Emily Lam

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Inheritance Cycle

I have a bone to pick with Inheritance. So this post will be me ranting. Oh well!

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been reading Inheritance, the last book of the Inheritance Cycle. Well, I've finished. And I am deeply disappointed. I don't know if it's because I'm much older now — I started the series when I was in sixth grade — or the book was really just subpar compared to the previous books.

Spoiler Alert!!!

First, Inheritance dragged. It really did. There was too much of Roran's point of view. And the chapters spent supposedly "developing" Roran were pointless. It's not like Christopher Paolini ended up making him a plot contributing character. He didn't help defeat Galboratoeix, nor did he become king. And when I read a fantasy novel, like Eragon, I read it for magical fun, not boring no magic Roran.

Second, the plot was a mess. Paolini seemed to have written himself into a corner: his antagonist, King Galbortorix, was too strong and had no weaknesses. So in order to have Eragon defeat him, absurd advantages were given to him. Absurd even on fantasy standards. They suddenly found a magical dragon slaying weapon and eldunari, hearts of dragons, not in Galbortorix's control, and dragon eggs hidden from Galbortorix? What? And the final battle was almost as anticlimactic as sucky twilight. And the conclusion was a fail.

Although I was shipping Eragon and Arya a lot, I'm not too upset that they did not end up together – I probably would have done the same thing if I was in Paolini's position. I am, however, very upset that their relationship almost didn't develop at all. Yes, Arya finally warmed up to Eragon and I guess they did share their true names – something done only when one knows another for a long time. But come on, none of that spells LOVE. And you really can't not have an epic romance when Eragon has been longing for her for three books.

Oh and the green dragon, I forgot about that. Oh wait, I think Paolini did too. The green dragon didn't appear until the end, kind of as an afterthought, a mate for Saphira for about a week. And this brings us back to Eragon and Arya. They just stand by idly while their dragons mate, not at all gonna give that romance thing a go? And why? oh why? Why, Paolini, did you decide to take the magic and dragon spectacular away and replace it with boring super magic? That's why we all read Eragon to begin with. For the dragons and magic. This book was meant to entertain and entertain it did not.

Finally, supporting cast development was nonexistent. Paolini had such a rich character lineup to work with. But he chose to develop NONE of them. Except for Roran. I do not consider Roran a main character. Eragon and Saphira and Arya were basically the only main characters. Orik just about disappeared. Nausuada had some development when she was kidnapped but that lasted about 50 pages of the 800ish pages of Inheritance. And when Queen Islanzadi died. What? She's the almighty elf queen. How does she just die so casually and easily. And I wasn't saddened by her death. Her death felt just the same as another random soldiers death, except I felt a tinge of sadness for Arya losing her mother. But not Islanzadi. And that's cause Paolini didn't develop her! Agh! Paolini!

There's more to hate but that's borderline nitpicky so I'll just leave it at what I have written.

I guess I'll mention the one tiny part I liked: the nausauda and murtaugh scenes. It was cute that Murtaugh had fallen for her. And the scenes in the prison were touching. But I guess Paolini could have improved that part by showing instead of telling. He just told us they were having moment. I would have liked to read a moment they were having. And the romance was so short-lived, Here I go, hating, again. Oh! I did like the introduction of werecats, but like the rest of the supporting cast, there was too less of them.

Argh, why did Inheritance suck so much. The characters saved it from completely sucking. Well, actually just Arya, Eragon and Saphira were getting boring. I really like Arya, she has a lot of characteristics I admire: self-discipline, virtue, loyalty, poise, courage, intelligence, and skill. She ranks high on my mental list of favorite fictional characters. I really had liked the Inheritance Cycle. Maybe my tastes have changed or I've grown, matured. But I hate to think that's true. I borrowed The Gril With the Dragon Tattoo from my friend. So I will read that next. I hope it doesn't suck. I would hate to have read two sucky books in one week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Home

Home: Word, by Magnetic North

It feels great to be home! My home is modest in size but having the whole house to wander barefoot feels great. Walking on the cold hardwood floor. Waking up at night and walking to the kitchen for a drink: 100% strawberry, banana, and orange juice — I'm spoiled. A nice firm bed. And home cooked food! Oh, and no work! I'm resting, resting, and resting. And resting. Did I mention I'm resting? November has been rough (and it's not over!). I practically gave up on Nanowrimo. So I'm just going to rest this break. And check the time as much as I can. I've noticed time slows down when I keep checking it. I need all the rest I can get.

I'm also reading. Currently, I'm finishing the Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini. I started this series when I was in middle school and I like it. It's fun fantasy. So I want to finish it before I return back to school. And I think I might read another book, if I have time that is.

And I'm watching the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie, as I type this. One of my favorites. First, I'm a fan of Roald Dahl (I read a lot of his books when I was younger. Witches was my favorite by him.). Second, I love old movies. I really like the aesthetics of technicolor for some odd reason. And another thing about old movies: the score. I like the musical style of old movies. Annie, Sound of Music, and the likes – those are all musical movies but I like non-musical movies too. I was talking to my sister how I missed old cartoons where special effects were just different instruments and natural sounds, nothing digital. You know what I'm talking about: a Tom and Jerry episode or Fantasia or the likes. There are still great scores nowadays: Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean to name a few, but it's a different feel, a more grand feel.

I want to watch How the Grinch stole Christmas during the holiday break, either version.

Pretty nostalgic now. But home is great!

And HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 11:11

It's 11 o'clock and 11 minutes, November 11th, 2011.

Make a wish! =]

I wish basically for the same one wish every time I get a chance. And I hope it comes true, really.

Clara C: Shaking Off Silence Concert

I went to a concert tonight, err, last night, with friends. And it was great. Clara C is really talented and her opener New Heights was just as talented as well as the various local acts. Clara C's music I would describe as singer-songwriter, acoustic pop. But unique at the same time. She plays various instruments and loops and harmonizes her voice with her voice in her songs. It's great, and she has such a nice voice. I definitely recommend checking her out. New Heights, I would describe more as rock. They're a classic band: lead vocalist, lead guitarist, lead bassist, lead drummer, and rhythm guitarist. They sound great live. It's nice to hear a well put together band. I'll link favorites form each: Offbeat and Til We Go (I couldn't find a non-live version. But this is my favorite song of hers. So I linked a video from her Takeout performance. Takeout was a great concert.) by Clara C and  Take Me On and Peaches by New Heights. And while you're checking them out, you might as well check out the Jubilee Project, they were the emcees. They make videos for charity. Love Language is a particularly good video of theres and New Height's song Peaches is featured in the video.

Clara C performing with New Heights. Did I mention we sat in the front row?
I really like up and coming artists. There's a genuine delight in performing. And they really care about their fans – I got to take a picture with New Heights.

Great music, great night.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Exams! D8

Quick Update: Foliage, foliage foliage. It's starting. And with my view of the esplanade and Charles River, it will be beautiful. =] And yes this post was not written on today but a day previous to today.

Okay, so my first rounds of midterms are over. Yeys! And each exam was pretty different, format wise, from the other. Rather than a post about all the different types of exams in general, I thought I could blog about the five midterms I took and some pros and cons of each my exam's style and how I did on the exam.

Midterm 1: Physics.
Format: Physics midterm are probably the same nationwide. You are provided with a formula sheet with basically every equation you will need plus more. Part of the exam is figuring out which equations you need. And the exam consists of basically open response type questions and maybe one or two multiple choice concept questions. For the open response questions, you can get partial credit.
Advice: As a general rule of thumb, you should probably write down everything you know. You can usually earn points for copying the equations you need to use from the formula sheet. However, most problems will require analysis and manipulation of the formulas to get the correct answer.
Pros: Partial credit.
Cons: Typically difficult.
Class average: Low, 56.
Me: Thumbs up, I like the exam style. Pretty run of the mill and as expected. My grade: 70.


Midterm 2: Electric Circuit Theory
Format: This exam was all open response. We are given a circuit and we have to solve for a certain element, whether it be current, voltage, Thevenin resistance, etc. However, unlike the physics exam, we are allowed to bring in a single sheet of notes. However, there was no partial credit at all. Graded solely on answers.
Advice: Write as small and as much as you can on your notes sheet.
Pros: Notes sheet.
Cons: No partial credit.
Class average: Medium, 62.
Me: Eh, I don't really like that there was no partial credit but I do like the fact that we can bring a sheet of notes. My grade: 75

Midterm 3: Mechanics
Format: Multiple choice but not really. The exam was multiple choice but if you did not show work, you wouldn't get points for the right answer. Also, most of the answers for the multiple choice was none of the above and you had to provide your own answer. There was also an open response.
Advice: Solve the problem first without looking at the answers and then pick the answer that matches your answer.
Pros: Um . . . not your run of the mill exam.
Cons: Exam style made you doubt yourself.
Class average: High, in the 80s. The high class average I think is more reflective on the professor than the students. Other mechanics classes with different professors did not have as high a class average.
Me: Hmm, the exam style really messes with you but I like that it's different from other exams. My grade: 96.

Midterm 4: Design and Manufacture
Format: Take home exam. Most questions asked you to identify a certain material or technique and to distinguish it from another. There were some calculation questions, such as finding thermal expansion of a certain metal at a certain temperature. And there was a lot of questions on how you would make so and so. I haven't received the exam back yet so I'm not sure how it was graded.
Advice: Use the index of your book.
Pros: Take home exam
Cons: Tedious
Expected class average: High
Me: Eh, it just took up time. Some questions didn't have a clear-cut answer and some answers weren't in the book. My grade: Not yet received.

Midterm 5: Arts of Asia
This was an exam type I was not expecting. It was a powerpoint exam which I guess is the standard for art history exams. But this being the first art history course I've ever taken, I was shocked. Basically, an artwork is projected on a slide, and you have to identify the artwork and write its significant or answer the question on the slide. Each slide was shown for about 4 minutes.
Advice: Memorize themes attributed to certain time periods.
Pros: Memorization
Cons: Time constraint.
Class average: Slightly High, 82.7
Me: Eh, this was new to me. The time constraint really messed with me. I felt I did not have time to adequately write a significance for each artwork. My grade: 94.6 (A)

This doubles as my "update on my classes" post I like to post each semester. And overall, I'm doing okay. Above average, but not great. I'm aiming for great.

Wow, what a boring post.

Friday, November 04, 2011

nOVemBeR

Is the title hard on your eyes? Yeah, I thought so. But I'm channeling my inner youth for this blog post.

First, November is going to be challenging: NaNoWriMo, three midterms, and thanksgiving break. Those three things come to mind right now, but I'm sure more challenges will prop up as November progresses.

Let's tackle that list in reverse:

Thanksgiving break will not be challenging in the sense that it will be a lot of work. It will in fact be no work. And that's the challenging part: to do work during thanksgiving break. I have this terrible habit of doing NOTHING when I go home. It's gotten to the point where I question why I bother bringing work home when I end up not doing it. And really, because of the next two things I'm about to discuss, I don't have the time to do nothing.

Three midterms. Well, they're midterms. Nothing much to say about them that I won't cover in my next blog post – I'm writing two blog posts tonight and trying out that post according to schedule feature. Part of the reason why I'm writing two blog posts tonight is that I really do not want to not reach my quota of at least five posts a month. And because this month is going to be challenging, I might not have time to blog later on this month. So since I'm taking a mental break right now, I'm just going to write blog posts – I really just can't think right now. My brain is mush. Because of that, these posts probably won't make much sense.

NaNoWriMo!!! Now that's the real topic of this posts. It's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or nanowrimo). Basically, I've been participating in this challenge since I was in high school – but now that I think about it, I might have participated in eight grade. Nope, I started freshmen year in high school – I just checked my nanowrimo account. So what is nanowrimo? It's basically a writing challenge where you ignore the world and aim at writing 50,000 words in one month. The nanowrimo site covers it's "About Me" pretty well, so I'll just link it here. And for the four years that I participated in nanowrimo, I've never won the challenge. I didn't do nanowrimo last year – freshmen year was overwhelming. But this year, I'm going to try again. I'm already behind though. I've only written 500ish words and they don't really make much sense. The only reason I wrote them was to start my story. Because now, I can't say I didn't do nanowrimo this year. I can only say I failed again at nanowrimo or I won nanowrimo.

So that's my plan for this month: write a story.

Also, you should do nanowrimo with me! We can ignore school and go insane together. Yay! Join now: Click. =]

Oh, and the title of this blog post is in honor of the time when I started doing nanowrimo, a time in my life where I awkwardly capitalized words. I use to think of it as creative stylization on a computer, sort of like bubble letters on paper. But now I see that idea is flawed: capitalization has a purpose outside of stylization. But I still like awkwardly capitalizing things. (I remember a joint story I wrote with my friends where I forced my friends to awkwardly capitalize the title. Good times!)