I Yet Live
~ What I Have Been Up To ~



Hello all, I thought I would pop on here to give a quick update about my life, since it is so gloriously commonplace, and reading about other people's lives is strangely soothing (ie. boring). Mostly, these sorts of posts are really an attempt to make myself sound FAR FAR too busy to have posted, so that maybe no one will realize that I was just lazy and forgetful. Anyhoo....

Blog Update: 
Yes I am still planning on finishing those reviews I promised (wasn't it smart of me to avoid setting any kind of deadline or time frame?) And no, I will not end this post by saying "I will do my best to post regularly in future". I shall save myself the trouble of failing. 


Me Update: 


July 



If you have poked about much on this blog, you may have discovered that I am rather obsessed with Ancient Egypt, specifically the 18th dynasty. Well, at the end of July, my lovely mother took me to the Penn Museum, which has one of the largest collections of egyptian artifacts and the largest sphinx in the US. I also touched the sphinx. Just a light tap. I'm sorry museum. You aren't supposed to touch it, but I did. I made sure my hand was nice and clean first. Another thing I touched (again, very lightly with one very clean finger) was a statue that may have been touched by the main-ish character in my book. So that was cool. 

I also got to chat for a little bit with the conservationists in the artifact lab (their blog is most interesting: https://www.penn.museum/sites/artifactlab/) which was enlightening. The backdrop of this conversation was a skeleton just casually laying on a table nearby. 




August




Two days after returning from Philly, I headed off to the mountains of Colorado. I love mountains, and high up places, and cold places, and rainy places, and places with thin air, and walking, and cold mountain lakes, and hot tea on a freezing morning. And did I mention that I love mountains? Something about being able to just walk right up out of the world. 




At the end of August, I began working as a Nanny for a wonderful family. Four adorable children, and two awesome parents. I am practising for my ideal future. 


September 


With September came drama rehearsals. And this time, I was a director (so fancy). I adapted a PG Wodehouse short story, cast some lovely people, and annoyed them for two months leading up to an excellent performance. More on that later.

On the 22nd of the month, my wonderful twin and I attended a Hobbit Day dance. We curled our lengthy locks, donned our hobbit garb, shed our silly shoes, and had a lovely time.

October


October was a rather exciting month. It began with a fun mother-daughter trip with myself and my mother, and my twin and her mother. A good time was had all round.
I began learning Irish (because commonly used languages are far less interesting to me), and towards the end of the month was awakened by the news that my brother had been in a car accident. All is well, he is well, but it definitely made for a crazy couple of weeks. And this all brings me to....

November 


So far...
Most importantly, mah sistah had a baby. Takes the cake for best event of the year. With that said...on to drama.

As I mentioned earlier, I have been directing a play this year. I was also in a play (which happened to also be an adaptation of a story by Wodehouse), but that is much less interesting. Directing a play.....has been.....interesting. I knew going in that I would enjoy it, as long as I got the right cast. And I did get the right cast. The problem is, I am bad with people, and I am 90% certain that my cast kind of hated me in the beginning. To be fair, I was REALLY annoying. I was super picky, and I directed line by line. I stopped them constantly, and had them move a few inches in various directions. I micro-managed the angles at which furniture was placed on the stage. I was horrid. Would I do it differently in the future? Yes and no. There are a lot of things I would go back and change if I could, but that fact that I can't does not annoy me in the least. I should certainly have been a little more encouraging earlier on, but at the beginning, I didn't know yet that my cast was going to be so wonderful. I was pretty hard on them, and I don't think they 'thank me for it', but I also think they have come to understand my reasons, and they don't dislike me for it.  So yes, in future, I would change the WAY I managed it, but I would not be any less exacting. I will say I have learned a lot about how to interact with people. I am still bad at it, but I am slightly better than I was a few months ago. This month was performance month. And they did a frabjous job.



 The Author

The picture of the Sphinx is the property of the Penn Museum. All the other pictures are my own.


Come chat about The Silmarillion with me: 
          

7/11/17
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING
spoiler free

I have gone to see the Spider-man reboot. 
The best word I can think of to describe the movie is 'cute'. That doesn't make it sound very good, but I thought it was fine, as superhero movies go. These sorts of movies are supposed to be amusing, and I was amused. Though I was falling asleep on the way to the theater, the film managed to keep me awake. It's not yet another origin story, which is good. If you enjoy superhero movies as a rule, you should definitely see this one. I liked it more than certain other Marvel movies I could mention. 
Be forewarned, there is a moderate sprinkling of what I believe is called "toilet-humour" in this movie. 


~~~~~~~

Alrighty then. Plot. It was fine. Exactly what you would expect. Kid feels like he could be doing more to help, kid gets in mess, kid feels discouraged, kid figures it out. (Is that a spoiler? I don't think so. Surely you didn't think a Marvel superhero movie was going to end with a dead main character?) 
What made this movie fun to watch was not the story, or the Villains, or the quirky sidekicks, or any of that. It was Tom Holland. From the moment I saw him in Captain America: Civil War, I knew he was going to be a good spidey. For one thing, he actually looks that part of a scrawny fifteen year old. He was 20 while they were filming, and is definitely one of those forever-young looking people. 
See, he looks like a twelve-year-old pretending to be a grown-up. Peter Parker being in awe of Tony Stark is very realistic. I imagine it wasn't hard for a young, inexperienced actor to act slightly nervous in the presence of Robert Downey Jr. Peter is supposed to be 15 in this movie, and it was quite believable. Holland nicely captured the energetic, slightly discoordinated nature of many fifteen year old boys. He even bothered to make his voice higher. And since he did most of his own stunts, his personality didn't disappear as soon as he put the mask on. 
There was one moment in particular that I really liked, I don't think I'm spoiling anything, but I might be, I don't know. Anyway. Peter was trapped under a pile of cement, and upon realizing that he couldn't get out by himself, he started crying (as in tears, not noise) and screaming for help. The reason I like this is that it is easy to forget how young he is. Yes he is a lovely brave superhero, but he is also a fifteen year old kid. In severe pain, and trapped, he freaks out, as anyone would, especially a younger chap. Lovely moment of realistic, human vulnerability. Nice touch, movie. 
   
Now then, other characters. With the exception of Aunt May and Stark, they were all slightly stereotypical movie high school people. The trusty, comedic-relief sidekick. The girl the main character has a crush on. The guy who makes fun of the main character, etc.

Tony Stark was...Tony Stark. Considering that all of the avengers movies and some of the Captain America ones are basically just Iron Man movies, I think Stark is decently well known. He is "mentoring" Peter, in the way that you would expect Tony to mentor: by ignoring him most of the time. And no, he does not at any point say the words "with great power comes great responsibility". Thank goodness. He is actually kind of a horrible role model, if you think about it. I mean....he did recruit a fifteen year old to help him fight incredibly dangerous superheros. Hardly responsible. He is always there enough to scold when Peter gets into scrapes, but not enough to notice beforehand. Not that I'm annoyed by it. It is VERY in keeping with the character of Tony Stark. (I still like you the best, Iron Man).
The villain was...predictable? I can't really talk about him without giving things away. Hmm. Nothing concerning him was in any way surprising to me. He was fine as a villain. Pretty much interchangeable with most other superhero villains. 

Aunt May..... wait, she was in this movie?? 




 The Author

You can find my other reviews at: writeornotwrite.blogspot.com/reviews

6/30/17
THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA
by
Megan Whalen Turner

The Queen of Attolia is the second book in the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. 

Did I say I would review the rest of this series? Yes. Did I say I would do it in a timely fashion..... no. 
I tried to write this without spoilers but I couldn't really think of much to talk about, so beware. I shall be stealing the blurby-whatsit from the back of the book (again).

The short version of this review is that I like this book. It is worth reading on its own, but is much more enjoyable if you have read The Thief



When his small mountainous country goes to war with the powerful nation of Attolia, Eugenides the thief is faced with his greatest challenge. He must steal a man, he must steal a queen, and he must steal peace. 
But his greatest triumph – as well as his greatest loss – can only come if he succeeds in capturing something the Queen of Attolia may have sacrificed long ago. 


Setting

I have already blabbed about how much I like the historical-fantasy-realistic feel of the book, in my review of The Thief. The Queen of Attolia puts you in the middle of a war, which means more details about the placement of cities and fortresses, and the strategic properties thereof. It is all quite interesting, and you can tell that Turner has really thought about where things would be built and why, and what sort of areas would be attacked first etc.. My copy didn't come with a map (I think more recent ones do) but I didn't really feel that I needed one. 

Plot

The plot is satisfyingly (english?) intricate, and well-paced. The military-strategy side of it is very interesting, at least to me. Easy to follow without being simplistic. The power-struggle (sort of) between Eddis, Attolia, and the Mede ambassador (Nahuseresh) was quite clever, and I was nicely confused during the first read. The Eugenides/Attolia thing was....not as good. Gen's side was okay. He found her beautiful, and through watching her realized that she wasn't just a murderous tyrant. But I never really bought her side. She kind of hate/respected him, and cut off his hand. She was cold and unpleasant, though human. All that is okay. I could even see how she could come to like him as a person, but her loving him never made sense to me. Even in the next book (King of Attolia) where you see more of their relationship, it seemed very off to me. It's all very well to laugh about "if I ever betrayed my spouse she would murder me in my sleep" but it doesn't help me like them together. Maybe that's just me. 

Characters

Gen: (stealing my comments from previous book review) I'm very fond of Gen. He is small, grumpy, and sarcastic. Very talented and clever, and kind of annoying (in a good way?). He is very childlike in a lot of ways, but also mature beyond his years. He grows up a lot in this book (not necessarily in the best of ways or under good circumstances) and his genius self really comes out. His plot to steal the queen is amusing. Amusing is probably not the best of words. But I laughed...so.... Clever people amuse me. Gen is very smart, but also young. That really comes out in this book. He is so untouchable, and yet so vulnerable. His love for Attolia is rather adorable, if slightly disturbing. 

Attolia: As a character, I like her. Her coldness, the horrible things she has done, her upbringing. It all fits together and makes sense. Her envy of Eddis's loyal courtiers and loving people. All this I like, but I still do not accept her loving Eugenides. By the next book, it is fine, but I remain unconvinced by her love in The Queen of Attolia. It is so sudden, and so random. Perhaps I balk at a love between two people who have pretty much never spoken to each other. Attolia has never interacted with Gen. She knows basically nothing about him as a person. They have no relationship. At one end of the book, she is severing his hand and sending him back to Eddis, thinking he will probably die from infections and sickness. Then at the other end, she loves him...but nothing really happened between them in that time. 

Nahuseresh: The Mede ambassador, seeking to marry Attolia and gain control over her country. I like him (as a bad guy, not as a person). He ends up failing as a result of pride-induces blindness, but he isn't just portrayed as stupid. On the contrary, he is quite astute, diplomatic, and manipulative. Perfect ambassador material. He is the younger brother of the heir to the Mede empire, which makes him powerful but not powerful enough for his own desire. In this book, his plan is to control first Attolia, then Eddis and Sounis, and make them part of the Mede empire. All very loyal to his emperor, but a big part of his motive is a desire for personal power. If he succeeded, he would rule a decent size country, far enough away from Mede that he wouldn't be completely under his monarch's thumb. 

Objectionable Content

Um. Someone's hand gets chopped off? Is that objectionable? Perhaps for a very young child, that could be disturbing. Oh, there are a few uses of the word 'damn'. That isn't really objectionable, but I believe it is one of those things people expect to be warned about in reviews. 

In Conclusion

While I did not enjoy The Queen of Attolia as much as The Thief, I do like it. It is well written, with good characters and a good storyline. As I mentioned before, it is better read after The Thief, but it does stand on its own just fine. 
 The Author

You can find my other reviews at: writeornotwrite.blogspot.com/reviews