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Velox's Blog


This Time With Babies

Posted by Velox , in Personal Writings, BZPower, League of Authors, Literature Oct 01 2012 · 399 views
Poetry, BZPower Contest, Ambage
New poem: Life of a Father. Wrote this last Monday for my Creative Writing class after holding my cousin's new baby two days before. Comments are much appreciated. =]

And check out the new Fortnightly Flash Fiction Contest! If you enjoyed the flash fiction marathon, that's what this is, just not quite so rapid-fire. Stories are due by October 8th, 11:59 PM EST. Also check out the Ambage if you like writing -- we have made several changes and added new features.

~ Velox


What are you doing at 11am?

Posted by Velox , in Other, Literature Sep 21 2012 · 1,118 views

If the answer is not "having second breakfast" then unfortunately your answer is wrong. Join in!! Take part! In honor of the 75th anniversary of the publication of the Hobbit, people are dedicating 11am to a "second breakfast" to celebrate Hobbit-style!

Happy Tolkien Week, everyone! And enjoy that food!

~ Velox


5 Years

Posted by Velox , in Personal Writings, School Sep 20 2012 · 1,313 views

So today marks my 5-year BZ-anniversary. Forgot completely about it until I saw that I had an Olmak. Half a decade, wow. Lot of memories from this place. Many awesome people that I've met, and, most importantly, the beginning of my writing career. Thank you, BZPower.

And because I didn't write anything specifically for my anniversary, I'll just shamelessly plug my new poem again. =P COT literature always gets buried so quickly...Anyway, here's to many more half-decades on BZPower!

They stare at you
Through the wooden edges of the frame.
A snowy plane lines his cheeks, bushy and misshapen
Like a wild plant, growing this way and that,
Thinning here and there like his life.
Soon it will all be gone.
So will he...

Read the full poem here. Comments are greatly appreciated in the topic. =]

But yeah, I had fun with this one. I'm not much of a poem writer (though I want to be), and that's one of the reasons I took this Creative Writing class. It's "introduction to poetry and fiction writing" so I thought it would be a good way for me to start. And I have to say, I was really pleased with how it turned out. Obviously not perfect, but this is the first real poem I've written. I've written a few shorter, sucky ones, but otherwise this is about it. It's definitely my favorite class, and I look forward to writing more poems, now.

~ Velox


In Memoriam

Posted by Velox , in Other, Life Sep 11 2012 · 397 views
9/11, We Remember and 2 more...

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9/11 has always been one of my favorite days of the year. Not because I am necessarily happy, but because of the attitude and the respect that people show (hopefully) on this day. It's a day of remembrance, a day of prayer, a day of memory, a day of sadness, a day of reflection, a day of respect, a day of honor, a day of fervor, a day of comforting, a day of charity, a day of love. A day to remind us of what happened, to honor those who suffered and died that day. A day to remind us to honor those that work each and every day, even to the point of sometimes giving up their lives, in order to try and protect the United States of America. This day reminds us that we must show love. To the families, to the people, to those who fight for freedom, to politicians who work to keep us safe even when we might disagree with them on other things, to those who give their lives, to those who cannot be with us today, to the people of the United States of America, and to the people of the world. Today is a day of love. It is also a day of remembrance, sadness, but also of hope and strength. Hope that a tragedy like this will never happen again. Strength that we are resolved, that nothing will break our spirit.

I'd like to thank everyone that has posted about this day, on BZPower or otherwise. I'd like to thank those that have said a prayer today in honor and remembrance of this. I believe this is one of the most important days of the year, because it is a day to remind us. Remind us of love, of those lost, of those fighting, of simply everyone. To remind us that peace is what we all need to strive for. I have seen many beautiful posts about today, and it honestly warms my heart to see that people care as I do. I'd like to end by sharing one of my favorite posts I have seen today:

Karen and I wanted to take a moment to honor those who lost their lives and whose lives were changed forever on September 11, 2001. We were all changed that day, but there are many who gave so much - many who paid the ultimate price - fighting for freedom on that day and the days that followed. We honor them today.

Eleven years later, we still vividly remember the heroism and courage of those who fought back against the terrorists. That day was a dark day for our country, but demonstrated what is great about America: Nothing can break the spirit of our great country.

Today we honor those who sacrificed on the planes, in the World Trade Center towers, in the Pentagon, on a field in Pennsylvania, our intelligence communities, and of course, the men and women in uniform who fight for our freedoms.

We will never forget.

-Rick Santorum

Please remember. Please do not forget. And may God Bless America.

~ Andrew


The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Posted by Velox , in Reviews, Literature Aug 23 2012 · 997 views
Book Review, The Book Thief and 1 more...

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The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
ISBN: 0375842209
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Release Date: 2005
Rating: 5/5

A fantastic story about a little girl living in Germany during World War II, her parents gone and her brother dead. She takes comfort from her foster parents, most especially from her foster-father, an extremely kind man who gives up sleep -- and himself -- for this little girl, Liesel Meminger. She gains a great love for words, books, and writing as her acordion-playing foster-father helps her to learn how to read, so much so that she steals books from wherever possible, even Nazi book-burnings. Through the struggling of learning to read, surviving during this horrible time, gaining friends, and obtaining material for her to read, The Book Thief tells the fantastic story of Liesel Meminger.

The Book Thief, as much as anything else, is a book about people. The characters of The Book Thief are quite extraordinary, and certainly make the novel great. Liesel, of course, the main character to whom much sympathy is given. Seeing all of these events through the eyes of a nine-year-old (and up to fourteen years old as the novel progresses), is really quite amazing, and definitely emotionally moving. This story as a whole really gives you a unique look on World War II and the Germans -- it forces you to realize, whether you did before this book or not, that not all were bad. Liesel and her family prove this. WWII was a terrible thing, and horrible things happened to people on both sides -- all the more reason why it's important to remember that not every simply supported Hitler and the things he did, even if they were German. This book helps you realize that.

My favorite character, perhaps, would be "Papa" -- Hans Hubermann. A fantastically portrayed father-figure for Liesel, he's really quite the extraordinary man. Waking up every single night for a long period of time in order to comfort Liesel of her nightmares. He'll stay awake for hours, playing the accordion and teaching her how to read. Which is one of the most enjoyable parts of this book. At her brother's death, Liesel picks up a book in the snow, The Gravedigger's Handbook -- the first act of book thievery. With that she begins to read, taught by her Papa and slowly, but definitely surely, becoming better and better to the point that she can read, and read well. Even so well that she is paid in food -- something very scarce for her foster-family -- to read to an old lady. And so it is thanks to her Papa that she becomes the very enjoyable character that she is.

The Book Thief is, without question, a story about a bibliophile and a writer. Perhaps that is why I loved the book so much, as those are two traits that I share with her. Of course, I have it easy. As much as she loves books, she is only able to get them by stealing, as they are otherwise banned. The dedication she has to learning to read and write is simply awesome and inspiring. If she could become a lover of books -- if she could read books at all -- during such horrible times as WWII, then really, no one has an excuse for not reading. Everyone should love and cherish books.

And her Papa helps her with that, always supportive, always giving up time to help her. What I love about Papa is just how great of a man he is. He doesn't care what happens to himself -- as seen when he gives food to a Jewish man, among many, many other instances -- but only cares about helping others. He is a great father-figure, and suffers greatly -- even at the hand of himself -- to help others. One particular moment that I liked is when he is, to put it simply, quite stern with Liesel. He in fact even hits her (something that is not uncommon, but almost never done by Papa -- in fact this may be the only time he does it, I forget), but really, really doesn't like doing so. He wants to just hug her and hold her and tell her everything is okay, but he doesn't. He forces himself to do the right thing in order to protect her and their family. Quite simply, he saved their lives. I don't agree with the fact that he hit her, no, but you also have to realize that times were different then. And even so, I respect him for doing the hard thing as it was for her.

Liesel also develops close relationships with other characters throughout the story. One, Rudy, is her best -- and one of her only -- friend. They spend many hours together, and it was quite enjoyable reading their interactions with each other, the nick names they had (even if they were insults -- that's what made it great), how well they got along, and how badly they got along. Bickering, making fun of each other, getting in arguments, but never anything serious. Always in the way of a great friendship, made greater and stronger by his love for her and later, as she discovers, her love for him as well.

Another great character she becomes close to is Max Vandenburg. An extremely enjoyable character to read about as they also gain a great, great friendship as he lives in their basement (a Jew). The things they do together, the books he writes for her, the presents she gives him when he's sick, all forming together to create something that, again, is simply just very enjoyable, many times putting a smile to my face as I read their interactions.

The last character I want to mention, and one that she shares a strong bond with, albeit in a very, very different way from the previously mentioned character. Not a close friend that she spends a lot of time with, but still someone who Liesel grows close to and someone who is very influential on Liesel, Ilsa Hermann was another great character. She provides Liesel with many of the books she "steal", and as the novel progresses they grow closer and closer, coming to an understanding with each other. Toward the end of the book she gives Liesel perhaps the greatest gift yet -- a blank book with lined paper, the book that Liesel uses to write the story of her life; The Book Thief. At one point it says how "...there would be punishment and pain, and there would be happiness, too. That was writing." Something very true, and it's awesome to be able to relate to such an amazing character that is Liesel.

But the characters aren't the only things that make The Book Thief such an stunning book. Amazingly written, and from Death's perspective, it really is quite unique. I personally loved the format and the way that Death would narrate things -- it gives not only a unique outlook on the story, but a unique outlook on writing in general. Not to mention it reminds you that Death isn't a bad thing -- Death isn't the Devil, after all.

The emotion, as I'm sure you can imagine from a book set during World War II and about a young girl, is definitely heavily-laced throughout the story, but it is quite well done. It had me smiling and on the verge tears many times, a book that struck the heart through both happiness and sadness. The ending especially was simply fantastically written, Very sad, but fantastic all the same.

I am quite surprised that it is considered a children's book -- I can see a Young Adult's book, as I think it is an extremely important book with great messages and great for teens -- but it cannot be ignored that the subject is also not exactly for children. With much minor swearing (and a few not-so-minor occurrences) and the subject matter of WWII, it's definitely not the most kid-friendly or happy read, but all the same, it is amazing.

Overall The Book Thief was an amazing read, and I'm sure it will remain one of my favorite novels. Definitely highly, highly recommended. If you are a bibliophile, a writer, simply someone interested in Nazi Germany, then this book is especially for you -- but really, this book is for everyone.

As the New York Times puts it, "It's the kind of book that can be life changing." Definitely is a life changing book for me – it makes you realize how fortunate you are. I can go to the bookstore and buy any book I want. I can write whenever I want, any time. I can read whenever I want. Liesel didn’t have that luxury, yet she still was determined to read.

(Rantings of Harry Potter to possibly come soon, as I had just finished reading the whole series for the first time before I started The Book Thief on Tuesday)

~ Velox


Out of Bagels

Posted by Velox , in Other Aug 03 2012 · 920 views

(Katie B=Ezorov)

[12:14:47 PM] Andrew P: KATHERINE
[12:14:54 PM] Andrew P: THE ["P"] FAMILY
[12:14:59 PM] Andrew P: ...no no i can't even say it D:
[12:15:01 PM] Andrew P: ...
[12:15:04 PM] Andrew P: the ["P"] family
[12:15:04 PM] Andrew P: is
[12:15:06 PM] Andrew P: ...
[12:15:10 PM] Andrew P: OUT OF BAGELS D:
[12:15:14 PM] Andrew P: OUT
[12:15:15 PM] Andrew P: OF
[12:15:16 PM] Andrew P: BAGELS
[12:15:17 PM] Andrew P: D:
[12:15:17 PM] Andrew P: D:
[12:15:18 PM] Andrew P: D:
[12:25:53 PM] Katie B: AUGHHHHHH
[12:25:54 PM] Katie B: ANDREW
[12:25:57 PM] Katie B: NOOOOOOOOOOO
[12:26:00 PM] Katie B: ;_;
[12:26:05 PM] Andrew P: you always think
[12:26:06 PM] Andrew P: that
[12:26:13 PM] Andrew P: there'll be one more time
[12:26:14 PM] Andrew P: one more chance
[12:26:16 PM] Andrew P: to have a bagel
[12:26:18 PM] Andrew P: but then
[12:26:22 PM] Andrew P: you realize
[12:26:22 PM] Andrew P: that
[12:26:27 PM] Andrew P: they're gone
[12:26:30 PM] Andrew P: :'(
[12:26:35 PM] Andrew P: i believe
[12:26:36 PM] Katie B: D':
[12:26:37 PM] Andrew P: a moment of silence
[12:26:39 PM] Andrew P: is in order
[12:26:48 PM] Andrew P: for this
[12:26:49 PM] Andrew P: terrible tragedy
[12:26:50 PM] Katie B: Shhhh
[12:26:59 PM] Katie B: :|
[12:27:01 PM] Andrew P: *sobs*
[12:27:11 PM] Katie B: That's how I'm feeling right now
[12:27:14 PM] Katie B: ;_;
[12:27:36 PM] Katie B: It'll be okay, Andrew, it'll be okay
[12:27:38 PM] Katie B: (hug)
[12:27:46 PM] Andrew P: THEY WERE SO YOUNG D:
[12:27:56 PM] Katie B: :'C
[12:28:05 PM] Katie B: YOU MUST NOT
[12:28:22 PM] Katie B: I'M
[12:28:24 PM] Katie B: NOT SURE HOW
[12:28:25 PM] Katie B: BUT
[12:28:26 PM] Katie B: YEAH
[12:28:32 PM] Andrew P: NO
[12:28:34 PM] Andrew P: I CAN'T
[12:28:35 PM] Andrew P: I MUST
[12:28:39 PM] Andrew P: AVENGE THE BAGELS
[12:28:42 PM] Katie B: INDEED
[12:28:44 PM] Andrew P: CONTINUE THEIR FIGHT

So today, I'd like to dedicate this blog entry to the Egg Bagels that have now passed on to a better life. Their sacrifice, will not be in vain. A moment of silence, please.


Are we crazy?

~ Velox


My Ambage Achievements

Posted by Velox , in League of Authors Aug 02 2012 · 447 views
For me to log my achievements:

Into the Sky(pe)! - Participate in a Skype Write Off (5 Points)

Do We Know You? - Participate in 5 Skype Write Offs (20 Points)
(Tables Turned, Through the Eyes of an Animal, Ice, Rambutan, Misunderstanding)
General Writing:

Manuscript Kiddie Pool - Post a short story. (10 Points)
The Tower

The Typewriter is Dead - Post a compiled total of 10 works across all forums. (25 Points)
The Tower, Souvenirs, Staring Oceans, Life of a Father, The Forest, Eldritch Abomination, Guilt, Attic TreasureBalloonsTormenting Chimera
The Daunting Task - Post an epic or participate in NaNoWriMo. (15 Points)
(NaNoWriMo 2012)
Specific Writing:

Poetic Soul - Write a substantial poem. (10 Points)
Staring Oceans

Tissue and Tears - Write a substantial tragedy. (10 Points)

Vague Subject Matter - Post a story in Completely Off Topic. (10 Points)
The Forest

Broad Focus Lens - Post 5 stories in Completely Off Topic (30 Points)
The Forest, Souvenirs, Staring Oceans, Life of a Father, The Tower

Here Lies Punctuation - Find at least 10 grammar/spelling errors in a story. (5 Points)
What lies behind the wall?

Funny Bone - Substantially review a comedy. (10 Points)
Unity, Duty, Stupidity

Critical Thinking - Substantially review a short story. (10 Points)

Critical Hit - Substantially review 15 short stories. (20 Points)
A Cold Light Dawns, Witness, The Charge, Shadows (different from the other one), Corrupt Destiny: Vakama, Oasis, The Outlaws and the Dream, Moment of Fragile Courage, Remember, All Our Sins Remembered, Into the West, the Triumph of the Toa, FF Compilation, Delving too Deep, Monsters in the Dark (27)
Critical Acclaim - Substantially review 35 short stories. (40 Points)
The Farmer and his LandlordThe Little Boy Who Opened the DoorGiftsToo EarlyRules of EngagementAhkmou, Visitor, What lies behind the wall?, An Assassin's Reflections, ShadowsThe Captain and his BeastWarmTo FlyNascentUnsungSherlock Holmes and the Missing Christmas PresentsVisitorThe ConclusionA Cold Light DawnsWitnessThe ChargeShadows (different from the other one), Corrupt Destiny: VakamaOasisThe Outlaws and the DreamMoment of Fragile CourageRememberAll Our Sins RememberedInto the Westthe Triumph of the ToaFF CompilationDelving too DeepMonsters in the Dark (33)

Epic Read - Substantially review an epic. (15 Points)
BZPRPG: Legend of the Primes

Generalized Words - Review a story in Completely Off Topic. (10 Points)
An Assassin's Reflections

Capacious Taste - Review 5 stories in Completely Off Topic. (30 Points)
An Assassin's Reflections, Shadows, The Captain and his Beast, Warm, To Fly
Critics Club:

Bring in the Specialists - Make a request from the SSCC. (5 Points)

A Lovely Contestant - Participate in an official BZP Writing contest. (10 Points)
Tormenting Chimera, LSO 2012 Epics: Static.
Challenge Accepted - Enter an Ambage-hosted contest. (10 Points)
Guilt (FFFC Gravestone), 
Legit Linguist - Win or receive an honorable mention in 5 Ambage-hosted contests. (30 Points)
Guilt (FFFC Gravestone), 
Monthly Prompt:
Review Passes:

Point Total: 250 Points (Passable Poet); 2 Review Tokens


Nook Tablet

Posted by Velox , in Other, Life, Literature Jul 29 2012 · 687 views

Heh, been a while.

Anyway, one of my birthday presents was a Nook Tablet. Gotta say, I'm definitely loving it. It's going to be very useful when I go to college this fall, as I'll be able to download a lot (most likely) of my textbooks, so I can just carry around my slick Nook instead of a bunch of books. Not to mention it's really awesome for if I ever want to read outside of my house -- waiting rooms, plane trips, car trips, etc. Of course, the problem is that I buy most of my books at a used bookstore where they're between $1-5, usually $1, and on the Nook, they're often more than that. =/ Oh well. I've already downloaded a couple of my favorite books, plus a handful of cheap and/or free ones.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of slight things about the Nook -- I can't seem to post on BZPower (I click on the add reply box, and the keyboard won't come up -- still looking into that, though), and there aren't Skype/AIM apps. I can, however, use websites for that, so it's fine, just not as neat. And a couple other things, but they're all minor. Otherwise, the Nook Tablet is extremely awesome. It will especially be handy as a calendar -- I need to keep better track of things that I need to do/appointments/etc. I have/etc., and this will definitely come in handy. Very much so.

But of course this is just going to make me add to my reading list. I seriously have so many books I want to read -- a lot of which I already have in normal book-format. I have nine books that I want to read "next," and then (literally) hundreds of others I want to read after that. Currently I'm re-reading the Hobbit, which is amazing (I don't remember much from the last time I read it, as it was a long time ago). Man, I am so excited for that movie! I'm not sure it'll be able to top TDKR, but I'm sure it'll come close.

I also got the Les Misérables 10th Anniversary Edition Soundtrack for my birthday, which is also very amazing (my personal favorite version, mostly because of Colm Wilkinson and Philip Quast). Speaking of music, I've started buying CDs again. I've never been that much of a music and/or CD person, but now that I have my license (oh yeah, I passed my test with flying colors after starting to drive for the firs time two weeks earlier. Forgot to mention that here. Driving is fun!) and a car that I can use whenever I want (and no iPod jack), I've started using CDs more. I recently bought Oh! Gravity and Vice Verses Deluxe Edition, by Switchfoot, which are both awesome, and that technically completes my Switchfoot collection because the only CD I'm missing is Hello Hurricane, but a live version of that comes with the VV Deluxe. The other bands I am trying to get CDs for are: Matt Maher, Owl City, The Fray, Lifehouse, Coldplay, Eisley, Rise Against (although I have 4 of their albums, just not in CD format), Yiruma, and Linkin Park, among others (those are my first priority). That bookstore I mentioned also sells a few CDs for $5 (where I got Oh!G), so I should be able to get a lot of those there.

All right, I think that's enough rambling for now. Look at that, I actually (very slightly) rambled for once. I should try to use this more, maybe.

~ Velox


The Dark Knight Rises

Posted by Velox , Jul 21 2012 · 849 views

Was. Amazing.

Hands down one of the greatest movies I've seen, if not the greatest.

I really don't know what else to say. =P I highly, highly recommend it. Avengers didn't come close.

(I'll probably try to write up an actual review later, but for now I simply can't. It was so amazing. [and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is awesome])

~ Velox


So I Just Realized

Posted by Velox , in Other Jul 19 2012 · 415 views

...I don't use this blog much. =/ And my subtitle even says "ramblings" yet there aren't many of those here. Whoops. Mainly that's because the things I rant/ramble about most are either political or religious, so can't be posted here. But I'm sure I could find some things to rant about here.

Like today for example. Except it's not going to be much of a rant, as I'm far too excited. The Dark Knight Rises tomorrow!!! I honestly cannot even put into words how excited I am without being entirely newbish, so I shall refrain. But...yeah. 7PM showing tomorrow, IMAX. So psyched. Today I had a Batman marathon, watching Batman Begins and The Dark Knight with Katie (Ezorov), Micah (Kakaru), and Micah's girlfriend, Ashley. And then watching every trailer I could find (there's also like...7 or 8 TV trailers) of TDKR. Just all that is making me unable to contain my excitement. =P I should've bought tickets for tonight at midnight...

I'll probably do a longer life and/or ranting entry later, but for now...TDKR tomorrow! It is going to be an amazing, amazing film.

~ Velox

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