Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hey-Hey-Hey-Halloween!

Hey, everyone!

This is my Halloween post.  

Jack-o'-Lantern 2003-10-31.jpg

Okay, you might be thinking, Oh, Halloween's such a BAD BAD BAD holiday.  It's involved with witches and witchcraft and stuff, and everyone knows that's against the Bible.

I know there are some of you who probably will be thinking that.  I mean, if Lecrae or 1 Girl Nation or other Christian artists post on Instagram about Halloween, and if they get a ton of backlash, then I probably will (not that very many people come on my blog).

But to me, Halloween's just...a thing.

It's gotten so commercialized that a lot of the super bad stuff has gotten filtered out.  

Now, Halloween is mostly just a bunch of junk involving costumes, candy, and trick-or-treating.  At school today, a lot of people dressed up.  The most popular costumes were cats and cowboys (or cowgirls).  I mean, for a cat, all you have to do is use a makeup pencil and draw lines on your face and just slide on one of those headband thingies with triangles on them.  Voila!  Done.  

I, admittedly, went as a cowgirl (the second most popular item).  I felt awkward with my big black Angels-logotized-cowboy-hat-that-someone-gave-to-us-because-they-didn't-like-the-Angels, and my hair in two pigtails.  But then I stepped into the quad and I didn't feel awkward anymore.

There were people dressed as SpongeBob, people in zombie makeup, people in white dresses with cute little parasols, people with those puffy tutus, and even people dressed as those marker thingies you see on GoogleMaps.  (One guy was point A, and the other was point B.)  During lunch, the ASB set up a runway and they had a costume contest.  There was even a pink elephant, and someone in my class dressed up as Luigi.

I'm not sure who won, because I was in a Bible club meeting, but it looked like fun.

Tonight, I'm not going trick-or-treating.  Probably my mom is going to take my younger sister (who will be dressing in her hot pink soccer uniform) for a round through the neighborhood, but I *personally* like handing out the candy.  I think it's kind of interesting.  I mean, random people dressed in random costumes coming to your door?  Divertida! (Spanish for "fun")

So, my opinion on Halloween?  Okay, it's dark.  But it's changed so much that it's not even really about that anymore.  In America, it's about candy, costumes, and scaring people.  There's no real harm in that.

Yet we as Christians need to be aware and guarded about the deeper meaning of Halloween.  Supposedly (look on Wikipedia), it's a "Christian" holiday, but the world has made it something a lot darker, deeper.  And we all know that some of those supposedly Christian people back in the day weren't exactly Christian (I mean, if Martin Luther had to nail his Ninety-Five Theses on the church door, it had to be pretty bad).  So have fun but be wary.

My family doesn't "celebrate" it.  We don't make it a whole big deal.  Sure, we like getting free candy and it's fun knocking on random people's doors, and we like participating in our church's Fall Festival, but it's definitely not our favorite holiday.  

The dig on Halloween?  It's okay, but be careful.

Btw, HAPPY REFORMATION DAY!



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I Feel Like Blogging So I Will

I'm tired, but I feel like blogging, so I will.

I don't know what I'm going to write yet.  Maybe just that we finished our tennis season today officially, and my JV team was in second place.  And we had an "honoring the seniors" night, which was fun but really, really long.  Like, really long.  

We have ten seniors on our varsity team, and basically all the juniors/freshman on the team wrote about how they appreciated the different seniors, addressing them specifically.  They sent their little blurbs to the coach, who read them off in front of the parents, JV team, etc., and after, person who wrote the blurb hugged the particular senior they'd written about.

Well, one of the girls on the varsity team and who'd written the blurbs wasn't there, so guess who stood in her place?

Yours truly ;)

Yeah, so basically all I did was nod my head and pretend that I wrote the stuff the coach was reading off and hug the senior :)  It was fun, and it's going to make a really great inside joke.  

Some of them were really funny; one particular girl's written portions just cracked us all up.  

And I have to go, so bye :)

-Rcubed

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Feeling So Blinkin' Popular Because I'm So Blinkin' Busy

I'm serious, I totally think that I'm more busy on the weekends than the weekdays.

I thought this weekend--well, to be honest, I didn't really think about this weekend.  I just knew it was going to be fun.

But if you look at my weekend, like, through a schedule?  Here's how it went (just btw, I was kind of emotional on Saturday):

8:30 a.m.: Wake up
9:00 a.m.: Write an e-mail to your parents about how you want to wear makeup--not, like, the heavy stuff where it looks like you're twofaced, but just a tint of mascara and eyeshadow.
9:30 a.m.: Eat breakfast and get ready.
10:00 a.m.: Listen to your parents talk about how they don't want you to wear makeup until later.
10:15 a.m.: Go and be mad at your parents all throughout your sister's soccer game.
11:15 a.m.: Come back from the soccer game and then go right away to eat lunch at a Vietnamese pho place (taking your bad mood away).
1:00 p.m.: Come back from lunch and evaluate a costume for your church's Fall Festival (and eventually throwing together a "cowgirl outfit" consisting of a bandanna, a cheapy giveaway Angels cowboy hat, and your hair tied up in pigtails).
2:00 p.m.: Go and be mad at your parents some more.  Reading Proverbs 31 and remembering that your mom knows best--the Proverbs 31 woman.
3:00 p.m.: Shape up and gather your stuff together for the fun part afterward--an "Anti Homecoming" s'mores party with your friends who aren't going to Homecoming.
4:00 p.m.: Arrive at the venue for the Fall Festival and help set up.
5:00 p.m.: Eat two hot dogs, a bunch of nachos, and drink some water before going to your assigned duty: Face Painting.
6:15 p.m.: Start Face Painting.  It was a very intriguing experience.  Most of the people I did were little kids; they, of course, demanded the impossible but were pleased with the improbable.  Someone asked me to do a complex peacock on her face; mine turned out like a blue turkey with three gizzards on its neck, but I think she was pleased.  Then I did (very proud of myself) a white cat face on one little girl, who came back to look in the mirror because she "forgot what she looked like."  *score*
7:30 p.m.: Leave early with your dad to go to the s'mores outing.
8:10 p.m.: Have a lot of fun with your friends!  We ate s'mores (I caught mine on fire, resulting in a marshmallow that was burned at the top and raw on the bottom), brownies, candy, water, AND (guess what?) hot dogs!  I ate about five bites of my hot dog and decided I wouldn't eat any more.  Hot dogs are actually kind of gross.
We also played organized games--my friend's mom is one of those super involved, but super fun moms--like musical chairs (extra competitive when you're older and mature enough to have fun with it) and a toilet paper wrapping competition.
10:00 p.m.: Work over your phone for twenty minutes, continually trying to send a string of four text messages to your dad (with faulty Sprint service), and finally having to use your friend's phone to call him.
10:20 p.m.: Accidentally open the door for your friend's brother and his date coming home from Homecoming, checking to see if your dad's there.  Then you leave, get home, take a shower, and go to bed.
11:00 p.m.: Fall asleep after having a minor heart attack over the fact that you might have left your phone charger at your friend's house, then realizing you just left it in the car.

And that's only Saturday.

Then there's Sunday.

6:30 a.m.: Wake up to the sounds of tobyMac's "Funky Jesus Music" because for WHATEVER REASON you set it as your alarm.  (*Item: Make sure that, when you set the alarm song, you fully realize that the song you set you're definitely going to hate-hate-hate-hate eventually)
Put it on snooze and go back to sleep.
6:40 a.m.: Wake up to the sounds of "Funky Jesus Music" again.  Set it to snooze and fall back asleep.
6:50 a.m.: Wake up to the sounds of "Funky Jesus Music" yet again.  Set it to snooze and fall back asleep.
7:00 a.m.: Wake up and decide that you should probably do your homework now.
7:05 a.m.: Do math and fail epically at Spanish.
8:00 a.m.: Get ready for church, where BIG BIG BIG news is going to be revealed.
9:00 a.m.: Drive to church listening to tobyMac's Eye On It (and hearing the miraculous revelation on the way that your brother ACTUALLY WANTS TO LISTEN TO CLASSICAL MUSIC)
9:30 a.m.: Church!  Sermon, snacks, and the big revelation that you knew was going to happen and predicted it.
1:30 p.m.: Leave church, stop by Wendy's, and drive to a classmate's house to work on a project.
2:00 p.m.: Arrive at the friend's house and lounge around for thirty minutes trying to get things done while everybody else eats chips and dip.  Then recording one clip for the video before realizing that these things are not going to work out and you should just stick with a PowerPoint.
3:00 p.m.: Work on the PowerPoint amid frustrating circumstances.
4:00 p.m.: Get picked up by your family for a drive to see a showing of Jeremy Lin's movie Linsanity.  Remember Jeremy Lin?  Does the description "Chinese American basketball player plays SUPER SUPER SUPER well for the New York Knicks and just so happens to be an outspoken Christian" ring a bell?  If you don't, Google "Linsanity."  Go on.  I'll wait for you.

Have you done it?  (you say yes)  Good.

Now does it ring a bell?
Linsanity is a documentary following Jeremy Lin's life from his early basketball playing days until the end of his Linsanity stint, during which he scored numerous points and led his team to triumph over many superior sports clubs, all the while sharing about his faith and path.  It's a tremendous underdog story kindasortamaybe reminiscient of Tim Tebow's road in football.  I can't expand on it (due to time constraints), but guess what?  It's an amazing story.  I love his heart for God and his excellent playing, and even though he isn't a real star now, it's a positive blow to the secular world's view of sports.

6:30 p.m.: Mosey on home and eat a supper (man!  It's been so long since I've said that word.  Supper...) of Italian sausage and onions, pasta, and salad.  Plus roasted pear and ice cream and whipped cream... :) :)  Sometimes I wish I were Italian.  And then I remember that the Koreans invented Korean BBQ, which is by far superior to any pasta dish.
8:45 p.m.: Come on up here, redo my Spanish homework, and blog, blog, blog!
9:00 p.m.: Realize that tomorrow is school, and you have a match (during which you realize that you get to skip 5th period!!) and you should probably wash your uniform, so you take a short break and go downstairs to wash it.
9:05 p.m.: Come back up and finish your blog post, all the while realizing that while you got a bunch of stuff done and you had fun, you 

a. Still haven't worked on Snow in July and that you're really killing yourself by not disciplining yourself to do it
b.  Have to remember all your time commitments to school.  Tennis, skip fifth period, meeting for Make-a-Wish club at lunch, check in with your coach about the lineup tomorrow, your English group project that kindasortamaybe didn't go over so well, remind your youth group leader NOT TO FORGET THE BACON when you go have a beach bonfire next Saturday, tell yourself to stop eating so many treats, do your chores, decide if you want to do the Make-a-Wish club, READ so you won't starve to death from not reading...
c.  Have to read the Bible and spend time with your family.

I love being busy.  It's just one thing that I like: I don't like having nothing to do on the weekends because then nothing gets done (does that make any sense?).  Being busy makes me feel important--("Oh, I don't think I can squeeze you inside my schedule because I have some other stuff going on")

Wouldn't it all be so easy if everyone was so disciplined and put together and everybody could run their own lives so amazingly?

It would be.  Unfortunately, that's not the way it is.

I think I'm cracking.  I forgot a bunch of stuff last week that I'm really banging myself on the head for.  The first quarter for my school is almost over, and Thanksgiving vacation can never come soon enough (I know I'm stretching it a bit thick, but I'm seriously waiting and wishing for Thanksgiving vacation).

Ohmygargoyles, heaven help me.

-Rcubed !!!! :D

P.S. Check out my friend Elise's blog at heartstohooks.blogspot.com.  It's not just a crocheting site--it's kind of like mine, a bunch of random stuff woven together.




Thursday, October 24, 2013

Quick Musical Update

Since I had some extra time, I thought I'd update you on what music I've been listening to.

What does the Fox say?

(No, I'm not listening to that, even though I have it on my playlist.)

I've started getting more into Owl City (I can't figure out if it's a group or if it refers to Adam Young specifically), especially their new album, released last year- The Midsummer Station.  The Midsummer Station has a ton of really super catchy remix-y style songs, which is my type.  So I've been listening to "Gold," "Dreams And Disasters," and sometimes "Shooting Star."  I've also been listening to "To The Sky," which was on the playlist for the Guardians of Ga'Hoole movie, and "When Can I See You Again?" (which was played during the credits for Wreck-it Ralph).  From their album All Things Bright and Beautiful, I've been listening to "Alligator Sky," and from Ocean Eyes, "Fireflies" (which I know is a really old song).

Adam Young (the singer) from Owl City is a Christian, but their songs from The Midsummer Station tend to be low-key love songs that have similar messages to Britt Nicole's "Gold."  For more spiritual-ish songs, listen to "Galaxies" (from All Things Bright and Beautiful) or "Meteor Shower" (from Ocean Eyes).

I've also added "Burn" by Ellie Goulding (secular British pop star) to my playlist.  There's one "hell" in it, but it's a cool song (don't like the cover for it, but it isn't overly *ick*).  And "Safe and Sound" by Capital Cities is good, too :)

From the CCM scene, ROYAL TAILOR has come out with a new album (self titled) !!!!!!!!(*Squealsquealsqueal*)  I've listened to a couple songs, and my favorites are "Original," "Got That Fire," "Remain," and "Ready Set Go."  "Jesus Love" features tobyMac, which is kind of the only reason why I added it to my playlist (I don't think the chorus really catches my ear).  I'll have to listen to the slower songs, but the ones I listed are more upbeat.  My favorite is "Ready Set Go"--it's great for gearing up for tennis matches :)

On the same day, Katy Perry came out with a new album, PRISM.  I just skimmed it--I was expecting her typical fare of secularickadstuff--but then one song caught my eye--"By the Grace of God."  I looked at the lyrics, and from what I could tell, it didn't seem twisted.  So after I came home from my tennis match (we lost, and with it, the championship for league), I added it to my playlist, along with "Unconditionally."  "By the Grace of God" seems to be about how she crashed and burned out, then got back up; "Unconditionally" is about loving somebody unconditionally, which is a good value in today's cheapened love industry.  

I don't know Katy Perry.  I don't know where she's been, where she is now, or where she will stand in the future.  But both "By the Grace of God" and "Unconditionally" have good messages as far as I can tell (the other songs--maybe you should be more wary.  Some of them...).

Those are my latest listenings :)  Cheers to the weekend!

-Rcubed


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hey...I'm Alive!

*Whew*  I haven't posted in a SUPER long time...

This week was pretty interestingly typical.  I didn't have that much homework, with the exception of math (snap you, math!).  I took a bunch of tests (cell definitions--did I mention my biology teacher doesn't believe in multiple choice?).  Homecoming was amped up...people asking each other, and sometimes at lunch you'd hear ripples of applause and know that it was because of Homecoming.  I'm not going--even if I was asked, my parents wouldn't let me go.

On Sunday, someone from church and I baked chocolate amaretti cookies, which are like an Italian version of macaroons minus the filling.  They're a lot less fussy, too.  


It was really interesting making them.  There's no flour in them--just sugar, egg white, and cocoa powder.  And in my opinion, the coolest part was watching the egg white fluff up into something that resembled whipped cream:
(Before)
(After: nothing added, just lots and lots of whipping)

The cookies themselves were just OK for me.  I learned after I tried a couple amarettis that my type of cookies are those big, gooey, Big Fat American ones--the ones made of tons of flour and sugar and chocolate chunks and peanut butter and gobs of caramel or something.  If you want to try making them (they're very easy to make), the recipe we used is on the link below:


Overall, I'd say that our baking experience was extremely unique, and while not a home run, a definite base hit ;)

Monday, I lugged myself out of bed and to school.  Mondays are kool because it's late start.  Mondays are not kool because they're Mondays.  It didn't help that afterwards I had a big tennis practice.  We were to play our rivals on Thursday, and the match would decide if we clinched League Championship.

Tuesday and Wednesday went by pretty much the same way.  Big tennis practice, homework, and nothingness.  I started writing a Chefs of Steel book, but right now I just don't have the discipline to write, blog, novelize...ohmygargoyyyylezzzzz...

Then Thursday came *dun-dun-dun*


*ominous music plays*

Last time we played this team, we beat them 10-8.
This time we played them, they beat us 10-8.

It was not our best match.  One of the players had skipped practice two days in a row because she'd had a private lesson and then hadn't felt very well.  Subsequently, my coach put me in her spot, the number two singles spot.  

I am still a patchy player.  And I'm not proud to say that I lost 3 sets.  All 3 of them.

The first set was against the player I'd beat to win against them the first time.  She started playing well right off the bat and I gave up 4 games against her, one-two-three-four.  Then she started losing it, and I got 3 games.  Then she won the next two games and it was her set.  

Blarg, blarg, blarg.

The second set was against their number one.  I bageled, mostly because I wasn't playing well.

By the third round, it was evident that we had to win four sets in order to come out on top.  If we tied at 9-9 and went to a game count, we would have lost.

So I made myself play, hard.  

Thank goodness it was against the number three girl.  

She was consistent.  I was consistent.  I would play good, then bad, then good.  We were neck and neck, 4-4.  

It was predestined that both those times, I would be the last set to finish.

Everyone started watching the match again, except I kindasortaknew that even if I did win this one, we would lose in games.  But I tried to play my hardest.

One thing that annoys me is when the other team cheers for their girl when I hit it out or into the net.  Technically, they're only supposed to cheer if their player hits a winner or an extremely good shot.  The girl I was playing did not hit winners.  

I tried not to let it rattle me, but it didn't.  It might have altered my playing a little bit, but I try not to get rattled.

I lost, 4-6.

But I was semisortahappy with how I played.

And now it's all in the past.

Kind of.  I still look back and get mad because their players did not seem to be honest.  They seemed to call balls out that were in, and somehow their ways didn't seem ethical.  My coach and their coach even got into a little tiff about line calling.

Oh, and (in the little ironies of life), who turned out to be my substitute teacher for Careers the next day?  Their coach.  I didn't realize it until my coach told me.  I wonder if the other coach recognized me...

Yesterday we played a non-league match against a team that was supposed to be pretty good (they were OK, but they weren't fab).  Our lineup switched around because many of our players had injuries, so I ended up playing number one doubles.  We did fine--the first time we won 7-5, and the second time we won 6-1.  Then we were substituted out because my partner's shoulder was hurting (she apparently had four injuries--both her ankles, her shoulder, and her back were injured).  We won the match 16-2.  

Because my mom had church small group, we ended up going to Taco Bell.

Taco Bell logo 2012.png

(Using my Spanish mad skills, I interprete the slogan as "Live More")  

Before, I didn't like Taco Bell.  Now, I like it.  Not as much as Chick-fil-A or In-n-Out, but I definitely like it.  I had three tacos--one Cool Ranch Doritos one, one Nacho Cheese Doritos one, and a regular soft taco one.  

Then we went to McDonalds for dessert--and that was where I experienced the most beautiful sight I've ever seen in my entire life:


In case you're wondering what you're looking at, you're looking at McDonalds' new Pralines and Cream McFlurry.

*ringing bells*
*laaaaaaaaa*

Best.  Thing.  I've.  Ever.  Had.  In.  My.  Entire.  Life.  

A praline is a type of candy rolled around in brown sugar.  Caramel is made of brown sugar, cream, and butter.  See the reason why I love it?  Brown sugar > caramel > <3 <3 <3

OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS THE BEST THING EVER.

I can't stop raving about it.  It didn't help that there was a ribbon of caramel all around it.  In fact, I want to get another one ASAP, even though I probably shouldn't.  And I'm going to get a Pralines McFlurry every time I go to McDonalds.  And no, I won't ever get tired of it.

My McFlurry wasn't very flurry (in other words, it wasn't blended very well), so there was a bunch of caramel and pralines at the top and so it was pure heaven for a couple of minutes, and then when I got to the bottom there was vanilla ice cream and so I had to resort to scraping the plastic top for caramel.  

BEST THING EVER.

Oh, and I forgot: I had my first Bible club meeting on Thursday!

The leader seemed very--I mean very--sincere.  She played a Keith Green song and kind of shared about the meaning behind the club's name and then gave a little input on a couple Bible verses.  It was a very quiet time; nobody really talked.  It was pretty awkward, but hopefully it'll loosen up as we go along.  

I wasn't really imagining a Bible study, I guess, just a kind of Christian atmosphere at school where we talked about the Bible, but you know what, it was refreshing just the same.  I also joined Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which I feel like will be more like I was imagining.  It starts next Tuesday so *wink* I'll let you know how that goes.

Btw, I got a 90/100 on my English essay.  It's a very low A, and lower than I've ever really gotten before on an essay, but I'm content.  It's my first essay in high school so *yay!* I'm good.  It can only really go uphill from here.



I'm really into Owl City's "Gold" right now, and Phillip Phillips' "Gone, Gone, Gone," even though both songs are kind of out (I don't start liking songs until after they're out, with the exception of Katy Perry's "Roar," which is still in its prime).  I also like Kelly Clarkson's "Catch My Breath."  And Family Force 5's wacky song "Wobble" (I love Family Force 5's zaniness, but some people think my music is weird) is really...interesting :P.  And backing up my "Roar" endorsement, I like the song (it's actually got a pretty OK message--not completely great but still pretty good) but I don't necessarily like Katy Perry (I also heard she kinda stopped being weird).  And if you want a spin on the song, listen to Royal Tailor's or Anthem Lights' covers of it (Anthem Lights released it as a single, Royal Tailor's cover is on YouTube).

Toodles, Rcubed ;)



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Rainy Day Treasure

THANK YOU GOD I HAVE TIME TO BLOG DURING THE WEEK!

Today was a rare jewel of a day.  Here's why:

1) IT WAS SUPPOSED TO RAIN, AND IT DID!  (sorry, today is an all-caps kind of day)  See, this morning, I woke up.  It was gloomy and all, and then when I went downstairs to eat French toast, the sun came out.  I went grrrrr because I'm the type of person that should move to Seattle when I grow up.  

Honestly.  I just <3 rainy days.  They're my kind of day, my kind of weather, my kind of life.  Can't you just imagine me?  In a cozy little loft in Seattle, right by the Space Needle, across from a bunch of shops and stores and neat little foodie places, the type that Guy Frieri visits in Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives, with a bunch of woolly blue comforters.  Best of all--a little writing nook!  White Ikea furniture, the smooth type of desk (not those bumpy ones that are a pain to write on), swivel chairs.  And a silvery laptop, or maybe this one I'm writing on right now (a red BeatsAudio).  Wait--that's it!  A BeatsAudio laptop, because I have to have music (even if I can't write when I'm listening to it).

Maybe writing a Sunshine in December, or some other book.  Blogging, definitely.  Hopefully my blog will still be called Rcubed Random Rants :)

So, back to my story.  The sun came out, and I thought that the weathermen were wrong (man, I hate when they're wrong, especially when they tell everyone it's going to rain)--when it started to rain at lunch!  Oh, hallelujah!  Little drops were falling all over the place, and they made little round dark dots on our brown-bag lunches (sorry, rainy days make me break into description).  And it was raining all as I went to my Careers class, and took this little fifty-question multiple-choice test that was easy.

We all finished early, so I grabbed the chance to work on my math (hate geometric proofs).  I finished a lot of it, the bell rang, and we went out.


2) Well, guess what happens when it rains and makes puddles all over the place?  It makes the tennis courts all puddly and wet!  So we went into my coach's classroom's (a bunch of kids started staring at us) computer lab to wait out sixth period.  

I grabbed the chance to finish some of my Spanish homework, posted a picture on Instagram, and then managed to get out early because my coach let us.

I texted my mom, asking her to come and pick me up, then went to the library to finish some of my homework.  Turned out she couldn't come until three-thirty (Item: it was 2:45) SO I waited out in the library with one of my tennis pals to do homework. 

Meanwhile, I had one of my earbuds in my ear and was listening to Lecrae's "Unashamed" rap.  My mom started texting me, and I started texting her back, and it wasn't until I realized that a bunch of people were staring at me that I recognized the fact that MY PHONE'S RINGTONE WASN'T LIMITED TO MY EARBUDS!  In other words, when my phone beeped, everybody else in the library could hear it too (it didn't help that my phone's texting ringtone was on the highest possible volume).

Thank goodness I realized it before anybody else could tell me!  Oh my gargoyles...

After that slightly humiliating experience, I realized that, well, this could be my chance.  So...I DID IT!

I finished my homework!

Math, Spanish, all of it.  Thank goodness I didn't have biology homework, or Careers homework (we never have Careers homework).  English homework I had kind of done in class (I might need to do some more tonight).

I finished with about fifteen minutes to spare.  My mom arrived around 3:40, and I was hanging out in the front lobby listening to music (everyone who waits for their parents in the front lobby puts their earbuds in and just kind of hangs around like they're really cool).

The best thing about it meant that I got to watch TV and spend time with my family.  AND IT WAS A RAINY DAY!

So when we went home, I waited for my brothers to take a shower (they'd just been to a basketball clinic), and then we started watching MARVEL's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: DECLASSIFIED

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a spinoff of The Avengers, which I'm sure you've heard me rant about somewhat on this blog.  I watched part of the second episode, and I have to say, it wasn't as good as The Avengers.  For some reason, the images looked a little bit...more real, like I was looking through a window and watching people talking (I didn't like it).  And the special effects--give me a break.  It looked like someone had thrown a cartoon from Disney Channel into it.  The worst part of the effects in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is that they tried to make it look real--it ended up looking like the fakest thing ever.

The fighting was pretty epic, but there wasn't much of it.  The inappropriate parts were a little more subtle--you could barely catch them--and I only caught two in the parts I watched (thank goodness).  One person dies, but the special effects that absorbed him are so LOL that it's not intense at all.  

Then again, I only saw part of the episode, and the second episode at that.  But I have to admit, the parts that I saw didn't impress me much.  The only thing that I'm curious about is the fact that Agent Coulson DIED in The Avengers.  And apparently, he's a little rustier with his gunhandling skills than before.  

Hopefully this isn't one of your zombie-apocalyptic stories.  Knowing The Avengers, it probably isn't.

I'm going to hope that the next episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. carries, and that I'll be interested enough (and un-busy enough) to watch more.

Oh--and one last thing I comment Joss Whedon and the people behind Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on.  Sometimes, when there are a lot of characters, I can't distinguish between them (Like in the movie Miracle, about the hockey players?  I got so confused among all of them).  There are six main characters in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  But I could distinguish between every one of them from the moment I began watching *clap clap*

And so my Rainy Day Treasure post concludes on a review of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  SEE YOU PEEPS LATER~


rcubed ;)

P.S. Off to my writing...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hiatus from Sunday Serials

Hi guys--

I just wanted to take a short break from Sunday Serials.  I am so sorry to those of you who have been waiting for it, but I'm not disciplined enough to do it and what I'm working on at the same time.  However, I might just start doing a new Sunday Serial altogether--I'm working on a superhero-type story right now, and even though we just did the Kuehl Kids, I have a really awesome feeling that this story is going to be much better than the Kuehl Kids.  I have to admit, the Kuehl Kids wasn't really up to par.  I made it up from week to week, and that was when I was still homeschooled and had the time.  

Snow in July is going excruciatingly slowly.  I'm rewriting it still, but I haven't had the discipline to do that, either.  So right now it's kind of at a balk in the middle, but  I think I'm at the waterfall point in the story.  You know how waterfalls are level and calm until you dip into action and adventure?  I'm at the waterfall point in my story.  In other words, I'm at a really calm point right now in the story, but it's very quickly approaching the best part of the story: the adventure.  

Writing adventure is so much fun.  As a writer, you can envision it happening as you're writing.  The problem is communicating what you're envisioning with your readers.  That's the hard part.  So right now, I'm fringing onto adventure.  I'm trying to drop some foreshadowing hints as to what's going to happen.  

Oh, and Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile, by Shannon Messenger, came out!  I am really excited.  My dad preordered it from Amazon, and I read it in two days.  

Shannon Messenger is a good writer.  I can imagine the elvin world she's creating--a world where beings have abilities that humans have always wanted to have, a world where there's such thing as unicorns, a world with vegetables that taste like sausage and nuts that taste like caramel (I'm serious!).  

But the world I'm creating?  I'm not sure that it's so memorable.  Sure, there are a couple of interesting characters.  A girl that seems like a complete bozo but actually turns out to be pretty cool, I think (I modeled her after me.  She also says gargoyles!).  A middle-aged lady with ombre highlighted hair who reads Twilight and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  A not-so-handsome gullible lifeguard.  Oh yeah, and a grocery store owner who builds pyramids made of Gatorade and tomato paste.  

The problem is, I feel like I'm good at describing people.  But I'm not exactly the greatest at applying those character traits to the people without making them feel very starched and stretched.  Do you know what I mean?  

And my protagonist?  She's probably the most boring person you'll ever meet.  I'm serious.  All she ever does is whine about how her parents know nothing, and how she's not like her ex-best-friend, so hopefully I'll make her more interesting by the end of the story.  I'm not sure how I'm going to do that, though.

It's just one of those things I'll have to figure out along the way.

I also toyed with the idea of trashing Snow in July altogether.  Then I trashed the idea of trashing Snow in July.  I've already amped up the hype.  I've told my family about it.  I've told my friends.  I've told you people.  I can't just give up now.  

Oh, and whenever you feel like you can't go on when you're writing?  Change the font, especially when you're using GoogleDocs.  I don't know about you, but changing the font really really really really really helps me.  When I wrote my first draft (wow, that sounds so professional.  First draft?), I used a font called EB Garamond, which is kind of like the Harry Potter font (which I adore).  Then I switched to another font--I think it was called Lusitania.  But using Lusitania kind of made it slow, so recently I switched to another font called Arapey, which is much better.  Arapey is so bouncy, and when you italicize it it actually looks italicized.

This is really weird, but one of my pet peeves is when a font doesn't truly italicize.  Like, sometimes, italicizing a font means that all the letters simply slant.  Like using this font:

This is Verdana.

But I love fonts that do something like this:

This is Georgia.


Do you get what I mean?

I'm really weird.  Random.  But I'm telling you--fonts make the world go round.  Sometimes I hate books just because their font is bad.

You might be thinking, Oh, but the content of the book is what matters, not the font.  Okay, I can read books with bad fonts.  I've loved books with bad fonts.  But that makes my experience less enjoyable.  And sometimes I read bad books with good fonts and I tolerate the bad book because of the font (of course, I eventually peter out).  It's just one of my little quirks.

I hope authors get a say in what font their book is printed in.

What I've been up to...

I'm going to make a list, because I've been up to a lot.  When you're in high school--homeschooled or regular school--you're probably up to a lot.  So here's what I've been doing:

-I asked to get my hair highlighted a while ago.  So, for my birthday, my mom took me to get it highlighted and cut.  My hair is naturally a darker color, so I got a bunch of light-colored highlights and I LOVE it.  I was nervous at first--a girl's hair is her treasure, especially a fourteen-year-old girl's hair--because 1) the dye is permanent, and 2) what if I hated the result?  But thank goodness!  There are enough highlights in it without it becoming overpowering, but there are enough so that people notice it.  Hallelujah!

-My birthday was one and a half weeks ago.  It was a very interesting birthday.  For starters, I had to go to school, which stunk, but I have to admit, I enjoyed the attention I received.  The girls on my tennis team said happy birthday to me, and my day started off great.

Unfortunately, it turned a little sour at the end.  I had a tennis match that day, and I lost all three sets I played.  I've lost one set.  But never three.  I admit it, I cried (a little bit).  But you know what, that's part of learning, and my team still won.  I also handed out See's Candy lollipops at the end, which sweetened it up a little bit.  It was overall a very interesting birthday...

-I read Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile, by Shannon Messenger, like I stated earlier.  Loved it!  Oh my goodness, it was pretty amazing.  I think the first book was a little bit better, because Exile was slightly confusing (see my earlier post where I ranted about Shannon Messenger's first book, Keeper of the Lost Cities), but then, Exile had more action.  I also wonder who Sophie's going to end up with--Dex, Fitz, or Keefe?  I think we all know deep down in our hearts that Fitz is the guy for her--but who's the boy in the blue bramble jersey?  Keefe also grew on me.  He's hi-lar-i-ous.  Oh, and guess what?  I mean, if Edaline's sibling is one of Dex's parents, then that makes Dex Sophie's cousin.  Which rules Dex out as a future husband for Sophie.

I personally think Fitz is a little bit like Lena in Shelby Bach's The Ever Afters series--kind of a ruley guy.  He doesn't seem to have much of a personality.  The guy needs to loosen up.  I also think Jolie is still alive.  Poor Brant.  Shannon Messenger has a ton to clear up in the third and last book.

Speaking of the Ever Afters series--what if ADELAIDE gets a Tale?  Shelby Bach's been hinting at a romance between Chase and Rory...and the kids who comment have been begging for some jealousy going on (I'm not a big fan of the whole jealousy factor, tbh)...so what if Adelaide gets a Tale?  I can't wait until the rest of these books come out...

Sorry, I'm kind of fangirling right now.  (You might be thinking, kind of? right now)

-GRACE UNPLUGGED!  It's a new Christian movie starring AJ Michalka, James Denton, and Jamie Grace (yep...you read it right!  The Christian pop singer!).  I might go see it next weekend (we were planning to this weekend, but couldn't fit it into our schedule).  It's rated PG, and it's meant for people, like, my age, I think.

-Ohmygargoyles, am I ready for Monday?  It's been a super restful weekend.  Probably one of the most restful since school started.  Club Rush is this week--I'll probably join a couple of clubs.  I want to check out the Christian club and the creative writing club.  Along with saying the announcements...whoop-de-doo...

*You might notice that I've removed the Twoggits section of the blog.  Unfortunately, it hasn't been working right **grrrrhhhh computer stuff stinks** so I'll have to figure out some sort of way to give you guys daily updates.*

Flahflahflahflahflahflahflah,
Your ditzy, gargoylesy pal,
Rcubed



Friday, October 4, 2013

Long Due Reviews of Disney Channel Shows

I am SO SO SO SORRY about promising to write reviews of the Disney Channel shows and not following up.  One word: homework.  I promise, this is the post you've been waiting for.


Disney Channel shows have long been reputed to be "family friendly," "funny," and many kids' favorite shows.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say, Oh, I like watching Good Luck, Charlie, or something equally similar.

But as we watch the kids around us behave sometimes inappropriately, we wonder: are these shows really that impressive?  Or is are they just a motley of weak potty humor and sass-mouthed children?

So, in this post, I'll be listing the pros and cons of Disney Channel shows.  Parts about Disney Channel shows that I do like, and parts about Disney Channel shows that I don't like.  And, at the end, I will include a little description of some Disney Channel shows and my thoughts on them.  All in all, this will probably be a very satisfying post :)  Yay!

Pros of Disney Channel Shows:
-Language-wise, it's pretty decent.  People don't say "crap," or other common "ugh" words, and the language on the shows is actually not very reminiscient of the things kids say today.

-Some parts are funny.  Okay, so it sounds very scripted (maybe it's because it is scripted).  But some parts can actually come across as fairly humorous, and maybe every ten minutes I do a kind of teh chuckle, or maybe a weak ha-ha.  

-There's usually a lesson at the end.  Of course, it's probably blatantly obvious, but still, it's something.  For example, many lessons of different episodes border on being yourself and not caring what others think.  Yeah, that's a true one.  Of course, there will naturally be a few bad apples in the bunch, but for the most part, the lessons are good ones (although they're often redundant and repetitive).

Cons of Disney Channel Shows:
-The kids are many, many, many, many, many times disrespectful and rude, especially to adults.  It's atrocious.  Likewise, the adults are portrayed as incompetent bumbling fools who don't know what they're doing.  The kids (especially Luke in Jessie, Gabe in Good Luck Charlie, and all those troublemakers) are sassed-up arrogant fools, but they seem to have reason to as the adults in the shows are many times dumb.  Of course, it's so stereotypical that nobody can take it seriously, but even the most exaggerated shows rub off on people.

-Stereotypes.  There's always a nerdy person, a vain person, a levelheaded person, a dumb person, and a troublemaker, and a twirl-minded fiddlesticky adult.  For example:

in A.N.T. Farm, 

Olive is the nerdy person
Lexi is the vain person
Chyna is the levelheaded person
There is no real troublemaker, because all of them get into trouble at one point or another
Cameron/Fletcher are the dimwitted/dumb people
The twirl-minded fiddlesticky adult is Principal Skinner, and pretty much the other adults in the series

in Good Luck Charlie, 
There is no real nerdy person in Good Luck Charlie
There is no real vain person in Good Luck Charlie
Teddy is the levelheaded person
Gabe/Charlie are the troublemakers
PJ is the dimwitted/dumb person
The twirl-minded fiddlesticky adults are the parents

I find that the whole "stereotype" thing going on is mostly in A.N.T. Farm.

-Formulaic.  Like I said before, they have a bunch of stereotypes that I think that Disney feels like makes a "good show."  The plots of the stories seem so old to me--big families of four/five children for plenty of sibling rivalries (Good Luck Charlie, Liv and Maddie, Jessie), everybody seems to want to act/sing/dance (Shake It Up, Good Luck Charlie, Liv and Maddie, Jessie, Austin & Ally, A.N.T. Farm).  Sure, the shows are funny, but sometimes they get redundant.  Repetitive.

Conclusion
Disney shows?  They're heartwarming, funny, feel-good.  Stereotypical, formulaic, kids-know-best.  It depends on which factors play out for you the most.  For me, even though I watch them, I have to be careful.  If the kids' sassiness gets into my life, they might be influencing me too much.  And sometimes I want to envision life as a Disney show: where a right-on-cue audience laughs when I say something typically funny, where everything works out in the end, kids triumph over dimwitted adults, and life goes on.  Nope, that's not how it works.  Life is going to be full of disappointment.  Adults are actually smarter than kids are.  Some things that you say might be funny to a studio audience, but not to the people you make fun of.  So in the end, Disney shows are cool, they're nice to watch, but they aren't very real.  Life isn't a Disney show, and that's the truth.

Here I'm providing a little insight on the plots to different real-life Disney Channel shows.

A.N.T. Farm
Starring China Anne McClain, A.N.T. Farm is about a group of gifted sixth graders who jump into high school early as part of an advanced program.

My thoughts: Like I said, A.N.T. Farm is stereotypical.  Sure, the titles of the episodes are impressive (all with the acronym ANT in it), but the episodes I've watched haven't impressed me much.


A.N.T.Farm.png
Austin & Ally
Starring Ross Lynch and Laura Marano, Austin & Ally is about a singing duo pursuing separate careers and helping each other out along the way. 

My thoughts: I actually like this show a lot.  It's heartwarming, and although there's some dating and stuff in it, there's a lot of great stuff about friendship and whatnot in it.  Besides, Dez is awesome.  He's my favorite Disney Channel character BY FAR.

Austin & ally tv series logo.png

Liv and Maddie
Starring Dove Cameron as both Liv and Maddie, Liv and Maddie is about a pair of polar-opposite twins who struggle to support each other as sisters/friends.

My thoughts: I only saw the pilot, but it wasn't very good.  It seemed exactly like every other show, and it honestly wasn't very funny (let me tell you one thing: they put all the good parts in the trailer and left the stinky parts out).  You know how the little kid is always supposed to be the comic relief (see Shake It Up)?  Uh-huh, no, this kid's no Flynn.
Liv and Maddie Logo.png


Good Luck Charlie
Starring Bridgit Mendler, Good Luck Charlie is about a family of six-seven going through life as a regular hardworking family.

My thoughts: This is a good show also.  I really enjoy it.  Even though the parents annoy me, I think it's a great example (though not necessarily portrayal) of family.

Good Luck Charlie logo.svg

Jessie
Starring Debby Ryan, Jessie is about a nineteen-year-old working as nanny for four rich rambunctious charges.  

My thoughts: It's a pretty cool show, although watch out whenever Luke opens his mouth.  He especially enjoys sassing Bertram, the plump bald butler.

Jessie logo
Shake It Up
Starring Zendaya and Bella Thorne, Shake It Up is about two girls trying to make it big through their dance moves by dancing on a TV show.

My thoughts: I love the dry humor of Rocky, and CeCe is pretty hilarious too.  This is one of the funniest shows on Disney Channel.  Oh, and Flynn?  Really funny, too, and smart for a little kid.  

Shake it up logo.png

Overall, Disney Channel shows.  Not completely great, but not completely trashy, either.  But what I'm really wondering about is a marketable Christian TV show.  I mean, I think there's something called iShine.  But honestly, why not a Christian TV show?  Something like Disney Channel--wonderfully relatable, comedic, yet simple and unique and Christian at the same time.  And it doesn't even have to be a TV show.  Why not do it like Dude Perfect--post it on YouTube?

It's just a thought, but when there are things like Pretty Little Liars on TV, we need something other than, say, TBN on there.