Sunday, April 22, 2007

SkillsUSA Results

The past few days I spent at the IL SkillsUSA state competitions. I had a blast.

I won 2nd Place in Adobe Photoshop! I'm so happy XDD
I also placed 8th in partner web design, which is better than the 10th from last year
My school also placed 2nd in Architecture

I'll let you know our other standings when I find out the exact numbers tomorrow. But two 2nd places!

March 2007 Reading List


X-Factor #16; Peter David; 32; 1 March; Own
The Amazing Spider-Man (Civil War) #538; J. Michael Straczynski; 32; 1 March; Own (gift from Joe)
Blue Beetle #4; Keith Giffen & John Rogers; 32; 1 March; Own (gift from Joe)
Blue Beetle #5; Keith Giffen & John Rogers; 32; 1 March; Own (gift from Joe)
Flash Fastest Man Alive #1; Danny Bilson & Paul Demeo; 32; 1 March; Own (gift from Joe)
The All-New Atom; Gail Simone; 32; 1 March; Own (gift from Joe)
Magic Knight Rayearth Book I Volume 3; CLAMP; 208; 2 March; Borrowed from Noel
Magic Knight Rayearth Book II Volume 1; CLAMP; 192; 3 March; Borrowed from Noel
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Volume 6; CLAMP; 192; 17 March; Borrowed from Chris
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Volume 7; CLAMP; 194; 17 March; Borrowed from Chris
The Taming of the Shrew; William Shakespeare; 222; ?-17 March; Own
Magic Knight Rayearth Book II Volume 2; CLAMP; 221; 19 March; Borrowed from Noel
Magic Knight Rayearth Book II Volume 3; CLAMP; 222; 20 March; Borrowed from Noel
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Volume 8; CLAMP; 195; 23 March; Borrowed from Chris
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Volume 9; CLAMP; 192; 23 March; Borrowed from Chris
Magic's Child; Justine Larbalestier; 296; 27 March; Own

17 books by 8 authors with a total of 2326 pages. That's 683 pages more than in February, but 1319 pages less than in January. It's going to be hard beating January because that was the month I sprained my ankle over winter break and read the entire Harry Potter series in a week.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


In which I rant on why giftcards are actually a bad idea.

Today I remembered that in my wallet (which I got free from the library and has their contact info on it) I had a Simon Giftcard which may or may not still have money on it. So I pull it out to find out where to look that up at and I find 3 other giftcards! No wonder the ID side of my wallet was so thick!
So I looked them up online.
The Simon Giftcard had $1.53
The Kohl's Giftcard had $6.73
The McDonald's Giftcard had $0.18
The Marshall Fields Giftcard doesn't give you the option of looking it up online. Maybe this is because Marshall Field's doesn't exist in Chicagoland anymore?*

Okay, why this sucks:
Simon Giftcard- I found out recently that places won't take these cards unless it's over $7. I have $1.53. That doesn't work very well. I tried donating it to the Green Brothers' Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck, but PayPal doesn't like the card either. So, I can combine it with something else I guess, but as a cashier I can honestly say that cashiers don't like doing this, which means I'd have to do it somewhere I'm not a regular (like say, Amazing Fantasy Comics? or Dominick's grocery?) where they would remember me and hate me for awhile. But, overall, not so bad, but still bad because now the receiver of the giftcard needs to pay money to get their "gift."

Kohl's Giftcard- The amount on this actually doesn't suck all that much because I can get stuff with that. But I know that because I don't have any money to add to it it would end up like the Simon and McDonald's giftcards with low, unusuable (alone) amounts. The thing that actually does suck about this card is that it's excluded to one store. What if I didn't shop at Kohl's? What if I bought my clothes somewhere equally cheap like Target? This would be a problem.

McDonald's Giftcard- What could I possibly use 18 cents for? See this one sucks more than the Simon Giftcard because of three reasons I've already mentioned. 1)It's exclusive (to a place I don't eat!). 2)It's an insanely low amount that will probably never be used. 3)If I were ever to combine it with actual money (which I don't have) it would be a pain in the rear for the chashier (which rhymes btw) and yes, working at McDonald's pretty much means that the cashier already hates me for living and eating at their "restaurant" but now on top of that hate they have reasonable hate! It's just not a good thing.

Marshall Fields- I really don't think I ever used this. It could be expired for all I know. This sucks because it's exclusive to a store I don't shop at (because everything is too expensive)**. And you can't see your balance, how can I buy things if I don't know how much money I have?

In conclusion: give cash. If you absolutely must give a giftcard, give a Simon Giftcard because they can be used anywhere that accepts VISA. Oh, and make sure it's over $7.

So...anyone want 18 cents at McDonald's? If you send me a self-addressed envelope I'd willingly give it to you (hey, I'd even throw in 2 pennies to make it an even 20 cents). Actually, if you send me your address (in an email so you don't have to put it here-- that's lyokofans @ I'll send you the card + 2 pennies. I'll pay for the postage with any change I find in the couch tomorrow...or on my bed if I ever clear it off.

Really, though. Someone take this McDonald's giftcard from me. I don't eat McDonald's! (for those interested I spent the other $4.82 on ice cream and my mom's lunch)
*Soon I will write up a blog post on why Macy's is a horrible place (hopefully tomorrow, but I sort of want to include a picture of something)
**You know you're poor when you can't shop at Marshall Fields (I refuse to call it by the evil name)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Book Review: Magic's Child (and the rest of the Magic or Madness series too)

First off, I am sorry this took so long Justine, but you should know that because yesterday I promised that I'd do this today that I actually would even though I had a "oh my gosh, why are people so horrible?" day at work. So, here it is, the review of Magic's Child! I'll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible.

Magic is a myth, that's what Reason Cansino had been taught growing up, unlike the majority of children who spend their early years watching movies and television shows about magic school buses and fairytale princesses and reading books about young wizards in school. Of coarse, Reason is much different from other children having grown up in the outback with just her mother by her side, travelling from place to place to escape her grandmother. Oh, and did I mention that she actually is magic? That's right, no matter what she was told, magic actually does exist, and she inherits it and the curse it brings with it. See, magic isn't all flowers and butterflies (despite what the covers may lead you to believe), it's actually quite a burden as Reason finds out. She's given a choice now: use her magic and die an early death, or not to use her magic and go insane. Definately not all flowers and butterflies.

Magic's Child is the third installment in the Magic or Madness series by Justine Larbalestier and is in a word, Brilliant (with a capital B). The characters are dealing with old enemies and changing the relationships between them all and they're dealing with their choices in a big way. Jay Tee is paying the price for using so much magic earlier and Reason is trying to come to terms with a few earth-shattering things and at the same time find a solution for the double-edged sword that magic has provided. I think she does an amazing job at all of this, especially for her age. Her solution to the problem is so painfully obvious that it's the last thing expected and is bloody brilliant. Magic's Child will keep you interested from beginning to end and is a satisfying conclusion to Justine Larbalestier's wonderful series. Well, mostly. It may be satisfying, but the characters, plot, and writing style (not to mention the last chapter) will make you beg Justine for more. I certainly want to read more of this, and I hope Larbalestier will do that for us. Please?

In short, the entire Magic or Madness series is amazing and you should all read it right now. All three books. Get them all at the same time because once you've read Magic or Madness you'll immediately want to pick up Magic Lessons and after that you'll absolutely need to read Magic's Child.

I wish I could write pages and pages more on this book and its author, but that would be spoilery and I think I've done a bit much of that already (because even a little bit of spoilers is a little bit too much).

Bravo, Justine!

Friday, April 13, 2007

On Titantic and Carbon Output

I thought this should be seperate from the Christopher Robin thing.

CBS Chicago news is telling me that a Swiss watch company is making watches using pieces of the Titantic. I find this highly depressing and wrong. Taking part of the great ship and wearing it on your wrist seems to me to be a might disrespectful of the lives lost. I believe we should leave the ship where it is, or in museums, but not as part of ticking accessories. Not to mention it seems to be really pointless to pay that much for a watch and it sort of uh...flashy? I don't think that's the word I want, but oh well.

Also, John Green got me interested, so I went and figured out my carbon footprint on It's 11 tons, which is 7.58 tons less than the average American. See, this figure makes me feel good, but answering some of those questions and watching the picture change did not make me feel good, in fact it made me feel like I was killing the Ozone layer...which, I kind of am, just not on my own is all.

Christopher Robin will not be ignored or forgotten!

There's going to be a lot of posts tonight, probably anyway.

I couldn't find the article on Newsweek's site, but fortunately it's a short one, so I can just type it up on here:
Oh Bother! It's Darby.
The Hundred Acre Wood had welcomed only one human: Christopher Robin. But fans who tune in to the May 12 debut of Disney's latest Pooh series, "My friends Tigger & Pooh," will find the boy has been largely replaced--by a 6-year-old girl named Darby. In the new show, Tigger and Pooh don superhero duds and solve mysteries (who's stealing Rabbit's rutabagas?). Executive producer Brian Hohlfeld thought Christopher Robin was too old for such sleuthing, so he designed Darby. She was a huge hit in the postproduction testing. But Pooh purists won't be pleased: Christopher Robin appears in only two of the 26 episodes. British journalist Hugh Fraser, who launched a "Save Christopher Robin" campaign on his blog, says Darby subverts A. A. Milne's vision. "For a girl to intrude breaks the spell of the story," he says. "They aren't
her toys."-Sarina Rosenberg, Newsweek

The blog mentioned is here.

I'm really set against the idea of Darby on the show. The whole point of Winnie the Pooh is that everyone in the Hundred Acre Woods is a stuffed animal of Christopher Robin's; does this not mean they are part of his imagination? So, who is this new girl to just show up in the Woods and play with Christopher Robin's stuffed animals, steal from his imagination in a way. Of coarse, she seems to have made a few changes when imagining these timeless characters: she made them superheros, but not just that even, superhero detectives. I must admit, the whole superhero detective thing only works with Jamie Madrox, and I think I'm a little biased towards that because it's Jamie; if it were anyone else I might think this was odd like I do now with Pooh and Tigger. But, okay, sluething superhero stuffed animals...that's a little over the top. Another thing, I may be probably the biggest Tigger fan for miles (okay, am) and I love that he's getting the recognition he deserves (outside of the Tigger movie, that is), but still, even Tigger shouldn't take higher billing than Winnie the Pooh on a Pooh-themed show. It's wrong. Okay, more on Darby because I got off topic there and don't see a way I could change it and still keep the superhero/detective thing the way I want it. I think Disney's just trying to work with a different gender on the show so they don't seem sexist. Of coarse, this fails. Darby is a tomboyish girl, and it would still be sexist (if it were to begin with, which I don't think it is) because they took out Christopher Robin, so it's just switching one gender out for another. And this is a lot less important compared to the other things I just mentioned, but it's also a 3-D animated show, which I find well, odd, compared to the style everyone remembers with Winnie the Pooh.

Needless to say, I'm against the idea of this new show...but I will still watch it because I like to have means behind my madness on occassion. This is just a first impression thing you're reading.

Save Christopher Robin! (use the link above please)
"They can't get rid of Christopher Robin because there's a song about him!"-Susan W.

My dream and April Musings

Okay, commenting on my own blog's last post: I'm sorry I'm late on all the stuff I said I'd do, but uh, I got really sick, I was working, and I'm just really lazy and procrastinate a lot. I appologize most of all to Justine Larbalestier to whom I promised a book review to awhile back. It's coming tomorrow, for sure this time--I promise (and I can do this because my plans were cancelled and I know I won't be crazy like I am tonight because work will steal my energy in the morning). Also, I will eventually learn to put commas between my tags so they actually work...sorry about that to anyone who actually uses them.

Okay, on to posting. I originally had this one on my LJ but I decided to cross post it because it seemed bloggish and I can, so I am.

My dream is to be interviewed about my writing. It's been my dream for awhile now, I really want someone to interview me about any of my writings...except my poetry, I'd really hate that, unless it was a rant about why I now hate poetry and how poetry fans are fickle.

Hah, I just remembered, this is actually literally my dream, I had a dream the other day where I was doing an author appearance for the Great Books Club, just as I promised Mrs. Satcher-Jones. I got up there, told them about my books and gave Mrs. SJ a signed copy of The Elemental Spell, which was my first published book (and had done rather well I might add) and was also dedicated to her and my sister. "To my sister, Kayla and Mrs. Satcher-Jones who ran the Great Books Club. Thanks for being my biggest fans and for doing the job no one else wanted to do: read those early drafts. Thanks for getting through those and for always asking for more." Then it was question and answer time. I got up there and said "Alright, you can ask me anything--go ahead, anything from writing, to publishing, to my beliefs on buffalo rights." Too bad I can't remember any farther than that because that would've been funny--especially since Kay-san, Jackie, and Dodi were all still members (which means if this comes true like all my other dreams that I'll be published by next year!)

...other posts coming up in just a little bit here tonight because I'm in a ranting mood today.

Oh, but first, check out Brotherhood 2.0 because it's awesome and hilarious and both these guys are very cool.

Monday, April 09, 2007

April Notes

Just a few things of note: (skip to the end for the short version if you like)
  • I have a job now! Guess that explains the lack of posting, huh? Yes, I now work at the Family Christian Bookstores, which is you know, awesome. Of coarse I may end up spending my whole paycheck on VeggieTales, Mandie books, and the Left Behind series

  • X-Factor #17 = yes. Buy it because it rocks. Too bad it's not Raimondi's art though

  • I bought Case for Christ by Lee Strobel the other day when it was a $5 members only item at work and it's really good. It's this guy writing an article where he tries to prove that Christ doesn't exist, but you know what? He finds out He does. I haven't gotten very far at all yet, but I'm certainly learning things from the interviews he has with experts--things I wasn't even informed enough before to think of asking anyone.

  • I owe the readers of this blog:
  • My reading list for March 2007 (and it's long, which is why I'm not posting it now)

  • A review of Magic's Child by Justine Larbalestier

  • A blog post on...something. Would you be interested in reading a religious post on why Matthew is my hero?

  • Also...
  • On April 19th-21st I will be at the SkillsUSA competition (that geek olympics thing I mention from time to time) and I think this year I'm going to blog about it on here to give you a feeling of what the contest is like--for me at least.

  • I've had one of the teachers at my school (not one of mine though oddly enough, she's the head of the Great Books Club) read the first chapter of Marshall Manor and the first four chapters of The Elemental Spell recently. She is pretty much my biggest fan now. Mrs. S has read them at least twice, the first from an editor's point of view and the second from a regular reader's perspective. She says I have a style that cannot be taught and that the only problems she saw were little typos and such--and trust me, I asked her many questions trying desperately to get her to tear it to shreds, but she assured me there was no way she could do that, even if she didn't know me. Which makes me feel really good because she was being totally sincere. I hope to finish the second chapter of Marshall Manor by Wednesday for her to read, and I just finished up the (first) revisions for The Elemental Spell, chapters 5-10 that I will be sharing with Mrs. S and my sister, the poor souls who read my first drafts...and actually ask for more. Oh, I don't think I mentioned it just yet, but I came up with the perfect ending for Elemental a few weeks back. I've been writing/plotting this book since November last year so I'm glad to finally get it all figured out in my head.

  • Short version: So yeah, that's the news: there's lots coming up, I have a job, I'm almost finished with the second chapter of Marshall Manor as well as the revisions for The Elemental Spell, I have a new beta reader, you all should read X-Factor #17 and I'll get up my March reading list tomorrow afternoon.


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