For the Love of Language

 

logo_small

My recent research in college education has led me, as it has many times, to my one of my biggest passions: Language. Throughout my K-12 years I bounced around with what I wanted to study due to the fact that I have many interests. East Asian studies, art, veterinary medicine, animal behaviorism, graphic design, and English have made up the main bunch.

Even so, I always seem to make a loop and end up at the same conclusion. I love language; particularly English.

Language is what sets us apart. It is a fundamental aspect of our lives. We speak, write, and read language. It is what allows us to express ourselves in the most profound ways. It is interesting how many people might say, “Well, yeah,” as if that’s just a fact of life and there is nothing fascinating or extraordinary about language. Yet when you give it thought, imagine what language means to us.

One facet of language presents to us an escape from our lives by letting us delving into created worlds. That is reading.

My relationship with reading began well enough. I was fascinated by stories, but as a child it was visually appealing. Who didn’t love those picture storybooks?

Late elementary into middle school introduced an entirely new type of reading. No more pictures? I have to use my imagination? As a kid that grew up on Disney movies and vibrant picture storybooks, this was not how I wanted it to go. So, I decided that reading and I didn’t suit each other. Silly me.

It wasn’t until late middle school when I was roaming idly around the library that the spine of a book caught my eye. It depicted a horse, and I’ve always loved horses. As I looked at it, I read the title, “Wild Magic”. Horses, wild, and magic? What was this enticing sorcery? I checked out the book that day and was hooked.

Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic kindled my love for reading. This was the kind of reading that provided that wonderful escape from reality; the type that grips your mind and heart.

Mark Edmundson (The Ideal English Major) described it so well:

“There are people who read to anesthetize themselves—they read to induce a vivid, continuous, and risk-free daydream. They read for the same reason that people grab a glass of chardonnay—to put a light buzz on. The English major reads because, as rich as the one life he has may be, one life is not enough. He reads not to see the world through the eyes of other people but effectively to become other people.”

“Real reading is reincarnation. There is no other way to put it. It is being born again into a higher form of consciousness than we ourselves possess.”

It was through these kinds of experiences that I developed a love for language and so a love for writing. After all, the three facets of language are all interlinked.

It’s why I am writing to all of you right now, and why I plan to pursue a degree in English.

I completely geek out over language!

It’s a dream of mine to have a career where I can indulge in my passion for language (reading, writing, speaking), and to reach others through my work. I’d like to publish at least one book if not more, and I will forever to encourage others to love language.

Here are some of my favorite books/series that I recommend:

The Sevenwaters TrilogyJuliet Marillier

Heart’s BloodJuliet Marillier

The Maze Runner trilogyJames Dashner

The Immortals quartetTamora Pierce

Dragonriders of PernAnne McCaffrey

 

Britney

14618

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic_beasts

No wizarding household is complete without a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Albus Dumbledore

Last Christmas, a friend of mine bought me a gift that I now rank in my top 10 favorite gifts of all time. He bought me, “The Hogwarts Library” book set! This is a high quality hardcover set of extra books written by J.K. Rowling that emulate the books used by Harry and his friends in the H.P. series.

hpbthcset02-w550

The set includes:

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Quidditch Through the Ages
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard

After reading them, it was easy for me to decide that Fantastic Beasts was my favorite of the three. Why? I love animals, creature, and beasties whether they are of this Earth or reside within fiction.

The “author” is the magical beast fanatic and overall eccentric, Newt Scamander.

Newton (‘Newt’) Artemis Fido Scamander was born in 1897. His interest in fabulous beasts was encouraged by his mother, who was an enthusiastic breeder of fancy Hippogriffs.”

It also features a Foreword by Albus Dumbledore as well as notes scribbled by Harry and his friends. I found these notes very amusing. They turned what would be a mundane glossary section of the book into an entertaining one!

_4

Notice the word “section”. While the majority of this book is a glossary of magical beasts, it isn’t everything. See below for the contents listing.

CONTENTS

Foreword by Albus Dumbledore

Introduction by Newt Scamander

About This Book

What Is a Beast?

A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantasy Beasts

Magical Beasts in Hiding

Why Magizoology Matters

Ministry of Magic Classifications

An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts

About the Author

Now I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book, but I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was physically holding the same book that Hogwarts’ students held. This book as an e-book just wouldn’t do it for me. So do yourself a favor and buy this bad boy and the others paperback or (especially) hardback. You’ll thank me later. 😉

On to the fun stuff! I wanted to briefly mention that I love the names of the beasts exclusive to the H.P. world. They tickle me. Like, I genuinely giggle at some of the names. So here is a short list of some of the names I find amusing.

  • Billywig
  • Chizpurfle
  • Crup
  • Dugbog
  • Erkling
  • Fwooper
  • Lobalug
  • Murtlap
  • Niffler
  • Plimpy
  • Snidget

I took the time to write a list of the beasts that interested me and narrowed it down to one favorite (because I’m a super geek) to give everyone an example of what sort of information you might find.

// Drumroll //

Antipodean Opaleye

“The Opaleye is a native of New Zealand, though it has been known to migrate to Australia when territory becomes scarce in its native land. Unusually for a dragon, it dwells in valleys rather than mountains. It is of medium size (between two and three tonnes). Perhaps the most beautiful type of dragon; it has iridescent, pearly scales and glittering, multi-coloured, pupil-less eyes, hence its name. This dragon produces a very vivid scarlet flame, though by dragon standards it is not particularly aggressive and will rarely kill unless hungry. Its favourite food is sheep, though it has been known to attack larger prey. A spate of kangaroo killings in the late 1970’s were attributed to a male Opaleye ousted from his homeland by a dominant female. Opaleye eggs are pale grey and may be mistaken for fossils by unwary Muggles.”

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Film

On September 12 2013, Warner Bros and Rowling announced they will be producing a film inspired by the book, being the first in a new trilogy. Rowling herself will be the screenwriter. She came up with a plan for a movie after Warner Bros. suggested the idea. Here is the statement released by J.K. Rowling.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway.”

Rowling will make her screen writing debut with this film. David Heyman, who produced the Harry Potter films, will be returning as producer for Fantastic Beasts.

  • October 2013, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe stated he would likely not be a part of the film.
  • March 2014, Warner Bros. confirmed that the story would be released as a trilogy.
  • May 2014, no director or cast member has been confirmed.
  • May 2014, according to entertainment reporter Nikki Finke, Alfonso Cuarón, who directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is in talks to direct the film, but Cuarón denied about directing the film.
  • July 2014, Warner Bros. announced that J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to shoot at the Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in the U.K., which also happens to house the Harry Potter Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter.

 

Needless to say, I am super excited about this movie! I always found the magical beasts of the H.P. world to be really odd and fascinating so let’s see which of them they decide to include. Maybe I’ll get to see an Antipodean Opaleye or a cute Kneazle!

Britney

14618

Harry Potter Month!

Hogwarts_boats_1

We wanted to let everyone know that we are going to be doing a Harry Potter themed month as this month is his birthday! July 31st, to be exact.

So expect to see at least one H.P. post a week from us, all with varying topics and neat stuff! We have some interesting things to show y’all so do stop by each week. (If you don’t already, that is! ;D)

That being said, we’re kicking it off with a Hogwarts’ Houses Poll!

Britney

14618

 

 

 

 

All your opinion are belong to us!

5 Really Good Reasons Why It’s Fine For Women To Be Underrepresented In Video Games

5 Really Good Reasons Why It’s Fine For Women To Be Underrepresented In Video Games

Ok, when I first read the title for this article I immediately geared up to be flaming pissed off by the end of it. As I read through it, the room was getting hot and the walls closing in. I was starting to see red. I couldn’t believe what I was reading! It wasn’t until a couple statements way too unrealistic to even be written that I realized that it was satirical. Oh, and to be noted as a tag at the end as well.

Haha, very funny. But really, after our last blog about female bullying in geekdom it sort of fit the bill. It’s a good representation of the bias against women in a lot of geeky realms. Why? The bias is just plain ridiculous! I’m seriously awaiting the day that geeky men realize that women are in the realm of geekdom, have been in it, and will continue to exist in it whether they like it or not.

And hey, shouldn’t they be damn happy that they have all these fine ladies enjoying the same things they do? The same type of ladies that would be willing to accept that their guy might want to chill at home one night to play a video game than go out and party it up. Mhm. Better just accept it and be grateful, my dear geeky men.

Bam!

– Britney

14618

Beauty on a Budget

I decided last week that I would break my habit of purchasing the more expensive make-up brands for the smaller tools of my make-up routine. After browsing the web and asking my fellow co-bloggers for advice, I stopped by Walgreens to try the following make-up.

Revlon

WP_20140608_049

I’m using Revlon’s Photoready Concealer per Kelly’s suggestion, and I love it. The container, as you can see, lets you apply it like lipstick. You don’t need to use a lot, nor do you use too much since it’s not liquid. All you need to do to finish is use your finger to even it out. The coverage is smooth enough so that it doesn’t gather in your crinkles (not wrinkles!), but it does last all day and evening without having to reapply.

I was on the prowl for new liquid eyeliner too. I did use Estee Lauder’s in the past, but in order to save a few bucks I decided to test Revlon’s Skinny Liquid Liner. I haven’t had good experiences with other inexpensive liners, but this one wins my stamp of approval. It has a super thin applicator tip that allows for very fine lines, and after the first full day and night it stayed in place. It will smear if you get it wet and then rub it, but it won’t run simply from being wet. It lasted through a full day’s worth of my worst allergies, so it’s good stuff.

Retail Prices (Walgreens):

Revlon Photoready Concealer:  $10.79

Revlon Colorstay Skinny Liquid Liner:  $7.99

 

Milani

WP_20140608_050

For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt the need the fill out my brows. I’m a natural dark blonde and so my eyebrows are sparse and fairly light. I think that nicely shaped full brows are what make a face, so to speak. Now I’ve always used a fine tipped pencil, but I’ve heard a lot of women say they use brow powder and/or gel.

Hence my recent purchase of Milani’s Brow Fix Kit and Brow Tint Pen. First I’d like to say that Milani’s Brow Fix Kit is a little bundle of awesome. It has three hues of powder. One hue is for highlighting, and the other two fill the brows. A magnified mirror and three tools come within as well: Angled brush, sponge tip, and teeny tweezers. You might think this is overkill, and normally I never use the miniature tools in these silly little kits. With this one, I do! I tweeze away the randoms, highlight with sponge tip, and fill with the angled brush all while using that nifty built in mirror. As for quality of the make-up, the powders really cling to the skin well and I don’t have to reapply during the day.

For a really defined look, I also purchased Milani’s Brow Tint Pen. This pen has a super tiny tip that allows you to get a more defined yet natural look. It really helps with the areas of my brow that are sparse as the tiny marks it leaves looks just like tiny hairs. The gel also helps the powder stick better and helps the whole look last longer. Good for a night out on the town!

Retail Prices (Walgreens):

Milani Brow Fix Brow Kit:  $6.79

Milani Brow Tint Pen:  $6.49

 

Let me know if you have any suggestions for good quality inexpensive make-up products!

Britney

14618

Prejudice in Geekdom

Image

“I’ve been a fan before anyone even knew what/who  _____ was. I’ve been listening to, playing it, doing it longer than you have. So you’re not a true fan because you only starting liking it after it got popular!”

Has anyone else heard or read this before? Yeah, thought so.

We are so quick to judge other people, to categorize them, to stomp on their delicate budding intrigue before it has a chance to bloom. Why? Because we don’t think they deserve to be interested.

Too many times I hear that if you haven’t been fan since the beginning, then you’re not really a fan. If you haven’t been reading the books, playing the games, listening to the music since the origin of time then you’re not qualified to be a true fan of said subject. I’m calling it.. Bullshit! Loads of it, in fact.

“Oh, you’re a Mario fan because you occasionally play Mario on the Wii? Pfft, then you’re not a real fan. I’ve been playing Mario since the original on NES. “ It’s as if that simple fact makes them more of a fan than the person who occasionally plays newer Mario’s? No, it doesn’t! Just because that person does not know as much or hasn’t played as many games, does not mean that they don’t enjoy Mario just as much as the old school gamers do!

It’s that thought process that causes long time fans to bully the newer or more casual fans, and sometimes it bullies them right out of being fans. Shame on them! Seriously. They want to isolate themselves with the others they deem worthy when all they’re truly doing is shutting people off from enjoying, liking, even loving the subjects they love. And why wouldn’t they want others to love the things that they love? That means having more people to talk to it about, more people to relate to, more people to fuel purchasing around that subject.

Mull it over with me.. The more popular a subject is, the more profitable, and the more you see it. You see more of that product, more of its merchandise, and more things similar to it.

I.E.: Star Wars – Do you really think that if Star Wars hadn’t gotten the ever evolving and constantly growing fandom that it’s had and has that they would still be producing Star Wars movies? NO. They wouldn’t.  It’s thanks to old and new fans that you will continue to see Star Wars movies, t-shirts, video games, ect.

What is my advice to those that continue to look down on the new or casual fans? Quit it. Not only are you bullying people, but you’re doing a disservice to yourself and an injustice to your passions. You should be relating to these new and casual fans; encouraging them even. If not for their involvement in your interests, you may see less and less of the things you love.

Instead of glaring at the girl who wears the Pikachu shirt simply for the fact that she thinks it’s cute, you should compliment her on having an awesome shirt. Who cares if she didn’t/doesn’t really play Pokemon? Who cares as to what level of extremity her interest in Pokemon is? She is a fan. You are a fan. It’s time to accept that simply as it is.

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to the subjects that are considered geeky like video games and books. Simply put: Someone isn’t more deserving of being a fan than someone else!

Just because I didn’t read the Harry Potter books as they were being released from the beginning doesn’t mean that I don’t love them as much as the people that did. It took me years to finally pick up the series. Why can’t a fan be a new fan?

Just because I don’t play video games every day doesn’t mean that I’m not a gamer girl. I love video games. Always have, always will. Why can’t a fan be a casual fan?

Just because I can’t explain to you the founding of the FC Barcelona team and I don’t watch each and every game doesn’t mean that I’m not a FCB fan! Why can’t a fan be both casual and new?

I think it’s due time that we as geeks stop categorizing fandom and just be a fan who respects other fans. Sure, I might be 100% more obsessed with Final Fantasy than the young guy who’s only played the newest game, but we are both fans. And hey, I’m down with that!

 

PS: Part 2 coming soon!

 

~ Britney

14618