A Matter of Magic

A Matter of Magic

Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward make up my personal favorite book duo ever! Another book by Patricia C. Wrede, these are some of the only books that outdo her Enchanted Forest Chronicles (see my review here).

The easiest way to get these books now is probably to get A Matter of Magic, which is both books in one. If nothing else, it has my favorite cover. *captivated be shiny blue ball* Ooooooo @_@

Hahaha.

Quick overview

Set in a Pride and Prejudice time frame, Kim is a child living on the streets of London and posing as a boy so that she isn’t taken advantage of like the other homeless girls. She is offered a job by a sketchy-looking individual to break into a traveling street performer’s carriage and look for a particular item. Instead of finding it, she is caught by the magician (who know a lot more than street tricks), but instead of turning her in to the police for attempted theft, or just throwing her back onto the streets of London, Mairelon takes her in as an assistant to his show. But as the new team leaves London, trouble seems to follow them, as individuals from both Kim’s and the magician’s past life begin to show up in the oddest places.

The climax of this book is carefully thought out, and Wrede does an amazing job of bringing all of the scattered pieces together in a clever, yet fun, way.

The second book is equally clever, and is just as fun. New and old characters interact now in some of the highest social circles in London. The only thing that grows faster in high society than crime is gossip, and Kim and Mairelon have plenty of both to deal with, as Kim is now the magician’s ward. As if learning magic and upper society’s rules wasn’t hard enough, Kim also has to deal with more of her street rat past creeping up from behind her.

Conclusion

If you haven’t read them yet, you should definitely make some time in 2012 to look into these books. They’re not long, and if you are a fan of magic, Victorian England, and complex plots, then these books will keep you entertained.

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Digger

Gold digger, grave digger, I even know a dog named Digger… but in this case I am talking about my turtle.

I named my snapping turtle after a character on the  T.V. sci-fi movie S.S Doomtrooper (2006), Sergeant Digger (played by Harry Van Gorkum). [This should be a picture of the character.] Sergeant Digger was a bomb specialist. I don’t remember what country he was from, but he was by far the best character in the movie. (The movie as a whole was one of those “it’s so bad it’s good” movies, as I recall.)

I have probably had Digger for about 6 years now, and he is not the same cute fellow that I found him as. When I found him, his shell was still soft, and he could barely mange to eat a small piece of hotdog. I don’t know if I still have a picture of Digger when we first found him (I think we would have taken pictures, cuz he was so cute, but they aren’t on my computer). So this is a picture of Junior, whom I found earlier this summer while mowing, and who is about the same size as Digger was:

This is not Digger, but he was about this size when I found him

Six years later, Digger is now eating feeder fish by the dozen. I finally had to let him go, because we didn’t have a big enough fish tank for him:

Digger when I let him go

“There isn’t a problem in the world that can’t be solved with the proper application of explosives.”

~Sergeant Digger

Sorry if the quote is wrong. I’m sure it was something like that ;)

Cross Cultural

I’m a big fan of cross-cultural stuff. Food, stories, music… Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Egyptian… It’s all good :) (Or, at least, it’s all worth a try!)

About a month or two ago, I found my new favorite band:

Enter 2PM

Kun, Wooyong, Chansung, Junho, Junsu, and Teac

Yes, that is the name of the the band: 2PM! There is also a 2AM (sorry couldn’t find good link), but they sing more ballads and don’t dance.

2PM is a South Korean band that has grown BIG in Asia.

Since most people that I try to explain it to just give me an odd look, I’ll skip to the part where I show you how great they are. (If you need English translations, they are under the videos, but I thought it was pretty clear what they were singing about.)

Without U (pay attention for the members playing the piano at the beginning of the actual song, not the intro):

(translation)

The members are Teacyeon (the leader, and the lead rapper), Chansung, Wooyong, Junho, Junsu (lead vocalist), and Nichkhun (who is actually from Thailand, not Korea). There was also Jay Park, but he is no longer with the band.

This next one was the first video I saw. It was in YouTube’s most popular music section for maybe a day (I don’t really remember), and I clicked on it. (Which is something I never do! I always go to YouTube to look for something specific, not to browse.) From the moment I saw it, I was hooked…

I’ll Be Back:

(translation)

I also really like Heartbeat and Follow Your Soul.

You might have heard of the Wonder Girls (who did Nobody). 2PM is from the some company (JYP Productions).

Anyway, hope you enjoy 2PM at least a little bit! Have a great year!! <3

Follow Your Soul

No Longer 19

Would you believe it if I said I wanted to be a chemical engineer? Just asking.

Another step forward, and hopefully none back.

I turned 20 in April, so sometime soon I need to be changing my blog name to something more like “On into the 20s” or “I’m Not Dead Yet” (which, as I dive deeper into the world of chemistry, is something that may be dangling by a thin string ;)

Anyway, I wanted to give you all a fair warning before I switched the name. I probably should have sent this out sooner, but I have been busy.

What’s to come?

Getting the orange on for U of I

A quick glance into the future has me at the University of Illinois in about a year, after I graduate from my community college. So I will be spending this year getting used to orange. I have been a fan of Purdue University for as long as I have liked sports. (That’s what happens when both your parents and all of your uncles on your dad’s side go there.) Orange is a big change from Black and Gold, but I’ll live. U of I has a good engineering program.

Other things coming up include my finally getting a break of three whole weeks, my first vacation since last fall; my best friend coming back from Japan where she has been for nearly a year; and I am thinking of dying my hair pink. ^_^ Why? No real reason,  just thought I would try something new.

Summer movie ratings

Summer is always a GREAT time for seeing movies and is when most of the big ones come out (though I am really looking forward to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which doesn’t come out ’til Dec.). Here are some of the movies I have seen so far:

Killers was a good movie but is for a teen and up audiences. It was romantic comedy (mostly comedy), with a little action thrown in. I thought it was funny! And fairly well done.

Robin Hood was very good! It goes back before when the regular story starts and tells how he became Robin Hood. It has a lot of action.

Prince of Persia was based on a computer game. I have not seen it yet, but my dad and both of my sisters enjoyed it.

Iron Man 2: I liked it alright. If you liked the first, you’ll like this one. There are some crude jokes, but it isn’t too bad, and a lot of stuff gets blown up, so that’s good ;)

Karate Kid, who learns Kung Fu in this movie, was good for being a remake. Though I should say that I was not overly in love with the old Karate Kid movies, like some people seem to be. I teach karate, so the old one seemed a little tacky. But I did really like Jackie’s role in the new movie.

The A-Team, based on an old TV show (which was good, but only when watched a few episodes at a time). The new movie is set before the story of the TV show. I thought that they did a good job of presenting the roles, and the movie was good.

Knight and Day was very funny. One reviewer said that he didn’t like it because the director used blackouts to get out of explaining the details of what happened. I thought that these blackouts were funny, and if you have seen any spy movies before, you know exactly what happens during these parts.

The Last Airbender got maybe a ‘C’ to ‘C-‘ (a barely passing grade). By the end it was OK, but it did not start real well. Younger kids might like it.

Eclipse was incredibly good compared to New Moon, which I thought was way too slow. The Eclipse book was better, too, and it had more for the movie to work with. Even as just a movie (not comparing it to the earlier movies), Eclipse was alright. Best line in the movie: “Doesn’t this guy have a shirt?”

There are a lot more movies coming out too, but these are the ones that I’ve seen so far. But don’t sit around watching movies all day!! Get out and do stuff… Like a beach party!!

The Screwtape Letters

On top of having two weeks left before finals, I have been finishing up the work on the flower bed (pics coming as soon as everything blooms), reading through Daniel, watching a sermon series on the Song of Songs, reading The Screwtape Letters, and playing Restaurant City on Facebook. The last being a waste of time that is oddly addicting, but nothing impressive.

Though I’m not sure the feeling I have is that of enjoyment when I read The Screwtape Letters, I would still recommend it. As the author, C.S. Lewis, said:

“The work through which I had to project myself while I spoke though Screwtape was all dust, grit, thirst, and itch. Every trace of beauty, freshness, and geniality had to be excluded. It almost smothered me before I was done. It would have smothered my readers if I had prolonged it.”

The Screwtape Letters are a series of 31 letters that Screwtape — an experienced devil — writes to his nephew — who is working on his first human “patient”. This could, of course, be done in a very good or very bad way. C.S. Lewis said that he had a “grudge” against his book, because he could only show us one side of the picture, and could not write like an angel in order to give us a picture of how we have someone fighting for us on the other side. That being said, I think he did an excellent job (at least in the firsts 11 letters that I have read;)

Reading this book is like learning through studying the enemy’s plans, and though I could spend a post per letter of this book, I will just pull one example out of the second chapter.

“At his present stage, you see, he has an idea of “Christians” in his mind which he supposes to be spiritual but which, in fact, is largely pictorial. His mind is full of togas and sandals and armour and bare legs and the mere fact that the other people in church wear modern clothed is a real — though of course an unconscious — difficulty to him. Never let it come to the surface; never let him ask what he expected them to look like.”

From- (nutmeg)'s photostream

Screwtape is trying to help his nephew “save” his patient, who has just become a Christian and is going to church for perhaps the first time in his life. Though C.S Lewis wrote this book in the 1930s, this topic, if anything, has become more relevant today. Lots of people have odd ideas about what churches and the body of Christ should look like. Through movies and their own imagination, they have created in their mined what a “good church” looks like. And when the people in that church are regular people just like them, it will clash with their idea. Subconsciously this may turn into a mark against that church.

But non-Christians and new Christians are not the only ones whom this might drive away. All of us as Christians need to be careful that we do not judge the person in the next seat over because he has clothes that are a little shaggy making him look uncaring, or too nice making the wearer look arrogant, or if the person is too heavy, or has squeaky shoes.

“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.” ~Romans 14:1-3

Correct me if I’m wrong, but faith is much more important than appearance.

Church is a place to praise the LORD of Lords and to build faith. Your focus should be on God, not on the person next to you. At the same time, you should not wear clothes that will draw too much attention to yourself and distract other people (that’s simply being polite).

For people visiting church for the first time, know that the people who go there are sinners, just like you and everyone else. We are not more or less spiritual when we dress up nice.