February 4, 2011

Book Review: Matched

OK, so I'm not doing a vlog this time around. Don't know where my camera is.

I'd like to start by saying that I thought this book was going to be like The Giver meets The Hunger Games plus some romance. I was... kind of right. It's more like this:

I was not prepared for this. I had just finished reading Thirteen Reasons Why. (Reading binge) Add to the fact that I have a low tolerance threshold for lovey-dovey stuff (no offense), and... *sigh* I was so, so not prepared for this.

OK. So here's the summary from GoodReads:

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

If you're in it for the love plot? It's pretty good. It's got a love triangle - no idea why love triangles are so popular these days, and why is it always two guys after one girl? - but it's pretty well done. It didn't really get on my nerves too much (except for the confession of love, but those almost always annoy me). And although I absolutely hate the cliche that if a guy and a girl are best friends, they must fall in love, Matched had a pretty good subversion with that.

If you're in it (like I was) for everything besides the romance? It's OK. It's not perfect by far, but it's OK. Through most of the book, I wanted to smack Cassia because it was so obvious that their government is evil, and she's just like:

OK, look. I'm fine with characters who trust their evil governments. Like in The Giver. I ADORE The Giver, and Jonas trusts his evil government through a lot of the book until he slowly finds out the truth about the world. But Cassia... *sigh* she can be really stupid. Sometimes she'll start thinking that maaaybe something's not quite right (and I'm like, NO, REALLY?!), but then she'll go right back to complete trust in the government. And that's stupid for any civilization, if you ask me. *Cough* But not getting political, this is so sad because she can also be really intelligent and a deep thinker, and... I dunno. I just don't know what to make of this chick.

So why did I keep reading? Because the other characters were clearly not like that. Cassia's mom, for example. There was a missed moment of awesome that I hope Allie Condie will make up for in the next book. Cassia's mom had to leave for a while, and (no spoilers) something went wrong and she started getting really nervous that her family was being punished because of her. And I was like, Whoa, what happened? Because it was obviously pretty big, and I wish we could have seen it properly. But after that, Cassia's parents obviously don't have a lot of trust in their government- and they WORK for them! Ha.

Now. Concerning the perspective and prose. It's in first person, and I kinda wish it were in third person omniscient because then we could see a lot more going on and we wouldn't miss out all the time on some really cool characters. But the prose. Oh my word. It is beautiful. You need to read some of this, you guys.

Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night? My wings aren't white or feathered; they're green, made of green silk, which shudders in the wind and bends when I move - first in a circle, then in a line, finally in a shape of my own invention. The black behind me doesn't worry me; neither do the stars ahead.
 I smile at myself, at the foolishness of my imagination. People cannot fly, though before the Society, there were myths about those who could. I saw a painting of them once. White wings, blue sky, gold circles about their heads, eyes turned up in surprised as though they couldn't believe what the artists had painted them doing, couldn't believe that their feet didn't touch the ground.

That's just off the first page. And it only gets better.

It's no Hunger Games, but you know what? It's way better than Twilight. (There, I said it, go ahead and yell at me.)

It's not a bad book. I'm being harder on it than I should because it's clear that the love story is at the forefront (at least during this one; I don't know about the next two books) (oh yeah, by the way, this is a trilogy, apparently). So basically, only check out this book if you're into romance with other stuff going on. Or if you're like, in that kind of mood.

February 1, 2011


For those just tuning in, THIS IS THE STORM OF THE EVER-LOVIN' CENTURY. Two inches of snow per hour. People are stuck on LSD.*

*Lake Shore Drive. Why, what did you think I meant?**
**Kidding. And yes, the newscasters seriously called it that.

Why am I blogging about this? Because it's either this or homework.

January 31, 2011

Creative Writing Awards.

People outside Michigan wouldn't know it, but WMU is really artsy. Name your art. There's a major for that. Aha.

So there are these Creative Writing Awards held for the writer-type students with four categories (Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Drama). I didn't have enough time to whip any of my stories or plays into shape, so I turned in a nonfiction piece about the time I went to the ER. It's a really funny story. And here it is if you would like to read it.


I would hate having epilepsy if my seizures weren’t so hilarious. I either have myoclonic seizures, which are basically twitches with flair, or absence seizures. I can’t remember having absence seizures, so I don’t know what those are like.

After I was diagnosed in 2005, my brain refused to cooperate with the various medications. Keppra had me swinging moods every ten minutes. Topamax tried so hard to keep the seizures under control. The key word there was “tried”. Around the time I started KVCC in 2007, Dr. Fain switched me again to Lamictal. For a month or so, things went brilliantly. It didn’t screw around with my moods and I stopped “spazzing out”.

Then one night in late September, I stayed up until one in the morning, which would not have been a big deal if my alarm weren’t set for 7 AM, and if lack of proper sleep weren’t one of my triggers.

I woke up the next morning with a dull headache and the feeling that sparks were flying in my head. This was normal – just an aura warning me that if I didn’t take my meds soon, I was about to spazz out.

I took my medication with some difficulty because my hands kept shaking, and expected that to be the end of it. But not today, oh no, not today, because I was stupid and deprived myself of sleep. In fairness, I really expected the seizures to stop by the time I got out of my first class.

This did not happen, of course. I had a few small seizures during English, but kept fidgeting so people wouldn’t notice. They’re going to stop soon, I kept thinking. Just keep calm and stay focused on something. When I got out of my seat as class ended, my knees buckled. I caught the table just before I fell, and nobody had seen it happen.

That’s when I started to realize that my seizures weren’t screwing around.

Because I was stupid and too stubborn to admit that something was horribly wrong with my head, I went to the cafeteria to finish some math homework. There were three hours until my next class and I figured that this would all be over by then. There was just one problem. I couldn’t do my math homework because my hands kept shaking. I was literally unable to form a legible letter or number. I could handle falling out of chairs, but not being able to carry out a task that basic terrified me.

After a few more pathetic attempts at writing, I gave up and did the only thing I could do. I stared at my math homework and willed it to finish itself. I tried this for a couple minutes before my best friend Kassy walked up. I must have looked like I was about to burst out crying (which was true) because she asked what was wrong.

“I can’t do my homework because I keep having seizures…”

Kassy stared at me for a moment. “What?”

So I explained what had been happening. When Kassy asked me why I was even at school, I used the sad excuse that, “I thought they would go away!” We called my mom, who said that if the seizures didn’t stop within fifteen minutes, then I had to go to the emergency room.

The seizures seemed to take that as a challenge. Instead of “Cut it out,” they heard, “I wonder how many times I can spazz out in a minute!” When I started having seizures every two seconds – literally – it was obvious that it was time to go to the emergency room.

Kassy found her cousin to drive us there, seeing as someone needed to keep an eye on me in case I had a grand mal seizure. It should have taken us twenty minutes to get to Bronson’s emergency room. With Danielle, it took us fifteen, and that was only because none of us were that familiar with the maze of one-way streets.

When we found the emergency room, Danielle dropped Kassy and me off at the door while she parked. I stumbled in and found that I didn’t really know what to say to the nurse at the front desk except, “I keep having seizures.”

It was admirable how the nurse managed to look so bored. “OK. Can I get your name and information?” she asked. After we had gone through the ER niceties, they put me in a wheelchair and had us wait for ten minutes or so. I started to relax because I wasn’t having seizures every few seconds, and because it was obvious that I was not going to make it to math class.

Another nurse came to wheel me to one of the rooms. He asked me some general questions about the seizures as we weaved through the hallways before we stopped at one room in the boonies of the ER. The bed was set up with side rails to keep me from falling. As I started to get out of the wheelchair, my knees buckled again, but I caught myself on the bed. After the nurses made sure I wasn’t dead, they told me to change into one of those horrible hospital gowns.

Those things are tricky. There is no indication which side is the front, and you have to tie it shut. The whole time I tried to figure it out, I wondered why they didn’t just make one that you could slip over your head. It would make much more sense.

My parents showed up after I had been there for a half hour or so. They tried their best to act like the whole thing wasn’t freaking them out. Kassy and Danielle left to get food, and Kassy promised to get me a donut. Donuts are good.

I was still having seizures too frequently for their liking, so they decided that the best thing to do was to give me a shot of Adavan. Like most rational people, I hate shots. When they said that it was also a pill, I had to protest. “Why can’t I have the pill?”

But they wouldn’t let me have the pill because “Pills don’t work as quickly.” I was ready to call shenanigans on the whole thing, except that made sense.

The needle required for the Adavan was roughly the size of the Empire State Building. I could be exaggerating here. When I saw it, I asked if they were sure that they couldn’t give me the pill. They were sure.

I relaxed the best I could. Needles are always worse if you’re expecting them to kill you. In spite of that, the shot was like a tour of the seventh circle of Hell. I wept like a small child.

They were right, though. The shot worked very quickly. Within an hour, the seizures had completely stopped and I was about ready to fall asleep. By 7 PM, I was back home sleeping.

A week later, they upped my medication levels from 100 mg twice a day to 150 mg. Also, I learned that I can’t function on only six hours of sleep.


Hope you enjoyed that if you read it. If you didn't, here's a list of Neil Gaiman facts.