Monday, September 18, 2017

10 Things I've Learned From Old Cowboy Shows

If you read my last post about 'What I'm Doing', you might remember that I said that the Old Western TV show genre is not among my favorites.  To be honest, I don't really like Western shows and movies that much.
However.
I have been watching them more lately, just because they happen to be there while I eat my lunch. Mostly Bonanza, The Rifleman, and Gunsmoke. While they still aren't my favorite old shows by any means, I have learned a few interesting things from watching them.
Be prepared for misspellings. 

1. Watch out for bad guys. They're not all stupid, and they can be pretty manipulative.

2. Be respeckful o' women. Taking advantage of a woman is a bad idea, and chances are there is a good sorta guy right around the corner who is willing to shoot ya for yer disrespeck.

3. Be fast on the draw. If ya see someone reaching fer their gun, don't wait. Don't take a chance. Draw as fast as ya can!

4. Always have a backup plan. Prepare to be outsmarted, especially by bad sorta guys.

5. Don't let yer pride get in the way by tryin' to settle somethin' with a fight that could easily be settled with talkin' it out. In other words, don't be too quick to throw a punch.

6. Don't try to get out of things yourself (if you can help it). If yer in some kinda trouble, its a good idea to accept the help of people you respeck. Unless, of course, the trouble yer in is because ya broke the law. In which case, you'd be smart to turn yerself in rather than gettin' killed.

7. If somebody be shootin' at ya in the wilderness, and there ain't no buildings around, get behind the nearest rock for shelter. The bullets will jest bounce right off!!

8. If ya see two or more people about to have a fight, TRY TO STOP 'EM. Especially if yer the law!

9. Don't fergit that bullets ricochet! Ain't no use of tryin' to shoot someone if it'll just come back to ya.

10. Lastly, there ain't nothin' much that be more important than yer family. So keep thems first

The End.
  
 -Amaris

Monday, September 11, 2017

Book Hacks

I know what you must be thinking.
What, by all that is sane, are book hacks?
(Firstly, you assumed sanity. Shame on you. Secondly, allow me to explain.)
I've been a bookworm for a long time. And I've learned a lot of things. Not just about reading books, but storing them, using them, buying them, even remembering them.
If you are a bookworm too, you might know some of these. But most of them I thought on my own, so I just wanted to share.
Basically A Post For Random Tips And Tricks Related to Books.


Buying New Books:
When you happen to go to a new book store (somewhere like Barnes & Noble that is NOT a used store) and you see a book you want, STOP RIGHT THERE. Immediately look the book up on Amazon. Chances are, it's going to be way cheaper. Go home and order the book, and you'll thank yourself for saving the money later.
Needless to say, new books are overpriced.

How to Remember What You Think of a Book:
Do you ever have trouble remembering which of your books you liked? Or say you just finished a book, and it's really good, but you don't feel like writing a whole review online (or don't have enough thoughts to do so)? How are you going to remember what you think of it?
I have a method for this. As soon as you are finished with the book (if it belongs to you), get a little sticky note and write 1 or 2 sentences about it, and how you like it or dislike it.
Something like:
"Not my favorite story. It had some good parts [insert a few page numbers here, perhaps], but most of the time I was bored. 2/5 stars."
or
"Probably one of my favorite books! The writing was good, the plot was twisty and amazing, and I was falling in love with the characters. Would recommend to anyone! 5/5 stars."
Put the sticky note on the inside cover, and you have an easy reference that you can glance at.
This also helps if a friend asks you if you have any books to recommend, you can just glace at your sticky notes instead of searching around online to find a review. 


How to Cover up a Swear Word in a Book (Without Damaging the Pages!):
I used this method of covering up cuss words in The Book Thief (if you've read that one, you know what i'm talking about). Some people like to just mark it out with a Sharpie, but that bleeds onto the other side of the page and makes the book all messy!
And if you are marking out for children, a Sharpie won't work because they can easily hold the page up to the light and see what you marked out.
But I figured out this method so that NO ONE can see what you marked out.
~
I'll put it in steps to make it easier.
1. Take a regular ink pen and scribble over the language.
2. Cut a small strip of Scotch tape the size of the marked out spot, and place it over the scribbles.
3. Take a Sharpie marker, and make little dots ON TOP OF THE TAPE STRIP that you have placed on the page.
~
No one will be able to read through it, and because you put the tape down first, the Sharpie won't bleed through and ruin the page. 

When You're Out of Shelf Space But You Can't Afford Another Shelf:
Don't panic if your shelf is full and there's nowhere else to put your books. The solution is quite simple, really. Just decorate your room or space with them.
Is there a vase on top of your bookshelf? Put a stack of 4 or 5 books underneath to give it some lift. I also keep stacks underneath my alarm clock, on top of a vintage hat box on my vanity, and I even put some on top of my shelf, under a wooden birdhouse. Just be creative, and don't worry about buying a new shelf (of course, if you can find a cheap on at the thrift store in good condition, by all means, buy it).


Don't Get Rid of Books You Hate:
Suppose someone gave you a book (they were trying to be nice and all), but you HATE IT (yes, I hate some books too...)? What do you do? You COULD give it away, or you could use/recycle it!
Even books that are in bad condition can be used for all sorts of crafts!
Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Paper roll-up flowers
  • You could Mod Podge the book pages onto anything: A box, the side of your shelf, your wall even.
  • Cardmaking
  • Scrapbooking
  • Paper dolls! Bring 'em back from the Little House on the Prairie days!
  • Art- you could draw or paint something (such as a rose) over the words on the pages and make a really neat mixed media collage
  • Bookmarks - just cut a book page into a rectangle, put a ribbon at the top and you're good to go! 
  • Birdcage lining (if you have a bird)
  • Here's something random: If you're the type of person who likes to make gift baskets, you could make a book-themed basket, and use shredded book pages for filling
  • And lots of other crafts!
Thrift Shoppers: Don't Ever Leave a Thrift Store Without Checking the Book Section!
Used books at the thrift store are usually super cheap, and I have found early edition books as well as brand new books at super-low prices at lots of different thrift stores! At one place I like go, their books are 15 cents AN INCH. I got a ton of books last time for like $1.00.
Just because a book might be used, doesn't mean that you will not enjoy it. Chances are the person who gave their books to the used store just finished them and wanted to pass them on. They are not necessarily bad books.


How to Remember Who You Lend Your Books to:
I've seen this hack on Pinterest before, but for those of you who haven't, a good way to remember who is borrowing what books (or even movies) from you is to take a picture of the borrower holding the item you are loaning them. Every time you see the picture, you'll be reminded that they have your book or movie (or whatever). It's a great reminder, especially when you're sorting through your phone pictures months later and you realize they haven't returned it yet. 

When Reading A Book: Give Every Book The 'Two 'Chapter Test':
I think it's fair enough to say that not every good book has a great beginning. Some books start off downright boring. This is how I felt about Elizabeth George Speare's books. I don't think her books start off very well. But I couldn't close her books just because I don't like the beginning, because the rest of the book is great!
That's why I give every book I read what I call the 'two chapter test'. It basically means 'don't give up on a book until you've read at least two chapters', because that gives the book a chance to redeem itself. It might be a good book, after all.
If the story still hasn't interested you by the time you've given it two chapters, chances are the entire book is the same.

Photo Credit: ME
Well, that's all I have for today. I have used these hacks a lot since I started reading (which has been almost forever), so I wanted to share, and hopefully you got something out of it!
Happy reading!
(Or crafting. Or book shopping. Or recycling. Or decorating. You know.)
-Amaris

Monday, September 4, 2017

Thoughts on the New School Year (+ What I'm Doing)

For all of my readers who are going back to school, or are starting up homeschooling again, or are going to college, I wish you all the best of luck.
Work hard, study hard, eat well.
Get your sleep.
If you're finished with school, and going to college for the first time, good for you.
If you're finished with school, but you've decided not to go to collage, still, good for you.
And don't let anyone tell you that you're nuts for not going to college. People don't know everything.


People like to give me trouble when I tell them I'm not going to college.
They ask me 'why the heck are you doing that'. They don't even ask me, 'have you prayed about it?'
They just like to tell me their way instead.
Maybe you have some people in your life who treat you like that.
But don't let it bother you.

~When every single person in your graduating had plans for college except you.
~When people doubt your loyalty to Jesus because they don't think your plans are smart.
~When people don't take 'no' for an answer when you tell them you're not going to college, and they take it upon themselves to suggest colleges for you.
~When people are convinced that you are not going to succeed in life because you don't plan on getting a degree.
~When you see all of your friends your age going to college and life seems to be going blissful for them (even though heaven knows they got debt).
~When you let it all go to your head and question God and yourself all over again about it.


Don't let it bother you.

College isn't everything.
You doubt me?
Here. And here. Let Blimey Cow tell you.

Oh, and I mentioned 'what I'm doing' in the title, didn't I?
I was thinking about this the other day, and I realized that I don't have enough material to do a whole 'August 2017 Favorites' post, as it was a pretty busy month filled with boring things that I don't want to bore you with on my boring blog. (wait, what)




Anyways. Here are just a few things that I enjoyed or did in August:

*I read a book
(Well hooray for me! What an accomplishment! That's not done everyday, after all!)
Actually, that's not quite right. I started a book, and I'm still working on it. But it's an accomplishment still, because it's the first book I've been able to pick up and actually concentrate on all Summer. What's the book, you ask? 'For Such a Time', by Kate Breslin. I got it at a book fair in April. It's pretty good so far. It isn't THE BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ IN THE WORLD AND AMEN, but it's a refreshing change from, well, nothing.

* I watched a movie
(Another really hard thing that only talented people can do.)
Out of all August, I only saw one movie: Spider-Man: Homecoming. And I'm not going to bother telling you all about it because I already wrote a post on that. I will only say it's good. For being the only movie of August, it was sure an enjoyable one, considering how much I was looking forward to it.


* I watched (and am still watching) a TV show
(Wooooowww, Amaris. You are just... wow. No words.)
To be honest, however, the TV show in question might surprise you. Bonanza. A change in my family's schedule has allowed my and my siblings to watch one episode of Bonanza a day on TV. We normally don't watch TV at all, but this gives us something to enjoy on weekdays. It's not my favorite, favorite, favorite show, (in fact, some episodes are downright boring, in my opinion) but watching it and seeing all of the different plots in the episodes has given me a new appreciation for Westerns, which is something I thought I would never have. *Shrug* Just goes to show you how a person's tastes can evolve.

* I got a driver license
Ok, I gotta give myself credit for this one. This is not something people can do everyday, at least not without a lot of hard practice, which is what I went through.
But do you know what this means?! I can now drive my car. By. Myself.
#so independence #much scary #very wow

* I listened to a song



* I watched a video on YouTube
(Yes, clickbait title. I see you. Are you happy? I clicked on you.)
This vid though. I love it. so. much.



*I went to a play
Which was The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It was quite interesting because I hadn't ever seen the movie or read the book before, so I didn't know what to expect at all. It was pretty good. Some of the musical numbers were so pretty I got chills (#coming from a person who low-key hates musicals). I probably can't post a picture or a song either because I'd get in trouble... probably.
Anyways.

~*~*~*~*~
That is all.
To be honest, I didn't do much else of interest. I was busy with various things, but all of them being too boring and mundane to mention.

With that, I wish you all the very best of Septembers.
Hooray for cool weather.
Hooray for Fall clothes.
Hooray for school (if you're still in it... which I'm not. Yay for me. #i guess).

-Amaris
p.s. My prayers are with the people in Texas who have met Harvey.

Monday, August 28, 2017

*☾ - A Rambly Post About Astronomy & The Solar Eclipse - ☽*

 (a.k.a. a very ramble-y, nonsensical post about space... and things. Prepare yourself)

If you've been hanging around this blog for awhile, two things are possible. 1. You have great tolerance for putting up with me (congratulations for that), and 2. you might have noticed that I am sort of obsessed with astronomy.
In fact, I consider myself an amateur astronomer.
My love for the night sky (and even the day sky) has always been around, but first began to show itself among my many interests when I took an astronomy course for high school (which seems like so long ago). I also saw Dr. Jason Lisle in person, around the time that he had just published "The Stargazer's Guide to the Night Sky" (a greeeeeaaat book btw if you are clueless about celestial objects/events and you want to get started somewhere), and I was rather depressed at the time that I didn't have enough money to buy the huge book (which was something around 20 dollars; a fortune for me back then). But a couple years later, in 2014 or so, my mom bought the book for me when I was doing the astronomy course! I was pretty happy, folks.
I learned a whooolllle lot with that book.


It was around this time that I really began to take an interest in astronomy.
Not only the aesthetic of it, but the wonder of it. I mean, have you seen this video? Outer space is amazing! Do you realize if you floated up into the sky, past the planets, past interstellar space, past our solar system, you would just keep going and going and going?
There's nothing out there.
And there's everything.

(one of my favorite star clusters)
 ☾ * ☽
Anyways. I said all of that to say, that on August 21st, 2017, I saw (what has been called) the Great American Solar Eclipse.
I saw the moon pass over the sun, people.
Did you hear me?
I saw the moon.
Pass over.
The sun.
And I can't. believe. it's over. It felt so surreal the whole time. It still feels surreal. Like a really amazing dream that cannot possibly be true.
But it is true.
It happened.

NOT MY IMAGE. (not sure who to credit. : / )
I had the safety solar glasses, of course. Hopefully they were 'safe' ones, as there were apparently a lot of controversy about fakes out there. All I can say is, my eyes seem ok, but hopefully I won't go blind in a few years. (even though it would be worth it, I think)

 ☾ * ☽
I made a pinhole viewer to watch the progression on the ground. And I saw crescents everywhere. Through the holes in a colander, through my pinholes, even through the shadows of the leaves on the ground!
And then.
I looked up through my glasses, and I saw the last smidgen of sun disappear. I also saw the diamond ring before it faded out.
(photo credit to whoever took the shot)
The outdoors around me went dark, and the nighttime creatures started to make their sounds.
Then, I looked up (without my glasses this time) and I saw the most beautiful thing I think I've ever seen. 


It was a big, dark circle, with a bright ring of light around it. But it wasn't a smooth ring. It had, like wisps. It was totally amazing. I don't want to break any copyright laws, but here's a photo of what it looked like. 
(and I can't credit the photo because I don't know who took the shot. #please don't sue me)
Guys, it was so surreal. I have never seen anything like it.
I saw stars! I saw sunsets all around the horizon! I saw a beautiful, bright planet (pretty sure it was Venus or Jupiter), all at 1:10  in the afternoon! 

By now in this post, I feel like I'm just saying the same things over and over again. If you didn't see the eclipse, you are probably really bored right now, and I probably sound like some nutty stargazing fanatic-who-doesn't-know-that-much-about-outer-space-and-science-but-likes-looking-at-stars-and-moons-and-suns-anyhow. (But you know what? That's what I am.) And that's ok.
All I can say is, God is amazing.



Millions of people saw what I saw. Can you believe that probably a lot of them still don't believe that God exists, or cares about them? In wonder if and how many people were affected on a religious level by this eclipse. It's interesting to think about.
☾ * ☽
As for myself, I feel more in touch with God (if that is possible. He has always been as 'in touch' with me as He's ever going to be, but you know), and His creation.
I feel more in touch with the universe.
I feel like the sun is my friend now. The moon has always been my friend (throwback to my old profile picture, anyone?), but now the sun is special to me too. I just can't observe it as well. But I can learn about it.

Photo Credit: ME
Speaking of cool and interesting things, I am lucky enough to have a great memory of the eclipse to look back on through the years, besides just pictures. A friend from St. Louis sent me a postcard with an eclipse stamp! This postage stamp is different because it is heat-sensitive. So when you put your finger over it, the moon appears! 
And look at the post mark: 21 Aug 2017, the day of the eclipse!!!!!!!!!!!! (look at me, using all of those exclamation points... #yourfangirlisshowing)
Definitely the coolest stamp I own out of all 2000 something that are in my collection. 
I'm so happy right now, people. And amazed. And inspired. And everything.

*sigh* 
I'm going to leave now. For I am sure that I'm boring you. 
Time to binge watch space videos on YouTube. 
Bye!  

☽* Amaris *☾  


p.s. Before I leave, let me just share a video. This is one of the best ones I have found. I just get excited all over again when I watch it. I love how this guy captures the cheers and excitement of the onlookers. 



That is all!
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