Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One Step Closer

So today I completed my second/final exit exam, or comprehensive exam (depending on the department). That means that as long as I finish this semester (3 weeks left? something like that) and pass the exam (fingers crossed), then I'll have completed my Master's in English and History. *Cue round of applause*

Okay, so it's really not that big of a deal but I am looking forward to having some free time again. Like time that I can spend reading or possibly even writing (!!!!!)

I also have something else in the works that I won't expand upon because I fear the very real power of the jinx. But if that pans out then I'll be one step closer to some very big personal goals. Okay, that's probably vague enough to ward off the jinx gods.

I guess the next question is, what will I do with my new degree? Probably nothing. At least not any time soon. If you really think about it, the Master's degree was kind of redundant since I already know everything anyways...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nanowrimo 2012

November is the month to bust a move writing. I was all set and ready to go with this, but as my lack of blogging proves this has been a crazy busy month for me. Well a crazy busy couple of months, but clearly I haven't had the chance to do much writing, much less Nanowrimo writing. 
Sad face.

Since it's November 25th, I don't think I'll make my 50,000 words. Frankly, I couldn't even settle on a story.    It seems like I've got several story ideas haunting me and new ones jumping into my brain daily. I know I shouldn't complain but having all these ideas doesn't help me settle on one. I guess it doesn't matter much anyways because if you don't have the time no matter how great the idea it's just not going to get written. 
At least not yet. 

Long story short, since it doesn't look like I'll be writing anything this November, I guess I can't wear my participant badge of honor.

 Double sad face. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield and National Park

One of the things we got to go see during my birthday was Kennesaw mountain. Located in Kennesaw, Georgia, it's where Sherman's Atlanta campaign began. Kennesaw is north of Atlanta, and when Sherman was unable to defeat Johnston's troops on the mountain he flanked towards Atlanta with Johnston in hot pursuit. Since finding myself in Georgia, I've been really interested in Sherman's Atlanta campaign and in the parallels between Sherman's travels in Georgia and my own travels in this state. Finally I had the opportunity to checkout not just Kennesaw mountain but some other civil war site in North Georgia  to fuel my interest in this topic. Below are some of my Kennesaw mountain photographs.

This cannon is at the entrance of the park, probably to keep  Northerners out. Luckily no one was manning it when we showed up.

This is a side view of the field in front of the mountain.

This is a nice old tree in front of the mountain.

Here is the mountain from the road we came in on.

Amanda driving into the sunset as we pass by the front of the mountain.

This is the shuttle drop-off point near the top of the mountain.  It apparently was a misty morning.

Here is another view from this point on the mountain before I climbed up further.

This is looking down to the road from above the drop-off point.

A second shot from right above the drop-off point.

The walk up the mountain included old fences and cannons.

Closer to the fences and you can just see cannon wheels on the left side of the photo.

More fences, kind of gives it a historic feel although the dogs, children, walkers and bicyclists don't really help you feel like you've walked back through time.

A tiny flower growing out of a tree stump. I love tiny flowers so I couldn't say no to this photo.

A view over the edge of the mountain next to a cannon.

The cannon from behind (better than being in front I guess).

The  top peak (left side as you walk up from the trail).

Left side of peak just with more misty view of the city below.

Right side of the peak.

More from the right side.

More from the right side.

Even more from the right side (I guess this side looked more interesting).

The mountain top was covered in limestone (at least that's what I assume it is) which is relatively easy to carve into and therefore there were several carvings around the area. Only this one caught my eye, it's probably a recent carving but poignant unlike the "Joey hearts Charlie" I saw on another rock.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Early Birthday Treat

So I decided to make an early birthday treat to share with some friends I wouldn't be seeing on my birthday. 

I started with a Pillsbury Strawberry cake mix 
(my absolute favorite even though it's full of horrible things):

The recipe to make cake calls for water, oil and 3 eggs. The recipe to make cookies calls for just oil and 2 eggs. The finished product should look like this: 

 I've made cake cookies too many times to count (although I usually make them from a dark chocolate generic mix and add chocolate syrup and chocolate chips to make them a "triple chocolate threat") and it should have been simple to do. 
Oh, how wrong I was...

In the past I've been easily able to substitute applesauce for oil when making cakes so I didn't think it would be different for cookies. I even think I've used it with the chocolate cookies before, but I can't say for certain. Anyways, I subbed out the oil with applesauce and the dough made a more whipped texture than a cookie texture. 
I figured I'd cook a pan full and see what it ended up becoming. 

Cupcake buns is what I got. Or maybe something more akin to strawberry muffin tops. They are kind of like cupcakes without the wrapper. Too fluffy to be considered cookies but too flat to be a cupcake.

The taste was still spot on, and with a dollop of  rainbow chip frosting, 

they were ready to go!

Maybe they weren't what I set out to make, but everyone seemed to enjoy them and that's what really matters.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Just Can't Get Enough Lincoln!

When will I stop talking about Spielberg's Lincoln film? Never! Okay, so maybe after I've watched it a million times and something else amazing catches my attention. Why is it on my brain right now? Because the first trailer has just been released!

I don't get excited about many things, but I'm very geeked about this (I know, I know, that's obvious). I would say this is going to be my Christmas movie that I take everyone to even though they hate history/war/sad movies and then they love it (Warhorse anyone?) But since it comes out in November, I don't think I'll wait till Christmas to watch it. I guess it'll have to be my Thanksgiving movie.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Need My Axel Foley Fix

Recently, I was thinking about that new film Tower Heist.

And while I didn't actually see the film it appeared to me to be a flop and not funny at all. Maybe it side-splitting and maybe I'm missing out, but I was thinking about this movie and how the best Eddie Murphy films might  have been (dare I say) in the 80s.

Remember this character?

How can you go wrong with a funny, street-smart Detroit cop? Especially when he's played by the often hilarious Eddie Murphy. I'm not saying that none of his other films have been good, I enjoyed Showtime (yeah, I'm probably the only one) and I enjoyed Norbit (if you haven't seen it then you can't laugh at me liking it). I'm sure there are some other films I can't think of off the top of my head, but the point is, when it came to cop/law films (I know that in Tower Heist Murphy's character isn't a cop but an ex-con so I classify that as a law film in the sense that he's on the other side of the law), the Beverly Hills Cop series was his best.

Now I hear that they might be making another one.

Okay, so it would be a TV show, not a movie, and it wouldn't be starring Murphy. It would be based on his son's life, and wouldn't probably have all the cool 80s music in the soundtrack. But even if Murphy can't go back to his smart mouthed Detroit cop roots, at least his legacy will carry on forever. And if the show doesn't even get past the concept, then at least you can watch the Beverly Hills Cop movies on Netflix.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dragon*Con 2012

Over labor day weekend, I attended Dragon*Con (not sure why the asterisk is used in the title). From their own website, Dragon*Con claims to be "the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!" The Con is housed in several hotels and since it's located in Atlanta, Georgia, it gets pretty hot as you're standing outside buildings and walking to and from buildings. But it includes many special guests that are interesting to see and many costumes.

This is my second year attending, the first year I didn't have time to put anything together but this year I had a little advance warning so I planned out a referential Captain America costume. This means I didn't wear the full suit with my Chris Evans-esk physique, instead I put together an ensemble with hints of Captain America flavor.

So here's me at the convention:

And here are all the elements that went into my costume:

First was all the makeup I used for my face and nails:

I didn't know what to do specifically for my eyeshadow, so I went with a shooting star motif.

 And then I added some gems to this because sparkly eyeshadow wasn't sparkly enough.

Next were the colors for my hair. I did a french braid on both sides interweaving red, white and blue hair pieces:


Then we have the Captain America hoodie (from hot topic) and blue jeans.


My red shoes (instead of red boots) and a blue tank top for under the hoodie.


These were some potential additions to the costume, red gloves, Captain American themed temporary tattoos, and sunglasses. I only ended up using the white with silver gems sunglasses.


In addition to all that jazz, I spent some time crafting a clay Captain America shield ring seen here with my red nail polish.


Last but not least, my handmade (in two days none-the-less) Captain America shield backpack. While I initially was cool with just having the shield ring, I realized that I was going to need a place to put my sunglasses when I was indoors. I didn't want to mar my costume by having them out and around my person when they weren't needed so then I thought of what I could design to conceal them. Then the idea of a large backpack came to mind, a backpack that I could either wear on my back or on my arm like a shield, and then this baby was born:

Even though the backpack had space on the inside for my glasses, I made a pocket on the back side just for them so I could access them easily when moving between buildings/outdoors and indoors.


A top view of the backpack:
 Okay, so you put all that together and you have a Captain America costume for years to come...

Or until he's no longer cool. ;p

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Lincoln

Last weekend I went and saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. My expectations weren't terribly high so I wasn't terribly disappointed. The film was pretty non-stop which I enjoyed because any lulls would have probably made me think "I'm bored" and I hate feeling bored while watching a movie. The action was pretty awesome along with the CGI (as predicted). It was more gore-y than I expected as if all the vampires were those juicy mosquitoes that when you slap them they burst in a steady stream of blood across the room. You know the ones I'm talking about.

Unfortunately, the movie ended and the audience left with more questions than answers. If you haven't seen the movie and want to see it then you might not want to read the rest of this paragraph. Feel free to hop down to the next one. Anyways, my biggest question after seeing the film was, does Henry actually exist or was Lincoln just schizophrenic and the voices in his head told him to go kill perfectly innocent people. I mean, if we remove the concept of vampires from the film then Lincoln looks like a serial killer, murdering people and leaving them in unmarked graves in the woods waiting for some up-and-coming/got-something-to-prove detective to seek out this murderous fiend. I guess that's a different story though and will probably be the subject of an upcoming spoof book which will be made into a movie that will tank in theaters.

Moving on. Watching this movie only really fuels the desire to see this movie:

I still stand by my belief that Daniel Day-Lincoln-Lewis or Lincoln Day-Lewis or whatever this guy's new honorary name is going to be is going to be an awesome Lincoln. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The picture below makes me think of two words aimed towards any haters of the new Lincoln film: Aw Snap!