Friday, April 29, 2011

Random Random Random

Quick Update: Completely winging this blog entry.

Song Stuck In My Head: "Smile" by Avril Lavigne. Just found out the guy directing the video to this amazing new single has directed pretty much the majority of my favorite pop/rock music videos. Panic! At the Disco anyone?

So today is very rushed day. Both of my BFF's are sorta in chaos, I had to turn in a poorly-made fable about a rabbit and a duck (another day?) annnnnnd I'm seriously relieved it's Friday. Anyhow, no legit blog entry today. Just random stuff.

First off, for any Gleeks/or anti-Gleeks out there...I do adore this performance of "Born This Way".

There was also a scene where they danced to this new song, "Barbara Streisand". Has anyone heard it? It's seriously the most ridiculous song in the universe. It's all dance music and then one random person saying the name of the song.

But, oddly, it's quite catchy.

Anyhow, since this is just a random post, why not mention NOVELTEE(N)? A.K.A, new blog that just started up. And yes, I'm totally mentioning them to enter their contests (especially this one!) but the blog seems cool so far. Do follow! It's one of the rare For Teens by Teens blogs!

Okay, see you later!

Oh, and LBH - here's a drinking buddy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: If Your WIP was a song...

Quick Update: I think this is the first "Road Trip Wednesday" I've ever done, from the popular "YA HIGHWAY" site. Awesomeness.

Song Stuck In My Head: No Doubt's "Just a Girl". No idea why.

For anyone who knows the "YA HIGHWAY" blog, awesome! Good luck to you. If not, it's basically this writers' blog (mostly female writers, but whatever) who focus on writing YA fiction. Contemporary. Paranormal. You got it! Their guest writers include young writers already published (their books "The Duff" or "Like Mandarin" are really popular) as well as up-and-coming young and older ones. Pretty cool site.

Anyhow, anyone is welcome to respond in a blog post to a question on Wednesday. I decided to do that today since, well, I kinda do already!

This week's question...

If your WIP or favorite book were music, what song(s) would it be?

Easy answer! SICK PUPPIES, and their rocker, guitar-feedback heavy track "ISSUES" of course!

If anyone wants to join in, knock yourself out!

I'll talk to you all on Friday!

Friday, April 22, 2011

YA Writers Are Saving the World (Sorta...Kinda) - WPT Post

Quick Update: Wow. Okay. Fast week. Is today seriously Friday? Whoa.

Song Stuck In My Head: "For the Love of God" - Steve Vai (a.k.a someone who had to sell his soul to have that sort of guitar skills).

So, would have typed up a less spontaneous post (maybe), but an Earth Day project for school decided to eat up all my time. I'm very passionate about deforestation after all. I mean, how could you ever "slash and burn" forests for money and land? They're the most things (or clusters of things) in the world!

The horror. Well, this is beside the point.

So, I'm stealing today's topic from my lit. class as well as science class. We're doing this small unit on fables, the cutesy tales of lessons and morales. Slow and steady wins the race, don't count your chickens before they hatched, all that fun stuff.

I remember when I was younger and heard or read fables. Let's take the popular "Ant and the Grasshopper" story. Hardworking ant, bum grasshopper. One gets to party all winter, and one freezes and dies. What little tykes are supposed to get from the story is "ohhhh, not doing is work is bad, I better do all the work I can now so I can play later".

And come on. We know the morales in those stories failed to really stick. Procrastination deserves its own health documentaries these days. All the little kids reading the story don't think about the morale. All they think is something around the lines of "haha, grasshopper, sucks to be you!".

But now, YA writers instead of fable writers (if they're even alive anymore, most of them are from centuries ago).

When teenagers transition into the stage they're in now, they are vulnerable to learning morales. The hard way or the easier way that we - yes, we - provide. There's reasons why bookish people tend to be the ones that avoid parties and drugs and craziness. That's because they already read enough tough, but good, books on these issues to avoid it. By having characters go through a mess of chaos, they have less desire to do it on their own. Unless they're sociopathic and like to pretend they are the character in whatever novel they're reading. That's a whole other story.

Not that all teenagers read (or even know how to these days, when it comes to my peers). They usually don't even read the required reading, or think about it. However, slowly YA and books is making its way into mainstream again so you never know....writers could very well affect the lives of young adolescents before they venture into the world themselves. And if the effect is positive, hooray.

In some ways, we are SUPERHEROES. Kinda. Okay. Maybe not.

Okay, enough mediocre philosophy today. Hope everyone is doing rather awesome (oh, and happy...Earth Day, I suppose) and hopefully talk to you next week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rec of the Week: "Impulse" by Ellen Hopkins

Quick Update: Had an epic Hastings overdose yesterday. Got a few eerily cheap books. How exactly does anybody, let alone writers, make money when books are $5.99 at entertainment stores? Sorta too late to change a career choice now though, haha!

Song Stuck in My Head: "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac. Very random. I'm aware.

Drafting this in literature, since we’re taking notes on dialogue. Which would be cool, if the lesson was anything like writer’s blog posts on dialogue (avoiding passive voice, varying sentences, etc.) but nope. It’s basically just quotation marks and other tags besides “said”. Ugh! Since we have to write our own piece of dialogue, I penned a story about a duck selling car insurance to an incompetent rabbit. There’s a very complex inside joke in that, but maybe another day.

So today, let’s go to the world of intelligent writing. Such as the Rec of the Week, “Impulse” by Ellen Hopkins.

I actually read this a few weeks ago, aforementioned in a blog post, but since I’m currently re-reading the Morganville vampires (a.k.a best bloodsucker series ever) why not blog it now?

For anyone whose read or at least heard of the iconic Ellen Hopkins before, you know how her writing works - free verse. No, it’s not all rhyming poems like a YA Dr. Seuss. It’s all dangling, non-rhythmic, yet insightful free verse. No paragraphs or normal dialogue.

“Impulse” was my first EH book, though I’d definitely noticed her work in the teen section. Sort of hard to miss, with how chunky and artistic books like “Crank” and “Burn” are. I picked up “Impulse” as it dealt with teenagers in a psychiatric hospital, something I was trying to find more YA books on.

At first, the opening pages were outrageously flowery and morbid-poetic (the three protagonists attempted suicide for different reasons,) but by the tenth or so page, I was sucked in.

The story is about Conner, Tony, and Vanessa. Conner’s a new patient at the hospital, with elite boy charm and a relatively calm and collected demeanor - if not for the fact he shot himself. Tony, meanwhile, is an older patient - who’s already friendly with institutions like juvie - and is still recovering from the drugs that nearly killed him. Though he also seems normal, his life is bruised with neglect and abuse. And lastly is Vanessa, a mid-level patient that’s showing progress as she deals with depression after her mother’s suicide and being dumped by the love of her life. Under all of that, she has signs of bipolar disorder, which her mother had as well.

The book will probably the most intense the first it’s read. All three characters start off with these thick and impassable layers. Slowly, they open up not to their doctors but each other, and secret after secret is revealed. Let’s go ahead and say “bad childhoods” would not even begin to describe it.

What writers could really take from this book is how the three characters’ back-story is handled. After all, a popular mistake among noobs is dumping a load of 411 and fun facts about the character and their life prior to the story. Though I’ve yet to read her other books, Ellen Hopkins definitely handles the intricate back stories. Characters are revealed bit by bit, instead of being sloppily explained in detail in chapter one.

Annnd that would be it. Definitely a good read, no matter how you look at it! Now to figure out which EH book to pounce on first…. Muhaha.

Besides that, pretty good week over here. I actually understand the section my Algebra 3-4 class is covering, which terrifies me to the bone. Got to watch Avril Lavigne perform on Oprah, and sing a duet with Pat Benatar during the episode’s “Rock Goddesses” special. Also watched Miley Cyrus’s attempt to mirror Joan Jett‘s natural rock, onstage presence when they sang together as well. It was amusing to see a Disney starlet try to come off as “rock n’ roll”.

Anyhow, I’ll stop my ranting about music before it gets too whiney. Hope everyone’s week has been spiffy, and talk to you next week! Maybe on a day before Friday, even! * le gasp*


Friday, April 8, 2011

Playlist of the Month: “Bipolar” Songs (er, slow and fast songs)

Quick Update: Now to save le blog from a serious case of abandonment. Since this thing’s not even a year old yet, that could be considered child abuse.

Song Stuck In My Head: Tiny Dancer - Elton John (who’s been very prevalent in the media lately. I love this song in the movie “Almost Famous” though).

Hello, strangers! Haven’t really gotten much computer time at home to blog, since my laptop charger sparked its last cold last week (let’s just say you can SEE the metal wires inside the black rubber). I hope no one has forgotten me!

Main news includes: new music vid from favorite band (YAY!), newfound obsessions with the band All-American Rejects (mentioned later), switch from original Twitter to something called “Tweetree” as Twitter’s been giving me the cold shoulder, and a case of James Cameron syndrome (definition: sudden urges to watch Cameron movies - couldn’t find our copy of “Avatar” but did get out the box set of “Titanic” and sobbed over Leo DiCaprio’s death, as per usual.

So funny how this blog post came about. While back, I was writing with a Top 40 radio station playing. Since my WIP takes place in a mental ward, one of my MC’s is diagnosed with “manic depression”, a fancy term for bipolar.

Anyhow, I was idly considering a switch of moods for her in the scene when…BAM! Katy Perry’s hit “Hot N’ Cold” started playing on the radio.

I believe they call that “fate”, haha!

So here are the songs that are bipolar themselves, starting out smooth and slow, then picking up in an extremely energetic part two. It’s mostly alternative rock, but it has some soundtrack love too, as well a guest appearance from rock royalty.

LET IT DIE by Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl’s post-Nirvana band has turned out several bipolar songs over the years, but this one reaches high and low extremes. The song starts out soft, with very melodic and almost whispery vocals reminiscing about a lost love as an acoustic guitar plays. Slowly, voice tracks, base, and drums are added in small amounts. Then an explosion of loud, furious singing and electric guitar tears open the beat and a whole new song emerges. Pretty epic stuff.

SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS ( Eurythmics cover) by Emily Browning. Taken from the soundtrack of the film I reaaaaaaaally want to see, SUCKER PUNCH! This cover is super-psychedelic, and starts out very calm before delving into a whole range of craziness. It’s sung by the movie’s lead actress, Emily Browning, a British starlet you may recognize as Violet Baudelaire, or from the horror film “The Uninvited”. Her modest voice and accent make the song take a whole new life.

THE POISON by All-American Rejects. Another soundtrack tune, this time from “Almost Alice”, the compilation album for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. I recently realized that AAR - pop/rock band with well-known songs like “Gives You Hell” and “Move Along” - is one of my favorite bands. This song is only more reason why. The love song starts out like a catchy, sugary, acoustic song that works perfectly with singer Tyson Ritter’s dark vocals. And then the tempo changes into a heavier, shouty song that sounds more like the band’s mainstream mess. There’s something wonderfully hypnotic about it. Very much worth a listen if you like the band at all!

ONE (cover song) by Filter. I love this band! Filter, mostly known for “Take a Picture”, also have a soundtrack song. Theirs goes all the way back to the 90’s, for an X-Files film. This is pretty much a rock take on “One”, a classic bluesy-oldies song that croons “twooooo can be as bad as one”. The song has an intense change in tempo. It begins with gloomy, but strong, singing over loneliness. Then, with only a pounding of drums, the depression becomes screaming and a grunge-rock song ignites. Talk about emotional!

And last but never least…

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY by Queen. Anyone who dislikes this band is probably un-American. I kid. In any case, these rock icons had a variety of hits, a lot of which switch tempos so much that it feels like listening to two or three songs in one sitting. Bohemian Rhapsody is a very fitting - and enjoyable! - example. From saddening, piano ballad to crazy, opera-esque, to classic rock fight song. The song feels a dream that makes no sense, but was awesome in every sense of the word.

And that would be it! I avoided mentioning Sick Puppies, as half of their songs could go here (I mean, their third album TITLE is “Tri-Polar”!). You could check out “Pitiful”, “Anywhere but Here”, or their cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Cherub Rock” though, if you need more proof. Or you could check out their new music video, the not-so-bipolar "Riptide"! Just saying!

Other than that, I hope you are all doing well. And if you’re not, then just go to the grocery store and get some Easter candy before it gets too expensive - it‘ll cheer you right up! I had a couple of Peeps for breakfast this morning (and no, I realize nothing about that even sounds remotely healthy).

Oh, and how does Ellen Hopkins sound for a “Rec of the Week”?