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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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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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

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Geeks & Fitness

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Most people who tend to identify themselves as geeks are usually one or more of the following:

Video Gamers, Readers, Card/Table Top Gamers, Movie/Show Junkies, Artists

Anyone else notice how sedentary these hobbies are? Is anyone else frustrated with the choice of enjoying your favorite hobbies vs. going to exercise? Well, I am!

I grew up running around like a wild child, but as video games caught my interest I became more sedentary and gained weight. I was chubby through middle school, but started to slim down in high school due to marching band. Exit high school and enter the real world of bills, work, cheap fast food, a slowing metabolism, and stress. Suddenly my hobbies became my enemy. I sit to play video games, I sit to browse the web, and I sit to read.

So despite being on my feet all day with my past and current job, it’s been really difficult to maintain a healthy weight. It’s a balancing act to decide how to utilize the time and energy that I have after work. Cleaning, laundry, hobbies, exercise, ect.

And not only is it a matter of balancing, but then there is a conflict of motivation. If I just bought a new book, why in the world would I want to leave it inside while I go outside to exercise?!

Alas, I’ve come up with an experiment that may resolve this. What if we rewire our brain to think of our sedentary hobbies as the reward for going out to exercise? The idea itself is a great one, and I’ve recently been working on said rewiring. It isn’t the easiest thing, however, but I will continue to try and let everyone know how I progress.

 

Any ideas? Suggestions? Opinions? – I’d definitely love some input!

 

PS: I WILL have that Jigglypuff/Wigglytuff tank! ❤

~ Britney

Recent Novel Reads

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I haven’t read actual books in awhile as I’ve been reading mostly manga as of late but as fate would have it I’ve been having extra time in the morning before work so I decided to make two purchases one being The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and the second being Looking for Alaska by John Green. I’m going to discuss The Perks of Being a Wallflower first.

I had been meaning to read this book for some time now I just never got around to it I kept seeing the previews for the movie and it seemed to have that “independent” feel to it that I love so much. I wanted to read the novel first before watching the movie so that I could truly experience it. I have only watched a movie before reading the book one time and that was back in high school my boyfriend took me to go see The Golden Compass and I fell in absolute love with it and had to have the book and was ecstatic when I found out it was a trilogy. So I got the books for Christmas that year and I was so upset when I read the book because of how marvelous and wondrous it was that I couldn’t believe how much the movie had been “disney-ed” up. I love the His Dark Materials trilogy it is one of my very favorites but I told myself I would never watch a movie before the novel again.

Sorry for that tangent. This is one of those books that you feel different after reading. That gives you hope for tomorrow. I related to Charlie in the sense of crying. I cry very easily and it’s something I used to hate about myself. You always know that one dad or grandfather that you’ve never seen cry except maybe once when something really happens. Something worth crying for. I wanted to be like that it seemed so beautiful to me. But I’m not that type of person and I’m alright with that now. I look at it that maybe I just feel things more that I love everything and everyone so much. So much that it overflows.

Everything about Charlie is beautiful. From just the way he feels walking home taking in the wind on your face and leaves falling and the way the air smells. It makes me happy that even though this is a novel that there are people who feel. I’m not saying that most people don’t feel because everyone does but this is different. These are the feelings that make you float that make your soul smile and choke you up. To quote American Beauty ” Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it and my heart is just going to cave in.” Now I don’t know who he was writing to or that he was writing to anyone at all (as my boyfriend suggested) and I don’t think that it matters we all need to feel connected to someone or something and tell our hearts greatest wants and our story.

I feel this is relateable in the sense that we all have our Sam and Patrick at some point and time. That just like that you can meet extraordinary people.

You have to live with your soul wide open and love like you’ve never been hurt and trust like you’ve never been betrayed. There are bad people in this world don’t let them stifle you. At least you know that you’ve done what you can and that you’re a good person. This isn’t an in depth review. Just my feelings.

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I read this novel directly after reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower so I was already quite emotional and then this hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s one of those you kind of want to chuck across the room and scream WHYYY but it’s real. These things happen and you can’t stop them. You have to pick up the pieces of what was your life and keep going remembering their smile the way they talked and carried themselves. I don’t have much to say on this one except that it made me feel. It made me feel alive.

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I drew this for Alaska right after I read one of my favorite of many quotes.

” I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.”

Thank you for reading-Kelly

Happy Birthday Harry

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As you all know or should know out there in the geek world today is Harry’s birthday as well as his creator’s J.K. Rowling so I wanted to take today to discuss this series which is very dear to my heart. I first began to read Harry Potter in elementary school and finished at the end of high school so essentially I grew up with this series. I related to Harry so much I had a troubled home life was bullied quite a bit but I got through it all with the help of great friends. Britney was my Ron essentially lol she was always there for me and we were always in it together no matter what it was. These books aren’t about trying to impress anyone or any of the other things young impressionable girls would normally see. No these books were about friendship and standing up for what you think is right. Being brave even when everyone else stands against you and sometimes you have to do things on your own. Reading the Chamber of Secrets in the 5th grade and meeting Dobby for the first time I never thought many years later I would be a young woman crying over that wonderful brave little house elf.

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I can remember reading the 6th book when Kreacher comes to Hogwarts and Hermione speaks to him and he says under his breath ” The mudblood is speaking to Kreacher.” I laughed so hard I almost woke everyone in the house up. Word of advice don’t read at 2 am. Even though I still do. While there were many sad and absolutely heartbreaking moments it was filled with fun cheery moments as well. Fred and George always up to something. Ron and his gift of somehow embarrassing himself all the time. Hermione keeping Harry and Ron on their toes. The series wouldn’t have been the same if one of them was missing each one of them held each other up like true friends do. They also got into arguments which made them seem so real and like someone you know. Their characters were so relateable. I did like the movies as well although as they progressed I felt more and more was changed and left out. I thought why would they throw in something that didn’t even happen and leave out some incredibly pivotal points. Like in the 6th for instance (which was my favorite book) they threw in some bullshit scene at the burrow catching it on fire and running around outside seriously what the hell. That was there but where the hell was Dumbledore’s funeral. That was such a beautiful scene in the book with the centaurs at the edge of the forest and the mer-people. The cinematography for something like that would have looked amazing. Also in the fifth book when in Saint Mungo’s when Neville’s mom handed him the bubble gum wrapper and his gran told him throw it away and he put it in his pocket. That scene right there is what made me feel so much for him. I realize that not all things can be added but if things are going to be left out don’t replace them with things that didn’t happen. Why the changes are made to begin with make no sense to me because everything in the books is so wonderful and would have been great on film. Aside from that I feel the golden trio couldn’t have been cast any better they were perfect. Hagrid was perfect as well. I preferred the look of the second Dumbledore better I just didn’t like that he shouted quite often lol Dumbledore was quite soft spoken. Luna was done well and Neville was wonderful. I do wish Slughorn would have looked more like a walrus as described in his pajamas.

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On a darker note these books dealt quite a bit with loss and death and having to pick yourself up because you have to. Harry lost the one man he felt was family and showed him love. He like most had to carry on and go to school. Some feel it’s best to go on though life alone because then you won’t have loss and disappointment, but if it had not been for Ron and Hermione and all of his wonderful friends what would have been the point of anything he had done. With them in his own words he had something worth fighting for.

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Everytime abc family airs the movies I very annoyingly tell my boyfriend IT’S A HARRY POTTER WEEKKKKKEENNNNDDDD!!!! Yes I watch it everytime and usually crochet while watching. Those are the most relaxing days off. These books made me laugh, made me cry and made me grow up. They made me cherish my friends and family more. I love these books and I thank J.K. Rowling for creating these books so that that poor little girl that was me could escape to a wonderful world. I’m doing great now and will continue to do so and since I live in Florida I’ll hopefully go to the Harry Potter world at universal soon. Even though the series ended it will never be over as long as there are those that are loyal. Thank you for reading -Kelly

Love of Written Words

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I was sitting at work today thinking of what topic should I post about tonight and then I realized I haven’t discussed books yet. I, like all my fellow geeks am an avid reader. I truly love to read and in different formats. I do own a nook tablet and the size of the screen is perfect for reading manga  and if I want to read a particular book  I do not own and have no time to purchase it in store I like that I can have it right when I want it. I also use it to decide if I really loved the book I will purchase  a hard coy to keep on the shelf with my others and if I didn’t  care for it then I won’t worry with it While the nook is handy nothing beats a real book. Ones with aged yellow pages and a scent that I wish I could bottle .

My love affair with books began when I was little and my favorite book was The Wind in the Willows. It will always have a special place in my heart. I can remember going to a book fair at school when I was in the second grade and while most kids were buying coloring books and those wacky science experiment kits to play with I had had my eye on this book that was supposed to be a fictional diary by a young Cleopatra. I was obsessed with Egypt so I begged my mom for the money for the book and very excitedly I purchased the book along with bookmark with a beautiful tassel on it. I felt so grown up. Now that I’m older and have many many more under my belt I’ve read some books that have left me with a meh feeling and others that have left me awestruck and awakened my soul. I’ve mourned the loss of many fictional characters and for others at the end of a series sat back like a proud parent. When I read I feel like Harry approaching the pensieve. I turn slowly to the first page then plunge face first letting the scenes envelope me as a movie reel plays in my mind.

I’m not sure how many others do this but I often envision myself as the heroine of a story. When I read these lovely stories I’m not just the girl that gets up for work every morning to go to the same job day after day doing the same routine. In these books I’ve battled dark elves, I’ve ridden dragons, I’ve lead rebellions but most importantly I’ve gone on adventures.

I can’t imagine my life without books. Without them I wouldn’t have learned of all these emotions within me to be able to feel something so deep.

To all of the wonderful authors out there please continue to do all that you do and thank you for taking me on adventures I never thought possible. Thank you. -Kelly