Monday, September 27, 2010

The Specter Key

It has arrived: Bran Hambric: The Specter Key by Kaleb Nation. This book comes out on 10/10/10, but Amazon in its wonderfulness got it to me today. I would love to tear into it right away, but I had decided to reread the first book, The Farfield Curse, so I need to finish it first. One hundred pages are left; who thinks I can do it tonight? It wouldn't be a problem except that I have some other work to get done first.

As I mentioned in my last post, Kaleb is trying hard to get this book on the bestseller list (through pre-orders), so if you haven't already, please go and pre-order it. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Support Kaleb Nation

I notice that I like to take an interest in certain people, their careers and such. I was like this with the band Blondfire. The two I'm most liking to support right now are Kaleb Nation and The Hillywood Show.

If you'll go backwards one year, you will find my thoughts on Kaleb Nation's first book (the book post is here and the book-signing write-up is here). Since then, I've kept up on Kaleb's vlogging/blogging. The sequel to Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse comes out on 10/10/10, and Kaleb is rallying the Nationeers for something epic this time.

Namely, to get Bran Hambric: The Specter Key on the New York Times bestseller list.

Perhaps you reaction this way: I've never heard of this person -- how can he have such bold plans? Not so bold: it's a well-thought out battle plan, and the people who do know who Kaleb Nation are have an equal boldness. I think this wish may be in actual danger of coming true.

The way to make this happen is to get as many people as possible to pre-order the book. This way all of those sales will count for the same period of time. So I urge anyone/everyone to click the link to preorder Kaleb Nation's second book and help one author realize a dream. (Especially since today happens to be his birthday -- what better way to celebrate?) Also, you can take a look at the book trailer here. Be sure to check out the rest of the videos on Kaleb's channel; he's doing a video a day for the countdown to The Specter Key.

Speaking of people I like to support, I just have to share my new wall-art:

The bottom autograph (which I got a couple months ago) is from The Hillywood Show's New Moon Parody, while the top one (from their Dark Knight video) I just recently got. I do mean to add more in the future, until this wall is positively brimming Hillywood.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Into The Wild

I believe I may be becoming a Kristen Stewart fan. More on this once I've seen more of her work.

For now, my focus is on a movie I found out about through her, though her own role in it is small (not unimportant, though -- nothing in this movie is). Catherine Hardwicke (director of Twilight) has said that she wanted Kristen for Bella after seeing her in Into The Wild. Naturally, then, now that I have access to nearly any movie imaginable via Netflix, I decided I had to see it.

The plot is about a man's trek into the solitary wilderness (he burns his social security card and meets people along the way, but ends up leaving them all behind). Some of the reviews offered much less than praise; one said the movie has no plot. It's relatively long (148 minutes), too, for just a movie about a guy out in the wild. I wasn't expecting to like it too much (am I ever? I think I must be a pessimist).

But it's enthralling. Vital. Still not my favorite movie in the world, but it held me spellbound at moments despite the fact that I started it some time after 10 o'clock at night. The structure of it, as well. It is a piecing together of the present and events leading up to it. The only movie comparable I can think of is Slumdog Millionaire, but that one used this structure to a completely different end. Into The Wild lets each scene build up while connections form between the slightest pieces. It's philosophical and stirring.

And leaves much room for thought. I do love nature, yet I love things, too. I couldn't give them all up like Christopher McCandless tries to. Notice I say "tries;" there is much to consider when saying whether he was successful in all his aims or not. It's a movie that can't really be explained because of the journey it takes you on; it must be watched first.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Everybody Has a Birthday

I seem to have a birthday in a charmed month. September is also the birthday month of Bilbo & Frodo and Bella from fiction; Kaleb Nation and Skandar Keynes (aka. Edmund) from real life. I'm sure there are plenty more, but these are the only ones I know off the top of my head. (A Google search reveals that there are indeed a lot; there are just so many people in the world that I guess every month is a charmed month).

Being that my parents came by and bestowed me with money (and their company, yes), I saw the chance to pick up some things I've been wanting for a while. Specifically, a second autograph by The Hillywood Show (the Dark Knight picture this time) with a frame (thank you, Michael's, for having a sale on frames when I went), a Barnes & Noble leather-bound copy of The Arabian Nights (which CS Lewis first inspired me to want, and I Dream of Jeannie further set me on my way for getting), Phillip LaRue's CD Let the Road Pave Itself (which I've wanted since "Chasing the Daylight" was an iTunes free single a long time ago), and, oh, yes, one more. I think I'll have to add Florence + the Machine's CD, too. Remember, they have the song "Heavy in Your Arms" on the Eclipse soundtrack. My finger is just itching to press that "Buy Album" button on iTunes right now; should I do it? I think yes, but I would hate for this to be an album I would like for a while, then discard. I usually like to take more time to make sure I thoroughly enjoy something before buying it, but I can't seem to help it . . . 

There -- it is done. Clicking on the sample listen for "Drumming Song" decided me: I don't know the story behind that song, but the idea of your mind resonating loudly connects with me. The tangible intangible and all . . . 

If only I had been given a few hundred dollars for my birthday; then I would have been able to buy an I Dream of Jeannie bottle. Someday I will have to get one of those. 


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Three Is The Charm

Being the Narnian fan that I am and learning the things that I do from my Narnia-news-base (, I have been waiting to see Ben Barnes (aka. Prince Caspian) in Dorian Gray ever since he was cast years ago. It has been a long journey: first I bought the book so that I could read it before seeing the movie, then some time later I read it, then I saw the old black and white movie version, and this weekend I finally saw it with Ben Barnes. Odd pinning so much on a movie I wasn't sure I would even like all that much (my opinion on the book is mixed). I did think, however, from the start that Ben Barnes would make a great Dorian; he has that fresh and innocent kind of face, and seems to understand literature enough to translate quality into acting. And I did very much enjoy his performance. Slightly tweaked (of course), the movie stays very much true to the feel of the book (the artistry included). The biggest difference was the ending; it didn't feel quite right to me at first, but it does add an element of hope that I didn't find in the book. Hope, to my view, isn't exactly a bad thing to get. Overall, very nicely made.

The second movie is An Education. I had planned to see this in theatres in the fall, but it wasn't playing at my usual theatre, so I ended up missing out. Once the critics came out with all their praise for it, I really wished it would come out on DVD fast. I saw it last week, and met with my expectations. The dilemma Jenny faces is one that is too easy to relate to. I adore her case to the principal ("why should I go to school and be bored so that I can go to work and be bored?" -- not an exact quote), and also the fact that she finally understands why she wants to go to Oxford, but also that she can still find happiness.

Lastly is The Young Victoria. I also wanted to see it in theatres, but decided it would probably be better to just rent it (movie tickets do get expensive, after all). Of course, anything with queens and palaces is going to be visually pleasing, which this was. It also created some very applicable themes. Victoria is constantly knowing and not knowing what to do in her life as a whole and in smaller actions. Seeing Rupert Friend in the role of a "kind" character after the scoundrel Wickham in Pride and Prejudice was also nice.


Friday, September 3, 2010

A Day In The Life . . .

I don't know where I got the desire to document one of my average days, but here is a Monday in my life.

Waking up at the comfortable hour of 8:30, I make my bed and put on my makeup by the mirror behind my bedroom door. Hence, everything gets spread around the carpet. That's Merle Norman foundation, blush from a Luna Twilight palette, both L'Oreal and Stila eyeliner (one for the bottom, one for the top), Ulta eye shadow, my new Urban Decay eye primer, a Revlon lash-curler, and Dior Fashionshow mascara in waterproof. Suffice it to say that I don't have a favorite makeup brand yet.

Breakfast is a quick affair, either cereal or toast, as I'm usually running late by the time I get to the kitchen and I don't have much of a morning appetite these days. But I do make sure to pack lunch, a juice for when I start getting hungry too early, and my water bottle.

I am now attempting to brush my teeth twice a day instead of once; isn't that praise-worthy? (By the way, it looks like I'm in need of a new toothbrush head, but since Sonicare products aren't exactly cheap . . .)

And I'm out the door. 

My lovely waiting spot for the unreliable bus (unreliable because I've known it to arrive five minutes early, as well as ten/fifteen minutes late . . . which means I have to be five minutes early to the stop, even if I then have to wait a while extra). It faces the rising sun, which can be quite unhandy during the summer.

After my ride, I switch over to walking rather than transferring to a second bus. This really only loses a few minutes, and it allows me to get in a little exercise. Time from bus to classroom: about twenty-five or thirty minutes. It's a little trying sometimes to take this walk at 10:00 when the weather is already in the 90's, but I comfort myself with the fact that it will cool soon. And I really do enjoy "my little walk."

Two classes later and close to 1:00, I seek out a place to lunch. I just discovered this enchanting spot this semester; there are about nine tables under the shade of a few trees. Quiet and comfortable, it's really ideal.

I do try and get some work done during this time; I feel like I'm wasting good time if I don't. Ah, Latin, Latin, Latin.

Last is my 2:00-3:15 English Grammar class; fun stuff. I have a good view (behind me, that is) of the Language and Literature building (where I have most of my classes) as I wait for the bus.

Waiting (again) for the bus transfer, I have a nice view of sky, which I attempted (and failed) to bring to life in this picture. Since this stop faces west, and it's usually afternoon when I wait here, I have that same problem with facing the sun. Oh, well, that's what sunglasses are for, right?

A fifteen minute ride and a seven minute walk bring me back to my apartment, where I check the mail. I begin to have a sort of addiction to checking the mail: it seems I'm always expecting something. A copy of Vogue, a Netflix DVD, or some chocolate samples.

Then I ascend the stairs, up to the sun. Short-lived though this moment is, you can see why it would be memorable. Already hot from being outside, it's not exactly the kind of thing you like to come home to.

Which is why, once inside, I empty my bag carelessly across my bed so that I can get at what I need without having to arrange it all yet.

My folders from the day go back in my new pocket-organizer on my desk.

I usually check up on my sticky-notes of assignments to make sure I know what I need to get done. Pretty light week this time.

And then rest time. Snacking of celery, tortilla chips, and hummus while drinking more water and watching an episode of Bewitched. (And yes, those are cacao nibs and cacao beans in the background, as well as an insulated bag of chocolate -- the consequences of being both a chocolate-reviewer and president of a chocolate club).

That's just about it. Working on school things comes next, then dinner (I can't remember what it was Monday, but Wednesday was chicken with Tikka Masala sauce and some couscous). Maybe a movie online or some reading before bed.