Wednesday, October 4, 2017

September 2017 Doings!

September is a weird month. It starts out super calm, almost like it's still summer, and then halfway through- boom. Everything is crazy and you have no free time anymore and you're running from one place to another and working right up until you have to go to bed in order to balance everything. And then you get to the end of the month and things have sort of calmed down- but not really; in many ways you've just gotten used to the craziness and learned to live with it. So, yeah. There's the short summary of the month. For the long summary, read on!

Writing!

  • Oh, yay, I finally finished Blood in the Snow! I only dragged it out two whole months after it was supposed to be done!
  • Seriously, though, I need to have less chatty characters and a better feel for what scenes are necessary and which ones aren't, because those are 50% of the reason I didn't finish back in July like I was supposed to.
  • Well, that and the fact that I kept having three million other things to do. Like school. And social stuff. And exercise. And all the stuff that's going to go in the Life! section.
  • In other news, I wrote my first creative nonfiction piece ever and I'm super happy with it. I hope to post it on here at some point. I almost posted it on Friday in place of Friday 5s, but ended up not even having time for that. Oh well. It shall appear eventually.

Books!

  • As you can see, I did not do a lot of reading this month. But I enjoyed what I did, so I guess there's that?
  • The month started with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which I think I liked about as much or maybe a little better than the first one. I'm oddly attached to Ginny for some reason that I can't really explain? So yeah. I mean, the whole Weasley family is great, but I especially like her. On the other hand, Lockhart is an utterly useless git, and his Dueling Club idea (it was his idea, wasn't it? I can't remember; it was weeks ago) was so incredibly stupid-
  • Anyway. I'd probably be further along in the series, but I'm waiting for my roommate to finish rereading the thing so we can move on at the same time. Otherwise, I'll probably finish book 7 while she's still working on book 4 or something.
  • 2.5 of this month's books were rereads. Unexpected Magic I picked up because Deborah O'Carroll reminded me of one of the stories which I loved ("Little Dot," if you were curious; it's an excellent story and I highly recommend it.) And Do You Take This Quest was just re-released this month, so I wanted to see what changes Kendra made.
  • The .5 reread is The Screwtape Letters- not because I've only read half of it before, but because I only comprehended half of it the first time I read it. I enjoyed and appreciated it much more this time around. Lewis is brilliant, ok? It's still not the sort of book I think I'd read every year or something like that, but still, it's excellent.
  • And, of course, I read and reviewed Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World for the blog tour last week. (Was that really just last week? Stars . . . it feels so long ago!) I suggest you just go and read my review if you want to know what I thought of it, but for the TL;DR version: Wanted is very unique from Davis's other works, while still containing many of his trademark elements. It's aimed at middle grade readers, but I think anyone of any age could enjoy it quite well.
  • Finally, not pictured but getting a mention anyway is Pride and Prejudice. I didn't exactly reread it straight through, but I practically did, I've skimmed through it so many times in the last week. I was trying to find quotes from it for a class project, and I made the thing about 5x harder than it needs to be- but there was a contest and a prize involved along with the grade. So, while I could've had the grade after about an hour's scrolling through Goodread quotes and slapping them on a Word Document, I decided to go all out and do something cool, which turned I think turned out pretty well:
Bad cell phone picture. Best I can do right now because I turned it in yesterday.

Watching!

  • Still watching Fairy Tail! Surprise, surprise. We haven't even made it out of the first season yet, even though we've actually watched a fair bit.
  • I still think it's kind of a popcorn show, though less so than I did at the beginning. The fact that the arc I'm currently in is shaping up to be on the darker side makes a difference towards that. I still love the magic and the worldbuilding, and I'm getting to the point where I actually like most of the characters to some degree.
  • Also, the last two arcs were actually super fun. I mean, Phantom Lord was 75% fighting and Lucy being weepy and dramatic, which aren't exactly my favorite things in the world- but the fighting showcases the magic, which is one of my favorite parts. Also, there's a super cute sibling relationship that I found out about and it makes me quite happy. And then the Loke mini-arc . . . let's say I saw very little of it coming but I absolutely loved it and Loke is in my top five favorites now.
  • (That said, his name is pronounced the same way as Loki from Marvel and it's very confusing. Actually, names in general in Fairy Tail are confusing, because you have mostly either fantasy names or Asian-sounding names, but occasionally you have random English names? Or weird names that really don't seem to be names at all? So yeah. I don't know what's going on with that.)
  • Also, I got to watch the extended edition of Fellowship last Friday! I haven't watched any of the LotR movies in a couple years, despite my best intentions, so I really enjoyed this, and it made a nice de-stresser at the end of a very crazy week. Apparently, a few of the other girls on my hall (one in particular) are a fellow Tolkien fans, and one of them acquired the movie from the library and decided to do a half-hall movie night. Most of the people who decided to watch had seen the movie before at some point, but it was the first time for two of my friends. I quite enjoyed seeing and hearing her reaction to the movie and the way she tried to sort out what was going on.
  • That said, we sort of didn't finish the movie until 1 in the morning . . . and then I stayed up another half-hour to finish getting ready for bed and talking about storycraft with one of the girls who hadn't seen LotR before . . . so that maybe wasn't the smartest idea in the world. But for every once in a while- worth it.

Life!

  • So the highlight of this month is conveniently located at its beginning: I went to my first-ever Renaissance Festival! I didn't go in costume, because it was a bit rainy and more than a bit muddy and the only costume I had on hand was my mistcloak, which I didn't want to accidentally mess up. But even without dressing up, I had a lot of fun! Most of the day we spent walking through the festival and looking in little shops (and then backing out of them once I saw the prices . . .) and admiring the costumes of all the people who did dress up. It was a pretty interesting mix: some people who went all-out authentic, some people who took a more medieval-fantasy tack, some who were solidly fantasy, and some who apparently decided that steampunk totally qualifies for a Ren Fest. Not that I'm criticizing, because most of the steampunk people had clearly put a lot of effort into their costumes and they looked awesome. We didn't watch many of the shows, but we did see the joust. I tried to take pictures, but they all turned out blurry. I still enjoyed it, though. Also, I had falafel for lunch and I acquired a map of Odysseus's travels in The Odyssey as a souvenir, so that's awesome. I plan to mat and frame the map and hang it up . . . somewhere. Not sure where. (The problem with my plan to acquire a new bookshelf at home is that it cuts into my picture-hanging wall space quite a bit . . . Oh well. Books trump pictures every time.)
  • That was, as I said, the big event of the month. Otherwise, I spent most of my time either in class or working on assignments for class. The thing about my major is that there's not many tests, but there are a lot of projects, so it's more fun but it also takes more time. That said, I'm super happy with a lot of what I've made, and I know I've learned a lot even in just a little over a month, so I'm not complaining. (I have an actual business card now! Or would if I actually got the one I made printed out. And in another class, we did practice job interviews and I actually did pretty well? So yay for that!)
  • Also, I've found myself enjoying my English class a lot more than I was originally. Actual lectures still aren't terribly interesting, and diagramming is rather tedious after the tenth sentence on one worksheet- but the material is reliable. I know where I stand with grammar, even if others might not. And while the professor and I still don't see eye to eye on diagramming, I like her. She's passionate about what she does, and she genuinely wants to make sure her students learn, and she kind of reminds me of one of my professors from last fall.
  • In other news, I still haven't really done anything for the newspaper, but I did find out that I can maybe start doing book reviews for them, and yesterday I talked to my editor about a list of potential books to review. The first part of the semester, I was too nervous to take any jobs and there weren't any articles that really interested me, and then the second half hit and I had major projects due for every single professor within a two week span, plus the Wanted blog tour, plus exercise to keep myself sane, and . . . yeah. Most of those big projects and such are done now, though, so I hope that I can pick up some assignment- either a confirmation on a book review or something else- at the next meeting. (I'd like a photography job, whether or not I end up doing a book review . . . I mean, it's probably more time consuming than writing? And it's less relevant to what I want to do with my life? But I miss photography, I really do, and if I don't get a specific assignment with it, I might try to set aside a Saturday morning or weekday evening sometime to walk around and just take pictures on campus. Maybe if I do it in the evening, I can convince a friend or two to come so I can practice portrait photography too . . .)
  • I also started doing a martial arts class, which I'm really enjoying. I'm not sure that I'm very good at it? I mean, I'm far from perfect, and there's two particular moves that we do at every class and I still wonder if I mix up every time? But I'm getting the concepts down, and I can actually keep up during most of the actual class even though I'm roughly 5x less athletic than almost everyone else who comes regularly. So that makes me happy. (Also, the instructor recently let me and a few other girls move up a level, since we've mastered what he taught us at the start to his satisfaction, so yay for that! Of course, I had to miss the class right after he let us move up, because the project I mentioned in the reading section took 3x longer than I expected, but it's fine.)

October Plans!

  • So, obviously, it's already October, but I can still have plans for the rest of the month, right?
  • We're not going to talk about the obvious thing much- I have classes. I have homework. I'm going to do those things and they're going to take up most of my time. That's just life. At some point I'll probably have to plan my classes for next semester, but that's not terribly difficult. It's mostly a matter of figuring out which classes that I need are only offered in that particular half of the school year and seeing what I can fit in around those.
  • I think my church's Bible study will hopefully start back up soon, though, so that's exciting! We're beginning a bit late, since the professor who leads it was super busy earlier in the semester. I don't know what book we're going to go through, but last year we did Micah, and I'd definitely like to try for another minor prophet or two.
  • As far as writing goes, I started rewriting Blood in the Snow last night and got about 1.5K in. I doubt I'll be able to keep up that pace daily, but I hope I can set up some kind of regular schedule. While rewriting and editing Blood in the Snow is my current plan for NaNo this year, I'd really like to be mostly done with the first rewrite before then.
  • Also, the trees around campus are finally starting to show fall colors, and I really want to get out with my camera sometime before all the leaves fall. Maybe this Saturday . . . though Saturday is also homecoming, and I don't really want to deal with all the crowds when I'm trying to get a good picture. We'll see what happens.
  • Of course, the big event of October is Fall Break! My roommate and I are making plans for a craft weekend at her house again so we can work on Halloween costumes. I can hardly wait, especially since I may or may not have been planning my costume since last year . . . That's normal, right? Anyway, I'm not going to say too much, since I don't know what'll work and what won't, but I'm thinking steampunk.
  • And, of course, once we get back, there will be Halloween events- one for my major and one for my dorm that I'm certain of, and maybe (hopefully!) others, and I'll get to show off my costume- maybe more than one costume; I have my mistcloak with me, just in case I need it- and it's going to be awesome and yeah. I'm maybe too excited. Oh well. Literally the only reason I get so worked up is that it's an excuse to dress up.
How was your September? Do you have any plans for October? Do you get excited for Halloween costumes? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)
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