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Scientific Progress Goes "Boink"


My Favorite Book Recommendations

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Dec 30 2012 · 580 views
books, reading
I'm going to copy Velox (again) by listing my favorite books and authors I read in 2012. I've read an incredulous amount of books since graduating, compared to how little time I had to read during college overall. It also helps to keep reading, and to have a few different genres worth of favorites in the back of my head, due to my employment at a bookstore.
My top author, if you hadn't guessed, is John Green. I got to meet him at the National Book Festival in DC in September, which was awesome. His books are realistic teen lit, which is a far stray off from my usual sci-fi and fantasy leanings, but each novel is incredible and has shining moments. My top two books are Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. Crying is expected. I never thought books would make me cry, and then it happened. Good times.
I also enjoyed Every Day by David Levithan, the story of someone who swaps bodies with a different person every day, but must deal with that fact in a whole new way when they fall in love. Well-written and very impressive for Levithan's first solo novel.
I got a blast from the past when I read Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, a book my teacher recommended to the class back in 7th or 8th grade, but I snuffed it out of mind. But my best friend said it was one of her favorites, so I gave it a shot and found myself unable to put it down, being moved with various feelings, yelling at the main character for his bad decisions and loving Stargirl.
I just recently read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, and my praise of this off-beat treasure hunt just enough out of reality for geeks but realistic enough for the everyday reader will make it my go-to book recommendation for anyone.
Finally, the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman has been a work of brilliance, and I can't wait to read more (and finish it in time for the prequel comic's release in November) in 2013.
That's 2012. But let me tell you, my 2013 reading list has about 60 books on it! More about that tomorrow-ish.
-CF :kakama:


Best Books of 2012

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Dec 24 2012 · 712 views
books, reading
I'm copying Velox in examining the books I've read in 2012. It allowed me to look back at what I've read this year, and a lot of that happened after I graduated. But I still got a few books in during my last semester in college.
Best Books in 2012
1) Best Book You Read in 2012? Like Velox, I can't choose just one. I like his system of choosing the top five, which is also hard:
~The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS), by John Green--It's like Green takes all these wonderful ideas you had floating around in your head and didn't even know it and then placed them perfectly on paper to amaze you at how marvelous human conscousness is.
~Mr.Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan--Such a wonderfully written narrative with plenty of popular culture references for geeky Easter eggs. It's also nice to break away from the space operas, laser blasts, and teenage-death-love-triangles every once in a while but still read something not rooted entirely in reality.
~Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli--The characters are so drawn out from every day individuals you know (including yourself), I started to wonder what I would do in the main character's shoes, hoping, believing I was different enough at his age to make the right decisions.
~Sandman series, by Neil Gaiman--I restarted this series (having barely read volume 1 a while back) and am now 3 volumes in. It's absolutely fantastic the way Gaiman writes and crafts his stories.
~Every Day, by David Levithan--While not perfect, this book had me growing with the character, understanding the situation so well, feeling the pain and joy as they jump into a new body, and a new life, every day.
2) Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn't?
~Matched, by Ally Condie--I dropped it halfway through. John Green recommended it I picked it up and was surprised at how enthralled I was with it. Then I had to wait a week or so before picking it up again, and it was at that point that the story slowed down from the excitement I had in the first few chapters and lost its glamour. The pacing was off and things weren't happening, so I decided to take my useful time elsewhere.
3) Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
~Stargirl--I had been resistant to reading this back in 8th grade, then picked it up this year and couldn't put it down!
~Mr. Penumbra's--I didn't know what to expect at first.
4) Book you recommended to people most in 2012
~I suddenly fount myself telling many customers to buy Mr. Penumbra's, because it's fiction with a hint of mysticism. I am also always recommending Looking for Alaska by John Green (which I read less than a year ago, at the end of 2011). It was the first book that got a few tears out of me (Stargirl being the second), and is excellent.

5) Best series you discovered in 2012?
~The Giver Quartet, by Lois Lowry--I had read The Giver back in 8th grade (by choice, no class assignments to make me hate a book) and loved it. I bought the second and third "companion novels" to it in the summer of 2011. With the fourth novel, Son, having come out to wrap it all up in October, this was a great chance for me to reread a favorite book and catch up on the series too. Each one was wonderful in its own right.
6) Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
~Technically I hadn't read David Levithan's work until this year. I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Every Day, and am open to reading whatever else he's put out. But really, I started John Green's books around Christmas last year and he's definitely my favorite author. And I've met him!
7) Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
~Stargirl, because I didn't think I'd enjoy it, avoided it in 8th grade when my English teacher recommended it (I thought it was a girl book--surprise! It has a male voice narrating, and at my age I stop caring about that anyway), snuffed it when my best friend a few months ago said it was her favorite, and then picked it up anyway to see what the fuss was about. Now I can't stop thinking about how much it's touched me.
8) Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
~Every Day, TFIOS, Stargirl--Because they're so good!
9) Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? 
~TFIOS--I'd been wanting to reread it every since I finished! Actually, my best friend and I are having a sort of "John Green book club," where we'll read Paper Towns, TFIOS, and then Looking for Alaska together (she hasn't read PT or TFIOS, or An Abundance of Katherines).
10) Most memorable character in 2012? 
~Stargirl--I'm in love.
11) Most beautifully written book read in 2012? 
~The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman--Between the art and the story, it's a work of brilliance.
12) Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
~TFIOS, Stargirl--Both had me thinking, choking up a little, and Stargirl especially left me emotionally scarred, in a good way that only a book can.
13) Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 
~Stargirl, Sandman--I explained my delay for Stargirl, and I wonder what kind of effect it would have had on me had I read it in 8th grade. I feel like I was meant to read it now. It had been hard to get into Sandman because I had to borrow them from the library, but now that I'm not in school that's easier. Plus they take longer to read than most comics.
14) Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
~Presently on my mind is a line from Green's The Fault in Our Stars: "I am not in the business of denying myself the pleasure of saying things that are true." Seems like a good philosophy.
15) Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
~Stargirl was pretty short. Everything else was around the 300-page mark, give or take. I'm about to read The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George, which is over 400 pages.
16) Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a huh moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers! 
~There were moments when I wanted to call my friend up to discuss how Stargirl was ripping my heart out and stepping on it, then giving it back, only to repeat the process. But I wanted to keep the fact that I was reading it a surprise.
17) Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc)?
~There are lots of solid friendships in John Green's books. I really liked the budding relationship in Stargirl.
18) Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously? 
18a) Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Had Not Read Previously (and not solely recommended as seen in 19)?
~A Princess of Mars--Very different and cool to read.
19) Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else?
looking ahead...
1) One Book You Didn't Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
My top unread books of 2013 include: NW, American Gods, Ready Player One, Gone Girl, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and V for Vendetta. (Also Redshirts and Robopocalypse. (And The Dresden Files.))
2) Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013? 
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and The Goliath Stone by Larry Niven.
3) One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging in 2013? 
Read more! I've made an Excel spreadsheet 
-CF :kakama:
(Final note: The Batman graphic novel Hush by Jim Loeb is absolutely superb and the epitome of the Batman comics I have read so far (which includes Scott Snyder's Court/Night of Owls this year and The Killing Joke).


Rancor pit!

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Dec 15 2012 · 1,179 views
LEGO Star wars, lsw, lego and 1 more...
Rancor pit! Finally, after 14 years, we finally get a Rancor pit LSW set!
It's just a little... small.
The rancor, the set, but certainly not the price ($60, 380 pieces).
I've been in favor of something made from constraction pieces, and then of course something larger. This guy is Hulk/Troll sized, nowhere near the size of the Rancor.
At least we finally have one.
-CF :kakama:


Ruby Sparks

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Dec 09 2012 · 480 views
movie, ruby sparks, movies
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I finally saw Ruby Sparks! Wow, so good! Quite near being perfect (one little quip in the reply), amazing characters, well written to push characters to their limits and show them in various lights, and self-reflective on what makes a person and how you can't really change someone.
I slightly teared up at the end. I hadn't thought a movie could do that for me, but it did.

Quick summary: A writer who is terrible with girls starts writing the girl from his dreams, in hopes to get rid of his writer's block. Next thing he knows, she appears in his kitchen in the morning, freaking him out. Whatever he writes about her comes true. But should he use this ability to make her his perfect idea of a girl, or simply let her become the perfect girl for him, and vice versa?
It's definitely one of my favorite films of the year. Do yourself a favor and check it out at Redbox. (Look up a trailer or two if you're apprehensive. It's NOT a romantic comedy.)
Also, Zoe Kazan might be my latest celebrity crush. So cute! Also I can't wait to see what she writes next. (Knowing she wrote it also made me admire her acting at Ruby.)
-CF :kakama:

The Me Brick

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My BrickLink
Location: Northern Virginia
Favorite color: Guess
Favorite smell: Campfire
Interests: LEGO, Boy Scouts (Eagle), Geeking, Comics
First LEGO Set: Renegade Runner
Roman Catholic
Convention history: BrickFest '04, & '06
BrickFair VA '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14 & '15.
BrickCon '13.
Bricks Cascade '15.
BrickFair NJ '15.
:flagusa: :kakama:


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Mosaic 2011

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(Thanks to everyone who helped!)

BḞ10: Mosaic

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^News Coverage^
Special thanks to Nukaya and xccj for getting this off the ground and making it work!

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December 2012