10.30.2013

What's Up Wednesday (17)


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

ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill! Too many books came out in late August/September that I'm still trying to catch up with the reading! Sadly, I'm now even more behind on my reading goal. On the bright side, I did read a friend's manuscript before this and I hope it one day becomes a book because I love the world and idea!


WHAT I'M WRITING

Nothing at the moment, but I am planning a bit for NaNoWriMo. Speaking of that, yes, I'm doing it!


If you are too, be my buddy! I'm kangaru (just like my twitter handle). Alz always participates, and you can find her as shizalent.

I've also been writing #hallowfic on Twitter. It's a fun, seasonally appropriate micro-fiction challenge started by S.E. Sinkhorn. There have been lots of great ones. Details here: Write #hallowfic, win a book.

Here are my #hallowfic attempts (including one that doubles as a #twtpoem):





WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

All the excitement people have for NaNoWriMo! I love seeing everyone's excitement, and I'm enjoying the thinky thoughts talks I'm having with a few of my writer friends. November 1st is so close. I'M NOT READY.


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Other than catching a cold (hence my lack of blogging these past weeks - thanks for covering, Alz!), there's been quite a few things that have happened.

1) We increased our Loki army (not to be mistaken for Loki's army).


2) And crowned our Loki.

Photo/ the Sister

3) We fangirled (again) over how much we love Pacific Rim, and then we went on a quest for jaegers.

Mission accomplished!     [Photo/ the Sister]

4) The Sister is a BAMF and was the 1st LA person to #stealthisbook from The Book Thief movie people as part of Markus Zusak's twitter contest.

So we got to see an advanced screening of THE BOOK THIEF! Spoiler: it was lovely! It made me cry a few tears (and I'm not a movie or book crier). John Williams, your scores are always toying with my emotions!!

Confession: I still haven't finished the book, but ultimately, I think the book will be better just because of the nature of the story (words are life and goodness, is the writing gorgeous in the book) and because of the format of the story. BUT I think the movie is a fitting companion. Maybe I'll talk about this more once I've finished reading and when the movie is out.


5) We carved pumpkins with friends!



The Sister made a dalek (her second carving ever!) and I used Kate Hart's wonderful stencil from last year to carve THE RAVEN BOYS cover!


Night-time shots:



6) The Sister and I are putting the final touches on our Halloween costumes!

7) The Sister is more hip to the Buzzfeed thing than I am, but we both made posts this past week that were pretty popular. Thanks for all the love, and if you haven't seen these yet, please check them out (and share)!

The Sister's 15 Items that Show Pumpkin Spice Has Gone Too Far.

And my 18 Literary Pumpkins For A Bookish Halloween


Q4U: What's up with you? and What are you going to be for Halloween?

And be sure to check back Friday for a true TALE OF QUAIL MURDER!

10.25.2013

Guest Post: Sister's Questions About Divergent/Insurgent

As many of you know (or maybe not), I'm not really a reader. I don't usually read for fun and I'm not the type of person to go out searching for something new to read. But as of late, I have started to read more because I've got lots of free time. My main motivations for reading come in two forms:

1.) It's going to become a movie and I'm probably going to watch it so I might as well read it before and

2.) Krispy tells me it's a book about revenge, kids killing kids, people killing each other in general, or Nazis.

In the case of me finally picking up Divergent (even though Krispy and Alz made me take that test to see what faction I'd be in years ago), it's that it was going to be a movie. And mostly because the Greek God known as Theo James was cast in it. In light of the release of Allegiant, here are some questions I had after reading the first two novels.


*SPOILER WARNING BELOW FOR THE FIRST TWO BOOKS*


1.) Why didn't Tris just destroy the hard drive after she got it at the end of Divergent?

I mean yeah fine you had to escape after you secured the hard drive but uhh not very smart to whip it out on the train in front of evil Marcus and other not trustworthy people. In Insurgent, I was just waiting to see what would happen to the hard drive and she just ended up destroying it anyway. The hard drive didn't even serve any purpose.

2.) If the Erudite are so smart and make crazy serums that mind control people, how come they couldn't get something as simple as Four's eye color correct when they were testing new serums on Tris?

I spoke to Krispy about this one a lot and we both think that it isn't really anything wrong with the serum but more based on the fact that Tris has a special Divergent brain that gives her signals to let her know she's in a simulation. But when I read the scene, I took it as more of an Erudite fail. I think the problem with this is that we don't know the science behind this magic serum so I guess I'm just going to have to get over it and accept it for what it is.

3.) What happens if you're born factionless?

It's not your fault your parents are both factionless so are you also given the opportunity to partake in the Choosing Ceremony? Or do you have to just live out your life as sad sad factionless person? Cause you know, that really sucks. A lot.

4.) Why didn't the new Dauntless transfers just jump off of the train to get onto the roof?

I had an epiphany when I thought of this because at first I was just like "yeah they're scared because it's freaking stupid to just jump off of moving trains." But then I realized, the trains never stop. So if they ever used the train before the Choosing Ceremony, they would have had to jump off trains anyway. WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST JUMP OFF THE TRAIN THEN? Now you're factionless and life sucks.

Now that Allegiant is out, I can only hope that some of these questions will be answered (but I'm pretty sure they won't be.) But if you have any possible answers to my questions above, I'd love to hear them! In the meantime, Happy Allegiant reading! And if not, Happy Weekend!




10.23.2013

Once Upon a Manatee

It is Wednesday, Krispy is sick, and Alz had a harebrained notion she was leisurely pursuing, so as usual she decided to begin blogging by talking about herself in the third person, which she only just now noticed has become a habit.  Anyway, to celebrate Wednesday (and hopefully the beginning of Krispy's recovery, c'mon, Krispy, be a healthmonster!) I have for you today the first part of a magical photostory featuring a sparkly rainbow manatee and his writerly aspirations.  Enjoy!

~*~*~*~

Once upon a time, there was a very sparkly bejeweled manatee.


He decided one fine day that he was going to write a story.


He thought it would be dramatic to write in the darkness...


...but it was too dark, so he decided to write by the light of his favorite mushroom lamp.


However, this was still too dark (bejeweled manatees need good light to accomplish much of anything, he was just too stubborn to admit this), so he turned the lights back on and put pen to paper to begin his magnum opus.











~*~*~*~

To be continued!  What is in store for our bejeweled protagonist and the sudden appearance of this mysterious vile evil inferior competitor?  Only time will tell, and by time, I mean sometime next week maybe.  Also forthcoming is a post (per Krispy's request) about a string of unsolved bird murders involving serial killing quail to which my family has been gruesome witness.  Just in time for Halloween!

Happy Wednesday, folks!

10.16.2013

What's Up Wednesday (16)


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 Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea over the weekend. If you're looking for a YA gothic with the right blend of swoon and creep, plus an absolutely gorgeous atmosphere, then check this one out. The voice is also fantastic.

I've just started ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, and I'm still reading a friend's MS, which is getting really interesting. I am in love with the world and mythology.


WHAT I'M WRITING

Still nothing...BUT! I had a Shiny New Idea that's actually an addition to an old idea, and goodness am I excited about it. So given that, I think this means I am indeed participating in NaNoWriMo this year, and I'll probably be writing this idea.

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo too, friend me! I'm kangaru.


WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

Hamlet. There are so many lovely turns of phrase. There's a reason it's so oft-quoted! (Also, it is my favorite Shakespearean play...out of the few that I've read.)




WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Last week, I got to meet 2 lovely Twitter/writer friends, Cat (@catyorkc) and Corrie (@corrieshatto)!

We joked about roses and Pride & Prejudice. Cat actually followed through.


I've been talking to Cat for maybe a year now (mostly squeeing about books we love), and I started talking to Corrie earlier this year. As often is the case, it was so fun meeting both of them in person and hearing not only about their writing but also their other interests. For example, Corrie and I watch an embarrassing (okay but not really because we just love TV, okay?) amount of TV.

This weekend, the Sister and I went out in search of a pumpkin patch because the Sister has decided she would like to tackle pumpkin carving again - though she swore it off after her first ever attempt 2 years ago.

The Sister's first carving: R2-D2


So we went to a pumpkin patch, and the Sister said it was her first time at one! News to me too.





Finally, two of my friends are going to be running the Nike Women's (half) Marathon this weekend in San Francisco. I'm not going with them, but I'll be cheering them on!

Q4U: What's up with you?

10.11.2013

VERSUS: Who would win?

Howdy, folks!  Happy Friday!  To celebrate the incoming weekend, join Alz in her existential literary and media pondering, which this week consisted of her wondering who would win in a no-holds-barred fight-to-the-bitter-end winner-takes-all kicking-ass-and-taking-names battle between random characters from different worlds!

You see, I was just thinking about Moby-Dick and how he is a huge white killer whale, only not that kind of killer whale since he's actually a sperm whale.  And how he's giant and mysterious and vicious and apparently out to get Ahab not only because Ahab is out to get him, but because it's just what giant white mysterious metaphorical killer sperm whales do.

And then I thought about other giant killer sealife--you know, Jaws.

And I thought, Who would win?

Moby-Dick VS Jaws
RAWR^2
JAWS

Strengths: Huge killer great white shark. Can eat his way through boats and ships and people.  Impervious to small firearms and probably harpoons (been a long time since I've seen the movie).  Has cool theme music.

Weaknesses: Exploding things jammed into his mouth.  Ultimately mortal.

MOBY-DICK

Strengths: Huge killer sperm whale.  Can smash the hell out of boats and ships and people.  Has a taste for human flesh or at least the legs of captains named Ahab.  Impervious to harpoons and spears and other sharp objects.  Is a consummate metaphor for all that is unknown and unknowable to mankind.

Weaknesses: Captains named Ahab.  Probably immortal since he's a metaphor.

Who would win?  Personally, I think Jaws would rip a few decent chunks out of Moby-Dick, but good ol' Moby would make seafood mincemeat out of Jaws pretty soon after.  To quote V from V for Vendetta, "Ideas are bulletproof."  In this instance, I daresay "metaphors are sharkproof" is a fitting translation.

~*~*~*~
Next up is two gargantuan reptilian beasties: one comes from a lonely mountain and the other comes from the oceanic depths of Japan.

Smaug VS Godzilla
Dude, not gonna exaggerate: In the book, Smaug's underparts are literally encrusted with diamonds.

SMAUG

Strengths: "'My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!' (207)" and "'I am armoured above and below with iron scales and hard gems.' (208) Smaug, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Weaknesses: Chinks in his armor.  Or rather, a chink (singular) in his armor.

GODZILLA

Strengths: Gigantic amphibious reptile with atomic breath. Can swim, sometimes fly, and also level metropolitan cities in a matter of minutes.  Generally impervious to man-made weaponry.  Can regenerate.  Pretty frequently rebooted too.

Weaknesses: Doesn't stick around for too long before going back to sleep, returning to the ocean, apparently being killed, and/or otherwise disappearing from the world indefinitely.  Also, the reboots occasionally suck.

Who would win?  Assuming these two behemoths are approximately the same size, I'd say it's a pretty even match, even allowing for a ground-bound version of Godzilla.  Smaug seems more intelligent than Godzilla and more complex in his goals and greeds, but all it'd take is one lucky (or well-aimed) punch or atomic fireball from everybody's favorite original kaijuu and Smaug would be nothing more than a smoldering smear on Godzilla's claws.

~*~*~*~

Last but not least, especially since Krispy's Sister and I have been engaged in nefariously nebulous Loki-related plotting, I of course thought of our favorite Marvel villain ever...and his namesake.

Loki VS Loki
The Ultimate Showdown
LOKI (dog)

Strengths: Cuteness and fluffiness.  Can run at 200 mph for short but intense bursts.  Sometimes has nuclear poo.  Special attack: uterus-punch.

Weaknesses: Doesn't swallow that last gulp of water before dashing off, so often chokes.  Can be lazy.  Easily distracted by flying bugs.

LOKI (Marvel)

Strengths: Magic and the ability to duplicate himself.  Throws butterknives with deadly accuracy.  Exceedingly charming and obsessively vengeful in turn.  Glowstick of Doom.

Weaknesses: Daddy issues, brother issues, xenophobia, and hubris.

Who would win? Loki would win of course.  Which one?  LOKI, OF COURSE.  Ahem.

~*~*~*~

Well, that was interesting.  I was trying to pair like with like so things wouldn't get too unfair or be unbalanced, though of course in Loki VS Loki, we all know who has the real advantage...

Who do you think would win in each scenario and why?

Happy Friday!  Have a fantastic weekend and go see Gravity!  Krispy says it's amazing and I can't wait to see it.

10.09.2013

What's Up Wednesday (15)


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'm still reading Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, but that is partly because I had to stop to read a library book before it was due. That book was Holly Black's newest The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.

I'd read her short story by the same name a few years before, and I loved the premise - our world altered because vampires exist and vampirism can spread like an epidemic. So I was pretty excited to hear she was writing a whole novel set in the world. And I loved it.

I think this is maybe my favorite Holly Black novel (though I've only read Tithe, a short story collection, and the Curse Workers series). It's a new-old take on vampires, where they are seductive and charming but also unmistakably dangerous and far from their former humanity. It explores identity, self-discovery, survival, and the nature of humanity and monstrosity. Loved. It.


WHAT I'M WRITING

Nothing! But I have an idea for a scary short maybe, and there's an idea I had the other day that might be just what I needed to revitalize an old story. I may possibly plan for NaNoWriMo...


WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

The wisdom of the poet Rumi.

[Photo/ mine]
Here are more Rumi quotes to motivate you.


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Other than reading and trying to get more sleep, I haven't done much. The sister and I are trying to figure out our TV schedules with new and old shows starting up. We're pretty into Sleepy Hollow, but a bit disappointed in both Agents of SHIELD and the current season of The Legend of Korra. We're also enjoying all the drama of the BBC & Starz 1-season series The White Queen and CBS's Elementary continues to be fun.

We're also trying to find a Halloween costume for us and for Loki. Last year, he was a shark.

He's kind of rocking these Yoda ears we got from the Petco booth at SDCC.

Oh and the other fun thing is that thanks to a couple weird circumstances, I got to exercise some work perks. Good thing I love food/ Asian snacks.

Cases and cases of Pocky.

ONE MORE THING! We also saw the movie GRAVITY this weekend, and it was INCREDIBLE. I think it is seriously the best movie I have seen all year. It is gorgeous, breathtaking, heart-wrenching, and terrifying. I even recommend seeing it in 3D, which I normally hate, but since the movie was conceived as a 3D film and filmed in 3D, the extra dimension is actually used to enhance the storytelling. I think that's the only time 3D is worth it.

I was iffy about seeing it because the idea of being adrift in space kind of freaks me out and because the trailers make what the story is kind of unclear (like...is she just out there floating?), but then Comic Con convinced me otherwise. (I know, SDCC really is a gold mine for early access info - like it's weird to me that some things that are stirring up excitement now were things I saw in July...)

By that I mean, hearing Alfonso CuarĂ³n talk about the conception of the movie and what they had to do/build/innovate to make it got me more curious to see the final result. Then at the actual panel for GRAVITY, they showed us an extended clip from the movie, and it was so intense. I was stressed out just by that, holding my breath, but I was also so gripped by the scene. That ultimately convinced me to go see it, even though it was still stressful. I literally felt relieved when the movie ended! But in a good way! My body could finally relax, haha.

So unless being adrift in space is likely to induce actual panic attacks in you, the Sister and I both HIGHLY RECOMMEND you go see GRAVITY. It is an experience, and so, so beautiful.

Q4U: What's up with you? Got your Halloween plans figured out yet?

10.04.2013

Randomosity on Fridays: Bring on the Spook

A short Friday post this week because I'm exhausted, Alz is sick, and the government is shut down. But enough of that because it is October, which means pumpkins and changing leaves and the beginning of sweater weather. Well, not so much the latter if you live in Southern California. We're not quite there yet (we're supposed to hit 90-some degrees F this weekend), but there is a chill in the air (at night).

October is also the month of spook. I'm a chicken when it comes to scary movies, but I do love hearing ghost stories and urban legends, and I quite enjoy all those Travel Channel shows about haunted places.

Not pumpkins, but kind of related to the spookiness of October! BATS!

So in that vein, I'd like to pose a question: What monster/urban legend scared you as a kid or still scares you now?

For me? It's Bloody Mary. I think it's the combination of blood, mirrors, and things appearing in mirrors. *shudder* The episode of Supernatural about her remains the one I find the scariest.

10.02.2013

What's Up Wednesday (14)


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'm still a bit everywhere with my reading. Since the last time I did a What's Up Wednesday post, I finished QUINTANA OF CHARYN, which was a very satisfying conclusion to an amazing fantasy trilogy. I also read CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, which was fun, and ANTIGODDESS which pushed all my Greek Mythology loving buttons. I'm very much looking forward to the next book in the Goddess Wars series.

At the moment, I am reading a very enjoyable manuscript, and I'm finally reading BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA. The voice in DEVIL is fantastic and some of the descriptions are just beautiful!


WHAT I'M WRITING

This is relevant, I swear.  [Photo attribution/ I, Japiot]
Uh, still nothing. BUT! I did revise one of my poems and I'm quite pleased with how it is currently. It has to do with a hart and a hunter, and I'm thinking about renaming it ACTAEON. :)


WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

I spent this past weekend in San Diego with the Sister and our parents because we went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The safari park is cool because other than regular zoo enclosures, they have a huge open habitat where herd animals just roam free. They also offer really cool safaris, some of which allow you to get up close to the animals. So seeing these beautiful creatures in real life and learning about them (something I've always loved - I used to watch the Discovery channel for fun instead of like actual TV shows) was pretty freaking inspiring.

Baby rhino and mom!


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

So before I regale you with more tales of our safari adventures. I've been up to a couple of other things since I last did this meme.

I've been to a bunch of concerts for one. I got to go to Bastille courtesy of the Sister's sweet gig, and we also saw Lorde. In between those 2 shows, we saw M83 at the Hollywood Bowl backed by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and it was freaking awesome.

Sold out BASTILLE show at the El Rey.
M83 at the Hollywood Bowl - Midnight City.


Now, the SDZ Safari Park! I haven't been since I was a kid, and when I saw a livingsocial deal for the park, I thought it'd be fun to do a weekend trip. When we got down there, we decided to upgrade our basic admission to one of the fancier safaris. My friend said there was one where you could feed the giraffes and really recommended it, so that's the one we took - the Caravan Safari.

The Caravan Safari takes a small group of people on a truck for 2 hours, and we drive around the park with our own personal zookeeper tour guide. Part of the safari includes feeding the giraffes, and if we were lucky, we might get to feed the rhinos too. This is because the giraffes will come up to the truck, but we have to go to the rhinos AND they have to feel like it.

Well, WE WERE LUCKY and got to feed a rhino! Anyway, pics!

Do you see the unicorns? :)


We fed these giraffes acacia leaves! They were so friendly and cute, and their tongues are so long.


Our zookeeper guide was funny because when she recognized which Asian Rhino was closest to us, she was like, "Oh, we're going to get her. She eats everything! She'll come over." And sure enough, as soon as the rhino heard the sound of apples in a bucket, she came trotting over.



On our way out, the mom and baby African Rhinos we saw earlier sitting in the shade were eating at the feeders near the road out. We passed pretty close to them, and the little baby rhino came over to look at us. She was soooooo cute!


We explored the rest of the park after the Caravan Safari was over, and then we lined up for the Cheetah Run in the afternoon. It's really cool because they use a lure on a 100 meter track and release a cheetah to chase the lure. It's pretty amazing to see how fast they are, and they are so graceful and gorgeous. The other cool/cute thing is that all the cheetah ambassadors have dogs as their companions because the dogs keep them calm.

The Sister managed to get a video of part of the run. Cheetahs can go to 0 to 60mph in 3 seconds and even more impressively, they can go from 0 to 40mph in 3 steps!


Q4U: What have you been up to? Also, happy October! Who is ready for Halloween (and fall)?