First Reactions To The “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” Film Trailer

I’m such a happy little fangirl at the moment, peoples! Why? Because Avengers: Age of Ultron will be out in just a few days and I AM SO READY FOR THAT AWESOMENESS. It’s actually released on May first, but I’m going to see it on Thursday (April thirtieth) because… because, for whatever reason, it has become a Thing for movie theaters to release movies like a day before they’re officially out – thus entirely defeating the purpose of having that specific release date.

I do not understand that at all.

But I digress. If it means I get to see Age of Ultron a day earlier than I otherwise would, then I’m happy and I’ll try not to question those movie theater quirks. Anyway, I’m going to watch this one with a friend and FLAIL SO MUCH and smile gleefully every time Steve Rogers is onscreen because he is my favoritest superhero.

But that’s still a few days away, so in the meantime I thought I’d do another film trailer reaction post! This one’s about the third trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Enjoy!

P.S. You can find my earlier film trailer reaction posts here.

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

0:07 – Ooh, so pretty!

0:10 – Someday when I am a villain I will have an Intimidating Yet Pretty Palace of Doom just like the one here.

0:12 – SCARLET WITCH AND QUICKSILVER SCARLET WITCH AND QUICKSILVER OMG OMG OMG.

0:15 – I have no idea who voices Ultron, but he sounds… way too nice? Like, I know he’s saying Scary Things but he sounds way too suave and I just can’t take him seriously and this is amusing.

0:19 – Also I need a plane like that.

0:21 – Who is she? I have no idea, but she is so pretty and oh god I am very gay.

0:30 – EXPLOSIONS.

0:34 – “There’s only one path to peace.” And Ultron believes it involves chasing innocent people through parks while firing bullets at them? Ultron. Ultron, control yourself. Honestly.

0:37 – MORE EXPLOSIONS.

0:39 – MARVEL. MARVEL MARVEL MARVEL. I LOVE YOU.

0:46 – Tony, you screwed up. Like, really badly. Really, really, really badly.

0:50 – I don’t even know what is going on here.

0:55 – MY PRECIOUS.

0:56 – MY HERO.

0:57 – [Fangirls intensely about Captain America]

0:58 – Oh my gosh, it’s the Really Tight Shirt That Steve Probably Wears Because He Wants Sam To Check Out His Amazing Six-Pack.

1:01 – NATASHA MY LOVE.

1:04 – I could listen to her voice literally all day? [Completely fails at the Heterosexuality Thingy]

1:08 – This is, without question, the best scene in this trailer and totally the reason I’m writing about this trailer and not one of the others.

1:11 – Is it even legal to fly airplanes in traffic? Don’t the Avengers get ticketed for doing so?

1:12 – My sexual orientation is “Black Widow riding a motorcycle and looking super badass.”

1:16 – WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT OF THIS SCENE? Thor is flailing around in water, without a shirt on? Like, did the filmmakers sit around thinking, “We should add a scene where Thor flails around in water without a shirt on so that people can admire his muscles”?

1:17 – I love how everyone else in this scene is wearing their superhero outfits and then the Incredible Hulk is just wearing a sweatshirt. Dude, I get it. Gotta stay comfy, right?

1:26 – Oh my gosh, do you ever just get really overwhelmed by how lovely Captain America is? Because I do.

1:32 – Ditto Black Widow. (Hey, that rhymed!)

1:38 – Well, that wasn’t destructive at all.

1:42 – I’m really happy that Scarlet Witch has joined the Avengers because it means I will doubtless have a New Fictional Crush.

1:51 – Shut up, Thor. SHUT. UP.

1:57 – I too turn into a giant green rage monster. Occasionally.

-~-

So in case you couldn’t already tell, I am JUST A TEENSY BIT EXCITED FOR THIS MOVIE and that trailer just amplified my excitement by about twelve billion percent. I love how the Marvel movies are gradually becoming darker and more complex, but they haven’t lost that feeling of fun.

And now it is Time For Me To Discuss Things That Were Not Mentioned In This Trailer. Namely, the fact that Anthony Mackie and Hayley Atwell, while not top-billed, are listed in the credits section of the posters and trailers!

[Runs around shrieking until she runs out of breath, at which she lies on the ground, trying and failing to conceal the humongous grin on her face]

If you’re not very good at the whole “matching actors’ names to characters’ faces” thing, Mackie is Sam Wilson AKA the Falcon and Atwell is Peggy Carter AKA Agent Carter AKA Queen of My Heart.

I love both of those characters to death and don’t even care if they’ll have teeny-tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scenes because they are Just That Awesome. It’s pretty obvious why the Falcon is in this movie – he’s Steve’s new friend/helpful superhero dude, but Peggy? Is Atwell reprising her role from The Winter Soldier as old!Peggy or is she part of a flashback or…? Who knows?

Summary: I just really love the Falcon and Peggy – and Captain America, who really loves them both –  and if you talk to me about them at literally any time ever, I will love you eternally. I mean, I love talking about anything and everything Marvel, but THESE THREE. They are the Literal Best and oh god oh god I am so excited for this movie that I may spontaneously combust sometime within the next few days. So if you don’t see any more blog posts, it’s because I suffered an unfortunate fandom-induced accident.

-~-

What’s your opinion of this trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron? Are you as FREAKISHLY EXCITED for it as I am?! And tell me, oh wonderful blog readers, who is your favorite superhero?

P.S. They can be from Marvel or DC: I won’t judge you, ha ha.

Posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calling All Bloggers Who Are Graduating From Secondary School Within This School Year!

Hello, everyone! Gosh, that title is a mouthful. Sorry about that, but I did want to be descriptive, so.

Anyway, today I have… a very specific request, actually, but I’m hoping to involve as many of you as possible, even if you can’t directly contribute to my Blogging Request Thing.

You see, I’ve been thinking. (Oh, no – thinking?! Yes. Believe it or not.) Lately I’ve been pondering the idea of more collaborative posts.

As many of you know, last fall I collaboratively reviewed series eight of Doctor Who with a bunch of other bloggers. It was a great deal of fun and so although I’ve been thinking about doing more fandom-themed collaborative posts anyway, I’ve also been wondering… what about some posts that aren’t fandom-y?!

Specifically, a collaborative post (or two or three) about graduating. I’m about to graduate, and will wrap up my senior year of high school in less than two weeks. And I have lots of Thoughts About Graduating!

But it’s fun to compare thoughts, too, and see how others feel about the same experience. So today, I’m putting out a request for bloggers who are A) about to graduate from secondary school and B) interested in writing a little bit about their experiences/thoughts/feelings/et cetera as part of a collaborative post or two. I’m an American, so I’ll be graduating from high school and finishing up my senior year, but you can definitely still join if you’re from another country and graduating from whatever your country’s equivalent of high school is. In fact, you are MORE THAN WELCOME to join in, because I’d love to see all sorts of different perspectives!

So if this idea appeals to you, here are some Things To Know Before Signing Up:

  • Must be a blogger (so I can link to your site!)
  • Must be graduating WITHIN THIS SCHOOL YEAR
  • Please note that “within this school year” doesn’t necessarily mean this summer; if you’re an American student who graduated a semester early or an Australian student who graduates this November (?), I’d totally love to have you participate
  • Basically I’m saying this because I already have a few people in mind and since one of them is a blogger who graduated last semester, it makes sense for me to include other people who are approaching the end of their schooling even if they’re not doing so right now
  • I hope that explanation made even a little bit of sense
  • Participants will be asked to write, I don’t know, maybe three or four paragraphs total? If even that?
  • Basically I’d like you to talk a little bit about your last year of secondary school and then a little bit about your future plans, whatever they may be (attending college, going into the workforce, joining the military, taking a gap year, et cetera)
  • Yep, that’s right – I’d like to see the different types of future plans people have, and whether you’re doing something “traditional” or “nontraditional!”
  • I’ll write up some question prompts soon
  • Be as creative as you’d like with your answers, whether that involves recounting your favorite memory from senior year or making a list or WHATEVER
  • If you’re interested, leave me a comment below and I’ll contact you with more info!

If this idea appeals to you, but you are not graduating within this school year:

  • Please please PLEASE spread the word about this Blogging Request Thing!
  • I’d like to have plenty of contributors – and hopefully see some new faces and make some new friends
  • That’s why I’m writing a blog post about this: Yes, I could’ve just emailed a few friends, but I’d rather make this a little more interactive, and hopefully lots more fun
  • Basically if you know any bloggers who are graduating from secondary school this year, you should A) tell them that they are awesome and B) link them to this post

Also, I feel like I should say that if you do sign up and think some of your blogging friends might be interested, feel free to let them know about this as well!

I’m hoping to publish these posts sometime in late May? But I’ll just have to see how things go – how many respondents I’ll end up getting, and whatnot. (I mean… if five people sign up, there’d only be one post but if more people sign up, then there’d naturally be another post or two in order to include everybody’s answers so that I don’t end up publishing a super-long post. It never seems like people read my super-long posts.)

Be sure to sign up if you’re interested, and please spread the word whether or not you can participate – it would mean so much to me!

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

Senior Year Saturday: A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooled Senior

senior year saturdayWelcome to Senior Year Saturday, my newest regular feature! Essentially, I talk about any and all things related to my final year of high school, from homework and extracurriculars to updates on college planning and thoughts on graduation. And more! (Such as that dreaded feeling known as “senioritis.”) Enjoy!

Hi, everyone! I’ve written “a day in the life” posts before, and if your comments are any indication, they were quite popular. So here I am, doing another one! I thought I’d combine this one with Senior Year Saturday since I haven’t written an SYS post in a few weeks.

P.S. Previous Senior Year Saturday posts may be found here.

I’ve talked about a day in the life of a homeschooled sophomore, a day in the life of a homeschooled junior, and a day in the life of a 4-Her during the county fair. (And if you’d like to check out those posts, you can find them here.) I figured that if I wanted to write about a day in the life of a homeschooled senior, I had better do it soon since it’s almost the end of the school year… so here’s what I did on Wednesday, April twenty-second!

Note: In order to keep track of everything, I carried a notebook with me all day to make notes about what I did and when I did it. Oh, and times are approximate. I don’t actually do things at precise five-minute intervals. That would be weird. Also, all my other “a day in the life” posts have been written in the first-person present-tense, so I’ll continue that tradition in this post.

Enjoy!

5:25 AM – I wake up to the sound of my cat doing this annoyingly high-pitched, whiny meow thing that he does EVERY morning in a pesky attempt to get me to feed him. (He’s only recently begun to wake me up this early, though… sigh.) I stumble downstairs to get him food and water, insulting him along the way because SERIOUSLY, MR. WHISKERS?! SERIOUSLY?!

5:30 AM – I head back to bed and get some more sleep, now that the fuzzy beast’s appetite has been sated.

7:50 AM – I wake up and do all my “getting ready for the day” things: Making my bed, getting dressed, et cetera.

8:05 AM – I have a bowl of applesauce for breakfast and put away the dishes that were washed after dinner last night. (It’s one of my chores.)

8:20 AM – I write some thank-you letters: One to a company that recently awarded me a scholarship, and another to the owner of a local comic book store whom I interviewed a few weeks ago as part of a school project.

8:30 AM – I check my email, social media, and blog comments, and look up the addresses for the company and the comic book dude.

9:00 AM – I take the letters out to the mailbox and start a load of laundry. (Lately my mom sometimes makes me do my own… I really should’ve learned this before now, but oh well! It’s a useful Adulting Skill for college, so.)

9:15 AM – I make corrections to some astronomy assignments from the past few weeks, and my mom helps.

9:45 AM – I need something different to listen to on my iPod, so I work on transferring some songs from CDs to my computer and then to my iPod.

10:00 AM – I hang up the aforementioned load of laundry and start another load.

10:10 AM – We recently got eight new chickens, which we’ve been keeping in a pen in the basement because they’re fairly young still and it’s been cold out lately. Anyway, the reason I’m telling you all this is that my mom and brother are cleaning up the pen and need me to babysit the hens so they don’t scamper all over the basement.

10:30 AM – I get back on the computer with the intent of completing an astronomy assignment, but instead I’m sucked into the world of social media once again. Oops.

10:50 AM – I write “a dramatic retelling of the Big Bang,” as specified on this week’s list of assignments.

11:25 AM – Guess what? Social media.

11:40 AM – I can’t find anything on my computer desk! So I tidy up a few papers and eventually find what I’m looking for.

11:50 AM – I hang up yet another load of laundry and start a third load.

12:00 PM – I transfer more music to my iPod and check Facebook again while I’m at it.

12:15 PM – Lunchtime! I have some carrots and a leftover piece of muffuletta sandwich.

12:35 PM – I type up an essay about William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying (that was due the previous week, oops) and mess with my iPod a bit more.

1:00 PM – I hang up a final load of laundry and then scurry around the house, making sure I have everything I’ll need for the errands I have to run this afternoon.

1:20 PM – I discover that I forgot to actually sync the songs on my computer to my iPod, so I do that. Because otherwise I wouldn’t have anything new to listen to while I run!

1:30 PM – Time for errands! I drive to the movie theater and pick up two tickets so that a friend and I can go see Avengers: Age of Ultron in a few days, then drop off a few books at the library.

2:15 PM – At the YMCA, I do two things: First, I talk to a person at the front desk about whether or not the Y would consider sponsoring a local race held by my 4-H group. I have no idea what their final decision is but the lady seemed pretty positive about my request, so that’s good! Secondly, I exercise. I walk to warm up, run around the track a bunch of times while listening to my iPod, and finish up by using the rowing machine for a few minutes.

2:50 PM – I drive to my college, which is a few towns away, because I have a meeting with one of my fellow students from Spanish class. We need to write a short dialogue for the speaking portion of our final exam!

3:15 PM – Hmm, our meeting was scheduled for 3:45. I may have slightly overestimated how long it would take me to drive here. Um. While I’m waiting, I listen to music and brainstorm ideas for our dialogue, then end up sorting through my Spanish folder and recycling a bunch of old hand-outs I’ll no longer need now that it’s the end of the semester.

3:50 PM – I wander around the building, looking for my classmate. By chance I find him in a stairwell, looking for me. Oops.

4:00 PM – We write the dialogue. Our topic is “the media” and we end up writing a conversation in which I’m a journalist, he’s a film star, and I’m interviewing him about his latest movie, Jurassic Park 100. “Hey, we have to use verbs that express doubt or denial, so maybe you should tell me how the dinosaurs are real and not CGI, and I’ll express some doubt about that?” “Yeah, sounds good.”

4:30 PM – I drive home.

4:40 PM – I’m back home, but kind of tired, so I just sort of wander around aimlessly for a little while.

5:00 PM – I check my email.

5:15 PM – I type up our dialogue and send it off to my partner.

5:45 PM – Time for dinner. We’re having Cobb salad tonight. Afterwards, I vacuum the kitchen, which is another one of my chores.

6:30 PM – I check my email some more, then log into my university account and look at study guides, information relating to finals, et cetera.

7:00 PM – I make myself some hot chocolate and start working on another scholarship. This one is sponsored by 4-H, so I brainstorm a list of past 4-H activities I’ll need to write about in the essay.

7:25 PM – I meant to use this time for writing. I REALLY DID. But I end up listening to music, reading book blogs, and chatting with the adorable, lovely, awesome Orphu @ A Mirror Made of Words. And then I write a teensy bit of a future blog post.

9:00 PM – I take a shower and do all my “getting ready for bed” things, like messing with my hair for an inordinate length of time because it’s so thick and curly.

9:30 PM – I have basically no floor space in one area of my room because it’s been taken over by stacks of library books, so I move random junk off the top of one bookcase and put the books there. Much better. Also, SO MANY BOOKS THEY BARELY FIT ON THE SHELF.

9:45 PM – I browse through a ginormous book I found at the library, the Marvel Encyclopedia.

10:15 PM – LIGHTS OUT!

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So all in all, that was a fairly normal school day for me. Obviously, weekends are different (I work on Sundays and nothing much happens on Saturdays) and I attend two classes on Tuesdays and Thursday. First comm, then Spanish. Also, I have two monthly 4-H meetings – one on a Monday night and one on a Thursday night, but not in the same week. I didn’t really have any meetings today, at least not anything formal. No club meetings, no committee meetings, blah blah blah.

Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed this post and that it gave you some interesting insight into what homeschooling is like, particularly for high school students! That’s why I wrote my first ever “a day in the life” post – because a lot of people asked me how I spent my days, and I wanted to show them what I did.

-~-

What are your days like? How are they similar to mine, and how do they differ?

P.S. Feel free to steal this post idea, if you’d like! I’d be interested in seeing how you spend your days, too!

Posted in Homeschooling, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

World Book Day: Literary Costumes I’ve Worn

It’s World Book Day!

And William Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday!

And Impossible Astronaut Day!

I’ve chosen to write about only one of those occasions, however. It’s the twentieth anniversary of World Book Day! Actually, I suppose there would be two anniversaries to mark – the UK celebrates it in March for some reason. Twice the number of bookish celebrations? BRING IT ON.

Anyway, if all the articles I’ve seen today are to be believed, people dress up for this event in schools? Apparently? I’ve never done so (which makes me grumpy, because books are awesome!) but then I started thinking: I’ve worn more than a few book-inspired Halloween costumes over the years, so why not talk about those instead?

1. Snow White (age five?)

This costume totally counts, right? I mean, she’s from a fairy tale, and those are collected in books, so… yeah. Anyway! I am sorry to say that I don’t have pictures of this outfit on my computer, but it. Was. AWESOME. My mom sewed it all by hand – the poofy sleeves (with their little cut-out sections, to boot) and the collar and everything. I am extremely impressed even though it’s some thirteen(ish) years later because I cannot sew. Like, at all. Once upon a time I sewed a project I was working on to my pants by accident.

halloween_lauraingallswilder2. Laura Ingalls Wilder (age seven)

DJFGHJDFKHGSFJF THE LITTLE HOUSE BOOKS WERE SOME OF THE FIRST THINGS I EVER FANGIRLED ABOUT. Although I didn’t know the term for it at the time, ha ha. I was utterly fascinated with all things related to it, and we ended up visiting De Smet, SD (where Laura ended up) on one family vacation. My parents bought me a pioneer-lady-style bonnet and the next fall, my mom sewed me a matching dress for Halloween. Isn’t she the actual best?

3. Harry Potter (age ten?)

My fave part of this costume was definitely the fabric – it was this shimmery, slightly translucent dark purple cloth with silvery stars and half-moons scattered all over. That’s what my robe was made out of! The other thing I vividly remember about that particular Halloween was that it rained and I was SO COLD. Pffft.

4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (age twelve)

So, you’re wondering how I dressed as a BOOK for Halloween?! Basically, my dad built a book-shaped cardboard form out of old boxes and added straps so that it was held up by my shoulders. He’s pretty handy that way – I’ve gotten a lot of Halloween-costume-help from both Mom and Dad throughout the years! I didn’t even attempt to recreate the actual cover art of my favorite Harry Potter book – I just painted the whole thing purple because that was easy and I have very limited artistic skills – but I did do all the fancy-shmancy lettering for the title. My costume

5. Dobby the House-Elf (age fifteen)

This costume ended up being just plain embarrassing – people thought I was dressed as Piglet from Winnie-the-Pooh instead – but if I’m talking about my bookish Halloween costumes, I might as well talk about all of them. So. Basically I glued Dobby-ish ears onto a headband and sewed myself a pillowcase. (I lied earlier – I can sew. But only, like, basic square shapes and whatnot.) And I carried a sock. Needless to say, that train wreck marked the ending of my trick-or-treating years.

-~-

I haven’t dressed up as a character (or anything else bookish) in a few years, but that doesn’t mean I never plan on doing so again! Wearing a costume for Halloween in college seems to be a Thing, and several of my online friends and I have vague plans to cosplay together, if/when we eventually meet in person someday. For example, Artgirl @ Alien Cows and I have talked about doing a Katniss/Johanna cosplay (BECAUSE WE SHIP IT!), while Orphu @ A Mirror Made of Words and I discussed ideas for Skulduggery Pleasant & Valkyrie Cain costumes.

And as for ideas that I’d do on my own? Hmm, maybe Alayne Stone? My hair isn’t the proper color to pull off the red-haired Sansa look, but I could totally do Alayne Stone. Hmm…

Have you ever worn a book-inspired costume, whether for World Book Day or Halloween or cosplay? Who/what did you dress up as?! Tell me all about your bookish costumes, because I’d love to know!

Posted in Books and Reading!, Harry Potter, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

16 Thoughts About My Communications Class

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m enrolled in a communications class this semester. It’s a college-level class that I’m taking for dual-credit, which means it’ll count as part of my transcript/grades for both high school AND college. Pretty cool, huh? I’ve taken a total of nine classes like this since the fall of my sophomore year… and communications has definitely been one of my favorites.

Huh. I surprised even myself with that statement. Because honestly? I didn’t think I’d enjoy that class. Like, at all. It’s all about giving speeches and learning how to communicate effectively, and I… I am uncomfortable with that sort of thing.

Or maybe I should say I was uncomfortable, because I think I’ve really improved over the past few months. I mean, I still wouldn’t say that speech-giving is my favoritest activity on the face of this planet, but it doesn’t terrify me as much as it used to. It’s actually kind of fun!

Today I gave my final major presentation (more on that later) and while the class isn’t quite over yet – there’s still a group project and some impromptu speeches (more on those later, as well) – we’re close enough to the end that I’m going to do a post about it now.

So here are some of my thoughts on comm class! They’re in a list because, well… I love lists, and I was thinking just the other day, “I should do more list posts! Like, ones that aren’t just about books!” And then I ended up reorganizing this post into a list instead of a boring essay format.

But I digress. Here’s my list.

1. I was SO FREAKED OUT during my very first speech, which wasn’t even a major assignment for that class. I had to talk about myself for about a minute, and I said “um” a lot. Also, I was probably super quiet.

2. I am constantly bewildered by the number of people who don’t bother to come to class. Like, if you’re sick… I get it. But I’ve overheard conversations about how my classmates just didn’t feel like coming to class and… that is so not me. Even if my grade in a particular class isn’t that great – I’m not doing as well in Spanish 202 as I’d like – the least I can do is show up. If I’m getting points towards my grade just for attending class, then why wouldn’t I?

3. Side note: It is kind of hilarious to hear my classmates complain about how “the teacher picked [insert day here] for the in-class extra-credit assignments just because I wasn’t there.” Dude. Dude, no. She announced that stuff, like, ages ago. And even if you cut class on the day she announced the stuff, it’s on the syllabus.

4. My first major assignment was a commemorative speech. I talked about my grandpa, and how he’s pretty cool for an old person, and how I’d like to emulate some of that when I’m his age. I earned 48/50 points on that speech and I was like YAAAAAAAAAAAY because I was so so so so worried and freaked out the night before I gave it.

5. Things I still need to work on, according to my teacher: Not playing with my hair during a speech, and using “upspeak.” (Which is when you turn a statement into a question by raising your voice slightly at the end? She says it makes me seem less confident and knowledgeable about my subject, so.)

6. Things I have improved upon, according to Me Myself & I: Eye contact during public speaking, and actually being loud enough for everyone – even people towards the back of the room – to hear!

7. Also my teacher says my speeches have “an excellent conversational quality” and that I’m very animated with my gestures at the podium. Who knew?

8. My second major assignment was an informative speech, and I talked about the production of and uses for swords in the modern day. My speech was adapted from a paper I wrote for a college English class in the summer of 2013, and you can read the whole thing as a blog post right here, if you’re interested. SWORDS ARE AWESOME, PEOPLE. Also, I received 96/100 points for that speech! (And if you’re wondering why I keep mentioning that stuff… it’s because I am RIDICULOUSLY PROUD OF MYSELF FSDJHGDJH I HAD NO IDEA I WAS EVEN CAPABLE OF GIVING A SPEECH WITHOUT RUNNING FROM THE ROOM IN FRIGHT.)

9. All of my major speeches required the use of an outline and notecards. I’ve discovered that I’m much more comfortable – and less likely to freak out – when speaking from notecards than I am without them. I’d never used them before in speeches, so that was interesting.

10. One thing I’ve noticed about my classmates’ speech is that most of them need a lot of practice when it comes to organizing their ideas logically. They’re loud enough, cited enough sources, et cetera – but sometimes it’s very very hard to puzzle out the main points of their speech, or they explain things at awkward times in the speech when they probably should have done so right at the very beginning, or whatever. And it made me wonder: Has all my writing practice given me an advantage in this regard? I’m not trying to sound like a know-it-all (and I sincerely apologize if I do), but I write something pretty much every single day. Whether I’m writing stories or blog posts, I practice and practice and practice. I mean, tons of my past blog posts are literally just me telling you why you should read a particular book, and then supporting my statement with various points in a logical manner. And it makes me wonder – do some of my classmates struggle with this because writing is something they only do for school?

11. I completed my third and final major assignment, a persuasive speech, today. I talked about why people should read graphic novels and comic books! (My main point was that they’re very quick reads and therefore perfect for people who don’t have much free time.) I had sooooo much fun during this speech, as I did during the previous two. I love geeking out! I love persuading others to become my small geeky minions. And OMG I RECIEVED 98/100 POINTS ON THAT ASSIGNMENT THE ONLY REASON I MISSED TWO POINTS WERE BECAUSE I USED UPSPEAK HA HA OOPS. Anyway, I got to talk about fun things like Captain America and Gene Luen Yang, and I cited Stan Lee (co-creator of Marvel Comics) as one of my sources. KHGDKSFGKDFHGDFG IT WAS AWESOME.

12. My group’s prompt for the (short! informal!) collaborative speech is “how to help feed the hungry in northwest Indiana” and I’m pretty excited for it – I’ve helped out with a lot of food drives through 4-H volunteer projects and my aunt’s job, so I feel prepared to talk about some of the basics. Also, I’m pleased to see that everyone in my group (of four people total) is putting in their fair share of effort, unlike some other “group” projects I’ve done in other classes where only a fraction of the group actually did anything.

13. I have no idea what I’ll be expected to talk about during my impromptu speech. That’s kind of the point.

14. I am really, really happy with my overall grade in this class – an A!

15. My awesome experiences in this class may have even persuaded me to sign up for the    4-H Public Speaking project this summer. I’m not 100% sure about this yet, though.

16. One very important (not to mention helpful) thing I realized very early on in comm is this: It’s just a different kind of English class. Once I realized this, I wasn’t quite so intimidated by this class and even began to enjoy it. It became a fun challenge for me. After all, I’ve had plenty of experience – both in and out of the classroom – with literature and writing, but up until this semester I had not had much exposure to other facets of language arts. So it was nice to try my hand at something new!

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Have you ever taken a class in communications? (If you’re from outside the US: Are such classes even a Thing in your schools, or is comm stuff lumped in with a general language arts course? I’m curious.) And what is your opinion of public speaking – does it terrify you, or do you enjoy it?!

Posted in Homeschooling, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

I Haven’t Read Any Books In Three Months (& Why I’m Trying Not To Let That Bother Me)

I’ve read seven books so far this year.

According to my Goodreads account, at this same time last year I’d read forty-one books.

But this year is different. And that’s all right.

I haven’t finished a book since the second week of January. I haven’t even started a book since then. My life has been book-free for three months now, which feels A) weird and B) awesome.

Last year, I read two hundred and three books, far surpassing my original goal of one hundred. And sometimes… sometimes reading that much – that intensely – just wasn’t fun.

I raced through books last year. I sped through stories as if it was a contest to see who could read more, and I didn’t really let myself pause to savor those stories. After finishing a book, I moved on to my next read without giving myself any time to reflect upon what I’d just read.

And without giving myself any time to just, you know, not read. To take a break from reading and do something else, like going for a walk or doing art or hanging out with my friends.

I slogged through a lot of books that I didn’t particularly enjoy because my reasoning was, “Well, this is short, so I’ll be able to finish it quickly and add it to my list.” I mean, I’m a tough critic when it comes to books anyway, but I had a lot of average (or below-average!) reads last year.

Last year, I put quantity before quality.

This year, I’m rethinking my priorities.

Don’t get me wrong – I have a lot of good bookish memories from last year. I found some new favorite authors. (Malinda Lo and Derek Landy and Marissa Meyer!) I read some beautiful books that just blew me away with their perfection, such as V for Vendetta and Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I further explored the world of graphic novels, and I fell in love with comic books. I started bringing books to work to read during my break, and I read nine books in eight days while on vacation in Utah this past August.

But there were also a lot of times when I was… completely sick of books, if I’m honest. Because I pushed myself too hard. The numbers became the most important part of my reading experience in 2014, and I lost sight of other things.

Like enjoyment. Like taking a week to read a book even though I could conceivably cram it into one day, or even one afternoon.

And I’m trying to fix that this year. I stopped reading in January because I just wasn’t in a bookish mood. I felt sort of “blah” about the whole thing, and I’ve been in a reading slump ever since.

And I’m trying to get back out of it, but I also don’t want to go back to the pace I set last year. This reading slump has been quite helpful in teaching me this little lesson, actually: It’s OK to take a break!

Part of the blame for this issue lies with my “all or nothing” tendencies when it comes to working on, well… any type of project at all. And part of it lies with my feelings that I should be The Perfect Bookworm. If I really and truly love books then I should be reading all the time, right?!

Hmm. Maybe not. Actually, how about “no” for an answer?

So this year, I’m trying to slow down. If I’m not in the mood to read then I won’t push myself through a book, and I’ll try not to think of the time I spend doing something else as “time I could’ve used to read a book.”

I’ll work on setting aside books that don’t interest me as much as I thought they would, in favor of picking up stories I’ll love. I’ll try not to pick up quite as many random books from the library, and devote my time to the stories already on my to-be-read list.

One hundred books in 2015 is still my reading goal, but I also don’t plan on reading as many books as I did last year. I need to learn that reading fewer books is perfectly fine if I make those books really count by reading stuff I really enjoy, and not just… whatever.

Last year, reading turned into something of a chore. A race. An endless slog through the wastelands of mind-numbingly average books. To be completely honest, the main reason I read so many books last year is that such a long list looks impressive – to other people. This year, I’m hoping to focus on reading fewer books, but with an overall higher proportion of books that impress me.

So I’m trying to get back into this whole reading thing. I don’t know if my reading slump will end tomorrow or in another few weeks, but it’ll be soon. I’ve borrowed a bunch of books from the library and am looking forward to reading the stuff I’ve REALLY BEEN LOOKING FORWARD TO FOR AGES.

I’ve borrowed all the volumes of Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga graphic novels, which I’ve heard so much about and have been dying to read. I have two different versions of Harry Potter and Philosophy, which I’ve been meaning to take a look at since practically forever. I’m curious to see how Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series ends in The Dying of the Light. I’d like to reread A Feast for Crows (because I last read it in 2013, and there are large chunks that I don’t even remember) and then read A Dance with Dragons.

This year, I’d like to focus more on reading what I WANT to read, and not what I feel I SHOULD read. I mean, sometimes in life you have to do things you don’t particularly want to do, and that’s fine – but I’ll save that for other areas of my life, thank you very much. I don’t want to do that with books. I’m not going to read A Dance with Dragons because I HAVE to – because I have to check it off my list and add another book to the “finished” pile. I’m going to read it because I want to.

Forget about numbers and lists and achievements – I’d rather have memories. Here’s to a (hopefully) better and more fulfilling year of reading in 2015!

Posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Hi, everyone! It’s been raining off and on lately where I live, which means that the flowers are just beginning to bloom. And they are BEAUTIFUL. I missed their colors so much this past winter!

And today’s post is all about flowers! Or flower photography, more specifically. I’m hoping to take a bunch of pictures this weekend since the ones in my backyard are so pretty, and then I thought, “Maybe I should write a post about this.” Because I looooove photographing flowers.

I’ve been taking lots and lots of photos ever since I got a camera about six years ago, so what follows is a list of things I’ve learned just from messing around, experimenting, trying new techniques. Practicing.

Speaking of practice, I’ve illustrated this post with examples of my own flower photography over the past three or four years! Enjoy!

DSCN4047

DSCN46411. Pack your photographs with eye-popping color…

As you can see here – and elsewhere in this post – I love brightly-colored flowers! Solemn photos totally have their place, but sometimes you just want something different, right? So I take lots of pictures of candy-colored petals. They’re just plan FUN, and look amazing once they’ve been framed. (Nearly all of the non-snapshot framed photos in our house are mine? it’s pretty cool.) Basically I looooove taking photos of any obnoxiously colorful thingies.

DSCN14682. …or experiment with the absence of color.

But sometimes I take a break from all those colorful flowers and experiment with the black and white setting on my camera! I haven’t spent a ton of time on this aspect of flower photography but every time I’ve tried it, I’ve been very pleased with the results. The thing I love about photographing in black and white is that it forces you to notice the little details – things like texture, patterns, et cetera. Your eyes aren’t distracted by color, so you focus on other things instead. Things like the weird little delicate middle-y bits of flowers. (I forget what they are called. Pistils? Stamens? Something like that.)

DSCN38003. Look for unusual flowers!

EVERYONE takes pictures of tulips and daffodils, and with good reason – they’re gorgeous! But they also get a little, um, boring after a while, don’t they?! They’re a bit clichéd, so… I mean, if you really really love daffodils and tulips, then go take pictures of them. But don’t be afraid to take photos of other flowers that are just as pretty, if not nearly as recognizable! In fact, that’s one of my favorite parts of flower photography – finding weird flowers, or taking photos of the non-petal-y bits, just to mix things up a little.

And then people ask me, “Ooh, what’s THAT flower?” and I’m like, “I have literally no idea. Go ask my mom.” (She knows soooooo much about flowers and I’m pretty much just like… uh, this one has petals? And a stem?)

DSCN4642DSCN2887DSCN38204. Photographs of buds or flowers past their prime can be cool, too!

Continuing with the theme of “weird flowers,” here are some more ideas! Take photos of flowers that are just barely beginning to bloom. Take photos of flowers whose petals are starting to fall off. (Bonus points if you manage to capture an image of a falling petal!) Take pictures of flower buds that look like something you’d find on an alien planet.

DSCN3889DSCN24875. Try using flowers as embellishments.

Flowers need not always be the main attractions; sometimes I use them as decorations. If you’re looking for something to “dress up” a photo, try using some kind of vegetation. Just not too much of it – you don’t want to overwhelm your subject! If I’m doing this kind of photo I usually add only one or two flowers.

DSCN2888DSCN17116. Zoom in with your camera lens.

I’m really fond of taking super-close-up photos, ESPECIALLY when it comes to flowers. So that they have kind of a Georgia O’Keefe feel, I guess? FILL THE FRAME WITH YOUR SUBJECT. It lends incredible amounts of detail to your photos.

DSCN2898DSCN3857DSCN28847. Use a spray bottle to fake that rain/dew look.

I mean, if you wake up very early, then you won’t have to fake it… but I don’t get out of bed early and although I love photography, even that can’t motivate me to start my day at the crack of dawn. So I cheat by using a spray bottle and misting the flowers until they look all dewy and awesome. The 4-H photography project leader showed me this trick and now I love it – its add so much detail (and SHININESS) to photos of flowers!

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Do you love photography too?! Show me your own flower pictures, or any other spring-themed photos you’ve taken. Have an account on Instagram (or whatever)? I don’t, but if you send links to anyspring-y art you’ve posted there, I’ll be sure to check it out and ooh and aah at all your pictures!

Posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments