4.23.2014

Road Trip Wednesday: Favorite Childhood Book

On Wednesdays, the ladies at YA Highway host Road Trip Wednesday, where they provide an easy prompt that can be answered anywhere - including on Twitter with hashtag #roadtripwednesday.



This week's topic: What was your favorite book as a child?

I can't really answer this with one definitive book as I have loved many, but probably the first that comes to mind is Anna Sewell's BLACK BEAUTY. Not only did it appeal to my love of horses, it taught me the heartbreak of losing beloved characters early on. (What is it with children's books killing off dear animal friends? I have never gotten over Stone Fox or Where the Red Fern Grows!)

The version I own from childhood.
The Penguin Deluxe Edition I would like to own.

My love for this book eventually led me to Walter Farley's THE BLACK STALLION, which I possibly loved even more. But that might also be because that was the first book in a fairly long series, and I made it a goal to finish them all. (And I did, but the first is still the best.)



I'd also be remiss if I didn't also mention THE BOXCAR CHILDREN and THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD. I read both these books in 3rd grade for class and loved them so much, I continued with the series.


Because seriously, how fun did living in a boxcar without adult supervision sound? And who wouldn't want a magic cupboard that brings your toys to life?! To this day, I have more Boxcar Children books than any other and I don't think I've even read them all. I was obsessed.

Q4U: What were your favorite childhood books?

4.18.2014

Friday Five: Thread and Dragon Version

It's that time o' the week again.  That's right!  It's Friday!  So here are five pics of what I've been up to lately.  Well, I suppose it's a bit cheatery since there's basically one standalone pic and then a series of four related ones, but oh well.

1. Our local craft store is closing, much to my angst, because the next nearest craft stores are inconveniently far away.  As Ma Ingalls would say, though, there's no great loss without some small gain, which in this case is $120 worth of thread obtained for $30 due to clearance sales.

A rainbow of embroidery/decorative threads and metallics.
2. I have a classmate whom I have dubbed Whiny Classmate.  (She knows this and knows how lovingly I call her this to others and that there's nothing she can do about it.  HAH.)  One day she was attempting to explain to me how my flat dragon pendant idea would be much cooler with a 3-D head and I didn't exactly understand what she meant, so she scribbled out this 3-second example sketch:

Whiny Classmate insisted it's a dragon.
3.  I declared her sketch way more interesting than my original idea and decided to bring it to life in metal, as such a doofy-looking awesome dragon deserved.

WIP: Bits sawed out and domed, ready for soldering.

4. After a couple of weeks or so, here he is!  He turned out to be a brooch rather than a pendant.  The head and wings are bronze (and the wings are textured with a scaly pattern), the arms are brass wire, the body and tail are copper, and the wings and tail are riveted with silver rivets so that they can move around.  There's also a dichroic glass stone set inside his mouth.

ROOOOOOARARGARGHARGHARGH!

5. A back view.  "WHEEEEEE" is stamped on the back of his tail, and there's a bronze rat soldered to the back because I like rats and this is my pendant so I can do what I want, so there!  For added interest, I speckled the back with bits of silver solder and gave the copper a darker patina for contrast.

Wheeeeee!
The dragon was supposed to be carrying a stonesetting as an egg, and I actually made one so that it could be a removable pendant worn separately, but it looked weird when looped onto his hands so I ended up leaving it off.

I quite enjoyed making this dragon as much of his inherent charm is due to the fact that under normal circumstances the originally sketch would've been tossed in the trash without a second thought.  Whiny Classmate doodled it on the butcher paper that covered the desk, and when cleanup time came, I took scissors and cut that sucker out to save it for posterity.  I mean just look at that face.  Look at it.  How could I not?

And the day's lesson was thus: Creativity comes from all sources.

Also: Alz will do exactly what she wants.

Happy Friday, folks!  Hope you have a great weekend. 

4.16.2014

What's Up Wednesday (32)


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, so we can check in with each other. To join, just check out Jaime Morrow or Erin Funk's blogs for the link widget and sign up!


WHAT I'M READING

I finished ALLEGIANT! I know, finally. Ultimately, I thought it was a fitting conclusion to the trilogy, if a bit odd. My thoughts on goodreads.


I also finished THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski, which was as excellent as I'd heard. It has a beautiful cover too, and I'm so looking forward to the next installment.

Now, I'm reading INTO THE STILL BLUE by Veronica Rossi to continue the finishing trilogies trend.


WHAT I'M WRITING

Slow going, but I wrote a verse of the murder mystery story that I think I like. Hope the inspiration continues.


WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

My friends! One of my old friends was visiting from out of town, and she is super amazing and saving lives (she's a doctor). She's only going to continue being awesome and it's a privilege to be her friend.


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Nothing much other than the quality hanging out with said friend. This past week has been busy, and so I treated myself to a mani-pedi.



The Sister, on the other hand, won tickets from the radio to Weekend 1 of Coachella. I almost went with her, but alas, work! She went with a friend, and they had a ton of fun. They met MS MR (left) and got to see Beyonce's surprise appearance at Solange's set (right)!

MS MR [Photo: Sister]
BeyoncĂ© and Solange    [Photo: Jenn L.]
And finally, thanks to friends and family's votes, Loki won our local animal hospital's 2013 pet photo contest grand prize! I don't remember if I mentioned it before, but the grand prize is a glass figure of the winning pet. Based on the photos we sent, Custom Glass Etching made us a glass Loki and we got to pick it up on Monday night!

The really nice thing was that the vet's office asked us to bring Loki and when we got there, they'd set up a little party. There was cake and balloons! Photos of Loki were taken and he got all this attention, which he loved. So here he is with his prize!



Thanks again to any of you who may have voted back in December!!

What's up with you?

4.11.2014

Randomosity on Fridays: Happy Mail Day!

Short post as a dear friend is visiting us this weekend!

But this was a special mail week!



Yes, Loki! What did we get this week? The much anticipated conclusion to one of my favorite recent series...



I am so excited to see how this series all ends! I adore Laini Taylor's writing and world-building, and it is so cool that the B&N edition comes with a signed art print!

The little Captain American shield is a cute crochet pin from the Geeky Hooker, whose geeky critters I have adored. So cute!

Anyway, the LA Times Book Festival is this weekend as well. I might be going. Let me know if you are! Happy weekend!

4.09.2014

The Winter What Now?

So I like totally agree with Krispy that Captain America: The Winter Soldier might be my favorite Marvel movie now, or at least on equal footing with other top contenders such as Iron Man and The Avengers.  And this!  This despite the fact that I found the first Captain America movie to be so utterly unmemorable that I literally do not remember 75% of the movie, to the point that I did not remember that Cap's BFF was a dude named Bucky.  When Krispy was talking about the first movie and how much she loved Bucky, I was like, "Who's Bucky?"

At any rate, the new movie is all kinds of ridiculous funtimes, so here's one of the titular characters (the subtitular character?):


Ahem.  Anyway, after Captain America on Thursday, there was then Game of Thrones on Sunday.  And thinking of those two things, and the fact that Krispy asked me to blog today, and it being late and my brain capacity at approximately 28.5%, I doodled this:

And then I thought: What would the Winter Soldier look like as a direwolf?


And then a further thought persisted: HOW ABOUT A MANATEE AHAHAHAHAHA.


And, had it not been quite late at night (or technically morning), I might have pursued further thoughts.  We shall have to see if further thoughts occur in the future.  They may well might.

Q4U: What's your favorite superhero movie, Marvel, DC, or otherwise?

4.04.2014

Randomosity on Fridays: Random Photos!

Short blog post before the weekend and also it's late as I type this because I just got back from seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier!! So onwards!

1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier may very well be my new favorite Marvel movie, which is kind of crazy considering how much I love Loki and all the weird fantasy-ish mythology-bending hijinks of the THOR franchise. And also considering that I thought the 1st Captain movie was just okay / a long prologue/trailer to The Avengers, it kind of says a lot about how much I liked this movie.

If you like action-y movies more in the flavor of a political thriller but with the added awesomeness of having ridiculous superhero powers (i.e. the action sequences are way more over the top than what you'd see in like a Bourne film...and considering that Captain America is like stronger & faster than your average badass), you'll probably like this movie.

Also, BLACK WIDOW. She needs and deserves a movie ASAP. Marvel, make it happen. Scarlett Johansson has said The Winter Soldier is partly a Black Widow movie, and it's true. The character goes through a lot and I loved the bonding time she has with Cap. (And the other ladies of the movie are badass too. So yay!)

Basically, Marvel has another hit on their hands here, and I'm looking forward to the far weirder Guardians of the Galaxy out later this year.

2) Happy book mail for me this week!

Won this beautiful Penguin Drop Caps collection book from Penguin Classics!
Received this signed copy of the gorgeous Nightingale's Nest!
3) We went to a gallery reception for the picture book Sparky! by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans. Chris was there to sign, and he drew us a cute sloth!!


4) The Sister went on a Lego binge and we now have much to build.

[Photo: Sister]
The Sister's completed X-Wing Lego Microfighter.    [Photo: Sis]
5) The Sister visited her friend, who has a really cute, really fluffy dog!

[Photo: Sis]


HAPPY WEEKEND! If you see the movie, tell us what you think!

4.02.2014

What's Up Wednesday (31)


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, so we can check in with each other. To join, just check out Jaime Morrow or Erin Funk's blogs for the link widget and sign up!


WHAT I'M READING

It's getting a little ridiculous that I say ALLEGIANT in this section every week, but it's true! I'm making more progress in my TV watching front than I am in reading. But more on that later. I did also start THE WINNER'S CURSE. I'm having an informal read-along with April.


WHAT I'M WRITING

I wrote what may be a new opening sentence for my NaNo from last November, and I think the voice is better and the tone is right. So fingers crossed this will get me going on this project again. The surprising thing is that it's in 1st person! And that's not really my thing, but we'll see where this goes.

Speaking of NaNo, it is the first month of CAMP NANOWRIMO! I'm not participating, but good luck to everyone who is! I am cheering you on (and stealing your s'mores)! ;)

April is also National Poetry Month. The @aaww has been featuring poetry by Asian American poets every Tuesday, and it looks like they'll be posting some prompts throughout the month. So I look forward to hopefully writing some poetry as well (especially since I am still pondering that original Twitter poem project).


WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

The TV show HANNIBAL actually! It continues to be top notch. The last 2 episodes have been the best they've ever done - so darkly beautiful, poetic, and moving while also horrific. The whole show is gory, gorgeous, so well-written, and thematically rich (even the elaborate meals touch on the themes of the episode). I haven't so deeply loved a show in a long time. I think it's one of the best things on TV right now, and that's including all the fancy cable shows. :)

Season 2 has been a continuous escalation of tension and stakes. Each episode leaves me craving the next (pun intended). If you're not too squeamish and at all curious, I strongly encourage you to give this show a go. It deserves it, and it needs the viewership so that it won't get canned!


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

I missed What's Up Wednesday last week, so I'm pulling some double duty here.

We saw Divergent and had mixed-but-generally positive feelings. I'll be honest: I didn't have very high expectations, but I ended up enjoying it quite a lot. It's a mostly faithful adaptation of the book with some great soundtrack moment. And not gonna lie, I was mostly in it for Theo James and in that aspect the movie delivered. He was so hot. :)

Also, lots of important date anniversaries happened at the end of March...

Loki's Birthday

[Photo: Sis]
Eva's birthday picnic with magical rainbow cake! (I've only seen this on pinterest!)
Incredible Rainbow cake made by Gennia & Scott! [Photo: Gennia]
Gennia & Scott's wedding anniversary: I can't believe it's been a year!

Such a great time!    [Photo: Gennia]
(This also marks the 1 year anniversary of Cake Club.)

In a bunch of random news things, the Sister and I will be headed to San Diego Comic Con again! Yaaaay! After 2 stressful badge sales, where basically the luck of other people saved us, we successfully bought 4 day passes! Woohoo!

My Blackmilk Cheshire Cat leggings arrived and I have already worn them twice. LOVE THEM.


In TV, the Sister and I have finally started watching ORPHAN BLACK and it is as good as we've heard. It is twisty and interesting, and seriously, Tatiana Maslany is freaking amazing! We've seen her play 6 different characters in the show so far, and every single one has been distinct.

THE WALKING DEAD finale this past weekend had us screaming about a certain attack/move that one of the characters uses that I've only ever seen done on 24 by the incomparable Jack Bauer. The cliffhanger hit hard because I want to know what's going to happen next! But at least GAME OF THRONES is back!

This is Toothless and my new friend Drogon.

What's up with you?