Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Blog: The Secret Assignments of University Werewolves

New book blog for the week! And I will definitely have Last Little Blue Envelope up next week (considering I actually finished it this afternoon). Enjoy :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

He Can Keep My Bed Warm Any Night

Wow, apparently I completely fail at blogging. And this is doubly fail for the fact that I haven't actually had a lot going on. Plus I even had ideas of what to write. I just never actually did it. That seems like some kind of metaphor for my life so I'm going to walk quickly in the other direction now.

Anyway, I am going to start trying to institute a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule of posting. It doesn't seem that that should be too hard. And Fridays will most likely consist of the newest book blog video and the Nerdtastica video of the week.

So, anyway, this post is actually about a meme I discovered back on my Livejournal from 2008. Which doesn't seem like a long time ago, but I was still in high school at that point. And the meme was The Top Ten Guys You Wouldn't Kick Out Of Bed. Here is what I originally wrote down:

1. Edward Cullen from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series
2. Rob Wilkins from Meg Cabot's 1-800-WHERE-R-U series
3. Numair Salmalin from Tamora Pierce's Immortal's series
4. Nawat Crow from Tamora Pierce's Trickster's series
5. Jesse De Silva fro Meg Cabot's Mediator series
6. Eric the Vampire from Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire series
7. Quinn from Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire series
8. Rosto the Piper from Tamora Pierce's Beka Cooper series
9. Jaguar from Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' Midnight Predator book
10. George Cooper from Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness series

As you may be able to tell, this was before I had hit my stride in the vampire and romance novel worlds. Which means that my list now is way more awesome. You may also notice that all of these people are from books. That should give you a clue about what kind of person I was (and still am for the most part).

I have decided to update this list, in no particular order. And this time, there's a reason.

10. Numair Salmalin from Tamora Pierce's Immortals Quartet

There's actually another picture in this post that I love even more of him, but I also like his expression here. Numair is one of the most powerful mages in the world (he turned a person into a tree, that's how freakin' powerful this guy is) but he never acts that way. When asked what level robe he is, he replies, "None. Do you know how hot those things are?" He's a sweet guy, a loyal guy, and a guy who turns people into trees when they shoot arrows at the girl he loves. Plus, he worried more about Daine's feelings than his own when it came to his love for her, since he's quite a bit older. I've always loved this guy. Lucky Daine.

9. Eric Northman from Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Series

Ah Eric. He's sexy, he has a sense of humor, and he's fiercely loyal to those he chooses. Yes, he can be stubborn and he's definitely a vampire which he never tries to hide or change. He's fine with who he is, but he also doesn't always have the same scruples about killing others that we do. But still, he's my choice for who Sookie should end up with. And that part with his maker, Godric, in season 2? That made me cry.

8. Rob Wilkins from Meg Cabot's 1-800-Where-R-You series

(I can't find any fan art of him :( Sad day)

Okay, why should you love Rob? Well for one, he's an honorable guy. He clearly is in love with Jess, but he backs off because she's underage (okay, partly that's because he's on probation, but I think it's also for her). And even though he can't date her, he still spends time helping her with her harebrained ideas because he doesn't want her to get hurt (or die). And of course, he rides a motorcycle and has the whole sexy bad boy thing going for him. That never hurts ;)

7. Zuko from Avatar The Last Airbender (the show not the movie)

Yes, Zuko has some definite issues (especially with anger) and you kind of roll your eyes at him in the beginning of the series. But by the end, I fell in love with him. So much so that when I look for fan art I don't even car who he's with; I just want some Zuko. Because he's kind of given a crap hand in life and even though it takes him forever, he eventually realizes the right and wrong side of the war. Plus I just want to hug him when crap starts happening to him. Oh and fire is awesome.

6. Prince Charmont from Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted.

I couldn't find one I liked of him alone, but this scene is actually one of my favorites in the book. Ella has sent him a heartbreaking letter and has run from him like a madwoman and he's still completely in love with her (so much he's said he'll never marry because she said she'd been married off in her letter). And yet he tells her, "You need not be Ella if you don't want to be." He's sweet and kind and funny and doesn't act like a pompous prat because he's a prince (*coughcoughJonathanofConteinWWRLAMcoughcough*). In fact he goes out of his way to help his people. And I fell in love with him the first time I read the book (Psst, read the book, don't just see the movie. Char is so much better in the book).

5. Leo from Tamara Summers' Save the Date

(He's from a stand alone YA romance novel. I didn't really expect there to be fan art of him)

Leo is the son of a wedding planner and he's still a romantic. He's funny and sweet and is willing to stick it out through the heroine's paranoia and stupidity. He goes along with her, just hoping he can win her over and see that her idea of a curse is bogus. I think he's the reason I keep reading that book over and over.

4. Flynn Rider from Disney's Tangled

You gotta love the smolder. Okay, I know that as a matter of principle, we should resist the bad boys because they'll leave us with nothing but heartache. But I think Flynn is still my favorite Disney hero. He's daring, he's sensitive (eventually), and he's not so bullheadedly stubborn that he refuses to love Rapunzel. Plus **************SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER*SPOILER**************
he's willing to give up his own life so she doesn't have to live with her emotionally abusive "mother" Gothel. If that isn't real love, I don't know what is (sidebar here: You do not actually need to die to show you love someone. This is more of a he put her before his own desires. You can obviously do this in a number of less severe ways).

3. Nathan Fillion (as Castle, as Captain Mal, as himself, as WHOEVER)

He really is ruggedly handsome. Okay, Nathan Fillion rocks at whatever character he's playing. You're not even really supposed to like the guy in Waitress (hello, he's encouraging her to have an affair and he's cheating on his wife) and I still liked him. As a person, he's genuinely funny and obviously is okay with laughing at himself. Plus, he can sing (if you have no idea what I'm talking about go watch Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog).

2. Zsadist from JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series

Of course I had to have on of my brothers here. It's a very, very close race, but I think Zsadist is my favorite of the brothers. He's also one of the most messed up (the brother tied with him for most screwed up being Vishous, who is almost tied with him for first in my heart). So yes, he had some anger issues and brooding and can slice you up six ways to Sunday (<---this is an odd phrase) before you can blink if you're a lesser. But he also works through it and gets his crap together, not just for Bella but for himself. And he doesn't expect Bella to take him back when he gets it together; he just wants to be able to see her every now and then. Which is why he gets two pictures. The badassery above, and this sweet one *SPOILER FOR THE END OF LOVER AWAKENED*

1. Bones (Crispin Russell III) from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress Series

Yes, this is a photo of James Marsters, AKA Spike. However, Bones is a badass British vampire with snark. I think Spike fits him well. What can I say about Bones? He is sweet, loyal, and incredibly patient (look at all the crap he puts up with from Cat). And he doesn't whine or brood, which I love. He knows what he is and who he is and what he wants. And he is incredibly sexy. I'm sure he has faults (like the fact that he murders and tortures his enemies, but hey they tried to kill him first) but I'm not certain what they are right now.

So there is my revised list. And a few are the same, but many new ones have been added. The old guys are there, they're just further down. Is there anyone on your list that you think I'm missing?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Blog: European Geeks From A Small Town Go To Harvard Prom

This week's book blog post is a little late. But it does have five books to go with it! Plus a video from a new YouTube Collaboration I'm a part of that's just starting. We started it off the Nerfighters forum Your Pants which is why it has allusions to VlogBrothers. Enjoy :)

Nerdtastica Introduction Post

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Next Chapter is Obscured

Have you ever been looking forward to a time in your life only to realize as it approaches that you're terrified of what lies on the other side? Or lived somewhere temporarily only to realize you never want to leave? You've met people you can't imagine not seeing, you've done things that have changed your whole make-up and the vision of what's past where you are now is too hazy to make out.

This is where I find myself now. I have eight weeks until my graduation from college...and I have no idea what happens next. I know I want to write. I know I'd love to work in a bookstore. I know that I want a kitchen where I can actually maybe cook something other than toast. But I have no idea where I'm going. Part of me is exhilarated...and part of me is absolutely terrified.

I've been in school for sixteen years. Sixteen years. That's over a decade and a half. The last time I wasn't in school, Bill Clinton was President, Friends was just starting out, and the internet was just beginning to gain public popularity. No one had ever heard of Myspace or Facebook or blogging. And, oh yeah, I was four. The great thing about being four is no one expects you to have your life figured out.

When I graduated high school, yes the future was a little bit frightening, but I had a plan. I was going to college, where I would get my degree. And I never really got further than that except that I wanted to write. But unless I figure out a way to live off of air, grass, and rain water, I'm going to need an actual source of income.

And really, that's only part of what's scaring me and making me so melancholy when I think about leaving. Because I've come to love the people here. All the people who I've bonded with here, who've changed me. The people who say, "Hey, we're going to do something this weekend. Wanna come with?" The people who know that I will always have a book, know that I can't eat anything, laugh at my absolute lack of personal body warmth.

And I'm going to have to leave them. Yes, I can visit (I'm not being exiled from the town). But it won't be the same as living here. I won't be able to walk two minutes and find a friend to talk to. I won't be able to find out on Tuesday about a party on Wednesday and be able to make it.

I felt this a little bit with people in London. When I had to leave it was saddening. But I knew that we all lived in a different place. I knew it was only a month and being in London was like living in a different world. When and if I came back, there wasn't a high probability of the people I grew so close to still being there.

My friends have joked that they're going to kidnap me and that I can live in one of their closets. And yes, it's that is mostly friendly banter among friends. But what if? What if I just took one more year and lived in that friend's closet? I've lived my life as the responsible student, what if I just broke down and lived on a friend's couch for the next year?

But then there's the fact that I also really want to be home. I want to have the chance to snuggle on my dogs whenever I want and watch Castle and The Amazing Race with my family without having interference and shoddy Skype picture and sound. I want to shop somewhere close to inexpensive and not spend thirty dollars a week on bread, lunch meat, and cookies. I want to have a real kitchen and cooking space.

So I feel lost. And I probably only an thinking about this because I have far, far too much time on my hands. Maybe I just need to lose myself in a reading haze and forget about life.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nearing the End

The infestation grows daily and few humans have managed to survive. Somehow I have remained among the living. Yes, no one is quite as shocked as I myself am. With poor aim and hand-eye coordination as well as little ability to run, I truly believed that I would perish long before this day.

Yesterday was my first contact with members of the horde. As I left my Early American Lit class, and roamed too far to reenter the building upon seeing the scourge. This zombie seemed surprised and stopped for a moment, looking at me confused before realizing I was among the living.

Upon confirming this he began to run, cutting off my escape and shouted a war cry to his mates. "Human!" he yelled. Steps pounded behind me and in front of me the zombie stood between me and my sanctuary. Sending up a hope and a prayer, I shot.

And luck was on my side for the shot was true and the zombie when down, incapacitated for the time being. I blew past him and made in it inside before his fellows caught up. One minor victory but a victory nonetheless. My foes temporarily thwarted.

More brushes with the enemy occurred but none with real threat of death. The horde grows ever larger; only 74 humans remain from our original number of over 300. More friends have fallen and only three of us remain alive. Who will be next? And when will we be delivered from this fate?

This will be my last transmission. Each day I continue to live is a miracle. Too many friends have fallen and if I survive tomorrow, I will relinquish my humanity and join them. I cannot continue in a life where those I love are trying to devour my brains. This is my choice. I shall not waver. May god deliver us all.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Oh and that thing that seems to be a V is actually an N. Because today I'm talking about my favorite word in Greek: δεινος. This word does not actually mean book, which is usually the meaning of my favorite word in a language (favorite word in French will always be livre). Yes, that's right, this word beat out book. You know that means it has to be good.

Anyone who's ever tried their hand at translating things from another language will tell you that things don't always translate neatly. Sometimes, no word exists in the language your translating to that encapsulates the word you want. I mean, even in English we're missing things. Like, we have no word for people who are no longer virgins (although the Nerdfighter community has proposed Virg-out, which I rather like).

So, this word that is my favorite actually means a few things. But basically δεινος means the terrible, clever, dangerous, wonderful thing. Which is really awesome in my opinion. It's like you are terrible but that terribleness is caused by the cleverness exhibited and this makes you dangerous. And that terrible cleverness leaves others slightly in awe. There's a kind of wonder with that danger and wit.

One of the best examples of this word is The Sphinx. In class readings the Sphinx was described as being δεινος (well, δεινη since she's feminine). And it's not just that she's terrible (which she is. Hello, she eats people who can't answer her riddle) but that she's terrible in her cleverness. It is her clever mind that makes her formidable and horrifying and awe-inspiring. How cool is that?

I know this is short, but I wanted to share my new favorite word with you. And because it's hard to translate to English, I think we just need to steal the word and make it part of our lexicon. Because it is freakin' awesome. And I love it. And we steal words from other languages all the time. What's your favorite foreign word?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book Organization

Okay, anyone who has spent any time with with me (doesn't have to be a lot) knows that I love books. Heck, you can tell that just from looking at my blog. I am the very definition of bookworm. No seriously, you look up the word and I'm sitting next to it (and I'm reading of course).

And I also have inherited the predisposition towards labeling and organizing from my mom ( her labeler is her most treasured possession ;)). So I like to keep lists of what I've read, what I want to read, what I own, what I still need to buy. The past three years I've kept a list of what books I've read and the page counts. It's actually been kind of enlightening. I knew I read a lot, but not quite that much.

But sometimes it's hard to keep track of what I've read when it's just in lists. Kind of like trying to find stuff in Hermione's Magic Bag of Wonder. I can accio what I need, but it's still kind of cumbersome to use. Plus I don't put comments in my lists. So I started looking for sites where I can keep track of what I've read and what I thought.

I use It allows me to keep track both of what I've read and what I want to read so that if I look up a book I can tell if I've wanted to read it and if I have read it what I thought. This also means that when I'm looking for books to put on hold at the library, I can go through my To-Be Read list and choose books from there. And I can categorize the books I've read.

A while back I had to take all my books off the shelves in my room so it could be reorganized. So I started a list of all the books that I own. It was a daunting task even then and I had probably between 100 and 150 less books than I do now (yes, I'm almost up to 500 and I started this probably four or five years ago). I've updated it as time has gone on and so I have a comprehensive list of everything.

Recently I've begun to organize the books into specific genres since I'm going to buy a bookcase that is large enough I can have all my books on it, one layer deep, and size won't be an issue. So I started a spreadsheet where the books are broken into genres (Some of which are subsections that I wish existed in real life) and organized by author's last name (or series if the series has multiple authors like the Royal Diaries series). The genres will also be arranged alphabetically. It's a complicated system, but one I like.

My friend Sarah also recently reorganized her books. But she uses a site called This allows you to catalog all the books you own (including the edition which may be important in some cases) and she was able to put her books in specific subsets as well. The site gives you the first 200 books free but after that you need a membership. The nice thing about this site is that any of your friends can see what you own (and perhaps ask to borrow books).

So pretty much, that's all I have. And I would use LibraryThing, I really would. But that would mean I'd have to enter all my books in again and as I mentioned I have close to 500 books. Anyone else use a different system? Maybe a rolodex of notecards with all the books in a card catalog?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nerd Weddings

Every little girl (and probably a good share of little boys too) dream of what they want their wedding to look like at one time or another. It maybe they simply think about one element (flowers, cake, dress, venue, etc) or maybe they spend hours planning every detail. Either way, they know at least pieces of what they want to make their wedding special.

And then some of these girls and boys grow up to be nerds. And suddenly, the wedding planning becomes a lot more interesting. Because nerds never do anything halfway and they know how to make that special day unique to them. And it can be as simple as reciting their vows in flowery Shakespearean speech. Or it can be as complicated as this:

Why yes, that is Inara and Mal getting married in front of a Tardis by Princess Leia. Why do you ask?

Yes, the geek wedding can be one of the wackiest events. And they also fill other nerds with a giddy fan-girlish glee. Because those nerds start drooling over the amazing ways that others of our ilk have personalized their weddings. And if we're unmarried, we start fantasizing about what we want for our own weddings.

Like making your seating chart into the periodic table. Is it wrong that this sounds like a wonderful idea to me?

One way to personalize is just in your ring. It could be something simple as having a claddagh ring:

Point the heart towards yourself while wearing it on your left ring finger and it means you're engaged or married. And of course, Buffy/Angel shippers get the added glee of the knowing that Angel gave this ring to Buffy as a sign of his love for her. (This is the kind of ring I would love.)

You could have something more complicated like this:

Might not be entirely comfortable to rest against your arm, but it's kind of sweet

Or you could go completely geeky if you're someone who plays card-based games like Magic*:

This makes me smile every time.

And then of course you have one of the best ways to let your freak flag fly: The wedding cake. So many talented (And I stress this word because if you've ever seen Cake Wrecks you know that untalented bakers can mess up even simple things) bakers can make absolutely amazing cakes. Like this wedding cake:

Lego wedding anyone? And yes, that is cake. Kind of blows your mind doesn't it?

Here's one that's simple, but classic nerd:

Note: This may not actually be a wedding cake. I think it is, but I'm not sure

Something for the Stargate Geeks:


And what would a geek wedding be without the bride and groom fighting off hordes of the undead?

I wonder if those are Nerf chainsaws?

These are just a couple ideas that people have done. You can even modify your wedding to include a tradition in your favorite book or TV series. I personally want to add a section to my wedding from The Two Princesses of Bamarre. The great thing about this day is that it's your day. So you can do what you want with it. Go simple, go outrageous, just be who you are as a couple. And it might not be a bad idea to have a couple of Nerf guns on hand to fight off zombies. You know, just in case ;)

*apologies to any outraged nerds who know what this card is a reference to. Magic is the only game like this I know of

Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Blog: Hotel Vampire

How cool would it be to go someplace actually named that? Although they'd have to have different sections of vampire for it to work. They could have a section off in the corner for the Twilight fangirls and then another section for the horror/gothic form of vampire, like Dracula or maybe even Anne Rice. And then a section for the romance vampire geeks (like me). It's be awesome.

Anyway, here's this week's book post. Just two books, but they're good ones. And there's light! Enjoy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Living on Borrowed Time

Day two and the outbreak is raging strong. Forty percent of our population was wiped out in the first day and I fear many more casualties are in store before this epidemic is quelled for good. More friends have fallen and I fear the virus has turned their minds toward evil intents. Lisa has marked me for death and now Libby too has fallen. I fear my time left with my humanity intact will be all too brief

Shut away from the world, hiding with provisions and amusements of simpler times*, I had planned to give tips to my fellow humans on how to survive the harsh days ahead. But some of the zombies retain their intelligence and literacy and I cannot be certain my helpful hints will not be turned to my downfall. So I can only offer the advice many veterans are familiar with.

1. Travel in a group, preferably a group with at least one skilled combat veteran. True, if there are eight humans in a group when zombies attack you may escape even if all in the group are novices who can't hit targets reliably, but not all of your group will live. At least one skilled to two unskilled is an ideal ratio
2. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT eat in the Commons. Yes, the lines themselves are safe to hide in. But once you enter, there is but one exit out. And who know who else knows this exit? Every single freakin' zombie on campus. And they will be waiting for you.
3. If you move around a lot, you are likely to attract the attention of the horde. This means if you have the ability to stay put do it. Yes, this may mean you end up spending hours sitting in Carver Gym (Yes I am speaking from experience but to all the zombies reading this, I will not be in this position again so you won't be able to wait and trap me). But it also means you may be alive at the end of the day.
4. If you can, avoid Red Square (or whatever your version of Red Square is). This is an open space with little cover and a lot of opportunity for the zombies to chase you down before you manage to reach anywhere safe. A fast runner may make it...but do you want to bet your humanity on it?
5. Practice nonchalance and stealth. If you are seen darting from building to building, guns blazing, zombies are going to spot you a little easier. It's just a product of you looking like you're fleeing for your life; it triggers some kill instinct in them. If you however walk calmly (quickly, but not frantically) between buildings, holding your gun at your side or even in a bag, you're harder to pick out as a human.

That's all I can safely give. I pray my few remaining friends travel safely and retain their humanity. I'll see you on the other side.

*Shut up, I know the computer is not old timey but I spent most of my day without it

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It Begins

At seven this morning, the outbreak struck Bellingham. The plague turns innocent college students into being ravenous for the brains of their peers, their family, their friends. They no longer are those we love but beings of pure hunger and malice. Reasoning will not stop them. Your only course of action is to stun them and run as fast a far as you can.

We at first believed the outbreak could be contained. Few were infected, if we could only quarantine them quickly enough...but no, they escaped our attempts at isolation and it was all over. The attack began in earnest and many quickly fell to the mob.

Somewhat pessimistic about the chances of a quarantine's success, I was prepared when I left my dorm for class this morning, armed with the weapons needed to keep me alive. I knew the safer course would be to hole up in my room and wait for an antidote to be found and the outbreak contained. But graduation is near and I can't rick missing class to live in fear.

I stick to lesser known routes, avoiding the death trap that is Red Square as much as possible. I hop between the buildings, using them as cover. The virus that has made the zombies crave human gray matter has left their limbs incapable of turning door handles. Inside I am safe. another matter entirely.

I make it to class alive, paranoid but intact. Then after class begins the trial of returning to my room, making it back when many more humans have been turned and those who slept late have begun to stir. I meet humans along the trek back and we watch each others' backs for the brief moments we are going the same direction. One helps me back to my room and it is clear he is a hunter, not one to hide in the face of danger.

I am alive, but many of my friends have fallen. Lisa, was one of those infected with the original virus, doomed from the beginning. And as the day wears on, more of those I know fall to the horde. First Alex, then Marie. Hanna, Andre, Brian, even Cameron who has been warrior among the humans. One by one they fall and I am left wondering, who will be left when this all ends? And will I even survive that long?

*This post is brought to you by the Spring game of WWU's Humans vs. Zombies

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Learn From My Mistakes

A short blog post today since I am gearing up for the zombie apocalypse tomorrow. Just ten hours until the virus hits campus. I am curling in a terrified bundle of stealth and ninja. I've survived before. I'm just hoping I make it through the coming days. Having been denied the full length of their brain eating time last fall, they are no doubt ravenous to descend upon the unsuspecting humans believing themselves to be survivors.

Since I am short on time (and quite possibly I forgot about this until just ten minutes ago (not saying I did, but it may be possible)) I have decided to give some advice. Not specifically advice for the zombie apocalypse, but just advice in general.

  • Do not be so competitive (with other people, with yourself, etc.) that you take on more than you can handle. Such as, oh I don't know, doing NaNoWriMo on top of taking 19 credits. This will end up with a stress migraine, late nights, and panic.
  • Always make sure the tap on the side of the sink is soap and not scalding hot water. Otherwise you will feel like you have taken a lighter to your hand anytime water touches it for the rest of the day.
  • It is probably not a good idea when you already have bruises on your arm to go and do the same thing you did to get those bruises in the first place. Then you have bruises on your bruises and that just can't be a good thing.
  • If you are short, you will always look a little younger than your age (unless you become like a chain smoker or something). Accept this fact and embrace it. Yes, you will get carded for most of the rest of your life, but hey, you look young enough to get carded. And later in life that'll make you feel good (or so I'm told).
  • When you are young (especially if you have a nosy sibling) don't keep your private thoughts in a diary that screams "READ ME! I'LL GIVE YOU BLACKMAIL!" (although if you can find a real talking diary I give you kudos). Instead, keep a black school spiral or notebook as your journal. Your siblings don't want to know about algebra and cell division any more than you do.
  • You don't have to only have one identity. And you don't have to keep the same identity you decide on in middle school for the rest of your life. Although the book Tender Morsels was slightly disturbing and very odd, they got that point right (and I may have learned this in London).
  • You are not necessarily crazy if you hear voices in your head, but if they do anything other than tell you stories, you should probably just talk to a professional about it. It may be nothing but better safe than sorry.
  • Hope is a burden and a gift. The ability to hope means that we keep waiting for something better, believing that if we are patient enough it will happen and we pursue dreams after they've died. However, with hope even in the darkest of times we can find the light that keeps us pushing forward, wending our way through the forest until we emerge in a better place.
  • Have a spotter when you use a roll-y chair to reach high up places (trust me on this).
  • You can only do somersaults from a standing position if a) you are a child and therefore close to the ground or b) have practiced how not to hurt your back when you go down. Similarly, never try a backbend without a spotter when you haven't done them before. you will hit your head and it will hurt.
  • You always need to put water in the bottom of a rice steamer AND in with the rice.
  • Never cook Easy Mac without water.
  • Never put a paper cup with a wax coating on the outside in the microwave. It will smolder or catch on fire and then the whole school will have to leave lunch for the fire drill formation.
These are just some things I've learned. There's probably a lot more but I have to get up for school in the morning. Please, learn from my mistakes. It's easier than having to make the mistake yourself. That's why I don't think the temperatures on the oven correspond to how much of a hurry you're in ;)

Monday, April 4, 2011

From Imagination to Reality

I am of the opinion that one of the most rewarding things about being an author is probably seeing people take your words and create something corporeal (I just happen to like the world corporeal right now). Seeing an idea made into something tangible is just amazing to me. And I may not be published, but I for one love seeing something I've written in a real life form.

For the purposes of this discussion, we're going to leave out the slightly murky waters of fanfiction (which I kind of love and can see it having it's place. But some authors think it's evil so we're just going to leave it alone. No! Back! We'll talk about you another time, Fanfiction. Go wait over there *points and waits as fanfiction grumbles away). Okay, now that we've established that, what the heck am I actually talking about?

Well fan art, for one thing. I mean, there are some spectacular artists out there. And some of them are fan girls who get giddy about things and draw their favorite scenes or characters from books (or movies I suppose, but movies are kind of outside the bringing to life dynamic I'm talking about here). And these people draw stuff like this:

Sweet James and Lily taking a rest from Harry. Who they love but who I'm sure was a handful. Hello, he had Sirius as a godfather (credit to julvett on

Or this:

A stunning Hermione. Who looks both smart and beautiful. There's a reason she was my rolemodel as a kid. (credit to alicexz on

Or even this:

Numair resting. Probably worn out from doing some impressive feat of magic. And some well-meaning child has lent him a teddy bear. Or that belongs to Sarralyn or Rikash. (credit to waterysilver on Oh, and I want a Numair.)

Aren't these amazing? Wouldn't you absolutely love to be a writer and have someone take the people in your head and bring them to life? I know I do. That's why I always comb the NaNoWriMo boards with huge puppy eyes for people to draw my characters. Because when I draw them, it's not quite the same effect as this:

This is Isabelle, who is the main heroine in my trilogy. And this artist has made her beautiful, with a look like she's casing the room and yet a little nervous (at least that's what I see and what she's feeling at this scene in the novel. Which I need to be finishing. Damn. Credit to NaNoWriMo user Ankhesenamun)

These people are amazing. Fan art in general is just such a wonderful expansion of the creative power of books. Fan art says, "You have inspired me. In some small way you have encouraged my talents and I hope you are happy with the result." Isn't that freakin' amazing? And with the internet, you can create communities where you share these amazing things and then someone else is inspired and so on and so forth. It's a chain of creative encouragement.

And then there are the people who write music. Based on writing! Sometimes the lyrics are beautiful and poignant and encompass the feeling you get when you read the book. Like End of an Era by Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls.

A beautiful song about how sad it is that Harry Potter is ending, but the fans will never forget how it changed them. (By the way, Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls is just a fantastic group. The lyrics are beautiful in this song and Open at the Close (which you should only listen to if you want to cry. It focuses on the Forest Scene in Deathly Hallows))

Or the song Sun's Lament by Mitch Hansen Band

Yes, the song is Twilight related. That doesn't make it any less of a great song. It's sad and wonderful. Besides, I like Twilight under the conditions of treating it as brain cotton candy.

And then you have the songs on the more amusing end of things.

(Why no, this isn't an excuse to post more VlogBrothers. Why would you think that? :)) Still love this song. And he predicted Hedwig's death!

An entire genre of music popped up around Harry Potter: Wrock. How amazing would that be? To have your idea so loved that people create music about it? That there seems like it would be a reward beyond your dreams.

And then you have just the fun fan project of when you make up foods in your book and then people go out and create these foods. My biggest example is again Harry Potter. There is an actual Harry Potter Cookbook, with recipes for Pumpkin Pasties (which I can actually make and not screw up! (well, as long as I don't try to make my own pastry dough)) and Treacle Tart. And people have created recipes for Butterbeer! I like this one. It sounds delicious.

I know a lot of this was Harry Potter, but that's because the fandom exploded so much it made it easy to find Harry Potter stuff. There is definitely a lot of other fandoms with art and projects and amazing out there. So go and google your favorite fandom. You make be surprised what you come up with.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Book Blog: Vacation May Include Romance...and Demons

What? Two posts in one day? You didn't think I was joking about doing BEDA did you? Did you never read about my NaNoWriMo insanity? (Cheat sheet version: I wrote 27000 words in the last five days of November, while I was taking 19 credits at the college.) So yes, I am totally going to do this. It will come to fruition!

So this post is one of my book reviews! Yes, I am finally getting back into the right schedule where I don't wait three weeks and then have two videos worth of books to talk about. Happy Reading :)

Initialisms Are Not Acronyms

I am a little late starting this, but I just heard about Blog Every Day in April (BEDA) and I thought it sounded like a cool project. To make up for missing Friday and yesterday, you get three blog posts today (or you'll get two today and two tomorrow depending on how well my brain comes up with stuff). Isn't that exciting?

And since the reason I heard about this was Nerdfighteria and the Vlog Brothers, I've decided this post will be about that. Because they are awesome. And hilarious. And are obsessed with Harry Potter and making the world suck less.

Okay, so for the people who don't know who or what I'm talking about, Vlogbrothers is a YouTube channel created by John Green (who wrote An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns and looking for Alaska and co-wrote Will Grayson, Will Grayson (which is reviewed here if you just go back far enough. I promise, my next project is getting some proper tags on this stuff)) and his brother Hank Green (who writes awesome songs. Like Accio Deathly Hallows). And they send each other vlogs, back and forth, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Nerdfighteria is the awesome community that's been built with the people who watch their videos and who want to decrease World Suck. To learn more about Nerdfighters and Nerdfighteria (such as, what the heck it is) watch this video:

(I agree that puppy-sized elephants would be adorable.)

I've spent a lot of time watching this guys in the past couple of days (and posting their videos to Facebook because someone won't just watch stuff on YouTube). So I have a collection of their videos to show and talk about. So here we go!

Don't you wish you could learn all of your history this way? I mean, that's all very interesting and at the same time is told in a very entertaining way. "Never be a Russian and named Anastasia." It's true. Anastasias in Russia just meet very bad ends generally. Also "I get very upset when people screw around with libraries!" So do I John. So do I. The destruction of the Library at Alexandria is one of the worst crimes in history in my mind. Maybe not worse than the Holocaust but it's up there.

For every space nerd out there (and even the not space nerds) this is pretty freakin' cool. Plus it's fun to see how excited Hank gets about the space telescope. So think about the awesome people! (and also, I have no idea why his points are all out of order. There is no explanation).

This video isn't actually particularly hilarious, but it makes a good point. The truth resists simplicity. There is no black and white in our world for the most part. Because there's no easy or correct answer 100% of the time. Seriously, ask me a question and I will find you an answer that is correct and yet makes your answer wrong. (Challenge accepted!) The sooner we accept that there is always a margin of error, the sooner we can make the world more awesome. And be more open-minded.

So many of these things get on my nerves as well. Especially "I could care less." That is not what you are trying to convey. Listen to your words. Although I have no place to throw stones at mispronunciation. Because the first time I ever saw the word phlegm actually printed as opposed to simply hearing it audibly was in the sixth Harry Potter book. And it looked like nothing I thought it should have been spelled (I always imagined it would look like this: Flem. Doesn't that make more sense?) So I pronounced it f-leg-um. All I can say is that English is confusing.

I love just getting answers to random questions (some of which are actually real questions that I may have wondered about at one point. or random facts like the Clue thing. And Queue (which has a freakish amount of vowels for such a short word)). And yes, we all need Ester Bracelets. Because they are awesome ways of boosting your self-esteem. And I too am with the bakers.

I would totally go see The Dandy Lions. They could open for Scurvy Wench (aaaaaand only like three people will get this. If you really want to know, all you have to do is ask). I feel John's pain on the whole coming up with a title thing. Because I had to ask the NaNoWriMo community for help with my novel titles. Oh, and because John said he couldn't say the alphabet backwards, I made a video response in which I prove that I can say both the French and English backwards.

I think I can do this because I see words as letter patterns rather than seeing letters as their own entity. They're pattern blocks. Really you can put them in any order you want.

Hank writes many awesome songs (quite a few that actually deal with Harry Potter, which of course makes me grin). I think that it would be awesome if JK Rowling just wrote any of the ideas suggested. Marauders, Harry's kids, Voldemort's son (how big a twist would that be?) Dumbledore and Grindelwald. I really just want more Harry Potter.

Okay, I promise, this is the last video. Because I agree with all these rules. Especially rule 6, because I have come to love my name, but every time someone asks me what my name is and goes to write it down I have to wave my hands and say "Wait, wait wait, it's not spelled how you think." And then they start trying to guess how it's spelled and most people don't guess there is a g and two hs in it. On the plus side, I have become very proficient at spelling my name for people so that they understand what I'm saying. And anyone associated with Hollywood should never be allowed to name children. Here's a moment of silence for Quathyryn, Hi-ho Silva, and Apple. I love you Gwyneth Paltrow, but seriously? Apple?

So yes, being a nerdfighter is awesome because a) you help make the world suck less b) you get to watch John and Hank being hilarious and c) you get to know awesome people who also want to make the world suck less. And give you ideas on how to do so. And if you want to get more involved than just watching the videos, you can join the site Your Pants. Have fun!