Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Bookish Schools I Neeeeed To Go To (Now!)

The Host: That Artsy Reader Girl
Have you wanted to explore fantasy worlds? Eat lunch with your favorite characters? Here are some bookish schools I'm dying to go to, and bet you are, too! All covers courtesy of Goodreads.
1. Hogwarts
Obviously. I think I'd be foolish denying this one.

2. The Gallagher Academy
The courses in this school fascinate me. I mean, if there is Culture and Assimilation and Covert Operations involved, count me in!

3. Spy School
Pretty much for the same reasons above: anything spy related sounds super cool.

4. The Magisterium
I'm not sure if I want to attend the school or just read the last book in this series. Maybe I'll read it, then decide, just to be safe ;).

5. The Academy of Scholastic Distinction
The school sounds pretty fun, especially with kids of different gifts.

6. Mr.Lemoncello's Library
Okay, so this isn't a school, but the library could probably teach me everything I need to know (and everything I DON'T need to know). From holograms of famous people to dinosaurs, this library has everything!

7. The School for Good and Evil
What an interesting take on good and evil. Using two characteristics to define heroes and villains is pretty cool.

So where do you want to secretly head off to in the fall? Which bookish schools are your favorite? Tell me below!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Getting My Bird Out of Its Cage (1st time!)

The most amazing evening ever just happened.

It was more amazing than a concert. It was more amazing than meeting...well, someone famous.

And I was freaked. Out.

So here's the full story to what happened when I decided to take Pringle (the yellow bird from my Bird FAQ post) out of its cage for the first time! If you own a bird, I hope you enjoy and learn from my experience!

5:30 PM- I started prepping the room for my bird, taking out metal items (in case of zinc poisoning), shoes, plants (again, poisoning), a vase, and other dangerous items. I spread a bed sheet on the ground (in case he needed to use the bathroom), and moved corner objects to the very corner so he couldn't get stuck. I also pushed the sofas back, and covered the window part of the door with paper.
6:00 PM- Yum, linner! I recommend not skipping this step, no matter how silly it seems, because for the next hour, you won't be eating soon and you will need your energy.
7:00 PM- I called my family into the room for backup, and covered up most of the door with a bed sheet. That was pretty much our only source of light besides the window, which was covered up. (This is really important!) I tried to get Pringle to step up on my hand, but he looked really tired in the dark room. All of our lamps were too dangerous to put around him, so I decided to open up the curtain for the time being, like I always did when I tamed him. This woke him up, and he started eating millet (a treat) from my hand. He stepped up a few times, and we closed the curtains one by one.
7:40 PM- I brought him out of its cage. It was a magical moment! He stared up at me as he came out into the world!
Then he flew up in the air, and I panicked slightly. So did Lola, my bird still in the cage. I prayed that he wouldn't crash into the wall, because I've heard it happens!
Remember how I said the door was mostly covered? Well, he noticed the tiny sliver of light peeking out, and decided to go sit on the bed sheet covering it. We all breathed a sigh of relief that he had stopped flying and was completely okay! He stared out for quite a bit.
Then he got ready to fly again! He flew around for about 10 seconds (this feels like a minute!), and I covered my eyes. I prayed he'd land somewhere!
He ended up in the corner the farthest away from us. I was totally okay with that, as long as he was fine. I pushed some treats toward him, but he didn't try them. He walked around slowly, not really doing much.
His next move was to fly up, up, up! I expected him to land on the curtain rod, but he ended up on the curtain itself! He was holding on to that tiny sliver of fabric, and started pecking it.
That's when I realized I should have completely covered the windows, not just by closing them with curtains. He stayed upside down, and I tried to distract him by calling his name, but it was to no avail.
He was getting restless. I bet the curtain wasn't very comfortable. He got ready to fly, and I really closed my eyes this time, worried he'd fly into the window!
I heard his wings flap and a thump.
"What happened?"
"I think he bumped into something. Did he get hurt?" said my mom. My heart was beating fast. If anything had happened to him...
"Where is he?" asked my dad, crawling toward the curtain. He lifted it up, and I saw the shadow of wings flapping.
He was sitting on the windowsill! This would have been really, really cute if I wasn't so scared. I approached him slowly, over a span of time, trying to give him treats. He stared outside at the whole world (this window let him see our front yard and neighborhood), but it was getting late. I had to get him back in his cage.
The problem was, the cage was in the middle of the room, with Lola inside. I was worried that if I moved it, he'd get panicked, and Pringle would get panicked, too. Unfortunately, moving the cage closer seemed to be the only option, since Pringle was barely eating and did not step up onto my hand. So I moved the cage on the floor. Later, by my sister's suggestion, I moved it onto a stool so it would be on the same level as my bird. Luckily, Lola didn't panic at all. He's super awesome!
The birds talked for about three seconds. Pringle just stared out the window in fascination at the cars and lights. This whole time, I brought the millet closer, and pushed up on his belly to get him to step up. Nothing I did worked! He didn't want to get on my finger. He even started flying, but landed on the same spot again. I pushed higher and higher and higher, but he didn't want to get up!
He yawned. He was definitely sleepy. Hey, he was relaxing before I even took him out! I didn't know what to do. We had to get him in, but how? We were already calm, and trying our best.
"Let's get the net. It's the only option."
"Ten more minutes," I promised. I kept putting it off.
"Five more minutes."
"Okay." Pause. "You can go get the net."
My mom quickly left and came back. I begged for them not to use the net, trying to get Pringle up more and more.
"Come on. I believe in you. You're such a strong bird." I coaxed.
Whatever it was, he wasn't moving. He just looked straight at me (or out the window, I get confused since birds have eyes on opposite sides of their faces). Maybe he did want to get home, but he didn't know how.
"Two more minutes, please! I'll get him in now!" I moved the cage closer, but didn't want to scare Pringle. I even tried to feed Lola so Pringle might want to, but Lola didn't bite! Finally, my mom suggested the most brilliant thing.
"Move your hand around in the cage and make noises like he does. He probably can't even see his cage properly. Remind him of his home."
I ran my finger through his food, and then tapped on his bell toy.
That's finally what did it. Pringle remembered his home! He paused for a moment, then jumped a little lower. I opened the cage door, and he bent forward, ready to fly in...
So I offered my finger, he stepped up, I brought him in, and closed the door!
My birds flew around, panicked a little, but after a few seconds settled in. Phew! I felt so, so, so relieved that Pringle was safe. A huge weight had been lifted off my chest!
I thought it had been three hours, but it was only 8:34 PM!

TL;DR...getting Pringle out was easy, but getting him back in was very difficult. I ended up accomplishing it without catching him with the net, which I'm super happy about.

Here's what I learned:

  • Take your bird out at the right time. Pringle usually gets tamed in the morning or around 4:00 PM. I let him out at 7:00, when that maybe wasn't the best idea. His behavior might have been different. As a pro, he did get tired, but try to stick to the right time of day when taking out your birds. Try not to force him (like I had to wake him up).
  • Get everything you need. We were lucky Pringle didn't fly out when my mom opened the door to get the net. Be sure not to forget anything!
  • Add many perches to the walls and around the room. Again, we were lucky the bedsheets and curtains were enough for Pringle, but I'm definitely adding more perches all around the walls so he has no difficulty landing. If you have a bigger bird, make sure to do this. I'm not sure how much control they have when landing on such thin surfaces.
  • Make sure your bird is 3000% comfortable with you. Pet them. Stroke them. Push them. Touch them. They have to be able to interact with you easily. They cannot be scared of you at all.
  • Try your best not to panic. When Pringle flew, I was always scared. It was fine when he sat down, but I was always worried he'd fly somewhere and wouldn't be able to land. Don't freak out. It won't help. You'll scare your bird if they realize you're scared.
  • No yelling. Talk softly at all costs so your bird isn't scared.
  • Be patient, and don't give up. We could have caught Pringle and forced him in, but we took our time. This is really important. You want to keep your bird's trust, so give him time if he needs it. This isn't something you can do in a minute, so dedicate some time for your bird.
  • Thank your supporters. Thanks, family, for helping me stay on track and not getting too frightened ;).
Thanks for reading this very long post! If you have birds, tell me about your experiences. How was it? What tips do you have? For owners of other pets, do you have some landmark events you'd like to tell us about? Spill in the comments!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Book Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Cover courtesy of Goodreads

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
What's better than cool powers, the gold rush, and historical fantasy?!

Goodreads Synopsis:
Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.

My Review: This is a book I meant to read for a while. I mean, being able to sense gold during the Gold Rush?! Lee must have an awesome time...right?
Well, not exactly. She faces lots of problems along the way...maybe a little too many? I feel like the author tried to fit in too much, causing the story to get a little boring in the middle. It got more interesting at the end as the story wrapped up, at least, but I didn't realize that the book was only about the journey there. They never do any actual gold rushing in this story (it's probably a focus of the next book).
The characters were interesting and very unique. They seemed like real people you'd find travelling to California together. I like the development some go through, especially one of the adult mothers. She becomes more trusting, and really changes her negative attitude.
One last thing I will say about the plot is that running away from Uncle Hiram is a big part of the story, but *spoiler* he doesn't really make an appearance until the end. This didn't make much sense to me. If you're going to spend the whole book bracing for someone to find you, at least don't make that scene over in a few pages *end of spoiler*.
Overall, the plot and characters were interesting, so I give this book 3.5 stars. I do want to see what happens with Lee next!

Monday, August 13, 2018

FAQ: Getting Flying Friends

The question has long been debated: what's the best pet to have? Well, I can't speak for everyone, but I think one of the best kinds of pets to have are birds. I have two of them and am here to answer all of your questions about what taking care of them is like.


Why did you choose birds?
I went a little bird-crazy when I was 10. I used to draw peacocks and tons of others from a drawing guide, and loved how beautiful and majestic they were. Plus, birds are really low-maintenance. They only make a mess in their cage, which itself is small. Their food, toys, and supplies aren't as expensive as other pets' items can be.

How did you get your birds?
We walked into the pet store one day and came back with... a fish.

The next day, we went back and brought a beautiful, light-blue bellied budgie (otherwise known as a parakeet). A few months later, my dad brought another one home as a surprise to keep it company.

Our first budgie passed away a few months ago, so we bought a yellow and gray budgie so my second budgie wouldn't feel alone. I'm in the process of hand-taming it (wish me luck!).
Also, we ended up loving the fish :).

What do you have to do to take care of them?
Once or twice a week, you should clean out their cage (which takes around 20 minutes max.). You should also spend some time with them (at least 15-20 minutes per day) just unwinding and having fun. Feed them and change their water out daily as well (5-6 minutes). I also like to play them some music when no one else is around. They seem to love classical music (looking at you, Mozart!).
So as you can see, it only takes around half an hour to take care of birds everyday!

But birds just sit there!
This is an actual complaint I've received, which is very not true! If you tame your birds, they can come out of their cage to play. Even if you don't, you'll notice that they have their own cute personalities and won't seem boring at all! If you keep an open mind, you'll both develop a great relationship.

Are they really that soft?
They're little fluff balls covered in feathers. So of course they're that soft!

I'm really bird crazy, and hope to infect you, too. If you're looking for a low-maintenance, cuddly friend to stay by your side, maybe birds are the right fit! If not, buy one for me and mail it. I'll take it!
Do you have any pets? Are you as crazy about them as I am? Tell me all about them!
My two birds. From left to right: Pringle (the baby) and Lola.
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