For the Love of Language

 

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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

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Perler Bead Fever

So the blog has been pretty inactive lately. The girls and I have been busy with different things and we do apologize.

Actually, I went on vacation for a week. Three of those days were spent down at the Gulf Coast on the beach, in the sun.. Man I wish I could go back right now, haha. Another two days were filled with doing errands, some of which were in regard to my brother’s wedding. I’m a bridesmaid. And the rest of the days? Well, I reactivated my Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn subscription and played that for hours straight like a bum. A happy bum, but a bum.

Now on to the point of this post.  😉  I was recently introduced to perler beads and now I just can’t stop. I’ve always had an interest in perler beads and I’ve spotted a few geeky perler sprites in video game stores in the past. So as soon as I got my hands on some beads of my own, the fever hit me like a ton of bricks.

The perler bead fever, of course. The last few days I have been learning about the beads and practicing making my own sprites. There I was thinking that perler beads would be a walk in the park. I mean, it’s no jigsaw puzzle, but it can be challenging at times. You really have to get a feel for the melding bit of it too. Honestly, I think I finally have the technique down pretty well. And yes, there is a technique.

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So this is the part where I let everyone now that I’ve finally caved in and opened up an online shop at Etsy. For those of you that don’t know, Etsy is a crafter’s version of Ebay. Put simply, it’s the bomb-diggity.

For now I’m only selling the perler bead sprites, but I will be soon turning them into magnets, hair clips, necklaces, keychains, earrings, ect. Oh, it’s about to go down.

I only have a few perler sprites shown in the shop, but I take custom orders! So go custom order!

Here is my shop: The Krafty Kupo

I’ll post a few pictures of sprites I’ve done below, but don’t be surprised if they are the same ones listed on my shop. — Remember, custom orders!

Britney

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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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.

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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!

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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

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Knights of Sidonia Ep. 1-5 – First Impression

I came across the trailer for a new anime, Knights of Sidonia, that was being shown exclusively on Netflix. Here is that trailer:

 

And here is the official synopsis:

“The story follows the struggle of human survival amongst the monstrous shapeshifting aliens “Gauna” who all but destroyed the solar system a millennia ago and are bent on eliminating humans from existence.

Nagate Tanikaze, a low-born youth in a society of genetically engineered humans – now refugees that escaped the destruction of Earth one thousand years earlier, occupying the massive ship Sidonia. Nagate grew up living in the bottom layers of Sidonia away from civilization and raised by his now deceased grandfather. When Nagate’s talent as a pilot is revealed he becomes one of Sidonia’s elite defenders against the Guana.

 

From the trailer itself, I found myself pretty open minded. Mecha space-travel sci-fi type anime is sort of a 50-50 for me personally. I’ve had some of my favorites crop up out of this genre and have also been sorely disappointed.

Now I didn’t just watch the first episode to give y’all my opinion. I watched episodes 1-5, and I will admit that I didn’t do that entirely out of discipline. It got me!

Episode one was a little slow for my tastes, but after that you get introduced to the type of environment that the humans live in, how they survive, their societal structure, and many other things. Some of it is run of the mill, but then some of it is new and quite interesting. The depth of the characters grow as you move through the episodes. You learn as you go with this story, and that’s the way I like it. I don’t want the whole ton of information to be dropped on my head in the first or even second episode!

You’ll also find that in terms of storyline, this anime is not wishy-washy. I’d say it’s somewhere in between the tragic disturbance that is Attack on Titan and the sweet youthful interactions and typical cold shoulders you’d find in say.. Gundam Seed.

The animation is on it’s own playing field. It’s not ordinary anime drawing style. Instead, it’s more digitally fluid in terms of movement. This made me sort of have to pay very close attention to facial expression as they weren’t as blatantly obvious as in other anime. It also makes it seem as if the character’s movement is a little sluggish. This did bug me at first, but I didn’t really notice it as I continued to watch the episodes. Perhaps I got used to it?

Yes, we’ll go with that. Why? Because after you get used to the fluidity of the animation, you realize how beautiful it is and how suitable it is for scenes of space combat!

Let’s just say that I am impressed by this anime thus far. Netflix has 12 episodes total to watch, and I’m really hoping that isn’t the total count. I’d like to see at least 25 episodes. The storyline is certainly worth that and more.

Needless to say, I’ll be watching the rest of Knights of Sidonia. Afterward, I’ll do a follow-up post and let everyone know what I thought.

So far, so good!

Britney

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All your opinion are belong to us!

Protect Yourself: Online Security & Privacy

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Geeky ‘n Girly was recently contacted by Lisa Margetis from SingleHop, a company specializing in cloud computing. She asked us to join a blog initiative to educate people on the importance of online safety, passwords and privacy. Well, of course we said yes and decided that each of us would write a piece detailing tips for staying safe and secure while using the web.

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In the world of social media, people seem to be all too trusting about things they post online. Status updates of where we are, pictures to go along with it and trusting friends with passwords has seemed to become an “okay thing”. With everyone having so much access to unlimited information on the Internet, it’s important that we remember to stay safe, with out revealing too much info about ourselves. For example, let’s say you’re making a password to your online banking and you use your birthday as your password because it’s easy to remember, and your online PIN as your birthyear. Example: April26! (Password) PIN: 1988

Anyone who knows you and your birthday can probably figure that out! It’s important to make complicated passwords and also equally as important to not give them away. If you must let someone have a password to something important, make sure that it is a person that you REALLY trust, and that they have the password for the possibility of a emergency event happening. I use passwords that are completely random and have nothing to do with me personally. For example: 1218BmF1984! is a complex password that it completely random. Per https://howsecureismypassword.net/ , it would take 344 THOUSAND YEARS for a desktop PC to crack! Try this website to test your passwords. It’s easy to use and will open your eyes about how safe your password is. Remember, when making passwords, don’t use things that are familiar with you! Be random, remember how complex your password is and don’t give it away!

Many privacy focused users and companies who make sure their passwords are rock solid were still exposed to hacking because the Heartbleed vulnerability existed on one of the servers where their passwords were stored. I.E.: SingleHop servers were tested and found that because of the Open SSL version they were running, they thankfully weren’t affected. After Heartbleed they really tightened down their security to ensure that something like that wouldn’t be a problem for them in the future. That’s why they believe their secure dedicated servers are a great avenue for people looking to execute cloud based strategies. Data security is a two way street, users need to keep passwords secure, but companies that store those passwords have a responsibility to do the same!

Whitney

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Children are always taught the importance of stranger danger and the precautions they should take. Never take candy or items from a person you do not know and certainly never accept a ride from one. When I was younger that basically all you needed to worry about. As I’ve gotten older and technology has advanced, face to face contact is not the only means of meeting a stranger.

I am not a mother myself, however, after seeing my nieces and nephews on social media sites it opened my eyes to just how easy it is for a stranger to collect their information. IE: a simple status update, “Going to cheer practice.” Followed with “Going to the park.” These things seem harmless and simple, but if your profile is public anyone can see where you are and can pick up on a pattern. They’ll know where you you’ll be and when you’ll be there.

Another way is through hashtags. I don’t mean things like #selfie or #mancrushmonday. I’m talking about things that should obviously not be put like the tag #homealone has over one million photographs on Instagram. There are millions of Instagram users that can now look under that tag and see that you are home by yourself.

This is not just for children, but for adults as well. Things like status updates and hashtags don’t appear as though it could be potentially dangerous but it is better to not take that risk. Before posting think to yourself, “Is this information I should be sharing with the rest of the world?” Remember that you can never be too safe when it comes to social media.

Kelly

Kirby

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In general, we tend to be very trusting when it comes to loved ones. We tell them how our days went, how we feel about one another, and even our deepest darkest secrets. However, there are some things we shouldn’t share with loved ones especially when it comes to online security. Some of our most precious information is stored online, including credit card information, bank accounts, and ID numbers.

It should be said that we all must consider who it is that we can or should trust our passwords with. It might seem insulting to others involved, but it is simply for our security. Trust your amazon password with your best friend so she can buy that pretty lipstick online and then you might find yourself dealing with a new host of problems beyond your friendship. She may take it upon herself to buy that tank top she’s been wanting and then a cute pair of shoes to match!

That coworker just wishes he could have Netflix to watch that show you keep talking about. So you think that giving him your password and username to log on to watch is a nice thing to do. Why not? Then you will have someone to talk to about each new episode that comes on! — Again, why not? Well, your subscription for Netflix has to be paid somehow. I’m sure that it can viewed when you log on to your account. And guess what? That coworker of yours now has the ability to log on and see your billing information. Physical address, credit card number, e-mail address, ect.

You might find that these people who you thought trustworthy really aren’t that trustworthy at all.

So we should always take a step back to really look at our own online safety and then at what may happen should we trust someone with our passwords. Chances are that the people who we can trust with our online security are the same people who won’t ask us to begin with and/or won’t get upset if we decided not to share.

Britney

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Also,

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Fitness Gear for Geeks

I just came back from a work out, and find myself thinking about that geeky tank top that I posted on my Geek Fitness blog. Remember that one? Jigglypuff?

Well, I discovered a website that has an enormous stock of geeky wear, some for fitness and some for everyday wear. They’re not all for women either, plenty of masculine geek wear!

I can’t tell you how many of these tank tops that I want, but I will tell you that I plan to buy at least 5 or so within the next month.

 

2329blk-w484h484z1-30227-im-leveling-up2329atg-w484h484z1-41767-i-work-out-so-i-can-take-revenge-on-house-lannister  2329lem-w484h484z1-38303-training-to-be-a-legend2329atg-w484h484z1-50136-sailor-scout-in-training-jupiter  2329ind-w484h484z1-31283-workin-off-my-lumps 2329lem-w484h484z1-25596-crash-aku-aku-mask2329blk-w484h484z1-27436-train-for-the-hunger-games   2329tricrn-w484h484z1-31026-train-like-youre-in-dumbledores-army 2408whiblk-w484h484z1-29283-workout-then-passout-snorlax2408blk-w484h484z1-22722-workin-my-puff-into-tuff2329whi-w484h484z1-29463-beast-mode 2329lem-w484h484z1-30460-today-is-leg-day-squat2408atg-w484h484z1-24899-you-worked-out 2408atg-w484h484z1-29108-metapod-got-a-hard-body 2408blk-w484h484z1-16775-beast-mode-x-men  2408neopnk-w484h484z1-29753-train-like-youve-just-been-asked-to-join-the-avengers

 

All these tanks and SO MUCH MORE are from:  http://www.lookhuman.com/

Also check out: http://www.activateapparel.com/

Both sites have a massive selection of geeky wear, and I can already hear my wallet sobbing.

Which one do y’all like? — Feel free to link your favorite in the comments if it’s not one the tanks above! 😀

– Britney

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