Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Where Abbey proves she is, indeed, still reading The Two Towers!

Today was a half-couch day because I wasn't feeling all that great this morning. Currently I am reading four books... and I couldn't decide which one to read while I lay on the couch, so I decided to read them all! Not all at the same time, however. First I started with a chapter of.... THE TWO TOWERS!!!

 

The good thing with Lord of the Rings is that, if you know the story very well, you can put the book down for weeks at a time and come back to it knowing just what's happening.
Anyway, I read one whole chapter of The Two Towers and you know what? It was easy! I don't know why I was on such a slump with it this past year. I only have three chapters left and I have made a promise to myself to finish by the Fourth of July. Because I started reading it sometime last July and I really don't want to be the person who reads a book for a year, refusing to put it down.

After my chapter of Two Towers, I read a chapter in the second No Place Like Holmes book. That took about three minutes. It was kind of funny... The Two Towers chapter was, like, 10 pages. And then The Future Door chapter was, like, three pages and larger print!
After that I read a chapter of Do You Take This Quest? (by blogger Kendra E. Ardnek).
I finished off with a chapter of Emma by Jane Austin.

Then guess what? I read ANOTHER chapter of The Two Towers!! Two whole chapter of The Two Towers done today! I'm so happy.
Of course, I had to read another chapter of The Future Door after that... and then another chapter of Do You Take This Quest?
And once again, I finished off with another chapter of Emma.

So, all in all, I read eight chapters of different books today! Actually nine... because I read a chapter of Do You Take This Quest? when I first got up. And after I publish this post I'll read another chapter of one of the aforementioned books.

As well as reading, I've been doing a lot of editing and thinking about editing lately. I had a mini-panic attack a few days ago when I realized that a huge part of the plot is said to happen on October 1st in the novel... But taking into account all the "two weeks passed" and "a month later's" the plot twist would actually happen on November 9th! Oh no! So I changed a bunch of dates around and moved the start of Part Two to a different date.... And everything worked out. I think.
There's a nicely written timeline sitting next to me, but I still have to go through again and make sure all the dates are correct. As I told Jessica (at Authorly Insane),



Maybe sometime this August.

And now I just HAVE to tell you Tintin fans something!
I was looking for this movie that I watched when I was a kid. It was stop motion... and I happened upon a list of stop motion films (provided by the Wikipedia). Though the list didn't have the movie I was looking for... it did have something very interesting on it!
Right at the top of the list was The Crab with the Golden Claws.
The Crab with the Golden Claws??!?!?!?!?!??!!!
This Crab with the Golden Claws?

 

YES! That Crab with the Golden Claws!
In 1947, someone in Belgian made a Claymation movie of the Tintin book! It's 58 minutes long, on youtube, and, unfortunately, all in French. I was watching a bit of it earlier and for those familiar with the book, the French isn't too big a problem. (That's the good thing about Herge and Tintin... they pictures are so full of life, the story kind of tells itself. You hardly need the words! It's the same with this movie.)
From what I've seen of it and read about it, it seems to be pretty much exactly like the book. The Claymation is really very good. You should check it out!


Who knew right?

And now a question.... since I didn't find the movie I was looking for....
When I was young, I remember getting a stop motion movie (not animation) out of the library and it was about some stuffed animals that came alive. They were teddy bears... And I think there was a bunny too. They might have needed to get one of their friends out of the attic. I don't remember.
Anyway, they pack a picnic (for a birthday maybe?). That's all I can remember about it.
Does it ring a bell for any of you? I'd really like to know what it is!

Live long and prosper!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A bunch of things.

Firstly, AH! It came!! =D

video

Thank you soooo much Jack! It's lovely!

Secondly.... As you may know, blogger has decided to get rid of the "follow this blog" option. So, like many other bloggers out there, I've switched to a site called 'bloglovin' which is a free site that lets you follow all your favorite blogs.
Here is a link to a very helpful post with pictures that tells you just how to use bloglovin.... LINK IS HERE!
So.... if you want to continue following this blog (and my writing one... and everyone else's blogs) go sign up for the easy-to-use bloglovin'! Or save all the blogs you read to your favorite's bar. That works too.

I had a third thing but I forgot what it was... So I guess this is it!

Live long and prosper!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Tuesdays: Top Five Book Trilogies.

I was thinking about book trilogies lately and realized that I have only read five trilogies (that I can remember). Most of the books I read are either stand alone, or in longer series (4+ books).

5. The Larklight Trilogy by Philip Reeve.


The lovely Miss Jack introduced me to these books and Philip Reeve, their lovely author. I did a review on this trilogy sometime last year. You can find the link on the "books" tab.
I really enjoyed this trilogy. The characters were great and the writing was very unique. I am amazed at how creative Philip Reeve is! There are some things to watch out for (some bad words and something in the third book... see my review) but otherwise, these are great books!

4. The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld.

 

I did a review of these as well.
Ohhh my goodness. These are amazing books. They are set in an alternate version of World War One where machines are up against fabricated beasties.
Scott Westerfeld manages to keep things historically accurate, yet puts his own spin on things. He mixes real people with his own characters (which are amazing). Also, the books are illustrated by the very talented Keith Thompson - whose drawings are in black and white and are VERY detailed. That's one of my favorite parts of the books.

3. The Doll People by Ann. M. Martin (and some other people).

 

The Doll People, The Meanest Doll in the World, and The Runaway Dolls.
I don't remember the first time I read/listened to/was read these books... but they have remained some of my favorite children's books since I was a very young girl. I've always been a fan of dolls and what's not to like about dolls coming to life? These are great books, especially for younger children. I recently re-read them... They went by a lot quicker than I remembered! And the writing style is kind of simple - something a little girl wouldn't notice.

2. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall.

 

Oh my goodness... I LOVE these books so much. They are about four sisters and their Hound. They get into so many adventures and are portrayed so realistically... These are great books for all ages. When she wrote these books, Jeanne Birdsall wanted to capture the books she grew up reading: E. Nesbit, Eva Ibbotson, and those types of authors (who write clean, appropriate stories about siblings just being siblings). I've said it before that I love books about siblings and The Penderwicks are tied with The Enchanted Castle for having the best sibling-adventure stories.
Next year, this won't be able to fit into the trilogy category, because that's when the fourth book comes out. And a fifth is planned to come out in the future as well.

Drumroll......

1. Lord of the Rings!

 

Of course! Tolkien is my favorite author and, despite the fact that I have been reading The Two Towers for almost a year now, The Lord of the Rings are some of my most favorite books ever.

And now a few honorable mentions.... The Crater series by Homer Hickam. It is supposed to be a trilogy, but only the first two books are out so far. And I haven't even read the first one yet... But I thought I'd mention it.
Also, the No Place Like Holmes series is going to be a trilogy, I believe.
And lastly... Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I love Inkheart... But when I tried to read the rest of the trilogy... eh.... I didn't like it very much. It got a lot darker, which I didn't like. And also, she killed off my favorite character! I've noticed that when I my favorite character dies/when I know they are going to die, I tend to stop reading series. It happened with Inkheart, The Hunger Games, and Fever Crumb. Let that be a warning to you authors out there - kill my favorite character and you lose me as a reader! I'm just kidding.

How about you all? Do you read many trilogies? What are some of your favorites?

Live long and prosper!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The one where I ramble about books for approx. 4 minutes and 26 seconds.

I apologize for the somewhat sloppy editing.... I was trying to take out the repetitiveness (I said "favorite" about a million times).

video

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles.

I have a book review for you! I first read this book years ago for a book club (says my mom... I don't remember the book club part. But I trust her) and I recently picked it up again.

 

(It's got such a beautiful cover!)

Author: Julie Andrews Edwards. Yes, as in Julie Andrews. =)

 

Synopsis: Three siblings join Professor Savant in the search for the Whangdoodle, who lives in the mysterious Whangdoodleland. They come across many strange creatures and must trust their imaginations to take them where they most want to go.

My rating: 8/10.

What I didn't like/things you should know: This book was obviously not written by a Christian... I'll just say that. There are several things that I don't agree with theologically. Professor Savant is a genetics scientist who has figured out how to make life. There are two mentions where characters say, "If we're going to start playing God, we need to be careful and respectful" or something along those lines. Which I don't agree with... God is the only one who can create life.
There's also the theme of "if you believe enough, you will eventually (always) get what you want." Though this isn't portrayed as a bad thing in the book (it's used as motivation to reach the Whangdoodle) I think it can be twisted to be bad... Like, if you beg enough for a new toy, your parents will eventually bend and get it for you.

What I did like: This is a very creative book. It reminds me a lot of Narnia because the children go into another world.
Ah, the children! I LOVE stories about siblings. I'd forgotten how much I love stories about siblings until I read this book. Now I want to go re-read the Narnia series and E. Nesbit's books. I think my most favorite kind of story ever is siblings getting into adventures. Maybe that's why I love Pride and Prejudice so much... That's all about siblings.
Anyway, Julie Andrews describes everything in her world - but it isn't the Tolkien-type of description. It is easy to read and doesn't go on and on.
Whangdoodleland is a very colorful place - the trees are purple and the grass is blue. The water sings and there are all sorts of different creatures. The Sidewinders are cannon-shaped guards of the Whangdoodle.... The Swamp Gaboons and monkey-creatures who love to shout insulting things in your face. The Prock is the slimy Prime Minister of Whangdoodleland (though he isn't as bad as he seems. I really like him). The Whiffle Bird is all colors of the rainbow and absolutely adorable. The Highbehind Splintercat is a buddle of laughs. And the Whangdoodle himself... He grows slippers on his feet! How cool is that?
And you can't forget about Professor Savant.... He's as colorful as Whangdoodleland in the way that he dresses! And he has an umbrella with butterflies on it.
It's a really cute book that I love.... except for those two ideas that I mentioned above. Otherwise, this is a GREAT children's book. It shows the importance of imagination. Plus, who doesn't love a colorful land?

Have I read it before? Yes. This is my fourth or fifth time reading it.

Will I read it again? Yes! Someday to my own children.

Would I recommend it? Yes. I think it's a great adventure and a quick easy read.

And now I shall sign off for the weekend! We're going camping so don't expect a peep out of me until Monday!

Live long and prosper.

P.S. Have any of you gone camping yet this year? Had any adventures? Finished any good books?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Tuesdays: Top Five Muppets.

I am a HUGE fan of The Muppets. Although I liked them better before the Jim Henson company was sold to Disney.... But let's not get into that right now.

Here are my top five favorite Muppets!

5. Sgt. Floyd Pepper.

 

Floyd is the bass player for the band Electric Mayhem. He is named after the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He's a rockin' dude and just plain cool. He has sort of a raspy voice... and is the one who can keep Animal under control.

4. Kermit the Frog.

 

Kermie. Is there really anything else you can say about this little green frog that has had such a big impact on society? He's the best frog around.

3. Gonzo.

 

Gonzo is a "Whatever." Even he doesn't know who he is or where he comes from... if there are others like him in the world.
In the Muppet Show, Gonzo is always attempting crazy stunts. He is also the one to blow the trumpet at the beginning of every episode.
Gonzo's best friend is Rizzo the Rat (though not until the movies) and his true love is Camilla the Chicken.
I've always related a bit to Gonzo.... I'm strange. I don't seem to fit anywhere. I have friends wherever I go, but I never seem like I fit in with their crowd.

2. Rowlf.

 

The piano playing dog with a heart of gold. I love him so much. He's just so sweet.

Drumroll.....

1. Zoot.

 

The sax player for Electric Mayhem. I can't even really explain why he's my favorite - he just is.
Zoot barely talks after the first season and he always seems to be in the background being mysterious. He also plays saxophone, which is very cool.

So there you have it! My five favorite Muppets.

And, here is a little clip from the Muppet Show starring Floyd, Zoot, and Dr. Teeth.

Monday, June 17, 2013

May I introduce you to....

....The World of Pure Imagination - my new writing blog!

AKA, the other half of my secret project! (The first half is the trailer for my book... which is coming along slowly. And by slowly, I mean that I haven't worked on it for a few weeks.)

When I start to promote my book, I don't want to tell people to come to this blog, since it isn't just about writing. I wanted a place where people could find out about my current writing projects without searching through pages of Doctor Who or American Girl Doll-related stuff.

That place is The World of Pure Imagination! There, you will find... well, updates on my current writing projects (though don't worry, I will still update here occasionally. But there it will be much more often) and also encouragement to other new writers/authors. I also want to write an intelligent post a week on some writing related topic.... whether that be characters or plot or an author I admire (and why). I'll also ask around for guest posts eventually.... and I might post a writing prompt a week that you can link up to.

So I hope you enjoy it!

Live long and prosper.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Busiest day EVER!!!!

I don't know what it is about the 14th days of months.... but they always happen to be the busiest.
Last December 14th we had our big choir concert... plus it was the Newtown shooting and Jack's first book came out. My friend got her driver's license... and there were a bunch of other things going on as well.
Well, today has trumped that day as being the busiest in my entire life.
My day started at 7:00AM when I woke up for no apparent reason an hour earlier than my alarm. Of course I couldn't get back to sleep.... so I went and lay in bed with my mom for awhile. Then we got up. By 9:00 we were on the road... to the local homeschool convention. My choir preformed three concerts during the day.... at ten, at one, and at four. So we stayed at the convention all day, walking around looking at curriculum and running into old friends. All the colleges that had booths were pouncing on my friend and I. We would walk past and they would draw us in with something fun (like free pens or candy... one had a paddleball competition going on) and then they would casually ask, "What grade are you girls in?" "We'll be going into 11th," we'd reply. "Have you thought about college yet?" they would slyly inquire.
We did get some good information about a local college, though. We'll have to look into it some more.
After an exhausting morning and afternoon, we had to rush rush rush over to my voice teacher's church for my voice recital. We made it on time! Hurray! Not that it would have been terrible if we were late, since I was the last performer, save one (but she was a surprise because her piece was a father's day gift to her dad).

And now, I present to you, Abbey's singing debut on her blog!

video

The song is "I Could Have Danced All Night" from the movie My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. My voice is soooo fatigued.... Too much singing this week. And I still have more to do on Sunday!

As well as having an insanely busy day.... I also managed to win a giveaway! (My first one.)
My good friend Miss Jack Lewis Baillot at However Improbable published her second book today! HOORAY!!!!

 

I won a copy... though I'm not altogether sure it's fair since I've already read the book.
That being said... I will also say GO READ THIS BOOK IT IS SO GOOD! It is the first in a new series.... so now Jack has two different series' going on at the same time. One is in the genre Steampunk and this new series is more of a Lord of the Rings style adventure. But it's very, very good. I enjoyed it even more than her Steampunk book Haphazardly Implausible.
You can buy Stretch of Loyalty here and Haphazardly Implausible here.
And while I'm at it.... My friend Kendra published the sequel to her first book the other day as well! You can find her books here.

And now I'm done with my advertising. I'm so tired I can barely think. So sorry if none of the above made any coherent sense.

Live long and prosper! and goodnight.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"Runaway" - a short story by Abbey.

Two years ago for my birthday, my friend gave me a book of writing prompts (one for each day of the year) and this past week I've been experimenting with them.... challenging myself to write short stories because I'm not very good at them. I also want to experiment with different genres and writing styles.
Yesterday's prompt was "Afterward, I thought about...." which I changed a tiny bit to fit my story.
Anyway, my mom has convinced me to put it on my blog because she thinks Grama will enjoy it.
So here we go! I hope you enjoy!

Suddenly there he was at the window.
"Oh Pierre!" I said, rushing across the room to take his hands. I nearly knocked him off the vine trellis in the process.
"Angela!" Pierre replied when he regained his balance. "Are you ready to go?"
"Yes!" I grabbed a pillowcase stuffed with a gown or two and maybe a few pairs of shoes... my hairbrush, of course (I have to brush my long brown tresses with something!) and three bars of soap because who knew when I'd next be able to but one.
In my other hand I grabbed my valise. It was stuffed with all my most favorite books. My diary with four pencils lay on top and a coin purse lay on the bottom, filled with a substantial part of my inheritance.
Now Pierre was taking the pillowcase from me - I wouldn't part with the valise for anything. After all, the books it contained had been my only friends for eighteen years!
Pierre helped me down the trellis and 25 perilous feet later we were standing together on the castle grounds, looking around and listening for sounds of pursuit. All was well, so far. Everyone in the castle was fast asleep.
"This way," Pierre whispered, and we took off. As well as my pillowcase, he shouldered a bag filled with his only change of clothes and food for our journey.
We reached the castle wall and to my surprise, a small, hidden door set very low in the barricade led to the outside world. I quivered. Only once before had I been outside these prison walls.
Pierre stooped and opened the door. He ushered me through, and I went.
Outside... breathless beauty. The moon and stars hung, poised, above a golden field of wheat which was swaying in the gentle breeze.
I, Angela, Princess of The Land, was a runaway. I felt like singing for joy.
"Come on!" Pierre grabbed my hand and we ran.
Only after we were outside the protection of the castle did I think about dragons.
And then it was too late.

The end.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Old Man And The Sea - a review.

No Top Tuesdays today. Instead, a book review! (This review will have spoilers.)

Title: The Old Man And The Sea (our last literature book for the school year).

Author: Ernest Hemingway.

Synopsis: An old man goes out to sea to catch a fish.

My rating: 5/10 stars.

My thoughts: I can't even split this review into good and bad things.... There were, of course, a few bad things... a couple swear words. That's about it.
Ernest Hemingway's writing style did amaze me, though. It's so simple and short. I really liked that.
That's about the only good thing I can say about the book because I didn't enjoy it. Maybe it was because my mom hates it. Maybe it's because I listened to it with her years and years ago when she had to read it for a book club. Maybe it's because of the plot.... It's so simple. A man goes out to catch a fish. He catches a fish. Sharks eat the fish. He comes home.
We were challenged to find allegory and hidden meaning behind every little thing in the book (which, personally, I hate doing. Maybe Ernest Hemingway meant it to be a book about a man and a fish!)
Anyway, I did the assignment and found an allegory. What's amazing about it is that everything I have been struggling through and learning the past six months (in church, youth group, and Sunday school) all tied into the allegory that I found. Isn't that amazing? I love it when that happens. So, while this allegory is completely true, I think I could have just as easily found it by reading Ecclesiastes (which my Sunday school just finished studying) than by reading The Old Man And The Sea.

Santiago (the Old Man)'s journey could mean that people chase after something all their lives but once attained, it is lost again (for Santiago, he chased this huge fish out to sea, only to have it eaten by sharks). Ecclesiastes 5: 11-15 puts it this way:

"As good increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?
The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.
I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner, or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when he has a son there is nothing left for him.
Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand."

I think this is true. People who are not living with Jesus, people who don't know the hope that he inspires, go on with their monotonous daily lives, not knowing that there is more! There is much more to life than getting up, eating breakfast, going to work, coming home again, going to bed, and repeating that day after day.
People can amass lots of things, or they can become famous, or they can have a great job or family or salary or whatever.... They have the "big fish" but it is all meaningless. When they die, they can't take their riches and job and family with them. When they die, they go to hell and suffer eternal separation from God. To me that's the worst part. When I was thirteen I decided to take my parent's faith as my own. For a while I lived for God because I wanted to go to heaven and be perfect. I wanted heaven for what it would do for ME. But now, I want to go to heaven to be with my Lord. I don't want to be eternally separated from him! That would be horrible!
Revelation 21: 1-8 paints a good picture of what hell (and a bit of heaven) will be like:

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'
He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'
He said to me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all the liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.'"

That sounds pretty hopeless doesn't it?
But there is hope. Jesus came to earth - he left his perfect heaven and his perfect father - just to save me and just to save you. They hammered nails through his hands and feet into a piece of wood. And when he died, he took every single last sin, however big or small, of every single person past, present, and future, onto himself. Just imagine that. Imagine every little white lie you've told. Now imagine every little white lie that everyone else that has lived in the past 2000 years has told. Jesus took all of those little white lies on himself - plus all the other sins! - and he went to hell and back. Do you know why he did that?
Because he LOVES us. He loves us so much that he was willing to suffer unimaginable pain. For us! And we don't even deserve it! That's where amazing grace comes in:

"For God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world thought him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
This is the verdict: Light has some into the world, but men love darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.
John 3: 16-21."

Jesus died for us so that we can go to heaven to be with him, but it is so much more than just saying the prayer and going to church every week.

Matthew 28: 18-20 says:

"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to every everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'"

And Acts 1:7-8 says:

"He (Jesus) said to them: 'It is not for you to know the times or the dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'"

That's what Jesus said right before he was taken up into heaven. He wants us to go proclaim his kingdom! He wants us to share our hope! Not just keep it to ourselves. He doesn't just want us to proclaim his kingdom, he expects it. "Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations." Of course, not all of us are called to be the next Paul, travelling all over the world, being foreign missionaries. There are many ways to spread the gospel right at home. In fact, I think I'm doing it right now.

There is a cost to following Jesus. Just read this story at the end of Luke 9:

"As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.'
Jesus replied, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'
He said to another man, 'Follow me.'
But the man replied, 'Lord, first let me go and bury my father.'
Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.'
Still another said, 'I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.'
Jesus replied, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'"

You may be thinking that Jesus is being a little harsh... After all, burying your father and saying goodbye to your family aren't bad things. They aren't sins. But Jesus' point is that if you put those things above him, then they are wrong. Because Jesus should be number one in our lives. Anything could be bad (even if it's good in our eyes) if we are putting it above our love and worship of God.
We need to live our lives according to his will.

Philippians 4:8 says:

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

For me, this goes hand in hand with putting God first and living life according to his will.
Last year, I watched a lot of videos on youtube.... I would watch videos from Ellen DeGeneres' channel and I would watch a lot of Kids/Teens/Elders/Youtubers React (which is a youtube show where two brothers show videos to the groups of people afore mentioned and capture their reactions on tape). Now.... Ellen's videos - though funny - aren't always the cleanest... She makes a lot of raunchy jokes. The React videos were cleaner... but I began to become obsessed with them. I couldn't WAIT to go online and start watching them and I couldn't WAIT for the next one to come out. Which video would they show next??? Who would have the best reaction???? And, though they were a bit cleaner than Ellen, there was still a good bit of swearing and inappropriate content (both from the Reactors and the videos that were shown).
I was really struggling with this near the beginning of this year. I realized that the things I was watching weren't true, right, noble, and (most of all) pure. I didn't want to keep filling my head with this garbage - God wouldn't want it. And so, even though I enjoyed watching these videos immensely (they were funny! And I love a good laugh) I made the decision to cut them out of my life. I think I've only watched one or two Ellen videos since then (and part of an episode on TV... because she was interviewing Harry Connick Jr. And I LOVE him. Plus they are hilarious - and pretty clean - when they are together. They quibble).
Then my mom and I started watching Friends..... Not only was that the most impure show I have EVER seen, it kept me up way later than I should have.
So, more recently (in the past two months) we have stopped watching Friends (and other sitcoms).
There are still impure things that I see (I think of Elementary... and even 'good' shows like Doctor Who) and think about. I'm not perfect. There's always going to be sin in my life. The only way for me to be completely cured is to die and go to heaven. But I can try and do my best to honor God. He will always forgive me when I mess up. (King Manasseh from the book of Judges did so much evil in the eyes of the Lord, that God had the Assyrians stick a ring in his nose and drag him away. While he was captured, he repented, and - even though he had worshipped Baal and Ashtoreth - God forgave him. God loved Manasseh, even though he did evil).

Bringing this back to The Old Man And The Sea.... Unlike Santiago and the people in this world who are going after the "big meaningless fish," I have meaning in my life.
I'm trying to live for my Lord and savior. It gives me great purpose and infinitely more satisfaction than those filler things (like Ellen, Friends, and - even more recently - bookshelf tour videos and books themselves) which were trying to take the place of God. It really does. I feel so much satisfaction writing this blog post about God - the savior of the universe! - than I do writing about Doctor Who or Star Trek or any of the other things I normally post about on Tuesdays....

Proverbs 3: 7-8 says:
"Do  not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones."

Life is meaningless, like chasing after the "big fish" (or, as Ecclesiastes says many times, "like chasing after the wind." You can't catch the wind!). But with God, there is purpose and meaning to life.

"Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."
Ecclesiastes 12: 13.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Amazing Grace

For God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world thought him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed In the name of God's one and only Son.
This is the verdict: Light has some into the world, but men love darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.
John 3: 16-21.

Because sometimes we need a reminder. A reminder that God sent his son to take on everyone's sin - my sin, your sin - simply because he LOVES us. More than anyone else in the universe.
And also because, though John 3:16 is a wonderful verse on it's own, the rest of it - it's context - is important as a whole.
God sent his one and only son to be slaughtered because God loves us. But we love darkness instead of light. We hate the light, because the light will expose our sin. But whoever believes in God will be saved by him. Once we come into the light, others can see that we throw away our love of darkness and everything we do is done through Christ Jesus.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10: 31

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summer reading list.

I have a review of The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway for you.... but I don't want to write it tonight because it is getting late. But I figured I had better post something so I decided on my summer reading list! Usually I just read whatever I want to.... but this year I've compiled a list of books that either a) have to be read because they are due at the library soon b) have been sitting on my shelf for a number of months begging to be read, or c) they are on my huge list (over 150 titles) of Books To Read Before I Die.

So, without further ado, my summer reading list!

1. The Future Door by Jason Lethcoe.
Remember the No Place Like Holmes book I did a review on a long time ago? It was the sort of Steampunk-ish book about the kid who moves into 221c Baker Street...?
The Future Door is the sequel. I bought it in April with a gift card from Christmas.... It involves time travel, so that should be fun to read!

2. Crater by Homer Hickam.
Homer Hickam is supposedly a well-known author... He wrote a book called Rocket Boys which is a memoir about his time working with rockets. It was made into a movie, October Sky.
Crater is the first novel in a trilogy that Mr. Hickam wrote for young people (such as myself!). Crater's cover drew me to it. It is about a boy, named Crater, who lives on the moon mining Helium-3. Then he runs into adventure.... That's about all I know about it. But it looked intriguing. And I had to spend the gift card on something!
The other day when we were at a different Christian bookstore, I saw the sequel, Crescent. It has an equally stunning cover.... but I have to read the first one first!

 

3. A bunch of random Agatha Christie stuff.
I've been buying some of her books at thrift stores for cheap.... so I have quite a small pile to read now! Death on the Nile, Dead Man's Folly, Miss Marple Short Story Collection.... Just to name a few. Also Murder at the Vicarage which has to go back to the library soon - so I'd better start reading it!

4. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
I follow this one blogger who loves this book. It mildly interested me and I made a note to read it eventually.... Then I found out that a movie was being made and that Harrison Ford was going to be in it. I'm a big Harrison Ford fan so I decided that maybe I should read the book, just in case I go see the movie.
But, of course, the library has a million holds on it (because everyone else is thinking the same way as me - read the book before the movie comes out! This happened with The Great Gatsby too. Luckily we bought our copy last August, before the big movie-rush came). So I put a hold on two copies... hopefully it will come in soon. But not too soon, as I would really like to read it next month, when we're camping.

5. Emma by Jane Austin (and perhaps some of her other work as well).
My mom and I LOVE BBC's production of Emma starring Ramola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller.

 

And I've been meaning to read the book for awhile now.... It seems like a good summer read, and I've been craving some Jane Austin.... so it works out perfectly! I'll probably start this one very soon. As soon as I finish Fever Crumb and The Penderwicks series.

6. Sew, it's a Quest and Do You Take This Quest? by Kendra E. Ardnek.
Kendra is a fellow blogger of mine and I've been meaning to read her books for a bit now.... But I'm a paperback kind of person, so I've been waiting for her second book in her Bookania series to come out in paperback. Six more days!

These next few are questionable.... AKA, it depends if I feel like reading them or not:

7. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.
I read Anne of Green Gables in 2011 (I think) because my mom said I would really enjoy it. I didn't really enjoy it. But I think that was my own fault.... I was reading it more for her sake than mine and I probably would have rather been reading something else. Something not classical-ish.
But now I think I would really enjoy this book! So it's on my reading list for now. I would really like to read all of Anne's books.

8. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss.
Once upon a time my family and I went on vacation somewhere and listened to The Swiss Family Robinson in the car to and from. This must have been prior to 2010... But I remember really, really enjoying the book. I have been meaning to re-read it for awhile now. Just typing about it makes me excited to read it. Perhaps I'll save this one for camping as well (I have a whole pile of books that I want to take camping with me. And we'll only be there a week!)

9. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Several of my friends have read this recently and enjoyed it.... and so I thought I'd give it a try!

10. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain.
This is another book that has to go back to the library soon... It is about an American who is thrown back in time to King Arthur's time! It looks very funny and hopefully I can get it read before it has to go back to the library. Otherwise, I'll just have to take it out again.

11. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.
This is a Vancouver Sun classic... number five, I believe. I don't know too much about the story, but what I do know sounds interesting. We'll see if I get to it.

12. The Magic Bicycle by John Bibee.
This is the first in a series. My dad read it to me a long time ago and I remember it frightened me... I was a little too young for it, I think. But he loves the series.
Now I think I would probably really enjoy it too. It's about a boy who finds a magical bicycle (if memory serves me right).
Plus it has a super cool cover:

 

13. George Gershwin. His Life and Works by Howard Pollack.
This is MASSIVE biography about, well, George Gershwin. Gershwin was a composer during the Jazz Age. He is most known for Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris.

 

This biography deals with his life and his works.... But it is so huge I don't know if I will read it all. It's 800 pages long! We'll see about that.....

14. Just 'cause I don't want thirteen.... not that I'm superstitious or anything. Fourteen is just a better number. Maybe this last book has something to do with it... I don't know:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Because the second half of the movie will be coming out in December, and I have to re-re-read The Hobbit before then. And no, I didn't put too many "re's." I just recently re-read The Hobbit (April of 2012, I believe) but I need to re-re-read it again... so that I know what's to happen in the movie and where P. Jackson takes liberties.
I'll also probably read the appendixes at the end of The Return of the King because a bunch of stuff from the Hobbit movies is supposed to come from there....

How about all you? Do you have any big summer reading plans?

Live long and prosper!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Top Tuesdays: Top Star Trek films.

There are twelve Star Trek movies. Six of them feature the Original cast, four of them feature the crew of the Next Generation, and the last two are JJ Abrams new Star Trek movies.
So, here they are, my least favorite-favorite! And just a side note.... I do love all these movies. But if I had to watch any Star Trek movie, the ones near the bottom would be the first ones I would run to.

12. Star Trek The Motion Picture.

 

To be fair.... I've only seen this movie once, maybe twice. I don't remember much of it.... but what I do remember.... dullllll..... There's a scene where they circle the Enterprise for, like, ten minutes. The wormhole was pretty cool, though, as was McCoy's entrance. That was funny.

11. The Search for Spock.

 

Again, I've only seen this twice, and I don't remember much of it.... I don't particularly care for this movie. Maybe it's Saavik.... maybe it's the whole Spock growing up thing.... I don't know. But I did enjoy it more the second time than the first, so that's a plus. And McCoy with Spock's katra is pretty funny sometimes.

10. Star Trek 2009.

 

I'm just not a huge fan of this movie.... It has it's good moments. But I'm more of a character person, not an action-let's-blow-every-thing-up person. Action is great. Except when it fuels the plotline. Which I feel it kind of does in this movie.

9. Nemesis.


 

The final Next Generation movie.... Picard meets his clone, and Data finds a third brother. Riker and Troi's wedding takes place at the beginning which is one of my favorite Star Trek scenes EVER. Mostly 'cause Data sings. Also 'cause Wesley is there for some unexplained reason. It's a sweet scene.
But I'm not too fond of the clone plotline.... and a certain thing at the end of the movie makes me very, very sad, which is why this one is at #9.

8. Star Trek Into Darkness.

 

See note on the 2009 movie. But I liked this one better, I think. Although I really could do without all the blowing up of everything/showing bodies being thrown about. And there was way too much swearing in my opinion.... But I loved how they reimagined one of the other Star Trek movies. I thought that was very well done. And Benedict Cumberbatch is in it... so that definitely makes it higher up on the list. :P

(Here's where we really start to get into my favorites)

7. Insurrection.

 

The third Next Generation movie. This one has the crew of the Enterprise-D (although I think by this time, it's the Enterprise-E) watching a planet of developing people who haven't discovered technology yet (I think), but seem to never grow old or get sick. There are also some weird aliens.... and a bunch of stuff happens. Haven't seen this one in awhile - and the score is very sappy - but it's pretty good.

6. The Undiscovered Country.

 

The sixth movie featuring the Original cast. I'm not sure why I like this one so much. I always end up watching it, though. Maybe it's the Klingons. Christopher Plummer (the dad from The Sound of Music) plays a Klingon that recites Hamlet. That's pretty cool. And if my memory is right, this is also the one where the gravity gets turned off and a bunch of Klingons get shot and their blood is pink (and floating in little balls, like in Tintin). Yeah, pretty gross. This one also has a weird shape-shifter lady and the guy who played Odo!

5. The Final Frontier.


The fifth movie starring the Original cast. This one has one of my favorite beginnings. Kirk and McCoy take Spock camping and hilarity ensues. They try to get Spock to sing "Row Row Row Your Boat." The crew is on shore leave.... Sulu and Chekov pretend to be caught in a snowstorm. It's hilarious.
Then everyone is called back to the Enterprise.... Spock meets a relative... Scotty bumps his head.... It's pretty fun.

4. The Wrath of Khan.

 

Despite the scene where Khan sticks a bug in Chekov's ear..... This is a really great movie, in my opinion. Khan is such an amazing bad guy. Plus the red uniforms are just so crisp and nice. And, gah, it's just good. A classic in Star Trek.

3. Generations.

 

This is the first Next Generation movie and a MUST SEE if you are a fan of Star Trek. The movie starts out with Scotty, Chekov, and Captain Kirk helping out with a cadet drill (or something). The cadets are supposed to bring the ship out, circle around Mars, and come back. But they receive a distress call and go out to rescue a ship of fugitives. While rescuing them, a strange phenomenon occurs and both ships are almost lost. Kirk, who was helping to do something or other is lost, pulled out of an airlock, vanished.
Years later, Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D receive a distress call from a space station. They go there and find everyone kidnapped by Romulans, except for Dr. Soran - who just happens to be one of the people that was found on that ship of fugitives. They pick him up and try to figure out what happened.
These two, seemingly separate storylines, fit together in the end and it's a brilliant end to an era/starting of a new one.
Plus, it's very funny in some parts. Data is experimenting with an emotion chip (being an android, he doesn't have any emotions).


One of my favorite scenes.

2. First Contact.

 

Oooohhhh my goodness. I LOVE this movie. It is the second Next Generation film and one of the best. The Enterprise-D is told of a Borg attack on earth and - even though they are told to stay at the Neutral Zone - they disobey orders and go to earth to help. The Borg Cube is destroyed, but it sends out a small sphere which somehow goes back in time. The Enterprise-D follows it and they find themselves in the year 2063, just after the Third World War has ended, and just before earth's first contact with aliens (Vulcans, to be exact).
The Borg are planning to sabotage earth's first contact, and assimilate them into the Collective.
So, of course, Picard and his crew must defeat them. And Picard must overcome him emotions from when he was assimilated into the Collective.
This is a great movie. They run into Zephram Cochrane (who created warp drive) which is funny... and Barclay makes an appearance, which is funny... And The Doctor (from Voyager) shows up! Even though it isn't really The Doctor... It's just another EMH. He bravely fights off a number of Borg. "I'm a doctor, not a doorstop," he says as Dr. Crusher escapes the medical bay with her patients. Then, as the Borg break through the door, "Those implants look inflamed. I can prescribe some cream...." The Borg don't seem too thrilled with that.

 

1. The Voyage Home.

 

The One With The Whales.
This is the fourth movie with the Original series.
It's another time travelling movie. And probably the most random and funny Star Trek movie ever.
It starts when a strange alien probe comes towards earth. It is broadcasting strange noises that are identified as the noises of the now-extinct humpback whales. The probe is obviously looking for something, because it is disrupting earth's communications with the rest of the universe. So, the crew of the Enterprise (in a Klingon Bird of Prey, because the Enterprise was destroyed) go back in time to get some humpback whales to communicate with the probe.
It's SO funny. Although there is a bit too much "colorful language" for my taste....
By far my favorite.

Live long and prosper!

P.S. I apologize... you get me started talking about Star Trek and I will go on for hours. And hours. And hours.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Museum.

Yesterday my dad and I went to the museum we had meant to go to on Monday (but then I got sick and you know the rest).
It was so cool! Among other things, they have a sci-fi exhibit and also a fantasy exhibit. And a super cool tower of instruments!

 

Now onto the sci-fi exhibit.... They had a replica of the robot from the movie "Forbidden Planet" which is possibly the weirdest sci-fi movie I have EVER seen. The music made it even weirder.
Anyway, the robot was cute.

 

That was across from the gift shop. Then you went down, down, down some stairs into the actual exhibit.... A quick jump to warp and you were there!

 

Right away we were drawn to the first exhibit: Captain Kirk's chair! And Uhura's uniform. And TRIBBLES!

 



Also, Jack O'Neill's goggles and ID, if you are a StarGate fan:

 

Turning the corner we beheld a fearsome site! "Exterminate!"

 

A Dalek from the Sylvester McCoy (7th Doctor) era.
And next to that, Lieutenant Commander Data's uniform!

 

The exhibit was set up with different questions pertaining to each artifact. Data and the Dalek were in the android section. As well as the displays of costumes and props, science fiction books were displayed! That was pretty cool. They even had a reading corner where you could pick up a book and read it (I only recognized two. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books, by Douglas Adams, and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card).

 

They had lots of sci-fi weapons....

Klingon Bat'leth.

 

Ronon Dex's energy pistol from StarGate: Atlantis.


They had lots of weapons from StarGate... And an Anubis guard head. It was pretty cool.

They had Yoda's cane (my dad's comment: "It looks bigger in the movie.") and Darth Vader's lightsabre which he used to cut off Luke's arm in the fifth movie.





And my dad met Superman....'s suit:

 

Then it was time to move on to the fantasy exhibit! Oh my goodness it was SO cool! It was set up like a castle with little secret passageways (that I, of course, took!) and there was a huge "tree" and a dungeon with a dragon in it.

 
 
(Picture not by me.... picture by someone who was lucky enough to go on a day when there were no groups of little school children blocking the way.)

They also had original Tolkien documents, showing where he changed Smaug's name to Smaug from something else.... I don't remember what it was. And changing Aragorn's name - three times! That was cool.
They also had a bunch of Narnia stuff which I took pictures of, for my friends out there who love Narnia:

 



And now my favorite part of the fantasy exhibit.... Princess Bride stuff!!!

 

Inigo's costume, Buttercup's wedding dress, and the Dread Pirate Robert's outfit and sword. They also had the six-fingered sword.

 

(The one on the left.)

All in all, it was a very good day and a very cool museum! I will definitely be paying it a visit again in the future!

Live long and prosper.