Zielle’s Questions & ‘Stuf’

This is that post that comes in between all of everyone’s exciting posts that no one will probably read because everyone else is making much more awesome posts. Oh well, here goes.

Zielle gave me some questions as part of her “Guest Interviews” thang, and so that’s the first order of business. Who doesn’t love to answer questions about oneself?

Zielle: What brought you to name your blog ‘Steeplechase’?

Tess: Oh wow, these questions are personalized! Epic. I had always loved the word, and I thought it reflected the random nature of my blog without being “Tessie’s Random Crazy Stuff Blog!!”

Zielle: How was your blog born? Who/what inspired you to start one?

Tess: Well, I had already made an AG doll blog (still running, btdubs), but I found a bunch of posts that weren’t AG related were falling through the cracks, so I bucked up and made a PB. And now I love it.

Zielle: What quote do you live by if any?

Tess: Literally anything that Winston Churchill said. In particular:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”


“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”


“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”


“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
(used in the literal sense of the word, btw)

Okay, that wasn’t one quote. That was five. Bad Tess. *spanks hand*

Zielle: Who are some bloggers you look up to or who inspire you?

Tess: I look up to anyone who’s been blogging longer than I have – Madi and Hayley in particular. As for inspiration, my inspiration comes from all of my followers, all of the people I follow, any random visitors that stop by – in short, every blogger is an inspiration to me.

Zielle: What are some of your blogging goals for the year 2018?

Tess: Finish what I start XD. I have five random drafts in my folder right now and I need to get better at that. Make a two-minute animation for you guys to enjoy. I also want to get to one hundred followers. But that’s just a selfish wish. I don’t even have 50 :P.

Zielle: Are you just naturally good at drawing, or did you have to learn?

Tess: *thinks*
Big Important Drawing Rule One: There is no such thing as natural talent. There is such thing as extensive practice. I’ve been actively drawing since I could scribble. My mom always nurtured me by providing clean paper to draw on and good tools to draw with.

Big Important Drawing Rule Two: Copy. Hold it! There’s a difference between copying and plagiarism. Go to Google, search what you want to draw, and pull up an image. Now draw it as best you can. Think about what it would look like as a coloring page. Also, try to draw from life as much as possible. If you can’t draw from life, then watch someone else draw what you want to draw. Steer clear of ‘drawing tutorials’, though, because those will teach you how to draw that thing in the creator’s style. Not good. You want your own style.

Big Important Drawing Rule Three: Be unique. Do things your way, not someone else’s. That’s the only way your drawings will look like YOU.

Big Important Drawing Rule Four: Block. If you want to be able to draw something from every angle, learn to block. Go look it up. Art Ala Carte is a great Youtube channel for learning how to block.

Big Important Drawing Rule Five: Don’t buy expensive stuff until you’re sure you’re serious.

(This was an essay. Sorry. :P)

Zielle: How many times have you flown in a plane? (#random)

Tess: Only once. I didn’t get a window seat though. So that kind of stunk.

Zielle: Do you stall reading until you’re in bed, or do you read whenever you can?

Tess: It all depends on what I’m reading. If a book is meh or average or not really that interesting, I wait till bed. But if it’s so enthralling that I can’t wait to see what happens next and can’t put it down, then I read it whenever I can (including while getting dressed).

Zielle: How old were you when you wrote your first story? (if you’re okay sharing)

Tess: I was nine. I wrote out a story about bunnies that now, remembering it, sounds mysteriously like Alice in Wonderland…even though I hadn’t read it at the time. I sadly don’t have it anymore. 😦

Zielle: Do you have a book in progress that I can beta read and devour???!! ;P

Tess: Almost. Once I make my Julynowrimo Brother Robin cohesive (not perfect, mind you), you’ll be the first on the list of beta readers!

In speaking of which, I am hiring beta readers! I need some useful crit on the aforementioned story.

Beta Reader Information

– The story is fifty thousand words long and falls under the heading of sci-fi histfict.
– The content is appropriate for ages 8+. There is mention of death, some people in love, and an injury, which is not described in great detail.
– The story is a DRAFT. It is not my best work. It is not even close to my best work. It’s complete rubbish, drivel and garbage. But I don’t want to waste a bunch of time editing and fixing a story that will need more fixing later.
– I’ll be sending out the story in December of this year, after I’ve made it cohesive (going back and fixing things that don’t make sense.
– I really don’t want grammar criticism. I’ll fix that m’self, thanks. If something’s not clear, then tell me, but if I use the wrong form of ‘there’, don’t correct me, please.

I’m looking for at least five readers, so jump on it!

And now…the ‘stuf’…the reason why I haven’t been blogging…there’s so much interesting stuff to do and so little time! I’ve gotten some new things that I can’t wait to show you guys.

Books!

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One trip to Barnes and Noble later…I got some books! The money was worth it.

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Wreck This Journal. Guys. This is so so so so so awesome! I’m not going to show any pages until I’m done. Then I’ll do a #rekt tour!

And F nish Th s B  k. I am not going to say anything about this one. You have to go get it yourself. Not being lazy, it’s just that you have to see it to believe it.

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle is a crazy book that takes itself really seriously. Like it’s completely normal to shave yourself with a broken bottle, Doctor! But it’s a ton of fun and really lighthearted in comparison to a lot of fiction.

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The best part, though, is that my collection of aesthetically pleasing Sterling edition classics is growing!

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Ahhhhh….the spectrum….it’s so……

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SATISFYING.

*wipes brow*

Art Stufs

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Alright, I broke down and bought a sketchbook. I haven’t drawn anything in it yet, but that will change as soon as I finish this post. 🙂 I also got some new pencils, as I wore my others down to nubs…

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And they are also fun to photograph. This is the 6B (not like anyone cares).

And now….

…the grand finale…

…the thing you’ve been waiting for…

…please welcome…

…the newest member of my entourage…

…the one who will help me realize my dreams…

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This is Cedric! He is a Monoprice 10″ x 6.25″ Drawing Tablet and is a real amazing guy (though he can be tempermental). Don’t tell him I said that, though. I got some old Flash MX2004 and am making some babystep animations. But that topic’s for another post.

What’s your favorite thing to do (besides blogging)? Did you sign up to beta read?

Sayanora,

Tess

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October Goals

1. Write an “October Goals” post.

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Huh.

2. Make that post a GIF post.

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Okay…

3. Finish planning my Nanowrimo novel.

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I know some people say that planning doesn’t work or blah blah blah…but as someone who can never decide what to write about, I find it helpful. So far, things are going okay, but I need to iron out a couple of details and pick theme music for each part. (I know that sounds incredibly OCD but 1) I think I have a minor form of OCD so it’s normal for me and 2) it saves time so that you don’t spend an hour finding the perfect music. I’m busy this year.)

4. Get going in animation.

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If you want to know how traditional Disney animation worked, here’s an epic video. It will help the following paragraph make sense.

Theoretically, I could continue forever in my physical pencil and paper state, but here’s the thing. I can only do so much. With a drawing tablet and some Adobe CC Animate, though, the inking, painting, backgrounds and all that will become SOOO much easier. I’ll be able to start work on the projects I’ve been thinking about.

5. Word War with Ava

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Ava and some other blogfriends and I were going to do a Word War, but it kind of fell through, so we just decided to do a collab story. Anyone is still welcome to join, though.

6. Get a Wreck This Journal.

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These look like so much fun. And I have always wanted one.

7. Finish all the books I need to read for school.

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I made this one.

Silas Marner, Mornings on Horseback, Treasure Island, The Wealth of Nations….yeah I’m busy.

8. Learn some new jokes.

 

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Does anyone else watch AlpacaHawk or am I the only weirdo?

‘Nuff said.

9. Write out all the posts that I’ve been meaning to post for a long time.

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Procrastination is the only option, Li Sheng. The only option.

10. Fufill all these goals.

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“You just wanted ten, didn’t you…”

What are some goals you’re striving for this October?

{Tess}

 

 

 

Mega Art Dump 2017

To begin, I want to thank you guys for all the sweet comments related to yesterday’s drawing. They just really made my day.

Now, for what you have been waiting for…

…the most epic art dump of 2017…

…28 pages of good drawings…

…including a minor change in style…

…You’re excited, aren’t you?…

…Ready?

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from giphy

Part One: Before The Style Change

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Some people. I’m getting better aren’t I?

(A lot of these will be kind of grey because I had to lower the brightness to get the lines to show.)

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I will leave you to decide whether this is a wolf or a horse.

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Hand holding a hot dog? I did attempt to shade.

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Stargazing wolfos (not inspired by The Lion King II at all….;)) This is really adorable, but the white wolf looks like a bear. 😦

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An epic tree.

Part Two: The Switch

I got into a drawing slump after drawing the two stargazing wolves. I couldn’t get my wolves to look like they had any dimension. Out of desperation, I looked up some wolves from the second Balto movie. Just to get some ideas.

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Yeah, they aren’t bad.

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Not bad at all, actually. But something about them lacked what my drawings usually have. I identified it as the eyes. It always bugs me when animals are drawn/animated with whites in their eyes. There is such thing as an expressive eye without whites. So I experimented…

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Hmmm…

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Not bad. (I was thinking about lip syncing here.)

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You know, I actually like it! It balances cartoonability and realism, and considering that I draw for the purpose of animation, I decided to stick with it.

So I worked further, seeing if it could be translated into a pup form.

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(The big blur underneath covers up possibly the creepiest drawing ever. You should be thankful I covered it up.)

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Awww.

I like the style because I’m able to communicate an incredible amount of expression into it.

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This comes from the animatic I am working on right now. Here are some other shots from it.

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Any guesses as to what it could be about?

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Yes, I definitely am keeping with this style. It helps give them dimension and looks the same from all angles.

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And this is the grand finale! I’m in love with these wolfos.

Thus endeth the biggest art dump possibly ever.

What do you think of my new style?

{Tess}

 

The Completed Picture {Thanks, beans}

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blogfriends (pl. n.) – Friends made through the blogosphere that become far more than entities as time progresses.

I’ve met some awesome people in the fourteen months that I’ve been blogging. Every single one of my followers is special to me, and there’s nothing that cheers me up better than when one of them leaves me a comment or a like.

I wanted to try to find a way to thank some of my best blogfriends ever; namely, Mya, Enni, Miles, Sam, Clara, Zielle and Ava. Everyone has been super-supportive, but these seven in particular have really helped me along. I could not write enough to suffice for the inspiration I’ve gotten from them.

I shall now go through each one separately, both telling them how awesome they are and critiquing my rendition (because this can’t get too mushy).

(DISCLAIMER: Distance to or from Tess does not indicate frenship status. If I could have put all you beans right next to me, I would have.)

(DISCLAIMER: Randomness ahead.)

Mya (Life From Behind A Camera)

Mya, you’re an underdog of the blogging world, and you’re totally okay with that. You’re still under 100 followers, but you put together beautiful photos and excellent writing. The result? Posts I always look forward to reading. You’re a bit soft-spoken in comparison to others, but that’s one of the reasons I like you so much. Keep peacing out the world.

(Art critique: I wish I had made her smile a little less wide. Less like this: ) and more like this: >. Other than that, Mya turned out pretty good!)

Enni (Hooves and Pens)

Enni, you horse nerd, we have so much in common! It’s so refreshing to see a blogger who loves her older brothers as much as I love mine. And our horsiness…we should not have coffee together. Caffiene and geeking may have adverse effects upon our riding posture. But it might be worth it. Keep dreaming – we will ship Bristy soon enough.

(Art critique: I only had a rather blurred-out photo to work with, so hopefully my imagination filled in adaquately.)

Miles (Art Style)

Miles miles miles miles miles….remember when we were at the Pottery and I was voted the weirdest girl because of my evil scientist impression? If we were to compete again, you would take the cake, you silly jelly bean. But hey, are you really complaining about that? I can see you doing all kinds of awesome stuff. You hack it out, bubble.

(Miles and I are IRL frens, so this makes no sense to anyone but her and I. :P)

(Art critique: How do you put a crazy unicorn like Miles into a drawing? Hot pink shirt, emoji hat, orange Toms and weird socks, of course. My original design had her giving me bunny ears. Though it would have been more accurate, it was causing problems relating to arm length. I mean, she’s cray, but not stretchy…)

(And we respectfully skip Tess because this is not the time for a session of heavy self-lauding. :P)

Sam (Redhead With A Book)

Sammy, you’re so smol it’s hard to not smile when I see one of your posts. You’re one of the few real booknerds I trust to know the difference between a good book and kindling. And your doll blog. INSANE. How do you do that? You’re epically awesome and you should keep being epically awesome. Finis.

(And…I tried include your swanfriend but his inflatable feathers would have been too hard to draw. And it would have looked really, REALLY weird.)

(Art critique: Sam is probably the most interesting to look at out of all the beans, considering she’s the only one not looking a the cam…I know your hair isn’t THAT red but I wanted it to be more red than – shall I dare say it? – ORANGE.)

Clara (Clara & Co.)

Clara! My first follower! The one I addressed all this drivel to for the first few weeks! I’ve been following you ever since I started ‘pressing, so this frenship wins the Longevity Award. Don’t ever stop being that frendly, sweet, colorful bean you are. Just don’t.

(Art critique: If only I could capture Clara’s frenliness in a drawing…*sighs* The panda is a reference to what was her profile picture for a long, long, long, LONG time. I wanted to give Constance a nametag but there wasn’t enough room!)

Zielle (My Homeschool Notebook)

Zielle, Zielle, I always wished my name had started with an awesome letter like Z. But not Zebedee. Your blog is so awesome! I love your photos and writing, and since those translate to your soul, I love your soul you so much! I know that my chances of meeting you in person are really, REALLY slim, but we can dream across the Pacific, right? Keep it up!

(Art critique: I love the way Zielle turned out. Except for her skin. I had intended to make it only a bit darker, because she said she was epically Filipino, but…I think I went overkill. Let’s just say she got a lot of sun this summer. :/)

Ava (Elysian Artiste)

Ava, you and I were born under the same star. Yes, talking to characters is normal. Yes, feeling that your characters are real is normal. Yes, developing crushes on historical fiction characters is normal (even though people say that they aren’t real, and even if they were, they’d be dead). We could do this all day. Continue writing histfict, continue getting in deep with your characters…continue being Ava, because you are awesome awesome awesome.

(Art critique: I took a gander with Ava’s clothes. Hopefully they match her character. But I thought daydreaming required daydreamy clothes. Tess, what do you know about fashion? You wear your jeans until they turn grey and get holes in the rear. You wear your T-shirts until they get so nasty no one can tell what’s on them. You wear Target sneakers that kind of look like Converse but not really. And you own a pair of corduroy pants. Be ashamed for ever thinking you knew anything about fashion. Ahem. Ava, show all of us sneaker-wearing hoodlums how to wear flats, please?)

And this concludes my 1,000-word epic on you guys. Even if you were not mentioned, I love you so much. Thanks for the great year so far, and let’s hope for lots more epic years!

Lots of tea,

{Tess}

 

Ava, Zielle, Mya, Enni, Samantha, Miles and Clara: Last Chance!

I got the idea to draw some of my blogging friends (and I say some because I have a lot of blogging friends). Below is my first sketch of things.

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Fortunately, Mya, Clara, Zielle and Ava had somewhat of picture to work off of, I know Miles in person, and Sam is descriptive enough in her posts to let me draw her. (Pippi Longstocking braids and all.)

I think this is what you guys look like:

Mya: Caucasian, long brown-blonde hair.

Enni: Chinese-American, black-brown hair.

Miles: Caucasian, light brown hair.

Me: Caucasian, dark brown crazy wavy long hair, always braided. 😛

Samantha: Caucasian, red hair, usually braided.

Clara: Caucasian, dark brown hair, shoulder-length.

Zielle: Filipino, brown-black hair in a ponytail.

Ava: African-American, black hair with a braid and bead on the front section.

If I did something wrong, TELL ME. PLEASE. Whether it’s that you never wear jeans or that I completely messed up your nationality, TELL ME. And if there’s something that bugs you about your pic, TELL ME. I can still fix it before I colour it and I will not be offended!

I will be adjusting the size of Enni (because she’s wayy too small) and making Miles and I a tad bit smaller.

Love all you guys and hope I got it right!

{Tess}

 

AG Create-Your-Own: Nanowrimo Edition

I had no idea whether to put this on my doll blog or here on Steeplechase, but I decided that since it involved the characters of my past Nanowrimos, I should post it here.

Anyways, today I’ll be trying to duplicate some of my past Nanowrimo characters (and probably ranting about them in the process ;)) with the AG Create-Your-Own maker. Enjoy.

Sybil Glasscock
A Falcon Of Gold, 2015 (40k)

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Ahh, Sybil, you extremely pessimistic bean, your clothes are completely period innacurate but they’re more to reflect your character than your actual costume. I apologize for shipping you at the last minute. That was unfair.

(Sybil was part islander and part English. But the islander was more dominant. She was a really big jerk though.)

Kat McKittrick
A Charger In Command, 2016 (50k)

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(The picture size changed for some reason. Sorry for triggering your severe OCD.)

Kat was a more sedate Sybil. Maybe it was the horses; maybe it was the fact that she wasn’t an orphan. (There are really too many orphans in today’s literary world.) Whatever it was, she was more stable. But I shipped her at the last minute too. *ducks as people throw tomatoes*.

I’m fine with shipping characters, it’s just when it’s last minute that makes it bad. Instantly.

Kaori Sasaki (sound familiar?)
The Taiso Senshu, 2017 (15k)

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It was after I wrote Kaori’s story in April that I realized that I wrote almost exclusively about dark-haired, pessimistic girls. Nevertheless, she was my favourite out of the three, only because she was Japanese and Japan is awesome. (Well, because I didn’t want to do any research, I made it a Japan-like society called Pseudo-Japan in my notes. I’m lazy.)

(So much from her story was borrowed for my doll stories, so I can’t share much more. :P)

Millicent Blair
Brother Robin, 2017 (50k)

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Millicent, you refreshing change to the norm! It’s a pity you were an underexplored side character. At least the MC of Brother Robin was a light-haired, blue-eyed British man. He was still pessimistic though. Maybe you’ll be a good influence for him. As I did ship the two of you. (sorrynotsorry).

Honorable mentions, also from Brother Robin:

And one more honorable mention: Kseniya, a she-wolf, from my novel in preparation about canine culture, reimagined as a human.

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“Where are my ears?”

And finally, from my upcoming story for Nanowrimo 2017…

Sasha Sokolovsky
Project Orion (50k)

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Part Russian. Part naïve. All nerd. I’m going to have so much with you this November, despite that you’re only a side character!

Time for…

Secrets

The answer to this question is the password to the Secrets page, which holds a bonus picture for you to enjoy! (It will be all lowercase.)

What is the ship name of my OTP?
(hint: it’s in a caption)

What kinds of characters do you tend to write about? Do they all follow a pattern or are they different? Are you going to do this on your blog? If you are, then link it back and I’ll read it!

Sayonara!

{Tess}

 

Movie Review: Dunkirk (no spoilers!)

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Dunkirk is unlike any other film I’ve seen. Once you’re past the advertisements and the lights dim in the theater, you’re no longer sitting on your tush in the air conditioning. The room around you becomes frigid, you begin to breathe through your mouth, the adrenaline builds up within you, and you’re there, on that beach, for one of the most thought-provoking two hours of your life.

Disclaimer: All thoughts are my own and are not endorsed by anyone other than myself.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk is the story of, frankly, the British evacuation from the French beach of that name. With German bombers flying over to try and annihalate the 400,000 British and French soldiers on the beach and hundreds dying daily, the outlook for them is pretty bleak.

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The most interesting thing about this film is the lack of dialogue. I don’t think there are a hundred lines in the whole movie. Most of the experience is in what you see and what you hear.

My favourite film genre is war, so naturally I’ve seen a lot of the classic war films. This one definitely stands out in a couple of ways:

  1. The colors. Most war movies have a theme of brown, green and black (very warm colors). This one was a lot of grey and blue, which made it feel very cold. That and all the water on screen had me walking out of the theater freezing to death.
  2. The music. If you go and look up the soundtrack, you’ll find that there is a ticking noise in the background of every piece. This ticking noise did not cease for the entire film, giving a sense of urgency (time is running out).
  3. The characters. I only caught the names of two of the characters (Peter and George). In addition to these, there was the infantry soldier (I later found out that his name is Tommy – nice allusion to Tommy Atkins!), his friend, and two pilots. It was incredibly realistic in the way that you recognised them by face, not name.
  4. The kind of intensity. There was little to no blood or gore in this film (I only remember seeing blood once). Yet, it was as riveting as Band Of Brothers (a slightly more intense HBO series. Rated TV-M for a reason) without being as violent as that series is. I think the most deaths happen by drowning, which was true. More soldiers drowned trying to get away than those who were bombed on the beach.

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There are genuine Spitfire planes in it, not just CGI. Also, the music is by Hans Zimmer – also a reason to go and see it. And if you’re a One Direction fan, I believe Harry Styles plays a character in it. I’m not a 1D fan, so I didn’t catch that until I went and read the Wiki page did extensive research.

All in all, Dunkirk is one of the best films I think I’ve ever seen, and if you can watch it in IMAX, you should. That wall-to-wall screen just throws you into it.

For those who are a little more sensitive or under 13: You can find the full content advisory as to exactly what’s in it here – I highly suggest doing this. There aren’t any unwarned spoilers. Another thing I would advise is to not watch this movie alone or at night – I am over 13 and went with my brothers, my mum, and my granddad to a matinee.

Verdict: GO SEE NOW! 

The helter-skelter GIF-filled post that everyone makes once in their blog history!

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This, ladies and gentlemen (do I even have any male followers?), is best described above. I’m going to try not to ramble and actually cover the information I’ve been meaning to cover for a while now.

Ready?

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From Studio C. Btdubs.

Upcoming posts

I have a lot of things on my ‘to blog’ list, and though I can’t share everything, here’s a sampling.

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First up, a review of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.

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The Bookish Pair Up Tag is next! I can’t wait to do this!

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I hope to give a tour of my new school materials and all the subjects I’ll be doing in this exciting year of education.

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A miniature art dump and an animation preview come after that.

I doubt I’ll follow this order without adding in some other posts, because Tess is as unpredictable as the West Texan weather.

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Also from Studio C.

In speaking of Texan Weather, I hope that you guys are out of Hurricane Harvey’s way and are praying for those who are. I won’t go into very much detail because so much has already been said on the matter, but considering that I was in Houston very recently, it kind of hits home. May God be with those who are floating about right now.

*Amen-amen-amen*

Making an ‘about me’ page

I’m planning to do that. Right now all you know about me is that I’m obsessed with TTTE.

Which I still am, by the way! Just watched Journey Beyond Sodor. How do they make these movies so awesome, guys?

This is actually from Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure. Shhhh

Enjoyable TTTE films aside, I hope to add just a bit more info about me, like what my favorite Disney film is. See if you can guess it in the comments. Just to amuse me? Please?

Aaannnddd…

I’m going to try to find more blogging time by staying off of Youtube. I always have such good intentions and then end up watching “We Are Number One” renditions.

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This is really the best video on Youtube though. Tied with Yee of course.

So yeah, you should see a bit more of me this year!

Let’s chat!

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Not like that, Tarzan.

Do I have any gentlemen following this blog?

Which post are you most excited for? Can you guess my favorite Disney movie? What’s the weirdest Youtube video you’ve ever seen?

(shamelessly begging for people to comment)

Sayonara,

Tess

How do I get rid of this stupid thing at the bottom here???? GAAHHHH

Part One of Chapter One {Word War}

Here’s the first part of our story, guys – FINALLY, right? Ava is writing the next part. Enjoy!


The only thing I was aware of was my heart beating wildly in my vibrating chest. A deafening crash was surrounding me, definitely costing me some of my hearing. I gasped for air, but it felt as if my ribs were clinging to my lungs. The only thing I was aware of was my heart beating wildly in my vibrating chest. A deafening crash was surrounding me, definitely costing me some of my hearing. I gasped for air, but it felt as if my ribs were clinging to my lungs.

Then all was quiet. I felt the adrenaline drain from my body as I lay in what felt like a bed of straw. I touched my forearm with a shaky hand – yes, they were cooling off. My breathing steadied as I ran my hand over the thin leather strap across my body, rubbed my hand on the case. Oh yes, that was what I was doing here. Just find Master Andrew Carrion and give it to him. Then – go home!

I sat up, stretched and looked around me. Tall trees were everywhere, their brightly colored leaves falling lazily to the thick carpet of moss and crunchy foliage. I looked up. Soft grey clouds slid steadily across the patch of sky visible between the branches.

Slowly, I shuffled through the leaves, observing my surroundings. A squirrel scampered off into the thicket as I stumbled over a fallen branch. It was very quiet, save the sound of rushing water somewhere in the distance.

I bit my tongue as I ran my hands over my forearms. Somewhere in my travels I had learned that Neds and water are a painful combination, a barrage of electrical signals speeding through the part of my body which was not attached to my mode of transportation. Two metal sleeves encased my arm from wrist to elbow. Without them, I would be stuck here, in this strange time, forever.

My eyes strayed to the sky again. “Please don’t rain on me,” I whispered, just a bit nervous. I opened my trench coat, pulled out my compass. One and one half miles to the exact north would bring me to the spot. I turned, still looking at the compass, trying to make the little red needle rest on the ominous N.

A cold wind blew the smell of rain in my face. I breathed deep, settled myself down, and, still following the compass, walked as confidently as I was able.

Suddenly, the leaves slipped downward beneath me. The compass jumped out of my hand as I tripped.

Down I slid on the thousands of leaves. My desperate grabs at something solid were in vain. Finally, with a shock of icy reality, I came to a stop, but my troubles were far from over. Electric pain pulsated through my body as I tried to get out of the water, but every move of mine was riddled with spasmatic suffering. I wouldn’t have given up, but I was overwhelmed.

Still trying to regain control, I passed out on the bank.


I figured we needed some action to begin with – was it clear enough that Ned is a time traveller?

Take it away, Ava!

{Tess}

Epic Houstonian Adventures – Part One: Nigel

EPIC HOUSTONIAN ADVENTURES

Rejoice – it’s a blog graphic. I never make those. But I finally hauled my rear to Canva and made it. So be proud, please, and don’t expect it to ever happen again.

But a set of adventures as awesome as the ones that have been going on for the past two weeks deserves a blog graphic.

Ready?

Midland, TX
August 4th, 2017
5:00 am

We had a rental car (because Andre wasn’t going to be able to come). We had our bags packed. Everyone was buckled in, breakfasted, and ready to begin our crazy journey to Houston, then Shreveport, in less than twenty-four hours. Let’s put that on a map and see how many miles that is.

01

Without stopping (as we did), that’s a twelve hour drive of 722 miles. Not as impressive as some road trips, but certainly insane for a day.

Usually, when we go to Shreveport, we just hit I-20. But this time, we needed to go down to Houston to see what could become our new van. We’d elected (after lots of debate) that his name was Nigel, because Nigel came from a Gaelic word for black, and he was a black van.

Same day
Houston, TX
1:30 pm

First of all, I want you to check out this listing for Nigel. Be sure to look at all the photos. It may help you see through our eyes.

Fred, our salesman, had obviously never sold a van. I hope we didn’t intimidate him too badly with our questions and comments and confidence….

But from the online listing, Nigel looked pretty good. Right?

 

Who would have thought that….

  • Nigel had no seatbelts in the back row….
  • Nigel had no air conditioning in the back row….
  • Nigel’s entire back row was a poorly-executed aftermarket job….
  • Nigel had been painted black to hide all his paint failure….

We decided that the only Nigel this van was going to be the namesake of was Nigel Thornberry.

giphy

We reached Shreveport safely, with all our money, but we were still dissapointed. I mean, we’d taken a huge detour for a blarghgalarghalargh.

Nigel thornberry

Yeah, I’m having too much fun.

But not all was lost – next part: Roxie!

Have you ever had a bad car buying experience? Do you know anyone who has? Do tell, please!

Aand…Secrets! (This is Trivia!)

What TV show does Nigel Thornberry come from?

The answer will be all lowercase and all stuck together.

{Tess}