Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Clearing

The Clearing by Heather Davis, described as a love story between two teens several decades apart, seemed like it could only be a wonderful book.

Hmm.  The verdict is still out on that one.  A wonderful story (yes, I'll give it this merit) about a girl that moves away from her mother and her abusive boyfriend to live with her great aunt in the country, she soon meets a boy her age across the clearing in 1944.  He's a perfect gentleman, but he's stuck in time.

I have to say that I loved the story Davis came up with.  I loved the twist near the end, and how she handled it.  Granted, had I written it, it would have been totally different, but I love that she brought the abusive boyfriend back.

However, with a love story like this, how can you have a happy ending?  How can the couple end up together?  Would you have one go back in time, or the other forward?  What would that do to the time stream?  I think that's what bothered me the most about this book.  It built up a perfect romance just to shatter it.  And my expectations.

I wasn't impressed with the writing itself.  I think it's nice that she tried to write it from two different perspectives, but they were written so similarly I often forgot which side of the story I was experiencing.  The descriptions were monotone and uninteresting.

At least it only took me 5 1/2 hours to read.  Had I been reading this for a month, I'd have been even more disappointed.

I do, however, absolutely love the cover.  I could do without "True Love Is Timeless," but I love the way it is formatted, with the clear picture of the girl in the middle, and the faded picture of the boy in the corner, the accents of the colors....  Yes.  That's great.

Overall, I give it a 4/10.  That's the best I can do.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shirt Design -- BYU ASL

I made a shirt design for the BYU ASL club, and they absolutely love it. :)  Sorry for the copyright.

Only in Texas

I got this in an email forward that my mom sent to me.  I think it's well worth passing on. :)

Only in Texas
Just Texas Pep, Texas 79353
Smiley, Texas 78159
Paradise, Texas 76073
nbow, Texas 76077
Sweet Home, Texas 77987
Comfort , Texas 78013
Friendship, Texas 76530 

Love the sun? Sun City, Texas 78628
Sunrise, Texas 76661
Sunset, Texas 76270
Sundown, Texas 79372
Sunray, Texas 79086
Sunny Side,  Texas 77423 

Want something to eat?
Bacon, Texas 76301
Noodle, Texas 79536
Oatmeal, Texas 78605
Turkey, Texas 79261
Trout, Texas 75789
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
Salty, Texas 76567
Rice, Texas 75155
Pearland, Texas 77581
Orange, Texas 77630
And top it off with:
Sweetwater , Texas 79556 

Why travel to other cities?  Texas has them all!  
Detroit, Texas 75436
Cleveland, Texas 75436
Colorado City, Texas 79512
Denver City, Texas 79323
Klondike, Texas 75448
, Texas 75686Newark, Texas 76071
Nevada, Texas 75173
Memphis, Texas 79245
Miami, Texas 79059
Boston, Texas 75570
Santa Fe, Texas 77517
Tennessee Colony, Texas 75861
Reno, Texas 75462
Pasadena, Texas 77506
Columbus, Texas 78934 

Feel like traveling outside the country?  
Athens, Texas 75751
Canadian, Texas 79014
China , Texas 77613
Dublin, Texas 76446
Egypt, Texas 77436
Ireland, Texas 76538
Italy, Texas 76538
Turkey, Texas 79261
London, Texas 76854
New London, Texas 75682
Paris, Texas 75460
Palestine, Texas 75801 

No need to travel to Washington D.C. Whitehouse, Texas   75791 

We even have a city named after our planet! Earth,  Texas   79031

We have a city named after our state:Texas City, Texas   77590
Exhausted? Energy, Texas   76452
Cold? Blanket, Texas   76432
Winters,  Texas 79567

Like to read about History?  
Santa Anna,  Texas 76878
Goliad,  Texas 77963
Alamo, Texas 78516
Gun Barrel City,  Texas 75156
Robert  Lee ,  Texas 76945

Need Office Supplies? Staples,  Texas 78670 

Want to go into outer space?
Venus ,  Texas   76084
Mars ,  Texas   79062
You guessed it. It's on the state line.
Texline , Texas   79087

For the kids... 
Kermit, Texas 79745
Elmo, Texas 75118
Nemo, Texas 76070
Tarzan, Texas 79783
Winnie, Texas 77665
Sylvester, Texas 79560

Other city names in Texas , to make you smile......
Frognot, Texas 75424
Bigfoot, Texas 78005
Hogeye, Texas 75423
Cactus, Texas 79013
Notrees, Texas 79759
Best, Texas 76932
Veribest, Texas 76886
Kickapoo, Texas 75763
Dime Box, Texas 77853
Old Dime Box, Texas 77853
Telephone, Texas 75488
Telegraph, Texas 76883
Whiteface, Texas 79379
Twitty, Texas 79079

And last but not least, the Anti-Al Gore City Kilgore, Texas 75662 

And our favorites...
Cut and Shoot, Texas 77303
Gun Barrel City , Texas 75147
Ding Dong, Texas
West, Texas (it's in Central Texas )
and, of course, 
Muleshoe, Texas 79347

Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about folks from Texas

If someone in a Lowe's store offers you assistance and they don't work
there, you may live in Texas;

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Texas;

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a
wrong number, you may live in Texas;

If 'Vacation' means going anywhere south of Dallas for the weekend, you may
live in Texas;

If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Texas; (I do this ALL THE TIME)

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live
in Texas;
If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both
unlocked, you may live in Texas;

If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them,
you may live in Texas;

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph --you're going 80 and
everybody's passing you, you may live in Texas;

If you find 60 degrees 'a little chilly,' you may live in Texas;

If you actually understand these jokes, and share them with all your Texas
friends, you definitely live in Texas.
Here are some little known, very interesting facts about  Texas . 
1.  Beaumont to El Paso : 742 miles
2. Beaumont to  Chicago : 770 miles
3. El Paso is closer to  California than to Dallas
4. World's first rodeo was in  Pecos , July 4, 1883.
5. The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America
built over water.   Destroyed by Hurricane Ike - 2008!
6. The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first
full-time coach at  Rice University in Houston.
7.  Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North
8. Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America 's only
remaining flock of whooping cranes.
9. Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson in 1978.
10. The worst natural disaster in U.S. history was in 1900, caused by a
hurricane in which over 8,000 lives were lost on Galveston Island .
11. The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was "Houston," but
the Space Center was actually in Clear Lake City at the time.
12. King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island.
13. Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43" in 24
hours in and around Alvin, TX in July of 1979.
14. Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, (known as the
Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the Union )
instead of by annexation.  This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same
height as the U.S. Flag, and may divide into 5 states.
15. A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.
16.  Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.
17. Dr Pepper was invented in  Waco in 1885. There is no period in Dr Pepper.
18.  Texas has had six capital cities:
Washington-on-the Brazos,  Harrisburg , Galveston , Velasco, West Columbia
and Austin .
19. The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the  U.S. , which is
taller than the Capitol Building in  Washington, DC (by 7 feet).
20. The San Jacinto Monument is the tallest free standing monument in the
world and it is taller than the Washington Monument .
21. The name ' Texas ' comes from the Hasini Indian word 'tejas' meaning
friends.  Tejas is not Spanish for Texas.
22. The State Mascot is the Armadillo. An interesting bit of trivia about
the armadillo is they always have four babies. They have one egg, which
splits into four, and they either have four males or four females.
23. The first domed stadium in the  U.S. was the Astrodome in  Houston ..

Cowboy's Ten Commandments posted on the wall at  Cross Trails Church in Fairlie, Texas:

(1) Just one God.
(2) Honor yer Ma & Pa.
(3) No telling tales or gossipin'.
(4) Git yourself to Sunday meeting.
(5) Put nothin' before God.
(6) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal.
(7) No killin'.
(8) Watch yer mouth.
(9) Don't take what ain't yers.
(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff. 

Y'all git all that?
Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder
and Your hand over my mouth.


Every time I finish a novel by Brandon Sanderson, my line of thinking immediately reverts to, "New favorite!"  Rife with underground action, intricate plots and twists, deep characters, different perspectives, magic, and corruption that I've come to associate with Sanderson, this story is the perfect book for any conspiracy theorist.  Dr. Hodgins, this book is for you!

First of all, there's the magic.  Sanderson always has some new form of magic to introduce us to, get us attached to, and then reveal that there's so much more to it than we could've thought.  The magic form in Warbreaker is called Breath.  Every person has one, but the accumulation of hundreds grants better understanding of the senses, such as perfect pitch and perfect tone and hue recognition, and the ability to awaken objects to do your bidding.  The magic of Breath also has everything to do with color.

Then, there's the character development, which is something I highly value in stories.  All I can tell is that they were very well-done, and I'm absolutely in love with the character of Siri.

Sanderson's stories also have the perfect mix between descriptions, inner dialogue, and dialogue.  There's not too much happening, and you always get an insight in to what the characters are thinking.  Also characteristic of his writing, every now and then you get a snipit of information that one of the characters may not have, that you're dying to just jump into the book so you can tell them what they need to know.  He did that all through Elantris, and according to Warbreaker, he is just not one to break his personal motif.

The only problem I have with this story is the character Lightsong.  He's a great character, he just goes through long periods of time being completely unbelievable to me.  There are moments when I think, "Yes!  That's how you should be!"  But then he just reverts to his old self.  Then again, maybe I just can't really relate to this character's way of speaking.  He confuses me to no end, like he confuses everyone he actually speaks to in the book..  I suppose he just irritates me more than anything.

I can't wait to read Way of Kings, but I'm going to have to.  I've got several other books I need to read first, and it's almost 1000 pages.  I have a hard time reading his 600-page books as it is.  I'm probably going to have to wait for this summer to be able to focus that much attention on a single book.

My rating: 9.5/10

Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me

This book by Kristen Chandler is definitely a book worth reading!  A very quick read, the main character is incredibly believable.  I seriously cannot rave enough about how real she is.  She has a social disorder, which is never said outright, but is absolutely obvious.  I wonder why nobody ever took her to the doctor to get something for it.  Anywho, much of the story is about regular feelings and worries of a sixteen-year-old girl.

However, there's another element to the story that just makes it shine--the wolves of Yellowstone.  This book is essentially about how this girl affects something that actually happened.  Wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone as a program to help the park regain ecological stability.  This really happened in the real world, and this book sheds some light on how people felt about it, on both sides.

The thing I love most about this book is, it's not fantasy, science-fiction, or of the supernatural persuasion in any way at all.  Yet, it's incredibly intriguing and fun to read.  Most of my life, I've read about characters like Morgan le Fay, Harry Potter, and Raoden.  But this book is so real it makes me crave more.  It seems to touch home a little more than the wizards and vampires.

Of course, that doesn't mean I've turned away from fantasy, or that I love it any less.  I'm actually about to read another by Cassandra Cane.  It's just nice to know that there are stories about normal people in situations that really could happen.  And that they can be incredibly interesting and fun to read. :)

The only downside to this book is that the relationship between some of the characters are a tad exaggerated, and the high school students talk more like they're eleven than sixteen.  They really annoyed me.

I really hope Mrs. Chandler keeps writing.  I'd love to read more of her stories!

My Rating: 7/10


Last Friday, my Biology professor turned out to be completely serious when he told us on our first day that we'd be experimenting on termites...

test tube of five termites
petri dish
white computer paper
black pen
paint brush

Draw a circle in the middle of the paper about two inches in diameter with the black pen.  Put the termites in the circle, and see what they do.

The termites will stay inside the circle, seeing the black line as a barrier.

The termites found the line, and treated it like a path.  They traveled along it without stopping for almost the entire half-hour.  When we drew lines from the first circle connecting to others, they followed that line and either stayed on the new circle or just added it to the path.

When we were asked why, we were forced to consider if it was the indentation, the color, or the scent they were following, and then we had a few minutes to conduct our own experiment.  My group decided to test indentation, so we could prove it wrong, since none of us actually thought it was the answer.  Then we decided to use pencil also, to prove it was scent.  We drew lines of varying indentations on the other side of the paper, with pen and pencil. The termites always followed the pen, regardless of the indentation, and never even hesitated at the lines in pencil.

Personally, I think color and scent, to termites, are the same thing.  Colors would smell different to an insect, because different chemicals and dyes make different scents.

I'd love to do more experiments to see what dye they like the most.  I know they like black but don't like blue.  Perhaps one of the chemicals they like in black is the one most commonly used in red.  I'd like to try that...  But I don't have a stock of termites.

Oh, the paint brush was for moving them away from the edge of the paper or desk if we needed to.  We also needed it to scoop them up and put them in the petri dish when we were done.

Well...  I honestly think this Biology class is going to be very beneficial, and a lot of fun! :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

They don't understand.

Sometimes I have to make a decision that benefits me.  Every once in a while I have to matter just as much as everybody else.

Three Days In A Row!

It's just one thing right after another!

Tuesday, I was trying to get into a driveway of a store.  It was quite steep, and it had a dip at the bottom.  It was also iced over.  There were some guys walking on the sidewalk, but they acted like they were going to stop for me.  So I tried to go, but then they darted in front of me, and I had to stop, on the incline.  Then, after they passed, I tried to get up over the hump, but I couldn't.  I couldn't gas it up there, and they turned around and laughed at me.  Only one girl offered to help, bless her heart, but she was five feet tall and didn't make any difference.  I ended up having to wait for there to be no traffic (ON STATE STREET) so I could back out.

Yesterday, I spent forty-five minutes trying to get the people in the BYU Bookstore to accept the returned stuff Melanie asked me to bring.  I had people telling me it wasn't possible, that I had to ship it somewhere, yadda yadda, and somebody even threatened to throw me out for being difficult, to which I said, "I'm just trying to follow up on what someone in YOUR store told my sister on the phone!"  Then they sent me to Customer Service, and they said they could, but they had to have the card number, so I had to go outside and call her, and just... UGH!  It was so difficult and they took up all my free time and I cried because I was so frustrated!  I still haven't gotten them returned.

And today I've LOST MY PHONE. :(  Ugh.  I texted my phone, telling whoever has it that I'm going to be in the library for three hours until my next class, but I'm SO hungry.  And who knows if they'll bring it back?  Who's to say they didn't take it to some office close to where they'd found it instead of the Lost & Found?  It was in the L&F, though admittedly, I only lost it two hours ago.

*sigh* Just one thing right after another...