Saturday, August 13, 2011

Death of a (Computer) Salesman

My excuse for never updating is actually quite simple.

I died.

...well, my computer died. Same thing really.

And I mean like, dead dead. Not coming back dead.

I honestly have no idea how it happened either! There I was, minding my own business, looking up some random Youtube video or something when bam! blank screen.

Literally... that was it. And I'm fairly computer savvy. I don't go to virus-giving websites, I keep up my firewall, and I just generally don't behave like an idiot on the internet. I'm usually rich in blessings from the great computer gods for that last one, but no.

Bam. Dead. The end.

My dad said he might be able to fix it, but insisted that there really wasn't a point since my computer was a friggin' dinosaur.

Perhaps I'm being dramatic, but you get the picture.

So, I was told I'd be getting a new one. Eventually.

The next few weeks of my life are a bit fuzzy... I tend to suppress bad memories...

But then, a few days ago- bang! (notice I used "bang!" and not "bam!". There's a difference. Go with it.) My new baby was born! delivered... sorta...

I'm sensing some progress.

Anyway, that's about it. Although I did see Harry Potter at midnight... and a pre-showing of a 3D movie based on a show I would never ever watch... and developed an addiction to Redvines... and lots of other totally awesome things.

Oh, and college. Well, that's not until next week. More on that later, eh?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


(I'll apologize in advance for this being the subject of my first post in months. I'll get to all the important stuff later. But this... was just too good not to share.)

I'll just cut to the chase:

The Breaking Dawn (Part 1) trailer came out the other day.

And I literally laughed out loud.

I can only hope, for the sake of the nice people who made it, that this is a joke and that the movie will not be this hilariously dramatic.

And then there's that part of me that wants it to be terrible, if only for my own amusement.

So congratulations Breaking Dawn movie! You're living up to your expectations just fine.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What I've been up to...

'Nuff said? Allow me to explain...

I directed a play! Er... music directed a play. ...let me rephrase that further- I was the musical director. Aw yes, much better.

Now, you're probably thinking something like, "But Shauntel, you're such an attention nut! Why in the world would you choose to take a management position and not to be on the stage?"

I'll answer that with a simple question- what am I doing in approximately two months and a week?

...Oh yeah, graduating.* Kind of a big deal.

See, I've always wanted to be a part of the management team, and this was honestly that last time I would ever for sure get a chance to do that. It's an experience I'd always wanted to have, so I took a leap of faith and did it.

And you know what? I had a blast. No regrets on that one. Pictures (hopefully) to follow. (Or you could just, you know, look at my Facebook or something...)

So yeah, that's been my life since January (it ended about two weeks ago... hence the lack of blogging. In all seriousness, I have not had a brain at all in that time. Everything non-vocal training related either A) went down the toilet, or B) was dealt with poorly...). Spring break, for a variety of reasons, could not have come at a better time.

But you know what spring break means? No school! And you know what that means? Books!! (And also 12 hour Lord of the Rings extended edition marathons. But that's besides the point.) So yeah, I've actually been reading. Quite a bit actually. (I have most definitely not abandoned my new book blog! It shall be updated in due time... But in the meantime, I'll give you snippets of what's to come.)

Finally finished the Mortal Instruments series (although I guess their author is going to write more of them... I'll probably end up giving them a shot.). And you know what? I ended up really enjoying them. The third one was easily the best of the three, and I actually legitimately liked it. I complained rather loudly in the review of the first one that there were too many characters with no actual purpose. Well... most of them had a point by the end. (There are still a few who I just don't understand why they were even written.... But whatever, I'll still just go with it.) So yeah- this series is officially recommended. So go get it. Right now.

I also read Hero, by Perry Moore, and am absolutely in love. Alright, it wasn't perfect (a couple of the secrets just weren't secret enough, and it got a wee bit too trigger happy at the end) but come on- it's comic book superheros in regular book format. And yes, I mean the super cheesy, catch-phrase spouting, spandex wearing ones. It simply does not get any better than this, people. It's not exactly a secret that I'm a total sucker for superheroes, and this could be the beginning of a whole new genre. *crosses fingers*

I pride myself in having very tough skin. Very rarely do I actually cringe at something horrifying and/or disturbing and/or scandalous that happens in a book. But this... *shudders* Lord of the White Hell went as far as to combine some of those categories. Cheesy cover aside, this is not a YA book. Can I just leave it at that? (Plus it had a terribly cruel ending. Which is lame, because I totally saw it coming, yet I couldn't help but throw a fit anyway. And then the sequel wasn't at the library. Or at the bookstore. I'm still waiting for it to come in the mail. Is it trying to torture me further?)**

Point is, I might have to break out the sharpie for this one.

I just started The Book Thief not too long ago, so nothing much to say yet except that it is very good. Go read it. I'll elaborate further when I can.

(No, I didn't read all of these in a week. There are just some of the things I've read since January. Keyword, of course, being some. The ones with interesting back stories that is.)

Oh! My ADD brain just remembered- research papers. I hate them. I just finished this huge (not really) one on the short story EPICAC and let me tell you... that was the single most painful thing I have ever had to write. I just... with every fiber of my being, I didn't want to do it. There wasn't any reason- I just really, really didn't want to. That's what happens when homework gets assigned on the holy period of rest that is spring break. It's... not cool. Not cool at all.

And because I'm such a responsible student, I started it about two days ago and barely finished it this evening. (My school is awesome and doesn't go back until Tuesday.) So yeah... EPICAC... supercomputer... I'm just gonna stop right there.

Oh! I dyed my hair. Booyah! First time ever too. If I can ever take a decent picture, I'll put one up. In the meantime, I'll just say that it's red...ish. And also blonde streaked. Double wammy. So yeah, 'tis awesome.

But yeah, school tomorrow. At least I have my after school time back... for now...

*sigh* Easter Pageant starts next week. Don't get me wrong- I'm super excited. But... it is one more thing I have to prepare for.

(Scholarship auditions, concerts, school projects... where did my life go?)

*Woah. I'd never actually calculated the exact time until now. Nine weeks... May 26th... Hot dang- I'm officially old.

**I just made the book sound terrible, didn't I. No, no- there are so many good things about it. The plot, the politics, the world... Crazy good. And the characters- *~amazing~*. I honestly cannot speak more highly of its good aspects.

But hot dang- why must all the best books be so unrecommendable?

(Wicked... Watchmen... heck, even the Bible when you think about it...)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Random Blurb: That New Metroid Game

(In case anyone is concerned, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to actually blog. So yeah.)

As is normal, when my brother got Metroid: Other M for Christmas, I was the only one who actually played it. Same old same old really. What I didn't expect was for it to-

Oh, what was that Adam? I have your permission to put up a picture now?

Much better. Anyway, what I didn't expect was for it to be so story driven. For any of you Metroid veterans out there, you know what I'm talking about. Metroid games have always focused on the action and weaponry- in this one, Samus even has a voice actress. And she inner-monologues... all the time... Which is fine I guess... I mean, she's been silent for the last 30 years or so- it's about time she got her opinions out there.

But to be entirely honest, I almost preferred it when she didn't talk. Because then at least-

Oh, what was that Adam? I have your permission to begin criticizing? You're just too good to me.

At least she could use mutism as an excuse not to stand up for herself.

'Cause I mean SERIOUSLY woman! Aren't you the most feared/respected bounty hunter in the galaxy? Haven't you faced countless alien onslaughts? Haven't you defeated some of the most feared villains in the universe?

And yet you lack the self-respect to stand up to major douche-

Oh, what was that Adam? No, no- I wasn't talking about you. I would never do anything as horrible as that.

I have your permission to begin analysis of positive things? You are a saint.

The story (which is still pretty awesome) begins with our hero, Samus Aran, flying around in her spaceship (Why? Because she can.) when she receives a distress signal from a nearby space station. She decides to investigate and ends up coming across a group of soldiers from the Galactic Federation who also responded to the signal. Turns out, *cue flashback* she used to know some of these guys back when she herself formerly worked for the GF (key words being "used to" and "formerly"). The leader of this mission turns out to be her former commanding officer Adam Malkovich. And let me tell you, they slip right back into those old roles real fast.

Somethin' fishy's going on at the space station, so Samus agrees to stick around and help these poor losers out. But then, they all start being picked off one by one by an unknown traitor.

So yeah, a bit of a mystery going on there.




... Sorry, I was just waiting for Adam to give me permission to talk about gameplay... Any second now...







Aw, ok we're good. Thank you Adam.

The gameplay's super fun. The targeting system is different (if any of you nerds out there have played Shadow the Hedgehog, it feels a lot like that. 'Cept better), but it still works. It's third person mostly, with random little bits of first thrown in there. It was kind of weird actually. But whatev. My only guff is that it went from super easy to fetchin' hard way to fast. I mean, here I am just walking along when HOLY CRAP THERE'S A GIANT WORM THING AND IT POPPED OUT OF NOWHERE AND ATE ME!!! And then I died.

What was that Adam? Oh, that's right- I don't have permission to write in all caps. Sorry. Can I do it now? No??

That's my other guff- I felt like in some parts you had to die in order to get a feel for what was going on. Which is kinda' dumb if you ask me.

There were a lot of moments of me yelling at my sister to fire-up the walkthrough and read to me how to beat all the bosses. And I mean a lot of moments. Because there were a lot of bosses. (Just ask her- I think she's emotionally scarred, poor thing.)

So, what am I getting at? All other complaints aside, the game is legitimately fun to play. Just, you know... keep the internet handy...

So... do I have your permission to talk about weapon upgrades Adam? No? That's cool... I'll just wait...


Oh, now I do?

I understand why they made weapon upgrades unusable as opposed to being conveniently nonexistant like in other games (Samus can only trip and misplace her plasma beam so many times). But couldn't they have done a better job? Take this actual scene for example:

Samus: Wow, I've died like, five time from drowning in lava. Too bad there isn't any sort of upgrade to help me withstand heat.


Samus: Wow, I've been shooting these flame-shooting aliens a long time. Too bad there isn't any sort of upgrade to help me withstand heat.


Samus: Wow, the lava level is rising really fast! I might die if I get caught in it. Too bad there isn't any sort of upgrade to help me withstand heat.

Giant flame-spurting lava monster appears.

Adam: Samus- quick! I'm authorizing use of your super awesome heat resistant suit!

Samus: Oh, Adam- you're my hero!

Shauntel: *facepalm*

I might've paraphrased a bit.

That's where all my problems with the game stem from- Adam "Douchebag" Malkovitch. (That, and Samus freaking out when she sees Ridley, but that's a whole different can of worms.) And the way he turns the galaxy's most feared/respected bounty hunter into a bullied housewife. It's embarrassing.

You can tell the game programmers weren't aiming for this. He's supposed to come off as noble and somewhat parental (Samus, in one of her many inner-monologues, comments on how she viewed him as a father... *cue possible Electra-complex*). I can totally see how that might've happened. But, they failed miserably and he's just a jerk instead.

If this were a movie, it would suck. If there were no dialogue, it would be amazing. I'm torn on my overall opinion as a result. I just think that-

Oh, what was that Adam? I don't have your permission? This is why we're friends Adam- this is why we're friends.*

My siblings later pointed this comic out to me:

Click to enlarge

Credit goes to Brawl in the Family for summing up my point perfectly.

*This is why I didn't cry when you died Adam- this is why I didn't cry.
*sigh* But then we all know how well people stay dead in these sort of games...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Newst Project

No, I'm not dead. Yes, I'll give a life update sometime. I've been busy. Despicably busy.

But that's a post for a different time.

I'd like to officially unveal...

*~Snarky Teen Book Reviews~*

aka, my new blog dedicated exclusively to books. Should be fun.

Check it out, it's already been updated:

Will I transfer the old reviews over? Doubtful. Will I rewrite some of the older ones as to give them more justice? Quite possibly.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review: Havemercy

*Edited Slightly*

Turns out, you can judge a book by its cover:

Why yes, that is a giant mechanical dragon. I'm glad you noticed. Because I did too, which is what made me pick up this book.

Also, reading this book is arguably one of the best decision I've ever made. So yeah.

THE BASICS: Hot dang, what isn't going on in this book? Well, first off, there's this magician guy named Royston who did something... scandalous* and has not only put the kingdom at odds with one of it's neighbors, but has also seriously embarrassed the royal family. So much so, actually, that they can't punish him for it or they risk news of it getting out to even more people. So, instead, they quietly exile him to the countryside to live with his brother until, well, forever. Royston in every way despises the country however, so the "punishment" seems to have proven effective on some level. While in the country, he meets Hal, the painfully shy yet startlingly intelligent tutor to his brother's children. We'll talk about more about them later...

...because word of the scandal does get out and it soon falls upon the ears of the worst possible secret keepers: the Dragon Corps. This is a group of the most BA and most ill-mannered, yet strangely awesome dudes you will ever see. They, of course, ride the previously mentioned giant mechanical dragons. Anyway, they have more than a little bit of fun playing with and joking about what happened. This spurs th'Esar (the king, essentially) to send an unlucky individual named Thom to coax them into shutting up about the whole affair and to also spy on them (because seriously, can you really blame him for not trusting them? I mean, sure, he's the king, but they've got giant mechanical dragons. Who's ruling who?).

Oh, also, there's a war going on. Yeah, it's been happening for like, a hundred years or something. So yeah, like I said, lots of stuff happenin'.

THE CHARACTERS: This is, I think, the novel's greatest strength; that is, the sheer complexity of all of it's characters. And I mean all. Even side characters, even people you meet only once or twice- you really get the impression that the authors made an attempt not to create any empty shells of characters. From their speech patterns to their little physical quirks the main characters comment on- you can tell some time was spent humanizing everyone. But, and thank goodness for this, it isn't done to any extreme, annoying degree. We don't get the backstory for every single person who walks onto the stage. Heck, we hardly get the backstory for the four main characters. I mean we do, but only the necessary parts. People don't angst much in this book, which is a dramatic improvement of some over the other things I've been reading lately (but that's a post of a different color).

But, like I said, there're four main characters: Royston, a sarcastic magician, Hal, a young, somewhat naive tutor, Rook, an obnoxious, irreverent airman, and Thom, a long-suffering, yet somewhat conniving student. Let me just say first that I pretty much love all of these guys.

However, I really just want to focus on Hal.

Hal is the kind of character I hate. When he first entered the story and started doing his thing, I was like "Oh great, another twink. I hate you already, you sniveling little girl you!" But then I totally ate my words when he turned out to be sorta... not lame. Actually, and this is the really weird part since I usually like the jerk characters, I think he ended up being my favorite. Somehow, he dared to tread through the winding paths of my cold, black heart and ended up finding a nice warm place to stay.

Why do I like him so much? Because there were so many stereotypes he could've easily fallen into... and yet he miraculously avoided them all. As I mentioned previously, he's painfully shy. But he still has a spine. He's very soft-spoken and kind-hearted. But by no means is he a wuss. And if he wants something, he's not afraid to try and get it. I think the most applauding instance of this is when he's the one who initiates the romantic relationship between he and his love interest. Because usually, the shy person, no matter what gender, when met with their significant other, just angsts around and whines about how horrible everything is because so-and-so could never love them. Until, of course, so-and-so does admit to loving them and then of course everything is primroses and butterflies. *sigh* It's embarrassing how formulaic it is.

Which is another reason I love Hal, 'cause his romantic subplot is, for this and other reasons, entirely non-typical.

TECHNICAL STUFF: The book alternates between four viewpoints- namely, that of the four aforementioned main characters. They label at the beginning of each section who's talking, but honestly, it's unnecessary, because each character's personalities and thought patterns are distinct enough that you can usually pick up on them after a few sentences.

THE THEME: Things are not always as they appear? Don't judge people without getting to know them? Be willing to make your own destiny? Anything along those lines would fit.

OVERALL: I actually do have one tiny, somewhat irrational guff with this book- there're almost no girls in it. Seriously. I mean, there are a few, but when I say few, I mean like, three. In the entire book. Which, considering there are 25+ male types, is quite the imbalance.

But whatever; that didn't actually stand out as much as you would think.

However, with the exception of that mild misdemeanor, I have never read a book that pandered to me as much as this one did. This is the first book I've ever read where I was truly the target audience. Was the plot complex and intertwining? Yep. Was the romance actually sweet? Check. Were even the most obnoxious of characters instantly likable due to good writing? Si. Was it taboo without being naughty? You betcha. Was it flamin' hilarious? Heck yeah! I can honestly say that I have never read a book in my life that I actually cared about every single plot. I was never bored while reading this. This is what we call an anomaly.

Point is, this thing just soared to the top of my favorite list. Did it dethrone Hannibal? ...okay no, it didn't. But it's gleefully sitting right below it, just waiting for it to make a wrong move.

GRADE: Not giving one. 'Cause like I said, I can't speak for the masses on this one. This book followed plot threads that were appealing to me. Not you. Unless you're cool, in which case, you'll love this book.

Would I let my sister read it? No
Would I let my cousin read it? Yes
Would I let my dad read it? Yes

PS: The title refers to the name of Rook's dragon. Just sayin'.


*(I've been playing around with font-colors lately... and felt very stupid when I realized I could've just been doing this all along for spoilers.)

*smacks forehead* Technology never fails to amaze me.

Anyway, it's actually not a spoiler, but highlighting the information below will definitely cue you in on whether or not this book is for you.

Royston had a love-affair with the heir-apparent of an ally kingdom. This was bad enough, except that, after being caught, he was accused of magically seducing the individual. To make matters even worse, the individual's name was Erik.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

'Cause I Saw Eclipse

K, I'm about to make a blasphemous statement, so just hold on to your seats alright peeps?

*deep breath* Well... I saw Eclipse... See, now I should just leave it at that and just let you assume the laughs but yeah, okay, that's not exactly fair now is it?

Okay... I can do this. I'd appreciate it if you didn't hate me for this...

Well... Eclipse wasn't really...

Dang, this is more difficult than I thought.

*'nother deep breath* It wasn't that bad.

Woosh, alright. Okay, okay, yes I know, the horror. But, I'm not going to lie and say it was apocalypticly bad when it wasn't.

Now was it good? You'd have to be a fan of the genre to think that. And I'm not. So no, my biased opinion claims nay, but it wasn't painful to watch or anything. How about this: It was decent.

Fair enough?

Now, hold your tomatoes and let me explain why I think this. There were a lot of things about Eclipse the book that I disliked. Lots of random, going nowhere plot points, characters I didn't care about, and, to be perfectly honest, blatant sexism in a few places. Not cool. Not cool at all.

Well, the director of Eclipse must've agreed with me, because he took those things and either quietly did away with them or changed them so they weren't so stupid. For example, *for anyone who actually cares, there's a SPOILER ahead* near the end of the book, Edward and Seth (some werewolf punk) are facing off with an evil vampire who wants to kill Bella. Seth apparently gets injured and things aren't looking so hot for our favorite sparklepire so Bella decides to be all noble and distract the evil vampire by stabbing herself in the heart and letting the blood drive the vampire nuts. if I'm remembering this correctly (I mean, when did I last read the book?) she's stopped somehow, evil vampire dies anyway, and the world is happy. Later, Edwardo gets all PO'd at her and says that Seth was only feigning injury or something and that he himself was fine and she was being stupid and yada yada yada. So, to summarize, Bells (although she approaches it wrong) decides to be useful, and gets blasted for it. The entire scene was useless- it built up to something that didn't actually happen...

In the movie, same scene happens however, Bella is smart and realizes that in cutting yourself, you don't actually have to die, so she cuts her arm instead (she's not stopped, since Edward's in a bit of a scrape), thus distracting the not-so-nice but still sparkly vampire and allowing Edward to remove her of her head. So, same scene, just... smart? Oh yeah, and she doesn't get yelled at for it later either.

Jacob is kind of a tool, but he was a tool in the book too (a distinct contrast from his personality in the second one where he was a goober, but a harmless one- a sign of bad writing indeed) so I can't really fault anyone for that. To be quite frank, in regards to the little love triangle between Edward, Bella, and Jacob, I don't think Bella should have picked either of them. One's a depressing control freak and the other one's a prick. (Seriously, when I guy takes out the engine of your car to prevent you from seeing someone, that really ought to raise a red flag.)

But was it horrible? No, not at all. It was alright. It took the idea of the book, removed all the crap, added a few jokes, and converted it into a movie that won't make your eyes bleed. It was easily better than it's predecessors (not that that's hard, although New Moon wasn't completely awful either, it was just lame) and, although I probably won't watch it again, I can't quite fault anyone for liking it.

Breaking Dawn? Now that I'm excited for. Seriously, that book was bad. I mean, really bad. I'm hoping for a few unintentional laughs if that's-

Wait, it's being directed by Bill Condon? That same guy who did Dreamgirls and Chicago?! Both of which won several Academy Awards?!?!


Wait, they're copying Harry Potter 7 and splitting it into two movies?

But, but, but, but- WHY???

Nevermind. Not excited. Goodbye.