Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Here's to 2015

Towards the end of twenty-thirteen I began to write daily in my journal and because of that took more notice of the new year when it arrived. Last year I wrote in my journal every day. I like journaling daily, and I've noticed that it's improved my memory and attention to detail. Besides, I like having a record of thoughts and ideas. I'd like to continue journaling this year. 

by moi
I like lists, so here are a few. :) First, some things that happened and that I did last year for the first time:

Began taking violin lessons in May; I love it, the feeling I get just picking at the notes of songs like Across the Stars is wonderful. | Went to L.V. | Had my first real summer job. Two words: stressful and fun. It was a neat experience though and totally new. | Finished BBC's Merlin. This is more of a last and probably doesn't seem like something to put here, but that show means a lot to me. | Learned a teeny-tiny bit of coding. | Reached 100 followers on this blog. | Turned sixteen. I didn't want to at first and I had this irrational fear that Peter Pan wouldn't take me to Neverland because I was too old (you can probably tell I still half believe every story I read), but then I figured there really wasn't anything I could do about it, so I might as well take it as it comes and take it well. I like it now though. | Went to Disneyland. I'd been to Disney World before but not land. My mom took my younger sister and I. We were there for three days, the first of which happened to be my birthday. It was the best ever. | 2014 was the first full year after moving last year. | And in December I finally chose and got a camera

Three popular posts in 2014:
How to Build a Mind Palace
Write Freely
Blogger Recognition award

And three popular reviews:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Maleficent

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Eleven things I'd like to do this new year: 
  • go outside more
  • do more art & do more crafts 
  • read the Bible more
  • blog more & practice writing posts quicker
  • get my learner's permit for driving
  • enjoy things & be grateful (I forget sometimes)
  • spend my time wisely and well
  • don't stress so much & don't worry so much
  • gain self confidence & quit being so self conscious
  • continue to work on the Congressional Award
  • make some new friends 


It's late and I just finished watching Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith with my brother, he's an awesome brother. I'd only seen it once before and that a long time ago, suddenly so many thing about the star wars saga make sense. There're four inches of snow on the ground and I'm tired. 

I hope you all have a very happy new year. I love you guys. Happy twenty-fifteen. Here's to the new year. 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you. {Deuteronmy 31:6 NIV}

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In December

pictures by me, unedited

books:
  • † Martin Luther, by Harry Emerson Fosdick
  • † The Fall of Constantinople, by Bernardine Kielty
  • A Poetry Handbook, by Mary Oliver - I get interested in random things and then want to learn about them, that's what this was. I liked the poetry selections used for examples. 
  • The Giver, by Lois Lowry - Very neat book, the story never really drew me in but the ideas did.

movies:

  • The Polar Express - Didn't care for this one. 
  • Penguins of Madagascar - The penwings are cute.
  • Arthur Christmas
  • An Evergreen Christmas - meh. 
  • *Star Trek: Into Darkness
  • Treasure Planet - Really liked this one, and watching it with my little sister. 
  • The Giver - Cool story idea, but I didn't feel like it was quite rounded out. Working on a review of this one.
  • *Star Wars (episodes 4,5 & 6) - I hadn't seen 'em for a such a long time and I'd forgotten how much I really just love those movies. 
  • *Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
  • Into the Woods - Working on a review of this one, should be up in a few days. 
  • *Guardians of the Galaxy - It's just so fun. (I hadn't noticed before though quite how much bad language there is.) And my grandfather enjoyed it. :)
† Landmark Book
* seen before

I just finished doing a Spanish exam and my brain feels sad. o.o So. I'd wanted to get a camera for a long time, and after a lot of researching and bugging people (including some of you - thanks) with questions about their cameras, I got a Canon T3i. I'm very happy with it, it's perfect for what I wanted it for. I love it. Now to decide on a name. 


I hope you all had a very merry and wonderful Christmas. My grandparents visited for Christmas and it was so much fun. We went to a candlelight service Christmas Eve, and Christmas day we woke up late - well, my little sister and I woke up earlier and watched the opening scenes of Return of the Jedi till other people appeared - and opened presents in pajamas and laughed - we laugh a lot - and it snowed a couple of inches. I took pictures and sat around in PJ's being happy. It's one of my favorite Christmases. 



We all (my family + grandparents) went to see Into the Woods a couple nights ago. It was really fun and I enjoyed it a lot. And, gosh, have any of you see it yet? That scene when they sing Agony- I think the whole theater was in stitches. It was so fun to see it with everyone, and I love watching movies in theater and everyone laughing together and clapping at the end. What books and movies did you enjoy especially in December? And I'd love to hear what you did for Christmas. xx

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Arthur Christmas | Review

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(this review is spoiler-free)

The role of Santa Claus has been a family tradition for many years in Arthur's family, starting way back with St Nick himself. Arthur is the second son of the present day Santa, though it's really Arthur's older brother, Steve, and not Santa, who runs everything. The movie opens on Christmas Eve, with elves dropping like parashooters from the S-1 - a modern high tech update of santa's sleigh - to fill stockings and leave presents under trees. The night is successful with two billion presents delivered and no misshapes. That is, until it's discovered that a child has been missed. A little girl, Gwen, has no present from Santa under her tree. 

With this we are shown the character and relationships of different members of the Claus family, by how they react to the situation: Santa, or Malcolm; Grand-Santa (the present Santa's dad); Mrs. Claus, or Margaret; Steve; and Arthur. It is Arthur who sets it on himself to deliver that one last present. The numbers don't matter to him, it doesn't matter that only one child has been missed, it matters that a little girl named Gwen doesn't wake up on Christmas morning without a present from Santa. 

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The movie is hilariously funny throughout, the laugh-out-loud kind of funny (with practically no rude humor), and starts and ends well. It is paced nicely its whole length, never slowing down. Especially funny is an elf from the wrapping department, Bryony. James McAvoy who voices Arthur is perfect, his voice caring and daring. 

There's a strong theme of family running through the story. To begin with the Clauses are a dysfunctional family, showing off and fighting each other, with the exception of Arthur. But through the adventures brought on by Arthur's headlong, heart-drawn, rush to save Christmas for Gwen they are drawn together, making up along the way. And by the end everyone has found their place and contentment. And, to quote a line from the end of the film, "they are happy."

my rating 4/5
favorite linSo elf, how do you feel about being the one to tell his parents about all this?

MPPA rating: PG (for some mild rude humor)
Directed by  
Screenplay by 
Staring  
Time 97 min
Soundtrack by Harry Gregson-Williams
Release year 2011
Rating: (RT) 92%; (IMDb) 7.1/10

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Blogger Recognition Award

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Thanks to Rose for nominating me! <3


RuLES AND REGULATIONS:

+ Select 15 blogs to nominate
+ Thank the person who nominated you
+ Give a brief story of how your blog got started and a piece or two of advice for new bloggers. 
+ Attach the award
+ Comment on each nominee's blog and let them know that you've nominated them
+ Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night

HOW MY BLOG GOT STARTED:

hmm. Well, I more or less explained that on this post. More than that I had begun to read some blogs (particularly this one) and reading them made me want to create my own, so I did. The wonderful thing though was that I somehow found this awesome community of bloggers, you all are now a main reason why I blog. 

ADVICE FOR NEW BLOGGERS:

Just keep swimmin'. Try not to get discouraged by comparing your blog with others. Write freely; remember it's easier for viewers to read your words if you've edited them, even just a little can make a difference; have fun and blog about what you love + what interests you. 

NOMINATIONS:

Friday, December 12, 2014

Write Freely

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I don't know how to say this. Two things: I think I'm a perfectionist, didn't use to be, don’t want to be; and I feel pressured to like or feel or do certain things. Like when my mom or dad make a comment about something I feel like I have to agree with what they said. But, thing is, I don’t. And both my parents have told me that. And I love them for that. They want me and my siblings to think for ourselves. They're awesome parents. And yet I feel pressured to think or be a certain way according to what other people think. On this blog it can be hard and has been getting harder to write freely. I want my sentences to be perfect; I want my grammar and punctuation to be perfect; I want my thoughts and ideas to be perfectly formed. But it’s not just that I want them to be but that I feel insecure if they aren't, or if I don’t think they are. It's hard to write freely here, and the fact that my siblings read this blog of mine, well, half the time it makes me, oh, so proud, and the other half, oh, so embarrassed.
I’d been wanting to create a blog for a while before I actually did. When I did it was because I had this idea (in the shower, of course, that’s where the genius dwells). I’d been thinking, letting my thoughts wander around, but they came to rest wondering what the definition of the word aware is. It wasn't that I didn't know what the word meant, just that that’s the way I think: with questions and definitions. So I thought about it and I liked the ideas that were running at me so I rushed to write them down, and I did, and they're the contents of this post and the inspiration of this blog’s title, a free mind.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting something to be perfect, it’s just that I feel like what people see of me has to be perfect. And that’s not the same thing, at all. People call me sweet a lot. (This is random.) That used to bug me, a lot. (ha) I used to think to myself, Seriously, 'sweet?!' If they knew what was going on in my head they'd say something different. But I've come to terms with the fact that it’s meant kindly. When I make something, write something, draw, cut, paint, when I create anything I want to show it to people. But lately I've felt like before I can show it to anyone I have to edit it, and edit it in a way that - a lot of the time - takes away everything that I loved about it.

I like and enjoy a lot of things. I’m interested in a lot of things. A good lot of them things that a good lot of people like too. Some things that some peeps don’t like. And some are just obscure. I don't have strong opinions about a lot of things and when people close to me do I feel like I have to agree, or at least that I have to have some opinion beyond my random thoughts. There’s nothing wrong with having opinions, strong or otherwise, but there's nothing wrong with just thinking either. Take my older sister (hi, sis), she’s a critic, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. Nothing wrong with being critical. But when she says what she thinks I can feel myself being pressured to agree. It’s not her fault, it has nothing to do with her except that she’s my older sister and knows things and I have this idea that I have to agree with her. But I don't, and I know she doesn't think I do either. And there's nothing wrong with holding a special respect for her opinions because she's my sister, it's only that feeling of having to agree that I don't like.
What I'm trying to say is that each person has a way of thinking unique to himself. Everyone likes things for different reasons. And me, I don't dislike something because I disagree with it; or like it because I agree. I like it if it makes me think; and I dislike it if it feels cheap. There, I said it. Now let me 'splain. I like things that make me think. I like things that give me ideas. I like things that inspire and interest me. I like things that're good quality. I like things that I can understand. Example: I like the movie Snow White and the Huntsman. Yeah, that one. I liked it because it was so imaginative. And where the story and storytelling fall I enjoy fixing it in my mind, retelling the story and making a new story. I like how James, in his movie reviews, rates different aspects of a movie, the plot, action, et cetera, but at the end his final rating isn't an added score of those ratings, it’s an overall rating of how well he liked the movie. That’s how I feel about stories and art in general: I liked this, I didn't like that, but overall I liked it this much. I want to be clear and understandable in my reviews. My rating something well doesn't necessarily mean I approve of everything about it, it means that for what I liked and didn't like I liked it this much overall. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't rate something well just because I enjoyed it because it made me think and gave me ideas, that because there was stuff in it that I didn't like or don't approve of my rating should reflect that part more. But I like things more strongly than I dislike things, and I want my reviews to be honest.

The point of all of this is that I want to write and speak and think freely and clearly and well. I remember a girl who has since left off blogging, Melody - I’m sure some of you remember her - read a post of mine and somehow (because she’s a dearheart) understood how I was feeling and she left a comment and said, “write freely, S-.” I never forgot that one.

I heard this little idea not too long ago, I don't know whose it is or where it came from, but it went something like this: Stop trying to impress people and start trying to express yourself. I’d like to do that.

I want to thank people like Rose for being a constant inspiration to write freely.


I think I’m done now. Thank you, all. Just thinking about posting this makes my tummy feel tight. They say fear is in the mind but sometimes I think it’s really in the tum-tum. Whatever. I does feel nice to have said this. Thank you. 


Never, ever let anyone tell you what you can and can't do. Prove the cynics wrong. Pity them for they have no imagination. The sky's the limit. Your sky. Your Limit. Now. Let's dance. {Tom Hiddleston}

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Three Songs

Perhaps you've gathered that I love Christmas music. Here're three songs I've been listening to recently that I think you might like. I'd love to hear what you all are listening to. :) I'm happy. Love you guys. xx

Isn't he dear? He looks so happy.
My mom got this album for me last week and I've been listening to it over and over in my room. <3
I love this song. And M.B.'s voice.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

December | Aileen Fisher




I like days
with a snow-white collar,
and nights when the moon
is a silver dollar,
and hills are filled
with eiderdown stuffing
and your breath makes smoke
like an engine puffing.

I like days
when feathers are snowing,
and all the eaves
have petticoats showing,
and the air is cold,
and the wires are humming,
but you feel all warm ...
with Christmas coming.

{December, by Aileen Fisher}

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Penguins of Madagascar | review




via
(this review is spoiler-free)

One day as a vast line of penguins march across the snow an egg rolls away from the line and three young penguins, Skipper, Rico, and Kowalski rush to rescue it as it falls off a cliff. Private (former egg) is adopted by the three penguins and they become an impressive and smooth-working team. But Private feels left out of the real work of the team and longs to be counted as a valued member. I haven't seen the Penguins of Madagascar series but I'm guessing this is a sort of origin movie for them. The movie's main subject is the conflict between villain Doctor Octavius as he works to - basically - destroy the cuteness and happiness of penguin kind and Skipper, Rico, Kowalski, and Private as they are joined by an undercover operation called The North Wind to stop Octavius.



The movie is really funny, though I don't remember laughing out loud, so not that funny. The voice cast was great, and, of course, I loved Benedict Cumberbatch as Classified, who leads his North Wind division. My favorite thing of the whole movie was his pronunciation of penguins as pen-wings. (I'd watched an interview with him the day before I saw Penguins and the interviewer was giving Ben a hard time because he had mispronounced the word penguin repeatedly on a BBC documentary about "said animals," Benedict was such a good sport about it.) There were some really funny moments between Classified and Skipper, like when they argue over pronunciation, English vs American. 
The three older penguins put down and look down on younger penguin Private for most of the story, this provides an additional story line and theme of growing up and appreciation; it was a good idea but I felt like it could have been played out better. The film is silly and sometimes just plain weird, all to be funny, but the extent of its strangeness could take away some of the fun for some people. I appreciated that there's only minimal potty humor, I only remember one joke of the sort. The penguins themselves are adorable, especially baby Private. I liked the theme of self-sacrifice towards the end of the movie. 


my rating 3.5/5
favorite line (Classified): You were supposed to handcuff them. (Short Fuse): But, they don't have hands. They just have flippers, and I have flippers. So it's flipping useless!

MPPA rating: PG (for mild action and some rude humor)
Directed by
Screenplay by  
Staring
Time 92 min
Soundtrack by Lorne Balfe
Release year 2014
Rating: (RT) 73%; (IMDb) 7.3/10

( more reviews ) image credit  via - via - via

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Christmas Music

So cute
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I love Christmas music and have been listening to it all my favorites on repeat for the past week, so I thought I'd share my favorite albums with you. These aren't in order (or anything outlandish like that). Each title is linked to a favorite song of mine from each album.



A Christmas Story, Point of Grace
A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols, Choir of King's College Cambridge, Stephan Cleobury
It's a Wonderful Christmas, Michael W. Smith
Holiday Pops,  Boston Pops Orchestra, Keith Lockhart
christmas, Michael Buble



What're your favorites? xx