Friday, July 29, 2016

DIY Art Journal

I talked about this, a few months ago, about how one of my resolutions for 2016 was to buy a sketchbook and draw on it. I did in fact go out and buy a sketchbook and I did, in fact draw in it, but I found it lying around after a while. The pages were quite big and I honestly didn't have any idea how to fill such gigantic pages with something meaningful or pretty while having fun at the same time.

That's when I realized that I could cut my sketchbook down in half and turn it into an informal journal. It seemed like quite the feat and I gathered my ideas and supplies and DIY links and waited for summer to roll around so I could get started on this little project of mine. Here's how I made my own art journal :)

First off, a list of miscellaneous materials I had that helped me get the job done.
- a sketchbook (supply of paper + cardboard support for cover)
- wood glue (or any kind of wet glue paste that can be caked on to the spine)
- scissors
- needle and thread
- ruler
- pencil
- tape (wide width, I used this funny paper tape I don't know what it's called)


The only reasons I added the metallic markers there was because they look pretty and I really wanted to show them off xD I bought them while I was buying all the other things I needed.


Right, so first things come first. You've got to make pages for the journal. I started by meticulously folding the pages in of my sketchbook in half, making sure they were all the same size before tearing them out of the sketchbook and cutting off the edges. Once I had all my pages folded, cut and stacked, it was time to use the pencil and needle to start the book binding step.


There's a lot of different ways to bind pages together. Here's a tutorial for more detail. Book binding involves first making holes in the pages through which you will be threading the pages together. I started off by lining up all the sheets together and then marking four lines down all of the sheets so that there was a mark on each individual sheet where you would start to poke in holes.

You have to be very careful! Needles are sharp and should not be treated as a joke! Poke four holes, equal distance from each other on each and every folded sheet of paper and then start threading the pages together, one by one.


Once you've got the pages threaded together, you can compress the pages together by putting a heavy book on top and then applying layers of glue on the spine. Add several layers of glue. By several layers, I mean add one layer. Wait for it to dry. Add another layer. Wait for it to dry. Repeat until you have a nice thick coat of transparent hardened glue on the spine.

You could apply glue with a brush but I decided to get messy and use my fingers. Mostly because it felt funny and also because the glue hardened my brush and that wasn't fun.



Next up comes putting a cover on! I used the cardboard back of the water color pad, cutting it in half and glued it to the first and last pages. That gives the hard cover, but it's super ugly looking so I decided to cover it with some nice looking tissue paper I had.

BAD IDEA. Don't use thin medium that can rip easily with wet glue! I learned this the hard way! Manipulating tissue paper is super hard if it hasn't stuck where you want it to. I ripped mine pretty bad once- and right on the front cover too! So I had to do something to hide it and obviously I chose to do something drastically obvious.


Aha, what do you mean something is wrong, everything looks great, I stuck that white paper on to draw a nice cover :))) nothing is wrong :))) nothing ripped :)))

And this is how I made myself an art journal! It's going to be a totally fun random thing and while my work on it has been happening very slowly (I haven't touched it for weeks), I'll definitely be sharing what I'm up to very soon!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Book Review: Eleanor And Park (Rainbow Rowell)

This book has been quite the hype among book bloggers. Almost everyone seems to have already read this book so when I found this among the shelves of the book store, I decided to pick it up and try it out. It had to be good right? I mean, everybody loved it so I should love it too, right?

Wrong.



Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

~Goodreads

Okay so the story starts out alright, the pace is pretty good and while I was reading comfortably, I wasn't driven to read until the end. I only went through a few chapters before I put the book away for an entire week- and I was okay with that. Just like the synopsis says, Eleanor and Park happens slowly and steadily. I knew I could leave the book and that nothing would happen.

This concept might sound weird, you could say "But how can you say that? Leaving the book wouldn't change the story! Of course nothing would happen, what are you talking about?". What I'm talking about is how you put down a book and all you can think about it that book. You wonder what would happen next, you think of all kinds of new scenarios, new questions, fresh character analysis, so many things that you can't concentrate on anything else during the day. You feel like the entire world in that book is put on pause- if you've left in the middle of a battle scene, then that battle scene will be suspended in time and the characters will question each other "hey where did the reader go?"

Putting Eleanor and Park (the book) down is like giving Eleanor and Park (the characters) a break. They're not in a hurry for the story to continue and in fact, it seems like they prefer it if you read slowly.

Most of the characters were really interesting. I liked the whole bus dynamic going on with Park, Steve and Tina, how the two of them seemed to support Park in their own little ways, especially towards the end of the book. I really like how they weren't stable characters; people change the way they handle their relationships a lot during their teenage years and I felt that was very well done.

I couldn't even imagine what Eleanor looked like. First off, she's described to be huge, wearing mens shirts and lots of red hair and freckles. I have no idea how to put all that together? There are moments when Eleanor describes herself and then Park describes Eleanor and I know they're both biased descriptions because Eleanor will put herself down and Park is going to put her on a pedestal. So yeah, I had a little problem imagining Eleanor.

I imagine Park as usual- an Asian guy who looks like all the other Korean guys who sing and stuff, thin and feminine looking, and I laughed when Park literally stood up in the book and knocked all that down. I love how the author called out on how we imagine Korean guys- all porcelain and girly.

I had mixed feelings about the dynamics in their families though. I liked how Park's family warmed up to Eleanor (what was the point of Josh though. I'll tell you. The only point of Josh was to spill the beans and lead to the end for the two main characters). Eleanor's family, however, was a train wreck. With Richie being just downright awful, I thought Eleanor's mom would have got some guts? She's literally like "Oh I married Richie so I gotta stick to him for the rest my life, I know he makes things horrible for my kids, but my kids can move out of the house when they get legal, and I'll be stuck with this guy, right? Gotta keep him happy!"

That is so wrong on so many levels.

Overall this book was fine. I felt like most of the hype was really due to that one quote art people like spamming everywhere "Art wasn't supposed to look nice, it was supposed to make you feel something" which I suppose is a great quote except it made me feel very inadequate considering I look at all kinds of art and don't really feel anything...

I'd give Eleanor and Park 3.5/5. I would probably not read it again, except maybe to get a few more quotes out of it/criticize more bits of it. I would, however, read more of Rainbow Rowell's works.

Friday, July 22, 2016

To All The Movies I've Ever Seen

(at theaters)

Everybody loves watching a movie. Well, alright. Not everybody. My mom doesn't. But most people love watching a movie, especially in a theater! There's something exciting about watching a film in a dark hall with popcorn and glasses, if it's a 3D movie, and a bunch of people are there with you and everyone hushing each other or talking or gasping at the jump scares.

I personally love watching movies in the theaters. Here are all the movies I've seen till date.


Spiderman 3 (2007): I think I was around 10 when I watched this movie. First movie I'd ever seen in the cinema, so it's not surprising when I say Spider Man is my favorite Marvel character. Anyway, all six of us were in the movie theater, my parents, my siblings and I. Yes, even my youngest brother who must have been, what, two or three months old? What's most entertaining about this was that Spider Man 3 is rated PG13 and there's like, four kids under 13 in the theater with their parents. It was great, I used to feel giddy every time I remembered this memory.


Kung Fu Panda (2008): We watched this movie when it came out. That was the first summer after we moved to Pakistan and those holidays were spent in the US. My brother was the one who really wanted to watch this movie and so we went to watch it with my dad. I don't really remember anything interesting that happened in this movie.


How To Train Your Dragon (2010): This movie was released in 2010, but we watched it in 2011 or 2012? I can't really remember, but we were (again) in the US for the summers. The local cinema used to put on old movies and sell tickets for a dollar or so, which was pretty cheap. I went to watch this one with my sister, mother and my friend and her sisters. It was a lot of fun :) All I can remember is that I was wearing the horrendous red sneakers I just threw out the other day. I'm not saying they were bad sneakers, but I had bought them on the spur of the moment when converse sneakers were in fashion. These weren't converse sneakers, but the only reason I bought them was because they were bright, fire truck red.


Pacific Rim (2013): This was the first movie we watched in Pakistani theaters. During the two years we spent in Karachi, we didn't go to movie theaters at all. Even in Islamabad, we didn't go until Centaurus opened, because before that, the only cinema was in the city next door, Rawalpindi. Centaurus is a mega shopping mall plus residential tower that opened in F6 I guess? The first four floors are reserved for the mall and the fourth floor has a food court and cinema theater. So we went to watch Pacific Rim and it was absolutely amazing. We were a little late that day- my father was supposed to come after work and take us in the evening and I can't remember why we were late, but I remember everyone being mad at me xD We missed the first few minutes and just barely made it a few seconds before the title card. The rest of the movie was spent in ecstasy. I loved every single second of Pacific Rim. I still do. I'd rewatch Pacific Rim any time, any day! In fact, it's permanently downloaded in my laptop!


Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014): After the great success that was Pacific Rim, it's not surprising at all that we went to the next movie that sounded just as good. Dawn Of The Planet of the Apes was another great movie that we all went to watch together. Of course, just like in Pacific Rim, my mother and my sister would probably say otherwise. This movie was fantastic though! I loved all the apes and monkeys, especially Caesar. The whole plot was fresh (in my opinion) and I really enjoyed it. Of course, it wasn't as pumped up as Pacific Rim, but it was great.


Godzilla (2014): Also picked by my brother, Godzilla was a movie that I thought would be better than it actually was. Most of the movie didn't even star Godzilla and those that did, tended to focus on animation like oh, look at this gigantic tsunami! Poor dog! Building crashing down! So yeah, I wasn't very satisfied with this movie. I remember that we went to watch this in the evening too and when we got out, the sky was all grey and there was light drizzling. Great weather, really. I associate Godzilla with great weather.


Cinderella (2015): I watched this movie with a group of doctors from the ER. Dr J had invited me to come to the theaters with her and some of her colleagues and she'd already cleared it up with my father so off I went with them to watch Cinderella. It was a great movie really, almost exactly like the classic cartoon movie, which isn't a bad thing! I really like seeing different presentations of the same story, whether it's art style or angle. So yes, despite being socially inadequate when it came to conversations, I had a pretty good evening out!


The Minion Movie (2015): We watched this one during our summer vacation in the States. This time it was my siblings and friends who went out to the theaters. My brother and I had really wanted to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron, but we had a a few young children (my younger brother included) and so the adults said "No, you're going to go watch a cartoon movie that everyone can watch!" so that's how we went to see Minions. Surprisingly, it was really enjoyable! Some parts were genuinely funny and while I wouldn't download or like to watch that movie again, it had been a memorable evening :)

So these are all the mvies that I've seen in theaters. There are more that I'd like to see- especially Finding Dory and the Jungle Book. What kind of movies do you like watching in theaters? What's the last movie you saw? Have a nice day!

Monday, July 18, 2016

How To Add Social Media Buttons Like Mine

I've been spending this summer of mine trying to fix up my blog. I had a new header made, new font chosen, links and labels updated, about page fixed, Hall Of Fame added. And guess what? I even added social media links on the side!

Initially, I had been going for the small, cute circular icons that are found on most bloggers profiles that had respective social media icons stamped on them. I had gotten in touch with a blogger and asked for her help in trying to get something similar on my blog. How hard could it have been? I had designed a bunch of buttons with a moon for a background and they looked pretty sweet.

But of course, something like this was too good to be true. I am absolutely clueless about coding and so when the time came to get things done, there were gigantic social media icons on the side of my blog and I flinched and deleted everything. Several weeks later, I decided to pick things up again, but from a different approach. I found a guide on how to install icons in a really easy way and it worked for me! I'm going to be sharing what I did :)



STEP ONE: Make Your Social Media Button
I used BeFunky.com to make these. Of course, you might want to use a background which is the same color as the background of your blog or perhaps use a transparent background. You could also put labels around the words or other designs. I, for example, used grunge techniques and some further color editing. 

STEP TWO: Upload the Buttons
Create a new page and label it Social Media Icons. You're not going to be publishing this page!
Instead of uploading the files immediately, switch the post setting to HTML (red box).
Upload pictures on the HTML version. You'll get a pop up box like this.
And choose these setting: Center for Image alignment and Small for Image size.

STEP THREE: Add Links
Switch post settings back to Compose and click on each picture, highlighting it and then add links to each button.
Make sure you get them all right! It would be terrible if your twitter button went to Instagram and your Instagram went to Facebook!

STEP FOUR: Copy Your New Code
Once you've got the links all added, go back to HTML and copy the code you see.
It's turned your images and the added links into a code that you can now put anywhere you like!
Don't forget to SAVE your page! Don't publish it!

STEP FIVE: Apply Code
Go to Layout settings and add a new HTML/Javascript gadget (the one that lets you put in a lot of code) and paste things there.
Set the gadget up where you'd like it to appear on your blog- whichever column etc you like.

STEP SIX: Look at Your Blog!
Isn't it beautiful!!
You can check to see if things are still working by hovering your cursor over the icons and seeing if they do have the redirect link they're supposed to have.

I hope this post helped you out a bit! Have a nice day!

Friday, July 15, 2016

All You Need To Know About Road Trips

I'm not claiming to be a road trip guru or anything like that, but I've had my fair share of road trips. In fact, I spent last summer road tripping from Washington DC to Atlanta Georgia to Houston Texas to Tampa Florida and all the way back. I've also road tripped in Pakistan too, having explored Chitral and a bit of Hunza Valley. (the pictures of that post aren't very good quality, for which I apologize).

So I think I do know quite enough to start handing out advice :D it'll be good advice, don't worry!

Always have something to do
Road trips can get pretty boring, especially if you already know that it's going to be a 12 hour long drive and the only people there to entertain you are your siblings who are more interested in sleeping. Here's a list of things that you can bring with you to keep yourself occupied.
-books
-sketch pad
-handicrafts, eg loom band, lanyards, knitting etc.
-music player
-deck of cards

Document your experience
Not everyone gets to road trip and have fun at the same time! Make the most of your adventure by writing extensive reports. Carry around an adventure journal or notebook as well as your trusty camera. You never know when something amazing might happen, whether it's during the drive or at one of the stops. Always keep an eye out for adventure!

Have a back up plan for everything
This is especially important in terms of electronic devices. Always have your phone charger and a power bank, as well as the charger for the power bank itself. You don't want to end up out of battery and you'll also want to charge your gadgets whenever you find the opportunity to do so!

Never say no to snacks
Come on, what can a road trip be without accompanying junk food? Whether it's juice boxes or sodas or cookies or chips- take everything. You never know when extra food can be useful.

Have a trash bag at all times
You don't want to have trash in your car, especially when you know you'll be spending quite a few hours there! Keep a bag or two at all times to collect trash, which would presumably be mostly from eatables and perhaps tissues etc. It's a great way to keep your car clean. Don't throw the trash out though- dispose of it properly!

Carry a first aid kit
Bandages, alcohol swabs, parecetamol, gauze, one of everything in fact! It'll save you a lot of trouble to have such items in the car, especially when you're traveling in a relative foreign place and have no idea where a hospital or pharmacy might be!

Keep an air freshener on standby
It'll make things bearable, promise. Whether it's coming to your car after an overnight stay and discovering rotting food you forgot to throw out, or the smell of a roasting car after standing in the heat for hours. Spray spray away!

Make a mixtape
Get all your favorite sound tracks in one place, whether it's a CD or a USB or whatever. Plug it into your car's audio system for a good atmosphere. It could be something soothing to help you fall asleep or it could be something fast and cheerful to help keep you awake and exited throughout the drive. Either way, this can definitely help keep you entertained!

Wear comfortable shoes
It's important to keep yourself comfortable and your feet are not an exception. Socks and sneakers are great, flip flops are great, sandals are great! You're going to be sitting for long periods of time and you'll want to walk and exercise once you get out of the car.

I hope you found these little tips useful! I wrote these out since I'm going to be going on another road trip this Monday. We'll be going to Kashmir and other valleys like Naran and Kaghan with my aunt and grandfather, who would be coming from Karachi on Sunday. I'll be missing three days of school, but I'm really excited to go! You bet I'd be carrying my adventure journal, camera, back up batteries and power banks, and documenting each and every thing!

Have you road tripped before? Where did you go? Did you enjoy yourself? Have a nice day!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Eat The Rude! (Hannibal Review)

Image VIA Tumblr
During my short break of summer, I had a list of things I wanted to do and as I went along, I picked up more things too! While I had certainly wanted to finish the fourth season of Arrow and get back on to watching the Flash, I had done neither and instead, binged Hannibal, an American thriller and horror television series.

Gifted criminal profiler Will Graham has a unique way of thinking that allows him to empathize with anyone, including psychopaths. But while helping the FBI pursue a particularly complicated serial killer, he decides he could use some help and enlists the brilliant psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter. The two form a partnership and it seems that there is no villain they can't catch together, but Lecter harbors a dark secret. His own brilliant mind has gone to the dark side and he has more in common with the criminals they hunt than Will could possibly imagine.
Written by Bryan Fuller


Hannibal is a television series that comes under the category of crime, horror, thriller and psychology. You've got your crew of main characters- Will Graham, a special investigator who helps the FBI catch criminals by reconstructing their thinking from the crime scene, Jack Crawford, the head of the investigating division of the FBI, Dr Alana Bloom, the psychiatrist who gives the candidate for Will Graham's therapist, and Dr Hannibal Lector, the brilliant surgeon turned psychiatrist who meticulously plans out each and every thing he does.

This show is a lot of fun to watch for a variety of reasons. First off, the aesthetics. Hannibal occurs over a variety of settings, and while it usually ends up being winter, it's still beautiful to watch the characters tromp through the snow or through the woods. There's just so much detail in everything, it's amazing.
Hannibal's house is gorgeous- look at that library at the top!! It's like a tree house except with books! A book house!!
Then there are all the cooking scenes. Hannibal is a gourmet chef who uses- you guessed it- human meat in his dishes, whether it's lungs or hearts or limbs or livers. It's revolting and fascinating all at the same time, the way something so gruesome is cooked and then presented beautifully. Hannibal certainly puts on quite a show. And one of the best things about it is that we, the audience, get to see everything. We're not put in a blind spot like the other characters. We get to see each and every thing Hannibal wants us to see, which seems like a lot until we find out all the other things Hannibal has done.

Then there are the actual crimes themselves. Only the first season is involved with catching criminals. Quite a few are very disturbing and several made me wonder how someone could get away with it for so long, considering most of the serial killers depicted seemed to have an artistic agenda of some sort. (The human totem was the weirdest- how did that guy even manage something like that on a beach??) What I liked about the crime series was how they kept repeating in the later episodes- they weren't just little background stories or fillers- they were steps leading towards the finale.

Of course, there's a lot of violence and blood and gore involved. Comedy level is in the negatives. Everything is dark and gritty and the only person who seems to be enjoying themselves is Hannibal Lector, who is busy winding everyone up like they are spinning tops and watches them hit each other in and out of the ring.

Image VIA Tumblr
The second season involved Will Graham trying to get everyone to realize what Hannibal actually is by fighting back. Again, Hannibal side steps through everything, while pushing Will around back and forth- not far enough to lose him again and close enough to let him know he is a friend. Their relationship is one of the most twisted things I've come across. Hannibal is determined to have Will embrace the killer instincts he has in him while Will wants to somehow cut himself free but only ends up tangling even more- in the process, revealing the side of himself he doesn't want to let out.

The second half of the second season involves Will and Hannibal teaming up together, covering each other's backs and appearing seemingly invincible- until we find out Will is still bent on revenge despite all the blood he's gotten on his own hands.

The third season was a little meh. The first part takes place in Europe and again, there's a lot of art and architecture we get to see- all things Hannibal takes great interest in. The scenes are beautiful but slow paced- nothing as exciting as the first two seasons as Hannibal becomes a curator of sorts and gives lectures on Dante. It gets better after two or three episodes when we find out about the net being used to catch Hannibal and how Hannibal evades it yet again, only to finally turn himself in.
Image VIA Tumblr 
The second part was all about the Great Red Dragon- another serial killer who pulls Will Graham out of his normal life (which he picks up after Hannibal is finally arrested) and back into crime solving. Once again, Hannibal is enlisted to help capture the Red Dragon and once again, Hannibal winds everyone up by conversing secretly with the Red Dragon and helping him out.

The ending of the whole thing was a real cliffhanger (get it? CLIFF hanger?) and there were a lot of things left undone here and there, which made it seem like there would be a fourth season, which I'm hoping would be true. Then again, with so many things left open like that, there's a lot of potential handed over for people to write fan fictions about (pity how I've lost faith in fan fiction though. I cannot be bothered to sift through all the poorly written things to find something worthwhile).

Overall, I suggest you to put Hannibal on your list! It's a great show, lots of fun to watch, several scenes where even I minimized the window because it was just too gruesome (I couldn't watch Frederick Chilton getting dealt with two psychopaths on separate occasions, or watch Mason Verger die or watch chase scenes- I hate chase scenes). There are also some explicit scenes and some disturbing scenes that don't involve direct violence (I was horrified at the surrogate mother part in the third season).

I give Hannibal 4/5 stars for keeping me gripped through most of it's episodes. :)

Have you seen Hannibal? Do you think you'd like to? Have a nice day!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak! I'm a little late but that's okay because in Pakistan, we celebrate three days of Eid. Today is the third day, when I finally get time to sit down and write something. Before that, I was really tired and sleeping or watching YouTube if we hadn't gone out or had someone over at our place. (Which reminds me that I saw someone post on Facebook about how we spend Eid sleeping while we're all super excited for holidays that aren't even in our religion? Well, excuse me, I just spent an entire month fasting with a skewed sleeping schedule and Eid is literally the holiday when you can finally relax). But that's not the point! The point is-
My Eid has gone well so far! I woke up late in the morning (considering my mother was trying to wake me up from 7 am and I finally got up around 7:45 am), cleaned the house a bit, took a shower and then my maternal uncle came over with his kids and we got Eidi! After that we went to my paternal uncle's house for lunch and that was a lot of fun because the food was great and there was this really sweet pudding and awesome nutella cake. Oh, and more Eidi. In the evening, we went to my mom's cousin's place.

The second day started off slow since my dad had his shift at the hospital, so I tried writing a post then, but failed and ended up sleeping. In the evening we went to my maternal uncle's house (the same one who came over the first day) and we had dinner with him.

So yes, Eid went great, although it wasn't very exciting. I remember how excited we used to be when we lived in the US. Eid there involved everyone going to the masjid to pray together, there would be a really big gathering of familiar faces, since there weren't many masjids and everyone usually came to the same place. There would be carnivals and stalls- all very exciting things for a kid. So I was wondering why we couldn't have the same sort of thing on Eid too? I mean, we spent Ramadan inviting family over for iftar, and then on Eid, we did the same thing again. Nothing very different or exciting.

I went to my dad and I said "Why can't we go out or something? Why does Eid have to be spent at home- whether it's our home or someone else's home?". And he said that the problem with going out is that the entire city already has that in mind. All the interesting places to visit will be jam-packed with people who thought of the same way to spend their Eid. I suppose that's one negative point of celebrating in a Muslim country- everyone's celebrating so you can't really do anything special out. All the cinema halls are booked, malls jam packed, restaurants overflowing, parks trashed, tourist attractions full. There is literally nothing to do? Going out, now that I think about it, sounds like so much khwaari that I'm starting to regret even suggesting it.

For next Eid, I've decided to actually make a program. Buy lots of ice cream, chocolate, cookies and put on a movie for everyone to watch together. Pile up all the board games and have big competitions. Or maybe even go out to spend Eidi together- whether its splurging everything on books or toys or in my case, lots and lots of stationary xD

I just want something different.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Why I Haven't Shared My Blog

I just really enjoy twitter chats, alright! It's a lot of fun to talk to people and there is an undeniable sense of satisfaction when twitter keeps updating with push notifications and you feel really good about yourself. Or maybe it's an introvert thing, I'm not really sure.

I had joined a twitter chat a few days ago where the subject had been about blogging (as usual) and one of the questions was "Do your friends/family know that you blog?".

My answer to that question would be a little complex. Here's why.


When I started this blog (my official blog, as I like to call it), I wanted it to be filled with quality posts. You know, those posts that have great photography and editing and a lot of interestingly written content and pretty aesthetics and make you think "Hey! This is pretty cool! I like it!".
Is my blog cool?
Is my blog there yet?
Probably not.

And that's okay! This is a goal I'm slowly but surely working towards. There are days when I have no idea what to write and I end up writing things in a hurry and I have this nagging feeling that my readers can tell I was in a hurry- because I put an emphasis on schedule.
Come what may, The Lunar Descent will be updated.
See a new post up every Monday and Friday.
Even if the content isn't that good.

This is one reason I am reluctant to share my blog with friends and extended family. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I have this mindset that other people expect perfection from me as well. My blog is far from perfect. There are things scattered all over the place, blog posts I need to rewrite, labels I need to fix.
Yes, I'm working on it.
Yes, I'll get there.
Not yet though.

Sometimes when I go through different blogs and Instagram accounts, I notice that some blogs have an enormous following with very little engagement. I wouldn't call these extra numbers 'ghost' followers or 'bought' followers, but maybe 'polite' followers. You know, the kind of people who just have to follow you because it's the socially acceptable thing to do.
Like how all your friends will add you on Instagram.
And you are obliged to follow them back.
Even if your feed is terrible and vice versa.

The thing is, I don't want people to follow me just because of common courtesy or because they feel obliged to, or just because they know me. ME. Whether I'm a friend from high school, or a current classmate, or a second cousin or a friend of a friend- they're following just because they know who I am.
The quiet girl who doesn't say a single word in class.
The same person who seems pretty mundane.
Let's see what someone like her could possibly be blogging about.

Now there's two outcomes of a sharing scenario. Either people will follow me to monitor my blog and see what I'm up to, what I'm thinking about, what I'm writing, who I engage with, what I post on social media, how many comments I get, how many followers I have.
Has she written about me somewhere?
Did she talk about that fiasco that happened the other day?
Maybe she's decided to write an opinion she's too scared to say out loud herself.

The other outcome could be something along the lines of indifference and perhaps disappointment. I mean, there's a lot of other bloggers out there too who write things that are far more interesting to read and entertaining to talk about. I don't post much about make up and product reviews or recent movie or tech releases. What's the point of following this blog?
If only this was like Buzz feed.
Where are all the GIFs?
There's no tips on how to lose weight or be smart!


I'm still thinking about whether I should come out with my blog or not. I've asked around and got a very positive response, encouraging me to share it, mostly from my friends. As for my family, my parents and siblings and select cousins know about the blog. They've also given mostly positive feedback but I still can't quite make myself bring this blog to light.

I've seriously made efforts towards it though. I asked a friend to design the blog header for me and also sat down to work on social media buttons on the side, trying to improve the overall visual experience of the blog. I'm hoping things get to exactly how I want this blog to look (aesthetically at least) with in a week.

What do you think? Do your family and friends know about your blog and blogging habits? Why or why not? What advice would you give me? Have a nice day!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Careful What You Write in YA Books!!

Books are something that everyone enjoys reading, especially since there are a variety of genres to choose from. Would you like a book about animals? How about mysteries? Or a travel guide? Perhaps a photography book? These days however, the craze is all about YA. It must have started with the Twilight trilogy.

It's not surprising if you think about it. Twilight is a very successful franchise! There are four books and four movies I think? Or five books? Five movies? Eh, I'm not sure. The point is, this is a book based on the writer's dreams, that became hit enough to be turned into movies, and then those movies inspire an entire spoof movie. That's like a mini jack pot, considering the Harry Potter franchise must be THE jack pot!

Anyway, once Twilight came out, there's been a lot of books that have been roaming around most bibliophiles' orbit, all Young Adult novels with elements of the supernatural. I've decided to review one of these books, mainly because I have issues with the story that I feel should definitely be talked about.

6339664Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.
~Goodreads


I'll just tell you about what disturbed me about this book. Basically, it involves Nora, the main character who is a bit of a nerd. And every nerd going to high school is supposed to have a bully. In Nora's case, it's Marcie, the classic rich girl who just loves bullying one particular person. Like I said before, wonky polygonal relationships are very difficult to execute- and this was not well written in my opinion. But we're not here to to talk about to character analysis and sketches. What I wanted to talk about was a recurrent conversation between Nora and Marcie, where they tossed around insulting slurs at each other before Nora finished things off with "anorexic pig".

(source: Fitzpatrick, Becca, 2009, Hush Hush, Simon and Schuster, London, p213)
Oh great, they’re swapping slurs. I really needed that.
So, Marcie goes with the classics “geek” and “freak”. There’s been a lot of references to Nora being a good...
SOURCE
This was my first time being exposed to the word anorexic. It was a word being describe a girl whose physique, when described, matched mine and for a full year, I thought anorexic meant skinny and the fact that anorexic was made to sound like it was a reason for being a bully really hurt me.

So imagine this really skinny seventeen year old girl, completely clueless about the word anorexic and the first time she comes across it, it's the main character using it as a derogatory term for a bully. For a full six months, there were countless moments when I'd be aware of myself and I'd hear myself reading out the words in my head-
pig! pig! anorexic pig!
Is that okay? No. That's not okay. It's great that Hush Hush affected me, but this was a very negative effect. If your book can do this to a seventeen year old, what will it do to someone younger? Someone fifteen, thirteen? Kids who are heading over to the YA section? We're not even talking about all the other things wrong with this book? Oh wait, we should.

SOURCE
Nora is a bully herself (she wishes she thought up of a crueler and more demeaning insult for Marcie- not that anorexic pig is all rainbows and flowers, right?) and is generally a character who is difficult to like. You'd think she'd have some redeeming qualities but to be honest, it's hard to see them when all you associate with this character is body shaming. Even Bella was better- she was polite and didn't needlessly sling mud around.

Patch is a stalker who says the creepiest things and is very very far from romantic- he's a psychopath and should be avoided at all costs. Like, yeah I get it, he's an angel and the plot is constricted and waterproof so it seems like what's happening is the only thing that can happen for him, but that doesn't change the fact that it's really creepy!

So yes, this book was, in my opinion, horrendous. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. I'd tell the writer to please consider rewriting this saga. I'd tell the publisher and editors to please hand in their resignations or at least take a few literature classes to see what proper novels should be like.

What kind of popular books do you find yourself disagreeing with? What issues do you find sensitive in young adult novels? Let me know in the comments below! Have a nice day!
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