Nerdness · Weird

Memes -The Internet’s Inside Joke

Greetings Universe!

Tis I, Adri (Missy Hatter), here again with another post for all you wonderful weirdos out there.

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Meme 
noun
  1. an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.
    • a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.
Have you ever seen one of these odd images online and wondered: What on God’s green earth even is this? 
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Memes are these strange images or phrases that circle around again and again, getting stranger and stranger as time goes by. Suddenly, there’s a bandwagon full of thousands of people expanding on this one odd thing. (You all know them, you’ve all seen them and a good bit of you know them well)_91408619_55df76d5-2245-41c1-8031-07a4da3f313f
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So where do these things come from, and more importantly, why are they being made and going so viral?

 Let’s start simple. Go back to something other than just internet culture….
Ever had some friends all laugh at something strange, something not as much funny as it made no sense at all? Ever had someone spew seemingly random phrases, yet those around them acted like they understood it perfectly? Or  have you maybe jumped in a group where everyone seemed to have their own language?
Then you, like many others, have experienced being on the outside of an inside joke.
It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? Or at the very least makes you feel left out. You’ve no doubt had your own share of inside jokes as well; whether from a group of friends or a favorite tv show/movie/book where only other fans would understand the reference. captainamerica1_zps8c295f96
But just as bad as it feels to be out of the loop, it feels just as great to be caught up with what everyone’s talking about.
And now more than ever, that seems to be what people most care about; being caught up to date with everything relevant. This isn’t new, by any means, just look how long news has been a thing, and gossip has been around since the creation of man.
We, as people, like to understand each other. We’re social creatures, so we crave being a part of something. Curiosity is also something we humans (or whatever mythical creature you identify as) share. So, when you see these pictures float around, it’s natural to want to know what it is. That fueled by our craving to be a part of something, drives us to help further these things which would, objectively,  be rather silly.
It’s not about the subject matter. It’s not about the dinosaur, dove, song, movie, frog, or whatever else it happens to be. It’s about being a part of the conversation. It’s about feeling like you belong, riding that bandwagon, and feeling like someone who knows something.
Whether you hate them, love them, know them, or know nothing about them. You’ve seen these around, and you still will in the future.
Culture is everywhere; in where you live, who you hang out with, and even on the internet. So remember, while you have fun out there being a part of something, that there are still people feeling left out. And I believe there are plenty of ways to use culture to share love and kindness as well as we do oddities and as easily as we do gossip.
Stay tight, my friends.
~ Adrianna
Books

Reading Stages and How To Read the “Classics”

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Hello beautiful people! This is Rachael again. And I am excited about my second post! I learned something way cool last semester and I can’t wait to share it all with you!

Okay, so if you are reading this I am going to assume you at least like to read. Very probably you love to read so much that you are thinking about what book you could be reading right now. But even if you don’t love reading with the passion of an exploding sun I do hope you will find what I have to say at least interesting.

So I will preface this post by saying that I am an English Education major so it will basically be my job to pass the love of reading on to the next generation.

And man is that a lot of pressure.

I know for a lot of people, it was their high school English teacher that made them either love reading whatever they could get their hands on or despise it so much that that never wanted to touch a book after high school. So I am fascinated by all theories and such about why people read or don’t read. Which brings me to today’s topic: Stages of Literary Appreciation.

The picture below came right out of my text book. It should be read from the bottom up. Go ahead. Peruse it. I will wait.

picture-stages

Cool right? Basically this theory is that you move up the stages and the “optimal age” is around the time most people should reach it if progressing properly. The book explains that some people reach the top stage much faster *ahem* and others never get past stage 3 or 4 *cries sad tears*.

I would like to draw your attention to the last level, level 7. Notice how this is the first time the “classics” are listed. Not in high school where every poor teen is force-fed them and expected to understand the literary nuances.

Guys, this is not their fault that they then turn around and hate reading. Most teens are not ready for this kind of book yet! I am not saying they should never read them or they can’t possibly get anything out of them. I myself enjoyed some of the “classics” such as Jane Eyre and The Odyssey in high school. But others were completely lost to me.  Forcing them to read for ascetic appreciation  (stage 7) when they have yet to conquer venturing beyond themselves (stage 5) is a bit like asking a fourth grader to do advanced algebra. They might be able to memorize the problems at best. But they will not get the full grasp and understanding and appreciation of math that I, uh, hear some people are blessed with.

This is a rather radical concept for the Education system. I have yet to meet someone who didn’t have to read a classic in high school such as The Great Gatsby or The Scarlet Letter. While Nathanial Hawthorn now holds a special place in my heart (I go crazy for symbolism) I absolutely hated The Scarlet Letter in high school.  I hated it so much I vowed to never read that “stupid book” ever again… Only to be required to read it junior year of college. I forced myself to open the pages only to discover this was not the book I remembered. I was awed by the way the author spun the plot and how he flipped the characters on end.

But enough about my literary crush on Nathanial Hawthorn and back to the topic at hand. I know I will be expected to teach the classics in my classroom; there is really no avoiding it. So what am I to do? Change the approach.

There is this wonderful approach to the classics that I was introduced to this past year. It is called book paring and it isn’t just for teachers! Basically, a more modern young adult novel is pared with a classic. First, the students read the modern YA and talk about theme and characters and such. Then, they read the classic with the understanding that many of the things they discussed will be similar. This makes the book more approachable and easier to understand because the students are looking for parallels that they can relate.

You can try it for yourself. If you are still scarred from reading The Scarlet Letter, may I suggest Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Confused by McBeth? Try Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Huckleberry Finn? Read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Since most of you are probably it stage 5 or 6, I do hope you find this advice helpful. Feel free to comment if you know of any good book pairings.

Until next time, drink tea, read books, and fly on brave wings.

Rachael

 

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My Dream’s a Nightmare: Aspiration and Ambition

I have a confession to make: I am a terrible artist. No, I don’t think the quality of my work is garbage (though there’s of course always room for improvement), rather, I am terrible with being consistent with whatever I create and I have fallen into boasting my works to others prematurely.

From my early teenage years, I was practically starving for some sort of online presence. Content creators such as Chuggaaconroy (https://www.youtube.com/user/chuggaaconroy) and the Completionist (https://www.youtube.com/user/ThatOneVideoGamer) were like gods to me (and still are an incredible inspiration to me), and I remember wanting to be just like them. I must have sunk upwards of five hundred dollars into recording equipment for my small HP laptop between the years of thirteen and fifteen. I was convinced that I, too, could be a star Let’s Player and eventually inspire my own audience the same way I had been inspired. I attempted a handful of recording sessions and found myself frustrated that my first video wasn’t going to be some magnum opus. My recording equipment has been sitting in the drawer of my TV cabinet ever since (though I occasionally am tempted to take it out again).

Of course, YouTube wasn’t the only thing my middle school self envisioned for the near future. I wanted to be an entertainment virtuoso, also creating web comics and video games. Fueled by the bizarre humor of Adventure Time and Regular Show (which had just begun airing) and the “Brawl in the Family” web comic (http://brawlinthefamily.keenspot.com/), I started brainstorming a project called “The Epic Adventures of Cody Winn”. The lead was a Mary Sue of sorts, naturally based off of me in appearance and in personality (that’s the greatest Commandment in making a middle-schooler’s comic). In Regular Show fashion, he worked an average job while being constantly swept up into bizarre circumstances with his friends and coworkers. No, none of it was original, but I was incredibly proud of the idea alone. I began drawing one-page comics at school, showing off my work at lunchtime every day. My classmates liked what I made, and the teachers that saw it were very affirming (which I am still incredibly grateful for). Things were good. That is, until one day when I happened to get bored while drawing the daily update. I had “stories” (titles and single-sentence descriptions more than anything) lined up for a month. That didn’t stop me from slacking off, and the comics soon vanished.

Fast-forward to 2017. I’m a freshman in college, majoring in Computer Sciences and minoring in Art because, guess what? I’m still trying to make something out of Cody Winn. The concept has naturally changed a lot, going from a modern sitcom of sorts to a fantasy adventure. “So, instead of Regular Show, it’s Adventure Time?” … well, dang. Whatever the case may be, I still have a desire to produce content online, though I’m falling into the hole of “self-hype” once more. I think it’s safe to say that everyone I know has heard me say “Cody and Jenny” or “Motley Crew” on some occasion, and anyone who follows my social media accounts can see sketches and concept art I’ve drawn most every weekday for about two months now. I can’t help but be angry with myself, though, for failing to actually put the dang story to paper. Well, I actually managed to draft up a first chapter (insert self-plug here: http://jackthehatguy.deviantart.com/), but “official” progress has been halted since that upload. My – dare I use the word – hiatus should be justified (what, with me starting college), but I can’t help but regret that I’ve been pushing a product on people that isn’t finished (and has barely even started).

I was recently watching JelloApocalypse on YouTube, when I found this video on making web comics: https://youtu.be/aOLzS2MmkzQ (language warning for the youngins and/or the pious). The guy had nailed me, right down to the hat I wear! I wouldn’t say that this is what brought me to realization, but it certainly helped in cementing my concerns. I’ve come to be very aware of the dangers of being “too inspired”, looking at my work, writings online, and even successful web series like RWBY (team behind it obviously adores Final Fantasy).

Recent reflection brought me back to a video from last year by Satchel Drakes, which, as I remembered, both convicted me of my ways and gave me hope for my work’s future: https://youtu.be/POFXGhA0AoY. I and other content creators like me should recognize and need to remind ourselves that Rome wasn’t built in a day (pardon the cliché). It wasn’t built effortlessly, either. Creative outlets typically don’t yield immediate results, so we have to be prepared for an incredible uphill battle. I’ve chosen to believe in my dream despite the difficulties that lie ahead, though, because I know that this has been the case since Creation. I’ve seen countless works that resulted from frustration, hunger, and tears, and I’m come to see beauty in the struggle. The idea that I’m not the only one pushing Sisyphus’ boulder gives me courage and determination in my craft. Whatever people may think of the finished result (which I pray does come), I know that I will be most satisfied with my work when I have finished.

Books

Why a Raven is like a Writing Desk

 

Greetings Universe! I’m Adrianna, or Adri for short. I’m also known, among some in the realm of Legion, as the Hatter. Which is why it is only befitting for my first post to reflect my title and my love for the works of Lewis Carroll.

I also would like to apologize for the lateness of the post. I take full responsibility, as you see, I’m always late.

So I’m sure many of you are curious as to why exactly a raven is like a writing desk, considering Mr. Carroll never did elaborate the answer of such a riddle. (or possibly you sit snickering in your chair, believing you already know the answer)

The riddle is used to make a point in the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It’s brought up by none other than the Mad Hatter at the insane tea party, celebrating an un-birthday. Usually, when one offers up a riddle they already know the answer, and await for the one hearing the riddle to guess, or more likely be amazed by the witty solution. But what answer is poor Alice given? “I haven’t the slightest idea.” 

This none-existent answer is meant to draw to the fact that, well, this is all mad. Things don’t go by order, and jokes have no pay-off.

But you don’t care about that, do you? So now to what everyone’s been waiting for:


Why is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?


Truth is: I haven’t the slightest idea.

.

.

.

Jk. (but if you want it to be a secret forever; stop reading)

There are lots of answers, most are quite funny. One that Lewis Carroll had given in the preface of the 1896 version of was:

“Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front”

(Yes yes, nevar was meant to be spelled that way. Lewis Carroll seemed to like himself some puns  *hint* it’s raven spelled backwards )

Here’s one that was proposed in Heartless by Marissa Meyer: (yes I know someone else already covered the Lunar Chronicles here, I just really did enjoy that book. I blame the unicorn)

“Because they both have quills dipped in ink.”

-originally from David N. Jodrey Jr. in The Annotated Alice)

“Because a writing-desk is a rest for pens and a raven is a pest for wrens,”

( -Tony Weston 1991)

In the spirit of nonsense:

“Because there is a ‘b’ in both and an ‘n’ in neither.”

or “Because neither is ever approached without caws”

Though my personal favorite has to be:

“Because Poe wrote on both”

*bows*

That’s it for now! Till next time, fellow weirdos!

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Finding Time Amidst the Chaos

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Hello beautiful people! This is Rachael. I will be posting every second week of the month. I love anything that is purple and sparkly but I am not afraid to get my hands dirty, literally and figuratively. I am an INFJ and used to nobody understanding my train of thought. I think I might be a mermaid as I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.  

While trying to decide on what to write on I realized I see a lot of people who kind of ask the general questions of “How do you find time to read or write when ______” You fill in the blank. Busy family life. College. Moving. Computer broke. Have no money (not sure if this hinders reading or writing but it sure sucks).

Well, I have said above busy life. I attend college out of my home state nine months out of the year. I have a part time job. Oh, and did I mention I am in my senior year? If anyone is busy, it’s me. Since I like to pass my classes (weird fetish, I know), I spend an obscene amount of hours working on stuff for class. This leaves very little time left over for reading or writing. Which makes me sad. Very sad.

But there is hope, my friends! Because I am proud to say, that despite college and my job, I still found time to read and write this past year. We will start with the reading.

The first thing that will help you read more is to set a goal. I set a goal at the beginning of 2016 to read 50 books. I managed to read 52. Now to be fair, about 20 of those books were for class. I am an English major and reading literature is quite common for class. However, I could have chosen not to stay up to all hours of the night reading and finishing those books (as many of my classmates chose to do) but I did.

How did I get the other 32 books read? Breaks. Fall break, Christmas break, spring break. And anytime during school when I wasn’t working on homework. Instead of floating around on Facebook and Pinterest, I read. I stole moments alone and I found a book and read. Even if it was just for ten minutes. This kept me grounded and connected to the literature world I would love to enter someday. Setting a goal that others can see, such as on a site like GoodReads, can really help motivate you to read more.

Side note– if you love reading and/or writing, you should get a GoodReads account. I love it. Its like Pinterest for readers. You will find books you never knew existed and fandoms when you thought you were all alone with your feelings.

Now about writing. I must admit I wasn’t as good at this. But it helped me a LOT to belong to a writing group on campus. We got together twice a month and workshopped each others writings. Talking with others who loved writing like I did really helped keep me connected to my own passion and thinking about what I wanted to do with my writing. I also used breaks to work on my WIP and other ideas that came my way.

Groups like Legion W are great, don’t get me wrong, but having actual people to write with and talk to about writing really boosted my creativity. It forced me to be honest and take feedback for my creations. I found out I was actually good a some forms of poetry, the one type of writing I despised the most. But I never would have tried it if it wasn’t a group activity. Find your tribe and work together to help each other.

Here are my top eight books (in no particular order) from those I read this past year in case you guys are interested. (You can see my complete list on GoodReads):

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austend82ff801b05b020ee9ca295b357cdd71

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Tangerine by Edward Bloor

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Feel free to comment below on ways you keep reading and writing in busy times or comment with your favorite book you read last year.

Until next time, drink tea, read books, and fly on brave wings.

Rachael

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Cheers, Love: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Blizzard’s Storytelling

Hey, everybody! Name’s Jack, though I also go by HatGuy. I’m an INFP with a love for video games, movies, animation, et cetera. So, of course, I’m making my debut here with a post that could not only involve politics, but religion as well. I’m a lot of fun at parties!

With the release of Overwatch’s “Winter Wonderland” event, Blizzard Entertainment also released a lore-based comic, named “Reflections”, in which the team revealed the franchise’s flagship character, Tracer, to be LGBT. In the comic, Tracer is on a mission to retrieve a last-minute gift for a dear friend on the streets of London. Due to unfortunate circumstances, from stores closing to having to stop a robbery, it seems that she won’t be able to buy the gift, but is rewarded for her previous heroism with a gift to take home. She is seen in a flat, recuperating and talking with her friend, Emily. Her friend mistakes Tracer’s present for one addressed to her, and opening it, is overjoyed with a lovely scarf. Emily and Tracer share a kiss, and with this image, the Internet exploded. The rest of the comic gives audiences insight to the whereabouts of the game’s various characters, so whatever you think of this, if you’re a fan, I’d highly recommend it.

The controversy surrounding this revelation was possibly the greatest exposure the game has ever gotten, right next to the “Tracer’s booty” incident (Tracer seems to have a track record online). Many are obviously (although reasonably) divided over Blizzard’s decision. Despite what my introduction may have implied, I’m going to try and avoid shoehorning in politics and/or religion into this discussion. I’d like to discuss this storytelling element or, rather, its announcement and reception, simply as that.

There’s no denying that LGBT culture is emerging in the current day, so it really came to no surprise to me a few months ago when Blizzard revealed a LGBT character already present in the cast of Overwatch. However, my first response could be described as, “Meh. I knew they’d do that.” This response, I feel, is the greatest mistake Blizzard has made regarding Tracer’s story. With this announcement alone, excluding the actual reveal, the team made LGBT representation nothing more than part of some quota. With a premature announcement such as this, it feels as if Blizzard was simply trying to keep a demographic pleased, rather than incorporate a unique storytelling element.

On the other hand, with the reveal, Blizzard did make quite the step by making Tracer, their flagship member, a representative of the LGBT community. Tracer’s sexuality in the comic doesn’t come off as pandering to the community, and it isn’t shoved into audience’s face in-game or even have any impact on gameplay. Her sexuality doesn’t define her; it’s another dimension to her character, whether we politically agree with it or spiritually accept it.

As a Christian gamer, I often consider how my faith and hobbies are supposed to be integrated. Overwatch brings an interesting and difficult question of what and how much of the world we allow to influence us, as does much modern media and secular thinking. Rather than solely looking for bullet-points of disagreement that we may more easily write off another’s thoughts or works, however, we must look for writings and creations that show integrity, those that do not rely on some demographic or gimmick to engage its audience. I feel that despite the marketing shortcoming, Overwatch’s integrity remains intact, but that is, of course, open to discussion.

Thanks for reading this spiel of mine, all. This has been a ginger-ale-fueled Jack the HatGuy, writing to you from 1 A.M. See you, Space Cowboys.

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The Lunar Chronicles

Welcome to the blog of L.E.G.I.O.N!  I guess I’ll introduce myself. My name is Kylie Gregory, and I’m fifteen-years-old. My hobbies include reading, writing, collecting rocks (but like, cool ones. And despite what my sisters say, there is such a thing.) and rearranging my books shelves. Let’s see, I’m homeschooled.  I know more than anyone wants to hear about sci-fi books and movies. Fantasy too, but mostly sci-fi. Like I said before and as you can probably tell since you’re reading it now, I love to write and hope to be a sci-fi author myself one day.

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I was thinking I’d talk about one of my favorite book series today. You may have heard of it, it’s called The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. It’s a cyberpunk, dystopia, sci-fi with fairytale elements. Basically, it’s super awesome.

The premise is that Cinder, a mechanic with a hard past lives in the bustling city of New Beijing far in the future. Around her, the world is struggling against a dreaded plague and the devious Queen Levana of Luna, the former moon colony. I can’t say too much more without giving a bunch of spoilers. But there’s Prince Kai of the Eastern Commonwealth, a sassy android named Iko, and all of your favorite Cinderella elements. What’s excellent about this story is that while it does have elements of Cinderella, it doesn’t swallow the story. While there are so many other things going on, it doesn’t become confusing.

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I warn you though, if you decide to read this book be sure to have book two, Scarlet, on hand. You will be thankful. After Cinder comes the awesome installments of Scarlet, Cress, and Winter. Cinder was great, earning a place as one of my favorite books, yet somehow the next books kept getting better and better. When you’re done with those, don’t miss Stars Above, a collection of short stories and a final epilogue for the story.

(Also, a graphic novel is coming out in a couple of weeks called Wires and Nerve.)

 

To further convince you, I’ll just throw out that there are space pirates, spaceships, all sorts of cool tech, amazing writing and characters, political intrigue, and the list goes on. So if you’re into sci-fi, dystopia, or fairytale retellings, you should definitely give this series a try.

Until next time!