Saturday, August 22, 2015

Summer 2015 Photos // Part One

School starts again on Monday, meaning that this is the last Saturday of summer. *sighs*

It's been a good summer. Maybe the most relaxing I've had since early high school. I didn't work at all; I didn't take any classes. We moved, we got a dog. I exercised and read books and watched TV shows and it was all glorious.

My blogging has been sporadic this month with the ongoing preparation for the new school year. Going through my Lightroom archives, I found that there have been photos taken throughout summer that I never got the chance to post. I thought now would be a good time to compile them into a last summer post (actually two because there are a lot of them).

This first one will be of the kittens at my parents' house from early in the summer. Enjoy. =)


I hope school goes (or is going) well for everyone! 

currently listening to: East by Sleeping At Last

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Martian // Book Review

 Goodreads Description:  
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

I finished this book about two weeks ago. I never did write a review, not even on Goodreads, but there's been a lot of buzz about it since the movie comes out October 2nd, so I figured some people might be interested to know how the book was.

Things I Liked:
  • Mark Watney's character. His voice is so fresh and funny. I know that's about the last thing you expect, but most of this book was actually really amusing.
  • Suspense. Oooooh, I felt like I was on the tip of my seat SO MUCH. A few parts were predictable, but most of the time I had no idea what was going to happen next.
  • It was a unique story. There have been a lot of focus on space lately, especially in movies, and you see a lot of survival stories, like Hatchet or 127 Hours, but this story combines the two and gives you the ultimate space survival story. But Watney's character is not what you would expect, which gives the book a whole new dimension. 

Things I Did Not Like:
  • The constant problem-I might die-solution-still alive cycle. It was realistic to a certain point, then it just started getting too much. I get that he's on Mars and there are going to be a lot of problems, but it felt like this cycle was repeated a hundred times. It got really repetitive.
  • Math, but no work. This book is full of math, but Watney does most of it in his head and tells you the answer without going into detail about how he did it all. That's great for someone like me (and probably most bookworms) because we don't care about math, we're not good at math, and we definitely don't want to read a 300+ page novel filled with equations. But I bet the author put a lot of time working out all the math in this book, so I think there should be some sort of appendix at the end that explains the problems and solutions.
  • It got really slow about 3/4 of the way through. I think this goes back to the cycle. The first half is filled with so much suspense that you want to read it all at once, but then you get tired of the repeated cycle so it loses a lot of steam. It picks up a little bit towards the very end, but I struggled during this stretch of the book.
There were a few other things I did not like about it, but I can't say much without giving away spoilers. 

Basically, this seemed more of a survival story than a science fiction novel, but it is written in a way that makes it accessible to all readers. That said, I got bored by a lot of the science and couldn't visualize a lot of things he was talking about, so I think it might be better portrayed as a movie.

They just released a new trailer, if you're interested, though it gives away some details of the plot:

I thought the book was four stars until about halfway through, but at the end it wasn't quite as great as I expected, so I gave it 3.5 stars, but rounded up to 4 on Goodreads.


Tell me if you've read this, or if you're planning to read it! Did you like it? Also, are you going to see the movie? What do you think of the trailer? Let me know!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mid-August Updates

- I got a fitbit! It was an anniversary gift that I asked for and I really, really like it. I also kind of hate it. But I'm the type of person that works well with set goals, so it's been a great motivation for me.

- I visited my family a few weeks ago. I came down on a Monday and was going to stay until Sunday, but then...

- Rex was sick. He's had off-and-on digestive problems since we've got him, and we don't really know why. But my leaving for the week didn't seem to help, so I came back and put him on some antibiotics for a week. He seems to be doing better now, but we still have trouble getting him to eat.


- I'm teaching two classes next semester. Normally, GTAs take 9 hours and teach one section of Technical Writing. That's what I did last semester. This semester, I'm still taking 9 hours, but I'm also teaching two sections of Technical Writing. Back-to-back. Pretty nervous about the extra responsibility, but I'm overall really happy that my department allowed me this opportunity.

- I got attacked by a dog. Two dogs. I'm fine, though. Here's what happened:
On Friday, I went out at 7:40 PM to get one last stroll around to ballpark by our house because I needed about 2,000 more steps for the day. I take this walk every day, often multiple times. I had just put my earbuds in to listen to an audiobook and was looking at my phone to press the play button. I had just gotten to the end of our street and rounded the corner. The people in that house have four dogs, and the two biggest ones got out and ran over to me, barking. They got on either side of me, so I was kind of trapped. It's all kind of a blur now. I think I reached out to one, but since the other one was barking, I couldn't calm either down. They kinda fed off each other's energy, and then I started to get nervous, so I tried crying out for help, which made the dogs more excited so they barked more, then I think the owner came out and called them off but I'm not sure because I went straight home.

 I was really shaken up and broke down crying once I got inside. Deacon called the police and reported it, and since one of the dogs bit me, we had to get their shot records. (It's a really small bite on my middle finger. It's already healed.) On Friday, the officer called to say that the dog was not up-to-date on shots. Animal Control came by today (Tuesday) to get the story from me, but they didn't really have any new information. The dog has to be quarantined for ten days. He was supposed to see a vet yesterday, but I have no idea if that happened or not. I'm not worried, though. (And in the words of the Animal Control guy: "dogs don't really get rabies anymore.") I don't think the dogs are vicious or anything, I think it was just bad timing. The dogs accidentally got out right at the moment I turned the corner, and I didn't notice them sooner because I was looking at my phone. I was startled more than anything--the dogs didn't really hurt me. I didn't even know I was bitten until I was walking home and saw blood on my finger.

So for the time being, I'm waiting to either A) turn into a rabid creature or B) get werewolf superpowers. Or C) both.

- On a lighter note, we're teaching Rex how to stop and look both ways before crossing the street:

P.S. I've been having trouble getting the video to work. Sorry if you're having trouble viewing! I'm working on it.

- I now have Windows 10 on my laptop and I kind of like it so far. It looks fine, but it disabled my SD card reader (which Deacon fixed) and my beats audio (which has not been fixed and I DON'T KNOW HOW TO GO ON.)

- Rex does not like to poop in our yard. He prefers to do his business in the park. At first, I thought this was because he wanted to expand his territory, then I thought it might be that he doesn't like the mosquitoes in our backyard, but now I'm pretty certain he just holds it to make us take him out on a stroll through the park, which is his favorite thing.

- I've had two instances in the last month where adult women that I do not know talk to me in a condescending way. What is with this? The first one was when I was trying to schedule a vet appointment for Rex. The lady on the phone was rude and almost didn't schedule me in.
A paraphrase of the conversation:

Me: I need to schedule an appointment for my dog.
Her: What's wrong with him?
Me: He has diarrhea.
Her: Well that's not enough for me to go on.
Me: He's had diarrhea for several days and has been vomiting.
Her: Have you tried feeding him chicken and rice?
Me: Yes.
Her: Have you tried Benadryl?
Me: No.
Her: Well you should try Benadryl.
Me: Listen, we saw the vet two weeks ago and he told us if it was still persistent to come back in.
Her: Well I don't have anything until Monday.

The second time, I was on a walk with Rex. We were on a way home when a lady stopped her car in the street next to me to tell me it was too hot outside to walk my dog. We were literally right next door to my house, but she cut me off when I tried to explain this to say that "she made the same mistake" with her dog. WHAT EVEN.

Is it because I look and sound younger/more immature than I am? Or do I just come across as stupid? Either way, I'M A FREAKING RESPONSIBLE ADULT and I know what's best for my dog so all these women need to stop talking down to me like I'm an idiot.

- It's weird that this is my last year of college...ever. I'm 22 now, and I've been in school constantly since I was 5. I'll graduate with my Master's degree in May, and it just feels odd. But I'm surprisingly relaxed about it, despite the mountain of student loans I have to pay back, despite the chance of not being able to get a job in Rolla, despite my husband still being in school. When I graduated with my Bachelor's, I kind of had a meltdown. I was depressed and nervous and an overall disaster. This year, I keep reminding myself that everything will work out. It always does, one way or another. I'm feeling okay about the whole thing. Happy, even. I'm ready to find a career and start earning real money and not have to deal with homework every evening. I'm ready to start feeling (and being treated) like an adult.

TV shows:
Grey's Anatomy (finally caught up)
The Big Bang Theory (finished seasons two, three, and four. Just started season five.)
Life (on Netflix)
The Legend of Korra (finished Book 3 commentary; rewatched Book 4. Cried basically the entire time.)
Downton Abbey (I tried to start Season 4 but only got about 20 minutes in and couldn't do it.)

Paper Towns (I was kinda disappointed)
Fantastic Four (awkward and just...poorly written)

Scarlet (meh.)
Sea of Monsters (it was okay. I LOVE TYSON.)
Fangirl (really liked it!)
Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath (I've been reading this for two and a half years. It's what I turn to when I'm in-between novels or in a reading/writing slump. I just finished the 1950-1953 journal and am now on 1955-1956.)
Cress (really liked it!)
Fairest (it was okay)
The Martian (liked it)

currently reading: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (reread)
next up: probably Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Do any of you guys have a Fitbit? 
I'm not sure about where you guys are, but the weather in Rolla today was perfect. Summery with just a hint of autumn breeze. It was magnificent.
Have you guys seen any good movies lately? I've been kinda lacking. I completely missed Ant-Man.
  Have you ever been attacked by a dog before? If so, please share! How did you handle it?
Have you ever had problems with strangers talking down to you because of your age?

P. S. I don't watch Teen Wolf--that's my sister's area of expertise--but Dylan O'Brien.

currently listening to: Holocene by Bon Iver

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Authors I've Read the Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's prompt is which authors have you read the most books from? Honestly, I don't often stick to one author. In high school, I got on a Jodi Picoult kick and now own eleven of her novels, but I haven't read any of them in a long time. And I also typically don't read series. I'm kind of against them.

So here's a list of authors that I've read the most, with the number of books in parenthesis beside the name.


J. K. Rowling (7)
favorite: Prizoner of Azkaban? Sorcerer's Stone? Half-Blood Prince? I CANNOT CHOOSE.

Stephenie Meyer (4 + 1)
favorite: Twilight, but I loved The Host

Marissa Meyer (3.8)
favorite: Cinder

Shakespeare (8) 
favorite: Julius Caesar

Ellen Hopkins (6)
favorite: Burned (this technically has a sequel, but I haven't read it)

Jodi Picoult (6)
favorite: Nineteen Minutes

John Green (4)
favorite: tie between Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars

Lois Lowry (4)
favorite: The Giver

Mitch Albom (3.5)
favorite: For One More Day

Roald Dahl (3)
favorite: The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me


Monday, August 3, 2015

a letter to the spider living in our kitchen window.

You started out as a little guy, but over the last several weeks you have grown to be quite large and scary. Luckily, you are a grass spider, not a brown recluse like the many other spiders in our house, so I don't have any serious problems with you. In fact, I kind of like watching you perch in your web as I wash the dishes.

That said, I have a few complaints. First, you seem to be a ruthless hunter, even to other spiders. I now have to stare at the carcass of your cousin every day, with his legs bent back behind him.

Also, we have several flies in the house right now which I would like to be rid of, and they often land on your window, but you cannot catch them because you are on the other side.

And you know, we don't have a fan in our kitchen, so it would be nice to be able to open the window every now and then, especially while cooking. But I really don't want you inside the house, because even though you're harmless, you look terrifying and I would not hesitate to kill you if you got into my comfort zone.

So know this: I will tolerate your existence for now. But don't try anything funny.