Saturday, October 31, 2015

In October

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books:
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (for school), by Washington Irving
The Legend of Rip Van Winkle (for school), by Washington Irving
Democracy in America (various chapters, for school), by Alexis de Tocqueville
 Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan, by Ferdinand Kahn
Ring for Jeeves (audiobook, read by Herbert Jenkins, who did a fantastic job), by P. G. Wodehouse - Hilarious. 

movies:
Madagascar 1, 2 & 3 - The penguins are hilarious and adorable. My new nickname is Skipper, by the way. 
Kung Fu Panda - Liked it pretty well, the music by Hans Zimmer and John Powell (awesome combination) is beautiful. 
The Martian - I loved the character of Watney.  
*The Bourne Trilogy - They're great movies. The first time I saw them it was with my brother and I was ten. It was great.  
*The Rainmaker - Great movie, great story, great actors. 
The Legend of Bagger Vance - I loved this one. 

tv series:
Once Upon a Time
Gossip Girl (a couple episodes) – I like Blake Lively but I wish I hadn’t watched it.
Downton Abbey (catching up) 

† Landmark Book
* seen before


Right now October's my favorite month. I love the fall leaves and the way the air feels and smells.

I hope you all had a good month. Did any of you dress up for Halloween? What did you dress up as? I was a man in black to begin with, but later that changed to undertaker, SHIELD agent and penguin. Oh well. What books and movies did you enjoy especially in October? xx

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Martian | Review

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(spoiler-free)

"During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive." (IMDb synopsis) (trailer)

Mark's personality, his humor, determination and ingenuity, are what carry the story. Even though he's alone for most of it, the story doesn't lack in human interaction. In fact, the movie has a strong theme of humanity running through it, particularly towards the end as the whole world fights and roots for him. The other theme, equally strong, is of simple one-step-at-a-time problem solving. 


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The characteristic that is immediately evident and admirable in Mark is how he deals with problems one step at a time. He takes the insurmountable problem of getting back to Earth one step at a time, never letting it overwhelm him. He doesn't give up in the face of what seems impossible, but solves it doggedly with calm determination and science. 
"...At some point, everything's going to go South on you. You're going to say, 'This is it. This is how I end.' Now, you can wither accept that, or you can get to work. ... And if you solve enough problems, you get to go home."
There's a great variety of characters among the crew creating details of friendships and a small romance in the story.  (Luis in AntMan),  as the crew were all awesome.  was charming and inspiring and perfectly cast. 

my rating: 4/5

Content: there was mild language; one gory scene of an injury; one scene with some brief nudity. MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some strong language, injury images, and brief nudity.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Review: Summer // To Do

At the beginning of this summer I made a list of to-do's so I thought I would go over that again now and see how I did.

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Get learner's permit – Yes!

Research colleges and learn about potential jobs – A tiny bit. I'm taking a television production class, and hopefully that will help me know better what part of film I'm interested in, if at all. 

Plan trip to England – I've made lists of where to go and found a really cool site for planning trips, I just need to put it all together and figure out about places to stay and plane tickets. 

Get in shape – I've been exercising on average about three days a week and in addition my mom got a running machine which I've been using. 

Take a break from reading – I didn't want to stop reading altogether, just give myself a break so I could enjoy what I did read. So that break happened, but now I want to get into a lot of reading again. 

Make an eBay shop – I collected everything I want to sell and took pictures of it, but I haven't made an actual shop yet. 

Improve my word per minute average (that is, typing speed) to 85 WPM – I mentioned I've been using this website, which is awesome. It has you practice typing all over the keyboard focusing on each letter and then goes back to practice any letter you're slow on, so the average really is an average of your typing, not just of easy stuff like a's and l's but of all the x's and z's too. My average right now 70 wpm out of 1128 samples and my highest is 108 wpm. I forgot to work on this goal until more recently.

Continue to research how computers work – This I didn't do as much as I want to and is definitely something I want to continue learning about. 
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None of those goals were very measurable (except the typing one), but I did work on each of them. Did any of you have goals for this summer? What was your favorite thing that happened? 

Besides this stuff I was also working all summer and packing. Some of my favorite things were the Fourth of July when I was working and ran the cotton candy machine with a guy from work. I made the cotton candy and Nat ate the failed attempts. It's harder than you might think to get the stuff onto those sticks. Especially as it was raining and the paper sticks kept melting. But I am now a master. I also went to go see Ant Man with a friend from work, that movie is great, but the best part was when the unexpectedly feels-filled post credits scene came on. The best part of the whole summer though was Disneyland for three days mid August. 

I heard this quote yesterday and put it up on my wall: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, but today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.”  What with moving and thinking about college and school and an overload of emotions from being tired and stressed I like that quote as a reminder that worry has little place in reality. There's no use in worrying about the past as it's already happened, no use in worrying about the future as I don't know what's going to happen and can't control it, and no point in worrying about today, I can do something about today. I don't mean there's no point in planning or being conscious of consequences or anything like that, but worrying is different and doesn't help.  

Thursday, October 01, 2015

In September

via I love that picture ^
books:
John James Audubon, by Margaret and John Kieran
First Overland Mail, by Robert Pinkerton

movies:
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation - Probably the best MI movie yet and basically perfect.
Survivor (2015) - About a third of the way through I found myself thinking "this is a good movie". It was, but not particularly memorable.
*Jack the Giant Slayer - I love adventure movies.
Safe Haven - I liked it pretty well, until the ending where there was an uncalled for plot twist.
About a Boy (2002) - I really loved this story.
*X-Men: Days of Future Past ♥
Hop - It was cute but lacked something emotionally and the story felt a little loose.
Hotel Transylvania - It had its fun and sweet moments. 
Mr Peabody and Sherman - It had its moments, but didn't click for me.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Same.

tv series:
Cheyenne (random episodes from various seasons)
*Flash (rewatching season one with el padre) - Starts again in five days. Whooo ♥
Once Upon a Time (finished season four) - Yay it's started again.
Just Add Water (about two episodes)
Psych - Because it always makes me laugh and that's good.

† Landmark Book
* seen before


What books and movies did you enjoy especially in September? Or what was your favorite thing that happened last month? Happy October lovelies! xx