Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chocolate Book Tag

Yay, another blog tag! These things are so fun. Reyna, from the beautiful A Peace of the Past, tagged me for the Chocolate Book Tag.

(I was about to answer all these questions with The Book Thief, and then I realized that that wouldn't actually work, hahaha. I'll try to answer with books I've read this year.)

Dark Chocolate (a book that covers a dark topic): 

Schindler's List. Talk about overwhelming sadness. I never really got sick reading this; I just couldn't process it. I think eventually my brain couldn't handle the unbelievable horrors and just completely shut down after a few chapters.

White Chocolate (a light and humorous read):

Well, it wasn't super-funny, but it was very informative and not heavy on the thinking. Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith.  I found it at work, and read it in a week. Basically, Charles Darwin was an agnostic, but his wife, Emma, was a devout Unitarian, and somehow, they never let their different views interfere with their marriage. I don't completely understand that, because I've always felt like Christ should be the center of a marriage, but it was interesting to watch their relationship grow. It gave me a whole new perspective on the man behind Evolution.

Caramel-filled chocolate (a book that makes you feel all gooey inside):


Oooooohhhhhhh...I read The Return of the King for the first time this year. Between Faramir and Eowyn, and the Grey Havens, and Theoden dying, and Aragorn being crowned king, and Sam coming heart was certainly caramelly inside.

Milk Chocolate (a book with a lot of hype that you're dying to read): 

Um, let's see. Oh, Jane Eyre! I've heard many good things about this gal, and I'm anticipating her story. Apparently, Jane is one strong lady, and Mr. Rochester is his own kind of Darcy.

Wafer-less Kit-Kat (a book that surprised you):

Here's where The Book Thief belongs. Some people said the movie was great, and some people said that Death narrating the story was weird. So I wasn't sure what to expect. 

Guys, it was beautiful. It's a Holocaust story. What more appropriate narrator than Death? The characters are gut-wrenchingly real. It's a black cloud with a thin silver lining: Liesl's story and situation is so overwhelmingly sad, but she never loses hope for better days. I cried for her at the end, but I cheered her on at the same time.

Snickers (a book you're going nuts about):

Uh, Wuthering Heights, most definitely. Whew. That thing turned me upside down for about a month, and not in a good way. To say it rocked my reading world is an understatement. It took a Sherlock readalong, an Emma party, and the Avengers 2 teaser release to pull me out of that funk.

Hot Chocolate with Mini Marshmallows (a book you turn to for comfort):

Well, like Reyna, I go through my Bible when I'm down, but......that's more than just 'a book'. So I'm cheating, too. :-)  The only book I have read as much as (more than?) the Bible is An Old-Fashioned Girl. I grew up with Polly, so I whenever I was mad or sad, I'd go read a chapter to see 'what Polly would do.' She usually gave good advice. ;)

A Box of Chocolates (a series you feel has something for everyone):

Well, the only series I've read this year was Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and its 'followup' series, The Heroes of Olympus. In my opinion, either one of these has something for everyone. It's hilarious, it has guy and girl heroes, it has mystery, it has action, it's clean, it has a tiny bit of romance, and it's an easy read. Granted, its target audience is middle-schoolers, so it isn't as deep as Bronte or Tolkien, but it's so fun. 

I'm too tired to tag anyone for this, and I have 3 other tags left to do anyways, so if any of you want to do this, blog away! :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wuthering Asgardians

So, as I rambled about here, I recently finished reading Wuthering Heights

I only read it at the begging of a dear friend, and I read it reluctantly because I knew it would be a sad story. It was a hard-going, and I desperately tried to like it, but so far, this book and I are not friends. We're more like frenemies: I tend to throw my paperback across the room in fits of sheer frustration, but I quickly pick it up and reverently place it back on the bookshelf. (I'm fairly certain my books have feelings.) 

What I'm trying to say is that WH has affected me quite strongly, and it's taken me a few weeks to sort out my feelings about the book. I can rant for 30 minutes about how selfish Cathy and Heathcliff are, but I would still recommend the book for everyone to read. I guess that's the sign of remarkable writing.

Well, in the midst of my mental muddlement, I went to a movie night that consisted of Winter Soldier, Pride & Prejudice, and Avengers. Which is how this little gem happened:

 (The sparkling grape juice was malfunctioning.)

Anyways, we got to this scene in Avengers...

"When I first came to earth, Loki's rage followed me here and your people paid the price. And now again." 

...and I had an Aha! moment. I don't know if it was the bubbly talking, or maybe it was because it was 1 a.m., but I suddenly realized that Thor and Loki's relationship had a whole lot in common with Cathy and Heathcliff's relationship.

No, don't laugh; just hear me out here. See, I think Heathcliff and Loki are pretty similar.

Both were born into a lower, 'unacceptable' class of society. Both were adopted into a higher class of society. Both Old Mr. Earnshaw and Odin raised their adopted sons implying that they would always be treated as equals. Upon realizing the opposite, both sons became consumed with hatred and bitterness and spent the rest of their respective lives expressing that.

 [apparently they also both have hair that gets all fabulous and wavy when they're mad....]

I think Thor and Cathy have a good bit in common as well.

Both were favored children, and grew up somewhat spoiled. Both were kind and goodhearted. Both of them loved their respective 'siblings' more than anything, and didn't care about class distinctions. (Obviously, Cathy's love changed just a bit. ;-) ) They also both had very noble intentions, and they were both bullheaded.

Furthermore, I think we would all agree that both relationships are anything but peaceful. Which is why the 'Loki's rage' scene flipped the 'hmm' switch in my brain.

But this is where I differentiate between the two: the reason I am so aggravated with Cathy and Heathcliff, and why I hold out more hope for Thor and Loki.

I sum up Cathycliff with this: Cathy and Heathcliff loved each other, and then both hurt each other, and then hated each other. I don't care what either of them did when Cathy was dying, I really believe they both died hating each other (or at least loathing each other). In my opinion, Heathcliff took the first step in ruining he and Cathy's relationship. Cathy thought she was being all noble and stuff by marrying Edgar Linton (so she could 'take care' of Heathcliff). Understandably, Heathcliff resented this misguided kindness. But he let this slight eat at him for the rest of his life. He never gave Cathy any chance at forgiveness. And Cathy resented Heathcliff's resent. She refused to change her attitude because she always believed she was doing the right thing, and Heathcliff was always wrong.

On the other hand, I believe that Thor and Loki grew up as loving siblings, but Loki changed his tune when Thor [almost] gained the throne, while Thor tried to keep up the kindly brotherly relations. Loki, though, spends the majority of 3 movies completely blind to Thor's caring about him.  He nearly kills him in Thor, totally ignores him in Avengers, and finally sort of starts to come around in TTDW. But Thor? Pfft. No matter what stunts Loki pulls, he still loves Loki, and still treats him as a brother. This little theory proves my point:

Now, to be fair, I don't hate Cathycliff. I so badly wanted it to end well. I mentally denied the inevitable all the way up to the conclusion. I really believed their love, at first, but afterwards all I could see was their selfish actions. (And that's why I get so fed up with people who watch the movies and think everything C and H do is for 'love.' Bah-flipping-loney.)

Thor/Loki, though, has more potential, I think. Like I said, in TTDW, Thor's goodwill seems to have finally gotten through to Loki, at least a little bit. He shields Jane and tries to take the black hole grenade for her while they're in Svartalfheim, and then he at least acts like he sacrifices himself for Thor. I'm still frustrated with MCU for faking that, but, hey, even Loki's return supports my point. He could have said anything as 'Odin' to Thor, but he chose to support Thor's wishes. (Don't get me wrong: I don't think Loki has really changed his nature, but I think he finally sees that Thor still truly loves him as a brother.)

So, you see? The more I compared the two pairs, the more I saw similarities. But the more I saw similarities, the more I saw the big difference. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that if we're taking lessons from fictional relationships, then here's a couple lessons we can take: 

Hate hurts everyone: not just yourself, and not just your enemy.

Forgiveness, while it can't undo past wrongs, can help mend a good relationship. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Nerd Hair

This is a tutorial post. In case you ever want to publicize your nerdhood, this is the socially acceptable way to do it.

First, you have to pick your model. If your hair happens to be a similar shade and length as Marvel's god of thunder, then you have an easy goal. 

Second, you pick your event to display your geekness. A Sunday service would be appropriate, especially if your local congregation is almost entirely made up of people over 40 who have no clue about things like Bifrost or Khazad-dum.

Next, you spend 15 minutes the night before braiding four portions of your wet hair into small braids. You will know the braids are long enough when you experience symptoms of carpal tunnel in both arms. Leave the rest of your hair wet overnight, as this will produce waves of fabulousosity.

In the morning, you dawdle with Sunday dinner preparations long enough to have exactly 32 minutes before Sunday School starts. As your brother yells 16 times that you should be leaving, curl the rest of your hair in small sections. Tip: flash blistering your anchor thumb does not speed up this process. When finished, fluff the curled hair in the mirror and shrug your shoulders. Spray on a bunch of perfume as retaliation for your brother's yelling.

By the time you get to morning worship, you realize that four braids looks more like Thorin than Thor. Ignore any comments about "your Thor obsession" from the Captain-America-obsessed friend. Then go home and rethink your strategy in front of the mirror for 15 minutes. 

After you remember why you hate selfies, take out the top two braids, and curl those sections of hair. The hair will be fluffy, but vehemently plaster it to your head with 6 3/4 bobby pins. The side braids will flop around aimlessly, so, as you only have 10 minutes before the brother leaves for evening service WITHOUT YOU, you pin the braids over the hair.

At this point, you realize that your hair is actually much longer than Thor's, and you remember that you don't actually have bangs. So you shrug your shoulders again, and forget about the whole mess. The brother is still hollering. 

No, wait...instead of forgetting about it, you could take out the bobby pins, and gather your hair and the braids into a high ponytail, and wear it to work the next day. If you're lucky, someone will ask you what's up with the frizzy braids.

Oh. The frizzy braids aren't exactly visible. 

*Sigh* Socially acceptable nerd hair is harder than it looks.

Next week's tutorial: cosplay, by Cindy-Lou Who.

(AKA, my cousins moved to Texas and there was stuff under the bed.)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

That One Trailer About Superheroes (Avengers 2)

In case you weren't aware, there's this somewhat famous director named Joss Whedon who made this relatively popular movie about 2 years ago. It was about some superheroes, and it was called The Avengers. "Earth's mightiest heroes sort of thing." Well, he made a decent profit on it, so he thought maybe people would like it if he made a sequel called Avengers: Age of Ultron

That's as much sarcasm as I can handle tonight. *runs screaming around the family room*

Okay. We're good here. Uhm, yeah, so as I originally posted here, Marvel announced on Tuesday that the first teaser trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron would debut during the October 28 episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Well, some Internet trolls got a hold of the trailer and leaked it sometime between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday evening, so Marvel decided to just go ahead and officially/unofficially 'release' the trailer everywhere.

Like I said before, I have been watching this movie's news like a hawk [see what I did there ;) ] for the last year and half, so this was like Christmas in October. I was doing dishes, and decided to go check my Facebook. About 3 scrolls in, I saw the trailer post, and was promptly reduced to a babbling, face-fanning fangirl. 

Here is where I should confess something. [Confession's good for the soul, right?] I get a bit annoyed with fangirls. It's probably because I spend too much time on the Pinterest geek boards, but either way, after a while, I start to look down my nose at their excitement.

Well, I can't say much now, because for the last 24 hours, I have been one very distracted, overexcited, incoherent, 'can't-evening' fangirl because of this trailer. So I thought I'd do a blogpost of my mental reactions to the trailer, to try and process them. I will apologize ahead of time, because this is basically a brain-barf post of me, trying to figure out what all Mr. Whedon's got in store for us this time around.

Here's the trailer in its entirety:

And here's my 38 screenshots:

 mmmm....this is a city. what city is this. there's a tall unique-looking building. is this new york city or chicago. why chicago. i don't know.

*gasp* that's scarlet witch and quicksilver. why are they protesting with a crowd. at the end of winter soldier they were in a cell. with baron von strucker watching. how did they get out? that flag. that's a french flag. that sign. it says HEMA. what is HEMA.

oh my word. is that water running off or is that melting stuff. what could be melting off ultron's suit. but those are welding sparks.

there's cap. wait, that license plate looks russian. what kind of car is that. opel omega 20. google says that's a german car. but...i don't understand.

there's hawkeye. what happened that's making these crowds panic. what happened or what's coming.

oh this-this is very interesting. where's hawkeye. they're in a helicarrier. cap looks sad/tired. natasha looks sad/tired. mark looks very shaken/upset. did he just calm down from being hulk, or is he on the verge of being hulk. he looks a little green. thor looks upset or worried. he's not sitting down, he's almost pacing.

oh SNAP that's creepy. hello, mark I.

who is that chick by don cheadle whatever his character name is. RHODEY, yes. is that maria hill. why is thor wearing a long red coat. what in the cow.

that must be natasha leading bruce away. who's the brunette behind thor. there's that chick with rhodey in a red dress. who the flip is she.

well then. and we thought loki was bad. this guy is the scarecrow of your nightmares.

what is this building. is this in germany or russia. is this a hospital or a school or a prison. does this have anything to do with von strucker. gah. is this germany or russia.

all this shooting in the city. maybe they're shooting at the hulkbuster. what's with the lady in the headscarf diving for her life. 

that's a tank. what are we fighting with tanks. forests in winter. wait, is that even our tank.

that's bruce, stumbling around in the same forest in winter. must be where they picked him up from. is he going hulk, or calming down from hulk. who's after him. this must be russia. 

that's gotta be nat. what about a glass room.

that's a unicycle wheel. because scarlet witch and quicksilver are mutants they could be in a circus. OH MY GOLLY NO. that's a hospital bed wheel. you need help. did someone experiment on them.

see, hospital, not circus. that's an arm and a gloved hand. an old syringe. those are scissors. no they're forceps. google says delivery forceps. DELIVERY FORCEPS. WHO THE...... is someone being experimented on. does this have to do with the mutant twins. wait, that's why the hospital wheel was rolling so fast. someone's having a baby......oh my cow.

whose place did they trash. did ultron break out scarlet and silver from von strucker. are they working for him.

lol, you two were married in godzilla. this is so awkward.

what are they looking at. where in the world are they. aw, look at my poor baby thor. he's all beat up. did you just call thor your baby. sweet baby louise, you need therapy.

um. what is so startling that it would make thor drop mjolnir. what. nothing scares him.

ah, fury. i thought you got rid of the patch. are they in a garage. whose rocking horse is that. fury's wearing a beanie. see, they've got to be in a wintery place. like russia.

oh, yes, they gave her back her sassy red hair. i didn't dig the winter soldier hair.

ooooh. that is a face of pain. those are sad eyes. what is the deal here.

holy cow. there's no way that's tony in there. it has to be controlled by ultron. man. that's huge.

i assume they're fighting one of the iron legion. is that toilet paper.

 who in the world are these people with cap. whose party. is that a nazi banner. what soldiers have white helmets. is this the forties. that gal has forties hair.

that's definitely not russia or germany. did ultron drain an ocean. what kind of ships are those.

who is that. is that baron von strucker.

oh look a shirtless scene for thor. wonder if it'll be as pointless as the one in thor 2.

hmmm, it's like natasha is the only person who can get through to hulk.

BALLERINAS. what. is that hawkeye playing the piano.

see. there's hawkeye in another trench coat in wintery woods. this must be russia.

this must be bad. what did tony say. why does thor care. babe, put the egoist scientist down. you just called thor babe again. you...need therapy.

mm, she looks scared. this can't be good either.

UHM NO. definitely not good. what the frack.

HOLY SON OF A DORITOS-LOVING MONKEY MOTHER. hello there james spader's facial inflections and mannerisms. THAT VOICE THOUGH. "There are no strings on me." OH. MY. GOODNESS.

This is the point where I sit in my chair and rock back and forth and grin like a Cheshire cat. It's almost too much to process, I tell you. :-D After further research, I have discovered that the creepy background song and the "strings" line is a darkened nod to Pinocchio. He sings "I've Got No Strings" in the old Disney cartoon. *shudder* Wow. 

I think Whedon's got a good thing going on. *sigh* May is so very far away.