18, Cars, School, Games, & 80s Music – Reflections [April, 17]


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I’ve done several things in the past where I reflected on past events in my life, but I was unable to maintain any sort of regularity simply because I did not have time. So, I decided to do something where I reflect on the past month. I think I can manage one reflection a month. 😛

What do I have to say about April? Well, firstly, I turned 18. Yay! I know it’s supposed to be a huge milestone and all, but honestly, I don’t think it has changed very much for me. I guess my license isn’t provisional anymore, which means it doesn’t get suspended the instant I get pulled over. But I’m a safe driver anyway, so who says I’m going to get pulled over?

Ironically, (and this is off-topic, but hey. It’s my post) I did get pulled over a few months ago, which absolutely freaked me out, just saying. Fortunately, it wasn’t for speeding or any misdemeanor like that. Apparently my tail lights were out. Turned out I had accidentally switched the modes on one of those ridiculous handles with their nondescript symbols and turned them off. Who would have thought?

Anyway, another big thing that happened in April is I actually got accepted into quite a few of the universities I applied to transfer into: DePaul, UCSD, UCSC, etc. This is good news for me, since I planned to transfer out at the end of this semester anyway.

On the topic of school, I don’t have a particularly heavy course load this semester, which has been great, but Calculus III could be going better. It’s not that I don’t understand the material, but I think I’ve gotten lazy, and I’ve been making careless mistakes. Which obviously aren’t good. It’s one of those situations where my A at the end of the semester is right on the line, and I really don’t want to lose my 4.0. 😛

But, school is quite boring, so let’s talk about some of the fun things I’ve been doing. I recently purchased the game Fallout 4, and I have to say, it’s been quite amazing. I really wish I’d gotten into it sooner, when I had more time. As it is, I have about 20 hours into it, but I would really love to play it some more. For those who don’t play video games, Fallout 4 is a very popular post-apocalyptic open world rpg by Bethesda. Definitely recommended.

Interestingly, because I started playing this game, I’ve actually found a new appreciation for retro music (Is retro even the right term?). There’s a little radio thing in the game that allows you to play a number of pre-apocalyptic songs, and since the game basically reinvented the 80s and 90s, turning them into a time of nuclear abundance, it has some interesting songs. One that I particularly like talks about a guy going prospecting not for gold, but for uranium.

Fun stuff aside, let’s talk a little about my blog. I have not been able to keep as much with my blog as I would like to, but I have been active on it, and for me, that’s what counts. I want to keep this going, even though I have so many other things on my plate. I did start a 200 words challenge for myself, and if you have been keeping track, you’ll see that the counter has been at 0 for the past few days. I blame that on Calculus. Starting this new month, though, I plan to be more consistent with that as well, and hopefully that means more consistent blogging.

I don’t think I should make this too much longer. There’s obviously more I could say, but I’d be surprised if anybody even made it this far in the post, since I’m really just talking about my life, and there’s nothing particularly interesting about it. XP If you did get to the end of this, then congratulations. Leave a note, and maybe I’ll do more of these.

Tours yruly

A Review of the Diamond Throne by David Eddings


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Hey guys. So, as usual, this review was delayed. I actually finished this book a while ago but only just got around to doing my review of it. But here that is! I hope you enjoy. 🙂

David Eddings’ book, The Diamond Throne, follows the story of a devoted knight determined to save the life of his queen. Part one of The Elenium series, this book gripped me right from the very beginning. The characters appealed strongly to me, and the genre, medieval fantasy, is one I enjoy. Overall I felt that The Diamond Throne was not a difficult read, and I fairly raced through it, finishing it in a few days. Sparhawk, the protagonist, has the kind of personality that I love seeing in a character, and Eddings did a good job of supporting that with his cast of other characters.

The story’s style is fairly simplistic, and the vocabulary, while somewhat archaic, is neither high-flown nor unsophisticated. Eddings wrote with an overall bluntness which I personally kind of liked, treating various subjects with a certain frankness that I’ve not seen very often. Lending to the feeling of coarseness and grit in Sparhawk, Eddings’ writing was direct and concise, well-executed and succinct. Something that bothered me in the story were the relationships of Sparhawk and his servant. While I get that it can be humorous, it just disappointed me somewhat.

Plot-wise, The Diamond Throne engaged me. Taking the typical scenario of damsel-in-distress, Eddings put his own twist on it that takes the reader through an adventure full of surprises, quirky and fun characters, and action and danger. Throughout the story, the plot was very direct and understandable, and Eddings managed to tie various supporting threads in and weave it all together into a colorful mosaic of a fantasy world in which the rightful queen to the throne has been encased in crystal to preserve a life, her life, which only one thing can save.

Emotionally, this story had an undercurrent which for me was difficult to miss. The loyalty of a knight to his queen and his desperation were well-done. Eddings portrayed Sparhawk’s intentions well, and the bonds of camaraderie and friendship really helped push his story to the next level. There was no small degree of humor in this package as well, and several times I smiled as I read, a phenomenon which does not happen often.

However, there is one thing I will gripe about: the ending. At this point, many of you might be confused, since anyone who knows me would know that I believe a good ending is absolutely crucial to a good book, and that I would never praise something so highly if it has a bad ending. The above has not changed. But I mean in now way to imply that the ending to The Diamond Throne was bad or that it left a sour taste in my mouth. On the contrary, it made me wish to get my hands on the sequel. What disappointed me was that the story did not finish. As a book, I will say that while The Diamond Throne concluded, it did not finish and is not complete without the rest in the series.

Overall, I enjoyed The Diamond Throne, and really would like to read the sequel(s), though I don’t know if I’ll be able to get my hands on them. The story engaged me and was the first good book that I’ve read in a while. I like the style and the characters, just wish it was in and of itself a more complete story and that Sparhawk was a little less callous about his relationships. Ah well. Four out of five stars.

Tours yruly

A Review of Auntie by Anna Belmonte


Extracted from the first chapter. =P

Extracted from the first chapter. =P

Sooooo, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I promised I’d review every single novel I read (and that sadly has not been many 😦). Auntie can be found over here on Anna’s blog, and I’d recommend checking it out if you like stories of its genre. I’ll also have to do a review of The Hobbit one of these days, but two reviews in a row is bad form right? XP Anyway, enjoy. 🙂

Auntie is a dark psychological thriller written by Anna Belmonte. In it we follow the rather abstract and complex story of Felicia, an odd young girl living in an odd old house with some interesting familial relations and memories. Any fan of an abstract plot with just enough threads to hang on to will enjoy this work of fiction. Rather than ending in a convenient answer that ties everything up, the conclusion of Auntie brings with it a puzzle to ponder over, and whether or not one comes up with the “correct” interpretation of the story, the vibe emanating from it is enough.

Belmonte’s writing works well to keep the reader on edge with just enough “weirdness.” At every point in the story she presents information with just enough in holes in it that the reader wonders what could possibly come next to explain it. And here is where the true beauty of Auntie’s masterful story comes in. There’s never a true explanation. All the story presents the reader with are clues. These clues the reader must then use to piece together some kind of a picture that lurks within the beginning and ending words of Auntie.

The story keeps a consistent focus on Felicia and the mysterious events surrounding her. A cross between flashbacks, memories in a journal, and odd, seemingly out-of-place scenes intermingle with the story to create a mixed up timeline. Through this the story slowly unfolds, winding down into deeper and darker routes. Someone looking for a psychological thriller/horror story without all the typical clichés will find that with Auntie.

Personally, this story had me going back through it at least two and a half times to try and piece together the story. I came up with theory over a thousand five hundred words long by the second last chapter that readers who arrive at that point will find in the comments. Whether or not the reader chooses to go the shallow route and take the story at face-value or to dig deep and discover the essence behind the mysterious and haunting events of Auntie, it’s a read that brilliantly illustrates abstract storytelling.

As a personal fan of abstract writing, I really enjoyed this book. I can see how people who might not be willing to devote the time I did to search out the story might not enjoy it as fully as I did, but personally this book earns a five out of five star rating from me. As per usual with the books I enjoyed, it’s joined the others in my extensive books I recommend list (I’m going to have to reorganize that one of these days XD). Even in the aftermath of the story, when I had the entire plot explained to me by Belmonte herself, I was no less fascinated by the wonderful, dark, and intriguing story of–

Auntie.

This is here because it would look bad to have two consecutive lines of italics in a row.

Tours yruly

Breakdown of “The Rape of the Lock”


I dunno if this picture is an accurate representation or not =P

I dunno if this picture is an accurate representation or not =P

“The Rape of the Lock” is a poem by Alexander Pope. It is a mock-heroic narrative poem that satirizes an event in which a lord cuts off a lock of a lady’s hair. If you’re curious about the poem, you can read it here. It’s actually pretty good. I read it in practice for breaking down and analyzing rhetorical pieces for the AP English Language & Composition exam. What follows is my first breakdown, so pardon any errors and such. I hope to get better at it. I don’t know if you guys actually read the nonfiction that I post on my blog, but if you do, enjoy. 🙂

The main point of the poem is to satirize an event in which a lord cut off a lady’s (Belinda) lock of hair. It comically enhances its effect by calling upon the gods and goddesses in the form of an army of sylphs who play different roles in the guardianship and affecting of Belinda. To exaggerate the travesty, Pope initially describes the key importance of beauty, then later talks about how the cutting of the lock of hair mars said beauty. The title also adds to the feeling of comic hyperbole. Using the strong word rape inside the title with something as innocuous as lock creates a sharp oxymoronic contrast. Overall, the mild, airy style of the poem with its contradistinguishing dramatic language, both makes light of the incident and places humorous weight on it.

The genre of the piece is a narrative poem. It uses flowery, lighthearted voice, and has a tone of Horatian ridicule. The mood feels very aether-like throughout, and even in its dramatization of events stays inside its happy bubble of lampooning. Pope uses a syntax that is at once deep and shallow. The way he wrote the poem allows a reader to either scan through it and come out with a sense of what he was portraying, or dive into its depths and fully appreciate the detail and mastery with which he uses the language.

Pope mainly used satire in his piece, expounding on it with hyperbole, but, as with all good writing, he did not limit himself to one rhetorical strategy. Throughout the poem he paints a colorful image in the reader’s mind with vivd description, and makes a point of using a comical version of the supernatural as a recurrent motif. The perspective is third-person omniscient, but circles around Belinda, slipping between the real world and the world of sylphs and daemons without missing a beat. In his frequent invocations of the muses, Pope demonstrates a clear understanding of apostrophe. However, he ties up the satirical style with the final blow of irony, when the climax of the poem turns out to be the removal of Belinda’s lock of hair.

Parallelism has interspersed itself through Pope’s poem. From the first two lines to the ending verses, the construction of Pope’s lines flows smoothly and elegantly. While the lines all are of similar length to maintain the congruity of the poem, occasionally dashes, commas, and semi-colons come charging in to break them up. This creates an aesthetic, colorful variety. Dancing between lengthy, involved sentences broken up over multiple lines, and short statements which extend no further than the line break, Pope demonstrates mastery of dynamic syntax.

In his excellent syntax, Pope did not forget diction. The impeccability with which each couplet rhymes lends only to his knowledge of wording and understanding of writing. Using soft, elegant words like timorous, downy, sylph, nymph, and fair in the beginning of the poem, Pope crafts a web of gentle beauty. This feeling contrasts sharply with the hard, sharp words, screams, affrighted, skies, shrieks, and cast, used when Belinda loses her lock of hair. Throughout the poem, Pope scatters ethereal beings. Sylphs, daemons, muses, nymphs, and sprites all dance through the air and weave their mischief.

Pope’s use of literary devices is no less impressive. Alliteration is frequent and well executed. His excellent personification and figurative speech exemplifies the ability with which he writes, and his frequent allusions to the muses and gods create a style of both humor and dramatization. Simile is interspersed as well, though tastefully so, such that it does not feel forced or burdensome. Throwing in the occasional inversion, Pope keeps things colorful and interesting to read. The entire tone of the piece is one of mock tragedy, and Pope manipulates this device into a powerful piece of satire with multiple overstatements and hyperboles.

This piece of literary artwork and accomplishment takes a trite event and turns it into a magniloquence of mockery. Appreciators of high-quality literature and well-executed poetry will find humorous, lighthearted delight in this piece like no other. A true classic of satirical poetry, “The Rape of the Lock,” in its epic foolishness remains a brilliant instance of its kind. With it, Pope shows that something as ridiculous as the mere loss of a lock of hair can, in the hands of a true virtuoso with the pen, metamorphose into a poetic masterpiece.

Tours yruly

Two years…


2nd Year Anniversary!

And so guys, we have arrived, at the second anniversary of the blog M3L6H! =D I cannot believe my blog has been out for two years. As such, I feel it is appropriate to review my blog’s statistics. =P

In the year of 2015, I received 1979 views, 578 visitors, 622 likes, and 543 comments.

The country my blog was most popular in was the United States, with 1748 views. This was then followed by:

Singapore – 100 views
Romania – 30 views
Egypt – 9 views
Brazil – 9 views
Australia – 8 views
United Kingdom – 7 views
Canada – 4 views
Bahrain – 3 views
Nigeria – 3 views

My most popular post was Heartless– Cold Hands, Chapter 14 – “Wounded Memories” with 50 views, and following close on its heels, at 49 views, is the post “Aaaaand the Big Reveal 🙂“. “Guys and Girls – Sixth Journal Entry” took third place at 37 views.

My most popular day is Thursday where I get 30% of my views. My most popular hour is 10:00 AM PST where I get 9% of my views.

My all-time records are as follows:

Posts: 353 + 1 (because of this one)

Views: 4,270

Visitors: 975

Best views ever: 105 on June 2, 2015

And to round it off, with a dedication to my faithful followers, my top five commentors are as follows (excluding me because I’m top with 501 comments):

Anna @AMBient – 243

Grace @Firefly – 37

Sarah @Reverie – 36

Valari @Imagination – 27

Victoria @A Gathering of Dreams – 19

And that’s it for this post! Thank you guys so much for sticking with me through it all, and I look forward to another great year. =)

Tours yruly

A Review of Zero Day by David Baldacci


Definitely a cool book

Definitely a cool book

And here we go, another book review. I actually finished this a while ago but I’m only just getting to review it. =P Overall I like Zero Day, as I’m sure you’ll see in my review of it. Definitely going to be hunting down more of Baldacci’s works. 

Zero Day, written by David Baldacci, follows the story of CID agent John Puller. Puller is sent, under unusual conditions (meaning solo), to a fairly remote mining town to investigate a homicidal case, involving a family of four. This multiplies and grows bigger and bigger in scale, involving more and more things and people. Through it all we see just what kind of a character Puller is through his interaction with the other characters, and some memories. Although this is technically a story of a detective investigating a murder “mystery”, I wouldn’t classify this as merely a mystery story.

Baldacci does a masterful job with his storytelling. The style is superb, and while some of the acronyms can occasionally get confusing, the story overall is told very well. The book is in third person past tense, which is a form I am more familiar with, and excellent use is made of this style. The descriptions are crisp, the picture is vivid, and the characters feel alive. This is one of the few books where I have really gotten involved with the character. The development over the course of the story is very nicely handled, and I can find no fault with it.

The book itself has a nice length, and a great overall flow, starting with a gripping introduction, a tension-creating buildup, and a powerful climax. The conclusion of this story is most certainly bittersweet. Absolutely no doubt about it. It’s one of those endings that you appreciate while a small part of you wishes that it didn’t happen. My only gripe is that there was no real warning. The book’s overall feel, while certainly more gritty, did not seem to lend itself for something like that. I will say that it was well pulled off, and took me completely by surprise.

This novel, however, is most certainly meant for a more mature audience. Interspersed throughout, not gratuitously but actually adding to the story, there are several adult themes. The use of language, while not completely extreme, is also present. Whether or not these things detract from the story is a matter of personal preference. I personally am always of the belief that language, in any context, can be avoided, while I don’t feel the adult themes damaged the story. This can change from person to person, so if you do read this, do so with a spirit of discernment.

Looking at my recommended list, you will see that this book has made it on there, and, as with the other stories I’ve reviewed, this one has also pulled a rating of four out of five stars. In this case though, most of what takes that fifth star from this book is subjective rather than objective, so it can range from person to person. This book certainly was an enjoyable read, and has given me its share of inspiration. The hardy John Puller will join the other characters I have pulled out of unforgettable novels and be there to stay.

Tours yruly