Reading is Sexy

A few weeks ago I came across a video on Youtube, a spoken word poem about girls who read. It is now one of my favorite things.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmEbF2uhsZk

And I listened to this poem several times. And I put it on my iPod and listened to it a few more times. And then I went on Youtube again to watch the dramatization of the poem while listening to the poem. I really just adore it. 

I was an English major, you don’t major in English unless you read… well there was one girl in my graduating class who majored in Literature and claimed she didn’t like to read but to be honest she and I did not really get along. I love reading, I pull my hair back and stick my nose in my copy of Game of Thrones and I pin quotes about reading onto my many pinterest boards because I love books. I love that you can open a book and fall into a different world, the words and phrases disappear and the tale plays out, and you look up later having lost all touch with time and reality. 

Image

The true magic of reading is that the things we read stay with us. We don’t put ourselves into the stories and books we read. We engage with and become friends, or enemies, with the characters. People believe its a solitary activity but in reality it is the least solitary a person can be. Of course, the best thing about reading is that it changes you. It helps you become a better person.

Image

Just like what we eat is “what we are” what we read, watch, and put into our mind effects who we are and we can choose who we want to be by what books we choose to read. Here’s the only hitch, I don’t have time to read all the books I need to in order to be the person I want to be. In order to be that person I really need to read ALL OF THEM! Maybe not the truly trashy nonsense (and certainly not Twilight (my apologies to those of you who liked those books, I read them and they suck)). I’m a very slow reader so I have come up with a list of books that I need to read/reread in order to be the person I think that I should be. Unfortunately the list will take a very long time and my computer is almost out of battery so instead I’ll just tell you my 2014 reading list.

1) The complete works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. 

Image

 

The themes and trends of Shakespeare and his greatest competitors are constants even in our strange and frightening world. Things really aren’t so different now (as Captain American says in the Avengers “I was wrong Director Fury, the world hasn’t changed a bit.”).

2) Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin

Image

 

Mostly because if I don’t finish book series I get these blinding headaches that no doctor can explain but also because these books are messy. I finish a chapter and say “there will never be any happiness ever again.” That’s certainly the way it seems but just like in the Lord of the Rings we have to remember that even after so much bad has happened good can come of it. I don’t know if that’s Martin’s plan but if its not I’ll knife him in the chest. There has to be some happiness somewhere.

3) The Jane Austen Collection

Image

I’m actually not sure if I read all of these books before. I own them all and I know I’ve read some of them. I think it is important to alienate all of your male friends by reading Jane Austen and allowing yourself to understand the struggles of women in cultures that are so very different from our own.

4) The Brothers Karamazov 

Image

 

I also think it is important to read Russian Literature and alienate everyone else you know.

Advertisements

I actively try to avoid reality

Great news friends! I have completed all of my Christmas  shopping and all before Black Friday, which is fantastic for me because I hate Black Friday like Typhoid Mary probably hates being called that. I almost didn’t make it because sometimes I get so annoyed with people that I just throw all my stuff on the ground and walk off (it’s not my most attractive quality). The most recent of those instances was a few days ago when I was making my final Christmas purchase. 

The man behind the counter happily scanned my few items then asked, “so will you be coming back for the sales on Black Friday?”

“No. I try not to leave my house that day.”

“Oh man,” he went into full on surfer dude mode. “It’s so great to watch though! It’s like a reality television show.”

“Well I actively try to avoid reality.” That statement cannot get much truer. If it did I would be riding a unicorn to and from my job as a noble dragon slayer rather than my Jeep. Unfortunately my snark and general hostility toward the world did not stop this poor sales clerk from trying to sell me on November’s real American holiday. I probably could have politely mentioned to him that people die on Black Friday, which is a big factor in my opposition of it, or just ignored him and gone on with my life. Instead I chose to get angry and while I don’t turn into an enormous green rage monster when I get angry I do turn into the most frightening 5’2″ twenty-something you will ever see (you’ve all read other blogs I’ve written so I probably don’t need to tell you that). 

“Look! I hate black friday and honestly anyone who chooses to participate in it. I’m not going to be insincerely thankful for what I already have then trample people so that I can more shit that I don’t need and can pretend to be thankful for later. So just shut up! Scan it and bag so I can be on my way!”

I swiped my debit card through the machine so fast that I had to do it again 2 more times. 

I had lost my cool but I believe I had good reason to do so. I personally believe that all this Black Friday nonsense is ridiculous. No wonder the rest of the world hates us. As Americans we basically have 2 major consecutive holidays, 1 devoted to gluttony and the other to greed. I’m offended to be associated with it. 

That’s all I actually have to say about Black Friday but as far as avoiding reality goes I think anyone who watches Primeval will appreciate the fact that I was at the Air Force base today and met Captain Becker!

Image

So it wasn’t the real dinosaur hunting Captain Becker but that did not stop me from going in search of temporal anomalies (I don’t know if that is spelled right and am going to be lazy and not look it up). It was a proud moment in my life.

There’s a new god of mischief in town.

Someday I would like to be friends with Tom Hiddleston (Loki of Thor and the Avengers) so that I can push him in his Loki costume and say “move over Loki, there’s a new god of mischief in town” because I feel like I am a god of mischief. Mischief and meanness. There is something wrong with me. I don’t know what it is but it is no small thing because I do things that only terrible people do. There are many examples but the best and most recent one is my new hobby.

While wandering around the grocery store, sort of late at night a few days, ago I decided to worm my way into other people’s subconscious by whispering insults at them. Only people who I thought truly deserved.

The woman in her pajamas standing in front of the deli chickens with 8 tons of make-up plastered on her face: “you’re everything that’s wrong with society.” I whispered it very quietly. She barely looked up. I’m sorry but you have time to put on a six layer cake of make-up but not to put on some real clothing. Just a pair of jeans will suffice. You obviously won’t be wearing them that long. You are only at the store to pick up quick food.

You should know that I am at war with people who wear pajamas in public.

The man in his BYU (Brigham Young University) sweatshirt carrying a case of beer: “go to the liquor store and buy real beer, you moron.” In Utah you can’t buy a proper beer in the grocery store (you can’t even buy a Mike’s Hard Lemonade) because it has “too much alcohol” in it. So I take issue with people who buy “beer” in Utah grocery stores when the liquor store is 10 minutes away. I take more issue with the people who then claim to be drunk on Utah beer.

I’m definitely at war with those people.

There are more. So many more people that I whispered insults to while gathering my groceries but those ones stood out the most. I’m a terrible human being but a great god of mischief.

Not Cool! A response to some of the changes at American Girl

I was introduced to the “American Girl” books in the second and third grade. They were placed right beside the “Dear America” books on the shelf of books for girls. I still don’t understand why the librarian insisted on separating the “girl books” and the “boy books” but that is a commentary for another time. I had already been reading “Dear America” so it was not out of my way to take an additional step to the right and pick up a small book titled “Meet Samantha” about Miss Samantha Parkington, living in Victorian America. I liked the books, they were short so I could read them in an hour or two and I appreciated that they were about girls who were the same age as I was doing things in history. I didn’t realize until an ordering slip fell out of one of the books that the dolls even existed, it was the books, stamped with the Pleasant Company logo that I had grown to appreciate.

I did eventually get the Samantha doll and several of her accessories, although I was almost too old for that sort of thing by the time I got one. Being older I think I appreciated her more than I would have otherwise. I didn’t muss her hair or leave her forgotten in a bin when I got bored with her. Even now she is sitting, dressed in her finest, on a shelf in my living room and I try to change her outfit every couple of months (I have a couple of modern outfits but I try to always put her in the classic Samantha ones, it gives me a sense of continuity). However, even with Samantha adorning my shelf I have not given American Girl much thought in recent (try ten) years. I was vaguely aware of the movies being released and one day I saw an episode of Arthur that addressed some changes being made to the corporation itself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARgNGD9QVso

That link should take you to the episode.

In this episode the character Sue Ellen is shocked by the fact that her favorite girl and her entire country (in the story it is “World Girls” not just America) have been retired because they aren’t selling as well as the others. I laughed at the absurdity at the time. Pleasant Company would never do away with a girl , they worked very hard not to do away with any of the canonical products from the story. Then I went on with my day.

It was not until yesterday when I learned just how wrong I had been for several (like ten) years. An old professor of mine posted an article about big changes being made to the American girl line. I was shocked and sick to my stomach to think that “American Girl” was so focused on modern girls and this “Girl of the Year” nonsense, which I don’ remember at all. Some other girls read the article and insisted that it was not well researched and more importantly that the historical lines were all still intact.

What a relief… until I went on the site and realized that at least three of the girls I remembered were gone but that dozens of weird new ones had appeared. How can you possibly retire entire eras of history. I tried not to panic until a few minutes ago I tried to do more research and learn what the plan on these retirements actually was (once I get my teeth in something I can’t stop until my entire world is shattered at my feet) and learned that Samantha had been the first to be retired. I’ll never be able to get her ice skating outfit or her best friend Nellie or… or… I immediately got on Amazon and made sure I could get copies of all the original girl’s books.

I sound a little panicked about something incredibly trivial but seriously where does Mattel get off retiring entire era’s of history just because they aren’t doing as well? I won’t stand for it. The American girl books and dolls were meant to be a point of entrance into history for kids. They’re a way for kids to connect and understand that just because they are kids doesn’t mean they aren’t important and having grand adventures of their own.

I won’t stand for this behavior! How many more historical girls will they retire until the idea of American Girl is all bake sales and bite sized school problems. This is why the rest of the world hates Americans. I’m going to do something about it… I just don’t know what yet.

This is the article that started all of this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2013/05/01/even-more-terrible-things-are-happening-to-the-american-girl-doll-brand-than-you-thought/

Why I just can’t board the Loki fan-ship (There are no spoilers, I promise.)

Last night I went to see Thor 2: The Dark World. Why? Because I really enjoyed the first Thor movie and I also really enjoy 88% of super hero movies in the world. A young girl, somewhere in her teens, behind me kept sighing and giggling whenever Loki was on screen.  She, like so many others, just loves that poor, misunderstood, angsty young god. He’s not really bad, he just needs a hug. I’m a pinterest user so I have heard all the arguments and the Loki love before but no matter how charming Tom Hiddleston is in real life, or how attractive he may be I cannot get on board with all of this Loki love.

thor2

I went to see the first Thor with my friend Erin, an avid Loki supporter. The lights came up in the theater and we both pressed our hands over our hearts and said, “that man.” I meant Thor and she meant Loki and we had to be sure that the other was not going to go after the other’s imaginary boyfriend. But even with Erin explaining how wounded and attractive the character Loki was there was something about him that unsettled me. It was the same with Avengers. Something about Loki just put me on edge and I just could not hop on board with all those Loki supporters. When I rewatched Thor, in preparation for Thor 2, I figured it out.

downloadI invite you to take a journey into your memory with me back to when you last saw Thor. Thor and Loki did battle in the bi-frost with it spinning around them and ice everywhere, making a very pretty tree. Loki shouted across their battle “what happened that made you so soft? Don’t tell me it was that woman.” Then Loki says it, that thing that puts me off my popcorn. “Maybe I’ll pay her a visit myself.”

THOR_0001

I think most of Loki’s swooning young lady fans gloss over the full meaning of what he’s saying. I’m hoping most people understood that its a rape comment. It’s just like the scene at the end of Pretty Woman when Richard Gere’s business partner insists that if he sleeps with her he might not care about losing a million dollar deal either. That alone makes me cringe. People who make light of rape and sexual assault are people I punch.

He does the same to Black Widow in the avengers.

imagesOnce might be forgivable but not twice. Loki is not a misunderstood character who just needs some help working out his aggression. The Loki character is a violent psychopath, he’s not heroic, although he may seem that way.

I think Tom Hiddleston is great and has done wonderful things with the character but girls, I’ve seen your fan art and Loki is not a heroic character and does not deserve all this love. I think I hate him more than most villains, I really really do.

I had to say something.

Raphael is the best Ninja Turtle

Hey look at me being able to spell things from the Renaissance!

images

Almost two weeks ago I was at a Young Adult Retreat at the camp I grew up going to. Well… we call it a Young Adult Retreat but its really just an excuse for a bunch of people who grew up going to camp together and now lead cabins to get together at camp and not obey any of the rules we enforce during the summer. This is important because sometimes at camp I get little defensive about things and then I feel a lot of pressure to be both smart and funny and I just drop the subject.

That is exactly what happened when one of the “younger” young adults asked my friend Dan who the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was. Dan and I are in agreement that the best Ninja Turtle is Raphael but my young friend (I can hardly blame him he’s only 18, I believed incorrect things at that age as well) was adamant that that Donatello was the best ninja turtle. His argument was that Donatello does machines.

images (1)

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that every ninja turtle has his benefits but that does not change the facts and the fact is that Raphael is the best ninja turtle. Here’s why:

1) Raphael is the most passionate of all the ninja turtles. Watch the movies and you’ll see it. Most of his passion translates as anger, you’ll notice that he’s frequently screaming and yelling and beating up bad guys. Raphael has a passion for destroying the crime in New York which is not something I can say abut three other ninja turtles.

2) Raphael comes up with all the best one liners. Again, watch almost any incarnation of the show or movies. He says great things, like Batman level things. It is not just justice sort of one-liners either, some of his great lines are just him being incredibly sarcastic. He’s the meat and sarcasm character in the show and everyone knows that the meat and sarcasm character is the best character (that’s how I got my life to be a sitcom).

3) When Leonardo went of to find himself Raphael continued to fight crime. I don’t remember Leonardo leaving in the original series or trilogy but it definitely happened in the slightly less awesome but more gritty second take on the series from the early 2000’s. He just leaves because Leonard is selfish and a bad leader (really he just can’t always handle the pressure, I get it. Don’t start a fight with me) and WHO stays and takes care of the family? RAPHAEL! He fights crime and he continues to be awesome, Raphael is the real leader of the group (transformed from the norm by the nuclear goop).

4) Raphael’s favorite book is Jurassic Park.

I would like to point out two things before really talking about point 4. The first thing is nothing will ever be cooler than dinosaurs. The second is just a reassurance, you can trust me on this point. I recently spent about three days finding out the official, Disney recognized, names (they can’t all be named Prince Charming) of every Disney Prince in existence (someday I might tell you all of their names).

Back to Raphael. His favorite book is Jurassic Park and who doesn’t love Jurassic Park? You’ve got dinosaurs and  the evil corporations and more dinosaurs. It’s awesome. Clearly Raphael has incredible taste.

And Finally

5) … I swear I had fifth argument but then I got distracted watching an interview on television and I have forgotten it. Please wait while my brain buffers again.

5) Raphael save April O’Neil in the original movie and brings her into their lives. That’s right. Without thought of being discovered Raphael rescues April and that is the stem of the entire toy pushing story of fabulousness. If it were up to Donatello, or the others, to jump start the story we would have completely missed out on April O’Neil and Kasey Jones who also first befriends Raphael in the series. He’s probably the best friend you could find in the New York City sewers.

Sorry Chase, and anyone else arguing that a turtle who is not Raphael is the best. Donatello is great but he’s no Raphael.