Wednesday, February 27, 2013

10 Things I Bet You Didn't Know About Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi was and is an inspiration.  He inspired Martin Luther King Jr, Steve Jobs and many others.  His peaceful protest of British Rule in India lead to their independence with very little blood shed unlike the American Revolution.  We tend to view this man as a god-like figure, but he was a person too.  Here are some facts that will place this figure back into the sphere of reality.

1. Mahatma isn't his first name.  I know! I was surprised to. It's actually the Sanskrit equivalent of saint.  Gandhi's real name was Mohandas.

2. Gandhi was rich, until he gave it all away.  He would have been in the upper 5% today.

3. He married at 13.

4. As a child he was afraid of the dark.

5. He smoked cigarettes as a teen.  He even stole money to buy them.

6. He was arrested 14 times and spent 6 years in jail.

7. Once, after refusing to pay bail, the British judge released him anyway.

8.  Another time, upon being release from jail he requested money from the British government for a taxi home and got the money.

9. He would sleep naked with young women in order to perfect his celibacy.

10. Gandhi never won the Nobel Peace Prize though nominated 5 times.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Elixir by Hilary Duff (again)

Elixir by Hilary Duff
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 327
Rating: 3/5
Series: Elixir Series

A soulmate for life...or death.
     Seventeeen-year-old Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life.  The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent politician, she has become a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a world that allows her to travel to many exotic places.  But after Clea's father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea begins to notice eerie, shadowy images in her photos of a strange and beautiful young man - a man she has never seen before.
     When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him.  As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father's disappearance, and they discover the centuries-old truth behind their love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives and their futures.

I've read and reviewed this book previously, almost two years ago, but I always feel the need to reread a series when a new installment arrives.  I still enjoyed Elixir on the second go, but I found more faults in the writing though I still loved the story and when it's right it's really good.

Clea is rich, famous and a fantastic photographer trying to live after her father's disappearance. Coming home from a trip through Europe, she sorts her pictures and finds the same man in many of them.  In one, he's floating on air! Clea begins to have scarily realistic dreams about this man, but she’s never herself.  She’s another girl in another decade with him.  Scared and confused, Clea, with the help of her friends Ben and Rayna, travels to Rio to try and solve the two mysteries.  She is soon involved in a 500 year old feud and torn between love and a painful death.

I couldn't connect with Clea and that's a problem.  She's just too rich, famous, pretty, kind of a Mary Jane.  In fact most of the characters were like that which makes it me think well why the hell do I like the book then? And the truth is, I have no clue.  Sometimes I read a book that I don't really love but there are parts which I am ecstatic about.  That's what happens in Elixir.  I love the descriptions of Clea's past life and when she discovers Sage in her photos, but the romance and the drama I couldn't careless about.

The dependency and romance eerily echoed Twilight which made me question my taste even more.  If I find Edward watching Bella sleep super creepy why does Sage inspire different feelings?  He’s in the picture of her birth!  Also, both Bella and Clea will do anything to keep their love alive, no matter the consequences.

I don't know how this worked but I disliked all the characters, loved the story and can't wait to read Devoted.  It's like Reality TV.  I don't know why I love Dance Mom's but I come back every week to see the next episode.  I think this book is worth reading for parts of the novel, but not if relate-able characters are a necessity for you.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weekly Photos #6

It has been FREEZING!!! Maybe that's normal if you live where it snows but here it's a nice range of 40 to 60 year round, except for this week.  For some reason, unknown to me, it is always really nice and warm for a couple of weeks in January and February then the rain starts and this week I experienced a mix of those.  It was really sunny but really cold and windy.  It's hoovered around 40 all week and at school we all huddle into the rooms and don't leave.  Wow, Californians really can't deal with weather! :P Other that that, I've been working on my french nonstop because I have a HUGE test next tuesday that I'm not even a little bit prepared for :/

Germinated Radish seeds for my biology project/the stuff in my purse/donkey stand off at the zoo/sunset in old town/gorgeous van across from my school/eucalyptus trees on the way to school/yummy sushi dinner
I still can't believe that I finished two books this weekend after being stuck on one for about a month! Hey, maybe procrastination is good for something.  Maintenant, je peux travailler sur le francais !

Good Things

I've taken a ceramics class for most of my 17 years, but I still love the feeling of using a pot you created.  This past week I brought home three bowls that I'm really proud of and I love eating applesauce out of them in the mornings.

Nature Valley Honey and Oat Bars
I used to hate these in middle school, but I bought a box of them and now I crave them all the time!!!

This week my goals are to do the best I can on my IB French test and to go swimming more than twice.  Whats on your plate this week?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Crossing Entertainment

Sometimes, you don't need to make music about a book because it already exists in popular culture. Recently, I've found music that illustrates books on the radio! Today, I thought I'd share two of these combinations with you.

"I'm sorry I don't understand, where all of this is coming from, I thought that we were fine. Your head is running wild again, my dear we still have everything and it's all in your mind."

Just Give Me A Reason - P!nk
This song is the novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  Every time I hear it I think of Anna and Vronksy's relationship near the end of the book.  In the story, Anna has trouble separating fiction from reality and thinks that Vronsky no longer loves her, which is far from the truth.  I see that same emotion in this song, especially in the parts sung by Nate Ruess. 

"There was time, a met a girl of a different kind. / Don't you worry, don't you worry child, see heaven's got a plan for you."

Don't You Worry Child - Swedish House Mafia
This connection may just be in my brain, but this song reminds me of the Maze Runner series.  When I finished the second one this song automatically came to my mind.  Just replace God with WICKED and it makes sense right? It also fits into the emotional crazyness at the end of The Scorch Trials.

It's crazy how perfectly similar unrelated things can be.  It kinda proves the idea that there only a few plots in the world retold in different ways!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Weekly Photos #5

This week has been a lazy one for me.  There was a lull in my homework load which has enabled me to not do ANYTHING while still procrastinating on the one thing I have left to do.  Unblocking YouTube and Tumblr probably didn't help the situation either.  Anyway, I'm left with hours of work to do on my math IA and one night left.  Fun.  I was also pretty lazy with my picture taking as well so excuse me.

Homework time/my dog Leo/yummy cucumber and cream cheese bagel/a picture of the gif I made/Morton salt girl/seed germination for Biology/view from my morning drive to school
I spent most of my week in my house and it was surprisingly bearable and even relaxing.  While a cycle of home to school and back again seems excruciatingly monotonous it helps.  However, now, I'm itching to go explore or do something weird!  I don't have anything great planned yet but sometimes the unplanned events are the best.  Here's wishing!

Good Things:

This tea is GORGEOUS!!! And it tastes pretty good as well.  I received two boxes of them from my parents for Valentines (forever alone) and I put it in a pot as soon as I could.  It's basically a flower attached to the tea and I have no idea if that enhances the flavor, but the beauty is so mesmerizing it doesn't even matter.

My love of British vloggers has returned.  I managed to stay away for about a month, but once I watched one video I couldn't be stopped.  Especially if it's Zoella, Marcus and Alfie.

My goals for this week are still to finish the Scorch Trials (didn't even read a page...) and work on french (boring, I know).  The thrilling life of a teen. I hope you all had a good week!

OH! I also made this ridiculous gif while I should have been studying...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

10 Things I Bet You Didn't Know About Stalin

First, one thing I bet you didn't know about me.  I am obsessed with the Cold War.  I will read any novel or essay and watch any documentary on the subject.  It is unfathomable to me that something so significant and world changing occurred, but no one speaks about it.  Atomic bombs, still exist, we could still be attacked by one, yet it seems no one in politics is worried about it.  Yes, the American infrastructure is a more pressing concern, but we act as if this terror and the spying never happened.  It's become mythical to a certain extent.  Anyway, I love it and here are some unusual facts about Stalin I've picked up.

1.  He wasn't even Russian! Much like Hitler who was born in Austria, Joseph Stalin was born in Georgia a country south of Russia and above Armenia.

2. He studied to be a priest.  Yes, Stalin the killer of two million Russians, was supposed to be a priest.  It is thought that his time at the seminary he attended helped turn the boy to communism and rebellion.  Weirdly, his seminary was attended my many of the Russian revolutionaries of that time.

3. He had webbed feet and was embarrassed by them.

4. He was sent to Siberia 8 times and escaped 7 times.

5. He wrote poetry and it was good!

6. For most of his childhood, until he became enthralled in Marxism, he was top of his class.

7. His voice was so good, he was often hired to sing at weddings.

8. He was only 5 foot 5 inches tall.

9. It is entirely probable that Stalin was a bastard. 

10. He was always involved with some woman.  Woman found his intelligence and his Georgian accent and manners very attractive. This resulted in quite a few unmentioned offspring.

It's hard to remember that historical figures were simply people like you and I, yet when you look deeper, they have weird stories and abnormalities that make them human.  I think it's important to remember that they aren't gods, we have just as much potential as Plato and Queen Nefertiti and Shakespeare.  As Harry says "Working hard is important, but there's something even more important: believing in yourself.  Look at it this way: every great witch and wizard started out as nothing more than what we are now - students.  If they can do it, why not us?"

Monday, February 11, 2013

Awfully Wonderful Valentines

It's approaching, you know, that day you either love or hate.  Only 4 more days until you feel either loved or awkward.   Either way here are some valentines to send out, they would sure have my heart racing!

Oh my god.  I can't even handle some of these.  Just look at Nicholas Cage's face!!!!!!!  Oh and the one with the Doctor and One Direction, I can't even on that one.  I'm a nerd.  There are so many great valentines floating around Tumblr.  A great way to waste a couple hours! Oh and I apologize for the Cole Sprouse one but I had to add it!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekly Photos #4

Sorry I've been missing this week school just grabbed hold of my brain and wouldn't let go.  In fact, right now I'm frantically learning french as I write this blog post! I don't even have school tomorrow, but I do know how to say fire hydrant now, la bouche d'incendie! Anyway here are some pictures, I'm sorry that they're late.

Buying some gas/river up in the mountains/paper cranes on my bio project/a pot I made in ceramics/jump-starting my friend's car/sunny spot in a rainy sky/weird dogs on the side of the street
This week I basically lived in my car.  I took a good 4 hour road trip with my friends on the weekend and on Thursday I decided to sit in my car for a couple hours to do homework instead of going home.  I wonder if taking photos while driving is illegal cause I've done that...

Good Things:

#3 by The Script
I've had this album on repeat for most of this week.  I have a seven CD changer in my car and this is the only one I've listened to this week.  I love the mix of pop with meaningful lyrics.

Finishing Projects
I finished my literature seminar and my Group 4 project for the IB this week and while it isn't the end of my to-do list by far, it feels good to complete stuff.

My goals for this week are to really work on French so that I can test out and fininaly finish The Scorch Trials. It has been at least 3 weeks since I started it! Well that was my week, what about yours?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Weekly Photos #3

This week I started a 30 Day Photo Challenge I found on pinterest and it's been helping me a lot.  Having something, a prompt, to accomplish that day has made me take interesting photos that I really like this week.

Healthy Dinner?/meow my cat/loved my make-up that day/no idea but I love it/homework and Pandora/egyptain hieroglyphs on my pants/the scene in my rear view mirror
Some days it's hard to find something to fully capture the prompt, like routine for example, but they inspire me to remember to photograph everyday.  I'd really like to know how I made that swipe of light though...

Good Things:

British Swag by Tulisa
Yeah, I've watched some X-Factor with her as a judge, but I don't think that is the entire reason behind my love for this song.  I can't even relate to in on any level, but it's been on repeat for 24 hours.

Local Plays
I went with a friend to see a comedy show put on by a local theater group and it was wonderful.  Plus I got to experience a part of my community I was unaware existed before.  It was weird and funny because everyone there knew each other except for my friends and I.

What did you enjoy this week?