Saturday, June 30, 2012

Marveling at The Avengers

{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.}



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

"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:


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 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


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