A Day In The Life Of A 4-Her During The County Fair

My previous “a day in the life” posts were quite popular, so I think it’s time for another! Earlier, I wrote about days during the school year, but now I’d like to try something else. My summer days are very different from my school days – and a huge chunk of each summer is devoted to various 4-H events held at the county fair. (Psst, if you don’t know what 4-H is, look here.) So I’m going to write about one of my days at the fair!

And wow, there certainly are/were plenty to choose from. (The fair is still ongoing, hence “are.”) I mentioned my new summer job several weeks ago; well, it has since begun and so I am now at the fairgrounds more than ever before. I don’t know quite how it happened, but at some point I became one of the REALLY INVOLVED 4-Hers who exhibits a ton of projects, volunteers often, is on planning committees, and even has a 4-H-related job.

This post tells what I did on Saturday, July nineteenth. That day was particularly special and fun because the Junior Leaders held a race to raise money for their programs. (Junior Leaders is for 4-H members in the seventh through twelfth grades.) All our months of planning really paid off!

Enjoy! Oh, and times are approximate as always.

5:00 AM - UGH. I accidentally set my alarm to go off an early too early… I fix that and go back to sleep.

6:00 AM - My alarm blares once again.

6:15 AM - I get up, get dressed, et cetera. Yes, I really did just lie in bed for fifteen minutes. I hate mornings, OK?

6:45 AM - Breakfast! Blueberry muffins!

7:00 AM - Mom, Dad, and I get in the car and drive to the fairgrounds for the race. I read The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett, a book I began the night before.

7:20 AM - Having arrived at the fairgrounds, I begin to take pictures of the volunteers and random runners. I’m one of the race’s official photographers!

8:00 AM - I photograph the children’s quarter-mile run.

8:30 AM - I photograph the main race. In order to take as many pictures as possible, I drive around with another photographer on a golf cart. Or rather, she drives and I hold on for dear life, hoping we won’t flip over and wreck my camera.

9:15 AM - The race is now over, so I hang out with my parents, my friend’s sisters, and their mom. People get water and snacks to refuel.

10:00 AM - I walk over to another building to help set up for the 4-H foods auction. Each year, the top Foods & Nutrition exhibits are auctioned off to raise money for the scholarship fund. My exhibit won champion (best out of all the eleventh-grade entries) and I will apply for some of that money during this coming school year, so helping out is a no-brainer. We sort the food, package it, and take it over to another building.

11:30 AM - We’ve finished setting up but the auction won’t start for another half an hour, so I read more of The Color of Magic.

12:00 PM - Auction time! My Chinese sesame seed cookies sell for one hundred dollars, or roughly ten dollars per cookie. As you can see, the auction isn’t really about the food – it’s about helping 4-H. You can buy cheaper food literally everywhere else along the midway, but people like to support the organization.

1:00 PM - My shift at the 4-H office begins. My main task today (and every day) is to put ribbons into members’ envelopes according to scorecards that list what each exhibit won. It’s not at all physically strenuous, but it is mentally challenging because I must be very attentive to what I do – no one likes to discover that they have the wrong ribbons, or not as many as they should have!

1:30 PM - Lunchtime! I’ve eaten a lot of sandwiches lately. Today is no different.

1:45 PM - More ribbon work.

3:45 PM - I really need a break from ribbons, so I volunteer to help pick up stuff from the 4-H draft horse show held earlier that morning. The afternoon’s golf cart ride is thankfully much, much calmer than the morning’s ride.

4:00 PM - MORE RIBBONS.

4:45 PM - I walk over to the 4-H dog show, taking pictures for the official Facebook page. Today marks the end of the three-day event, and tonight is all about fun. An obstacle/agility course has been set up and it’s actually rather entertaining. I’ve never seen any of the show before - I’m definitely a cat person and can’t stand most dogs, so there was just no reason to go until now.

5:15 PM - You guessed it! More ribbons!

5:30 PM - Time for “fair dinner”! This consists of nacho taters (like regular nachos but with tater tots instead of tortilla chips), lemonade, and Oreo pie. It’s certainly not healthy, but I eat it literally only once a year, so what’s the harm? While I eat, I watch more of the dog show and talk to some friends.

6:30 PM - Back to work. I sort ribbons for a little while longer, then clean the office because it really needs it. I sweep, put notebooks in the proper places, and wipe fingerprints off the front window. By the last hour of my shift, many employees, 4-H staff, and members have wandered in and we talk about all sorts of things – but mostly the race.

9:00 PM - Normally I drive home, but tonight my parents pick me up. On the way home, we talk about my day.

9:20 PM - We’re back home, and we keep talking. Especially about the race. Knowing that the event was a success is a GREAT feeling!

9:45 PM - I quickly check email, Facebook, and blog comments/stats.

10:00 PM - I shower and get ready for bed.

10:15 PM - Normally I read a book before falling asleep, but tonight I’m too exhausted to read even a page. Lights out!

Well, that was my day. It was slightly busier than most of my fair days, but I chose to share it with you anyway because it was so much fun. It also differed slightly from the other days in that I worked a late shift – my one and only late shift, as it turns out. Normally I work from ten until six.

That was my shift today, actually. I meant to publish this post in the morning before I left for work but WordPress cruelly decided to swallow my post, thus not saving any of my writing. Ugh. Anyway.

Saturday was also the fourth out of ten consecutive days of work – I just finished my eighth. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, ha ha! But seriously, I like my job. I’ve earned plenty of money for college and have gained a sudden appreciation for just how much behind-the-scenes work is necessary for the 4-H fair to run smoothly.

What do you think of my day? Are you in 4-H? And do you visit your county’s fair?

Posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Movie Night With Nevillegirl

Today, I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke And The Bookish! Normally the prompts are about, well, BOOKS. Every so often, however, they like to change things around and post a top ten about something else. This week the topic is “top ten favorite movies or TV shows.”

I’ve actually meant to write a post like this for a while, so how could I not jump in? I don’t often watch movies but when I do I always think, “I should do this more often!” Following are ten movies I adore, listed in no particular order. [Bestows virtual popcorn upon you]Enjoy!

1. Jurassic Park

DINOSAURS, people. Dinosaurs! How can anyone not love this movie?! It has the perfect mix of adrenaline-filled action scenes and awe-inspiring moments, PLUS one of the most gorgeous film scores ever. I really think John Williams was at his absolute best when he created that main theme.

P.S. If you adore the movie or just want to read an amazing story, try the original book by Michael Crichton. There is plenty of technical science-y jargon to get through, but don’t give up: It really pays off in the end. The book explores a lot of ideas that the movie only barely touched upon, and the ending is SOOOO different.

2. Miss Congeniality

This movie is completely ridiculous. And guess what? I love it! I’ve seen it so many times that I’ve lost count. It’s about an FBI agent who goes undercover at the Miss United States beauty pageant after an unknown person threatens to blow up the winner.

My dad quotes Monty Python; I quote Miss Congeniality. In fact, although my brother complains about the movie, we’ve seen it numerous times together and he always giggles at the dorky quoting marathon that follows: “Hey! I’m gliding here!”

THG-stills-the-hunger-games-movie-29947816-500-325[1]3. The Hunger Games

I feel like the only person in the world who loved this movie more than its sequel! Catching Fire was good but… honestly… I never like the middle parts of trilogies because they’re usually at that weird lull-in-the-action phase.

Anyway. The Hunger Games, while not a perfect adaptation, comes pretty close. I loved seeing Panem onscreen – oh, that contrast between the poor of District 12 and the freakishly-rich (and freakish-looking) Capitol citizens!

P.S. Here’s a big thanks to James Newton Howard for writing a beautiful film score!

4. The Fellowship of the Ring

Oh wow, this movie. It is my favorite book-to-film adaptation EVER and buying the extended edition boxed set was totally worth it. The Fellowship of the Ring is super-long but I don’t mind because it just keeps getting better and better.

What’s not to love about this movie? It’s remarkably accurate to the book. Its great panoramic shots are a feast for the eyes. And its film score is beautiful!

5. Despicable Me

Villains plus animation plus a children’s movie? Bring it on! This has to be one of the most bizarre children’s movies I’ve ever seen. (That’s a good thing, by the way.) I giggled throughout the entire thing, wished I had minions of my own, and was very happy that some weirdo decided that kids’ movies need more villains.

Carl-and-Ellie-Up6. Up

I expected Up to be yet another lousy, irritating children’s movie. You know, the kind with fart jokes every two seconds, the kind that makes you wonder why you bothered to watch it.

But it wasn’t. Up was actually very well-written, very sweet, and sometimes very sad. It’s a kids’ movie that isn’t about kids and I think that made all the difference.

Also, it made me want to float away in a wildly colorful house. Who’s with me?!

7. Rear Window

It’s time for another big thank-you, but this one is for my mom and dad: Thanks for showing me so many Alfred Hitchcock films when I was little! All the ones I’ve seen were deliciously creepy, but this one was the most so. (Even more so than The Birds, in my opinion!) The plot centers around a man who slowly becomes convinced that his neighbor murdered his wife and buried her in the apartments’ yard. It’s a bit slow to start, but stick with it because the suspense just keeps growing!

8. Captain America

The Avengers was funny and Thor had gorgeous music, but Captain America is by far my favorite Marvel movie. He’s my favorite superhero! And he has a great origin story! (Unlike Iron Man’s, which was just… zzzzz.)

I like how different Captain America is from the other movies in the series. The others all take place in the modern day – and I’d prefer to watch something that’s set in a different time. Even if it is, ahem, not quite historically accurate. But we’re not worried about that, are we?

untitled43t43t49. The Dark Knight

Another superhero movie! To my knowledge, this is the only DC Comics movie I’ve ever seen. The movies on this list aren’t in any certain order, but this definitely makes the top three.

Sometimes I love sweet, dorky movies like Despicable Me and Up. But sometimes I love incredibly dark, violent, and intense movies: The Dark Knight delivers on all three counts. It actually reminds me of Game of Thrones in a weird way. They’re both about a world that is out of control, where no one is ever completely safe.

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

The only worthwhile film of the bunch, in my opinion. I LOATHED the previous movies and had very low expectations for Part I… so I was blown away by the amazing-ness of this movie. People complain about the decision to split the final book into two films, but I think it was a great choice. For once, the filmmakers were actually able to include almost everything from the original story!

-~-

Feel free to join in the link-up! What are your favorite movies? Do you like any of the movies listed here?

P.S. Lately I’ve been thinking about going to see How To Train Your Dragon 2. Any thoughts? Was it as good as the first?

Posted in Harry Potter, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

“Bad Girls” – A Great Book About Women + History + Crime

bad girls“Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

– Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

I love my library’s YA nonfiction section. Where else would I find books about female villains from throughout the ages?!

Bad Girls, subtitled Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, and Other Female Villains was a quick, intriguing read – it took me no more than an hour to finish its not-quite-two-hundred pages. My thoughts about it can be found below, so read on!

The book is made up of a bunch of short biographies (complete with illustrations) about the following women:

  • Delilah
  • Jezebel
  • Cleopatra
  • Salome
  • Anne Boleyn
  • Bloody Mary
  • Elisabeth Báthory
  • Moll Cutpurse
  • Tituba
  • Anne Bonney and Mary Read
  • Peggy Shippen Arnold
  • Catherine the Great
  • Rose O’Neal Greenhow
  • Belle Starr
  • Calamity Jane
  • Lizzie Borden
  • Madame Alexe Popova
  • Pearl Hart
  • Typhoid Mary
  • Mata Hari
  • Ma Barker
  • Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner
  • Bonnie Parker
  • Virginia Hill

A pretty diverse list, no? The featured villainesses were from ALL OVER THE WORLD. The first half (or so) of Bad Girls DOES focus more on European/African/Asian women and the second half features a lot of female gangsters/bank robbers/et cetera from America, but overall this adds up to a bunch of women from lots of different countries. And I loved this. I hate when books claim to cover “the world history of _____” and then talk mostly about the USA, with a smattering of other countries discussed here and there.

However, I think that might also be the reason for the book’s only shortcoming (in my opinion)! It seemed like the authors wrote about so many women that they ran out of room! Sure, some of the bad girls’ bios were six or eight pages long, but some got only two! It left me going, “Whoa, what?! Isn’t there more to her story?”

Bad Girls examines whether these women really were bad. I love books that make me think. And this one definitely did! After reading it, I came to the conclusion that:

  • Some of these women were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Some of these women lived so long ago that what we “know” about their deeds may be little more than fairy tales.
  • Some of these women helped as many people as they hurt.
  • Sometimes we ignore that that in a few cases, the “evidence” against these women is inconclusive at best.
  • Some of these women did not choose to go into crime – they were coerced into it by their parents and/or spouse(s).

And finally:

  • Some of these women – very few, really – were truly evil.

And oh, how evil those few were! They really made up for the not-quite-so-bad deeds of the other women! Let’s just say that if you’re ever in need of a good creepy tale for telling around the campfire late at night, google Elisabeth Báthory. I would have adored this book when I was a wee Engie because there’s a little bit of gore, a little bit of women kicking butt, and a whole lot of history. I was a weird child, OK?

Speaking of weirdness, I share my name with not one but two of these women! I’m not even sure why I’m telling you this, except that I am an odd little history nerd. Just a few days ago, the Notebook Sisters posted about how it feels to find a fictional character with the same name as you. Well, that hasn’t actually happened very often to me. So what are the odds that two of the undoubtedly evil women share my name? We need to start setting a better example!

I really enjoyed Bad Girls and honestly, I think most people would. What’s not to like about a wonderfully illustrated book that tells thrilling tales of adventure, mischief, and maldoing? It’s easily one of my favorite nonfiction reads thus far this year. Try it!

Rating: 3/5

Posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Fifty-Five Questions About Books And Reading

So I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I met another teen writer / Teens Can Write, Too! member on my trip to Washington, D.C. She actually lives not too far away from me, which is a weird thought – how many other teen writers might live nearby? I’d love to meet more.

Anyway. She has a blog, too, and I found a long list of interesting bookish questions in one of her posts. People keep telling me how they like the posts where I answer questions or fill out memes, so… here are my answers! Enjoy!

1. Favorite childhood book?

Um. I am not quite sure. I think I can narrow it down to three: Matilda and The BFG by Roald Dahl and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. I read them over and over again until I had them practically memorized!

2. What are you reading right now?

Gone by Michael Grant, All Quiet on the Western Front by Ehrich Maria Remarque, and Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?

The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy!

4. Bad book habit?

When I visit the library, I check out more books than I will have time to read! I guess it’s the bookworm’s equivalent to having eyes bigger than their stomach. I always want to get ALL THE BOOKS when I know that I’ll only be able to read SOME OF THE BOOKS.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

Too many books to list. Here are just a few of them: Who-ology by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright; The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order by James Dashner; American Gods by Neil Gaiman; Blood Red Horse by K.M. Grant; and Naughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman.

6. Do you have an e-reader?

Not really, no. My mom has two and she lets me borrow the older one, but I don’t use even that very often. I like technology, just not for reading – I like holding a real book in my hands!

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

For as long as I can remember, I have always read several books at once. Hey, I’m easily distracted. Besides, there are so many books and so little time!

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

Yes, in two ways. First of all, I tend to read books more thoughtfully now in case I decide to review them and need to write down my observations about the story. Secondly, I find a lot of books through online recommendations – other blogs, Goodreads, et cetera – nowadays. Before I started blogging, I was limited to browsing the library for interesting reads.

9. Least favorite book you read this year so far?

I think there have been three, actually. Unfortunately. And for very different reasons each time!

I disliked Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan because I found its stream-of-consciousness style of narration extremely difficult to comprehend. I thought Alex and Brett Harris talked down to their readers way too much in Do Hard Things. I was also disappointed by Sidekicked by John David Anderson – the cover and plot summary misled me into thinking that it would be AN AMAZING BOOK

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?

Oh, gosh. Um. I don’t know. Probably Ash by Malinda Lo – it’s a really adorable romance and a retelling of “Cinderella” and a great LGBTQ+ story!

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

Dystopian, humor, and urban fantasy. I think.

13. Can you read in the car?

Yes, and my mom says that’s why I get lost so often when driving by myself – because when I was a little kid, I was too busy reading to pay attention to the routes we took to get to various place!

14. Favorite place to read?

My room! I love to read while lying in or on my bed, wrapped up in a blanket.

15. What is your policy on book lending?

Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I loaned a book to anyone. I suppose the last time was nearly four years ago when I lent my Harry Potter collection to Dad so he could read it.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?

NO. I’m not uncouth!

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

See my answer to number sixteen!

18. Not even with textbooks?

Nope. My mom wants to sell my old college textbooks after I’m finished with them, so I don’t write in them.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

Well, I’m only fluent in English, so…

20. What makes you love a book?

Beautiful writing, characters I would like to befriend, and a complicated-but-not-confusing plot.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? 

See my answer to question number twenty.

22. Favorite genre?

Fantasy. I can’t decide between high or urban fantasy, so I’ll just say: THE ENTIRE GENRE.

23. Genre you rarely read but wish you did? 

I used to read a lot of historical fiction when I was but a wee Engie. For some reason, I don’t read as much now. But I would like to.

24. Favorite biography?

I love Roald Dahl’s Boy: Tales of Childhood and have read it more times than was really necessary.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

Probably? I’ve read books that gave advice for writers and for LGBTQ+ teens, so those probably count as self-help. (Note: I haven’t read any books for LGBTQ+ teen writers, if you were confused about that. Each book gave advice about only one of the two topics mentioned above, not both.)

26. Favorite cookbook?

My dad has a huge collection of cookbooks about all kinds of foods – he has one that’s all about flatbreads, of all things. Anyway. I like reading a lot of his books, but I especially like the ones starting with The Frugal Gourmet because the author always includes an interesting anecdote before each recipe.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? 

That is a really hard question. I think it would have to be The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I know, I know, the ending is a bummer. But the book was stuffed with so many BIG IDEAS!

28. Favorite reading snack?

I don’t often eat while I read, but sometimes I have graham crackers.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

I was led to believe that Divergent by Veronica Roth was one of the best books ever. Hint: It’s not. It’s decent, but… nope. It did not live up to my very high expectations.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book? 

About seventy-five percent of the time, I should think. I usually agree with reviews, but sometimes my opinions are wildly different from the norm. For example, I loathed The Fault in Our Stars by John Green…

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? 

They are necessary at times – I’m not going to lie and say that I adored a book when I actually disliked it! And I do try to mention the positive aspects of a book even when the overall review is negative, because very few books are completely good or completely bad.

P.S. Apparently I am a tough critic? I don’t think I am – three stars is a perfect decent rating to me – but I’m just letting you know because evidently some of my readers think I can be stingy with my four- and five-star ratings.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

 Spanish, because my penpal tells me about all these wonderful books – and then I can’t read them because I’m not yet quite fluent in the language! However, during this upcoming school year I will be completing my third and fourth semesters of college Spanish classes, so hopefully I will be able to read an entire Spanish book someday!

35. Favorite poet?

I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a snob, but: William Shakespeare. I love his sonnets!

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

Probably twenty?

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread? 

Fairly often, because (as mentioned in question number four) I frequently check out a lot of books and then realize that I don’t have time to read all of them.

38. Favorite fictional character?

I’m quite fond of Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series. I kind of wish he were my dad. I mean, I like my actual dad, but if I had to pick someone to be my father, it would be Lupin.

39. Favorite fictional villain?

I really like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy because his story is so complicated. He’s not completely evil, honestly. I feel sorry for him.

41. The longest you’ve gone without reading?

Last year I had a severe case of the “reading blahs,” as I have now dubbed them. I didn’t read anything for two or three months!

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish. 

I struggled to read even the first forty pages of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, so I gave up. Yes, I’m a quitter. Perhaps I’ll try again someday but for now, I have lots of other stories to read.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?

Amazingly, music does not distract me – in fact, I love listening to my iPod as I read. What does distract (and irritate!) me are the people who keep asking questions about what I’m reading. I’ll happily tell you the title and author, but then let me read! And I HATE when people push up the book that I’m reading or try to grab it out of my hands so they can see it.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel? 

I absolutely adore The Fellowship of the Ring. The cinematography is beautiful and the storytelling is excellent!

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – such a good book, such a terrible film.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?

I bought hardcover copies of the last two Harry Potter books for approximately forty dollars each.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Oh god, way too often. This is another bad book habit of mine. I don’t do this with stories that I’m really looking forward to, like The Maze Runner, but I have been known to flip to the end of a book to see what happens. I really need to stop doing that.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?

Excessive violence or gore. I just can’t handle it.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

Yes! They’re organized, vaguely, by genre – historical fiction and contemporary on one shelf, nonfiction on another, children’s books on a third, et cetera. Nothing fancy, but it makes it easier to find things.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? 

People… actually… give away their books after reading them?

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

I want to read Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, but it’s so long and daunting! I mean, its fans call it “the brick” because it’s so big!

52. Name a book that made you angry. 

Lise Haines’ Girl in the Arena made me mad because I thought it would be a superb, Hunger Games-ish story. And it… wasn’t.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?

I had trouble getting into Cinder by Marissa Meyer but once I reached its halfway point, I was hooked.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?

I thought I’d like Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero, but I found it very slow going. Its sequels are much better, though.

55. Favorite guilt-free pleasure reading? 

Graphic novels! Some of my favorites are American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang and an adaptation of Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

Feel free to answer these questions on your own blog!

Posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 27 Comments

First Reactions To The “Doctor Who” Series Eight TV Trailer

The trailer for Doctor Who‘s eighth series has finally been released! Allow me to show my appreciation with a quote from my favorite incarnation of the Time Lord: FANTASTIC!

Several days ago, we were also provided with a definite premiere date: August twenty-third. I’m so excited - a brand-new Doctor! In just over a month!

Therefore, now is the time for a fangirly post about the upcoming series. Actually, I’ll probably write another one later in the form of a wishlist (and then I can talk about which of those hopes have and have not been confirmed). But for now, I’d like to examine the trailer.

Warning: Spoilers ahead! Read/watch at your own risk!

0:06 - That is a rather pretty explosion. Just saying.

0:09 - GO AWAY. I WANT A NEW COMPANION.

0:09 - DA-LEK.

0:18 - Blergh, this is my least favorite part about the introduction of a new Doctor – the companion’s uncertainty about who he really is. In New Who it’s always been there at least a little bit, but it seems like the writers are making a big deal about it this time. Like, seriously. Get over it. He has a different face. He might be wilder than before. That’s it.

0:21 - That looks like the most uncomfortable standing position ever. Maybe he’s doing Time Lord-y stretching exercises?

0:24 - “I’m the Doctor.” Well, DUH. Can we all agree to exterminate (see what I did there?) trailers that state such ridiculously obvious stuff?

0:25 - Capaldi’s eyes, though. I look forward to a scarier Doctor.

0:26 - I swear I’ve seen this person/creature/robot/thing before?

0:27 - Oh my god, it’s like a robot Silurian! Or something!

0:29 - I would like approximately five thousand of those tentacle-eyed creatures, please. They’ll be my friends.

0:31 - Is that a Victorian London skyline?

0:37 - “Where are we going?” “Into darkness.” [Insert sigh here] Wrong fandom. This isn’t Star Trek.

0:38 - VASTRA. MY LOVE. Also, the side of Strax’s head. I’m glad he’ll be back.

0:39 - So, this scene makes me really happy – if I’m interpreting it correctly, that is. Clara is wearing a red dress and falling down a tunnel. “So what?” you say. Well, that’s what happened in “Asylum of the Daleks” and one of my weirder predictions/theories is that Clara’s timeline will loop back around to one of the events that happened to her echoes. What if she died that way multiple times?

0:41 - Oh, dear. That appears to be a tyrannosaur crashing past Parliament. I mean, dinosaurs are super-cool (and I’m sure wondrousadventurer is now bouncing up and down with excitement), but they were in an episode last series too. Isn’t it a bit soon for a repeat?

0:44 - Ooh, I’ve seen this bit before from behind-the-scenes pictures: Eleven rides around in his pajamas because… why not?

0:51 - No, no, no! If the answer is, “I don’t know,” then the question shouldn’t be, “Clara, tell me. Am I a good man?” The question should be “Can Jenna Coleman actually act?” I’m sorry, but her acting was so wooden in that scene. Like, there is a problem when a secondary character (who is also a freaking potato) has more personality than the current companion.

0:55 - DOOOOO WHEEEEE OOOOH!

Well, that’s it for my trailer reactions – it was a short trailer, so there really wasn’t very much to react to. But I do have a few more thoughts that didn’t fit anywhere else in this post:

  • It was confirmed that this series will not be split into two parts, as was done with series seven. I’m excited to see all the episodes without that weird mid-series hiatus!
  • There will be a new companion named Danny Pink but he wasn’t shown in the trailer so I’m guessing that he plays a fairly minor role. But this is all just my speculation.
  • River Song was not shown in the trailer, so I wonder if her final appearance was in “The Name of the Doctor.” Honestly, I would be OK with that – or if she appeared with Twelve once and then left for good. She’s an interesting character, but I think it’s time to move on.

I’m really excited for the new series of Doctor Who! Of course, there are some things that make me apprehensive – namely, the rumors that Capaldi might leave after only one series – but otherwise, I AM SO LOOKING FORWARD TO AUGUST TWENTY-THIRD. I miss that mad man with a box!

What are your thoughts about the series eight trailer?

Posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Readers’ Responses To “A Recap Of Pride 2014″

I guess you could call this the recap of your responses to the recap of my Pride 2014 posts. However, I will not be posting a recap of the recap of the recap.

Confused yet?

Yeah, me too.

Anyway. On the first of this month I asked for your suggestions and thoughts on my Pride 2014 posts. Now I think it’s time to discuss those comments and how they will affect what I post on my blog in the future – because they will! That was the whole point of asking my readers: I want to know what you think and now I want to show you that I pay attention to what you think.

But before I talk about your thoughts and ideas, I’d like to thank everyone who commented. As promised, here’s a shout-out to Thomas @ The Quiet Voice, magicfishy @ The Magic Fishy, kiwiyoungwriter @ Ripped Out Pages, Miss Alexandrina @ Miss Alexandrina, Miriam Joy @ Miriam Joy Writes, Matt @ The Little Engine That Couldn’t, T.T. Kesley @ Tara Therese, Cori @ My Marbles, and wondrousadventurer @ Wanderer On The Sands Of Time.

Further thanks are due to the non-bloggers: eviline_lunette, Holly Alexandra, MOHE, and Mom.

Now it’s time to discuss the comments I received! In the recap, I split my LGBTQ+ posts into the following broad categories:

  • Writing
  • Current events
  • Fandoms
  • Advice
  • Personal

Then I asked which types of posts you enjoyed, and if there were any that you didn’t care for. Well, guess what? Many people liked all the types – and even when some people expressed no particular interest in one of the categories, just as many people requested more posts of that type.

Essentially, you want me to keep writing all five types of posts listed above. There were definitely suggestions for additional types of posts (and I’ll talk about them in a moment), but there weren’t any demands for me to stop writing any posts. I was kind of hoping for such results, but I asked anyway because I didn’t know what you wanted. For all I knew, maybe everyone loathed a certain type of post!

That evidently wasn’t the case, however, so I’ll definitely keep writing LGBTQ+ posts related to writing, current events, fandoms, advice, and my personal experiences.

Now I’d like to talk about your suggestions and other observations.

+ One commenter liked the prolific quality of my Pride posts: “I love how you’ve covered such a wide range of topics, ranging from political to personal. I feel like that just shows how LGBTQ+ issues matter in so many different areas: no one can confine them to just one spectrum of life.”

+ Many people liked my Pride flag made out of LGBTQ+ YA books. Maybe I should use that idea again in the future when I talk about more queer literature?

+ Someone asked for a post about how I would write an LGBTQ+ whose sexual orientation and/or gender identity is different from my own. I can answer that right now, actually: I’d write them just as I would write any other kind of character. This idea has also been covered in a previous post.

+ One commenter explained that she’s most interested in discussions of fandom and LGBTQ+ characters in fiction because they often help her to find queer-themed books and films that she did not know about before.

+ The same person – one of my international followers - also noted that although she is not disinterested in current events, she isn’t as interested in such posts if they’re about issues specific to my state or even to my country. They simply aren’t relevant to her life. I thought this was an excellent point, and one I hadn’t really considered before. So, I’ll try to write more about global LGBTQ+ news from now on.

+ People like it when I talk about lessons learned from my own LGBTQ+ experiences.

+ People read my ultra-long LGBTQ+ posts! And they love them! I’m very happy about this because I understand that feeling of, “Oh man, I love this blogger’s writing, but this post keeps going on and on and on…” One guy even thought that my “Should You Write Only What You Know?” post should have been Freshly Pressed – you have no idea just how much that made my day!

+ “Just keep doing what you’re doing, but with a few more Game of Thrones-related posts thrown in.” Don’t worry, I will. I meant to write one last month and then I got so busy with other posts! But a Game of Thrones post is definitely on my to-do list – in fact, I’d love to write a post about queer characters in multiple fantasy works. Or maybe I’ll fangirl about just Renly and Loras.

+ One commenter suggested that I post about bi and trans issues more often – and she’s right.

+ The same girl (and a guy) also suggested that I write about LGBTQ+ movies and TV shows. YES. I actually looked through Netflix’s selection of queer-themed films and shows the very next evening. Aside from Torchwood (a Doctor Who spinoff), I haven’t watched very many. But I totally should!

+ Finally, the same two people also suggested that I consider reviewing LGBTQ+ books (in addition to all my analyze-y fandom-y posts, that is). YES YES YES. That idea has actually been rattling around my brain for a while now, but I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested – so I’m super-glad that you requested it!

I’m most excited to start incorporating the final two ideas. I definitely want to make LGBTQ+ book reviews (of both fiction and nonfiction) a regular feature, and will probably do the same with review of queer movies/TV shows once I’ve watched more.

I love writing LGBTQ+ posts – I love writing all of my posts, but LGBTQ+ stuff means a lot to me, and your suggestions on how to make such posts were very much appreciated. So keep an eye out for future LGBTQ+ posts on Musings From Neville’s Navel, because they will feature some of your ideas and thoughts! I’m looking forward to changing and improving this blog.

P.S. You know… it’s never too late to tell me what you think. If you ever have any suggestions (for LGBTQ+ posts or other stuff), let me know in a comment!

Posted in LGBTQ+, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

A Frustrated, Procrastinating, Forgetful Little Copycat Writer – Teens Can Write, Too! July 2014 Blog Chain

tcwt-3[1]The blog chain returns! This month’s prompt is:

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started writing?

Well. Um. There’s isn’t just one thing, really. So I’ll make a list instead.

1. I don’t have to write what everyone else is writing.

Or rather, what it seems like EVERYONE else is writing.

I used to feel really weird because it seems like all teen writers – especially those I strongly admire – write poetry. And I don’t. I love reading poetry. I love learning about poetic styles and devices. I love analyzing others’ poems.

I just don’t like writing my own poetry.

I’d rather write essays. (Not research papers – essays! There is a difference!) Or humorous short stories. Honestly, I love writing stories in all sorts of genres.

But poetry? It’s a form of writing I neither like nor dislike. I have no interest in it, so I don’t write it. I used to feel bad about this – I mean, I have bloggy friends who self-publish their own poetry! And make (small amounts of) money from such endeavors!

And then I realized something. Why should I spend time on an activity that I don’t particularly enjoy and am not required to do? It’s not like work, where I have to come in once a week and make sandwiches because that’s my job.

So now I don’t worry about “what everyone else is writing.” If I spend my free time writing essays instead of poetry, so be it.

2. Procrastination happens. Don’t worry about it. Just move on.

I have a problem with procrastination. All day, I look forward to writing and then when I can write, I sometimes become distracted. But that’s not even my main problem here! My biggest problem is that once I procrastinate, I start to mentally beat myself up about what I just did. I keep berating myself and sometimes nothing gets done because I can’t stop being mad at myself for wasting my writing time!

I’m trying to stop this – both the procrastination and the frustration – and it doesn’t always work, but I think I’m getting better. Now I just sternly tell myself, “Engie, stop googling for random information about How To Train Your Dragon 2 and start writing your story. Now. I mean it!”

3. My stories never turn out quite as planned and I need to get used to this.

So I’m currently writing this story about assassins. Or spies? Or assassin who are also spies? Something like that. I MAY BE WRITING THE STORY BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. I keep switching things around, or getting new ideas.

Aaaaand then there’s also a problem with my style of narration. I had the brilliant idea (sarcasm!) to use flashbacks. Lots and lots of them.

However, I don’t really know how I should use them. I continually question everything from their placement (should the first flashback appear earlier or later in the novel?) to their length (should I make them short and sweet?).

Don’t get me wrong – I love writing this story. It is very confusing, though, because my original idea has been torn to pieces. Very little has turned out as planned, and I’m slowly learning to roll with it. I wish I’d known that when I started writing. This isn’t the first time I’ve thrown all/most of my plans out the window.

4. I must write down story ideas because if I don’t, I will forget them.

THIS IS THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE. Forgetting ideas, that is, not writing them down. But seriously. I have forgotten so many ideas simply because I didn’t take a few seconds to jot them down.

Eventually I learned to scribble my ideas somewhere. A notebook is ideal for this purpose because all the ideas are collected in one place. However, if I don’t have mine when I need it, random scraps of paper work too – anything to prevent me from forgetting my new story idea.

5. Finding inspiration in other authors’ works is great. Letting large amounts of their ideas and writing styles bleed through into my own works is not great.

George R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien are currently two of my favorite authors, as you may or may not have already guessed. I adore their books that I’ve read and look forward to finishing the others. I find a lot of inspiration from their stories.

And that’s OK. But it’s not OK to write stories that are suspiciously similar to Martin’s and Tolkien’s or anyone else’s. Obviously, no one can be completely original. But we should try to be as original as we can be, and there were times when I… didn’t try.

I’ve put aside some stories because they were too similar to those of some of my favorite authors. I could give several examples, but I’ll stick to just one: I wrote a short story set in what was more or less Minas Tirith from Lord of the Rings. The city in my story was pretty much the same. The culture of the people who lived there was pretty much the same.

And I can’t use that. I had fun writing that story (and the others) but as much as I may enjoy working on it, I can’t ever try to have that story published, not in the form it is now. I’ll probably come back to those stories someday and revise, but they’ll need a lot of editing and right now I don’t feel like doing that.

-~-

[Scrolls back through her own post and reads stuff] Wow, I guess I have learned a lot in, what, nearly four years of writing? (Writing as a serious hobby, that is. I wrote before NaNoWriMo and blogging. I just didn’t devote as much time or effort to it.) And honestly, although I wish I’d known the stuff listed above when I began writing, I’m just happy to know that I know it now. If I hadn’t figured out those things I’d be quite the frustrated, procrastinating, forgetful little copycat writer right now.

And where’s the fun in that?

P.S. One last request for comments on the recap of my Pride 2014 posts – I promise. I wasn’t originally going to mention it here, but then I remembered how much blog traffic my Teens Can Write, Too! posts always get. So I’ll promote it once again. Please take a few minutes to tell me what types of LGBTQ+ posts you most enjoy on Musings From Neville’s Navel. Also, do you have any suggestions for future posts? Thank you so much!

Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day:

5th – http://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/

6th – http://thelittleenginethatcouldnt.wordpress.com/

7th – http://nasrielsfanfics.wordpress.com/

8th – http://miriamjoywrites.com/

9th – http://lillianmwoodall.wordpress.com/

10th – http://www.brookeharrison.com/

11th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/

12th – http://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/

13th – http://theweirdystation.blogspot.com/

14th – http://taratherese.wordpress.com/

15th – http://sammitalk.wordpress.com/

16th – http://eighthundredninety.blogspot.com/

17th – http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/

18th – http://novelexemplar.wordpress.com/

19th – http://thelonglifeofalifelongfangirl.wordpress.com/

20th – https://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/

21st – http://theloonyteenwriter.wordpress.com/

22nd – http://roomble.wordpress.com/

23rd – http://thependanttrilogy.wordpress.com/

24th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ – (We’ll announce the topic for August’s blog chain!)

Posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Teens Can Write Too!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 14 Comments