the duke is tops

I am haunted by the dead. I have seen my brothers, husband and sons fight for the crown of a divided kingdom. I have known no peace in my lifetime, I have only known heartbreak and mistrust. Now, my dearest granddaughter has been sacrificed to the welsh dragon that has plagued my family for so long. So forgive me, my Lord, if I do not rejoice in the union of my kin to the Lancastrians. I have fought for so long with the white rose at my breast, I am weary from years of loss and disappointment. 

Can we talk about how the first five regions handle legendary pokemon?

Like Kanto straight up does not have titanic legendary pokemon. They got three birds that technically go more with Johto and they’re locked in various locations where the average person cannot access them and these birds can’t get out. There’s Mewtwo (who was created by humans which is pretty sweet) and they’re just chilling in a cave that’s under League control and only the Champion can get in like Kanto’s got it handled. Like there is clearly an adult who isn’t Lance running this house and they got no time for foolishness.

Hoenn kinda scratched it’s head while two grown men in charge of cults awoke nightmare titans for their ecological terrorism and the Champion of the region sat back and said “WELP guess we’ll let this 12 year-old handle it”.

Johto is like “oh look this 12 year old’s got the feather of legendary blah blah let’s let them go try to summon it!”. Best case scenario they summon Ho-oh. Worse case scenario they go to the water realm and bring the legendary that can cause 40-day long storms with a flutter of its wings because that worked out so well for Hoenn with Kyogre.

Sinnoh actually has a police force detective trying to investigate another cult but fails to stop them and relies on a 12 y-o again at some points. The champion is there and ready to freaking kick ass. Like boy, you thought. Tell your change the world spiel to Cynthia’s left heel.

Meanwhile, Unova’s response to a mal-adjusted 12 year old summoning an ancient angry dragon willing and able to destroy the country is to go to another 12 year old and give them an artifact that may or may not summon another titan of destruction and hope that this child successfully does so because their grand plan is to have two children duke it out with god dragons on top of the only political structure we’ve seen and hope for the best while the leaders of different cities fight various lower-level criminals.

HOW TO ACE THAT COLLEGE INTERVIEW

For the most part, the regular decision deadlines have passed. Now, it’s time to think about the final aspect of your application: the alumni or current student interview.

 A lot of the very selective and ‘elite’ schools use alumni interviews as part of their application review process but alumni interviews are not only limited to the Ivy League and schools like Stanford, MIT, UChicago etc. There’s somewhat of a myth floating around that alumni interviews aren’t worth much and don’t help your application. That is not true. A former Harvard interviewer helped me prep for my interviews and he said that interviews are actually an important part of the application process. Yes, it is a way to keep alumni connected to their alma mater but interviews help determine fit and personality and can do a lot in terms of admit or deny. An excellent interview can very well be the thing that puts your application in the admit pile and a horrible interview can have a detrimental effect on your application. Well, you might be thinking ‘If the interview can hurt my application, why would I want one?’ The interview will only hurt your application if you don’t prep for it, and that doesn’t mean hiring an overpriced coach but doing your research and coming prepared. So without further ado, here’s how to have a stellar college interview:

1) IF THE INTERVIEW IS OPTIONAL, TAKE IT ANYWAY

Most schools do alumni interviews by invitation only so in that case, if you’re offered an interview, you’re pretty much obliged to take it. However, if you’re applying to a school like UChicago that does optional interviews, take it. When the interview is optional, having vs. not having one is a good way to measure interest in the school. If you really want to get in, you’ll do everything possible to show the admissions office why the should accept you. The interview is one way to do that. Again, interviews asses fit and personality and it adds another dimension to your application; it shows that you’re human, more so than your essays and a ton more than your transcript and test scores.

2) PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE

This means actually spending time going over possible questions and coming up with ideas. Going to an interview unprepared is the worst thing you can possibly do unless you are 1000% sure you can wing it successfully. 

  • Take the time at least a week before the interview and gather a list of possible questions. Go on google and look up possible college interview questions. Set up a google doc and paste as many as you can until you start seeing duplicates. It will look scary at first because there can be upwards of 30 questions but fear not, it’s much easier than it seems.
  • Once you’ve compiled a list of possible questions, start preparing answers for them. This doesn’t mean having a detailed response for each one and memorizing it. That looks super fake and no one will take you seriously. Instead, look over the questions and see which ones kind of overlap and break them up into groups. After you’ve done that, find an anecdote or story from your life that can help answer those questions. For example, if you have community service or volunteering questions, tie it in to that story you have about the organization you volunteer at. People remember stories, not vague statements and you’ll be helping your interviewer out by giving them a funny or interesting story to write about in their evaluation. Who’s your interviewer more likely to remember and write a favorable review, that one kid who listed all their accomplishments and sounded fake or you who told them a funny story about your first debate tournament and how you got over your fear of public speaking. You’ll sound down to earth, relatable, and friendly which is what you want to go for.
    • An important question is the ‘Why School X’ question. This is an important one and you need to be prepared. Have some concrete reasons why and show your interest. Be dedicated and passionate and it will show.
    • Anecdotes will also help you prepare for unusual questions that you might not expect such as the one I got for UChicago: “If you were a desert, what desert would you be?”. Use the anecdote to shape your answer to the question.
  • Have a list of questions to ask your interviewer about the school. These should be more than just basic, found on the school’s website, I didn’t do my research questions. Ask questions you can’t find online and that only someone who went to the school could tell you.
  • After you’ve got your anecdotes and stories done, have your parents, siblings, friends, or teachers ask you mock interview questions and see how you do. Remember, the goal is not to have everything memorized but to have a bank of stories you can draw on to inspire your responses. 

3) COMMUNICATION IS KEY

A small but trivial part of the interview process is how you communicate with your interviewer before and after the interview.

  • Before: Respond politely to the initial interview offer but show your enthusiasm for the school. You might even give a little background about yourself to the interviewer so they’ll know a little bit about you before the actual thing. Set a date, time, and place, and stick with it. Don’t reschedule unless it’s an emergency. It looks like your not serious and unprepared if you switch the date two days before the interview. If you need clarifications about anything, don’t be afraid to ask.
  • After: Hopefully you had a great interview but even if you didn’t, send the interviewer a thank you card or email that thanks them for spending time with you and telling you more about the school. It would be good if you could indicate a specific thing you talked about with the interviewer because it will remind them as well and give them something to write about on the evaluation. Remember, any interview is a good interview as long as you did your part correctly. Sometimes the interviewer doesn’t click with the interviewee and that’s fine. As long as you were polite and talked about yourself, it shouldn’t negatively affect you. EDIT: Here’s a post about writing the thank you email.

4) MENTALITY

Mentality is a big one because it dictates your behavior during the interview. You don’t want to go in scared or hesitant because the interviewer can sense it and it might not be favorable. It’s ok to be a bit nervous but not overly so, or at least if you are, don’t show it. Think about it this way, if the interviewer had to pick only one of the people he or she interviewed to get in to the school, they would pick you. Go in with that mentality and you’ll own the interview. You have to be certain of the above statement when leaving the interview. 

5) THE ACTUAL INTERVIEW

Some points about the interview itself. The goal of the interview is an informal way for you to learn more about the school and for the school to learn more about you.

  • Dress appropriately. This means business casual. No tennis shoes, any jeans that aren’t black, no over the top make up, no too short skirts/dresses, no super tall heels etc. But at the same time, don’t be overly formal. No tuxedos, gowns, or other extravagant clothing. A skirt with a nice shirt and flats/heels would work for girls and dress pants with a button up shirt would work for guys.
  • Be punctual: A good rule of thumb is to plan to arrive 15 minutes before the interview starts. This will give you a buffer so if you get lost, there’s traffic or an accident, or something else happens, you’ll still have sufficient time to get there and not be late. I would also suggest to scout out the interview location before the interview. See where it is and how long it will take you to get there so you aren’t scrambling on the day of. If you really are late, send your interviewer an email or text to let them know.
  • Bring a resume: Some interviewers are prohibited by the college from looking at resumes but bring one anyway. It will help remind you of your talking points and if the interviewer does look at resumes, it will make it easier for them to ask questions and it will help them write the review after the interview.
  • Make eye contact and don’t fidget too much: Get rid of your nerves and jitters and be calm and prepared.
  • If you don’t know how to answer a question, don’t panic: Take a few seconds and use an anecdote. Once you start telling the story, it will give you time to think and answer the question properly. It’s ok if you miss a question or two because the interviewer will be expecting it and you’re human after all. Just don’t miss all of them.
  • If you’re asked an opinion question, try not to be offensive or overly opinionated: You don’t know your interviewer’s views on certain situations and you don’t want to accidentally offend them. Be polite and express your opinions without acting superior or trying to impose your opinions on them. Don’t make up stuff if you have no idea what they’re talking about. It could backfire on you.
  • Don’t live inside your head. Don’t spend too much time thinking and stare off into space. Articulate your thoughts in a clear and concise manner.
  • Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
  • Don’t zone off, no matter how boring your interviewer is.
  • It’s not recommended to bring a notebook to the interview to take notes. Remember, it’s informal.
  • Don’t worry about the length of the interview.
  • Turn off your cell phone.
  • If the interviewer offers to buy you a drink or snack, don’t say no but don’t go extravagant. Get something small and something that won’t make a mess.
  • Don’t put on too much perfume or cologne.

With that being said, don’t worry too much. You’ll do great! Go and ace that college interview! My ask is open if you have any questions.

Rumor Has it

summary: veronica asks the heathers about the rumors she’s heard about them and if they’re true. chansaw.

warnings: IYCHHTYCHT

“Shut up, Heather!” Chandler snapped at the green girl who was supposed to be her best friend. As if Duke didn’t spend her Saturday nights staying just sober enough to avoid a hangover so she’d make it to church in the morning to pray for her ‘friend’s’ death. It’d come soon enough. “At least mine are real!”

“Huh, and I thought that was just a rumor.” Veronica shot back, learning quickly how to participate in the Heathers’ witty banter. “What else have I heard is true?”

Keep reading

youtube

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge read the Official Chart Top Ten  

Top Ten Films of 2014

Last year, I made my first video top ten (which you can see here), and while that was fun, as it so happens I’m a bit too busy right now to go through all the trouble of making a video at the moment. So here we are, back to the old way of doing things.

On an interesting side note, I found an unintentional theme in my list this year. Many of my films are in some way about the creation of art, as well as the price paid to be a great artist. Also, many of these movies could be seen as “coming-of-age” films. Once again I find myself astonished at how many great films came out in a single year (and I haven even seen all of them yet). So as usual, you can find my long list of “honorable mentions” at the end. 

Like always, this is just my personal top ten films of the year. Even if we share the same tastes, I guarantee you that my list would be different than yours. It’s just too subjective.

So starting at number ten and counting down… here we go!





10. Mr. Turner

As far as pure craftsmanship goes, “Mr. Turner” is perhaps the most well made film of the year. Mick Leigh is a master, and every shot is purposeful and completely stunning. The film itself looks like an old beautiful painting. Timothy Spall sinks deep into his role as J.M.W. Turner, and it’s probably his best performance to date. The deliberate pacing and lack of traditional structure might turn away some viewers, but “Mr. Turner” is nevertheless a great work of art, and a portrait of a fascinating man.



9. Frank

I knew very little about this film before seeing it, and I think that’s a good thing. From the opening scene, I instantly fell in love with this darkly funny film. At it’s core, there’s some rather deep subject mater, and yet “Frank” cleverly offsets this with some truly hilarious moments that keep the film entertaining throughout. Domhnall Gleeson is outstanding here, but of course, the real star of the show is Michael Fassbender, who gives an incredibly expressive performance despite the fact that we can’t see his face. I enjoyed nearly every moment of this picture, and it’s definitely one that you need to see.



8. Ida

Some films just belong in the Critrion Collection. Ida is one such film. It’s haunting and artful and features the best black and white photography I’ve seen in years. The sharpness and contrast of every shot is remarkable. The narrative is beautifully simplistic. In fact, the minimalistic nature of the film as a whole is part of what makes it so special. “Ida” is sparse, gorgeous, and masterful. Certainly one of the best foreign films of the year.



7. Only Lovers Left Alive

Vampires are cool, but Tom Hiddleston and Tida Swinton bring it to a whole new level. These old lovers have seen it all, and while they still appreciate art, science, and philosophy, they’ve grown tired and indifferent while mankind continues to make the same mistakes.  Jim Jarmusch’s film is a special kind of vampire story, because it may be the first one to really capture just how lonely, dangerous, and exhausting being immortal really is (or would be).  "Only Lovers Left Alive" has a deliberate pacing that glides slowly along with it’s characters. Along the way, we learn how they live and what they’ve grown to appreciate, and it’s all quiet fascinating. It’s my opinion that “Only Lovers Left Alive” ranks as one of the very best vampire films ever made. 



6. The Grand Budapest Hotel

A Wes Anderson film can always put a smile on my face. His last few films have been some of his best, and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is certainly no exception. This film is so beautifully stylized, and so hilariously funny, I find it hard to believe that there’s anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this film. The cast is fantastically entertaining (especially Ralph Fiennes), the colors are vibrant, the humor is clever, and the filmmaking is flawless.  When I saw “Moonrise Kingdom”, I said it might be Wes Anderson’s best film yet…. when I saw “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, I said the same thing.



5. The Duke of Burgundy

Captivating and visually arresting, Peter Strickland’s “The Duke of Burgundy” is one of the most compelling films I saw all year. It’s beautifully shot, colored, and textured with elegant pacing and precise direction - I really can’t say enough positive things about this film. It’s surreal and challenging while retaining a soft and gentle nuance of love and tenderness. “The Duke of Burgundy” certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I found it extraordinary and deeply inspiring.



4. Boyhood

I know many cinephiles will probably place “Boyhood” as their number one film of the year, and I wouldn’t fault them for that. Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” is one of the most innovative and uniquely profound films ever made. Shot over the course of 12 years, we literally watch Mason grow up before our eyes. It’s a remarkable experience unparalleled by any comparisons I could make. We owe it to Linklater for having the guts to push our medium forward in such a beautiful way. This will probably win Best Picture at the Oscars, and it’s easy to see why. 



3. Birdman: (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Simply one of my favorite cinematic experiences in a very long time. In the first scene, I made a mental note that we were in a long take, but to my wonder and astonishment, that long take never ended. There are, of course, cuts and interludes (this isn’t a “Russain Ark” situation) but the effect is very much that Alejandro Iñárritu’s film is one singular shot. It’s remarkable, but could be called nothing more than an impressive gimmick if the film itself wasn’t so strong. 

This is the best cast ensemble of the year, and the cinematography is gorgeous (made more impressive again by the long takes). But “Birdman” also has some interesting things to say about the creation of art, as well as the criticism that always accompanies it. It’s an intriguing film, and one with something to say. I loved every minute of it.



2. Vi är Bäst! 

Every year, there are films that just seem to come out of nowhere and surprise me. Before it was released, I knew nothing of “We Are the Best”, nor was I familiar with Lukas Moodysson’s previous work. However, this film was perhaps the most enjoyable film I saw all year.

If you know nothing of this film, it’s the director’s adaptation of his wife’s graphic novel “Never Goodnight” (by Coco Moodysson). It centers around three young teenage girls living in 1980s Stockholm who start a punk band - despite two of them not knowing how to play an instrument. While the band plays an important role in the film, some of the most interesting scenes are when the girls are simply hanging out. The performances from these three young ladies are perhaps the most natural I’ve ever witnessed from anyone their age. At times, it seems that they’re not even acting at all, as if the cameras just happened to be there to catch these authentic moments. These girls are so funny, enduring, and most importantly, real. This film understands what it really means to be a hardcore punk. And that is a rare thing. I really can’t say enough good things about “We are the Best”. You just need to see it.


And my number one film of the year is…



1. Whiplash

This is not the most ambitious film of 2014. It’s not a space epic. It wasn’t shot over twelve years. It doesn’t give the illusion of being one continuous shot. It’s not even by a famous director. Yet, “Whiplash” was the single most thrilling  piece of cinematic art I saw all year.  

“Whiplash” tells the story of a young ambitious drummer who dreams of being one of the great jazz musicians of our time. He soon finds himself under the mentorship of a cutthroat teacher who is willing to do whatever it takes to push his students to the limit. The film shows painful abuse and heartache, but then just when you think the film will find contentment in an obvious solution, it aggressively charges forward into the single most intense, passionate, raw, violent, and beautiful final scene of the year. A scene that made my heart race until it finally cut to black, and the credits rolled. Then, and only then, did I finally catch my breath. This film bleeds with a passion that’s visible in every aspect, from its photography, to its editing, to the stellar performances. Enough can’t be said about Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. They both give 100% to their roles, and it’s both beautiful and heartbreaking to watch.

I found “Whiplash” to be painfully relatable at times… and I’m sure that contributed to my fondness for the film itself. Nevertheless, I think everyone should see this amazing work of art. Damien Chazelle has crafted a challanging look at what it truly means to be a young artist with high ambitions. The road to greatness is filled with suffering, pain, loss, frustration, blood, sweat, and tears… and it seems the filmmakers here understand the price that is paid. 



So there you have it - My top ten films of 2014. Please let me know what your favorite films were! Now, some of you may have noticed that a certain favorite director of mine not on this list…. so please see my honorable mentions below.



Honorable Mentions 

.

Inherent Vice - I know! I know! I can’t believe it either. P.T. Anderson is my favorite director, and I do love this film…. it just didn’t move me like his other work as done in the past. “Inherent Vice” is great. I just like 10 other films more.

Gone Girl - Yet another one of my favorite directors. David Fincher is to the point where he really doesn’t make bad films anymore. The craftsmanship is just too good.

Calvary - This is a touching and somewhat heartbreaking portrait of a priest genuinely trying to live a good life. A thankless job to be sure. It’s bleak but Brandon Glesson gives a wonderfully tender performance.  

The Babadook - Rich with metaphor, this is easily one of the best horror films in years. Love it so much, and you really need to see it.

Under the Skin - Who could forget this surreal work of art from Jonathan Glazer? Scarlett Johansson does wonderful work here.

Jeune & Jolie - “Young & Beautiful” was an underrated French film from François Ozon. I really loved it a lot, though I might be in the minority.

Snowpiercer - Joon-ho Bong is a crazy good director, and “Snowpiercer” is a thrilling sci-fi action movie far more worthy of your time than most summer blockbusters. 

Top Five - Chris Rock made an excellent film with a deep Woody Allen influence. I really hope he will continue this style into future projects. 

Foxcatcher - A remarkable film. Bennett Miller is on a roll. There’s really nothing to complain about with this film. See it.

The One I Love - A fantastic little gem from Charlie McDowell. Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss are great.

The Imitation Game - A very sharp screenplay, and a brilliant performance from Benedict Cumberbatch.

A Most Wanted Man - The last leading performance from my favorite actor. 

Guardians of the Galaxy - Finally, Marvel made their finest MCU film yet. It’s fun and fast and a really great watch. 

Unfortunately I did not get the chance to see “A Most Violent Year”, “Winter Sleep”, “Goodbye to Language 3D”, “Leviathan” and serval other foreign films. I’m sure they all could have made my list if I had seen them.