August 2, 2011

Harry Potter Link Attack!

Leave the Monday blues behind with Link Attack Tuesday!

In honor of the final Harry Potter movie, my family and I have been re-watching all the Harry Potter movies. I decided to so some broomstick flying around the web to find some interesting links to share. So to kick off my Link Attack Tuesday and to celebrate the end of an era... Here's what I found!

Harry Potter re-cut as a teen movie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXzdDRnWFqs&feature=player_embedded
This made me laugh. I'm so glad the movies stuck to the books. xD

The Harry Potter Lexicon:
http://www.hp-lexicon.org/
A complete reference guide to all things Harry Potter. Very informative. Also, it's nice having all the info about the Wizarding World in one place!

Harry Potter and Alchemy:
http://www.harrypotterforseekers.com/alchemy/alchemy.php
This is a very interesting link indeed: It points out alchemical references in Harry Potter. It's a good read if you enjoy the subject.

HP Pickup Lines:
www.fanpop.com/spots/harry-potter/forum/post/11233/title/harry-potter-pickup-lines
Some of these may not be to appropriate... But who says that's a bad thing?

HP Cakes:
http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2011/07/sunday-sweets-harrys-sweet-send-off.html
As a long time reader of Cake Wrecks I encourage anyone and everyone to follow them if you haven't already. This post is a lovely bunch of Harry Potter Cakes that are thankfully not wrecks... Though a few posts below it there are a few. I love cakes and that Hogwarts cake especially makes me very happy indeed!

Harry Potter Character Alignments:
http://easydamus.com/alignmenthpc.html
If you love DnD like I do, you are probably familiar with the alignment system: a way of showing the basic beliefs or values of a character (in a sense). I think it's interesting to see where each character lies (though some may be arguable and others are obvious).

Life After Harry Potter:
http://www.life-after-harry-potter.com/
A friend showed me this website after he had finished the books. I have personally not read any off the list (except The Once and Future King) but it's good for those who are at the "end of an era" and don't know where to turn!

And to end my post...
http://ransom.sytes.org/?r=c29tZSBzbWFsbCBzb21ldGhpbmdzIHJvY2tzLCBhbmQgc28gZG8geW91IXPmhfk
Thanks for reading!

How to Blog

Alternative Title: Don't Ever Give Up.

I was talking to a friend of mine who is also starting up a blog. She's a nice girl but she tends to think negatively about many things -- a trait which annoys me to no end. I understand she believes she is being "practical" and "realistic," but the biggest problem with the way she views issues (such as blogging) really serve to harm future possibilities of success. I know many people have opinions such as hers, so I want to tell every reader this: Giving up is losing. The only way to succeed is to never stop trying.

I do not, and never will, consider myself a social media expert or anything along those lines. As of this writing my blog has 4 followers and my twitter account has only 800. I am exited and proud when any of my accounts gets another follow or watch because it means I'm doing something right. I am even more excited when someone contacts me to tell me that they have enjoyed something I've written or suggest something for me to write about or even just to say hi. This post should not be taken as a "cheat sheet" to get popular from an expert. It should be taken as inspiration for my fellow beginning bloggers (or anyone doing anything, for that matter). All I want this post to accomplish is to help someone, somewhere, find some drive in them to start a project or keep working at something that may seem too difficult to ever be successful.

To many new bloggers the concept of getting followers seems daunting. Their favorite blog has thousands of viewers and the thought is appealing: Thousands of people checking their website because they are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Then they start blogging. The follow number stays low...

It is certainly frustrating. It leaves you wondering if your blog will ever take off. This thought process bothers me. It is detrimental to anything you are trying to achieve as a blogger. If you go in with the assumption of failing you will preform to lower standards and thus you will fail. If you go in with high standards you will at least create quality posts. Quality posts are what attracts people. You need to believe in what you are trying to accomplish and work at it. Even if it takes time, even if the results don't seem worth it at first...

It is better to try legitimately and fail then to never have tried at all.

You won't get followers overnight. It takes effort and time and if you want your opinions heard and your voice out there then it's worth it in the end. When people tell me that blogging is a waste of time because I don't have followers, you know what I tell them? I have four followers. That's four people who read what I have to say and are interested in my opinions and experiences. That's five more people than if I never had a blog to begin with. It's worth it to me. And if it's worth it to you, you will work at making quality posts because if you don't there's no reason for anyone to read your blog at all.

There are a million things in the world to write about. Always think about how you can make your thoughts and experiences come alive to whoever will read. Because it's your effort that counts. Things will never happen for you unless you make them happen. You're in charge of your content. You're in charge of your fate.

There is one more issue I want to touch on: Critique.

Many people do not enjoy critique. It's understandable: You work hard on something and it becomes important to you. A part of you even. It is difficult at times to accept that your effort is flawed. I have lost a friend giving a critique and I have definitely made several people angry. It has never been my intention but when someone's work is under the scope things get personal. My friend, after I gave her a critique, told me to "let the writer write." Many people think that changing their work stifles their creativity and forces them to change what they intended to create. I disagree.

As a writer and an artist I know that creativity benefits from critique. I firmly believe we are all humans and that as humans we make mistakes. The only thing we should do about mistakes is to realize them -- perhaps from out own findings or perhaps from someone else -- and to fix them as best we can and learn from them. Critique helps a blogger do this. It helps you find your typos and your inadequacies and your flawed logic and anything else you may have missed and it allows you to fix it so the next person to come along reads a better product than the one that you had posted before. The beauty of a blog as opposed to printed media is that you get direct contact from readers and an easy way to edit when mistakes are found or when opinions or facts change. It's amazing.

My point is that it may hurt when you get a critique. It stings. Everyone feels this way. But instead of boycotting the person who critiques you or quitting blogging at the first sign of disagreement, you should learn from every piece of feedback you receive. You may not always agree, and that is fine as well, but it is important to take feedback to heart and improve accordingly.

What I hope someone takes from this is simple: Don't give up. Never give up. If you care, read and write and study and live and do whatever it takes to make ideas flow onto paper or computer screen or hand or wall. Work on making the best product possible and get it out to as many people as you can any way you see fit.

The readers will follow.

July 20, 2011

Look What Came In!


I recently ordered a skirt from Bodyline. It came in recently, but I waited to take any photos till my petticoats came in (from Sock Dreams -- They're nice, but not as fluffy as I had hoped them to be). It was packaged fine with no damage.


Look at the pretty package it came in! It was a pleasant surprise.


This is the skirt unwrapped. It's in two pieces, a fact that I am quite pleased about. Otherwise I'm sure it would be a struggle to get on. It was a little wrinkled -- but that's to be expected. I'm hoping the wrinkles will shake out if I hang it up.
Here's me in it! I don't have a full coord and I had to get kind of creative to take the picture. I love how the skirt fits! I was afraid it was too tight but turns out I was buttoning it wrong. It fits awesomely, though.
This is the shoes I wore, along with the lower details of my skirt. Oh do I love those shoes. I can't wait until my accessories come in!

Outfit Rundown:
Cardigan: Offbrand
Top: Delias
Skirt: Bodyline
Socks: Sock Heaven
Shoes: Offbrand

July 14, 2011

My First Lolita Skirt

I bought my first skirt off of body line a few days ago. According to my tracker, it's in customs currently. I still need a petti to go under it, though I'm not sure what color to get.

Here's the skirt:
Photobucket

I'm hoping it fits okay! I got it in orange. I love how this skirt looks. It's definitely not my first choice of skirts to get (and I'm not sure how I feel about the shiny bows), but I don't want to go and buy anything expensive until I lose weight. Also, I'm a bit scared to order off of taobao because I have not even a single clue about shopping services.

Until then, a simple, cheap coord is enough to make this newbie Lolita happy. I'm planning to be mostly off brand anyway (nothing against brand -- there are a lot of pieces I want my hands on. That's the problem, I think. I want it all and can't choose what to keep my eyes on).

Needed next: Shoes (maybe), top, Petti, bloomers, head piece.

With much less than three,
Annie

May 27, 2011

Blue Carpets and Other Crimes Against Humanity

"This is going to be really great. We're going to find you a house in no time."

The time was 10:30 AM. My mother, father, brother and I were sitting in a Starbucks around two sides of a small table. Across from us, a realtor. We were ready to get moving -- the weekend was the only time we had available for finding a house to rent. We were hoping to get everything in order over the weekend, if at all possible.

She was hoping to chat us up.

The conversation started out fine, but I have grown accustomed to a certain level of distrust toward anyone trying to sell me anything. Nothing against her (yet), but whenever anyone tries to show me anything with the intent on getting profit, there's a nice amount of room for me to get screwed. To add to that was my dad's earlier comment. He had spoken to her on the phone, and afterwords described her as "sounding a bit like a nutcase."

Crazy doesn't find you a house.

We had previously told her the neighborhood we wanted to look in. It was a place with nice houses, a great school district, and several other factors thought out and researched. We aren't madmen, however, and noted that a neighborhood with a nice house a few minutes away would not be out of the question. A few minutes away. Only.

She began with a long speech about renting. I won't bore anyone with the details: basically she told us, in as many words as possible, that in this market renting was the only sensible thing to do. Everyone knows this.

We tried, at this point, to tell her that we were only looking for houses to rent, and that she knew this because she only handles renting anyway, and that we really wanted to go look at houses.

But she would have none of that! Customers are to be seen, not heard. She continued.

The renting market is the best, you know. Smart people rent. We're educated. We know this. You know that right? Everyone should rent. Everyone.

She finally began to talk about houses. Namely, how many she rented before we got there. In our requested neighborhood. And how good the market was for renters. Did you know that everyone should rent? Renting is the only responsible thing to do.

"I have one house in the neighborhood you want," She told us finally, after another renting lecture, "But you don't want to live there. It's so dirty, and it's leaking. You can tell when something is leaking. The walls get discolored. We're educated people, and educated people know when a place is leaking."

She continued on with this, though it struck me as odd. This did not sound like the neighborhood we had asked her to live in.

"That is the only property for rent there. There isn't anything else. But I have a few to show you that I have a bit of a vested interest in, in a manner of speaking."

No houses. In our neighborhood. Really? That did not seem right.

...

She took us to see the first house. It was, from the outside, a wooden cabin painted puke pink. The only entrance was a two-story flight of narrow, wooden steps. They creaked as we walked up them, and as the realtor tried to open the door we stood motionless on them.

"This entrance is different, isn't it?" Small talk as the realtor fumbled with her keys.

"Well, no one here uses the front entrance. It's just for show." The only entrance.

How does one get in?

We didn't find out. The realtor's attempts at opening the lock were futile. She called her boss. We climbed down the stairs. Carefully.

We went around back with the realtor and peered through the large windows there. Green carpet adorned the bottom floor and blue carpet was generously covering the upper floor. I spotted a red carpet in an open room. In the center of the green carpeted living room was a small, round, glass atrium. When the realtor walked away the four of us speculated as to what the room was for.

70s sex parties? That would explain the clear glass in a way I would never want to think about.

Ritualistic murder? That would explain the red carpet upstairs, but not the blue or green carpet.

Nothing could explain the blue and green carpet.

We left. Fast.

...

The next house was nice. It was just what we needed.

An hour and a half away.

"But doctors and lawyers live in this neighborhood!" The realtor assured us, "intelligent people know to rent here."

...

After that was a house "only eight minutes away from my house!" as the realtor put it. She timed it. It was thirty minutes from where we wanted to be.

Patiently, we wasted our time looking at houses too far away and too expensive. We drove back to our hotel worn out and tired of hearing how only intelligent people and doctors and lawyers rent and find stains and have houses built for ritualistic sacrifice (By the end of the night that is what I thought must have brought her to this world, from her dimension of insane house market professionals. That's a real thing. Probably.).

We found a house after another day of looking -- though it was admittedly realtor-less. It was in the neighborhood we wanted, the one without houses for rent.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: Don't summon demons. It really only hurts the housing market.

May 26, 2011

I Wanted to Tell You Something...

There was something I wanted to tell you, but it slipped off the tip of my tongue, away from me and past you and into an abyss. There it floats. I tried to grab it, but it flew from my fingertips.

I want it back, back in my head. The lingering emptiness it left me was disconcerting. Was it important?

I hope not.

March 1, 2011

About AmericaisRetarded.com

Stumbleupon brought me to an interesting site the other day. The site is Americaisretarded.com. I read through some of the images, though I had to stop as the messages themselves fatigued me. There was too much hate to actually perceive any real message through the columns of insults. It's been a while since I've written a blog, so this site seemed like a good topic to spur the creative juices.

First off, I don't understand all the America hate. I would rather live here than a place where I don't get the luxuries of modern living: TV, high speed internet (that was used to create that little site), clean water, the list goes on. But not only that, I think that focusing on America with these little antidotes is limiting. The internet is worldwide -- to focus on just Americans browsing and editing in the web is very unfair. You need to include the very high usage rates in other countries as well. Even if you only include English-speaking countries you will notice that some of these arguments the site makes apply even farther than the borders of the USA. Mindless entertainment exists in many countries -- not just America.

This site also possesses an unrealistic view of the way people think: for example, LoLcats is hardly the "best" thing on the internet, as they claim. People come together on the web to share a myriad of information. There are blogs written by wonderful people to inspire and bring people together; there are lengthy well thought-out debates about international policy, philosophy, religion, and current events more in-depth than any debate most people have; there are networks of artists who come together to share and critique work in order to improve upon and master their craft; there are many people in many places who do more than just play farmville and make image macros of cats.

Even then, entertainment does not reflect the intelligence of people as a whole. Entertainment can be intellectual escape. It's why reality TV is popular. It's why pictures of cats with badly written text across them are so heavily viewed on the internet. Some people need this escape and they use the internet for it. Many people work hard during the day or go to classes for hours on end. Why should they be deemed as "retarded" for allowing themselves mental relief in the form of lower humor? I certainly won't judge anyone for doing so. I believe it is unfair to judge anyone on the entertainment value they find out of stupid things especially if it harms no one.

I also find the site itself hypocritical. One image talks about the fact that we could do so many great things if we put our minds to it and yet the site is a bunch of sloppy images pointing out the "flaws" of America. What is the site creator doing, I wonder? Certainly not helping, unless saying something is "retarded" actually solves any problems.

I guess what bothers me the most about this site is the negativity. I would rather bring up a point logically, cite my reasoning with more than just a picture and a half-sentence, and not resort to petty name-calling and insult-slinging. And after citing a problem sometimes it is helpful to bring up proposed solutions and work your way towards bringing about a better tomorrow.

It is unclear what the point of this site is in the end. If it is just to point out how "retarded" America is, then there really is no legitimate purpose to it other than needless negativity. If it is to bring about some sort of change, then maybe that change should be made clear. Saying things need to change is not the same as actually doing something to change things.

Pointing out rude and negative things by being rude and negative only adds more rudeness and negativity to the world. I think the best way for us to work toward a better future is to try and be positive and do your part in helping others. It may not be fast and it may not be easy, but every person can make a difference.

But a message like this won't get thousands of likes. The negative one will. The site owner(s) and the people faving it continue to think they are making a difference by spreading negativity around and not doing anything more to change it are certainly not helping any of the problems the site addresses. Honestly, it may even make the problem worse as there are so many people who could be moved to action with a powerful and provoking message that are just moved to apathy with the site.

But what do I know.

I laugh at LoLCats.