Summer Bucket List (& Other Plans)

summer bucket list 2017

I’ve just put on my summer playlist and for once the sun is shining here in the UK. Yep, it’s summertime again! AKA the time where I celebrate not having to do schoolwork only to end up being bored. I wish I was someone who could really take this time to relax and do nothing but unfortunately doing that just makes me feel TERRIBLE. By the end of the holidays I actually miss the structure and purpose that school gave me.

But, I am determined that I’m going to do FUN STUFF this summer and NOT MOOCH AROUND. I might be starting off with too high aspirations, but I’ve printed out a calendar and I’m hoping to get back into using my bullet journal as that really helped me structure my day.

I’ve made a to do list of all the stuff that I want or need to do — ranging LL from homework to visiting museums — so I thought I’d share the most interesting here with you. (Trust me, if I just shared my actual word document with the list it would be pretty incomprehensible.)

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activities

There are so many great museums in London & I don’t think I make enough use of them! I’m hoping to visit the Queer Art exhibition at Tate Britain, the LGBTQ+ history thing at the British Museum, maybe visit the V&A or the Science Museum. I have’t been there since I was about 8 so I’d love to see how it’s changed.

I’d also like to take some day trips for example to Brighton, since it’s pretty easy to get a train ticket places, and also I don’t think I’ve ever been to Brighton. SO I’D LIKE TO DO THAT. I’m still working on convincing my friends to come with me haha.

personal

For personal activities, I am hoping to dye my hair blue tomorrow. I actually dyed it blue earlier but it was a semi-permanent dye so washed out basically immediately. 😦 This is something I’ve wanted to do for ages so fingers crossed it works out!

I am also trying to practice more self-care at the moment. I think I’m doing a better job, and currently I feel…fairly good in terms of mental health? Which is nice for once? I’m using the app Smiling Mind to do short daily (or almost daily haha) meditations, and my mum & I are doing some yoga from youtube videos my aunt recommended us. (She’s recently got super into yoga.) And it’s nice to do something together! Especially a physical activity since I don’t really do much in summer and it does make me feel better. I HOPE to go swimming at my local pool but to be honest I’ll probably end up forgetting. I do use my bike to cycle places though, since my parents can’t take me.

Finally, I’m using Duolingo to learn Japanese. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you might know that I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for a while — I also did a bunch last summer. However, as I predicted school got in the way, so I am hoping to use Duolingo as an easy way to learn some stuff for my school trip (!!!) in autumn. I find I’m quite motivated since I don’t want to lose my streak haha.

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I’m pretty sure I say this every single holiday, but I’m going to try and write a whole bunch of blog posts so that I can have some buffer posts when school/life gets busy. (BECAUSE GCSE YEAR AAAAH I’M FINE.) We’ll see how that turns out.

I’ve also been considering rejigging my blog a bit in terms of design and the way I post. I do quite like my current theme, but I’m sort of feeling like it’s time for a change? And that I could make something which both looks nicer and has more consistent content. (Not that this is necessary for an amazing blog. Just something I’ve been thinking about.)

I’m vaguely considering doing some podfic — if you don’t know what it is, it’s like an audiobook except for fanfiction — since a) I love listening to podfic and b) now I have a mildly better microphone to record with but we shall seeee.

writing

In the last few months I’ve done basically no writing. I’d like to say school just took up all my time, but whilst that’s true to some extent, I also haven’t been feeling very motivated to write anything. This is the first year where I haven’t really got any new poems by the summer. 😦 However, I do have a new idea that I’m working on so I hope to do some of that!

One of my big problems with writing is that I get so worked up over THE NOVEL and how it has to be perfect. I find it a lot easier to view any writing projects from a different way — like, what would I do with this if it were a fanfiction? For me writing fic is really all about enjoyment  so that often gives me a way to feel excited about my story again. Or: what if this were a collection of short stories? a podfic? a webcomic? Obviously different stories work better in different mediums, but that’s just a weird thing I do.

media

As all my friends know, I’m terrible at following up on the stuff they recommend me. So, I’m planning to use this time to watch a bunch of different TV shows (Steven Universe, Brooklyn 99, Jane the Virgin, Carmilla probably others I’ve forgotten) as well as various books, webcomics, and other things. I also want to watch some musicals like Heathers, A Very Potter Sequel and Spring Awakening. (I’M SORRY. I feel bad watching bootlegs but the production is done and I don’t know how else I’m going to see it.)

Along with all this there’s schoolwork, reading/buying books for YALC, read a bunch of watching movies like Star Wars. I adore Star Wars but my family doesn’t enjoy sci-fi so I haven’t seen them all. And I’m seeing the Angels in America at the National Theatre Live thing in the cinema over the next two weeks which I am SO EXCITED FOR. AAH. Hopefully I’ll write a post about it.

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I’ve probably left out some other stuff I want to do, as I always do, but this post has somehow reached 1,000 words and it’s getting hot in this room so I shall end here. 🙂 If you like you can check out my summer bucket list from 2015 (I didn’t do one last year); I just did and woAH what a throwback. I do hope my writing style has developed a bit since then ahaha.

what are your plans for the next two months? doing anything nice? what do you think of the ink squiggles??(it’s an experiment)

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7 Reasons I Love Witch Please

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Hey everyone! I’ve talked a bit about the podcast Witch, Please — a fortnightly podcast about the Harry Potter world, to definitely not quote its own introduction — on this blog before, but it’s just started up again after hiatus and I’m feeling a lot of love for it. Instead of yabbering on to my friends all day, I thought it would be fun to actually voice these feelings and thus convince you to flail about it along with me. (Fun fact: this idea literally came to me as I was falling asleep. I AM SO GLAD I REMEMBERED IT

1. Feminism 

I mean, do you even need any more of a reason? FEMINISM IS THE BEST. For a while I sort of, er, forgot that feminism was a thing because I was going through a bunch of personal stuff but this podcast reminded me that feminism is a cool thing that exists. *nods* I feel like I’ve learnt a lot of stuff and just in general become more engaged with feminism and how I can think about the world and what stuff I read.

2. The hosts are super cool

The hosts, Hannah and Marcelle, are extremely cool badass lady scholars! I admire them a lot! I, too, would love to be such badass scholar one day. The guests that feature in various episodes are also of course very lovely — I mean, to be honest EVERYONE IS LOVELY.

3. Excellent use of sound effects

I mostly listen to narrative fiction podcasts where, like, the audio corresponds to stuff happening in the story, but I think this makes SUCH good use of sound effects! I now imagine owl noises whenever anyone mentions Hedwig. Actually, I just imagine sound effects into my whole life.

3. I’ve learnt a lot

Every time I listen to an episode I feel like I LEARN SO MUCH. I read Harry Potter when I was in primary and although I think I have reread it at some point, I…definitely missed a lot. So it’s cool to revisit the books, sometimes even reread them as well, and then listen to the episodes. However, I not only learn about Harry Potter but also stuff like: how film works! Narrative! Print culture! Advertising! Long words that I can use to intimidate people!

5. I’ve been inspired

I admit, I haven’t been enjoying English lessons at school that much? I don’t really like our GCSE text and I was feeling like it was a bit pointless but this podcast taught me that academia & analysis actually can be fun be fun and interesting. It really inspired me to take more of an interest in reading because I, too, would like to be able to read a book and go LOOK AT THIS, THIS IS INTERESTING. Now sometimes I use things I’ve listened to in episodes in class and feel very accomplished, mwahaha.

6. It makes me laugh

You might not be expecting a lot of laughs from the summary but trust me, IT IS VERY FUNNY. Listening really puts a smile on my face. I also really adore the recurring jokes! And the segments! I spent most of the holiday special episode laugh-crying. Other highlights include character impressions and the ‘sexyy’ sound effect. Just trust me.

7. The awesome Witch, Please community

I love that there’s a really interactive listening community for this podcast! There are many lively discussions and insights from other smart people on Twitter, where @ohwitchplease are the most active. It’s great that you can have a conversations with the creators and other listeners beyond just listening to each episode. ! I actually went to some of the London fan meet-up (although I had to leave early to go to my friend’s birthday, alas) and it was VERY AWESOME.

Just AAAAALL the superlatives, if you couldn’t already tel. I wholeheartedly recommend. You can find all Witch, Please episodes, including the first episode of the new season on ohwitchplease.ca, iTunes, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

A List of Nice Things

Something that I wanted to do more this year was to make time for nice things sometimes, and to care for myself more. (Is this self-care? I mean, I think it probably is. I just don’t know when to use the word haha.)  I still have not great mental health days, but I think in general it’s improved a bit? Yeah. Anyway, I thought I would make a list of some things that I do.  (I have no idea if people want to read this but eh. It is in part a reminder for myself, so.)

Listen to some calming noises
The website Noisli has some really lovely sounds which you can combine and save for different occasions. I find that certain sounds can really affect my mood, or make me think of stuff. (I have a really weird thing about the cicada/evening sound… I don’t know. Possibly from when I used to live in Japan? But yeah, I like that one.) I use this to help me feel calmer when doing work or just chilling, I guess.

Watch some TV
I don’t really watch that much TV, so it really feels like a treat when I do. Sometimes I watch stuff after finishing work, but I have also kind of set aside Tuesday afternoons as my designated ~TV watching time~. I feel like I always have stuff that I can be doing — whether that’s homework, language learning, blog stuff, music practice, writing, whatever — so it’s nice to just have a time to…not do anything and enjoy it. Yeah. *nods*

Set aside time for reading
This is kind of similar to the TV one! As my workload has increased with time, and I’ve started to use social media and stuff, I’ve read less and less. Sometimes it’s cool to just say ‘Ooh look I have some free time, let’s read a book’. (Because obviously I would phrase it in that way haha.)

Have a warm bath
Especially in winter when it’s cold, I find a warm bath can actually help me calm down and get to sleep faster. I also like to listen to stuff in the bath, or sometimes I use a face mask which I’m pretty sure does nothing for my skin, but feels nice anyway. Just in general making it a ~calming experience~.

Clean around the house/my room
My room isn’t the dirtiest, but it’s not the most tidy either. Pretty much the same goes for the rest of my house. I don’t normally feel like cleaning, but that’s mostly just because I feel like I don’t have the time or I should be doing something ‘more productive’. But I actually find tidying very satisfying and calming! Especially if I’m listening to something at the same time.

Play music out loud
When I have a little time alone to myself in the house, I like to play music out loud from the speakers in my kitchen, or just listen to podcasts out loud as I do stuff. Just. Playing stuff out loud! I don’t know, I like it a lot.

I feel like I could probably include other things but YEAH. These are just the things that initially came to mind for me. I guess other things include not doign stuff — whether that’s writing a blog post after a certain amount of days, spending extra time on my homework, whatever. If I try and do that all the time I just get completely burnt out and it is Not Good.

how are you doing? are there any nice things you like to do for yourself?

7 Less Touristy-y Things to Do in London

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Whenever I go away to places, I like to try and find actual advice from people who live there. I think it’s really cool to try and get more authentic idea for what the place is like, and it’s one of my favourite parts of travelling! I also think London is pretty cool, and I think it has some really underrated activities, so I thought it would be fun to share some things that I like to do up and about town. 😀

1. Do a scavenger hunt

If you’re with a group of people and have some time to kill, them scavenger hunts are a super way to get out and about! You can find a selection for different areas and themes here, and once you’ve picked one you’re good to go. As well as little tasks like finding street names or counting things on the outside of buildings, the hunts that I have done also give you some information about the area you’re in. You can check the ones that i have used here — you have to buy them, but it’s not much, especially split between a group. There are also some free ones here!

 2. Visit the Southbank Centre

In general there are just SO MANY good things to do spread all along the south bank of the river. Stuff happens in the Southbank Centre all year long, from the Festival of Love to fountains to Women of the World to the Christmas market. The National Theatre nearby has some great shows — if you haven’t booked you can queue up on Friday mornings (I think?) for tickets if there are any left, or try and get a Friday Rush one — as well as some free things to look at and somewhere warm to sit. You might also want to pay a visit to the Globe Theatre, BFI, Tate Modern, or second hand book fair thing. Just. SO MUCH STUFF NEAR THE SOUTHBANK. It’s always on my list for a day out!

3. Go to a book event

I am an ENDLESS ADVOCATE for book events! I love them! They’re normally really cheap or sometimes even free, and they really give me something to look forward to. I don’t think everyone always knows that they exist, so…? Of course it depends on which events are on and whether they coincide with your visit, but a quick browse on the Waterstones website will do you no harm. (Basically all the events I attend are run by Waterstones, since they tend to have the YA ones. But there’s other stuff out there too, including various cons!)

 4. Enjoy some art at the Tate(s)

I know I already mentioned Southbank, but there was too much squeezed into that short space and I LIKE ART THINGS. Some things are better than others at the Tate — the descriptions can tend to overanalyse a bit in my opinion post-capitalist modern critique or whatever I DON’T CAAARE @ CONCEPT ART but there’s so much choice as well as great permanent collections. The buildings are well worth a visit on their own, too! Tate Modern is home to the Turbine Hall which has different installations inside, and the new Switch House building is cool too. If you visit the Tate Britain then your #claimtofame can be standing at the site of Lauren Aquilina’s live Echoes video, ayy. 😉 At the moment Tate Modern has a really good Rauschenberg exhibition, by the way! I like going to see art just on a day out because I don’t feel any pressure to analyse it or whatever; I just like to try and enjoy it and consider how it makes me feel.

5. Visit Covent Garden

Covent Garden has a bunch of shops, from the wonderfully cute Moomin shop to the Whittard’s tea shop where I normally just go around testing EVERY SINGLE ITEM in their cute plastic glasses. (I have actually bought stuff from Whittards so I don’t feel too bad. It is fun to taste all their things.) Sometimes there’s street performers or market-y stalls, and in general it’s just a nice place to visit! There are also some cool quirky shops around the general Covent Garden/Seven Dials area such as Tofu Cute and Tatty Devine.

6. Do a fandom tour

London is the home to lots of cool fandom things! Of course it depends what you’re into, but some internet searching can prove very useful should you want to explore some fannish London locations. For Harry Potter, you can go on a self-guided tour or an actual professional walking tour, which  really sounds like a job I should be applying for haha. A Doctor Who tour is available (though I hear it’s more focused on Classic Who), and as well as visiting the Sherlock Holmes museum you can take a look at one of the Sherlock tours. (That link is really good; it has locations for a self-guided one as well as organised tours.)

7. Trawl through the bookshops of Charing Cross Road

Charing Cross Road is well known for its second hand bookshops — even if some of the prices might make your eyes water, it’s so atmospheric to look around them at all the old books. (I love old book smells.) Sometimes you can find real gems! ayyy my 19th century copy of Les Mis The really big Foyles is also there if you want a different selection to Waterstones, and Forbidden Planet is around the corner on Shaftesbury Avenue. 🙂

have you been to london? done any of these things? do you have any underrated activities for where you live?

7 #Relatable Clarinet Things

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I’ve played the clarinet for a couple of years now, and I love talking to other clarinet players about all the clarinet things. So HERE ARE A FEW. Also, whilst I was writing this post I I realised that this was kinda similar to An Overthinking Teenager’s #Trumpeterproblems post so do go and check that out, it’s excellent! I mean, I’m not actually a trumpeter, but I DID ENJOY IT NEVERTHELESS.

1. Wait, how many ledger lines?

As you can see here, you can get a whooole bunch of ledger lines on the clarinet. I’ve got a pretty solid hold on the lower ledger lines, but in the higher register? (The weird altissimo one.) Yeah, just no. I am that person who sits there counting them all out. TOO MANY LEDGER LINES, GUYS.

2. There are approximately 30172907 other clarinet players out there

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eternally glad so many people choose to play the clarinet, because clearly the best instrument out there. *coughs* It just means that there’s a lot of competition for the few clarinet spaces there are in orchestras. (Like, at least there are about a million violins. Compared with THREE CLARINETS, I tell you. THREE CLARINETS.) (This especially sucks when you have, like, a clarinet prodigy at your school. RIP me.)

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3. Playing 3rd clarinet in the school orchestra

Even when you do manage to get a place in orchestra, if it’s a lower part then it’s often just minims or crotchets plus 40 bars rest. I’m still pretty bitter from my 3rd clarinet days, to be honest. But it means that you can be SUPER HAPPY when you move up a part.

4. Trilling over the break

Some composers obviously just…do not understand how the clarinet works. BRO, I CANNOT TRILL FROM AN A TO A C. I JUST CAN’T. For non-clarineters: that means going from leaning on one key with your index finger to having all your fingers down! Plus another key! THE HORROR. I mean, there probably is a trill key for it. (See below.) But when you have to do it in like a scale of really quick notes going over the break and it’s just asdgyjhakeflkw.

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5. SO MANY DIFFERENT KEYS

I’ve played the clarinet for a good while now, and even I don’t know what all the little keys along the side do. (I think I know most of them. But I might have to experiment a bit if you actually asked me to tell you.) It also means that if you knock one of them slightly, it can send your entire instrument off kilter and then you have to improvise with cling film and blue-tack to try and get the notes out.

6. Cleaning your clarinet is just…no

There are a variety of different clarinet cleaning things out there that you can use, but I have a weird cloth with a weight on the end. It used to be white, but now it’s brown and ripped and just in general extremely disgusting. I used to barely ever clean my clarinet, so when I did it would come out with loads of brown stuff, but now I try and clean it every time I play to minimise that. It’s still pretty gross.

7. Your one good reed always chips

Reeds are just really weird and mostly out to hate you. (It always seems like they’re especially out to get you when you are a wee tiny clarinet player.) They’re dry and they chip really easily and sometimes you find a 2 year old one somewhere and it is super super manky. And then when you get out the one reed you trust to play it at the concert…IT GOES AND CHIPS. Because of course.

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do you play an instrument, or would you like to? (the clarinet maybe?!?) can you relate to any of these struggles?

7 Things I Love About BBC Class

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This week has been long for me and for many others, I know. I was going to write a whole post about it, but to be honest I’m just a bit tired. Instead, I decided the best thing for me was to keep loving things and talking about the things I love.

So, in case you have missed my copious twitter flailings… I AM REALLY LOVING THE NEW DOCTOR SPIN OFF CLASS. It’s about some students at Coal Hill School and the aliens which appear there, in varying combinations. I believe it’s only showing on BBC Three for the UK at the moment but it appears there! Every Saturday! SUCH JOY. Because I’m enjoying it so much, and because I basically never talk about TV shows,  here is a post about all the things I think are cool in it.

(Also: before I finished drafting this, Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff also wrote about the awesomeness of Class… so shout out to her, go read her fabulous post!)

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1. Complex and diverse characters

Characters are one of the most important things to me in media — however good the plot is, the characters are what anchors me to that world and keeps me reading/watching/etc. I am just so in love with all the characters here; they each have their flaws and strengths and hidden attributes and ASDFJKL CINNAMON ROLLS IT IS UNFAIR I ADORE THEM ALL. It’s wonderful to see diversity on the show, especially since it’s something that has frustrated me about Doctor Who in the past. The characters aren’t defined by their gender or race or sexuality.

2. Also, the cast are all super cute

Admittedly, this is not actually a part of the show itself. But ALL THE CAST ARE SO LOVELY AND COOL????? I went to their panel at MCM London and it was just SO GOOD. And then Vivian (Tanya) and Fady (Ram) did an ask thing ad they were so cute and funny just. Overall I basically have a crush on the ENTIRE CAST. They are UNFAIRLY ATTRACTIVE AND NICE PEOPLE.

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3. It’s very different from Doctor Who

Don’t get me wrong, I love Doctor Who! But I think it would have been a mistake to try and be exactly the same, and it’s cool that it’s not. I was also not a massive fan of the extremely confuddling plot lines which have appeared over recent Doctor Who series, to be honest, so… Yeah. Arcs and hints for teh whole series are cool! Yes! But it was just refreshing to see more of a return to the general overarching things but ALSO new monsters to fight every week.

4. The one liners tho

That’s definitely a sentence, pfft. There are just SO MANY hilarious lines and comebacks and it is amazing. Tanya is so savage. Although Miss Quill has to be the queen of awesome liens, which leads me to my next point…

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5. Miss Quill

I adore every single person in Class, to be honest, and I CANNOT CHOOSE BETWEEN THEM. (Except the evil guys.) But it’s safe to say that I’ve really fallen in love with Miss Quill… She’s definitely mean, and kind of scary, but her character just seems so complex and original to me. She DOES WHAT SHE WANTS. She has a BADASS HAIRCUT. She DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YE MORTAL PEASANTS. Yes.

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6. Awesome friendship AND romantic relationship dynamics

Ships are cool. But you know what’s also cool? FRIENDSHIP. Romance can be great, but I hate when it’s placed above everything else in a show… I want ALL THE THINGS. Complex friendships and group dynamics are so important, and here they’re just beautiful. Plus, GIRL-BOY FRIENDSHIPS. We need more of these. Because, guess what folks? Girls and boys actually can be friends. Goodness me. But yes, I’m so looking forward to seeing how everyone develops!

7. One BADASS opening sequence

I will confess that I had slightly mixed feelings about it when I first saw the opening sequence, but now when it comes on I’m like YAS. The song (Up All Night, apparently) is such a jam and the graphics aah! I haven’t been able to find a really high quality video for it,  but here’s the best one I could get.

are you watching bbc class? what do you think of it so far? or would you now like to?!? (i hope so!)

7 Languages I’d Like to Speak // struck by linguistic love

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I HAVE SO MANY LANGUAGES APART FROM ENGLISH THAT I WANT TO LEARN. Literally all of them. There are way too many languages in the world. And let’s remember that I’m still on my way to learn English. I just…LIKE LANGUAGES A LOT. ❤ I have such a busy summer ahead of me. Even though I probably won’t end up doing all the work I want, but hey!

1. Spanish This is probably my favourite language at school! I want to be able to read the Spanish copy of Eleanor & Park I bought. Don’t ask. There’s also a lot of Spanish literature I’d love to read in its original language, but… HOPEFULLY. Someday. I’m going to make this happen.

2. Old English The language of Beowulf, Merlin, and the maybe the basis for Elvish. (Which makes an appearance later.) I have basically no knowledge of this language at all, unlike most of the others on this list, but thank Maggie Stiefvater. The Raven Cycle inspires unknown language-learning, okay?

3. Japanese Yes. I am in theory learning this, but I’ve basically only learnt the hiragana and katakana so far. So I can read some things phonetically! But I can’t tell you what they mean. The hope and the dream is to watch a Ghibli film in its original language (and without subs). Because I am a nerd, and I like Studio Ghibli.

4. Latin The textbook we have is kind of silly — yeah it’s the Cambridge one with Caecilius and everything, hi to anyone else who knows what I’m talking about — but this would be awesome to be able to know it a bit better. I could be Ronan Lynch. With a bonus of obscure words definitions.

5. British Sign Language Obviously BSL is different to the other languages here! There are no opportunities at all to learn it at school, so I think I should at least learn some basic phrases. It’s really cool. And then you can speak in all sorts of situations where you can’t vocally say stuff.

6. French I just handed in my options to give this up next year. *sighs* I have to many subjects that I want to study and it’s awful. I still hold my Les Mis/living in Paris fantasies in my heart, though, and I AM GOING TO MAKE THEM HAPPEN. Even if it means visiting with another person who, you know, actually can communicate. I will not give this up.

7. Elvish I’m not going to lie here: I went through a phase of researching constructed languages (i.e. made up languages) and it was all very nerdy and academic. But being able to speak Elvish would be awesome, no?| IT WOULD BE LIKE A SECRET CODE. I wish I could learn Morse Code as well. I know it’s not really a language, but can we just put that as the honorary eighth? I don’t want to break the seven tradition, guys.

do you speak more than one language? which ones would you like to learn? are you torn in WAY too many different directions like me? 😛

 

7 Things I Love About Studio Ghibli

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Studio Ghibli’s last movie comes out Friday 10th, so I’ve been feeling pretty emotional about it recently. I flail about Ghibli a lot, as many people know — and I have a suspicious amount of Totoro merchandise stored up in my bedroom! I’ve been watching them ever since I lived in Japan when I was younger, and I’m actually pretty proud of how many I’ve watched…I’ve only got When Marnie Was There left to watch before I complete them. 🙂

But it’s the last movie before their hiatus, and I HAVE NO IDEA HOW I’M GOING TO COPE. By crying in the cinema, probably. In order to sort of commemorate that, I decided to tell you all why I love Ghibli movies!

1. Beautiful animation

Literally, it’s like Hayao Miyazaki just TRIES to make animation difficult for himself. There’s so much beautiful scenery and art. There aren’t many animated movies as beautiful as Ghibli ones. A lot of studios have moved into computer graphics, so it’s awesome to go back to a more traditional style that we all recognise from Ghibli.

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2. Strong female characters!

I was just going to put ‘strong characters’ here, but to be honest lots of movies suck at having any female characters, so. (I don’t want to generalise too much about movies altogether, and it’s getting better, but yeah.) But I love that Ghibli movies have well-rounded female characters — not just the ‘strong’ femme fatale. Which is a totally fine character trait, but I don’t want all girls to be that because NOT ALL GIRLS ARE. There’s headstrong girls! Shy girls! Writerly girls! Selfish girls! Villainous girls! YAY. (Although Ghibli isn’t the pinnacle of all diversity ever and stuff. Before I get into an argument.)

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3. Awesome soundtracks

Mostly these are composed by the legend that is Joe Hisaishi — the more classical ones, like Princess Mononoke, My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited — but there’s also gems like From Up ON Poppy Hill. WHICH HAS JAZZY CLARINET and to be honest is just a really nostalgic film altogether. I just…really, really like Ghibli soundtracks.

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4. There’s so much variety

I mean, I think a lot of people do think of Spirited Away as embodying Ghibli films, but Ghibli films cover so many different genres: epic fantasy, high school love story, cute children’s movie… There are meaningful movies and silly movies and nostalgic movies. Every mood can be satisfied. In my opinion, there’s one for everyone. 😛

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5. Hurrah for non-patronising childrens’ movies

You can watch Totoro with your 8 year old cousin and both enjoy it and not have to worry that it’s too inappropriate or whatever. I STILL LOVE TOTORO. And The Cat Returns. (Baron is me.) And… yeah. You get the idea.

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6. Hurrah for movies without romance

Sometimes I just don’t want to watch a movie with romance, guys. IT ISN’T THAT DIFFICULT. Although it actually is quite difficult. So it’s great to just be able to pull out a movie and know I’m getting an awesome adventure! (There are romantic movies. Whisper of the Heart is one of my favourites. But anyway.)

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7. Hayao Miyazaki is a Very Cool Guy

I’ve just been watching a documentary about Ghibli called Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, and IT’S SUPER COOL. I mean, I realise that Hayao Miyazaki hasn’t directed all Ghibli films, but he’s probably the face of the studio and he does seem to be the driving force. He’s also talked about anime culture and how directors aren’t observing human behaviour. I think there’s a lot of meaning in his films and Ghibli films in general. I cried at the end of The Wind Rises. IT’S JUST. Ack. So beautiful and sad. (I almost put the Anime is Trash gif here, but I looked it up and that’s just a mistranslation. MIYAZAKI NEVER SAID IT.)

I’m currently in exam week, so if I’m not replying as usual that’s the reason! I hope you’re all having a good day, and I’ll probably return Friday flailing about When Marnie Was There. 😛

do you like studio ghibli? which are your favourite movies? do you know of any similar films?

7 (Mostly Stupid) Nostalgic Computer Games

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So, when I say ‘nostalgic’ games, I’m not actually referring to Pac-Man kind of games. Sorry. I AM NOT OLD ENOUGH TO CLAIM PAC MAN IS MY CHILDHOOD. And I am also still in my childhood. But luckily for me, the internet changes fast enough for this to seem Sufficiently Old. *nods*

Don’t tell me I’m the only one who knows that coolmaths.com is the site to go to if you want to fool the system into thinking you’re on an educational site. (Let’s just pretend I’m not writing this list during NaNoWriMo. I HAVEN’T BEEN PROCRASTINATING AT ALL, what are you talking about?!?)

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1. Fireboy and Watergirl Oh my goodness this game was my favourite. It’s…still my favourite two player game. It’s pretty much the only decent one, in my opinion. 😉 Because I’m really bad at Minecraft and ‘Actual Video Games’. The two-player element was especially useful when there was practically a bloodbath over the two computers in the library after school. (In retrospect: why is the boy the fire? But anyway, yeah.)

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2. Bloons Tower Defense The sound of computerised balloons popping is weirdly stress-relieving. The best part is when you get, like, the robot laser eye monkey right at the end and raze through all the rainbow coloured balloons. (It was actually quite a violent game, to be honest. And who even thought of ninja and sniper moneys? Are they a metaphor for humanity? What did those weirdly sentient balloons ever do to the moneys? Is there a whole backstory to this game? *gasps*

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3. Cookie Clicker SO SO POINTLESS. Probably the most ridiculous game on this entire list. I don’t know. But it’s really fun. Just. Even more pointless than all the others. I think there are copies of it with other items, too? Ah well. Someday I’ll look it up.

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4. Papa Louie Evil pizza monsters, duh. And what is more important than delivering pizzas whilst being attacked by evil pizzas??

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5. Circle the Cat This is actually a pretty clever game, even now. Stopping the cat from getting out requires actual thinking. (Some of it is luck where the starter squares are placed. But it’s more intellectual than, say, Cookie Clicker.)

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6. Celtic Village AHAHAHA. This game is the weirdest. It wasn’t ever really a popular-at-school thing like some of the others, but my cousin and I would play it at Christmas at the same time and see who could last the longest. It’s weird as hell, and it has terrible graphics, and it glitches all the time from what I can remember: random children would just turn into green aliens?? And then, like, the gods would come and age all your people up? Who even knows? *shakes head* Anyway, I just liked naming all my villagers. I had some pretty cool ones. Even if they all ended up dying at the end or something.

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7. Shopping Street OH MY GOD the competition with this. Way to introduce children to the retailing market. It was another kind of stress relieving one, though — maybe listening to money chink from all the little people pass is less good than balloons popping, but hey. (Not that balloons are particularly normal either. Oh well.)

What computer games did you used to play? Recognise any of these? I’M SO BAD AT ALL VIDEO GAMES NOW PERSONALLY. Except for Wii Sports. 😉

Summer Bucket List

Summer bucket list

Why are bucket lists called bucket lists? This is a question that has eluded me for many months: you’re supposed to put your list into a bucket? You should wear a bucket as you complete the tasks? The…letting go of yourself…symbolises, uh, throwing buckets of water into the sea?? Apparently, though, it’s from a film where some people decided to make a list of things to do before they kick the bucket. How wonderfully cheery is that?! I’m personally hoping to make it to September alive and well., but suit yourselves.

Though I complain about school, I’m a person who likes her life to be organised. I feel lost when I don’t have structure doing the holidays. Thus, I’ve come up with a REVOLUTIONARY and INGENIOUS plan – a bucket list!

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I’ve never made a bucket list before. I’m not planning for this to end up in the direction of some of the complete-this-mysterious-list books I’ve read. But the summer holidays really give me some time to do some of those things that I’ve been wanting to do for ages but just can’t. Such as…

1. WRITE THAT DARN BOOK

I’ve had a strange idea wafting around my head ever since last November’s NaNo. I’ve got about 35k down, but since then my idea has morphed in rather a different direction. I’ve been thinking about it far too often for my own good; it’s sort of become my little…recurring daydream. I want to read it a lot. Summer should be an excellent opportunity to get myself sorted out.

2. Raid the library

I don’t mean in my normal fashion, though naturally that’ll have to happen too. 😉 I’m thinking more: READ THOSE CLASSICS YOU’VE BEEN EYEING UP FOR AGES. I’d quite like to read Les Mis before I got to Paris which I’m ridiculously excited about. I’m already far too emotionally involved in those characters anyway. I’d also like to try out Wuthering Heights. And Lord of the Rings. And poetry, and maybe some *gasps* non-fiction books as well. I like to learn. Speaking of which:

3. Learn some new useful things

It’d be helpful to sort out my miserably dismal html skills. I also rather fancy some language-learning, either of one I already study or something new WORDS ARE JUST TOO PRETTY OKAY. Maybe some science too, or history, or useless general knowledge trivia. My brain hungers for useless trivia right now.

4. Finish all those TV programmes (and watch some decent films)

I’ve started about a million series (Once Upon a Time, Avatar the Last Airbender, Supernatural etc.) and I still haven’t finished any of them. That’s something I’d like to do. I’m thinking a full day marathon, that sort of thing. Plus, because I’m apparently lumping all camera-film-related things together, I’d like to go to that new cinema nearby. And maybe finally finish all the Ghibli films, so that be all knowledgeable? 😛 It seems a bit of a shame to stay inside when it’s sunny, but British summers usually include a bit of rainy downtime.

5. Go see some art

I have fantasies where I go to visit places on my own and then can sit and admire things without feeling awkward. I’d quite like to realise one of them. Maybe visit the British Library too.

6. Do more origami

The only thing I can make is paper cranes. I’m not bad at it; it’s a very good de-stresser. This summer I’d like to either a) have a stab at the thousand cranes or b) learn some different origami. If it’s a choice, paper weapons that I can make/implement during school would be nice.

7. Stargaze

…did I say I wasn’t going to steal things from books? I might have lied there. I just really want to see some stars. One time I woke up whilst camping and it was insane. I don’t see many stars normally so it was insane to see stars falling everywhere. I’d like to stargaze officially (maybe get some constellation knowledge too.)

With any luck, I’ll be able to update you on my progress during summer! I kind of hope that writing all these down will encourage me. (If not, you’re welcome to write a comment with ‘HOW DARE YE’ or the like!)

If your holidays have started, how are they going? Do you have any more ideas for me, or a summer bucket list of your own? 🙂