Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry (belated) Christmas, everybody!  If you celebrate it, I hope it was wonderful.

For my family, Christmas was pretty little.  I got some clothes (two sweaters, a pair of jeans, fuzzy socks, wool socks, knee high bookworm socks, and knee high TARDIS socks, and two Doctor Who shirts), a few books (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and It's Kind of a Funny Story), some white board pens, a few little bag-type things, and River Song's screwdriver.

I'm quite happy with everything I got, though.  We had a crazy four day long stretch of Christmas, starting on the 23rd, where we had "family Christmas", where we all headed to my aunt's house and had Christmas with everyone in our extended family.  Christmas Eve was, as usual, hosted at our house, where we went to 5:00 mass, then headed home and had dinner and chatted, and exchanged a few gifts.

Christmas was, of course, Christmas, and we opened our stockings and gifts, and then had a lazy day, eating left overs for lunch, and playing with our gifts.  It was quite nice, really.  Then, on the 26th, I went over to a friend's house, and we baked cookies and had lots of fun.

All in all, it was a good Christmas.

I can't believe Christmas has come and gone so quickly.  But it was fun, if a bit hectic.

The Dandy Lioness

Saturday, December 15, 2012

In Which I Am Clumsy


Wondering why I haven't been around recently?

Last Monday, I ran into a wall, and sprained my pinky finger on my left hand.  Luckily, I'm right handed, but I was wearing the above splint up until yesterday, making it rather difficult to type.  Also, it was a kind of crazy two weeks, school-wise.

Now I just have tape on my fingers, but... yeah.  Sorry for not being around recently!  It's easier to type now, but my finger is still sprained, so it's not making it too easy to type.

I really need to stop running into things.  I've broken a toe by running into a door, I once chipped a tooth on a wall, and now I've sprained my finger.  This seems to be an ongoing problem...

But yes, hopefully I'll be back and blogging again soon!

The Dandy Lioness

Sunday, December 2, 2012

58,236, And Still Not Finished

My final word count of November, was 58,236.  I wrote about 2,000 words on Friday, determined to have a last "hurrah" of writing, for the month of November.

As you can see, by looking at my stats, for most of November, I was far ahead of the daily word goal, and going up at a steady pace.

But then I wrote 4,000 words in one day, hit 50,000 exactly, and I got, well, a little bit lazy.

But I'm okay with that.  Sure, if I had written every single day afterword, my novel might have ended up longer than it is now, I might even be finished with it.  But I'm okay with not having written every day.  Sometimes, you need a break from NaNoWriMo... and taking that break after you've won is always considerably more beneficial to your word count, then taking it in the middle of the month.

I'm happy with my word count, and, unlike last year, I don't completely hate my story, either.  In fact, I quite like it.  It's not finished yet, and there is certainly still "tweaking" to be done to everything, but all in all, I like it.  It's not terrible like last year's (which I will not go into detail about, but really, it was terrible,) which makes me happy.

This is the first year that I haven't finished my novel in November.  It's also the year where I wrote the most, beating 2011's NaNo out of the top spot for "The Most I Have Ever Written on Anything.  Ever." list.

And I mean, I'm sure there's a lot that I can cut.  But when I was around 30,000 words, I was wondering if I could fit everything into 50k.  Turns out, that I could, and more.

So yes.  NaNoWriMo 2012 was a very productive month for me.  It makes me happy that I won so soon, and I love the fact that I was able to push myself to do so.

The Dandy Lioness

Thursday, November 29, 2012

55,474 Words and Counting


Look what came in the mail today!

This isn't a real post, this is just me bragging that I have a new shirt, and that I'm a winner.

The Dandy Lioness

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gearing Up for the Christmas Season

{This is a photo taken by my sister years ago, on a snow day, but I just edited it a bit.  Stealing isn't nice.}

It may not *quite* be Christmastime yet, but I was a bit impatient, and decided to decorate the blog for it anyway.  Christmastime is in less than a week!  My family is heading over to a friend's cabin to cut down our Christmas tree next Friday, which is a fun tradition that we have with that family.  I can't wait.  Thanksgiving is fine, but it's not my favorite holiday... no, my favorite holiday is Christmas.

I know what you're thinking.  "It must just be because of presents."

But not really.  I mean, the presents are a plus, of course, but not really.

Christmas means the possibility of snow.

Pretty lights everywhere.

Christmas displays.

My sister coming home for a month.

Cousins.

Two weeks of break.

Reindeer at the local nursery.

Hot chocolate and apple cider.

Chocolate lava cakes.

Christmas trees.

Christmas music.

Decorating the house.

The wooden advent calender my grandparents made.

The Christmas special of Doctor Who.

Scarves.

Knitting.

Fires.

Christmas is probably my favorite time of year.  The city where I live is beautiful, with lights and displays everywhere.  It always makes me really happy to see everything going up.

I've never understood how people could be so stressed out during my favorite time of year.  I know that many people have money problems and things, which I understand.  But how could you be stressed when there are pretty lights, and the thought of snow, and Christmas music on the radio?

The Dandy Lioness

**Also, if you're wondering about NaNoWriMo, I am participating this year.  In fact, I'm already to 44,000 words!**

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Pinch of This, A Dash of That

*coughs*
*shuffles feet*

Hey there, guys...

It's been a while...

NaNoWriMo starts in FOUR DAYS.  FOUR!

Can you believe that?

I finally got my title today (it was between "Shattered Clockwork" and "Between the Lies" and I chose "Shattered Clockwork") after having had my plot for a week or two.  I'm quite excited actually.  I also made my cover today:

{The cover to my NaNo12, with my preferred pen name on it.}

It's fantasy, of course, and has princesses and castles, and lies and winged lions and man, I'm excited about it.

I've been crazy-busy recently.  I've finished my TARDIS costume!  Well, I finished it about two weeks ago, but I haven't posted since then...  I'm really quite excited about it, and I got to wear it to a Halloween carnival last night.  Only adults recognized it, (the carnival was at my old elementary school), but still, some people recognized it!  (Also, I am going trick-or-treating this year-- I'm only fourteen, that's not too old to go!)  I've also made a lot more nerdy manatees since I last posted-- I've now got three TARMISes, a Black Widow, the Impala from Supernatural, and a Sea Cow (it's white with black spots) that I've named Shindig in honor of Firefly.

I have laryngitis at the moment, so I can't actually talk at all.  I spent the day watching Supernatural and an episode of Classic Doctor Who and then I went to see a French film with my mom.

Basically, this is just an update to tell you that I'm sorry I haven't posted more, that I'll try to, and that OHMYGOODNESS NANOWRIMO.

Are you guys doing NaNoWriMo?  What are you doing for Halloween?  Do you craft at all?

The Dandy Lioness

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One Year

Yesterday I posted "366 Days" as a tribute to the one-year anniversary of my grandfather's death.

The day after he died, I created this blog.  It was on an impulse-- I'd been following the blogworld for years, but I'd never had one of my own.  So I created this little blog.

I'm sorry I haven't posted recently-- school is crazy, Tumblr has kind of taken over my life, dance and gymnastics started up again... basically, life just happened.

Anyways, I've been meaning to post for days-- I can't believe it's been three whole weeks!  I'm terribly sorry that I haven't posted, loves!  Yesterday gave me an excuse, and I knew that today I couldn't just not post.

Anyways, can you believe that it's been a whole year that I've been running this blog?

And now... for some stats!

11,296 pageviews.
103 posts.
39 followers.
The most popular post ever is a post entitled "Happy Girls are the Prettiest."  It has 374 pageviews.  The funny thing is, is that it has no comments, but it has over 100 more pageviews than any other post.
The next most popular is "Why I Look Up to Ginny Weasley" with 232 pageviews.  Following that is "Wibbely-Wobbely-Timey-Wimey Knitting" with 117 pageviews.
The entry into Google that has gained me the most pageviews is "Who from Whoville", which probably led people to my blog because of my Who Halloween costume last year.  If anyone is curious, my costume this year is the TARDIS.  I've got almost everything ready, and it's only the second of the month.


Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
EntryPageviews
United States
7692
Russia
637
France
493
United Kingdom
290
Canada
276
Australia
227
Germany
171
Netherlands
108
Ukraine
69
India
62


I've had people visit my blog from all the way across the world!  That's the thing about the internet-- you never know who will find your blog, where they could be from.

So.  One year of blogging.  That's a pretty major milestone, I'd say.

And, as sporadic as my posts have been, I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

The Dandy Lioness

Monday, October 1, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Two Weeks?! And lots of Doctor Who Centered Updates

...has it really been two weeks since I posted?

Wow!  Sorry guys!  I keep meaning to post, but I wasn't able to find the time, or I forgot when I did have time.  I guess you guys want to know what's been going on in my life recently?

Well, on Wednesday, I started high school.  It's not too bad.  I have a bottom locker, which kind of sucks, since I'm below this one really annoying guy who went to my old school, but I quite like all my classes and teachers.  And I'm with a bunch of my friends, which is good.  And, for the first time, I get to go to school with a couple of friends I made at writing camp over the past two years.

Also, I've been crafting quite a bit.  I made a ton of manatees using this pattern, and they're all so cute!  However, out of the ten that I've made so far, my favorite is the TARMIS.  Time And Relative Manatees in Space.




Also, last Saturday my friend and I participated in Bad Wolf day, using chalk on the street in front of my house!  We had lots of fun, and because it hasn't rained since then, the chalk is still there, though it's a lot fainter now.



So that was lots of fun.  And then later that night I watched the premier of season seven, which was absolutely amazing.  I loved it.

Now, most recently, I've started work on my Halloween costume.  I know, I know, we're only a week into September, but I'm being the TARDIS this year, and I'd like to have my costume ready by October, hopefully.  I don't want to scramble this year.  So, I've already started putting things together for it, and I ordered my dress and tights on Thursday.

So this has been an update-filled post.  I hope you all weren't too bored with it.  I'm just going to end it here now.

The Dandy Lioness

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On The Road

{Via}

I'm a city girl.  The America that I know is tall buildings, neighborhoods tightly packed with houses, the constant rumble of cars, nature experience only when you walk to the park, or climb the tree on the parking strip.

Road trips give me a small glimpse into the rest of the world, the America that exists outside of my city-bubble.  Because really, that's what cities are.  They're little bubbles or pockets of people, people everywhere.

Rolling hills of grass, yellowed by the August sun, not getting enough water.  Green trees contrasting the grass.  Old houses, old cars, big billboards advertising things that people probably rarely use or buy or go to.  Big green highway signs, produce stands nestled just off the road, cherries for 5$, 'We have avocados!', u-pick blueberries.  Towns glimpsed from the highway, signs saying wrong way, do not pass, exit next left, dirt roads, green street signs perched atop stop signs.  Hot sun streaming into the backseat, fluffy white clouds ringing the circle of sky I can see from the ground  To one side, mostly flat land, to the other, oxymoronic (?) tiny mountains, perhaps classified as big hills.  Exit 20 M.P.H., tiny lakes, barns, identical houses all in a row.  White siding, gray roof, brown fence.  Power lines edging the road, a roadside Dairy Queen, a motor home parked in the parking lot. A rusty car, a beat up truck, a cool orchard of fruit trees, all in a row.

My reflection clear in the window, my hands shadow clear on the paper.  Bizarre roadside contraptions I couldn't begin to figure out.  Cool shade just for seconds at a time, speed 45, McDonald's next left, pickup trucks, motor homes, community college, movie theater.  Cookie-cutter houses, roadside museums, clouds creeping in.  Antiques, hay bales, winding roads, dirt driveways, brief forests full of green trees and blessed shade.

And then we're in the city again, but not my city.  And it's full of tall buildings and people everywhere, and stores, and pay-to-park signs, and trees on parking strips.  And people dancing in the park that used to be a parking lot, and pizza places that make their own fruit soda, and hipster colleges and famous bookstores.  And an old man yelling about the end of the world while his dog looks resigned, and people clamoring about petitions, and frozen yogurt, and the farmers market and a street filled with food trucks.

And then we're off again, and we cross the border back to my state, and it's rush hour and familiar trees and yellowed grass.  And then it's wondering about license plates and finishing books, and pink turtle window stickers, and bumper stickers loudly stating opinions, and no-parking-tow-away-zone signs.

And then it's home again, back to a familiar city, with familiar buildings.  Familiar trees and road construction and businesses and cars and jokes.  Home again, home again after a brief adventure in another state.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Summer During Which I am a Lazy Blogger

It's true.  There's no getting around it.

This has been the summer during which I am a very lazy blogger.

I mean, you can't get around that fact.  I had planned to have multiple posts a week, filled with photos and interesting things I'd done, and all sorts of fun stuff.

In reality, I've just been really, really lazy.

I've gone to two camps, a writing camp, and an Irish dance camp.  Other than that, however, I have been home.  All summer.  I start school back up the Wednesday after Labor Day, and if anyone asks what I did all summer, I'll probably be at a loss.

To be honest, my summer has mostly been spent lazing around the house, eating otter pops, reading books, going on Tumblr, meaning-to-but-never-really-getting-around-to editing my NaNoWriMo 2010, wondering where all of the summer went, browsing blogs, wishing I was being more productive, and watching all sorts of new TV shows.  Also knitting.  There has been a lot of knitting.  At least in the past three weeks.

I'm going on a short vacation on Sunday through Wednesday, so at least I can say I did something.  I also went to the ocean at the beginning of the summer, which you may remember me posting about.  But... ah... yeah.  Most of my summer has been at home.  Which is lovely, it really is, but I do have to wonder where it all went.  It seemed like I had so much time, but now it appears that I have very little left at all.

I start high school this year, which is weird.  Weird as this sounds, I don't really have any particular emotion toward starting high school.  I'm not excited, nor am I terrified.  I just kind of figure it's coming up, and there's nothing I can do about it.  I'm not particularly excited to go back to school in general, though it will mean that I get to see my friends more.  (During the summer I am notorious among my friends for uh... not actually seeing anyone.  In fact, I think during the entire summer, I've actively gone to seek a friend out maybe... fifteen?  twenty times? if that.  Probably more like ten.

I know, I know.  It's the summer, I should be hanging out with my friends!

But I'm a rather solitary creature, generally, and it often won't occur to me to seek out a friend.  I'm happy being by myself, just kind of floating around the house.  I don't really need others around to entertain myself. Not to say that I don't enjoy seeing my friends, which I do.  I'm just probably not the most reliable when it comes to making plans, returning phone calls, going places...

Somehow, I'm a rather solitary person who has lots of friends.  I have to say, I'm not quite sure how that happened.  But I like it.  I like having friends, and spending time with them.  I like flopping on bedroom floors, reading dumb magazines, or chatting about books, or having impromptu photo shoots with the dress-up box.  I like walking to the store and getting candy and a soda, or jumping up and down because of a TV show we both like, or a book, or a movie.  I'm just not the best at getting around to seeing people, when left to my own devices.  Really, if you're friends with me, it's likely you'll have to invite me to do something, or I'll never leave the house, unless my mother makes me.  I can spend days at home, by myself, entertaining myself.  Eventually, I'll call up a friend, but it can take up to four days before it occurs to me.  I'm weird that way.

The Dandy Lioness

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Childhood Monster


Christine Rains is celebrating the release of her new book Fearless with a blog fest!  I thought I’d join in, since a) I haven’t posted in a while, and b) the topic sounded like fun!

From her blog:

I'll be hosting a blogfest that will go from August 7th to the 9th. You can post on any one of those three days. (I like it when blogfests give you an option of which day to post on!) For this blogfest, all you need to do is write about your childhood monster. Did you have a beast living under your bed? Or was the scary clown in your closet? 

My childhood monster?

My first instinct is to say witches—when I was really young, I thought that witches lived under my bed and in my closet, and I could see their shadows creeping up on me.  But that pretty soon switched to the Basilisk, in Harry Potter.

That thing terrified me.

It probably had something to do with the fact that I would listen to Harry Potter with my sister, as we were going to sleep.  We would put in the tape (we have all the books on cassette tape, except for Deathly Hallows, and I still listen to most of them on tape), and go to sleep as it was playing.

The thing about Chamber of Secrets, is when you read the book itself, it’s not actually all that scary.  At least, it wasn’t to me.  But when you listen to it, especially as you’re going to sleep, you can just imagine the basilisk coming to find you and paralyze you.  And in the tapes, past tape two or three, I’m not actually able to listen to them anymore.  Because once Harry starts hearing “Deaaath, deaaath!” being hissed from the walls, I start to get thoroughly creeped out, and stop listening. 

I don’t know why it was the basilisk in particular that scared me—I didn’t have a problem with dementors, or even Lord Voldemort, but it was the basilisk that terrified me.

I was also afraid of graveyards, and zombies/ghosts, until I was about seven, when I voiced this fear to my dad.  He then took me into a graveyard near my house one evening, and showed me that there was nothing to be scared of.  I was terrified and almost in tears, but once we were inside the graveyard, I realized there was nothing scary about it.  Just sad, really.

~~~


About Fearless

Abby White was seven years old when she killed the monster under her bed. Now she slays creatures spawned by the fertile imaginations of children, and the number of these nightmares are on the rise. Neither she nor her guide - a stuffed hippo named Tawa - know why.

When she rescues Demetrius from an iron prison, he pledges his life to protect hers until he can return the favor. She doesn't want the help. And how can she concentrate on her job when the gorgeous wild fae throws himself in front of her during every fight? No matter how tempting, she can't take the time to lose herself to him.
To save the children and all she loves, Abby must be truly Fearless. 


Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and Create Space.


~~~

So, my friends, are you doing the What Was Your Childhood Monster blogfest?  If not, what was your childhood monster?

The Dandy Lioness

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bookish Memories


You probably have noted the title of this post, by now.  I was sitting here, trying to figure out what to call it, when I remembered my post Bookish Nostalgia.  This post being sort of similar, I decided to title this one Bookish Memories, and make it into a sort-of-kind-of-maybe series.


Something interesting about books, is the stories that they tell.  I know what you’re thinking.  “Duh, they’re books.  Of course they tell stories.”

But the stories I’m talking about aren’t those stories.  No.  The stories I’m talking about are the ones that come across your mind when you pick the book up, and look at it.  The stories that you have added to the book.  Take my copy of The Fault in Our Stars, for example.  I remember the day I drove half an hour to go get that book.  We were having dinner at our friend’s house that night, and I remember reading it in the car while my mom went and got tapenade from the store, or something.  And I remember getting sushi on the way home, and eating it in the car and reading the book.  With the book Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I know that I’ll probably associate it with ferry rides, because I was reading it for the first time the other day, when we had to wait in line for a ferry for an hour.

I associate my copy of Airborn by Kenneth Oppel with sitting outside in the sun on a lazy spring evening, picking up the book I had started, and was only four chapters into, and then suddenly realizing just how good it was, and tearing through it in one evening.  The book Looking for Alaska reminds me of plane rides, and the excited feeling you get when you’re going somewhere.   My copy of Goliath by Scott Westerfeld reminds me of sadder things, however.  It makes me think of why I got it.  Yes, I got it at a signing by Scott Westerfeld, when he came to my city, which was amazing and hilarious, but it also makes me sad, because it reminds me of my grandfather’s death.  The reason my mom got it for me was because the day that my grandfather died, I was her buddy, and we ended up going to sign paperwork and stuff.  A week later, she got me Goliath at the signing, as a sort of thank-you.

Something that John Green often says is “Books belong to their readers.”  I didn’t really know what he meant by that, until recently.  I was looking at my bookshelf, and having all these memories come back to me. 

A more unique memory that comes to me, while scanning my bookshelf, is from the book, The King in the Window, by Adam Gopnik.  I read this book (well, my mother read it to me,) shortly before I went to Paris, because it’s set in Paris.  And so, when we went to Paris, we were at the Louvre, and there’s this one scene in The King in the Window, where the main character goes to this one room in the Louvre, which is filled with swords.  And I still have no idea if this room actually exists, but when we were in the Louvre, we went on a sort of quest, looking for this room.  We didn’t find it, but it was fun—though my sister didn’t like it, as it meant she didn’t get to stand and read every single thing about each piece of art.  Though had she done that, she would have been in the Louvre for days and days.  But still.  We ran around the museum, looking for this one room.  I think my mom was just happy that I wasn't complaining bitterly about being in a museum.  (Yes, I realize it was the Louvre, but in my defense, it was in fourth grade, and I had absolutely no interest in museums.  I'm still not a big fan of them, either...)


I remember reading Magyk by Angie Sage on a balcony overlooking the sea while in Italy, and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall in my bedroom, in a nest made out of stuffed animals and bedding.  I remember sprawling in my backyard reading Only the Good Spy Young, by Ally Carter, and reading Wild Magic, by Tamora Pierce for the first time while I was sailing.  

So yes.  After a long time of not really understanding what John Green meant, I finally do.  Books do belong to their readers.  Readers interpret the stories the way that they see fit, and attach their own memories to books.  At first, it’s just a book.  But then you read it, and become involved in the story.  You take it places, meet people with it in your hand, get it signed by authors you love.  No one will have the exact same story attached to a specific book as you do.  Your story is unique.  And whenever you see the title of that book, you'll remember where you first read it, or your favorite place that you've taken it, or just some memory of reading it.  Books are special.



The Dandy Lioness

{P.S.  Is the spacing weird, or is that just my computer?  It's been acting up recently, so I have no idea.}

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Is...

(Just want to say hello to everyone!  I'm finally posting again!  And yes, you've already seen both pictures in this post.  I'm too lazy to actually edit any new ones.)


Summer is...

enjoying the sunshine (when there is any!  It's been ridiculously cold this summer.)

spending ridiculous amounts of time on the internet.

getting addicted to new TV shows.

having 8-10 person games of Uno at writing camp, where you threaten to murder anyone who skips/reverses/makes you draw four cards.

writing camp.

wondering where all of summer could have possibly gone, and how it's almost August already.

spending ridiculous amounts of time on Tumblr.

telling yourself you'll read lots, and then not getting around to reading very much at all, because you spend most of your time telling yourself you'll read, and not actually reading.

Shakespeare in the park.

painting your nails different colors every week.

going swimming.

laughing with your friends.

paddle boarding, and then watching your friend jump in the lake.

seeing friends you don't get to see during the school year.

eating ridiculous amounts of ice cream.

dance camp.

wearing shorts, even when it's only in the 60's.

watching Marvel movies.

orange raspberries in your front yard.

reading on the deck.

going to movies with friends.

having your window open.

running around barefoot in the grass.

staying up late every night.

doing late-night doodles... just 'cause.

...or is that just my summer?


The Dandy Lioness

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Always

Today makes the one year anniversary of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part two premier in the U.S.

I’ve said in passing on my blog that Harry Potter is a huge, huge part of my life, and always has been.  I’ve been listening and reading and watching the stories since I was about age three.

I’m fourteen.  I missed a lot of premiers, a lot of waiting, and plotting what could come next.  But for me, Harry Potter was my childhood.  I spent hours and hours and hours playing Harry Potter with my friends, creating stories around our favorite characters, running through the backyard in my homemade cloak, using pencils as wands.

One year ago last night, I was in line, anxiously waiting to enter into my favorite theater.  I was with friends, playing Harry Potter Uno, wearing the cloak my sister made for me when I was in third grade, made ready just before the release of the final book. 

Harry Potter means a lot to me.  It shaped my childhood, and who I became.  I grew up with the idea that love is the greatest power against evil nestled securely in my heart.  I grew up running through the halls of Hogwarts, creating my own special version in my head.  I grew up creating these stories about my favorite characters and telling them to myself.  Harry Potter shaped who I am now, as a person and a writer.

I have a small section of my bedroom wall that is dedicated to Harry Potter quotes.  These are quotes I do my best to follow and to live by, quotes that I have known for years and years, and that have helped shape me into the person I am now.  This particular quote by Sirius Black is one of my favorites:  “Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and death eaters.  We’ve all got both light and dark inside us.  What matters is the part we choose to act on.  That’s who we really are.”

I know I can be mean sometimes, or annoying, or a pain to be around.  I know that.  But I do my best, for the most part, to not.  I try my best to be a good person, who is kind.  I try and act on the light side of me.  It can be hard sometimes, and I know where there are days where that just doesn’t happen.  I’m acting on the dark side of me.  But then I do try and act on the light side.  I try.  Sure, it doesn’t always work, but I try.  I try and be the light side of me.

I’ve tried to write about Harry Potter, and what it means to me, before.  It generally doesn’t work.  But today, I am.  Today, the one year anniversary of the “end of an era”.  But the thing is, how is it the end of an era?  People are still discovering Harry Potter.  Children are still loving the stories, finding their own Hogwarts, just like I did. 

To me, this quote by Nathan Fillion, about the show Firefly, rings very true with the Harry Potter community.  "When Firefly died I thought it was the worst thing that could possibly happen. What I realize now, ten years later, looking out onto this room, is that the worst thing that could have happened is if it’d stayed dead."  Replace Firefly with Harry Potter, and you’ve got the Harry Potter fandom.  Harry Potter may be officially finished.  But the fans are still creating stories, still creating fan art, still watching the movies and reading the books.  There are still people discovering Harry Potter.  So yes, technically Harry Potter is over, and I feel very blessed to have been able to be a part of the fandom as everything was still going, and new books and movies were coming out.  But Harry Potter has not died.  So yes.  Harry Potter is over officially.  But to the fans?  It’s never over.  It’s still there.  It’ll always be there.

{Via}

The Dandy Lioness

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Miscellaneous Facts

Hey guys!  Look, I’m posting again!

Today is a random post.  Random, because I’m going to tell you ten random facts about me.  Let’s get started.

1.   During the 2011-2012 school year, I wrote 56 reviews of books I read that year in my reading notebook.  I read more than that, I just didn’t bother to review every single book.

2.  I have blonde hair, and brown eyes.  This is a combination you don’t see very often—a lot of blondes have blue eyes.  When I was a baby, my hair was really, really light blonde, and my eyes were really, really dark brown.  According to my parents I was “striking”.

3.  It takes a lot to make me cry during books, movies and TV shows, but when it does happen, it means that I really enjoyed/felt strongly about it.  One example of this is “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green.  A TV show that made me cry was Doctor Who, and a movie that made me cry was "Marley and Me".

4.  The only J.R.R. Tolkien book I’ve ever finished was “The Hobbit or There and Back Again” which I actually just finished yesterday!  Though I am attempting to read as much of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy this summer as I can.  I’m about 240 pages into “The Fellowship of the Ring”, but I can only read it in short little bursts, so I don’t know how far I’ll actually get.

5.  I own approximately 400 books.  (This number is approximate because I counted my Nancy Drew books last time I counted, but they’ve mysteriously disappeared, and were possibly given to the Blind.)  The funny thing is, is that I don’t buy books very often.  I’m much more likely to get books from the library than to buy them.  In fact, I quite rarely buy books.  Though I get a lot of books as hand-me-downs and from the library book sales, so there's that.  (And I'm horrible about giving away books, so I have a ton of books from my childhood I couldn't bear to give away...)

6.  When asked to pick between which words I’d rather hear:  “Yer a wizard,” or “I’m the Doctor,” I was unable to choose.  Harry Potter and Doctor Who are both just such big parts of my life, that I don’t know if I’d be able to choose one world over the other.

7.  My room and shelves are full of random knickknacks, such as a plastic banana that has Doctor Who quotes written on it, a fan from Japan given to my family by a Japanese exchange student, a tiny mask from Venice, a stuffed French the Llama, and Luella the Latin cow, that my sister got me at a Latin convention a few years ago.

8.  My walls are covered in pictures, posters, maps and quotes.  I currently have two Doctor Who posters, three travel posters, five maps, seven photos (though I plan to get more soon), and at least twenty-one quotes.  Also a poster from the Tour de Nerdfighting 2012.

9.  I have a lot of stuffed bears in my room and in my closet.  Currently on my bed I have five bears.  One is from the YMCA, one is from Finland, my sister knit me one, I got one for Christmas, and the other is a red panda bear that I got at the zoo a few years back.  I have at least one more smallish bear that I got at the hospital when I was five or six.  I also have three gigantic stuffed bears—a panda bear that I won at a carnival, a polar bear that my friend gave me for Christmas, and a polar bear that my parents gave me for Christmas.  There’s actually a funny story about the gigantic panda bear.  I went to this big carnival in my state with my friend about two years ago.  We were playing one of those horse racing games, where you try and make your horse get to the finish line first.  I thought I was a completely different horse near the back of the pack, but it turned out that I won, and because there were about ten people playing, I got a gigantic panda bear.  It’s currently sitting on my lap.

10.  This is a weird one but… I hate wearing skirts.  I don’t mind them on other people, in fact I think they’re really pretty.  But personally, I hate wearing skirts and dresses.  I also hate wearing sweat pants, though yoga pants are acceptable as pajama pants.  On that note, I also hate wearing the majority of pajamas, especially pajama tops.  I’ll tolerate pajama bottoms, though I’m happier in yoga pants, or shorts in the summer.  As for pajama tops, I mostly wear t-shirts instead of actual pajama tops.  As for the sweat pants, it’s not for any reason other than this: they make me uncomfortable.  I don’t find them particularly comfy, and personally, I’m much happier in jeans.

{This picture has no relevance to anything, really, and I've already posted it on my blog.  I just really like it.}

The Dandy Lioness

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Loves

Watermelon


The sun shining and the weather in the seventies


Doctor Who

{Yes, at the moment my wind-up TARDIS is living on my bookshelf.}

The Avengers


Drawing


Nail polish


New tank tops


Sitting outside and reading a book

{The current stack of books next to my bed.  Yes, I do have all of these started at the moment.}

TOMS


Afternoon projects


What are some of your summer loves?

The Dandy Lioness

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Marveling at The Avengers

{Via}
{See what I did with the title there?  Huh?  Huh?  *coughs*  Bad pun, sorry.}

One thing about me is that I go through periods of, well, obsession.

Sometimes it's Doctor Who, or Merlin, or reading or writing.

But right now?

It's superhero movies.  The ones by Marvel, specifically.  In the past twenty days, I have watched The Avengers, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America, Spiderman, and Thor.  In that order.

I'm not a movie person.  I see movies in theaters, but generally at home I'm not a big fan of them.  But the Marvel superhero films?  I've loved them.  I've loved finding the connections in them as I go along.  Though Spiderman wasn't really connected to any of them, so it isn't going to be included in this post.

Every time Agent Couslon or Nick Fury comes on screen, or the Black Widow, or Hawkeye, I immediately jump up and down.  I start seeing more and more connections in them, the more I watch.  And I really, really like it.  I'm loving watching the movies with my family, curling up in the basement to watch them, finding the connections, enjoying the films.

For the most part, I don't connect with movies.  I mean, there are some I enjoy, many of which are Disney or Pixar, and of course, some live action ones, but I don't seek them out.  If it's 8:00 at night and I want something to watch, I'm much more likely to go onto On Demand to look for a show to watch, rather than a movie.  Part of that, I think, is the connections.  With shows, I can see connections to past episodes, and theorize about what will happen in the next one.  But with many movies, you can't do that.  They're stand alone films.

But The Avengers movies?  It's different.  They're all connected, and in each film there are references to things that have happened, or characters who I recognize from other movies that pop up.  I like to see the way it all ties together, a bit like a TV show.

Now, I want to go back to the theater, and see The Avengers again.  I had never seen any of the other Marvel superhero films when I saw The Avengers, and I didn't know the characters.  I enjoyed the film immensely at that point, but now that I've seen all the Marvel superhero films to date, I'd like to go back and see The Avengers again, to tie it all together.

Have any of you guys seen The Avengers?  Did you like it?  Have you seen any of the Marvel superhero movies?  If so, have you noticed any of the connections?  Which was your favorite?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

The Dandy Lioness

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lazy Hazy Summer Days

Yesterday was the first "official" day of summer, in that it was the first day of summer that wasn't a weekend.  It was a fairly lazy day, in that I spent much of it watching three episodes of Doctor Who with my friend, but in the evening I went out and took some pictures, and here are some of them!

{If you don't know, SOOC stands for "straight out of camera" meaning that there was no editing, other than adding a watermark.}

{SOOC.  This may be one of my favorite pictures of me, ever.  I used the self timer thing, and was dancing (Irish Step dance), to see if I could get a picture of me midair, and it worked even better than I could have hoped.}

{This is another new favorite of mine.}

{SOOC}


{SOOC}




The "Columbia Ladder" and "Danger" pictures are from this ladder that was just lying in my backyard.  You can see it in the background of the first picture, the one where I'm dancing.  Actually, there are two ladders in the back of that one.  The one that I took pictures of is at my house because my dad was washing a picture window that's really high up, and the other one... I don't know, actually.  

These were really fun to do.  Since I (sadly) don't have PhotoShop, I used PicMonkey, which turned out pretty well.  I learned more about it in the process, making my editing steadily better, too.  I had quite a lot of fun editing these, and some of them I plan to put up in my room.  (I'm currently working on my walls by adding photos, posters, quotes, the occasional drawing, and maps to them.)

The Dandy Lioness

Monday, June 25, 2012

Do You Want To Go To The Seaside?

Life's not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

Listening to// The Seaside, The Kooks

This past weekend I headed to the seaside, the coast, the ocean, call it what you will, with my whole extended family.  Aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins and dogs, everyone was there.  We always kick off summer this way, and I'm always looking forward to it during the last week of school

Do you want to go to the seaside?
I'm not trying to say that everybody wants to go
I fell in love at the seaside
I handled my charm with time and slight of hand

It was a bit strange, not having my sister there this year.  She's on the other side of the country, doing an internship.  She was at a lake, this weekend, by the water, but not by our water.  But it was fun.  Three of my cousins and I formed a "teenage pack", as my mother dubbed it.  Two fourteen year olds, one fifteen year old, and one seventeen year old.  Two girls, two guys.  Much laughter was exchanged, as well as some dirty looks (when two of them locked me and my cousin on the porch; the time my cousin got locked in a dog crate with two golden retrievers...).

Do you want to go to the seaside?
I'm not trying to say that everybody wants to go
I fell in love at the seaside
She handled her charm with time and slight of hand, and oh

Saturday morning, a steady drizzle was pattering across the beach.  My parents and grandmother and I had gone out for coffee and pasties, and came back to a wet, wet beach.  But despite it all, I threw on some flip flops, rolled up my jeans, grabbed my windbreaker, and headed down to the beach.  I met up with my aunt, and her three young children, and a few other aunts and uncles down by the water.  They were digging for clams.  The sand was wet and cold.  It squelched beneath my toes, but I didn't care.


But I'm just trying to love you

In any kind of way
But I find it hard to love you girl
When you're far away
Away

"Come dance with me," I called to K, my five year old cousin.  She ran out over to me, and we danced in the rain and the surf, and the sun came out, just a little bit.  We laughed and squealed as the wet, wet sand splattered our legs, but we had fun.

Do you want to go to the seaside?
I'm not trying to say that everybody wants to go
But I fell in love on the seaside
On the seaside
In the seaside

The sun came out later that day, and we managed to go out on the beach in the sunshine.  We ran the golden retrievers down the beach, across a stream, and wandered around a wooded area.  I adventured a bit, stepped out of my comfort zone.  We splashed through the stream water, even though it was cold, and threw sticks for the dogs.  Despite the constant rain for the majority of the weekend, it was a good year.  I can't wait to go again next year.


{I found this heart rock in the surf}

The Dandy Lioness

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quick Summer Update

Hello all!  As you can see, I updated the blog a bit for Summer.  I don't know how long it'll stay like this-- in the summer, my decisions get a bit flighty, and I may change it around a bit.  Do you like it?

Also, you've seen that I got a new header.  Do you like it?  I couldn't quite decide between the one I've currently got up, and  this one here:


Thoughts?

Also, my eighth grade promotion is today, and I got nominated for an award, so... yay!

Really, this post is pointless, just telling you that I updated the background (which you can see).  And that I'm ready for summer.

I'm just going to post this pointless little post now.

The Dandy Lioness

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Big Exciting Adventures


So, I’ve seen The Avengers.  That’s a thing that has happened.  And Hawkeye has to be my favorite, closely followed by the Black Widow.  I also got a box set of “Lord of the Rings” over the weekend (Amazon, I love you.  $15 for a regularly $50 box set?  Yes please!) which is replacing my seriously beat up copy of all three in one.  It also came with The Hobbit, which I am currently reading, and loving.  It’s so much easier to read than “Lord of the Rings” and I love the story as well.

I get “promoted” from middle school next Tuesday, which is CRAZY.  Seriously, where did all the time go?  And I mean, I’m psyched, but I think I’ll also kind of miss aspects of my middle school.  Like the TV Production program, which was just so fantastic, and I adored, and my French teacher, and my language arts teacher this year.  Sure, there are bits that I certainly won’t miss, and I’m excited to go on to high school, but it just seems so crazy that I’m graduating.

We have our eighth grade cruise tomorrow.  And we get our yearbooks tomorrow.  And we have our first promotion practice tomorrow.  …Tomorrow is a big day, full of big, exciting adventures.

But I’m excited.  And I know that I’ll have a lovely last few days of school, hanging out with my friends, the homework being very limited, yearbooks being toted from class to class and begging friends to take pictures with me, and have them sign my yearbook.  I hope that my last few days of middle school will be filled with private jokes and silly pictures, and hugs, and laughter.  I think that eighth grade has been my best year, by far, at my middle school.  Sixth I hated.  I actually really disliked sixth grade, except for my language arts class, which I quite enjoyed (I think I may have been the only one though…).  Seventh grade was okay, but I didn’t love it.  This year, however, has flown by way faster than any of the others.  It feels like it was last semester really recently.

This year I enjoyed.  I actually really enjoyed.  I had a solid friend group, I liked my classes and my teachers, and I got along with people.  My lovely friend Luna moved in across the street from me, and we got to be really close friends.  I didn’t have anything particularly bad happen, other than my grandfather dying.  I wrote another novel, and I got into the writing camp I did last summer, once again.  I started a few new traditions, and lost one or two.  But overall, it’s been a good year.  And definitely the best year I’ve had at my middle school.  Had all my years been like this one, I think I would have been a lot happier at my school.  But as it is, I’m quite happy to have spent this last year (and seventh grade too, to an extent) happy, and content. 

So here’s hoping that tomorrow will be a good, happy day, filled with good, happy memories. 
And to my friend group:  Girls, I hope that we get to meet up again and hang out next year, since we’re splitting up to go to three different schools.  

And those are my big exciting adventures of the next few days.  And next weekend I'll be gone, as I'm headed to the coast for a few days for an annual family get-together.  I'll try and remember to post in the next week, but I think it's pretty clear by now that I'm rather lazy when it comes to posting.  

The Dandy Lioness

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Imagining Magic

"Those who do not believe in magic will never find it."
-Roald Dahl

Magic.  To everyone, I think, magic is a little bit different.  To me, magic is spells and fantastical creatures, bubbling potions and talking animals.  Dragons soaring high over grassy fields and craggy mountaintops, and questers sent to find some magical item.  My idea of magic comes from long hours spent reading fantasy stories.  Stories such as The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Harry Potter, Song of the Lioness (and anything else set in Tortall), and many others.  Oh, and we mustn't forget about The Princess Tales, and Ella Enchanted.

I believe that to everyone, magic is different.  To some it may mean knights in shining armor slaying dragons, and to others, it may mean traipsing through dense forests on a quest to find the Fountain of Youth, or something of the like.

But I think that believing in magic is what makes these stories feel so true, makes you feel like you're right there, with the characters.  Some may not believe in magic, that is true.  But they are also the type (or so I have found) who read the same kind of book over and over again, and it is never fantasy.  Because magic is imagination.  Believing in magic allows you to let your imagination roam over unseen lands, lets you piece together places you've never seen, people you've never met, creatures you've never even imagined before.  And it makes them real.  Magic is imagination, because those who lack imagination have difficult believing that maybe, just maybe, there are faeries and elves, dragons and wizards.

I spent my childhood in my backyard, brandishing a stick and wearing a cloak, pretending I went to Hogwarts. I spent my childhood pretending I was a seamstress to a queen in a made up kingdom.  I spent my childhood pretending that I was a pirate, or an adventurer, a dragon rider, a princess.  Because I believed.  I believed that perhaps magic did exist, and even if it didn't exist in the 'real world' it definitely existed in my mind.

Magic.
Magik.
Magyk.
Magyc.

Magic for me, is my imagination.  It allows me to go anywhere, any time, be it real or imaginary, be it my own creation or someone else's.  The very idea of magic is important to me.  It was such a huge basis of my childhood, and has shaped who I am today.  I am proud of the fact that magic has shaped me.  I know some people think that fantasy stories are 'ridiculous' because 'they're impossible'.  But who cares about impossible in the real world?  It's what happens in your imagination that matters.

{Photography and editing by me}
The Dandy Lioness

Friday, June 8, 2012

June: Snippets of Story


{Via}

Snippets of Story has rolled around again?  Goodness, these months go by fast!  I know it's been ages since I last posted-- I've written several posts since then, but I didn't really like any of them.  So I figured Snippets was a good reason to post.

Do any of you guys remember a short piece that I posted here asking for help with revision?  Well, the people who replied suggesting having a flashback.  So here's that flashback!

“Stay away, girl!  We don’t need no beggers here,” snapped the farmer, as Alea and her horse approached the fence.
“Please, sir, I only wish for some food and water, and a place to shelter tonight,” Alea said.  “There’s a storm brewing.  I don’t want to be out alone.”
The man narrowed his eyes, and shook his head.  “Young girl, travelin’ alone?  You gotta be a witch, or sumthin’ and I’m not takin’ you into my home.”
Alea felt tears pricking the back of her eyes.  She didn’t want to be alone, without shelter that night—the storm that was brewing would be a fierce one.  But she wouldn’t argue with someone who wouldn’t take her in—she knew she couldn’t change her mind, and she had to find adequate shelter before the storm came.
She turned, and began to walk away.  She heard the farmer do the same.  She was walking slowly, scanning the nearby area for a place she could shelter, when she heard footsteps behind her.  She turned, and saw a pretty, middle aged woman wiping her hands on an apron, rushing up behind her.
Alea smiled at her.  “Hello ma’am, can I help you?”
The woman sighed.  “I’m sorry about my husband.  I saw him turn you away.  And you’re such a nice lookin’ girl, and this storm will be nasty—I don’t want you comin’ to harm during it.  I know my husband said that you couldn’t stay with us, but I’m goin’ to go behind his back, just this once, and let you sleep in the barn.  There aren’t any more neighbors for miles, and you won’t find good shelter before the storm comes.”  The woman smiled at her. 
-Alea's Story 

This next piece is the beginning of a story I started when I was on my trip.  I don't know if I'll ever really add more to it, but I definitely liked the idea, and reading back, I liked the writing as well, so I figured I'd let you guys read a bit of it.  It was originally supposed to be set in a futuristic Washington, D.C., but I'm not so sure now... it might just be a random city.

Elise leaned against the balcony, watching the lights of the city go out beneath her.  All at once, the city was cloaked in darkness.  And then, a few moments later, the lights of the watchtowers roared to life.  Her own home behind her, stayed lit.  They did not have to bend to the rules of curfew-- they were too closely linked with The Monarch.
Elise held her right hand in front of her, and examined the three rings she had known since birth, and had gotten new ones every year.  A simple silver band, symbolizing citizenship of The Union, was at the bottom of the three. Next came another silver band, but this one was made of three interlocking vines, with tiny flowers on them.  It was her family’s ring. Everyone in her family wore one.  Each of the Higher Families had their own ring, and wearing one showed that you had importance.  And last, a silver band made up of two arms, their hands interlocked mid-handshake. It symbolized unity with The Monarch.  Elise wore this one because her father and The Monarch worked closely-- though, it was true they had never met.  The Monarch met almost no one, even his closest advisers, like her father.  All information was sent through computers.

-Elise's Story

The Dandy Lioness