Monthly Archives: July, 2012

Meme Day Monday

To make up for my epic meme fail last week, I’m going to catch up on BTT and TTT today. There was no Friday Five for the last month, so although I’ve been missing it like crazy, at least I don’t have that to catch up on.

Vampira2468 asks:

Series or Stand-alone?

One or many? I like both. When I was younger, I read a lot more series: The Baby-sitters Club (almost to the end), Animorphs (about two-thirds of the way through), and all the Alice books there were at the time. In high school, I picked up the rest of Harry Potter as they were published, only the first two Jessica Darling books, and the first half of the Princess Diaries series. Now, I tend to read stand-alone novels. I like starting a story and knowing that it will be finished when I finish the book. I can handle one sequel, but a series is such a big commitment.

Top Ten Books for People Who Liked The Hunger Games

  1. The Giver and its sequels: I have only read The Giver and Gathering Blue, but they deal with a similarly bleak futuristic dystopia. In The Giver, life is only valued when all choices are taken away. In Gathering Blue, people are only valuable based on their abilities.
  2. The Uglies series: I wasn’t interested enough to keep reading through the third volume (there are four) because the pacing was off, but the situation is also similar to Katniss’s. It’s the future, society is run differently, and Tally discovers the sinister truth behind her world. Adventures ensue.
  3. The Fearless series: I loved these books when I was in middle and high school. They’re gritty and just a touch futuristic without getting too crazy. They’re set in New York and revolve around a teenage girl named Gaia “born without the fear gene” (if there were such a gene). They have plenty of action if you liked that about The Hunger Games.
  4. Robinson Crusoe: Don’t write me off just yet. Crusoe’s epic survival skills rival Katniss’s. He is not on TV and being forced to fight to the death, but he has to figure out how to stay alive in tough circumstances. I really enjoyed this required reading. I love it when that happens.
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale: Offred is the plaything of a social structure that has deep historical roots, has twisted itself from the foundation it claims, and uses her to further its gains. Sounds like Panem to me.
  6. Among the Hidden and its sequels: Each couple can only have two children due to food restrictions. If you can overlook that ridiculous doomsday scenario the population growth people keep trying to push on us, the series tells a compelling story about living in a world where no one wants you because you’re someone’s third child. (I only found out when I went to link to Goodreads. that there are seven books in that series. Whoa.)

I’m calling in the “multiple books per number” clause and calling it a night.

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 182

— 1 —

Secular media tends to just make fun of virgins and people who support chastity. (Remember TLC’s Virgin Diaries? It’s still on!) It’s nice to see an editorial in the Tampa Bay Times written by a chastity advocate, especially one who’s still going strong three years after outing herself. Thanks to the Everts for the recommendation.

— 2 —

After last week’s craziness (it’s so hard being popular), it was nice to have a much more relaxed time this week. I even managed to get my laundry finished before the sun went down!

— 3 —

I belong to a Harry Potter-themed LiveJournal community called Hogwarts Is Home. Don’t laugh; we have good times! It’s been a fantastic way to build (online) community and share my never-ending love of Harry Potter with people who already share it, so they get me. I actually joined way back in undergrad, but I decided to get back into it last month. If you’re interested, you can join by having an LJ for at least two months and filling out the application at Platform 9 3/4. Tell them angelicid sent you!

While I’m being honest, part of the reason I re-joined was that I was sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore. I agree with that sorting, but I needed to indulge my Ravenclaw side, too, so back to Hogwarts Is Home I went. I hear Pottermore has the Chamber of Secrets chapters open now, so I’ll be back there soon and blogging about it here. (But there’ll be spiders. Interactive spiders. Hmm.)

— 4 —

If that last take didn’t scare you away, here’s the part with pictures!

One of the activities at Hogwarts is Home recently was to create an outfit that a Hogwarts student not of your house might wear to show house pride while not in uniform. That was my introduction to Polyvore. I don’t completely understand Polyvore, but it is addicting to sift through all the amazing designer clothes I will never ever be able to afford, especially when it has a point like creating this sweet Hufflepuff pride outfit.

I would actually wear this!

I intentionally gave it a dash of blue. I am right on the cusp of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, so I needed to express a little original house pride with the new one.

— 5 —

Perhaps among the stranger activities was to use Polyvore to create an outfit that a Hogwarts-bound preschooler might wear. Hogwarts students don’t get sorted until they’re 11, but the idea is that you might manifest your eventual house a little early. My Ravenclaw preschooler would be pretty darn cute.

Well, that might look a little better on a second grader, but you get my drift.

— 6 —

I have just realized I made a grave omission in my 7QT. I have never gushed about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries! If you are a fan of Pride and Prejudice, you will squeal with delight over this modern adaptation. Lizzie has a video blog (as does Lydia, at the moment), Bingley has become the remarkably attractive Asian Bing Lee, and all the characters have Twitter. It is so epic. I apologize now for ruining your next hour or so by starting you off with Episode 1 right here.

And now I’m not sorry, because it is awesome and you’re welcome.

— 7 —

I remembered that the Olympic opening ceremonies were tonight about an hour in, but I caught some of the good parts. Congratulations on encouraging efficiency in what the hosts claim is the fastest Parade of Nations ever, London. Ralph Lauren, what were you thinking with those Team USA hats? Is it a beret? Do real people wear those? And hooray for teamwork in building the cauldron. Good times all around.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Booking Through Thursday: Reading

Two questions about your reading habits that just seem to go together.

GigiAnn asks:

Do you have a favorite season of the year that you read more? (Example: during snow storms, rainy weather, or sunny and warm weather) Sorry, that was the best I could come up with.

Lisa asks:

Where is your favorite place to read? On the beach? Inside/outside?

I spend most of my time inside, so I like to read inside. After one memorable stint attempting to grade papers on a sunny Florida beach, I resolved not to try to read on the beach without a hat or sunglasses again. So much glare! I also like to be just comfy enough, but not too comfy. If I’m sitting at a table, I must either be reading while eating or reading for school. Pleasure reading is best in a sturdy but comfortable armchair. Hotels are nice for that.

I don’t know that I read more during any particular season. When I get into a book that I can’t put it down, it doesn’t matter what season it is; I will keep reading. In cold weather, I’m just more likely to read while drinking a nice cup of hot chocolate.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Vivid Worlds

Aaaaand I’m back to the memes! This is my first night at home (from work or fun) in over a week, so I’m ready to get back into my routine.

Top Ten Books with the Most Vivid Worlds or Settings

  1. the wizarding world in the Harry Potter series: My favorite thing about the wizarding world is that it’s right alongside the regular world. I won’t even tell you how long it took me to realize that Diagon Alley is a hint to the way J.K. Rowling built her world—diagonally to this one. It’s not quite the same, but there are enough similarities to make everything familiar. The wizards’ clothes and attitudes can seem stuck in the Middle Ages (Molly Weasley wants Bill to cut his long hair, they listen to the radio), but their interaction the Muggle world reminds us that it isn’t Middle Earth. Speaking of which…
  2. Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings books: Sometimes I’m afraid to admit that I haven’t actually read The Lord of the Rings. I tried The Hobbit and got bored, and I haven’t had to willpower to give the main series a try. I did watch and enjoy all three movies, though, and I know enough to know that the world is incredibly rich. Tolkien took the time to formulate an entire language! That’s epic.
  3. Annapolis/Avalon in Avalon High, by Meg Cabot: I tore through this book. It was even better than I expected. It combined my love of and knowledge for fantasy (Arthurian legend in particular) with my love of YA. The vividness came not so much in the building of the world but in the basically believable combination of the two. One of these days I’ll hunt down the Disney Channel Original Movie, but something tells me it won’t do it justice.
  4. Narnia in The Chronicles of Narnia: I can’t believe I almost forgot a world that we basically get to watch being built! The Magician’s Nephew never gets as much popular appreciation as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but from those first pages on, we get a world that, although parallel to ours, is not nestled quite as close as Harry Potter’s. And it has a lot more Jesus in it to go with the good triumphing over evil.
  5. Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale: It was a scary world, but Atwood did a fair job building on the problems of the world today (or rather, in the 80s) and how they might spiral out of control. Her world leaned hard conservative, though, and I’m not sure I would predict that or be comfortable with it.
  6. the not-so-distant future U.S. in Bumped: In this case, the world’s problems dealing with sex and babies have swung hard liberal, and people are buying other people. I’ve gushed far enough about this book, but I can’t help it!
  7. Palomar in Heartbreak Soup, by the Hernandez brothers: This might be cheating a little bit because it was a graphic novel compendium, so I had actual pictures to look at with the story. I hadn’t had much experience with graphic novels before I read it, though, and I later found out there are about a dozen other books that are set in that world, so it’s definitely bigger than even I know.
  8. 1980s Iran in Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi: I didn’t know much about the Iranian cultural revolution before reading this, I’d never read a graphic novel, and I’d never expected one to be in black and white. I was delighted on all counts. It was an intense story, and I imagine the original (it’s in French) is only more intense.
  9. Panem in The Hunger Games: As with Harry Potter, it’s the similarities to our current situation that make me feel the most unsettled. How far away are we from public executions and totalitarianism?
  10. the slightly-more-distant future U.S. in The Giver: Again, it’s a little scary to have all choices taken away, but look at the world that resulted. Scary times.

Hooray! I got all ten in this week: a triumphant return indeed.

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 181

— 1 —

As far as memes, this week has been made of fail. I have had something exciting to do every single night this week (including tonight, tomorrow night, and all the way through Monday), so blogging has been a low priority versus, say, sleep.

This lack of blogging did not, however, keep the actual Jennifer Fulwiler from following me on Instagram.

I captioned this one “#likeaboss”.

— 2 —

In other Instagram news, Shabby Apple (@shabbyappleclothing) published this photo last week of new dresses they’re adding to their collection. Everything is still out of my price range for all but the fanciest of occasions, but aren’t these amazing?

— 3 —

I am so excited for Once Upon a Time to come back. If you didn’t get into it in the first season, this video is a nice summary of the whimsy and cleverness behind the series.

It also helps that it’s on ABC and created in partnership with Disney, so they can use names and characters that belong to Disney (like Grumpy; the Grimm dwarves don’t have names).

— 4 —

So far, the most fun event of the week has been going to see “The Sound of Music” at Zilker Park last night. You may remember my rave review of Love’s Labours Lost last summer. In addition to the annual Shakespeare-with-twist at the beginning of the summer, Zilker also hosts a family-friendly musical in the middle of the summer.

Last summer’s musical was Footloose, which was a delightful night of 80s hits (from the film, but that counts), bright colors, and big hair. This summer, I organized a group of friends to see The Sound of Music. I had a plan to carpool and get to he hillside super early, and despite a few small derailments, we made it there early enough to get a decent spot. Food, friends, a light breeze, singing nuns, and (pretend) Nazis make for a good night.

— 5 —

The play itself was delightful. From my high-quality research on Wikipedia, I knew to expect a few songs I hadn’t heard (“How Can Love Survive?”), to miss one or two (“Something Good”), and to hear some at different points in the story (“Edelweiss”). I was even expecting the set design to be very creative. (There’s only so much space on that theater stage.) I was definitely surprised by the entrances of the sisters and Maria, the moving set piece for Maria’s bedroom, and the fantastic dancers during “The Lonely Goatherd.” I almost wished I had more eyes so I could see everything at once!

All the actors were delightful, especially the littlest children, who were up way past their bedtime for the 3-hour show (including an intermission that never lasts as long as many spectators expect). Captain Von Trapp, Frau Schrader, and Uncle Max stood out against the expected talent of Maria and Mother Superior.

The live orchestra was lovely, and the costumes were magnificent. I always pity the actors for having to wear so many layers in such heat, though it was far hotter last summer. And those poor baking violins! Despite atmospheric oppression, the whole crew put on a great show.

— 6 —

I also enjoyed my first trip to Hut’s Hamburgers this week for our staff birthday lunch. I was more focused on talking than eating, but I was satisfied. The fries had a definite homemade taste, but I found the guacamole on my #8 to be either too little a portion or too runny for a burger. I passed on the shake to help stave off an afternoon coma, but I’ll put that on my to-eat (to-drink?) list for next time.

— 7 —

Thank God for a week where I’m so busy because I have so many non-work things to do and such fantastic, social friends! This feels like summer.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 180

— 1 —

It is amazing the difference half an hour makes! I’ve been using my Fridays off from work as a lazy day, leading me to not really get moving until well after noon. Today, I made an effort to get moving just before noon, and it made my whole day run more smoothly. Sure, I had to take out my first load of laundry just as it started to rain, but it could have been worse.

— 2 —

I found myself involved in two arguments online today. Thankfully, both of them were conducted via private messages as opposed to my friend’s Facebook wall and a LinkedIn group’s discussion board. I appreciated the change of venue because it kept the focus on just the two of us (in each conversation), without the contributions of other people prolonging or derailing our discussion. In both cases, we didn’t come to an agreement, but we ended amicably and definitively. We didn’t have to call names, drop that ridiculous “agree to disagree” line, or “give up.” I tried to keep my social media manners in mind, and it turned out well.

— 3 —

I’m so proud of the CSC being featured in the National Catholic Register! I’ll confess to being envious that other universities get featured in “what’s going right with the Church/the world/campus ministry” stories (some multiple times, like Franciscan University of Steubenville), but now I can rest easy. It’s a good time to be a Catholic Terp!

— 4 —

Smart, Pretty, and Awkward had a coupon for Shabby Apple today, which was delightful because now someone other than Hallie recommends them. I still can’t afford any of those dresses, but they have some great ones. If you like pink, this would be a fantastic bridesmaid dress, and I wish I could afford this for my friend’s black-and-white themed wedding. I also discovered that Shabby Apple is on Instagram. So much fantastic modest fashion!

— 5 —

At my Monday night holy hour, I got to give a talk about the Liturgy of the Hours and lead Evening Prayer. I suggested that we might pray the LOTH during the summer, and the leaders asked if I would give the talk. See, kids, that’s what happens when you have an idea. I loved it, though! I said at least one thing I later realized was definitely inaccurate, but I had a great time sharing and hearing from other people. Most of all, I have missed praying in community. It’s the way the LOTH was meant to be.

— 6 —

I am still loving my summer Bible study. I remembered to review before this week’s session (just barely, but before is before), so I was ready for the review prizes, and I won one!

It’s a wind-up walking Earth. I would have gone for the stuffed lambs in the second round of prizes, too, but I didn’t want to be greedy.

— 7 —

I got to take a tour of the John Paul II Life Center and the Vitae Clinic this week. I’m not sure how much we’ll be able to be connected with them at work, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have any personal time left, but it’s a great organization. I was really pleased with what I saw. If you’re in the Austin area, you should consider reaching out and getting involved. We even got to chat with Dr. Kalamarides and have him show us a 3-D ultrasound himself. Good times.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Booking Through Thursday: Guilty Pleasure

SammyDee asks:

What book(s) have you read that you’re secretly ashamed to admit?

Well, this is an interesting contrast with yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday of books that I won’t read. This could almost be books I wish I hadn’t read. These have to be ones I liked, though. Hmm.

I re-read Alanna: The First Adventure (from the Song of the Lioness Quartet) right before the new year when I was home once. I felt so silly re-reading such a mediocre book, but I knew it would be fast and enjoyable, and it was there.

I read the fifth Princess Diaries book over Thanksgiving weekend when I spent it with my grandfather and his wife. I really do hate how much I love Princess Mia. She’s so awesome!

And of course, in my quest to make my Goodreads history accurate, I definitely added about fifteen Sabrina the Teenage Witch books to my “Read” list. I haven’t enough broached the Dawson’s Creek books. Oy.

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