Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Top Ten Series I Need To Finish

Hosted by: The Broke and Bookish
 You know, I've become somewhat notorious for not completing series lately, which is really weird because I didn't used to be that way inclined at all!  But I suppose I'm reading more ongoing series these days (and then I get scared by the last book which is why so many of these I've read all but the last book).  The first half of these are series I plan to savor though, so I don't expect to finish them soon as some of them have been beloved since I was a kid, and all of these authors have died so I know I won't be getting anything new from them *sniffles*.  The second half I have no excuses for though, so I need to get to them haha!

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Martin the Warrior (Redwall, #6)

Man, this series is such a definitive part of my childhood. I am so sad that I've only got about three books in the series left. I own almost all the books too, although I'm sure I'm missing a few other than the last ones I haven't read.  The one pictured above is my favourite, although Mariel of Redwall was a close favourite!

Discworld by Terry Pratchett

The Wee Free Men (Discworld, #30)

Happily for me, I only discovered Terry Pratchett in the past year, so I've only read The Wee Free Men.  I have so many Discworld books to look forward to!  Now if only I could figure out what order to read it in....

Animorphs by K.A. Applegate

The Message (Animorphs, #4)

Speaking of definitive parts of childhood, I'm pretty sure I didn't read anything else during 5th grade.  (Ok that's a lie. I read Harry Potter too. But still.) I'm actually surprised I never finished the series, and I'm a little foggy on how far I actually got since I looked up what happened a few years ago.  Turns out that libraries don't have the whole series together anymore! So I've started collecting my own copies of this because I am determined to shove this series into every kid old enough to handle it's face because it is one of those IMPORTANT series. Important with a capital I.

Pern by Anne McCaffrey

 Dragonflight (Pern, #1)

 Ah sci-fi telepathic dragons. How can you NOT love this series?  And there are so many branches off of it that, like Discworld, it's sometimes hard to know what to read next!  Luckily I have quite a few of these left to read as well :)

Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones

 Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1)

Oh I love Diana Wynne Jones and I still have her longest series to look forward to!  


Gods & Monsters by Kelly Keaton

A Beautiful Evil (Gods & Monsters, #2)

 Holy crap! In looking up this series I just discovered there's a fourth book that was just published!  ..that..I marked as to read already so I must have known about it and forgotten about it and gone through this whole swirl of emotions already.  Whoops.  I seriously LOVED the first two books in this series though, the mythology and world building are really awesome, and it uses the two together in a fairly unique way for what you usually see. I mean...post-apocalyptic, paranormal, Greek mythology? How often do you see THAT combination?

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

 Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)

I've enjoyed the first two books a lot, but it's missing that something that has me jumping to the next book. It's weird because as soon as I started the second book (which I also delayed on) I was like...oh yeah I really liked this! Why did I take so long? ...and yet here I am doing the exact same thing on the third book haha

Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)

There's just so many books!! I know there's a lot of books in the other series I listed earlier, but with the exception of Animorphs, the stories are somewhat self contained so it doesn't MATTER that much if you remember things between books!  I got thoroughly confused with this series after waiting to long and am going to have to commit to rereading it and there's just so many more books left to get to!  How on earth does he manage to write so many??

Hound Saga by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Princess and the Hound (The Hound Saga, #1)

So I'm an unpopular opinion on this one, but I REALLY liked this story.  It's very much an original fairy tale, but told in a similar manner and style to a traditional one.  And that is just so my thing.  So of course I want to read the rest!  But I'm bad about going to the library for hard copies (although I DO think this library has one - my last one didn't), so I haven't checked the next book out yet.

Killer Unicorns by Diana Peterfreund

Rampant (Killer Unicorns, #1)

GUYS GUYS GUYS IT'S VENOMOUS, MAN-EATING UNICORNS!! I mean come on.  It's AWESOME.  Plus it has an interesting dialogue on sex that I feel you don't get to see too often, particularly in fantasy based novels. (Hint: sex positivity, but about NOT having sex! I'm happy enough when I see sex positivity of any kind, but it's always about having sex, which is good too, but I like having both options!)  But I really, REALLY don't have an excuse with this one - my awesome Secret Santa bought be a copy for my Christmas present, and I've had 9 months to get to it already...I just haven't.  BUT I WILL.

What about you guys? What series are you behind on?  Tell me or leave a link in the comments!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Day in the Life #39 + August Wrap Up

First, I just wanted to send out a big thank you to everyone who has commented on the blog, (or sent me tweets!)  Every message from you guys is always such a huge boost for me, and I have had some really lovely conversations with you guys over the past few weeks.  Last Tuesday I found out that two of my colleagues died, one of whom I had been fairly close with my first year in grad school, and it was just such a help that you guys have been so open and friendly, and really your comments just carried me through that (even thought none of you knew anything about this).  Sometimes I get to feeling a bit cursed, because short of people who have survived war or natural disaster, I feel like I've had more friends and family die in my lifetime than most of my other friends (my age) combined.  Which is really a self-pitying way of putting it seeing as I'm one of the lucky ones who has gotten through life this far, and being surrounded by so many positive people both in person and online snaps me out of that nonsense pretty quickly because I really have had such a lucky life.  But these two have been in my thoughts constantly over the last couple weeks, and every time I listen to a CSO recording of Tchaikovsky 4, I will almost certainly think of Alex.  
So, basically the past couple weeks have been INTENSE.  I had an audition tape due on Tuesday, but had planned on finishing everything by Monday night to submit it.  There were a series of problems:

1. I couldn't get the link for submitting to work
2. It was a video/audio audition tape and while I had the audio....I accidentally deleted the video.  Because I am dumb. But it was a good lesson to know.
3. When I DID get the link to work they said they weren't accepting submissions anymore even though the deadline. 

So basically I didn't sleep (and Monday and Tuesdays I work at two jobs so I have loooooong days) and spent my first four hours awake on Tuesday anxiously awaiting an e-mail saying whether they'd let me submit or not, only to realize that when they did say it was ok that I literally had 45 minutes to get a take of my concerto. So basically I cycled between despair, elation, and exhaustion haha.  The good news is that I got a good take on my second try which is AWESOME because the Mozart is super not my forte.  Unfortunately, the likelihood of me ever being called for this group is slim since I only found out about the audition two weeks ago and they're kind of doing a first come first serve which has been open since June and there's only ever going to be one oboe position open (also assuming they even like the tape I sent in).  BUT it was definitely well worth doing.  It didn't cost me any money, and it really jump started me on the Mozart (which I usually procrastinate on working on since I have such a hard time with it).  It also means I have video recordings saved up for the next time a video recording comes in on short notice which is an investment in and of itself!

So it was a rough, stressful time I've been spending away from the blog, but it definitely hasn't been all bad.

Bookish Discussions

Yash shares How Fan Art Affects My TBR Pile.
Iowa barber gives haircuts to children in exchange for them reading stories to him
Mark lists 5 Things Dystopias Get Wrong About Dictatorships.
Catherine wrote an article on What I Learned Sending My Novel Out Under a Male Name.
Kelley designed another Tarot of YA Lit: 2. The High Priestess.
Abby explores The Psychology of Fandom: Why We Get Attached to Fictional Characters.
Jamie talks about Perception, Reality & Our Super Reader Community.

Specific Authors/Books

Amy rants about Casual Sexism in Fantasy & The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace.
Emily says that James Potter Didn’t Change So That Lily Evans Would Marry Him.
Heather went to the Jane Austen Center And The Fashion Museum (and I am so jealous!)
Amy talks about Why We Need More Girls Like Rose Hathaway. (Yes!! So much yes!)
Theresa talks about why Clive Barker is amazing, influential, and just all around incredible.

Bookish Fun Stuff

18 “Game Of Thrones” Moments Improved By “Monty Python And The Holy Grail” Quotes - These are PRICELESS.  I'm torn between #16 and #18 being my favourites haha!
La La talks about her Tell Me Tuesday feature (which you should all do because it is fun!)
There's a Gentleman Bastards readalong going on (in case you wanted to join in!).  I've been crazy busy so haven't been able to reread the series as I'd planned, but I've enjoyed the posts analyzing what's going on, as well as fun ones like Kritika's favourite quotes so far! (Edit: I think it might be over now actually...this is what happens when I get behind on sharing posts!)
Gillian wrote up another YA Sorting Hat: Book Boyfriends Part II.


Amanda Palmer shares her concerns as an artist and soon-to-be mother in No, I Am Not Crowdfunding This Baby.
Stephen Colbert outlines Why He Thinks Women Should Be in Charge of Everything.
Jeff says No, It's Not Your Opinion. You're Just Wrong.
Sarah and Nicole posted a guide on How To Tell If You Are In A Korean Drama. (HAHAHAHA.  But...yeah...it's pretty on point.)
Daniel writes an expose: People who should be released from jail are dying there instead.
Sara talks about Villain Soundtracks.
Mari Ness analyzes The Last of the Classic Disney Greats: Sleeping Beauty in a way I never would have thought of on my own, and it's very interesting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Books On My Manga and Anime 101 Syllabus

Hosted by: The Broke and Bookish

 What would be on my syllabus if I taught Manga and Anime 101?  Well funny you should ask that.  Needless to say, a lot of these titles are going to start sounding very familiar to my regular readers students.  In fact, a good portion of these are probably going to be discussed later in the semester, so be prepared! ;)


Why?:  Because it is practically peerless when it comes to character development, world building, and plot.  This is also a great anime (and I'm assuming manga although I haven't read it yet) for someone new to anime because it is so strong as a show and because it doesn't have a lot of the quirks (that can often feel like an inside joke that you aren't getting when you first start getting into the medium) that many other animes have.  I have a thing about anime opening themes, and this is definitely one of my favourites.


 Why?:  This would be good for a later class because you need to have at least a small understanding of shoujo manga for it to work.  It's a great dissection of shoujo manga because it's a satire, but never in a way that ridicules the genre in a mean way, just playfully points out how ridiculous it sometimes can be.

 While neither of these shows are really up my alley, nor would they be the ones I would generally recommend to a friend, they are incredibly important.  These shows are what brought anime into Western culture.  Without these shows, I probably never would have had the opportunity to even see an anime! 

Why?:  To show that audience divisions in anime/manga are not so clear cut (Hint: Despite appearances, this is not in fact a shoujo series).  It would also be good to point out how powerful anime can be - they actually created a band for the show that went on tours. (Also, the music is AWESOME. I bought the entire soundtrack.)

http://images-cdn.moviepilot.com/image/upload/c_fill,h_236,w_507/t_mp_quality/19hm-cowboy-bebop-fan-cast-jpeg-95386.jpgWhat Avatar: The Last Airbender Character Are You?

This would be great for a discussion on what makes something anime or not (plus both shows are fantastic).  Cowboy Bebop is Japanese, but feels very Western, while AtLA is technically not anime as it is not Japanese but actually a Western created show that relies heavily on Asian artwork.


Why?: For one, I don't have any other josei on this list. For two, it's one of the best anime/mangas I've seen.  It's also pretty progressive as far as manga goes - it features a cross dresser and as far as I've seen it's done pretty realistically (as in the character isn't just used to be a punchline.  In fact, he's probably the most normal character in the series).  I'd recommend this one for newbies to anime/manga!  Also, it has one of my favourite openings ever. 

Hana Yori Dango by Yoko Kamio


Ok first let me get this off my chest. I much prefer Yoko Kamio's Cat Street. I think it is better in every possible way as I have some SERIOUS issues with Hana Yori Dango.  But if we're going to talk about influential manga, it would be incredibly remiss of me not to look at this one.  There's something to be said of a manga that is over a decade old and is still the best selling shoujo manga of all time.  It has been adapted not only into a manga and two Japanese live dramas, but also three Taiwanese dramas, a Korean drama, an Indian drama, and even an American remake.  It's influence on shoujo manga as a whole and on other cultures is immeasurable.

Too bad it couldn't have been Cat Street instead.


 xxxHolic by CLAMP

Why?: The artwork is without comparison the best I've come across in manga, so this one would be a good one to focus on the visual aspects of the medium.  It's also created by an all female group which is awesome.  It's got a great opening as well.


Why?:  I feel like it's impossible to do a class mentioning anime without looking at Miyazaki's work.  Really any of his works would be great - most people I know found him through Howl's Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke is I think one of his most iconic works, or there Nausicaa of the Valley, which is also a manga incidentally. (But I haven't watched/read either yet).  Spirited Away is my personal favourite (closely followed by Princess Mononoke, or if we open it up to any Studio Ghibli work, then The Cat Returns), but really you could choose any of Miyazaki's films because they're all beautiful.

Skip Beat! by Yoshiki Nakamura


Why?: If I were going to try and get someone to read a manga, I'd do exactly what my friend did to me: trick them by having them watch this anime until they're hooked and HAVE to know what happens.  I could wax poetical about how Kyoko is one of my all time favourite heroines ever, or how Ren and Kyoko are probably my ultimate OTP, or how as a musician I relate to the story line here about acting so much but those have less to do with teaching and more to do with me.  So I guess really...it's because it's my favourite and just everyone should read it!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Anime and Manga 101: Introduction

In the long while I've been off the blog, I seem to have been spending all my time working practicing crying over the misery that is making reeds watching a lot of anime.  I've mentioned my love of anime/manga on the blog before, but my recent descent into almost exclusively watching anime and a brief conversation on Twitter with someone who mentioned they wished they had a guide to anime and manga got me thinking.  In short, I have a new feature (do I have other features? Is this a thing I do?), and without further ado let's begin our first class!

First, a little background on your teacher.  (You may call me Sensei.) I didn't grow up reading manga or watching anime, and although I'd say it's definitely growing in popularity (well, at least the latter) it's definitely not a part of mainstream American culture.  In fact, the only reason I started watching anime at all was because I was horribly, horribly ill my sophomore year.  I was vomiting every 10 minutes for a full 24 hours (Literally. I timed it.) and when you're that sick it's pretty much impossible to focus on anything at all.  It just so happens that it was during one of those short breaks on tv where all the shows are on hiatus for a couple weeks and I was desperate for ANYTHING to take my mind off being that sick.  As I was browsing through Hulu, I stumbled across a show that I remember a middle school friend of mine being totally obsessed with - Inuyasha.

Let's just say it's a miracle that I ever watched anime again.*
*Don't watch Inuyasha. Just don't do it. Seriously.

Luckily, I am a plucky heroine and started Fruits Basket after like 23904812021342334 of Inuyasha NOT GETTING THE FREAKING SHARDS. SERIOUSLY HOW LONG DOES THAT TAKE???? and a new love was born!  While I hadn't actively avoided anime growing up - a combination of having no time and not being allowed to watch tv for most of my childhood did that - I did actively avoid manga.  I thought it was something only really nerdy people did (and well...to be honest, I'm not sure that's entirely wrong. I know people who only watch anime, but the people who really love anime are the ones who read manga. And I don't know anyone who only reads manga).  Well, not long after my love for anime was solidified, a friend HORRIBLY DECEIVED me (but that's a story for another day) and I got drawn into manga.  In his defense, it's still my favourite ongoing manga, so I suppose I should be thanking him.

But Sensei, you might be thinking, why are you wasting our precious class time with this story?  I use it to show you that I didn't find anime until I was well into adulthood.  (Ok, technically I guess I'd only been an adult for a year or two. WHATEVER. DETAILS.) And while I didn't grow up with anime, I have definitely spent the past six years making up for lost time.  So what does that all mean?  I guarantee you there is an anime out there for you.  That's right - I used the words GUARANTEE.  So, put your trust and faith in me, and I will lead you to the anime for you!

Teach me the way of the horse sensei!. . Hill Wm MIN? BEEN’ THINGS. MY SWEET Mill SHAH HUN FEM}!. Colt sure has grown up.

Before we get started on specific anime, we've got some basics we need to get covered.  Most people have many misconceptions about anime.  Point in case - my father's reaction upon hearing that I was watching anime:  "WHAT?? You mean that animated PORN???"  (Despite my many attempts at explaining that anime does not equal porn, that would be like saying all literature is literotica I'm pretty sure he still believes that anime is animated porn.)  The other main stigma is that it's only for children, but as most of my students here are young adult bloggers, I'm guessing that won't be a hard stigma to overcome.  Anime is just as diverse as our literature - there's anime out there for any age and any interest, and you'll pretty quickly learn what you like and what you don't like in your anime.

When you start watching anime, or particularly when reading manga, you'll probably notice some terms while searching for new stories (and occasionally in the manga itself) that you won't recognize.  We're going to start today's class by touching on what some of those terms are.  Today we're only going to focus on the terms the Japanese use for which audience the manga or anime is being marketed to as it's a good place to start when looking for manga.

Audience type is decided by which magazine publishes the manga.  In Japan, where the mangas are first released, they're released chapter by chapter rather than entire volumes.  (I'm not well-versed enough in comics to know if that's how we do it here too).  Each chapter is usually around 30 pages, and they're released anywhere from a weekly to bi-monthly basis. (Don't be concerned that you can only get a chapter at a time - if the manga does well enough they're published as volumes like we do with graphic novels).  The magazine each manga is published in has a specific audience they market to - Shojo Beat, for example, publishes chapters from manga that is  marketed for girls.  As we know from our giant blend that is young adult, audience level often has little to do with what type of story you are going to find, so while I give you generalizations for each audience level below, just keep that in mind.  In fact, in researching which mangas were what I was surprised to find that many of the ones I had thought were for men were for boys and that quite a few I had thought were for girls were actually marketed for men.  So while I give these terms for you as a good place to choose your first story from, I definitely recommend using the manga or anime you choose as a springboard for choosing your next one rather than sticking exclusively in one audience level.

This image (courtesy of Ningen) is from El Cazador de la Bruja, a fun anime with some kickass ladies.

This is manga typically geared towards boys (below 18).  It usually has a low emphasis on romance, a male lead,  and usually encompasses more sci-fi/fantasy/action genres.  That being said, don't think because this is a younger genre that you won't encounter mature themes - any of you who recognize Death Note or Attack on Titan wouldn't consider those light fare.  It's just like Young Adult fiction - you get a wide range of subject matter.

You might know: Pokemon, Attack on Titan
My favourites: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Darker Than Black

This image comes from Koi dano Ai dano (but is redrawn by Yabuki-you) which is tied with Skip Beat! for favourite ongoing manga.

This is manga geared towards girls (below 18).  The artwork tends to be much more delicate than shounen or seinen (and it usually has a lot of flowers and stars thrown in for good measure haha!)  It is almost entirely comprised of either magical girls (think Sailor Moon) or more contemporary/slice of life plots.  They almost always have a school setting and have a much heavier focus on romantic relationships than shounen or seinen.  The latter stories (which are the bulk of the genre)  are directly comparable to our contemporary YA novels, and as with our contemporary YA the stories can range from fluffy and cute to more serious slice-of-life stories.

You might know: Boys Over Flowers, Fruits Basket
My favourites: Skip Beat!, Cat Street

This is another all time favourite (and incidentally has one of my favourite opening songs).  This is a good one for newbies - it doesn't have some of the tropes/quirks you come to expect in anime and manga!

This is manga geared towards women (18+).  It takes on a much more realistic view on relationships (and may delve into more mature subject material where that is concerned, although it's rarely extensive or graphic), whereas shoujo is more idealized relationships.  It also focuses more on careers and familial and platonic relationships as well.

You might know: Honey and Clover, Nodame Cantabile
My favourites: Princess Jellyfish, Nana

xxxHolic has by far my favourite art out of all the anime and mangas I've seen.  I want to frame like every cover and inner color pictures because they're all so gorgeous.  Seriously - google image xxxHolic. The entire search pages is freaking beautiful.

 This is manga geared towards men (18+).  It's pretty much all-encompassing when it comes to genres, and to be quite honest I usually mistake mangas in this audience for other audiences.

You might know: Berserk, Battle Royale
My favourites: xxxHolic, Angel Beats!

You might be thinking, well this information sure is interesting and all, but I still don't know where to start! Should I read the manga or watch the anime? Where do I even get all these things? And wait...hold on...isn't everything in Japanese????  Well don't panic, I've got you covered -


Unfortunately due to this unexpected fire alarm (aka blogger deleting a full week's worth of work so I had to start the whole bloody lesson plan over from scratch), this week's class has been cut short.  But no worries, I promise next class we'll talk about where to start and how to get there!  Your homework is to think about what anime you think you'd like to start!  While this is a level 101 class, so it is geared towards anime newbies (especially these first few lessons), all levels of otaku are welcome and accepted and as always class discussions and recommendations are always welcome below!  (And remember, class discussions help to keep your participation grades up!)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Musings: Social media, screaming into the void, and stereotyping grandmas.

I'm sure many of you have heard about what happened with Katie M. Stout, author of Hello, I Love You over Twitter last week (wow I started writing this a long time ago!).   I feel like almost all bookish drama goes over my head because I so rarely get on Twitter, but that consequently every time I get on Twitter I just see this huge spiral of negativity as people attack other people, and then defenders of said victims pile on top of the attackers and it just snow balls from there.  And it's not only book drama - it's just easier for me to ignore the rest because A. I'm not in any way involved in said life drama and B. It's usually not about someone who I care about or know.  (Not that it makes it any better in any way - it's just easier to emotionally remove myself from the situation).  I get really, really stressed out when it comes to conflict.  If I've got a problem with someone I'm generally pretty direct.  I like to resolve things quickly because conflict stresses. me. out.  Twitter is basically a breeding ground for misunderstandings - it's easy for people  to get upset when things are taken out of context, and at 140 characters, it's like EVERYTHING is out of context.  (Not that people aren't straight up offensive on Twitter - they totally are, but I feel like the limit often makes both statements and reactions seem more extreme than they were intended to be and it just spirals from there).

On top of all of the dog piling, it often feels like there are millions of people all talking at the same time and they keep trying to be louder than everyone else and sometimes they're yelling to you or the universal you or they're having a semi-private conversation but talking over every one in doing so and it's just so overwhelming.

 I want to be sure that I add that this has nothing to do with any users or Twitter users in general, it's just that I think I'm so ill-used to dealing with so many people talking at one time that I'm at a loss at how to process it.  Twitter is, well, loud.  And with so many people talking at one time, it's not only overwhelming to try and follow what everyone is saying, it's completely intimidating to try and break into.  I'm not very good with large crowds of people, and that doesn't change when it's a virtual environment.  I love that people get to interact with all sorts of people they wouldn't ordinarily be able to talk to, but it's intimidating to talk to people I don't know and just sort of...interrupt a conversation. (I'm getting better about this. I think?) And it's scary when you see how quickly conversations can turn into an internet mob, and it makes me feel constantly on guard in a place that seems geared towards casual conversation, which gives a weird feel to the whole thing.  It also feels like anytime you try and break through the mass of people you're just bulldozed down by millions more people.  This feeling on the fringe also brings out a side of me I thankfully rarely see. It's like I revert to all the awkwardness and insecurity I had when I was in middle school. And frankly, it's painful to behold.  Any time I'm on Twitter, I inevitably reach a point where I'm like "Why isn't anyone responding to me? They think I'm dumb don't they?! They're right I AM dumb.  I'M SO UNCOOL."

Anytime I have to remind myself "Chill Elizabeth, you're not in middle school anymore you are a GROWN ASS WOMAN", is at least one time too many.

That being said, I've had some fantastic experiences with Twitter too.   I'm taking part in OTSP Secret Sister, which is the whole reason I've been on Twitter so much in the past couple weeks at all.  If you guys don't know what it is, it's basically like a 6 month long secret santa project, but with an emphasis on positivity and letter writing and good vibes, and is basically really fun. Not going to lie, at least 20% of my brain has been on this project for the past couple weeks, seeing all the bonding that's been going on between bloggers, and of course planning what to give my secret sister (and what clues to drop her in my letters).  I'm applauding my self restraint in having only written one letter so far - I want to at least wait until she's gotten the letter before I write another haha!  (She isn't at the address she gave yet, so I've been waiting on TENTERHOOKS.)  It's been so much fun so far, and I definitely recommend giving it a go for the next round!  And regardless, the ladies from On The Same Page are wonderful and definitely worth knowing, regardless of your interest in OTSP Secret Sister!

I also took part in #LLRGirlsNight hosted by the girls at Live, Love, Read and that was definitely a lot of fun too!  It's basically like an online movie night - you get to watch a movie and chat about it on twitter while you watch! It's all the plus sides of not having to leave your house to watch a movie and getting to talk about said movie without pissing off your co-watchers haha.  Last month our pick was Sweet Home Alabama, a classic chick flick for those of us born in the 90s and I met loads of new awesome people (and got to talk swoons and sassy Southern girls, always a bonus).  It's going to be a monthly thing, and this month's movie night is going to be this Friday actually!  Voting is still ongoing for a Disney movie pick - you can vote and see all the details here. Even better? You can sign up for e-mail reminders (I think they come out day of or day before) for those of you who are forgetful like me! (I missed the first one because I totally forgot so this is perfect haha!)  In any case it's a lot of fun and went a long way into making me feel more comfortable on Twitter, which despite my what must be close to a year on the site now is only something I've been feeling comfortable with in the past month or so.

And of course a shout out to LaLa who tweets something positive my way almost every Friday (and for the better part of the past year is probably the only reason I ever got on Twitter in the first place!).  She's a guarantee my Friday is going to have a feel good moment :)

So where does this leave me?  Well, for better or worse I'll be sticking around Twitter as it's part of the fun of the #OTSPSecretSister Project.  I'm trying to limit my (already fairly low) usage of Twitter - if I'm starting to feel middle school-ish I make myself get offline.  And I'm hoping the fact that I'm using it so much will continue to make it feel more comfortable for me and just erase my middle school person for good.

It's also definitely made me more sympathetic to (typically) older generations who struggle with newer technology. If I, at 25, have a hard time with Twitter - a technology I have been acquainted with for almost a year now, and whose technological foundation has been created during my teen years - it's no wonder that technology that is moving so fast would baffle a lot of people for whom it's been practically the blink of an eye.  (I also realized I have a selective memory - I didn't move onto Facebook until 3 years after it's founding - dinosaur years in technological time - and flatly refused to have a smart phone until it was the only cheap option by the time I hit grad school.  Which might not sound that bad until you realize that was only three years ago for me.  So clearly I have never been particularly good about embracing new technology.)  But before I go and say it's the older generations only who have trouble with new technology - I dropped the kids I nanny off at their grandmother's house a few weeks ago, and she was happily sharing photos with friends on Instagram (an app/site/I don't even technically know what it is).  So really it comes down to what you find important in your life - not your age.  So, like many others who struggle with technology, at the end of the day I'll have to figure out what I think makes life easier, and what is merely a distraction - and we'll see if Twitter makes the cut.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Day in the Life #39: In which Elizabeth laughs at her dreams of posting regularly

Things I have managed to do regularly (if with varying success):
1. Work out every Sunday for the past three weeks
2. Practice every day/make reeds every day for the past week even when I was so tired I fell asleep mid-reed making session (hence the...varying success part of this equation)

Things I have not managed to do regularly:
1. Be on time to ANY of my jobs.  In my defense, I also wasn't more than 5 minutes late, but I'd been doing so well! Why am I so bad at convincing myself that I do NOT in fact have 5 more minutes to lie in bed?
2. Write more than one blog post a week
3.  Read every day.  Or even every other day. Or even every other other day.

I mean...on the upside my priorities are actually on point with this one? (Although I should proooobably get to work on time.)  But it would be NICE if I was able to do all of the above.  I am pretty proud of myself about the practicing and working out.  I have a hard time motivating myself when I don't actually have anything to practice for. BUT I have an audition I'm applying for in September and another one in October, so I can't let myself slack on practicing.  (Although I may allow myself Mondays off...falling asleep in the middle of a reed making session is probably a good indicator that 12 hour work days on your feet + concentration on oboe stuff is just...not compatible haha.  I might see if I can make that a score study day though...)  

And the working out is actually also important for auditions, and it just happens to be fortuitous that I started this before I knew about the auditions.  It might not be an apparent connection, but when you're a wind player, cardio is kind of an important part of the job.  I'd gotten away with not working out for it for a number of years because I was on swim team and then I worked in a restaurant with four floors so I didn't need it...but it's become apparent over the past few years that my breath support is not nearly what it was, and I can't afford to have that become a problem for me.  So now I just need to convince myself to get cardio in at least TWICE a week (baby steps here!).  It's hard because I feel suuuuuper self conscious working out when there are people around.  That's part of the reason I can work out on Sundays - I work at the gym so I can work out before or after close.  But weekdays we open super early in the morning and close super late at night so....that's not going to fly.  So I'm going to have to get over this somehow.

Honestly, that's all my past couple weeks have been - working, working out, and practicing.  And it's likely all my next two months are going to be too, just add in a few melt downs (that will exponentially get more frequent the closer I get to the audition dates).  I would say hey, remember what I was like when I was prepping for my recital? And then I remembered - OH WAIT.  You stopped posting!  So don't be surprised if I drop off the face of the earth for a few months.  I'm hoping I won't need to - if all I'm doing is working and practicing, I might burn out and I can't afford to do that.  I need to be fresh for the auditions, so I'm going to need something to help me chill out.  If only blogging weren't so bloody time consuming!  It's probably my most priceless commodity at the moment!  So...we'll see.

Blogger Discussions

Christina has Reflections, or, WHOOOOO IS THIS GIRL I SEEEE?
Annie talks about feeling her age in the blogging community.

Bookish Discussions

Amy asks can you separate the author from their book?
Yash has some suggestions for reluctant readers: TV SHOW SUPPLEMENTS AND COMPLEMENTS.  (These selections - of which there are many, are AWESOME. SO AWESOME.  Like there are even things in here I never would have thought of combining and they're so perfect and now I just want to watch and read all fo these things at the same time.)
Cuddlebuggerys Buzz Worthy News from July 6th is particularly buzz worthy.
Kelley is creating a tarot deck with YA characters. Up first?  Tarot of YA Lit | 1: The Magician

Specific Books and Authors

Why you won't find Katie on social media - Whatever you might think about Katie's book Hello, I Love You, it doesn't excuse what happened this past week.  I would also like to say that I've been following Katie's blog for at least a year now, maybe longer and I don't for a second think that the views of the MC in her books mirror her own views.  I haven't read the book, but I get the idea that her MC is very intolerant.  Katie loves K-pop and K-dramas, so I know she doesn't look down on them or consider them lesser things. Just sayin.  I actually started following her because of her love for said things.  So I'm very sad that I won't be seeing her presence on the internet anymore.  And do we really need to say that attacking an author on a public forum en mass is not cool?  If you have a problem with the author's writing, I'm not saying stay silent - just keep it in your own space.  Write a review on Goodreads or your blog, or post a review on Amazon/Barnes and Nobles.  And if you think it's important that the author sees why it's problematic, by all means contact them - maybe you'll even be able to write differently in their next book (or if it's not published yet to change it in that book)!  Just do it privately. And preferably constructively.  
Author Brewer Announces Gender Transition - I recently went to check and see of Zac's book was out yet (I knew it was coming out at some point in 2015) and I was pleasantly surprised to see his name was already changed on his books and that his author name all his books linked to was listed as Zac!  (Sadly, no the book I'm waiting for is not out yet)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Unpopular Opinions Tag

Created by: TheBookArcher

I was tagged by LaLa in what turns out to be perfect timing as I haven't done a tag and AGES (and you know how much I love tags!) and I've been posting pretty infrequently. (Guys I don't think I've had a discussion post since like...April. This needs to change!) So in an effort to get back to at least a regular posting schedule, here is my unpopular opinions tag!

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)
Definitely Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.  I wanted to like it since I definitely have more than a few blogger friends who loved it...but it definitely wasn't for me. (Especially after I googled the series to see how it ended. Just because I have no intention of finishing it, doesn't mean I don't want to know what happened!)


The Coldest Girl in ColdtownThe Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)

Oh man I had to go browse my Goodreads shelves to find something that fit this - I'm usually a black sheep on the opposite side of things!  Both of these have really mixed reviews so I'm not sure if they truly fit the bill.  But I'd say my Goodreads friends are a mix of 1/3 liking 2/3 disliking on both and I'm pretty sure both made my top ten books for last year (or if they didn't they were definite contenders)


Hmm..I tend to like the winning ship in books, very luckily for me.  Not so in tv shows though - I totally shipped the wrong couple in You're Beautiful!

(I will go down with this ship...I won't put my hands up, and surrender. There will be no white flag above my head...I'm in love, and always will be)


Contemporary, although I really couldn't tell you why.  Mark that double for any adult book that's won a super prestigious award (unless it's a sci-fi one).


Warner.  Admittedly I only read the first book, but still.  *SPOILERS* This almost qualifies for the above category but 1. I only read the first book so I technically haven't read the book where they get together, and 2. I thought Adam was super boring so between the two options...I didn't even have a toy sailboat's worth of ship launching. *END SPOILERS*


Anne Rice.  I tried SO HARD. I even read a non-vampire book by her!  (The only book of hers I actually finished - and for me to not finish a book is really saying something)


Honestly, I'm pretty tired of The Chosen One. I don't mind it being a thing if it's not a foretold destiny, it doesn't involve super powers that are so much harder/better/faster/stronger than any other super powers, it involves the main character just magically being amazing at things. (Celaena is a badass and she's great at her job - but she's also been training at it since she was a child.  Harry is a powerful wizard, but he's not the smartest/best either - Hermione is. Although...eh this one's tenuous, but hey I read it before I got annoyed by this trope)  Obviously it's something I end up reading a lot since I primarily read fantasy, but I appreciate it so much more when the trope is subverted - very much how I feel about my historical romance novels actually.


Matched (Matched, #1)

I honestly can't remember what put it on my very smalldon't-do-it bookshelf, but well...that's why I have that shelf.  I've too often accidentally read a book I had forgotten I knew I wasn't going to like. (Well that was a complicated sentence...)


Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)

Guys, I don't know why I thought THE ENTIRE book community was wrong...but I did. I only read this under duress and was convinced I would hate it because...well vampires and I don't have a great history.  In fact other than Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (any Holly Black gets all exceptions because she is the greatest), I actually can't think of another series about vampires that I've enjoyed.  (But then I haven't tried very hard, I think I've only read Interview with a Vampire and the Twilight series haha)


I'm convinced this film is like...the greatest film of all time.  Yes, even better than The Mummy. (Shut up guys, that's a GREAT FILM TOO.)