Monday, May 28, 2012

I Pictured Her Otherwise!

Newsflash, people: not everyone is the same race! And when a literary character comes onto the silver screen of a color or origin you didn't expect, GET OVER IT. I recently read an article relaying that many Hunger Games fans were less than happy that Rue and Thresh were black. I personally find that ridiculous, not to mention that some selected tweets were downright offensive, i.e. the ones shown after the article - particularly "And for the record, im still pissed that rue is black. Like you think she would have mentioned that..? Is it just me, or...." I'd like to say it's just you, Lexie, but sadly many people think this way. I feel like characters are read as white unless otherwise specified. Why need Ms. Collins mention Rue's and Thresh's race? I rarely picture characters at all when reading, more just settings with mental blank faces. Am I the only one?

Still, I had no quarrel with them being black. I loved those books, and the movie as well. I am eagerly awaiting Catching Fire's appearance on the big screen! And now it's past four-thirty in the morning. On a school night.


My Precious: A Post About Real-Life Horcruxes

"The Precious will be ours!" - Gollum (The Return of the King movie, 2003)

"Courage can be what it takes to do something great, but sometimes it takes more courage to refrain." - Me (I hope I phrased it right)

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix

People often have a sacred item which means comfort to them. This may be something from childhood, like a teddy bear or blanket, or it may be an heirloom of some sort. It could be many things. But I have nothing but my own flesh and mind, and the support of my beloved friends. If I poured my feelings into a material object, then I would be damaged when something happens to it. Since there is no One Ring of Sauron, and horcruxes a thing of Mrs. Rowling's brilliantly imagined fiction, I do not feel I am placing my eggs in one basket in any way. I think of it as - you guessed it - simplicity. Besides, said eggs would likely be materials as well. I'm training myself not to become overly attached to things - sure, I love my vast collection of books, and my animals, and my small-but-growing assortment of faux swords. But it's not as if I put everything into them. Well. I do tend to value the living things a bit more, as they are alive and deserve to keep living. However, I think my point is clear. As long as I myself am intact, I shall be willing to survive.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The End (of a Cycle) is Near!

"Always look on the bright side of life!" - Eric Idle

I actually don't remember what the fortuneteller called them - turns? phases? - so I'm sticking with "cycles" for the time being. But whatever they were called, I think one is ending. I've said before that the story doesn't end when one overcomes an adversity in reality - a new one will pop up soon, and a new cycle will commence. Same thing with defeat; that and victory are interchangeable for this matter. Life is a series of smaller tales which all interconnect as a huge tapestry. An epic, if you will. For an individual, the curtain closes only in death, if at all. For the world, it might never do so.

I'm almost through with my junior year of high school and I relish the idea of a long, long respite. Eventually I'll have to return...but only once more, I think. After that, I shall be relatively free. I will be able to do my own thing for a couple months and should get much more reading and writing done. Perhaps I'll even find a decent job and/or resume volunteering for my library system. Maybe even enjoy a horse ride or more! So my head is up and the horizon looks brighter. I sail toward freedom, a phase at a time, until I reach it. Even then, I'll keep sailing. And that will be the most exciting series of voyages yet. Bon courage!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


The vast majority of the time, my family cannot afford to see traveling shows - meaning the big ones, like Sweeney Todd and The Lion King. Along with those two, one I've very much wanted to see for a long time is Wicked. This spin-off on the novels of Lyman Frank Baum was filled with hilarity and great singing - the lady who played Elphaba had a simply amazing range. It is a national acting troupe, I believe; I should like to join one someday, even if only temporarily. We went out to Durham to see the show, and had to navigate ridiculous crowds, but in the end it was totally worth it. I really ought to read the book. There were plenty of made-up words (congratulotions among them) and awesome puns such as "Witch is witch?" - this one being followed by a tap-danced rim-shot.

Today we bought several drawing pencils and some other artsy things at A.C. Moore, which I am now eager to put to use. This summer I'd like to teach myself the art of knitting. My dear friend Kate says that she learned off the internet; and given the fact that I am almost temporarily liberated from school, I ought to have time. No bets on the guitar-playing, but I might give it a shot. All in its eventual time, yes? Honestly I do not know about my going to college at this point; I think it can be useful, but is not necessarily for everyone, as society would have some believe. I intend to be a freelance writer, which requires no degree. So if I get accepted into Pratt Institute (where they have a renowned writing program), I will go, but I don't know if I honestly want to study English and/or Computer Science elsewhere unless I can become self-employed. The thought of sitting in a cubicle for fifty years not only bores me; it actually depresses me. I'm not trying to knock on those who do it - I am merely saying it is not for me. I think it's a personality thing. Hopefully I shall find a way.

For now, I am forced to attend the enormous time-waster known as public school. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

60-Page Reviews: Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom

What can I say? I think the title says loud and clear that this book sucks. I actually read significantly more than sixty pages, but I was just trying to read the whole thing so that I might make fun of it more easily. But alas, my life is time-crunched, both in and out of book club. Thus I found it prudent to stop this bloody awful novel and promptly did so.

While I may not be an expert on determining prose quality (I know, I know), the writing here felt very loose and awkward. Certainly not eloquent like Mary Shelley or, say, Jenny Hubbard. The story was dull enough (just an air-headed girl fussing about boys and kisses), but what drove me bleedin' bonky was the narrator, Justina Griffith. She just struck me as a tease, kissing boys and then running off to kiss other boys. At one point someone says Justina seems to consider kissing some kind of chore and she replies (paraphrased), "No, more of a sport." Plus the humor relied heavily on randomness - not the good kind one finds in the works of Lewis Carroll or Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett - just oddness. Random humor, in my opinion, has to be carefully executed or else we have an effect akin to that of a slasher movie claiming to be horror.

I tried not to judge this book by its cover and subject, but garsh, does it suck! Neeext!

Final grade: F

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Boastful Confession

Lately this thing has been going around known as Amendment One. For those of you who may not know, Amendment One legally prevents same-sex marriages, among other things. Mostly I've seen those in the LGBT community's favor, but today I took a super-long walk - not incredibly far, considering my walks in general, but for several hours. Near the end of said excursion I passed three neighboring churches, two of which had signs that read: "Vote FOR Amendment One! ... One man. One woman..." and something about "proper" families or "true" families or some such bull-crap. I don't remember, because it wasn't worth remembering. Bigoted slime. The reason I care about the signs themselves is that people these days tend not to think before they do or say things. The average person, I am afraid, will read it (provided said human can actually read) and say, "Hey, it says that so it must be true!" and cast a ballot. Scary.

I heard somewhere that about fifty-five percent of people in North Carolina (where I currently reside) are in favor of Amendment One, which makes me want to shoot someone. Are you people so thick as to never learn? Allow me to list my cases:
  • The Salem witch trials
  • The Red Scare
  • The Holocaust
  • African-American slavery
  • Black/white segregation
  • Patriarchy throughout all history
  • Medieval witch hunts
  • Plebeians and Patricians in Rome
  • Modern Communist China
  • The British vs. the Colonists
Do I need to say more there? That's why it makes me sick whenever women, blacks, Jews, or anyone else who would have suffered unfairness in the past insist on being homophobic. I'm not saying it's OK for straight, white cis-males to be prejudiced, but when the former are I think it just makes them hypocritical.

So. My boastful confession.

I vandalized the first sign by writing "BIGOTS" with a black Sharpie but then decided to rip the damn thing off its post altogether and throw it in a Dumpster later on. I did the same with both signs, ripping one of them apart with a small Swiss army knife. And I regret nothing. Je ne regrette rien! I do respect others' right to opinion, free speech and such, but this would influence people to vote for something I consider to be unethical. If I posted signs all over District of Columbia with the words "Burn the White House tonight! Kill its occupants!" I would not get away with "freedom of expression" because I would be posing a threat to others. (Don't worry, I'm not a murderer and besides, I like President Obama. It was an example, nothing more.) In my opinion, this was an attack on gays and an obstacle to their right to marry and while my actions were likely trivial, I feel great about them. That's right. Begging your pardon now, for I am about to say something crude: Homophobics have their heads up their asses, simple as that.

This is Lewis Winter, signing out.

Pensieve: Key West 2009

Of late I realized once again that I have a very interesting life, despite its setbacks, and that I have only done one Pensieve (which, of all things, was about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). Here's another, although it's not quite about the Boy Who Lived - well, not the one most Potterheads would think of, anyway.

In June of 2009, my immediate family and I ventured to the land - and waters - of Florida. This was not my first time, which was indeed mere weeks before the events of the first Pensieve. It was as great a place to relax as I remembered it from 2005: we stayed at a Hyatt Beach House, which was a quiet retreat with nice rooms and screened-in porches. This time I wrote what I called my first novel in a matter of days on my dad's laptop, as I would not receive my own for another few months. It was a perfectly atrocious story (and a little over 7,000 words filling forty-one pages - I still called it a novel because I didn't pay attention to its size and I was also too excited that I had finished something "sizable" for once) - atrocious because the characters were mere lifeless pawns (something with which I still struggle) and the whole story was a shameless ripoff of Paolini's Eragon, which is in turn a story stolen from Star Wars (which, my friend Ezra argues, is yet another ripoff of Lord of the Rings - I still need to find out why this is). Even so, I was proud of my blue-dragon story and still am, not because it was any good, but because I was on my way to being better. Which, I suppose, many of us are.

The Hyatt Beach House had a small enclosed beach - not one of those crowded stretches of sand with seven quadrillion tourists and obnoxiously-colored umbrellas and towels everywhere, but a small area with a tiny pier and a rocky wade-in waterline. There was still the giant cracked ball I remembered from when I was ten years old, covered in coastal sea-plants and invertebrates, and young barracudas, which would swim up to greet us. I am not afraid of barracudas, or most sharks for that matter, because if they have nothing to fear, then what have I? Caroline, my sister, said she was followed around by a six-foot barracuda; I wish I had seen it, but the juveniles were beautiful in their own way. They were light brown with stripes, as opposed to the more mature silver bodies. The water was perhaps ten or twenty feet deep by the pier's end, and I would take a gulp of air and plunge down to view more intimately the sea stars and urchins and sand dollars on the ocean's sandy floor. I think I need another vacation there; relaxation would do me a lot of good these days.