Thursday, November 2, 2017

there's a blessing in every moment every mile

I mean, why not talk about my trip to Oregon some more? It was a fun trip.
Among many other adventures,
I enjoyed hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls:

View from near the bottom of the Falls
A hole in the rock
The top of the falls!
Hitting up the Portland Temple:

Our Beach Day:
You can't tell, but I was recovering from a failed jump. That's what you do on beaches, right? Jump?
Tide pools
dat sky tho!
Beautiful, beautiful day
Cape Meade (amazing):
The day started cold and cloudy, very atmospheric
Do I recall correctly that it's the shortest lighthouse around? It was pretty diminutive.
A giant pine tree. This is like one of its branches?
Sunny and warm
Hiking University Falls:
it might've been nice to have warning we would need to drive a few miles on an unpaved road to get to the trail.
Also the trail was not marked. But it was beautiful.
Finally like halfway through the trail we discovered we WERE going the right way.

And I enjoyed it with Cynthia, who was very patient with my being a delicate flower and also with me taking pictures of her in her natural habitat:
Rose Garden! You can be sure she got way better pictures of the flowers than I did.
Oregon Coast!
yeah the coast!
University Falls trail
Not a lot of pictures of our city day because my phone was clinging to death most of the day, but Portland was fun and nice too. And so was the Lewis and Clark state park and Tillamook. (major shout-out to Great-Aunt Becky who let us stay at her house! It was wonderful.) It was just all in all a great trip. Sorry for those of you that saw it all on my insta stories at the time and are getting a repeat. Sorry for those of you that missed my insta stories at the time and will never get a full picture of the trip.

Like, Sorry. But Not Sorry?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I know, yes I know this story has to end

My online class just talked about fanfiction like it's a real thing. Apparently it's a pretty big social media tactic that works great for brands and they don't even have to ask people to do it; if it's a good enough product, fancreators will do stuff FOR FREE and it grows the brand. (The example the professor gave was for Game of Thrones; he linked us to a story that's "17 chapters and still going!!" wow......)

So I guess it's a real thing now.

So I guess I'll link you to my most recent project, because I read it the other day and thought "This isn't terrible." That's my new standard. I wrote like 4,000 words in like a week and then stalled on the second half for three months but it's done. Also my new standard. Done.

For some reason (the show's been over for 3 years) this summer I started a story based on Kissing in the Rain, which is a short webseries about actors playing opposite each other and kissing in the rain on camera, but not on the same page when film isn't rolling. I really like it, and it really made strides in the whole fancreator business by soliciting writings about each episode as it came out, and if the creator liked it, it became canon. It really increased viewer engagement and built the brand...3 years ago.

My story's actually an AU, though. An Alternate Universe. What if...James and Lily only acted together two times because Lily decided to focus on a music career? What if...WHAT IF THEY HAD TO FAKE DATE FOR PUBLICITY??? and then fell in love for real............

(Don't get confused by their names being James and Lily. They're not really Harry Potter characters.)

Anyway, I believe you can enjoy this story once I've introduced you to the relevant canon. It should only take 10 minutes of your time and then you can read my story (for which I have no good basis of how long it takes to read).

Episode 1: James and Lily

Then, this drabble (written by the creator, so it's legit canon) talking about a publicity coffee date they had to go on: Shipping It

Episode 2: Anne and Gilbert

And that's it! That's all you need to read my story and like it.

So here's my story: sharing biscotti with some brunette hipster (8K words, general audiences). I hope you read it and like it.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

summer move forward

At the end of May, Carly Rae Jepsen had a new single come out, and I was obsessed with it. I listened to it like five times in a row.

And that wasn't the first time that month I'd done something similar with a song. And it's not really my usual modus operandi to get obsessed with a song like that. I should probably put these in a playlist so I don't forget them. So I did. My Summer 2017 playlist was born. And because I think it's interesting, I'm going to talk about my playlist a bit now. link on spotify

1. The Outfield - The Night Game
sometimes i feel like walking up to your front door, but i'm so far away
Discovered this one when scrolling through someone's blog. She touted its summer jam vibez, its "lost recording from the Police" style, and I listened to it. Then...I listened to it a few more times. Then it became the only thing I listened to that day. And then, eventually, it ended up as the first song in my Summer 2017 playlist, because I discovered it first.

I wanted to play it at all the softball games. I sang it to myself when I ended up standing in the outfield during one fateful game. I jammed to the bridge, wondering why you gotta be so hard to get.

2. Cut to the Feeling - Carly Rae Jepsen
cancel your reservations, no more hesitations, this is on
YouTube came through for me here, knowing that I was...listening to a lot of CRJ. I happened upon the video site one day and this was a recommended watch. "A new CRJ? Yes please," I said. And we obviously know I loved it.

I turn this song on when I need a mood lift, when I need to be energized. Maybe dance a little (I've danced to this song in my living room more than once). When I wanna to say to someone "Let's skip to the part where we're in love."

3. Faint of Heart - The Strike
i been waiting forever, waiting on this to start
Hey, shoutout to Facebook sponsored posts! I clicked on one (but only because I already knew that The Strike was pretty cool) to listen to their new album, and this one for sure got me. And it fit in with the other songs on my playlist remarkably well, with its 80's style and yearning lyrics. (which literally can describe all three of these first ones.)

This one joined the playlist right when I felt like I'd been waiting forever, wondering if this was going to go anywhere or if I was going to be too faint of heart.

4. Honey and Milk - Andrew Belle
the moon's right there in front of me, I can see it with my mouth
Spotify's Release Radar alerted me to a new(ish?) song by this artist, whom I have been known to listen to. I can't say I ever got super obsessed with this one, but something about the dark lushness of this song appeals to me.

5. Cold War - Foreign Figures
ask myself what I want more, something lifeless or someone to adore?
So one reason I'm making this post is I found out this week that this is a Provo band. I discovered that because Spotify made me a mix of some REALLY disparate artists: Vocal Point, Paul Cardall, David Archuleta, Rob Gardner, The Strike, Piano Guys...etc. And these guys (and Mindy Gledhill, which is understandable, and Josh Groban, which is not). So I did some googling and discovered that they fit right in!

Anyway. I like the beat on this one. And the violence, even though it's a cold war. I also like the way they sing "overzealous."

6. Asido - Purity Ring
with our palms facing up
Just stalking some guy's twitter and he mentioned the new Purity Ring single. I listened to it and decided that it was weird, and it should still go on my playlist. (I listened to it with the lyrics in front of me just now; what I chose above was literally the only phrase besides the chorus I could previously pick out, but wow is this ever a depressing song.)

7. Cruel Summer - Daniella Mason
poolside, dancing on my own life
I added this one after Labor Day after hearing it on the Release Radar. It's catchy and, I mean, I do have to admit that my summer didn't turn out as I might've dreamt. Not that it was that bad. It just ended...anticlimactically. Whatevs. It was nice to have a song clearly mark the end of summer, so I knew when to stop adding to the playlist.

So that was my summer in seven new songs.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

the light in me will guide you home

Wow did Cape Disappointment live up to its name!!

I really liked our little excursion out that way but it actually was disappointing in a lot of ways:

  • As we drove into Washington it started storming. Since most of the day had been hot and sunny, this sudden change was a little disappointing.
  • We followed Google Maps' directions toward Cape Disappointment and it sent us to a military facility where we were for sure not allowed. A little disappointing.
  • There was another lighthouse in the same state park or whatever, so we went over that way. We had to pay to park there, even though it was the end of the day and raining so we wouldn't be using the pass any more. Disappointing because we'd really lucked out with not having to pay much thus far, and it felt expensive.
  • As we walked over to the North Head lighthouse (or whatever it was), in the visibility-reducing fog (disappointing!), we discovered that this lighthouse was under construction and largely obscured by scaffolding. How disappointing!
Here are some pictures of the event.




Rose it makes my heart smile

I love roses. I think they're amazing. I don't have any reason for thinking that, they just are. Beautiful and fragrant and wonderful. When I was a young girl, my mom would sometimes get a rose catalog in the mail. I would hoard it for months, just poring over the different varieties and picking my favorites. Sometimes I would ask my mom if we could plant some, but they were pretty picky about the types of soil that each variety would thrive in, and it didn't always work.

Some do, though. We definitely have some roses in our garden that I remember from the catalog.
Me as a 13-year-old by our rose bushes.

My obsession with roses was such that when we had to come up with a presentation about something in my Plant Breeding class, I remembered the catalog (which I believe came from the International Rose Test Garden, because it showcased the winners and stuff) and presented about breeding roses. It was a terrible assignment, but at least I talked about something that interested me more than corn.

I still love roses even though I don't think about them as often as I used to. On my recent trip to Portland we decided to hit up the International Rose Test Garden (where they test new rose breeds to see how they'll do in real life) and it wasn't until we were on our way there that I remembered that going to this garden was probably a childhood dream of mine. To actually see the place whence the catalog pictures came? How could I not want that?

(PS I paid a dollar to get in to the garden but it was actually free/voluntary donation. An unexpected boon!)

And it was really nice. I took some slightly blurry pictures (I'm an indifferent photographer but my camera is also the worst) that don't quite capture it, but maybe a little.

It was probably my goal to take a picture of the plaque adjacent to a picture of a rose, but then I realized I didn't want to do that so many times. But I did once!

Like, I'm pretty sure this is a Peace rose. It looks like what I recall from my childhood.

This is the guy that started the garden.

Blurry, but nice vivid colors
I loooooooved these.
Cynthia modeling some beautiful deep crimson roses
Here we are, blissful in our surroundings
A nice little poem as we neared the exit.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

trace all my books [2017 pt. 1]

Hello everyone!

I've read some great books the past six months and thought I'd make a little video talking about them. Only problem is...this video is so boring. It is 15 minutes of uninteresting blather about books, which is too bad because they're books I like and want you to like too (I guess).

Good news about the video: I look pretty nice. So you can watch it for a couple minutes and relish my face for a bit. Once you get to the part where I couldn't figure out how to edit it you can stop.

Because here's other good news about the video: I'll summarize it in this blog post! You'll still get all the information you otherwise would.

Most of the books I read fall under the categories of fantasy, teen romance, fairytale adaptations, and ... other. Here's the books in each category that I've thought were worth mentioning:

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner: I've already blogged about this one.
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst: Girls with magical skills have the opportunity to go to academy to learn to hone their talents. If they're really, really good, they might become heirs to the queen. The main character comes to the academy, determined. But she's actually a really bad student. So is she gonna fail out of the academy or is she going to be queen? Or something else?
A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi: A princess who's done what she's had to do to protect her kingdom and a prince who's never been allowed to do anything in his empire are partnered in a supernatural tournament where the prize is a wish. The writing in this one is beautiful.

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein: Prequel to Code Name Verity. Julie's last summer at her grandfather's estate.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald: Sara has come all the way from Sweden to visit her elderly penpal in Broken Wheel, Iowa. She arrives in a ghost town...but actually everybody's at the old lady's funeral. Sara stays at her house...and the town concocts a marriage scheme to get her to stay forever.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: If you don't know what this book is about, you might want to look it up before you decide whether to pick it up.

Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas: A fractured Sleeping Beauty retelling, sequel to Ash & Bramble. It was really enjoyable.
Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan Morrison: Second in the Tyme series, a fun adaptation.
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix: A fun fairytale thing. I love fairytale adaptations.
Hunted by Meagan Spooner: Probably the best book of the year so far. I did nothing but read this book. It's Beauty and the Beast but also Russian fairytales.

Guitar Notes by Mary Amato: They schedule the same practice room and start writing notes to each other. Music! Epistolary! Pretty good.
Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett: Mink (or, as she's known IRL, Bailey) just moved to the same town as Alex, her online friend who keeps inviting her to his town for the film festival. But she just...won't tell him. She wants to find him first, to hedge her bets. Meanwhile there's this super annoying guy at work....I really liked this one.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Dimple can't believe her parents are letting her go to coding camp without getting on her case about finding a nice boy. Rishi can't believe that he came all the way to coding camp to meet his future wife (according to their parents it's basically a done deal) and she a) didn't know who he was and b) hates him. I love it.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: Rachel's moving back to the city after living on the coast with her family for three years. But she can't be around the ocean anymore. The only issue with the city is it's where Henry lives. He was her best friend...but not anymore. I just read this one today.

That's it! That's about how the video went. Except not as interesting. If you thought this summary interesting. Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

inside the labyrinth walls

It's been a heady, exciting week. You know, I'd almost forgotten what it's like to get a New Book and excitedly read it and discuss with other people who are excited about the New Book and venture outside my comfort zone. But that's what the past week has been!

Last Tuesday I dressed with extra care. I thought my hair had a nice little Queen of Attolia vibe. My lipstick was on point. Fashion was, once again, my armor against anxiety. Why was I anxious, you ask? Because many, many months ago I decided that if I ever bought a book, I would go to the local indie bookstore to do it. (It's called The King's English, by the way, and it's a nice place.) And then the news of the New Book came out and I knew I'd have to buy it. Even though I don't believe in buying books in general (I mean, libraries exist).

Everyone at the bookstore was very nice but it was still very anxiety-inducing (I stood at the shelf for 5 minutes, holding the paperbacks of the rest of the Queen's Thief series, until I got up the courage to ask someone where the new book was).

Anyway, success was mine, I made it out of the store with all five books in the series. I set them in my lap so that on the drive home (which was HORRENDOUS, I live very close to the bookstore and it took me forever to get home) I could give them little hugs every once in a while. I do that with long-awaited library books too. Books deserve hugs too.

And then I took pictures of them and set them on the table for the next few hours while I spackled the walls. Here's the picture:

Almost certainly filtered. It's on Instagram.
Is now a good time to talk about the Queen's Thief series? I don't think I've straight-up ever mentioned that they're the books I'm talking about. They are one of my most favorite series of all time. And it is impossible to talk about them because everything is a spoiler. Gen is a thief and he does things and things happen to him? That's the best I can do.

I stayed up WAY too late reading Thick as Thieves (the newest one), couldn't finish because I started way too late at night. And I made the righteous choice and didn't bring it to work to read "during lunch" because I've learned by now that means I read it "all the time" and sometimes it's nice to actually work.

And then I couldn't even get back to it until late Wednesday night! Two late nights in a row! It was like those previous times in my life when the company of a boy was more scintillating than the idea of sleep. It was just like that! Except it was a book. There were boys in the book. Not quite the same though.

(My review: I hope eventually I'll like it better. I like it fine but I don't love it like I love the others. But that is a usual feeling for me, it's happened with all the other books because they're all so very different. So the outlook is promising.)

Then I decided to get active in the online community of Queen's Thief fans. I made a post that, as of today, has 71 comments on it discussing my insights and questions (and a fair amount of off-topic rambling, I guess that's normal). This is a series that is great for discussing.

I also immediately started rereading Thick as Thieves, in hopes that further exposure will help me love it sooner. Time will tell.

Saturday night! Saturday night I made a big huge leap and decided to go BACK to the bookstore because the author herself, Megan Whalen Turner, was going to be there and so would Shannon Hale (who is great. I love her. I love them both!). When traffic isn't horrendous it turns out the bookstore is only 10 minutes away, then I spent another 10 minutes looking for parking. And then I found the place it would be held and discovered that 15 minutes early is not early enough to get in the front.
I'm going to add pictures from my Snap story to this post for those few that don't check my Snap story. Weird.

I ended up sitting next to a girl from the same online community as me (though of course we don't know each other), so that was kind of fun! And just look at how many people love MWT and the Queen's Thief (and maybe also Shannon Hale)!
I stole this from Shannon's twitter. I am visible in this picture. x
Everyone was pretty excited. It was a good energy (and a beautiful night). I took some bad quality pictures the first few minutes (the only kind my phone knows how to take) and then remembered that I can also take video, so I recorded the rest of the evening. I don't know if that was gauche or not. I wasn't the only one.
There they are!!! So exciting! They're telling us they're not going to talk about children.

Pixelated authors
I am ashamed of myself for laughing as loud as I did when Shannon made that quip.
Anyway after that was when I started the video. It is a 45-min video. The video quality is not good but the audio is sufficient. And I've just listened to it again and it's entertaining! So you can watch if you want. (I thought about just clipping out parts that I thought might be more widely enjoyed, but it's hard for me to know. Lots of bantering and talking about YALLWEST and also no spoilers about the books.)

After we finished we all joined the signing line. There was a little something on the event that said people who bought their books from The King's English would have priority, but that wasn't true. It was fine though. The line was extremely long (I have some pictures of the line but they are not all that interesting).

I finally got to the table and awkwardly (as is my wont) put all my books down on the table, jostling it right as she was about to sign my hardcover. I forgot to mention that I brought all the Queen's Thief books I own (except for The Thief, which I lent out). I didn't want her to sign them all, just touch them. Because I feel like I can have cred when I tell people "The author touched this book. You'll enjoy it." So she did. She thought I was weird but she did it anyway. What a good egg.

This is the first time this has ever happened to me. And probably the last.
Yep, here's the rest of my books. Yep, I toted these around all night while looking for parking and walking from parking and standing in that super long line.
It was a great experience! I don't usually want to go to new scary places by myself but I did and I had a good time. It helped that I really, really wanted to do this. And that none of my friends invited me to do anything that would conflict. I'm glad I went.