemorations for people, it just makes you inspired. I'd love to sit here and study for a day in the company of these awesome monuments. I'd never been to the WWII one before, and seeing it at night was just spectacular.

After a really long walk (seriously, these Winterim trips are like a year's worth of exercise packed into a week!), we finally returned to the hotel. Really looking forward to tomorrow! Goodnight, everyone!

March 18, 2014

Day 297

Learned all about Gettysburg today! It was truly fascinating for the first two thirds of the day, as we went to the Gettysburg battlefield museum and got a truly amazing tour of the battlefield complete with really great stories about Dan Sickles and how green he was! It was so great. The tour guide was super engaging and knew ea whole lot about the battle and the geography. It really gave you a sense of how huge this battle was when you're there on the field. The museum itself was also really cool! The film and circular-rama-painting thing was also really nifty, and once again, the painting and narration demonstrated very well the battle.

Gettysburg the town was really cool too. I spent a good hour in the American History store... because I'm a nerd, and then we ate at this really great diner called the Lincoln Diner. It was really yummy. I also found some really awesome books that I added to my Amazon Wish List, which has gotten completely out of control, and it was super cool.

The final third of the day was spent taking a tour of the town with this Paranormal Investigator person. I had to resist the urge to just burst out laughing when he just looked at all of us so seriously and said that houses and backyards were haunted. I just don't buy the whole real paranormal activity thing. Just makes me roll my eyes. Made for some good stories though. Well, I'm off to bed. Have to get up early tomorrow. Goodnight everyone!

March 17, 2014

Day 296

Tredegar Iron Works began our day today, and it was really fascinating! Learning about the Confederacy from their own viewpoint was our theme today, and this was a pretty neat exhibit.

Next, we visited the Confederate White House and it's museum. This was a really fascinating tour and exhibit. They had on display in the museum all the uniforms and weapons worn and wielded by Lee and Jackson and all them, and in the White House, the tour guide went through and talked about the Davis family and their lifestyle and the house's history. Just really neat and fascinating stuff here!

Monument Ave. was all covered in snow, and while my shots of the monuments are pretty shitty, here are some of them! Pretty neat!

Richmond, VA. At. John's church and cemetary wax our final stop, and this was probably the most fun! I bought a set of Women Who Dare Knowledge Cards, which I felt I needed on account of them being awesome! We then learned a whole lot of disturbing but awesome stories about the people who died at the cemetary. It was very cold while we did this!

Then it was time for the 2nd Virginia Convention reenactment! This thing was really cool! They delivered the Liberty or Death speech very well, and all the actors looked and sounded flawless and awesome! There are pictures of us with the actors, but I didn't get any.

Dinner, a three hour car ride, and getting stopped by police for a fucking Move Over Law, preceded our arrival to the hotel in Gettysburg, and I'm now readi for sleep! Fantastic day; can't wait for tomorrow!

March 16, 2014

Day 295

Mount Vernon was pretty interesting to see. We had this pretty wacky tour guide who seemed a little off her nut, but she seemed to know a lot about Washington, so there's that. We had lunch and were greeted by this impersonator of Washington's chief medical assistant person. His accent was impeccable! At the gift shop, I found this really interesting book called Civil War Wives by Carol Berkin. It's super interesting, though I was really tired, so it kinda put me to sleep.

We drove for a good two hours before reaching Bull Run. This was a really crazy battle, fascinating war strategy and all that, and we saw this interesting if cheesy documentary on both battles.

Here are some pictures I took!

So, that's what we did today. Had dinner at this bar/restaurant thing, and it was really good. Tomorrow we visit Gettysburg!

March 15, 2014

Day 294

I'm blogging early today because I'm both really tired and a good two hours ahead of my time zone because I'm in Virginia! It's been a pretty long day. I woke up pretty early and boarded a plane. That flight was a good four hours and then with the time change it felt like six, so there's that.

Then of course our teachers couldn't find the hotel because this is the East Coast where they don't want you to know where the hell you're going!!! Finally we got to the hotel, and we're now headed out to dinner.

Tomorrow, we're going to check out some Civil War battlefields! Should be nifty!

March 14, 2014

Day 293

So, it's the last Friday before Winterim (which for me starts tomorrow) and Spring Break! I am so pumped for this trip mostly because I love US history and DC and tourism. I had an easy time of classes today, mostly working on thesis for the first block of the day and then went on into Post and worked with my group about which movie genres and subjects we are going to cover. I'm actually really looking forward to it. We are actually talking about superhero films as their own genre, which is cool.

In Advanced English, we played Celebrity, a game similar to Charades, but instead of miming, you had to convey the Celebrity in question to your team through speech. Some of these were quite funny. All of the ones that I put in were geeky names like Joss Whedon and Adam Baldwin and Sarah Michelle Gellar, and being that all the geeky people were on the other team, they happened to draw all of mine and so scored a tone of extra points (sorry guys!) It was a fun class, and a good way to end the day.

Track was canceled on account of really stormy weather (seriously, the sky looked like Mordor), so that was nice for me too. Came home and packed for my trip for tomorrow and next week! Super stoked. Better get smoe good sleep tonight. See you all tomorrow!

March 13, 2014

Day 292

Had the day off today, which I found to be quite lovely! I woke up pretty early, and while I was going to watch an episode of Buffy, I was once again lured by the horrible but also completely awesome winds of, and so I pent about three hours there updating my Wish List to now include like what must be the entire Buffy and Whedonverse essay compilation book, academic thesis or dissertation ever written (and yet they still somehow manage to give me more in the "Similar Items" box) ever! Seriously, this list is insane, and I want to read all of it!!!

I worked on some math homework, violin (I'm composing a new violin solo piece; not sure what to call it yet), and tweaked my argument in the Buffy/Spike relationship section of my thesis to articulate better what I wanted to say on the issue. I've begun packing for my trip to DC on Saturday for my final Winterim at Bosque! So excited about this trip! IT should be so amazing, and really fascinating. I've never been to some of the Civil War battlefields before, so this should be neat.

Violin lesson today was pretty long, and also very tiring. Tiring in the sense that I was tired and didn't do very well, not in the sense that my teacher was a bore. This Kabalevsky piece is really hard! It goes super fast, and the fingerings used in the piece are not intuitive and very tricky to get in tune, at least for me! Also working of Csardas, which is pretty cool. I actually like it more than the Kabalevsky piece in terms of fun; it's more engaging to play to me, but the other one is more intellectually fascinating.

Came home, had some dinner, and am now off to bed. See you all tomorrow for my last day of school before Winterim and Spring break!

March 12, 2014

Day 291

Started our poetry unit in Advanced English today! I'm really excited about that, because I'm not very good with poetry, so this should be a good experience.The structure of the class also seems to be improving, as we're planning on doing daily poetry assignments and working in small groups instead of one long project. I'm really happy about this as it will allow us to produces more content of quality because we'll have concentrated feedback. Very good. Today, we wrote three limrics. Mine aren't very good, but I like them, and some of my classates' were excellent!

I had a conversation ith my advisor today about what we have left to do for the rest of the year, and it turns out that we really only have about a month left of school! Like, literally I think four weeks of classes! That's four AYS rehearsals, or four Person of Interest episodes!Isn't that insane? Especially considering that for the latter half of that time, we'll be doing thesis presentations in history, so we'll be done with that here pretty soon. I am so shocked at how quickly everything is going by!

I guess that leads pretty solidly into Post, where we talked about Obama and the political situation of the 2010s (sort of). We also signed up for groups for our big end-of-year projects in Post. My group will be covering movies of the 21st century! I'm so pumped, because my group includes a good friend of mine, and a student who is as geeky as I am, and another student who is a huge LOTR fan, so that's awesome! I'm really happy about this, and can't wait to get to it.

STAM was also talking about projects. We're moving into the data analysis portion of the project, but it poses a problem for me, because on Friday the teacher won't be here, and then we have two weeks off, so I won't be able to recieve help from her until we get back, by which point it'll be almost time to turn things in! Kind of worried about it, but also excited because this is the fun part of the project. Getting to analyze data is always neat because you most often find patters that you didn't realize were there.

I have tomorrow off, which I'm so happy about! I'm going to try to make headway on my STAM project as best I can, and do a Buffy marathon, because Lord knows I haven't watched enough of that for a while! This also probably means that I will be adding a good five pages to my thesis, just 'cause! I also must practice the violin because I have a lesson tomorrow! Oops!

March 11, 2014

Day 290

Didn't do much today, partly because I only had two classes, and even then those were half blocks ,so I really only had class until 10:30 and then I was free the rest of the day! It was a pretty fun time. I watched some Buffy episodes, worked a little bit on my thesis, and chatted with some friends of mine about theses and books and stuff. Also had a riveting discussion with my English 12 teacher about The Book of Not, which she finished over the weekend, and we had pretty much the same things to say about it, which surprised me actually. I thought we'd have opposite reactions to it (not in that one of us would hate it but that our opinions on the third act of the book would be different, like maybe I was missing something that my teacher found, but no, we both agreed that the third act was very weak). So, that was fun.

Track was really windy today and very cold. I finally now have a roster (mostly) which I sent off to the coaches to type up. That'll be good to have, so that I'll be able to check everyone in (and hopefully I'll be able to remember everyone's names!)

Composition tutoring was pretty good, though embarrassingly I forgot my composition stuff and instead brought my piano class book! Oops! It really wasn't too bad though because my teacher got me to find out these implied harmonies for one of the pieces in there, which was fun. And I got a chance to practice for tomorrow's class (which I never do because the book itself is pretty easy), and my tutor gave me some good pointers about what's going on in the book, like what they're trying to teach us. It was pretty interesting.

Came home and read a peer's thesis (which is really good), and then practiced some violin. Now going to bed after taking a bunch of BuzzFeed quizzes! I got Buffy for Which Strong Female Character Are You? quiz, which if you think about my thesis is kind of ironic!

March 10, 2014

Day 289

So, had the day off, which was really nice. And I found out that I only really have to be at school until 10:30 tomorrow because of how my schedule works out, so that's awesome! I'll have ample time to work on thesis stuff, which'll be good. I got up late today and watched the second episode of Buffy and then the final episode of it, and watching those two back-to-back... man, what a nigh-and-day comparison! I mean, everything is so different, from the characters, the acting (oh, god, the acting) and even the lighting. Things feel so much more confident in the final episode, as they should be, but just the stark difference was really palpable here.

Watched some episodes of Star Trek Voyager and a bunch of Frasier eps as well (I really went on a TV binge today). I also started reading The Left Hand of Darkness, which I'm liking sort of. I guess I can't really say much about it because I've only read the introduction (the stuff she says about sci-fi is really interesting, and while I don't agree with some of it, I get the point that she's making and find it to be a neat spin on what the genre is for) and the first half of the first chapter. I find it an engaging read so far.

AYS was okay tonight. It was the last night of sectionals for my AYS career (thank God) and now we only have I think ten rehearsals left (I could be wrong). Next week I'm missing it because of my Winterim, so that's nice.

Well, I'm off to bed. Tomorrow should be a really really easy day.

March 9, 2014

Day 288

So, we didn't go to Home Depot today, but we did see 300: Rise of an Empire. Yeah... read this article if you want to know what I think about this. I didn't write it, but man, does it sum up my thoughts to a tee! My Mom had the best reaction to it, though: "It's certainly a testament to sit-ups and hot wax!"

Other than that, I had a colleague of mine read over my thesis. She had some fantastic input and gave me a couple sources to skim to strengthen my arguments and analyses at points. Very happy with her reading it, and my thanks goes out to her!

Pretty much did nothing else today. Set the clocks forward (dammit). Sorry, I'm just very tired. Going to bed early today. Goodnight everyone.

March 8, 2014

Day 287

Happy International Women's Day!

And happy birthday to my Mom! You're an awesome Mom, and while I may quake in fear when I think about how you'll react when I've received a bad grade in class, I will always love you!

So, I got up pretty late today and for some reason my damn thesis just refuses to die! Seriously, my conclusion has now developed enough to be its own section before a proper conclusion! WTF? And the damn thing is getting very long. I'm curious what some of my readers will think when I send them this new version.

I finished The Book of Not this morning! It ends as awesomely as it began, and everything gets tied together... kind of. It's open-ended, but not to the point of obscurity, which is good, and the themes within the book do get tied back around pretty well. I think Dangarembga has a problem with third acts, because like Nervous Conditions, this book's final act feels very rushed. Not as bad as the first book's, but you are still left with the feeling that this didn't need to end yet. I seriously think she should write a third one of these, because these first couple are amazing!

Went out to dinner to celebrate my Mom's birthday! The dinner was really excellent. It was this Thai restaurant and it was super filling and spicy. Woot! Did some more cleaning out of the spare room, and we're almost ready to paint it. Also found a copy of my Dad's book, and I've begun reading it. Super dense material covered here. It's an analysis of the relationship between technology and war in post-WWI/pre-WWII United States. Really interesting, but also not the most page-turning of topics for me. I do hear my Dad's voice in the work, which is awesome!

Might see 300: Rise of an Empire tomorrow and get to eat some cake (we forwent cake today because we were too full from the dinner), so that ought to be great!

March 7, 2014

Day 286

So, it's Friday again! And a three day weekend coming up, followed by a three-day school week and then two weeks of vacation. I really love Senior year of High School!

I had Advanced English first. You may have noticed the story I posted today, "A Throne of Bone and Sin". That's the short story I've been working on in that class, and I think it turned out okay. In class, we submitted our stories to a writers' magazine of our choosing. I chose to submit it to Portland OR writing press, Glimmer Train Press, Inc., and I'm waiting to hear back from them. I quite enjoyed writing my story, though the Advanced English class itself is just not what it used to be, sadly.

The middle of the day was pretty standard. I had Strings and then STAM. For Strings, we worked on our two string quintet suites, but we were all really chatty and a little short on attention span for some reason, so our teacher let us go in a fit of frenzy. In STAM, I turned in my test corrections and my survey sheet to the STAM substitute, which was good. I really do have nothing to work on this weekend (even though my thesis will continue to gnaw at me). I am one chapter away from finishing The Book of Not! I cannot believe how amazing this book has been, and I really can't wait to discuss it with my English teacher once she's done reading it.

Post was the final class of the day. We talked about the Bush administration and Bush's legacy, and covered (kind of) the history of the 2000s up to 2008. We'll continue that next class. I find it a little odd that we made the leap from the '90s (which was a quick unit all things considered for this class), to the 2000s so abruptly. And I'm curious how we're going to end the year with projects about the 2000s when we've already done a brief overview of the Presidents. Still, it was a great class today, and a good way to end the week.

Track practice was okay. I'm getting back into A Feast for Crows, which is getting pretty good. I started that book back in freaking December and I'm only about a quarter of the way through! Oh, where has the time gone? I'm glad I'm getting back into the world of Westeros and all that. I actually had stopped in the middle of this ridiculously long Circe chapter that just dragged on and on, and even now I'm a few paragraphs from the end of it. Looking forward to where it goes.

Came home and worked tirelessly on my thesis. It's now expanded to nearly forty pages, and I'm now really worried that I'm stretching myself way too thin. Bringing in new quotes was supposed to strengthen my existing argument, not give me more things to talk about, dammit! Still, I think it is rather strong, and I'm sure another read through when I'm more alert will tighten things up. Watched the latest Person of Interest, and now everything just exploded in a really complicated chess web of complexity! I trust the writers in keeping everything in check and not getting too bloated, but this episode gave me the impression that the show could spiral out of control down the line if they're not careful. Still, this week's episode was a really neat one!

I'm off to bed! See you all tomorrow for a nice and relaxing Saturday!

A Throne of Bone and Sin

So, here's my Advanced English story. I had just come off of reading George RR Martin’s A Storm of Swords, the third book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, and he uses a very distinctive description-layered writing style. Trying to emulate that, I created the first draft of “A Throne of Bone and Sin”, and it was a mess. The first two thirds of it were fine, but like many first drafts, it lacked thematic flow, and the ending was a complete wreck, making no sense and really giving the characters nothing to do but spout exposition at each other until the pages ran out. I really only cooked that up so that I had a completed draft. Had I known that almost all of the other students’ drafts wouldn’t be completed, I’d’ve just left it incomplete. I really struggled with that ending for a long time.

Overall, I quite enjoyed writing the second draft. I certainly enjoyed it more than churning out the first one. The first one was just kind of me putting something down on paper just to have something to turn into you. I really didn’t like it and didn’t really put a whole lot of thought into it. The second time I went through it, I discovered that there were some good nuggets of themes and characters in here, so I expanded on those. A nice little process and story here for me.

March 6, 2014

Day 285

I'm just one busy beaver!

I got up pretty early today given that I had the day off, and I started out working on test corrections for STAM. That took about an hour, and I'm super glad I got it done in the morning first thing, because it meant that I had ample time to not do anything for a while until I felt stressed again and got another thing done! I decided to get my STAM survey data collection done now because I figure it can't hurt my grade by turning something in early (unless it sucks). Just gathered movie info from IMDb's Top 50 US grossing films of 2013 list, and it was a simple matter to catalogue all of them. I got my Advanced English story all polished up as well. I really like it now, honestly. It's not too bad.

With this out of the way, I found this awesome recipe for a nifty Ritz crackers dipping cream made from milk, cinnamon, a dash of vanilla extract, and sugar! As you might imagine, it's very sweet, but somehow goes very well with the saltiness of the Ritz crackers! I read more of The Book of Not! I'm so close to the end. I only have two chapters togo! So, this crazy reveal happened giving us some detail on an event from the outset of the novel, and it's awesome! Just completely out of nowhere, but it makes sense if you read it! And what's going on in the story right now is just insane, but again, totally relatable! Probably going to finish this up tomorrow, because I'm enjoying it so!

Went out to dinner at this awesome Indian restaurant. I love me some yummy Indian food, and this did not disappoint. Came back home and worked some more on my thesis. I put in some more quotes, but now I feel like I'm too quote-heavy. I feel like I'll turn this in and get a comment back saying that I now need less quotes and more of my own ideas. I don't know, it's a tough balance.

Well, it was a fun day off. I didn't even have violin, and while I can't wait to get back to working on the Kabolevsky, I'm not gnna lie, the day off from that just made everything better. Now I'm off to bed. Goodnight everyone!

March 5, 2014

Day 284

So, I got my ear all fixed up! I can hear again, and now the ear that was all infected can hear in some ways better than my right can, so that's cool. I can now practice the violin again without having to guestimate everything! The procedure was just a squirt of water and then all the gunk that was in there just fell right out. There you go. I'm sure your lives have all been enriched by that happy little detail!

I had Post first, which was awesome, because we looked at '90s TV! Sadly, no Buffy reference, but that's okay. We watched an episode of The Simpsons (when it was good, don't worry), and an episode of Seinfeld, which I quite enjoyed. It was a great start to the day, too, because I was pretty tired for some reason (probably because I'm a teenager), and this picked up my spirits a lot.

Advanced English was second today. It was pretty uneventful. Everyone was in a group except for me, so I was perfectly happy just editing down my own work. I also got ample time to read more of The Book of Not! Oh my god, the page-turning climax of the book is heating up! I got this great feeling of relatable situations and mindsets from the main character. She's in high school, and she's wanted this award ever since she got there, and then she's standing there all excited... and then the award goes to another person! And it was just this perfect moment of "oh come the fuck on", because right at that point, I had to leave! So relatable! The book then goes into this very funny and melodramatic (in a good way) depression sequence, where she's quoting Shakespeare all sarcastically and stuff. It's really great!

Strings was pretty fun. I got to sit next to a good friend of mine whom I don't sit next to at all because of the seating arrangement, but for some reason we ended up together today, so that was fun. Played through our new suite piece, and then worked on our other Dansas suite. Both are getting very good. Interestingly, the newer one is the one that is in better shape, probably because it's not as foreign to our musical logic; the musicality of it is obvious and intuitive, whereas the older one is kind of a mishmash of things, so it's harder.

STAM was good too. The actual teacher was back, so that was good I think. We worked on test corrections (which I'll be working on tomorrow, sadly), and looked at some Excel charts and formulas. Also discussed our projects and the layouts for what we'll be handing in next Friday. If possible, I want to get a large part of that done tomorrow (yeah, tomorrow's not gonna be a relaxing day for me, dammit). No track practice for me today, as they all left to go to a gym and didn't have a ride back to school for some reason. I stayed behind and started my STAM test corrections and had some excellent mini sandwhiches!

Had that doctor's appointment, and then went to piano. Now I'm pretty tired but also stoked that I have tomorrow off! Time to get cracking on that STAM project!

March 4, 2014

Day 283


So, I had my defense today! I was so nervous going in that I felt like I wanted to puke, and then I started talking and got this terrible trembling going on in my voice, and I kinda just raced through my points because I couldn't stand myself talking. My primary and secondary reader both said that my paper was very strong, and unlike my peers, my main weakness is adding more source backing into my paper (my peers relied too heavily on their sources, it seems), so that's pretty nice. I have all my arguments laid out; now I just need to bulk them up with evidence from my various sources.

I read more of The Book of Not! It's getting very cool. Lots of moral and ethical debates going on, and a really nifty plot development. I'm now ahead in the book from where my teacher is (I think), so that's cool too. Had strings and STAM today as well, but aside from those calsses, I had nothing else, which meant I got a tone of reading done!

Track was really busy again. The school that we go to to train on Tuesdays and Thursdays was really busy because their team was out as well as ours, so there was a lot going on at the track. After this, I had composition tutoring, came home, had some pizza, and watched Being Human. Now, I'm very tired, so I'm off to bed. Tomorrow is Advanced English and Post!

March 3, 2014

Day 282

So, my ear infection has gotten worse. Well, not so much as it's just still here, and now my jaw's all achy. It's awful! So, what a great time to play the violin at 8:00 in the morning! Despite my ear infection thing, the Bach Double group thing went very well. I only goofed up a couple times, and I think I kept it to a minimum! Everyone liked it, and my friend who wanted to put the whole thing together really was happy, so that was fun!

I had STAM first, with a really cool substitute who actually knows his math and is engaging! I really like him! He makes the class lively and fun (no offense to the actual teacher, of course). We took a really easy quiz and then did a funny little worksheet. After this, I hung out with some friends of mine, one of whom had his thesis defense today and so was dressed all sharp! I must remember to wear a blazer tomorrow!

In Post, we listened to some '90s music. Dear God, the '90s music. There is a reason that '90s kids are the only ones who remember the '90s; it's because our music sucked and so everyone has just tried to forget it! I was born in '95, so really I was an early 2000s kid by the time I was aware of stuff like that, but still, I do remember that god awful stigma that was Britney Spears, and Spice Girls and the pseudo country thing that came back... and we had to listen to all of this again! Even the grunge wasn't very good (though, hey, it was better than the other stuff). We had a good laugh over it all, and it was really funny to see what people remembered, and even more funny to see our teacher completely out of his element with this. We would suggest a song, and he would try in vein to relate it back to the class in some way, because he had very little idea of what we were all talking about! It was really great, actually.

In Advanced English, we finally finished off all the stories! We ended with two of the strongest writers in the class, so that was awesome! Seriously, one of these stories was super fantastic, and both had just really well-defined and realistic characters. I was super happy to hear from these two's works. Their writing is super strong, and they have a great grasp on realistic dialogue and thought processes. Next time, we workshop our revised drafts in small groups, which is what I think should have been going on the entire time, but whatever.

In strings, we worked more on this new suite we're doing. It's really fun, and I'm glad we're working on another piece besides the Danzas Panama thing, because truth be told, that was getting kind of dull. Track was really busy today because all the middle school track people were out there, and girls lacrosse was also on the field, so things were all everywhere! I tried my hand at keeping time for multiple groups of people. It didn't work out so well. Tomorrow should be easier because we're going off-campus. And I must remember to charge my phone before I leave!

Tomorrow is my defense! Wish me luck; I'm pretty stoked about it!

March 2, 2014

Day 281

Well, I hope you all had a lovely time watching the Oscers! I certainly did. I'm super happy that Gravity and Frozen got recognized, and the Oscers make me want to see 12 Years a Slave and Her all the more! So many fantastic movies out last year, and I'm actually so very tempted to create a new Top 10 list of 2013 films, if only to give recognition to Frozen and all the other movies that I didn't get to see last year. But then that wouldn't be fair to those that I did see last year, would it?

I finished my revised draft of my Advanced English story today! Woot! Super happy about that, and I'm happy with how the story turned out. I'm probably going to post it here when it's been edited and revised, but for now, know that I churned out a much more thought-out and developed story than what came before it. I tried to instill theme into the work as much as I could, and really I wanted to make this a character piece. I hope that come Wednesday, I can get some good feedback that'll make it even stronger!

I really want to reread The Book Thief, whichh is my all-time favorite book ever, because I recently listened to the score for the movie (which I haven't seen out of a loyalty to the book). The score, however, is beautiful, and I was pretty sad to see it not win the Oscer for best Original Score, but hey, what can you do? ANyway, I want to reread the book, because I feel the score captures the book's themes and emotions perfectly!

This weeks should be fun! I have a day off on Thursday, and very few classes Tuesday, plus a defense for my thesis, and I'm just so excited! Unfortunately, my left ear's all fucked up because of allergies and now I can't hear right! I hope it's not like this tomorrow morning, because I have to play violin, and I hate it when you can't hear right in the morning. Wish me luck!

March 1, 2014

Day 280

Man, you know it's bad when you've spent the majority of a Saturday on Amazon adding to and editing your Wish List.

I did work on my Advanced English story, and I think I'm liking the direction it's taking a lot more than the first draft of it. It has more theme to it now, which is good. I'm writing this mob scene for it, and that's been really enjoyable. Also, the ending is completely different, which is great, because I hated the first ending, and pretty much only did that because I needed to have one. This new one is much more symbolic and character driven. I might post it to the blog once I'm done, but I don't know. Let me know if you want to read it, and I'll post it.

Went to the comic book store today. Not a huge haul; only two books, but that's okay. I'm really loving "Dark Cybertron", and the Superior Spider-Man title is getting really complicated! I don't even know what's going on! I read more of The Book of Not! I just love that book. I also found this fantastic TedTalk (which you've most likely already seen) about education and creativity, and because of this, I promptly added to my Amazon Wish List several of the speaker's books, because this guy knows what he's talking about! It's a really great video, so check it out below:

Cool, right? It ties actually very nicely into one of the themes of The Book of Not. This idea that we only focus on a certain part of human creativity, that's a huge thing in Not, and to make that connection was really interesting.

Went out to dinner, came home, and am now continuing to work on my Advanced English story. See you all tomorrow, hopefully with a new review or Mini-View!