polychrome_pen: (Brandon and Sky Phantoblades)
Almost by accident (fate?) I happened to walk into Target on Force Friday. And was forcibly reminded by a million displays that (if I wasn’t already aware from the news articles that seem to come out minute-by-minute) there is a new Star Wars movie coming out this December.

So I think I’m gonna party like it’s 1999. Because that was definitely the last time Star Wars was given such a huge push in our collective cultural consciousness. I remember seeing products for The Phantom Menace everywhere from Taco Bell to Pepsi cans (only a few years ago we unearthed the character-specific cans from Episode I at my parents’ house and finally got rid of them. Heh.)

I feel lucky to have come to the Star Wars franchise at a point in time where it had ebbed in popularity. I first saw Episode IV in the early 90s when my Mom bought it on VHS as a gag gift for my Dad. Well, suffice to say my brother and I were hooked from the moment the Star Destroyer came onscreen. This gag gift led to many years of renting (over and over again, as Mom is quick to remind us) The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi from our local Star Video.

The only thing at that time for Star Wars fans outside of dusty VHS copies was the excellent Timothy Zahn trilogy: Heir of the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. (I actually only read those books all the way through a few years ago.)

Then came the now-reviled Special Editions, which really kicked off the modern era of Star Wars as a franchise, eventually birthing the Prequels, comic books from Dark Horse, tons of novels, and action figures galore.

Star Wars is pretty much knitted into the fabric of who I am as a person. I think it was really the first story that I fell in love with, and certainly the first story where I absolutely wanted to know what happened next.

Yet somehow, I never got deeply into the Star Wars EU, and truthfully, by the time Disney bought the franchise and decided to nuke the EU to make continuity less of a pain, I could totally understand their reasoning. Truthfully, I was actually kind of excited. Much like DC Comics and their New 52 reset, rebooting the Star Wars EU meant that I would finally have a good jump-in point to start enjoying Star Wars expanded universe material again.

And of course, I was tickled by the idea that the new material is now considered “canon.” Yes, there are things I wish they had kept like Shadows of the Empire and several of the Prequel-era stuff like the Jedi Apprentice children’s book series, but reading through the five books pictured above made me realize how great it was to read material that was informed by the Prequels, The Clone Wars series, Rebels, and even hints at the new trilogy. Little throwaway comments like the age of a beat-up old ship being “Clone Wars era” instantly helps you date things now. It adds a beautiful cohesiveness to the universe that simply wasn’t there before.



I’m trying to not let myself get completely swept away with Star Wars mania again this time around (unlike 1999, haha). But boy, is my inner kid practically quivering with excitement to find out what Luke, Leia, Han and all their friends have been up to for the last 30 years in a galaxy far, far away.

And after reading those books, I think it’s going to be a fun ride.
polychrome_pen: (EAH Hunter & Daring)
I think I'm a weird Oz fan.  Just throwing that out there to start with.  For most people who like Oz, the love starts (and often ends) with the 1939 "Wizard of Oz" MGM musical.  And while I certainly enjoy that film, it's not what caught me and made me fall in love with the original American Fairy Tale.

It all started innocently enough.  After seeing "Wicked" a few months ago (such an awesome, awesome musical!), I picked up the book "Dorothy Must Die" from the library, interested in how the current trend of going back to classic stories and making everything gritty/grimdark would work on "the merry old land of Oz."  Arguably the poster child for Technicolor. And it really was a fun read - it re-imagines an Oz where Dorothy went back after her original visit and seized control of the Emerald City.  Another Kansas girl is brought to Oz by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to try and take Dorothy and her cronies (Glinda, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion) down.  The book is the first of a trilogy, and it definitely had me interested in reading more!

But it was the little snippets of things in the book that AREN'T related to the movie that had me really interested.  The Good Witch of the North, Jellia Jamb, Mombi, Ozma.  It made me interested in going back to the original stories.  Especially stuff dealing with Ozma, a character that I discovered is central to Oz mythology, but hardly known in the wider sphere.

So I checked out The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz from the library.

Let's start with Marvelous Land.  Dorothy is noticeably absent from this sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was originally written as a follow-up due to the success of the 1902 Broadway musical.  The book follows the story of Tip, a young boy in servitude to the witch Mombi, who escapes with his pal Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse.  They hook up with the Scarecrow and Tin Man, go on lots of adventures...and in the end discover that Tip was actually Ozma, transformed into a boy by Mombi after the Wizard took over the Emerald City.  WUT.  Glinda transforms Tip back into Ozma, and she resumes her rule over Oz.

This might be the single thing I find most fascinating about Oz - the Tip/Ozma character.  There is so much possibility for interesting story there, but I don't think it's well-tapped even in the later Baum works.  Perhaps it's really only something a modern audience can look at with a more critical eye?

Ozma of Oz, despite being titled after the princess, is actually the story of Dorothy's return to the land of Oz (well, really, the land of Ev - one of Oz's neighbors).  It introduces some really neat characters into the mix: the head-switching Princess Langwidere, Tik-Tok (literature's first robot?), the Hungry Tiger, Billina the Chicken, the Nome King.  The group has to rescue the royal family of Ev from the Nome King, who has transformed them into adornments in his underground palace.  The book also introduces an interesting concept in the Magic Belt, a magical tool at least as powerful as the Silver Shoes.

Marvelous Land and Ozma were jointly adapted into the 1985 "sequel" to the Wizard of Oz called "Return to Oz."  It featured a young Fairuza Balk as Dorothy, and even has Ozma appear in the end!  I remember watching this movie many years ago and thinking it was really bizarre, but upon revisiting it after reading the books it's based on, I can say it's a delight to see Baum's world brought to life the way it's supposed to look.  It has really great 80s special effects.  The puppetry and animatronic characters are absolutely fantastic.

The last Oz thing I've been checking out lately are the new(ish) Marvel Comics adaptations.  Featuring adorable artwork by Skottie Young and featuring scripts that hew closer to the original source material, these have been delightful reading.  I just finished Wonderful Wizard and am getting ready to start Marvelous Land.  Definitely check your library for these!

Finally, what really gets me with Oz is the deep richness of the world.  There are tons of "official" Oz books by various sanctioned authors, and so many fan-created works one doesn't even know where to begin!  The Baum books are in the public domain at this point, which makes it nice for adaptations if one wants to do something with all the iconic characters.  I really want to write some Oz stuff now...I'm debating trying a genderbent version that blends the first three books (at least?) together.  It's really been rattling around in my head, and even if I don't write the full novel-length version I'd at least like to try a few short pieces.

So my next question...does anyone have any good Oz recommendations?
polychrome_pen: (EAH Hunter & Daring)
Greetings all!  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and accomplished everything they hoped to this year!  The tail-end of 2013 has felt ridiculous fast to me.  Perhaps because I spent November in a NaNo-induced haze and a late Thanksgiving shortened the Christmas season?  IDK, but I somehow feel flabbergasted that New Year's Eve is already here.

I guess the only place to start with a true review of 2013 would be to go back and review the goals and plans I made for the year at the end of 2012:

Cut for long ramblings! )

Whew!  That was super long!  Anyway, onto goals and generic year-long plans.

January: Finish posting Heart Stone, finish and post Queen Kale.  Start Paleo eating.
February-August:  Work through How to Think Sideways.  Self-publish a flash fiction collection.  Take a bloody vacation somewhere (Anime Expo?)
September-December: NaNoWriMo prep for original story.  Start revisions from first novel.  Self-publish second flash fiction collection or short story collection.

Big goals: Follow paleo eating plan for three months, then evaluate.  Shift original fiction writing into gear.  Spend way, way less money on toys.
polychrome_pen: (Brandon and Sky Phantoblades)
Feels like forever since I wrote a personal entry here.  Everything's been Dragon Flyz fic for the last few months!

Speaking of the fic, I'm currently working on the last chapter.  The fic as a whole just passed 65,000 words the other day, so I'm at least 15,000 over goal (which is fine, of course, just unexpected!)  I waver between being pleased with it and incredibly irritated with it.  The words definitely aren't flowing as well as before!  I'll probably tack on a nice little Epilogue at the end as well, just for fluff's sake.  I really want to finish it up by the end of the month, but it might run a few days over into April.

Speaking of April, I'm planning on starting my How to Think Sideways class as well.  I've been a member for ages, but was never able to set aside time to do the lessons properly, but as it was one of my New Year's goals, I'm definitely going to tackle it this year!  I'm borrowing my Dad's Nook reader, which means I get to use it to read lessons on.  Definitely nicer than trying to print out the 50ish page lessons!  The teacher/author is Holly Lisle, and we had a short exchange over email after she recognized my email address as a character from one of her books.  I was finally able to tell her how much her books have meant to me, which was really fulfilling after basically lurking around her website/blog for years.

I was able to see two shows recently that I've wanted to see for ages - the first was Beauty and the Beast Broadway, which came to Sacramento.  It was really enjoyable, but so many kids!  Kids literally being passed back and forth over the seats between family members and loudly wondering where Belle was every time she was offstage. XD  That's what I get for going to a matinee performance, though.  It was lovely to hear "Human Again" in its original incarnation, and "Be Our Guest" was a fantastic showstopper number!  The girl playing Belle really sounded like Paige O'Hara too, which was a major plus.

The other show was Jerry Seinfeld Live!  (In my po-dunk hometown no less!)  He has long been my favorite comedian (considering I basically grew up watching his show), and it was good to know that he is just as funny in real life.  It was basically an hour and a half of nonstop laughs, and by the end of the night I had cried from laughing so hard and my cheeks hurt from excessive smiling.  The person who got our tickets also somehow scored front row as well, so I could even see facial expressions!  I've never been in the front row for anything before, so that was a real treat.

Further off news: in late June/early July I'll be going on a mission trip with the church to Fiji.  This was originally going to be a family thing, but after my Mom broke her leg in early December last year, she bowed out from going.  So it's going to be Dad, my brother, and I, and possibly one of my old friends.  Along with about twenty or so other people from the church.  I'm looking forward to it, but also fairly apprehensive as well.

In books, I just finished the excellent Legend and Prodigy by Marie Lu.  Very well done post-apocalyptic YA stuff.  A little more grounded than Hunger Games as well, which I liked.  I also just started Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers; I'm about 150 pages in so far, and it's great!

In anime, I just finished Princess Tutu.  Yes, the name sounds ridiculous, but if you like fairy tales, storytelling, ballet, or classical music at all, I highly recommend it.  Oh my goodness does it employ its classical soundtrack to use well!  It basically put me back on a classical music kick.  It's very meta about fairy tales and stories as well, which I absolutely loved - it pulls from things like The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Hans Christen Andersen to build a beautiful and somewhat dark new fairy tale.  I mean, it's main character is a duck named Duck who transforms into a girl who transforms into Princess Tutu.  How can you not love it?

Anyway, hopefully the next time I post will be the end of my Dragon Flyz fic! Cheers!
polychrome_pen: (Default)
I saw HP7-2 this afternoon and the experience was - as I imagine it is for so many - both exciting and nostalgic at the same time.  This was really Harry and Friends last big hurrah.  No more books (for the time being, at least), and no more movies to look forward to as well.

I wasn't the biggest Harry Potter fan out there, but I sure am going to miss the magical world of Hogwarts.

My initial experience with Harry Potter was through a book report that some of my classmates gave in our elementary school "Reading" class.  I remember them talking about giant chess pieces, broomsticks, etc, but wasn't really interested.  I was already reading fantasy like Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, a much more "traditional" fantasy (and still my favorite series to this day).  Harry Potter didn't re-enter my thoughts until my 8th grade year when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out.  I really didn't understand what all the fuss was about.  In fact, I actively "disliked" the series in the beginning, largely due to its popularity.  I know - that makes little to no sense.  If series reach that level of popularity, there's likely at least some merit to them.  But I've always tended to shy away from the really popular stuff at first.

It wasn't until the summer of 2001 that a friend of mine finally loaned me her copies of the first three books to take on our family vacation to Seattle.  We were driving 14+ hours, so there was plenty of time to get sucked into Harry's world on that car ride.  I was hooked, and that November it was with delight that she and I attended  the first movie showing with our friends (who hadn't read the books), and looked with glee at the faithful translation of the book to the screen.  Hagrid's flying motorcycle!  Professor McGonagall turning into a cat!  Quidditch!

A decade later, the Harry Potter books remain one of the great triumphs of modern fantasy.  They have inspired countless imitators, fanfic, and imagination, and are truly a series that no fantasy fan should go without reading.  They spark the imagination, and then create a huge, well thought-out world for that imagination to play in.  In many ways, people are as much a fan of the setting as the characters that populate it.

I don't know that any other generation will be able to experience the books in the same way, though.  We grew up with these characters, and the tone of the series aged and grew more complex alongside the readers.  It was truly amazing, and broke molds all over the place for what was acceptable for Children's/YA fantasy.  Not to mention how many people who say they never read, but have read and enjoyed HP.

Seeing this final film has filled me with a desire to go back and start the books from page one of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  To re-experience everything from the beginning, knowing what I do now.

So thank you to JK Rowling for ten years of memories and adventure with Harry, Hermione, and Ron.  They're like old friends now, and I can't say I'd want it any other way.
polychrome_pen: (Drake of Jewel Riders)
Seriously...I was a little depressed to see the Borders Books closest to my hometown on the chopping block after the company filed for bankruptcy.

All through my college years, that Borders was where I did most of my book shopping. Maybe it was all the generous coupons that they sent (free) to Borders Rewards members, but I barely shopped at the close Barnes and Noble after this store opened. I have many fond memories of unearthing the latest Disney Fairies book in the chaotic children's section, or using a 40% off coupon to get a great graphic novel or two that I had been eyeing for ages. And of course, it was the store where I met Jamie Lee Curtis while she was there for a book signing. :)

Looking back, I spent tons of money there. It was almost always where I did retail therapy book buying after finals or other tests. They also had wonderful Seattle's Best Coffee (how I looked forward to the Maple Nut Latte every autumn!).

And though I am sad about "my" Borders passing, I do hope the company can pull its act together and emerge stronger and more focused. Who knows...maybe someday they'll even reopen the store.

Whew!

Sep. 27th, 2010 09:06 am
polychrome_pen: (Default)
I feel as though I've been running around like crazy lately getting everything put together for the move this coming Friday. The living room looks like a tornado went through, strewing pots, furniture, and all other manner of household items around.

I started to box up my room today, and - sentimental person that I am - I took pictures of the room. It's the last time I'll probably ever see my childhood room that way, and I wanted to preserve it for my memory's sake. After the pictures, though, came the boxes. I have dreaded this for years; I mean, I always knew I had a huge library of books, but the amount of DVDs I have kind of surprised me! Apparently I've been squirreling lots of them all over the house. XD

My parents have offered to let me keep a full bookcase at home, so I'll have to decide what stays here (a job for tomorrow!) I'm going to have to find good, strong bookcases in order to house my collection. A good media storage case would be nice too.

My toy/doll collection is also going to have to be evaluated. I plan on leaving some of them at home - probably some of the older Winx (the Simbas are going to be coming with, though, since I haven't actually displayed them yet). Pullips are definitely coming, as are Monster High and Masters of the Universe. Not sure yet on the older collections like Jewel Riders and Dragon Flyz, though I'd love to finally be able to display them as well. Which means I need to look for display cabinets or something...Gah!
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I listed a bunch of pharmacy/biochem books on Amazon sellers last Thursday night, and two have already sold! I really, REALLY want to get rid of some of these. They have been cluttering up my house for far too long.

Plus, monies could go to another Pullip/Taeyang! Er, or buying a gift for that upcoming wedding I'm in. XD

Well, I did have a bunch of retail therapy yesterday anyway.
First stop was the Comic store, which had a bunch of manga in for me. I generally only make it to this store on semester breaks, so I end up dropping a bunch of money every time I go. XD But in addition, there were these two awesome Berserk figures for seven dollars apiece! Seven dollars! I couldn't refuse.
Interestingly, a new shop has opened up right next to the comic shop since my last visit. A DOLL SHOP. Unfortunately, it wasn't open when I got done, so I shall have to return!

Later, I hit the clothing stores to pick up some dress shoes (for said wedding), along with some jeans that actually fit and don't make me look fatter than I already am. Seriously, my love affair with baggier jeans is really coming to an end. They're really not flattering on me.

So Friday was...actually really productive.
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Ugh. Sniped at the last minute on Ebay yet again! I really wanted that Prince Adam figure too!

I don't know if it's because I'm trying to avoid studying for midterms, but I have been addicted to Ebay for the last several days. I'm spending FAR too much time there (though thankfully not money).

Current obsessions: Winx Italians, Dinotopia chapter books (I got sniped on a nice lot of those too!), He-Man 2002 figures (so expensive!), and Circle of Magic chapter books.

I don't know why, but lately I've been really loving chapter books. I think it's because they're not only fun, but eminently collectible as well. They bring out my "hunt and collect" instinct. XD

And I'm really loving the 2002 line of Masters of the Universe figures. This is what I get for watching the damn show - the need to now collect something else. I'm needing me some Prince Adam and Teela (Oh OTPs, how you rule my life). And the Sorceress, because her design is 200% awesome. But they go for surprising amounts of money!

Anyway, one Midterm down, two to go. Thankfully we have Thursday off as a study day!
polychrome_pen: (Default)
Day 8: 12/18

Wow...this is the last day of these, huh? I can believe I actually remembered to post one every day. XD

I was happy today having sushi with some of my friends, and also watching Ouran High School Host Club! Seriously, that is a hilarious/super addicting anime. I'm ashamed I hadn't started watching it until now. I think I devoured my way through about ten episodes today *insert look of shame here*.

In other unrelated news, I've been reading my way through the original Peter Pan, which is rather delightful, even though I sometimes can't follow the language. XD
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I feel so unfocused right now.

I spent last weekend (right after midterms) in Anaheim attending a Pharmacy conference. The plus side is, of course, I got to go to Disneyland too! And see two of my dear, dear friends from high school who live down there now. And since one of them works for Disneyland, I got to get into the park for free. :D The Happiest Place on Earth (TM) is only made more wonderful when it's free.

So I had a wonderful time, but it's been bad trying to focus this week - I didn't get the rest I usually get after a test week, and have just kind of been dragging. It doesn't help that there's been some interpersonal dramas this week - everyone (including me) has just been a little waspish this semester, and it's starting to really get to me.

Last night I really didn't do any work, and ended up going to Jo-Ann's Fabric and Crafts to get the final supplies for my puppet theatre (which I'll post pictures of when it's complete). I also did the gold paint detailing work on the board (which I think looks terrible, but eh), so that's out of the way. Now all that remains is the strengthen the board and get the curtain sewn. Before Monday. *faints* But the goal was to create something that can be used for several years, and I think I'll have done it. :) I also stopped by Borders (Maple White Mocha goodness!) and found the most amazing thing ever: an X-Men pop up book. In the bargain section.
I don't know who's crackhead mind came up with that (it uses actual comic panels!), but it is without a doubt the most amazing/insane thing I've ever seen. For just $5, I had to have it. I also picked up Prilla's Prize and Fairy Lanterns from the Disney Fairies collection, also for well below retail. ^__^

During this week, instead of studying I've plowed my way through the entire first season of Winx. This is crazy, as the last time I watched the first season, I also went through the whole thing in a week. I swear, ever since I started playing as Brandon in the Winx Club RPG ([livejournal.com profile] winxclubrpg) - and having a marvelous time, I might add - I've been really hungry to watch Winx again. I have to say, I still love the show just as much as when I first started watching it. Stella's lines still make me laugh out loud (like when she says to Flora "Like homeopathy's going to work against dark magic? It's like, 'Don't mess with us or we'll hit you with a daisy and go all herbal on you!'"). In fact, I think this rewatch really renewed my love for Stella as a character.

Granted, though I came to the show late (I didn't start watching it until the third season), Winx will always hold a special place for me because it's what started my "Second Renaissance" of creative endeavors after several "dry" years.

So now I want to pull out my Season 2 DVDs and give those a whirl. :)
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So yeah, I haven't posted anything here for quite awhile. That tends to happen on my breaks - I barely open my laptop. In fact, I barely even use the computer period.

This break has been strange. The first week and a half (roughly) was nerve wracking as I awaited my grade from the hardest class. We were supposed to know our grade by the Friday of the first week of break, but ended up not finding out until the following Tuesday. This led to some very vivid dreams. YES, I HAD MULTIPLE NIGHTS OF DREAMS ABOUT MY TEST. I swear my subconscious was trying to run through every scenario that could possibly happen (whether it involved passing the class or not). Thankfully, however, I passed the class and will be moving on to Second Year. I also had the best grades this semester of any so far in graduate school, which was kind of exciting. :D

So aside from work I've basically been a bum/hermit over this break. And work had an interesting shocker this week when we found out that Longs was bought out by CVS. I'm not sure what this means for my job however, and am a little anxious to find out. Otherwise, I find the work fairly interesting and enjoyable (except when people are real dicks because they want you to solve their insurance problems) and of course I love actually having some spending money again after a year of being broke.

Actually, I've been a little stir-crazy and ended up taking a trip to Barnes and Noble to buy books last Friday, which was lovely. Also, today I saw the new Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie. When I looked up reviews, I was surprised how much people hated it. Granted, it's not like it broke any new ground or anything, but it was fun nonetheless. The animation (while rather stylized, which I actually liked) seemed rather stiff for being associated with the company that owns Industrial Light and Magic. The character's movements and a bit of poor dialogue were the movie's only real problems to me, though. Especially when you remember that it's basically a pilot for the upcoming TV series.

So this break has been full of movies and books, basically. I'll give a mini-review of each.
Books read this break include:
1. Shadow of the Flame by Chris Pierson. I was glad to finally finish this Dragonlance trilogy, possibly the last I'll read for a very long time. I used to love the Dragonlance world, but lately it feels strange. However, this was an excellent trilogy that you could probably read without having read almost any other Dragonlance books.
2. The City of Ember by Jean DuPrau. I've had this book sitting around for awhile, but was compelled to read it once I found out the movie adaptation is coming out this Fall. Nice and very imaginative first novel, even if the writing could have possibly used a little more polish.
3. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer. It's no secret that I love the Artemis Fowl books - this is no exception. Fun, FUN book with witty writing and totally engaging characters. This series probably beats out Harry Potter even in my book. I really need to re-read this series from the very beginning too.
4. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Yeah. So I finally broke down and read the damn book. And you know what? I secretly enjoyed it. It's nothing ground-breaking, but at least Meyer thinks outside the box a little when dealing with her vampires. I'll probably have to read the rest of the series now...>_<;
5. Fawn and the Mysterious Trickster. Another fairly standard Disney Fairies entry, which, while enjoyable, seemed like it didn't really add anything to the world.
5. The Host by Meyer and Esther: A Story of Courage by Trudy J. Morgan-Cole are also both in progress.

Things watched this break:
1. Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo. I've loved this story ever since I saw the movie a couple of years ago, and this futuristic anime adaptation didn't disappoint. Very highly recommended.
2. My Fair Lady. I haven't watched this in years, but Mom wanted to see it (since she's reading the Jule Andrews biography and she starred in the stage version). It's still very enjoyable, and full of very interesting art direction (not to mention the lovely Audrey Hepburn and hilarious Rex Harrison).
3. Batman and Batman Returns. It preparation for seeing The Dark Knight (which I have yet to actually go see), I wanted to see the previous film incarnation of the Joker. This lead to wanting to see the other Burton Batman (which is much darker than I remembered).
4. Star Trek I-VI. I've had this box set of DVDs for probably 2 years now, and finally had the time to sit down and watch them all. I was surprised by the amount of continuity between the films, which showed up in little ways. The Original Crew films are always a pleasure to watch.
5. The Infinite World of H.G. Wells. A fun Hallmark mini-series where a fictionalized H.G. Wells (yes, the writer) experiences various scientific phenomenon with his scientist friends and gets inspired to write his stories. Much better than I'm making it sound.
6. Nim's Island. I generally enjoy "family" movies, and this didn't disappoint. Jodie Foster was especially wonderful as the adventure writer who happens to be afraid of leaving the house. :)
7. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. I LOVED this movie - it's heartwarming and imaginative and terribly sad and nostalgic all at the same time. All four of the main character had very touching storylines which I could relate to. The whole thing ended up coming out like a modern fairy tale. I really want to buy this movie.

So anyway, after that exhaustive list, I'll mention that I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow for five days. Yay for renting a house by the coast at Sea Ranch (no actual horses or cows). :D Hopefully I'll be able to finish Chapter 3 for my Jewel Riders fic while I'm there (I'll have the laptop but no internets!).
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This last Thursday I started back to school after 1.5 blessed weeks off. Unfortunately, I am surprisingly tired for having only been back in school for two days. XD Oh well...time to start the coffee flowing again!

Spring Break was wonderful. Totally relaxing, which is what I really needed. I was able to not only catch up on my piano practicing and go back to choir (both neglected for the week prior to and the week of finals), but to catch up on some books, DVDs, and even start a fic!

Of course, I also had to go to Jury Duty for a day, which wasn't fun. It was actually pretty interesting though, which surprised me. I think I might be willing to do it if I had MUCH more time (the trial I was assigned to was going through JUNE).

The book of the break was Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Queen, which was an excellent addition to the Tortall universe (and had been lying around unfinished for about a month). I also snuck in Silvermist and the Ladybug Curse (another excellent Disney Fairies chapter book), and in the manga realm, I read xxxHolic #11 (so GOOD), NANA #8 and #9 (this series just keeps getting better and better), and the first two volumes of MeruPuri: Marchen Prince. It's a cute fantasy so far, and I'm looking forward to hopefully finishing up the last two volumes this weekend.

But yeah, most of this break was really spent on the couch with a fat stack of DVDs. The complete list includes: The Mists of Avalon, A Room With a View, Merlin, Dune, 300, He-Man Season 1, Part 1, and Batman: The Animated Series (I finally finished the third box set and also watched the fourth set - yes, I did OD on Batman a little).

I even started writing a Jewel Riders fic - I only have about 1500 words down so far, but that's not bad for me (who has the hardest time actually sitting down and WRITING the stories - thinking them up is the easy part). I hope to post up the first chapter on Fanfiction.net by the end of the weekend, but we'll see.

So overall, a very nice and relaxing break.

Oh, I also discovered the pure joy of McDonald's Iced Coffee!
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It always feels good to be done with finals, even if I'm usually near death by the end. :) I've gotten grades back from (and passed) three of the five classes - still waiting on the last two, which I don't think will be a problem, but one never knows. I really studied hard for these finals - harder and more in depth than I think I've ever studied for finals before. I have to say I felt better prepared going into this round than I have previously. Now, if only I could motivate myself to really stay on top of all the studying throughout the year - that would be an accomplishment!

As usual, my diet has been hell in the last couple of weeks (too many energy drinks and coffee), along with most of the rest of my life outside of school. Time to try and eat healthy again!

Also the computer is dead again. I dropped it off at the tech office to try and get it updated and have them run the usual tests for corruption and viruses. However, when I went to pick it up after the final, they said it would be ready in about another hour. So, I took off to Borders where I picked up some books (looking for Silvermist and the Ladybug Curse but they only had a beat up copy, so I bought the easy-reader books The Great Fairy Race and The Fairy Berry Bake-off as well as The Rose Bride from the "Once Upon a Time" series).

So when I got back to the tech office, the computer had basically gone into meltdown after they tried to install Service Pack 1. So I am now writing to you from the family computer (joy - no privacy! XD) It should be ready to be picked up on Monday again, and may actually be totally replaced, but that remains to be seen.

But it doesn't really matter because the family and I are gone this weekend to visit my brother anyway. We're going to spend the night tomorrow in San Jose/Santa Cruz and enjoy the ocean and some nice dining and shopping. Should be a fun way to unwind (I of course will take a few books that have lain unfinished these last several weeks!)

I hope to just really relax over this 1.5 week break before the next semester begins (yes, another semester over the summer...x_x). I'd like to write the Fallon/Tamara origin fic for Jewel Riders (unfortunately, the notes are on the dead comp, so I won't be getting them back until Monday afternoon), catch up on my piano, read at least two books, and watch a ton of stuff (both movies and series). I also downloaded the old DOS game "The Legend of Kyrandia." Did any of you ever play that? It was my favorite computer game when I was a kid, and I'm really excited to get to play it again!

Oh, and I'm crossing my fingers that my number doesn't get called in this week for Jury Duty.

Bookgasm

Jan. 18th, 2008 06:33 pm
polychrome_pen: (Ry Sabir from Holly Lisle's Secret Texts)
Kyaa! My B&N book order (made using a beautiful Christmas gift card) finally came! I found so many great deals because of their post-Christmas warehouse sale too!

I got:
Talyn by Holly Lisle
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure by P.B. Kerr
Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Kilala Princess 4 by Rika Tanaka and Nao Kodaka
Disney Fairies: Dulcie's Taste of Magic by Gail Herman
and Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Choice. This was originally supposed to be Sunlight and Shadow from the Once Upon a Time book series, but the book arrived all beat up, so I returned it to the store and decided to wait until the new edition comes out this summer.
But I'm so excited to get this order - it has a lot of stuff I've been wanting to read for a long time. However, I just had to laugh when I realized that out of seven items, only one was marketed for adults. XD Oh well...

School has been hard so far (as expected). I also had to have the motherboard replaced on my laptop since apparently out of the 200+ computers that were given out at the beginning of the year, mine has been one of the consistent "problem children." So hopefully the current "behavioral correction" has fixed it for good. It's a little sad that the people in the tech office know me by name now. Now I have to reinstall Photoshop so that I can finish my drawing too.

We have another group project, too. Geh, I was hoping to be rid of these by this point in my schooling.
I've been having a hard time buckling down and focusing this semester as well (not quite as bad as last semester though!). As usual, most other things look more interesting that schoolwork. :D I've been incredibly tired as well. Between studying the Top 200 Drugs and trying to re-listen to the lectures from several of my classes, I haven't gotten nearly enough sleep (and coffee can only make up for so much!). Probably didn't help that I started the week off with a deficit in my "sleep bank" either.

And ever since [livejournal.com profile] tanz_fanatika has been watching Card Captor Sakura, I've been dying to pull out my episodes and finally finish the series!
polychrome_pen: (Dragon Flyz: Z'neth and Peak)
Well, I guess I knew it was coming all summer, but I'm still floored. Goodbye (forever!) summer vacation - hello, tons of work. Even after a short starting week, Pharmacy school has managed to dump tons of work on me. And I'm NEVER good about it the first week - but apparently now I have to be. I'll definitely have to be more well organized than I ever have before. We're talking about scheduling things in down to the half-hours. So I'm taking Pharmacy Systems and Experience I, Integrated Pharmaceutical Sciences I, Integrated Biological Sciences I, and Pharmacy Calculations and Statistics. 17 units...gah...

I was nervous about putting my piano lesson at 7:45 am on Tuesdays and being able to get to school by 9 am, but it worked out very well. I actually ended up avoiding major traffic snares and getting to school well ahead of schedule (which is good, because parking is a rare commodity to come by at my school!). Having to get up at 6:00 am sets a good wake-up schedule for the rest of the week, and even gives me a little "hit the snooze" time to play around with on non-piano days. Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to give more than half an hour a day to practice, so progress will probably drop off a little.

Luckily, I was able to spend last Sunday in San Francisco. It was a lovely, overcast day - my favorite. ^_^ Mandi, Beth and I took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, for those who don't know) train into the city, and spent a little time at the Metreon, though the Da Vinci exhibit went unattended due to lack of funds. (Though I wouldn't be opposed to getting back there and taking a look sometime!) After that, we rode the historic streetcars and randomly ended up in the Castro...XD But we eventually found out way down to the fun, touristy Wharf area. And what trip to San Francisco is complete without a ice cream from Ghiradelli Square? Mandi and I both enjoyed Cookie-bottom sundaes, while Beth splurged with a Dark Chocolate Raspberry Sundae - heaven in a cup, I swear. After than we tootled around Cost Plus World Market/Barnes and Noble waiting for Mandi's friend Brian to meet us for dinner at the Fog City Diner. We've always wanted to try it, but forget about it until we drive past it on the way home...>_< The food was classic American (pot roast, mac and cheese, etc.) except served classy (with slightly classy prices as well...XD) Heh...Mandi's Caesar salad did kind of crack us up though - four stacked leaves of romaine (or was it butter?) lettuce... But it was still well worth it - and I'm glad we finally got to go! Luckily, Brian drove us back to the BART station, because my feet were like pounded steaks by the time we got on the train home. Fun times, but definitely tiring.

Last night I went to Best Buy to pick up and 320 gig external hard drive on the cheap, but they closed just as I got there! So to assuage my grief, I went and spent money over at Barnes and Noble...XD Picked up a Star Trek book, two "Once Upon a Time" books (Beauty Sleep and Before Midnight) and an omnibus edition of the first three Magic Knight Rayearth manga (for only $10 - it pays to check the children's bargain area!).

Also, Saturday night saw me finish a book (Tamora Pierce's First Test) in only 6 hours...XD But I am a bibliophile, so what else am I to do on a long car trip if I bring my book light along? (Besides buying a rad mug at Starbucks...>o<)

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