Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Princess For a Day

Every girl should feel like a princess at least once in her life. For most of my childhood, I felt like a toad.
However, in middle school, I met people who not only accepted me, but made me feel royal, and now, so many years later, when I'll soon be graduating from high school with those same people, I can't help but feel how lucky I am. A perfect example of this friendship, and its importance to me, is displayed within the preparation for a recent major event in my life: Senior Prom.

Background info: Belle is my favorite princess, possibly ever. It's even on the back of my Daffodil trading card. And yet, it still amazes me when people remember this fact. So when I walked into AP English first thing in the morning about three weeks ago, and all of the lights were off, save for one illuminating a single red rose, suspended within a glass bell jar on my desk, I got excited. When the note next to the display read "Tale as Old as Time, Song as Old as Rhyme, Turn Around and Answer my Question Before the Last Petal Falls..." it got pretty hard to contain the massive smile on my face. And when I DID turn around, and one of my best friends (who is also my official Daffodil escort) was standing there with a bouquet of flowers, and a sign painted to look like a stained glass window that read, "Savvy, Prom?" I pretty much almost started crying. Because it is one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, and it did make me feel like a princess, and for that day, I got to be one of those girls who walked around the school with a bouquet of flowers that everyone else smiled at. It was completely unexpected and sweet, and showed a genuine care for things that he knew I'd love.

And it was the perfect way to ask a classic romantic like me to Prom. If you look at my bookcase, there's more than a shelf or two reserved for timeless love stories like Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, and it isn't hard to find that many instances of fairy tales either: The Once Upon a Time YA multi-author series, as well as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and a hardbound copy of Hans Christian Anderson's tales, can all be found within the cramped space of my book collection (speaking of fairy tales, look out for a forth-coming post about my topic for this year's research essay!).

Anyways, after the sheer wonderfull-ness of the Prom-posal, I felt the need to return to reading this kind of light-hearted fantasy fare... however, with the sun beginning to shine it's face more and more everyday, I wasn't content to simply read your run-of-the-mill romance. I needed action, and adventure. So, I looked around my room, and pulled out William Goldman's The Princess Bride, which I found to be the perfect - wait for it - "mawwaige" of the adventure and fantasy genres. :) 

And it really is. This classic fantasy tale, published in 1973 and made iconic by the 1987 movie (starring Carey Elwes, Robin Wright, and a swashbuckling Mandy Patinkin, to name a few) follows one of the greatest love stories ever written, through such hazardous terrains as the Cliffs of Insanity, the Fire Swamp, and the Zoo of Death, with monstorous creatures like Rodents of Unusual Size, and even more monstrous villains,  like the scheming Sicilian, and the sinister Six-Fingered Man.

Plot-wise, it's reasonably linear - with some slight chronological variance when you reach the climax of the story, you'll see what I mean - and should therefore be easy to follow; however, as in the movie, where the book is read by the grandfather to his sick grandson, the novel is only the "abridged" version, altered from the "original" author - S. Morgenstern - 's by a later storyteller: Goldman. However, in an effort to keep the movie from becoming almost entirely incomprehensible, they left out all of the bits that Goldman, even in his "abridging," had kept in; namely, confusing and silly attempts to set a discernable time period during which the story may occur - like, after hairdressers, and after America, but before Europe, and whatnot. Some of this long-windiness was thoughtful and inventive, and humorously helped explain the background to the story (for instance, the history of the feud between warring countries Guilder and Florin). However, some of it was a little to lengthy for my tastes, and occasionally too dry to swallow good-naturedly.  For the most part, it kept the action at a pretty fast pace, but those few spots where the back story started upstaging the real plot, were a little chaotic.

But that, my friends, was pretty much my only criticism. The small fraction of the story I have a problem with by no means detracts from the work as a whole, and in fact, the book is one of my favorites. Like the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series back in middle school, this novel is openly traded and discussed among my friends, in the hopes that we can all share in it and its story. Because this book is one of the few that holds the trans formative powers that bend space and time, placing you directly in the world of the novel and within arm's reach of the characters.

And as it is a love story - and as I said in the opening of this blog post - because I am one of those that feel every girl should feel like a Princess. <3

#25. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

Thursday, May 10, 2012

AP Testing: A Half-Hearted Retrospective, aka, Confessions of a Study-Plan Hypocrite

Sweet, glorious freedom was once again mine at 11:35 am this morning, as I closed the AP English Literature and Composition testing booklet, and headed outside with my friends, into the sunshine. Well, not exactly the sunshine: the weather around here's as ready for summer as we are, but still seems to be subjected to some kind of regulation, like we are, so it's stuck in springtime mode (like we are). Anyways, the last AP test of my high school career was today. Now I'm all done. And as I data-wiped months worth of now-useless information from my brain (jk, there was nothing there in the first place :) ) I realized that I could actually read books again! Hooray!

Wait a second, I thought to myself. That sounds familiar.

It was definitely what I talked about in my post-AP test blog post, just last year. (read it here )

After the fact, I realize I messed up a little when it came to AP Prep... but not taking my own advice is probably the most embarrassing mistake. However, I am another year older and another year wiser, and I can definitely tell you that there are quite a few more things that I would have done differently. Which means it's time for my AP Advice, Part Two! (Feel free to participate as is applying to your level of apathy and actual free time. )

1. Read. Read like the Wind! aka, How Your Learning Style Affects Your Score.
I learn best when reading. That's why I got such great scores on my AP US History and AP English last year: I could get by on reading the material and the study guides, studying review sheets, and hand-writing a lot of notes. However, numbers, and how to interpret them, has never been my strong suit, which is why, when it came time to study AP Calc and AP Chem, I was thoroughly overwhelmed. Both of my teachers in those sections operate using a lecture-type method, with minimal handouts or take-home notes. I realized that if I had started taking notes from my study guide alongside the lessons we learned in class, it would have been easier to review the material. Woops. Moral: Study the way you can best benefit from it.

2. Google Counts as a Bosom Friend, aka, Utilize and Be Familiar With All Possible Resources.
There's your textbook, duh. Your class notes. Any other study notes or handouts you get during class.  Study guides available at the library, bookstore, and often, with your teacher. Online databases. Additional notes you can take outside of class. And let's not forget that all of the past free-response questions are available online, too. You just have to take the initiative to explore every possible avenue of prep.

3. Robots Would Be Happy, If They Could, aka, When It's Okay to Stop Caring About Anything but ABC Family Original Movies and Not Studying for AP Calc
There's a point when, if you continue to study, you simply have no room in your brain. Try any harder, and you may start forgetting things, like your address or middle name. This is when you just need to step back, take a breather, and watch mind-numbingly bad TV to make the headache go away. My recommendations? SyFy's Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, or anything on The CW.

Learn from me!