Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chapter 3.10: Halloween Surprise

Okay, so as a Halloween treat (or trick depending on what you think of my singing) I have two videos for you, one from last and one from this. They're short versions of the Disney songs the people I dressed up as sing. Just a note, I am very awkward about singing to a camera, so it's not very theatrical and I spend a lot of time looking away from the camera. Also, stop staring at my boobs ;)

Muse from Hercules Halloween 2009

Belle Halloween 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chapter 3.9: Halloween Book Blog

Yippee! I am so glad it is finally Friday. And since it is almost Halloween (and since Halloween is on a Sunday) I wore my costume to class today. Yes, I probably got a couple of funny looks, but I also got a lot of smiles and compliments on my costume. So glad that it came together so well. Anyway, this week's blog is Halloween! Enjoy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chapter 3.8: Halloween Treats

So as everyone knows (unless they've been trapped in a cage by a mad scientist, in which case you're excused. Yes, that is the only allowable excuse) Halloween is on Sunday. Now, I'm not a huge Halloween nut like some people *coughRoncough* (for those who don't know, Ron is my roommate. And she takes her Halloween seriously. I'm talking lights, carved pumpkins, decorations etc. Our window has stick-on blood on it right now and our door is covered with a sound activated ghost pirate, spiderwebs, mummies, and eyeball lights).

But I do enjoy it. Especially dressing up, because it's really the one day as year (outside of places like ComicCon and other conventions) that you can dress like your favorite book character and no one blinks. Or you can be something like a huge pumpkin and people just say "Neat costume dude." It gives the nerds like me (and more so those nerds like me who can actually sew and create amazing costumes) a chance to be free to fly our colors. Our very odd, quirky, obscure colors. Like chartreuse and heliotrope and aquamarine and citrine (note to anyone out there thinking about flying these colors, do not put them all together into one flag. That would be freaking blinding).

I also enjoy the wonderful treats that people make during this season. Of course, you have the fantastic array of packaged candy you can buy at the store. Have you seen those lately? Some of them are monsters! I swear some of the bags weigh at least a third of what I do and will give you a sugar high inside of three minutes.

Now, for those who are unaware, there is of course a trick-or-treat candy hierarchy. Some candy is simply better than others. At the very bottom, you have the houses that give out raisins. These houses may be egged by the older and less charitable trick-or-treaters. A step up from there are the popcorn balls and chips. They are a novelty, some kids may enjoy them. They don't beat chocolate, but they're definitely better than raisins. Fruit snacks also sit around this level.

Actually candy corn, that seasonal death candy that for some reason people flock to, may be below raisins. Yes that's right, they've created a level below raisins, the ultimate trick-or-treating downer. Congratulations to Death Corn and it's compatriot, the Candy Pumpkin of Doom. (as a note, these candies do have one purpose that may set them slightly above raisins. You can make some pretty fantastic jewelry out of them. Check it out on Epbot)

Next you have Dots. I know some people like them, but personally, I never ate those. Most candy that isn't chocolate hangs out here, waiting for the chocolate to be gone from the candy bowl so that it may eventually get eaten. This includes caramels, Dum Dums, bubble gum, Mike and Ikes, Skittles, and flavored Tootsie rolls. This is not to say those candies don't have value, but speaking from experience, they're what's left in the huge tub three years later when your mom decides that the candy has hung around long enough. Carmel Apple Pop (in a league of their own, do not reside in this tier).

Then are the more obscure chocolate treats. Things like Almond Joys, Whoppers, Milk Duds, Junior Mints, regular Tootsie Rolls etc. Often this candy is enjoyed, but is held in reserve until the top tier of candy has been eaten. The novelty candy, those shaped like fingers or lips, the eyeballs filled with caramel and peanut butter, are also here. As does the Caramel Apple Pop

Now you're getting to the chocolate that draws in the crowds. You have Milky Ways, Snickers, Babe Ruth, Butterfinger, Twix. Then, on the tier that is the gold standard of the Halloween cache are Hershey's bars (or any of the miniatures in the Hershey's bag), Reese's cups and pieces, M&Ms, Kit Kat, and Crunch bars. The ultimate in kid (or adult trick-or-treater) nirvana is to get an actual full size candy bar. Especially if it's King Sized.

The sad thing about the world now is that packaged candy is as good as you can get. Because I remember, at least for a little while when I was a little kid (or maybe this was before my time, I'm not sure) when you could get a baked goody from a neighbor. Or even just having homemade treats for the Halloween party at school. That is the really gold standard, but with all the fear and danger in the world, unless the parents is absolutely certain about the adult providing the treat, children aren't allowed to eat them. They could be poisoned, contain drugs, be unsanitary, any number of things and it's really sad.

Now, I can't really bake (I'm going to learn how soon and after I graduate Mom and I are going to bake once a month) but I love seeing creative Halloween treats. Things like hot dog mummies and punch that froths and ghost sticks and pumpkin cakes. I miss those days. next Halloween (or even this Halloween if you have the time and inclination) I say we take back the night and spread the joy of homemade. Maybe you just talk with the parents of trick-or-treaters, maybe you hold a spooktastic bake sale, maybe you just do something special for yourself and a few friends. Whatever you do, let's bring back the spirit of Halloween in our food. Just to get you started, here are a couple sites with spooky recipes:
Sweet Treats
Family Fun
Spook Spectacular

Be safe and be a kid again. Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chapter 3.7: Book Blog Friday: From India to Afganistan

Wow, I just realized I haven't posted anything since last week. Sad day. Anyway, it's book day and it's being done early this week because my parents are coming up. Yay! So here is the video for this week.

Also, one of the authors I love, Jeaniene Frost, is helping out a fellow author who was kind to her when she was nervous and a new author. Michael Spradlin has a family member with serious medical issues that he's helping, which means he's not able to promote his newest book. So Jeaniene decided to help him out and spread the word. And she's enlisted the help of her fans*. So here is the info about Michael and his book:

Michael Spradlin’s third novel in his Youngest Templar series, ORPHAN OF DESTINY, comes out on October 28th.

Tristan and his companions—the fiery archer Robard Hode and the assassin maid Maryam—have escaped to England. But tragedy has occurred to Tristan’s beloved abbey while they were on the Third Crusade, and Robard’s home in Sherwood Forest suffers under the rule of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Many obstacles still prevent them from delivering the Holy Grail into safe hands. Tristan must defeat the evil Sir Hugh in one final battle. And he must learn the secret of his birth, a secret Richard the Lionheart and Eleanor of Aquitaine are willing to kill to protect!

I've read some of Spradlin's other books: Live and Let Shop and From Hawaii With Love. And he is actually very funny and sarcastic and a good writer. I haven't read the Templar series, but I may have to put it on my to be read list. Which is now about half a mile long. (No really, I think if I laid all the books down, side by side by side, it might reach half a mile)

So anyway, happy Thursday and go have some fun with literacy.

*by bribing us with a e-reader giveaway

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chapter 3.6: Book Blog Friday: Death, Social Injustice and Harry Potter

So, I am starting to feel a little less out of control on the homework front. And it feels great to check stuff off of my freakin' long list of assignments for the quarter. Yay me (said like London on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Yes, I am a Disney Channel geek sometimes. Deal with it). I also managed to not get eaten, while going to all my classes and being a meal of the day. Yes, I am that invisible. Anyway, yay for books!

Yes, my shirt does say "I Heart Vampires". And I said I'd be back next week, but it may be either early (like done on Thursday) or late (Like Sunday night/Monday) because my parents are coming to visit next weekend. Yippee!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chapter 3.5: The Zombie Apocalypse

The zombie plague has broken out at WWU. It broke at 7 this morning. Save yourselves!

Are you curious what I'm going on about?

Well are you?

Are you sure you want to know?

You can't unknow what is known.

Okay, you asked for it. In the Fall and Winter, a giant game of tags breaks out across the campus. It's called Humans vs. Zombies. You start with 12 origin zombies (identified by the orange bands around their head), the source of the virus. Their job is to turn the humans (identified by the orange armbands around their upper left arm) into zombies to take over the campus. The humans are armed with Nerf guns (unpainted, unmodified) and balled up socks. Those who survive are revered by their peers. Those who fail are mourned and killed.

I've been asked to play before and resisted, but this time I caved. So now I am a human, with a single gun, a purse of socks, terrible endurance and bad aim. But I'm not too bad at being small and unnoticed, which I hope to use to my advantage. Plus I don't have to leave my room very often. And I never eat in the Commons, which is prime hunting ground for the zombies.

A word to any other survivors out there who are new to this: Do. Not. Go. To. The Commons. This advice will serve you well. Stock up on Ramen, beg food off of non-player roommates and friends, but do not eat there unless you feel you can fight your way out of the horde easily. And if you haven't played before, you are not that person.

As a side note, the best place to watch the horde attack is the Library Skybridge. I sat up there for a bit today and just watched zombies and humans running and dodging and stunning and turning. It was great. And this game brings people together. As a human, if you have an orange armband and someone else has an orange armband you feel a small bond with them. And you at least nod in approval as they pass. It's grand.

We lost 80 people to the horde today. 80 people became zombies, concerned only with chasing humans down for their delectable minds. A moment of silence. Another note to newbies: Do not go through Red Square if you can help it. The horde gathers there like lions around a watering hole, waiting for the wildebeest to arrive.

And if you think I have no place to give this advice, heed me well. I may not have played, but I have friends who are masters zombie killers and survivors. I also have those who have fallen. I know of what I speak.

And so we survive to another day. For the lost, I mourn you, but I shall try to survive. For the living, travel in packs, travel vigilant, don't be a hero. The war will hopefully end soon. ;)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chapter 3.4: National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day. It's a day to support the lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual community, as well as those who are questioning their sexuality. It's a day of education about the LGBT community and a day to encourage tolerance and acceptance. Which I believe the world needs more than ever recently, in light of the recent suicides of young gay college students. Since I educate using books, I have two to recommend.

The first book I recommend is one I've mentioned recently in my video posts. It's Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. The book isn't forcibly about being gay and dealing with it; it happens to have a few gay characters who are dealing with life, love and friendship the same way any teen does. And you kind of have a spectrum. You have Tiny (who is very stereotypically gay), Depressed Will Grayson (who knows he is gay, but doesn't tell anyone), and Gideon (who is gay and out, but doesn't announce it like Tiny does). It's a great, fun book and deals with teen issues in a way that doesn't condescend to teens or try and say only one lifestyle is the right one.

The other book is The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson, a book I've loved for a while now. In it, there are three girls: Nina, Mel, and Avery. These girls have been best friends for years and it is now the summer before their senior year. While Nina is off at a pre-college program at Stanford, Mel and Avery begin a new kind of relationship. But while Mel has known for a while that she likes girls, Avery refuses to let herself be labeled. Can their relationship pull through or will Avery's fear of being seen as a lesbian break them apart? And what will it mean for the girls' friendship? This book is funny and sweet. And it's great at showing that sometimes, you don't know who you are. Sexuality is a confusing, frustrating subject that many shy away from taking about and really, sometimes you just don't know or just don't want to know. This book really captures that.

I have also looked on Amazon just now for books that sound interesting and fit with the two books I've recommended. I cannot personally vouch for them but here are some that looked interesting to me: Empress of the World by Sara Ryan, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, Love Waits by Gerri Hill, and Keeping You A Secret by Julie Anne Peters.

So do you have any books that are great books and also have gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender characters? Or just happen to be about exploring your sexuality?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chapter 3.3: Video Book Blog 2

So, you may notice I did not get another post up yesterday. I was just dealing with things, getting back to a happy place and finishing a book so I could start another one. Yay school. Anyway, I have once again fought with technology and mostly won, so I have another book vlog. Yay! I unfortunately can't post the longer, slightly funnier version since it's larger than 100MB and longer than 15 minutes so YouTube and Blogger won't let me. Curses. But here it is and I hope you enjoy it! I also have no clue what the sound at the beginning is.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chapter 3.2: My Heart is Heavy and I Don't Know Why

My soul is heavy with sorrow for the sadness in the world. The past two weeks have been littered with sad news and depressing subjects. Last Thursday, there was an accident on one of the local streets. A car had stopped to let a mother and her three children cross the street. Another driver (both high school students) was driving too fast and couldn't stop before hitting the other car. The mother was injured and her toddler was killed.

This accident and death of a child hurts the compassionate part of me that quietly cries when a child is killed or hurting. It's the same part of me that hurts when I hear about children's hospitals and cancer centers. The part that wants to give half of my proceeds when I become a famous author to children's hospitals and hope they can help those kids stop hurting.

On Friday, in my Children's Lit class, we were discussing how to help children understand and process loss. That's when I learned of the above accident and about the young gay boy who killed himself at Rutgers University after being taped having a romantic encounter and humiliated by his roommate.

This is wrong on so many levels. First of all, romantic moments, even when it's just kissing, are private unless both parties consent to doing them in public. Second, what kind of disconnect in lessons about respect happened to make his roommate believe this was in any way okay? That this is how you should treat another person? My heart cries again for him and the five other gay boys who've taken their lives because of humiliation at the hands of others. I hope that those in the same situation find the support they need before it's too late.

Today, the body of Dwight Clark was found in the bay. This boy, 18-years-old and a freshman at my university, has been missing for about a week and a half. For that week and a half, people have been hoping he'd come home safely. We do not know what happened to him yet, but I do not believe his death was a suicide; drowning is one of the worst ways to die.

I sorrow for his family, whose child was away for a mere week and then went missing. I am glad they have closure on his disappearance, but my heart aches for their loss. I feel sad and burdened and I did not even know the boy. I cannot even begin to imagine how his family his hurting. Parents are not meant to outlive their children. That's why, with a loving family, the love they give runs so deep.

I am sad and I do not know why. My hearts hurts and my soul is weary of the sorrow in the world. I cannot understand why I am so burdened by the death of a boy I did not know and have never met, but I am. Some cannot deal with pain and hurt and sadness. Some don't know how to express what the feel and can't untangle the why. This is part of why I write. To try to make sense of the world, even when there is no sense to be had. I write because by the end, my heart hurts a little less, I feel a little less troubled, and I can go on trying to find the joy the world has to give.

I'm sorry for this more morose post. I may have some time tomorrow to write another and I have two topics to choose from. Would you rather see some of my writing or...I swear there was another topic, but I lost it. So I may put up some writing, unless no one wants to see it and then I'll think of something else.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Chapter 3.1: Video Blog Book Friday!

Okay, I am really really excited because I have actually done something odd and new. I have made a video post about a couple of recently read books. Yes, that's right, I am going multi-media on you. So here is the first ever video post! And be sure to turn your volume up. I have no clue how to make it louder.

Yay! Finally got it to work. Apparently Blogger hates me which is why the video is uploaded via YouTube and included much mangling of technology by moi.

So what do you think?