Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chapter 2.11: Unhealthy Is Not Weight Related

So, I often go on the Western Forum, Viking Village, just to look through the threads and see if there's anything interesting for me to comment on. Today I found one that for some reason really upset me called "views on body weight". The part that really ticked me off, that offended me the most was this "I don't understand why so many people are overweight in the western world. There is little positive about obesity and the act of fixing the disease (eating healthy and exercising) feels wonderful. " Then the thread goes on, with people on both sides arguing, often in rather blunt, frustrating ways about how there's really no reason for people to be overweight other than the fact that they are lazy and that thin people are much healthier.

Now, I grew up in a home that has weight problems. I personally was a size 14 until my junior year of high school and then I became underweight to the point where people thought I was sickly and my doctor believed I had an eating disorder I was in denial about. And while I'm finally a good weight, I know I'm not healthy. I'm a size 4, but I have little endurance and survive mostly on toast, sandwiches, granola bars, and chocolate while here at school. At home it's a little better because my mother is a fantastic cook and makes things that work within my food restrictions. But I still have an overdeveloped sweet tooth.

The only reason I am thin, is because of my IBS. And I know that it's not just laziness that keeps people from being healthy. Not thin. Healthy. There are some freaks of nature who love running, swimming, playing sports, biking, etc. and their bodies are built for that. They naturally have good endurance or just like it.

I, on the other hand, have been working on trying to up my endurance for years and it's never really worked. I can walk and sometimes if I don't have real time constraints (and if the land is flat) can enjoy it, but often I'd rather not. Exercise will never "feel wonderful" for some people. For some it will always feel like a chore.

And people know that when you grow up in a family that doesn't make healthy choices that it means you have a harder time making those healthy choices. But people who haven't grown up in that environment will never understand the near irresistible pull of some foods. Plus, some freaks just like salad. Like they choose salad over a hamburger because they enjoy the salad more. Which makes me want to hug them. ;)

There were two posts I loved that made me laugh. One said: "An ugly person is just choosing not to get plastic surgery. It's not anybody elses fault they don't kick their ass in gear to get the money necessary for a facial modification procedure.On second thought, it's not like stupid people can't just learn more. You know, put in a little bit more effort, get their education going. You can learn from books as well, it's not like you *need* to go to college. If only those uneducated would do more for themselves, we wouldn't have to look down on them so much."

The one right after it said: "Absolutely! In fact, let's make it a law that all people who can't adhere to a certain amount of beauty, intelligence, weight, etc should be put in camps far away from eyesight until they stop being so lazy. And if they can't after a certain period of time..... well society is better off without them right?"

I think that instead of focusing on fat vs thin, we should focus on how anyone can be healthy. Like making gym memberships more widely available instead of having to pay $60 a month for the privilege of using their equipment. Also, a wide variety of classes at these gyms, or making personal trainers viable options for everyone would help those who dislike exercise find something they can do that doesn't make them feel like they're going to throw up.

We can also make it so healthy foods are actually reasonably priced. Half the reason people buy processed foods or junk food is that the price is easier for them to manage than fresh, healthy options. When Ramen costs $.99 but it takes $5 to make a healthy dinner, Ramen will win for those who need that extra $4 to put towards bills.

And we can implement programs in schools that make being healthy fun, like keeping a food log and every time you eat twenty healthy items you get to choose a prize. And doing what Jamie Oliver did in schools, where the food is real and not processed. I'm not sure what else can be done, but there are millions of us in America. I'm sure someone has ideas.

Bottom line? This is not a weight issue. I get that these people believe that obesity is the epidemic, but you don't have to be overweight to be unhealthy. Nor do you have to be thin to be healthy. We need to be a little open-minded. And I definitely don't believe my opinion is the only valid one, but you can't argue a point until you've lived or been part of what you're arguing against. Like Twilight. But that's a different post.

So what do you think? Am I out of line here? Do I only make sense to the jabbering monkeys in my own mind?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chapter 2.10: Freakin' Foreign Language

Okay, right here and now I want to extend apologies and sympathies to any student who has ever had to learn English as a second language. I've taken French and Greek so I know firsthand how difficult a foreign language can be. And that's just with a language that makes sense. The way French and Greek works is fairly normal and makes logical sense.

But English is the language that realizes you're trying to learn it, and mugs you in the middle of the night with words that can't be real and grammatical conventions that make no sense. Plus all of the exceptions to the exceptions of the rules decide to lie in wait until the day before a test andthen spring out at you with bull horns and strobe lights.

Now you're dazed and confused and blind. This is what learning English is like. This is what learning English is like just for a native speaker. My major is English and even I sometimes look at the language and go "What were these people smoking when they came up with that?" Like silent gh. In what world does that make sense? Were they just desperate for a way to win at Scrabble? Points to anyone who knows the reference.

Plus, English has the most vocabulary out of the 5000 or so languages in the world. No really, I read it in a textbook so it must be true. Besides, English is a langauge that lurks in back alleys, nabbing other languages, beating them up, and riffling through their pockets for spare vocabulary. Most of our words are no our own and often have roots in other languages. That's a lot of vocabulary to try and learn/use when the rules are like semi-solid quicksand.

You know what else is very very frustrating when learning a language? When you switch teachers and the dialect unexpectedly changes. All the careful pronunciation I learned for Greek last year (long O versus short Ah, Eh vs Long A, all the dipthongs, rough or smooth breathing) my new Greek teacher no longer uses. Omicron and omega sound the same, there is no rough or smooth breathing, most of the dipthongs sound like ee.

It's madness trying to figure out exactly what she's saying, especially, since she asks us questions in Greek and we have practically no vocabulary from this past year. We learned all the grammar, yes, but not so much emphasis on the vocab. Plus I've forgotten a lot of what we learned and need a crash course in the first year. But that can't happen with all the other stuff I have to do, so we'll just muddle through and hope for the best. On the plus side, I like Diane.

Also (and this may just be me) but I've noticed that when I get stuck in Greek, but I remember the word in French, that's what I revert to. Like, if I forget the word for "the" I used "le" (sometimes la, but usually le). But only the words I've forgotten switch to French, not all of them. Also, Greek and French are in no way similar so I can't even blame my craziness on that.

So, what are your foreign language stories and woes? Do you also revert when learning a language to one you've learned before when you're stumped? Or are you a language virtuoso and think I'm a crazy person?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chapter 2.9: What? School Can Be Fun?

Yep, that's right, you heard me. School doesn't have to be dull just because you're not taking Advanced Coloring 101. I personally think that we should still have holiday parties in class. Especially because now you can bake your own dang cookies instead of expecting Mom to do it. And you can pick up plates on your way to school if you forget instead of asking Dad to drop what he's doing and take you at eleven at night and then complain because they're too plain.

But, anyway, back to making school fun. I have discovered, just today, that this can actually happen, even in a college setting. It doesn't have to be dull paper after dull paper, comparing one character's angsty furrowed brows to another's twitchy finger tapping. You can have fun and still learn!

Maybe it's because the classes that are so fun are ones geared towards people who plan to teach kids and young teens (or even older teens, I'm not sure). Children's Literature and Young Adult Literature are two of the classes I am taking this quarter (and yes, they're actually required for my major. Aren't you jealous?). They look like they're going to be a blast!

First, the teachers, seem like they could have been elementary school or middle school teachers. But they talk to us like college students, they just have the younger educator demeanor. In both classes, we spent probably fifteen minutes making name tags for our desks. Like, "Here's a marker, make a pretty name plate" kind of name tag. And they got giddy over books. Like they were going through the reading list and some of the books I look forward to reading they were like "And this is such a good book!" They understand what a drag it is to read dry books no one likes.

Plus all the projects they have us do seem so fun! I have to read picture books. Yes, that's right I have to read 12 pictures books; it's required reading. As is Harry Potter. Oh yeah, this rocks. Then for Young Adult Lit, I have to read Holes, a book I own and love, and compare it to the movie. Hello? I do this for fun on my own. I also have to write a fanfiction. Yes, it has to be based on one of the books we read, which I'm not really stoked about, but maybe it'll be really, really good. And come on, I'm still writing fanfiction. Plus my final is a YA character Trading Card.

So why has the fun left school? Clearly school can be awesome if you try hard enough. What class would you want to make more fun? How would you do it?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chapter 2.8: Two Places At Once

Do you ever wish there were two of you? Okay, a lot of people wish there were two of them and pretty much every one of them has a different reason. Some want one person who can get all the work done while the other sleeps. Some want to do twice as much work. Some would just just play twice as hard.

I personally want two people so I can do all the activities I want but don't have time to do. One of me can do half the classes, half the homework, and do Disney Club, Harry Potter Club, Browncoats, CCF, DDR, and Nerf. She's a bookish girl who loves all kinds of geekery and many fandoms. Pretty much she does what I do now.

The other me gets the other half of the classwork and homework (And each of us would be taking a full courseload). Then she would also be part of Glee, a few of the dance clubs (like salsa), and maybe try Cheerleading. As you may be able to tell, this version of me is actually more athletic and talented. And she enjoys running and can do flips. Actually, I really think watching Hellcats and cheerleading movies may have influenced my fascination with trying to be a cheerleader. Maybe I just want to be a flyer.

And I actually wish every time I go to the Info Fair that I had more time, because there are so many cool things happening on campus that I want to do but don't have the time to actually fully participate in. Like Salsa club and fencing and Glee and Magic the Gathering and Board game club. But between 19 credits and clubs pretty much every night, I don't have time for extra meetings. Especially because I love too deeply to miss a single meeting of any club I'm in.

So why would you want two of you? Or is two too few?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chapter 2.7: One of Us

So this year, my friends have partially taken over the third floor of Edens Hall. As a note, maybe I should explain how Edens Hall is set up. It is a suite-style room, which means you have two people (of the same gender) in a room and two rooms (of the same gender) connected by a bathroom. And the bathroom is niiiiiiiiice.

First of all, the bathroom is about the size of my bedroom, all told. There's a large counter across one wall with a sink at one end. About half the bathroom is the counter space and some area to walk though and get ready in. The other half is divided between section that has the potty (sort of its own little room, complete with a door!) and the shower (also fairly good sized.)

The rooms themselves are also pretty big. Especially if you decide to bunk your beds. Or loft your bed and put your desk under it. I actually saw one configuration where they had their beds bunked in the alcove next to the window and then had a couch and entertainment center in the middle, with the desks on the far side.

Anyway, back to the awesomeness that is the third floor of Edens. You have Michelle, Jess, Madison, and Libby all in a suite together. Then you have Ron and I in a room, with Johanna as our suitemate. Then on the other hall is Andre and Cameron's room. There are like nine or ten of us on this floor. And then both Will and Andre, and Amanda and Kelsey live on the fifth floor of Higginson.

Which of course means my senior year is going to be very very fun. Last night, I had dinner with Michelle, Libby, Madison, Jess, Cameron, Andre, Sarah and Marie (Sarah and Marie are apparently not cool enough to live on the floor of fantastic). Then after the floor meeting, I watched Princess and the Frog with Marie, Jess, and Cameron in his and Andre's room. I like having friends close.

Now, as I have mentioned, the first rule of geekdom is to convert more followers to your fandom of choice (kind of like a cult, but with more arguments over Kirk vs Picard or Spike vs Angel). Enter Western's Info Fair. A place where clubs and businesses can draw in the unsuspecting colleg student with shiny baubles and free food (neither of which I had, but it was still awesome). And a place where conversion can begin.

I mentioned way back about the flyer I'd created. Well I had color ones taped to the table with a shiny little paper that said our name in the same design. And even though it was sort of crummy out and our table was outside, a lot of people stopped by and signed up for our mailing list and took flyers.

Plus apparently the organizers figured the geeks would be more comfortable with their own kind. We had Browncoats, Magic The Gathering, Board Game Club, and Nerf Club all right next to each other. But at least it gave me someone to talk to for a bit. After I hand wrote the meeting day and time on 47 flyers. But, hey, geeks will always have some common ground to talk (or argue) about. Plus I learned from someone that Seasons 1 and 2 of Buffy are on Hulu. Yay!

Much more geekery ahead this year but it's great to be back. So, how have you converted people to your fandom of choice? Do you just tell them about it and hope they see it? Do you jump them, tie them up, and force them to watch or hear it until they see its greatness? Do you constantly buy DVDs of one show and give them as gifts?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chapter 2.6: Help! My Room Ate Me!

Okay, so just to get everyone up-to-date after my last post, I sent in the application and they received it (two days later because of course there was a blackout on campus. This would happen to me the ONE time I screw up). Everything should be fine and I may even have my funds by that first day of the quarter. Probably not, but maybe.

As for the rest of my time the past few days, I have been packing. Oh, wait. First I went shopping because Meghan had gift cards. And while I did get a really cute first day of school outfit (yes, I'm one of those people who still gets giddy about the first day of school) I still hate going to the mall. For some reason it just drains all the energy out of me and I end up sitting on the floor of Torrid while Meg is still on a shopping high.

Then I spent my day packing. Oh god, I never want to see another box, container, packing list again. My room is a complete disaster zone now. And I've been in there for so long that all the little Xs on my checklist are coming to get me. No, really. I'm going to be in a dream they'll come for me, marching in rows of five, carrying Os for shields and commas as daggers. A few may even have the pike of punctuation: the exclamation point (yes, I may have too much time on my hands. And this is what I come up with while I'm conscious. You can only imagine how scary my subconscious is. Seriously, don't go without a guide).

However, all of my clothing (except what I'm wearing this weekend) is packed. My shoes are ready, my bathroom crap is mostly done. I'm pretty much completely done with this nightmare. I feel pretty proud of myself because I think I have at least a little less this year. I know that I have less books and clothing going and some of the books are those I've promised to lend to friends (not that I won't read them myself, but still).

All that's left is to put my food stuff into its container (more than just throwing in a few grocery bags and setting stuff on top that I have going on now) and find a box so I can pack my books. Plus I have to figure out somewhere to put my first aid kit. Someday I'll have to post pictures, because my kit is the most badass thing ever. Well, maybe, not badass. But it is pretty awesome.

But, I finally got to put more funds into my Lavamus account and finally got to buy new music! Some people have heard me talk about Lavamus, but for those of you who haven't, here it is: Lavamus, is a legal music download site, like iTunes. Except, instead of charging $.99 to $1.29 per song, it's only $.15 (Although now it's a credit system where $.15 is 1 credit). You can't just put a little at a time in to your account (the min is 19.95) but most music that's come out within the last few years is on there. Even further back if the artist is popular.

And there is a good variety of music on there. They have soundtracks, punk, pop, R&B (have you noticed that the only genre we capitalize?), blues, country, even a lot of stuff that isn't mainstream. I've gotten Marie Digby, My Favorite Highway, Something Corporate, and Grace Potter off there, as well as all the Glee CDs, Shinedown, Aly and AJ, Adam Lambert, and Chris Daughtry. Great site. And yay for new music!

So do you have any tricks for downloading music (legally!) and cheaply? Or do you have any packing woes?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chapter 2.5: Financial Aid Blues

Okay, first of all, that would be kind of a cool name for a folk rock band: F.A. Blues. You know when it's not fun and amusing though? When the FA Blues are screwing with your life. Of course the biggest pain, the one anyone who has ever applied for financial aid know about, is the FAFSA. The FAFSA is the kind of government instrument that is used to scare confessions out of hardened criminals. "If you don't tell me what I need to know, I'll make you fill out the FAFSA. As a 19-year-old first time college student who is married, works full-time but is paid in cash and whose parents have a home business and boat." "Nooooooooooooooooo!"

If by some miracle you have escaped this terror of governmental aid tyranny, let me describe it to you. First of all, unless you are twenty-five, you have to fill in your information and your parents' information. Which of course means that you cannot simply fill this out on your own. You need your parents' social security numbers (both of them) and their tax information. Which then means that filling this out is a total waste of time until you've done your taxes. But the priority deadline for aid submission? February 15. Some people don't even have their W2s by that time. Filling it out is a special kind of hell (where the people who talk at the movies are ;))

But I made it past that step! I was home-free baby! Until I hit One. Little. Snag. See last year I filled out all of this crap to get loans approved to fund my schooling. This year, I got my award letter, sent it back, and thought I was golden. It didn't say anything about reapplying for loans or needing to do anything other than send back the letter.

Now, I'm going to say here and now (and maybe this is the panic talking) but I hate large packets of information. Especially when said information is largely superfluous. But of course, there's that one little bit of paper that you need and yet don't see because it's part of this stack that seems like crap.

Which is why I missed the application for the Parent PLUS loan for the 2010-2011 school year. Mom kept thinking something wasn't right, because we had filled all that crap out last year. She asked me a few times if I was sure there was nothing I needed to do. If I was set for school. And I said yes. Just to alleviate her fears, I posted on the school's message board and asked if you had to do anything for the loans to be ready. One person said, check the requirements and you'll be good. I checked.

And then promptly had a panic attack. Sitting there, under the unfulfilled requirements, were two items: Parent PLUS Loan application and Master Promissory Note for the same loan. Noooooooooooo! I have a week to school. I can't have crap happen now!

Then I got angry. Why didn't I get any information on this before now? Come on, I'm all about being proactive and being an adult, but I at least have to know the requirements exist! You can't just say, "Sign the letter, it'll all be good. Oh by the way you have other crap we're not going to tell you about." So of course, I worked myself up into a good panicky state which made my IBS hate me a little and I told myself to breathe (I was hyperventilating, but hey, air was moving in and out).

This is how Dad found me when he got home, panicked and talking a mile a minute about the crap that I needed to do and what I'd missed and what if I couldn't get the funding and I'm supposed to be able to take care of this and oh god I only have a week left! After he'd interpreted my ramblings, pitched at an octave only dogs could hear, he calmed me down and said that I'd done all I could at the moment.

When Mom came home, I told her and then showed her the thing. Then I went to grab the award letter for my records so she could fill out the application. And there, in that pile of superfluous paper, lay the application for the Parent PLUS Loan. I'll tell ya, nothing takes the wind out of your righteous anger than having made a stupid mistake.

That's when the anger turns into an emotional meltdown and you cry for no real reason aside from frustration. Even though you have no reason to be crying and everything is going to work out okay. You still end up in your mommy's lap crying because the world is unfair sometimes and mistakes still happen.

Now we wait for the office to open on Monday so I can make frantic phone calls of increasing frenzy. But Mom and Dad have promised that no matter what, I will be going back to school next Sunday. I just hope that it doesn't come to them going into more debt or having to close out part of their retirement. It'd be great if this could be smoothed out with one phone call and a sympathetic financial aid person (who also happens to have the same powers as Teresa Eubanks, where people find her shortcuts to get things done more quickly and efficiently).

Anyone else had financial aid trouble? What are your horror stories?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chapter 2.4: Fantasy Bar Fight

So, you know how people do those fantasy football leagues? Where you pick your players and then go up against other people's dream teams? Essentially this is sports for those of us who can't play. If nerds like sports, this would be perfect us, letting us be competitive and sporty without the hindrances of coordination and endurance. (By the way, I actually went and looked up Fantasy Football as I had absolutely zero knowledge about it. Plus, I really don't care. See what I do for you?)

Well, I think there should be Fantasy Character Bar Fight leagues. You take the most badass, don't-mess-with-me-or-I'll-mess-you-up characters who love from your favorite books, movies, TV shows, and then pit them against each other. This totally sounds like a league I could get into (as could many nerds and even non-nerds. It's a league with something for everyone!) In fact, I've already started thinking about my team.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood: Yes, I realize this is a group of fighters, but seriously, I'd be okay with any one of them backing me in a fight. They are all at least 6'5", and weigh no less than 260 pounds, all of that muscle. And they have fighting in their DNA. The Brothers are engineered to kill and fight. Plus that's not even counting Rhage and his beast or Vishous' brand of weird abilities.

Harry Dresden: First of all, he can do magic. And he does it fast and well. He also understands that just straight magic is not the best course all the time. He is not averse to using fists or guns or even swords when it comes down to it. And if you push him, he's got a lot of rage bottled up. He's a good guy, but I'd stay on his good side.

Voldemort: Yes, I wanted him to be defeated as much as anyone. But you have to admit, he was pretty diabolical. Mostly he lost due to poor planning and lack of information. I think if someone else did the directing in a fight, he'd be of good use. Maybe give him a wand that's Unforgivable Curse restricted though

Bones (Jeaniene Frost): Bones is someone you do not want to be on the bad side of. He is fiercely loyal and he protects him own. And his threats aren't threats; they're promises. And he possesses the martial arts abilities that it seems all supernatural creatures are born knowing. I'd definitely want him to have my back.

Iron Man (Tony Stark): I haven't seen the second movie yet and i haven't read the comics, so this is based on the very limited knowledge I have, but Stark seems like a suave, smirky, badass. I mean, have you seen the tiny rockets he shoots? Those things are cool. And he can fly. I think that would probably come in handy. I don't know when, but at some point.

Algaliarept (Kim Harrison): He's a demon, but I kinda like him. And he has more than a few tricks up his sleeves for when things get hairy. Actually, he has more tricks than a Vegas magic act. And what he has, he squeezes the most use he can out of it. He's slippery and awesome.

Before you start thinking I'm sexist (which against my own gender would be kind of odd), there are also quite a few women I'd like at my back (or in front of my back. I'm not really going to be much use in a fight).

Rachel Morgan (Kim Harrison): Rachel's gotten better and better at fast, battlefield magic. Especially using ley lines. And she is also one of those who can use simple charms and yet make them count. Plus, she likes to kick ass the old-fashioned way too. She's awesome.

Cat Crawford AKA The Red Reaper (Jeaniene Frost): Cat doesn't just trick vamps into thinking she's a snack; she also brawls with them to the death (theirs). She's fast, she's strong, and she's unrelenting. She will Take. You. Out. Do not threaten her or get on her bad side.

Kate Beckett: This New York police detective catches murderers for living. And my guess is they never go quietly. She's not just smart, she's ready to take you out if you resist. I'd suggest not making her mad.

I'm sure there are plenty more people who would be great for this league. So what about you? Who would you want on your team? I call Spike ;)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Chapter 2.3: Rest In Peace Beloved Shows

I believe I may be cursed. Not the kind of curse that makes you speak in limericks or develop a fear of bunnies or trip every time you say the letter F. It wasn't cast on me by a cackling witch or a wandering band of gypsies. No, this curse is far worse. This curse is a show killer. It takes TV shows with bright promising futures and strikes them down in their prime.

I am not paranoid. This happens to me too often to be coincidence. My family and I watch the first season of a show. We get invested. We tape it on nights when we're not home. Then suddenly, next season (or sometimes even mid-season) the show is gone, replaced by something new (sometimes something that makes us roll our eyes in disgust and change the channel. Okay, not just sometimes. Often).

This is why a show like The Class (funny, sweet, smart) gets axed after 18 episodes while a show like Family Guy (crude, offensive, annoying) thrives for season after season after season. So this is a post for all the shows who have fallen in the wake of this curse. The shows who for no real reason have ceased to exist.

The Class: This show was in the CBS comedy Monday line up about four years ago. One of the co-creators and writers was David Crane, who created and wrote Friends. The premise is eight people who went to third grade together reunite for a party one classmate has planned for his fiancee (who was also in their class. And who snaps and breaks up with him) with all the people he could find from third grade for the twentieth anniversary of the day they met. The show follows these eight as they rekindle lost love, go through the frustrations of dealing with your past, deal with bad situations, and make new loves and friends. It was an excellent show and you can't even buy it on DVD. You can however go to YouTube and watch all 18 episodes.

Firefly: Of course this show makes the list. The absolutely wonderful Joss Whedon show about space pirates. Captain Mal and his crew are smugglers on the ship Serenity. They travel the 'verse, trying to stay below the Alliance's radar while defying them for a war won years before. When they are strapped for cash one trip, the decide to take on passengers. Passengers with secrets, and in a world where lying low is vital, secrets can be dangerous. It was funny, it was shiny, it was a wonderful show. And it died after one season with many questions left unanswered. There was a movie sequel to the series, called Serenity, but it still didn't address everything. The first and only season can be bought through Amazon.

Blood Ties: Based on the book series by Tanya Huff, this series follows former cop and now private detective, Vicki Nelson who ends up meeting Henry Fitzroy, the bastard son of Henry VIII turned vampire/comic book artist, during a case. Henry is intrigued by Vicki and helps her with some of her tougher, supernatural cases. Her ex-partner and former lover Mike Celluci still has feelings for Vicki (mostly frustration from her trying to involve herself in police business and circumvent the system, but other feelings too) and ends up involved in these cases as well. It was a really interesting show (and I actually found it more fun than the books) that had one fatal flaw: it was on Lifetime. Seriously, why would you put a vampire show on Lifetime? First and second season are on DVD.

Life on a Stick: Another comedy that died before its time. I can't remember much about this comedy, but I know it was a lot of fun to watch. IMDB says the show is about two slacker best friends who work at the food court in the mall. The main character, Laz is in love with a coworker and trying to deal with a dysfunctional home life. Most memorable moment for me was the Spartacus episode/scene. You'll know it when you see it. Not available to buy, but you can watch the whole series on YouTube. Ah YouTube, a treasure trove for lost memories.

The Dresden Files: Another series based on books, this time by Jim Butcher (and the book series is flippin' amazing! It gets better as the series goes on so don't stop if you don't like the first couple books). Harry Dresden is Chicago's only professional wizard with a somewhat sketchy past. He's also a private detective and a consultant for the Special Investigations branch of the Chicago PD. Along with Bob, the wisecracking skull, and Lieutenant Karin Murphy he keeps the supernatural world from hurting the human one. First and only season can be found on DVD. Do not expect them to be exactly like the books, a lot is different.

Shark: The smart-aleck DA turned prosecutor whose ethics you sometimes question, but always end up cheering for. This drama only got two seasons. But it was witty, the characters were likable and you got to watch scumbags get put away, as well as quick repartee on Shark's part. It was awesome. The first season DVD can be bought, but the second season is only on Amazon's Video on Demand.

The Deep End: Speaking of lawyers, this show followed five young law school graduates, just starting at a large firm. It also only died in the last year, just in case you think I'm paranoid about what has happened in the past and doesn't actually happen now. The show was only six episodes long, but it was funny, charming, and wonderfully written. You can buy the episodes through Amazon's Video on Demand, but it looks like a DVD will eventually be released. You can also watch the last five episodes on ABC.com/thedeepend

Life: Charlie Crews was a cop until he was framed for his friend and business partner's murder. Now he's out after being exonerated and given a hefty sum in payment for false conviction. He's back on the force and along with helping people, he most of all wants to solve the murder he went to jail for. Crews was quirky, fun, and just great. The show was awesome, but it got two seasons and then died. All the episodes (seasons 1 and 2) can be seen at NBC.com/life. Both seasons can also be bought on DVD through Amazon.

And these are just a few of the shows this has happened with. Is it any wonder that every spring I hold my breath to hear which shows will be returning in the Fall and which haven't made the cut? I fear for the shows I come to love, especially when they're new. It feels like in a world that cares more about ratings and money than anything else, the really good shows that maybe have a smaller, but very loyal, audience never get the chance to bloom.

Do you have any favorites that have been canceled before their time? What shows have you loved that got killed before they really developed?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Chapter 2.2: Sharing the Geekery

As I mentioned in my last post, I am fluent in geek. Not the computer-whiz-but-socially-inept kind of geek but the book-and-TV-based-fangirly kind (and even male enthusiasts can be considered fangirly sometimes). I know the plot lines of most (if not all) vampire based TV shows. Joss Whedon is my master and I squealed with delight when I found he would be directing an episode of Glee (it didn't hurt that Neil Patrick Harris was in it too). I spend time deciding who would be the best actor to play characters from my favorite books (James Marsters makes an excellent Harry Dresden and Hugh Jackman could totally be Vishous). I gave up Paris to be an extra in Twilight for crying out loud. When I fangirl, I do it all the way.

One of the fandoms I love, and one I have been in the longest, is Harry Potter. I am one of the Harry Potter generation, the kids who grew up with the books, reading the final one for the first time at seventeen. I've been Harry Potter for Halloween (thank goodness he wears a hat or I never would have been able to have short, messy hair when my was long). I've waited 19 hours in 103 degrees of heat for the midnight showing of the newest movie. I've spent who knows how much time online, debating the war of Snape: Friend or Foe? and discussing favorite quotes. I am an officer in my university's Harry Potter Club.

As any geek or fan knows, their first responsibility is to share their geekery with the rest of the world (i.e. whomever they can suck into their beloved madness). I take this very seriously ;) Plus it gives me people to talk to and who understand when I make references. Which is why I have recently managed to finally suck Mom into some of my paranormal romance books. My dad has been reading my books since I was 13, but Mom took much more convincing. The particular series is The Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost (mentioned here). It was an absolute thrill for me when we were sitting at the theatre, watching Eclipse, and Mom leans over and made a reference from one of the books. Success!

I was also able to share part of my Harry Potter love with my family last night. There is a production, made by talented Harry Potter fans in Ann Arbor, MI and posted on YouTube, called A Very Potter Musical. Yes, that's right. There is a musical based (loosely) on Harry Potter. But it is better than anything that could be made following Harry Potter to the letter. It lovingly mocks and references the books and is the most fun a Harry Potter fan can have watching a supplement to the movies.

Last night, I sucked my family into watching it with me. I had managed to take the YouTube videos and burn them to a DVD. And they liked it! Well, I know Mom liked it. Meg was on her phone most of it and Dad fell asleep (it was after 8pm ;)). But now some of my references make sense to them. Although we paused it at one point and Dad woke up a little. I told him he'd missed Voldemort tap dancing, then realized that sentence makes no sense out of context (yes, Voldemort tap dancing. Doesn't that make you want to watch it?)

And the sharing of fandoms works both ways; you can suck others in, or you can be sucked in. I personally was sucked into Jude Deveraux's romance novels by Mom. They're just so good! And they feel real because she doesn't make characters without flaws, bad stuff happens, and even the happy ending doesn't mean the couple doesn't have problems or argue anymore. They just know they love each other more than they need to win an argument (even if they're going to try their best to win)

One of my Livejournal friends, Lezlishae, is the one who got me into Jeaniene Frost. She posted the link to the first 60 pages of the first book and I was bored during a summer day. So, even though the cover didn't look like something I'd read (and I was still sort of fighting being a vampire groupie), I started reading. And then I couldn't stop. And then I was out of book and needed to know what happened next. So I went out and bought the two books that had been released. I never looked back and those books became some of my favorites.

Which is probably why when that same friend suggested The Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward, I actually picked up the first book. I'd found it at Powells for only $5 and figured, she was right before. And she was right again. Steamy, sarcastic, and completely addicting. I ended up going out and buying the next two, finishing the second and buying the next two after that. All six were purchased within the course of a week. Love the books and ended up buying the last two in hardback just so I didn't have to wait.

What about you? What has a friend sucked you into? Or what fandom have you opened to a friend? Welcome to the fandom. Make merry with your newfound insanity.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chapter 2.1: Bookworm

I finished my hundredth book for the year last night. I've kept track the past two years, and usually I don't reach the 100 books mark until sometime in November or December. Although since I'm keeping track and I'm very competitive (in case you missed that) maybe I'm reading more and more each year out of some twisted competitive drive. I am enjoying the books I read for the most part though. I even liked some of the stuff I read for my Mythology and Literature class from hell (okay, not exactly Hell. Just a suburb of Hell. Right near Confusion Circle and Exhaustion Avenue. Nah, it wasn't a bad class. I ended up enjoying it. But we read a entire book every week. Of Greek Epic or Plays). And books read for school totally count for books read. Unless you never finished them.

Anyway, being a quick reader isn't exactly a new thing for me. I've loved books since I was a little kid. In Kindergarten, my teacher noticed I was trying to read the books in the classroom, when we probably wouldn't have started learning to read until 1st grade, and brought in a special tutor for me (Yes, the days when educations still mattered. Scary to think this was only 15 years ago). Every Wednesday morning we went to the library and she read with me, helping me figure out how the words were put together. I even have a tape (yes, the days before CDs) of me reading, which was a final project we did at the end of the year.

Then of course, I was a child of the Harry Potter generation. I got the first book at seven (ironically my younger sister, who cannot stand Harry Potter, brought it home from a book fair) and though it took me a while, three months later I finished the book. The next book took two months, the third a month, the fourth a week, then three days, and only two days for the last two. A three hundred page novel, if I get the chance to read uninterrupted and get sucked in, will take me only seven hours or so now.

And I never thought twice about how I became a reader or why, at least not until more recently. I never questioned what drew me into the pages of a novel or why I love spending evenings curled up in a comfy chair reading a book. But asking questions is how we grow, so I asked "Why do you like to read? Why do you want to write?"

Answer: I read to go somewhere else and experience things I won't get a chance to. I read because for a little while I don't have to think about my life or freak out over things. I get a chance to just kick back and watch other people work out their problems. And maybe I read to know that things can work out and there will always be a solution. Maybe not an ideal one, but everyone has problems and you can figure out a way to fix it (which is why i don't read books that have sad endings). And I write because I want to give that same feeling to others.

I never regretted not being the girl my sister is. The girl who chooses the mall over used bookstores, clothes over a new novel, and the girl who thinks an evening spent wrapped up in a book is boring. I grew up a nerd and I am proud of it, because I can escape. I can speak fluent Harry Potter or Joss Whedon and I understand the basics about Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. I know the differences between vampires in different author universes. I get math and science jokes and puns that make me giggle.

And recently I found that if I want to, I can tuck in all away and be the girl who goes shopping with girlfriends. The girl who wears make-up and goes out to have fun with friends. I can be both the nerd and her pretty alter-ego. I don't have to be defined by what I know or where my interests lie. I don't have to be one sided. And I don't have to feel like I'm not myself. Because that girl is part of me as well. The part that likes dressing up and looking lovely. These aren't two different people; they're the same. Because that dressed up girl will go out to the pub and then end up having a conversation about Harry Potter (true story).

And yes, I will still squeal over the next book in series more than a new outfit. But maybe every now and then I'll put on make-up just for fun because doing so isn't blasphemy to who I am. I don't have to stay stuck to who I've been in the past. I'm allowed to change my mind about some things. Because people change and it's okay.

It took me 14 years to figure this out (give or take. I started at 5 since I figure before that I wasn't caring about this). And I feel lucky to have discovered it now instead of having to wait until much later in life. I'm always been secure in who I am, but I'm also stubborn, which means I could have stayed blind to this for much longer. Dang, sometimes I feel old for only being 19.