Goodbye PC, Hello Mac

Two weeks ago I decided I needed a new computer. I got an HP Envy from my parents as a graduation gift when I managed to graduate from college in just three years, which was really nice of them. I had had the same old HP since my senior year in high school and while it still ran, it was going to die soon. I’ve had PCs my entire life. A Dell desktop was my family’s first computer when I was a kid and then another Dell before we realized that they suck and got an HP.

I didn’t get my own personal computer until my senior year in high school, it was a Xmas gift/graduation gift. It served me well, so well I decided when time came for a new computer I wanted another HP. I had heard good things about the new HP Envy like it’s the new Mac or the PC’s equivalent at least. In college I was always envious of my friends that had Mac’s because their battery life was so long and they were so much lighter, but I was too scared to switch from PC. It had always served me well so why change and learn all the new MC stuff…. right?

Well, that HP Envy didn’t serve me so well. I was ridiculously disappointed in my new computer’s battery life. It says it will last up to six hours but if you add on or upgrade at all that battery life cuts down severely (which, of course, I did) and in the end my computer could last unplugged for two hours, if it’s on “battery saver mode” then it might make it to three. Then there was a series of weird and annoying things, like how hard the fan would run, how it would overheat even when it was off (which really makes no sense), and so on. Even though it’s not that old, I decided I’d get a new computer. My mom killed hers (as she does any electronic she owns) and really doesn’t use her computer much so I’m going to get the overheating problem fixed on my Envy and give it to her to use.

I decided I had enough of PC and would give Mac a go. Everyone I know that has one pretty much only has good things to say and I’ve always, always, always wanted a laptop that has a long battery life and I knew Mac could give me that. Plus, I could get a high functioning laptop that’s not extremely heavy either. I bought the Macbook Pro 15 Retina from apple’s website and it arrived last night. It’s taking time to get used to, but so far I like it. It’s battery life is amazing, Word still works on it, and it’s pretty light. The only odd thing is that it has no CD drive so I had to buy something to plug in to use CDs or DVDs, but other than that it’s pretty. I hope a year from now I feel the same way.

Deadly Cool: First Love Is A Killer

Rating:

Recommended? Yes. If you like YA and murder-mysteries, this book is well-worth reading.

The main reasons I decided to read this book are (A) the cover/title/catch-phrases are pretty intriguing  and (B) Gemma Halliday is represented by Holly Root. Usually, the teen-Nancy-Drew-sleuth thing isn’t what I’d consider reading but I liked the way the back of the book sounded, the first couple of pages were pretty interesting/witty/funny, and the cover was beautiful so I figured, why not? And I’m so glad I did.

The books not perfect. There are slightly silly (on the verge of stupid) things, like the whole “censorship” throughout the book. Teens don’t censor themselves when they talk, trust me, when I was sixteen I wasn’t using the word ‘effing’. Besides, censorship in general is just idiotic. Forbidding the use of words only gives those words more power. Plus, if I read ‘effing, in my head it’s fucking, no one is fooled by it and it means the exact same thing so why not just say it? Be authentic. And then, of course, the whole reveal thing at the end — like with any murder-mystery — was just kind of there. I was surprised, I think, by who it was, but the whole ‘I’ll take a minute to explain everything to you’ bit was a little… unattractive. Plus, everyone who isn’t Hartley (main character) and Sam (man character’s bff) is kind of a stereotype. That was a little annoying, too. I’m also unsure if I really believe the motive behind the murders, but whatever. Crazy is as crazy does.

Aside from that, the voice is great.I can always overlook  a couple of plot issues when the writing and voice combined are nearly perfect. It’s actually a really amusing story line and I really liked Hart, Sam, and Chase. No books perfect but this is really worth reading. One of my favorite parts of the book is how Hart starts out trying to find the murderer for her cheating ex-boyfriend but ends up doing it for herself. She needs a little help here and there, but in the end she pretty much figures out who did it all by herself. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a good murder-mystery with a witty, clever, likeable, strong leading female. There’s a second book called Social Suicide, I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to. I just have so many books that I’ve bought and haven’t gotten to yet…

Revolution: Drugs, Depression, & Dead People

Jennifer Donnelly’s book cover

Rating:

Would I Recommend it? Yes, but only if you can tolerate depressive MCs and like historical fiction.

Let me start out by saying that Jennifer Donnelly is an amazing writer and that the book is worth reading because of her writing. It’s got a great voice and is snarky and over all amusing. The writing gets this book high ratings, for sure. This is not a fast moving book and it takes a while (a loooong while) for the plot to really get started. Also, from the back, I thought there was going to be a stronger paranormal element. There isn’t. Paranormal things don’t happen for over three hundred pages.

It’s about a teenage girl, named Andi, who lost her little brother and is angry at herself and the world. Her dad  is a super genius who bailed on the family after her brother’s death, real stellar father of the year material. He makes her go to Paris for winter break to get her act together and get her senior thesis done. That is where the story finally starts! Over a hundred pages in and she’s finally in Paris. A hundred pages of building… and that drove me crazy. The pace in this book is lacking. It’s very slow.

And, moreover, Andi drove me bat shit crazy. I hate her. I really, really hate her. I can’t stand her. She’s a world class fuck-up and super depressed over her brother’s death, and blames herself. She has it tough, yeah, I know, since her dad sucks and brother got killed but… I can’t stand how she escapes from it all by just continuously popping anti-depressives to numb herself to the world. She’s just so damn weak that it drives me crazy. And she’s stupid, too, and jumps to really dumb conclusions. Like when she sees this French guy she likes kissing the cheek of another girl — Oh no! He has a girlfriend!. No, you idiot, he’s French and you have a very deep understanding of the culture — which she mentioned tons of times — because you spent half of your childhood in France and your mother’s French so you know that kissing someone on the cheek to say hi is like shaking hands for the French! I mean, come on, how dumb can you get? I swear Donnelly only did that to add drama, but it was annoying drama because — if you are an intelligent human being — you know that he doesn’t have a girlfriend.

Plus, when Andi tries to off herself… I’m just got beyond frustrated how she messed it up every time. It’s not a good thing if I’m rooting for her to get it right already. She tries twice within the first hundred pages (I think that’s right) to kill herself and fails. The first time I was like “Well, that’s a bummer that she feels that way” and then the second time? I was like Please just take that step and jump! Luckily, I like the extra characters. G, Lili, her mom, Alex, Orleans, Amande, V, Virgil, and Jules are all great. Plus, I was already so far along that I couldn’t just stop reading and I was interested in finding out what happened to Alex, the little Prince, and Virgil. I couldn’t care less what happened to Andi. I was kinda hoping she’d end up dead in the end. I know, I’m mean, but she really bugs me. I just can’t stand her whole I’m so sad I’m going to pop pills to feel better act.

Go four hundred pages in, though, and the book starts to get good. Really good. The ending makes it completely worth the read. Did it make me like Andi? No. I still don’t. I never will. But the ending was just so… perfect for the story. Donnelly’s skills shine through at the end. I was reading the end during my lunch break and didn’t even touch my food. I was that mesmerized.

I don’t hold it against Donnelly that I hate Andi. Hey, if she can invoke such a passionate feeling from me because of a character that’s talent. But how long it takes for this book to really get going was a problem. It’s probably the books biggest weakness.

Hunger Games: Movie vs. Book

Source: Wikimedia

Just a week or two ago I finally read the Hunger Games book. I know that’s very late but I’m generally not into dystopian societies and didn’t think I’d like the books. But a friend bought me the first book, so I felt obligated to read it. I’m so glad I did, it wasn’t anything like I expected and I loved it. I read all three of them in a week.

Today, I watched the first movie. I couldn’t fathom how they were able to make the first book, where so much happens, into a movie. I was certain they were going to be horrible. I wasn’t right, yet again. The movie seemed like they didn’t have a lot of money to work with, but they did a decent job.

As always, the book was significantly better but that’s how it always is when a book is turned into a movie. I really didn’t get some of their choices. Like how Katniss found the pin in the Hobbs instead of getting it from the Mayor’s daughter, Madge. What would it have been, an extra three or so minutes to add her in there? I mean, the pin has so much meaning that arises from the fact that Madge gave it to her. Because it was once Madge’s aunt’s, a girl that died in the Hunger Games herself.

Also, a lot of scenes packed a harder punch in the book than in the movie. Like when Peeta declared his love for Katniss, I was floored when I read that. In the movie it was just more ‘oh… that’s interesting’. And when Katniss first sees Peeta with the Careers? Oh my god that didn’t just happen! My heart stopped, for reals, when I read that. I couldn’t believe it. In the movie it didn’t pack the same punch, it just couldn’t, not even if I didn’t know that was coming. Because Katniss and Peeta didn’t have that friendship-ish-thing that they formed during the training when they had to pretend to be friends. You know?

Then the ending was all smashed together in the movie. The way the book ended, with Peeta realizing that Katniss was acting, with her realizing that she was loosing the boy with the bread (which, they didn’t do a good job explaining how pivotal of a moment that was in her life). I just remembering thinking that was one hell of a way to end a book, with such power. I wasn’t a Peeta/Katniss fan at the time (Gale was my guy) but I still loved the ending of the book. The movie was all right.

I would still recommend seeing the movie. I’m sure if more people buy the DVD and such then they’ll be able to put more money into the next movie. It could use a bigger budget, particularly for all that the second movie will have in it. I can’t imagine how they’ll manage to make the second arena.

Books, Myths, Love, & More Books

Source: My Camerae

Usually, when I read books, this is how they end up. Highlighted, marked up, and posted-notes hanging out of them all over. It’s something I picked up doing in high school for obvious reasons and it helped in college a great deal since I had to read a lot of nonfiction and gather a lot of research information. Now? I just do it out of impulse. I find it difficult not to, it’s why I like actual books over e-books.

My Nook allows me to highlight and makes notes but it’s very annoying and doesn’t like to highlight when I tell it to. That aside, do you want to hear a sweet creation myth from New Zealand? I think it was my favorite.

There was no space for anything in the world, since Father Rangi (the sky) and Mother Papa (the earth) were always together. Their children, the young gods, wanted to make room for themselves and decided to push the two apart. Tane-mahuta, the gentle god of the forests, decided to push the earth and sky apart by standing on his head to push the earth and sky apart by standing on his head and pushing up with his legs, something like the way a tree grows. His shoulders touched Papa and his feet touched Rangi and slowly he pushed them apart. Trees still separate the earth and sky in the same way.

The parts of the gods screamed and groaned as they were pushed apart. But as the space between them enlarged, light and dark were separated. Now there was room for gods, for tall trees to grow, and for humans and animals to flourish.

Rangi is still saddened to be separate from Papa, and his tears form the dew every morning and sometimes even take the form of rain.

Most creation myths, that I read about, were just… I don’t know, not equal to that. That one ends with something sweet. It actually got me to say ‘aw’, which doesn’t often happen. I really liked that. Most of the posted notes in the book are filled with ideas for my WIP. Reading always helps me get ideas, not usually directly (like taking ideas from what I’m reading) but just because it gets my brain working in the right way.

I had another good reading experience recently. I read the Hunger Games trilogy this past week, it was so good! I was surprised, I knew it was popular and people kept telling me to read it but usually I hate dystopian society things. It was such a wonderful emotional roller coaster and I did like Kantiss a great deal. So if you haven’t read the Hunger Games yet, you should. It’s wasn’t at all what I was expecting.

So to sum it up read: Parallel Myths by J.F. Bierlein, 100 Characters from Classical Mythology by Malcolm Day, and the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. All these books will help get the inspirational juices start flowing in your head.