2012 in review

  • Dec. 31st, 2012 at 8:44 AM
notemily: (hunger games - the mockingjay)
Well, I know I haven't made a LiveJournal post since (*checks*) July, but today is December 31st, and to let the year end without a year-in-review post on LJ just feels wrong. So, without further ado:

Media things

Best book of 2012: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. Hands down. Granted I didn't read many books this year that were actually released this year, but this book speaks to me on a level few others match, to the extent that my therapist suggested using it in our sessions. It also gave me a completely new appreciation for Fire, which I had previously been meh about.
Best book of 2012 not written in 2012: The only other new read I gave five stars to this year was Poison Study by Maria Snyder. It's pretty amazing, but my enthusiasm for it has been dampened by how disappointing the sequels, especially the "Glass" series, were. The world had so much promise, and the subsequent books rarely lived up to that potential, and sometimes had really unfortunate implications. So if you're going to read the book, do yourself a favor and stop there.
Authors of the year: I read 14 books by Tamora Pierce this year and 12 by Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant. They both have series(...es?) that are extremely addictive, and though they write for different age groups, I recommend their books to all fantasy fans who like kickass female heroines. My favorites: Squire and Emperor Mage by Pierce, and the heart-wrenching short story In Sea-Salt Tears by McGuire. And yes, those are all later books/stories that you have to read the earlier books in the series to get to. Muahahahaha.
Chapter of the year: Chapter 26 of Feed. LIFE-DESTROYING.

Also: This year I finally finished my Goodreads Challenge of reading 50 books! I think next year I'll up it to 75. I would like to thank the awesome women who write addicting fantasy series for this achievement.

Musical artists listened to most: According to last.fm, they were Fun., the New Pornographers, Florence + the Machine, Tegan and Sara, and Neko Case. This year was the year I really got into Tegan and Sara, who are amazing.
Favorite songs of 2012:
- Look, I really like "Gangnam Style". It's fun and dancey and strangely subversive once you research the lyrics. Plus, PSY just looks like he's having so much fun. Video: Eeeeeey, sexy lady!
- My love for it has faded a bit due to overexposure, but I can't not mention "Some Nights". The fact that a song I loved this much got so popular warms my heart. You mean regular people really like harmonies and power-pop and Nate Ruess's voice? ME TOO! Let's be friends! Video: This is it boys, this is war.
- "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers is a sweet, simple love song that makes me smile. "I don't know where I belong / I don't know where I went wrong / but I can write a song." Yep, sounds about right. Video: I'd be standing on Canal and Bowery.
- This didn't come out this year, but I discovered it only recently: "Settle Down" by Kimbra. I have Alan to thank for introducing me to this gorgeous song that's more than a little bit unsettling. Video: On just one knee for now.
- Honorable mentions: Of Monsters and Men - "Little Talks", Imagine Dragons - "It's Time", Gotye - "Somebody That I Used to Know", Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (Like... ever.), Jay-Z & Kanye West - "N***as in Paris"
- Guilty pleasure: Maroon 5. Yeah, I know. I can't help it if One More Night is catchy as hell.

Best movie seen in theaters: Come on, did anyone really think I was going to award this to something other than The Hobbit? It's not the best movie ever made (or even the best Middle-earth movie ever made), but I just want to love it and squeeze it and call it George. Martin Freeeeeeman.
Movie I regret not seeing in theaters: The Hunger Games. It was amazing and so true to the book, especially visually.

Favorite TV show discovered this year: Teen Wolf. Shut up. It's one of those shows that's deceptively mainstream, but a lot of thought goes into it if you look past the hott dudes with no shirts on. Although there's that, too. Female gaze FTW.
Honorable mention: The Legend of Korra. It's no Avatar, but it tries.
Best rediscovery: Dollhouse. I never finished watching it the first time, but watching it again for Mark Watches I'm catching all sorts of nuance and awesomeness I didn't see before. Also TOPHER MY HEART.

Life stuff

Biggest life change of 2012 (positive): I got a job motherfucker. It is such a relief to be able to support myself! Working full-time is something I wasn't even sure I would be able to do, but I've been doing it for six months now and so far I'm not dead.
Biggest life change of 2012 (negative): I like my job, but I am really sad that it makes me so busy and tired that I can't foster kittens anymore. I miss my kitties so much. I haven't had one since Pippin and he was almost a year ago... but I remember how overwhelming it was even while working only 20 hours a week, and I know I'd run myself ragged if I tried to do it now. Someday, perhaps, I will be able to foster again. In the meantime, I have my own kitty and she is wonderful (and I'm sure especially happy that I'm not fostering anymore), but I miss getting to know all the different kitty personalities, and there's something special about the teeny-tiny ones. They're challenging and rewarding and when you finally earn their trust and love, it's a wonderful thing.

Speaking of tiny creatures--If it was a big year for me, it was huge for my niecelet, who turned 1 this year. I mean, she learned to walk and run and talk and do sign language! How awesome is that? Even though I only get to see her every few months, I love watching her grow up. She's not just "aww, cute baby" anymore--she's turning into a person.

I hope everyone has an awesome New Year's Eve. Happy 2013!

to say nothing of pocketing the spoons

  • Jan. 14th, 2012 at 11:59 AM
notemily: (downton abbey - matthew/mary otp)
DUDE. You know what I just realized about 2012?


This is my most favoritest of things. Gymnastics! Diving! Swimming! More gymnastics! And this year, British things! Still hoping they can get that David Tennant thing sorted out.

Anyway, moving on--

I'm dog-sitting for my parents this weekend, which means I've actually been channel-surfing because they get ALL the channels and there's always something on. This led to me catching the repeat of the new-to-the-US airing of Downton Abbey S2E1 the other night, and OMG I forgot that this show makes me feel SO MANY FEELINGS. Even the characters I loathe are just so goddamn interesting and the relationships on the show are all so wonderful and well-written and I just want to step into the world of Downton and live there forever. (Not literally like as a human from the 1910s or whatever, more like an invisible fangirl ghost who spies on everybody all the time.)

spoilers )

So after watching that, I was like MOAR, so I downloaded the entire season since it's already aired in the UK. But now I'm reluctant to watch it because if I finish the season then there will be no more Downton Abbey to watch and I will be sads. I want to savor it, like a box of really good chocolates. You don't just eat them all at once!

I started watching North & South on Netflix instead to get my period drama fix, and it's pretty awesome. Someone in a review described it as Pride & Prejudice meets Dickens, and so far that is completely accurate. The main actress reminds me SO MUCH of someone and I can't think who and it's driving me to distraction. Also it has Richard Dwarfitage in it so I'll be able to see what the fuss is about him before The Hobbit comes out.

(Also why did nobody tell me Anna Maxwell-Martin was in this? I adore her. And Bates from Downton Abbey plays her dad, so that's neat. He has such a cute teddy-bear face.)

All this period drama fangirling has led me to think I need to read more historical fiction. Anyone have recommendations? Preferably for a similar time period to Downton, but I'll take any recs you've got.

top five fictional pets

  • Dec. 3rd, 2011 at 1:48 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] fannish5 meme stolen from [livejournal.com profile] entwashian's post here:

Keep in mind that I haven't read a lot of the classic animal books like Because of Winn-Dixie, The Underneath, anything by Kate DiCamillo, etc. And it's been forever since I've read Shiloh, A Cricket in Times Square, The Incredible Journey etc. So I'm just using recently read stuff for this.

Also, I don't have any live-action movie or TV animals because they never look right to me. Animals can't act. So usually they just have animals sitting there and then add a lot of inaccurate sound effects, like cats yowling when they're supposed to be calm and friendly. A friendly meow is different from a distressed yowl, you guys.

So anyway:

5. Smut from Dairy Queen. Because her name is Smut! She was named after "corn smut" which is blackish and sometimes found in ears of corn. Her fur looks like that. Also because she's just a pet, no supernatural powers, except making D.J. feel better, which is what pets do.

4. Pongo from One Hundred and One Dalmatians (movie). The scene where he's trying to find a mate for himself and Roger, omg, hilarious.

3. The Colonel from The Hundred and One Dalmatians (book). In the movie he's kind of a bumbling idiot, but in the book he's a stately old dog who teaches the puppies military strategy. Puppies! Military strategy! He promotes people every time they do something awesome, and then at the end of his chapter after chasing after the inept dog thieves and biting them as hard as he can, he promotes himself. Love it. Honorable mention: Cruella de Vil's cat, who helps them get revenge on Cruella at the end because Cruella drowned her kittens.

2. Sirius, the Dog Star, from Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones. Because, the entire book. I mean, just read it. Honorable mention: Tibbles the cat, who helps him out of more than one scrape.

1. Buttercup from the Hunger Games trilogy. Not only is he a fucking badass and THE REAL STAR OF THOSE BOOKS, he's responsible for making me cry, every single time I read the trilogy. Those of you who have read it may know the moment I am talking about. I just lose it.

More honorable mentions: Hedwig the owl, Pounce the magical kitty (who may or may not be a god) from the Beka Cooper books, Chester the paranoid cat from Bunnicula.

Buy My Stuff: Books!

  • Apr. 16th, 2011 at 5:05 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
Ok, here's how it works.
  1. Each box contains 5 NAMED books and 4-5 MYSTERY books. The mystery books might be vintage paperbacks, ARCs, or just random books I have lying around.
  2. Each box is $15.
  3. If you want a box, leave a comment saying which one, and give me your email address. I will email you a link to pay me with PayPal. You don't need a PayPal account to pay, but if you want to pay a different way, let me know and we can work something out.

BOX NUMBER ONE - SOLD! - contains:
BOX NUMBER TWO - SOLD! - contains:
Any takers? You'd be helping me move!


  • Mar. 20th, 2011 at 5:38 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
So I went to Pennsylvania! And there were many photos taken. Click to embiggen.

CUT! )

Anyway, there will be pictures of ~actual dancing~ in the next post! This one seems long enough.
notemily: (lotr - WHERE WAS GON--)
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I'm going to go with The Two Towers. Because: Which two towers? There are at least five in the book (Orthanc, Barad-dur, Minas Morgul, Minas Tirith, and the tower of Cirith Ungol), and none of them stand out as the definite "two towers" the title refers to. Tolkien didn't even make up his mind as to which ones they were.

Not sure what I'd change it to, though. Maybe it should be "Something of the Something," since books one and three, and the entire series, are in that format. Or is that too Star Wars these days?

Part of the problem is the two halves ("books") of The Two Towers are so different. Book three is all about Rohan and the Ents, and book four is all about Gollum's appearance and then Frodo and Sam fighting giant spiders. (Uh, spoiler alert.) The two books don't even share characters! So there's not really one title that draws the two halves together, unless it's something boring like The Quest Continues.

Possible alternate titles:
Hobbits in Peril
People Not Being Dead After All
Never Get Involved in a Land War in Mordor
Are You There, Light of Earendil? It's Me, Frodo
They're Taking the Hobbits to Isengard! Gard! Gard! G-gard! Gard!
Uses for Taters
Eowyn: Pay Attention, She's Important Later
My Preciousssss

I'm a horrible cat owner

  • Aug. 9th, 2010 at 7:59 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (misc - kitty with milk)
It's so lonely here without Kate around! I keep waiting for her to come home and then remembering that she's dog/house-sitting at her sister's place all week. So then I just sit here with it slowly getting dark. /emo

I got Hypatia sick. :( :( :( Well, Oliver did, but it was my fault. I should have kept a way stricter quarantine on the kittens. I have plenty of excuses: she really hates being kept out of my room and I can't stand to hear her crying and destroying the carpet outside of it, and the kittens escape all the time, and keeping my door closed constantly drives me kind of batty, and it's hard to disinfect EVERYTHING that they come in contact with, especially since the kitten room is my bedroom so I'm probably covered in kitten germs all the time. But really it's my fault. I've been sick with guilt and worry. I hope Kate doesn't kill me.

Fortunately, though, she's not EXTREMELY sick. I knew what was happening as soon as I heard her start to sneeze and cough, so I took her to the vet right away and got her some medicine. She's just kind of lethargic and not eating much, plus she sounds like she has something in her lungs when she coughs--so basically, like a human would be with a cold. But I think cats with colds are harder to deal with because WE, as humans, know that we have to keep hydrated and fed even if we don't feel like it, but cats don't. (Also, cats can't tell us if they suddenly start feeling worse.) I've been giving her lots of treats because she will eat those, and I fed her some water with one of the kittens' extra medication syringes, just in case she was dehydrated. She hated being force-fed, but she seemed to perk up a little after that.

I'm also giving her lots of extra pettings and love. Apparently you can clear cats' sinuses by putting them in the bathroom while or after showering, so the steam can clear out their breathing. I might try that.

I guess I've learned my lesson about kitten quarantine. Next time, if Kate lets me do it another time, I will be more careful. Maybe have a "kitten smock" that I can wear over my clothes and take off before I go out to pet Hypatia. And put all my shoes and stuff into a plastic bin, so I can just disinfect the bin and not have to worry about each individual shoe. (They live at the bottom of my closet, where the kittens like to rampage around and sneeze on things.)

Ironically, poor Ollie Bear is finally showing signs of improvement. I still have him for another week because he's not 100% better, but he's not the snot-covered kitten he was a couple of weeks ago. Also, he has PASSED RAMONA in weight! Not by much--he's 3 pounds 1 ounce, and she's 2 pounds 15 ounces--BUT STILL. He was like half her size when he got here.

I kind of suspect that part of the reason he's grown bigger than his sister is because he hogs food. Sometimes I'll see him trying to push her out of the way because he wants ALL the foods, so I have to hold him for a minute to let Ramona get her fair share, but I can't watch them all the time. I'll have to make a note of that on his return sheet so his future family can be warned, if they have another cat.

I thought Hypatia had been gaining weight, but the vet weighed her at 8 pounds and some number of ounces I can't remember, which is slightly less than on her last vet visit, so I'm probably just thinking she looks huge because I spend so much time with tinycats. When you're used to picking up a two-pound kitten with one hand, eight pounds feels like a lot of cat, I guess.

I caught Ramona using poop as a toy again today. DELIGHTFUL. Sometimes I think she's protesting that her litter box isn't clean enough. Either that or she's saying I don't give her enough toys, which is CLEARLY UNTRUE.

IN NON-KITTEN NEWS, I went to the annual book sale at the Church of All Saints the other day with my mom. I always have fun hunting for YA books there. They have quite a few in the children's book section, but the rest are randomly mixed in with the adult fiction, either because they don't know they're YA or they just don't care. So it's a treasure hunt. It takes more than one visit to take everything in--I'm going back on Tuesday, when they have the box-and-bag sale. Everything you can fit in a box or bag for $3, I think. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I found a bunch of Sweet Valley High books with the old-school painted covers, and that made me think of [livejournal.com profile] 1bruce1 , the community that recaps everything Sweet Valley. And then, my mom has been reorganizing the basement and found a bunch of my old Katherine Applegate romance novels, which I ***LOVED*** when I was younger. (You may know her as K.A. Applegate.) So I started wondering if anyone had done recaps of those, and I did find these recaps of the first book, which are quite funny. Apparently the author has read EVERY Sweet Valley High book(!).

Still, there's not much out there in terms of Applegate recaps (I know, wide field), so I was thinking I might do some myself. I'm not sure if there's enough interest for a community (Kate could do Animorphs recaps!), but I can always just post them here, and annoy entertain all of you.

(I also found this blog dedicated to CHRISTOPHER PIKE RECAPS, so if anyone needs me for the next six hours...)

Things I am sick of seeing in YA titles

  • Jan. 19th, 2010 at 9:29 PM
notemily: The top of a row of books (misc - books)
First of all, Normal:

Define Normal by Julie Anne Peters

(Define Normal by Julie Anne Peters, Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor, The Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon, Deliver Us From Normal by Kate Klise)

Yes, I know it's a town in Illinois, but that's no excuse for a title that essentially means nothing. Also, Freak and Perfect, consider yourselves on notice.

And while we're at it, can we stop with this?

(Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, Deadly Little Lies by Laurie Faria Stolarz, Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen, Sweet Little Lies by Lauren Conrad)

I just don't like where it's going, is all. YA titles should be memorable. If everything starts being little and lying all the time, your book sounds like every other YA book out there, and that's not good.

I am also sick of titles (in general, not just YA) that are a gerund followed by a name. [Doing something] to [person]. Like Drowning Ruth or Saving Zoe or Finding Forrester or whatever. Stop the literary assault on people with names!

Looking for Alaska
gets a pass. But only just. I'm watching you, John Green. *side-eye*

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