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Monthly Archives: September 2013

eBook Review: The Fault In Our Stars

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The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green

★★★★★

The Fault In Our Stars is a book by John Green.  The book follows Hazel, a current cancer survivor, and her adventure with Augustus Waters, a boy she meets in support group.


Warning!  Spoilers follow here.

The book is written from Hazel’s point of view and starts at a support group meeting.  Hazel has been to support group several times, but this group meeting welcomes newcomer Augustus Waters.  Hazel is immediately infatuated with him and the longer she knows him the more she likes him.  Augustus seems to reciprocate this infatuation and the two strike up a strong friendship almost immediately.  The two share a love of reading and enjoy sharing their views on life.  Hazel is hesitant to pursue a relationship with Augustus because she feels like she is a ticking time bomb that will leave Augustus alone when she inevitably dies from her cancer.  When Augustus offers his Wish (a parody of the Make-A-Wish Foundation) to Hazel as an offer to meet her favorite author, Hazel begins to let herself fall in love with him.  They travel to Amsterdam, where they realize the author is a mean drunk who refuses to talk to them.  Hazel leaves heartbroken but determined to make the rest of her trip with Augustus enjoyable.  Just before they leave to head back to the United States, Augustus admits to Hazel that he is dying.  He was aware of his illness before they left for Amsterdam but didn’t want to dampen the mood.  Hazel realizes that her fear of being a ticking time bomb is now swapped – Augustus is now dying to leave her alone.  Hazel is by his side every waking minute until Augustus finally passes away.  At the funeral, the author from Amsterdam shows up trying to make amends but by this time Hazel has already written him off.  Before the author leaves however, he and Hazel come to an understanding.  The book ends with Hazel finding a letter that Augustus wrote to the author telling him that you can’t avoid getting hurt in life but you can choose who hurts you.  He admits in his letter that he is happy with his choices and hopes Hazel is too.  Hazel agrees.


I finished this book two nights ago and am still processing it.  If you read this book and all you take away is a story about cancer kids, you have missed the point.  If I were ever to attribute the word “masterpiece” to a book, I would certainly consider this one.  It’s a short book about teenagers, but there’s so much more to it – so many more layers.  So many lessons and thoughts.  I loved the twist about the author (not told above), and I think every girl deserves an Augustus Waters.  There are many religious themes to the book and many questions that are not only left unanswered but justly so.  The book does not leave you feeling curious, but rather leaves open-ended questions that you answer for yourself in your own life.  It is delightfully written, and immensely thought-provoking.  You may or may not suffer from an existential crisis after reading it (I definitely did…there was some ugly crying involved).  I would (and have, since finishing it) recommend this to someone else to read.  I’m also looking forward to the movie, although I was unaware of the film before I started reading the book.  I give it a 5.


For Next Time

KK6: Dark Passage, by Ridley Pearson

The five Kingdom Keepers and their core friends have uncovered a startling truth: Maleficent and the Overtakers (Disney villains) are plotting a catastrophic event that could have repercussions far beyond the world of Disney.

Aboard the Disney Cruise Line’s inaugural passage through the new Panama Canal, the Keepers and their holograms uncover a puzzle hidden within the pages of a stolen journal. The point of that puzzle will reveal itself in the caves of Aruba, the zip lines of Costa Rica, and the jungles of Mexico. A destructive force, dormant for decades, is about to be unleashed. The five Kingdom Keepers are to be its first victims.
-bn.com

I Found It! And It’s Still Radical.

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My friends, I am here today to bestow upon you one of the greatest things from my childhood.

This video, entitled Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, was shown to my class every year in elementary school as a helper to the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program – a curriculum that had just been introduced to my generation, despite being founded in ’83.

This video features what has to be nearly every beloved cartoon character from the ’80s and ’90s (voiced by all the original voice actors, I might add!).  The characters help a kid named Michael to learn about substance abuse.  I don’t know how effective the video turned out to be in terms of helping my generation to lay off the hooch, but it sure made an impression on me to be able to remember it all this time!

You have to understand, I have been searching for this video for a long time.  I remembered it my whole life and would ask other friends and people my age if they remembered it too, but to no avail.  It was like no one had ever seen it but me – people who were in the same room with me when it played every year didn’t remember it.  It felt like a lost cause; I couldn’t even conjure a title to try searching for it online.

Then, today, Cracked released an article about cartoon character appearances and this video made the list!  Finally!  It was somewhere, it had a name, I wasn’t alone!  Oh, happy day!

And so, almost 20 years later, I get to watch this again on my lunch break.

Before I go, I need to review why I love this particular version so much.

Let’s Review!

  • The famous blue screen/Disney castle combo that started every VHS tape I ever owned.
  • The words Play, Closed Captioned, and Stereo displayed in their own corners with that weird font.
  • The FBI and licensing warning that appeared, no matter your TV settings, as blown-out, high-contrast lettering.

It all just brings my right back to being a little girl and watching movies in my VCR, using the Tracking controls to get the squiggly static lines off the screen.

Ah, memories.

I hope you guys enjoy this – and drugs are totally not tubular, man!

T is for Trekkie

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You guys…I think I’m slowly becoming a trekkie.

I don’t have a problem admitting that this transition came about thanks to Mr. Abrams.  Prior to 2009’s Star Trek, I never really had an interest in the franchise.  I of course knew about Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock and all the pop culture associations with them.  When Luke and I were little, our Poppy let us watch Next Generation and Deep Space Nine with him.  I guess I technically grew up with it, but I was never very into it.  As I got older and went though puberty, I was super girly and felt that things like sci-fi and video games were very boyish and didn’t want any part of it.  This same trend followed me for most of my life – believing that gaming and sci-fi and comics were “boy stuff.”  Sometimes I still feel this way, but I am hoping to acclimate myself more and more.  Marrying and living with a nerd who has nerdy friends really helps in that department.

Anyway, back to Star Trek.

When Justin wanted to see the new Star Trek movie that was coming out back in 2009, I just let out an exasperated sigh.  He is, after all, a boy and simply wants to see the movie as another check on his list of boy things, I thought.  But after seeing that movie, my world was rocked.  Did…did I just watch a Star Trek movie and…l-l-like it?  I wondered to myself.  I couldn’t believe it, but yes – I, Caty, officially liked some version of Star Trek.  I even talk about Zachary Quinto’s Spock back in this post on the old blog.  I could write an entire blog series on why I love Quinto’s Spock, but let’s just say it’s pretty serious.

And so it began.  My love affair with Star Trek.

After a long wait, Into Darkness finally came out in May of this year.  And then my love affair became a full-on obsession.  We saw it in theaters when it came out, and the only other time I got to see it (much to my dismay) was with friends at the $2 theater in Raleigh about two weeks ago.  Seeing it a second time just made it better.  I can’t rave about this movie enough.

Caty Loves Star Trek

This could become an obsession of X-Files proportions!

After watching the Trekkies documentary on Netflix and purchasing a T-shirt at Dcon that reads, “Keep Calm and Boldly Go,” I think I am starting to come to terms with this new fandom that I’m becoming a part of.  I have started watching Star Trek the original series on Netflix.  Let me just say – if you can get through the pilot, you’re good to go.  The pilot is rough.  But starting with the second episode, everything is back to the way it should be.

I’m enjoying this.  I like that this happened, and I hope this franchise holds good things for me.  I actually think it is really cool to refer to myself as a Trekkie, even if the transition is just starting.  Just another thing I never thought I would actually like!


Addendum: I remembered that I’ve also tweeted about Star Trek!  Gotta include everything for my Fangirl cred.

The Smell of Fall

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The smell of fall hit me this morning as I was walking Bonnie.  It was such a welcomed smell.

 

It’s hard to explain what fall smells like, but I’ll give it a try.

 

It smells like a combination of things.  Things like the last lingering bits of honeysuckle from summer and all the food at the fair congregating on chilly breezes.  Things like that raw smell of leaves that have just fallen from the tree and those still lingering for just a little while longer, hitting the snooze button on their alarm.  Things like the guts of pumpkins and what a yellowy orange would smell like if colors had a scent.  Things like the char of burnt leaves in a pile or logs in a bonfire.  Things like cinnamon used in coffee and desserts.

 

All these things come together to make the smell of fall.  And once it hits you, you never forget it.