Bookmarks Festival

Leigh Bardugo and I

So obviously I’m getting this post up quite late. Sorry about that! But last Saturday, the 7th of September, my dad and I went to Winston Salem to attend the 2013 Bookmarks Festival. There were author speakers and food trucks and chalk to play with on the streets, and it was all really great! But the primary reason I was so excited to go was because that it meant I would meet Leigh Bardugo.

For those of you who don’t know, Leigh Bardugo is the author of The Grisha Trilogy (Shadow & Bone,  Siege & Storm, and later next year Ruin & Rising). For those of you who haven’t read these books, you should. The picture featured above is of myself and Leigh, and it was such an honor to be able to meet her and talk with her. She’s a person who is both immensely talented and wonderfully down to Earth. As someone who often finds myself awkward or at a loss for words in many social situations, I felt no anxiety or stress at all in meeting her. Leigh was wonderfully easy to talk to, and so personable as well. I hope that she plans on giving future talks, discussions, Q & A’s and signings in North Carolina – even if I have to bribe my dad into driving me to see her.

She signed both of my books, and gave me a bunch of Grisha Swag as well. You better believe that I’m going to go out and buy more copies of the books so that way I can lend them out to people and say, “READ THIS,” — what, you thought I’d lend them my autographed copies?

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Lately!

For those of you who don’t know, I have finally gotten around to applying to online school. It’s been a long sort of process, with a lot of sorting through financial aid information and some entrance tests and things like that, and for some reason it’s had me quite thoroughly distracted. When I haven’t been filling out forms and such, I’ve been making graphics or playing Dragon Age, so simply put I just haven’t posted lately!

But yes. I’m going to be in school come September, I think, so that’s good. Kelly has been over lately and we’ve been trying to catch her up on Game of Thrones. Yesterday she messaged me saying, “Mostly everyone is happy right now and that makes me wary,” and all I could think to respond with was, “Good, you’re learning how to watch this show.” No one is ever happy for long on Game of Thrones. She’s getting very close to the Red Wedding, so that will definitely be interesting to see her reaction to.

A List of the Weird

Okay, so, I’ve always found myself drawn to sorts of oddities. Maybe they don’t seem odd to you at all, and that’s fine – but to me, they are odd, and that is what I like about them. I didn’t actually realize until just this morning how many strange things I liked. They all have the same atmosphere, but I’m not quite sure how to describe it. So, I’ve decided to compile a list of these things, and I’ve called it ‘A List of the Weird’. Let’s begin!

  1. Ana Somnia – This is a really cool website. I’m not sure I would call it a ‘game’ per say, but Ana Somnia is a little girl who can’t sleep. You turn off the lights in her room and can watch as her strange and wild dreams unfold. It’s a light-sensitive website, but you can turn off the sensitivity and control it manually as well.
  2. Emily the Strange  – Now, bear with me here, it’s been quite a long time since I read my last Emily the Strange book. You know what that means? It’s time for a re-read. Since the last one I read, I’m pretty sure a few other books have been released. But Emily the Strange is a really awesome series that’s pretty well worth looking into.
  3. Katy Towell’s Art – Katy Towell is a really awesome artist (and a super cool chick, as well). She makes animated shorts of some very, very skary childrin indeed. She is also the author of the book, Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow. It’s deliciously creepy (honestly I’ve just always wanted to describe something that way).
  4. Welcome to Nightvale – Honestly, this is a podcast that I only started listening to just the other day. It takes the form of a local radio broadcast for the creepy town of Nightvale, where there are a lot of strange and mysterious things happening. It’s super cool.

Doubtlessly there are more out there, but these were the four that were plaguing my thoughts all morning long.

Early Morning Frustration

So my younger brother is in a band. This band is often times at my house, because my house is the house with all the instruments and the band room for them to rehearse in. I’ve gotten so used to these guys at my house, that I’m more alarmed if they do knock or ring the doorbell than if they don’t. Now, after shows (and sometimes not even then), my brother has this bad habit of dragging in a full-blown train of people. I’m talking 10-15 people at a time, and usually at around 1 or 2 in the morning.

I hate the fact that they smoke at the house though. I don’t know what it is they’re smoking exactly, and I don’t ask – but my brother knows how I feel about that sort of thing. (If you don’t know how I feel about it: Do what you want, I really don’t care, but please, please, please don’t do it around me or at my house). So they’re pretty much breaking my only two rules – don’t do it around me, or at my house. They’re doing both. I hate that. The smell makes me sick, and it just doesn’t make me feel good at all. Half my graduating class showed up high to our graduation rehearsal, and I learned then that the smell of it (whatever ‘it’ is, like I said, I don’t know for sure) makes me vomit somewhat profusely. So now it’s 1:22 AM and I’m barricaded in my room, trying very hard not to get sick off of the smell of whatever it is that my brother and his 10-people-crowd are smoking.

God I wish he’d just respect those two simple rules. Not around me, not at my house. Seriously.

The Twelfth Doctor

Okay, so today the 12th Doctor of Doctor Who was announced! I think it was 7 pm BST, and it was 2 pm EST. I’m sure you can believe it when I say that I ran downstairs about half an hour ahead of time in anticipation; my dad wouldn’t let me change the channel until the last minute because he was watching a documentary. There was about a two or three minute lapse of the same screen ‘Stay tuned for the 12th Doctor!’ and my dad said it was probably because they were trying to fix a camera or wire or microphone last minute.

I was so excited. I think I squealed every couple of moments just waiting, and of course they didn’t make the announcement until the very end. But! We have our new Doctor! It’s Peter Capaldi.

In some ways, he wasn’t what I was expecting, and in some ways he was. I was expecting them to cast a white male (because anything else is apparently out of the question) – but I was also expecting him to be younger. I was expecting them to keep up with the whole ‘younger man’ thing that they’ve had going for the last couple of Doctor’s. But I like Peter! I think he’s going to do a great job as the Doctor; I won’t be able to give any real opinion until I see him in the role, of course (that won’t stop some people from passing judgment prematurely). Regardless, I’m hopeful.

He’s already been on Doctor Who before, actually! Peter Capaldi played the marble maker, Caecilius, in Fires of Pompeii. I knew I recognized him, and I was glad when I finally put two and two together. He’s also been on Torchwood! (Though I don’t remember that as well, because I just don’t remember Torchwood as well as I remember Doctor Who in general). I’m just really excited and happy for him, and I hope he has as great of a time playing the Doctor as Christopher and David and Matt had.

Volatile

When I get into arguments, they’re volatile, and 9 times out of 10 I’ll be of the firm and nigh unwavering belief that I am right.

This might be part of the reason that I try so, so hard not to get into arguments with my friends. When I argue with my parents or my brother, it gets ugly and it gets ugly fast. I have a tendency to talk very loudly if I feel like you’re not listening to me (which it feels like most of the time, if no one will let me finish my sentence before they’ve started their own). I shout and I yell and behave generally like a two year old at times, and I cry until I’m blotchy in the face and I have a headache.

My family still loves me after. At least, I think they do. I hope they do. Mostly, they do.

With friends, God knows how that would go over. Chances are we’d not be friends anymore. The few arguments I have gotten into with friends haven’t ended well. Mostly they’ve resulted in stony and awkward silences, and a lack of communication that spreads over the course of a few days, weeks, months until we’re not friends anymore – just strangers with familiar faces.

It’s a terrifying thing, to know that you were so close to someone once, only to find that you now know nothing about them. You might remember some things – like, for some reason you remember their phone number, or their address, or their birthday, or their favorite color… but you don’t know what they’re up to currently. You don’t know how they’re doing (not past Facebook statuses which for some reason you still read), you don’t know what they’re up do. It’s just a weird thought.

Of course people grow apart and they move on – but it’s so sad to think that sometimes it happens just because of an argument. Or pride. Or a prideful argument. Take your pick.

I guess this is why, if I find out that I disagree with a friend about something (minor disagreements aren’t usually much to worry about anyway, since I always try to be respectful of another’s thoughts and opinions), I just kind of bite my tongue and nod my head and smile a little. It’s a lot easier to walk on eggshells and keep my mouth shut than it is to risk a big argument and the subsequent falling out. I don’t, after all, have so many friends that I can afford to lose the ones I have.

The Queen of Oz

My dad says I’m empathetic.

He might be right. I kind of wish he wasn’t.

“It’s good,” People say, “You relate to people. You understand them. That’s a special quality that not everyone has.” Yeah, okay, when you say it like that then it sounds like a really wonderful thing. But mostly I just find that it makes me sad a lot – if someone else is sad, I’m sad too. I’m sad that they are sad. Even people who aren’t around me, people I’ve never met, people I never could meet because they’re dead or because they’re famous (or dead and famous!)

This probably sounds really out of the blue, but I promise it’s not. I was watching the Wizard of Oz today, and of course everyone knows who Judy Garland is. She’s Dorothy Gale, the queen of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. But apart from that, how much do people know about her? I for one didn’t (and don’t) know a lot, so I decided out of curiosity to look her up on google. In fairness, I’d like to say that I didn’t make it very far in my reading because I got very sad very quickly. That kid did not have an easy life.

She was in show biz at 15, and seeing a psychiatrist by 18. Apparently that wasn’t so great anyway, because she was telling an old man with bad hearing about her life, and he responded in an accent that she could barely understand (according to her NY times obituary, or at least I think it was her obituary). She tried to commit suicide at 28. She married 5 times. She died early.

Somehow, I wish that I hadn’t read all that about the queen of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, because I guess now in my head she’ll never be the same. That makes me sad. It makes he sad that she was so sad, and that there’s nothing I can do about it. Not that it matters anymore, I guess; I just hope she’s in a better place – maybe Somewhere Over the Rainbow.