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Quote from “Sixteen Candles”.

Moving on to now to the first blog post since the 30th of November 2010. (Favorites in bold)

Movies I’ve seen since I last blogged

Gran Torino
Zodiac
Rocky
Case 39
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
The A Team
Survival of the Dead
Le Pere Noel est un Ordure
Australia
Lakeview Terrace
Grosse Pointe Blank
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The Disappearance of Alice Creed
The Expendables
Serenity
Eagle Eye
Disturbia
Doom
Two Days in Paris
Basic Instinct
Duck Soup
The Duchess
American Graffiti
Daybreakers
Planet of the Apes
Carrie
Resident Evil: Afterlife
The Big Lebowski
Full Metal Jacket
Queen of the Damned
The Incredible Hulk
Salt
The Runaways
Cry-Baby
Lolita
When Harry Met Sally
Napoleon Dynamite
Braveheart
2001: A Space Odyssey
Despicable Me
The Killer Inside Me
The Taking of Pelham 123
Nine Dead
From Paris With Love
Veronika Decides to Die
Dorian Gray
Legion
Color Me Kubrick
Easy A
Groundhog Day
Ten Inch Hero
Shock Treatment
Scusa ma ti chiamo amore
Winter’s Bone
Repo! The Genetic Opera
Sixteen Candles
Le roi de coeur
Vilaine
Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope
Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars: Episode VI—Return of the Jedi
Chocolat
King Ralph
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The Circle
Le Herisson
Beautiful Creatures
Catholic Boys

Books

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
Wake by Lisa McMann
Fade by Lisa McMann
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (now that I’ve read the book, I can say that the movie is a PERFECT adaptation)
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
Fire by Kristin Cashore (even better than her first book “Graceling”)
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Room by Emma Donoghue (wow)
XVI by Julia Karr
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
The Carbon Diaries: 2017 by Saci Lloyds
Choke by Chuch Palahniuk

TV Shows

Lost season 6 (finally!)
Scrubs season 9
IT Crowd seasons 1 to 4
Firefly (WATCH IT NOW!)
Supernatural season 5
Dollhouse season 1 and 2
Spartacus: Blood and Sand season 1
The Guild seasons 1 to 4 (created by Felicia Day who played Vi on BTVS in season 7)
Heroes season 4
Misfits seasons 1 and 2
Xena: the Warrior Princess (Now on season 2–it gets MUCH better after that cheesy first episode…)
Glee seasons 1 and 2 (I LOVE it!)

*****

Now that’s done, we’ll move on to answering this question: Why haven’t I blogged in so long?

Mainly, school. Between long school hours, homework, stressful exams, a huge school project, a trip to Italy (!!) and then my Italian correspondent staying at my place for a week, I haven’t been able to write, let alone blog. And soon I’ll be revising for 4 exams: the CPE (Cambridge Proficiency Exam–I need it as a proof that I speak English for unis), the Maths Bac, French Bac (in 2 parts), Physics-Chemistry/Science Bac.

Now I’m going to write a blog post about writing.

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The second week of NaNoWriMo 2010

  • Monday 8th: 516
  • Tuesday 9th: 1002
  • Wednesday 10th: 305
  • Thursday 11th: 1719
  • Friday 12th: 103
  • Saturday 13th: 162
  • Sunday 14th: 939

Total for week 2:

Current NaNoWriMo total:

Total for novel:

Total NaNo-fail, I know. A mix of school, being sick, having homework and plain ol’ procrastinating got in the way of writing. Also: a problem in chapter 27 that I haven’t been able to overcome. Last day I wrote: Wednesday the 17th of November. And thar was 79 words. FAIL.

But tomorrow morning, I might get up an hour early and write. And I’ve done some homework in advance. *GASP!* I almost NEVER do that.

Movies

  • Bandslam: MUCH better than I expected. What I expected was a cliche-ridden film. I expected the nerdy boy to fall for the bitchy girl and not realize that the quiet outcast was THE ONE for him. I expected stereotypical characters and stupid insults. Guess what? There was only one cliche (that I noticed anyway) throughout the entire movie. And it was a small one. Most surprising part? Almost crying. This movie really seemed like a typical Disney movie. And later, I looked it up on IMDB. Turns out they advertised it by comparing it to High School Musical. That’s exactly what I thought it was going to be like. But that was based on the DVD cover alone. Okay, I’m rambling…
  • A Sound of Thunder: Not a fantastic, brilliant, genius movie, but it was entertaining. And I love that whole “survival” aspect. If you ignore the obvious plot holes, it’s entertaining. Or you can make fun of them, like my sister and I did.
  • Tout ce qui brille: French movie. Sad/funny. The thing I hated the most was seeing this one character pretend to be someone else, all to fit it with rich people. Rich people who didn’t even give a shit about their own kids. And the other main character who DOESN’T do that still pissed me off with some of the things she did. Do not recommend.
  • The Condemned: Kinda like “A Sound of Thunder”: not brilliant, but it’s entertaining. As long as you don’t mind violence that is.
  • Nicotina: Mexican movie. Very similar to Pulp Fiction–characters, dialogue, plot. I liked it.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 1): Being a HUGE HP fan, I SHOULD write a whole post about it, but it’s late. For now I’ll say this: HP7 part 1 surprised me. It was dark, sad, funny, and a 1000 times better than the previous 6 movies. I only hated one scene in the movie: when Ron explains how he found Harry and Hermione, with the ball of light from the deluminator, I found it cheesy/corny/sentimental. Totally unlike Ron. And the music didn’t help either. Apart from that scene, I am VERY pleased with it. And is it just me or was Daniel Radcliffe much funnier in this movie?
  • Simone: Okay, I’m too tired to think of anything to say about this movie. Average. Some funny moments. Definitely the worst out of the 7 movies on this list of movies I’ve recently seen. You’ll be fine if you don’t see this.

Books (this is gonna be short–I have to go to bed SOON)

  • Alpha by Rachel Vincent: Last book in Shifter series. Loved it. Cried. Averagely happy with ending. Want more.
  • Break by Hannah Moskowitz: Devoured it in one day. I was half-happy with the ending (though a lot of people HATED it), the writing could have been better, but she was only 17 or so at time of writing it. Her blog and the excerpts of her new novels she posts show that her writing has improved. (She’s now 19.) I intend to buy all of her books.
  • Fallout by Ellen Hopkins: Last book in trilogy. Loved it. Also devoured it. Very happy. (I own ALL of Ellen Hopkins’ books.)
  • Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead: While I enjoyed reading it, and I definitely want to read the rest of the books in the series, I don’t desperately NEED the next book NOW. Very funny, though. Very interesting to see what writers look/are like to non-writers. Made for some funny scenes.
  • Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles: Some of the writing/dialogue was corny (like some of Brittany’s inner monologue, or her dialogue. She actually says “I’m completely grossed out!”–seriously?), but I tried to ignore the writing and focus on the story. That was the interesting part. Alex (Mexican) and Brittany (rich white girl) fall in love. At first they hate it each other. Hated that Alex and Brittany judged each other based on where they came from–they both knew better. Brittany knew people thought she was a rich bitch with a perfect life and body and boyfriend–and she knew those people were wrong. Alex knew people thought he was a bad guy, involved in drugs and murder–and he knew those people were wrong. And yet what do they do? They judge each other. Shouldn’t they know better?

Other

  • School: My grades range from average to good to very good. Only one is really bad. Overall, I’m happy (and surprised) with my grades.
  • Health: My eyesight has declined a little (yes, I wear glasses–I’m nearsighted) so I have to go to the ophthalmologist the 7th of December; I have lordosis (google it) which means I have to go swimming twice a week and see a physical therapist once or twice a week; I have light aquagenic urticaria, but that’s old news (we found OxyHives–homeopathic and it works). Man, I am NOT a very healthy person… The two fingers I burned the other week are healing though. (Why the look of surprise? Did I not mention I burned two fingers last week? I’m pretty sure I mentioned it on Twitter.)

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School

I knew I was going to be busy this school year, but oddly enough, all I’ve done since going back to school is:

  • go to school
  • do homework
  • eat
  • sleep
  • go to school
  • do homework
  • watch TV
  • a little bit of reading
  • a teeny tiny bit of writing
  • do more homework
  • go to school some more
  • go to ONE party
  • sleep
  • sleep
  • go to school

Notice what pops up a lot on this list?

I guess it’s understandable I’d have a lot of homework–I AM in my before last year of school… But school is so much more tiring this year, and even though I haven’t had THAT much homework, I’m always tired, so my free time goes to waste.

Oh, and as it turned out, there are people in my class I know, namely Naomi (http://greyperception.wordpress.com/), a very good friend of mine. But because of circumstances, we only have normal maths and sport together. Wanna know these circumstances? I’m sure you do. Here they are:

  1. We’re not in the same Physics/Science group
  2. I take Spanish LV2, she takes Italian LV2
  3. I chose Italian LV3, she chose HIDA (history of art)
  4. I chose maths as my specialty (different from the other maths), she chose HIDA
  5. While I’m in normal French class, she’s in FLE because she doesn’t speak fluent French (for those of you who don’t know/forgot, I’m French and go to an International school in France)
  6. For English, History and Geography, we’re in different groups

What else can I tell you about school? Oh, there are 3 guys in my class. That’s two more than last year. Of course that’s only for the, well, “core class”, I guess you could call it, which is 1ereL1, meaning Literary 11th grade 1 (there’s 2 Literary 11th grade classes).

Movies

  • 7 days: Boring.
  • The Godfather: Enjoyed it.
  • Life of Brian: Loved it, especially the end.
  • City of God: Now this one… This movie was MIND-BLOWINGLY GOOD. I HIGHLY recommend it. The actors were unknown/had actually lived in such conditions, so the acting is perfect. It could have been a documentary. And despite having many scenes where kids kill other kids, those are not the most shocking. The most shocking, horrible scene is when one character shoots two little kids in the foot. Just writing that sentence is making me feel sad and horrified again. And this is coming from someone who must have seen at least a hundred horror movies. Oh, and if you’re wondering, I watched it in the original Brazilian Portuguese (with French subtitles) which makes the movie much better than if I’d watched in the dubbed French. Dubbing should be illegal–usually the voices sound so fake because they’re not truly acting; all they’re doing is speaking, they’re not also running through the forest like the real actors were, climbing a tree, etc.

Books

  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: I started this book in January and finished it in September. I read it on and off for NINE months–does that give you ANY idea of how well written the book is? Nabokov’s prose is beautiful and vivid, but what truly made it difficult for me to read the novel is Humbert Humbert (hereafter referred to as “HH”) who, by the end of the book, is completely insane, unstable, unreliable. And you could think that HH is the one with the power in his relationship with Lolita, but she’s the one who manipulates him. Recommend it.
  • Fang by James Patterson: Guilty pleasure, enjoy the story and certain character but not the writing. Dialogue is mostly cheesy or immature for characters of those ages. Entertaining nonetheless.
  • Third book I’ve read recently gets its own paragraphy thingy.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Wow.

Summary from Amazon (UK):

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist – almost.

Characters

  • Ty: At first, you hate him, just like Gemma does, then as she learns about his past, the way his father never cared about him, the way his mother abandoned him, the way he ended up living all alone at the age of 11, you feel sorry for him, you understand why he is the way he is. And at the end, when Gemma is confused about her feelings for him, so was I. You know you should hate him, but he never truly hurts Gemma.
  • Gemma: I read a one star review of this book on Amazon that calls Gemma boring, and I actually have to agree with them on that one. (They say the whole book is boring–that’s where I disagree.) Based on what we find out about her as kid, I’d say she’s interesting, but maybe as a teen she wanted to blend in, be accepted and liked, so she stopped being herself. But I suppose one thing I can say in her favor is that she tries to escape several times and even when she realizes she cannot escape, she’s alone with him in the Australian Outback with the nearest town VERY far away, she doesn’t give in to Ty. She could have easily given up, completely given up, she could have spent her entire time crying (she does spend some time crying–I mean come on, she’s away from her family, her friends, her home and everything she’s used to), but she doesn’t.

The word “fuck” in this novel

It was so nice to see the word be used in the book. Most of the time, writers are afraid to use it, but people say “fuck” when they talk, especially people like Ty–he kidnapped a girl, he’s not going to say stuff like “Gosh darn it” or “Frick.”

I, for one, say “fuck.” But I know not to say it in front of teachers, extended family members (I say extended because in my house, around my parents and my siblings, almost anything goes), strangers, etc. But “fuck” is just a word–kids reading it in a book won’t become juvenile delinquents just because of it. Nor will they become juvenile delinquents if they start swearing, or swearing more often.

If you believe this, well…does that make me a juvenile delinquent? Because I get good grades, never ditch school, have never stolen in my life, never smoked, never done drugs, never had sex or even kissed a boy. So I’d say that if you firmly believe swearing leads to bad behavior, you might need to rethink that belief of yours. Ditto if you believe novels in which characters do bad thing influence people, because I’ve read books such as “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess, everything by Ellen Hopkins, “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson, etc.

Writing

I have written, I kid you not, 667 words since the 1st of September. Pathetic or what? So I’m thinking of using NaNoWriMo to help me finish writing The Way Wars Are Won, just like I did with Kenna’s Choice. It’ll be the kick up the butt I desperately need.

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So tomorrow I go back to school, and I’m freaking out. I don’t what class I’m in, who’s in my class and if I’ll know anyone who’s in my class. I haven’t finished the summer reading, or started writing my report on my two-week work experience. I also haven’t reached 55 000 words in “The Way Wars Are Won”, which I wanted to do by the end of August.

I also STILL haven’t finished editing chapter 3 of “Kenna’s Choice” or finished reading “Lolita”.

AND I start at 8.30, not 10, meaning I have to wake up at 6.30 a.m. That’s in less than 8 hours people. *gulp* Then again, I never get enough sleep during the school year…

Anyway…

Earlier this week, I truly panicked and abandoned my computer for two days, during which I did nothing by waste time in front of the TV, in total denial of my homework. I also stopped writing.

But tomorrow, after school, I will start reading “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (here’s hoping it’s better than “Dubliners” which is, in my opinion, badly written, boring and each short story never goes anywhere) and do some writing.

Word Count from the 1st of August to today:

1st    Sunday    391
2nd    Monday    65
3rd    Tuesday    114
4th    Wednesday    528
5th    Thursday    33
6th    Friday    672
7th    Saturday    0
8th    Sunday    0
9th    Monday    0
10th    Tuesday    0
11th    Wednesday    846
12th    Thursday    808
13th    Friday    0
14th    Saturday    678
15th    Sunday    859
16th    Monday    160
17th    Tuesday    1405
18th    Wednesday    245
19th    Thursday    1426
20th    Friday    277
21st    Saturday    0
22nd    Sunday    15
23rd    Monday    0
24th    Tuesday    0
25th    Wednesday    1080
26th    Thursday    0
27th    Friday    0
28th    Saturday    61
29th    Sunday    0
30th    Monday    0
31st    Tuesday    0
1st    Wednesday    120
2nd    Thursday    0

Hopefully, September will be a better month. “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” And I will be busy–homework, school, social life (maybe), reading, writing, editing, possibly critiquing for my critique partner as well as blogging and tweeting.

Movies I’ve seen:

  • Mad Max
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
  • Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome [I LOVE all three movies, especially the second]
  • Cocoon (meh)
  • The Shining (AMAZING)

And I think that’s it…

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This was an English assignment, which is why it’s not my normal way of writing on my blog. Posted as I turned it in to my teacher. No changes made at all.

* * * * *

The French school system:
more to it than it seems

French schools are considered to be the best and the Baccalaureat is held in very high regard all over the U.S. and the U.K. However the students who go to these schools will tell you that it isn’t as great as it looks. The system appears to be better suited to adults than to children.

For a start, by the time these French students are sixteen, they’re spending as much as forty hours at school per week while the maximum hours an adult can work per week is thirty-five. Rest assured, they only have class for twenty-nine or thirty of those hours, but those forty hours spent at school are still five more than their Italian counterparts, eight more than their German counterparts and ten more than their Spanish counterparts.

These hours of class are divided between ten subjects, nine of which are compulsory. That’s right: these students only get to truly choose one of their ten subjects. And the choices they’re given aren’t as diverse as they’d like it to be. The choices? A fourth language, an artistic subject, SES, MPI or ISI.

They also don’t get a say in what sport they do throughout the year, at least not until they’re sixteen years old and then again the choices are very limited. And if they can even find the time for extra-curricular activities, then they struggle to do both their homework and those activities. Not to mention they also want to have fun, go shopping, see a movie or go to a party like any normal teenager would. Most students end up either not doing any activities, don’t have a social life or they give up on homework, which can take up to two hours or even more depending on the subject and time of year.

Which brings up to the question: What happens when a students fails their year? Do they go to summer school like American students do? No, most of the time they are held back, which has become much too common. In the event that they aren’t, it’s because their parents fought for them and they went on to the next year, while not having the level expected from teachers. Or they went to a “lycee pro”, a vocational school. Or they went to a school that would let them pass on to the next grade.

The average “seconde” class, 10th grade in the American system and year 11 in the British one, is made up of thirty-five students and how can they be expected to work in those conditions? The students say that they feel like cattle. How is it possible to make any progress in those conditions? And not only are they treated like cattle, but the toilets and the buildings in public schools are not in very good condition: most of the time there’s no toilet paper and no soap, some schools don’t have mirrors, and one didn’t even have glass in the window frame, which made the toilets very cold in winter. In one school a staircase crumbled, most schools don’t have air conditioning or fans and the paint peels off the walls. How are they supposed to feel motivated to work?

And it’s even worse in middle schools, where on top of poorly kept toilets, students are told they can’t wear shorts and tank tops, even if it’s thirty or thirty-five degrees Celsius. This leads students between the ages of eleven and fifteen to dislike, or even hate, school even more than the average student.

Now of course French schools aren’t all bad. The students in French schools are probably the ones with the most holidays, about sixteen weeks throughout the year, but they’re given homework, which can take up the entire two week period. Another advantage of all the compulsory classes they have to take is they have a broader general knowledge than say American students who get to choose their classes, of which they usually only have six.

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Movies: 7 pounds, Largo Winch, Finding Neverland

Words written Sunday: 600. Total word count for novel: 23 429. That’s 31%. Chapter 14: 643 words.

Words written Monday: 749. 24 178. 32%.  chap 14: 1392.

Nothing written Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday because I was working my ass off studying for multiple exams and doing my ton of geography homework at the last minute. (And succeeeding! Didn’t even ask friends or my dad for help. So proud of myself.)

Today, Friday: Haven’t written anything yet.

Up next on Kayleigh’s Kaleidoscope: “Critique Partners — I haz one”

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I recommend her blog: http://heyteenager.blogspot.com/

I left a comment on her blog post “Tell me about what you’re writing” that I think works as a blog post.

She said:

Whether it’s a novel, a memoir, an essay, a song, a poem. What’s it about? What inspired it? How are you finding the writing process? Are you going to try and get it published? Are you afraid of sharing your work with others, or are you an old hand at this? Share the first line, or a little blurb, or the best/worst part of the writing process so far.

And I left this comment:

What’s it about?
I’m busy writing a novel about a vampire hunter who wants to avenge her family’s death. When the opportunity to do both that and save humans kidnapped by Vladislav and his colony, she grabs it. With a huge amount of other hunters, as well as a two “good” vampires (who kill with the sole purpose of feeding), she will do whatever it takes to save those humans and finally get revenge. Unfortunately, she’s walking on the fine line between justice and vengeance and if she’s not careful, she could die before succeeding.

What inspired it?
I was inspired by Twilight, which represented not only vampires as wimps, but also its protagonist. My vampires are badass and so is my protagonist.

How are you finding the writing process?
I’m loving it, although for the first 2 years, I didn’t accomplish much. I had trouble finishing my novels.

Are you going to try and get it published?
I don’t know yet, but I love writing it and that’s all I care about for the moment. (Also, if the only people who read it my family and friends and they love it, that’ll be good enough for me.)

Are you afraid of sharing your work with others, or are you an old hand at this?
It depends, sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not. But I have posted my stories on Fiction Press before without fear. (Though not recently, because I wanted to actually finish my novels before posting them.)

Share the first line, or a little blurb, or the best/worst part of the writing process so far.
First line: Morana had spent hours hunting down a vampire belonging to a particular tribe or pack or whatever they called it, so she wasn’t about to let this vampire escape.

My blurb is at the beginning of this comment.

Best moments:
-writing 6000 words the last day of NaNoWrimo
-Getting a review (on Fiction Press) that makes me squeal with joy when I’d spend the entire day depressed
-Writing and being so caught up with it that I don’t notice the sun rising
-This will sound weird, but: that feeling when I haven’t written in days. It makes me realize just how I LOVE writing. (Absence really DOES make the heart grow fonder.)
-Being on a roll
-Realizing I’m growing as a writer and have learned to discipline myself to write everyday
-Being completely immersed in your novel

Worst moment: Not writing.

Currently in…

  • School: It (school) is crushing the life out of me! I feel like I’m drowing in homework and I’m so tired that when I got home yesterday, at twenty past two, I spent 3 hours not doing anything important. Why? I was just too damn tired. For next week, I have French research thing, English homework, a test or two (could end up being three) and a LOT of Geography homework that was supposed to be for tomorrow but was pushed back. (Hallelujah!) The only teacher who notices how tired we are is my science teacher. (Even she’s surprised at how tired we are. She’s a teacher!)
  • Writing: Didn’t write anything yesterday because of aforementioned exhaustion. Today is better. *eyes widened* Oh shit, it’s almost 9 PM and I still have to shower and do 3 physics exercises. And tomorrow I have sport. *growls in the manner of Dr Cox* Shoot me. Shoot me NOW.

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