Friday, December 30, 2011

Books of 2011

Yes, this is ripped off of Olivia's awesome blog because it struck me as a good idea. I shall forthwith produce a list of the books I've read this year. The numbers have nothing to do with rank; they just count how many books I've read this year. The ratings I give will be by letter, but one may imagine them as stars: one star fails, and an grade-"A" book gets five. Savvy? Oh, and some of my favorite books may get three or four stars due to more critical, objective aspects, as opposed to how much I enjoyed them. Also, I may change my views over time, so don't be shocked to see a different grade on Shelfari of GoodReads or whatever.


  1. 9 (screenplay) ~ C
  2. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ~ A
  3. Animal Farm ~ B
  4. Between Shades of Gray ~ B
  5. Catching Fire ~ B
  6. Catwings Return ~ C (apparently this is part of a series, so I might change the "memory grade" later)
  7. A Christmas Carol ~ C
  8. The Clockwork Experiment ~ B (Olivia's book - not yet published, but I'm rooting for it to catch an agent's eye)
  9. The Crucible ~ A (can't remember if I actually read all of it, as it was for English class and partly read and partly viewed as a film)
  10. Dead End in Norvelt ~ B
  11. Death Note 1 ~ A (although this is my first and so far only manga, so I may not be the best judge)
  12. The Doll's House (Sandman #2) ~ B
  13. Dracula ~ B
  14. Every You, Every Me ~ A
  15. Fahrenheit 451 ~ B
  16. The Floating Islands ~ A
  17. The Giver ~ B
  18. The Great Redwall Feast ~ B
  19. Hamlet ~ A
  20. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ~ A
  21. The Hunger Games ~ B
  22. Lady Windermere's Fan ~ B
  23. Macbeth ~ B
  24. Mattimeo ~ C
  25. MirrorMask ~ A
  26. Misery (screenplay) ~ A
  27. Mockingjay ~ B
  28. Mossflower ~ B
  29. Of Mice and Men ~ B
  30. Othello ~ A
  31. Painted Fire ~ B
  32. Paper Covers Rock ~ A
  33. Paper Towns ~ B
  34. Persepolis ~ A
  35. The Phantom Limb ~ D
  36. The Poison Eaters and Other Stories ~ A
  37. Preludes & Nocturnes (Sandman #1) ~ A
  38. Redwall ~ A
  39. Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto ~ F
  40. Robot Haiku ~ C
  41. Romeo and Juliet ~ A
  42. Rot & Ruin ~ B
  43. Salome ~ B
  44. The Shadowing: Hunted ~ C
  45. The Stand ~ C
  46. The Summer of May ~ C
  47. Ten Little Indians (play) ~ B
  48. Through the Looking-Glass ~ B
  49. The Two Princesses of Bamarre ~ A
  50. Vampire Crush ~ F (I didn't even read the whole thing, but it was definitely awful)
  51. Welcome to Bordertown ~ B
  52. Wither ~ B
  53. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ~ A (if you can picture something even better than the beloved late-'30's movie, you know what I mean)
So there we have it. Fifty-three, eh? My goal (and resolution) for 2012 is to read more than that. I'll set it at seventy-five. Maybe eventually I'll be in the hundreds, eh? We shall see!

Too Long!

I am currently in Chicago, Illinois. This is our traditional winter-vacation spot, and to be quite frank, I'm ready to leave. I enjoy some of the more intellectual attractions and whatnot. The pizza is awesome. They sell key lime soda, which I cannot access at home. But in the end, I long to be in my hometown. I plan to travel long and well someday, but for now I have my temporary roots. I enjoyed my time away, but I eagerly await tomorrow's flight back. I miss my family's pets and properties, as well as some of what surrounds them. All in all, I sometimes feel like a fledgling bird on the mast of a sinking ship. Before this ridiculous situation gets too much more out of hand, I'll fly away. Maybe I'll occasionally visit the wreck, but I'll make brief work of it and keep in touch with my friends. Modern technology ought to help with that.

But still, the question is posed: are roots good? As usual, my answer is not a black-and-white one. I think it is good to put down roots in making friends, but material things such as houses and vehicles, as well as other possessions, should be guarded against attachment. Sure, one would be upset if something was stolen or lost. Yet despair would be the incorrect response in my eyes. Get over it. I think it's OK to have roots, especially in friendship, as long as one is able to pull them up if needed. I've had to do it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Love You

My good friend Olivia had a post about different kinds of love, infatuation, and so forth, and how the general public can't seem to distinguish them. (I'm blogging this because the website won't let me comment on anyone else's blog - "Sign In" keeps taking me to the dashboard and it signs me back out when I go back to another blog - grr! So, Olivia, feel free to correct me if I misquote or anything.)

I wholeheartedly concur with the idea of the post, as it were. In my own circles, such as Printz and my writing group, I can freely say to a fellow member that I love him or her, because I do. It doesn't mean anything of the romantic sort; they are amazing people who are not only incredibly talented at writing, art, music, acting, and so on, but in addition to that, they are all kindhearted people in my opinion, and that's what earns them my greater wells of friendly love. Now when I go to school, there are also good people (whom I also friend-love intensely) and the other people. The others are average-to-low intelligence conformists who couldn't think for themselves if I paid them to do it. I'm sorry, but it's true. Still, I love every last living thing to some degree, hate none (that's an evil emotion), and if I mention my standard love to any male member, he assumes I am gay. Now, I see gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and so on as people just the same. I love them just as much, but I personally happen to eb straight. I don't need romance to survive; I'm single and happy. But I am attracted only to females. Still, that by no means prevents me from being equally friend-affectionate to boys and men. There are certain fellows at my school who are not afraid to hug me, and I commend them.

But I may be digressing.

My point is, people seem to think that love is primarily romantic, as well as the only stage of feelings between intimate partners. I love my friends, but I am not in love with any of them. And (sorry Olivia, I sort of found a tangent) I recently heard a request call to a radio station by a woman who confessed her [feelings] to a man and he just wanted to be friends. The woman made it clear that her heart was broken., and needed a song to soothe her hurt.

I find that my heart is strong (my loving mind, actually, but for some reason people place feelings metaphorically into one's cardial muscle). At the end of eighth grade I had it broken when I confessed my feelings to a girl (who already said she loved me in one way or another a couple of years prior to this) who freaked out and spread rumors that I was a stalker. She probably wanted attention; she's also said to be a strumpet in the literal sense. That hurt me, but I healed and built new cardiac barriers so I'll be more careful in falling for infatuation, and to not put it on myself if a lady turns out to be a monster like that one. By the way, she's really nice in person, but not so much on Facebook. Says something about the harlot's backbone, does it not? That is to say, mentality of cowardice; backbone is no more thinking than heart.

I don't need romantic love, but I don't deny it if it appears. To be honest, I currently don't have any special feelings for anyone. If a female agrees to remain friends, however, and there is no awkwardness, I'm fine with that. That is how it should be handled. It just doesn't happen often enough.

So to Olivia, Ezra, Hannah, Emily, or whomever else from my circles may be reading this: Congrats, you've been awesome at being my allies. I love you people. That is to say, I have a massive store of respect and admiration for your talents and personalities as well as you yourselves.

Some sort of love for whoever reads this,
- Lewis

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meeting Cassandra Clare, etc.

First of all, I got over my cowardice concerning meeting writers I've not actually read by meeting Cassandra Clare. She was a super cool person, even discounting the fact that she is friends with Holly Black, and I most definitely plan to read The City of Bones. Cassie spoke to the audience about travel, writing, fictional incest, and many other things. Apparently creative writing classes in college frown upon fantasy and sci-fi, which, while disappointing, I found hardly surprising. People don't consider it serious writing, which I find odd, and would find odd even if those genres were not my own (which they are, with a dose of horror, of course).

Speaking of the three genres, I recently began the fourth Dark Tower novel by Stephen King: Wizard and Glass. The witch Rhea is creepy and fascinating, and I still love Blaine the Mono, as well as the reference made to The Stand. I seriously think this is one of the best epics out there. I also - FINALLY - watched the Season Two finale of Doctor Who. Very sad, but I'm eager to start "The Runaway Bride" (Season Three) as soon as I can.

Winter holiday (not me, but the literal season) is drawing nearer; I look forward to getting a good deal of reading and writing done then. I ought to be visiting my grandparents, which we have done often but skipped last year. I really need to submit something to a magazine soon.... I ought to stop moving from story to story and polish one up to ship off. I've been drawing and sketching lately, but I have yet to learn guitar, or even continue piano for that matter. I'll figure it out - I tend to do that.

Lewis M. Winter

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Project

Once again (and directly after the designated month) I am attempting a novel. I'm not sure if it will reach 50,000 words, but I consider it worth a try. It's sort of a dark fantasy story; I'm rather fond of those. It's also a combination of a short story I came up with in Creative Writing this past spring, one which was much improved but never quite mastered. The characters are from the past novel attempt; the concept is from both, more on the story's side.

I've written several novel attempts in the past - finished first drafts, that is - but they always come up quite literally short. The longest one was written within a matter of days in summer 2009, but it was basically a ripoff of a ripoff (and, according to Ezra, there would be another "of a ripoff" there). Still, we must all learn the hard way in writing, eh? There's no sense in shaming amateurs, unless they're published somehow. Like Stephenie Meyer.

I think I might be able to do novels at some point, but for me it might be a matter of practice. I don't think I'll give up.

School tomorrow, and after that I'll be meeting with Printz members at Quail Ridge Books & Music, where just last night I attended the teen writers' workshop there, and have been for over two years (crazy, what?). I'm most likely going to meet an author I've not read yet: Cassandra Clare. In the past here I've met Mary Pope Osborne and seen Orson Scott Card and Lois Lowry. Wish me luck!

May the stars watch over you.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lunch Post II: The Bloggering

Brevity is of the essence; I must go to third period soon. I merely wish to comment on my own foolishness regarding blogging: I write a good deal of posts, but read far fewer than I ought to. This is an apology to all you bloggers who I follow but whom I have neglected to read. I am working on it. The same applies to literature, because one must observe the art as one engages in it. I'm reading more scripts now (currently Pamela Pettler's script to the film 9) and I am also reading posts by both people I know personally and those I don't. I have known people who don't want to read and (gods help them) don't like to read - and consider themselves writers. Stephen King gave a funny speech at Yale about that. I might post it later, depending on stuff.

I must away!

Happy blog reading and/or writing,

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankees! And Traveling

"If you don't want it, give it back!" - Tia Dalma

"We are eternally grateful!" - Alien toys from Toy Story

"You owe me one." - Han Solo

"The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest."  - William Blake

"To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. Your prayer knows much more about it than you do."  - Victor Hugo

"Hey, ho, let's go!" - The Ramones

"Adventure is out there!" - Charles Muntz

"Do as I say, obey, and!" - Claude Frollo (Disney's 1996 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame)


What am I thankful for? I would say my friends, whom I love dearly; my own intellect and artistic inclinations; my dog; cats in general; swords (mostly); the fact that our planet is ideal for living things; and that while my life could be better, I have it pretty good compared to some peoples. I suppose I can even say I am thankful for conflict; my life is as an ongoing story, and any story without conflict tends to bore me half to death. So while I may not appreciate my adversaries at a personal level, it is with their help that I grow stronger. I need some adventure to add a little spice. Being a teenager has its perks - don't get me wrong - but more than ever I feel the urge to "break chains" and go off to explore the world. Ah, how I would love to see Italy...and Germany and Ireland.... For now I am stuck in the United States, which seems to be crumbling from the inside. I do not blame President Obama. People who say the economic upset is his fault are either ignorant or stupid, or, more often than not, both. But anyhow, I'd like to see the United Kingdom, Canada, and Belgium, as well as France and possibly even Egypt, depending on safety. Spain, Kenya, Brazil, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Argentina, Morocco, Norway - you get the idea. I'm thankful that such places exist. And I am grateful to whatever Fate-gods may or may not be there that I have the potential of going.

Back on thankees: it is not reasonable to hold a thank over one as an excuse to do bidding. For instance, if I get you a nice gift and then punch you, you're more than welcome to be ruffled about the slugging and not be swayed by my claims of "I got you a gift; you must kiss my feet!"

It doesn't work that way for me.

Now back to the travel, as it has been on my mind for a good while. I was communing earlier this day with my friend Tinplate, and she made an interesting point about going to a place for the mere sake of truthfully claiming one has been there. That's tourism, she says, and one ought to have a better reason for going to a where. I agree - do not wish to venture outside the States just to say I have done so. I want to see the world with my own eyes. It beats pictures in a book any day. Aside from fleeing this sinking ship of a nation, I'd like to see African savannah animals in the wild, to see Notre Dame's spooky engravings, to see the rolling hills of Ireland. And besides, I have a Londonian cousin, whom I would like to visit on her turf as opposed to Chicago, where our grandparents reside.

I can taste the foreign airs; my oneiromantic dreams hold visions of going elsewhere, and they are getting ever stronger. I heard today that perhaps my country is ascending a bit from ruin; is it true? I do not know where I eventually plan to settle, maybe Canada or something, but maybe - maybe - I shall be able to stay in America if all goes well. I don't plan to live big in terms of where I live or what I own, but travel does seem to be getting pricier. I just need to survive a bit longer, and I can be free to go where I will, free from the oppression of my eccentric peculiarities. I plan to own a rapier (maybe even a sharp one), I can write all I want, doodle on an art get the picture. Anyhow, I suppose I shall close this post now.

Good day!
- Lewis

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lunch Post #1

I am in school as I write this. I am at lunch in a relatively calm room, particularly when juxtapositioned with the cacophony of the school cafeteria. It is also a good place to check email, seeing as they have a number of computers in here. I'm perfectly capable of eating with the crowd, but I see no reason to. The other students in here pretty much always want to chit-chat, so it is difficult to get much reading done, but I am able to get online, which is a rather good advantage if you ask me. I read in hallways, sensing traffic with my eyes' outer rims and corners; I also read on the bus when I'm not listening to music, audio books, or a podcast. I find it useful to read in the crannies of time, as I intend to make the most out of these things. I wrote a poem in class at least once, called "The Resting Field" - it's in the post prior to this.

When I cook, which is becoming more often, I try to read a paragraph, look at the meal, read a few lines, and so forth. The legendary horror master Stephen King is known for reading in said time crevices, such as when he is waiting for a meal at a restaurant or between innings at the baseball games he attends. Even if one does not write purely for writing's sake, reading is a good thing to do. Writing is also a valuable skill, but that's beside the point, is it not? Speaking of that, I need to read more blog posts - I write them but my reading focus seems to eb elsewhere!

I must hasten to French I now. Love to you all.

Au revoir,

Poem: The Resting Field

Great gray-brown hulks arrive,
Trunks dragging, to the Resting Field.
It has been a long time,
A tedious journey, but youth cannot disturb the cages.
Only elders know the place.
The Resting Field is a sort of Heaven, a place of respite.


{Poem's end} - It seemed longer on the page, both in terms of space and concerning its message (it's about an elephant graveyard, if that was not clear). Maybe I ought to expand? Another interesting thing is that I wrote the entire thing (as of yet) during English class - not as an assignment, but upon completing one which was assigned. Maybe I shall post that as well? We'll see, eh?

Rest well, and good-bye for now,
- Lewis

Monday, November 21, 2011

That's Mister Winter to You!

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." - Jesus Christ (I think)

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." - Old saying

"All animals are equal, however, some animals are more equal than others." - Animal Farm by George Orwell

"...but when you're stupid, there's nothing that can be done." - Eric Idle

"Call me Ahab." - Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, which I need to read


Hey guys! It's time to talk about respect. You may call me Lewis or whatever; the title was coined via sarcasm. Where did this whole name-address thing come in? I always intend to have people address me casually. I mean, really. Say I meet President Obama (which would be pretty cool; he's a good man). Realistically I would call him Mr. President, Sir, etc. But in my ideal world (one I highly doubt will ever fully bear fruit) Barack and I would be equals, at least on a human level and on a verbal. I cannot fathom why first names are so bad! I'm not calling anyone a moron. Even my own parents have been zombified by this restriction. They are family! Take the famil root and insert it to create the term familiar. Atticus Finch comes to mind here. Brilliant man; we need more people like that in the real world. I understand that teachers are most likely not allowed to become familiar with students. But neighbors and "friends" who insist on being Mister-Missus-Whatblah instead of simple names? It baffles me on both the basic and deep levels. Where did this start? Why? When? How? Why??

I chuckle at those who think they are my superiors. Forsooth, they might have more life experience and perhaps a few college degrees they may or may not have earned properly, but does that make them humanly better than we "minors"? Not only is it arrogant, it's also insulting. I do not take offense - I only scoff at their ignorance - but I would not blame a child for becoming annoyed at such preposterous statements. Age itself does not elevate one over others. All people are people, and while moral codes do apply in my view to determine true scrupulous mettle, everyone is equal in one way or another. I have literally, honest-to-the-gods been told by one adult that he was my superior, and by another that she was smarter than I. Very unprofessional in both cases. Not that I'm particularly ruffled: sometimes it is best just to not interact with idiotic people, but to either avoid them or to watch them fumble about in a metaphorical fish bowl. As I say, pride is the sage's ascension and the fool's downfall. I have no net to hold when they fall.

And I regret naught.

- Lewis

My Death?

"Who says that I am dead knows naught at all." - Martin the Warrior (from the introduction of Brian Jacques' classic novel Redwall)

"Strike me down now and I shall become more powerful than you could ever imagine." - Obi-wan Kenobi (paraphrase by memory)

"Do you fear death?" - Davy Jones

"Only I can live forever." - Voldemort

"I'll be back." - The Terminator


I don't expect to live forever. A nice, long, adventurous life is ideal for me. But sometimes I consider dying - not literally, don't worry - but dying in the sense of rebirth from my old self. Phoenixes come to mind. I don't intend to have a doppelganger or what-what, but an alter ego would be interesting. I suppose I am Winter here, but just the thought itself struck me about a half-hour ago: the death of my current self and the rise of a new me. How does it work in theory? No definite answers, I am afraid, but I fancy it would be something of a resolution - perhaps one similar to those made on New Year's Eve? Plots to do better, to be better? I intend to better myself, seeing as I have not done as much as I could have with my life (not whining, only acknowledging) and I fully mean to step up my game as I ascend to a greater status.

If one considers the thought, we are all dying. So is our world, even as it grows, but that's a different story. What I am saying is that each breath you take brings you closer to your inevitable demise. I may sound dark or cynical to some, but this is only the truth! Who wants to live for eternity and watch loved ones perish and crumble to dust, and if everyone is perpetual, the earth would no longer fit us all, considering the amount of infants born every moment. Bloody selfish humans "continuing lines" at the expense of the world.... Anyway, I'm glad we're all doomed, and I look forward to living my life instead of watching those of others. I suppose I already am, but I sometimes cannot wait to be a free man, writing for a living and scouting the globe. Even if am shot in Egypt, fall off of the Black Mountains of Germany, drown in the Amazon, or freeze to death observing polar bears (soon to be a rarity due to the bastards in charge of things), or if a Sumatran tiger rips out my throat and innards, I'd prefer it to staying in the States and dying naturally without having done anything.

Would you not agree?

To Death and the life before it!
- Lewis

To Be or Not to Be...a Playwright

Ah, yes - another theatrical post! This pertains to one of my favorite things (apart from general theatre and acting): writing! I am as of yet experienced, seeing as my play readings consist of two Wildes and three Shakespeares, plus some other partial things. I have a long way to go. But as of a couple of Saturdays ago, I am taking playwriting lessons at Applause!. (Remember them?)

I realized the great usefulness that comes from selecting random magazine pictures and using them as inspiration. I need to write out the one with Queen Sadoree.... Anyhow, I'm looking forward to X number of years from now, when I hope to travel the world, fueled by my inner artician: writer, actor, artist, musician, and possibly even dancer. But primarily a writer. According to Thoreau (or was it Emerson?), life is best lived simply. That's one reason I am OK with eReaders such as my Kindle. While paper pages are preferable (ha), I think it is a necessary sacrifice as opposed to lugging around a library. I think I'd take the aforementioned Kindle, a laptop or whatever I'm writing on at the moment, a sketchpad, perhaps a bound journal, The Good Hat (my fedora), and essentials such as clothing and whatnot. Otherwise I'll travel light.

Speaking of dreams to come, it is almost eleven PM., and I have school tomorrow. But not for the rest of the week! This will be my first meat-free Thanksgiving, I think. Not that I ever cared much for poultry. I would have ham. But I look forward to cheesy potato casserole. And the dogs' expressions when they see all the people-food. And I shall write plays all the while!

Much love to you all,
Lewis M. Winter

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Peculiar World of the Theatre

I haven't had much of a chance to review School House Rock Live! (a musical I was recently in) as of late, what with school and such. I also returned to Silent Forest, which is where I worked last year: a seasonal Halloween-type job in which I am payed to scare people. What could be more fitting? Anyhow, the musical went well, and I learned a few, erm, interesting things about the beings who inhabit the theatrical world, both on- and offstage. One is an odd sort of game called Stomp. It was intended as a "focus exercise," I believe, but the rules were only explained very briefly to me. Nobody ever told me the full set, I don't believe, seeing as another rule was introduced to me each time in the form of my being "out." Once out, the object is to sit on one's ass and do absolutely nothing, aside from breathing, existing, etc. I don't bore easily, but I do get the sense of time and productivity. The feeling of wasted time irks me on an intellectual level; I consciously become focused on what I potentially could be doing, as opposed to one's traditional boredom. Now don't get me wrong, I love the concept (mostly for the Grendel jump, as I call it), but I'd like to be "in," you see. Don't get me started on the Slagar pounce, also called the cat leap or feral dive. Oh, and Slagar is a fox in the Redwall series. Evil but really cool, especially the audio book's voice actor. May you rest in peace, Brian Jacques.

Another quirk among theatre folk - even the realistic and sensible ones, is one I first heard of in Applause!'s As You Like It with Star Wars costuming, or rather, in the informational pamphlet. A very good friend of mine, if I may be so bold, previously starred as the titular character in another Shakespearian work many years before we met. Yet it only hinted at this years-past performance. When I took my stage combat class at Raleigh Little Theatre, our instructor (the absolutely brilliant Mr. David McClutchley) referred to it as "The Scottish Play." Yes, I speak of Macbeth. And aye, I feel no fear in writing or uttering the corrupted king's name. I immediately said, "What, you mean Macbeth?" - much to the panic of a few fellow trainees, one of whom went on to perform in School House Rock with me. Apparently, as some legend goes, the Globe Theatre burned down during a performance of Macbeth. Therefore, people assume it is the root of theatrical harm. Posh! is what I say. Granted, there are forces in this world and possibly beyond, ones I don't comprehend, but I think Macbeth (that's four) is a harmless title villainized by the silly geese who need an explanation. I called a myth and one fellow actor replied that it is actually a legend. I politely refuted by explaining that a legend is a tale with so many parts added on that no one alive can discern between fact and fiction, such as King Arthur of Robin Hood. The Globe burning, I suppose, supports that bit. But a myth is used to explain occurences by making things up and then believing them. It was done by Greeks, Romans, Nordic/Scandinavians, and even Christians. Hey, do you really know where Jesus Christ's body went? Exactly.

The name of Macbeth (5) is often attributed to dramatic malfunctions. One chap even said that it's been proven due to multiple occurences. (Um....) But that's not logical scientific proof. Just because something is frequent with the association of another, if one has no solid proof, then it ain't fact! Theory is closer, I think. I heard a story once: scientists gave one hundred people blindfolds and had them eat steak. Fifty steaks were unmolested in every way, while the other fifty were dyed green by a harmless coloring. Upon removal of said blindfolds, most (if not all) of the greensteakers became ill and vomited. The lesson is that the mind affects the body in odd ways. One young lady, a truly exceptional actress, writer, guitarist, and singer (how does she do it??) informed me that the bloke who once played Count Dracula, in that very same vampire play, banged his head on something or other after someone said Macbeth (SIX!). It becomes apparent to me that he must have believed the rumor as well, and therefore whacked his head because his "backstage" mind caused him to do so. I have suffered no unusual injuries, and I think I know why: logic! Don't get me wrong, I love unnatural things, but this seems to me like an odd game of wits and trust. I've said Macbeth so many times I've lost count (VII is what is here). The only reason I refrain from using it to its fullest extent, in the theatre, with acting folk, is for the sake of everyone's sanity (even mine) - I love controversy, but people take Macbeth [huit] way too seriously. When I asked the guy who actually played Macbeth (numba nine!), he explained it about as much as he explained Stomp.

Now enough Macbeths!{X}

I really ought to be in bed, as I have school and it is past midnight, but my thoughts are flowing and I think I'll get them down before they fly away. What comes to mind when I say that you just lost the game? You might say "Darn!" or "I don't play the game," or "The game is stupid and childish." Allow me to assist your achievement of clarity. The game is something all things play, whether they know or not, whether they choose to admit it or not. But you don't have to lose upon realization, the way I see it. It's not stupid or childish - not in the right context. It's about over-focusing on life. If one overthinks things, one loses track of time and reality. There needs to be a healthy balance betwixt think and do. I tend to think a lot, so I need to do more. Many people, however, are concrete divers: they pay no heed to their surroundings and just act on impulse. I say it's OK to "lose" as long as you know what it really means.

I must away! Macbeth Eleven, ha!


Friday, November 11, 2011

I Will Survive!

"Nothin's over while I'm breathin'!" - Quaritch (from James Cameron's Avatar)

"My best advice is...survive." - Haymitch Abernathy (approximate paraphrase from memory)
"You may kill me, but you may never insult me." - Captain Jack Sparrow

"First ya hate 'im, then ya respect 'im, then ya kill'im!" - Monty Python's "Mosquito Hunters" sketch

"Nice people finish last." - Dunno who said it

"Slow and steady wins the race; fast and steady wins it better." - My sister Laura

"You really don't stand a chance." - Mr. Ollivander

"Some say to survive, you need to be as mad as a hatter, which, luckily, I am." Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter


I consider it plausible that at least some of you have wondered where the hell I have gotten to. Why has Lewis not been updating? I'll tell you: my laptop was malfunctioning so we took it into the Geek Squad at Best Buy. They waited a week before telling us what was wrong, and almost three more weeks to supposedly fix it. When I received said computer, it didn't seem that they had done a freaking thing. So we sent it to them again last week (not my idea) and there it has remained. I began to resort to scribbling poems in journals and such and emailing myself documents. Many people would have despaired long ago due to lack of technology, but I found ways around it. I think I am fully capable of surviving without Facebook and all that, although I prefer my stories typed. And iTunes should be an online thing, like the Amazon Kindle, in which the device is hooked up to the account.

As I said, many people seem to be digitally reliant. While I have an appreciation for computrical things, I don't make horcruxes out of them (couldn't resist an HP reference). I suppose a nod to the One Ring would also be appropriate. People who pour their beings into devices are leaning on a crutch, which, when broken or stolen, will drop a person to the ground. Rising might be difficult. In my stage-combat class this past summer, which I took for a week of five days at Raleigh Little Theatre, we had several balancing exercises, which I now realize apply not only literally, but metaphorically as well. I am a survivor. I do not need many material things, and I try not to put down an excessive amount of roots anywhere (unless they transmit signals for when I depart, like neurons or whatever).

I want to travel the globe, and I'll probably only take a few pairs of clothes, something to read (Kindle?), something to write on as well as a drawing pad and utensils, a camera-camcorder combo, possibly my phone, and a laptop if I have one then. Bloody Geek Squad.... Anyhow, it's not insane to think the aforementioned might be one device soon. Something on which to read; write; capture; record; draw; print; call; view things such as time, temperature, cardinal direction, map, altitude, date, and so forth; shine a light; and resist things such as shock of impact and water in the circuits. I am aware that many of these things are already combined, and that it might be pricy, but all in one would be good, and saving pennies might be prudent. But with or without this potential life-saver/-destroyer, I shall survive. I have a certain proclivity for it. That's the same reason I don't smoke or drink or do other drugs in the common sense of the word.

Much love to you all (and may the odds be ever in your favor),
Lewis M. Winter

Friday, October 7, 2011

Movie Review: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

I just watched this not an hour ago, and I already think it is one of the creepiest films ever made. I don't spook easily, but this will definitely have me thinking about things. It cost virtually nothing to make but does a great job conveying psychological terror without the use of violence, jump-scares, or CGI.

It was shot as a "student film" - hand-held camcorder and everything - a mockumentary if you will. Three college students in (Maryland, was it?) go out to hike in the nearby wooded hills one weekend to explore an old legend about the Blair Witch, who supposedly murdered several children in her magical rites. (If you dare watch, then pay attention to what the townspeople say: it comes back later in the movie.) The students, two men and a woman, soon become lost in the woods, unintentionally going in circles and unable to escape. Every morning they find something outside their tent - the sign of the Blair Witch, piles of rocks to mark children's graves, etc. It gets worse and worse for the students and they begin to lose their minds. I won't spoil the ending, but holy crap, is it morbid.
I loved this movie. It proves that one does not need a gory, porn-filled flick to be scared (and I don't consider those true horror anyway). It never shows very much, just subtle hints and mental suspense accompanied by an awesome score, which, while not quite musical - more just sounds - is still quite eerie. The characters seem very real, and indeed the filmmakers claimed it was real until the main lady was seen on a Steak 'n' Shake ad somewhere on a highway billboard. But real or no, this movie will stick with one for a while.

Final grade: A

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Several persons at Printz love this book. I myself quite liked it.

It tells the story of Lina Vilkas, a Lithuanian teenager captured by the NKVD (Soviet secret police) during World War II. She and her mother and younger brother are treated as below scum, forced into swine boxcars and shipped across Europe and Asia into the Arctic Circle for unknown "crimes."

While this book was wonderfully written and had an interesting - if not altogether likable - protagonist, it was oddly similar to Elie Wiesel's memoir Night. Night dealt with Nazis, while Between Shades of Gray pertained to communism, but it was very similar in build. Then again, I'm sure much of the same thing actually happened...but this is historical fiction, whilst Wiesel's book is an autobiography. Both were disturbingly realistic, but this one, while a grand book in its own right, did not bring much to the table that was entirely new. I still really liked it, however - do not get me wrong there.

Final grade: B

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What are you going to do? I'm gonna do the best I can!

For those of you not aware, the above title is a quote between Santa Claus and Oogie Boogie from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas - very clever movie. But the post itself is relating to the musical I am currently in. School House Rock Live! is actually rather a dull play, and my friend Ezra (who is more learned than I in the ways of the script) says the script is not very good. I'll have to take his word there. The conflict is not altogether fascinating, just a teacher who doesn't think he/she is prepared to educate - but it's what we have. Would I prefer to be in Dracula? Hell yes! But I cannot change that bit (although I can be in a different Dracula play sometime, I hope), so I will have to make do with what I have. Many of the kids here, particularly some of the younger ones, don't take acting seriously. They legitimately concern me. But this is my first non-school production and sort of a practice run for me. It can be compared to a rough draft in writing, or to a napkin on which to clean up. I'd prefer to make my inevitable mistakes here than to make them in a great work of art.

I consider myself an optimist, and if one does not agree with that statement, one ought to chew on this thought: I say an optimist does not pretend things are better than they are, but acknowledges the pain in the world and makes the best out of it. Otherwise to be a positive person, one would by definition be stupid and ignorant. And I prefer not to be either of those, although there is some debate as to whether ignorance is truly bliss; Olivia had a good post about that a while back.

As they say, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Of course there's the question of sugar and water, but I have to leave soon for a SHRL! rehearsal. Good-day.

Wishing the best to most,

Friday, September 30, 2011

Poem: Dream Theories

If dreams were physical,
I should think they'd be crystals -
Only somewhat clear.
They are as soft and as hard as a glockenspiel's notes.
Oneiric ocean waves lap at the mind's feet
And tease the Eye with knowledge of beyond.
What is a dream, anyhow?
Is it real, and this the long subconscious excursion?
Dreams are an elf's breath, a dragon's tears.
What blue, astral, heavenly cloud could compare
To dark mental forests and speaking birds?
The winds of mountain seas are calling.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book Review: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

I read this book when I was eleven, so my memory may not be entirely clear. I greatly enjoyed it at the time, and I still remember it fondly. That's what they call a guilty pleasure. I won't go into the plot because while it was good, it was not original - it strongly resembled the story-line of Star Wars with some names stolen from Lord of the Rings and Beowulf. If you know Star Wars, picture it as epic fantasy and you've got this.

The magic system was pretty nice, and I like how the villain has not been shown (I'm waiting to read Book IV, the finale) - adds a nice sense of shadow and mystery, I think. I like the creatures too, both dragons and otherwise. I really do like this, but I also like cupcakes. That doesn't prevent me from eating veggies as well.

And as a self-appointed critic, I'm afraid I'd only give this three stars of five.

Final grade: C

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: The Phantom Limb by William Sleator and Ann Monticone

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia."  - E.L. Doctorow

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." - Ray Bradbury

"I try to leave out the parts that people skip." - Elmore Leonard

I selected this book from a cart at Printz in order to eliminate unwanted books; we have too many.

PLOT. Isaac discovers a mirror box (a sort of optical-illusion device) with an amputated limb on the inside. The limb tells him via signing that its owner was murdered and that soon Isaac's mother will be too (Joey, the dead one, shared a passion for the piano with Isaac's mother Vera, and the murderer hates piano players for some reason). Isaac must stop the murderer with the help of Joey's arm.

The main problem was that the writing in the beginning annoyed me. Not only was the actual prose choppy, but the writers ignored the Show-Don't-Tell rule and laid out everything on the table, and the optical illusions, while interesting, were poorly explained. The plot was engaging but the conclusion seemed hasty. Then again, it might be better in the published version - I read an uncorrected proof.

I was not terribly impressed, but not the worst thing I've ever read either.

Final grade: D

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Give More, Get Less

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy

Surprisingly, this is not a post about selfless generosity; I just like that quote. It's a post about public schools in my county and what ensues. Not the whole hell-storm - that will come sooner or later in a separate post, I should think - but the levels of education. It is said that home-schoolers learn more, which I have no reason to doubt. While I may like my school, I do not like the county a bit: it is as a solid branch in a rotten tree. The curriculum is rushed and sloppy and has more the intention of passing us than actually teaching us. What use is it to learn a bit of something and then forget it? They don't take the time to engrave things into us, only to imprint them long enough to score a test. My point is this, plain and simple:

Learning should not be for the purpose of passing, but for learning in itself.

In a way, it's like having a sign reading that it has sharp edges. Might as well not be there. I loved my World History teacher last year, Chaney (no "Mr." required, as he was pretty laid-back) - but the course itself was the entire history of the world crunched into nine weeks, so there was a week on Greek myth, a week on Chinese dynasties, one on World War II, etc. Not enough for elaboration. In English we don't fully read many books - we read excerpts and then watch the movie most of the time. Don't even get me started on science! Ugh.

I am the rare case of someone who wishes to relearn what was previously presented in forgettable ways. The Modern Scholar audio series is good for that. I wish I could have at some point experienced the benefits of a home-schooled life. Not only do I learn more and learn it in more effective ways, but I have much more free time and less necessity to encounter lower types of people (not judging by race or class, but by mental and moral values). I ride the bus with many boisterous and uneducated persons, which I blame on lack of independent reading. It drives me bonkers to see people confuse the possessive "your" with the you-are contraction. Some do it for convenience, but many are honestly that ignorant. Most kids go along with the grow-up-and-get-out philosophy. They tend to hate school. I like school in theory, but Wake County is just ridiculous. I always say, If you race through life, you'll find the finish line fast enough (death). I'm a rose-smeller and proud of it.

I continue to educate myself on the things which interest me and do me well, even though we can only take so many classes. Most are core, as they don't seem to give a damn about arts or anything that sticks.

I've been a captive of the system and I have nearly broken my bonds (that will come to a head in college, I hope), and I am learning other things.

For further reading on unschooling, I recommend my friend Kate's post:

- Lewis

Saturday, September 17, 2011


This occurred to me and I just had to put it down somewhere. Maybe it will be used in one of my writings someday. It occurs between myself and a, well, person. It is imaginary, but I hope to say it sometime. (It was longer in my head, as is the case with many things.)


PERSON. Not very inconspicuous, are you?
WINTER. I can be, but I can also be noticeable.
P. Do you crave attention?
W. Not particularly; I can create diversions or draw attention at the appropriate times, but I can also be quite subtle.
P. I've never seen you be subtle.
W. Well then, it worked, did it not?

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Leaf is Not Thrown Far

"Names are overrated. I'm me!" - Cat from Coraline (approximate quotation)

From the tree, that is. I don't believe the leaf often falls; it either is thrown by said tree, or it jumps. Let us examine both:

THROWN. Say one's parents want one to become a doctor. Horribly cliche, I know, but for the sake of argument I'll use it. One really wants to become an accountant, but is eventually coaxed into attending medical school. The parents have thrown one in that direction.

JUMP. Now let's create an alternate reality in which one breaks the chains of influence and becomes an accountant. The parents might be dismayed, but screw them! An unchanging line is boring, yes? Now if one was willing to become a doctor, that would be different.

Unfortunately many seem to be thrown, whether it is consciously or not. Not necessarily in terms of career, but also in disposition. Oftentimes a jerk will be the child of a jerk or two. It's sad but true! Not always, but too close to it. I've already broken some of my family's influences, such as being presumptuous (I'm working on the communicating-with-others bit). Not to say I don't love my kin, but I don't intend to become their carbon copy. My mother suggested I become a lawyer someday. While it may be a fascinating career, it's not my aim.

In other words, my personal belief is to do what one wants, not what one's parents want. Unless circumstances say otherwise, like in poorly-run countries where one is stuck in a cycle.

Be you!
- Lewis

In Which I, Winter, Draw Nearer

I rather love my Winterian persona. Very...wintry. Anyhow, I have a confession to make, other than its not being my real name: I did not coin it, but a generator website did. Hold your tomatoes, as it only said "Lewis M. Winter". I created the middle name Mason from that initial, and then I thought of my poet-name L.M. Winter.

But it can also be taken as a literal personification of the season. In some ways winter is my favorite; who doesn't love snow? I enjoy the moment the air begins to feel crisp - today it did, and I am looking forward to October. (Also I ought to be returning to Silent Forest, where I worked last year as a spooker.)

I call myself Young Man Winter often, although my actual father does not call himself Old Man Winter. Although I like the sound of Winter the Elder. If any believe I die during the warmer seasons, then think again: I merely endure. I am seldom dormant. I push through all things, winter and not, and while I may not live forever, the fact that I existed should. I don't mean to get into a discussion of Time-Space, but I do believe that nothing lasts forever, even gods, should they exist. All things perish, except for time - and perhaps even that.

Anyhow, this is one of those posts which I started, left, and came back to finish. I have to practice for my musical, so it is now that I take my leave.

Wishing you well,
L.M. Winter

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Random Bagpipe Rant


Who would dare deny their greatness? They sound like something out of a heavenly dream, despite their loudness, and they are a symbol of Scottish culture (I'm part Scottish). They're visually appealing, too. Apparently the fathers of two of my friends play together - men I've never met, but the friends are both amazing people, one of whom can do a great Irish accent when reading stories.

I'm still looking at getting a guitar teacher after my Applause! theatre work is done for the time being, and I must still continue piano, but someday, someday.... Maybe. Fingers crossed.

(In Scottish accent) -

The Herb Moore Trio

I might be the only one for miles around who knows about the Herb Moore Trio, or just Herb Moore as they are known on iTunes. They have three albums I know of: Dragon Dreams; H2O Overture; and Sophia's Garden, the last of which I am now listening to for the first time. I first discovered them when I was twelve, typing "dragon" on the computer at Barnes & Noble to see what I'd find in terms of music. I listened to samples of the first two tracks, and at some point in time asked if they had any in stock. It's out of print...but I found it on iTunes a year ago or so. Score one for Apple!

Herb Moore is very calming instrumental jazz which gives one a peaceful, calm feeling of ease. A bit like Zen or Celtic music. It's really great music, perfect for falling asleep or meditating. It's hard to describe, but it makes me feel lost in time - you know? Like my troubles are washed away. Oneiric is a word I like, but not a common term; it's not even recognized as a word on here. These pieces are oneiric. And they make me feel nostalgic too, for reasons hard to pin onto the screen.

Herb Moore is not well known - I could not find them on YouTube - but I recommend you look into them on iTunes if interested, or perhaps order a used CD online.

Peace to you all,

Sunday, September 11, 2011


"Today, we are all Americans." - A lady in France ten years ago (translated)

"United we stand, divided we fall." - Abraham Lincoln, I think?

"Nobody wins a war." - My friend in elementary school

"A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon." - Napoleon Bonaparte

"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." - Yoda

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." - Albert Einstein

"Love is the flower you've got to let grow." - John Lennon


Sorry about all the quotes; I was in a bit of a quoting mood. So ten years ago I was in first grade and the World Trade Center was bombed. I remember coming home and seeing the news, but I don't think I fully grasped what had happened at the time. Today I mentally weep for humanity, for as much as it is expanding, it is also eating itself up. While we might be the most intelligent race in terms of technological advancement, we seem to have the worst judgment. While there are certain types of fauna which take the lives of their own kind, we ought to know better. We knowingly torture, kill, lie, steal, rape, cheat, and so on. If there is a God, [He] must have lost control of us, or perhaps it is [His] plan to have us end the world. Perhaps the Big Crunch will be our mortician or janitor, to sweep away a barren world.

Osama Bin Laden, the man responsible for the bombings, was recently assassinated by our troops. I do not agree with what the man did. I don't miss him. And yet, does killing a killer reduce the number of corpses? Very unpatriotic. George Washington must be spitting from heaven. It's like if a child gets into trouble for fighting and the parent hits him to teach him violence is wrong. Or saying "Do not swear, dammit!" [see "Bad Words" - a recent post of mine]. This makes us no better than anyone else. If a police officer shoots a criminal who draws a gun first, that's one thing. But putting the criminal away and executing him or her? Murder is murder, no matter what clothes it wears.

This is one of many reasons I won't join the military. I am willing to defend who I love, but I don't go looking for trouble. It finds me. (And yes, I just quoted Harry Potter.) And to quote Ringo Starr:

Peace and love!!!!
- Lewis

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bad Words

They teach us not to drink or smoke. Not to play with matches. Not to have underage sex.

And not to swear?

OK, so I have a rather dual opinion on cursing. One is that profanity is completely unnecessary, because the English language (or any tongue I know of) has enough words to go around it, and if you use it in context it's not swearing. The other opinion is that it is mostly harmless (no Hitchhiker's Guide reference intended). Adults, many of them, cuss. And while it may offend some people, that's really due to a state of mind than actual cause of the word. F-bombs don't destroy cities. They can provoke people into doing bad things, but the words themselves don't directly do those things.

I rarely say anything you wouldn't hear on television, such as damn or hell or ass (or bloody!), but I'm not offended by them. Now when it comes to ethnic/racial and homophobic slurs, such as "enner" and "eff-got" (bundle of sticks? Cigarette? Gay person? Think about it.), I really don't like them when not used in context (such as a civil-rights novel or film), but if a child with big ears repeats something, a parent has no right to spank the child (I'm against physical discipline anyway, but that's a different discussion) - I'm talking about the parent whose words taught the child. Alcohol stunts growth and smoking is never good, no matter the age...but words are words. Not to say they don't sometimes hurt, but "clean" words can be equally offensive.

I'm trying to say that people ought not to worry so much about swearing. Also, why are movies rated R for language!? I've been hearing horrible obscenities for a long time, and I only turned seventeen (the age to see R-films without a guardian) a few days ago. I've been hearing those words for much longer. I probably won't learn anything new. (Also I find it ironic that they say "mature content" when it's immature content you shouldn't mimic. "Mature audiences" makes sense.)

Grow up, dammit!
- Lewis

On the Lack of Romantic Necessity

"If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question?" - Lily Tomlin

"I understand. But I don't agree." - me

"Friendship is the finest balm for the pangs of despised love." - Jane Austen

A lot of the time at my book club we'll encounter the good-looking-guy character, who almost always ends up with the female protagonist. Not only is it terribly cliche, it's also unnecessary for reasons of its own.

I have nothing against non-paranormal romances, but they don't need to be in every single book out there. Sometimes people like to be single! I personally am not celibate, but neither do I need a romantic partner to go on with life. I have never had a very serious or long relationship, and I'm fine with that. It's like how goldfish do not need a filter for their tank or bowl, but one doesn't hurt either. To me, romantic dependence seems like using a partner as a crutch...and possibly an arm ornament. And that's not what intimacy ought to be. I feel sorry for those who say "S/he'll never get a date" because s/he does not need one. If one feels the need for a lover, then one probably has a psychological condition or state of mind.

Another reason I might potentially hesitate to become involved with another is that if it ends - and let's face it, knowing how these days are, it very well might - it will not do so peacefully. I'd rather keep a friend than temporarily have a lover and then have her dislike me forevermore. I love my friends, as I love all living things, but my love for my allies is very strong and intense. I would take a bullet for many of them - although I hope I don't need to. But that's what they mean to me.

Well then, that's one major reason I dislike Stephanie Meyer - not only did she tell a poor story, but said story taught young people negative lessons. And I wouldn't mind if there were more same-sex couples in media: there are some, but we need MORE!!

Righto! Done.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Review: The Summer of May by Cecelia Galante

At my Mock Printz book club a few sessions back, we were each assigned a Book of Fate in order to clear those which needed to be read and reviewed. Some sounded absolutely atrocious; I was spared a degree.

PLOT. May's mother left years ago, and now her family and life seem to be falling apart. She gets into trouble 24/7 at school, and her father is verbally (and physically, as it later turns out) abusive. After she sprays graffiti on her English teacher's board (and somehow thinks not to be caught), she is faced with either expulsion or one-on-one summer school with the same teacher. She chooses the latter and finds that the teacher has an interesting past.

The writing, while not beautiful, was good, and I liked the teacher (Miss Movado). I did not care for May's character at all; she whined a lot (not quite Bella Swan, but still annoying) and seemed malcontent. She continued to refer to her teacher as Movado the Avocado, due to Movado's squat form and green attire, despite the many kind things which the lady did for her. She was basically impossible to please: for example, Miss Movado took her to a restaurant - which she really didn't have to do, especially after what May did during the school year - and May complained about the food, the seat, you get the idea. Show some gratitude, you little brat! In the end you're supposed to end up liking the father (or at least, that was my impression), but I see no excuse for the way he treated his daughter - even though I understand his being unhappy with her. What I liked was Miss Movado's back-story, which ties in with the mother thing. Bit of a spoiler, but it says that in the front cover anyway.

I somewhat enjoyed The Summer of May, but I would not nominate it for an award (and I didn't), and I wouldn't read it time and time again.

Final grade: C

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm in!

On Monday I auditioned for Applause!'s musical School House Rock - and I got it! This was my second time auditioning, my first being one I did not make it into (The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood). I suppose in this case the second time's the charm? I do not yet know who I am playing, but this was a great victory to me. It's just a matter of persistence, as with publishing. But once you're in, it's great because you can honestly say that you are. I look forward to the actual performing and all that precedes and proceeds it. And I'll meet new people.

Here are my dream roles:
  • Sweeney Todd or Judge Turpin
  • Sherlock Holmes or Moriarty
  • Dr. Victor Frankenstein or the Monster
  • Count Dracula or Abraham Van Helsing
  • Atticus Finch or Bob Ewell
  • Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde
  • The Mad Hatter or the Cheshire Cat
  • Grendel
  • Willy Wonka
  • Gandalf the Grey (The Hobbit)
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • Quasimodo
  • Any sort of Nazi/SS officer
  • Mercutio Montague
  • President Coriolanus Snow
  • Emperor Palpatine
  • The Other Father (Coraline)
  • Iago (Othello)
  • Norman Bates
  • Macbeth. I said the word!
  • The modern major-general
  • Ben Mears or Mark Petrie, perhaps even Barlow or Straker, or Father Callahan (all so great)
  • Hades
  • ...And anything else I can get. Those are my top, though.
I've already played brave, brave Sir Robin - that was fun, although it was five and a half years ago. I do realize I have some double choices; such is not only a backup thing, but also because I have two favorite types of characters: creepy/scary villains and roguish rapscallions. I can be evil, but I can also be like my real self: a scoundrel. Some, such as Mr. Todd, are both. Others are also in there.

I actually did not sing for a long time due to a music teacher I had in elementary school - I am partly to blame of course, for letting her get to me, but I became very embarrassed to speak in musical notes for many years. Now I am making up for my years of sloth by catching up to things.

Also, in the matter of getting in, I think I must at long last polish something up to send off to a magazine. I'll probably be rejected, but persistence is key, no? Probably just a poem, as I still need to sort out my stories.

French I taught me that "adieu" is very final, as in funerals, so I'll just say
Au revoir! Bonjournee!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

I saw the movie when it came out, expecting a nice children's film. I was wrong: while aimed at youths, this is by far one of the creepiest stories ever told. Thinking of the Other Mother still makes my spine cold. I loved that film, so I read the book.

PLOT. - When Coraline Jones and her parents move into a boring old house, Coraline is desperate to find something to do, so she goes exploring. She finds nothing at first, and then she finds an old door sealed shut by layers of paint. Her mother cuts open the layers and opens it, and they find...a brick wall. Disappointed, Coraline leaves, but late that night she follows a mouse to the door, which now leads to a tunnel. She walks into a parallel world and finds that it is mostly the same, except much better. The food is good, everything is colorful, and the people are nice. They also have jet-black buttons for eyes. Just as Coraline is beginning to get comfortable here, they offer to let her stay forever, with one "teeny little thing she has to do": let the Other Mother sew buttons into her eyes. Coraline has to find a way out of this nightmarish world and then back once the Other Mother steals her original parents. Thoroughly mortifying, this.

I enjoyed the story, but I thought the writing, while not bad, was a bit sparse. Needed more "meat on the bones," as my grade-school teachers would say. Also, I thought it odd that the Other Father tried to help Coraline when he was created and controlled by the Other Mother. You'd think he'd be like a puppet in her bony, knobby hand. With giant nails. Ugh. That part was awesome, but I digress. I actually liked the movie better, just because it filled in the bone-spaces. Both were quite dark, however, and are sure to induce nightmares in all ages. But I liked it. Very good.

Final grade: C

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Indeed, this is a rather famous novel. Like Orwell's Animal Farm, I should have read it in my freshman year, but the county school system is awful and due to a scheduling mishap (which they did nothing to fix), I was placed in average English I instead of Honors. However, I have now read both of them on my own time.

For those of you who do not know, Mr. Bradbury's novel is set in a dystopian future in which reading books has become illegal. Guy Montag, a fire-starting fireman who burns books, meets a teenage girl named Clarisse McClellan, with whom he speaks of books and becomes interested in them. He begins to stash books secretly and is eventually caught. I won't give away too much.

What threw me off about this is that it was very unclear what happened to Clarisse: did she die? Did she escape? The author never really explained that. Other than that sort of issue, it was a wonderful book, and scarily prophetic. It was published in, I believe, 1953, and while we do not have book-burning laws, people are turning to slop without reading or other stimulation. A great number of humans sit on their asses and watch the telly but do not read great books such as Fahrenheit 451. It worries me.

Final grade: B

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Movie Review: Inception (2010)

Now for another positive!

One friend of mine often calls this the best film ever made. I don't know, but I thought it was quite amazing. I only saw it once, and that was when it came out, but I'm now in love with Christopher Nolan as a director and writer. I have yet to see any Batman film, including his ones, and this movie bent my mind in ways you couldn't imagine if you haven't seen it.

A man called Cobb (played by the legendary Leonardo DiCaprio; forgot the character's first name) is lost in a world of dreams trying to rescue his wife from limbo. Cobb and his men go deep into dreams within dreams within dreams, etc., attempting to navigate the forever-shifting labyrinth of the human mind in order to get back home to reality. It's got some pretty amazing stuff, like the ground bending upward and cars upside-down overhead (still driving), and the hotel-hallway fight scene was also spectacular. I'm literally feeling a mental loss of gravity right now thinking about it.

The music was by soundtrack emperor Hans Zimmer, who scored Pirates of the Caribbean 2, 3, and 4, Nolan's Dark Knight (Batman) franchise, The Lion King, Sherlock Holmes (2009), and so on and so forth. I enjoy the famous "Inception Horn" (not sure if Zimmer composed that sound), and I should probably buy this movie's score on iTunes soon.

I also think "Leo" is a great actor, and Dileep Rao (the scientist guy) was in three movies I've seen - Drag Me to Hell, Avatar (blue people one, not airbenders), and this. Sam Worthington was in the dreadful Terminator Salvation, Avatar as well, and the newer Clash of the Titans. My question is, Where did they go afterward? I hope to see them again sometime.

Well then, I suppose that is all.

Final grade: A

Movie Review: Epic Movie (2007)

I debated with myself whether this film was even worth the time to review. Still, I suppose it deserves a permanent place in the Hall of Shame.

When I saw Eragon, this was previewed - and I'd re-watch Eragon a thousand times before ever viewing Epic Movie again. I thought it looked amusing, and that was one of my biggest mistakes ever. One of the least funny things ever, and I wish I had my money back so I could see Twilight instead. Yes, I just said that. That's how bad this was. As Meyer's paperback turd is my least favorite book, I detest this movie thrice as much. Just about all of the jokes involve someone getting stabbed or eating stool, with no other reason for humor. I mean, I don't mind violence, but how is it funny? Mind, it can be funny, but by itself? That's pathetic.

I don't even feel like details. I'm actually feeling fine, but I thought I'd get this out of the way. Cheers!

Final grade: F

Book Review: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

I've done a lot of positive book reviews on here. This one is very negative. Twilight is currently my number one least favorite book - I haven't read too many bad books (I suppose I'm good at judging them by their covers, ha), but this one SUCKED. I don't feel like telling the actual plot, but here's what I thought it would be:

Bella Swan (Swann? Oh, I don't care) falls in love with a vampire who doesn't sparkle. She knows it is wrong but there is no cliche for that yet, so she goes ahead and does it. Edward has a part which threatens to take over and kill Bella (Gollum-like), and he cannot control it. He could attack her once and maybe she'd ward him off with garlic or something. Vampire hunters would come into play, and Edward (being the guy from the preface, no James) and Bella flee, but are led into a trap. He loses it again and lunges at Bella, and is shot at the last moment with a stake of ash or holly, or maybe a wooden bullet. Bella cries over Edward's ruined body and the hunter tells her it was for the best, he is saved now. As she walks away, Bella begins to feel an itch on her neck. She slowly reaches up to touch it and
THE END. No sequels. Every damn book nowadays has to be in a series, it seems.

Probably not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than the real thing. But I was severely disappointed: Edward saves her Aslan style, meaning he defeats the bad guys by basically blinking (not literally). Defeats the purpose of conflict and tension, say I. I prefer the bad guys to have the high ground, so that the stakes, too, are higher. Plus Meyer butchered a fascinating concept (see previous post) and taught young girls that abusive relationships are OK. I've heard that all the books end by him saving her, and she does nothing to earn his love. She's lucky (or not) to be with him. As lucky in the being saved sense (not the abuse sense) as Meyer was to publish this trash. No originality, sloppy writing, weak characters, and sexist message. I hear she doesn't read vampire fiction herself because it upsets her to see anything too close to or far from her own fairies. Blegh. And she'd never even written a short story. Makes me and a lot of other honest writers want to vomit, I'm sure. I know it makes me.

And for those of you comparing it to Harry Potter: just don't. It's nothing like that. Not only is in infinitely worse than Rowling's gem, it's a different type of story. As a dear friend of mine says, "Apples to kiwis!"

'K, I'm done.

Final grade: F

Slaying and Butchering

Slaying vampires is freaking awesome. Butchering their concept is not. What has happened to media!? It might have started with Twilight, my all-time least favorite book, but now they have an entire section at the bookstore devoted to paranormal romance. And now, apparently, there is paranormal erotica. If Count Dracula were still undead, he'd bite garlic, stake himself, or maybe run into daylight. And I'm sure Bram Stoker is spinning in his grave.

I think I'll do a numerical list:

  1. They do not bloody sparkle! That is the least menacing thing ever.
  2. Don't date them! They will bite you and have you drink their blood in exchange! Eek!
  3. Why are they made out to be sexually attractive? If I fell in love, I'd prefer my partner to be, well, alive. Ugh.
  4. You YA romance writers are crowding out most chances of us actual fantasy and/or horror writers publishing vampire stories. It's become a cliche and horror publishers are apt to assume that we are writing about fairies as opposed to bloodsucking demons.
  5. What ever happened to the awesome backstories? Satan, the Reaper, werewolves, snakes, bats, crows and ravens, underworld, Hell, necromancy, wolves, spiders, rats, mist, smoke, curses, and so on? Now they are just overdone humans.
  6. As a continuation of #5, where did the scary go? The only reason Edward makes me shiver is that he watches Bella sleep, and teenage girls find it acceptable. Vampires, nosferatus, used to be an emblem of terror. Watch Dracula or Salem's Lot (both the 1979 versions - year of vampires?) and you'll see what I mean. Undead Mina approaching her father under the cemetery and saying "Papa?" (Dracula) and demonic Danny Glick tapping on Mark Petries window (Salem's Lot) are both spine-chilling. The books of both are even better, although I loved the appearance of Kurt Barlow (Salem's Lot master vampire) ,and Count Dracula's ability to crawl down walls was beyond really cool.
  7. Werewolves. I actually thought the ones in the New Moon film were pretty cool, although I have no plans to read it, and I don't consider the wolves to be "were-". They are supposed to change at the full moon, not by will, and they become a wild beast instead of fully-in-control teddy bears. If you want good werewolf movies, watch any Wolf Man film (I've seen the newest one and half the 1941 version), The American Werewolf in London, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, or Van Helsing - VH is not a perfect film critically speaking, but the vampires are really cool, as are the werewolves. It's a fun watch. And it also has the Frankenstein monster and Mr. Hyde - a bit of a mash-up of horror beasts.
I suppose that is all. I have school tomorrow and this is my third post tonight, so I'd better hit the hay!

Long (unlive?) the true meaning of necromancy and vampirism! Sanguis bibimus! Ave Draculea!

Living, breathing love from,

Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

I should have read this for eighth grade, but shall we say complications arose and I did not. Most of my friends seem to have read it. I read Number the Stars by Lowry a year or two back and it was decent, but I prefer this. I saw Ms. Lowry at the bookstore once but did not meet her; she seemed nice, though.

So I listened to the audio book - four discs, narrated by Ron Rifkin. It's about a Utopian society which doesn't seem so bad until further along, but there's a lot of spoiler traps here. Let's just say the protagonist, Jonas, is selected to be the new Receiver, onto whom the Giver bestows memories. He finds out that the world has sort of stopped, that they are no longer moving forward due to fearful contentment. And that the authorities do awful things and lie about them to please people. (Personally I'd rather be upset and knowledgeable than ignorant and happy, dependably.)

I didn't agree with what Jonas does at the end (literally runs away - I'd have him rebel), so that's minus a star. I know there are some "companion" books, so maybe I'll look at them. They are Gathering Blue and Messenger, the latter of which I also have as an audio file. I did rather enjoy this book. Took me long enough.

Final grade: B