Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of the Year Review

Hello everyone! Sorry I have failed to post much lately. I guess it's been a crazy month what with finals, moving home, my birthday (yay!), Christmas, and so forth. I hope everyone had good holidays! And Happy New Years Eve!

I wanted to end the year by revisiting my year. My New Years resolutions were to be better with money and to get in shape.

As for getting in shape, I did Insanity for about three months, stopped for a while, started again, stopped for a while, and started again. In between, I tried some running (which I still hate doing) and some other miscellaneous exercises. While there is still room for improvement (especially since starting school again, I have managed to gain some more weight), I feel that this was fairly successful.

Money is still tough for me. It is something that I think about and try to work at regularly. I think that I have made small improvements this year, especially when I started school again (because I can't work as much). There is still LOTS of room for improvement, debts to pay off, et cetera, but overall, I think I did okay.

As for my GoodReads reading goal. I am sad to say that I started with a goal of reading 45 books, but school ended up taking up so much of my time that I reduced it to 35. I managed to make that goal, at least. I will try to increase it just a little for next year. Maybe 38 books.

For next year, I want to keep working out and keep making improvements to my financial situation. I also need to start eating better, but that will have to wait until after I finish school, I think. I already have a meal plan and there is only so much I can do about dining hall food.

And what a crazy year it has been. Working on fixing up this condo, a break up and getting back together, a trip with friends, going to graduate school, NDK 2013! Sounds like adventures (some better than others, of course). I have all sorts of things to post about the work we have been doing on the condo. I will need to get those bits up. There may be good information there for people! Which leads us to one more little resolution: to keep this blog going and growing!

On that note, I want to thank those of you who are regular readers, those who have supported me in so many different ways, and those who give my little blog a signal boost from time to time (Thanks Mandi-I'm lookin' at you!). Keeping this blog is just a silly little thing that I enjoy doing, but it's nice to see some of what I post getting around to people.

And lastly, here is a recent picture of my rats. Because they are cute and I love them.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Nerdy Ravings: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Over the weekend, I went to see the new Hobbit movie!

I want to preface this by saying that I am a fan of The Hobbit and LotR. I like the movies a lot, too. Possibly better than the books in some ways, but that's a discussion for another Nerdy Ravings post.

I liked this movie. (Well, Benedict Cumberbatch's voice--where's bad??). And I love Legolas, so really any time he is on screen, I'm a happy bear. Even though he's not supposed to be there.

My main issue is that Peter Jackson is determined to drag this one little book into three different movies. Fine. I think he's only doing that because he missed that bandwagon when he did the LotR series. Maybe that's just me. And while I am alright with having another movie to look forward to, he seems to be struggling to put in all sorts of filler material: see Legolas, Tauriel, changing plot lines, and so forth. And I just want to know why you would cut out ALL of these other scenes from the book just to fill it with made up junk.

Not that it's all junk, but honestly! So much of the actual book stories are completely cut, only to have them desperately (in my opinion) try to add more filler and action sequences. This seems so very unnecessary! The material is already there! Why can't you use that? I would have loved to see everything with Beorn as it was supposed to be. What about the dwarves loosing the road in Mirkwood and trying to follow the elves? What about Bilbo luring the giant spiders away with his voice so he could rescue his friends? Why cut all of that just to make up other things to fill up the time and space?? I just don't understand.

Alright, that was my mini rant. Otherwise, I liked it. Some of it was a little to action-y for my tastes. But I LOVE watching Orlando Bloom as Legolas when he does fight scenes. That man works hard to look so graceful. I love it. The romance between Tauriel and Kili was charming, I thought.

Some girl behind me (she was annoying throughout the movie) kept saying at the end, "But a dwarf and and elf?! That's just not OK. Just not OK." Et cetera, et cetera. But she had no reason except that it was, apparently, just not right. Great reason, eh? And I don't know why it matters anyway. She probably hasn't read the books. She was dumb. I liked it. (Plus, we had been refering to Tauriel as "Legolas' girlfriend," which made me want to hurt her, because he's mine! So now I can like her.) I did like seeing a strong woman and a strong female elf. Not that Arwen was weak at all, but she wasn't a fighter. And I do so love archers...

I won't ruin anything else. There were a few little issues, but overall I liked it.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Thanksgivukkah!

As many of you know, Thanksgiving and Hannukah overlapped this year. This hasn't happened for (estimated) 100 years and isn't predicted to happen again for another 60 or so. That makes this pretty special, if you ask me!

I didn't do a post on Thanksgiving, though I definitely thought about it. Since it is still the season, here are some of the things that I am thankful for:
-My family who love and support me
-My friends who always know how to cheer me up and whom I am so comfortable with
-My boyfriend who works hard to make our lives better and who I am still in love with after all this time
-My rats who bring me endless joy
-Being able to go to continue my education to obtain my Masters
-Good books!

The first night of Hannukah was the night before Thanksgiving. Tonight is the fifth night. I celebrated by putting my construction paper menorah on my dorm room door:
My alternative, DIY construction paper menorah! Jealous?

Today is also December 1st. I always get excited for December. A few of my friends have birthdays this month, which means we get to have lots of fun! My birthday is in December, and I do love my birthday. I like to celebrate for about a week. Hannukah comes during December (or, this year, end of November and into December). And then, of course, Christmas.

It means that I can pull out the decorations (Hannukah and Christmas, alike), the Christmas music, and Christmas movies. I enjoy the decorations and music everywhere I go. It just feels joyful.

For me, Christmas is a very normal, public celebration. When I celebrate Hannukah, it is usually just me and just for me. Lighting the menorah (or pasting fake candles on my paper one, as the case may be) is something that I do by myself and for myself. Hannukah is personal and Christmas is what I usually celebrate with my loved ones.

I am not religious. Frankly, I would say that I am agnostic at best, but I identify atheist (or Jewish, depending on my mood). But much of my family is Jewish and the Jewish culture and religion appeals to me greatly. It is a huge part of my background that I identify with and cherish. It is a time for me to remember my grandparents who survived the Holocaust and to acknowledge their families who did not make it. It reminds me of winter and most importantly: hope. For me, lighting the menorah and taking part in my own little Hannukah traditions is more meditative than religious. Christmas is for me and my family and friends. Hannukah is for me.

So there you have it. Happy December, everyone!