Saturday, February 27, 2010

Accio Books

This year I'm participating in the Harry Potter Alliance's Accio Books drive. Most (if not all, I'm not really sure) of the books raised will be going to people in/from Haiti.
The HPA, for those who don't know, is a non-profit organization comprised of HP fans. We're the "Dumbledore's Army of the real world."
Past campaigns are:

  • Raising money for people in Darfur and Burma
  • Accio Books 2009 (4,000 of which went to Rwanda)
  • Phone campaign through Mass Equality to promote marriage equality in Maine
  • "Lighting a Candle For Rwanda" videos, shown at a celebration in Rwanda
  • Work with anti-genocide group STAND
  • Wizard Rock the Vote (helping first-time voters to register)
  • Podcast on Darfur
  • Teaching student leaders

North Carolina's Chapter:
HPA Main site:

These people are pretty awesome. There's a Livestream @ 4:00 today to kick-off Accio Books.

Okay, unrelated plugging over.

I finished Boys Without Names yesterday. Emily wants to read it next, so I'll give it to her in band on Monday. Next I will be reading Before I Fall. It's pretty long, but I hope I'll be finished by next meeting so someone else can have it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Different Sort of Writing Club

Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. I'm not abandoning you guys.

Today I became a "High School Mentor" for the brand-new writing club at the elementary school that my sister attends and my mom works at. There were a lot of kids there. There's even a waiting list. Can you believe that? It's amazing.
I mostly sat in the back and worked on my CW homework this time...but they didn't need much help. This meeting was mainly "Hi, welcome to the Reedy Creek Writers (by the way, I get a special nametag that says "Reedy Creek Writers" on it). This is what we will be doing over the next 6 meetings (yeah, there'll only be 6 between now and the summer), fill out these forms, blah, blah, blah..."
For the first 15 minutes while people are still arriving, there's "Free-Writing Time" (which has a how is that free?) It's my job to come up with the prompts (with the exception of today). The kids just write based on the prompt...or they can ignore it.

Today's was "Write about something you love."
I wrote about snow, since it snowed this morning, and I really do love it.

Funny story: there was a kid who wrote about Star Wars. Then, later, when the teacher running it told everyone to write their favorite word on a piece of paper and tell why they like it, the same kid  wrote (you guessed it!) "Star Wars is my favorite word because it's my favorite movie."

We (yes, even the teachers and us High School Mentors) all had to fill out a Writing Questionaire. It had all of the things you'd expect. I laugh as I think about the Presiding Teacher reading it....

"What are your hobbies/interests?"

"Reading, writing, philosophy, physics, quantum mechanics, earth-based spirituality, metaphysics..." Yeah. That's me.

I think the kids are kind of um...what's the word...scared? in awe? of me. The Presiding Teacher introduced me something like this: "This is Olivia...she's published in a book and is part of a high school writing club at a bookstore." She made it sound a lot more impressive than it actually is. It's just a poem, in a book that's pretty much only available to the friends and family of the people with poetry or prose in the book. It's also a really bad poem I wrote in about 30 seconds. I'm still shocked I came in the top 40 in my age group in that contest... I mean, really. That was one pathetic poem.

I'm looking forward to future meetings with this writing club. It's cool to see all of the little kids being creative.

Oh, and you guys picked "Saving, Slaying, Sewing" as opposed to the next three chapters of Clockwork, which I had in my folder? That was unexpected.

I'm 2/3 done with The Boys With No Names. It's quite excellent.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Trailer- The Email

Apparently I never posted my and Sarah's newest movie trailer: The Email.

The Blooper Video is also now up:

I will be bringing the next three chapters of The Clockwork Experiment to our meeting this week (is there a meeting this week?). I will warn you, however, there is shopping involved. The pages are printed and in a folder in my backpack. I sat down to edit them this afternoon and...well, let's just say there's an awful lot of blue ink. I found myself thinking Did I really edit this already? The answer is yes, I did. I am learning the value of revision. This is good.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

This Machine Pwns Noobs- A Review

I've been meaning to write a review of Hank Green's latest album This Machine Pwns Noobs for awhile now. I got it for Christmas, so that just shows how long it's been. I will try to link each track to the YouTube video where you can hear the song. WARNING: A lot of these videos are NOT the studio version of the song. They're just Hank, with his guitar and camera. The studio-recorded versions are much better.

Track 1: "DFTBA," featuring Michael Aranda
It's a great song to dance to, but difficult to learn all of the lyrics. This song is comprised almost entirely of different things the letters D F T B A can stand for, the usual being Don't Forget To Be Awesome. There's also a sample from John (Green)'s video in which the phrase began. One of my favorite songs ever. Music video comment: Hank's pretty good at dancing.

Track 2: "This Isn't Hogwarts"
Hank writes a song about Harry Potter about once a year in July. The first was the hit that made the vlogbrothers channel so popular back in 2007, "Accio Deathly Hallows," the second was "Book 8," and this is the one from 2009. In this song, Hank tells us what he thinks of the public school system. It is a must-listen for anyone who has ever wanted to go to Hogwarts.

Track 3: "A Song About Anglerfish"
It was originally going to have a different title, but everyone liked this one. This song conveys messages found in both The Giver and Fahrenheit 451, while also teaching the listener some stuff about Anglerfish. This song was used in the 2009 Nerdfighters Fitness Challenge in which the participant does as many "push-up-jumping jack-dance move" combos as they can while listening to it once.

Track 4: "I Know"
Difficult to understand, since most of the lyrics are something like "I know that you don't think I think you know you think I know."

Track 5: "Mules Are So Half-Ass"
Completely comprised of puns. "The mink lost her furry scarf/she said it was stolen/ the shoe salesman wanted to help 'cause he had so much sole/ but then his whole left side fell off/ well, he's alright now/ and the pregnant heiffer saw it happen/ yeah, she had a cow/ and the CO2 delivery guy always gives me gas/ and I really hate mules/ cause they're so half ass." Very catchy.

Track 6: "Scuzzy Kizoozle Curl"
A song about a homicidal squirrel. With a string backdrop. Makes you want to dance. Beware of her.

Track 7: "Protons and Neutrons"
This is probably my favorite track on the entire album, "DFTBA" being second. It sounds great, the lyrics are great, and it makes me think.

Track 8: "Dead Boy's Girlfriend"
A Harry Potter song not written in July, about Cedric Diggory being dead.

Track 9: "Demolition Derby"
Hank likes the Demolition Derby. He also likes deep-fried food. This is the song in which he expresses that.

Track 10: "Fathers of the Founding Fathers"
"If fatherhood is the most important job by far/ Why don't I know who the fathers of the founding fathers are?". Hank's thoughts on Father's Day.

Track 11: "Ulcerative Colitis"
There are very few songs in the world about the singer's large intestine. Even fewer that are also about the country's healthcare system. This may be the only one. Moral of the story: "The healthcare system's more screwed up than a 50 year-old Fred subscriber."

Track 12: "I'm Not Edward Cullen"
The story of a boy whose crush won't love him because he's not Edward Cullen. "[She] can't help but realize, those are golden contacts in [his] eyes." The female part is sung by Hank's wife Katherine. My favorite part: "He's the only man I can't resist/ and you can't convince me he does not exist." Apparently this is an actual problem in some places today, both Edward Cullen's existence versus non existence and the problem the boy in the story is facing.

Track 13: "Crime Dramas Suck"
Everyone knows a show that is predictable. They might love it anyway, but they know what will happen. This song shows that every crime drama on TV is the same, while also poking fun at the fact that they always choose good-looking people to star in them. "By the middle of the first season/ Murder is eclipsed by sexual tension/ And I guess that probably happens a lot/ Since crime-solving people are always so hot." Sorry if this song spoils the entire season of CSI for you.

Track 14: "Jesus Gets Nothing For Christmas"
"And the worst part is it's his birthday too." I'm sure just the title gives you an idea about what is trying to be said here. He's not being serious- it's just a song to be funny. Who knew Jesus liked video games?

Track 15: "The Vegetables"
Rated PG-13. Very strange music video. Only the lyrics are rated highly, however. The music video is clean if you watch with the sound off. Now, when the video and music are combined...that is a different story. Watch at your own risk.

Track 16: "Nerdfighteria Island"
Sometime in 2009, it was discovered that we, the nerdfighters, could actually buy ourselves an island if everyone contributed a few hundred dollars. Of course, that will never actually happen, but this is a song about our country that will never exist in the physical world. A lot of this song is references to various things that only nerdfighters will understand.

Track 17: "It All Makes Sense At The End"
In which Hank pretends to be old and lists out how long he spent doing various things, looking back on his life. "I know you're curious/ I spent 3 years poo-ing."

There. I'm done with my review. I hope you watch the videos, and I also hope you go buy the album. To help you all with that, here's the link to go do that:

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Few Little Things

I've been assigned my first actual story to write for class. It's too long the way it is now for the word limit, so I'm going to transform it into more of a bedtime story type thing.
A few more chapters of Clockwork to come on Wednesday. :D Eager for your feedback.
I recommend the latest vlogbrothers video on the hypocrisy of big corporations.

Reading wise, I've got about 300 pages left of The Eye of the World. Next...I might read Dune, or The Time Traveler's Wife, or Stardust or one of my nonfiction books, or the next Wheel of Time book.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Byes to the Contest, KKC Updates, and Caprica

Okay, it turns out that the contest I was going to enter is way  more complicated than I thought it would be. Basically, if I still wanted to enter, I would have to write a 300 word "pitch," a "biographical information" piece, completely finish Clockwork plus all editing and revising and table of contents and acknowledgements and, well, everything in 13 hours. Not going to happen, unless my friend David's time machine gets out of the repair shop on the moon sometime this year. It's in there because of an incident with cheese. The good news is, before I looked at all of the requirements and stuff, I wrote a synopsis of the rest of the plot. Now I have a better idea of what's going to happen.

On the subject of the KKC, I can barely walk today, and when I do, it looks really weird and (obviously) hurts a lot. We're going to have to do a lot of walking up and dow hills today, apparently, in order to help us recover.

Now for a review of last week's episode of Caprica.

Lacey and Robot-Zoe entered the tiny virtual room where Zoe's dad was keeping the other guy (can't remember his name)'s daughter. They let her out into the virtual nightclub. Now the guy is mad at Zoe's dad because his daughter is no longer there. We saw the semi-evil nun talk to these people that are part of Soldiers of the One while in a virtual room with a candle. She's trying to find Zoe's Avatar (robot Zoe). Robot Zoe is trying to escape to the planet Geminon because she knows that's what Real Zoe wanted her to do. Apparently she has some sort of mission there.Zoe's parents are being attacked because Zoe's mom announced to the world that her daughter was a terrorist (which she wasn't- it was her boyfriend who blew up the train).

Both after the episode (Friday night) and yesterday, we (my dad, sister, and I) mentioned to each other that we really want to watch the entire rest of the season in 1 day just so we can find out what haopens.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Krispey Kreme Challenge

For those who do not know, the NC State Krispey Kreme Challenge is a race invented by a few students several years ago. The first year had 12 participants. This year had 6000. I was one of those 6000.

I expected to walk most if not all of the way, simply because I don't like running. I ended up running almost all of the 2 miles to the Krispey Kreme (then ate 2 donuts and had a cup of water), and then ran/walk scatteredly for the 2 miles back. My dad and I finished together.
We just got back, my cousin is lying on the floor feeling ill, and my dad and aunt are doing something on the computer. I am tired and my legs hurt, but I also feel pretty good. I haven't run much since last spring (when I had gym class, and we have barely done any running this semester in gym), so I was sort of surprised I lasted as long as I did.
On the way back, I began counting my steps. Not for any particular reason, but simply because I wanted to. My previous record for how high I have ever counted was about 375. Today I got to over 1200. We also have about 50 donuts lying around our house. Video to be posted on YouTube soon documenting the experience.

Either later today or sometime tomorrow I am submitting what I have so far of Clockwork in that Amazon contest I have mentioned in a previous post. As mentioned before, if I win, I get 15,000 dollars and a contract with penguin. Insanely unlikely, but fun to fantasize about and definitely worth a shot.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lord of the Rings

For the purposes of this post, let's pretend it is 1:00, instead of 11:00. Okay? Put yourself in that mindset.

For the past 24 hours, I have been immersed in 3 things: a Lord of the Rings movie marathon, pizza, and sleeping. We made it through Fellowship and Towers yesterday, and are now watching the Battle of Pelennor Fields. They're about to bring out Grond, the battering ram.

There is only one book I believe has a better movie, and this is it. I watch these movies around once every six months, often in July on my way up to NY to visit my grandparents. Watching them this time around is making me want to reread the books, since I haven't done that since 7th grade, and now that I'm older I might appreciate them more. I also want to give the Simarillion another go, as I've started it twice and failed to complete it both times.

Since we're so familiar with the movies, we tend to also make fun of them while we watch (yes, we love them dearly, but they're fun to laugh at as well). This time through the jokes have mainly been about Pointy Hats (of Gondor) and Beer.

In Creative Writing, our teacher was talking about Frodo, and what makes him so memorable (the fact that he is a hobbit being the most prominent).

**watches more of the movie** Oh, Shelob is quite scary, isn't she?

I'm quite looking forward to the movie of The Hobbit. I love the cartoon version (I usually watch it when I'm sick), but this will hopefully be better. Peter Jackson is directing, Ian McKellan is coming back as Gandalf, and I'm not sure if much other casting has been done. There's a rumor that David Tennant might be Bilbo...that's a strange thought, isn't it? After all the emphasis on Doctor Who about how skinny he is...a fat hobbit? That would be so weird. It'd be cool, but so odd.

It is our (my sisters and mine) general consensus that Aragorn gets progressively less awesome as the movie progresses. He was best at the beginning in Bree when he was just this random cool Ranger guy, but then at the end he becomes King of Gondor and is just sort of boring.

Fun facts: The guy who plays Bilbo in Lord of the Rings also did the voice of Frodo in the 1980s radio show that my dad listened to when he was in high school.

There was a minister in the New Zealand government appointed specifically for making as much money as possible off of the filming of the movies.

A loom fell on top of Sean Astin (Sam) while they were eating lunch on the Rivendell set. The other hobbit actors spent the next several days pointing behind him and shouting "LOOM!"

Contrary to the belief that the nine Fellowship actors all have identical tattoos, John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) did not get one.

Viggo Morgenstern (Aragorn) read the book while on the airplane flying to New Zealand. It was his son that convinced him to take the job.

The cast played cops and robbers in the woods near where they were staying sometimes.

A lot of video games were played in certain hotel rooms of certain hobbit actors.

At the part where Aragorn kicks the orc helmet and then screams, he had really broken two of his toes.

The Rohan flag that comes undone was an accident.

Orlando Bloom (Legolas) was still in acting school when he was hired.

Elijah Wood (Frodo) applyed by means of going into a forest near his home, dressing up as a hobbit, and shooting some footage of himself.

Orlando Bloom originally auditioned for Faramir. (my sister says "I think he's better as Will Turner")

The orcs in the Battle of Helms Deep, in the shots when there was loads of them, were played by the entire New Zealand army.

The plants in Hobbiton were planted two years before filming actually started so as to make them look authentic.

It is rumored (but never actually admitted by Tolkein while he was alive) that Eowyn is based on the Anglo-Saxon princess Aethelflaed.

There's really no point in this post, other than sharing my random bits of trivia with you. I did write about 2,000 words of Clockwork on Monday, but not much more writing has been going on other than finishing the 50 characters.

**watches more of the movie** OH NO DENETHOR'S BURNING FARAMIR ALIVE!!!

And now I must go to watch the Rohirrim kick some orc butt. Goodbye for now, my friends.

Oh, and the image in this blog's header is from The Fellowship of the Ring, somewhere near the scene on Carhadras.