Sunday, August 18, 2013

6 Things You Should Know About Me

It may be slightly narcissistic but I like to answer questions about myself. It makes me think about who I am, how I became the way I am, and can alert me to things I want to change in myself.  I've seen this post floating through various blogs for about a week now and I figured that I would join in. I have spliced together 6 questions from 2 different bloggers (one, two) to answer in this post.

1. You're road tripping across America, what 3 cities, landmarks, or touristy sites do you have to see?
I thought this would be a difficult question but my three answers came quickly: Alcatraz, Trinity Bomb Site, and the National Mall in DC. Alcatraz has always been that place there is never enough time to explore when we are in San Francisco.  I can't wait to finally set foot on that island.  The Trinity Bomb Site is where the first atomic bomb was detonated and, even though it is now just a memorial obelisk, I would love to stand there.  Finally, I would love to revisit the National Mall in DC.  When I visited before I barely had time to stroll through the Air and Space Museum.  I'd love to go back and see everything the Smithsonian has to offer.

2. If money were no object what are 2 things you would buy yourself right now?
If money was not an issue, I would get myself a phone contract for an iPhone and a new car.  The iPhone is something I've wanted for a while and struggling through with knock-off blackberries is something I can't wait to put in my past.  My second choice would be a new car because there is a car in my family that is about to fall apart and it would be very nice to replace it and no longer worry about dying on the way to school.

3. How did your blog come about?
Back in 2011 I came across various book review blogs and, seeing all the books they received for review, I thought I would give blogging a shot myself. At that point, I was reading tons of young adult literature and constantly on the hunt for new books. Since then, I've left and come back on multiple occasions and right now I like the idea of using this blog to keep track of my life for myself, similar to an online diary.

4. One goal you would like to achieve before 2014?
I have many goals for these coming months but since most of them are necessary, for instance college applications, I would have to say that my one true goal is to get through these next 4 months and still be as happy and as excited about the future as I am today.  My goal is to get through the tough times ahead by making new memories with friends, when we have the time, and, above all, staying positive.

5. What hobby would you love to pick up?
Lately, this question has been on my mind quite a bit and I've slowly been changing what I want to do into what I do.  However, the list seems never-ending.  There is one hobby that, though I would love to get back into, there never seems to be time for; reading.  I rarely read outside of school anymore and I hate it.  I would love to start reading for pleasure again.

6. If you could tell the blog world one thing, what would it be?
I would like to tell the world that, in my experience, nothing is as as hard as it seems.  Yes, there may be a huge, overwhelming project lying in your to-do pile but if you make yourself chip away at it everyday, it quickly becomes as manageable as taking a shower everyday. 

If any of you reading this would like to answer some questions yourself, I officially tag you. Here are 10 questions from you to chose from! Leave a comment if you decide to write a blog post of your own!

1.  How did your blog come about?
2. What is your favorite movie and why do you love it so much? 
3. If you could know research in depth and gain deep knowledge about one subject which would you choose?
4. What were your favorite and least favorite novels you had to read for school?
5. When was the last time you truly felt a sense of belonging?
6. Favorite writing utensil?
7. Is this how you imagined your life would be?
8. What is your go-to outfit?
9. If you could have any magical item from any universe existent in a book or a movie, which would you choose?
10. What would be your dream job?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Musical Fridays

I made a post a couple weeks ago highlighting the music I had been loving recently. I've rediscovered and discovered some new favorites so I thought I would share them with you! It's going to be a little bit of a nerd heavy post because of my recent trip to VidCon and YouTube's Geek Week.

This Kiss - Alex Day (Feat. Carrie Hope Fletcher)
I know Alex Day can be a touchy subject when it comes to YouTube as he is a bit blunt, but I love him.  I'm glad he has switched to a less electric style of music, my favorite album is his acoustic one! Anyway, This Kiss and Good Morning Sunshine are some of my favorite songs and I can totally picture them in the background when getting ready for school this year.

 This Is Gospel - Panic at the Disco
Surprise, surprise, my pop punk tendency arises again. The song is great though it has few words, but the really great part about this song is the video.  Brendon Urie really gives it his all in his videos. In both Miss Jackson and This is Gospel he acts slightly insane and it is wonderful to watch.  Even if you hate Panic at the Disco, give this video a watch because I think it's amazing.

After Ever After - Paint
What happens after 'happily ever after'? Apparently nothing good, except for his voice, his voice is good.

Oh My Dayum - The Gregory Brothers
It hasn't left my brain since I heard it live. It's brilliant in a what the fuck sort of way.

Indigo - Tom Milsom
It's cute, he's cute, he's british, it's a love song. What else do you need?

Titanium - Christina Grimmie
Oh my god, her voice is amazing. Granted, I'm validated by 13 million views but it's the truth.  If you haven't heard her before, give this video a shot.

What music have you been enjoying this week?

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Monday, August 12, 2013

BostonCon 2013

You do not know this, but I have made wonderful internet friends in the 5ish years I've been on the internet.  We met way back in 2009 on a forum for younger people attending a Harry Potter Convention called Infinitus summer of 2010.  We were all under 18 at this point, my parents were sincerely worried that one of them would turn out to be a pervert and rape us all.  Needless to say, all of us were legitimate and 4 years later we still interact with one another on a daily basis.
This may be the only group photo...
Having met-up at various conventions over the years, we were disappointed that there would be no convention this summer.  Yes, LeakyCon was happening but since it was in Portland when most of them live on the east coast, it was impossible.  Then, Grace offered up her house in Westport, Massachusetts for a week so we all booked some plane tickets and arrived on her doorstep a couple months later.
I'm not even slightly exaggerating, this is all we did and it was amazing
I was at Grace's house for a week and frankly we didn't do much.  We saw This Is The End in theaters, played Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets for X-Box 3 times, and ate a package of cookies every night. But some days were packed.  On several occasions all 7 of us packed into a mini cooper and went on an adventure.  We visited Providence, RI twice and we drove to Grace's boarding school one day.
Mom, Dad and the kids!
On some day, we needed to pick up Victoria from Boston, however Rob, Kate and I opted to visit the beach.  First things first, east coast beaches are not the same.  First, they're PRIVATE! Who has private beaches? In Westport we had to visit the beach via Grace's club and when I accidentally walked too far, on to private property, I was glared at. What? You can walk however far you want to on a California beach, I've never seen a private CA beach outside of Malibu.  Second, the water was really warm for a gloomy day. The Pacific is never warm.  Third, the waves were so much smaller.  Now, I don't know if this is a fact, but I've grown up on the Pacific where you don't trust the ocean.  You have to pay attention to the waves otherwise you risk being swept away to your death.  This isn't true with the Atlantic.  The waves were calm, tiny and worrisome. It's just strange. Finally, they left us there for a good 5 hours. Friendship!
Rob heroically walking into the waves.
All in all, it was a beautiful week that we're already planning to recreate next summer.  I'm really thankful for all the wonderful trips I've had this summer. At the end of my junior year, I was stressed and the next school year was not welcome.  Now, looking at my last 3 weeks of freedom, I actually can't wait to go back.  I know it will be hard but I also know that I have so many great memories to look back on and smile.
Having met via Harry we had to stop when we saw him painted on a window, it's only natural!
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

VidCon 2013

I love cons. No, not conventions for adults looking for a job, but cons, week-long nerd parties. I went to my first convention back in 2010. It was called Infinitus, it took place in Orlando, Florida and it was about Harry Potter. Ever since that fateful weekend, I have had an itch for the con life.  I have seeked it out every year since then and this year was no exception.  About a week ago I made my way down to Anaheim, California for the 4th annual VidCon!
Vidcon 2013 Mainstage with the two wonderful people who made it all happen, the Vlogbrothers.
For those who don't know, VidCon is a convention centered around YouTube.  No, not the viral videos of cats side of YouTube but the vlogging/humor/nerdy side which consists of people rather than animals.  I am continually surprised when people don't know this side of the internet, because I've been knee-deep since my first explorations, but for those of you to whom this is unknown, I would suggest checking out some videos by The Vlogbrothers, Epic Meal Time, Charlieissocoollike, Danisnotonfire, or JacksGap to get a sense of this side of the tubes.
Just glomping on one of my favorite youtubers, no biggy
Anyway, VidCon is basically a mash-up of fans with the YouTubers they admire.  Among the 10,000 attendees I would say at least 2/3 make videos even if just viewed by themselves.  That is a crazy number of creatively driven people, but more importantly, that is a crazy number of cameras.  I'd be willing to bet that every moment of this conference is filmed. I tried to keep track of how many people I caught vlogging and lost count around 20.
My friends and I in the main hotel of the convention.  Do you see the amount of people in the background?
Techinally Thursday was the first day of VidCon but since it is aimed at the professional video makes, I'm going to start a recap with Friday. Friday was amazing.  It is always so surreal to see vloggers in real life. You can finally understand their height! That may sound strange, but you can not tell how tall someone is from a video, trust me on this. On top of that, it is just totally strange to realize that you just walked past Alfie. Like, what?! The one downside, I have to say it, is the screaming fans.  Yes, I geeked the fuck out when I met Alex Carpenter but seeing a wave of hundreds of teen girls following Jim and Joe down the street just seems crazy to me, they are just people.
One of the performances on the mainstage. From left to right: Jim Chapman, Zoella, Caspar Lee, Tanya Burr, Marcus Butler, Alfie
One of the most amazing thing about VidCon is the amount of vloggers that attend.  There are signings all day, wonderful performances on the mainstage, and panels. Seriously, if you wanted to see someone it was simple.  The mainstage was never full, granted you may not be able to see too well but there were two screens on the side of the stage that gave you a better view than the people in front, trust me.  Plus, I don't believe that panels were too crowded.  The two me and my friends went to still had seats available when the presenter started.  Granted, I didn't go to the Becoming YouTube panel and I'm sure that one was stuffed. On top of that, you could see youtubers just by walking around! Two men said 'Hi' to me before the mainstage concert on Saturday when my friend and I sat outside smiling at people walking by, I smiled back and said 'Hello'. 30 minutes later, my friend turns to me and says 'you know those guys were the Gregory Brothers right?'. UM NO! I DIDN'T KNOW THAT! THANKS FOR THE UPDATE! It's just fun.
Charlieissocoollike at his panel on his new short films
Hank Green performing on the mainstage.
As well, as seeing the youtubers I had come to know in the last few years, I saw a lot that I didn't know at all. I went to every mainstage presentation and every concert and I was introduced to so many new-to-me youtubers that I couldn't wait to look-up.  Some of my favorites were Josh Sundquist, Christina Grimmie, The Gregory Brothers, Peter Hollens, Paint, Ze Frank, and George Watsky.  Just because I had this experience with their music, I now love it. This song will always hold a special place in my heart because I heard it live, that's just how it works. However, the best part of the concerts has to be We The Kings.  They kicked some serious booty.
We the Kings after their set Friday night
If you've never been to a con or any type of gathering related to something you love whether it be a concert, convention, or meet-up in the park, I would suggest getting your butt to one as soon as possible. There is something infectious in being with people who have the same interests as you enjoying the same thing and dancing your butts off until the early hours of the morning.  I'll never give it up.
I'll end this post the same way I ended the con, dancing to Michael Aranda's amazing DJ skills!

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Camping / /Richardson's Grove Edition

Just recently I spent 3 days camping with my father at a local site called Richardson's Grove in a national park.  I've been to this particular campground quite a few times and it's really nice.  Most of the campsites are within walking distance of a really warm river. Plus there are a few nice hikes around.  The river was actually nice and warm and I felt super good about completing a hike while I was there.

Redwoods are just so majestic. I'm so lucky to live in such a rare environment.
This is the hike we took.  It was only a mile long and thankfully we decided to take the steep trail first.  Always do the hard part first.
Studying for the ACT around a fire is much nicer than in my room.
A Beautiful Mess always has the greatest recipes and I finally got to try one out, Cajun Hobo Packets, they were really good.
Finally, the best thing about having a fire, being able to burn whatever you want.  We had an incomplete deck of cards with us and decided to burn them.  I found this in the ashes the next morning.

Camping is always a fun experience.  Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in another trip before the school year starts! What do you want to fit into your last month of summer?

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Michigan State University

After visiting University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, my family decided to pop over to Michigan State University in East Lansing. I'd never thought of attending this college until I visited, but now I'm fairly sure that I will.  I have to say, wonderful tour guides = wanting to apply for me even after a horrible presentation.

Like U of M, MSU was really pretty.  Brick buildings and green trees, maybe it's my California upbringing but I LOVE it! The idea of living in one of those tall buildings just makes me pretty excited. However, there was one major downside.  No air conditioning in some of the dorms. I would loath my life for a good month if I got stuck in one of those. It's definitely something to consider if I'm lucky enough to be able to choose my college next spring.

I literally cannot wait for college because I can lounge around in school spirit sweats and not feel out of place. 
All in all, I felt that MSU was a good school. Not amazing, and perhaps lacking a little compared to my dream college, however, I felt that I could be content there. Perhaps, that isn't the best endorsement for a school, but I would suggest at least browsing the website if you're on the college path sometime soon.

Important Admission Facts:
Average GPA: 3.4-3.9
Average SAT: 23-28
Average ACT: 1020-1220
Population: 47,954
Application Due: Nov 1
Major Options: Anthropology
Application Fee: $50
Total Tuition: $41,158