Ender's Game: Book Review

I know my readers are expecting a 'Film Friday' today but my blog has no rules. Today I'm going to continue my '25 Book Challenge' which I will most likely fail.  The year is almost over and I'm not even half way to my goal.  I'm a slow reader who is always busy (excuses!). 

So Ender's Game written by Orson Scott Card is one of those books that most of my friends read as a kid whereas I never did. I really do like old science fiction novels and young adult fiction; Ender's Game is the perfect blend of the two.  It was originally published in 1985 and won the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

It's somewhere in the future and the world is at war with an alien spices resembling insects.  Buggers.  Young children are trained at a very young age to become soldiers.  Ender Wiggin is one of them.  What was so great about this book is that I did not know much more than that when I started reading so that's all the exposition I'm going to give you.

I really liked this book; couldn't-put-it-down-want-to-write-nerd-rock-songs-about-it liked it.  I'm not sure where this passion is coming from but I really really like Ender as a character and just know that some parts of the upcoming movie version will disappoint me. (Oh look, I AM tying this post in with Film!) However since Orson Scott Card wrote the screenplay himself there are higher hopes there.  After reading the Wikipedia page on the film (which is full of spoilers for the book!) I at least know the changes going in and I won't be unpleasantly surprised.  

The movie will probably be very good but I know I will always prefer the book.  If you are toying with the idea of reading it prior to seeing the movie, please please please DO THAT.  I did not finish reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy till after the first two movies came out and I really wish I had not waited.  That being said, the books are among my favorite books of all time regardless of the good but not great films.

Oh I just don't know which I like better; books or movies.  My degree would tell you film but I just don't know.  =)

Books read this year: 9

Product image from GoodReads.

100 Letters

Once upon a time, before email, I used to love having a pen pal. They never lasted too long but when I was getting and sending letters they were so much fun.  Recently I was feeling nostalgic for those times and decided I'd find myself another pen pal or few.  Not 100 but a few.  I found a pad of 100 untouched stationary sheets in my desk that are decorated in anime/manga art (most likely bought in Junior High). So that's it, I'm going to send 100 letters. I have many internet friends, some of whom I've met at VidCon, some I've Skyped with, but all I trust.

With each letter I include an optional YouTube challenge for the recipient to complete.  (Most of my pen pals are YouTubers)

A letter I received.

I started a side blog for this project and post to it every so often with photos of the letters I send and the letters I receive.  It's a fun project and I'm not even half way there yet.  So check out the blog if you want to find out more or even become one of the pen pals.  Below is the blog, a video explaining my idea, and the rules.

100 Letters Video
100 Letters Rules

Music: Geek Acoustic Night at Bar Pico

For the last two weeks I have been talking about Geek Acoustic night at Bar Pico.  The concert was last Friday and it was simply awesome. The first two musicians were solo acoustic acts and the next two were not-so-acoustic full bands.  Everyone was a bit geeky though.

The first person to go on was Clark Chimp.  Out of all of the acts he was the only new person to me so I didn't know what to expect.  He played guitar and sang songs about being an extraterrestrial chimp.  His music was mellow and cool and when I talked to him after the show he was a really nice guy. (Whoo, new musician friend!) He also has comics and cartoons which I can't wait to check out.

The second act was Hello the Future.  I've written about her before and she was just as lovely as the first time I saw her play live.  Something about Bar Pico brought out a bit if her more rock side, or maybe it was just the leather seats of the venue.  I was sitting with my friend Franz and he knew more of her references than I did. (The songs about webcomics). Franz and I are both avid Firefly fans so her Firefly related songs were among our favorites from the night.

The first full band of the night was my friend Tim and his band Artichoke.  As I said last week, their music is a perfect blend of geeky and insanely cool.  The line up was a bit different but Chris Gonzalez was there rockin' on bass as per usual.  They just released a new album 'Etchy Sketchy Skies' which I made sure to not leave home without.

The final band was non other than The Long Holidays.  I plan to do a full article about them at some point.  I actually wrote a guest post about them at The Owls Den recently.  The Long Holidays, though they sung about science and history, were kind of the bullies of Geek night.  I mean this in the best way.  They riled things up and even got half of the audience dancing and playing music with them at the end (including the previous musicians).  They sung about vikings, astronauts, doppelgangers stealing their ladies, and more.

Tim from Artichoke and Nicole from Hello the Future helping The Long Holidays percussion section.

The last song of the night, 'Viking Funeral'

Chark Chimp:
Hello the Future:
The Long Holidays:

Film School

Ever since I can remember I was making movies.  If a school project allowed the use of video, I was in heaven.  However, I think it was watching the behind the scenes of the first Lord of the Rings movie that convinced me I should study film in college.  I loved seeing how they did things.

My film school story is a successful one.  I graduated and even did well.  I am now working in the online video industry (YouTube related) and I am content with the way things have gone.  It's been four years since I graduated and when I reflect back on college, there are things that stand out more than others about the experience.

The classes themselves, though important, are not what I remember.  I remember the assignments and completing short films with my friends.  Some of those cheaply made 'homework projects' were more fun than my senior thesis which was, for the most part, stressful and expensive.

I also remember working for our college 'tv station' editing together the student run programs.  Some people may have laughed at the poor quality but I was proud of what we were doing.  We were making things, creating things on our own.  My last year I co-created my own show that I am more proud of than some of the things I did in classes.

Not to say that the classes were not valuable, but I feel that I learned the most by doing.  When I had a camera and an objective and was left to my own devices, I created my best work.  There were a few projects I worked on that could have been better had I been given complete control without having to worry about the equipment and formality of things.

Even our own little film club was not taken seriously by half of our peers.  It didn't even matter though, we were doing things.  Creating images, stories, feelings.  I may not be Peter Jackson, but I still create on my own for little to no money.  I do it because I want to, the same way that in film school my favorite things were the things I wanted to do and had to do or I'd go crazy.

The following is a sort of film reel/short film I edited together last December for my new YouTube channel.  The footage is mostly clips my short films and projects I made in film school with some newer and older bits thrown in there.

How To Turn a T-Shirt into a Tank Top - DIY

One great staple of the summer is the tank top.  I've made three this year that are perfect as beach cover-ups.  With a bandeau top I can even wear them out.  The 'Paris Disneyland' shirt and the 'Ninja Turtles' shirt were t-shirts that were my size and the 'The Long Holidays' shirt was way big on me. Both were great contenders fot this style. It's super simple to make them yourself but sometimes you don't know where to start, so I've made a visual guide below!

1. All you need is a t-shirt (mine is thrifted) and a pair of sizers. (fabric sizers work best)
2. Cut the neck line off under the seam.
3. Cut off the sleeves so the seam remains on the sleeve not the shirt.
4. Try it on to see how you like it.  I think I want my neck and arm holes lower.
5. Make any adjustments to the neck. (usually cutting the back of it works nicely)
6. Make any adjustments to the sides. (I cut the arm holes deeper and made the shoulders much thinner.

You can also cut off the bottom seam if the shirt is really big on you.  (I like to leave it if the shirt already fits)  You can also cut a crescent in it if its long enough. 

I hope you enjoyed this easy T-Shirt DIY.  See if you can spot them in my new video!

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Music: Artichoke

Artichoke is one of the 'friend bands' my boyfriend often plays shows with. They produce wonderful concept-ish albums.  “Historic Highland Park” contains songs all about their hometown.  “26 Animals.” is 26 songs each about a different animal for each letter of the alphabet.  "26 Scientists" (in two volumes) is 26 songs about 26 different scientists for each letter of the alphabet.  “Bees” is a collection of songs...about bees...and it's amazing.  Some of my all time favorite Artichoke songs are Trash Day, Robber Bee, and Cats.

Recently the theremin player, Steve Collins, gained some internet fame due to the fact he works at NASA and was part of the team that landed the rover, Curiosity, on Mars.  He has been appearing in memes as the "Hippy Nasa Guy" after the internet fame of the "Mohawk Nasa Guy"
Look, someone made a Tumblr for Steve!
So cool to know someone a meme was created around. (Much cooler to know someone who helped reach Mars)

Artichoke will be performing at the Geek Acoustic Night at Bar Pico that I mentioned last week. (No Steve though, he's busy being a rocket scientist...)
Find Artichoke here:

Band photo belongs to Artichoke.


I was a film major when I was in college and ever since I can remember I was always making my own short films.  I recently got into the world of online video and the opportunities that exist there.  I think on Fridays (or whenever) I want to talk about film.  I'm going to make that as broad as possible and talk about films I've seen, films I love, the film industry, the online video industry, YouTube, my own personal films and videos, film and video projects, and so own and so forth.  As I get older my love and hunger for film has changed, not decreased just turned into something else.  I suspect as my life goes on it will continue to morph and change.  By using this blog to track that growth I'll be able to go back and see what excited me at any given point in my journey. I hope you enjoy these future posts and feel free to recommend me films, YouTube channels, and television shows. 

To keep with the theme of this blog (crafty, creation, independent) if the movie or show I am talking about is not my own or that of someone doing it independently then I will incorporate a DIY project or craft or art inspired by it.

Photo taken by Hannah Moroz.

Music: Hello the Future

Two Thursdays ago I saw my friend Nicole perform an acoustic show at a local coffee shop, The Talking Stick.  Her band is just her and she used to go by the name Blue but now she's Nicole.  Her music could be described as 'Nerd Rock' and she has a very unique and pleasant sounding voice, I can't really compare her to anyone else easily.  She performs at all the local conventions she can and has a pretty decent following. Also, she is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help her record with a full band for the first time.

She writes music about everything from books like The Hunger Games to web comics and every nerdy topic in between.  I have her fist album 'Infinity Right Now' and I love it.  I think I'll have to get her next album the next time I see her perform live.  She's doing a show on August 24th with Clark Chimp, Artichoke, and The Long Holidays at Bar Pico in LA.  If you are local, you should come! It's free and I'll be there.

Check Hello the Future here:


Infused Water

Infused water is not new to me, but I have been only trying it out on my own ever since visiting a tea and sweets place in Santa Monica called Jin Patisserie.  The two times I've been there they've had different type of infused water that they serve as soon as you sit down.  I loved the concept last summer and decided to try it out myself this summer.

First I tried frozen raspberries and fresh mint leaves.  I muddled them with a wooden spoon after filling the pitcher with cold water.  I added ice last and poured myself a glass.

The second idea I had was cucumber and lemon.  I added a whole lemon which was perhaps too much, it was so tart!

Let me know what combinations you decide to try this summer!

<3 Jenny