Friday, March 23, 2012


"Death is only the beginning." - various sources, including Gandalf the White (I think)

I haven't posted in a while, and for that I apologize. But I have been rather preoccupied with school stuff. But since I don't think I've said this before, our cat, Zelda Phelan, had a rough couple of weeks. Today she was put down at the veterinary office. She had not been feeling well as of late, and we all knew this day was coming.

Am I sad? you may ask. A little. I'll miss Zelda and I feel bad that she went through the pains she did, but I also acknowledge that no creature can live forever. She was older than I am now (I'm seventeen, and she had a year or two on me). She was ready, I think.

She was a great animal, a great pet, and a great member of the family. She was loud and spoiled, and we loved her. She was either a human, or we are all weird-looking cats. Either way, she was one of us, and she will be missed. Even in death, I love that cat. She never had enough attention. But she loved us too, and would climb up onto one's lap and refuse to move. I love you, Z.

I was at school today when she passed, but I've been notified that her body was buried in my father's backyard, near that of her sister Lillian, who died on Friday, May ninth, 2008. We now own only one cat, Rainbow-Flower, or Rainow as we call her (Rainow, not Rainbow). But she'll keep us busy, for as I say, every cat is odd in its own unique way. I love cats.

I'm going to see The Hunger Games in half an hour or so, and I hear it's really good. Gods, did I love those books. I must reread!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Two Musicians and Two Writers

Last night I was tired after a long Elton John concert (yes, live!) and neglected to write this post then. But he was amazing! He had a glass of water but only drank from it every so often, sang song after song without respite, and happens to be in his sixties, according to my mum. I actually found that I did not know most of his songs - and didn't understand most of the lyrics due to the screaming fans - but every single one was great. Near the end he played "Daniel" (my real name happens to be Daniel) and the last song was my personal favorite: "Crocodile Rock." He even paused to let the audience sing "Naaaaaaaaaaaa, nananana-naaaaaa!"

That song is just beautiful. Makes me want to cry. The accompanying band was also great and included the relatively new Two Cellos (that's what I think they were called). I love Elton.

The second musician is still on the rise, I think: Adrian von Ziegler. If you're into Celtic instrumental (I am), or Gothic metal, he has those and more. Speaking of Celts, happy Saint Patty's Day!!!

Today I had lunch with the YA authors Ally Carter and Rachel Hawkins. Both brilliant, funny, very nice persons. It was nothing short of a privilege. Now to read their books! I still need to do so.

I think my mother is cooking potatoes now. Bye!

--- Lewis / Daniel

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Thank-You Note to My Adversaries

"That was fun. Most people vomit the first time." - Albus Dumbledore (HP6 movie)

"There never was a good war or a bad piece." - Benjamin Franklin

"There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval." - George Santayana


Without adversity, where would we be? In a way, life is like fiction in the sense that those who hinder us, help us, and occasionally the converse. Even if they hinder us in one way, they also give us experience in dealing with their kind. I live without regret, for it doesn't change the past, and my actions and those of others have shaped me into who I am now. I daresay I am not perfect - far from it! Nobody is, really; by definition, perfection cannot be achieved - but I am mostly satisfied with who I have become and who I am still becoming. I am a bit of a perfectionist and overly cautious, but I could be much worse, believe me! But even though I have largely had to raise myself despite the presence of parents, my aggressors give me the inner strength to improve. I find that a comparison to many medical vaccines is relevant here; through the syringe or what-have-you, a practitioner gives a tiny dosage of the sickness itself - the one that will hopefully be prevented. Our minds need to have immune systems akin to the literal sort.

And that is what I have: a mental/emotional immune system, and a strong one at that; I feel no hate and only become angry when it's something worth anger, such as homophobia, animal cruelty, racism, sexism, and so forth. But if someone attempts to insult me, I generally brush it aside as trivial. (If someone thinks I need to be captured or killed, then I'll start caring what others think. Otherwise I can judge myself.) In the short story "N-Words" by Ted Kosmatka, which I read in Year's Best SF 14, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, the narrator (an expecting mother) says something I felt was a jackpot of truth:

"And is that what you'd wish for him, to have an easy life?"
"Isn't that what every parent wishes for?"
"No," I said. I touched my own stomach. I put my small hand over his large one. "I hope our son grows to be a good man."

That pretty much hit the nail on the head for me. Not only is an easy life a spoiled one, but said spoiling leaves one ill-prepared for the real world. It's a tough game, life is, and only the toughest (or luckiest) can succeed.

Chew on that.

--- Lewis Mason Winter

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How Could I Forget?

My last post neglected The Woman in Black - a definite winner if you ask me.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Top Five Best Movies of 2011

I decided on five as I cannot currently think of ten. And yes, I do realize this is a few months late. And these are in my opinion, although I think I am being as objective as possible. In no particular order:

  1. The Artist
  2. War Horse
  3. Super 8
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
  5. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
I am in a bit of a hurry, so feel free to suggest movies to me. I did not see all of them, and I enjoyed several that I simply do not think ought to be honored due to my critical side. But I definitely recommend all five of these to anyone who loves a very well-made picture, regardless of genre.

-- Lewis

Saturday, March 3, 2012

60 Page Review: What Boys Really Want by Pete Hautman

At the end of the 2012 Melinda Awards, there was a "galley grab," in which we teens all fell upon the past year's unpublished proofs like piranhas on a bleeding cow. The cow somehow fell into the river. Anyway, after the aforementioned grab, the cart of books for 2012 was opened to us and this was the one thing I took at the time. To quote myself, "It [looked] like a great throw off the list [of potential winners]." We tend to weed things out rather quickly; only the best of books (in a majority's opinion) make it through to the very end. And this had a ridiculous title, so I grabbed it with the intention of landing it in the Chair of Shame.

The writing was below average but not awful. It's mostly the sexism, for which the term "blatant" would be an understatement. I mean, just look at the title! Not all boys want the same thing, nor do all girls, nor does any other gender. It was chock-full of "That's a girl thing" and "Only a guy would do that" and such. Mind you, this isn't a super-bomb like Vampire Crush, but Hautman certainly isn't quite a Jo Rowling, a Suzanne Collins, or a Holly Black. He's no John Green, no David Levithan, no Jenny Hubbard. What I'm saying is that there are so many superb writers out there, and so many more mediocre ones, that I generally read only the best of things. I also do 60 Page Reviews, but - at least for the moment - I read precisely sixty of the pages before putting things down.

And trust me, I'm pretty damn good at judging books by their covers. Of course, there's a process of getting into a non-60-Page-Review book:
  • Look at the cover and title, or spine if shelved
  • Look at the summary
  • Read the first page or flip to a random page and determine the writing quality
  • Make a judgment: to read or not to read?
This book struck me as slightly below average and not worth a good deal of my time. I recently secured its return to the Printz cart and signed it back in for some other poor, brave soul to read.

Final grade: D