Friday, June 30, 2017

First Blogiversary!

John Green is an incredible source of GIFs
Like a twenty one pilots concert, this post will start out angsty and hopefully become something full of ukulele and bright colors. So here we go.

Mushy Oscar Speech Part

Skip this if you want to read the stats, grab a piece of pizza, and go on with your day.


A lot of the time I feel like no one "gets" me, for many reasons but especially since so much of me is invested in stories and characters and quotes, and many people don't value those things in the same way I do so it's hard to connect.

Of course, I've learned over years of experience that stories are not everything, and if I only relate to someone because he/she likes the same things I do, the conversation shuts down eventually once we've made all the fandom references possible. 

But it is good to know that there are other people out there who invest as much as I do in stories (and much more, in fact). You guys inspire me to read and also to write, and to remember that it's okay to be different. 

All you great bloggers I've had the privilege to discover this year have driven home to me the fact that difference is beautiful. Some of you have minimalistic blog settings, and use lots of superhero gifs. Some of you have flowery backdrops and talk about period dramas. Some of you mix all of those things together, and some of you are just weird.  ;) 

Some of you are introverts. Some are extroverts. Some write detailed posts on Meyers-Briggs and some don't know what that is, or don't care. 

There are so many different kinds of people, and I don't think I had realized before how beautiful that is. 

So thank you all for being awesome in unapologetically different ways. You remind me that fitness buffs are just as interesting and important as Marvel buffs. 

Not that they necessarily have to be separate people.

Celebratory Review Part
Including screenshots of blog stats because these are necessary for posterity.

We've made it, everybody! Through a year of GIFs, ranting, reviewing, and awkwardness. 

(For nostalgia purposes I'd like to link back to my first post ever, published, of course, on June 30 of last year. *hugs little me*)

Looking back over the blog, I've changed a lot. At this time in 2016 I didn't know there was such a thing as a blogging community, I hadn't written any ukulele songs, I had not written a first draft of a novel (or even gotten close), I wasn't as comfortable with my writing voice, I'd never heard of VlogBrothers, I had not seen High School Musical, I had never listened to twenty one pilots, and I was relatively normal, well-adjusted and productive.

Most of these changes are thanks to you who have been reading this blog, commenting on the blog whether online or offline, and just plain making amazing stuff on the internet whether you know I exist or not.

And now here's what you all have been waiting for: statistics.

To whoever seems to be reading the blog regularly from France (and maybe Russia...
?), hi, and that is awesome that you are reading from so far away!

Interesting.


Anyway thanks again, guys, and it seems only fitting that I end with Martin Freeman drinking tea...in an endless loop.



Comment below if you have anything in particular you'd like me to write about this coming year. Or if you feel like telling me about one of your favorite childhood summer memories. :)





Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Four Fictional Characters Tag

I have been tagged by the lovely Olivia to fill out the Four Fictional Characters Tag! (Thank you so much, by the way--this totally made my day.  :D)

Rules
1. Link back to the person who tagged you
2. List four fictional characters (use pictures if you want! They can be from movies or books) and, if you like, describe what they're like and why you believe they relate to you
3. Tag a few other blog people! Three, or four, or even twenty. :) Share the fun!
Be sure to let them know you've tagged them! 

Characters
1. Eowyn (The Lord of the Rings)

Wow, I didn't realize how close I felt to this character until I started looking up quotes and pictures. 

Eowyn isn't the character I look up to the most from LotR (that would be Sam of course <3), but she's the one I relate to most closely. Her quote about a cage is exactly the way I feel after watching The Return of the King or any other deeply inspirational movie. As an INFP (the "idealist" type) I want to do something epic, like shield-surfing down stairs while shooting orcs and/or saving the galaxy. I have trouble seeing the mundanity of life as beautiful, and I can't stand schedules, so Eowyn's anger at being kept on the sidelines is very relatable for me.

She can also be cheerful and adorable when she feels like it, and I relate to her love for the hobbits. If I was around Merry and Pippin I would be constantly sobbing and/or laughing.  xD

2. Jim Hawkins (Treasure Planet)


Seriously, who doesn't like a rebellious teenage kid who rides a hoverboard through explosions? 

Also he cares a lot about Silver's adorable shapeshifter named Morph, and I am a huge dog person and to me Morph is like a tiny labrador retriever, so that is basically the fulfillment of all my cuteness dreams.

And finally, father figure stories tear me apart every time. The part that always gets me is the montage of Silver training Jim mixed with Jim's memories of his father abandoning him, all with John Rzeznik's ballad "I'm Still Here" playing in the background. It perfectly explains Jim's bitterness against authority, combined with his emerging hope that Silver won't leave him like his dad did. 

me while watching that part, every time

3. Marvin (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)


Marvin the Paranoid Android walks through this story poking holes in arguments and depressing everyone around him with his despondent attitude. He's a humorous depiction of me on a bad day, who believes that everyone hates me and life is pointless and the only sensible thing left to do is lie down and cry. 

Also he is voiced by Alan Rickman, who is fantabulous.

4. Sebastian (La La Land)



Sebastian is awkward and quiet until Mia touches on the topic that he is really enthusiastic about--jazz music. Then he gets almost frighteningly worked up. I can relate to that because I'm relatively quiet until someone mentions something that I care about, like music or books or movies or writing or religion. Then I often scare people with my enthusiasm.

Also Sebastian feels limited by having to worry about money. 

...which of course brings us to a twenty one pilots lyric.

Instead of playing real jazz piano he's forced to play boring Christmas music to an equally bored audience, something I've done a couple times for Christmas parties. It's lucrative, but not fulfilling at all. So as a fellow pianist I related to him instantly.

And finally, his past failures have left him with misgivings about the future, expressed beautifully in "City of Stars":


And as an incoming college freshman I could not be more concerned about the future.  xD

***

That was a lot of fun! Hopefully it didn't get to depressing there, hehe. 

Thanks again to Olivia for tagging me, and I would now like to tag Meredith, Jenny/Nimrodel, Fawnabelle BagginsM.J. Watson, and Mary Horton. If y'all happen to be reading this, of course.  :)



Monday, June 26, 2017

Trust // A Vignette-ish Thing

I found a ticket to fame
Held down by a cigarette butt on the corner of 4th and E.
Wrinkled, covered in greasy fingerprints, its plastic covering tarnished by years of ill use and disillusionment and suicide
But I picked it up anyway.

I found the station spotless--ample time to clean between visitors.
The conductor was a young guy, my age, with headphones in.
I sat alone in the rattling car, gold-plated seat digging into the backs of my knees
Until we stopped.

I got up but the young guy cursed over the intercom.
"Sorry for the inconvenience. We overreached our stop. Reversing soon."
My stomach lurched as the train chugged back the way we came.
I couldn't see out the gold tinted windows to our accidental surroundings and I wasn't sure I'd want to anyway
So I fiddled with my ticket, folding it over and over again until I couldn't.
Finally we stopped and I got off like nothing had happened, and
True, nothing had.
But I couldn't shake the feeling I got when we stopped and turned back from the end of the tracks.
The knowledge that this wasn't it. There was another stop later, an invisible mysterious more.
Some call it God.
Some call it the universe.
Some call it nothing.
And none can see out the window.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

10 Stages of Being Obsessed With a Band (Told in Twenty One Pilots Gifs)

1. Indifference

You hear one of their songs, and you're not sure what to think. "Meh," you decide, and go back to your comforting piano Pandora station.

You also have a good time making fun of your friend who is currently obsessed with them.

(You give your friend a noncommittal thumbs up, and then laugh at him/her.)

2. Grudging approval

One day the same song somehow shows up on your Pandora or Spotify, and you are bored so you click on it and you realize that you may, in fact, like this group.

Kind of a lot.

Which means you can't make fun of your friend anymore, so you feel betrayed by your musical preferences.



3. The Secret Binge

Whether through YouTube, Spotify, or the good old-fashioned library, you listen privately to every single song. You also watch concert recordings and acoustic performances, both of which may or may not make you cry from the beauty. (You need to watch these videos in order to check whether they are using autotune or not, and whether they get into the music. And how weird their fans are.)

Bonus points for dancing along like an ecstatic velociraptor.



4. The Not-So-Secret Binge

You give up on secrecy and download every album on iTunes, then spend the rest of your waking moments making your parents and/or friends watch the videos. (The acoustic ones, of course, because the music videos are too weird and the concert ones are too high-energy.)

After the initial I-told-you-so moment, you also bond with your friend who introduced you to them in the first place.



Bonus points for sharing inside lyric references and secret handshakes with said friend.



5. The Buying Spree

You buy band paraphernalia so you can hopefully meet people who like the same band. All you get are weird looks, but you feel very cool.



6. Stalking

You put your iTunes albums on shuffle and look up your band on Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and (when you're really desperate) the YouTube comment sections.

You smile and laugh at the cute posts and pretend that the posts you disagree with do not exist.

You find things like this.
And this.

7. Stunned Realization

You notice that the songs are constantly playing in your head, and that whenever someone unwittingly says a word that is in one of the band's many songs, you mentally finish the rest of the line.


Real-life example:

Family friend: "Could you put that in the kitchen sink please?"

My brain: "I'm a kitchen sink. You don't know what that means. Because a kitchen sink to you is not a kitchen sink to me, okay friend?"

My brain: WHAT HAVE I BECOME


8. Fading

You still listen to this band, but you start going back to groups that are your old favorites because you feel your interest in the music slowly sliding backwards. It is a terrible nausea-inducing feeling.




9. The Last Goodbye

Gradually this band has only become another fixture on your playlist. You say a tearful goodbye, grateful for all that this band has taught you.


10. Moving on

One day you hear a song that connects with you almost like the songs from your old favorite band ...and you're back to Step 1.





This was a lot of fun to make. :D Have you gone through this experience? Would you add any steps?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Underrated Books: A Splendiferous Guest Post by Meredith

My lovely friend Meredith graciously agreed to write a guest post. I made some very excited squee-ing noises and hand gestures over this and then I somehow forgot about it until a few months later when I realized I still hadn't posted it. *cough*

My sincere apologies, Meredith. I am sure your writing has only matured with age. 












AND NOW, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO...

***


Hello to Art3mis's readers! :) 

Art3mis has graciously invited me to write a post here, so I decided to talk about my favorite underrated books and series. Here goes. :) 



The Mysterious Benedict Society 
     Trenton Lee Stewart





Despite being targeted at a slightly younger audience, I love these books. They're fun and well-paced and I was rather obsessed as a tween. ^.^









The Wingfeather Saga
   Andrew Peterson






Read it. I can't say I love this series quite as much as some of my friends, but it's good on so many levels that it's hard to not at least like it. It balances the right level of humor with darkness and traditional fantasy elements with obscurity. Plus the characters are lovable and the plot twists kept me on my toes. Wow, I forgot how good these books were. ^.^












Chronicles of Prydain
   Lloyd Alexander




This is like a simpler, more compact Lord of the Rings. It has the epic characters, plots, and settings, but in a smaller package. 













The Witch of Blackbird Pond
   Elizabeth George Speare 







This one isn't as fantastic or dazzling as the others on my list, but the characters are good, and the romance is pretty adorable. It's set in colonial New England, which seems to be a rather neglected spot for historical fiction, so that's interesting. 










Mara Daughter of the Nile
   Eloise Jarvis McGraw





Here is one of the perfect-est books I've ever read. It's good on almost every level- and educational too, set in Ancient Egypt and all. But it's one of those historical fiction novels you don't read because it's educational, but because it's just a really good story. 







So there are some of my favorites, what would you add? 

***

ALL THE PRETTY COVERS

Thank you so much, Meredith! You have excellent literary taste.  ;) 

Now I've got to go read a book, or maybe two or three...




Or four, because I need to read the Wingfeather Saga now.   ;)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Random Things #6: In Which I Become a Hipster

On my recent vacation I asked for coffee with breakfast and the server brought back a cute little teapot, cream, and sugar. I didn't have the heart to tell him that he had misheard. So I drank the tea even though the last time I tried it several years ago I couldn't stand it.

It was surprisingly good, which was exciting because I had been wishing that I liked tea because 1) it is very British, 2) it has caffeine in it, which puts me in a very good mood, and 3) it fits with all those gorgeous Pinterest aesthetic posts--the ones with vintage china, steaming tea, and an attractive person on a window seat. With rain pattering against the window, of course.

Ah yes, and writing. And glasses.

No person in this one (or window seat, for that matter),
but you know what I mean.



So a couple days ago I ran by the store and purchased a cute little thermos, along with a 20-pack of chai tea bags...

SO GOOD. Guys, tea makes me feel alive. Ah, it's so warm and aromatic and calming and stimulating and it just makes me happy. It just needs a lot of Splenda and warm milk, which we have plenty of so YAY.

The other thing that makes me feel like a hipster, or whatever part of the population posts tea aesthetics on Pinterest, is that I just acquired a laptop. (I say acquired instead of bought because my grandparents generously funded it as a graduation gift--thank you!)

It's an HP, and not the most fancy but it works splendidly and the screen is huge and the keyboard is SO satisfying to write on. The clackity clack sound is music to my ears. And now I have the utterly new experience of being able to write no matter where I am--on the couch, in bed...well, that's the extent of where I've taken it so far. But just imagine all the trendy photos I could potentially take if I wasn't so busy looking up Twenty One Pilots concert videos (ssh):



Oh yeah, also I've been listening to Twenty One Pilots a lot more, so does that make me a hipster, or a punk, or just plain weird?

***

Anyway, this is all a fluffy way of saying I've been having an identity crisis lately. I like a lot of things simply because other people whom I respect like them. Now and then someone will recommend something to me that I can't stand, but most things I grow to like. For example,  "Stressed Out" wasn't my favorite when I first listened to it, and now I'm listening to Twenty One Pilots for what is probably an unhealthy amount of time. Mostly because of all the positive things I've heard/read about them.

Anyone else have this problem? It's hard to tell who you are when you are so influenced by other people. I can't tell what's there under all the influences, which makes me feel lost. And I'm at that stage in life where I still don't know who I want to be, much less who I'm going to be, and I feel like I'm letting other people influence me way too much.

Let's conclude with a Switchfoot gif to end things on a happy note:





What's the most "hipster" thing you've ever done? Any existential struggles lately?



Thursday, May 25, 2017

Robin Hood Week Tag



Thanks to Olivia at Meanwhile, In Rivendell..., I've gotten back from a two-week trip (and consequent internet break) just in time to catch the second half of Robin Hood Week. Time to wax nostalgic about good-looking men beating each other up. Here goes the tag:

What was your first exposure to Robin Hood?


The animated Disney movie, one of those movies that I don't remember watching for the first time because it was so long ago and I watched it so many times. On VHS, of course.


On a scale of 1 to 10, how big a fan are you?


5? I'm into it more than the average person, and I love the swashbuckling idea of a bunch of guys partying and sneaking around and stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. But I haven't seen every version, and I read the book so long ago that I don't remember it very well. So I'm not a die-hard fan, just like I'm not a die-hard fan of Tolkien because I could never make it through The Silmarillion. *hides*


How many versions and spin-offs of the legend have you experienced?


Five. The Disney version, Prince of Thieves, and the BBC version *blissful nostalgic sigh*. Ah yes, and the original book. I read it when I was eight or so and I loved the ending. It was depressing but epic and very, very fitting.


And Leverage, if that counts...? I've only watched the first few episodes but it's growing on me.


What is your favorite version of Robin Hood (can be book, movie, TV series, anything)?


The BBC show, if you haven't guessed. It's cheesy and my parents claim that the acting is "worse than Merlin," which to them means a lot. But it's nostalgic for me because I watched it a couple years ago, and the visuals are gorgeous, and the cheesiness is the over-the-top kind  that I love in Pirates of the Caribbean and Merlin.


Prince of Thieves gets second place, if only for Alan Rickman:






Are you one of the lads? (Meaning, have you watched/are you a fan of the BBC show?)


Are Twinkies delicious?


Who is your favorite Merry Man?


Allan in the BBC version. His character arc is painful but rich, and he is rather good-looking. Not that that matters, of course. Hehe.


And the fact that he fits my conflicted-Flynn Rider-type crush complex doesn't hurt.



"I'm not being funny, but..."


Do you have a favorite portrayal of Lady Marian?


Lucy Griffith in, of course, the BBC version. She's not my favorite actress but she's pretty and has beautiful costumes, and Robin cares about her which makes me care. And she's more of a get-up-and-go character than the other Lady Marians I have seen portrayed.


Do you have any interest in or aptitude at archery?


Interest, yes--if I can play with Hawkeye's exploding arrows. *evil grin* As for aptitude, I'd rather not talk about that, thank you very much.


Fact or fiction -- which do you think? 


Huh, this question is the first time I've ever thought about Robin Hood being real--it was always just a legend to me. I think it's better that way because I'm sure the real-life version would have been a lot more grimy and frightening and sweaty and slow-moving and morally conflicting than the story version.


Do you think Robin Hood has been "done to death," or are there still new twists that can be found?


A sci-fi Robin Hood would be cool, like what Marissa Meyer did with fairy tales in the Lunar Chronicles.


Something this awesome can never be done to death.




Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Take a moment.

Turn off whatever music system you have going--Pandora, iTunes, Spotify, or a plain old CD player--and listen.

Listen to the silence.

Notice the new sounds around you, no longer covered by the music. The wind faintly rushing by outside, barely heard through the window. The clock ticking behind you that you only just notice now. The motorcycle revving up on a distant highway.

And the new visuals. The late afternoon sunlight streaming through the window, leaving shadowy evidence of the bush right outside. The computer screen in front of you that suddenly has a lot of dust on it. The green grass just poking up from its brown ancestors outside the window.

Smells. Musty old room. A slight freshness from outside.

Feelings. The ache in your back from sitting in such an uncomfortable position. Your muscles that are restless from not getting exercise today. That weird lump in your throat that seems to signal that you're about to cry, but you don't.

And I'll leave tastes to you.

In the silence, life is more real than the screen in front of you.

That is why silence is hard. And that is also why silence is necessary.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Tag


Hellooo everyone, I've been hankering to do a tag and since I've just finished a productive day of schoolwork I feel obliged to relax in some way. Tonight this way happens to be typing frantically on the keyboard and listening to Owl City.  ❤️  His music gives me novel nostalgia because I got into it for the first time during NaNoWriMo.

Anyway, thanks to Meredith's Beauty and the Beast week back in May, I have an excellent opportunity for a tag! I wouldn't say I'm "into" Beauty and the Beast but I have grown to appreciate it more.

1.When did you first experience Beauty and the Beast?

Whenever I first watched the Disney cartoon. I was probably five...?

2. In what forms(book, movie, retelling) have you experienced Beauty and the Beast?

Three. The animated Disney movie, Beauty by Robin McKinley, and a few episodes of Once Upon a Time, a couple of which had Belle in them. 

3. Who is your favorite character in Beauty and the  Beast?

The Beast. He's courageous and caring and everything I want in a guy, and he's also fluffy.  :D

4. What is your favorite song from the cartoon Beauty and the Beast?

"Gaston," hands down. Pure genius.

I was looking for something else, but this is too perfect.
5. If you were turned into a piece of furniture what would you want it to be?

A candlestick, like Lumiere. There are so many uses for flaming hands...

6. What would your dream cast for Beauty and the Beast be? (This can be as elaborate or simple as you desire.)

Honestly it's harder to come up with something that's better than the cast of the live movie. *shrug*

7. If your school were performing BatB which character would you want to play?

Belle, because she has the coolest songs. Even though singing is not my forte.

8. Like Belle, do you enjoy reading books multiple times?

Only certain books. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, for example, I've read twice and it still makes me laugh out loud. And anything by Chesterton needs a reread in order to actually understand it.  xP

9. If you were to write a retelling, what would you change?

I'd make it science fiction, and have Marissa Meyer write it. 

#copout   ^_^

10. Are roses your favorite flowers? 

Nope. Probably dahlias.

Or tulips.


Or yellow snapdragons, because they look like buttered popcorn.



Thanks, Meredith! Happy belated Beauty and the Beast week to you all.  :D