Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My New Year Resolutions

With 2009 approaching ever closer, (it's 2 hours away now) I thought I'd share some of my new year resolutions. That way since they're a little public I'll have a better chance of keeping them.
  • For one thing, you'll be sure to hear a lot from me on my blogs. I'd like to beat my 2008 record of reading 115 books in a year, and I'll be able to prove it with my Book Blog. I am also going to keep a Movie Blog for all the movies I watch. But if you just want to know how I, personally, am doing and feeling, I'll be writing plenty over here.
  • There are a few projects I resolve to keep working at, such as our language program and the Leslie and Kyle show. I want to get down to studying for the SAT test I'll take in March. I'll get my driver's license in a month or two, so I need to prove to myself (and my parents) that I can drive safely by myself. I'm good at driving so far, but it might be a different ball game flying solo, I don't know.
  • I know I've got to remember about entering the NaNoWriMo contest in November, since I forgot about it this year and it sounds so cool.
  • My most important goal is to become more bold and adventurous. I want to contact famous authors for advice on writing (I've never done that before). I want to take road trips with Annette somewhere in the USA, like to Boston to search for colleges, or to Twinsburg, Ohio for the Twin's festival (Yeah, it's a real thing) or even Utah, for no specific reason whatsoever, (^.^) but it seems like a lot of good authors live there, like James Dashner. I'd like to try new things, like learn to ride a horse or take a dance class. That's all, I need to just have more adventures. I've got too comfortable a lifestyle.
All right, that's all I'm revealing. I've got a lot more resolutions for myself, but those are more private. Hey, I've got to draw the line somewhere. Oh my gosh, New Year is so close!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Zapped the bug

Guess what? The bug in the program I had yesterday? Squashed. We worked on it all morning, "What the heck's wrong with it?"

The perpetrator? A digital clock application we put in the corner. It was so funny. The program worked before we put the clock in, but not after, for some reason."Don't mind me, I'm just telling you the time. Why would I make the code all messed up?" Oh, I don't know why, but once we got the clock out of the picture, everything was fine and dandy.

Now we can progress onward and animate the Arabic letters. We'll probably need another week to do both the right and left handed sets. If you happen to be a new reader, here's the link to our global ABC program.

Tonight I'm seeing the movie Madagascar 2. To see what I thought about it, visit my movie blog.

Monday, December 29, 2008

All in a Day's Work

Now that Chanukah is over and the weekend has past, it's back to work on certain projects for us. I feel like I've done some pretty constructive work today and I'd like to share what I did.

Remember how we were trying to download the Arabic alphabet? Now we got back to that. I don't think I'm going to learn Arabic quite as fast as I learned Greek, but maybe I need more time to learn. However, since we've added Arabic to the mix, there have been a couple bugs. We'll need to attack that tomorrow.

The rest of the day was mostly devoted to creating our new Leslie and Kyle show. It's incredible, if I do say so myself. We filmed the other half, edited everything, added effects and put it on YouTube, ready for viewing right now. Want to see it? Here's the link to the video. Feel free to comment here or on YouTube.

Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking closer and closer to New Year. Dun-du-duuuuun!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

8 Nights of Chanukah

I'm jewish, so I don't celebrate Christmas. I celebrate Chanukah, which lasts 8 nights instead of 1. Here is exactly how I spent my Chanukah (Be warned, this turns out to be a pretty long post.):

Night 1) I went to a party with my family. Big crowd. A rabbi spoke a few words, but I didn't pay attention. He lit a giant menorah (candle holder for 9 candles) while my dad and I got into position near the food tables, so we'd be among the first to eat. I had 3 latkes (potatoe pancakes) and 3 half sufganiyot (jelly donuts). There was plenty for the entire crowd. I saw our friends Ben and Lexi from the home school group. It was all fun. Later we went home and lit our own little menorah.
Night 2) I went to my grandparents' (mom's parents) house for dinner and fun. We had a nice quiet ceremony and lit the candles again. Grandma prepared us a lovely, simple dinner spread with plenty of latkes. This time I took 4. I think her latkes were better. We also played a fun game of dreidel. If you don't know the rules, it's where you spin a four sided top to collect pennies. There are four hebrew letters on these sides; Gimel for "Gimme all the pennies in the pile," Hay for "Hey, I get half the penny pile," Nun for "Nothing happens to me," and Shin for "Aw Shoot, I have to add a penny to the pile." Before we left, Annette, Adam and I all recieved $25 each in Chanukah gelt (which is yiddish for money). Oh, I forgot. Before we ever went to their house, I had a little chocolate gelt too.
Night 3) Well, we didn't do anything too Chanukah related that night. Just had our semi-weekly pizza and movie night, that's all. The film we saw was High School Musical, but you probably already know that. But when we got home from the theater and had lit the candles, Adam and Shira surprised us twins with these cute mini-calenders. Annette got a butterfly themed calender (which is nice, but doesn't necessarily mean she loves lepodoptra) and I got an inspirational quotes and pictures calender. Now that was a cool gift. I don't think I could have picked a better calender for myself. If I can find them, maybe I can put all the pictures for each month up on my post. With the quote, of course.
Night 4) Again, we didn't do much that had to do with Chanukah. All we did was light the menorah and sing the blessings, but you're supposed to do that every night anyway, so that was no fun. There wasn't any latkes or dreidel or even any surprise presents. It was just a normal, boring day. I was so restless. Certain online people knew it and comforted me with their comments. That warmed my heart to know I had friends like that. Hey, but you know what? I guess I sort of gave my own gift to my family. The gift of knowledge. The knowledge to create their own blogger account and post their own blogs. Adam and Annette caught on the quickest. Especially Annette. Watch out for her blog. (And by watch out, I don't mean avoid her or beware or anything like that. Just keep an eye out for her is all.)
Night 5) Well, I suppose this was a pretty normal night too, but I didn't feel too bad about it. It's cool that Christmas happened to coinside with Chanukah. I took a cool walk with my family around the nearby golf course, that was neat. I should do that more often. Annette and I brainstormed a little on a new Leslie and Kyle episode. You know, the sock puppets? After that we went to Block Buster and played Rock Band there. Really, not that much. Lit the candles and that was it.
Night 6) Finally, a little back on track. I went to the home-school group and one of the moms brought some really delicious latkes. This time I didn't bother keeping track of how many I took. I also had plenty of ginger-bread cookies, which isn't Chanukah, but they were still yummy. Later I went to the book store Borders (see my other blog) and had a good time. I wanted to buy a scrapbook as a Chanukah gift, but I got too busy reading and ran out of time. When we got home and Benny was back from the beach, we lit candles for Shabbat as well as for Chanukah. I also got a big surprise from my best cyber-pal, regarding the look of my blogs. Don't they look awesome or what?!
Night 7) Today I did a lot of work, even on a weekend. While Shira and Benny went to the beach, Annette, Adam and I sat down and wrote a new script for our Leslie and Kyle sock-puppet show. We also filmed some of it. It's still a work in progress. Later Adam and I went biking to the supermarket and we bought potatoe chips. Hey, it's the closest to latkes we got tonight. After lighting candles, we saw an old rerun of SNL from 2005. Will Ferrel hosted. Pretty funny.
Night 8) At last, we reach the final night of Chanukah. That'll be the last time we light the candles on the menorah. I spent a large part of the day at the beach with my family. (We go almost every weekend. One of the many benefits of living in South Florida.) We saw many friends and sang songs. I even went swimming, even though around this time it's pretty chilly and I stay out of the ocean. I can't really talk about cold though, seeing as I've never experienced winter in more northern states. I wish I could.
And that's it. That was Bettina Katie Levy's Chanukah of 2008. I had a good time this year. Had plenty of latkes and spent lots of fun time with my loving family. I even recieved a couple presents. Nothing big, but pretty special. I wonder what next year will bring.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What to do, what to do?

(sigh) I didn't want to say it, but I'm bored out of my mind today. There's barely anything for me to do around here. I don't have any cool, new books that I'm reading, or any movies to watch, though Annette, Adam and Shira went to the library just now. I didn't want to go, since I don't have anything waiting for me, but I'm not particularly sure why they went anyway. My guess is that Adam wants to play addictive computer games on the internet.

Oops, sorry Adam, if you happen to be reading this. See, now I have to be careful, because just this morning I gave an informal "How to put up a blog" class to my family (they've been mighty curious about why I make a big deal about blogging). Now my siblings and parents all have a Blogger account and will post their own individual blogs accordingly. B.T.W., my sister Annette seems as if she's off to a good start already, so check her out. You'll find that even though we're twins, she and I have pretty different styles and interests.

(sigh again.) Well, at least I've done something. I don't know what to do next, but I felt good writing a bit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pizza and a Show

This blog post I thought I'd introduce you to a little part of my life. Almost every Tuesday (not so much anymore, but still pretty often) Benny, Annette, Adam and I get to have homemade pizza for lunch. That's right, homemade pizza. My dad, Benny, always prepares the dough from scratch (yes, with the yeast and the dough kneading and all that) and Annette and I stretch the dough out and add the toppings. Adam just gets to enjoy eating it, basically.

This isn't any ordinary pizza lunch, you understand. We're talking 2 delicious gourmet pizzas, with tomato paste sauce, olives, mushrooms, tomato slices (you know, for the longest time I didn't like tomatoes? It's really only this past year that I've been able to eat tomatoes without feeling the need to retch. Now I think they make a salad pretty tasty), peppers and spinnach on top. Sometimes we have onions on it too, but this time we didn't. We used to put cheese on too, but we've pretty much put a stop to that, since it's healthier without it. I think Adam misses the cheese.

Oh yeah, and since we always make two pizzas, all four of us always eat half a pie each. Shira doesn't usually eat pizza, mostly because she doesn't have a high metabolism like the rest of us. Oh well. Here are a couple pictures I took, specifically so I could put them on my blog, I told my family.
[1] Right when they're in the oven. [2] Doesn't that look divine? [3] My very own slice!
A little after our pizzas, Benny drove us all to the theater to see a movie. Again, this isn't a normal theater, just like we don't have ordinary pizzas. (I do so love not being normal ordinary!) The theater we go to, Tamarac Cinema 5 in Coral Springs, has a special deal on tickets every Tuesday that allows you to see a movie for 99 cents each. So we only spend $4.95 on movies! Plus we don't buy popcorn, so that's a big savings. We usually pop our own popcorn, not in a microwave, but in an air-popper. Today we munched on puffed corn cereal from Whole Foods instead. The film we saw was High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

My siblings and I have already seen this movie, like as soon as it came out, but that was in another, more expensive theater and long before I even thought of writing a blog. Plus Benny and Shira haven't seen it, and it was either this or Beverly Hills Chiuaua. Even for a second time, this movie was the best. The songs, the dancing, the drama, and of course the hot leads.

Oh, I so wish I could have a boyfriend like Troy Bolton, he's so romantic. And Chad isn't too bad either. You know, I was in a play for the first High School Musical, and I played Taylor and so developed a little crush on the guy who played Chad. Not Corbin Bleu, the boy in my play. But that's another story that I am not getting into because it's too personal to be on the web.

I've been thinking recently about what's going to happen in the new year, regarding my blog. I think when it's 2009 I'll have another couple blogs to post on, like one for talking about what books I read and another for the movies I see. It can be all detailed and stuff. Already I've made plans for them. The only thing I can hope is that someone gets to read them besides me. Until next time.

It's all Greek to Me

I've actually been looking for an excuse to use that post title, because since last thursday Annette and I have been trying to implement the greek alphabet into our language program. This was actually a very cool expeirience. Together we animated all 24 letters. Actually, this is a bigger job than it sounds like, because we had to do the uppercase alphabet as drawn by the right hand and as drawn by the left, plus the lowercase alphabet in right and left handed. So... 24 x 4... what is that? Oh yeah, 96 animations. But we did them all in 4 days, so that's cool. And thanks to all this repetition, I have memorized all the greek letters' names and shapes.

You want to know the letters in order? Here they are: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Nu, Xi, Omicron, Pi, Rho, Sigma, Tau, Upsilon, Phi, Chi (pronounced Kie), Psi, and last but not least, Omega. Phew! To see their shapes, I reccomend you go to the web site with our languages and click the greek flag. Here's the link.

Anyway, the reason I'm using this title is that this morning Annette and I were trying to download an Arabic font. Oh, it's not the Arabic alphabet that's greek to me, though at first it does look intimidating with all the funny loops and dots. I saw a cute YouTube vid that shows the arabic letters in a very simple and cute way. This link will let you see Arabic in quite a non-threatening fasion. No. The fact that I had to figure out what to download was all greek to me.

I hate having to download stuff. Wait, maybe hate is too strong a word. I really dislike downloading stuff. It's as if I'm letting a complete stranger into my computer. And I know that downloads can be tricky, like they might sneak up behind you and say you need to pay for this or something. I don't download songs off the internet. None of us do anyway. Why would you when you can copy them from a c.d. from the library, for free? But anyway, it seems as if Annette is in the right direction with this, so I'll let her take the helm.

Soon I might be memorizing the Arabic alphabet. Well, maybe not quite so easily. I hear that besides there being 28 individual letters, when you write words there are different letters for if they come at the beginning of a word, in the middle of a word, and at the end of a word, so I'll be pretty overloaded right there!

Monday, December 22, 2008

My New Cyber-pal

I am feeling so happy today. In case no one has noticed yet, I now have a countdown gadget on the side-bar of my blog. Take a look, just scroll down and see it.

Pretty nice, no? It counts down the days until 2009 is upon us. If anyone thinks this timer bears any resemblance to James Dashner's gadget, which counts down days until his second book comes out, then you are correct. (I find it a tad annoying that I don't know how to get rid of the loader thingy that pops up before the timer. That makes it obvious that it's from the 13th Reality) You can thank J. N. Future Author for that.

See, on the 20th I decided to email J. N. and beg him to tell me how he got his timer up. (well, not really beg. I'm just exagerating.) The next morning I find that he gave me a rapid reply, telling me exactly how to get my clock up. I owe him big time for that. A loud shout-out to you, Jacoby.


If any other bloggers want this timer, all you gotta do is give me a comment. I will reply personally to everyone who does. And please don't forget to tell me how you like my posts. *.^

So far I am really liking this blogging thing. It's so much fun. It's even helped me make a friend.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Missing Links

You know what? Yesterday, when I was writing my little catch-up, I totally forgot about a couple things I found on the web recently. One is actually a funny mini series on YouTube that my twin sister Annette and I unearthed. It's the Chad Vader series, uploaded by the channel blamesocietfilms. They have many other crazy videos (110 in fact), but their Chad series are really quite clever. Check it out. If his supermarket escapades don't get a rise out of you, you'll still probably smile at his holiday greeting card videos.

The other nugget of internet gold I found a few days ago was a charming website called Poisson Rouge (that means Red Fish in French; don't ask me why it's called that, it just is). It seems to be an educational website for children under the age of 7, but to tell you the truth, I think it appeals to all ages. I'm not joking. Click anywhere you want. There are easy-to-master-quickly mini-games galore. You can explore this interactive environment for a long time and probably not scratch the surface.

We found this site after daring Google to find something that matched our language learning program in it's simpleness and conveniance. This was the only thing that caught our eyes. And that's just it's interactive alphabet! Click on the red fish and it opens another world of possiblities. Don't just think I'm a babbling idiot and that this Poisson Rouge thingy is for babys. Take a look at them and see!

Oh, and speaking of our language program, today Annette and I have started learning the Greek alphabet! More about that some other time in the near future.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Catch-up Time

Oh my gosh, things have been so craazzy! I haven't been able to set up a good time for myself to blog a little because something's always happening. If I can just keep my head straight, I'll try telling what's happened to me this past 5 days. I would've gone and posted another blog on Friday, but we stayed up at that Christmas party so late that I didn't have time. Here are a few good pictures, though:

[1] Me with the dog Pacha [2] We saw Wall-E on DVD [3] The beautiful horse Spirit (stick a horn on his head and he makes for a perfect unicorn) [4] A horse named Whisper [5] The cat Dagger. (It looks like he's got different eyes, but that's just the camera.) [6] Husky brothers Goblin and Goliath. (Ooh, they look pretty intimidating, don't they?) [7] The demon duck Banana. [8] And this is Marley. Camera went wacky again, but doesn't that remind you of the lazer eyes in Bolt?

Anyway, (as Leslie would say) on Saturday evening I went to a vegan Christmas potluck (I'm a vegetarian and proud of it) and had an okay time. The highlight of the party was Aaron the magician. He did so many awesome card tricks and stuff, it was just mind-boggling! I would have watched him all night, had I not been concerned with catching Saturday Night Live. Hugh Laurie was good, wouldn't you agree? Too bad it's Amy Pohler's last show.

Sunday I went to the beach with my family, like I do every week. I finished 3 books in one day there, one of which I finished on the beach. It's taken me ages to read, because it's so deep and heavy. It's called And the Truth Shall set you Free, by David Icke. Take it from me, this is not kid stuff. The other two, thankfully, were kid stuff. If you're Reading this, it's too late, by Pseudonymous Bosche, from the library, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by the great J.K. Rowling, which my brother Adam got for his birthday. Those were really good books.

I'm not very sure what happened Monday, though we did recieve a new copy of MAD magazine. I've also taken the time to explore Blogger a lot, see what I can do with it. Yesterday was really good, because we had another kind of dinner with friends recording their languages. This time we added Mexican Spanish, Slovakian, British English, and Canadian French. Pretty fun stuff. This website just keeps on growing. You'll see, this is going to turn into something big, I know it.

Today has been especially cool though, because this morning I got a reply from the Dashner Dude for my comment about his post on Erec Rex and Farworld. It's just so awesome that he, a famous author, actually replied to me! I never expected it (well, I guess I'd hoped for it, maybe, but still unexpected). It's so fun to think I kind of exchanged a word or two with a celebrity.

And speaking of which, tonight, because of Adam turning 11 this week, all of us got to take a special tour of the Majik 102.7 radio station and meet those people behind the scenes! I couldn't believe that I was meeting the people behind the voices we love to hear, like Mindy Lang and Vance Philips. I love 102.7; me and my siblings were practically raised on this station. I wonder what Adam himself was thinking about the whole thing? We talked with these people, they showed us how they did their jobs, they told stories, and Adam even got to be on the air, if only for 15 seconds!

Whoa, I can't believe it, is it that late already?! Sorry, have to end this post for now. Hopefully I'll be a little briefer, as well as a little handier with the adding pictures feature.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Packed Week

I've really been pretty busy these last couple days, it's almost alarming to me. Firstly, I've been doing so much work with my sister, Annette, and my Dad on this ultra cool language learning program, where you can write the alphabet and listen to what the letters sound like in the language. It has numbers too. We only have 5 languages so far: American English, Hebrew, and Spanish in Venezuelan, Brazilian, and Spanish accents. We have it online already! To check it out, click here. We need the publicity. It's so cool and easy, you'll figure out how to use it.

Secondly, my twin Annette, my younger brother Adam and I have this cute and funny little show on YouTube called the Leslie and Kyle Sock-Puppet Show, and we made a new episode just for the holidays. We got a perfect show in three takes. That's a rarity. Check the episode out by clicking here, plus remember to check out all our previous episodes and other movies on our channel.

It took us a long time to put up our Holiday Special because we wanted to add effects to the movie, but we couldn't because Windows Movie Maker doesn't accept MOV files, so we had to download a file converter and it wouldn't work, so we took it off and downloaded something else...... long story short, we put Leslie and Kyle up on YouTube without anything special, we got an alright converter, (though it ruins the sound quality a little) and Annette and I are excited for the next time we can use Movie Maker. We might make an even cooler Leslie and Kyle in the future with it.

Just today my Grandparents came over for a visit, in honor of Adam's 11th birthday, which was December 10. It was okay. But the coolest thing about today was that I discovered Google Blogger. Hence, my first blog ever. I just happened to come upon James Dashner's blog (it is so awesome. He's the author of "The 13th Reality". A special shout out to Dashner Dude!) and I looked through it a bit and I decided to follow his blog.

Next thing I know, I have a Blogger account. I've never thought seriously about blogging before, because I didn't like the idea of writing personal stuff, but the way I've seen a couple people blog, it seemed pretty fun. So now here I am, finishing blog number 1. I hope to make at least a couple online friends with this little adventure. If you read this, J. N. Future Author, I hope you add the feature that allows me to follow your blog, because I think it's just as interesting as Dashner's.

Okay, I'm signing off now. I'm going to an early Christmas party with Adam's little home-school group. (I'm home-schooled too, but it's a group for little kids.) There's the movie Wall*e and a Wii station at their big house. And I haven't seen them, but Adam and my Mom say that the hosts, Ben & Lexi, have a ton of pets. I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures. So long. Hoping that someone out there is reading this, Bettina Levy.