Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Relationship With The Fault In Our Stars

Hola!

Since The Fault in Our Stars came out on DVD yesterday I thought I'd write a post about my relationship with this brilliant story.

It all started in March of 2012. Here's the honest story of how I received this book. I knew nothing about it other than it had A.) a pretty cover B.) a cool name and C.) the employee's of Powell's seemed to like it (they wrote a little blurb about how good it was on a notecard beneath the book), so I bought it.

I also think it's important to note here that before purchasing this book I knew nothing about the author John Green--a fact that still blows my mind by the way, since I watch his YouTube channel religiously (I'll get into more details about him later.).

So, during Spring Break (or rather the weekend before finals) of 2012 I few out to New York City to visit my mom who was working there. However, instead of studying for finals I explored the city, ate ridiculously scrumptious chinese food, drank hot chocolate in the airport, and read anything other than my lecture notes.
Um, yes Tom I am, but in this case crying is an understatement. 

Two books tagged along with me to NYC that weekend: Legend and The Fault in Our Stars. I finished Legend first and then started TFIOS on the plane back to Portland, which was a five hour flight and wow...

Let's just say that I was quite the sight on the plane that night. I went from laughing out loud to squealing with delight to full blown ugly-sobbing.
Luckily I had the whole row to myself.

Confession: 

  1. I'm a slow reader. Like the fastest book I've ever read was The Hunger Games and I read that in 2 days. TFIOS, on the other hand? Yeah, devoured that in 5 freaking hours. 
  2. I like The Fault in Our Stars just a tiny bit more than The Hunger Games Trilogy, which may sound crazy to y'all because I'm pretty damn obsessed when it comes to THG (Mockingjay plays a small part in that, but that's another story...). 
  3. While driving back home from the airport that night (it was nearly midnight) I almost crashed the car due to my uncontrollable sobbing. 
  4. It took me a couple of weeks to recover. 
Now why did this book affect me so much?
Great question!
First of all, it is very well written; it's a fantastic story with three-dimensional characters and amazing quotes that will continue to touch my soul and keep me pondering throughout life. Secondly, it was incredibly relatable (Not because I'm familiar with cancer, but because I've definitely spent a fair share of my teenage life in hospitals and I understand the isolation and frustration it brings, also the list about qualities of a good nurse is spot on. Additionally, Hazel's relationship with her parents is a lot like mine and unlike anything I've ever read in other YA books; parents are often absent or awful in the YA books I've read.). And lastly: Augustus Waters.

Need I say more?
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book: 

1.)"As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly and then all at once."


2.) "My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations." 

3.) "Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book."


4.) "There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There's .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I'm likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You have me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful."


5.) "The world is not a wish-granting factory."

6.) "Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you."

7.) "That's the thing about pain. It demands to be felt."

8.) "'Lonely, Vaguely Pedophiliac Swing Set Seeks the Butts of Children,' I said."


9.) "Okay."


10.) "'It's a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do its killing.'"


Whew! That was difficult. I basically wanted to type out the whole book for you because it's all brilliantly written. Every word. Beautiful. 

After I read the book. I wanted more! I did some research on John Green (told you, I'd get back to him) and basically my life was changed forever... again that is.

Why?
Well, I'd never really invested time watching YouTube videos for any other reason than movie trailers and cat videos. Before TFIOS I knew nothing about "vlogging" (video blogging). 

I quickly discovered that John is a famous YouTuber; he and his brother Hank are known as the Vlogbrothers. Famous for the saying: Don't Forget to Be Awesome! 

Oh gosh, where do I begin?
If y'all haven't heard of them... Please, for your own sake, go check them out... NOW! The rest of you understand why I am struggling to explain what they do because they do so much. 

Here is a video that explains Nerdfighteria. 


Because of John and Hank I can proudly call myself a Nerd. These two are all about encouraging intellectualism and community service and just decreasing "World Suck."  

Also, since they both majored in different subjects during college and work on multiple different projects I was inspired to change my major from English to Psychology (mainly because studying just English literature was really boring to me in comparison to Psychology and I wrongly assumed I had an obligation to major in it since I aspired to be a writer); I realized that it's ok to have several different passions. In fact, it's preferred. It's important to live out a well-rounded life. Additionally, I discovered that I freaking love science! Especially Neuroscience and Forensics! 




Without the Vlogbrothers I wouldn't have known about: 
  1. Crash Course
  2. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries 
  3. Emma Approved
  4. Frankenstein MD
  5. Minute Physics
  6. The Art Assignment
And, honestly, many others, those were just the first I could think of off the top of my head. 
Seriously, if you haven't already, check them out! They're fantastic. 

Here are some of my favorite videos from them:
Ok, so I sort of went off on a little bit of a tangent there, but that's okay because it's part of the story of my relationship with this book. 

Onto the film.
I believe that this book was one of the fastest book to film adaptations to happen. 
Go ahead and correct me if I'm wrong.


Ok wow, I could make this post really, really long with all my thoughts about the movie, but I'm going to try to make it as short as possible. 

Bullet points always help with making things shorter, so let's do that. Ok, so this is how my thoughts went as the film went into pre-production:
  1. TFIOS is being made into a movie: Yay! 
  2. The screenwriters from 500 Days of Summer are adapting it: Yay! 
  3. Wyck Godfrey is producing it: Yay! 
  4. Josh Boone is directing it: Well, um, who's that? 
  5. He recently wrote and directed Stuck in Love: Ok, I'll watch it. 
  6. Thoughts: Loved Stuck in Love, so glad he is directing it!
  7. Nat Wolff is going to be in it: Yay! 
  8. Shailene Woodley is going to be Hazel: Say what?
  9. What's the problem: Nooo! She can't! She's already in Divergent. She can't be in two huge YA adaptions. That's like Kristen Stewart playing both Bella and Katniss. Huge taboo! 
  10. Ansel Elgort is going to be Augustus: Who's that? He's certainly cute. 
  11. He's playing Tris's brother Caleb in Divergent: No! That's so, so weird! No! 
  12. John Green really, really, really likes the casting choices: Ok, fine, I'll calm down and give them a chance. 
It was really cool because while they were filming John Green would do his regular weekly videos on Tuesdays like he always does, but because he was spending so much time on set he filmed adventures with the cast and crew and it was absolutely perfect! Like I was freaking out! 

In case you haven't watched any of these aforementioned videos, here they are: 







Then the trailer was released into the world...



It seemed like it took forever for it to finally come out, but once it did it was awesome! 

Well, actually the first showing kind of sucked because it was a midnight release and there was a bunch of screaming 12-year-olds I desperately wanted to strangle because they just wouldn't shut the heck up! It's a freaking movie, I know Augustus Waters is like really attractive and all, but you have to be quiet when he talks. Can't go objectifying him girls! No double standards while I'm around.
Me during the screening: Them 12-yr-olds need to SHUT UP!
Then a minute before the movie ended (and it has a beautiful ending by the way) our projection cut out. Yep. It went completely black and it took 30 (that's right) 30 minutes for them to start it back up again. It kind of lost it's impact at that point. During our long wait, all these girls kept taking selfies of themselves in the theatre and all the flashes from their phones were burning my eyeballs out (slight exaggeration there), so I started photo-bombing people's photos like no other. Haha! I'm super mature. Oh well...
My photo-bombing face. 
So, anyhow, the movie theatre gave us a free ticket for our troubles and we saw it again the following day. 

And yes, I cried. 
A lot. 
Snot may have ran down my nose too.
There were definitely some scenes that really hit home for me because they reminded me of my high school years when I was in and out of the hospital. 

Thoughts on the film: 
  1. The acting was stellar, except for that one moment when Hazel tells Gus it sucks not being able to breathe, yet she sounds more than capable of breathing, like there isn't a slight wheeze or anything. That part annoys the heck out of me! 
  2. Love, love, love Ansel as Augustus. He nailed that part!
  3. Even though, I didn't like the aforementioned scene I thought Shailene did a killer job (no pun intended) as Hazel. My favorite scene of her's was when she's in her backyard on the phone with Augustus and struggles for a response. We've all had those moments. And her painful hesitation is beautiful. I also love, love, love the scene about infinities. She nailed it!
  4. There were times when the actors didn't look sick enough and like I know they can do this because I saw what they did for Bella Swan in Breaking Dawn Part 1.
  5. Also there is this one part when Young Hazel should be in an incredible amount of pain, but like she's smiling and looks fine. What? Ok, that's the rest of my critics. 
  6. Loved the soundtrack. 
  7. Loved the cinematography. 
  8. Loved how they showed the texting.
Also, I saw it a third time not that long ago with my mother and I still balled my eyes out!

Ok, is this post done yet?
Possibly. 
Do you have any last words?
Yes.
What?
I think, if you love the book as much as I do, you should definitely purchase the audiobook because it is beautifully preformed and the story comes to life in a different way. Also, I'm a stickler when it comes to audiobook actors, but I really like Kate Rudd. Before falling asleep at night, I'll often listen to TFIOS on my iPod. It's lovely experiencing the story over and over again. 

Also, now because of Shailene Woodley I love drinking Yerba Mate tea. In fact, that's all I drink at the PSU library. So much better than coffee. I have to put honey in it though otherwise it's too bitter!

Yerba Mate. 
I, honestly, think that's it. 
That's my relationship with The Fault in Our Stars. 

How about you? I'd love to hear your story!

Blog to you later!
Love,
Manders

P.S.
Click here to read my relationship with the Twilight Saga! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Weddings, Visiting Friends, & Volunteering

Hola! 

Sorry it's been a while. Still working on my 2nd week at Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp post, however, it's been slightly delayed because I've been incredibly busy. Actually, I planned on publishing it tonight, but in my post I had this ridiculously long introduction as to why I haven't written it right away, so I decided to split the posts into two. 

Here's what I've been up to. Immediately after camp I went to: 

1.) My friend from high school's wedding in McMinnville, Oregon. 
Kylie's wedding was beautiful! Lost of candles, flowers, & fun activities!
They also had a photo-booth Mom & I took full advantage of. 
2.) Immediately after that I flew to Sacramento to hang out with my roommate Jamie who will be living in Prague for a year (she leaves in September, so I wanted to see her before she left). My other friends from Portland State University were there too, so we spent the day in San Francisco. We ate dim sum in China Town, went to Mrs. Doubtfire's house, and also hung out at Pier 39 where we went on the cheesiest underground tour called The San Francisco Dungeon which was over-priced, super creepy, but definitely fun (I certainly screamed every time the lights went out because I thought there was a slight possibility we'd end up on Dateline.) We had a blast! 
Candid shot of Bekah, Jamie, & Brenna. 
I love how this American flag mural is in China Town. (Bekah, Me, & Jamie.)
Jamie walking the streets of China Town. Love the lanterns! 
House from "Mrs. Doubtfire."

Lots of people came to pay tribute to him. People left flowers, wrote messages in chalk on the sidewalks, & took pictures.
Rest in Peace Robin Williams. 


"We'll miss your ability to make us laugh, smile, and forget our troubles."
False Advertising. For the hour you're down there you are only in this boat for about 5 minutes. 
You gotta eat at IN-N-OUT when visiting California. (Jamie told us to take a big bite before snapping this pic.)
3.) After that, I flew directly to Salt Lake City, Utah for my cousin Ashley's wedding. She got married at the Salt Lake City Temple and then had the reception in her backyard. While I was in Temple Square I was able to sneak in a quick visit to see one of my best friends Erika Juengling, who works with her dad in the Family History Center. The reception was a lot of fun! I busted out my fantastically awkward dance moves and ate about fifteen chocolate covered strawberries. Good times!
Pics of me and Ashley as little kids. 




Now we're in our twenties & one of us is married & the other is about to graduate with her B.S. in Psychology!
My Bro & Dad are some of the funniest people I know. Love them so much! Glad I got to hang out with them at Ashley's wedding. :)



The clouds were absolutely incredible during my trip! In case you didn't know this I'm a big fan of skies. 

Loved the decorations at the wedding reception! Especially this Pinterest-approved "Love" sign. 

(Top Left: Ashley & her husband Xavier.) Isn't that cake gorgeous?
My cousin Hunter is on a mission right now in Europe, but his presence was still felt at the wedding. (Btw: My grandpa blew up his head and pasted it on a cardboard cutout of Joe Biden. Haha! Too funny, right?)

Like uncle like niece. (My dad & 1-year-old cousin Ashlynn.) 
Drew, Ashlynn, Dad, & Me. (I think Ashlynn was eyeing the chocolate covered strawberries. Don't blame her. They were delicious!)

Sometimes babies don't like taking photos... We love them anyways. Haha! (I'm holding Alexa and doesn't Drew look like a freaking model here? So glad he finally got a haircut.)
4.) After the wedding, I flew back to Oregon and volunteered for Hood to Coast at exchange 33, which was near the coast, but not quite at the coast. I helped direct traffic, which there was a lot of actually! Brought my friend Carol along from Portland! We had a blast cheering on runners! At one point I got to call out the numbers of the racers which was my favorite part. Almost everyone thanked us for volunteering. It was so freaking nice! Great people and energy! I actually got quite sunburned on my right side because I was standing in direct sunlight for 4 hours. My mom ran it and afterwards we spent the night at Rockaway Beach in a rented house with all her other teammates. It was really crazy and chaotic, but a lot of fun too! I'm planning on doing the walking portion next year, which is actually Portland to Coast instead of Hood to Coast. Let me know if you'd like to as well! We should start putting a team together!

Before volunteering we stopped at Astoria Coffee House & Bistro for breakfast and it was absolutely delicious! Probably the best huevous rancheros I've ever had. I aslo got a yummy hot chocolate. One of my favorite things about this restaurant were the decorations. They had a zillion globes scattered about the restaurant. I want to fill my future house with globes too!
Cool, right? And I especially love that no animals were harmed in the making of these (at least I hope not...). 
Pretty fantastic artwork in the bathroom! Not a bad place to pee...
Hood to Coast runners. 
Van at Hood to Coast: "Chafing the Dream."
Carol enjoying the chilly evening breeze and fog at Rockaway Beach. So thrilled with how the picture turned out!
Anyways, that's what I have been up too recently! I promise I will crank out that post about camp soon.

What have y'all been up too? Have you had an enjoyable summer or are you ready for fall?

Blog to you later!
Love,
Manders