Tag Archives: school

Another Squandered Summer…Sort Of

Oh, horror of horrors, school starts for me this week. I could have sworn that it was June just a little while ago, but isn’t that always how it goes? It’s easy to lose track of time when you spend most of your time indoors avoiding face-to-face interaction, and frankly, I shouldn’t be surprised that this summer was just a blur of blogging, reading, and writing. It’s all I do with my spare time, and summer is nothing but two and a half months of exactly that.

I’m really not that cut up about returning to school this week. Funnily enough, the less writing time I have, the more writing I actually do, so I’m at my most productive all around during the school year. Maybe it’s because I’m aware of how little time I have, and with that time pressure on the brain, I’m motivated to actually write rather than scroll aimlessly down Twitter and Tumblr. Also, being around other people all the time and learning new things fuels the creative side of the brain–no amount of solitary rumination could replace being out in the world for getting ideas. The ramifications for my writing aside, I’ve always liked school (feel free to throw fruit) so I’m happy to be getting back.

Still, this summer wasn’t my most productive. I can look back at it with a good measure of regret. I would never call it a wasted summer, though: I’ve accepted that I’m officially through my sword-and-sorcery phase and that multiple rewrites of my novel of that ilk wrung my enthusiasm for it dry. Writing had turned into a chore. I’ve decided to put that novel aside for the moment and concentrate on some fresh, new works, all of which I’m very excited about and will be working on throughout the school year.

Overall, I’m poised and ready to take on the rest of 2012 and beyond. For those of you who are still students, how does school interfere with your writing? For everyone, what are your end-of-summer reflections?


Why’d you have to do it, Evil Genius?

Book Title: I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President

Author: Josh Lieb

Pub. Date: October 2009

Publisher: Penguin Group

Pages: 304

Genre: Realistic fiction/ science fiction

Age Range: Teens/ young adult

Summary/Teaser: Oliver Watson may seem like nothing more than a pitifully dumb, overweight middle-schooler. But in reality, he’s an evil genius running a secret world empire, using third-richest man in the world Lionel Sheldrake as a figurehead. When Oliver decides to run for class president, however,  he discovers that it takes more than burly bodyguards and secret rooms to convince a class that you’re worthy of presidency.

Review: My first impression: this book was hilarious. Hysterical, even. I frequently burst out laughing while reading this, and I get a little smirk on my face when I think about it, even now. Even if some of the humor was mildly insulting, it was funny; the book is told in the first person (by Oliver), and he thinks everyone else is a complete imbecile. You get the picture.

The book was liberally scattered with black-and white photographs. This was both a blessing and a curse. Generally, I don’t like having pictures interrupting the text– I like to imagine things myself (that’s the curse part). But these spy-style pics were actually kind of fun. It made the story seem more real, as if Oliver’s secret security system was actually taking pictures of goings-on of interest.

The writing style was easy-to-read and fun, but had the air of someone who’s really intelligent and knows it. It fits the tone of the story perfectly.

Overall, not one of the best books I’ve read. I myself sprung for the hardcover, but I don’t recommend that course of action to others. Unless you’re really a fan of the genre, I suggest getting a copy from the library, or else waiting until it comes out in paperback.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

P.S. Kudos to anyone who recognized the title of this post! Did you? It’s from the lyrics of Pat Benatar’s song Evil Genius.

Happy Columbus Day!

A happy holiday weekend to all! I was in Maine for the weekend, hence the absence of posts, but I’ll relate all of my adventures here.

We left for Maine on Friday and encountered ghastly traffic, so our journey was extended an extra four hours or so. My mother and I held “car school” (as opposed to home school), and we read some poetry and quizzed each other on facts. We were driving long into the night, and when we finally got out of the car, my legs were so stiff I had trouble walking!

The next morning, in the cabin, I woke up freezing, as our only heat source is a primitive wood stove. My dad soon got a roaring fire going while my mom made pancakes. After going to the local supermarket to get our groceries, we headed off to go apple picking at a nearby orchard. We bought a ton of you-pick Macintosh, Cortland, Jona-Gold, and Snow apples, as well as a dozen homemade cider doughnuts. Yummy! On the way home from the orchard, we stopped at a used book place, where I rescued two Where’s Waldo? books, two Nancy Drew Mysteries, and a collections of humourous epitaphs from old graveyards for $1 each. That night I puzzled over Waldo for hours. To our mixed delight and horror, we discovered that our thought-to-be-minimal mouse population had grown as mice brazenly scampered across the floor. I had a bit of trouble sleeping that night.

On Sunday, our final full day, we went to some national and state parks in the area, viewing magnificent caves and waterfalls. One of the hikes we took was steep and rocky the whole way with occasional footbridges crossing little brooks. About half-way up, I had to stop for a rest, huffing and puffing as I quite truthfully said, “I certainly want to believe that this is the end of trail!” On the way back down, we met a huge porcupine, who lumbered off away from us. After our excursions in nature, we went to a shop that mainly sold wares from local craftspeople, in which I finished up my Christmas shopping. Much to my-and my taste bud’s- delight the cashier gave me a free sample of the homemade fudge they were selling.

Unfortunately, this was the last time we’ll be going to Maine this year–The cabin certainly isn’t equipped for the harsh winter weather. But on the way home yesterday I saw a rainbow out the car window; Likely a harbinger of good things to come.

Nessecary Items For (Home) School Survival

I’ve been planning this post for quite a while, but only now that I’m a few weeks into homeschooling I’ve decided to post it. Anyway, here are five items that I probably couldn’t survive the transition from leisurely summer to work, work, work without. Granted, these aren’t the usual things found on “School Survival” lists, but I certainly need these, too.

  1. My trusty backpack. That old pink thing as stood by me for a good many experiences. From library books to dance shoes, it carries nearly everything for me. I keep it new with various key chains to swap.
  2. Hair detangler! My hair is crazy and impossible when I get up in the morning, but this cheap and easy to obtain liquid works like magic. I haven’t an idea how I got by without it.
  3. My squishy baseball-shaped “stress ball”. Being a visual/tactile learner, I have trouble concentrating without something for my hands to do. As a bonus, it doubles as an excercise for my fingers, preventing carpel tunnel from writing and typing.
  4. My reading chair/pillow. Remember those big, firm pillows with the arms coming out of them? Yes, I have one of those, and I use it daily for reading, doing schoolwork, listening to music, writing, and watching television. Sometimes I even sleep with it! It’s very comfortable and convenient.
  5. The bulletin board hanging on my closet door. It’s pretty big, but I have a lot of stuff to put on it! I keep a calendar, a copy of my school schedule, a note or letter or two, a picture or craft of mine, a poster, and a comic strip cut from the newspaper pinned up. It keeps me organized and smiling day after day.

School, Writing, Reading, Blogging: It’s all too much!

You will probably notice, readers, that, in the next few days, weeks, months, and even years, there will be a decidedly slower pace in the updates to this blog. Tommorow homeschooling will start officially, and now,  just in time for the school rush, I’ve buckled down and become completely dedicated to the novel I’m writing. Dividing my time nearly equally between school and my book, little time will be put toward reading and writing posts and reviews. I promise that I won’t give up this blog and I’ll get you a book review every week or so, but things will go from hare to turtle pace. But, you know what they say: Slow and steady wins the race!

Well, I need to go work on a book review draft (I finished Shiva’s Fire over the weekend). Tomorrow or even later this evening I’ll have it up here. I just thought I’d give a word of warning and say hello. Well…okay, sorry, no clever closer this time!

Airborne Beanie Babies

I’m sure everyone has had a teacher that loves let’s-kill-Friday activities. My science teacher is like that, and a few days ago, we had some extra time and she decided we should play the extreme version of “toss the Beanie Baby”. It works like this: Everyone stands in a circle, and the person starting gets a regular Beanie Baby from the teacher. This person greets someone across from them, e.g., “Hi, Arthur” and when ‘Arthur’ says “Hi” back, he or she can toss it to them. It continues like this until everyone has been greeted. Now comes the extreme part: The teacher adds a few extra Beanie Babies, and everyone has to silently toss them to the same person they tossed to in the first round. Huge amounts of Beanie Babies in all shapes and sizes are added until their is an airborne Beanie Baby for every person in the circle.

Yes, it gets chaotic. Yes, Beanie Babies get damaged. Yes, it can take up a whole class period. But it’s worth it! My science teacher has a huge collection of Beanie Babies and other stuffed critters, and it gets really interesting. In the game we played a few days ago, you could have a regular kitty in your hand one second, a tiny whale the next, and then an oversized, earringed gorilla! And when you turn your head around and realize someone has just whipped a little purple monkey at you, you’re probably going to embarrass yourself and drop it; Yes, readers, that most certainly happened to me.

An Energetic Ping-Pong Game

Today was P.E. again, and we again played floor hockey, but the more interesting feature of gym class today was the game of ping-pong played between my friend, another girl, a boy, and myself. My friend and I made one team, and the others a second team. Taking rather beat-up paddles in hand, we started the game. The game started out civil enough: nicely hitting the ball back and forth, apologizing when necessary, etc. But that’s not very fun, is it? 😉 The girl on the other team accidentally-on-purpose hit the ball way over our heads, and that started it. We played quite energetically, hitting the balls about 80 times harder than we should have, and making outrageous serves. It really was fun…unfortunately, we hit the ball halfway across the gym one time too many, and our gym instructor told us to ‘please play on the table, girls!’ That was that, but it was fun while it lasted!