Sunday, July 31, 2011

Writing Tips- Character Sheets

There are plenty of ways to create your characters but as I'm sure we all know, a good character is a well developed one. If anything the author or yourself should know a lot about the protagonist of the story. We should know them inside out and sometimes learning even the little things about them is good. Some of it may not all go into the story, but the more you know about your character, the more real he/she/it will seem.

Character sheets, I've found, are very helpful for developing characters. One book I read recommend you fill one out after you've completed the story, but I find that filling them out as you write is very helpful. Not only is it good for learning more about them, but it's good for keeping facts straight. How many siblings does your character have? What's his eye color? His fears, his wants, his goals, etc.

I've found many examples of character sheets over the years since I've started writing, but one of the most useful I've found is one from (sure it's game site but you can talk to people on it and stuff). I've listed it for you below to use and I've also posted the link to the page where it's found.

Full name of Character:
Reason, meaning or purpose behind the name:
Reason for nickname:
Social class:
Physical Appearance:
How old they appear:
Eye Color:
Glasses or contacts?
Hair color length and style:
Weight and height:
Type of body (build):
Skin tone and type (i.e., harry, slimy, scaly, oily, fair, burns easily):
Shape of face:
Distinguishing marks (dimples, moles, scars, birthmarks, etc.):
Predominant feature:
Is s/he healthy?
If not, why not? Or why are they healthy?
Do they look healthy? Why/why not?

Char’s favorite color:
Least favorite, why?
Least favorite music, why?
Expletives (curse):
Mode of transport:
How do they spend a rainy day?
Are they a daredevil or cautious?
Do they act the same alone as when with someone?
How much:
Greatest Strength:
Greatest Weakness:
Soft spot:
Is their soft spot obvious, why/why not:
If not, how do they hide it:
Biggest Vulnerability:
Type of childhood:
First Memory:
Most important child hood event that still effects him/her:
Relationship with her:
Relationship with him:
Siblings, How many, relationship with each:
Children of siblings:
Other extended family:
Close? Why or why not:
Most at ease when:
Most ill at ease when:
How they feel about themselves:
Past failure they would be embarrassed to admit:
If granted one wish what would it be, why?
Optimist or pessimist? Why?
Introvert or extrovert? Why?
Drives and motives:
Extremely skilled at:
Extremely unskilled at:
Good characteristics:
Character flaws:
Biggest regret:
Minor regrets:
Biggest accomplishment:
Minor accomplishments:
Darkest secret:
Does anyone know?
How did they find out:
One word they would use to describe themselves:
One paragraph of how they would describe themselves:
What do they consider their best physical characteristic and why:
The worst one? Why?
Are they realistic assessments?
If not, why not?
How they think others preserve them:
What four things would they most like to change about themselves:
If they were changed would they be the same person, why/why not:
Would changing of number 1 make them more happy? Why/why not:
Interaction with other people:
How do they relate to others:
How are they perceived by strangers:
The Hero/Heroin:
How do they view the Hero/Heroine:
First impression of the char:
What happens to change this perception:
What do people like most about this char:
What do they dislike most about them:
Long term:
How do they plan to accomplish them:
How will others be effected by this:
How do they react in a crisis:
How do they face problems:
Kind of problems they usually run into:
How they react to new problems:
How they react to change:
Favorite clothing, why:
Least favorite, why:
Other accessories:
Where do they live:
Where do they want to live:
Spending habits, why:
What do they do too much of, why:
Most prized possession, why:
People they secretly admire, why:
Person they are most influenced by, why:
Most important person in their life before story starts, why:
How do they spend the week just before the story starts:

Gaia Online- Character Sheet

So, have you ever used character sheets? Do you find them useful? What the best one that you've ever used?


Dot dash dot dash dash dot dot dot dot dash dash dash dash dash dot

Ok that post title is V E R Y  long, I know but it is Morse code for something (try to solve it, its only one word). And I found this real cool chart that kinda explains why a is DOT-DASH and s is DOT-DOT-DOT. That is off to the right if you want to check it out and decode messages in this post.
First a vocab lesson......
A dot is a dit and a dash is a dah.
Not too complicated. Well it is, it can only be understood by high skill listeners. Do you think you can stand there and decode this:

-. --- | .. | -.. --- -. | - | - .... .. -. -.- | -.-- --- ..- | -.-. .- -. | ..--.. |
I can't even, and I'm the one who made it!

Morse code was made in 1836 when Samuel Morse devolved this telegraph system. It was developed so operators could translate the indentations marked on the paper tape. It became something of regular use in the 20's and was started being use by pilots.

Now try to solve these using a decoder (not a translator).

-.-- --- ..- | .- .-. . | .-. . .- -.. .. -. --. | -... .. .-. -.. ... | --- ..-. | .- | .-- .-. .. - .
Dash dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot     dot dash dash dot dash dot dot dot    dot dash dash dot dash dot dot dot dash dash dash dot dash dot

-. . ...- . .-. | ..-. --- .-. --. . - | - --- | .-. . -- . -... . .-. 
Good Luck!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Movie Review- Tron: Legacy

Sam Flynn, a rebellious 27-year-old, is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father Kevin Flynn, a man once known as the world's leading video-game developer. When Sam investigates a strange signal sent from the old Flynn's Arcade -- a signal that could only come from his father -- he finds himself pulled into a digital world where Kevin has been trapped for 20 years. With the help of the fearless warrior Quorra, father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe -- a universe created by Kevin himself that has become far more advanced with never-before-imagined vehicles, weapons, landscapes and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to prevent their escape. 

I have been waiting to see this movie for like...forever! Anyways so when I finally got to see it a couple weeks ago, I was really happy and I thought that the movie was very cool. I thought that the most impressive stuff is all the special effects this movie must have to make it look so cool and good. Plus I just adore how pretty much everything glows there. 

The story starts out when one night Sam's father disappaers after promising his son that he'll come home. So year later, Sam is living on his own, without a job, and is causing mifchief for his dad's company. As he makes his escape, he returns back to his shack where one of his dad's old friends tells him that his dad paged him hours before. 

Well of course Sam doesn't believe him. I mean, his dad has been gone for years so he's probably given up. Anyways, he visit's his dad's old arcade and after poking around some he gets sucked into Tron where he nearly gets killed lots of times, meets a girl who is loyal to his dad, meets his dad and his dad's "evil twin". I'm calling mr. bad guy here "evil twin" because he and Sam's dad look exactly alike...well no, Sam's dad looks older actually. 

Anyways, there's this portal thing they have to get to before it closes. And mr. Bad Guy wants to stop them and beat them to the portal because he wants to take over the real world. Well of course Sam and Quorra (awesome name by the way, it kinda sounds lik Cora to me though) beat Mr. Bad Guy and Sam's dad sacrifices himself to save Sam and Quorra who make it into the real world. 

Happy ending, blah, blah, blah. Now! Onto the actual review. 

Besides the really cool graphics and stuff the characters were really good. There was the one dude with white hair who was really weird. Actually...he reminds me of this one actor who played the Mad Hatter in the new Alice in Wonderland movie. The girl with the white hair was pretty cool too, but she wasn't as weird. 

I thought that Quorra, Sam, and Kevin were all very good and they acted realistic to what was happening around them. I liked Kevin's house, it reminded me of a modern place. Modern because usually when you see modern places, they have a lot of white and geometric shapes/designs.

The plot was good. And it was really sad at the end, but good too I thought.

Overall, I really liked the movie. I'd give it...four and a half stars.

So, have you ever watched and Sci-Fi movies recently? Or what movie have you watched that you think had alot of special effects and stuff like that?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review- Guardian of the Gate

The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she'll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister's role in the prophecy, and that's not the only thing she wants: There's also Lia's boyfriend James.

Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn't know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing.

I had high expectations when I first started reading this book. Since I really liked the first book, I was hoping this one would be even more exciting. didn't meet my expectations. 

The characters were pretty good, everyone seemed realistic enough. But the first thing that bugged me was that the book is set several months after they leave for London, so we don't get to see them search for the keys. 

Anyways, at this party Lia meets this dashing man who is mysterious and stuff. (Here comes what really ruined the book for me) As Lia is being chased by these Hell hounds, the man she met at the party, Dimitri, suddenly appears. And guess what! First we see that the Hounds don't even try to go after him, but then he confesses that he's part of some supernatural thing that Lia's father was apart of. 

So after he saves her, Lia gets her to tell him who he really is and then he tells her that *gasp* he's been watching her to keep her safe! Apparently that really didn't bug her all that much, especially after having met only twice, that Dimitri confesses that he feels like he's known her all her life and then Lia says the same cheesy lines and Bam! Their in love! And then they make out for the rest of the night. 

And I kinda really wanted to slap Lia and say, "are you out of your mind? You barely know the guy! And what about James?" 

Ah yes, James, now he's the real love interest I like. He actually knows Lia and has a reason to be in love with her. But as we find out from Alice, James has been spending more and more time with her since Lia has left. So after burning his letter and thinking that it'd be better for the both of them, Lia feels bad about "loving" Dimitri. and she only mentions this a couple of times. 

So, now onto what I did like. I thought that there was much more excitement and adventure in this book than the other one. It has a stronger sense of danger. Plus at first we think that Lusia is betraying Lia but no, it was actually Sonia, who has accidently let the Spirits into her mind. But after they get to Atlus, the Sisters there manage to save Sonia and Lia learns some important stuff about where to find the pages from her dying aunt. 

The ending was okay, it was exciting and I think it met my expectations but I'm not sure. It was good anyways because not only does she find the pages, but Lia confronts Alice for one of the last times. 

The writing was good, as was her descriptions. I love her descriptions and Lia's voice actually. Will I read the next book? Sure, but I won't have as high as expectations for it. 

Offial Website: Michelle Zink
On Goodreads: 
Guardian of the Gate
First Book Review: Prophecy of the Sisters
So, have you ever read a book where the first one was really good but the second one wasn't?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interesting Facts- Scoliosis

I orginally was going to blog about weird hobbies and collections, but I didn't exactly find what I was looking for. So I decided that you would all like to learn about this condition. I'm sure you've probably gotten tests and screening at school for this and you may even know someone who has this problem.

So what is Scoliosis exactly?
Scoliosis (pronounced: sko-lee-oh-sis) is a condition where a person's spine is curved as either a "S" or a "C". The word itself comes from a greek word that means crooked. Which is a good way to describe someone's spine if they have this problem. 

Did you know that every 3 out of 100 people have scoliosis? And it is more likely to affect girls than boys? Although no one is sure what causes this condition, doctors and scientists do know that you are more likely to get this if someone in your family also has it. When the doctors aren't sure why someone has this it is called Idiopathic Scoliosis. 

In some cases you can tell if someone has scoliosis. People, like me (yes I have this, but we'll talk about this later), may tilt to the left or right or lean to the side. In my case, my spine caused me to have one shoulder higher than the other and one of my legs was longer than the other. If the doctors aren't sure you have this condition they may x-ray your spine to make sure. 

Most cases are not servere but sometimes they are. If the spine continues to curve or twist too much it can lead to breathing problems, heart function, and may cause pain later on in life. In 7th grade when we talked to my doctor about this he calmly told me that if I didn't get spinal fusion (one of the surgeries you can get if your spine is bad) I wouldn't live past forty because my spine would get so bad. By then I was already have breathing problems. 

For some people who have scoliosis but their isn't bad, they may get a back brace. I never wore one, but I looked at them a couple of times. Some people who have back braces do not have to wear them all the time, they may only wear them at night, while other must wear them for most of the day. While a back brace will never get rid of scoliosis, it can prevent it from curving even more and prevent surgery. Often times, your spine will straighten out on its own by the time you are done growing. 

About my own Scoliosis problem 
I was nine years old when we first found out I had scoliosis. My doctors think I got it from my dad who had it as a child but out grew it. The doctors decided not to do anything at the time and monitor my back from time to time. When I was in seventh grade my spine had significantly curved. My upper back had a 65 degree curve while my lower back had a 73 degree curve. The only solution was to get spinal fusion. 

Spinal fusion is when during a long surgery (mine was nine hours) doctors place metal rods on either side of the spine to help correct and prevent the spine from getting worse. During mine they had to take out a rib (yes they grow back) to get to part of my spine through my side, remove some disks, and screwed in screws to hold the rods in place. The surgery didn't fully correct the scoliosis though, I ended up having a 32 degree curve at my lower spine and a 29 degree curve at the top. 

I ended up having to be in the hospital for a week where my only memories are fuzzy and weird (lets just say that I had so much pain medication that I, at times, thought that ceiling was moving, I once was moved to a beach house, I watched The Wizard of Oz which I hadn't, and I have no memory whatsoever of my pastor coming in- and he came twice). Sitting up and walking was hard at first but eventually I was able to. 

When I finally was able to come home, I was out of school for a whole month and spent most of the time on my couch or in my bed reading or watching TV. It was extremely boring and uncomfortable. Lets just say that I ended up failing my math class that quarter because I couldn't catch up on the homework. Thirty problems every day no odds or evens and a teacher who complains that I should have known how to do the homework. 

Anyways, four years later I am able to do everything (well most everything) except for tackle football (there goes my dream of getting into the NFL as the only female player...actually not really). I have a scar running down my spine and another one branching off from that and wrapping around my waist. I can't touch my toes, lift anything over fifty pounds, and my back makes the prefect excuse not to go on roller coasters...which I have never liked. Besides that I still sometimes have breathing problems, and my back gets this weird tingling feeling when I sleep or when I'm not wearing much (like a swimsuit). I also have a little white dot on both my arms from where I had IVs in. 

To say the least, surgery isn't all that scary since most of the time you're not awake (I got one of those face masks and they let me choose what flavor of lip balm to apply...yes lip makes the mask smell good when they turn on the gas. If you ever have a mask don't get the strawberry-banana lip balm!). The worst part was being bored afterwards and the medicene. It tasted really bad so my aunt got the idea to put it in apple juice and ever since then I can't drink apple juice cause I'll get the same gross taste. 

In my view, I was lucky. My doctor met a girl who was around her early teens who's spine had a 123 degree curve. No lie. They were only able to correct it to 75 degrees. And he also told me that one of his patients who got surgery, she was able to go onto the nationals in acrobatics even after hers. 

Fast Facts about Scoliosis
Scoliosis Directory

So, do you have scoliosis or do you know anyone with it? Did they/you have to get a brace or surgery at all?


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In The News- The Horror in Norway

In a horrific attack that has shocked people across the world, the most recent attack on people has come not from a terrorist attack but from one man bent on destroying democracy.

The man was not a man from another country, but a native from the country he attacked. A threat from the inside. Earlier today his lawyer told us that he could very much be insane. According to his ex-stepmother he never showed any signs of planning a mass murder that would result in the deaths of ninety-three people. Anders Behring Breivik  is reported to having been a happy and well behaved boy as a child. When his ex-stepmother saw him ealier this year she said that he had told her that he was working on a book that he was very proud of. 

This book, a 1,500-page manifesto, written in English, laid out his plans for the onslaught and described his reasoning why. He says that he was calling attention to the Muslims living in Europe and how he wished to get them to leave. This reminds me of the Holocaust. 

On Friday, Anders went to a government building in Oslo and set off a car bomb that blew out all of the windows in several buildings and killed at least seven people. Two hours later, dressed as a policeman, he arrived in a political youth camp where he called the campers to him. He told them that he was making rounds because there had been a bomb explosion ealier in Oslo. While the youth and their leaders tried to make sense of this, he opened fire on them. 

After first shooting people with a machine gun, he then shot his victims twice to make sure that they were dead. One girl said that he opened fire on those on land before starting to shoot those trying to swim away. 
When police finally arrived, Anders surrendered. He was taken to jail  and interviewed. When asked how he views himself, Anders replied, "As a savior, some kind of savior." 

Firstly how is killing innocent people going to help anything? And there is nothing wrong with Muslims living in Europe, if they want to live there go ahead. But killing and violence does not solve anything. All I can say is, what a sick, twisted person he must be. 

On another side note about this, one of my cousins pointed out that the survivors will probably never fully trust a policeman they don't know. And they will always be haunted by the memories of the friends and family dying. How can this man say that he did a good thing? I hope that this man is locked up for life and someday realize the effect of his actions. 

I feel horrible by the news of this event. And every victim's family has my condolences and sympathy. While their friends, children, and family can never be brought back, I hope that they get find some sort of peace. I'm praying for those who have been hurt or lost by this horrible event. 

Anyways, I don't have much to say but rant. May God be with those who are in need of His strength and peace. 

Rescourses and other Articles
Witnesses describe scene of terror at Norway camp.
Shooting of Innocents.
Norway killer revealed nothing.
Oslo police releases names of victims.

So what do you think about this? Do you know anyone personally who in Norway? 


Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review- Little Blog on the Prairie

Gen's family is more comfortable spending time apart than together. Then Gen's mom signs them up for Camp Frontier, a vacation that promises the thrill of living like 1890s pioneers. Forced to give up all of her modern possessions, Gen nevertheless manages to email her friends back home about life at "Little Hell on the Prairie" as she's renamed the camp. It turns out frontier life isn't without its good points, like the cute boy who lives in the next clearing. And when her friends turn her emails into a blog, Gen is happily surprised by the fanbase that springs up. But just when it seems Gen and family might pull through the summer, disaster strikes as a TV crew descends on the camp, intent on discovering the girl behind the nationwide blogging sensation, and perhaps ruining the best vacation Gen has ever had.

I found this book at the library and I started reading it there but I didn't rent it there that day because I already had some books checked out. But when I went back a couple days I ago I decided to get it again. 
As I started reading it, I found it amusing that Gen's family would go on something like this. It even made me wonder if there are actually camps where you can do this kind of stuff...not that I would, but it'd be interesting. 

I found Gen to be a relatable character, in fact, all the characters were good. Her humor is silly and I love how she sneaks texts messages to her friends and then later on faces what happens. I could totally see myself sneaking my phone in to text. 

I loved the research put into this and I enjoyed seeing what it could have been like to live back in the 1890s. That being said, I felt bad for Nora who has lived almost her whole life there homeschooled and only seeing kids her age (maybe) there once a year. And then only to have them leave several months later. I thought that Nora was mean through the whole book and that I thought it was ridiculous that she stayed mean throughout the story. 

I also enjoyed seeing the other characters and learning how they got there and why. But one of the biggest shocks was the shack where Nora and her family have all this modern day stuff and they don't allow any of the rest of the campers to use it. And then when Gen accidently leaves her phone there and Nora's father finds it, I began to really dislike him. I really did. 

One of the most disappointing things for me while reading this book was never actually getting to see the blog. Sure we got to see the text messages and have Gen narrate the story, but I would have loved to have actually have seen the comments and the blog posts myself. And how many readers did the blog get? How did the blog affect her when she got home? Did she continue it or let it die? 

I enjoyed the ending though. Seeing how Nora was able to go on TV and was able to travel to New York city and act like a normal, modern day girl for a while. It was cool. It was also cool seeing how Gen and Caleb stayed in touch afterwards. Plus how that her family might go back again next summer. 

Overall I really enjoyed the book although I think it is meant more for tweens or teens who enjoy history mixed with some boring parts where much doesn't happen. 

On Goodreads: Little Blog on the Prairie
Author's Website: Cathleen Davitt Bell

So if you were able to go to a camp like Gen's, where you lived like how people did in the past, would you go? And what time period would it be? 


The Poetry of Epicness

When you think of epic poetry two poems probably come to mind: the 
Odyssey and the Iliad. Epic poems were at first always told by oral traditions. They could be in a sense, the ancient people's form of listening books and entertainment. Often the stories could be acted out.

Epic poems are long, serious, and narrative. They pertain to the heroic acts that significantly effects a nation or culture. Usually the heroes are mythological figures and they struggle on some kind of journey or quest.

Epic poems usually have seven different ways you have tell them apart from other forms of literature.
  1. It starts in the middle of the story, usually with flashbacks to explain what happened before.
  2. The setting occurs in many different places.
  3. It begins with an invocation to a muse (called the epic invocation)
  4. It includes th use of epithets.
  5. Features long and formal speeches. 
  6. Usually has gods and goddesses or some kind of divine force interacting with human affairs.
  7. The protagonist (the hero) usually embodies the characteristics of the civilization.
And after going on this long quest and having faced many enemies, the hero usually returns significantly changed since the beginning of the story.

I remember learning about epic poems in literature class during my freshman year of  high school. We studied the Odyssey for a couple months. We listed the good/bad traits of Odysseus, talked about epic poems, and as the stupid freshmen we were, we made goofed off during class. I think I was the only one who actually payed attention.

Wikipedia- Epic Poetry
Epic Poetry

So, what are your favorite epic poems? Have you ever tried writing one or do you know of someone who has?


Sunday, July 24, 2011

The History, Usage, and Language of the Hand Fan.

My dad's wall fan 
Note: Jessika is on vacation is week so Peony will be doing today and Wednesday's post.
Fans have always interested me. There are many kinds and have been used in the past all the time. They were known by the ancient Egyptians, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Greeks, and Aztecs. Although the orgin of the hand fan is unknown, one of the earliest fans found in ancient times was on pictures and paintings of the Egyptians. The invention of the folding fan is credited to the Japanese. When Cortes went to the Americas, he was given six feather fans. Columbus brought fans back to Europe also from the Americas. 

One of my fans, it was a gift. 
These ancient peoples used fans for not only cooling themselves on hot days, but to scare away insects that might be harmful. Children used them as toys. In later times fans were mainly used as a form of communication (anyone remember The Princess Diaries where Mia's grandmother teaches her how to properly use a fan?). 

In Japan and Korea, fans have been used as weapons. They were not only used to cool off warriors, but could be used as defensive or attack weapons. In Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small Quartet, her Yamani used these kinds of fans. In Japan, Tessenjutsu, is the art of fighting with war fans. There were three types of fans used:

A fan that my mom gave me. 
  • Gunsen- Were folding fans that were made of wood or a light metal for the inner spokes and then thin iron or stronger metals were used for the outer spokes which made them light but strong at the same time. 
  • Tessen- These folding fans had their outer spokes made out of iron which was designed to look like normal, harmless fans. Some clubs were shaped to look like a closed fan. Warriors could take these weapons to places where weapons were normally not allowed. These type of fans could be used to fend off darts, arrows, as a throwing weapon, or as an aid in swimming. 
  • Dansen Uchiwa- These large open fans could be made out of solid iron with a wooden core, or soild wood. These could be used to fend off arrows, a sunshade, or to signal to troops.
According to Wikipedia:
Some wove flexible metal ribbons along the outer most edge for cutting power or preferred feathers that hid finger-sized razor blades which would rake upon striking. Others held variations of poisons or were used to conceal other weapons such as throwing blades which could be released in a spread upon snapping the fan open. Poison fans often hid deadly to stunning concoctions in bladders or channels which would open upon spreading the fan, allowing the user to gently direct a gust of irritants and toxins at their opponent over short distances.

Folklore and hearsay also suggests occasional traveling merchants trading with China possessed fans with small compartments in the vanes of the fan which held small explosive pellets that upon striking a surface would create a bright and dazzling flash of light, similar in concept to modern Chinese novelty fireworks.
My sandalwood fan.
 As I was saying earlier, fans could also be used as a form of communication. Doing some research I found some of the language. This was mainly used by ladies when they wished to speak to their friends or men they were interested in. Because it is a form of communication somewhat lost to modern day culture, sources have varied meanings. 

  • To hold it to your right cheek: Yes.
  • To hold it to your left cheek: No.
  • Drawing it through your hand: I hate you.
  • Drawing it across your cheek: I love you.
  • To fan slowly: I am married.
  • To fan quickly: I am engaged.
  • Dropping the fan: We are friends.
  • To hold the handle to your lips: Kiss me.
  • Opening it with your left hand: Come talk to me. 
  • Touhcing the edge of the fan with your fingers: I wish to speak to you.
  • Drawing it across your forehead: You have changed.
  • To move the fan with your left hand: We are being watched.
  • To open and close the fan: You are cruel. 

For more history of the fan: All Hand Fans: HistoryHand FansAsian Ideas: History

So, do you have any fans? Do you use them? 


Friday, July 22, 2011

Movie Review- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

*Spoilers are in this post.*
In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry Potter who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort. It all ends here. 

This morning I woke up and realized that there really won't be any more Harry Potter movies to look forward to. This really is the end.

I went and saw this movie Sunday night with some family. And I'll say that I loved it! One of the thoughts I remember thinking as I was watching it was "Man! I have to get this soundtrack!" And so I did. It's an epic soundtrack too.

Anyways, what I loved about this movie is the sense of danger and the emotions that it sparks in you. Although for the first half of the movie I kept getting this feeling like I saw it before. And I have no idea why, what I think is that I must have seen the trailers or a movie preview before and forgot about it. That or my brain likes to mess with me.

The special effects were really cool. One of my favorite special effects was when there was Hogwart's magical shield. It just looked cool. Anyways, and the ghost, I can't remember her name, but I've always thought they have done a good job showing the ghosts.

I thought the actors were all good too. I loved ProfessoMcGonagall's "I've always wanted to use that spell" saying. It made me and the rest of the audience laugh. At the part where Snape dies, I was crying. It was so sad! I loved the memories they played, they were very touching and I thought they showed off the side of Snape we probably haven't seen before. Although for some reason when Snape said "you have your mother's eyes," my stepdad thought that that it could have been taken in a way that could mean he's Harry's dad. Which he all know isn't true, but he thought that it could imply that.

Neville was one of my favorites too. Like when he tells Harry that he's got to find Luna to tell her that he likes her, when he stands up to Lord Voldemort, and finally when he kills the snake himself. I was secretly cheering for him.

The other sad part was when Fred died. Or at least I think it was Fred, I could never tell the difference between those two. And the scene of Remus and Tonks when Harry sees them.  So sad!

I thought it was interesting when Malfoy's mom asks Harry if her son is alive and when he briefly nods his head, she turns to the Lord Voldemort and says "he's dead". But then in the end the Malfoy and his parents run away as Harry goes to defeat Lord Voldemort. I wasn't all that too crazy about that scene where they are flying through the air and they are fighting each other. It was strange, but fitting I guess.

I loved the ending, when Harry breaks the elder wand and throws it off the bridge. It told us that no one should ever have that kind of power again.

Plus the epilogue was great. I thought that the kids were so cute! Although I'm not to sure on how well of a job they did making Harry and the other's to look older. I didn't think Hermione looked older at all. And for some reason they all seemed really tall to me. Maybe it was because of the kids or what I'm not sure.

Overall it was an epic movie and if you haven't seen it you should! The soundtrack is epic too. And I loved a bunch of stuff with it. I also thought that they did a good job keeping to the book. I love it when movies stick to the books if they came from one.

So, have you seen it yet? If you have what did you think? And are you planning to go see it in theaters or wait till it comes out on DVD and rent/buy it?


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Review- Halo

Three angels- Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human- are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments. 

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong. 

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

Tip: Don't judge a book by the cover. Ayways, so the cover caught my eye right away and I was pleased to find a paranormal romance that wasn't so dark and dreamy unlike the majority of paranormal books today. I enjoyed not seeing so much darkness in this story. The cover clearly is a good representative of the story and it's very pretty. It was surprising find that it was about angels where an angel falls in love with a human rather then it being the other way around. 

While I thought that there was a lot of romance for this book, I was expecting it from the book blurb and the reviews I read here on Goodreads. But unlike the rest of the reviewers who only gave this book one or two stars I thought that Ms. Adornetto's style of writing and her choice of words was great. I loved seeing new words I didn't know and having to look them up. It was great. I was surprised to find that that Ms. Adornetto is a teen author. It gives other teen writers like myself hope that we too can get published. 

While Xavier did seem to be Mr. Prefect at times (actually a lot of the times) I enjoyed reading about him and Beth. I thought that his family portrayed a family that we could very much know. Although the characters were good, I thought that the whole "prom is such a big deal!" from the girls Beth was friends with was a little overboard. While Prom is a big deal, most girls I know don't plan their whole year trying to find dresses and stuff. We usually worry about that two or one month ahead. 

Unlike some people I enjoyed seeing the religon in this book sense I am a strong Christian, and in a way it was comforting. But even with this I thought it was interesting to see Beth's (not sure if it's Alexandra Adornetto's version either) version of what heaven is like. And I loved how her angels were different from how other angels are. The part that their skin glows, their wings are paper thin, and they have no naval is cool. 

As an angel turning human, I thought that Beth's transition from being a supernatural being to something more mortal was well portrayed. If I was an angel I would probably act the same way. Seeing how Gabriel and Ivy acted and responded to events and Beth's actions was interesting. You could tell that they clearly cared about her and their mission. I thought that for being one of the most important angels, Gabe was a good character. He wasn't arrogant or mean, but distant and reserved. Ivy was how I would imagine someone like her to be. 

The only part that I found remotely towards their actual mission was when Jack Thorn shows up. And even though they have proof that is was him causing all trouble, they don't do anything about it towards the very end. 

All in all, it was an interesting book. I thought that there was alot of unnecessary stuff and that the book could have been shorter. Beth could have been a stronger character too. Would I recommend it? Probably not. Will I read the next one? Maybe. I'm still deciding. 

So, what do you think about angel books? If you were an angel from heaven to help save the world, how would you go about it? And what would you change first?

On Goodreads: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Her Goodreads page (I can't get to her website listed there): Alexandra Adornetto


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dating Customs

Ok so you probably assume that people date the same way around the world. At least in most parts of the world, I did anyway. But they are many different customs in different countries on how teens date. So where should we start?


This in my opinion is the most normal out of all these countries. They will date in large groups and don't actually pair off until they are about 18. The girls will ask the boy to pay for the date and when they are paired off they will commonly go to the beach or barbecues. 


So in most parts of Europe they go out in groups. But there is some specific parts in Europe that do things each a little different.
Finland: 30 or more teens will go to a movie together. That is  a l o t!
Italy and Switzerland: They will go to slumber parties together. So they party and sleep at whatever house they are at . . .
Spain: Here teens join in a pandilla. It just a basic club of people with similar interest. So most of us would be in a writing pandilla :D. Theirs would most likely be something like hiking though. Their dating is now more like ours, they do it as one on one and split the bill.
Russia: Russian teens will meet downtown or by a fountain. In larger towns they tend to go to clubs and parties.

Central and South America

You can't date until 15 in South America. When they are 15 they date, like most teens above, in large groups. They go dancing on weekends or go out and eat.


You might be able to guess, dating here is rare. All most all of the marriages are arranged. It is already hard for boys and girls to meet since girls curfew ends at 7 and boys is at 11.

Japan and Korea

In high school the teens study (not surprised) instead of going out to dance and what not. The real dating begins when they are in college but only the boys can ask out the girls and they have to pay for the date.


Lastly there is Iran. Dating is forbidden. Boys and girls are separated their whole lives and then they are introduced which in most cases leads to marriage.

Hows that for dating. Most countries seemed to like to date in large groups, which kinda defeats the purpose. So I still prefer the American way. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In The News- Random Gossip and Why Teachers are Hypocrites.

First of all, we'll start with the random gossip that really isn't news but I thought that some of you may like to hear.

Rebecca Black, the infamous teenage singer who's Friday video gained fame across the world for being...the world's worst singing ever? Now, I'll admit I do not like her singing but I think that a lot of people went out of line by giving her death threats and other nasty things. Eventually, the video was taken off of youtube and we thought that we had seen the last of the teen. 

Apparently not. According to Yahoo! The singer has release a new music video called My Moment. While her voice is still awfully auto tuned and the music video isn't all that exciting, I'll give her some points for not giving up. And with this new music video, it has been announced that a new 5 song EP has been released onto Itunes today called Yes There's More!

Link to the Yahoo! Article: Rebecca Black New Music Video
Edit: The Music Video was taken off because it didn't work. If you'd like to see it, click the link to the Yahoo! Article.

In other subjects that is video related and I'm not considering news at all, Jerusha Hess (who apparently has cowritten things (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre and Gentlemen Broncoswith her husband, and the famous Twilight author, Stephanie Meyer, are co-producing a movie called Austenland
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of this film and described it in a bit more detail as follows:
[Austenland] centers on a single, thirtysomething woman with a secret obsession with Mr. Darcy — as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The obsession is ruining her love life because no real man can compare. When she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Jane Austen-crazed women, the woman’s fantasy of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman becomes more real than she could have imagined.
Link to the aritcle: Twilight Author to Co-Produce a Movie....

In the News
According to several reports 178 teachers and principals in Alabama have been caught in one of America's largest teaching scandals ever. For years everyone thought that everything was going great for the school districts grades kept on rising. But due to abnormal scores, investigators found that on standardized tests (yes this is why we shouldn't have them!) teachers would change their student's answers so that they would get better grades.

This, mind you, was not to help the students in any way, it was to save their own jobs. By getting higher test scores the Broad Foundation and the Gates Foundation would give them more funding. 
According to the Yahoo! Article:
One of the most troubling aspects of the Atlanta cheating scandal, says the report, is that the district repeatedly refused to properly investigate or take responsibility for the cheating. Moreover, the central office told some principals not to cooperate with investigators. In one case, an administrator instructed employees to tell investigators to "go to hell." When teachers tried to alert authorities, they were labeled "disgruntled." One principal opened an ethics investigation against a whistle-blower.
Because of the high stakes placed on these tests for teachers, these "educators" have resorted to cheating. Hypocrites! They tell us "don't cheat or you'll get a zero" yet they think it's perfectly okay to cheat themselves? How can we possibly trust them if they show us that we can't trust them.

Some of these high stakes include:
Ten states now use test scores as the main criterion in teacher evaluations. Other states reward high-scoring teachers with up to $25,000 bonuses – while low scores could result in principals losing their jobs or entire schools closing. Even as the number of scandals grows, experts say it remains fairly easy for teachers and principals to get away with ethical lapses.
In one report I read, teachers would get together on weekends or after school at each other's houses, drink coffee and eat while they would erase their students answers.  Much like some kinda of party. Why is this okay with you teachers? Why!

I think that this lady has a very good point:
"And that’s what ought to alarm us," adds Ms. Downey, "that these professionals ultimately felt their students could not even pass basic competency tests, despite targeted school improvement plans, proven reforms, and state-of-the-art teacher training."
True true. I find not only what the teachers did alarming, but insulting too. Kids are smarter than what you think. Just because there are those few who don't care, alot of us do care. And we'll do the best we can without your helping us cheat. And how did these teachers expect to get away with this? How I don't know, but something will have to be done about this so that this can never happen again.

In a recent report, the teachers and officials caught up in this scandal will be forced to resign this week or this will be forced to. So, yes teachers, there are punishments for cheating even with you too. I hope that every one of you feels ashamed of yourselves. And just think, you have now destroyed any hopes of getting another teaching job in this already bad economy.

You can read both news articles here and here.

So, what do you think about Rebecca Black's new songs, or Stephanie Meyer's new producer job? What about this teaching scandal?



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