Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Prom!


I completely forgot to post about this!! Eek! It was on May 18th, and it was okay. No big deal, really, the only thing that distinguished it from other dances was that my dress was big and poofy, and the decorations were better than normal dances. The theme was vintage New York, and let me tell you, as an NHS member, that thing was a B*TCH to decorate. But it all turned out great under the lights, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
I went off to see Star Trek; Into Darkness with my buddy. She laughed at me when I cried. But oh god, I cried. The writers are almost meaner than Doctor Who's Moffat. I mean... oh god. I'm trying so hard not to spoil it, but there was this scene adapted from one of the original movies and I just... feels. ALL of the feels.
                                             But, on the plus side, Benedict Cumberbatch.
Source: fanpop.com

This is me:

source: tumblr.com

So that was an excellent start to my day, except the being laughed at for crying...  but it was okay I guess. So then we went to sushi and to prom! Here are a couple of photos my mom took in our back yard before I left.
and an awful teenage selfie from my room
 I mostly just like this because it shows off the colour of my hair. ALL the colours. 
Just for kicks, here's a photo of the dress from the website I ordered it from: 
 milanoo.com
I expected it to be a little darker purple than it was, but that was okay because it was dark at prom anyway so no one could really tell... and the ruching sat funny on me, but I solved that with my favorite little shrug safety pinned closed and accented with one of the detachable bows at the bottom. I think it all worked out alright.
But like I said, prom wasn't that special. Oh well. One can't constantly have everything one wants, and I did have fun dancing from group of acquaintances to group of acquaintances.  



Outfit Post!

These are from a couple weeks ago, but it shows off my awesome blue-green (at the time) hair, and one of my favorite casual dresses. I'm sorry to say, I got it from Hot Topic, but this summer I have marvelous plans to go thrifting and on sewing adventures :3 I'm in my last two days of high school ever, and this week I've been doing pretty cool outfits, so be prepared for some amazingness... 



Saturday, May 25, 2013

OMG! Innocent World!

This is completely random, but I found my favorite Lolita brand!! Innocent World. Just look at these two lovely JSKs I am now coveting. Adorable!
Fairy Tale High Waist Jumperskirt (3 colors)Fairy Tale High Waist Jumperskirt (3 colors)Rose and Playing Cards High Waist jumper skirt (2 colors)Rose and Playing Cards overknee socks (2 colors)

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Favorite Things

This is an idea I will freely admit to getting from the lovely Rosalynn at Lolita Wonderland, whose adorable blog can be found here;
http://roselolitawonderland.blogspot.com/

In an attempt to spice up my blog a little, I will be adding more things than reviews and outfit posts. This thing I am adding, My Favorite Things, will be exactly what it sounds like; a series of posts about my favorite things and explanations thereof.

In the spirit of the title, my first favorite thing is.... The Sound of Music.
Look at all the things!
I used to watch this movie all the time, and I still sing the songs in the shower. I love Julie Andrews, and I love the time period (well, the art and clothing, the events of the 40s were horrendous), and I just really love this musical and always have. Sadly, my VHS is getting worn out or something, last time I watched it there was a buzzing in the back that was almost as loud as the dialogue :/ but dear me this movie is excellent. The architecture pictured is lovely, as is the scenery, the singing, and come on- adorable story line. This woman is beautiful and she sings marvelously. This movie is so sweet... "Here you are, standing there, loving me, whether or not you should..." And, it was based on a true story! So that's why I love the Sound of Music.

I also love the spinoffs, such as  my Favorite Fangs. This was very, very sexual, crude, and drop-dead (no pun intended) hilarious. It routinely broke the fourth wall, exaggerated every character trait, and made terrible jokes about the nazis... if you're sensitive to sexual materials, don't read this, but if you're offended by sexism or racism or homophobia (as I am) you are safe with this book. As best as I can recall, there was nothing I found insulting. Indeed, Goldsher makes a point to emphasize his support for the gay community. This only took about an hour or two to read, and I kept giggling. Maria is a vampire, the nuns are zombies, and the Baroness... well, wait 'til you meet the Baroness.

So those are two of my (related) favorite things!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

San Francisco: Aquarium

We walked down Pier 39 which was really, super cool. There was a store JUST for socks and tights, which I loved. There were sooo many cool patterns and adorable prints, and suchlike. I didn't actually buy any, because it seemed like all the prices were marked up, and I figured I could always come back next time I came to San Francisco. We kept walking, made a detour into a candy shop for my brother, and then we came to a giant carousel! It was all cute and fancy and I of course loved it because it was pretty, sparkly, and fantastic.
Then we continued to the aquarium. I love aquariums. They're quite possibly my very favorite places in the world.

 I took maybe a billion pictures, but here's five. I love the jellyfish best, there's something about their lovely slow pace and the fact that their tentacles never seem to get tangled.

The whole pier 39 aquarium was pretty cool, they had two octopi and a huge tank with a walkway through it, where you went under sharks and rays and other very large fish. An attendant told us that the glass distorted the fish on the other side and they were actually bigger than they looked. Given that many of them were over five feet long from where I stood, I was amazed that they could be or were any bigger.

Many of the rooms had large cylindrical tanks, and those were varying degrees of awesome, depending on what was in them. For example, there were a bunch of little silver fish (I think the placard said anchovies) in one, and they were one of those fish types that swim in large schools and behave as a group in order to distract and defend against predators. Those were really fun to watch.

If anyone ever gets a chance to go to an aquarium, GO.

Book Review: Forgive My Fins, Fury's Kiss, Lolita

 Yet another book bought for the cover art... I know, I know, I'm one of those people who looks at shiny objects and freaks out. But anyway. I knew it was going to be a teen drama, but with a mermaid and makeup like that on the cover, why should I care? It ended up being the very very classic teenage story about a girl thinking she's in love with one guy and falling for another (the cliche bad-boy neighbor, even!) the twist was this: she's a mermaid, and if she kisses a human she bonds to them, and they get a telepathic connection and he starts changing into a merperson (don't ask me how all that happens from a kiss, it's very wibbly-wobbly) What I liked about this book: The cover art, the emotional description and the plot twists. What I didn't like about this book: simply written, straightforward progression, shallow characters, easy fixes to hard problems. All in all, a thoroughly "meh" book. I'm not sorry I read it, it was a good unwinding, waste-of-time sort of thing, but I wouldn't read it again.
 This is the latest in the Midnight's Daughter novels. I LOVED Midnight's Daughter, was fond of Death's Mistress, and appreciate Fury's Kiss. It continues the story of Dorina Basarab, niece of Vlad Dracula, dhampir, and vampire hunter extraordinaire. She is a strong woman in the beginning of the series, though absolutely not without her issues. These really come to a head in Fury's Kiss, when her vampire nature begins to break out of the side of her mind her father had confined it to many, many years before. The story is quite good, really, and Karen Chance has a writing style I like, so if you've read the other two novels I'd suggest you continue on, and read Fury's Kiss. Warning though, there is an escalation of the sexual aspect between Dorina and Louis-Cesare, so if that bothers you, I would suggest you leave this book alone or be prepared to skip a section or three.
 And then, the highbrow book. The classic. The psychology study in a story. I LOVED it. True, I was a bit creeped out at times, as I found myself sympathizing with Humbert Humbert, the pseudonym of a middle-aged writer who falls in love with a young girl and marries her mother to remain close to her. This book is well-written, emotionally charged, quite deep, and all in all I really understand why it's considered a classic. I will definitely be reading it again, and I would urge you very strongly to read it yourself if you haven't yet, but be warned that, given the nature of the subject, you might find it slightly disconcerting or downright offensive at some scenes, though it is not written i n a manner meant to offend.

Book Review: Catch-22

 Catch-22, by Joseph Heller, is probably my favorite book. I thought it was absolutely hilarious, and in a bit of a gallows-humor way, which I like. Since I don't know what else to do, I'm just going to post the essay I wrote for Advanced American Literature about this book. It's a little bit rambling, and long, but my teacher gave me a 125/130, so I assume it's fairly good. Enjoy!




Critical Analysis: Catch-22
                This book was so good that it’s hard to choose what parts to really focus on, the characters, the humor, the plot and twisted logic all made up such integral parts of this wonderful novel. The author, Joseph Heller, took eight years to write a novel filled with more developed characters and twisting subplots than I have ever seen in a story, and in such a way that kept me reading and refused to let me stop. I think this man deserves the title genius. He uses an omniscient third-party point of view, but focuses largely on Yossarian the bombardier captain. The timeline is not linear, progressing more like a train of thought and revealing more and more of the circumstances surrounding hinted-at occurrences, like the death of Snowden, as the novel continues.
Never have I read a more fascinating book. I read it straight through some classes- I should have been learning math, I should have been drawing maps. But instead I was learning the math of Milo Minderbinder, who can buy eggs at seven cents apiece and make a profit selling them for four cents apiece. I was drawing in my head the map of France, and the bomb line Yossarian moved. One of the things I loved about Catch-22 is that every character has a backstory, every character has a madness. What is madness? A behavior that others do not understand, a behavior outside the way one normally behaves. In the military setting, where the soldiers were expected to do something that in peace time only people regarded as insane would do- die for something intangible because someone else told them to. After all, dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori.
Yossarian may have been the only sane one from a civilian point of view, a bombardier afraid to fly the missions that might get him killed, because he knew that on the ground there were legions of people he had never even met, all aiming their weapons toward the sky in the hope of killing him. If he were to ever stop being easily provoked, if he were to ever stop being paranoid, if his temper evened out or his moods transitioned smoothly, then Yossarian would be crazy.
                For me, it was the characters that really made this story. One of my favorite minor (if any of the characters really were minor) characters was Doc Daneeka, who was unhelpful, obstinate, wistful, and just an all-around pain in the neck. He too had a madness; when Milo Minderbinder bombed the squadron, he crawled around in the shrapnel and debris trying to save lives and treat wounds and Yossarian observed that Doc Daneeka had gone crazy, because he was completely outside his normal behavior. On page 270, in the immediate aftermath of the actual bombing scene, Doc Daneeka’s behavior is described thusly: “Doc Daneeka had lost his head during MiIo’s bombardment; instead of running for cover, he had remained out in the open and performed his duty…” I thought this was beautifully ironic: a military medic went crazy and tried to save the lives of his men, attempting to step between the wounded and death. Doc Daneeka himself had an odd encounter with death: because he signed on to flights he never actually took, he was often on the ground when all logs and records had him down as being in the air. One of the planes he was supposed to be on went suicide after accidentally killing a fellow soldier. Since Doc Daneeka was registered on that plane’s flight log, he was reported as dead even while standing beside the briefing table. People addressed him, telling him regrettably that he was dead. His wife gets a letter informing her of his demise, and then he writes one to reassure her that he is still alive. She is overjoyed and writes in return, but her letter is returned by the military bureaucracy having been stamped “Deceased” and she, rich with Doc Daneeka’s insurance and military benefits, moves away with her children, not altogether unhappy.
Another character I was particularly interested in was Nately.  He was the son of a rich businessman, a little na├»ve, a little idealistic, and very quixotic in the most romantic way. In Rome, he fell in love with an apathetic whore who only wanted to sleep and be slept with, neither of which gave her significant relief from the stupor she seemed to live in. Nately was young and unrequited love was particularly trying for him, but romantic enough that he did not wish to break the cycle by moving on. Nately’s whore, as the girl is known throughout the book, will not even consent to sleep exclusively with him, because she just doesn’t care that much and doesn’t understand why he does. Near the end of the book, though, she falls in love with him in return, seemingly out of gratitude. They played out a twisted version of the classic fairytale: the prince rescues the princess from some torment and she loves him immediately and unconditionally. Nately’s whore was being detained in a darkly funny scene by some other military gentlemen (who were really very, very gentlemanly when Yossarian, Nately, and their companions burst in to save Nately’s whore) and though they were not forcing her to do anything but sit around, which she likely would have done anyway, her rescue is an exaggerated drama, leading to her waking up in Nately’s arms and looking at him with profound love and gratitude. Nately recognizes that he has won her love and promptly abuses it, demanding that she change her friends and her lifestyle. She rages and her little sister yells, making them a perfect, loving, family. When Nately is killed in action, Yossarian goes to tell Nately’s whore, who promptly tries to kill Yossarian. She spends the rest of the book in a state of misdirected rage, attempting to murder Yossarian as a sort of proxy for murdering the killer of her beloved Nately. Yossarian dodges every attempt (some rather narrowly) and does not seem to even hold a grudge against her for trying, saying at the end of the book that he wants to go back to Rome and try to save her kid sister from the streets.
One character has a life that is simply a series of events that on paper should be positive or at least humorous but play out in a very negative manner. He is named Major Major Major at birth by his father but is called by Caleb Major (according to his mother’s preference) until he is enrolled in kindergarten and his legal name comes to light. From that point, even though he is the nicest and most obedient boy a person could ever meet, his former friends distrust him and he can never make any new friends. As it is put on page 95, “He had a shy and hopeful manner in each new contact, and he was always disappointed. Because he needed a friend so desperately, he never found one.” He looked like Henry Fonda, a movie star, which for some reason was also held against him. He did well in school and joined the army because he was told to. He was promoted because someone did not like having an extra Major on the roster besides their list of majors, so they made Major Major Major a major and squadron commander, which alienated him from the rest of his squadron. He was harassed and met with cold treatment from almost every man, so much so that he began to purposely isolate himself, telling his subordinate (of whom he was secretly afraid) to send people into his office only if he wasn’t in. Milo brought Major Major his meals in his tent. He read official communications telling him to disregard official communications he had never seen, and signed them Washington Irving. That was less monotonous than signing his own name, and gave him something to do where he felt he had been useless before, especially because none of the communications signed with Washington Irving’s name ever required his attention again.
I just feel bad for General Cathcart. Living in a constant state of second guessing himself without being able to see the root of the problem-his own hubris- because of his own hubris. Will this action get him far, will this action set him back. Which general should he impress, which one can he ignore. He’s convinced of his own worth, and now he has to convince other people, but he is a bit of a catch-22 in and of himself: to be worth something he must validate himself to others, but to feel worth something he must feel that validation is not required. His endless circle is hard to pin down, but it has to do with feeling superior as long as others think he is superior but of course because he’s superior what do their opinions mean anyway? Poor man, that’s an awful circle to be stuck in, and just as pointless as asking where infinity begins.
                The humor in Catch-22 is exactly my type: a little convoluted, a little overblown, sarcastic, dry and in some ways, positively morbid. I think this book is hilariously clever. Many of subplots that make up the main story are made of or include dark humor, like Doc Daneeka’s “death” and Major Major’s whole life, and Milo’s profiteering by helping both sides in the war. My favorite humor subplot though, is definitely the business with signing Washington Irving’s name to official communiques. Like the rest of the timeline and plot, signing Washington Irving’s name jumps back and forth non-chronologically and gets very elaborate, but once I understood what was happening it seemed like greater offhand genius than how Milo made his profits (and much less dangerous). When we first meet Yossarian, he is in the hospital. He, like other wounded officers, is given the task of censoring letters home to remove any mention of troop movements, stationing, etc. in case of interception by an enemy. Yossarian finds this very tedious, and takes to censoring very whimsically: on page 16 I fell in love with this book for the passage,
“To break the monotony he invented games. Death to all modifiers, he declared one day, and out of every letter that passed through his hands went every adverb and every adjective. …One time he blacked out all but the salutation “Dear Mary” from a letter, and at the bottom he wrote, “I yearn for you tragically. A. T. Tappman, Chaplain, U.S. Army.” A. T. Tappman was the group chaplain’s name... Catch-22 required that each censored letter bear the censoring officer’s name. Most letters he didn’t read at all. On those he didn’t read at all he wrote his own name. On those he did read he wrote, “Washington Irving.” When that grew monotonous he wrote “Irving Washington.” Censoring the envelopes had serious repercussions, produced a ripple of anxiety on some ethereal military echelon that floated a C.I.D. man back into the ward posing as a patient. They all knew he was a C.I.D. man because he kept inquiring about an officer named Irving or Washington and because after his first day there he wouldn’t censor letters. He found them too monotonous.”

                Of course, no one knows who Washington Irving is and the C.I.D. man never finds out, but comes back later in the book when Yossarian has been released from the hospital and is back in his squadron. The C.I.D man goes to the squadron commander, Major Major, and tells him that there is someone in his squadron signing censored letters with the name Washington Irving, or Irving Washington. Major Major says he knows nothing about this, when really he also had been doing it on his official documents as a way to alleviate the extreme boredom forced on him by his ostracism from the squadron.  Major Major had once heard of a man at the idle pursuit of forging signatures on whimsically censored letters, and had taken to doing the same. Major Major begins signing the same “Washington Irving” he initially heard about, but soon flips it to make it Irving Washington, and then comes up with his own idea of signing John Milton or alternately Milton John. After tiring of word games involving Milton John and John Milton, he returns to Washington Irving. Major Major was also visited by the C.I.D. man from the hospital, who initially was looking for Yossarian. And then a second C.I.D man visits, supposedly undercover but who is announced to Major Major as a C.I.D. man. Then the first C.I.D. man comes back, demanding who the second C.I.D. man was. Major Major is very confused, but the C.I.D. men are run in circles by him just as much as he is by them. Eventually, the C.I.D. man comes to the conclusion that it is the group chaplain, A.T. Tappman, who has been stealing Major Major’s communications and signing them Washington Irving. Actually, it is the poor chaplain who takes the abuse over the affair. Because of the letter Yossarian once signed with the chaplain’s name, the higher-ups become convinced that the whole business is the chaplain’s doing and they take him underground for a little intimidation and the threat of advanced interrogation on the matter.
                While the whole book is filled with depressive themes, it is probably the chaplain who takes the brunt of the spiritual abuse. He feels misunderstood and ostracized, and indeed he is; his commanding officers are unsure of what to do with a chaplain, more than one of them are somewhat incompetent and don’t like him much on top of that, so he is thrown out of headquarters, made to pitch his tent in a clearing a few miles from anything, given a rotating meals schedule so that no one eats a consecutive meal in proximity to him, and barred off-and-on from the officer’s club. On top of that, he is saddled with an insubordinate subordinate who does everything in his power to annoy the chaplain or make him look bad. The chaplain is the victim of a lot of misguided anger and discontent. He can never do anything right by anyone, except his friends Yossarian, Nately, Hungry Joe, Aarfy, Dunbar and McWatt. He doesn’t have a lot of self-confidence, agreeing with everyone who says he does anything wrong and just looking for someone to protect him, someone to care, who he finds in Yossarian. Yossarian has no patience for his superior officers’ unfounded discrimination against the chaplain, and he stands up to punch Colonel Cathcart for trying to kick the chaplain out of the officer’s club. The chaplain cannot stand up for himself because he has an inferiority complex and lacks the strength to stand up to those who push him around.
By the end of the novel, he has learned that lying often produces better results than telling the truth. From that point, he rapidly evolves (or devolves, depending on perspective) to feeling like he could stand up for himself, even use physical violence. In short, he loses his demure innocence. A. T. Tappman, group chaplain, is a classic example of a good person’s inability to thrive as they are at the bottom of a power chain. As long as there is someone higher up who is willing to use any measures necessary to accomplish what they want done, a quiet, kind person will be pushed aside. Either they leave, are forever marginalized, or stand up for themselves and bring about a change in their nature. The chaplain did the latter, tired of feeling incompetent and unsure, and it changed his character as well as his circumstances.
                Since the timeline of Catch-22 is not linear, the plot is initially a little hard to follow. Around the middle of the book though, I realized it wasn’t so much a story with a beginning, middle and an end as it is a group of shorter stories, all with their own starts and finishes, all intertwining to become the story of Yossarian the bombardier. In summary, Yossarian’s story goes something like this: a bombardier (Yossarian) with determination and audacity flies a mission in which his plane is hit, critically wounding a young soldier. Unable to save the young soldier and thoroughly shaken, Yossarian loses his nerve and begins to become increasingly worried that he is going to die. His squadron General continuously raises the number of missions his men have to fly, and Yossarian realizes that his chance to go home will likely never come. He becomes more and more paranoid, seemingly unbalanced and insane on paper. Eventually, a friend of his fakes his own death and is heard of in Sweden. Yossarian decides to desert too, as he feels that he has done his share of risking his life for what he has come to feel is not his country, but the whim of the squadron commanders.
The title of this book is also the crux of the plot: Catch-22 is a military clause which creates a contradiction. In the Miriam-Webster dictionary, catch-22 is defined as “a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule.” For Yossarian, catch-22 means that though the regulations say a doctor can take him off flight duty for being crazy, he becomes sane as soon as he asks to be removed from flight duty for being crazy. So even though a doctor may agree that Yossarian- or any other soldier- is a nervous wreck and mad in the most textbook way, he cannot be removed from duty if he asks to be. Yossarian spends almost the entire book being called crazy, thinking everyone else is crazy, and slowly coming to the realization that neither he nor anyone else will ever be removed from the combat roster, or exempted from the ever-rising number of missions.
                After reading this book, I don’t think I will ever think of anything in the same way again, especially not war. In school, we’re always taught, ‘oh, France went to war with Britain,’ but really, countries don’t fight each other. How can they? They’re just arbitrary, invisible lines drawn through the geography of the world. The people of one country fight the people of another, and the war on that scale is exactly what Yossarian suspects it to be: motivated by commanders. Some Generals want fame, some officers want promotions, some just want the war to be over and they’ll fight until it is, and the rare few who care about their country’s cause. I knew before reading this book that war changes people psychologically, but this book was really perspective-changing because it didn’t write like everything that was happening was completely normal. Some war books, like All Quiet on the Western Front, are written in a casual ‘Yeah, that’s just how things are here. We’ve gotten used to it,’ tone that underscores the psychological effect but downplays the actual events. But in Catch-22 there are completely twisted parts, like Milo’s business deals, and horrifying parts, like when Milo bombs his own squadron, but nothing is ever under-emphasized except the behavioral shenanigans of Yossarian and the other men in the squadron, which sometimes are emphasized and sometimes merely stated in a casual manner. For example, Hungry Joe’s strange ailments are brought up several times, from several different angles, but when Yossarian and Dunbar sexually harass Nurse Duckett, while the ensuing state of affairs is proportionally serious and emphatic within the plot, the actual scene is not. There is very little gravity infused while the poor woman is jumping around the ward having various sexual attributes groped at. Indeed, the scene is written with almost a touch of humor, as though the men do not take seriously what they are doing. Yossarian even consoles the crying nurse immediately afterward, as though he really gave no thought to what he did.
                The madness of each character is important, and is discussed as such. The mental affairs of wartime are given just as much if not more mention than the shooting, the bombing, the dying and the wondering about the other side. The most gruesome scene in the whole book was also the most directly hinted at, the one given the most gravitas: the death of Snowden. Throughout the book, Yossarian recalls the young tail gunner whimpering about being cold. This is not explained until the full scene is finally relived: Snowden was injured in two places. Some flak (anti-aircraft fire) hit him in the leg, and some went through his flak suit, ripping open his body cavity and dislodging his organs so that the only thing holding them in was what remained of the suit. Yossarian treated the visible wound on Snowden’s leg, and Snowden whimpered about being cold the whole time, which confused Yossarian because while the wound was serious, it should not have been life-threatening. When Yossarian finally notices the bloody hole in Snowden’s flak suit, he unzips it to treat the wound and the tail gunner’s organs spill all over the floor of the aircraft. This perturbing moment was the same moment that Yossarian lost his nerve, and his refusal to fight, paranoia over being killed, and eventual desertion all revolve on the axis of Snowden’s painful, graphic death.
                Catch-22 didn’t only change my perspective on war, it also changed the way I think about everyday scenarios, especially when it has to do with the way people think and act. I still think certain behaviors are crazy, even if logically I see how they would be justified from a certain viewpoint other than my own, but the majority of things that people do I have started looking at as best I can through the lens of their past and personality rather than my own. It’s not something that comes naturally, but it’s not necessarily hard to take a moment and think about why they’re acting a certain way or saying a certain thing. It’s also gotten harder to abide putting people in statistics, because of the generals ordering their men into dangerous situations just to earn themselves commendations. I don’t like that they saw their men as squadrons rather than as a group of individuals each with something to live for.
In summary, Catch-22 was one of those ingenious novels that used incredibly clever methods to write both a good story and a good moral. The book made a point in a way I liked and think that almost anyone could relate to at least a little bit. Catch-22 was filled with black humor making points about the way different people think and the way events unfold. Even if the timeline was a little confusing at first, being nonlinear, I think in the end that method of slow revelation actually made the book even better than it would have been had the story been told in order from start to finish. Time being  The characters were amazing, the action was perfect, and the way it changed the way I think is something I also view as good. I always tried to understand people, but Catch-22 placed such an emphasis on normal insanity that I’ve decided we must all be crazy to someone.

San Francisco: Alcatraz

Apologies for the long absence, the school year is coming to a close and I get busier with each passing day.
 So! We went to San Francisco for a weekend, as my mother had a conference in the area and it always makes a good trip.
 Here's what I wore for day one.
 It was incredibly sunny every day we were there O.O I could not believe our good fortune! I love the normal weather too, but it's been gray and rainy where I live for so long that going somewhere I love and having the weather be super bright and fairly warm was really nice, and made a two day trip feel like a real vacation!

 we stopped at a bayside cafe kind of place and I took a picture of my food because I was amazed. It's a veggie burger, but that in itself wasn't so amazing (though it WAS good), what amazed me was that it was RIGHT THERE for people to order! In my town if you want a vegetable burger, you go dig in the back freezer of a slightly more expensive food store, and then you go home and you thaw it out and cook it yourself. But here, in this innocuous little cafe, I could just buy a veggie burger and it came with deep fried zucchini and everything! It was really a proper meal. I loved that.

 while my mom was in her meeting, my grandma decided to take my brother and I to Alcatraz prison. So we bought our tickets and went to stand in line on the dock.

  there was some sort of boating group out practicing, and I took pictures of the bay as we sailed across it because it was such a gorgeous day and the boats looked like they were having such fun!

Then we arrived at Alcatraz. The fun quickly decreased. 
 The island and the prison are both extremely photogenic, and it was beautiful to be there, but there was an odd air that hung over the place... especially because everyone received a headset for an audio tour, so there was little to no talking, and if you took off your headset at any point, you were stuck by the hanging silence even while so many people walked the halls.

 I took this when we first arrived. It's beautiful, and a wonderful piece of architecture, but... I'm not sure. The place was a prison, and while I agree with keeping dangerous people from hurting others, I have always thought there must be a better way to do so than to lock anyone deemed dangerous in a tiny cell for years on end.

 This stairwell was inside the prison. I thought it, and the mossy wall behind it, had a sort of macabre beauty. 

 A photo from inside the library, looking out into one hallway of cells. I wished there had still been books on the library shelves, because my tour mentioned that most of the inmates were more well-read and had access to more intellectual reading material than ordinary civilians did. 
 There was an information room, with placards and exhibits and explanations and even some corners devoted exclusively to debunking myths about Alcatraz. I learned some interesting facts that I hadn't known before, including the fact that the families of the guards lived on the island too, in little houses with gardens, and the children grew up in the shadow of a prison. There was a memoir from an inmate about seeing some children celebrating the fourth of July from his prison window- hearing the laughter and explosions commemorating national freedom while he was being denied his personal freedom.
I took the tour in French, as I'm a native English speaker trying to learn French, and while that presented an interesting an enjoyable challenge, I do get the feeling I missed some things about the tour. 
In all, it was a very poignant experience, alternatingly beautiful and soul-damping. 
 I took a photo back to the mainland, just to serve as a reminder of the vitality the prisoners witnessed through the windows of their forced entropy. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Trying to Choose my First Lolita Piece

So far, I've got it down to these dresses


 or this top and a skirt

and these shoes/accessories

 Has anyone else ever wanted to experiment with a new style and had a hard time choosing how to begin?