Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In My Mailbox 1

I've decided to do In My Mailbox. This was started by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. So, none of these books were or ever will be in my mailbox, but whatever. They're all library books or books I borrowed from friends. Here's what I got.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Pub. Date: April 06
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends -- one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena -- Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer
Pub. Date: April 05
In the future, in a place called Satelite City, fourteen-year-old Cosmo Hill enters the world, unwanted by his parents. He's sent to the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, Freight class. At Clarissa Frayne, the boys are put to work by the state, testing highly dangerous products. At the end of most days, they are covered with burns, bruises, and sores. Cosmo realizes that if he doesn't escape, he will die at this so-called orphanage. When the moment finally comes, Cosmo seizes his chance and breaks out with the help of the Supernaturalists, a motley crew of kids who all have the same special ability as Cosmo-they can see supernatural Parasites, creatures that feed on the life force of humans. The Supernaturalists patrol the city at night, hunting the Parasites in hopes of saving what's left of humanity in Satellite City. Or so they think. The Supernaturalist soon find themselves caught in a web far more complicated than they'd imagined, when they discover a horrifying secret that will force them to question everything they believe in. Eoin Colfer has created an eerie and captivating world-part Blade Runner, part futuristic Dickens-replete with non-stop action
The Devil's Breath by David Gilman
Pub. Date: September 08
His father is missing.

He’s an assassin’s target.

He has one clue. And no time.

He’s Max Gordon. And someone wants him dead.

Well, those are all the books I got from the library. I also borrowed Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes from Orchid, which I finished in one day. My review for that will be up soon. :)

Eclectically yours,

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Me, the Missing and the Dead by Jenny Valentine

"Me: Lucas Swain—I'm nearly sixteen years old and live in London. I was fairly normal until the night I found Violet. Then everything changed.

The Missing: Dad. He disappeared five years ago. Nobody knows what happened to him, and nobody cares except me. It's enough to drive you crazy.

The Dead: That's Violet . . . in the urn. Speaking of crazy—I know she's trying to tell me something, and I think it's about my father. . . .
A dead lady may not be much to go on, but my dad's out there somewhere, and it's up to me to find out where."

I'm not exactly sure what to say about this book. It wasn't like the books I usually read, which all have at least one fight scene (usually more), and a very clear villain. This book had no fight scenes (well, not physical fights, There were a few arguments) and no villain. If I tried to write a book like this, I would constantly be asking myself during the planning stages, "What's the point to the story?" (a problem that is holding back what I think is a good idea of mine, but let's talk about that another time).
But Jenny Valentine did an exceptional job keeping me interested. There was always the question of, what happened to his dad? And what does Violet have to do with it? 
I found Lucas to be a very intriguing character. I can't quite explain what it was that made him interesting. Maybe it was the writing style. It was so different from everything else I've read. It's like you're sitting with the character and he's just telling you everything that happened since he found an urn in a cab office. Lucas was very realistic.
The title caught my attention when I was browsing the YA section in my library, so I decided to give it a try. I liked the book. I liked the mystery, and the character, and the writing style was incredibly interesting, I couldn't put it down. The end was unexpected, which I also liked. If you see this book, read it. You might like it.

Enough rambling.
I give this book four Fists of Rock.

Eclectically yours,

Friday, March 27, 2009

Frogs and French Kisses by Sarah Mlynowski

"Rachel has finally come to terms with the outrageously unfair fact that her younger sister, Miri, has inherited magical powers from their mom. But now the whole witchcraft thing is spiraling out of control. Mom is a magicaholic, Miri’s on a Save the World kick, and the one teeny tiny love spell that Rachel begged for has gone embarrassingly, horribly wrong.

Suddenly, the fate of everything is in Rachel’s hands.

Her family.

The world.

Senior prom."

I loved this book. It was really funny, and Rachel didn't annoy me quite as much as she did in the first one.
The plot was a lot like Bras and Broomsticks (Rachel misuses Miri's powers and ends up almost ruining some big event but manages to fix everything in the end), which annoyed me a little. But the book was still really good.
Rachel really matured in this book. In the first one, she was completely selfish, ditched her best friend, almost (briefly did) ruined her dad's wedding, and used her sister. There was still a bit of sister-using in Frogs and French Kisses, but it was toned down a lot from BaB. Surprisingly, Miri was the one who went crazy with the magic this time (along with their mom).
I kind of wished that she wouldn't be able to save the prom in the end, and for a chapter or two it looked like I would get my way, but she managed to fix all the damage she'd done (though, thankfully, she seemed to learn from her mistakes).
Anyway, this book was really good. Very similar to the first book, but still really good. I can't wait to read Spells and Sleeping Bags!

I give this book four Fists of Rock.
Eclectically yours,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Wonder if This Will Ever Be in the X-Games

A while ago I saw this commercial with one of the coolest things ever (in my opinion)!!!

Extreme unicycling.

Yes, the comical one-wheeled ride popular among clowns has gone extreme. Check out the vastly doos video below.

Isn't it awesome?!?!?! It seems really, really cool (most of the time, some of the videos were lame) but also extremely difficult. I don't think I could ever do it (mostly because I'm too scared to try). It looks really dangerous, so I suggest that if you have a unicycle lying around and want to try it, WEAR A HELMET!!!!
Maybe I'll make one of my characters an extreme unicyclist...

Eclectically yours,

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer

Man, that 100th post sure pushed this review back. I finished this book, like, over a week ago.
"High school totally bites when you're half human, half vampire.

Freshman year sucks for Vlad Tod. Bullies still harass him. The photographer from the school newspaper is tailing him. And failing his studies could be deadly. A trip to Siberia gives "study abroad" a whole new meaning as Vlad connects with other vampires and advances his mind-control abilities, but will he return home with the skills to recognize a vampire slayer when he sees one? In this thrilling sequel to Eighth Grade Bites, Vlad must confront the secrets of the past and battle forces that once again threaten his life. Find out why author D. J. MacHale calls The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod 'Gruesome, heartwarming, spellbinding.'"
This book was soooo good!!! I couldn't put it down!!!
I think I liked NGS more than EGB. Eighth Grade Bites was really good, but it was just so short. I was left wanting more when I finished. But Ninth Grade Slays also left me wanting more, though not because it was short. I really want to know what happens next!!!
This one had more action, more vampires, and more awesomeness! I may have to read it again. Some parts were just so unpredictable (in a good way), that I had to stop reading for a second just to take it all in. I really can't wait until Tenth Grade Bleeds comes out on July 9th. Heather Brewer did a phenomenal job.
I'm not going to do a sum up for this book. I don't want to give anything away. If you want to know what happens, read the series. You will not regret it. Actually, you may even thank me.
This book was so doos, that I had to bring in another person, because it was Too Much Rock for Two Hands.
Eclectically yours,

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Love Your Blog Award!!!

Teehee! I've been given the I Love Your Blog Award by Amelia from Book Junkie. Thanks, Amelia!
Here's how it works:
1) Show off! Put the award logo on your blog somewhere
2) Aren't they nice? Add a link to the person that gave you the award
3) Share the love! Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Links galore! Add links to the blogs you nominated
5) Let'em know! Leave a message on the blogs you nominated (they can't accept an award they don't know about)
And the nominees are.... *drumroll*
The Everchanging Lives of 13 & Co.
Thanks again to Amelia, and congratulations, everyone else! And to those of you who didn't get it, don't worry, your time will come. :)
Eclectically yours,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Be Gone with Ye, Ugly PyBar!

Is that orange Pyzam bar clashing with the color scheme of your blog? Or is it just throwing off your fung shui? Well, my friend, you're in luck. Below are simple instructions for getting rid of that orange distraction.

Step One: go to Edit HTML in the layout section of your blog (if you have a Pyzam layout, you should already know where this is).

Step Two: scroll down until you see this section...

.bloggerPyBar { background-color:#ff6600;

font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;

padding:2px 2px 2px 6px;}
.bloggerPyBar a {color:#114477;}
.pylogo {float:right;padding-right:9px;}


<div class="bloggerPyBar" style="cursor:pointer;"><div class="pylogo"><span style="position:relative;top:-1px;left:0px">«</span> <a href="http://www.pyzam.com">PYZAM.COM</a></div>
<a href="http://www.pyzam.com/bloggertemplates">CLICK HERE FOR BLOGGER TEMPLATES</a> AND <a href="http://www.pyzam.com/myspacelayouts">MYSPACE LAYOUTS</a> <span style="position:relative;top:-1px;left:0px;">»</span> </div>

Step Three: erase all highlighted areas. Important Note: do NOT get rid of the head and body! Hehe, my friends and I joked that you have to take out all the organs, but you have to leave the head and body or you'll kill it (but seriously, if you take out the head and body, you will kill your layout).

I suggest previewing your layout before saving, just to make sure you didn't take out too much or not enough. If it doesn't look right, clear all your edits and start over from step one.

And that concludes my HTML mini-series. I hope these tips helped you get your blog looking how you want it. :)

Eclectically yours,

Monday, March 9, 2009

HTML: Complicated, but Fun and Totally Worth It

If you guys haven't noticed that I have two sidebars, I suggest you get your eyes checked (or your computer). How did I get a second sidebar without having to change my layout completely or redo my widgets/gadgets??? Four letters: HTML.

I found a handy step-by-step guide to adding a second sidebar at The Cutest Blog on the Block. I was so happy when I found it, and even happier when it worked. I added a second sidebar to 13 & Co. first, but wasn't totally happy with the result at first. On the Pyzam layouts, the post body block thing and the original sidebar always end up being connected, while the new sidebar has space. It annoyed me, so I played around with the code a bit more and with some help from 21 I managed to get everything spaced right (not to mention get rid of the ugly orange Pyzam bar at the top, hehe). So, I've decided to rewrite the tutorial a bit so it works for Pyzam layouts. Here it is...

How to get a 3 column template

So you want to have a 3 column, minima template do ya? Well you've found found just the place.
NOTE: Before you edit or change template, make sure you backup your current template PLUS Page Elements.
We have tested this out ourselves and found that it has worked! And the fun part about it is that you've now got 3 columns to organize all of your fun blog info into. Also, with this new way, you'll not lose any of your links or widgets or other blog gadgets that are built into your blog.
It is easiest to start off with changing your template to minima. However, keep in mind changing your template to minima will erase any tweaks you have made to your blog's html code. You don't have to change your template at all if you follow my instructions.

Go to Template, Edit HTML.
Now, find this section in the HTML code:

#sidebar-wrapper { width: 220px; float: right; word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */ overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */ }

Copy this entire section and paste it directly below itself. We are now going change the elements I have highlighted in red to the following:

#left-sidebar-wrapper (this makes the css for this section unique) float: left;

Scroll up a little bit until you see this code:

#main-wrapper {
width: 410px;
margin-left: 25px; for Pyzam layouts, make this 10px; so the space between the post body and both sidebars is equal
float: $startSide;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

Add the words you see in red.
Now, we are going to adjust some of the numbers. Change the numbers on your blog to reflect the highlighted numbers below.

#outer-wrapper {
width: 880px;
margin:0 auto;
font: $bodyfont;

#main-wrapper {
width: 425px;
margin-left: 25px;
float: $startSide;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

#sidebar-wrapper {
width: 200px;
float: $endSide; be sure to change the float to right;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

#left-sidebar-wrapper { width: 200px;
float: left;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

Next, hit ‘ctrl F’ and paste this in the find box. Now paste the following code directly above that.

You may want to adjust the header size so it is as wide as your background. Scroll up till you see the following code. Change it to reflect the highlighted text. *By making the border 0px you will not have the border lines around your header!*

#header-wrapper {
width:860px; if you want the edges of the header to line up with the edges of the sidebars, make this 878px;
margin:0 auto 10px;
border:0px solid $bordercolor;

#header-inner {
background-position: center;
margin-left: auto;
margin-right: auto;

#header {
margin: 5px;
border: 0px solid $bordercolor;
text-align: center;

Click save template. Now click on your ‘Layout’ tab. You will need to drag some of your elements on the right sidebar to the left side bar. Click save and preview template. You should now have a 3 column layout!

*When changing out your background you do NOT need to reset your template. This will erase all the coding you just did. Just erase the old background code and replace it with the new one!

I'll cover getting rid of the Pyzam bar in my next post. Have fun editing your HTML code!!! (it really is quite fun)

Eclectically yours,

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Big 100th Post!!!

This post has been a long time coming (and I don't just mean the amount of time it took to reach this point, it took me over a week to write). Okay, this is going to be kind of long, and loaded with a bunch of different things. I'll start the festivities with a list of my favorite posts from the first 100. I can't believe I've written 100 posts! Teehee!

And now some more links! But these ones go to videos for my fave bands/songs!
Helena by MCR
Time is Running Out by Muse
CrushCrushCrush by Paramore
All Around Me by Flyleaf
A Beautiful Lie by 30 Seconds to Mars
Check Yes Juliet by We the Kings
When I Get Home, You're So Dead by Mayday Parade
When You Were Young by The Killers
Call Me When You're Sober by Evanescence
Psychosocial by Slipknot
Re-Education (Through Labor) by Rise Against
Holiday by Green Day
Vitamin R (Leading Us Along) by Chevelle (back when they were good)
So, those are all my FAVORITE songs. I'm sure you enjoyed them just as much as I do. :)

Now here's a list of some books I think you should really look into:
Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski
How to be Popular by Meg Cabot
Airhead by Meg Cabot
Mediator: Shadowland by Meg Cabot
In the Forest of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson
Spy High: Mission One by A.J. Butcher
Something Rotten by Alan Gratz
Cherub: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore
Spy Goddess Live and Let Shop by Michael Spradlin
The Dreamwalker's Child by Steve Voake
Darkside by Tom Becker

Whew, that was a lot longer than I thought it would be. Oh well. The true opposite of evil is a good book (and those were all very good books, so I suggest you read them).

I was going to do a chibi for this post, but I haven't been able to think of one. So I will be holding a small contests of sorts to design the Centennial Chibi. To enter, simply leave a comment with a detailed description of your chibi design. If you have a blog and would like to draw a chibi yourself and post it on your blog, please put a link to that post (if you just link to your blog, I might not be able to find your post) so I can find it. I'll draw a winner in one week (Sunday, March 15). Good luck, everyone! I can't wait to see what you come up with!
Don't know what a chibi is? Look at past DEM chibis here, here, and here. All entried must be in by noon on Saturday, March 14.

So, I think that concludes my Big 100th Post! I hope you enjoyed it. I look forward to writing more posts (and you reading them). :D

Eclectically yours,

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I recently got back from an advanced screening of DC's new movie, Watchmen. Let me just start by saying, it definitely earned its rating. This was probably the most R rated movie I've ever seen. The violence. Oh, the violence (among other things).
To be honest, I wasn't totally (or even partially) sure what was going on half the time. I think that's one of those things where you would have to have read the graphic novel for it to make any sense. I don't even know what the majority of their "superhero"* names were supposed to be.
I had a bit of a laugh over one character, though. He was like geeky Batman, and he looked like Chevy Chase when he had his mask on. It was kind of hilarious.
Like most of the other violent, R rated movies I've seen (300, The Departed), I probably won't remember much about Watchmen in a week (which means it will just be a blur by the time it hits theaters). But I'll give it one thing, it had a good soundtrack (and I don't normally like music from the 60s). Unfortunately, I missed the MCR remake of Desolation Row that played during the credits. :( But why bother listening to it during the credits when you can watch the video?!

To sum up, I didn't really like this movie. I don't recommend it. If you're not into violence and whatnot, I suggest you go see Witch Mountain instead.

Eclectically yours,

*I put it in quotations because they weren't very super, and they definitely weren't heroes.