Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Live Blogging on Espresso!

9:14pm:  I don't know how many people (who actually look at my blog) are online right now, but I realize there are some things, I probably shouldn't have... Is Espresso coffees after 6 o'clock one of them? I don't think so!! (as my dad would say, "You're not qualified to make that diagnosis..")

In any case, I have decided that I like espresso coffees and Daddy made one for me tonight. It was sooo tasty!! I feel like a gorilla cheerleader!!! I want to chant "Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo!!" While I prance around my mother in circles.. Haha! The thought of that makes me laugh so much!

9:17 pm. I want you all to know that I feel ALIIIIIIIIVVVVVEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Huah! Please excuse me while I paint you a picture showing the victory and energy I feel...

 9:23 pm. This did not quite turn out the way I intended it.. One reason is that it looks quite a bit more despairing.. I am not despairing.. I am a lion!! Roaring in triumphant energy. ROOARR!!!

Let me try this again on a piece of paper and with crayons and maybe it will turn out a little better. However, this may take longer as I have to take a picture of my drawing and upload it after I draw it...

9:33 pm. I am back!!! Behold!!

This, I believe, is an accurate crayon representation of what happens to me on Espresso... It's funny; I've had a few lattes the last couple weekends hanging out with friends, and I never felt like this... @_@

It is truly fantastic! I feel like frolicking through fields of flowers and dancing under rainbows and around the butcher block in our kitchen and doing cartwheels while whooping through lawns of green grass!!! I feel like a dog with it's head out the window...

Kinda like this:

But without the floppy tongue and all the slobber...

9:42 pm. I feel like this is the extent of all I have to say.. but I still have energy!!!  Like a pogo stick on steroids...

9:45 pm. Did you know that if you google "pogo stick on steroids," you actually get a result for a super powered pogo stick!! It's like pogo stick for adults... it says it works like a trampoline.. Cool? Yes..

 This teeny tiny picture doesn't do it justice... Look up the "Fly bar" if you are interested. Or just "pogo stick on steroids" would work too..

9:52 pm. You know, the thing about coffee, is that it goes right through you... It's kind of like tea... (Or tea is kinda like coffee? I'm not sure which one came first..) I'm also drinking an arnold palmer at the moment, so that oculd be contributing..

But I hate having to go to the bathroom every ten minutes or so.. I went to starbucks a few weeks ago and I got a tall vanilla latte (and tall is the smallest size they have!!) And then, I had to go to the bathroom like eight times over the next four hours!! What's up with that? I don't get it... It also didn't help that I was sucking down water like a camel.. (or a cactus) at IHOP afterward... I had like three glasses...

9:58 pm. So You know what I just realized? I was supposed to take a practice test for a computer exam tomorrow which I'm taking at 1 o'clock... But I didn't.. I am so ready for this test to be over.. How computers work can be a very dry subject... Especially if you have to read 200 pages or so of it... =P Anyways, the test is tomorrow.. I'm feeling relatively confident about it.. If confidence were a measure, I'd have half a measure and be looking at it as half full, not half empty.. if that makes any sense... Or is anything on here making sense? I don't even know...

10:08 pm. I just nicked some candy out of my super secret stash... (which everyone who comes to my house pretty much, knows that it lives in the jaws of my closet..) I wish I could say I nicked it out of my little brother's stash just because it would be really funny when he finally noticed (if he noticed at all, that is..)

10:11 pm. I just announced to my mom that I have been live blogging this whole time about Espresso jitters and she laughs and says, "No more espresso for yous!" And I start the "insane giggle" as I'm lowly feeding (or attempting to) a twizzler into my mouth like a log into a lumber mill.. She said that adding sugar on top of it, isn't helping.. But I don't mind. ^-^

10:21 pm. I believe you can do a lot of damage with these things... Phone, camera, crayons and twizzlers? Oh yeah!!

10:24 pm. A haiku for you:

Yummy Espresso
You do stranger things to me,
Than just plain sugar.

A dead man walking,
Prowling through the house at night,
But I feel ALIVE!!!

I decided that some of my best prose comes out at times like this: late at night, on caffeine and/or sugar, sometimes with friends around... On Friday night, Nicole spent the night to write our brains out together and we ended up staying awake until around 5 in the morning... But I think one of the best scenes in my whole novel came out about 4 am or so..

I wrote this amazing cannibal scene in which my main villain cuts off the MC's (main character's) finger and cooks it up like a sausage and then eats it in front of him!!! The scene was totally epic. I read it out loud to Nicole and we were scaring ourselves with it.. It was so... gruesome.. But it was awesome. Best scene in the whole book so far... Which is almost finished. I will be sad when this one is over. I've had a lot of fun with it..

The only thing with late night prose is that as you get later into the night, even if the prose gets better, the spelling gets worse.. Fun stuff though.

10:34 pm. Whelp, I think this is enough crazy weirdness for tonight.. I'm gonna sign off here for now.. I apologize that I neglected to break up some of the text with more pictures... But you can only pirate so many off of Google before you start to feel bad... In any case.. This is all for now.. Chow.

bathroom tally: 345

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Saved From Blithering Dust!: A NaNoWriMo Update

Greetings, people from the real world! Today, I have extricated myself from my solitary lair-- a hole whose depth knows no end to the amounts of tasks that require my personal assistance to complete. Menial things like chores and schoolwork and calming crying babies.. And before my very eyes, I watched my word count lead drop like a piece of lead falling through air. With nothing but feeble attempts to stop it. A tragedy, to be sure.

Making the tragedy even worse, like that of the likes of Shakespeare, was the fear, the paranoia, that accompanied it. I was deathly afraid that my story would not make it to 50,000 words! I'd had concerns in the beginning, but none so deep as the despair I felt today when I realized, I'd hit the climax of the novel at a measly 23,000 words! You cannot fathom how much it pained my heart to admit so. I simply did not know what to do.

Enter: Nicole.


I called Nicole and we talked for a mere 45 minutes on the phone and she had my story completely up and kicking'!!! She helped me develop my characters a bit more, fill in a few holes, and, last but not least, she offered many ideas for me to use to extend my plot (and word count) Yay Nicole!! As I later reported to my family, she truly saved my novel from becoming a blithering pile of dust (as the title of this post says.)

In case you are confused at this pnt in time, I shall explain. November is National Novel Writing Month-- a wonderful word filled challenge for writers across the world to write a wacky  amount of words in thirty days, or one month. (impressive alliteration though, huh?) the goal is the aforementioned 50,000 words. I successfully reached the goal the last two years and I'm hoping to again this year, thanks to Nicole!! (I swear, if I publish the beastly thing, I will dedicate it to her!)

My story this year is a modern retelling of the classic story of Hansel and Gretel, with a few new twists. The basic plot is this: After moving into their new step-Father's country mansion, two rebellious city kids get mixed up in something way beyond their initial suspicions of the old man living next door...

(*SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!!* the old man who lives next door happens to be a cannibal who kidnaps children and eats them! Disclaimer: Although the author enjoys writing about cannibalism, she does it endorse or condone the practice in any way.)

Fun Facts:

-My decision to write a retelling of H&G was made several months ago when Bethany and I were brainstorming ideas we could write. And we decided to do an adaptation of a fairy tale and swap novels afterward! Just to see the differences and similarities. Because it'd be fun(!) I later realized that it was quite a challenge.

-Originally,  my story was to be set in cyberspace. But as I worked with the story, I realized that it was turning into more of a incestuous Internet romance (in which the brother and sister meet in an Internet chat room and inadvertently fall in love) and less of a tale about Hansel and Gretel. (I was kind of going for a Luke/Princess Leia type thing.... But not.) I was all prepared to write it too (as I had no better ideas and we were not two weeks from November first) but when I told Bethany, she strongly urged me to change my story. (Probably because she didn't want to read it, which is understandable.) Please don't ask me how I came up with that plot idea or question my moral soundness. Because, while I desire to be completely honest with my real life readers, I do not desire to spend the rest of my life living in a hole of shame. That's a reasonable request, I should think.

All that to say, that I have written a total of 0 words today. And yet this post is nearing the 700 word mark. But I shall leave you with hose thoughts for now. Til next time!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dad's Childhood Revisited!! Seattle/Bellingham Day 3

On Sunday, we visited the McGregors (good friends of my parents) in Bellingham and we had a good chat with them.

I tried to take amazing pictures of the kids with Dad's super special high resolution camera...

But sadly, half of them turned out all black!! *thumbs down*

After talking to them, we went to the island of Dad's youth: Lummi Island.... *cue fanfares*

We took a ferry there!!

This is the house where my dad grew up. He drove us around and pointed out all the settings of all of his and Uncle Brian's awesome stories!! Many of which we were not allowed to hear until recently in Colorado..

When we got to the island, we pulled up to the school and Dad showed us the playground and stuff, but there were people inside the schoolhouse!! They were cleaning up after some event they had there so we got out of the car and asked if we could look around. Dad explained that he used to live there and everything.

They let us in! And it was so neat!! We saw his classroom and the little gym.. There was a coatroom and a music room and a teeny tiny kitchen.. it was all very quaint..

More pictures of Dad's house...

It only took like an hour and a half (if that) to tour the whole island so we got in line for the next ferry ride back to the mainland. While we were waiting for it though, we got out to look for seashells, along the shoreline.

We were so preoccupied with looking for seashells, that we didn't realize they'd started loading cars onto the ferry!! We scrambled up the rocks you see in the second picture, but by the time we all got to the top, the ferry was full and we had to wait for the next one!!

So me and Cam looked for more seashells while we waited, with the warning to come back up when we saw the ferry coming back from the mainland.

Needless to say, we caught the ferry the second time around and made it back to the mainland.

views from the ferry.

Once we reached the mainland, we drove over to the place where we were meeting the rest of our family for dinner in Seattle. I forget the name of it, but the place was similar to Texas Roadhouse with less steak on the menu..

The whole family came! Uncle Jack and Aunt Judy (naturally), our family, the whole other Tyler Clan, Matt and his friend Ben, and Dan and Laura. Ben was a most interesting person.. Sometime after dinner, he was talking about awkward things so I left to "go to the bathroom" and me and Ishta just hung out in there. I don't think he noticed my absence though, which is fine.

I didn't realize Dad was taking this picture, but this is Ishta and myself at our end of the table.. It was a nice meal, and Aunt Judy got birthday apple cobbler, and my parents got anniversary icecream.. Me and Ishta decided to add our signature to the bathroom stalls... There was already a lot of writing on them though, so I just added a gigantic tree... Not my best tree ever, but who cares.

After dinner, we went back to Uncle Jack and Aunt Judy's for our last night and the next morning, we left for our plain trip home. Cam was not far-sighted enough to think of and bring a costume, but Aunt Judy fixed him up to look like a great nerd!! I went as "The Scream" which is a painting by Edward Munch. We got a lot of interesting comments at the airport.. It was a lot of fun. =)

So this concludes our Trip to Seattle.

From the Top of the Space Needle! Day 2

There is always time for letters!! On Saturday, we went to the Science Center with Aunt Nancy, Uncle Brian and the kids and I found a nice spot to sit and write while we waited for them.

The Adventure Begins- Seattle Day 1

We arrived in Seattle late Thursday night. Aunt Judy was awake to welcome us, direct us to our rooms, and feed us from her fridge. As I walked around her and Uncle Jack's house, I was struck by the vast amounts of photographs, tickets, and other memorobilia that papered their walls. The house felt alive with the whispers of many stories and tales to be told by the people in the photographs. There were little trinkets everywhere: small figurines, statues, books, pens and pencils... In my room, one part of the wall was covered with lots of odd bits and pieces. It was so beautiful. I just wanted to look at everything and take it all in. But there was hardly time for that.

On Friday morning, Dad took us to Ballard Locks. There are two lakes, but one lake is higher than the other one. So they built a sort of canal so the boats could pass to either side. It was really neat.

The boat entered the canal and tethered itself to the edge. Then the gate closed behind it and pumps raised the water level to the height of the other side and that gate opened!! It's all very complicated to explain, but it was very exciting!!

Especially when we got to see it in action!!!

After the ten minutes of excitement was over, Dad showed us the fish ladder where the salmon swim upstream to mate...? Or something like that. There were no salmon, since it wasn't the right season, but we did see a few fish. Two big ones and a little one. I decided that the little one was doing better than the big ones because, although he wasn't going anywhere, he was keeping an even pace. The other fish would let themselves be carried back by the current and then swim and catch up with the little fish. (Isn't that mean?! The gloaters!)

That's one of the big fish.

After the locks, we wandered around for a while... Walked along the train tracks...

And looked at the boats. It was funny, because we were asking these guys for directions and I said, "Good Morning!" And they laughed at me and said, "It's afternoon!" So I replied, "Well, I wouldn't know, because there isn't any sunshine!" And I skipped on my happy way, knowing full well that I just sounded like a major tourist. (Commenting on the lack of sunshine in Seattle!)

In the afternoon, it started to rain and we decided to go to this amaaaazing place called "Pike's Place Market"!!!! Oh my gosh, it was so amazing!!!! Pike Place Market is like a multi-story indoor market with all sorts of little shops and booths.

These pictures of dead fish cannot even BEGIN to describe its wonders!!!

Nor can this epic ye-woo player!! (Excuse me while I butcher his instrument's name.) It sounded like a bagpipe, but he played it like a violin. How awesome is that? The guy's pronunciation of the instrument was very strange. I think it's an oriental instrument.


THIS!!!!! THIS is an art studio we saw as we entered the market!!!!! It was all barred up, but I took pictures anyways. It was SO BEAUTIFUL!!! IT WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MESS I'VE EVER SEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My excitement equals nearly that of the Switchfoot concert.

Pike Place Market was a wonderful conglomeration of sights, sounds, and smells. The different stalls and shops sold all sorts of interesting things!! I bought a bunch of postcards and Daddy bought Mom some anniversary flowers from one of the vendors.

When our meter ran out of time, we decided to hit Third Place Books for the rest of the afternoon. Third Place is a neat bookstore. Half of the area is the bookstore, and the other half has a cafeteria and a stage and this oversized chess board!!

I remembered the chess board from some obscure memory of long ago.. but it looked a lot smaller this time around. Dad played a game with Cam and absolutely whupped the poor kid.

 After Third Place Books, we went over to Uncle Brian's and Aunt Nancy's for hanging out and pizza, which was great. Ish and the kids and I created several "haunted houses" upstairs, complete with strobe lights, recorded noises, and a skeleton that dropped down from the ceiling. We brought each of the parents through it and they were very scared. ;)

Ishta brought her book The Wheedle and the Noodle which was personally signed by Seattle author Stephen Cosgrove and read it to the boys. It was a super cute story! Dad and Uncle Brian rocked their electric guitars in the garage while the boys played pinball and ran around doing boyish things and roughhousing. Aunt Nancy and Mom enjoyed a nice "fireside" (minus the fire) chat.

It was a nice evening, filled with jokes of "twice in one year." It was nice to see the boys again, especially after our vacation in Durango. And good times were had by all.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Today I learned...

How to make a schedule!

Or at least a different way of scheduling. And here is the answer:

hour by hour.

This way of scheduling is different from any other way I've done it before. I've done weekly schedules, and monthly, and every-other-weekly schedules, and I keep a calendar on my wall... (although, I don't use it as often as I should.) but I've never done an hourly schedule before today. For all you list-lovers out there, this one is for you!

So, earlier today, I was reading a few articles about academic success (yes, you read that correctly.) and I learned some very interesting things. (you read that correctly too.) One thing I learned was that your brain functions better if you study in chunks of time and take breaks, rather than cramming for six hours straight. Now, this I already knew, however I had not put it into practice.

Some of the best tips I got from that article were to study for 45 minutes followed by a 15 minute break and to schedule myself. I've done schedules before, but the author suggested an hour by hour schedule. So I decided to try it. I made a list of all the things I needed to get done today: read such and such many pages, type up an essay, debate homework questions and so on and so forth. Then I estimated the time it would take for each one. And organized it into a list.

I also made "mini-lists" (you know what I'm talking about-- those tiny lists you make in the margins of the page, so small, but ever so important!) or small tasks I could do during my 15 minute breaks. These ranged from doing the dishes to getting snacks, to going outside in the sunshine. (They say that some time in the sunshine makes you more alert; I believe it.)

And you know what? The whole thing worked out pretty well! I was happy to have an actual plan and I wasn't lured into deviating because I included "fun" and different things in it as well. =D I'm trying it again tomorrow. In fact, I have my whole day planned out from 7 o'clock when the alarm goes off (but I rarely get up at that time; I generally hit the snooze button 5-12 times and then get up.) to about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Pretty cool eh? Unless you actually have a life outside school and/or work. 

On an ever so slightly unrelated note, the other article I read regarded the behaviors/habits of A+ students. In summary, the article said that the best students are successful because they manage their time well instead of procrastinating and cramming like many other students. And because they manage their time well throughout the whole year/semester/class/whatever, they are able to make sure their work is top quality (for instance, where essays are concerned: finish early, have lots of time to edit and make it as good as possible.). It was quite an interesting article and time management is a bit of a weak area for me (if you can believe that!).

Lately, I've been stressing out a lot because I'm "behind" (there really is no "behind" in homeschool, but there is a relative point at which I "feel" behind.) in almost all of my subjects and (confession--) I tend to procrastinate a lot. Particularly with classes like Debate.. or extracurriculars like Awana. The week just slips by and next thing I know, it's the weekend and I'm scrambling to get my homework done. (Never thought you'd hear that from a homeschooler did ya?) I'm hoping to become less of a procrastinator and catch up on some of my subjects by drawing up more detailed schedules.

I've just felt really bogged down, discouraged, like everyone wants a different piece of me. Whether it's church or  Bible study(ies) or classes or work.. You know. Whatever it was. Everyone wanted a chunk. Everyone wanted me to "do this by next week." A week isn't that long, people. I think our leaders/teachers (and this is not a bash on them at all.) honestly think to themselves, "a week is long enough to get such and such task done." but no consideration is given to all the other tasks one has due that week. If I have five different things due on five different days, odds are that I am bound to drop one of the juggling balls if I'm not organized enough. That, I believe is the key. So this is an experiment in the works. (And also a long post that only the people who truly love me will read all the way through. Like my mom. Because that's what moms are for.)

Don't you love how we learn new things every day? Why, just a few weeks ago, I learned how to help a little boy go to the bathroom! That was quite an experience. If you can imagine this (and you may choose not to at this time, if you wish), they do not go to the bathroom like little girls. (Perhaps an obvious truth in retrospect, but it was not so obvious at the time. I didn't know what to do. I can imagine that anyone outside the bathroom might have laughed at my conversation with the little kid.) Here's the trick (which the little boy's mom was so gracious as to share with me): you have to sit them on the toilet backwards. Once this was revealed to me, however, I was a pro.

In other news:

-I have a TON of posts to publish (as soon as I write them.) So that is exciting. These upcoming posts may include but are not limited to: an appreciation post, CLEP exams, my Halloween costume, NaNoWriMo, a narrative essay, and our recent weekend getaway to Seattle. Ain't that exciting?

-As you may or may not know/remember, it is NaNoWriMo time yet again. I believe I've made several posts on this topic (all of which I am too lazy to hyperlink at the moment) and there are bound to be at least a few more. But a little less than an hour ago, I hit 10K!!!!! (10,000 words in 3 days.)

-I cannot sleep. And that is the reason why I am blogging at one in the morning. =P And probably, the reason why this post is so long and rambly. If I am thinking about too many things at once (like today) then it is near impossible for me to sleep. But now I've got a load off my mind, I shall try to get some sleep.

-I'm also thinking about switching the blog around (so much for sleep). Not tonight of course as I get overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of options I have... but soon. I don't like the width of the layout where my posts show up. And the green on the sides just makes it look all claustrophobic. What do you think? I think I want to make it more open like my sister blog. It just looks a lot cleaner to me. And (you will appreciate this), it will make the paragraphs look smaller!! YAY!!! Gotta love smaller paragraphs!