Friday, July 29, 2011

I love reading, but...

I didn't always love reading. In fact, when I was little (say, before first grade), I actually didn't like reading at all. Don't get me wrong, I did it and I read quite a few different kids books like Clifford and the Biscuit books and things I read for school. I was homeschooled at the time so the fact that most kids don't start to even learn to read until first grade never applied to me. I was reading on my own by Kindergarten.

I don't really remember that well a time before I liked reading, but I do remember that I didn't like it. My mom took me to our local library one day and we ran into a lady who worked in the children's section that we also knew very well because she lived in the same apartment complex that we did. She had a book recommendation for me. The 7-year-old me was not overly impressed but, to be polite, I checked the book out anyway. She assured me that I would enjoy it. This is the book she handed to me:

I still remember when the librarian, her name was Noreen, handed it to me. It's weird, I'm not sure why I remember it so clearly but obviously my brain thought that it was an important moment to remember. And it was. Because that book officially started my love of reading. Even more importantly it started my love of mystery stories.

Cam Jansen was my first hero. She has a photographic memory, and whenever she wants to remember something she just looks at it and says 'click' like a camera, which is where her nickname Cam comes from. Her best friend Eric would help her solve all their cases and I couldn't get enough of the stories.

Eventually I moved on to other mystery books like the Nancy Drew Notebook series, Encyclopedia Brown, and once I was older, Sherlock Holmes. Even though I always had different career paths chosen such as being a vet or a paleontologist or marine biologist, in the back of my mind I always thought it would be cool to be a detective.

Anyway, after that I never lost the love of reading. I would devour books as quickly as I could and even now if you give me a few uninterrupted hours chances are I can finish a book. For example, the other day I started the book Deadline by Mira Grant. I started it at 3pm and by 3am I was finished. I took a few breaks to eat and wander the internet, but basically in less than 12 hours I had finished a 600 page book. I've also been known to finish Star Wars novels in a few hours. When I got the Harry Potter books at midnight I would take them straight to my room and read them straight through until I finished. That's probably my favorite activity and one I don't get to do all that often anymore. Sure, I still read a lot but I don't get a chance to just sit curled up with my dog and read a book from start to finish without worrying about having to do homework or go to class. I enjoyed reading Deadline all the more because I decided I wasn't going to put it down until I finished it, even if that meant I was up until 3am with class the next morning. The best way to experience a book is without interruptions because it's the only way to really stay engrossed in the story and keep it all fresh in your mind.

Now that I'm finished with Deadline it's time to get started on Deceived by Paul Kemp, and then Conviction by Aaron Allston. I haven't read a Star Wars book in over a month, and for that I have another librarian to thank. One of my good friends online has been recommending books for me, with her last recommendation being a series by Tamora Pierce. I finished the fourth book in the Protector of the Small series the other day and am looking forward to getting some other Tamora Pierce books from the library. So that's two librarians I owe for introducing me to awesome series!

I may not always get to ignore the world and sit with my books the way I'd like to, but as long as my friend keeps recommending books for me to read and Star Wars books keep getting published, I will be able to always have a book to read and that's just as good for me!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review: Skyline

So the other day I decided to foolishly ignore the the fact that my Netflix suggestion told me that it rated the movie "Skyline" at about a 1.8 based on my ratings of other movies. I had seen trailers for it before and thought it looked exciting if nothing else.

Unfortunately, it didn't even have that going for it. I'd warn you about spoilers and to not continue reading and all that except for the fact that if you haven't seen this movie then you are smarter than I am, and if you are feeling that maybe you should check it out, please continue reading so you'll understand what a bad idea that is.

Monday, July 25, 2011

White Collar Tour

One of my new favorite tv shows is on the USA network and has arguably the most handsome guy on tv at the moment. White Collar is a great show, and now that I live in the city a lot of the time it's neat to see the places they go and realize I know where they are. Which brings me to this post. I thought it would be fun to put together a list of places that Neal and Peter and Mozzie and the others end up at, so maybe the next time you're visiting the city you can check them out too!

  1. Grand Central station - The show usually has a few different shots of Grand Central that they use between scenes, but early in season 1 when Neal was looking for Kate and he figures out her clue about the bottle, he goes to Grand Central to meet her.
  2. Central Park- In the episode "Threads", the second episode of season 1, Peter is sent to Central Park and when I was watching my dvds I recognized immediately where he was thanks to the fact I had been wandering around that area on my birthday earlier this year. Peter is first seen by the Naumberg Bandshell, but he ends up running over to the nearby Bethesda Fountain. It's right on the Central Park lake and a beautiful area so a must see on anyone's tour list.
  3. Queensboro Bridge - In a season 3 episode, Neal and Mozzie are talking (and walking) right along York Avenue between 60th street and 59th street. I pass that on the bus to school every day and I recognized the wall and the area.
  4. Conservatory Gardens - In the final episode of the second season, "Under the Radar" Neal and Peter go to the Central Park Conservatory Gardens to look for Alex Hunter. I know this place is now on my list of places to go visit soon.
  5. Neal's apartment - This is probably the most famous location seen on White Collar since it is seen so often in the episodes, and I now know it's true location. It's located at a different address than is given on the show, but it's still on Riverside Drive. The following site gives more detail, plus the address. It's also on my list of places to go visit:
That's all I have for now but as I go back through the dvds I'll try to find more locations to add to the tour list!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

San Diego Comic Con

Just throwing this out there:

For anyone who is in San Diego attending Comic Con this weekend, I hope you have a great time and know that I am extremely envious! I've been wanting to go for years and this was supposed to be the year I go. Maybe next year. For now I'll settle for scouring the internet for news on the events and pictures. If any of my readers went, I'd love to hear about how it was!

Friday, July 22, 2011

More Baby Names for Nerdy Parents

I have a love/hate relationship with coming up with names for characters when I write stories. It's fun to look for new names to give my characters that are unique but still fit in my story. If it fits, I'll sometimes just use names from my favorite characters on other tv shows or books or movies.

One of my most popular posts has been when I compiled a list of baby names for parents who are fellow nerds like myself. I thought it'd be fun to come up with some more names to add to the list!

Again, the point is to pick names that you, as the parent (or writer in my case) are aware belong to a beloved character, while not saddling your child with an obvious name like Anakin or a boring name like Matt. Even if it is the name of the current Doctor.

Girl Names:

Amelia- This name actually serves double duty if you're a Doctor Who fan it's obvious, if you're a Star Wars fan it might not be quite as obvious. It's the name given to Jacen and Tenel Ka's daughter after she is taken in by Han and Leia at the end of the Legacy of the Force series
Alanna- Yet another that serves two separate groups of fans. This is the real name of Jacen and Tenel Ka's daughter, but it is also the name of the Lady Knight in Tamora Pierce's book series
River- Do you think of Tam or Song? Either way it's one of my personal favorite girl's names since I love both characters with this name
Melody- If you've seen the Doctor Who episode A Good Man Goes to War then the reason this name is on here is self-explanatory
Rose- And why shouldn't you name your child after one of the Doctor's most famous companions?

Boy Names:

Rory- For Doctor Who fans, this is an obvious choice, I mean, what better honor than to name your kid for the Last Centurion?
Neal- Ok, this one maybe isn't that dorky, but if you're a fan of White Collar, then you know the name Neal Caffrey is just a really cool sounding name. However, it might be avoided if you don't want your child to become one of the FBI's most wanted
Mickey- No, I'm not talking about the Mouse! I'm talking about Mickey Smith, ex-boyfriend of Rose Tyler and one of many heroes of Earth in Doctor Who
Kieran- Another for the Star Wars fans out there who read. It's the name used by Corran Horn when he first started training to be a Jedi

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

5 Things I Hate About Living in NYC

  1. The Transportation system- Like I said, the subway and bus system here is extensive and that's all well and good, however, unless you're taking the subway it takes freakin' forever to get anywhere. Which is a problem for me, because when I want to get to school, I have to take a bus. It's my only option. Unless I want to pay about the same amount as my tuition per semester to take a cab. According to Google Maps, it's 3.5 miles to my school. What would take me about 5 minutes to drive on Long Island turns into an hour long commute one way. I've never quite understood the phrase "faster than a New York minute" because there's really no such thing as getting anywhere fast on this little island. Again, unless you're taking a subway there's a lot of "hurry up and wait" for the next bus or cab to arrive so you can "hurry up and wait" some more in traffic.
  2. Not having a car- This goes hand in hand with my complaints about the transportation around here. Sometimes when I want to go somewhere I don't want to wait 10-15 minutes for the next bus to arrive. I want to leave my apartment and start moving, not sit around and wait. Maybe it's because everyone on Long Island pretty much gets their driving permits on their 16 birthdays, but I miss my car more often than not.
  3. It's dirty- You know how on all those cop shows you see people wandering around the city and it's bright and there's lots of movement and all that stuff that makes for good tv? Well, it's not like that for real. And I'm not just talking about the people who 'forget' to clean up dog poop on the sidewalks, I'm talking about other things like air pollution. Sometimes I look outside my window and go "wow, it's such a beautiful day out, I want to go hang out outside" but the moment I get outside I want to go back in. On a nice day outside the only thing you want to do is take a deep breath and enjoy the experience. When you take a deep breath in the city it's hard not to feel like your lungs are rebelling against you thanks to all the car exhaust, truck exhaust, cigarette smoke and somehow stale feeling air. It's inescapable, even in places like Central Park, and for the most part I try to do as little deep breathing as I can when I'm outside.
  4. No roof access- When I thought about living in the city and the things that would be cool about it and the things that would suck, there were only two things I required from any potential apartment. A fire escape, and a roof that I could go to and hang out on. After all, on all the cool tv shows that take place in New York City, that seems to be the place where everyone hangs out. I got my fire escape. I didn't get my roof access.
  5. People- While I may act friendly enough to the average person, I'm not really a people person. The only reason I don't go all out and show it like say, Mary Shannon of "In Plain Sight", that's only because it's easier to just suck it up and deal with a person rather than picking a fight about how dense they are. There's a lot of people here. And 90% make me want to drill a hole through my skull. The cure? A book and earplugs with my iPod at all times. It's safer for everyone involved.

Monday, July 18, 2011

5 Things I Love About Living in NYC

  1. Being close to the water- Maybe this is a hold over from living on Long Island, but I love that the apartment I live in is walking distance to the East River. One of my favorite things to do with Kara is to take her out on a nice walk along the path by the water.
  2. The transportation system- The bus and subway system is expansive. You can get pretty much anywhere in Manhattan by either taking a bus or the subway or a combination of both. Just make sure your MetroCard is filled and off you go!
  3. Different places to eat- In walking distance of my area alone there are Indian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, Mexican restaurants, Italian restaurants, pizza places, an Uno's and plenty of other cuisine choices. And they're all really good.
  4. Walking distance- As nice as it is to just hop on a bus to get somewhere, sometimes you don't want to wait for it to arrive to get you somewhere and that's often the case with me when I want to go to the supermarket or the movie theater or something like that. Which is fine because I can walk less than 10 minutes and get to most things I need, there's even a 7-11 right on my corner!
  5. Dog Parks- If I had to pick one thing that I really loved about the city it would be the dog parks. Kara may not be a fan of running around with other crazy animals, but I love that there's a place I can take her and sit with her and know that the day she does want to play with the other dogs she'll be able to. There's a dog park right at the end of my block and Central Park is a short bus ride away with even more parks and places to just walk around and enjoy the scenery.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter Personality Test

The sorting hat says that I belong in Ravenclaw!

Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose intelligence is surest."
Ravenclaw students tend to be clever, witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable.
Notable residents include Cho Chang and Padma Patil (objects of Harry and Ron's affections), and Luna Lovegood (daughter of The Quibbler magazine's editor).

Take the most scientific Harry Potter
ever created.
Get Sorted Now!

It took me about 5 minutes to complete, and I honestly wasn't all that surprised to get Ravenclaw. In my years as a Harry Potter fan I've taken a few of these kinds of tests of the years and I pretty consistently get Ravenclaw. Which is fine by me! Which house do you belong in, and is that where you want to be?

I saw the final Harry Potter movie last night (this morning?) at the midnight showing at my local theater, so once I've had some sleep I'll post my thoughts on it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dog Health: Luxating Patella

The other day I took my dog, Kara Reiko, a pekingese/shih tzu mix, to the local vet for a wellness check up. She hadn't been to the vet in about a year so I thought it was about time to go. Now, Kara is a very happy, energetic and playful dog even at almost four and a half years old. She loves nothing more than to run after her favorite toy or for me to 'chase' her around the house so I thought for sure this was going to be a quick in and out check up.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. The first thing the vet commented on was that that Kara has what is called luxating patella. According to the vet there are four types of it, with one being the most mild case and four being the most severe. The vet also said that Kara has type IV, the most sever case of it. She even let me feel as she moved Kara's kneecap right out of place and back in again. It was extremely disconcerting especially since I've never noticed any symptoms of it in her, and the other vet that I took her to on Long Island didn't catch it.

She explained to me how I need to keep Kara from jumping on and off the bed and couches and things like that. Which is going to be extremely hard to do considering how often we play by her jumping on and off the couch or the bed, or how at home she jumps off the couch arm rests when she's barking at some squirrel outside.

The part that baffles me the most is the fact that the vet says Kara has type IV, which is the most severe and everything I'm reading online talks about how a dog with type IV would be limping all the time and need to have the kneecap reset by a vet. Except, like I mentioned, Kara runs around all the time and has never shown any signs of limping or any kind of pain at all. If the vet is right then I'm not sure how I missed it because it sounds really serious and I'd hate to thing that this is happening to my poor little dog and I didn't catch the signs. I mean, I spotted a random red mark on the back of her neck that was gone within a few hours, how can I miss limping or running in pain? I don't get it especially because Kara is a faster runner than I am, and if I want to take her outside to run full tilt I have to get on my Razor scooter in order to keep up with her.

I've decided I'm going to call the vet and ask some more questions just to make sure that I understood correctly and I'm not just driving myself crazy for no reason. If anyone out there knows more or has experienced this with their dog I'd really appreciate hearing about it. I know Kara will appreciate it to because as of right now I have the couch and my bed blocked off so she can't jump up on them and I know she's hating it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

15 Different Ways To Tie Your Sneakers

Today's random blog post brought to you by:

15 Different Ways To Tie Your Sneakers Pictures -

It may seem like a silly thing to give any thought to but since I have different shoelaces for some of my sneakers it's important to tie them a certain way if you want to be able to see the cool patterns on the laces. For example, my sneakers that have my "I <3 Zombies" shoelaces are tied so the words are actually legible.

I liked some of the different designs on the site above so I tried it on my high top Converses.

On the left is the pattern Double Back, and on the right is how I had it tied before, just as a comparison point. I think it's pretty cool and I'm looking forward to figuring out which patterns I want to use on my other Converse sneakers that I have.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Back in May my friend and I went to the Discovery Museum to go see the Harry Potter exhibit that's there. I used to be a much bigger Potter fan than I currently am, but I was still really excited to go. I'd been to the exhibit of Star Wars: The Magic of Myth when it opened at the Brooklyn museum of art in 2002, and the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination while it was in Boston in 2005. Both exhibits were fantastic and I had a lot of fun at each of them so I was similarly looking forward to the Harry Potter exhibit. It's always really cool to see the costumes and get a sense of what they're like in person, and often times it's really fun to see just how tall the actors are in real life since that's hard to get from a movie screen. In fact, in Boston, my friend and I (the same friend who accompanied me to the Harry Potter exhibition) were surprised to see the actual size of a droideka and realize just how tall they are! It gave us a better appreciation for why they're able to give even a Jedi a hard time.

Anyway, back to the Harry Potter exhibit.

The fact that they had the Weasley car coming out of the building was a nice touch. But the nice touches ended there. Once inside you were told that there was no photography allowed. That in and of itself was extremely disappointing because what's the fun in seeing the costumes if you can't pose next to them for pictures, or take a picture of some of the props that they had to show your friends how cool they were?

Also, it was a very small exhibit. Most of the costumes were from the last two movies, meaning The Half-Blood Prince and the first part of the Deathly Hallows. There were a few costumes from the other movies, though. We were done with the whole exhibit in less than an hour. That's probably because once you were inside there weren't many labels for the costumes aside from telling you what movie the outfit was used in and who wore it. So my friend and I pretty much just wandered through the whole exhibit just glancing at the costumes and moving on, especially since people would crowd around the more popular costumes (such as Harry's trunk that had some school books in it or the Quidditch players costumes) and it was frustrating to try to squeeze in with the other people to get a good look.

I know I probably shouldn't compare, but I can't help it. I had a lot more fun at the two different Star Wars exhibits than I did at the Harry Potter one. For one, we were allowed to take pictures and I would put some up but they're on my mom's computer and I don't have access to them. And two, the exhibits were just more friendly when it came to how they were set up and more than anything, they were set up and meant to be fun. The labels for the costumes were more detailed and just the way it was laid out in the museum lent itself to be enjoyed more since you were able to wander around the area and go wherever you wanted rather than be shuffled along with a crowd of people all trying to get a look at one thing.

In my opinion, the Harry Potter exhibit wasn't worth the $30 that I paid to get in. In fact, I wish that I had instead spent my money on the new dinosaur exhibit at the natural history museum, the World's Largest Dinosaurs. When I have money to spare again that's where I'll be going and I'm sure the museum won't let me down.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Favorite Companion

Just out of curiosity I'm starting another poll (my first one was marginally successful) so I'm marking the beginning of it with a post.

As I have been lately on a Doctor Who kick (in case my string of Doctor Who posts didn't give it away) and I thought I'd come up with a poll relating to that. Originally I was going to ask who everyone's favorite Doctor was, but since I've only watched the recent ones I thought that limited it too much to just Nine, Ten or Eleven. So instead I want to hear who your favorite companion has been! Feel free to explain in detail in the comments, or sound off in any way.

Paranormal Activity

Note: This is me trying out spontaneous blog posting rather than my usual carefully thought out posts that are scheduled. Also, spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

A few months back my dad attended the Tribeca Film Festival and watched the movie "Grave Encounters" which then started us off on the subject of horror movies. I'm not usually big on horror movies since they aren't usually as good as I hope for. That's not to say I don't like them, and I even compiled a list of my favorites for a previous blog post. Anyway, while my dad was telling me about Grave Encounters, the only thing I could think about were the two Paranormal Activity movies so I finally got Paranormal Activity 2 on Netflix dvd and today we sat down to watch both of them right after the other.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Demons Run

"Demons run when a good man goes to war.
Night will fall and drown the sun when a good man goes to war.
Friendship dies and true love lies.
Night will fall and dark will rise.
When a good man goes to war.
Demons run but count the cost, the battle’s won but the child is lost.”

- River Song
Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War

I've just been re-watching the last episode before the summer break thanks to a 48 hour iTunes rental. My mind is still reeling from that episode, and if you haven't seen it not only will the above poem not make any sense to you but I'm not entirely sure what you're waiting for! Go watch it! It's a brilliant cliffhanger for the 'midseason' finale and I can't wait for it to start up again in September. Even if the tile "Let's Kill Hitler" seems to have absolutely nothing to do with the previous episode. I'm sure Steven Moffat won't let us down, though.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Recap

I always hate the blog posts from people apologizing and explaining their absences from the blogverse so I'll keep this one short. My disappearance was due to my nerd lifestyle taking a brief backseat to my real life as things such as finals, the police test and my job at my tae kwon do school took control of my life and I had to settle in for the ride.