Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rio Reflections

I hate to say this, I really do, but Rio was a tiny bit of a let down to me. Part of the reason was that I had really built it up in my mind these four years and partly because it was just so predictable. I wanted that epic moment when you realize who is going to win after the score is flashed, not when you go in knowing without a doubt what the majority of the podiums will look like. I wanted to root for a team that felt united and that I had been hoping for. The Final Five competed really well but I don't know, I just didn't feel their team chemistry like the Fierce Five and the team selection was so corrupted that I just felt bitter.

Still, Rio had it's merits! Here are my high points:
  1. Simone's four gold medals. Yes, she made the Games predictable but that's not to say I didn't appreciate what she accomplished. It was so nice to see someone finally living up to their hype. I know the chances of this are near impossible, but can you imagine the downfall if she'd failed to deliver the performances we all knew her to be capable of?
  2. Aly winning silver in the AA and floor. I've always felt fond to Aly because we're the same age and she just seems like a very genuine person. She sold me with that floor routine in London that I still watch occasionally. Her gymnastics aren't my favorite but I love that her hard work has been rewarded. Her comeback was real, earned and even better than before. I wish she would have decided to retire after Rio though. I think it would have been great for her to go out on such a high note and make room for the newcomers.
  3. Sanne Weivers winning gold on beam! Sad that Simone fell but Sanne had the routine of her life and it was simply lovely. I'm on the fence as to how I feel about actually replacing tumbling with dance on floor but I don't mind it on beam because I do think it's equally as difficult.
  4. Aliya's repeat bar title. She also makes me "lows" list but that bar routine was spot on and I'm glad she was rewarded after being worked to the ground these last four years. I was also happy with Maddie winning silver, she did her job.
  5. USA's leotards. Oh my gosh, we finally pulled it together. I kind of hated the V neck one worn for event finals but the qualification and team finals were absolutely gorgeous and patriotic.
  6. The arena. Love the green.
  1. Our team not being who it should have been.
  2. Shang getting robbed in the AA. I've rewatched routines and there is no way Aliya should have scored ahead of her with that beam, I  mean geez.
  3. Lackluster floor routines. Where was the epic music? Where was the emotion even? I wanted Kyla's opera, the urgency of Aliya and Jordyn's London music.
  4. Vault finals were disappointing. I really don't care how difficult a vault you can execute if you can't land it. Sorry. I love Chuso as much as everyone else but don't attempt something you aren't consistent at. It's not even safe.
  5. The Chinese getting screwed for bar finals. In favor of a certain American among others. I mean come on, the CHINESE AND BARS! It's like peanut butter and jelly.
  6. Predictability as stated above. Oh and NO EMOTIONAL THEME SONG? I want Phillip Phillips back.
Overall, I don't think I'll rewatch Rio nearly as much as I have London, here's to Tokyo being twice as awesome.

August Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This book was super hyped when I read it. I'm having trouble remembering if I read it before or after the movie came out which is bugging me. At any rate, I *think* I read it after (I actually enjoy seeing the movie first sometimes). But I'd heard a ton about it so my old college roommate lent it to me and I read it in a few days.

I was underwhelmed.

Let me say this: the book is very engaging a fun read. But upon my first experience with it, it just felt more like a teen love story that pulled out all of the old tricks to get the reader to feel something. I thought it was a good book but not a great one and certain aspects of Green's characters bugged me to no end.

Fast forward three years and I decided to give it another go. For one thing, M absolutely loves this book and I wanted to try and find the  magic that she had. For another, as I said above, it was a good read. I liked reading it the first time, I just thought it was overrated.

So I went into it the second time with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised. Sure, I still dislike the robust dialogue (I don't care if there are teenagers that actually talk like that, it's just annoying) and think the character of Augustus could use some refining but I appreciate it now for what it is.

This book is Hazel's. The main character who is terminal, falls in love with Augustus who is remission and goes through the stages of romance and grief. Green is very authentic in his portrayal of a teenage girl, one battling illness at that. Her inner thoughts and interactions with her family are wonderful and realistic and all of that.

The sub plot is this whole bitter Dutch author thing that I guess is necessary but adds a touch of fantasy to the story. There is this whole commentary on life and death and oblivion that is important, it is, but ok, maybe takes away from the simple and beautiful story that Green has crafted. Deep stuff is good but it doesn't always integrate well.

I did find one blaring issue the second time around that I missed the first, I can't really explain it without a spoiler but Hazel basically turns the whole plot on it's head with one musing on how her and Augustus would never last. Realistic, yes. But that form of realism just straight up doesn't belong in this story and pretty much denies the unconditional love that they supposedly had for each other.

So yeah, I'm still conflicted as you can tell. But my opinion went way up so that has to count for something.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Carlotta and Me

I've done it! I got a car! Fully paid for and owned by me!!
My dad found it for me and it was an incredibly good deal. It needs a bit of work but really, once a few minor aesthetic things are taken care of, she'll be good as new. As far as the technical car stuff that I don't really understand, there is nothing wrong with her mechanics and she has a brand new engine!

My first thought when I bough the car was fear. I know, right? All of this time that I've been saving and waiting for a car and I'm literally afraid of it. Not of driving it, but of owning it. It just felt like such a responsibility. Knowing that this car was mine and mine alone, it just seemed really adult. Now, I'm used to the idea and I'm very excited to see what adventures Carlotta and I go on together.

Carlotta is the cars name, if you haven't guessed. ;D

Friday, August 5, 2016

5 Years

Wow! I started this blog five years ago, with my first post being mainly about my favorite book of all time. In a way, I feel like that moment, as I wrote that post at the dining room table with my still fairly new laptop, could e just five minutes ago. Or five days, five months.

But in other ways it feels like even more than five years. I'm realizing that I'm starting to feel old. Not old like elderly, but just old like I've living through a lot of different stages. Elementary schools feels like a lifetime ago, sometimes even middle school too. There are moments when I stop and think of a memory and go, was that really me? Did that really happen in my lifetime? It's weird, and maybe I'm the only one that feels that way. I guess I just used to feel so close to every moment and memory in my life, no matter how long ago it happened. Now, as I age, things are different. I still have an incredible memory with many vivid moments but they just feel like they happened in a distant time and place.

When I started this blog, I wanted to "post daily" ha! And I think I imagined it as more of a place to both daily log and weight in on certain subjects. I think I still do both of those things but now i mostly just write for myself. Like, I'm not trying to be funny of appealing to anyone else. Because let's be real, nobody really reads this! And if you are, thanks for sticking around. This blog is a journal of my life and I keep it up because I absolutely love having my thoughts during different seasons of life being preserved.

I think I started this blog at just the right time. If I'd been writing throughout high school, I know it would have been whiny and full of angst. Also fun to read...but still. Writing from my senior year, to my first two years living away from home, to coming back home, to switching majors and now schools again, it's just seen me through a lot. And it's been a constant. So much has changed but so much has stayed the same.

I'm still very much like the seventeen year old writing on her new laptop at the dining room table during the last vestiges of summer. She is not a distant memory. I imagine that five years from now, she might be. I have no idea where I'll be at age 27. I couldn't have predicted what I'd be doing at age 22 back then. If I had, I would have been wrong. I'm learning to just go with the flow of life. Trying to be content in every season. It isn't easy for someone who used to have their future rigidly planned, bu it is the only way to avoid being let down and disappointed. I have goals and aspirations but I'm taking them step by step and my only expectation is to try my best.

I'm still figuring things out, but I'd like to think that I'm both older and wiser than when I first started writing here. And this blog has seen me through it all. For that, I am thankful.

Here's to five more years!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Summer Blogging Slump

As I near the five (!!!!) year anniversary of starting up this blog, I have to be honest and say that I have not felt much like writing on here lately.

The thing is, summer is supposed to be free of homework type things to do. This blog feels a bit like homework and additionally, I'm doing a daily fiction journal and trying to finish writing my last book. Plus, I'm rereading old favorite books, sometimes two or three at a time. I love all of the above mentioned things, including this blog, but sometimes things you love feel like work.

But I'm committed to the blog and I don't think I could ever stop it now that I've started. It would drive me crazy. But, I am thinking seriously about taking a month or so off once school starts, just to not have to worry about one extra thing as I get into the routine.

I'll be back soon for the big bloggiversary!