Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Happenings of the Month: January 2016

Hello, everyone! Can you believe the end of January is nearly here? Crazy! I don’t know what that says about time flying, but it does mean that it’s time for my Happenings of the Month post!

Monthly Happenings Jan 2016

Entertainment of the Month:

  • Movies/TV

Marvel’s Agent Carter (2015-present) – Peggy Carter lost the love of her life when Captain America dove into the ice. But her life is far from over. After the war ended, Peggy (Hayley Atwell) went to work for the Strategic Scientific Reserve, where she fights for one thing: to protect America. Unfortunately, she’s often relegated more to the role of secretary than agent. When Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) asks for her help to clear his name, though, she discovers that she is uniquely gifted for this new era of crime-fighting. The second season just aired and acts as a fill-in betwen the two season halves of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I love it for it’s 40’s flair, loveable characters, and plots that feel very different from the gritty darkness of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Other characters include Stark’s butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy), Jack Thompson, SSR Agent  (Chad Michael Murray), and Daniel Sousa, another SSR Agent (Enver Gjokaj). The series airs Tuesday nights on ABC.

  • Books

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Cinder would love to be normal. To be respected as a mechanic and loved for who she is. But that’s impossible. Cinder is a cyborg and, as such, she is the property of her stepmother. All her earnings belong to the woman who “graciously” provides her with a home. But Cinder wants to be free of her family, of the fear of the deadly plague letumosis, and of the terrifying Lunars whose threat grows ever stronger. Then she meets Prince Kai, the Commonwealth’s heir, and her life rapidly spins out of control. Can a prince love a cyborg? And, more importantly, can a cyborg be more than a piece of property, maybe even a hero? This is the the first book of the Lunar Chronicles, which I am rapidly devouring. I love the worldbuilding, characters, and stories of these books. Absolutely wonderful.

Outcast by Aaron Allston – In this first book of the Fate of the Jedi series, the Jedi’s relationship with the Galactic Alliance is spinning out of control. Jedi Knights are randomly succumbing to a mysterious madness, and Chief of State Daala is on a hunt to bring the Jedi under her thumb. With the galaxy still reeling from Darth Caedus’ reign of terror only a few years before, the government wants to blame someone, and Daala decides Luke Skywalker, Grand Master of the Jedi Order, is the perfect target. Banished from Coruscant and his position there, Luke sets out to understand Caedus’ descent into darkness on a journey through the galaxy. Meanwhile, those in Coruscant fight to keep civil war at bay. I haven’t finished this series yet, but it’s already ignited a desire to read everything preceding it. I’ve never read much Star Wars fiction other than Timothy Zahn’s novels, but now I am extremely curious.

  • Music

Fight Song/Amazing Grace - The Piano GuysThis is a gorgeous rendition of “Amazing Grace” and Rachel Platten’s “This is Your Fight Song,” complete with Scottish landscape and bagpipes.

"Live on Forever" - The AftersIn Christ, our lives go so far beyond the here and now. Our lives on earth are just a vapor, a fragment. But there’s so much more, because we truly will live on forever.

My Life This Month:

With the start of a new year came my return to school. Strangely enough for me, I’ve struggled to get a handle on my homework. I’ve been staying up too late and goofing off when I have time for homework. So, I’m working on that whole focus/procrastination issue. Anyway, I’ve got a full slate for school, including my second semester of American Sign Language. I love learning ASL, but it sure can be exhausting sometimes. Especially when the teacher conducts the entire class in ASL. Sometimes my brain wants to explode from the effort of concentration. Nonetheless, I’m really excited to be learning more and being better equipped to interact with deaf people.

I read an autobiography this month, which I haven’t done in a very long time. Honestly, I can’t remember the last autobiography I read that wasn’t for school. This story was written by Robert Clary, best known for playing Corporal Lebeau on the 60’s TV show Hogan’s Heroes (which is amazing, by the way; if you’ve never seen it, do). What many don’t know is that he was a teenager during WWII and spent three years in concentration camps. The interesting thing for me with the book was that, though it wasn’t the most amazing writing, it had a distinct impact just because it was real. I want to read more nonfiction this year, and I’ve realized that reading stuff like that will impact me more than fiction. Reading real people’s stories burrows deep inside; I feel that it will benefit both me personally and my writing.

I’m having to come to terms with people’s imperfections and my own expectations. Sometimes we want something so badly, but it seems like it’s never actually realized. I’m experiencing that with some relationships right now, and it’s definitely not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Life is rarely what we expect it to be; it’s important to recognize that. Instead of wallowing in frustration, I’ve got to learn how to be realistic. Not always my strongest suit, unfortunately.

Other Web Happenings:

A Piece of My Heart Linkup | Silver Mess – My friend Rachel over at Silver Mess has started a neat monthly linkup, where you create something (picture, story, etc.) based on her given theme. This month’s theme is “Where It All Began.”

A Thousand Words | Gillian Bronte AdamsWhat happens when you can’t pick just one word for your year? Maybe you just might learn to look for all the blessings God’s bringing your way…

February's Monthly Challenge | Go Teen WritersCan you come up with a new story idea every day for the month of February?

So, how has your January been? Read or watched anything good? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Whoah, you're learning ASL? That is so, so, SO cool! IT's always been something I wanted to do, but family wants me to do German instead. :P Ah, well. Maybe it's something I'll be able to learn someday.

    How is Agent Carter content wise? I've heard a lot about it and am trying to decide if I should watch it or not.

    1. Yep! I really do love it. And I will say this: ASL is far more prevalent in the U.S. than German. But I'll leave it at that. ;)

      It's pretty clean. It can be violent (explosions, hand-to-hand combat, etc.), but that's mostly it. Romantic content, but nothing overly sexual. Language is pretty minimal, too. There's a definite feminist undercurrent, but it's not too bad.

  2. Hey there, Rachelle! Long time, no 'see'. :)

    You started Fate of the Jedi!! I just read that series last year (it is the latest series, and likely the last, in the 'Legends' EU). Having a bit of background in the Star Wars books, I rate it fairly low on my list, compared to many of the other books in 'the universe'. However, it _does_ provide a good feel for how the other books tend to be. It just gets a little... Weird... The last half, or so. A decent read though, especially if you care for Star Wars. I come away from just about any Star Wars book raving about how awesome and powerful Luke is. ;)

    1. Michael, hey! It has been a long time! How are you?

      *reveals Star Wars ignorance* Is the Legends EU the stories dealing with Jacen Solo's arc? Or something else entirely? Weird, huh? I can see the possibilities in the first few books. I am enjoying them, though; I guess I'll just have to wait and see. :D Ha, Luke is pretty awesome. I really like the way this series shows the interaction between him and Ben. Which Star Wars books do you like best?

    2. I'm doing well, thanks for asking. :)

      Not exactly. The Legends EU covers most of the pre-Disney era books, and are officially *not* canon. A huge portion of the books currently out there are part of the Legends universe. The title is pretty much Disney saying that they aren't going to be beholden to the old storylines.

      I did like that part about the series! Luke and Ben (and another character whom eventually joins them) end up being an interesting group to follow.

      Well, the Thrawn trilogy is my favorite, of course. 2 runner-ups can be found in the X-Wing series and the Legacy of the Force series (Jacen's storyline... Almost on a level with the Thrawn trilogy, really, if only it hadn't been stretched a little much).

    3. I'm very glad to hear it. :)

      Ah, okay. I knew that most of the EU weren't canon (which, just so we're clear, makes me very unhappy...). I didn't realize they'd been branded under the "Legends" moniker.

      Hmm... *is curious about which character you speak of. I'm in the middle of Backlash right now, so I've still got a ways to go.

      Gah, yes! I adore the Thrawn Trilogy. And anything by Timothy Zahn, really. He's amazing. I'll have to check those out!

  3. Fight Song/Amazing Grace is one of my very favorite songs! (Although that goes for pretty much all of the Piano Guys songs, haha.) I know what you mean about homework. It can be a struggle. :P Good luck with school!

    1. I love pretty much anything The Piano Guys put out. :) They're so wonderfully creative! Thank you! All the best to you, too!

  4. Ah, Fight Song/Amazing Grace- so good!
    I'm interested to hear you take an ASL class. I love learning about other languages...I just can't seem to stick to them as I should.
    Will you be using ASL for a job, or is this just something you want to do?

    1. It makes me happy to hear that my followers like Piano Guys! :D

      I totally understand! Languages can be really difficult, even for someone who's more humanities-inclined, like me. Spanish was a disaster in high school. ASL is going much better, though. It's such a beautiful language. I've been interested in ASL since my siblings were young and learned basic signs like "thank you" and "milk." Though I don't know specifically that I'll use ASL in a workplace, opportunities to sign come up more often than I woulf have expected. The deaf community is very excluded from much of American life, and it's a really amazing experience to be able to cross that barrier.

    2. Normally I hear of ASL learning as something for a job, but here you are learning it for its original purpose. I applaud that!

    3. Aw, thanks! It's really a lot of fun.

  5. I know a little bit of ASL, and I'd like to learn more, but it's not really possible with the resources I have right now. xP I'm learning Hebrew at the moment.

    The Piano Guys are pretty cool.

    I just read Scarlet and Cress. :-) I had heard that Scarlet wasn't as good as Cinder, but I actually liked it better...

    1. Hebrew, huh? Wow! I'm impressed! What are you hoping to do with that?

      I hadn't heard one way or the other, but they were definitely different from each other. Scarlet was darker, and that took me by surprise. I enjoyed it, though. What did you think of Cress? I personally loved it. :D And now on to Winter! If my turn on the library hold would ever get here...

    2. Well, I'd like to go to Israel someday. Also, it's a very fascinating language. xP

      *nods* I know two or three people who said they liked Cinder better than Scarlet, and Cress as much as Cinder.
      Yes, Scarlet was darker. I feel like Cinder was more a setup for the rest of the story, and the story will build up with each book.
      I liked Cress. I expected to be annoyed by Cress, but I wasn't, so that was a pleasant surprise. I like the character growth you can see throughout the books.

      Yes... When I requested Winter, we were number forty-eight on the list of people who had requested it... Now we're number thirty eight. xP

    3. Very neat! :)

      I would agree. Cinder was a wonderful story, but it was largely set-up. I adored Cress. :D And it was so wonderfully thick.

      Oh no! I'm farther up in our queue than that, thankfully. Ya'll are going to have to wait a long time. :(

    4. *nods* It was... So thick... xD

      Yep. We do have Fairest right now, though, to read while we wait for Winter.

    5. I have Fairest, too. I'm just not sure I want to read it first...

    6. That was what I was thinking... I'm a little hesitant to read it.

    7. My sister read it; she said it was sad. I just have this irrational fear that it has spoilers for Winter. Which is probably not true. :D

    8. Probably not. xP I think it comes before all of the other books in the series... But maybe it has spoilers. xP

    9. It does come first, chronologically. But, ya know, there is a difference between a first book and a prequel. :D Oh well, I've got plenty of school stuff to read until Winter gets here. Haha.


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