Sunday, April 30, 2017

Subplots and Storylines - April 2017



Hello hello, adventurous questers! My apologies for being late again. Hopefully once college is over in a few weeks I'll get back to being a prompt blogger again.


Life Adventures



How was your April? Mine went quite well. It started with spring break, which ended up being not very break-ish and rather full of work and social things. But I did manage to get my flight to Realm Makers booked! I've never booked a flight before, and since things just weren't working out properly on my end, I got the help of a travel agent. Maybe it was overkill, but I wanted to get it right. But my goodness, why is it so expensive to hop on a plane and travel a few inches across a map? (Yes, I am a new adult clinging to her delusions as to how money and the world should work, why do you ask?) But regardless of the price, I'm very happy to have that in place!


What else happened, let me think . . .


Some college classmates and I were filmed for a year-end video. #bittersweet


I took an exam, which I think I passed.


Easter happened, and it was lovely.


But the highlight of the month was my class's trip to Calgary, Alberta! On our first full day in Alberta, we visited Banff and hiked Johnston Canyon. Those mountains are food for my soul, I tell you. The trail was gorgeous, although mostly covered in ice and snow that made navigating inclines rather . . . challenging, especially for those of us wearing fashionable shoes with zero tread. Thankfully my runners (or sneakers, as you Americans call them) had some grip, but I still went slip-sliding all over the place. By the time I reached the bottom of the trail again, I could feel every muscle in my legs. But it was so much fun!


a glimpse of the Rockies on the cloudy drive to Banff

Johnston Canyon


me at Johnston Canyon


more of the canyon


a frozen waterfall in the canyon

 
me and my bro

Banff in all its quaintness

walking through Banff with college friends


One of the main reasons we were in Calgary was to visit a church, so on the second day we got to help out a church picnic. I enjoyed meeting lots of people and making this outreach event possible. Calgary is a city of constant change, and the average person doesn't live there longer than a couple years. Folks commonly have trouble making friends, so it's awesome to see relationships forming in a church setting.


After the picnic, some friends and I went to a movie. Because half my group didn't have money for the c-train, we ended up walking forty minutes in the rain to our hotel afterwards.


On the Sunday we were there, we served in church, which was an amazing experience. I was placed in an area where I had little experience. Even though I made frequent mistakes, I was able to laugh at myself, learn on the fly, and move on--something I wouldn't have done at the beginning of the school year!


Overall, I had a blast, and I'm sad to see the college year coming to a rapid close.


Screen Adventures



Once Upon a Time, portions of seasons 1, 2, and 5
Again, not much new to report here, except that season 5 is . . . *sniffle* . . . very feelsy. You have been warned.


The Flash, part of season 2
I think the episodes I watched this month are some of the best in the entire show so far! The reasons why are very spoilery, so if you haven't watched The Flash--DO IT.



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The Lego Batman Movie
Although I didn't like it as much as The Lego Movie (which had more heart and creativity to it, in my opinion), this was still an entertaining ride. The jokes fly at you a hundred miles an hour, Batman and Robin's opposite personalities often providing the bulk of them. Plus, the movie was very self-aware and poked plenty of jokes at itself.



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Mulan
Confession: I had never seen this one until now. Never quoted Mushu. Never sang along to "I'll Make a Man Out of You." But I fixed that problem this month! . . . By watching it in probably illegal five-minute video segments on YouTube. Hush, don't tell anyone. While I wouldn't say it's my favorite Disney movie, Mulan herself was an awesome character, Mushu was hilarious, and I can finally see why "I'll Make a Man Out of You" is so sing-along-able!


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First three episodes of The Musketeers
I watched these on the bus ride with one of my college friends. Love the period costumes, the swords, the horses, and D'Artagnan, but I could do without the bits of sexual content, please.


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Beauty and the Beast (2017)
There's been a great big hullaballoo over it, yes, and while I was admittedly disappointed in LeFou's supposed "gay" moments, I loved the movie overall. It was magical! Beautifully filmed and skillfully acted. I wasn't sure I'd like Emma Watson as Belle, but she grew on me. I love, love, loved the Beast. The wolf scenes were terrifically intense. Maurice was even more lovable than he was in the animated movie. And I was pleased at how closely this film followed the original, while still throwing in some lovely changes.


But since one of those changes was the aforementioned great big hullaballoo, I feel I need to articulate myself on that topic. Am I 100% sure what I think? No. But I can tell you that:


a) I'm disappointed that Disney felt the need to go that direction,
b) even so, it doesn't seem to be a step in homosexuality's favor by making the stupidest character in the movie gay,
and c) most of LeFou's comments weren't particularly overt, so I'm not sure if I would've missed some of them if I hadn't been on high alert.


That being said, CAN WE STOP FOR A MOMENT AND APPRECIATE THE LIBRARY SCENE? Oh my heart. Honestly, I think this movie made me cry three or four times.


Book Adventures



Storm Siren // Mary Weber


This one's been on my TBR for a while, thanks to the enthusiasm of its readers! It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did it was enjoyable. Nym was a snarky bundle of pain, and I loved her character arc. Her elemental powers were awesome, too. I also grew to like Eogan quite a bit. I wish their relationship had had a deeper substance to it, something beyond oh bolcranes, he's handsome and the calming effect he has on her out-of-control powers. But maybe that will come later in the trilogy.


Sadly, I didn't connect to most of the cast, even the people I was supposed to like. Not until a certain character death did I really begin to care for that person. Oops?


But I do have to congratulate Mary Weber on a unique combination of premise, storyworld, and theme. I LOVED the themes of this book! I won't even name any of them, because you'll just have to take Nym's journey for yourself.

























Outriders and Trackers // Kathryn Mackel


I needed books for the bus ride, so I grabbed these two off my shelf. The first one I read and enjoyed several years ago, but the second I'd never gotten around to. So what did I think this time around? Well, Outriders was both better and worse than I remembered, if that's possible. I appreciated the characters more now, but the writing and backstory felt weaker at some points. I also would've liked to connect with characters a little sooner and a little deeper.


But. The premise was very unique, involving a futuristic world ravaged by toxins and radiation from the Endless Wars. The last of Christianity (though it's never referred to as such) has taken refuge on an Ark beneath the arctic ice. We never see the Ark, since the story follows the birthrighters, teens and young adults sent out from the Ark to build camps and begin the work of restoring the earth to its God-given birthright. Meanwhile, the baddies mistake DNA manipulation for sorcery, and use it to "transmogrify" creatures into armies of giants and grotesque creatures.


Brady and Niki are my favorite characters, although Ajoba, who annoyed me in the first book, grew on me a lot in the second. I just wish there was a third book, because there were several loose ends that the author never tied up.


(One caution, however. I'd recommend these books for roughly 17 or 18 and up, due to references to rape and the villainous Baron Alrod's penchant for "lollies," or concubines.)






The DNA of Relationships // Dr. Gary Smalley


Another college read, and perhaps one of my favorites so far! It was easy to read and offered super practical and insightful advice on how to better all my relationships. One thing I learned was the concept of the Fear Dance, describing the vicious cycle of hurt and reactions between people in a relationship conflict. It opened my eyes to the underlying problems I sometimes have with people I know, what my core fears are, and what I can do to change me. While the book focused more on marriage, I'd recommend it to singles and marrieds alike because the principles are so amazing!


Writing Adventures



I did some more Snowflake Method outlining for The Brightest Thread before deciding that the process had helped me as much as it was going to help (for this story, anyways), and called it quits early. Which means I got to start actually writing again on April 9th!


Alas, I had very little time to write this month, so I was able to work through only the first two chapters, adding about 1200 words to the story. For those of you who don't know, TBT started out as a novella retelling of Sleeping Beauty, which I'm now expanding into a full novel!


Whew, that was a long post. What sort of April adventures did you undertake? Any thoughts on the books and movies I consumed? Ever been to the Rockies?

28 comments :

  1. It looks like your trip was amazing! Those pictures are stunning!

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    1. It was a boatload of fun! Thanks, Jack--and happy May! ^_^

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  2. LOVE those pictures!! ^_^ Sounds like you had a ton of fun!

    I agree with you on The Lego Batman Movie. I liked The actual Lego Movie more, but it was still really funny, and I loved how it had a kind of 'breaking-the-fourth-wall' vibe. :)

    And yay! You finally watched Mulan! Yeah, it's not my favorite, but it is still really good.

    I've had Storm Siren on my tbr-list FOREVER. I should really get around to reading it...

    I hope you have a wonderful May! ^_^

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    1. Awww, thanks Madeline! ^_^

      It did break the fourth wall--that's the term I was looking for. XD I especially liked Batman's intro. "Black. Every important movie starts with a black screen."

      Took me long enough! Everyone I've talked to has been shocked that I'd never seen it. XD

      Yes! Despite the little issues I had with it, I'm still planning to read the next two. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on Storm Siren too.

      Thanks; same to you! :D

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  3. YAY. PICTURES!!! I was sooo hoping for some. And woooow. Those mountains are stunning. o.o And Banff DOES look so quaint. It reminds me of Storybrook! I'm so glad you enjoyed your time there! ^_^

    I can't believe your college year is almost over. It seems like you were just telling me about you starting it, and now you're nearly done. CRAZINESS.

    You booked a flight for Realm Makers! MEEP. I'm so excited for you! I've never booked a flight either. I mean, I've never even BEEN ON A PLANE. So...yeah. I'd love to ride on a plane one day though!

    Oh man, I haven't see The Lego Batman Movie but I sooo want to! I missed it in theaters. *sniff, sniff*
    *LE GASP* You've never seen Mulan until now???? But but...I'LL MAKE A MAN OUT OF YOOUUU. What is life without bursting into that song every few minutes??? Okay, okay. Juuust kidding. :P But I do LOVE that movie, and probably quote it more often than I should... I'm glad you finally got to see it. ^_^
    I really wanted to try that Musketeers show, but I had heard it had Content in it. *pouts* Why must they always do that?
    I guess I've already shared my thoughts with you about B&B so I'll spare you and not repeat myself. ;) But I'm so happy you liked it. And yes, Maurice was amazing. I also agree with ALL your points about that gay thing. Very well said! I so wish it hadn't been done, and I'm disappointed in Disney, but it was so subtle. It was blown way out of proportion in my humble opinion.

    That's a shame you didn't connect much to the cast of Storm Siren. I've had my eye on that book for AGES. I still want to give it a try though! It still sounds super interesting. But...characters are most important to me so...we'll see!

    I have never heard of Outriders and Trackers. They look very unique. o.o Interesting!

    I'm sooooo excited you started on TBT!!!!! *twirls* And, girl, writing over 1k words in a month this crazy is GOOD. I so admire you for making time for your writing even when you don't HAVE time. I need to work on that more!

    I do hope your May is absolutely AMAZING! I should probably already know this, I apologize if you've told me before, but will your college year officially end this month? Like, are you graduating this month?

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    1. It was all for you. ;) XD Aren't they beautiful? My neck got sore from craning to look out the bus window on the drive into Banff. Funny you'd compare it to Storybrooke, because that's LEGIT what I thought too! XD

      I can't believe it either! Nine months ago I was starting this adventure, and now it's almost come to a close. o.o

      I've never flown either, except for on a bitty little crop duster. So this will be a great stretch for me! XD I hope you get a chance to fly (to a certain writers conference) sometime soon! <3

      Aww, too bad you missed it. Do you tend to go out and buy movies then, or rent them? (Or Netflix?)
      I KNOW, WHAT IS WITH MY LIFE? Mushu totally made the movie for me. "Dishonor on you. Dishonor on your cow." XDDD
      It's annoying, I agree. Honestly, if I could know when those scenes were coming, I think they could be fast-forwarded without losing any of the plot. :(
      Maurice was so precious! His relationship with Belle was just...<3 I agree, the issue was blown out of proportion. It's the one thing marring an otherwise perfect movie, in my opinion, although I totally get your side of it too. :)

      Same! I'd had it on my TBR for the longest time. But yes, do still try it out! I DID connect with Nym, and seeing as she's the main character, that's kinda important. And who knows, you might end up clicking with the rest of the cast more than I did.

      Unique is the perfect word for them. They felt like fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, and even Biblical fiction rolled into one crazy mix.

      D'awww, thank you, Christine! You're helping me get excited afresh! On the flipside, your choice to take a hiatus in May in order to do LIFE is something *I* need to get better at--to know when to set my goals aside so that I don't miss the here and now. So we learn from each other. ^_^

      I hope your month is wonderful too! Enjoy the fun of moving! I don't think I've told you before, so don't worry one bit. But yes, I am graduating in just over two weeks! O.O CRAZINESS. It's just a one-year program, so after this it's on to other things.

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  4. "Not until a certain character death did I begin to care for that person." Ha, I know that feeling.

    Happy to see The Brightest Threat being worked on again! Speaking of that delightful story, I read your Dual Character Inquisition on Luci and Hadrian a while ago and LOVED it, but didn't comment because I was so late. :)

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    1. Isn't it a shame?

      Oh, thank you so much, Lucy! *twirls in a happy glow* And I have absolutely no issue with comments coming in late. Even if other readers never see them, I do, and I make sure to respond. :)

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  5. First, those canyons and Banff look gorgeous. My April went quite well, I think. My semester ended on the 27th. I can't say that I've ever been to the Rockies. I've never been west of Indiana, in fact.

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    1. They were stunning. You should definitely see the Rockies if you ever get the chance. Must be nice to be done your semester already!

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  6. I'm so glad you had a great month! It sounds awesome! Your college trip looked so cool. I want to go to Canada someday :) I don't live that far away, but you know... Passport woes... XP

    I'm so glad you're working on the Brightest Thread. (Maybe now that NaNo's over I'll get some writing done? That sentence came out very weird XD

    And the Lego Batman Movie was really good. I definitely liked the first one more, but this one was good too. I'm definitely going to make my family watch it when it's out on DVD :)

    thefloridsword.blogspot.com

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    1. It was. Oh yes, come to Canada! (Visit me! XD) It's a beautiful country. Blegh, silly passport problems. The border is really just an imaginary line drawn on a map...right...? XD

      Aw, that's sweet. <3 Kind of an oxymoron, getting more writing done because NaNo is over--but it kind of makes sense too? Hope that works out for you!

      Haha, you should! I went with my whole family to the theater, which was fun. :)

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  7. Oh wow! I loved Johnston Canyon when I got to go last year! I'm glad you got to make the trip. It's so pretty! Yesssss for Beauty and the Beast. I wuved it too. ^ ^ I also loooove Mulan. ^ ^ ALSO YAY FOR FLIGHT! I'm still working on the funds for my flight, but I'm hoping to book it by June. *pant* I've got registration totally done though. Yus! I'm so excited to meet you in person! :D

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. You've been to Johnston Canyon?! How cool! I would gladly go back there, though maybe in summer or autumn next time. :)

      Beauty and the Beast was stunning! Is Mulan one your favorite Disney princesses?

      Woohoo, you're registered! I hope saving for your flight goes well too, and YESSS, I can't wait to meet you too! :DDD

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  8. Hey there!
    I absolutely love the picture of the frozen waterfall. So beautiful. I've never been to the Rockies, but I live at the base of the Cascades. There's something quite marvelous about mountains.
    You have a lovely blog!

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    1. Welcome to the blog, Meaghan! I'm always thrilled to see a new face, so to speak. :)

      Thank you! I've never been to the Cascades, but the pictures I just Googled look beautiful. I'd love to live closer to mountains.

      Thanks! ^_^ I'm just about to check out your blog too--love the name.

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  9. I commend you for getting a travel agent. There's less risk of messiness, like accidentally booking a flight in the wrong country (...I'm not saying I know that from experience, but...)

    It's been about ten years since I've been to Banff, and I barely remember it now. But there was a spark of recognition when I saw your beautiful pictures. I think I need to go back!

    I haven't seen any of the films you mentioned, but I do want to see the Lego Batman movie sometime. I loved how the last lego movie was able to laugh at itself.

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    1. Thanks! It sort of seemed like going overboard/being paranoid, but I'd rather not take chances when I'm putting this much money into the trip. :) (Oh my...you've booked a flight to the wrong country?! :O How did that story turn out?)

      Oh yes, YES, you do need to go back! It's such a beautiful place.

      The Lego Batman Movie definitely laughed at itself to--as well as all the other Batman movies. XD

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    2. (came home safely!...just needed an extra plane trip. It was an expensive lesson.)

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    3. (Well, that's good! I'll bet it was. >.<)

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  10. I need to see Beauty and the Beast! And the library scene, I just might faint when I see it! <3
    Mulan was one of my favorites, the tunes are so catchy. :)
    Have you finished Storm Siren yet? If so, what did you think of the ending? I read it last year and still have so many feels!

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    1. Yes! The library was drool-worthy, I can tell you that. <3

      Haha, it's true! Some of my classmates make a habit of singing Disney songs, especially "I'll Make a Man out of You." XD

      I finished a few weeks ago, and that ending was such a cliffhanger! I need to get my hands on the next book. Have you read books 2 and 3 yet?

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  11. Your Alberta trip looks like it was amazing! (but cold! COLD! *Australian horror*) The scenery's gorgeous, though...

    I loved season 1 of the Flash... but my library doesn't have season 2. *cross* And from the trailer, I really want to see the Lego Batman Movie, if just for the breaking of the fourth wall! (like including the clips from all the other Batman movies).

    The biggest event in my April - as well as Camp - was volunteering for a local comic-con. That was pretty cool!

    Jem Jones

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    1. It was both, lol, but not as cold as it could've been. (I laughed so hard at your "Australian horror." What's the typical low temperature for you?)

      Oh dear, I hope you find the second season somewhere! It's so good. Yep, the clips were pretty funny.

      That sounds like a lot of fun! Did you get to dress up for it?

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  12. Your photos of Banff are gorgeous!!!
    My April was very stressful, what with final exams and registration for courses for next year. But it ended really well with a big Bible study retreat where a bunch of different university IVCF groups got together to study the book of Mark.
    I really want to watch the Flash, but it's not on Canadian Netflix, and I don't want to go the illegal route (hehe though I have done that before...). I did watch Supergirl, and the Flash has a cameo in it. Overall it was a really great show! 10/10 would recommend :D
    Hope you have a great May!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah!!

      You must be glad to have that over with for the summer! Your Bible study sounds cool.

      Awww. :( Just buy the DVD! (Okay, okay, I know that's $$ and there's the expensive student life to think of, but still...) I'd like to see Supergirl too one of these days. But I heard there was some homosexual content?

      Same to you! :D

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    2. Was there? I don't remember anything like that in the show, but I was bingeing it so I don't remember every episode clearly lol :p

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    3. That's what I heard, anyway. I think the Focus on the Family Plugged In review mentions that the characters Alex and Maggie begin a same-sex relationship? I have no idea how much screentime it really gets. :P

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