Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Favorite Books of 2014!

I just wanted to do a quick little post on (obviously!) my favorite books of this year. :)

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

This is the first Dickens novel I've read, and I'm so glad I read it! I had always liked the story, because I as very familiar with the story from the miniseries. Dicken's writing is very witty and entertaining, and very biting at times. My favorite character was Mr. Jarndyce, and I was quite surprised by Sir Lester at the end. A very good read, if you've got the patience for 800 pages. :)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

I read this one because I liked Bleak House so much, it is now one of my favorite books. A Tale of Two Cities is different from the usual Dickens style, the names of the characters are less goofy, it's much shorter, and the plot is a whole lot simpler. This book has a strong, likeable cast of characters and some plot twists that genuinely did surprise me. In short, it's a lovely story of redemption with one of my favorite fictional heroes. Ever.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

I read two Michael Crichton book this year, Jurassic Park and the Andromeda Strain, and dang does that man know how to write sciency-stuff and make it engaging and interesting. Usually when a book gets into technobabble I just groan and turn the pages until I find something good happening, but here it was so cool! This book gives you a lot to think about, which is always good. Plus, it was pretty dang scary at times! I stayed up until 4 am reading this one night, that's how suspenseful it was.
Emma by Jane Austen

This here is my favorite Jane Austen novel. I found it quite a wonderful read. Emma is sort of an anti-heroine at first, in that she is meddlesome and maybe a little bit spoiled. She gets better of course, but that's half the fun of the book. All the supporting cast is memorable and delightful, especially Emma's hypochondriac father. Jane Austen's writing is witty in a rather dry, snarky way, and it was an absolute joy to read.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Like Jurassic Park, this book provides a lot of things to think about. Ender's Game is one of those books that doesn't have a strict 'ending' where everything is 100% wrapped up. Rather, it ends when things are emotionally finished. I really like that kind of ending, and I almost cried at the end of this book. I'm so glad I gave it a chance, since Sci-Fi isn't a genre I really go nuts for usually. :)
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

So. Dang. Good. This book is suspenseful, creepy, and like a lot of books on this list, gives you something to think about! A lot of the characters don't really go in the direction you expect them to, and this is one of the book's best strengths. I like the atmosphere throughout the book, and I absolutely loved the ending, even though it wasn't the most complete or happy ending, I still think it was perfect.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Okay, I haven't finished this one yet. I've been working on it for a while though, and I only have 200 pages left. This book is AWESOME. I love it so much! It does require a bit more suspension of disbelief than normal for a book set in real-life France, but it is so amazing. There are prison escapes, poisoners, hidden fortunes, people in disguise, people faking their deaths, it's got everything that makes my heart go all aflutter. Not that it's all fun and games though. A lot of The Count's actions have repercussions that he wasn't prepared for, and he has to think about what he's done and if it was actually the right thing to do. So yeah. Awesome!
Momo by Michael Ende

This is such a lovely little book. The characters are terrific, and the plot is so original, I honestly haven't read anything like it! Even though it was written as a children's book, I think this is a book that everyone can read and enjoy. It has some deep themes, too, and one of the reasons it's a great children's book is because it doesn't think that kids are too stupid to catch onto the themes and such.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Storage Room: That's Not Encouraging

The art class I took when I was 9 traumatized me for life. Now I'll never appreciate fine art or try to improve my skills. See what a monster you've created, Missus Favoritism Teacher lady?!
Ahem. As you can see, I have issues with letting stuff go. ;)
Stop telling people this when they're down about their art. Seriously. Never. Think of something else, but for the love of all that is good and sacred, don't say this. :P

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Les Miserables: Paris Revival Cast Recording [1991]

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas. :)
So, to celebrate the end of my semester of French, I figured why not review a Les Miserables recording that is in French! I mean, it was recorded in flippin' Paris, what could be better? XD
Ahem. I like to start by rambling about the instrumentals.
Being from the 90's, the instrumentals are spiced up with those syntho instrumentals, so they're relatively the same as the English 3-Disc recording that we have. They don't bug me (they might bug some people, but they remind me of the early 2000's when I was a little kid :D), though sometimes they make me laugh because it sounds like Video Poker music! XD
Now the cast! Jean Valjean is always cool (I've never met a Jean Valjean I didn't like, haha!), and this guy was neato! He has a nice voice, and so far as I can tell his acting was good. His version of Bring Him Home ('Commme Un Homme') is lovely, his acting is just right here. That song doesn't usually elicit a huge reaction from me, but this one... really good. He was also really good in the Epilogue. :)
I liked Javert, he has a very dramatic, almost operatic voice at times. Cosette is usually the most hit and miss character in the whole shebang, but she was a very good singer! She has a sweet, clear voice that is really nice to listen to. All the talk of Cosette makes me think of 'Une Poupee dans la Vitrine', the French equivalent of Castle on a cloud. The French version of this song is so sad, it almost made me cry! The last verse is about how she wishes she knew how to write, because then she could write to Father Christmas for the doll she wishes for. And the middle verse is actually very interesting. Cosette talks about how when she has her doll (her 'daughter') she will dress her in the prettiest dresses, and how she wants her doll to be very proud of her as a mother. Sounds kind of like what Fantine wanted for Cosette, huh? It's such a tearjerker. :(
Ahem. This cast has a good Gavroche, he's got sass, but not in a forced or annoying way. This kid pulls off the role quite effortlessly. I also liked Enjolras on this recording. He's a little petulant, but that's fine by me, so long as it's not excessive. When I was reading the book, I got the impression that due to his privileged childhood he was still a little used to getting his way. XD
Aside from the really good Jean Valjean, my other favorite performer on this CD was Eponine. Her actress has a very normal-girl sounding voice, by which I mean she doesn't have an overly pop-ish sound to her vocals. I like her take on the character, too. She's got a bit of an edge to the character, and pulls off the sad bits without coming off as maudlin and pouty. I really like her On My Own ('Mon Histoire') and Attack on Rue Plumet.
Oh yeah, Mon Histoire. I love On My Own, but Mon Histoire (My Story) is really something. It's harder to adapt into a generic teenage girl 'I'm in the friendzone!' song, because there is more about Eponine's feelings about her situation in life as well as her feelings for Marius. She begins by thinking about how her childhood seemed so pleasant and fairy-tale like, which is pretty different from the English one. I really like the lyrics, I almost translated all of them, so huzzah for French class!

The Verdict: A+
Weee, this font is pretty big and makes the review look super big. Ahem.
I really enjoyed listening to this and being able to understand almost half of it. It's a cool experience to have any kind of automatic understanding of a foreign language. I like the lyrics that I understood, they are so good ("Marius, get off your cloud!") the cast was really solid! I know I didn't talk about everybody, but there was nobody who was weak, or bad. The acting was good, the singing was good, an all-around great cast.
Favorite Song: Mon Histoire
Runners Up: Sous Les Etoiles, Le Grand Jour, Souviens-Toi Les Jours Passes?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Storage Room: Another Ruined Christmas Party

Ah, the week before Christmas. The last Advent Candle is lit, all the presents are stuffed in the closet and wrapped, and all your friends are inviting you to Christmas parties!

Merry Christmas, tout le monde!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas and Such

Yeah, today is normally the day where I would post the 55 Songs from Musicals dealio, but it's Christmas week, so I wanted to take a break from our normal programming and wish you all a Merry Christmas in advance. Just in case I don't have time on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. :)

Unto us a Child is born
Unto us a Son is given
And the government shall be upon His shoulder
And His name shall be called
Wonderful Councilor
All mighty God
The Ever-Lasting Father
The Prince of Peace

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A New Blog Look!

Hee hee, I copied you Ice Cream, and changed my blog look. You guys should go check out what her blog looks like now, it's really pretty!
Ahem. Diversion!!
Hi guys! Finals are over, it's almost Christmas, and I've finally gotten the hang of my orchestra music. I'd feel just perfect if my French teacher would only get our grades up on the college student accounts!
Anyway, re-doing the blog look really made me feel ridonkulously happy, but I want to make sure that it's easy to read. The font for the blog title is called Calligraffiti, and the body of the posts and such is called Indie Flower. I really like the look, but I can make the font bigger if it's hard to read. :)
So if you feel like it, tell me what you think!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Momo Chibis!

Hi guys! Yesterday was my Piano and French finals, and I so can't believe that it's over! I already miss my friend I was going to school with (even though we'll totally see each other again in January when school starts up again, at the very latest). But it was nice, I think I aced my Piano final (though at the end of my song, there were three notes to be played at once, and accidentally only played one. Derp!)
So anyway, I have some chibi comic ideas, but I forgot to write them down, what with my Finals and such. XD So here, enjoy these chibis of the cast of Momo! Momo is a wonderful German book (my Michael Ende) about a mysterious orphan girl who has the unique ability to help people just by listening to them talk about their problems. Once people listen to Momo, they are suddenly able to go and fix their problems. Then one day, strange and creepy gray men start appearing all over town and begin to steal people's time. It's a really good book, and I highly recommend it. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

[A rant on] The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Has this book got me frustrated or what? I'm not saying that it's good or bad, all I'm saying is that it has me really confused and a little irritated.
Confused, because I know that there is a point in there somewhere (Monica's going to take a magical journey to the land of Sparknotes!), but I can't seem to figure it out. That's what has me irritated.
For a good portion of the book, I couldn't really figure out for myself what was going on under the surface. And sometimes I couldn't even figure out what was going on in the plot. I guess I have a basic enough understanding of the plot to have a vague idea of what the point of the story was, but this book still makes me feel like I'm the idiot for not understanding all the weird symbolism and motifs and stuff. Argh.
And there was the rather sudden ending, well, I guess it wasn't really that sudden or ambiguous. The dealio is, that Prince (who is a really sweet, kind man) has spend the whole book torn between two women. The adventurous and feisty Aglaya, and the tortured, guilt-ridden Nastasia (who feels that way because she was somebody's mistress, I think. Wouldn't swear to it). Prince Muishkin truly loves Aglaya, but his love for Nastasia is more of elevated pity.
By the climax of the story, Aglaya dumps him because she realizes that his epilepsy will have him sickly forever, so after some time he and Nastasia grow closer and become engaged.  However, on their wedding day, Nastasia runs away with another man who loves her, Rogojin, because she feels like a rough, mean man like Rogojin is the only kind of man she deserves. In a few days, a worried Muishkin locates Rogojin and makes the horrifying discovery that Rogojin has murdered Nastasia.  This, along with the realization that every good thing he tries to do just leads to more trouble, drive Muishkin to madness, and at the end of the book he can't recognize any of his friends, or even speak. Rogojin is shipped off to Siberia, and Aglaya gets married to some loser who lied about his big fortune.
The end.
And you know what, I had some issues with the ending of The Man Who Laughs, but that was sort of made up for by the ending line.

When Ursus recovered consciousness, he no longer saw Gwynplaine, and he beheld Homo near the edge, howling into the gloom as he gazed out at the sea.

I know, I know, it makes no sense in context, but I don't want to give away spoilers for a book that the post isn't about. Now, I find the last scene of the Idiot just plain anti-climatic.

So spoke the good old lady, almost angrily, as she took leave of Evgenie Pavlovich.

Um, no offence or anything book, but if I were you, I would have ended on a scene relevant to the main characters and themes of the novel. Eugh.

I guess no letter grade for this one, because I don't feel clever today. :P I guess I'll read it again someday, because it did have it's very strong moments where I really liked it. I feel like the execution could have been better, though.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Favorite Songs from Musicals #15: The Final Battle

I'm a horrible, horrible, person. But for all the death and destruction and loud explosions (well, the explosions were really loud in the performance we saw!), this song is also pretty dang cool. I mean sure, they all die ten seconds after the singing stops, but dang! Those lyrics! They manage to be all inspiring and depressing at the same time.

P.S: The guy who plays Enjolras on this recording is awesome. ;)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card [1985]

Earth was the constant noise of crickets and winds and birds. And the voice of one girl, who spoke to him out of his far-off childhood.

Wow! I read a Sci-Fi novel, and I actually loved it! Not just liked, but loved. This book isn't perfect. There are a few things that I don't like about it, but it is certainly a worthwhile read. Let me just throw it out here that this book does have language and a little crass talk. Just because I really liked the book does not mean that I approve of all that.
This review will have spoilers, but it's been out for ages, so I'm not pulling out the angry red font.
So. I really liked the writing in the book. The author is really good at really making you feel the way the character does. A lot of people say that Ender is a boring, static character, but I really liked his character arc. All through the book, Ender is afraid that he is like his psychopathic brother, Peter.
It's true, when Ender is confronted by an enemy (like bullies, or the weird giant thing in those computer games) he doesn't pull punches, he practically eliminates the threats so they can't hurt him anymore.
Then at the end of the book, his worst fears are practically confirmed when he is tricked into destroying the bugger's homeworld. But then, he finds that last egg or something from the last queen bugger, and sets out on a mission to find a place where the egg an hatch and thrive. The book ends with the line "He searched for a long time."
 I'm doing a poor job explaining this, but I'm trying to lead up to my point. I have a friend at college (one of the two people who recommended the book to me!) who thinks that the ending was setting up the sequels, but I actually think that it was a really good ending for the story.
There are a lot of books that just kind end, with absolutely nothing resolved. These kinds of books are very unsatisfying to read, and kind of wreck the book even if you feel like the rest of it was well plotted and such.
Then there are book that end with some of the plotlines still dangling, but emotionally, philosophically, and thematically, the story is over. Are you guys picking up what I'm putting down? I'm thinking about books like The Brothers Karamazov or The Road. Books where yes, there are still things that are unknown, and maybe you don't know if everything will be okay, but the characters have found- I hate to say this because it sounds really stupid- inner peace. You know, emotionally, the story is resolved and you maybe don't need to know what happens next.
Maybe I'm just silly or something, Je ne sais pas.
Anyhoo, something I really liked about this book was that the hero's most important female relationship is with his sister, Valentine (who is also a really interesting character!). Not with some half-baked love interest, but with his sister. Their dynamic is very well-written.

The Verdict: A
I didn't expect this book to make me cry, but I almost did at the ending. This book is well written and well plotted, and it kept my attention very well all throughout. This book is quite deep, and pondered some interesting questions, and I can't wait to read it again sometime next year. ;) I don't know if I'll be reading the other books because the ending of this one just seemed so 'right' to me.

Age Appropriateness: 14+
There's some cussing and crass talk, and a few borderline-disturbing scenes.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Favorite Songs From Musicals #14: The Farmer and the Cowman

Okay. This song is a MASSIVE earworm. Like, I couldn't get it out of my head after listening to it just once. Despite the fact that it tortures me by buzzing around in my head during French Class, I really like it. The tune is fun and energetic, and it totally wants you to clap along with the rhythm.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What To Read Next?

I have only 200 pages left in The Count of Monte Cristo (which took a little dip in awesomeness with the Valentine/Maximilien subplot, but quickly earned it back), and it's time to start thinking about what to read next. XD
So here's my list of possibilities. :)

Middlemarch by George Eliot
I read Silas Marner way back in August, I think, and I liked it a lot. So much that when I found Middlemarch in our garage, I decided that it would be great to give that a read sometime! So I'm considering it for when I'm done with Monte Cristo.
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
I know next to nothing about this book, aside from the fact that it's by Charles Dickens, and um... yeah. I know nothing. My copy has money on the cover though, so maybe it has something to do with money that everybody is trying to get their hands on. I don't know. But I really like Charles Dickens books, and look forward to reading another one!
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I've never read anything by Tolstoy, I am ashamed. But I like this story, and one of the subplots is really nice, it involves a guy trying to find his faith again or something, and I can't remember how or if it was resolved. Just another reason to read the book, I guess!
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
I've heard a lot of different things about this book, some people say that it's terrible, and other people say it's brilliant. So I have no idea what to expect, and I'm looking forward to finding out for myself whether or not this is a good read. :)
Any other suggestions? Once I finish Monte Cristo, I'm going to be a little bit at a loss on what to read. And I just finished The Idiot on kindle, so I'm searching for something to read on that, too. :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Favorite Songs From Musicals #13: Everything Stays The Same

Yay, A Tale of Two Cities, my second favorite stage musical!! I think that a big reason this musical didn't do well on Broadway though, was because it didn't offer anything new for the audience. Bloody revolution and social justice themes? Les Miserables did that. Tragic impossible love story? The Phantom of the Opera did that. That's not the musical's fault, it just means that it didn't have enough fresh or original enough to make people want to flock to the theater. I mean, I dislike Urinetown, but even I understand that it's original enough to be successful.
All that having been said, this song is like nothing I've ever heard in a musical before. And it's awesome.
There is a lot going on in this song, and it's a little hard to visualize it all in your mind if you don't know what exactly is happening in the story. Basically, what's going on is that the Bastille was just stormed, and the Revolution has begun. At first the people are idealistic about the outcome, but as time goes on they wonder 'what happened to tomorrow', and why everything is still the same as before the Revolution. It's very powerful, and I love the eerie waltz tempo that constantly surfaces. It's a very strong opening for Act 2.

What happened to tomorrow?
Tell us just who to blame
Villains may come and they may go
But everything stays the same!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Storage Room: Timmy vs. Le Frigo

[sigh] A follower dropped my blog yesterday, which isn't fun... My reaction was probably entertaining to watch though, because I immediately started to frantically check my recent posts for anything offensive, or obscene that I might have accidentally sat down, typed, and posted. Nada! Unless somebody finds comics about leaving your chemistry book at home offensive.
But enough of me belly-aching (though it would be nice to know why you randomly dropped my blog without saying anything), if there's any guaranteed way to losing more followers it's constant belly-aching! So you guys technically should have left ages ago. ;) Thanks for being awesome peeps :)
On with the comic.
This is based on the time I was cleaning out the leftovers in my friend's fridge. I'm pretty sure I discovered some new species!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Salle de Stockage: Timothée et Son Livre

Hi guys! I really should be practicing flute and writing the script for my next video right now, but I'm afraid that once I start practicing flute I won't be able to make myself stop. So here's a comic that I wrote in French!!
As you can see I kind of wrote it two months ago and forgot to post it. Ooops.

Oh yeah, the translation! Here it is :)

Timmy: Ah, another day at the university! The sky is beautiful, isn't it Francis?
Frankie: [panting, panting!]

Timmy: Uh... Francis, my backpack is very light today. [...] I FORGOT MY CHEMISTRY BOOK!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Northanger Abbey Video Review Special!!

Here is Libby and I's rather scatterbrained review of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Persuasion and Black Beauty Video Review

Hi guys! I posted this a long time ago (roughly a month ago, lol), but some of my chummies had trouble finding it. Tomorrow I'll post the video for me and Libby's Northanger Abbey review. :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Favorite Songs From Musicals #12: Epilogue from Les Miserables

The Epilogue from Les Miserables is my favorite ending of any musical. By this point, everything is resolved it seems. The revolution has failed, but the happiness of Marius and Cosette is ensured and that at least balances out the darkness left by the surviving Thenardiers. And here's Jean Valjean, dying of who-knows-what-disease. The ending starts very quiet as Jean Valjean prays for a quiet and peaceful end to his life, then eight minutes later we finish out with a titanic, triumphant reprise of Do You Hear the People Sing.
I really like how the musical finishes out with that song. Before it was used as a call to arms to rise up and seize justice, and at the end it's more about.... I can't express what I'm trying to say, I'm nowhere near eloquent enough. Just read the lyrics below or listen, and you'll know what I'm failing to say. XD

Do you hear the people sing?
Lost in the valley of the night.
It is the music of the people who are climbing to the light
For the wretched of the earth,
there is a flame that never dies
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise!
We will live again in freedom in the garden of the lord
We will walk behind the plowshare,
We shall put away the sword
The chains will be broken and all men will have their reward
Will you join in our crusade,
Who will be strong and stand with me
Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that we bring when tomorrow comes.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Back in Orchestra...

I have a weird relationship with orchestra. When I'm there playing it's really fun, but when I come home and practice I get a little psychotic to say the least. Then I waited out this semester because I needed to get acclimatized to my college classes, and I really missed it! I was actually a little teary eyed when I was studying to Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, which we played the previous semester.
Anyway, I'm back, and my little sister joined, and just had her first concert this last Sunday!! They played two pieces, Rosamunde by Schubert, and Danse Bacchanale by Saint-Saens.

Here's Music to Rosamunde. This is a rather surly piece, with an uber-cool opening. As the song goes on it's less surly sounding and lightens up a bit, but it has a terrific stormy sound, it makes me think of a thunderstorm. :)

Here is Danse Bacchanale. First off, this orchestra is playing waaaaaayy faster than Libby's orchestra did. Second, the conductor makes really funny faces! XD
This song is just... it gives me chills. It is so completely and totally awesome. From the mischievous flutes at the beginning, to the insane violins towards the end, to the epic and loud brass at the very end. It's A. M. A. Z. I. N. G.

Anyway, I just felt like sharing those with you guys! I'm feeling very excited about orchestra, and I'm very proud of Libby. :)
Stay frosty, my friends.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dracula by Bram Stoker [1897]

I don't think that I like this book as much as I liked it when I was fourteen. XD
Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate this book, I didn't even dislike it all that much. But there were a few things that bugged me a bit and a few other things I'm not sure how to feel about!
For things that I didn't like, first of all, way too melodramatic. I know that it's the 19th century and melodrama was about as in back then as stupid teen romance is in now. But I found many scenes that were supposed to be dramatic, well, I found them quite hilarious.

Now for the things I don't know how to feel about.
First off, this book has a lot of rather sexist tendencies. I know, and I know, 19th Century, product of it's time, blah, blah, blah. But riddle me this, Batman! If that's just how 19th Century female characters are, then how come The Count of Monte Cristo has so many varied and interesting ladies? Then again, maybe it's just the , and not the author, who are being unintentionally sexist. I mean, they are all very courteous and kind to the point of revering Mina. And Mina is one of the smartest characters in the book. I just lost it when a character made a remark about Mina being too frail and delicate in mind to help them in their monster-hunting work. Hello?! Jonathan Harker? He's a man, and he had a big ol' nervous breakdown towards the beginning of the book! Who's frail and delicate again?

Then there was the cavalier treatment of the Holy Eucharist. As a Catholic, (I know most of my readers probably aren't, but this is me explaining my issues with the book, and to do that I have to sometimes bring up Religious issues), I believe that the consecrated wafers used in Mass are in fact, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The way Van Helsing hands out consecrated communion wafers like Halloween candy for the others to use against Dracula, it made me think of a rather important question! Do Van Helsing and the others have actual faith in the Holy Items they are using to fight the monster or are they just waving them around the way you would use a magic wand? It kind of bugged me in a big way how casually they used the Holy Eucharist.

The Verdict: B-
Yeah, it was allright. I did appreciate all the Christian stuff in the book, aside from the possible irreverence. I liked this book MUCH better than Frankenstein, which I plan on Video Reviewing as soon as possible, but I don't know if I'm going to read this again any time soon.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Favorite Songs From Musicals #11: Drink With Me

Yay, booze. Just kidding, don't drink, kids.
Now why on earth would this low-key, uber depressing song make it onto my list? True, this song isn't the most impressive or memorable of the songs in Les Miserables, but I inexplicably like it. It's obviously bittersweet, as all the students are fessing up to the fact that they are very likely to die once morning comes. I like how it's not very dramatic, it's just a simple tune that sounds like something you might sing with your friends. If you're like me and my friends and like to sing a lot, that is. Hey, I don't claim to speak for other people.
And it was either Chinese subtitles or the short one from the movie that I know you guys don't like. ;)
Oh yeah, and the first verse is a little suggestive. Just thought I'd throw that out there as a warning.

Drink with me
To days gone by
To the life that used to be
At the shrine of friendship,
Never say die
Let the wine of friendship
Never run dry
Here's to you,
and here's to me.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Storage Room Throwback!: Blanket

Throwback is where I just do little flashback comics for Storage Room, with them all as cute, somewhat bratty 'lil kids. Today's Throwback concerns Rene and his Mom, who's doing the washing.

He still has his green hat. XD I should have made it super baggy on his tiny 4 year old head.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Sibling's Halloween Costumes :D

[sniffle] I was taken ill this Halloween, so I didn't get to dress up and take my sibs out like I was hoping to, and Dad and my older brother took them out instead. Here are their cool costumes though, enjoy!
Here's Libby, she went as Emma Woodhouse, from the Jane Austen novel 'Emma'. :)

And here's Nick as Indiana Jones. :D And if you look carefully, you can see Libby and mum's reflections in the garage door window. XD
And no, he didn't go out barefoot. He was just too lazy to put on shoes for the photo shoot.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Storage Room: Hypochondria! (and blog anniversary!)

Anybody else a hypochondriac?
One of the best things about having a comic is that I can write a cartoon about my various anxieties and it slightly lessens the load and I feel like I can go think about something else.
Today is my blog's first anniversary, too! Time to celebrate!

That's how most parties I go to end.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Favorite Songs From Musicals #10: Final Lair/Down Once More

Whatever you want to call it, this is the Finale of The Phantom of the Opera, and it's amazing. I'm not such a big fan of the constant sing/shouting over each other that's supposed to pass for dramatic, but overall, this is a really good finale. Phantom of the Opera is my sister's favorite Musical, and I think her liking of it has been rubbing off on me because this part 'gets' me at the end too. I'm not saying that I approve of murdering people, but the ending is very bittersweet. And when they aren't yelling over each other and sounding generally chaotic, the music is just brilliant! So many of the previous themes are repeated, and I love that kind of dark reprisal. :)

You alone can make my song take flight
It's over now the music of the night

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen [1811]

Oh my GOSH, I've read all the Jane Austen books (except for the short stories, but shush), somebody give me a trophy. ;)
Anyway! I really like this one. I know that there are a lot of people who like the adaptations better, and I may or may not be in that camp, but as brilliant as the '95 adaptation was, it didn't ruin the book for me at all.

So. I'm going to be really self centered and say that I related a TON to Marianne, and maybe that's a big reason why I was so invested in the story. I understood her character (and have done pretty much everything she has, except get dumped and almost die), and some of the things she said were things that I've thought! I know it's really stupid and ego-centric to go on about that, but that's what happens when you read a lot of books! It doesn't take long for you to start finding characters that you really connect with. Not every book has them, but it's a lovely feeling when you find some character and think "Wow, I've felt the exact same way!" I know that the more book I read, the more I get that feeling.

But let's not forget Elinor, because she is such a terrific character! The way she is described in comparison to Marianne you'd think that she's a robot, but Elinor is so witty and clever! I actually laughed out loud at some of her lines, like the following exchange between her and Margaret...

"Oh Elibor!" she cried, "I have such a secret to tell you about Marianne. I am sure she will be married to Mr. Willoughby very soon."
"You have said so," replied Elinor, "Almost every day since they first met on High-Church Down; and they had not known each other  week, I believe, before you were certain that Marianne wore his picture round her neck, but it turned out to be only the miniature of our great uncle."
"But indeed this is quite another thing. I am sure they ill be married very soon, for he has got a lock of her hair."
"Take care, Margaret. It may only be the hair of some great uncle of his."

And I admire the way she can hold back what she's feeling and not go on rampages, that's such an admirable trait. But Elinor is by no means perfect (though when Marianne is going on an emotional spell it's quite easy to think that!) She gets secretly jealous sometimes, and occasionally thinks slightly uncharitable thoughts sometimes. Elinor is a very well rounded character, and I enjoyed the book a lot because of her.

The two male leads of the book were pretty good. A lot of people think that they are kind of bland, but I liked them. Colonel Brandon is certainly more interesting that Edward Ferras though. By a lot. The thing that I like about Colonel Brandon's character is that he's a pitiable character who's had some rough times, but he's not written all like: "Aww, wook at this poor widdle guy, coddle and feel sowwy for him!".

As per usual, the writing was top-notch. I won't lie, my eyes did sort of glaze over during some of the London bit, but the rest of it was just fine. And there is a very thought-provoking bit towards the end, concerning Willoughby, and how they go about forgiving him for what he's done. It was very interesting, and I wasn't expecting it!

The Verdict: A
Point deduced because I think that Elinor's romantic complications were solved a little too conveniently. Just a little bit. But we can talk about that later, all I know is that I really liked this book, and will definitely be reading it again sometime.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Kindle Fail!

Happy Halloween, friends!
For my birthday I received a lovely new kindle, complete with pretty blue case, which is so useful! It's hard to lug those big books I love to read around campus, so it's very pleasant to have around.
It also provided a laugh that I wasn't expecting.
This here is a picture of the X-Ray feature for A Tale of Two Cities. Some kindle books, you hit a button that says X-Ray, and you get a glossary of recurring terms and a little character guide to help you keep everyone straight. It's a good idea! But it could use a little work. See, it works by entering the name of the character or term into Wikipedia, and puts the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article. Sometimes it makes mistakes.

Do you see it? :D
I hope everyone has a good Halloween! If dreams came true, I might have been a better man* I wasn't so busy with my studying and stuff I'd have posted a review of The Nightmare Before Christmas today, but hopefully I can get that up sometime in this here last leg of 2014. How exciting! I love the last three months of a year.

*Don't mind me, just making a reference to some obscure musical. ;)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Translations, Translations, Translations!

S-so... sick... eurggghhhhhhhh I hope you're happy virus, I had to miss my piano midterm because of you.
So, I've been reading a lot of books that were originally written in different languages lately. Books like The Count of Monte Cristo, The Broskis Brothers Karamazov, Les Miserables, The Man Who Laughs, the list goes on and on and on!
I spend a lot of time in the college library, and as interested in reading The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky. On the back of the book it said that this new translation was extremely faithful to the original Russian, and that it had gotten rid of all the 'anglizations' that were in the first translation of the novel. That sounds good right? Keeping the book as close to the original as humanly possible. But I opened the book to look at it, and it was near un-readable. At least to me. My eyes wandered all over the page trying to find something to latch onto, but all I could see were 'thous' and 'hithers' and tons of weird Russian-isms that you had to flip to the footnotes at the back of the book to find out what they meant.
Then I bought a pretty new copy of Les Miserables to sort of replace my battered copy (shhh, don't tell it it's being phased out!), and a lot of the amazon reviews criticized it for having a rather modernish translation. And yeah, reading thought it today I have found some rather interesting phrases that don't quite sound 19th Century France ("Pull yourself together!" "Hey Kid!" "Alright with you?"), but get this! I'm not bugged at all by it.
So those two stories tie together (like any good Lost plotline...) and lead me to the point of this post.
I suppose the question you ask yourself about a translation is where the 'line' is. Where does it go from clearing up peculiarities of the language to changing what the author wanted to say? And what makes a good translation, anyway?
I would say that to make a good, faithful translation, you would first translate the text literally, and then revise to make it run smoothly in English, or whatever language you're translating into. Yes, you can't translate something to exactly what the author was saying. Especially from a language like Japanese that is so intricate and different from any other language that you can only give the reader an idea of what was being written.
Translating from a different language is a difficult project to tackle. There are so many different variables you have to work with, especially when you're going over a book written in French or Spanish where there are two ways of saying 'You'- one of them formal and one of them more friendly. English doesn't have that, so it's hard to translate a passage that has a lot of subtext with the Vous/Tu thing, like you'll find in The Count of Monte Cristo.
So it's difficult, you know! I cut the translators some slack because yeah, I could get picky about the translation for being modern. But then what would I do? Just read The Idiot in the original Russian? No thank you! I would rather read a modernized translation than one that is so excessively accurate that it is hard to read.
Bible translations on the other hand, are a completely different deck of cards. A deck of cards that I'm not even authorized to shuffle. So that's a different post for when I'm a hundred years wiser. ;)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chocolate Book Tag

Not two days after I say that I'm taking a break... XD Can't stay away for long, isn't that right?
I saw this meme or Hamlette's blog, and on Hannah's blog, and thought it would be a fun, quickie post. Because certain parties thought I was leaving my blog forever, here's me saying that I'm not. ;)

 Dark Chocolate [a book that covers a dark topic]
Hi, we're two dudes who don't look like
any of the characters in this book.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. This book is amazing, and I really liked it, but I also had to put it down sometimes because it got a little bit, howyousay... nightmarish? The atmosphere was quite dark and heavy and sometimes it was a little too much so. The ending was really sweet though. I thought it would be all dark and depressing, but it actually had a really nice ending!

White Chocolate [a light and humorous read]

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. I'm not a ginormous Tolkien fan, but this book was just very fun and quite amusing. It had its moments of melancholy, but for the most part it was very charming and whimsical. In a good way, whimsical in a good way.

Milk Chocolate [a book with a lot of hype that you're dying to read]
Ummm, here's the thing about me. Things with LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of hype kind of put me off. So I tend not to read them until they cease to be constantly shoved down my throat.
Caramel Filled Chocolate [a book that makes you feel gooey inside]
By gooey inside do you mean nauseous or do you mean sentimental? Just kidding, just kidding..
I'm just wrapping up Sense and Sensibility, and that book makes me feel a little goopy inside. :) Colonel Brandon makes me happy...
Wafer-less Kit-Kat [a book that surprised you]

The aforementioned Broskis K, since I thought it would be really boring and dry when it was the total opposite. But also Momo by Michael Ende. I thought it would be a cute little story about a mysterious girl and her friends, but it was actually SUCH a deep little story, and I really like it. :)
Snickers [a book you're going nuts about]
SUCH a cool painting on the cover.

So many! Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Odd Thomas... So many! But if I had to pick one I'd pick The Count of Monte Cristo because it's what I'm currently reading and I'm very excited about it.
Hot Chocolate with Mini Marshmallows [a book you turn to for comfort]

Usually whatever I'm reading at the moment is what I go to. But The Scarlet Pimpernel is almost a guaranteed mood-booster for me. :) Along with The Tale of Despereaux.
A Box of Chocolates [a series you feel has something for everyone]

I don't know. I would say the Odd Thomas book because they're full of action, a spot of romance, lots of suspense, and a good moral compass. But they're also a little too weird and creepy for a lot of peoples tastes, so I don't know. :P
 Of thee I zing, Ice Cream, of The Blog of Ice Cream!
And anybody else who wants to do it, I just don't want to badger anyone or be irritating. :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Let's blow this job!

So long!
Hi guys! I'm pretty busy with my classes and projects and stuff, so I'm officially halting all blogger activities for an undetermined amount of time. I can't wait until I'm at a four year, because if I feel busy now... XD
I'm going to write up the rest of those Musical Song posts, and stock up on Chibi comics, and I'll hopefully be back in business around the middle of November!
That being said, if I have a bit 'o free time, I might nip on here, but I just want to take off as much additional stuff as possible so I can focus on my grades.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Favorite Songs from Musicals #9: Do You Hear The People Sing?

What kind of list would this be if I didn't have Do You Hear The People Sing on it? :D
Just kidding, I didn't put this one on just because it's popular. That's not how I roll. ;)
The context of the song is different depending on whether you're watching the stage play or the movie. In the play, I think that The Friends of the ABC are rallying the people to get all riled up about the revolution (I think), whereas in the movie the song is sung while the students crash Lamarque's funeral and the Revolutionary Funtimes begin. I have to say, I like it's placement in the movie a little better. I think it's very cool how the revolution starts with a whisper and spreads through the people and becomes something very big! Too bad for them it didn't last. Oops, spoilers. :P

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men
It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again
When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes.
Will you join in our crusade
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free!

The Janeite Tag! :D

Hi everyone! I was tagged for the Janeite Tag by Hamlette http://theedgeoftheprecipice.blogspot.com/ and I'm looking forward to answering all her questions! Thanks for tagging me! And I'm so sorry I haven't posted this sooner! It's been kind of a stressful week, what with exams and such. We learned another irregular verb and I'm freaking out over vocabulary. :P But let's forget all that for now, and get on with it!


The Rules:
Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
Tell us how you were introduced to Jane Austen and share one fun fact about your Janeite life (this fun fact can be anything from "I stayed up all night reading Emma" to "I visited Chawton and met Anna Chancellor.").
Answer the tagger's questions.
Write seven questions of your own.
Tag as few as one or as many as seven other Janeites and let them know you've tagged them.

How I was Introduced
My mom has always had the books around, and I had been exposed to the various adaptations a lot, my favorite being the Gwyneth Paltrow 'Emma' and the Persuasion from the 90's. I didn't start reading them until I was around 14 and I had to read Pride and Prejudice for school. We erm, won't go over that in detail because it didn't end well. The jist is, I wasn't really a big Jane Austen fan until I read Emma, and then all of a sudden I was quite addicted! I've read all the books except Sense and Sensibility, but I'm planning on reading that whenever I finish the awesomeness that is The Count of Monte Cristo. Whenever that may be.

Fun Fact...?
I um... don't believe that I have one! Well, when I was 11 I tried to match all the people I knew to characters from Emma. I was Emma Woodhouse, some obnoxious kid from Church was Frank Churchill, and I can't remember anything else.

Allrighty! Hamlette's Questions!

1. Would you rather board with the Bennets or the Tilneys for a fortnight?
I'm going to have to say the Tilneys! I'd take a gruff jerk over giggly girls any day of the year.
2. Would you rather have Edmund Bertram or Edward Ferrars as your pastor?
Wow, their names are so similar that at first I couldn't remember which one was which! Um, Edward Ferras, just because he's a little more interesting?
3. If you could play any Austen character in a play or movie production, who would you want to portray?
I don't believe there are any Austen heroines who look anything like me. XD But if we were ignoring matters like really dark eyebrows and a totally Californian complexion, I would so want to play either Marianne Dashwood or Catherine Morland. :) Or Emma.
4. Which Austen book makes you laugh the most? (Or do you not laugh over any of them?)
Emma and Northanger Abbey both had me constantly in stitches. :D
5. How many times have you read your favorite Austen book?
Only once. I just recently started reading the Austen books, so I haven't had time to loop yet.
6. Which Austen parents do you think do the best job of parenting?
Hmmmmm, I don't think that I could answer that because I haven't read all of them, but of the ones that I have read I think that Catherine Morland has a nice, normal family with regular, non-paranoid or negligent parents.
7. If you could make a new movie version of any Austen book, which one would you adapt, and who would you cast? (Feel free to get as detailed as you want, or just cast the principals -- your choice.)
Um, pass! I really don't know a whole lot of actors. :P

Okay, here's the jist. I can't think of any questions at the moment, but as soon as I think of them I'll post them. Then again, I might just go over the verb 'Faire' a million times because that's a little more pressing at the moment. Sorry! XD

Friday, October 17, 2014


[sniffle] That's our special inside joke, isn't it, Ice Cream? Anyways, It's a special occasion, so I figured why not put up a comic and the Janite Tag today?
Stay Frosty, my friends!

Monday, October 13, 2014

55 Favorite Songs From Musicals #8: The Confrontation

Oh no! I missed a week. XD Oh well, I had an exam to study for, and exam takes precedence over blog series. And the start of Hockey Season takes precedence over both of them! Just kidding. I have filled out a Janeite tag, so I think I'll have that read to post tomorrow.
YEAH, more Les Miserables! Ahem. This song carries a lot of tension, and when done right the counterpoint duet sounds awesome. A lot about both Jean Valjean and Javert's characters is revealed in the lyrics, and all in all it's a very powerful scene.

Dare you talk to me of crime,
and the price you have to pay
Every man is born in sin, every man must choose his way
You know nothing of Javert,
I was born inside a jail
I was born with scum like you
I am from the gutter too!
I am warning you Javert
I'm the stronger man by far
There is power in me yet,
My race is not yet run
I am warning you Javert
There is nothing I won't dare
If I have to kill you here
I'll do what must be done

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Storage Room: Timmy vs Nature

Guess who hiked down to her friend's tire swing in the country and wore her clogs that offer little to no foot protection and got mosquito bites all over her ankles?
Yeah. Enjoy the comic!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's October!

Yay! I'm in a pretty good mood today, in such a good mood that a change in the months feels like something to celebrate. Maybe I hit my head harder than I thought in French yesterday! Oh yeah, and in other news, I kinda sorta maybe got a head injury in French class yesterday. But that's a story for another post!
I love October.
And not just because my birthday is in October (It's also the Month of the Holy Rosary!). Though that might be a large contributing factor, anyways... I like the weather around here in October. It's very crisp and a little chilly, but not so cold as to be really uncomfortable. And the atmosphere feels generally a little more 'eerie'. Probably because Halloween, one of my favorite days of the year! Yes, I dress up and go out. Because I like to take advantage of free candy. And it's very fun to dress up. Last year I was Eponine, and this year I'm going as Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. :) Unless I can't get a good tattery dress together, in which case I'll go as the (dark haired and brown eyed) Harriet Smith to Libby's Emma Woodhouse. Yeah, my sister is going as Emma Woodhouse, isn't that neat? And my little brother who was Enjolras last year is going as Indiana Jones. He has a thing for heroes that shoot a lot of people I guess. Hmmm, maybe we should look into that. XD
ANYWAY. Where was I? Right. The eerie atmosphere. I don't know, I just love it when things are a little weird and eerie. Plus, 'eerie' is just a cool lookin' word, n'est-ce pas? It's the time of year where my imagination kind of runs wild with itself, and it's also the time of year where I love to stay up late and read some [gasp] scary stories.
So! I thought it would be fun to have a reading list for October (yeah, and that last list... I don't really want to use the kindle app on my computer because reading for a long time on this thing makes my eyes hurt, so it looks like Toilers of the Sea ain't happening.), so here it is! I want to see if I can read all these creepy books by the end of the month. :)
1.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
I started this one, and I'm not that crazy about it. But it's a book I might not have otherwise picked up, so we'll just call it horizon-broadening.
2.) Coraline by Neil Gaiman
I love this book. It's very short and you can read it in a day. Also very creepy, but also kind of fun too!
3.) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
I read the Wishbone version of this book when I was like, nine. And I was bored because there were no major lady characters. But I'm older and less picky now, so maybe I'll like it.
4.) Dracula by Bram Stoker
I read this one (didn't finish it though because I lost it) when I was fourteen, and I recall liking it... it's a little violent though. Seems to me that this is the 1800's version of a slasher horror movie and I'm not sure now I feel like it. But I remember that it was easy to read and follow (though I think that they killed off my favorite character.) so I look forward to this one!
5.) Brother Odd by Dean Koontz
I snuck another favorite on here. ;)

Oh, and before we go, here's a cool poem about October! My sister doesn't like it though because it kind of slams her birthday month. I admit that this poem is a little uppity, but the imagery is so pretty and the writing is great.

October's Bright Blue Weather by Helen Hunt Jackson
O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
        And flowers of June together,
    Ye cannot rival for one hour
        October's bright blue weather;
    When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
        Belated, thriftless vagrant,
    And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
        And lanes with grapes are fragrant;
    When Gentians roll their fringes tight
        To save them for the morning,
    And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
        Without a sound of warning;
    When on the ground red apples lie
               In piles like jewels shining,
    And redder still on old stone walls
        Are leaves of woodbine twining;
    When all the lovely wayside things
        Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
    And in the fields, still green and fair,
        Late aftermaths are growing;
    When springs run low, and on the brooks,
        In idle golden freighting,
    Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
        Of woods, for winter waiting;
    When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
        By twos and twos together,
    And count like misers, hour by hour,
        October's bright blue weather.
    O suns and skies and flowers of June,
        Count all your boasts together,
    Love loveth best of all the year
        October's bright blue weather.

Monday, September 29, 2014

55 Favorite Songs From Musicals #7: Belle

Okay, so Beauty and the Beast isn't my favorite Disney movie. I'm actually a little afraid to admit my favorite Disney movie in public. XD
I just have a few little issues, like the fact that Belle is kind of a snob, and seriously? Nobody discovered that gigantic castle just sitting there? What exactly is the beast 'prince' of?
But I also really like it because it has great music, brilliant animation, and aside from the whole snob thing, Belle is very cool. She likes reading, she respects and loves her father, she stands up for herself, and I find her relatable. Especially since I'm a snob myself. ;) At least when it comes to books.
Ahem. Sorry, didn't mean to rant, but I'm super-muy under the weather today, so I gave myself a rant license! Mwahahaha, cower in fear, mortals!
Ahem. Again.
So! 'Belle' is a very strong opening number, and I think that it sets pretty much everything up perfectly! One of the best opening songs to a musical, in my opinion. :)

Oh, isn't this amazing?
It's my favorite part because you'll see!
Here's where she meets Prince Charming
But she won't discover that it's him 'till Chapter Three!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Meme!

1. Favourite childhood book?
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. I love that book!

2. What are you reading right now?
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Two completely different books, I know!

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None, to be honest. :P

4. Bad book habit?
If there's a line or section I really like then I dogear or underline. But Never with a nice or new copy of a book.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Pygmalion, the play that the musical My Fair Lady is based on. :) I got it for my sister from the campus library.
6. Do you have an e-reader?

I have a kindle app on my computer, but I prefer reading real books. They smell nice (new books and old books both have distinctive smells, I find), they feel great in your hands, and it just feels 'right' to me. :)

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I'm able to read several books at once, unless I'm reading something very heavy, or intensive. Then I'd just rather concentrate on that one book.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Not really. But I did find several good titles by reading other people's blogs! Like The Scarlet Pimpernel and Toilers of the Sea.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far?)
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Meh.

10. Favourite book you've read this year (so far?)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens! I know it's probably really old and stuffy material, but for whatever reason it just clicked with me and I really like it. :)

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
I don't know. Not that often probably, because my comfort zone consists of books that I know I will most likely enjoy, and I don't like wasting time on books I won't like.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I read a lot of classics, so I suppose those are the books I feel most comfortable with. Basically anything that isn't Young Adult literature or (certain kinds of) Sci Fi is fine with me! XD

13. Can you read on the bus?
Yeah. I don't ride the bus that often, but I can read in the car without getting sick.

14. Favourite place to read?
I like to read in our garage lying down on the couch with both doors open and air circulating in... sigh... it's so pleasant.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I'd just like it back in as good condition as it was when I lent it. Wrinkled up on the spine and covers is fine, but if it comes back seriously trashed or damaged I'll probably feel a little angryful.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Yes. Before you decide that I'm evil, hear me out. I don't dog-ear nice copies of books, or new copies of books. I did dog-ear the living daylights out of my battered copy of Les Miserables the first time I read it though. So many good lines and thoughts to keep track of!

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Only if it's something I have been told to take notes on. Or if it's a super lousy book (like The Near Witch) I'll write riffs and quips in the margins that mock the book. XD

18. Not even with text books?
I write in text book margins, except for my French one, that's on loan. :P

19. What is your favourite language to read in?
Pffft, English! I know a smidgen of French and Japanese, but not well enough to read whole novels. Wish I could though. :P

20. What makes you love a book?
Here's the list!
- A hero who does the right thing, but still has flaws
- Nice imagery and writing
- Really good ending lines!
- Interesting characters who feel real
- Vivid settings
- Interesting philosophical themes
- Books that provide Thought-Fodder!

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
I don't really reccomend books to my friends and family. Parly because I'm afraid of coming off as naggy, but also because I'm afraid of them reading the book, hating it, and thinking that I have bad taste in books. But I suppose the critera can be found in the previous question...

22. Favourite genres?
Classic Literature, but specifically drama like Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Victor Hugo. I also really like 'spooky' books, like Odd Thomas or Coraline. And Fantasy. Not really a sword and sorcery person, but Fantasy in general I find very appealing. :)

23. Genres you rarely read (but wish you did?)
I don't know, if I see a book that I like I usually make an effort to grab it, but maybe historical fiction? Mysteries too. I wish I could find our copy of the complete Sherlock Holmes, I read A Study in Scarlet and it was great!

24. Favourite biography?
Ummm..... Pass. I don't really read biographies.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
What the deuce are self-help books?

26. Favourite cookbook?
We have a cookbook that's just chocolate recipes, I used to actually carry that one around with me when I was a preteen. XD

27. Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
The Divine Romance by Fulton J. Sheen. :)

28. Favourite reading snack?
I don't usually eat when I read (book balancing issues, you know) but I usually read while I'm eating breakfast. So, cereal.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I don't know! I haven't read that many uber-hyped books. Well, I was pretty sick of the Hunger Games before I even cracked the spine on that one.

29. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Eh, 50/50. There are some books I love that critics hate, and other ones that they love. So I don't know if they're wrong, or me. XD

30. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I think they're fun to write! Mwahaha! No regrets here! Unless it's a book that somebody reccomended to me. In that case, I wouldn't even write a review, just quietly pretend that I never read it.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Japanese or French!

34. The most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. I hear it's really good, but.... I'm scared. XD

35. Favourite Poet?
I don't read a whole lot of poetry, it depresses me because I can't write that well. :P

38. Favourite fictional character?
SO MANY! Um, here's the list. :)
- Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities)
-Atticus Finch and Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird)
- Jean Valjean, The Bishop, Eponine (Les Miserables)
- Despereaux (The Tale of Despereaux)
- Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley (Emma)
- Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney (Northanger Abbey)
- Mr. Jarndyce (Bleak House)
- Gandalf and Sam Gamgee (The Lord of the Rings)
- Alexei 'Alyosha' Karamazov (The Brothers Karamazov)
-Elinor & Marianne Dashwood and Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility)

39. Favourite fictional villain?
Again. So many. XD And a lot of these guys aren't really pure evil.
- He's not evil, but he is in the way of the hero, so I guess he belongs here. Javert (Les Miserables)
- Madame Defarge (A Tale of Two Cities)
- Smeagol (The Lord of the Rings)
- Roscuro (The Tale of Despereaux

40. Books I'm most likely to bring on holiday?
Um, whatever I happen to be reading at the moment.

41. The longest I've gone without reading.
I haven't kept track. :)

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Wuthering Heights. Ugh, that book is TURGID!! I wish I could find somebody who likes it and ask them what they see in it!

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
The TV.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel?
I really like Sense and Sensibility (1995)!

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Eh, the 1980 A Tale of Two Cities TV movie. It was wrong on so many little levels that I just didn't like it that much. I prefer the cheesy one from 1989. I mean, that one wasn't perfect, but at least we had a blast watching it! XD

46. The most money I've ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
35 bucks for a piano textbook. ._.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I sometimes check out the first chapter, but a lot of the time I go into books 'blind', as it were.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
A turgid pace that doens't take the book anywhere, characters who don't make sense, and heroines who the author keeps claiming are 'special', while they're really just like every other generic heroine out there. Oh, and teen romance. And by teen romance, I don't mean the common situation in older books where people got married at 17. I mean teenagers slurping each other and going on and on about how different they are from everyone else. Ugh.

49. Do you like to keep your books organised?
Yeah, but I haven't got them very organized at the moment. See, I don't have a bookshelf, so my rather large collection is somewhat scattered around my room. :P

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them?
Wha? I keep my books, because (a) I like just opening to a favorite part and reading (b) A book I really like is kind of like a friend. Call me selfish or hording, but I wouldn't really want to give it away unless I had multiple copies.

53. A book you didn't expect to like but did?
I don't know. I hardly ever read outside of my comfort zone, because I'm lame like that. Well, I thought To Kill a Mockingbird would be dry and preachy, like most 'important books'. But it was actually a very moving story and one of my favorite books. :)

54. A book that you expected to like but didn't?
Emily of New Moon. Grrr, I hate that book. Didn't even finish it.

55. Favourite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Odd Thomas! Pretty much any Dean Koontz, really. :)

Gotta go! Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 22, 2014

55 Favorite Songs From Musicals #6: Beauty and the Beast

I don't know if Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie, but it certainly has some really good music!
This song is of course, very iconic, and for good reason. Angela Lansbury does a terrific job singing it, the lyrics are moving, and the orchestrations are beautiful! And it's very sweet the way Beast's confidence grows during the song. :)
And I know that it's not related to the music at all, but just LOOK at that eye-poppingly awesome animation!

Tale as old as time
Tune as old as song
Bittersweet and strange,
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong.
Certain as the sun
Rising in the east
Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the Beast.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo [1869] Video Review! :D

Hello guys! I did a video review of something. :)

I hope you guys like it, tell me if there are any other books you'd like me to video rant about. :D Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Tale of Two Cities Chibis

I drew these guys a long time ago, but then I lost the sheet of paper they were on and never found it again. Very tragic. So I gave up looking and drew them again, with a few improvements. And dang! Late 1700's fashion is really hard to draw, especially those weird little stocking things that men wore.
Charles Darnay: I actually based his outfit off of what Sydney is wearing on the cover of my copy of the book, and since they swapped jackets at the drugging part, I figured that I should draw Charles in the blue jacket instead. And the yellow shirt... just because for whatever reason I really like light blue/pale yellow as a color combination. It looks kind of sunset-y. :)
Lucie Manette: I tried to make her outfit as accurate as possible. From what I've seen of 1700's fashion is that a lot of ladies dresses would have a v-shaped panel in the front made of some kind of lacy material. Not 100% sure though. But it's a chibi, so who cares if the fashion is accurate. At least she's not in jeans.
Sydney Carton: Sydney is sad because I drew him with a bottle of wine, thus enabling his alcoholism. Ahem, in every adaptation I've seen, Sydney traipses around in a heavy, black trenchcoat that's like his de facto outfit. So I kind of stole that. Hm. I'm not so good at designing outfits. Even Lucie's dress is inspired by the musical's album cover. :P
Monsieur Manette: [sigh] My siblings hate Monsieur Manette because he cursed the family of Evremonde, including little toddler Charles. Hence, they think that Monsieur Manette is evil.
Miss Pross: Miss Pross is awesome. She's one of the coolest old ladies in all fiction. Ahem, I'm not sure why I drew her in pink, but I think that the mob cap is accurate.
Mr. Lorry: I drew him with his little brown wig that the book keeps bringing up. Aside from that, I don't know how to draw the barrister outfit. :P
Madame Defarge: Howabout that crazy hat? It's so big! I also went overboard with her little accessories. But overall, I'm quite happy with this one. :D
Monsieur Defarge: Shoot! I knew I forgot something... those stains on his apron were supposed to be wine stains, but I used the wrong color.
The Marquis: "MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!" I tried to make him look a little bit like Charles (Family resemblance and all, y'know), but YIKES! That mouth.

Monday, September 15, 2014

55 Favorite Songs From Musicals #5: At The End of The Day

From Les Miserables. Call me generic if you will, but it's my favorite musical and I don't really care if people think that I just like it because it's popular. ;)
Anyway, this song takes place about eight years after the events of the prologue, and dang are these peasants angry!
I love the massive four note repeating introduction, then the angry strings, finally settling down into one heck of an awesome chorus piece. It always sends shivers down my spine, and it was really cool when we got to see it live. :) It's not a really pleasant song, but it's got that simmering anger that is constantly just on the surface of the story, and it sounds really neat.
I don't know why the picture is of Marius and Cosette. O.o

At the end of the day you're another day older
And that's all you can say for the life of the poor
It's a struggle, it's a war
and there's nothing that anyone's giving
All the day standing about,
What is it for? One day less to be living.
At the end of the day you're another day colder
And the shirt on your back doesn't keep out the chill
And the righteous going past,
They don't hear the little ones crying
And the plague is coming on fast
Ready to kill. One day nearer to dying.
At the end of the day it's another day dawning
And the sun in the morning is waiting to rise
Like the waves crash on the sand
Like a storm that'll break any second
There's a hunger in the land
There's a reckoning still to be reckoned
And there's going to be hell to pay
At the end of the day.