Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday before Superbowl Sunday

I don't know about you, but I am really excited for next week's Super Bowl game. ^_^

Why am I excited for this game in particular, you ask? Okay, I'll give you 3 guesses........

No, it's not because I'm rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Green Bay Packers. I probably couldn't care less which teams were playing.

No, it's not because Christina Aguilera will sing the National Anthem and the Black Eyed Peas will do the halftime show. (Though those are pretty awesome musical guests that I'm looking forward to seeing.)

That's right. You guessed it. ^_~ The reason I'm excited for next week's sports event has more to do with what will air immediately after it...
Glee is coming back! I have missed it so much!!! There hasn't been a new episode since Christmas. Finally, after weeks of waiting, Will, Mercedes, Artie, Sue, Kurt, Rachel, and all those other awesome characters will be returning. YAY! ^_^

Even better, I hear that after Glee's Superbowl Sunday episode, they'll have another regularly scheduled Tuesday episode. 2 episodes of Glee in one week? Double yay!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Life in a Day review

Well, I saw the YouTube documentary "Life in a Day" last night, just like I said I would. It was a cinematic experience that I doubt I will easily forget. (I'm sure if you had seen it yourself, you would probably say the same thing.)

If you were unable to catch the live stream from the Sundance Film Festival to YouTube last night, then I sincerely pity you. Now you won't be able to see it until it comes on DVD! ~,~

It's kind of hard for me to describe what I thought about the film. On the whole, I'd have to say I LOVED watching it. A lot of it was beautiful, educational, thought-provoking, and poignant. (Haha, I don't often get the opportunity to use the word poignant. =P) On the other hand, some parts of the movie were weird, unnecessary, foreign, and even horrifying! O,o I'd have been a lot happier if those parts had NOT been in "Life in a Day".

There wasn't really any clear story path in this documentary. That may be a good thing, because then that makes it difficult for me to spoil the story for you. ^_^ Basically, it's everyone around the world going about their "normal, mundane, and routine" lives on the (for the most part) unimportant and uneventful day of July 24th, 2010.

Moments of the film that stood out for me:
  • A guy demonstrating what it's like to ride in an elevator.
  • A mother trying to convince her hyper son to calm down so they can make their Life in a Day footage, and the son whining to the camera, "Stop filming me!"
  • An Asian father and son walking around their apartment with a fish-eye lens video camera! That gave one of the most fascinating views of the world in the movie.
  • A dad teaching his teenage son how to shave.
  • A cow getting executed. (ACK! This was my absolute least favorite part ever! !,! As a vegetarian, it made me sick to my stomach to see the poor animal get shot in the head! Twice! And then see its throat get slit! (So sorry for the graphicness, but that's really what happened. ~,~))
  • A lady sky-diving! Now that looked like fun!!!
  • A gay guy calling his grandmother up to admit that he had a boyfriend. ^_^
  • This Russian dude jumping out of a building from 2 stories high, leaping over walls, climbing trees, even shop-lifting. O,o He was so totally badass! Like a freakin' werewolf from the Twilight Saga!
  • A young woman using Skype to talk to her traveling husband. (When they ended the call, she cried. ~,~)
  • People releasing these awesome paper bag and candle hot-air balloons as the day drew to a close. That was sooo beautiful!
  • And so much more!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Life in a Day... Today!

In just less than 8 hours, the YouTube generated film, "Life in a Day", is going to be streaming live, from the Sundance Film Festival, for everyone to see!
If you will recall, about half a year ago, (July 24th 2010), Adam, Annette and I, as well as MANY other YouTubers the world over, took a camera and filmed special moments of our day to make this movie. While our footage may not have been chosen to go into the final product, I'm still WAY excited to see "Life in a Day"! ^_^ It should be totally awesome!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I don't know why, but I haven't felt good at all today. !,! My lower back was all achy, and my skull felt like it was pressing itself inwards. What can be worse than a backache and a headache at the same time? *groan* ~,~

I don't know how it came about. Maybe I sit at the computer too often, or the wrong way? Maybe I should exercise more...

All morning/ afternoon so far, I'd been trying to get comfortable in my bed, but that was very difficult. Now however, when I decided to get up and write a post about my pain... I feel slightly better? O,o I know, really strange...

My head still hurts, but I think I'll be able to manage a walk or something now...

Okay. Never mind. I'm feeling good now. Thanks, Blogger. ^_^
Oh yeah, and remember to check out this cool contest! Antique Grimms Fairy Tales Giveaway!

Monday, January 24, 2011

New font styles!

I only learned about it recently, but a few days ago, Blogger released a new design feature... more fonts to choose from for your blog!

How many fonts? 77! Ahhhhh! Isn't that a crazy number?!

So yeah, today I decided to subtly alter my blog's design so that the text looks slightly more... Bettina style. ^_^
And finally, I decided to give a very special font to my regular page text:
It just... fits, don't you think? ^_~

If you have any quips about my new, strange, funny lettering styles, please let me know.
Sidenote: I've just learned about this new website, It's supposed to be the new Wikipedia or something... It seems pretty interesting. You should look it up for yourself. O,o

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I was sooooo excited when they announced it! Seriously! "And the Golden Globe goes to... Chris Colfer!" I totally pumped my fist in the air and shouted, "YES! YEEES!!!"

I loved his reaction. ^_^ He couldn't believe that he'd actually won. His acceptance speech was just awesome. I even saw Lea Michele (who plays Rachel in Glee) crying a little. Such a sweet moment!

If I remember only one thing from this year's Golden Globe Awards, it'll be that Chris won Best Supporting Actor in a TV series. ^___^

(That, and Toy Story 3 won Best Animated Feature. Whoo! ^_^)

Edit: Jane Lynch won too, for Best Supporting Actress in a TV series, and Glee itself won Best TV show! Un-frigging-believable! What an awesome night for Gleeks!

Further Edit: For those who missed it, here is the video clip of Chris winning the Globe. Now we can relive the moment again and again. Yay!!!

Flashback + the Bizarre Bazaar

Last night was a lot of fun! My family and I went to a restaurant we'd never been to before, the Flashback Diner and Coffeehouse. It's a fun family place, a friendly atmosphere. On Fridays and Saturdays, there is Karaoke from 7:30-10:30, and anyone brave enough can pick a song from this huge binder, write it down for the DJ, and sing their heart out. Even little kids.

One of my secret resolutions (one that I didn't publicly post on my blog, that is) was to find a cool place where I could get up and sing comfortably to a good-sized audience. I'm a person who loves to sing. I like singing along to songs on the radio, or along to the iPod in my room when I have free time. But singing to an actual audience... I haven't done enough of that. I wanted that. I'm so glad that this place, the Flashback Diner, gives you that. ^_^

I sang a Jonas Brothers ballad, "When you look me in the eye", and a rap song from House of Pain, "Jump Around". (Don't ask me how I know all the words to this one. =P) I also did a duet with my brother Adam, "The Girl is Mine", but it was in a different key than what we were used to...

I don't want to say we embarrassed ourselves, because I didn't feel embarrassed... but we definitely didn't do the song justice. *_*

My brother and sister each gave a couple great performances as well. I hope we can come to this diner again next week. Maybe we can turn this into a sort of weekly thing. I'd really enjoy that. ^_^
2 days ago I found a new game to be addicted to, a sort of guilty pleasure. It's called Echo Bazaar, and I found out about it because it was mentioned in this video. It's a very strange game... and I mean very strange. It's set in a really odd world, and a whole lot of mystery surrounds the gameplay, but there doesn't seem to be much of a... point to it. There's no special keyboard/ mouse manipulation skills needed, and no interaction between other players. The object of the game is simply to level up, explore this world, called Fallen London, and basically to "seek your fortune."
I don't know what makes me want to keep playing this, but one thing I find really interesting about it is that, to an extent, the game actually limits your playtime. It keeps you from being glued to your computer all day by giving you a limit of actions to use at a time, which is also part of a daily quota of actions. There's a little countdown that'll tell you when there are more actions available, but eventually, when you run out of all your actions for the day, you can't do anything except walk away from the computer, find another way to occupy yourself, and wait for the next day. I like that a lot.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winner of my story

Congratulations, Rani! You were the only to guess correctly which prompt I chose, and so now you get to read and review my short story! I will email it to you momentarily. ^_~
I've been a little under the weather the last couple days, which is really no fun at all. !,! I think I'll get better really soon, though...
I saw The Social Network in the theater last night! Whoo! What a great movie. Definitely worth watching. (It's funny: since this film was about Facebook, I wrote on my Facebook status, before we left, that I was going to see this movie. lol ^_^)

This is the first movie I've seen in the theater for 2011 so far! So this was my first test to see if I could avoid the previews, like I said I would in my resolutions...

Unfortunately, I failed. ~,~

It's easy to skip the previews when you're watching a DVD at home. All you have to do is go to the Main Menu and start the movie. But in the case of going to the theater, we usually come early, so the previews are kind of inevitable. I wanted to keep out of the room where they showed the movie (is there a fancy name for this room? O,o), but I didn't know what I could do while the previews went on, or even how I would know when they were over. So I went in, sat down, and tried to look down while keeping my ears plugged. The sound still creeped in, though, so I surrendered and saw the previews. (Gulliver's Travels and 127 Hours.)

Next time, I'll try a lot harder.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fog and Stories (yay!)

This is how foggy it was when I woke up this morning. (No, this isn't a picture of where I live. But it really was this level of foggy!) I don't believe I have ever seen it so thick before. You know that expression about cutting fog with a knife? You could do that with this fog.

This kind of weather is very rare in Florida. I think it's beautiful. I took a walk in it earlier, and it felt very cool. My vision was very slightly blurred, but if you looked very closely, you could see all the teeny-tiny drops of precipitation flying around every-which-way. ^_^

Now that it's later in the day, most of the fog has lifted. But you can still see it in the air a little bit...
In other news... I wrote a story!
This is incredible! I mean, just yesterday I was saying how I didn't have any inspiration or good ideas about what I could write. Later I found that my twin sister, Annette, whom I love very much ^_~ (is it who or whom? O,o), had commented on that post and given me a few writing prompts. Here is what she suggested to me:
  • A sad story about a pen/ pencil (that can think and talk) that feels lonely and unused because the "writer" uses the computer for most of her work?
  • A scary story about some kids who go on a roller-coaster that suddenly stops working in the middle of the ride!
  • A funny story in which 2 pieces of bread meet in a toaster and fall in love before being made into a sandwich and getting eaten together!
I took one of these prompts, and... I don't know how else I can describe it... I just ran with it! ^_^

First I went to the website and set myself a goal of 1000 words. I sat there for about an hour, and when I passed my 1000 words (Yes! I wrote OVER a thousand words! I was so happy!) I just kept on going and going. I just knew I could finish this story! Later I transferred it to a Google Doc and took a break. Then I went back to my story and managed to make it... All. The way. To the end...

I don't remember the last time I was able to finish a story that I started! I am so proud of myself! (I don't mean to keep bragging, but this has really given me such an incredible boost in confidence!)

The final product is precisely 1800 words, or about 2 pages worth of text. When I was done, I showed it to my brother and sister. They loved it, and said it was a really awesome story. ^_^
Would you like the chance to read my short story, dear readers? I'm not sure I want to post it on my blog for the whole world to see (It's mine! Mine, do you hear?!), but if you can correctly guess, out of the 3 choices I had, which story I chose to write about, then I will show it to you. No clues. Just pick one. (Hey, you have a 33% chance of winning. Go for it! ^_~)

Edit: Oh yeah, I forgot! This contest lasts for a limited time. One day only. I'll announce the lucky winners sometime tomorrow morning. ^_~

Monday, January 10, 2011

First week (or so) catch-up

Wow, I've certainly taken a long blogging hiatus... but then again, it looks like most of us have been taking a break as well. (Except for the Simple Little Bookworm. She's been managing almost a post every day, which I think is quite commendable. Great job, Amy! Thanks for the follow, btw. ^_~)

Maybe I haven't been posting because I've been getting used to the new year... I don't know.

But I said I'd keep you readers updated, so I'll try my best.
I finished reading The Book Thief yesterday! Gosh, what a reading experience... I don't think I will easily forget it. The story, the characters, the setting... it all felt so real. (Well, I expect that's because it takes place in Germany in the 1940's. Perhaps the characters are fictional, but the events that were written about, I could easily believe actually happened.)

So here's the scoop on this book: It's narrated by Death (yeah, really. And he is quite the story-teller, I can assure you). It takes place in Nazi Germany, when Hitler is gaining power and support, and Jews were hunted. (Gulp. Personal subject, since I'm a Jew myself. I remember going to Israel last summer on my Taglit trip, and going to the Holocaust memorial. Just breaks my heart... !,!)

A 10-year old girl, Liesel, is sent away to live with a foster family, because her poor mother can't take care of her anymore. It takes getting used to, but eventually she adapts to life with her new family. Her foster dad is a wonderful character; you like him right from the start. Her new mom is a more complex kind of person. She acts pretty mean, but as the story goes on, you see that she's really got a big heart. I also love the character of her best friend, Rudy Steiner, the boy next door. During the course of the book, Liesel learns to read, she begins stealing books from the mayor's library, and her family takes in an escaped Jew named Max (for complicated reasons).

It is a wonderful coming of age story. It will no doubt make my list of "Ten Best Books of 2011" at the end of the year. One of the best things about this book is that it teaches you a few interesting words in German, so it's slightly educational. Another special thing I discovered, when I was more than halfway into the book, is that... I am a fictional character! The boy Rudy has a 5-year-old sister named BETTINA! She is mentioned a few times as a very minor, throw-away character... But still!!!

A few days ago, my twin and I got a couple of things we'd ordered from Amazon: a webcam, and a tiny microphone. Now I'm able to have virtual conversations with people. I can see their faces, and hear words coming out of their moving mouth in real time. You know what that means, don't you?

It is now possible for me to meet certain friends, without ever leaving my computer! Yay!
Lately I've been having a bit of trouble making time/ getting inspiration for my writing. I wrote a poem the other day [see here], so now I have 29 more to fulfill my goal. I also started writing a quick short story one morning about how our cockatiels had woken me up. That's okay and all, but I feel like I'm missing something. I think I'm missing... the drive to write.

I need to establish a solid schedule, or a project for myself. Something I know I can do every day. Perhaps a series of writing prompts? Normally I would think these are silly. What would be the point of them? But a writer must write, and I really need the practice. (I read in a writing book that the first million words you write in your career are solely for practice. They don't count. So you shouldn't worry about whether that writing is good or bad. I think that makes me feel slightly better...)

I would be very appreciative if you guys have any suggestions or recommendations for me.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Here's what I'm going to do this year...

Finally, my 2011 resolutions! ^_^ (No silly, I didn't actually list two thousand and eleven resolutions. That would make an impossibly long post!!! =P)

Last year was amazing, because I believe I've finally gotten over my shy nature, having traded it for a warm, friendly and sunny manner of being. ^_^ I love the person I've become. The one way I'd like to improve upon myself this year -- now that I am more outgoing -- is to become more ambitious. Therefore, I have given myself a few ambitious goals, as you will see below:
Writing related:
  • Produce (at least) 30 poems, 5 short stories, and 1 novel. I'll give myself a whole bunch of writing projects. My deadline? 365 days. Shouldn't be too hard. ^_^ I'll keep you guys updated on my progress.
  • Educate myself in the art of query letters and associating with publishers/agents/editors. I've always been secretly afraid of this, because I thought I needed to have a finished manuscript before I even contemplated that next step. But I would really like to be published someday. Whether my name appears in a magazine, on a children's book, among a collection of short stories or poetry, or on the cover of that full-blown novel I dream about being famous for, I want to be a professional author. So I'm going to act like it.
  • Start or join a writing group. Maybe even have 2 groups! I would like to find young adults in my area who, like me, want to be published and might need improvement in their writing. So I'll have a physical group of like-minded strangers. But who wants to be a part of my virtual writing group? Will my dear blogger friends come and join me on my quest? C'mon, it'll be fun! ^_~ (If you're interested, please leave a comment.)
  • Go to more author events/ writing conventions. As you can see, this year I am going to be very serious about attaining my author dream.
  • On a side note, I would like to obtain the autographs of/ shake hands with more famous authors in 2011. Going to more conventions will definitely help out with this goal. ^_~
Internet related:
  • Meet at least 3 of my blogger friends in person. I will probably be as excited to meet any of you guys in the flesh as I'd be if you were world-famous. ^_~
  • Maintain a page for books I would like to read in the near future. Believe it or not, I don't think I've ever really kept a To-Read list before. =P From now on, as soon as I hear about a book I'm interested in, I will type it up instead of simply making a mental note.
  • Read and review at least 10 books that I think are amazing here. As usual, I'll be reading lots. I don't think I'll ever stop being obsessed with reading. ^_^ But I would like to have 10 extremely special and awesome books that I can look back on next year and say, "Oh yeah, I'm soooo glad I read those!"
  • Get to I-level in Cashflow Online, which is the highest you can go. Right now I'm at B-level, the second highest, so I'm pretty close. I'm no longer obsessed with this computer game, but every once in a while I'll log on for a couple ring-around-the-Rat-Races, and by year's end, I hope I'll come out one rich rat.
  • Change my blog background every 2 months. Starting today. (I have also decided to change my profile picture. Pretty, no? ^_^)
Other random goals:
  • See snow. The only time I can recall seeing snow in my life is when I was about 5 and we lived in Arizona, but that's because we have footage of that. I can't really say I have a true memory of seeing the fine, white, slushy stuff, you know what I mean? I don't care where I have to go, whether in Massachusetts, New York, or even Utah (^,~) but I would very much like to witness tiny white flakes falling from the sky.
  • Become a money-magnet. I want to attract more cash in 2011! This could mean spotting change on the sidewalk, learning to sell stuff online, or perhaps finding a job.
  • Finish all 10 of my Toastmaster speeches. So far I've done 6, so I'm more than halfway done. Perhaps if I'm feeling extra ambitious, I'll start an advanced speech manual too!
  • Like my hero James Dashner, I will try my best to avoid seeing movie previews. I don't have any special reason for this. It is just an experiment that I've wanted to try for a while. Perhaps my viewing experience will be made more enjoyable, because I'll be completely surprised and not know what to expect from the story, save for what I hear from word-of-mouth. So when I watch TV or go to the theater and the inevitable previews come up, I'll walk out of the room and only come back when the main feature begins. At the very least, I'll try this out for a month, see how I feel about it.
And last but not least, what I feel might be my most important resolution:
  • Make at least one person (in addition to myself) happy every single day of the year. ^_^ I want almost every day to be someone different. A family member, a friend, a stranger, anyone. I'll compliment them, do nice, random things for them without expecting a thing in return, or just tell them a joke so that they laugh and are cheered up. I'll make sure every day to write down the name/ description of the person I made happy, and by years end I hope to see a couple hundred unique items in my list. ^_^
I actually have several more goals, but those are slightly more personal. =P

Anyway, that's my public resolution list for 2011! I hope I'll have your support in helping me keep all these promises to myself.

I'm sure you've been hearing this all day, but... HAPPY NEW YEAR! ^_~
~Bettina Levy~