the one starting again

Bonjour, mes amis!

It's been a while, eh? I think I'm just going to skip the omg-i'm-so-sorry-i-haven't-blogged-i've-been-too-busy-with-school-and-life-and-EVERYTHING-and-did-i-mention-i'm-a-senior-now? because everyone's already heard variations of that, so I'll cut to the chase:

Today's a Monday, and here's something thought-provoking for a Monday- a JJ Abrams talk on storytelling and his inspiration. The truth is, I haven't seen anything from JJ Abrams unless you count the Star Trek and Super 8 trailers and 1.5 episodes of Lost, but judging from those, everything else I've read about him or seen in an interview of his, and this talk, he's nothing short of a genius (and zealous) filmmaker and storyteller. 

His talk is one of my favorite TED talks along with Sheryl Sandberg's:

Not really bookish or anything, but I admire her. :)

I'm hoping to post at least once a week because I've really missed writing here. I just never had anything interesting to write about at all, unless you count getting to eat a Pizza-in-a-Cone in Providence, Rhode Island. (It was seriously a pizza in a cone.) I consider it one of the highlights of my Providence trip:

(More on the Pizza-in-a-Cone to come later!)

I also got a tumblr in the time I vanished. I took the title Objarkas from Plain Kate by Erin Bow which is so lyrical yet very eerie at the same. Honestly, I don't know if I'm going to be keeping the tumblr because it's a total time-sucker but it is the site which I'm updating the most right now (and there are so many beautiful things there), so if you want to see what I'm up to, I suggest heading onto over there. :)

Ciao for now,

p.s. Goliath is coming out on September the 20th, which also happens to be tomorrow! I won't be able to read it for a couple of weeks, but still- it's finally releasing! *flails*


today's the 28th of July...

... and two very exciting things popped up while I've been roaming around New England and stumbling over Rhode Island's beaches* these past few days (in the 100 degrees heat which is always great...NOT).

1) The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner received the 2011 Mythopoeic Award! (Actually this was a couple of weeks ago, but I only found out about it like...yesterday.) :D I can't imagine a more deserving series. If you haven't read any of the books yet, go straight to the library to hold the Thief (the first book). Don't make me track you down to throw the books into your windows or hide them under your pillows! You wouldn't want that, and tracking you down would make me feel weird, so uh...please read these books?

2) Exclusive pictures of Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Liam Hemsworth as Gale released thanks to Entertainment Weekly! I refuse to post the EW cover here because the photoshop is a tad ridiculous, so instead here are my favorite stills** from the movie they've shown so far.

Best friends.

Josh/Peeta. With an apron. And bread.
Before anyone freaks out about Josh's seemingly still brown hair, remember that it's just a lighting trick! Take a look at the slideshow. His hair is definitely dirty blonde and it falls in waves over his forehead; don't worry. :)
*takes sigh of relief*

I think the Hunger Games makeup crew got it right, don't you think? :D

* Rhode Island's beaches are made up of shells and rocks, so we couldn't have this dramatic run up to the water with our hair flying behind us, and with smiles and laughter etched onto our faces. Instead we had to slowly walk over rocks so we didn't fall and break our teeth, while occasionally letting out a tiny squeak or two. Still, the view was breathtaking.
** Is it just me being sappy, or is the still with Jennifer and Liam is too adorable? Awwww.
*** EDIT: More Hunger Games promo pictures are right here (thanks to Bookshelves of Doom)



Hiya! Believe or not, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth after seeing Harry Potter. Hurrah! There’s just been a lot of work to get done over the weekend, and sadly, I can’t find the USB cord for my camera and I really really wanted to post a couple of pictures from the midnight premieres because everything was fantastic there.

But it’s been 4 days since the release of the movie, and it seems that the USB cord itself dropped off the face of the earth, so I don’t think I can put off writing about the movie any longer for a couple of pictures.

Tee hee, I can hear some of groaning, “No Nonie! Not another Potter post! The official teaser poster for the Hunger Games came out! That's the new movie news. Get with the times already!" but hey, I never got closure on last week. :D So here’s Day #1 (or Day -3) with just a couple of my thoughts on the film:

I walked out of the theater wanting to jump in the air and cheer with happiness. That never happened before with a movie before. Of course, it’s not fair to judge it like that since this series holds a sentimental value with many people but still; we have to acknowledge that the filmmakers did a good job here. Coming from the bottom of my heart, I think this is the best film in the series. :D

I'm pretty sure most of you who wanted to watch the movie have already seen it, but I can't be too sure, so beware of spoilers!

  • The first part was all about the dynamic of the trio, and this second part is all about Hogwarts, and Harry himself of course. It was just a bit surprising seeing Emma and Rupert not having much to do.
  • Call me silly, but in the first few shots of the Gringrotts heist scene, I actually thought it was Emma under all the Bellatrix make-up. Helena BC was that phenomenal. She nailed Emma's facial expressions.
  • I loved Professor McGonagall’s geeky, happy giggle after setting the statues to life. And she had the first tear-inducing line in the movie: “It’s nice to see you Potter.” The audience burst into a big “AWWWWW” when she said that.
  • Fred's death scene from the book is not here. The scene they replaced it with, where he's cornered, alone and wandless, by a Death Eater, is chilling. It's horrible to watch, but so cinematic.
  • I can’t even talk about the Snape vs. McGonagall duel without getting speechless.
  • Actually, there are so many scenes in this movie I couldn’t talk about without getting inarticulate, just because of the sheer awesomeness of it all. Like in my notes about this movie I wrote a couple days ago, I had "EEEEEEEEEEEEE" written out next to McGonagall’s name just because I just couldn’t explain it any other way.
  • Next to Alan Rickman’s name I have this random scribble. It’s not even an “EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Just a large, random scribble on the page.
  • And that, friends, should explain how incredible he was in this movie. Even an “EEEEEEEEEEEE!” can't describe him. He stole every scene he was in, and played broken-hearted-but-nevertheless-heroic Snape with perfection.
  • I would like to hand over an award to the person who decided to to put in the line “You have your mother’s eyes” line in Snape’s death scene. That was GENIUS. Everyone says that to Harry, but it means so much more when said by Severus Snape. Everything else in his memories was heartbreaking, especially the scene where he's holding a dead Lily, crying, with baby Harry in the crib sobbing. Just heartbreaking.
  • His death was also the most horrid. It's not shown directly, but seeing the silhouette of Snape and hearing it was dreadful. I hate Nagini.
  • But hooray for Neville for cutting its head off! The whole scene is just epic. I think I cheered the loudest here. I’m very, very, very thankful that they didn’t mess up the Prince’s Tale or Neville’s role in the story. The character developments of Snape and Neville were my favorite parts of the book, so they were the two parts I was most anxious about, but they delivered. Thank you, thank you, thank you Steve Kloves and David Yates!
  • Neville’s line about being mad about Luna was the cutest, and most spontaneous thing about the movie.
  • I loved Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy)’s scene when he hesitates to go over to the Death Eaters, and loved Narcissa Malfoy too. The scene on the bridge where Draco and Narcissa kept on walking but Lucius turned around, looking around a bit lost and sad was a wonderful way to end the Malfoy family storyline.
  • The third tear-inducing line after McGonagall’s and Snape’s was Dumbledore’s: “Harry, you wonderful boy. You brave, brave man.” Michael Gambon delivered that line faultlessly. Some people started crying so loudly that it got distracting. Heh.
  • I loved how they showed a disgruntled Filch getting ready to clean up the castle during the final scenes. Once a Hogwarts caretaker, always a Hogwarts caretaker. ;)
Staring contest time.

The Technical Parts

  • I’m sort of curious as to why they decided to not have the huge crowd of people during the final battle between Harry and Voldemort. To make the victory more subtle? I did like the Harry-Hagrid hug though.
  • I'm also curious as to why they decided to make Bellatrix and Voldemort turn into confetti-like pieces when they died. (But evil people never die normally in fantasy movies so...hmm...)
  • The screenwriting was great. They changed the book for sure, but it all fit somehow.
  • But Tonks and Lupin deserved more (or they should've gotten in a line before the battle about Teddy!). Lupin's line about Teddy would appear to come out of nowhere for the audience members who didn't read the book.
  • The music by Alexandre Desplat is beautifully haunting; it’s the ideal soundtrack for this movie. Just listen to "Severus and Lily," "Statues," "Courtyard Apocalypse" and "Lily's Theme."
  • Um, though I love Desplat's score, I definitely burst into tears when I heard the original John Williams theme during the epilogue. Hearing John Williams sort of sealed the ending; It all started with John Williams and ended with John Williams. It was the perfect way to bring it to a full circle.
  • I'm one of the HP epilogue-lovers *ducks from flying shoes* so I enjoyed how the epilogue played out here. I think they did good job aging the actors, and Albus Severus was adorable. (A couple of people did snort when Harry said his name, though.) :) I just wished it was longer though. Another two minutes wouldn't have hurt...
  • Who else liked the Chocolate Frog jumping out the window like it did in the first movie? :) The little references to the other movies made me happy.

There's so much more I could talk about, but ah, I think I shall end here. :D

I think they ended the series in the best possible way. It still amazes me that they kept the series going for 10 years with almost the same cast and crew they started with. It was breathtaking really. This is a bit late, but thank you to all the directors, the crew who brought the world alive, and of course the actors, Daniel, Emma, Rupert, and all the supporting actors for bringing the characters, the ones we love or love to hate, alive. And of course, thank you JK Rowling for putting everything in motion. :D

Geekiness Alert: After discussing with friends and brother, we all realized that instead of comparing Voldemort with Darth Vader/Anakin, it should be Snape vs. Darth Vader.

Voldemort = Emperor Palpatine! Full character discussions likely to come soon. :D

Geekiness Alert over.


"Please excuse my mawkishness Harry but..."

Day #2

...In about 3 hours Deathly Hallows Part 2 is going to start rolling in the theater, and well, then it's going to end. It's been an emotionally draining week to be honest. I've finished rereading the books, and I just finished our HP movie rewatch. I hate being mawkish but MY CHILDHOOD IS ENDING IN 4 HOURS NOOOOOO!! it's going to be....strange, for the lack of a better word, to not be able to call up my friends about the new HP trailer or to not watch a new Rupert Grint interview on Mugglenet.

It is the last couple of hours before the movie so here are a couple of my favorite moments from the series: quotes, fanart and gif-wise. :)

"A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours' time by Mrs. Dursley's scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley...He couldn't know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices:
"To Harry Potter - the boy who lived!"

"But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve ft mountain troll is one of them."
- Sorcerer's Stone
What Hermione says (Order of the Phoenix film):


“Wit beyond measure is a man’s greatest treasure.”
-Luna (Order of the Phoenix)
"It is our choices, Harry, that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
- Dumbledore (Chamber of Secrets)
"When in doubt, go to the library."
- Ron (Chamber of Secrets)
"So top grade's O for Outstanding," Hermione was saying, "and then there's A-"
"No, E," George corrected her, "E for 'Exceeds Expectations.' And I've always thought Fred and I should've got E in everything, because we exceeded expectations just by turning up for the exams."
- Order of the Phoenix

"Percy wouldn't notice a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing one of Dobby's hats."
- Ron (Order of the Phoenix)

(Neville by Forbis)
“We’ll all keep fighting, you know that right, Harry?”
-Neville (Deathly Hallows)

(Lily's Letter by Shyduck)
When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, “After all this time?” And I will say, “Always.”
- Alan Rickman

‎"No story lives unless someone wants to listen. The stories we love best do live in us forever. So, whether you come back page by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
-JK Rowling
I believe that this is what I'm going to be like when I watch the movie. NOOOOOOO I AM NOT PREPARED FOR THIS!!


The Artistic Talent of Harry Potter Fans aka Fanart

Day #3

(harry potter by Ekara)

(Neville Watercolor Sketch by feliciacano)

(Being Harry Potter's Friend by Kumul8--click for larger version! :D)

(teddy tries to remember by burdge-bug)

(Enough Responsibility by burdge-bug)

And I could not stop laughing when I saw this. :D


Hogwarts Hogwarts Hoggy Warty Hogwarts, teach us something please...

Day #4

One of my favorite aspects of Harry Potter is Hogwarts. Any school student can connect to the
setting because there's always teachers: eccentric teachers, caring teachers, the everyone's-
favorite-teacher teachers, strict teachers who always assign you loads of homework even though there's something important coming up, and teachers who'll hate you no matter what you seem to do (very very rarely though).

(Hogwarts Staff image via link)

And our school has a team system. It's very similar to the four houses in Hogwarts except we don't get sorted in on our first day and we get randomly placed so it doesn't matter at all. What makes it fun is that some of our teachers care and instead of calling them teams, they call them houses. :D

Oh, and then there's the endless social drama that we have to try earnestly block out because it's nearly impossible to get back out when we're pulled into it. Not good.

Definitely more exciting than the drama are the classes. Learning our subjects is a bit different than learning Hogwart's subjects, because umm Harry's subjects are...magical. Writing an essay about the toxins in soap for Chemistry is not like writing up an essay on the purposes and benefits of a bezoar for Snape's Potion class, but the classes can get similar (or *cough* you can pretend they're similar if you're a desperate Harry Potter fan).

Last year my friend and I while thoroughly discussing how similar our school was to Hogwarts in Chemistry class compared our teachers to Hogwarts' teachers, and our classes to Harry's classes (because you know, it's important to learn the skills of comparing and contrasting!)

When we compared classes we saw that:

Chemistry = Potions.
US History = History of Magic
English = Charms (the comparison is a stretch but both classes are fun and we learn vocabulary and latin prefixes from both of them!)
Biology = Herbology
Personal Fitness = Quidditch class from the first book
Math = Arithmancy
Astronomy = Astronomy :D

Defense Against the Dark Arts was left out of the list unfortunately, because it's a bit too magical, unless you count Personal Fitness as DADA because you're definitely learning how to defend yourself sometimes (learning how to run quicker is part of defending yourself)...

And there's also Transfiguration but there's no hope at all with finding a class we can equate it with.

So yes, if you ignore DADA and Transfiguration, you'll see that there's not many differences between we learn and what Harry and his classmates learn or between our schools and Hogwarts (except the fact that Hogwarts is a boarding school and it's not real ). YEAH.
Who's your favorite Hogwarts teacher and what's the one class you would like to
if you got the chance to go there? My favorite teacher is McGonagall. I think she and I would've
gotten along splendidly...maybe. My favorite class probably would've been Charms though, or
maybe DADA? :D


"Now let's have a beach party...in London!"

Day #5: Harry Potter Youtube Frenzy

14 minutes and 37 seconds of Harry Potter spoofery for your viewing pleasure. Ah-ha! :D

An egoistical Harry is priceless. :P

This montage saved this year's Oscars. Hurrah!

(P&P trailer here because it's so much more funnier if you've
seen the original :D)

(Stranger than Fiction trailer here)

This is probably one of the weirdest parodies I've seen, but I'm saying that's a good thing. :D (It's produced by University of Michigan students (yay!) and the lyrics for Act 1 Scene 1 is right here)

GAH. There were so many more videos I couldn't find. I should think about bookmarking them next time if I ever find them again, don't you think? Heh.


And the final countdown begins

*cue the final countdown music*

Day #6

How it all began:

It was a TV Spot that changed everything. I think it was the TV spot below in fact, because I vaguely remember laughing at Ron's response to Professor McGonagall transforming into a cat, and this was the only spot I found with that scene in it.

My brother and I turned on the TV on a November night after working on what seemed like countless hours of homework. My dad just happened to walk in as soon as the spot started running, and watching it together, all three of us got amused with the various complications the characters were getting into in it (someone blew up a feather!). My dad especially liked the graphics in the McGonagall transforming part, so as soon as the spot ended, he immediately asked us if we wanted to see it. We answered with a yes, as eagerly as a 7 year old and a little 5 year old could.

So off to the movie theater we went a couple days later and I walked out of the matinee show blown away. Three best friends! Harry! Ron! Hermione! Magic! A mysterious school! Weird teachers! Hagrid! Dragons! Evil villain! It was my first foray into a fantasy world and I was delighted in every bit of it.

Then I got the real book for Christmas, which changed everything once again. JK Rowling became my author hero and the world of Hogwarts and the magic became real. (....And Dan, Emma, and Rupert became my favorite actors in the whole entire universe for portraying my literary heroes onscreen.)

It's strange to think it's been a decade from that point, but it has been a wonderful decade. :)

If you're a Harry Potter fan, how did you first get started on the series? Or...if you're not much of HP fan, where did you first hear about it? :D


I can hear the crickets chirping over here

Next week I'm planning to do something Harry Potter-y everyday because the end is coming on Friday (it's here already?!), and I've been a poor poor fan indeed. So everyday starting from tomorrow and ending on Friday, I'll be posting Harry Potter related videos, art or.....umm, oh, er...yeah...I haven't exactly planned out anything yet, but expect SOMETHING!

Meanwhile, here's John Green's video on conquering his biggest fear, heights. *shudders*

As someone who's downright terrified of high places, I found John Green's act very inspiring and heroic.


Tuesday Tribulations and Miscellany

the tribulations:

1) The release of Bridge of Clay by the awesome, clever, brilliant, awesome Markus Zusak has been delayed (yet again). I've read that it's supposed to come out this September (September 1st to be exact!), but it doesn't even have an amazon page yet. A little puzzled when I saw, I searched and searched the web until I came upon this answer about the book by Doubleday (Markus Zusak's publishing company).

If you don't feel like pressing the link, I'll spare you the news quickly: We now have to wait until 2013 for the book. Nooooooooooooo.

2) I landed on a spoilery review for Goliath. NOOOOOOOOOO The review though was only mildly spoilery, and my eyes only caught one thing before my mouse clicking reflexes started working again and I clicked out of the page. Of course, that one thing ended up being something something I was looking forward to seeing. EPIC FAIL.

I learned my lesson. I'm never ever ever going to look up reviews for it anymore.

Please excuse me while I weep and gnash my teeth on the other side of the room.

the miscellany:

1) Bill Gates read (and really liked) the Hunger Games. No really, it's true. That's pretty cool, yes? :)

2) I want to watch Super 8 sometime before it leaves the theater because it seems like the type of movie that should be seen in theaters.

A little tidbit about this movie which got me waayyy too over eager to see it: it's called Super 8 because the kids are shooting a film with a super 8 camera. (I like cleverly named movies.)

I should also mention that it came out on my birthday. That little birthday fact could be playing a big role in my increasing want to see the film more than other reasons. Heh...because really, when's the next time that a Steven Spielberg movie (a critically successful one at that too) is ever going to come out on my birthday?! ;)

3) It's happening again. Articles similar to the the Harry Potter farewell/in memoriam/good-bye articles that came out during the release of Deathly Hallows are now slowly coming out day by day.

The site I really want to point to for this is Tor, for their insightful and profound homages to JK Rowling and HP several of its bloggers are writing (as part of their Harry Potter celebration, Potterpalooza).

They're all worth a read, but some of my favorite essays are:

And though this essay's not part of the HP celebration, it's HP related and I've been wanting to link it since forever so, here you go:

I would also suggest taking the time to read the comments too. Most of them are just as thought-provoking and touching as the essays themselves. :)

Hope everyone is having a good (and hopefully tribulation-less) Tuesday!


And the Oscar for Best Animated Feature of 2012 goes to...

Thanks to Shanella and Pixar (on twitter) for letting me know that the first official teaser poster for Pixar's 2012 release Brave came out! It's beautiful and intense. The title design, the lighting/sun/sky behind the title design- I'm rendered speechless.

From just the teaser poster and the concept art, it looks like the film will be sort of like Pixar + How to Train Your Dragon + Braveheart + Tim Burton all put in a blender to create a perfect mix of animation + story. :D

And let's see...since this is a Pixar movie:
  • It's going to be a treat visually (If the poster can give me chills because of how stunning it looks I'm sure the movie's going to be 100 times more stunning!)
  • characters are going to pretty awesome
  • the story will probably make us tear up at least a little bit at the end (or as in the case of UP, maybe in the first 5 min)
This is definitely going to be a must see next summer! It really does look fantastic. So fantastic that I'm going to predict that this movie's going to be #5 on my best Pixar movies list! (#5 because Monster's Inc, Toy Story, Ratatouille, and the Incredibles are non-negotiable in my world).

The one thing I'm not looking forward to is the debating that starts whenever a Disney movie comes out. The debates are usually about two things: Princesses and Pixar vs. Disney. (When it comes to Disney princesses and fictional princesses in general, I agree with Meg Cabot. When it comes to the Pixar vs. Disney feud, I think that Pixar rocks and I can never NOT like classic Disney animation soo it's a draw between them for me.)

Hm, I can imagine the headlines already:

"FINALLY Because of Pixar, We Have A Princess We Can All Root For"

"Pixar's Brave Princess Braver than Disney's"

"Brave's Princess is how an animated role model should be"

"Pixar's Scottish Princess Takes the Cake For Best Animated Princess"

"Pixar Princess Beats Disney's Tangled Princesses"

...and etc.

(No, of course I'm not still sore about the Academy Award's Tangled snub...and Tangled's loss to Toy Story 3 for Best Song. Ha ha, what's makes you think that?!).

If anyone's going to see Cars 2 this weekend, have fun seeing the teaser trailer for Brave!


Gallivanting through Florida, Part 2 {Misadventures in Universal}

Sooo...I'm not exactly what you would call a thrill seeker (I'm not one for surprises) and I have a huge fear of heights. (Would my boggart be a high diving board or something? Maybe.)Because of the two aforementioned qualities of my personality, I don't particularly enjoy roller coasters much to the dismay of my friends. But because I didn't want to be a party pooper and ruin everyone's mood, I put on my brave face and calmly stood in line for the rides with everyone else.

If Sam can bravely carry Frodo up Mt. Doom, then gosh darn it, I can bravely get on a one minute roller coaster ride

Something went really strange that day because it seemed like we got stuck on almost every ride we went on! Getting stuck on a ride was not, to put it simply, fun, especially for someone like me who doesn't particularly enjoy dangling around 100 ft (or higher) in the air like others for long stretches of time, but looking back on it, our escapades in Universal wouldn't have been half as memorable if the rides didn't stop every now and then.

The best rides we got stuck on:

1) Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls: The electricity shut off right before we were about to fall off on the drop. And then it started right before we could say anything and we plunged down quicker than on any water ride I've ever been on before (I don't think we were supposed to fall). I screamed like I never screamed before.

2) The Hulk: Technically I didn't get stuck on it, but my group members did! I didn't go because my brave-Sam-on-Mt-Doom-face fell off as soon as someone suggested going on this:

...and I couldn't muster enough courage to put it back on, so my advisors and I ended up sitting in a cafe nearby and enjoyed some nice lemonade while waiting for everyone else...FOR OVER ONE HOUR. It was on a Wednesday morning, so there was no one there at the park so we realized that something was fishy when my friends didn't come back in ten minutes. When we went back to the ride to see what was up, the ride attendants were telling nearby questioners that some of the riders were stuck and there was no way to get them down. HAHAHA. So we had to wait for another half an hour until the ride started properly moving again.

3) Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: We were speeding through the castle, and then suddenly, everything- the video they were playing, our carts, lights-shut off. We were in the complete dark and I could hear some startled screams and voices. A couple minutes later we heard an announcement from the ride attendants apologizing for the inconveniences. Then our carts started bobbing up and down. Up and down. In the dark. For a long time. More startled screams ensued. The ride started up again soon, and we did end up seeing the familiar faces of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson on the screen again much to everyone's relief.

Butterbeer!! I liked it very much.
I could not get some Fish & Chips at the Three Broomsticks. :(

Spiderman waved at me right before I snapped this picture. I also got a very awesome picture with the Green Goblin (not pictured). His smile was the epitome of EVIL (as usual).

Universal Globe!! No matter where we went that day, I had to make sure we got at least one picture in front of the globe because you know...it's The Globe or as I knew it when I was a little girl, the globe that always spins around before every Jurassic Park movie. It's every bit as sentimental to me as Disney's Castle.

Universal was our last theme park during our visit. The next day, we woke up early, and sadly said good-bye to the 95 degree weather and the greenery we rarely have up north during the month of May. *tear*
I did some catching up with the world done on the bus ride back to airport:

Moral of the post: Fear of anything can become overcome if you put on a brave face doing it, unless you're scared of roller coasters that can make you feel like your face is melting off. Fake it till you make it, some people say. That and...deep breathing really helps.


Gallivanting through Florida, Part 1 {Running Around Disney}

Hello. :) Long time no see, eh? How's summer been for you? I hope all of you are doing fine. I've just narrowly survived junior year of high school, and I've used this first weekend of summer to put together bits and pieces of myself I've lost these past few stress-inducing weeks. :)

I've hit a road block with blogging. I've read no books in the past three weeks, nor have I seen movies worth writing about. The linkage I've created a long time ago is now outdated (I mean, every Hunger Games fan knows that Donald Sutherland (!) is going to be Pres. Snow right?) For that reason, it seems I've no other idea than to talk about the most exciting thing that's happened to me this past month: Orlando, Florida! (Disney's at least a little fun to talk about and hear about, right?)

In the first week of May, I've had a lucky opportunity to go to Orlando, Florida with a school team for a national competition and it was GREAT. Meeting and becoming friends with students from all over the country was interesting and eye-opening just seeing how different people are in other regions of the country. I've never spoken to that many people with different accents before (or had that many people point out my mid-western "accent").

Just some pictures and my narration:

Flying over the evergreens. At this time, my friend and I were discussing whether or not we'll ever see an alligator during the course of the trip (we didn't).

No one was actually smiling for being in Orlando when this bus pulled up because this was outside the airport when we had been waiting for our bus to come for over 2 hours already. Being the good friend I am, I tried cheering my friends up as soon as I saw the bus (not ours) but no one cracked a smile. I did end up comforting our travel agent, who was a bit frantic at the time seeing as her clients were very UNHAPPY though she didn't know I was smiling and goofing off because of the Orlando board.

The fact that I started laughing as soon as I saw those two panels just shows that it doesn't take much to make me laugh. :P We went shopping right away at Downtown Disney as soon as we finally reached our hotel and unpacked. The comics strips shown above were in stores all around Downtown.

And so we went shopping for the whole day basically and ate a lot of divine Ghiradelli ice cream.


STORYTIME! When I was holding a Mickey Mouse Stars Wars light-saber in a store and started to wave it around, this random boy, who couldn't be older than eight, came up to me and started hitting my light-saber with his and said something about battling against evil (I'm really not making this up). WELL, since I couldn't just walk away (the boy was getting very into his Jedi role), I started hitting back (softly of course!).

And so there we two were- me, a sixteen year old girl, and an eight-year-old kid having an all out battle between good and evil in the middle of a Disney store. At the end of our battle, the kid later complimented me on my Jedi fighting skills and skipped gleefully away. Yes, I apparently have mad Jedi skillz. Fear me!

We spent the second evening in the Disney Hollywood Studios. Guess where the real buildings stop and where the set starts!
(We were competitive, networking students by day, Orlando tourists by night- we only went to the parks after 5 everyday)

Hollywood studios was absolute heaven because it has a bunch of filmmaking events. Because my advisor knew I liked seeing all behind-the-scenes shows, she took our group to the Indiana Jones stunt show where we saw how they did the camera work, produced stunts, etc. I would've ran down onto the set pieces if they allowed people to down and particularly asked the cinematographer guy to let me sit in his chair, work with the camera, and revel in doing so...but of course I couldn't.

Since this was my first time in Disneyworld and one of my friend's also, we both plotted to get a picture with all the Disney characters. Alas, we ended up taking pictures with no characters at all because by the time we went to the parks everyday, it ended up being too late. But, in Epcot (another Disney Park which was just as amazing as Hollywood studios) the next evening, we did get to see...

college guy in an Aladdin suit working for a summer job

His bodyguard lady kicked my friend and I out of his line (to get a picture) because he had to go on break. So sadly, he ended up being the only Disney character we got within 10 ft. of, and the
song Prince Ali ended up getting stuck in my head for the rest of the evening (though the
latter's not necessarily a bad thing :D).

Lots and lots of ducks galore.

And...the final Disney event of the trip, Disney's Electrical Parade which was its own magical experience in itself!

One of the dwarves totally waved at me, yo.

So Disney was thrilling. It's such a happy-making place though I've never heard that many crying babies in my entire life. Of course, if Disney was a bit overwhelming for me, it must've definitely been too much for the poor toddlers. My advisor gave my friend and I tours around Disney since we were the only two in our group who haven't been down south before, and we made sure to hit all the classic Disney rides such as the Spinning Tea-Cups and Dumbo, and ate omg-totally-delicious-mouthwatering-scrumptious funnel cakes all throughout.

Part 2 of Orlando coming tomorrow!! Muhahwahaha. What? You think I'm going to leave you with just Disney? There's still Universal to go through! We got stuck on A LOT of rides which was pure torture for me because 1) I hate heights and 2) I have an intense dislike of roller coasters in general. So yes, tomorrow = Universal, but for now, I'll just leave you this:




You guys, I just saw that the official blurb for THIS SURE TO BE VERY AWESOME book that I am eagerly waiting for came out, and I had to write about it.

*takes deep breath*

So THIS SURE TO BE VERY AWESOME book is called GOLIATH, by Scott Westerfeld. I can honestly say that this is the most highly anticipated book for me of 2011.

Here’s the new, official blurb that got released onto the Simon & Schuster page:

*Spoilers for the previous two in the trilogy of course*

Alek and Deryn are on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaimAlek's throne as prince of Austria, and finally fall in love. The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war (and crown). And the love thing would be a lot easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl. (She has to pose as a boy in order to serve in the British Air Service.) And if they weren't technically enemies.

The tension thickens as the Leviathan steams toward New York City with a homicidal lunatic on board: secrets suddenly unravel, characters reappear, and nothing is as it seems in this thunderous conclusion to Scott Westerfeld's brilliant trilogy.

Please allow me to go all fangirly for a second:

OMGOMGOMGOMG. EEEEEEEEEE!!! AAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! *throws confetti* EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

*takes a deep breath* Okay, I’m all done now. ;) *phew*

Now that I’ve gotten rid of all of that, I should be able to write rationally:

My review (and hopefully not a gushfest *blush*) for Leviathan is here. When I read it last summer I fell hard for the story, the characters, and omg, the era (EEEeeee WWI era! <-- so much for being rational). I slept with it under my pillow everyday, no joke.*

Then along came the sequel, Behemoth, a couple months later in October and I loved it just as much as I did the first (hmm...I never reviewed this book...maybe I ought to?).

Now, the final book in the trilogy is coming out this fall, and I can hardly wait for it, though the release date has been moving around. First it was sometime in October. Later, SW announced that it would be released the 13th of September, and now apparently, the date has been pushed back a week to September 20th. *sigh*

Some VERY VERY VERY LUCKY people might have already gotten an ARC of this SURE TO BE AWESOME book today in BEA, from 1-2 today, Scott Westerfeld was there signing GOLIATH ARCS. *cries*

But it’s okay. I can wait 117 days. I have waited before for HP, Hunger Games, and other series, so I can definitely wait for this book.

I have predictions for this final novel as to what will happen to Alek with his royal title, Deryn, and certain revelations, but they shall come later, maybe the day before the release date. But Scott Westerfeld told Alan Cumming that the story will have a happy ending, so thinking positively, there will be! Hehehe. Can’t wait to read reviews when they start coming out. :)

* Well for two days, but that’s because I read the book at night and I had to put it somewhere before I fell asleep...


An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun-but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predicability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself by Printz medalist John Green, acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska.

-totally copied down from inside cover

So there I was last week, strolling down the shelves of my school’s library, wondering what to do. In my left hand I had 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, and in my right I had An Abundance of Katherines and I was reading the blurbs for both, trying to decide upon which book to quickly check out before the lunch bell rang. Umm...Johnson or Green? Road trip across Europe or road trip across midwest USA? Er...Envelopes or Katherines?!

And then of course, I ended up picking Green, the road trip across midwest USA, and Katherines because of the line about the Austro-Hungarian Archduke. (If you know how geeky I get with anything that has to do with the WWI era, my decision shouldn’t surprise you so much. :D)

I read the book after school.

And then the next day in class when we had free time.

Then after school again.

Then the next day, I took it out of my backpack in the same class and read it. And I finished it. Then I closed the book and thought about it while sketching stage floor plans for the rest of the hour.

And now I’m finally getting to write this review a couple days later.

I don’t know how John Green does it really. He manages to create the craziest and sometimes unbelievable scenarios for high schoolers and well, makes them believable. I’ve never seen or heard of a girl who runs away and leaves clues for her friends to find her, or of a heartbroken guy leaving on a road trip to discover a mathematical theory about relationships, but hey, his stories work. ;)

I adored Q in Paper Towns. He was smart, funny, nerdy, and oh-so-obsessed with Margo, and Colin’s exactly like him, expect he’s more smarter (in a prodigious type way), (not funnier though), nerdier, and oh my goodness, even more obsessed with his Katherines. For that last reason alone, Colin Singleton, the Chicago prodigy, was um, a bit exasperating? I wanted to knock some sense into him in the beginning. WHY OH WHY was he moping around about the 19th Katherine dumping him so much when he was intelligent and had so much to live for other than a relationship? But then, that was the point, I thought. Colin’s full of himself sometimes, and with him getting so frustrated about being so textbook-y, his insecurities about himself, shine through. If Colin didn't have his insecurities, his character development wouldn’t have been more interesting and thought-provoking.

Hassan, Colin’s jocular, religious-but-not-really best friend, was one of my favorite characters. His dynamic with Colin, how he helps Colin get back on his feet with encouragement and silliness, and how he improves himself in the process is heartwarming. (There’s this scene at the very end with Hassan that left me relieved and grinning like crazy. Seriously, I couldn’t stop grinning like a lunatic for several pages.) I liked Lindsey Wells and thought her relationship with the duo and her personality was interesting. And oh the setting? The story was kind of refreshing, being set in a farmland. I actually thought Gutshot, Tennessee was real for a second in the beginning.

About the actual story itself, there are some parts that dragged, but there would always be a scene so poignant, so touching right after that all the traces of the dull part vanishes. The situations Colin and Hassan get into with wild feral boars, crazy interviews, and the Katherines were funny and silly but always end up moving you in some way or another.

The writing (.....Must...Resist....Gushing...Must...Stay...Calm...), John Green’s style, flows, as I said before when reviewing Paper Towns. It’s never strained and the dialogue is always rhythmic and natural. John Green’s writing style highly impressed me when reading Paper Towns and Katherines reminded me how brilliant I thought it was again.

And...adding to the awesome writing, characters, and story, is the format of the book. I learned several German, Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, and Ancient Greek words because of its footnotes! Green’s hilarious, quirky notes about Colin, the languages he knows, and what’s happening/Colin’s past were always quite informative and also quite hysterical. It feels like the format makes the book sometimes. ;)

An Abundance of Katherines is a coming-of-age tale about being careful with insecurities, finding out what you truly need in life, sticking by your friends through thick and thin, and being okay with yourself, being (and staying) unique by being yourself, and making math interesting. I enjoyed it very much. Even though it’s considered lighter fare than Paper Towns and Looking For Alaska (which I still have to read), the book being about high school grads and all, the language is a bit strong and there’s some stuff being talked about, so I recommend it for people....13+.

If seeing that Archduke Franz Ferdinand makes a cameo here somehow doesn’t excite you like it did me, I hope this review did! An Abundance of Katherines, though not perfect, is a truly lovely story. John Green is SO good with his formula.



Riddle: What do Katniss Everdeen, Tintin, and Colin Singleton all have in common?

(Answer to the riddle included in the comments.)

1) Twitter burst into excitement today, and the server died for a while and that’s probably because EW released a brand new and shiny exclusive picture of Jennifer Lawrence Katniss Everdeen!

Fierce and brunette with a bow and arrow in hand- YES, Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss! EEEEEEEEP. (I’m glad Gary Ross and his crew weren’t joking about sticking to the character descriptions in the books. :D) The Hunger Games outfit (bow, arrow and mockingjay pin included) is making the fangirl hidden inside of me dance, but I probably won’t give in to the temptation until the trailer comes out.

*cough* Now they just have to release Josh Hutcherson’s picture as Peeta.....and I’m praying hoping that his transformation will be good as Jennifer’s (since I put a lot of expectations on his makeup crew before) I’m waiting with bated breath and crossed fingers...

2) For any Tintin fans out there, the trailer for the movie came out a couple days ago!

The aeroplanes, fights, Thompson and Thompson, and the Unicorn crashing into the waves all give out a Tintin vibe so I’m pumped for the movie. The motion capture is kind of.....eerie or weird? I don’t know what I think of it but I’m just hoping I’ll get used to the animation before December (with it being directed by Steven Spielberg, there's no way I can't not watch it, even with the animation!).

3) If you’re into YA, and you haven't read An Abundance of Katherines by John Green yet, then
read it! That’s all. I keep on saying this, but I’m going to write a proper review for this soon (no, seriously, I will!), but I whole-heartedly recommend it. Just don’t get put off with Colin Singleton’s character too soon, because it's worth it in the end. Why yes it is. :D

Ciao for now,