Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Musical minorities

To those of you who know me well, this might not come as a surprise. Then again, it probably will. Just how well do you understand the fact that I have extremely odd tastes? Take music for example:

Putting aside the fact that I tend to categorize SONGS by like or dislike (I rarely pick a favorite "band", because I usually only like a song or two of theirs anyways), these are some of the styles that I've listened to recently and enjoyed:

-OLD French songs (I'm talking, 1890s till a couple decades ago)--You just gotta love the accordion, and their random pauses and spoken monologues right in the middle of the songs.
-Japanese pop music--Everything sounds cooler in Japanese.
-Anime music--not to be confused with JPop. Much cooler :) Some of the soundtracks of my favorite anime (such as 'Tsubasa Chronicles') give me goosebumps.
-Celtic music--I really have yet to find many celtic-style songs that I don't like. Must be the fiddle and the specific rhythm that makes me want to learn to do a jig. (Whether its the pure, angelic voices from the ladies in Celtic Woman or the merry pub songs)
-Musicals--Recently I have realized just how different it is from other song styles. It really is its own genre. (Wicked, Fiddler on the Roof, etc.)
-Soundtracks--Particularly from musical films, but soundtracks themselves are just plain old amazing. (Spirit; Freaky Friday; PotC; LotR; etc.)
-Disney songs--the good old fairytales. Given, some of the newer ones are decent, but I still love the ones where the main characters could actually SING well (Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Sleeping Beauty, Lion King, Mulan, Little Mermaid, Aladdin... you name it, I can probably sing it).
-Classical music--not necessarily opera, but rather the music played by the orchestra for them. (Shubert's "Ave Maria" for violin leaves me speechless. And I am a big fan of anyone who can play any instrument well: piano, trumpet, flute, cello, harp...)
-Random songs I find here and there, that my friends force me to listen to, and I actually end up being pleasantly surprised ("Far Away" by Nickleback, "Truly Madly Deeply" by Cascada, "A thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton, "One Last Breath" and "Higher" by Creed, "Yellow" by Coldplay, "Away from the Sun" by 3 Doors Down, "Istanbul, Not Constantinople", etc, etc.)
-Eastern or Oriental music--Most people feel that the difference in scales sounds "off". I, personally, love it. Maybe that's why I'm a such a fan of Japanese music. Although, I reserve a special place in my heart for "Ancient Egyptian"-y kind of ambiance/instrumental music.

I've learned how many different types of music there are out there, and I'm eager to explore and find new favorites and likes and dislikes. Hawaiian? Swedish? Turkish? Persian? German? So many choices! Well, I am going to head out now, to explore and dare to dream and experience new sounds. Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Far far away

How long has it been since I last updated my "book"? Well, those of you who actually know of its existence will remind me that I haven't thought about it or even touched it for years now. It is still more of an idea. Maybe I should settle for writing manga story plots. Talented artists who like to draw manga contact me. Just kidding.

Yes, Loriana is still wading through swamps, and Nillon has yet to face his worst fears. So, my book right now is on a very long hiatus. Has been for years... Funny~ But, I realized how silly some of my own writing from back in the day sounds to me now. When one is young and looking for the optimal "Heroine age", 16 sounds wonderful. Well, I'm about to turn 17 (in... a couple weeks, now that I think about it) and I have yet to meet a dragon, grow wings, or set off on an extremely perilous and adventure-fraught journey. How about you? Furthermore, I have still never made myself a dress, a skirt, or even a scarf (that poor crocheted lump in my drawer would disagree with me here). So many things to do, so little time. And so much of that time I DO have is spent working on my AP US History class, worrying about my APUSH class, wishing my APUSH class never existed, or listening to really old French classics. That and Japanese Pop. Strange, I know. Odd combination of likes and dislikes. What's a girl to do?

Well, I still haven't written any more of my story, but I'll outline it once again, same main characters, but with a slightly different perspective. Not all fiction is bad, but most of the stuff written by 13-year olds tends to be. Ok, ok: not bad, just different. And, after this little dose of political correctness, I must be off. Why? To do APUSH work of course!! Cheerio!

After much ado...

Well folks, I am now a published author. Yes, I know that the difficulties of becoming one nowadays are WAY less complicated than in previous eras, but I still feel proud of myself. In this case, my first published work was actually not my own, but rather a translation of someone else's work. Some of you know that I had been working on it, and that we used the group that gathered at our house to proofread and edit it little by little.

It is Frank Viola's "Bethany"--or "Betania" in Spanish. I have to say that I feel very proud of myself :) I just wanted to share this with all of you out there who know me and have supported me. I'm definitely looking forward to publishing my own book later on in life... but now all I can concentrate on is that bothersome AP US History class. Gah. Uggh. Yes, soundeffects still are effective...

So, I figured if I was going to be proud of my work somewhere it would be here, in this semi-personal-and-yet-open-to-the-world online journal. Funny how things work. Cheerio!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mais oui, mon ami

Just like every other month this school-year, I have a Cultural Project for my French class. For February, we are to either a) visit a local French restaurant and try something new on the menu, or b) make a French meal at home.

Well, thinking of recipes really opened my eyes as to just how much French food we eat at home. Also, what would their definition of "local French restaurant" be? Does driving for a couple hours up to the French border count? It will definitely be REAL French food~ But, beside that point, the amount of French dishes we eat on a regular basis surprised me. Just take a look at our menu of this past week:
-French toast--I think it actually IS French, too
-Garlic-stuffed chicken

And I ask you, what more could you ask for for a French menu? There's no way I'm going to make snails (or, to make them sound exotic and elegant, "escargots"), and aillioli, no matter how many people in the South of France claim it as French, is CATALAN. I'm serious! Some of the French just try to forget that southern France was once part of the Catalan empire, so, of course they would have inherited such basic foods as aillioli!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Roses are red, violets are blue...

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
they tell me its Valentine's day,
I forgot, did you?

So yeah, I'm not a poet, but I had to think up something. When you're homeschooled, you can tend to forget that there is a world out there--especially a world and its holidays. Well, this morning was nothing special, and I really did not remember it having any particular meaning other than the fact that facebook swamped my inbox with "Be my valentine", "Valentines' Day Special", "Show him you care" garbage. Then, it dawned on me: February 14th... Valentine's Day. And here I was thinking it was only special because I had a Propositional Logic class and my Research Paper Writing one later this afternoon. Silly me.

If you couldn't tell, I am neither in a relationship, nor looking for one. I don't consider myself a particularly starry-eyed, looking-for-prince-charming kind of girl (except for those little unexpected moments, every once in a while). And, it had never been my intention to go boy-shopping (or hunting, for that matter), and fill my head with warm-and-fuzzy thoughts of love. But, of course, the whole Valentine's Day got me thinking about this particular subject. Now, you can look around on ANY website today, and it will talk about this same theme. Coincidence?

But, I took the time to forget the advertised concept of "love," and remembered how much I am truly loved. I am not particularly against Valentine's Day, I don't feel vengeful against love and celebrating it, and I'm not being "rebellious" with a victorious cry of "I'm SINGLE! Take that world!" It just does not really affect me that way. For me, love should be shown every day, in different ways. Flowers and chocolate are nice--don't get me wrong! I'd positively melt if the person I love gave me that, but it coming from someone else kind of ruins it--but how else can I show that I care?

I have a wonderful family that loves me, amazing friends that think up special ways to show that they love me, and, most of all, a God who made the ultimate sacrifice to show that HE loves ME. It really hit me today. We always feel like we need to be loved, but are we giving some of that love away as well?
Are we patient, are we kind? Do we envy, do we boast, are we proud? Do we rejoice with the truth? Do we always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere?

Last night, I read something that really didn't hit me until this afternoon. It all sort of tied in, in the strange and wondrous ways that God ties everything in--although sometimes we need to take a step back in order to see the pattern.

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
~1 John 4:8-10

So, today I plan on reflecting on true love, realize how truly loved and blessed I am, and think up little ways to show others that I care.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Drop your drawers!

As we were waiting for our turn at the orthodontist/dentist, Joseph and I witnessed a very odd scene. Here we are, waiting, waiting, waiting... you get the picture. It had been a while now, and suddenly, this dentist (I suppose he was a dentist...)dressed in a long, white coat walks out into the waiting room, and looks around. Sitting across from us is this one family: young grandma, young grandpa, young mother, 4 year-old little girl (turns out it was: father, mother, older sister, really young sister--but we won't go into that now). The dentist finds his victim, and strolls over to the father. "Pull your pants down," says he, quite courteously (no one says please or thank you here, its more like, "well, I implied it with my tone of voice, right?"), while staring intently at this guy. The dad looks at him, with a puzzled expression, but decides he should obey. So, he reaches down to his zipper. Joseph and I just stared at each other, befuddled that this man was ready to drop his drawers here, in front of the world. The doctor, slightly ruffled but still acting calm and collected, hurried to intervene: "NO! Not you! Your daughter! We have to give her a shot." Now, the two of us are sitting over here like, "what in the world? Why would they give this little girl a shot, on the rump, at the dentists? Strange people."

So, the little girl--who up until now had chatted away gleefully-- suddenly realized a change in the atmosphere, as everyone jerked their heads around and stared at her. All of them dove at her as of one mind, in one foul swoop. One lady grabbed her legs, the dad her arms, and the other lady reached for her pants. Joseph and I, again, merely sat there, dumbfounded, and trying our hardest not to burst out laughing. The little girl was screaming bloody murder by this time--who wouldn't if everyone suddenly attacked you and began taking your pants off? talk about a trauma!--and it took two of them to drag her off to one of the rooms. The screaming never died down. And when I say screaming, I mean it. Finally, after 15 minutes (it really isn't that far from the waiting room to the little rooms of terror, where they tweak your braces while asking you to explain some deeply personal question, or discuss how to go about colonizing the moon), it died down for a bit. I had been exchanging glances with the older lady, inquiring with my eyes as to why a shot on the rump, at the dentist, of a ll places. Turns out they had to completely knock her out in oder to perform some sort of surgery (poor thing, what could possibly be wrong when you're 4?). Then, as we all thought it had died down, it resumed yet again, full blast. After another 15 minutes, it died down to an occasional whimper.

I, for one, was cheering her on. She sounded just like me--people would say "when I was young and had to get a shot", but I know I'd probably still scream today, if I didn't get such chilling looks from my family--and I totally sympathized with her. GO GIRL! SCREAM! YOU TELL 'EM! Mom, meanwhile, had rang the buzzer downstairs and, when they pressed the button to let her in, she could hear the screams coming from upstairs.

We waited for another 30-45mins, and my tweakage was rather uneventful, and Joseph's oral surgery went well (yeah, poor kid). Of course, we chatted away with the other family, and learned that their eldest (late 20s, married, could have been the 4-year-old's mother) had had her gums BURNT when she was young (like, by a dentist, for a purpose) to fix her teeth. I really don't get how burning a person's mouth will coax their teeth into straightening out, but hey. We can now prove that these barbaric, Middle Ages treatments are still being used in modern-day Spain. (Vaseline and sulphur sound familiar to anyone?) Talk about cultural heritage...