For The Love Of History And English

I love history.  So much, in fact, that I will read it on my own.

See, me reading history, on my own, for fun, seems to confuse some people.  And me reading for fun seems to confuse people too, especially if I’m reading anything that’s an “English class book.”  An “English class book” is basically my phrase for books that are considered classics…basically, anything you’d probably read in an English class.  It’s almost like I have to be reading it for a class, because people apparently don’t read Pride And Prejudice or Dracula for fun.  But I really need to read more classics, because there are a lot of books that I haven’t read, and I feel like I’m missing out on some books I feel like I need to read at least once.

Like The Diary Of Anne Frank.  I have NEVER read it, and I swear I’m not making this up.  I don’t think we even read an excerpt of it.  1984?  Never read it either.  Lord Of The Flies?  If you guessed that I haven’t read it, you guessed right.  I definitely need to read some of these books, but if I don’t like them, that’s fine, because the goal is to at least try to read them.

But back to history.  It’s true, I don’t have a degree in history.  And I don’t have one in English either.  Nope.  My degree is in sociology.

A lot of people think I studied English.  I understand that, because I like writing, and I read a lot.  Sometimes, it is entertaining to see people’s reaction when I tell them I studied sociology and not English.

On rare occasion, someone thinks I studied history, because I like reading Tudor history.  Someone even asked me once why I studied sociology, and not English or history.  Since I really like history, and I really like reading, it would make sense to study it, right?

Not exactly.  See, I love reading, and I find history really interesting.  But I know that those are 2 things that I will continue to do.  It’s not that I like sociology more because I have a degree in it.  It’s really that I know I don’t need any kind of encouragement or pushing to do it on my own.  I guess you could say that I’m a self-learner…I have no problem doing it on my own.

I do wish that I had the chance to take more history and English/literature classes.  There were more than a few that looked interesting.  But with an entire section of iTunes that’s devoted to podcasts posted by universities, I’ll be able to “take” some classes.  While there are a lot of classes that don’t seem to be posted, there are still more than enough podcasts for me to pick from.  Plus, they’re free, I can listen to them at my own pace, and I don’t have to do any homework or assigned reading.  I’ve looked it before, but wasn’t too interested.  But it’s time to listen to something new, I think, and I might as well see what’s out there.  I’ll definitely talking about them in the near future.

Fun With Numbers

I read a lot last year.  An astounding 115 books!  I didn’t think I could read 100 books in a year, let alone 115, but I managed to get it done.

Here’s a breakdown of the ratings:

  • 11 books got 1 star
  • 20 books got a rating of 2 stars
  • there were 31 books that got 3 stars
  • 32 books got a 4 star rating
  • 20 books got 5 stars
  • the average rating over the last year was 3.33 stars

Here’s a few more random stats:

  • 72 books were from the library, 5 books were e-books and the rest (38) were my own books
  • 74 books were either children’s or young adult books
  • I have 4 books that were started in 2011 and will be finished in 2012
  • the highest monthly average was in November, with an average of 4.25
  • the lowest monthly average was in October, with an average of 2.63

And a monthly breakdown:

  • 1 book was read in January
  • 7 books were read in February
  • 9 books were read in March, June and July
  • 11 books for April
  • 13 books were read in both May and December
  • 15 books were read in August
  • An astounding 16 books were read in September
  • 8 books for October
  • And 4 books for November

Now that I’ve bored everyone with some stats, I should probably move on to actually reading that stack of books.

Mischief Managed: Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

Today is Harry Potter’s birthday (and J.K. Rowling, in case anyone is wondering).  The boy wizard himself is 31!  I wanted to give that a quick mention, as well as the fact that 1 million lucky people get to see Pottermore early!  I’m pretty excited about Pottermore, and I can’t wait until it’s open to everyone.  I think I might try and get the early access.  Whether I actually get it is another story, but since I have a lot of time on my hands, I figure I might as well try.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite moments from both the books and the movies, in no particular order.

  • Seeing Hogwarts for the first time (Movie: SS)
  • Hermione punching Draco (PoA: awesome in the book, even more awesome in the movie!)
  • Fred and George leaving Hogwarts with a bang (OoTP: awesome in the book, but they could’ve left with more of a bang in the movie)
  • “Harry, you’re a wizard.” (SS: one of the most memorable lines of the entire series)
  • “Not my daughter, you bitch!” (DH: also one of the most memorable lines from the whole series)
  • Harry, Ron, and Hermione meeting for the first time (SS)
  • Harry’s First Visit to Diagon Alley (SS- the book version was a lot better than the movie version)
  • The first quidditch match (SS)
  • The 7 Harry’s (DH- funny in the book, funnier in the movie)
  • Snape’s memories (DH- this made me cry)
  • Draco being turned into a ferret (GoF- funny in the book, just as funny in the movie)
  • Hermione, Ron and Harry taking on a troll (SS)

Have a great day!

Fact, Fiction and Folklore In Harry Potter’s World

Book: Fact, Fiction and Folklore in Harry Potter’s World by George Beahm

Pages and Length: 256/Paperback

What I Thought: The book goes into detail about the different people and myths found throughout the Harry Potter series.  It’s basically the story behind the story, and I found it to be really interesting. 

It’s divided into 4 different sections- the fabulous beasts, famous wizards, magical objects and magical places.  I thought it was organized really well, and how connected a lot of the places and things and people were to different myths, legends, and history.  Each entry ranged from a few sentences to a page or two, and I was amazed at the different events and people and myths that she worked into the series. 

I knew that she drew on different myths and stuff, but to see how much she really drew from that was completely amazing, and made me love the series even more.  The thought she put into it was something I didn’t fully realize until this book.  And I would recommend to everyone, not just Harry Potter fans, because of that.

I also liked the different quotes from J.K. Rowling scattered throughout the book, and it shed some light on the series as well.  One of the quotes was about how she saw a big fluffy ginger cat in London in the late ’80’s that looked like it ran face-first into a wall.  This cat would later become Hermione’s cat, Crookshanks. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.  I felt like some entry’s were way to short, and others went a little longer than they should have, but overall, it was a great book.

Matt and Melissa Harris

I thought I’d double up on characters for this post, since I kinda gave up on character profiles by the time I got around to most of the Wildflower characters.  Since Matt and Melissa are siblings, it seemed appropriate to put them together.

Matt is about 25, while Melissa is around 20 or 21.  Matt plays for the Ashton Bears, while Melissa does…nothing.  I didn’t really have a job or school in mind for her, so she just kinda hangs out. 

Matt plays the piano and he’s on the quiet side.  Melissa is very talkative and loves watching movies, especially while talking during movies.  Matt’s the middle child, and Melissa’s the youngest, which means they have at least one mysterious older sibling.  I didn’t really think about that either.  They’re from San Francisco. 

Matt’s pretty loyal to his friends and teammates.  Melissa’s fairly bubbly, but doesn’t always think before she says or does anything. 

Their profiles aren’t very filled out, because by the time I got around to working on them, they had started to sound like everyone else, and that’s never good.  Characters who deal with things in the same way, and act scarily similar are boring, so I gave up.  And then there was the fact that it was close to November, and I didn’t want to work on it in November.  If I do any work on them, I’ll post an update.

Black Stone Cherry

I can’t remember how I heard about them, but I love them.  They only have a couple albums out but both are 2 of my favorites. I can listen to them without skipping any songs…and for me, that is a rare feat because I tend to skip ahead to random songs. It’s why I never put my iPod on shuffle. So when I can listen to someone straight through, it’s a sign they’re good.    

I like Folklore and Superstition better than their self-titled album.  I can’t remember how I heard about them- it was either Pandora, which I’ve mentioned so many times you’re probably tired of hearing about it, or they popped up in the recommendations thingy on iTunes. For some reason, iTunes seems much more likely.  

Some of my favorite songs include Blind Man, Please Come In, and Soul Creek from their Folklore and Superstition album.  Some other good songs are Lonely Train, Big City Lights, and Hell and High Water from their self-titled album. 

They do have a cd coming out sometime this year, and I’m excited, mostly because their last cd came out a few years ago.  I only found out about them a few months ago, so it’s not like I had to wait a really long time or anything, but it’ll be nice to see what they come up with for their new cd.

I listened to them quite a bit during November, because they are one of Kiora’s favorite bands.  I never mentioned it in her profile, but I can see her listening to them, since their music has a country feel to it, and Kiora does love country music.

I think they’re a great band, and definitely one that has been some inspiration for writing.

Chad Greene

Chad Greene is the president!  In Turning Point, anyway.  What’s interesting about Chad is that in my original notes, from a year or so ago, is that he was going to be Kiora’s uncle, and she was going to be living with him.  I ended up changing it, because I thought it was too boring. 

Chad has a wife, 2 daughters, and 1 son.  I have no clue what he did before being president, so for now, I’m going to be all cliché and assume he was either a Senator or a representative.  Before that, I have no clue.  He does want his children to be aware of what’s going on in the world, and is always trying to get them to do community service.

He likes baseball, and pretty much every water sport known to mankind.  He likes dogs and bears, green is his favorite color, and he likes comfort food.  And his favorite games are poker and cranium. 

He does see himself as a fairly reasonable person, and loves a good debate.  He’s also a tech geek, according to my notes. 

His profile isn’t well-developed, partly because I didn’t have enough time to work on it, but mostly because I ended up shoving him to the background.  Plus, I assumed that I wouldn’t need to have detailed info on him, since I figured he wouldn’t make a whole lot of appearances. 

I’m not sure if I’ll go back and develop him more.  I think any revisions I do will determine that, since there’s no point in filling

Sometimes My Music Scares Me

I feel like the music I have on my iPod/on iTunes is sometimes scary.  I definitely need to get a new iPod, simply because I’m slowly running out of room.  However, a new one is out of the question for the moment because I can’t afford a new one.  And besides, there’s a bunch of stuff I don’t listen to, so I can leave that off until I can wrangle up enough money to actually get a new iPod.

But back to the music.  It’s an odd assortment, with Frank Sinatra, Metallica and the Backstreet Boys, among others.  But today is completely devoted to the…more interesting songs that should embarrass me…but really doesn’t.

  • Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus: it’s a really catchy song!  It’s the only song I have by her.  My only defense (if you can even call it that) is that she has some very catchy songs.  Very weak, I know, but we all have our guilty pleasures, and one of mine just happens to be teen popstars.
  • pretty much any Hannah Montana song: again, my only defense is that there are some very catchy songs from the t.v. show (and yes, I’ve watched it, for anyone who’s wondering).
  • MMMBop by Hanson: I really love the chorus!  Plus, it’s a fun, upbeat song, and I can’t help but sing along.
  • Cupid Shuffle by Cupid: At some point, I felt the need to download this song.  It makes want to do…the cupid shuffle!  Even I can do it, which should tell you something given my history of klutziness.  Mainly how easy it is, because I’m not all that coordinated (plus injury prone- they go hand in hand really).  I would check out the video over at YouTube.
  • 16 Chickens and A Tambourine by the VW Boys: I heard it on the Jeff and Jer Showgram once, for one of their segments, and felt the need to download it myself.  They also have a video over at YouTube, if you have the time to check it out.  And I have to say that I miss cracky.  That was seriously one of the funniest things ever.  I’m so glad they’re back on the air.
  • Barbie Girl by Aqua: I also have a weakness for 90’s music, so when KyXy had one a few weekends ago, I was super happy!  I have no idea why I like this song, I really don’t.  Maybe the nostalgia factor?

So, that’s just a small sample of some of the odd things I have in my music collection.  It is nice to have some random stuff though, especially because I tend to gravitate towards characters that are quirky and random.  Plus, listening to random songs sometimes helps when I’m writing fun scenes.

From The Depths of My Mind

I’m not really sure what to write about today, so here’s a few things going on:

  • I’ve decided I need to take a 1st aid/cpr class.  I have no idea where that came from, but it seems like a good idea.  And it can’t hurt because you never know when it’ll come in handy. 
  • i keep meaning to have a star wars marathon, a lord of the rings marathon, and a harry potter marathon, but I never seem to get around to it
  • keeping up the writing momentum is really hard- i’m perfectly fine during november, but keeping up any kind of pace is proving to be much harder.  Well, writing as far as novels go, because I’ve had no problem posting to my blog everyday. 
  • i must watch more movies.  And actually attempt to rewatch some of my favorite shows.  And catch up on a couple shows I’ve only started watching recently (namely in reruns on USA). 
  • I still haven’t read  many of the e-books I’ve found.  I’ve tried, but it’s not really working out too well, but I’ll keep trying.  I think I’m too distracted by everything else, namely the internet, to actually keep up with it. 

Blake Jackson

Blake Kyle Jackson is Kiora’s dad.  Even though he doesn’t show up too often, he still plays an important role.

He’s the Secretary of Education, studied Politcal Science in college, and taught at a community college.  I still need to fill in some background info on Blake being an educator, because I feel like if you’re going to be the Secretary of Education, you would need to have experience as a superintendent and such. 

Anyway, he was married to Charlotte, until she committed suicide.  He lied to Kiora about it, telling her that her mom died in a car accident because he wanted to protect her from the fact that her mom had some issues.

He’s pretty calm and quiet, but also very protective of friends and family, especially his daughter.

His favorite colors are green and blue, he likes cats and horses, and his favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.  He likes football and basketball, golfing, and watching CNN.  He likes listening to jazz.  He hates stretching, candy and rollercoasters.  

He does have a tendency to want to fix things and make sure everything is okay.  And he wants Kiora to have what he never had. 

I unfortunately don’t have a detailed profile on Blake, which is something I need to do.  Plus, he’s not really in the novel enough, which I need to change.  I can still write him in, I just need to go back to what I’ve already written and get him in there.  After all, he is why they had to move to D.C., so it would make sense for me to write about his job, and actually show him there.