Sunday, October 23, 2016

Random Things #4: Obsessions and Odd Stories

Here's an example of how this week has been going: 

Me: Hey Mom, I know Bluetooth isn't working in the car right now, but can I bring a  speaker to play music while we drive?
Mom: If by "music" you mean Hamilton, no. 
Me: Ok, never mind then. 

I think this past week was the first time that I was so obsessed with an album that the songs were constantly playing through my head. It actually got a little annoying but I'm still enamored with the musical. Here's a little background info:

Hamilton is a rap/hip-hop Broadway musical that describes the life of the founding father Alexander Hamilton. If you think it must be really weird, you're right. It is. But the lyrics are so compelling and the songs are so catchy that the weirdness fades away into awesomeness. (Ah, how eloquently phrased.)

CONTENT WARNING: The bad thing about the show is that it has an explicit rating because some of the songs have language (and some suggestive content), and even the clean version leaves in some of the content. So be careful which songs you listen to if you decide to look it up--"You'll Be Back" and "One Last Time" are a couple good ones to start with.

From "You'll Be Back," a breakup song
that King George III sings to the colonies

Aaaah, so bitter and inspirational at the same time.  :')

Now for NaNoWriMo: per the official site's instructions, I posted my book cover, a short description, and a truly careless excerpt that I wrote in about 5 minutes (How are we supposed to write excerpts if we aren't allowed to start our books yet?). Anyway, here's the cover:

I like how it turned out--in fact, once I designed it I opened the file a ton of times just to look at it. I hope I can make the book as exciting as my subtitle makes it sound.  xD


Dragon-worshipping pirates have lived off the townspeople of Parthan for as long as anyone can remember, until a bitter orphan joins forces with a dragon hunter in a desperate attempt to change everything.


When Estaran slid down the rope of the Tree for her first training session, no one was there. Way to go, Doranth. So much for being a benign mentor figure. Est didn’t want to go back inside and endure the stench of last night’s burnt dinner so she plopped onto the dewy grass and watched the sunrise.
The pastel sunlight began to shine through the trees and illuminate first Est’s feet, then her clasped hands, then her messily stitched bodice. For the first time in the last few days, Est relaxed. She could feel the sun’s warmth immerse her, and she closed her eyes, leaning back and spreading out her hair on the grass.
Breathing deeply as the chickadees chirped in the Tree, she decided that the life of an outlaw wasn’t so bad after all.
That is, until she found out what she was training for.
Odds are high that this scene will never be in the book, but there ya go!

Anyway, have a wonderful fall/winter (depending on where you live)!

Guess what musical this is from...

If you've discovered Hamilton already, what do you think of it? What's your favorite winter activity? (Mine is watching the snow fall in the light of a street lamp.)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Random Things #3: NaNoWriMo and Returning Home

Those who are longtime acquaintances know that I have the Sherlockian habit of forgetting to tell people, even the friends I see every day, about little things such as going to Hawaii for 2 weeks. I do, however, remember the important things, such as release dates for new Brandon Sanderson books, or old songs that I just discovered on YouTube and that I think are the coolest things ever.  :P

Speaking of songs on YouTube, have you heard of Steve Moakler? The youth minister at my parish
(who is awesome, by the way) looooves his music, and because of her I just recently discovered his
song "Slo Mo." It's hilarious, and so chill! I can't say anything about the rest of his music because I've only listened to a few songs, but "Slo Mo" is clean and cute. Hehe, cute like the music this picture, doesn't he look like a mixture between Orlando Bloom and Jordan Taylor (for those who watch Blimey Cow)?

Oh yeah, I was talking about vacation. Well, Mom, Dad, and I were just on vacation to Hawaii and it was fantastic. Swimming in the surf, boogie boarding, teasing my dad about how much I love Ed Sheeran (because Dad can't stand him), practicing the ukulele and actually going to a ukulele festival (!), eating lots of pizza, hanging out with my sister-in-law who joined us for a few days, watching Lilo and Stitch and stranger sci fi films, sleeping in (sometimes), reading, racing for quarters at the bottom of the pool, working on my novel for was tiring but enjoyable.

For those who haven't heard of NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and it's a celebration in which maniacs challenge other maniacs to write a 50,000 word novel (novella?) all in the month of November. The official website lets participants log word count progress and win badges on the way to the finish. It sounds ridiculous, but this competition has actually produced rough drafts for published novels such as Cinder, the first book in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles.

So I, being another maniac, have decided to take up the challenge. This decision was perhaps aided by the fact that I'm homeschooled so I'm creating my own writing program this year. Guess what I have scheduled for the whole month of November!  :P

Anyway, I'm allowed to plan as much as I want as long as I don't actually start writing the book. So far my plot consists of a few hastily scrawled notes in a planner purchased at a Hawaiian ABC store, and it involves dragons, pirates who zealously worship said dragons, villagers, and a super cool dragon hunter. I'm not sure how he's going to be super cool, but he will be. Oh yeah, and an old guy who sells explosives. In short:

12% is optimistic.  xP

If I have time in November I'll give you a few updates on how the story's going. I've dabbled in short stories, but I've never endeavored to formally plan something this long and actually finish it. Hopefully it works out between school and work.

Also, my parents generously gave me a ukulele for my birthday so it's one of my favorite instruments now, as you may have guessed from the Hawaii description. It's much easier to play than the guitar, but there are still a ton of possibilities for songs. Heck, I started playing "Hotel California" on it! The intro is a lot of fun.

In Hawaii Dad and I sang Will Smith's "Men in Black" rap while I played the chords on the uke. It was fantastic. I tried doing the rap part, which was not the most beautiful and I ended up dissolving into giggles, but it was a good time. We're thinking of starting an informal YouTube channel where we can post random covers, and our band name will be the Bad Cover Bandits. I'll keep you posted on that.  xD

That's what's going on right now, although I'm pretty sure I must have forgotten something important like an alien invasion. Ah well, you'll find stuff like that on Facebook when it becomes a problem.

P.S. I just received Hamlette's gorgeous bookmark from the Tolkien Party giveaway! Thanks again, Hamlette! I'll have to post a few action photos later.   :)

Have you tried NaNoWriMo before, or heard horror stories about it? Is writing something you enjoy? Bonus question: what's your favorite song on the ukulele?