June 30, 2014

It's Monday, so here's DC again. For the very last time.

That's right - I'm gone! Going back home for the summer and for the next year too... and the next year... not sure when I'll ever come back.

Anyway, let's not be sad. Let's be happy, because this city is amazing.

June 27, 2014

Carina Nebula

No review this week - I'm a little too busy to read; GASP! - so I'll show you the project that has been taking up most of my time these past three months.


I cross stitched the Carina Nebula! First person (that I know of) to cross stitch a Nebula. Yay! 

Accidentally got the wrong canvas and made it out of 22 Stitch per inch rather than 18 - so instead of being 8"x8", it ended up being 5"x5" (12cm). Each stitch was smaller than a millimeter!

June 20, 2014

Landline, by Rainbow Rowell - A long(ish) review

I will start by saying that I’ve never read any of Rowell’s other works, but after reading this one, I really want to. I got Advance reader Copy of it at Bookcon: it won’t be out until July. Landline was a fun read, and the realistic portrayal of her characters made it even more enjoyable.

The plot focuses on the life of Georgie, a TV comedy writer, who struggles to balance her work and her family. It’s Christmas, and she as to cancel her vacation plans so as to finish the work on scripts for her dream show, which has a change to get produced. It’s her one shot, her big break – she sees no other option than to stay home.  What she didn’t predict was that her husband, Neal, would take the kids and go on vacation without her.
A familiar plot, it seems; although you’d probably see it with the working dad and stay at home mom, not the other way around. (thanks for equal representation, Rowell! I like you already!) However, this plot is not romanticized or made to be magical, like you see in so many novels. This is not the story of a romance – it is the story of a relationship.
When Georgie finds a connection to her past, a phone that can reach Neal in the past, before they were married, she starts to question her present. Is this what she really wants? Is Neal actually happy? Did they make the right decisions?

Can she – should she – change the past?

Time plays an important role in the book, both in the plot and in the narration. The story jumps from one point in the relationship to the next, alternating past and present, showcasing side by side the beginning of the relationship, and the current status of it – possibly the end.  While our present lies with a Georgie a few years into married life, in her past, she was once just falling for Neal. As the plot progresses, we learn both how Georgie and Neal fell in love, while Georgie deals with the challenge of saving that love.
This mirrors the plot, with Georgie finding the link to her past, the yellow landline that reaches past Neal. Just as the narration melds past and present, Georgie speaks to Neal from the past, compressing the flow of time. As a reader, we get a full view of their lives together; first meeting, dating, marriage, children, and now, the fading out.
She has a rare chance to affect the past – what kind of choices will she make? Will she fix her relationship, or end it? Is any of it even real?

There are so many different kinds of love in the pages of this book. You’ve got platonic love between Georgie and her writing partner, Seth, her other half in comedy. Just like her relationship with Neal, the reader gets a full view from the its beginning to its current state: it is a colorful relationship, a perfect friendship, where they are closer to being siblings, their minds exactly on the same wavelength, in strict contrast with her relationship with Neal, which isn’t as effortless.
We also have a familial love: Georgie’s family dynamic is fantastic. Her sister, her step dad, and her mom all offer her different relationship advice, while they don’t exactly have the most common love lives. I won’t say much more because of the spoilers, but even the pugs have their own uncommon love affair.

I think what really resonated with me in this book, and what I really related with, but how human the characters are. They are people with depth and dimension, with lives, with loves; they are not romanticized stereotypes.  Georgie has a human problem, human struggles. The narration just makes it feel like you're in her head, or that Georgie is talking with you, and every once and a while going "wait, to get this, you need to hear about what happened back then..." 
She’s a normal person, to whom a strange opportunity arises. That’s the kind of person I like reading about. 
And the way she deals with her problem is also human. It’s not over the top, insane, unlikely, magical, over-romanticized. She does what any person in her situation would do, if they had guts. Don’t let me spoil the ending for you, but I was pretty happy with the resolution. A good marriage takes hard work, and I think there’s hope for Georgie and Neal.

All in all, I want to give this book 4.5/5. It was and good read, and definitely enjoyable. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good love story, rather than a romance.  It is a heartfelt, human story, and one I’m really glad I read it.

Random thoughts:
  • Georgie’s mom’s lingerie. YES.
  • The sister, the pizzagirl, and pug puppies – this scene will make history.
  • This book is adult fiction, rather than YA (which I am told is the genre of Rowell’s other books). I’d really like to read her other stuff after reading this one.
  • She can’t reach current Neal – just like she couldn’t, fifteen years ago. What if another Georgie from even further in the future was talking with current Neal? Just a thought.
  • I really wonder how Neal feels about all this. How much does he know? If he did, how would that change the ending?

June 12, 2014

We Should Hang Out Sometime!

'We Should Hang Out Sometime' (Josh Sundquist) is one of the Advance Reader Copies I was given at BookCon, and won't actually come out for a few more months: until December, in fact! Until then, get ready for me to increase your anticipation, because trust me, the wait until December will be long and hard, but it's going to be worth it.

The book itself is a memoir of the author's experiences as a teenager, chronicling his attempts (and failures) at finding a girlfriend. According to the author himself, it is a 'semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation' into what went wrong in his pursuits of love. And by semiscientific, he means he forms hypotheses, investigates, tracks those women down, and asks them point blank why it never worked out between them.

I love the scientific approach to understanding where the relationships went wrong, as it ads to the charm of the book.
And there are charts. Very funny, very accurate charts, drawn in sharpie, placed here and there all throughout the novel, giving you insight into the author's mind and a good laugh (or a sincere awww) in most cases.

The story itself is so brutally honest that I can't help but feel connected to the life of young Josh, and the challenges he faces trying to find a girlfriend. It's incredibly engaging. The reader finds themself relating to his thoughts and feeling as he comes up against the challenges of finding love. The fear of rejection is a poignant reoccurring theme throughout the entire novel, which both holds him back from asking out the women he crushes on and taints his memory of the relationship, which we can se through the hypotheses he forms about why it never worked out between them. "She may have liked me, but..." is a repeated consideration of the author with almost each of the potentials. And it doesn't help that he does get rejected right off the bat one of the only times he does go for it.

However, with almost every woman, the results of the investigation surprise Josh, and the reader - except in the few cases where the reader can see what young Josh couldn't, and wants to scream at the page "She's obviously into you! Go for it!"

The book is an incredibly quick read, both because the author manages to convey some of the key concepts through well thought out charts, and also because the reader just simply wants to know what's coming next. I sat down and read the book in less three hours, on the bus on the way from BookCon to Philly. It reads like you're sitting with a friend and he's telling you his worst dating experiences. It's engrossing, captivating, grabbing the reader and making them a participant in the investigation. It has some real laugh out loud moments, and I found myself laughing not only because of the absurdity of his predicament, but also because of how much I related to what he was feeling.

But the truth is, the book isn't just about finding a girlfriend, finding love; it's about our own insecurities, fears, our self esteem. It's about you. It's about all of us, because we can all relate to these, even if we aren't missing a leg. This book isn't just about finding love in others, but learning to love yourself.

"We Should Hang Out Sometime is for every person who has ever wondered, "Is there something wrong with me?" 

Josh begins the book by stating that the reason behind his investigation, other than curiosity, is to find out what was wrong with him, if it was something like annoying habit,  that he could change,  or something permanent, that he would just have to live with. Each time, he asks what was wrong with him. And, SPOILER ALERT! Nothing is.  The problem is that he believes there is.

Which is why I'd recommend this book to anyone and everyone who's ever felt that deep set feeling that they're just not good enough. Everyone can relate to Josh's struggles. Everyone has felt insecure, for different reasons: maybe we didn't even realize it at the time.

I'd give this book 5/5 stars. It's a fantastically fun read that I'd happily recommend to others, and offers a fantastic lesson - a truth - without being preachy. It's one of those books that makes you wish you were friends with the author, so you could call them up and talk to them about their book.

Check out the website here if you'd like to pre-order a copy!

Random thoughts about the book:

  • Have any of you read An Abundance of Katherines (John Green)? Parts of the book felt a lot like that. Maybe it was the format of "This woman - this experience - This ending". Maybe it was the theme of teenage love. Or coming of age. So if you like reading John Green, you'll probably enjoy this novel.
  • After reading the book, I checked out Josh's youtube channel and realized I recognized him from his "Doctor Who for Math Nerds" video. I watched a few vlogs and was shocked out how his voice is so recognizable from the book. it really is an honest novel, and he's not trying to be anybody but himself.
  • I'm not a man or an amputee, but I really related to this book. Wowza.
  • We should hang out sometime! is quite accurately the best pickup line. Full disclosure, I'm probably going to use it in my future.

It's been a while (an apology post)

Hi everyone,

I'm sorry I've been gone so long.Life tends to get in the way of my creative pursuits, and this was no different. So many crazy things have happened in the past six week. Not that I think anyone is reading this blog, but I'll tell you all about it.

First off, the big downer - the french rejected my application for citizenship. Supposedly, 'I don't have the funds to exist'. I'm not allowed to re-apply for another two years, so there goes my chance at a free university education.

But that's a rant for another day.

Good things have been happening too. I went to DC's Supernatural con, which was wonderful. Me some incredible people, and it turns out the cast of the show are all incredible nice people. I didn't expect that.
I also learned that I'm terrible at taking selfies. Every one I got turned out blurry.
But it was an amazing weekend.

The museum also held a party to celebrate Boeing's huge financial donation. I got to meet not only the CEO of Boeing, but the president of Rolls Royce, some speakers of the house, and apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell. It was out of this world.

We filmed a music video at NASM, which will never leave the confines of the staff room. But it's amazing and I really wish communications would let us post it. But it can't, so we won't post it.

And finally, I went to Bookcon. Part of the event was a lot of free books, advance reader copies that were handed out on the exhibitions floor. I've been slowly making my way through them, and I think I'm going to start reviewing them. I feel like getting a free book is some kind of pact with the author to tell him - and everyone! - what we think about it, and encourage others to get it too, if we feel so inclined.
I do feel so inclined.

So I'm going to review books.

So this blog had gone from DIY to Piss poor photography to a book review blog. Ouch.

Keeping that in mind, I shall attempt (attempt!) to write on a biweekly basis. We'll have poor photography monday and book review thursday, starting today.  Monday will be interchangeable. Over the summer as I get my hands on art supplies, I may post more DIY.

I'm also very active on tumblr. Come find me here.

Live long and prosper, folks,