Summer Brings Splendid Things (PCC 2012)

Hey, guys. Aloha here.

It’s been a while since I blogged, which I will contribute to school, finals, and writer’s block. Fortunately, IT’S SUMMER NOW!😀 And time for a bunch of awesome things. (My eloquence. It’s stunning.)

No, Aloha, this is NOT tumblr. You can’t just use gifs instead of formulating valid sentences and original ideas. That’s not how this works.

This past weekend, I attended my first convention, which was extremely awesome. Eight of my coolest friends and 32,000 of my casual acquaintances gathered for the Phoenix Comicon. We stayed for four days and pretty much just derped around. It was like anime, comics, video games, and the internet come to life, all in one place. And I cosplayed!😀 This was my first time investing a lot of time and money into a really good costume, and it was totally worth it. I’ve been collecting pieces for my Daughter of Evil cosplay for almost a year now, so it was really neat to finally wear it in public.

The thing I love about cosplay is the escape. It’s like you get to be someone else for however long you want, and forget your own problems while you take on the persona. While no, I didn’t get too in-character for this one (didn’t think my friends would appreciate spending all weekend with the Daughter of Evil, ruthless princess with a superiority complex almost as bad as the one I have IRL), it was still fun to dress like her.

Not a lot of people knew who I was, because the emphasis at PCC was really comics and anime (Daughter of Evil is a Vocaloid song sung by Rin Kagamine), but I did get recognized a few times. And I had a heck of a good time wearing the costume, anyway.

Another cool thing is that I’m more or less totally unrecognizable… which means pictures! It’s pretty blurry, but it’s the best full-body shot I got that day. (Background altered to protect the innocent my family.)

Other cool things at PCC:

  • Party Like a Time Lord (Doctor Who dance party and costume contest, where Daleks roamed free and everyone brought a banana).
  • Vic Mignogna‘s concert, where he serenaded us with music so sweet it was like vocal glucose. (Not using that simile again.)
  • An entire room set up with Brawl and Streetfighter games, and the room next to it filled to the brim with DDR fans.
  •  A panel and photo op with one of my favorite cosplay groups, BanzaiPro.
  • An entire exhibitor’s hall full of every geek’s dream: comic books, action figures, posters, plush, autographs, costumes…. You name it, it came in Loki’s colors.
  • Cosplayers representing every fandom. EVERY fandom. (Genderbent Korra? Yep. Group of teenage guys dressed as My Little Ponies? Check. Alice in Wonderland zombies? Of course.)


Long story short, it was a great con. I got to hang out with awesome people and celebrate things that I like with tens of thousands of other people who like the same things… how often does that happen? (Okay, smart aleck, like once a year.)

Today we leave for Alaska, which should be interesting. There’s no internet OR cell service on the cruise, though, so I downloaded all Doyle’s original Sherlock books and short stories onto my Kindle.

–That’s right, I admit it. *flinches* Feel free to egg me, or paperback me, or whatever book enthusiasts do to those who slip over to the dark side. E-books. I was a hater too. Until I realized that I could fit Les Miserables, the Hunger Games trilogy, all the Sherlock Holmes stuff, everything Kristin Cashore’s ever published, some sappy paranormal romance,  and a selection of nonfiction reads into a space the size of a small novel.

It’s like a TARDIS…. but for books. (Bigger on the inside… eh? Eh? No? Worth a shot.)

Long story short, I no longer consider e-books the scum of the planet. They’ve risen somewhere above nails on a chalkboard and One Direction, but they’re still lower than, like, NPR. Think of me what you will.

I intend to start blogging FO REALZIES this summer, once we get back from the arctic cold and Huskies and Canadian bacon and the Space Needle. Until then,

Posted in Anime, Llamas and Rambling, Misc. Posts, My Real Life, Nerd Fun | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Secrets, Pawns, and a Handful of Berries

Like every other literary-inclined-slash-hipster teenager in America, I was outside the theater at eight o’clock on Thursday with my hiking boots and caffeine. And all the other hipsters will tell you that they read the Hunger Games before it was cool, but I’m telling you the truth. Working as a student aide for the librarians had its perks…. One being that, before they trusted me to actually shelve books, I could just do my homework and sleep. But once I was allowed in the sacred realm of young adult lit, I shelved all the new books as they came in, and frequently checked them out myself before anybody else, if the synopsis sounded interesting. (And I got to read three books at a time, instead of the standard two. Except the librarians were kind of creepy, and once the one with a mustache told me that if anything happened to my parents, she’d adopt me. I’ve never slept quite as soundly after that.)

Moving on. So I’ve been a fan of the Hunger Games series for two and a half or three years now, and it kind of feels like the rest of the world’s just catching on. But my glasses are still from an optometrist, not from seeing Avatar in 3D, so I think I’m okay.

Back to Thursday night. It was a lot of sitting, a lot of doodling, a lot of talking about Finnick Odair with two dozen other people who blush at the sound of his name. I didn’t end up getting my mockingjay pin in time, so I didn’t dress up, but I saw several girls who tried to replicate Katniss’ arena digs. Then there was a Peeta (blonde guy with a loaf of bread), and an Effie (looked really, really cool, but a bit out of place), as well.

My butt got really sore, but the crowds weren’t nearly as bad as either of the Deathly Hallows, so we got to sit inside the entire time. At about ten, they let us inside the actual theater rooms. My friends, my sister’s friends, and I took up the entire back row and half of the row in front of it. A few people initiated a popcorn fight, some brought the books to read, and others tried to fall asleep. Okay, I was the only one trying to fall asleep.

When the movie started, everyone in the theater fell silent. Our attempt at a Three-Fingered Salute Flash Mob failed, but it was okay, because A) we were in the back row, and B) nobody cared about anything but the movie at that point.

I WILL REMAIN SPOILER-FREE. All I will say about the actual movie is that it remained delightfully true to the book, all the actors were brilliant, and while the camera direction was jarring and, at times, painful, it helped give the illusion that you were inside Katniss’ head. Transitioning from a first-person, present-tense book to a third-person, omnipotent movie is not easy. Ross, Collins, and everyone else involved did a wonderful job. (I still feel that, after my second time seeing it just an hour ago.)

In fact, the only thing I can criticize is that Peeta and Katniss both referred to the redheaded tribute as Foxface from the time they met up, without any discussion or agreement. I’m guessing it was either in one of the deleted scenes, or everyone involved in production was so invested into the book that it didn’t occur to them. It was pretty obvious who they were referring to, though, and it didn’t make any difference to the plot.

I reread The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and part of Mockingjay between the first time I saw the movie and the second, just to refresh my memory of the books. I could picture, vividly, almost every scene in the first book based on the movie. There were things that I wish had been kept, but ultimately it was the best adaption I’ve ever seen. Even tiny details like the “little duck” bit were kept to maintain the feel of the book.

Now I’m excited to see where they’ll take us with Catching Fire, and ultimately Mockingjay. First and foremost, they need to give us the perfect Finnick. If he’s not absolutely everything that the fans want, Catching Fire isn’t going to do well. But I have confidence in Ross and Collins, and based on their casting of the first book, I’m trusting them to deliver.

Then, they need to acknowledge that Catching Fire comes in three distinct parts: after the Games, before the Quell, and The Quell itself. Giving each part its own movie would be ideal, but splitting Mockingjay into two movies is probably the best we can hope for. Balancing Katniss’ lack of knowledge with their omnipresent viewpoint is going to be difficult. In the book, Katniss just goes her merry way and then everybody else’s actions are explained later, through flashbacks. The filmmakers don’t have that luxury.

Mockingjay is going to be the final test. Can they balance action, character development, and romance soundly?

There’s only one way to find out. May the odds be ever in their favor.

Posted in Misc. Posts | 15 Comments

Give Me a Medal and Call me Charlie Sheen

….’cause I’m so WINNING.

Well, that’s quite an overstatement, but I didn’t have a better title. To be frank, I find that comparing myself to Charlie Sheen is more of an insult than anything else.

However, I did win a handful of awards, twice. Once by the ever-lovely Faith over at The Love of Words, and then again by Sarah (a writer, Nerdfighter, and particularly interesting person that I’ve just had the pleasure of meeting) at Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish. Thank you, guys!

1) First off, here’s an odd award called Mrs. Sparlies Ten Commandments. Lolwut? And look at the icon:

That kind of scares me a bit, but we’ll roll with it. I’ll talk fast!

Instead of doing a normal acceptance speech or passing it on with a quick word of thanks, this one’s actually got a little quiz/survey/questionnaire thing.

Describe Your Self in 7 Words: Weird, sarcastic, dark, obnoxious, procrastinator, careless, forgetful.

What Keeps You Up At Night: Tumblr? But seriously, thoughts of mortality and the meaning of human existence. (Mostly just tumblr.)

Whom Would You Like To Be: Ideally? A cowgirl, writer, artist, singer, songwriter, animator, poet, photographer, voice actress, and cosplay model.

Realistically? See above, minus singer because I can’t sing.

(I’m only joking, of course. My lifelong goal is to become a real-estate agent, or that failing, a cafeteria worker.)

What Are You Wearing Now: Jeans, a turquoise shirt, boots. Earlier I was wearing my Kagamine Rin wig.

What Scares You: “Hmm. My absolute lack of fears could be considered quite frightening…WOULD be my answer, if I hadn’t just seen the thumbnail for this award again. So my answer is, the thumbnail fo this award.” That’s what Sarah said, and it makes me laugh so I’m keeping it. (Plus I agree.)

I’d only like to add snakes, failure, and dying young. But mostly the thumbnail.

What Was The Last Website You Looked At: YouTube. There’s this group singing contest going on called VocaFusion, and the second round of entries just went up. They’re brilliant. (I’m not entered in any groups, but I know a lot of people who are.)

What is One Thing You Want To Change About Your Self: I wish I was born with laser eyes and natural leadership ability, because I would be on the track to take over the world. The way things are now, it’ll just be a bit more work, is all.

Slankets, Yes or No: What’s a slanket? Maybe it’s a slanted bucket? Yeah, sure, I’m okay with that, as long as it retains its original purpose, of holding things.

(I know, it’s like a snuggie or something. But that’s boring. Now PILLOW PETS❤ Those I love. I sleep with mine every night, it’s the best combination of a pillow and stuffed animal that I own. Plus it’s adorableeee.)

Tell Us Something About The Person Who Nominated You: Faith is an incredible, brilliant friend of mine. I’ve known her for several years and her wit and insight continue to inspire me. Plus, she reads the best sort of books🙂

I only discovered Sarah’s blog today, although had I kept up with my reading and commenting on the TCWT! blog chain, I would have met her much sooner. Based on my limited reading, she’s a clever writer, thoughtful poet, and a nerdfighter who has not forgotten to be awesome. I look forward to talking with her more😀

2) The Sunshine Award.

This one’s pretty simple (with a less vomit-inducing icon)– it has more questions. I’m supposed to thank the people who nominated me. So, uh, thanks, Faith and Sarah!

Favorite colors: Grey and blue.

Favorite Animal: Horses, obviously😀 I’m also partial to llamas and cats.

Favorite Number: 42.

Favorite Drink: Coffee. I love Coke, too.

Facebook or Twitter: Twitter❤ As for Facebook, I could take it or leave it.

Your Passion: My church, my horse, and my art (literary and visual).

Giving or Receiving: Can I say Both? I’m saying Both.

Favorite Pattern: There’s something about plaid. It’s fun to draw.

Favorite Day of The Week: Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Favorite Flower: Not a huge flower person, but roses are pretty.

3) Candle Lighter Award

There are no rules or anything for this one. It’s just for a blog that “brightens” your day. Sweet, huh?

4) Leibster Blog Award

I don’t think there are any rules for this one, either. Could be mistaken. It’s nice, anyway. (Not to reference an outdated internet meme, but…..

I have too much fun here.


Okay, let’s nominate, shall we? Here, in no particular order, are people that I want to submit to torture answer those splendid questions.

Mercy, my all-time favorite mustached crepe vendor. Without her, I wouldn’t have discovered the joys of Twitter, Doctor Who, or fanart of breakfast pastries.

Mike, who I will force to become my personal chef once the Master Plan of World Domination is complete. He will recreate every dessert dish from the Mike and Mitch Project. Every day. And I will eat them all.

Skye, because even though I don’t know her that well, she’s awesome, and I love her blog. I’d like to get to know her better.

Alice Mellark, because she shares my insane love of fictional characters. And these questions can serve as a sort of background check before we go to the convention together this summer *high five*

John Hansen and Allegra, because they puts an unbelievable amount of time and effort into building up the TCWT! blog chain, as well as an e-zine for teens, The Trivial Typewriter. I know that a lot of people appreciate it, myself included.

(A few people that I wanted to nominate have already been nominated, so just know that you were in my thoughts as well~)


(Side-note: How to use my new meme.)

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I Love You, Now Let’s Take Down the Government

What’s this, a post? Not only a legitimate post, but I actually managed to contribute to the TCWT blog chain on the right day this month? *celebration*

The theme for this month’s blog chain is…

“What are your thoughts on romance for your typical genre? Do you tend to have a little, a lot, or none at all?”

Just in time for Valentines’ Day, too.

I had a bit of difficulty trying to distinguish which “genre” I usually write in. Really it depends on my inspiration–I’ve written apocalyptic novels, YA fiction set inside an insane asylum, fantasy, etc. So I decided to focus on the books that I like to READ– and lately I’ve been hooked on the dystopian trend.

Many of my ideas have been influenced by the thoughtful dystopian semi-guru Kirsten, who’s already a part of the blog chain. For nods, laughs, and a look at the genre in general, read her posts like this one.

She’s already spoken to my thoughts on romance in dystopian novels in general– how the storylines are repetitive, the love interests are two-dimensional, and there seems to be a formula for the final “choice”.

That’s what it comes down to, every time, is a choice between two ideals, a decision more symbolic than anything else. The love in dystopian novels is a higher metaphor for the dilemmas facing the protagonist. It’s not (usually) a relationship between two people who actually care about each other.

I’ll take, for example, the love triangle in Matched, just another one of the cookie-cutter YA dystopias to hit the shelves and the bestseller lists. Cassia has two perfect guys to choose from. Xander has been her best friend since they were children, and she’s “matched” to marry him by city officials. Ky is shunned for being an “outsider” because he was born in the countryside. He’s the one that teaches her rebellious poetry and asks her to fight against the government with him, the usual. She has the luxury of flirting with both of them during the course of the novel, and eventually picking one to side with.

But Xander and Ky are not “real” characters. They exist for Cassia, both love her intensely even though she’s a wimp, and cater to her every whim. Instead of characters, they’re actually used within the story as physical evidence of Cassia’s changing emotions. In the beginning, she’s more than happy to go along with the “matching” program and marry Xander, but (TOTAL SPOILER ALERT, BTW) by the end of the novel she decides to leave the society in favor of Ky.  (Didn’t see that coming, right?)

I understand why Ally Condie, the author, did this. Cassia is a weak character, and she goes back and forth throughout the entire novel. “Xander! Wait, Ky! No, Xander! Ky! Xander! Ky!” just as much as “Conform! Rebel! No, conform! Rebel! Hold on, conform! Just kidding, rebel!”. When she finally “picked” Ky at the end, it was just another way of saying “Viva la revolucion!”

I’m being cynical, because there were parts of the book that were half-decent. (I just can’t think of them right now.) I’m not saying that Matched is some trainwreck of a dystopian attempt, and if you have the choice between Stephanie Myer and Ally Condie, at least Xander doesn’t fall in love with Cassia and Ky’s child.

I mean, the series isn’t over yet, but I’m just assuming.

The wider point I’m trying to make is this: so often, love in dystopian novels is used as a plot device for decision-making, instead of a legitimate relationship between two people that care about each other.

How can we combat this? I think that it’s important to flesh out the characters as fully developed people instead of tying them down to a single cause, or letting them represent a certain path or idea.

Fahrenheit 451 is my favorite book, and I think one of the reasons that I adore it so much is because it doesn’t try to use characters in this way. Guy Montag has two “loves” in his life–although neither is the kind of over-sexualized Mary-Sue that we’ve come to expect from dystopian novels. He has a wife named Mildred, with whom he has a rocky and heart-wrenching relationship. Then he befriends Clarisse McClellan, a 16-year old girl who inspires him to think about the world differently (and ultimately affects the rest of the novel).

One could argue that he’s not in love with either of them. Yet their words and actions move him to decide between a life of ignorance or a life of solitude. Clarisse could be seen as the mechanism for rebellion in his life, but she’s a fully-developed character with more quirks and a better life story than any teenager I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about.

Mildred symbolizes his old life, and their past ignorance, only because that’s their entire history. Nothing is forced, and Ray Bradbury (the author) doesn’t attempt to stick labels on his characters.

Read Fahrenheit 451, if you haven’t. It deals with censorship, government, and literature in an ocean of poetic words that swell with imagery and draws you in with its lingering sentences and repetition, little by little, little by little, like a trail of candy that draws your mind into the woods of thought.

–I am not Ray Bradbury.

Happy Valentines’ Day! Eat lots of chocolate and celebrate your favorite hot fictional guys/girls😀

Teens Can Write Too! February Blog Chain
February 5– –Novel Journeys
February 6– –Lily’s Notes in the Margins
February 7– –Kirsten Writes!
February 8– — Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish
February 9– –A Farewell to Sanity
February 10– –The Word Asylum
February 11– –From My Head
February 12– –Esther Victoria1996
February 13– –Embracing Insanity
February 14– –Red Herring Online
February 15– –Go Teen Writers (Honorary Participant)
February 16– –This Page Intentionally Left Blank
February 17– –Oh Yeah, Write!
February 18– –The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer
February 19– –Here’s To Us
February 20– –Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)
Posted in Books and Books, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments

Hola! Also, Death to SOPA/PIPA.

Hey guys! Can you believe it’s been over two weeks since PostADay ended? To be honest, it’s been kind of a relief to take a breather and just enjoy the creative output of others– a little too relaxing, perhaps🙂 Don’t worry, I promise this won’t be a post-once-a-month blog or anything. Life is busy, but EI and y’all mean a lot to me. (Plus, Mercy/Katie is going to punish me if I don’t post at least once a week. :{D)

2012 has been quite a busy month so far. I won’t bore you with the details, because it’s mostly school stuff, although I will force you to admire this diorama that I spent all last weekend making with my lab partner in biology.

ISN’T IT BEAUTIFUL? Admire those pelagic and benthic aquatic zones. Admire them well.

While I’m forcing you to enjoy random pictures of things, please also note the roses on our kitchen counter and the Edward Elric larger-than-life-sized wall scroll that my friend made me for Christmas. (It’s actually taller than I am.)

On an unrelated note, I’d like to voice my support for all the anti-SOPA/PIPA campaigns going around the web. Some are citing Wikipedia for being too dramatic, but I think it was a brilliant move. A lot of my friends that wouldn’t give a hoot about censorship legislation are now panicking just because Wikipedia’s down, Google has a weird bar, and a lot of Twitter icons (including mine) are “censored”.

What, you don’t like it? You NEED to look up the plot summary of Pretty Little Liars and comment on that Naruto fanart? ….. So, you’re saying that you DO care about internet censorship? Oh. Well, okay, then. Maybe SOPA’s actually a little important.

Anyway, I kind of wish that Google had followed in Wikipedia’s footsteps and taken down their services for a day as well, but I can understand why they didn’t. That might have led to the whole apocalypse that the Mayans predicted. Maybe worse.

Here’s a neat little song to the tune of “American Pie” that gives a bit of perspective on SOPA and PIPA, in case today is the first time you’ve heard of it.

HEY, LEGISLATORS! Stop being total bakas and realize that there are more effective ways to combat copyright infringement than censoring the internet.

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The End of a Supermegafoxyawesomehot Year

It’s kind of funny how WordPress has the option of letting us directly upload their handy little stats page, like they’re offering us an out from finishing Postaday2011 with a bang.
(But if you’re interested in my shiny, monkey-created stats page, it’s here.)

This year was an incredible whirlwind. I can’t believe that it’s been an entire year since I was sitting in this same chair with my same laptop, reading about this new idea called Postaday. It seemed like a brilliant challenge, to blog every day for a year. Something that would force me to write all the time. So I considered the idea for approximately two seconds before reblogging their pre-written acceptance form and throwing myself into what would turn out to be the most challenging task of 2011.

It wasn’t necessarily the writing that was hard, but the consistency. You don’t want to write? Do it anyway. Too much homework? Deal with it. On vacation? Better pre-write some posts, or just jack somebody’s WiFi. Nothing interesting to share? Find a good YouTube video, add some snarky commentary.

I make it sound like I was some fierce warrior princess, battling fatigue and risking life and limb to get my thoughts out to the world (or at least a few subscribers), but in reality I couldn’t have done it without the people that took charge when I was missing in action. Mercy and Olivia, you guys are the coolest, most incredible friends ever. When I left on hiatus, I had no expectations that anyone would notice, much less that people would step up and take over the blog for almost two months. It blew me away, and I don’t think I can ever thank you enough. I love you guys.

Huge thanks to Hope, Mom, and Dad as well. Not only did you guest post when I had too much homework, or fell asleep on the couch, but you stood by me every step of the way. In December when I told you that I was doing this crazy thing called Postaday, you didn’t laugh and tell me that it was a stupid idea. When I made the emotion-filled decision to quit blogging and discard Embracing Insanity altogether (due to other circumstances), you convinced me to wait it out and take a hiatus instead. I’m so glad that I didn’t throw in the towel, because it turns out that blogging had exactly the therapeutic effect that I was needing. When we went on vacation, you lent me your phone so I could blog, and every time I asked to go home from a party early so I could make my midnight deadline, you picked me up.

Another enormous inspiration, and the reason I kept writing through the year, were my blogging buddies and friends. Mike (and family), Faith, Anna, Mercy, Kirsten, Olivia, Bush, ZNZ, Titania, Nia, Seashell, Tangy, Katherine, Tigers Eyes, Mangoz—each and every one of you has made this year so awesome.

Anti-thanks (?) goes out to my teachers who gave, and continue to give, ridiculous amounts of homework. You made Postaday really, really hard.

Every time I think about how this is my last post of the year, and how tomorrow I can actually not blog, I get really emotional. (Watashi no baka ^.^)



Posted in Misc. Posts | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

My Life in a Tweet

Today’s post is really lame so that you can appreciate tomorrow’s end-of-the-year awesome-post.

Please believe that🙂

Posted in Misc. Posts | Tagged | 1 Comment