Category Archives: Lists

The good, the bad, and the absolute ugly of required reading

One of the reasons why I love English is that I am fortunate enough to be exposed to all sorts of types of books. Since the summer before my freshman year until now, it would be safe to say that I’ve been required to read about 25 books. Some of them I absolutely loved and some I didn’t even read at all. But through it all, I’ve come to realize what kinds of books I like: romantic, a change in the main character, thought-provoking, applicable to my life.

So I’ve gathered a list of the good (ones I would read over and over), the bad (the ones I got through with some cookie incentives), and the ugly (ones that were too miserable to even pick up).

THE GOOD
1. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
I’ve read the love story of the Bennet sisters so many times, I literally think it’s the book version of my obsession with Titanic. What makes this book the best is the fact that Elizabeth is a revolutionary character. In Austen’s era, woman like Eliza were considered obnoxious and unbecoming. Her defiance of societal norms is admirable because it proves how independent and confident she is. I’m disappointed that there are too many Lydia Bennets in this world. So come on ladies, your looks and flirtatiousness won’t take you very far. Eliza teaches us that there needs to be internal depth and substance. Without it, there is no long-term happiness.

2. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
I had to read this book twice, once during sophomore year, and again this year. I had the same reaction both times: it was a heart-tugger. I think what really gets me is the fact that Hassan was so loyal to Amir, even when he was being used as a scapegoat. He was loyal to him and always thought of Amir’s happiness before his own. And when it was Amir’s chance to return the favor, he doesn’t. As a consequence, Hassan is emotionally damaged. Amir betrayed a friendship and cowered away from a friendship. All of the twists in the novel make it even more upsetting. But what I really got out of this novel was that there is always “a way to be good again”. All you have to do is just put forth an effort and really want it.

3. Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
This one really resonated with me because of the whole message of maturity. In high school, we all have our moments where we, like Holden Caulfield, make up excuses, feel alienated, and try to escape reality. Believe me, I’ve been there. But you have to get off that carousel of childhood at some point. Holden eventually does, but has anyone else? I could really relate to Holden at some points, but then at other points I wanted to throw a brick at him. So in a way, I have one foot on and one off the carousel. But I think for the most part, I’m off that carousel. It’s those life experiences that take you out of innocence and into reality. Holden’s journey is totally relatable because it chronicles the transition from innocence to maturity.

THE BAD
1. The Awakening, Kate Chopin
If you like books about cheating wives, then go ahead and read this one. I strongly dislike Edna Pontellier and what she stands for. Edna is trapped in a loveless marriage and is undergoing her own “awakening” by realizing that she is more than a wife. Well, bad timing woman! Edna has children–responsibilities that are irreversible. She can’t just have a kids and decide not to emotionally be there. It’s immature and unfair to the children. I don’t care if you have your little rendezvous with Robert, you cougar, but you have to take care of your children. It kills me to see marriages fall apart and how that affects the children. At least, Edna, just wait until they go off to college.

2. The Tragedy of King Lear, William Shakespeare
I absolutely did not understand this at all! Maybe it’s the lack of ability to decipher what the hell Shakespeare was trying to say. Maybe it was the fact that I couldn’t remember which was the evil bastard child, Edmund or Edgar. When I actually did figure everything out (thank you, Spark Notes), I was not happy. First off, since when is it acceptable for a father to disown his child because she doesn’t want to lie to him? Secondly, I find it seriously disturbing that King Lear decides to strip naked in a maelstrom. Just put him in the Cuckoo’s Nest (I’m so clever)! And thirdly, just deliver the letters yourself. That’s the only way to ensure your message is received. Come to think of it, I don’t really enjoy any Shakespeare.

THE UGLY
1. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
A story about a dude that turns into a bug. The end.
How is that supposed to be a good book? From the first sentence of the first page, it’s revealed that he turned into a bug. Where is the build up? Worst book seriously of life. That is not an exaggeration, at all. Seriously, a man turns into a bug? What a literary masterpiece…!

2. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
I didn’t even bother reading this one.

Comment below and tell me if I’m totally off my rocker or if you have any books you would like to add!

Advertisements

‘Twas the night before 2012…

Hopefully, my new year will be like this. (liveguide.com.au)

And so my friends another year has come to an end. This means that Facebook has exploded with people’s New Year’s Resolutions. As for me, I’ll make a resolution but never actually follow through with it. Nonetheless, I’ve made a resolution this second to blog more. I wonder where the inspiration came from…

Realistically, I know for a fact that 99.9% of these “resolutions” will be abandoned within a month. So instead of making a new year’s goal, I’m just going to focus on what will actually happen this year. You know, the stuff that doesn’t depend on my will power or initiative.

This year is jam packed with milestones and memorable moments to be–some fun, some not so fun. Here is a look at my 2012.

1. Jaw Surgery, 1/26
This is one that will go under the “not so fun” category. Yes, I will be having corrective jaw surgery in which my upper and lower jaw will be broken and shifted. Ouch. Really the only good things that will come from this is that I get to miss two weeks of school (Hallelujah!),  talk lisp-free, and have a more aesthetically-pleasing profile. The bad part about this is that I’m going to have to learn AP Lit on my own, drink through a syringe, and look like the Elephant Man with Angelina-sized lips.

2. Graduation, 6/14
I’ve seriously been waiting to walk down that grass aisle since the day I wore my plaid skirt and toted my princess lunchbox to kindergarten. Being in a structured learning environment for 12 years does a lot to you. I’ve had ups, downs, and everything in between and it’s all going to end pretty soon. A part of me is like “Hell yeah, get me out of here!”, but then another part is like “Crap, this is going to be the last time I’m with all these peope at one time”. I frequently go back and forth between the two sentiments. But I cannot wait to celebrate this milestone with everyone who has made it possible.

3. College, sometime in the fall
Where ever I end up, I know it will be a good place for me. I really cannot wait to just meet new people and put so many new expieriences in my expierience basket. It’s going to be so awesome being on my own. This is my first step into the adult world and I’m excited to see what lies ahead. All while getting a solid education, of course.

4. 2012 Movies, the whole year
Emmie better buy plenty of those Costco tickets, because I will basically be living at the movie theater. So many good movies are coming out this year. There’s going to be a lot of superhero movies like with The Avengers, the Spider-Man prequel, The Dark Knight Rises. It’s been a while since I’ve heard Christian Bale’s hot, sexy Batman voice. And some book adaptations like Hunger Games and the highly anticipated (for others, not me) Breaking Dawn Part II. And I cannot forget the re-release of Titanic! Midnight premiere here I come! Another midnight premiere that I absolutely can’t miss is The Hobbit. Jeezo-peezo! I’m looking forward to that so much! And The Great Gatsby! I love me some Leo! 2012 is going to be sizzling! Im excited! This is probably the most exclamation points I’ve ever used in a paragraph!

5. The End of the World, 12/21
This is utter rubbish, but for those lunatics that think the world is going to end, I guess this is a major event. I’m including it because of all the hype surrounding it and the fact that I’m going to wake up on the 21st and be all like “What now?” People, the world is not going to end. So stop freaking out and selling your life on eBay. You will live to celebrate Christmas this year.

I’m not very superstitious, but I do have a special knack for the number 12. It’s my “lucky number”, so hopefully 2012 will bring out all the goods and shenanigans I’m hoping for. Prospectively, this year is looking pretty good, except for the surgery and all. Cheers to the New Year! 2012, here I come!

The 5 things I learned from The Lord of the Rings

Sam, wanna be my best friend?

Obsessed. That is the word I would use to describe my realtionship with The Lord of the Rings. Well, the movies. I have witnessed this greatness of a trilogy several times; my favorite is The Return of the King. And through all this precious-ness, I have come to appreciate the little messages LOTR has incorporated. Thus, the things I have learned from three spectacular movies:

1. I would be lucky if Samwise Gamgee was my best friend
I hate to say that I’m jealous of that dipshit Frodo. But I am, because he has Sam. So jealous! Sam is the epitome of what a BFFL should be like. Even when Frodo was being a total bitch and told Sam to go home, Sam knew better and chose to stick around. Not only did he stick around, but he stabbed the beasty spider. He then proceeded to save that little bitch. What a great friend. And then greatest line ever: “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” God, what a supportive person! He recognizes the burden and is willing to share it. He carries Frodo on his shoulders up a steep inclined volcano. That scene continues to make me speechless

2. Never go into a dark tunnel
Never! No good can come of it! There was no light at the end of this tunnel either! Frodo was entangled and met with all sorts of nastiness. The tunnel is like the modern day white van with a male driver: you just don’t go into it.

3. It would be a good idea to learn combat
Every single character in the movie has at least one memorable scene, and all the time it involves some sort of violence with a sharp weapon. And it looks so cool! If I could weild a sword, I could do great things with it. And who knows, I could probably protect myself against that guy in the white van.

4. Everybody finds their certain someone
Eowyn was hot for Aragorn, but then she was rejected when she found out about that elf Arwen. Sorry, but Eowyn mortal being could never compete with Arwen’s flawless elf skin. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. But then along comes Faramir! And honestly, the ginger and blonde combo looks pretty good. So, really, the day when Aragorn rejected Eowyn was the best day of her life.

5. White is the best color to wear
Forget OxyClean! Middle Earth did not need it at all because they never got dirty. Well, Gandalf never got dirty. And he wore white. All the time. Gandalf wore white during battle, while riding a horse, and while eating. And that angelic white cloth was never stained with orc blood, dirt, or crumbs.

Beauty really is pain

In ancient China, women’s feet were bound with bandanges to prevent them from growing. The foot would then break multiple times and could never be fixed.

Oh. My. God. This just sounds so excrutiating, right? Well, yeah. But in Chinese culture, it was considered beautiful for women to have small feet, at a cost nonetheless. Foot-binding even prevented women from walking without support. Which brings me to my point, is it worth it to sacrifice your comfort for looking good? In The Clique novels by Lisi Harrison, the main character Massie says, “It’s more important to look hot, than to feel hot.” Do you agree? Read about some more instances where comfort is compromised.

High Heels/New Shoes
Beauty: When I was told by Bank of America to validate my debit card with a purchase, I immediately went out at bought two pairs of shoes.  I love how high heels instantly elevate a day outfit to night and how a wedge elongates your legs. Shoes really do complete an outfit and that’s why people buy them a lot. The Real Housewives even have whole closets dedicated to shoes.  
Pain: Ok, so the shoe looks great and all, but holy crap, breaking them in is one of the worst things ever! I got a pair of Sperry boat shoes and they were super stiff. It took me a good three weeks to break them in, and my feet still get blisters. And high heels! Even after they are broken in, they still manage to make your foot look, and feel, ten times bigger. They should be called high hells, dammit! I can’t help but to let out a whimper when I take them off, it hurts that bad. 
Verdict: Worth it, high heels complete your look in a way that a headband can’t.

Waxing
Beauty: Waxing comes with a special benefit in that the hair is completely removed from the folicle, whereas shaving only removes the visible part of the hair. After a wax, the hair takes a while to grow back in, for a smoother skin surface. 
Pain: If you don’t know what a waxing entails, it’s pretty painful. First, HOT wax is smothered all over your skin. Then the lady takes a piece of paper and presses it over the area to be waxed. Then, without warning, your hair is removed from your skin, painfully. The worst part of it is the anticipation. It’s like going to the doctors and getting a shot: they count to three before they stick you with a needle. Same thing here. I cringe every time, expecting the pain. And when the actual paper is ripped from your face/leg/underarm, it’s not pleasant. It feels like a rugburn. And if you get your brows, or mustache or whatever done, it’s like a rugburn. On your face. Think about that.
Verdict: Not worth it. Unless you look like a Geico caveman, don’t even bother.

Makeup
Beauty: What isn’t beautiful about makeup? It’s amazing how a little liner and eyeshadow can make your eyes pop. Or how a simple foundation rub can hide that icky zit. If you don’t get the beauty of makeup, go put some on. It’s that simple.
Pain: Ok, this pain isn’t really a physical pain (unless you stab your eyeball with the liner pencil), but more of a financial pain. To get the good kind of makeup (the one that lasts a while and doesn’t get all pasty) you have to be willing to spend a little more than you wanted. At MAC, I spent about $50 for some liner, eyeshadow, primer, and powder. Liner alone costs $14. And after a while, your wallet could start to feel a leetle lighter.
Verdict: Eh, it depends. Use your judgement: if you have to have it, splurge, if not, well, there is always Target.

Curling Irons/Straighteners
Beauty: Having the option of different hairstyles is always fun. Enter a curling iron. They offer the versatility for creating a fancier look or whatever else you need. Or if your hair needs to be straightened to avoid the morning frizz, perfect! My sister depends on her straightener everyday. And her hair really does look good after.
Pain: Hmm, so having a steaming hot metal device near your face must come with some pain risks, right? Duh! I have heard so many stories about how people have burnt their skin from a curling/flat iron, it’s ridiculous! Once when I was six or something, my dad (I know, right) had to curl my hair for a dance recital. It is no surprise that five minutes into it, he burned the nape of my neck. Thanks, Dad.
Verdict: Worth it. Just don’t have your dad curl your hair.

Spanx
Beauty: So what Spanx does is that it smooths out your body, making it slimmer. Think of it as a modern day girdle. It sucks everything in so that wearing a pencil skirt or tight dress doesn’t make you totally self-conscious.
Pain: Tight material that constantly clings to your body. That sounds like a big problem to me. What if you had to go to the bathroom? Would you be able to shimmy out of it quick enough? Probably not. And I would just feel so clausterphobic in that; you’d see me pulling at it constantly. Total-body spandex does not sound comfortable at all.
Verdict: Not worth it. Not all tight clothes fit everyone right. Find something flattering that you don’t have to go through hell to wear.

And by the way, Chinese women no longer bind their feet. So what do you think? Is waxing the modern day equivalent of foot-binding? Ha! Probably not, but it still does hurt.

Shout out to the hotties!

After the success of last night’s list, I decided to make another. This one, however, is about my personal specialty: celebrity hotties. After all, I was awarded the “Teenage Dream Award” at CSPA journalism camp. Here it goes:

1. Orlando Bloom

This really shoudn’t have come as a surprise that he is my number one. I’ve been obsessed with this rarity since fourth grade. I have had my fair share of I Love Orando watches, yearly calendars, photobooks, and even an authentic signature from him. Thanks eBay! My life was complete when I got to see him at Disneyland for the Pirates premiere. Sucks for me that he is now married to Miranda Kerr and has a baby boy. And Miranda is a Victoria Secret. How am I supposed to compete with that?

2. Alexander Skarsgard

Whoah, like whoah! Alexander Skarsgard is my new obsession, and I think it is pretty obvious as to why. Just look at him! On True Blood, Skarsgard is a semi-evil/cynical player vampire. I seriously wouldn’t mind being bitten by him. Awkward connection to Orlando: Skarsgard dated Kate Bosworth, who dated Orlando Bloom, who worked with Skarsgard’s dad on Pirates of the Caribbean. Awko taco!

3. Leonardo DiCaprio

Let’s just say that I’m really looking forward to Leo being the new Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s adaption of The Great Gatsby. I’m positive that Leo will bring the same class and desperation Robert Redford conveyed really well in the original version. And if he doesn’t, oh well, I’ll still love you Leo!

Did I miss out on any other A-list hotties? Let me know!

Top 3 stress relievers

With school just around the corner, I am of course scrambling to get all my summer homework done. Oops. No matter how many times I’ve been in this procrastination situation, I seem to never learn. And as a natural and annoying consequence, I get really stressed out. And when I get really stressed out, this is embarrassing, but I tend to pick at my eyelashes.

I’m sure you just got creeped out or think that I’m crazy, but there is a legit backstory to this. I’ve told a few people this story and it’s quite funny. Well to me at least.

When I was living in Missouri, I had to go to day care at KinderCare. And then the center closed down, so then my sister and I got put into another day care called La Petite. I totally hated it. First off, they pronounced my last name like “Calvin” despite the fact there is no freaking “a” in my last name at all. Second, they didn’t provide hot dog buns with the hot dogs. Like, really? Who does that? And when I brought in a store-bought doughnut, I had to eat it in the lobby because the other kids would “get jealous”. Again, really?

So yeah I hated it. And then I remembered what my mom said: whenever an eyelash falls out, you get to make a wish. So what do I do? I plucked my eyelashes out and wished to not be at Le Petit. To my credit, I was like six, so I have an excuse for being totally stupid. And it worked– I didn’t have to go there anymore. But that’s because we moved here to Irvine.

Ever since then, it’s been a habit and sometimes I have eyelashes, bald spots on my lids, or barely any. And during the school year, I’ve noticed that my eyelashes are gone because of all the stress. Yeah, junior year was that bad. So don’t be too surprised if my eyelids are bald during the college applcation process.

Obviously, I need a new stress reliever because my eyes look better with mascara on, and I can’t wear it if I don’t have any lashes.

So here is a list of three alternate stress relievers that others found to be helpful.

1. A Stress Ball:     I guess there is something comforting about squeezing a ball in your hand. These balls come in all shapes and sizes and can be customized with a smiley face or a picture of Orlando Bloom. Stress balls help the squeezer focus in long term sitting positions, according to medical research. Not only do they relieve stress, but you can exercise your hand and strengthen it at the same time. I love killing two birds with one stone, or in this case, one ball. I did use one of these before but it was really squishy and I ended up getting really frustrated and it gone torn to shreds. I might have other issues than stress…

2. Primal Scream:     At Northwestern (oh, how I love this school) during finals, there is a designated time for the students to go to the campus quad and just let out a blood curtling scream. Sometimes, that’s all you need. I definitely wouldn’t mind doing this, but I don’t think my parents or neighbors would appreciate this. Which is why I would do it. Ha!

3. Pet a Kitty or Dog:     I was reading in Reader’s Digest about cancer patients who are given dogs to pet. According to the theory behind it, petting is relaxing and therapeutic. Personally, I don’t have a furry animal to pet, so I can just go to best friend McKenna’s house and pet her multiple animals. Just not her cats because they creep me out.

I guess now that I came up with all these solutions, I don’t really have an excuse to have bald eyelids. Now you know if I’m “touching my eye”, I’m not really scratching it, but relieving stress. So keep me accountable! Or just hand me your fluffy dog.