Month in a Nutshell: May 2015

Oh gosh, where did May go? Here's a brief recap, I guess!

on the blog

  • For my second-ever Scribbler School post, I talked about how to make your names work for your story.
  • I participated in the third round of #LitLove (which is an Awesome Thing that I do with the ATTAC gang), highlighting William Shakespeare and one of my favorites of his plays: Othello.
  • I did Beautiful People again because it's fun and emotionally compromising. This time, I spotlighted Rowen Raveneye and Yvette Scarleigh.
  • I featured Maggie Stiefvater's #twitterfiction for the fifteenth edition of Fiction Friday.

that one time I was offline *gasp*

  • School is vaguely tolerable, if only because my history class is really interesting.
  • I came in second at a state-level piano scholarship competition (on Mother's Day, no less), which was very cool and a wonderful surprise.
  • I took my first (and hopefully last) AP exam of high school, for AP Statistics, which is the only AP class my normally-IB school offers. I think I didn't do too badly, shockingly enough.
  • Toward the middle of the month, I came down with a debilitating cough/cold/generally gross thing. Needless to say, I wasn't exactly pleased about my immune system's decision to take a sudden holiday.
  • I had a very relaxing and much-needed four-day Memorial Day weekend.
  • During that weekend, I founded out I'd been admitted into The Adroit Journal's 2015 Summer Mentorship Program! (I saw the email and suddenly WHAT WAS AIR.) This is a summer-long writing mentorship for high school writers brought into being by the indomitable Peter LaBerge and his wickedly talented Adroit staff. So far the experience has been an absolute dream, and I can't wait to get into the heart of the program this summer—I'm being mentored by 2013 National Student Poet Aline Dolinh, whose work I've admired for ages (there is so much caps and excitement that I'm barely containing here).
(Yes, this is what that tweet was about.)

  • Actually, a lot of poetry-related happenings went down this month.
  • I got a really great score on the ACT Plan, which was great because I was pretty certain I'd screwed up that test. (For all you non-American friends *waves*, the ACT is one of the standardized tests that we can take in America to get into college, kind of like the SAT, and the ACT Plan is like an ACT prep test administered to high school sophomores—except when you're like my nerd friends and me and you take it as a freshman.)
  • I was also given an honorable mention for outstanding ninth grade math (??? I'm honestly terrible at math) student at my school's academic awards. I'm pretty sure those are decided by teacher recommendations, and I wasn't even aware that my math teacher noticed me, so that was very cool.

I've been reading

  • The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker, which was pretty enjoyable while I was reading it, but didn't hold up in retrospect (also some aspects of the book hurt my feminist heart in a big way).

I've been watching

Wolf Hall ended and I didn't know what to do with myself. The answer turned out to be WATCH MORE THINGS.

these cw poster things always look so absurdly contrived; they make me laugh
You probably know about how The 100 became one of my newest TV obsessions last month. So it's no surprise that I dove headfirst into season 2 both terrified and thrilled to be starting it.

IT'S EVEN BETTER. WHAT IS THIS MADNESS. I said last month that The 100 was everything I never knew I wanted, and that assessment held true in this second season. This is sci-fi at its grittiest and fiercest—so, thoroughly out of my comfort zone. It's something I never would've picked up on my own but am so glad I did (thanks, Tumblr). The tension and stakes are ramped up about 532%, the worldbuilding just gets richer and richer, the moral dilemmas are more thorny and heart-wrenching than ever, and the characters have come so far in their development it's just mind-blowing. Bonus points for diversity (!!!) and empowered girls (!!!) and combinations of the two (!!!!!!).

Spotlight of some of my favorite aspects of this season:

if you hurt raven reyes i will probably fight you fyi
this ship is everything? basically yes + look octavia's amazing
i should start a monty green appreciation campaign
you know lexa i love you as a character but sometimes just LEXA NO STOP
i will go down with this ship, no regrets
Something that a lot of people seem to not know about me is that I sometimes watch and fangirl over anime. I'm nowhere near as hardcore as a lot of anime lovers, but I do really enjoy anime when I delve into it. This month I started Sword Art Online, which is a fast-paced, engaging look into the world of virtual reality video games.

I've mainly stuck around because a) sword fight scenes are fun fun fun, b) the plot advances very quickly and I love it, c) the premise is ridiculous but the execution is unexpectedly awesome, and d) the characters are so lovable (plus character dynamics are so wonderful, especially the OTP I indicated above). The only thing I'd like to ask for from SAO is some deeper exploration of the moral issues that come up both inside and outside the games—I've yet to see the moral complexity that I crave from what is otherwise a really great anime (and so great for binging, OMG).

I'd been absolutely dying to watch The Theory of Everything ever since I heard it had been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and had gotten Eddie Redmayne the Oscar for Best Actor. (I'd only seen Eddie in Les Mis before that—I think he's adorable and a pretty good actor, but I didn't know if his performance could really hold up.) So when my mother rented the Blu-ray of course I was excited.

The film promised one of my favorite things: an intersection between love and science and history. Also Stephen Hawking. HOW COOL. And I wasn't disappointed! Aesthetically speaking, it's gorgeously done. Emotionally speaking, it's gorgeously done. The performances by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones were A+ (these two dorks being dorks together in the beginning were so perfect I could cry), the film score was super nice, and I came away with renewed faith in humanity, which is always something I need a boost in anyway. I'd definitely recommend this.

(I still don't think this tops The Imitation Game but hey! I'm slightly aggressively biased in favor of anything Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley do, so.)

help, someone teach me how to Instagram

Click each image to get to full-size!

very pretty arc of virginia boecker's the witch hunter
a walk so lovely i thought i was in fairyland

links of interest

So that was my May! How was yours?

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  1. Wait a sec, you take the IB too! THIS IS BRILLIANT NEWS. (And OMG, you're taking your APs really early. Are you? The American education system makes my head confused.) And so I'm also confused over the ACT plan, but hey, good results = AWESOME. Great job, Christina :)

    Also, you have a new design! It's gorgeous as always, of course, and I suppose I will be sacrificing a few hours of my study time to the worthwhile cause of exploring.

    YOU WATCHED THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. I am just a touch jealous because I've been meaning to watch it forever but school just kept getting in the way :/ And my reading journey is similar to yours -- finished Memoirs of a Geisha yesterday, which pleased my Asian heart a lot when reading, but after I put it down my feminist side starting poking holes. Whoops. (But I DID read Code Name Verity and Julie/Queenie/WHATEVER is simply the best.)

    Thank you for featuring so many of my posts! :D

  2. Yes! My school runs on the IB program—I'm assuming yours does as well? That is indeed brilliant. (I'm just getting the only AP I can take out of the way right now so that I can take pre-calculus next year and then head in IB Math HL; I'm not sure whether this is early, since I do also have friends my age taking other APs. You are right in saying the American education system is confusing.) And yay for good scores! I may not entirely agree with the principle of standardized testing, but it is admittedly satisfying to score high.

    Ahh, thank you! I saw this template and couldn't resist (this seems to be turning into a pattern).

    YES THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. I think it might be a little harder for you to love just because it's a somewhat sentimental film, but I thought it was lovely. And ooh, Memoirs of a Geisha. I've heard mixed things, but I've been wanting to check it out.


    You're totally welcome! Looks like you had a good blog month ;)

  3. Thank you for the kind words—I've basically gotten over it now! And thank you! They both came completely unexpected (I agree so much with your priorities, btw).

    Ohh my gosh yes! Jamie and I have been emailing about it because we're both so excited to get started with Adroit (she's mentioned how she's been spilling her joy all over you ;D).

    Thank you! (Ahh yes the navigation. Be still my heart. *sighs happily*)

  4. Mine actually has streams for both IB and the local curricula. Honestly, all I can figure out for America is that (a) you should take SATs and subject tests, (b) College Board is somewhat evil and weird, and (c) the essay is the most important, so why so serious? XD

    Oh my, Math HL. I'm taking English Literature (duh), Biology, and Chemistry as my HL subjects -- you? And what's your Group 2 language?

    See, I have another side of this problem. I spot a cool hack on the Internet and spend hours fiddling with HTML and CSS to add it to my blog, which means now I can never change my blog design or the coding will all be horrible. :/

    I'm watching THEORY just for Hawking, let's be honest. And GEISHA is a cool read with quite some cultural background. The author's clearly done his research, but it's not like a great story? I mean. It's compelling. It's just not OMG KILL ME NOW sort of great.

    You are completely responsible for VERITY. Basically you flailed over it and I couldn't resist.

  5. Oooh, very cool! And that's a pretty accurate summary of the American school system, near as I can tell :P

    I'm still a freshman so nothing is set in stone yet, but I'm planning on taking Math, English Lit (ditto duh), Biology, and History for my HLs. (You're taking two HL science classes HOW. I'D PROBABLY DIE. Then again, you are the resident mad scientist around here.) My second language is Japanese, which I'm planning on doing as an SL, since I'm doing Japanese 1 right now.

    Oh my gosh, I feel you on that. Random coding hacks are great but then suddenly you are trapped and AGH.

    I was totally going to watch THEORY just for Hawking, too, but then people mentioned there was all this other cool stuff that would appeal to me. So I responded like the fangirl I am and said I MUST WATCH THIS. And I tend to like well-researched books, so I may end up giving GEISHA a go. (Although my library TBR is pretty darn MASSIVE right now.)

    I'm happy to take responsibility for VERITY. That book deserves ALL THE REC-ING.

  6. Aw GWS! I was sick a while back and it's kind of annoying but it also makes it so I don't have to go to school, which is alright with me.


  7. Thanks for the well-wishes! I'm basically over it now, fortunately. (Although skipping school is always a plus.)

    MY SENTIMENTS EXACTLY. I don't know how I'll be able to wait that long for The 100 to return!

    Thank you for stopping by, Nova!

  8. Starflower (I don't know why, but in my mind I can never call you Christina, which is weird; probably because of NaNo), May sounds super eventful for you! I haven't gotten much time to do anything except for when I got sick at home and decided to catch up on Once Upon a Time and Agents of SHIELD because why not? The 100 was on demand when I was sick, but watching and reading dystopia are two very different experiences for me. :P

    Whoa whoa whoa, hold up; you're taking AP Stat? I could have gone on ahead and take the class this fall, but I opted out not because to tackle AP classes my sophomore year because it would leave me no time to read for Battle. <--- I can't explain what that is without getting raised eyebrows. To even get a great a honorable mention for math is incredible!

    That mentorship program sounds amazing! I'm so happy for you! :DDDD My family is going on vacation internationally, and after being distraught about not being able to summer conservatory, I emailed a bunch of publishing companies at the vacation area and they offered me to intern for their company! I'm just shadowing the publishing industry and work behind-the-scenes. It's no epic picnic like what you will be doing at your mentorship program, but the internship with be really cool.

    I haven't visited your blog lately too, and I really don't mean to just be absent; my Blogger feed says it's following your blog, but your posts don't show up in my feed. It's leaving me a bit frustrated. :(

    xoxo Morning


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