“Read, you fools!”

Originally, I had planned to talk about french fries, gardening or yoga, but once again, I was in deterred in the bathroom. So there I was, and something struck me: I have some really frickin’ awesome ideas when in the restroom. That place in general is just amazing and is therefore, in a word, magic. Yeah, you heard me. Magic. Thank you, inventor of the latrine, for providing the most magical place I will ever be. Until the wizarding gene shows up in my DNA and my children go to the American school of Witchcraft and wizardry and I get to take them to the American Diagon Alley.

My new topic of interest hits close to home for me, and once this idea hit me, I knew I had a title and I had to put it into use. Kudos to those who recognize the play-on-words-quote thing going up there. Anyone who’s seen the movies at least knows (or should, at least) where it’s from. I’m trying really hard not to give away what it is because I was pretty excited with my awesome brain power.

I’m a nerd. What can I say? Fantasy fiction is right up there for me (second is a good mystery book and silly girly books by authors like Sarah Dessen). Gimme magic, sword-fighting, and monsters, and I swear to you, it will be eaten and digested. Sometimes it’ll take longer than other stories/books to digest (oh, hello, Sword of Shannara, A Clash of Kings, and Wheel of Time), but I will power through the slow parts! “Just give me a book!” I cry out, “I live on reading! I can’t survive without a book on my person! I feel naked!”

Yes. This information is true. And so is this: I am a nineteen year old college freshman who always has at least one book on her person. I don’t own a kindle or a nook (though, come time when I have to go on a trip, carrying one of these handy devices would be so much easier than a bag of forty books). I have walked around with two or more books in my purse. I’ve had people stop, stare, and say something along the lines of “Holy cow, that’s a huge ass book!” when I pull out a, as they call it, huge ass book out of my bag. I’m still waiting for my poor purse to, like, die or something because I’ve had since freshman year of high school and it’s been through so much, the poor thing. There was this one time, when two of my best friends pissed me off and I pulled a book out of my bag to ignore them and they decided that to get me to talk, they were going to take my book away. So they take the book away and I dive-bomb my purse and pull out a second book. They immediately face palm, and take that one away, too. So I pout, then grab a third book out of my bag. It was a Mary Poppins moment, for sure. “How many books do you have in there?!” ‘Cause, you know, my bag is a bit on the small side.

And mostly this exclamation of  “omg a book, I’ma die” comes from people of my generation or are younger. While a minority of my friends actually read for fun (what a concept!), most of them are too busy or find reading to be dull. “It’s a waste of time,” they say. “What is the point of reading?” they ask.

I was in a freshman class last year (there is a reason as to why a high school senior had to suffer with a bunch of high school freshman; that reason is along the lines of changing schools sucks and graduation requirements actually differ from school to school. Dear god, freshman after lunch. That’s that very definition of hell. Or purgatory. Probably both.) and one girl immediately told me “Reading is stupid and why should I do that?” I was flabbergasted (I love that word! It makes my heart soar whenever I use it or see it used somewhere else)! The other freshman girl next to me had the same horrified expression I had on my face. I literally said aloud, “What is wrong with you people?! *table flip*” Okay, so I didn’t actually flip any tables. I don’t think Brandy, my teacher, would’ve appreciated that much.

But really? I do realize that not everyone has the time to sit down and read like I do, but to call it stupid or pointless? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?! I know we don’t really appreciate English teachers shoving the oldest, bulkiest, most boring books they can find in our faces, but that’s not how every book is! And there are actually some pretty good books that I had to read while in school. George Orwell’s 1984 (8th grade) and Animal Farm (9th or 10th grade)were pretty good as well as the Grapes of Wrath (Junior year; yea, that actually wasn’t a terrible book to read, one of the better ones, in fact) and any of the various anthologies they push in front of me. I go out of my way to find anthologies. They’re quick easy reads, and there are lots of stories in them. Lots. Hell, I can’t set foot in a library without coming back out with a stack of books. I’ve put books on hold so I could try to curb my addiction; it works best when I send someone else in to get the books. I go in, I’m headed straight into the building to the fiction area. I’d love to work in a library or a Barnes and Nobles (if I don’t become a teacher, I may become a librarian. Or the other way around; haven’t decided yet).  I’d probably live in these places if I could. I plan on having a whole floor dedicated to books when I’m wealthy enough to afford a house.

Back to reading and people being fools. Sure, we read everyday. Newspapers, texts, emails, that news thing at the bottom where it tells us random happenings in the world that have been deemed important. So yeah, that’s reading. Of course that’s reading. But when was the last time you sat down with a book of your choice and just read for the enjoyment and pleasure of getting away from it all? Most children probably haven’t. They probably figure that they’re being punished for something or the lack of boopity bop in the background makes them edgy and nervous. Then when the allotted time is up, they instantly cry and complain to their friends about how evil their parents are for making them read.

Bah. This is where I’m making myself clear: MAKE YOURSELF READ A BOOK. It won’t harm you, it won’t turn and make fun of you, it won’t criticize you for your faults. Let the story draw you in, drop your shoulders down below your ears, and decide which character you want to get with, you want to stab, and which you’d be best friends with. Just sayin’. Read instead of playing a video game! You can still get all the awesome of whatever game you’re playing when you read. Below is a list of books to at least consider. This is in no way limiting to what to read. Links will be provided within each title to Barnes and Nobles. I highly suggest exploring more books there. I have a list of books I’ve found on Barnes and Nobles that I hope to read someday!

I highly suggest:

These are all really good books, you just have to know what you’re looking for. Two of these have rather adult themes, so just a warning. And trust me when I say, while GoT can be a little bit explicit, Tanith trumped George with this one.

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I Bought My Way In…

When you see a good deal, be it with coupons or just an awesome sale or mark down, you jump at the chance to get it. Television highly enjoys showing people, particularly women during holiday sales, beating each other over the heads for something. Isla Fisher in Confessions of a Shopaholic comes to mind.

With the Annual Pass from Blizzard, I saw an awesome deal. I knew after they announced it where I’d be in a year: playing World of Warcraft. I knew, too, I’d somehow get my hands on Diablo 3. At first, I had assumed I’d be sharing a D3 game with my brother and father to save on costs. The AP allowed me get out of that potential mess. So I signed up. Not only do I get D3 when it comes out, I also got this ugly flying horse mount! Woo! And then my favorite: access to the next Blizzard beta. Since I first started playing in 2005, I wanted to get into the next WoW beta so badly. And now, I’ve bought my way in with the AP.

Lurking on MMO-Champ really didn’t help with waiting when the Mists of Pandaria beta started. But I lurked anyway, checking my battle.net account every so often, waiting. (Quick thank you to the poster on MMO-Champ who provided a beta download for when we finally got in the beta.)

Beta invite wave 4 comes out, my initial thoughts, “Oh, I won’t get in. I shouldn’t check, but I will anyway.” It was if I had won the lottery (in a way it was; over 1million people signed up for the AP) and it involved pandas! As soon as I copied 4 out of 5 of my level 85s, and a random premade, I logged on. Of course it took some time figuring out how to keep from crashing, but once I figured out what was wrong, I was in.

Lag. Achievement spam. Awe. It’s overwhelming! Mostly just the lag and the annoying premade spam. So I do my thing, getting my UI set up on each toon and sending a few characters to Pandaria. Man, and I had thought that Stormwind was bad!

So I messed around a little and then decided to make a Pandaren monk.

Ain’t she cute? Only thing I wish is that there were more options to have female pandaren’s hair down.

So far, I’ve been enjoying my time on the beta, and I seriously cannot wait until hunters can finally tame something. The new tiger models are amazing! But until then, I’m going to shun Blizzard for ruining Shaman totems (for the past 6 1/2 years, I’ve gotten used to how they work now!) and praising them on other things, like the new druid glyphs. I seriously hope they make it into the game.

The new Boomkin form for Balance druids!

The stag was supposed to have been the original travel form for druids, from what I’ve heard.

Noxcaelum, my druid, is happy. And warlocks… I like the empowered demons but I seriously know nothing about warlocks themselves. If I play a caster, it usually has the ability to choose to heal. So I just asked my brother for help when it comes down to it. “Hey, AJ, how does this work?””*grunt* Like this.””Oh, okay, I get it now.”

So yeah, be jealous of my amazingness. Not really, I can think of more amazing people. (Like the ones that put up with me. This is for you, Fuzzy.)

Also, random WoW fact: In the barber shop in Stormwind, the room above it has two gnome skeletons in it. Why is this important? The previous barber was a goblin and the new one is a gnome. Someone must’ve found out about the goblin’s late night activities…

Quick Fix Episode Guide: Game of Thrones and The Killing

At least once a week, millions of people turn on the television, grab family members if they’re there, and watch their preferred tv show. Sometimes, they’ll call others and they char about the show. “Did you see blah-blah-blah?!””OMG I did! Can you believe what happened?!”

Yup, sounds about right. My own family and I sit down most Sundays to watch Game of Thrones. Last year, when I first saw the season one trailer, I immediately ran and told my younger brother about it; swords, fighting, war, etc, etc, testosterone for guys. Almost immediately after that, I was on the local library website putting Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin on hold. Then, I think after we all sat down and watched the first episode of season one or so, my parents drove to Barnes and Nobles and bought all the Song of Ice and Fire books that have been thus far released. While my parents have literally gobbled up the books, I’m slowly, slowly making my way though book two, A Clash of Kings. So far, each episode I’ve watched of season two, I’ve flinched because I know I’m being stubborn and ruining the book for myself (I’m a stickler for watching shows/movies AFTER I’ve read the books).

Also on Sunday nights is the Danish-based television show The Killing on AMC. When the first season started last year, I had no intention whatsoever to watch it. My mother only watched it because she was waiting for my father to call while he drives over to Roseburg each night. Talk about hooked. Every single Sunday night, directly after Game of Thrones, at 7pm, as my dad headed out the door (go, go HDTV; HD channels bringing us shows 3 hours earlier!), I’d grab my beat-stick and beat my brother upstairs so my mom and I could watch the Killing without interruptions. Aside from commercials, of course.

So now we’re in the beginnings of season two for both shows, wondering how each show will turn out. Well, unless you’ve read A Clash of Kings. Then you have a pretty good idea of how Game of Thrones will be turning out, because, compared to other books-to-television (even movies!), HBO has thus far liked keeping the episodes close to the books. Yeah, yeah, I know the current episodes are at three, but that’s the very beginning! Now let’s view both episodes of both shows:

Game of Thrones: What Is Dead May Never Die

Sunday night we learned that Tyrion Lannister has a really f***ed up plan to figure out who he can trust on the Small Council. I highly enjoy Tyrion Lannister in both the books and the show:  he’s the only Lannister I can even consider liking. Jamie seems a bit daft; all brawn, no brains. Cersei is a grade A beeyotch; and her children… We don’t see much of Myrcella and Tommen Lannister and they seem docile, so not really of consequence. And then there’s Joffrey. Oh, dear, innocent Joffrey… That’s all sarcastic of course. There are two story characters that have thus far been written down that I absolutely hate: Penelope Hayes, from The Luxe series and Joffrey Baratheon/Lannister. Lestat from Interview with a Vampire is a close third; mostly because he’s just a coward.

We also see Lady Catelyn Stark visit ‘King’ Renly Baratheon (we all know who the true king is… Robb Stark, King of the North!) to try and convince him to make an alliance. Oh my, everyone but Renly and Cat are immediately up in arms over who is king and who is not. Lady Cat’s just like “Guys, chill. When the war’s over, we have time for titles.” Renly sits there and nods, agreeing with her. “Yeah, listen to Lady Stark, she’s cool.”

Let me just say that I’m in league with most people: the Starks are awesome. Arya is, of course, my favorite. She’s a bad ass young girl who wants to be a knight. But in this episode, we see a chaotic mess of Yoren and his recruits being slaughtered by gold cloaks. Of course, it can’t always be exact to the word in the book, but I can dream, can’t I?  But we see Arya, Gendry, and several other young recruits escaping and then getting caught again.  The read between these two events is cleaner, I’ll admit. But in the show, I really liked the scene where Arya protects Gendry with her cunning. She points the gold cloaks to another boy that they had already killed because he had been injured.

Another big thing in this episode, we find out that the Greyjoy’s are plotting against Robb. More political intrigue! Theon Greyjoy is trying just so hard to prove himself to his father; you can’t help but feel sorry for him. Her father gives him crap for ‘being a Stark’ and Theon says, “Wait a minute… You sent me off to them and you treat me like trash when I come back to you?” Yet, we later see Robb reading a message from Theon, telling Robb about his father’s plan to take Winterfell.

I’m definitely looking forward to next week and seeing how each story line pans out. I’m also planning on reading further in the book, so I candiscuss more deeply what has happened both in the book and the show, and the differences between.

The Killing: Ogi Jun 

In this episode, one thing stands out: Holder hadn’t known that the Richmond photo had been faked. Now, I’m a bit unsure if this is true or not, to be honest. For all we know, he’s messing with Linden to keep her off his trail. But then, why would he show her the actual backpack that was dropped on the Larsen’s doorstep? I don’t know. Holder and this whole corrupted cop theme  is interesting. I can’t help but wonder if Holder is truly innocent or not and where the corruption is stemming from.

Darren Richmond is visited by the mayor and Richmond draws out of the political race. On top of this, we find out that the police have a new lead: A young Polish man who they believe have something to do with the Polish mob, Stan Larsen’s business, and therefore something to do with Rosie Larsen’s murder. They find him through a tattoo image which was in the bike mirror caught in Rosie’s film.

Which ties into Stan Larsen’s days in the Polish mob.  Linden, who is friends with a FBI agent who specializes in the mob, goes to this man and finds out that in order to get out of the mob, Stan Larsen had to kill a man, around 20 years before the events of the show. Pictures of the murder indicate that the man Stan killed was shot in the head, and then tied up and thrown in the back of a car trunk. To see if the woman who had been the murdered man’s girlfriend any information, Linden and Holder track her down while searching for the young man with the tattoo. The woman, upon hearing why the detectives were there, says “Stan Larsen got what he deserved.”

This leads me to believe that the young man is definitely tied in with the mob and that the mob does, in fact, have something to do with Rosie’s murder. At first, I had thought it had been tied to the political war between Richmond and Adams. That Adams, or someone higher, had planted the murder of Rosie Larsen on Richmond to make him look bad. We will not know until later on in the season. And hopefully we’ll know who killed Rosie Larsen at the end of this season.

Trash Talk: Bathrooms and Herpes?

Almost a year ago, during the last term of high school, a friend of mine and I had gotten out of class and we were waiting for her ride to arrive, making idle chit-chat. She made a comment about having to pee badly and I asked her why she didn’t go use the bathroom. Her reply: “Uh, no, I don’t use public restrooms because I could catch herpes.”

Excuse me? Herpes from a toilet? What is this madness? “I had to write a paper on herpes, and I found out that the bacteria for herpes could survive for quite a while on a toilet,” she said; or about as close as I can remember it. My initial thoughts were “…Someone’s wearing a tin foil hat…”

This happened almost a year ago, and the only reason it’s bothering me now is because last week, when I entered a public restroom, the stall I chose just bothered me greatly. I pee’d as fast as I could and tried not to run out because it reminded me of what she said. Since then, this idea of being able to catch herpes via a toilet has bothered me simply because I’m not too sure about the facts and the truth behind this.

So I researched it. And one of  the first things that comes up on google when searching “Can you catch herpes from a toilet seat?” is from the site mayoclinic.com, which is a rather nice site to use for medical research (I’d like to thank my Health 2 instructor for bringing this site to my attention when I took my last health credit senior year). The short blurb answering the question “Can you get genital herpes from a toilet seat?” clearly states that it is nearly impossible. Rest assured, everyone, your private goods are safe from the toilet-STD team.

Wait a minute! The article says nearly impossible. Nearly?! So there’s still that off-chance that I could get herpes from sitting on a toilet? Well, according to the blurb and my own skills of putting two and two together (which can, I admit, manage to equal five sometimes), it could be possible. But what the hell are the chances, exactly, that you’d get herpes from a toilet? Probably less than 0.1 percent. Probably less than 0.01 percent. Other sites have suggested that the only way it could happen is if the virus was in a space where moisture and temperature stay at a moderate rate that keeps the fragile virus alive. Since the virus is so fragile, though, it generally dies pretty quickly when exposed.

So basically, what I read and gathered from the sites I used to track down information (which will be listed below!), there’s really nothing to fear about potentially catching herpes from a toilet. This, in truth, makes me feel a little better about using public restrooms now, but it may still be a good idea to carry around a can of Lysol to spritz the seat beforehand!

Sources:

The Pith of the Statement

In a world forever moving through and past technology at a pace that leaves some of gasping, there’s one thing that stays the same: Communication. Be it between business partners, friends, lovers, or family, we still communicate. Over the years, the ways we communicate has evolved: cave paintings, mail, telephones, email, video chat and always, speech. Some of us still participate in most of these; I myself prefer mailing letters to certain friends and to others I email what I want to say. When we can, we talk on the phone or make a time to chat on skype.

With this blog, I hope to communicate on a larger scale through my posts and the subjects of my posts. Majority of pop culture, such as movies, books, and music, as well as world issues we see every day. Maybe weird things, too, like the idea of catching herpes through a public bathroom. Whatever is on my mind at the moment, for there’s lots in this noggin of mine that wants to escape.

That said, random fact number one: Noggin not only means head, but is also a small cup or mug, as well as a small amount of alcohol, usually a ‘gill’.