Meeting Marissa Meyer

Four words: I MET MARISSA MEYER!!!!

MM

Marissa Meyer

Recently, Marissa went to a book signing at our local Costco. I said in my Cinder post that one of my friends is related to MM. She and her mom went with me, along with my friend K. We got there about half an hour to fifteen minutes early to get a good place in line. What do you know? There’s NO line! It was AWESOME!! Since we were the only ones there, and my friend and her mom knew her, we all got to talk to her for like an hour. Amazing. We got to converse with one of our most favorite authors ever! It was almost surreal. Since my friends and I are all writers, we got to talk to her about that and ask advice. She told us all kinds of stuff about the writing business.

Occasionally, people would come by and see her there. Maybe they read the books, but, of course, they don’t have it with them. So, they just bought another copy and got it signed! I would do that in a heartbeat. Some people, who hadn’t heard of the series, would buy Cinder to try it out, and we would start telling them how awesome the books are. Eventually, they would come back and buy the second book Scarlet. It was so much fun because Marissa called us her fan club! She’s SUCH a nice woman and so funny. She even gave us pins.

Pins from Marissa

Pins from Marissa

I bought two copies of Cinder (one for my friend) and one copy of Scarlet for me at a bookstore. But, Scarlet was just SO expensive! And Costco had the same books in hardcover for a much better price, so I just bought them again there. I returned Scarlet because K paid me back for Cinder, and I sent a signed copy of Cinder to my friend who just recently moved away. She hasn’t read it yet and I thought it would be cool to send her a signed copy. I’m sweet that way.

It was SO much fun meeting Marissa Meyer! I would really like to see her again if I get the chance. Also, I went to a Veronica Roth book signing back in March. It turns out that MM was there, too! I had no idea! I was just reading Cinder for the first time, then. 🙂 When I went to the VR book signing I got Divergent and Insurgent signed. This book signing I got Cinder and Scarlet signed. I have four signed books! And they’re, like, some of my most favorite books in the world! Now, I just need to get Rick Riordan to come out here . . .

MM Poster

Signing Poster

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Marine Science Afloat

I’m taking Marine Biology at my homeschool co-op this year. My teacher, Mrs. H, took us on a field trip on a boating program called Marine Science Afloat. Basically, we went on a boat, and we learned about the plants and animals living in the specific area. They also taught us about pollution and how to help lower it. My Marine Bio class is very small; there are only six of us. But Mrs. H also chaperoned some other kids she taught. There were about ten of us total, including Mrs. H, in our group. Another couple of classes were there, mostly fifth graders, so the boat was full, but not overwhelmingly so.

First, they taught us what phytoplankton, planktonic plants, need to grow healthily. Then, they told us how they get it and what times of the year are best for primary production. After that, we split into large groups (about ten or fifteen in each) and spent maybe fifteen minutes at each station around the ship. The first station my class went to was learning how to take samples from the sea. There are two main models of water sampling tubes: Nansen and Niskin. They were both named after the guys who invented them. It’s kind of funny that they sound so similar. Niskin is the newer, more efficient model made of . . . can you guess? . . . Plastic! I’m sorry, I didn’t get any pictures of the bottles, there were quite a few fifth graders in front of me. Nansen is heavy and made of iron, so it’s really expensive.

Plankton-filled water

Plankton water

Next, we learned how to catch plankton. It was a lot of fun because we all got to participate. My friend, R, and I teamed up and chose to catch phytoplankton with the finer mesh net. Some of our other classmates chose the wider mesh and caught copepods, small bug-like plankton that eat phytoplankton, and jellyfish. I threw the net into the water and then we worked together to pull it back slowly. We had to do it slowly because not a lot of water can get through the holes and the water would be pushed out if we pulled it quickly. With the wider mesh, the others didn’t have that problem. Here is a picture of the water we pulled up. It’s pretty nasty-looking.

Jellyfish on a slide

Jellyfish

We also got to look at this plankton under the microscope at the next station. I’m sorry, I don’t have a picture of the organisms close-up. It’s kind of hard to take a picture with my phone through an eyepiece. But, I do have this one. It’s a jellyfish on a slide. The jellyfish is clear, but we could see it’s brown tentacles.

Then, they taught us about SCUBA diving. SCUBA stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Ha! I remembered that without looking it up! That’s called progress. We learned about wet suits and dry suits. I’ve never actually been snorkeling or diving, but I think it would be fun.

Some divers actually did go down, though, and they had a video camera. We were all able to watch the live feed during lunch. It was SO cool to watch the sea animals in their natural habitat. The divers transferred starfish closer to a sea cucumber to see what it would do. It was funny because while the sea cucumber was getting away, they played Stayin’ Alive for us to listen to. They also put a starfish next to a cockle and that was REALLY neat. The cockle let out its foot, which had to have been close to a foot long, and it used it as leverage and literally bounded away! It was awesome! The divers even brought up some of the animals for us to look at.

Star fish

Star fish

Monday was actually a pretty hard day weather-wise. Storms on and off all day with tons of wind. It looked like mini tornados crashed the place. Unfortunately, the first time I go boating was also the first day of lightning storms out here. Yeah, out there on the boat we went through a storm. The boat was lurching and wind and rain were pounding the vinyl windows. It was really fun! Except one kid, of course, did the obvious and said that we were going to sink. That made another little kid start crying. At least his mother was on board so it turned out all right. Plus, on the bright side, we didn’t go Titanic. Also, the time the storm hit us just so happened to be when every group on the boat was standing up, holding live sea animals. Oh, joy! One girl dropped a sea cucumber on the table, but it was okay.

The one in the middle there is a rose star. I think it’s really pretty. The spindly-looking one is called a blood star and one of the boys in my class said something about its color looking like blood, but the lady who was showing us the star fish thought he had said something about it drinking blood and being a vampire. That got a few good laughs out of all of us.

Storm

Storm

After the storm and the ooohhing and aahhing of the marine animals, we learned about pollution in the sea and what causes it. Tons of stuff is being dumped down storm drains, and it ALL leads there. Gross! There’s more we all could do to save the oceans.

When we left the boat, I was grinning so much that my dad bought me a t-shirt. How sweet! I had a GREAT time on that trip and Mrs. H will have to invite me to it again if she does it next year. 🙂 It was especially fun because I was with friends and my teacher is one of the sweetest and funniest women I know. They even let her take home some of the plankton water to look at under her new microscopes. It was a lot of fun and I totally recommend boating . . . you know, when it isn’t storming. 😛

DSCN3693

My new T-shirt (the color is called OCEAN :))

Lightning in Seattle

Great Wolf Lodge

A couple weeks ago we went to Great Wolf Lodge for my 12 year-old brother’s birthday. I wasn’t sure what to expect there, besides the water slides of course. When we walked in, the whole place is log cabin and wolf-themed. It’s actually kind of cute. Everyone got green wrist bands that were also room keys.We got ice cream first. Obviously. My brother and I got the birthday cake flavor and it was REALLY good! My mom got coffee flavor and my dad got black cherry. They both really liked theirs. After that, we hit the 84 degree indoor water park. One word: AMAZING. It’s hot and humid, which we are not used to out here, so it took a little getting used to. It’s a little over-heating, but if you get wet (which is kinda the point), it feels ssooo much better. We went to the Camp Critter Bar and Grille for dinner. I got quesadillas (which was actually on the appetizers menu). My brother got the philly cheesesteak and that was absolutely DELICIOUS! We also got baby back ribs. I didn’t try any of it, but my family said they really liked it. After dinner, my brother decided to try Magiquest. Almost every kid there was playing it. I followed and helped him explore the lodge and find the clues. It’s not really my most favorite game, especially with tons of younger kids running with pointy wands. I was just waiting for an accident. Fortunately, there was none.

We played Magiquest for a while, then we all went back to the water park. It opens at 9am and closes at 9pm. My favorite ride was either the Howlin’ Tornado (I liked that ride better in San Diego, though) or the River Canyon Run. The wave pool, too, is lots of fun. It has two modes: The regular, straight waves and the crazy, sideways waves. I, being the daredevil, think the crazy waves are most fun, but it’s very tiring because you have to jump at every single wave, or you’ll go under. I was completely exhausted and hung on to my dad most of the time. I still swallowed a lot of water, though. I fell asleep pretty quickly that night, let me tell you.

My mom prepaid for breakfast buffet vouchers when she registered. She got the vouchers at a discount that way. The breakfast was pretty good. I don’t remember what I got (who remembers what she had for breakfast several weeks ago?).

Great Wolf Lodge is SO much fun! I can’t wait to go back.

Wave Pool

Wave Pool

GWL

Water Park

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection Series) by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass, picture from Goodreads

The Selection by Kiera Cass, picture from Goodreads

America Singer lives as a Five in the caste system. In her fledgling country, Illea, Fives are artists and musicians and usually poor. When the prince of Illea comes of age, a televised contest of thirty-five girls between the ages of sixteen and twenty compete for the heart of Prince Maxon as is tradition. The Selection lasts until Prince Maxon narrows the young women down to one to be his wife and the princess of Illea. When America receives a fill-out form to be in the lottery that decides the contestants, she is strictly against it. Her family thinks it’s because she doesn’t want to leave home, but America has a secret that she’s been keeping for two years. She has a boyfriend: Aspen. Aspen is a Six, a servant. America’s family wants her to marry into a better caste instead of a lower one, so they keep their romance a secret. But Aspen doesn’t think he can provide for America to give her the life she deserves, and he breaks up with her and tells her to put her name into the lottery. He breaks her heart.

America is chosen to be one of the contestants in The Selection and moves into the palace. She doesn’t want to be there, but she doesn’t want to be home, either, where she has to see the boy who crushed her. But, her first evening in the palace, Prince Maxon takes a liking to her already, though she is less than trying. She tells Maxon the truth and they strike a deal to be friends. Soon, she notices that she’s starting to like him more, and she feels jealous when she sees him talking with the other girls. But she still loves Aspen and is completely confused about who she wants to be with. When Aspen finds himself at the palace, America is even more indecisive.

I saw this book on Amazon when I was just perusing. It seemed interesting and said that it was good for teens who like Divergent. I was very skeptical about it, but I do love Divergent. Plus, I wasn’t reading anything at the time, and I was completely bored. My general rule about books I’ve never read is that I if I find three “iffy” things (bordering on “inappropriate” or a really bad word), I’ll stop. In the beginning of this book I found two, so I kept going. After the beginning “iffy” parts, the rest of the book is actually pretty good! It’s pretty funny, and I think Prince Maxon is really sweet, but sometimes I don’t really get him. I’m not a huge fan of Aspen (just my own opinion), so I’m rooting for Maxon. The Elite is the title of the second book, and it just came out last month. So, as you can imagine, it’s pretty much impossible to get at the library. I might just have to buy it to see what happens, but based on other people’s comments, I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed. Guess it’s a chance I’ll have to take. I read the sample of it on Amazon and I like that so far.

It’s implied, but I’ll tell you: This series is a love triangle. I’m saying this here and now, love triangles are my worst pet peeves. Just decide who you like already! No matter how much you want it, you can’t have both guys! Yeah, I don’t like them. It’s partly why I don’t like the Hunger Games. Anyway, this book is fine. I give it three stars because it had two “iffy” things in there, but I liked Prince Maxon. 🙂

What I Do On A Sick Day

I haven’t been feeling really well, lately. 😦 First a sore throat, then a runny nose and an uncomfortable cough. Most annoying things ever. So . . . what do I do when I don’t feel good? I lay on the couch all day watching sci-fi movies. Call me a geek if you want to. I don’t watch movies too often; mostly I’m writing or reading. 🙂 But, it’s pretty much impossible for me to concentrate on my writing when my brain is fuzzy, and I just couldn’t find the right book to read out of my collection of over 80 books. Isn’t that sad? I was really in the mood for Cinder, but unfortunately, I don’t own it. (For the record, I’m so planning on buying it)

First Day, a.k.a. Yesterday

Annnyywaayy, I watched the newer Star Wars trilogy. AWESOME. I watched Star Wars back to back all afternoon (I did my homeschool in the morning). But when I finished the newer trilogy, I looked for the older trilogy and . . . no luck. Don’t have it. Unacceptable. So, I gave up hope on those, but I still plan on watching them at some point. They’re super awesome. Sorry, I use a lot of the same adjectives when my brain isn’t functioning properly. 🙂

So after I dropped the Star Wars movies, I turned to Marvel. I watched the first few minutes of Thor, but I wasn’t in the mood. Don’t get me wrong. Thor is a great movie. I just didn’t feel like it. To be truthful, all I really wanted was Star Wars. And when I really want one thing, it’s very hard to satisfy me with something else. But, it was getting late (like around midnight) and I put in The Avengers. I got about halfway through, to the part where Dr. Banner has his little accident and almost kills Agent Romanoff (at least, I think that’s halfway). And I fell asleep. How many girls do you know that watch sci-fi and Marvel when she’s sick? Thought so.

Next Day, a.k.a. Today

In our family, we sleep on the couch downstairs when we’re sick. Don’t ask why. It’s just more comfortable. And it’s relaxing to fall asleep to a good movie. I wish I had a TV in my room. I finished Avengers and got into the Marvel mood again. I watched Captain America. Then I watched The Hunger Games. I read the books last year around the time the movie came out in theaters. I’m not a HUGE fan, but there wasn’t really anything else. My mom got Parental Guidance from Redbox last night, and we watched that afterwards. It’s a little inappropriate in the beginning and kinda weird, but it’s actually pretty funny.

My “illness/sickness” actually came on really sudden, and it couldn’t have been worse timing. I’m getting to a part in the book I’m writing that I absolutely love, and I can’t even concentrate enough to finish the scene. So frustrating. And . . . the weather is SUPER NICE right now!! First day of sun in weeks and I get sick now? Not cool. I’d like to be out on the deck reading or writing, but I’m stuck on the couch watching movies.

I’m recording the first Iron Man right now. Watching The Avengers totally re-jumpstarted my craving of Marvel. And I owe it all to getting sick. Thank you, viruses! Not really.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to these last few days. I plan to write up a post on Great Wolf Lodge, which I went to last weekend. I would’ve earlier, but my mom lost my camera so I couldn’t download them onto my laptop. But, she just found it, like just a few seconds ago, so I’ll work on that post when I feel better. In honor of Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, Adios!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, book 1) by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer, photo from Good Reads

Cinder by Marissa Meyer, photo from Good Reads

Five Stars

Cinder is a cyborg and a renowned mechanic in New Beijing. When handsome Prince Kai comes to her to fix his personal android and jokes that it’s a matter of national security, Cinder suspects it might not be a joke. There is a terrible plague running through New Beijing which was brought to earth by Lunars, people living on the moon. Due to a tragic circumstance, Adri, Cinder’s step-mother, sends her to the palace doctor to be a test subject for any antidotes that Dr. Erland comes up with. The problem is . . . no one has survived these tests. She meets the doctor and finds out her past is more complicated than she originally thought.

Meanwhile, Prince Kai’s father, the emperor, dies of the plague and Lunar Queen Levana comes to earth to discuss a marriage alliance with Kai, but he’s totally against it. Then, Levana gives Kai a small dose of the antidote to experiment on and Kai feels obliged to marry her, even though he knows it’s wrong. But Cinder is determined to stop him.

This book puts a futuristic twist on the classic tale Cinderella. It’s great for teens and adults and has some funny parts in it. My mom and I really enjoyed this book. This author was introduced to me by my friend, who just so happens to be related to Marissa Meyer. I’m so glad she recommended this book. It’s one of my favorites.

Cinder is the first book in this tetralogy(four-book series). The second is titled Scarlet. The third and fourth books aren’t out yet and are called Cress and Winter.