Thursday, October 29, 2015

Twilight and Procrastination

I shouldn't be writing this. No, like I really shouldn't. I should be writing my paper before class tonight. But you know when you're just not in the mood to write a paper, so you're procrastinating by watching YouTube, and researching the upcoming book of an Instagrammer you follow, and wondering when those books you ordered last week will get here so you can film your October haul, and then you just decide to blow it all off and write a blog post? Yeah, that's how I'm feeling.

So, I'm not sure where this post is going right now. I have some photos to share with you from my trip to Chicago last month, but that would require standing up to get my external hard drive where they're currently stored. Same with my attendance at the Night Vale book signing. Oooh so let's talk Twilight!

It's been a while since Twilight has been mentioned on this blog, since all the books and movies have been out for years. That is, until earlier this month. Because Stephenie Meyer somehow hid from the entire world that she had written a new Twilight book.

I'm still not over this. How did no one spill??

On the morning of October 6th 2015 (aka the greatest day for book releases and book news in the history of ever), the tenth anniversary special edition of Twilight was released, and with it a new story. Well, the exact same story but with reversed genders. The book world went nuts. I was in bed when I saw it online and, after checking multiple sources to make sure it wasn't a joke and the B&N website to make sure they had it in stock, I immediately restructured my day to go buy it. I may have blown off a few minor responsibilities that morning. But the day ended with I my hands on the new Twilight book and this video, that I think gives you a small glimpse at how excited I was:

To say I was excited was an understatement. I didn't realize my love for Twilight still ran so deep until it was announced that there was a new book. I had to have it right then, and once it was finally mine, I did little else but read that book until it was finished. And I loved it. It's like a fan fiction, but better than fan fiction because the original author wrote it and approves of this imagining! I did a full review in this video:

But suffice it to say, that while this is not Midnight Sun (maybe for the 11th anniversary edition? Whaddya say, Stephenie?), it was still a very pleasant surprise. Is it a completely new book? Definitely not. But is it a fun twist on an old favorite? Absolutely. Go in expecting that and I think you'll enjoy it too.

Also, I just have to say, in my opinion....Beau > Bella. Sorry not sorry.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fanboy Meets Fangirl

You could have been my unicorn.

I was on a one day vacation with my friends. You were working a busy candy counter. I stepped up to the register to pay for my snacks and you walked over while the girl was ringing me up.

"Hey, do you know if this soda is a twist off cap or a pop top?"
"No, I don't pay attention to those things. I'm much more interested in the flight pattern of bees."

And just like that, you had my attention.

My non-fandom friend was like:

My casual-fandom friend was like:

But I was like:

"You know, I've been told I bear a striking resemblance to Castiel."

"Yeah, you kind do!" I smile while the cashier tells my total. My casual-fandom friend now understands and my non-fandom friend is still confused, but at least knows the subject. But me?

As I sign the receipt and you shirk responsibility we chat about how wearing a fandom shirt (I was wearing my AKF shirt) in public is an invitation for conversation from other fans. "It's like wearing a Dungeons and Dragons shirt in public," you say, "people just know." You motion towards your chest as you say this. "But I'm not wearing anything fun today, just my apron."

All too soon, I'm shuffling out of the crowded store.

You could have been my unicorn. That was a great pickup line for someone like me. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. I was with friends, and you were working a busy Sunday afternoon at the candy counter.

Now I'm left wondering...why isn't there a dating site for fandoms?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Jury Duty Psychosis

I got called for jury duty today. It ended up being 5 hours sitting in the jury pool room, running on 4 hours sleep, and it was extremely boring. To entertain myself, I narrated the experience on Facebook. Thought I'd share here, more for my own future reminiscing than for your enjoyment, but that would be a happy side effect. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Best Work Call EVER.

Tonight I answered the phone at work and was unprepared for the conversation that would follow. 

Me: Hello, this is Ashley, can I help you?

Sir: Yeah, hi, I'm hoping I don't come off sounding crazy.

Me: Okay?

Sir: I live at [apartments a few doors down]. Were you working last Wednesday?

Me: No, but I might be able to answer your question anyways [thinking he's going to ask about the concert series].

Sir: So you saw it too?!

Me: Saw what?

Sir: Oh, I thought you said you knew what I was talking about. I don't want to sound crazy. I'm as sober as a judge, ya know, but I saw something in the sky Wednesday night and it looked like it was coming from near you guys.

Me: Oh. No, I don't know anything about it.

Sir: Yeah, it was so strange so I grabbed my neighbors and we were all trying to figure out what it was. It wasn't a helicopter or something. It was strange.

Me: [intrigued from watching too much Ancient Aliens lately] Oh?

Sir: I'm not drunk or anything, I'm sober as a judge. And I know what helicopters look like. This thing had three white lights, and two red ones. And it would move to the side, then stop suddenly and just...hover. Then it would shoot straight up or to the side, real quick, and then go back to hovering. Maybe it was a drone, but I don't think they're as big as this thing was. It was out there for about 15 minutes just hovering with the lights. I know I probably sound crazy.

Me: No, that's okay.

Sir: I...I hate to say it, looked like...It looked like a UFO, you know? I've never seen anything like it in my life! A few of my neighbors were out there with me and they haven't either. One girl tried to take a picture with her phone but couldn't get it. It was just so strange.

Me: Wow.

Sir: I've been debating calling to ask someone about it because I didn't want to sound crazy, but I just had to ask. I thought maybe you do airlifts or something that that's what I saw.

Me: No, we don't do that here. They do at the hospital [down the road a little bit] though.

Sir: Yeah, but I don't really think it was a helicopter anyways. It looked totally different. Ah, well, thanks for trying to help.

Me: No problem! Wish I knew something about it.
[conversation ends politely]

Best. Phone call. Ever. Made my night.

Of course, I turned to Google when I got home, and he's not the only one to have noticed it. It's recorded on the National UFO Reporting Center's registry with the same details he gave me (except he gave a little extra- like the number of lights). 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Own Your Life"

I wanted to like this book. I really did. That title? AWESOME. But the content? Not so much.

Well, I take that back. The content was okay, but it didn't match the title. Ignoring the abundance of imagery and flowery language (not my style, but it works for some people), the book title and chapter titles didn't fit with what was discussed. I feel a better title would be "Own Your Faith". The author's answer to pretty much every problem mentioned in the book was "pray, read your Bible, and have more faith", nothing tactile, no practical steps to even improve those areas. I was also put off by the number of times the author mentioned all the books and conferences her ministry had produced, bringing up the same stories over and over.

I know a lot of women are loving this book, but it missed the mark for me. It wasn't what I expected, and not in the good way. It also frustrated me that like many other Christian books for women, it's assumed that all women are mothers and wives. I skipped the last two chapters because they were solely about marriage and motherhood. Truthfully, the only reason I finished this one was because I had requested it to review. There were just odd little moments in this book that didn't do it for me.

The reason it gets two stars from me is because it is a decent book...for someone else. For a different purpose. There were a few statements early in the book that I enjoyed and underlined, but then it fell flat.

2/5 Stars

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dublin's Best Kept Secret Museum

This last trip to Dublin I discovered the best little museum! I hadn't seen it advertised anywhere, not even on the grounds. How did I find it? Checking the hours of the main museum on the grounds.

Okay, that is a little vague, I'm just going to tell you what this amazing little place is: the Zoology Museum at Trinity College! I have never seen it mentioned in a guidebook, visitor center, or even at the college. When I went online to see when the Book of Kells and Library opened on the bank holiday, they listed the hours for the Zoology museum, so we decided to check it out. We stopped at one of the information booths outside the library to ask where it was, and they were so happy and surprised that we asked! Apparently no one knows about this museum, and that is a real shame, because it was one of my favorite things of the trip.

Located WAY at the back of the campus, the building is beautiful, like most on the grounds. The only acknowledgment that the museum exists is the small chalkboard sign out front.

Follow the signs to the second floor and you find the museum. It's two fairly small rooms, but they're packed with really cool things. The student guide was so nice and helpful! Instead of just answering questions, he helped us figure out the answers and was a fount of knowledge on all things animal.

The first thing I noticed was a giant horn on the table. I immediately knew what it was: A narwhal horn! One of the coolest things about this place: anything on the table you can touch and pick up. INCLUDING THE NARWHAL HORN! 

I would've held it up on my head except it's surprisingly heavy (also, ceiling). But seriously cool. I'm still really excited that I held a narwhal horn.

I had to ask what this next one was and was surprised because I didn't think it'd be so small! Can you guess based on my clue?

While we're talking about bones, you can play with lots of bones here! Like, look at this bucket of vertebrae!

Or this tray of chimpanzee bones for you to reassemble:

You can pretend you're Brennan working on a special case for Booth...or is that just me?

There's a complete elephant skeleton, too, but already assembled.

These were some of the mystery objects to identify. The top right you could pick up and handle to help figure out what it is (and no, I'm not telling you).

 Now, on to the teeth! There were plenty of different kinds to touch.

How cool are humpback whale teeth???

And finally, I leave you with these teeth and my lovely face. 
Help! I've been eaten by a Great White Shark! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Announcing the Build Your Own Read-a-Thon!

I'm so excited for this announcement! This morning I was thinking about read-a-thons and how so far this summer, I had only been able to half participate in one thon because none of them fit my schedule. So I had decided to make my own when it all came to me in the shower. Thus, the Build Your Own Read-a-Thon was born. And I want you to join me! Here's how it works.

1) Choose your dates. Choose any 5 consecutive days between August 2015 and August 2016 for your BYORAT that works for your schedule. This inaugural year I'm choosing Aug 25-28. Of course, with the nature of this -thon, you could do it multiple times during the year and have different challenges each time.

2) Choose your reading challenges. These are certainly not mandatory, but they make BYORAT more interesting. Choose up to 5, based on your reading habits. You can choose your favorites or, as I'm going to do,  put them all in a hat and randomly choose 5.
  • Read an entire book without putting it down
  • Read a book that's been on your TBR for, like, forever
  • Read a banned book (here's a list or two from the ALA)
  • Read a book who's cover is your least favorite color
  • Read a book with 400+ pages
  • Read a book with your name on the cover (either actually there, like the author name, or made up from letters in the title and author's name)
  • Read 5 books during the -thon
  • Read a full trilogy or series
  • Read a book you most recently acquired
  • Read a book that everyone has read and talks about, but you haven't just read yet
3) Choose your video challenges. Again, not mandatory, but fun. If you don't have a YouTube channel you can do the challenges as photos on your blog, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, whatever. Same as above, choose five, one for each day.
  • Socialize (aka make a video with another person: family, friend, whoever)
    • The topic of this video is up to you, as long as it's bookish. Play a game, take a challenge, gush about a mutually loved book, or for the brave, debate your bookish differences (Peeta vs. Gale, anyone?). Whatever. 
  • Bookish MASH
    • Remember that game MASH you played in junior high where you and JTT ended up with 8 kids living in a shack paid for by your job as a secret agent? Well throw some bookish facts in there to make your fictional life even better! 
  • Sequel Synopsis
    • Share what you think should happen in the sequel of a book that doesn't actually have a sequel.
  • Book Art
    • Take those books off your shelf and make them into something pretty! Stack them to make a castle, lay them out in the shape of a puppy, build a book flower...Use your imagination to add a twist to the classic book tower.
  • Cover Redesign
    • That book with the cover that you HATE? Here's your chance to fix it.
  • Fictional Character Interview
    • Get creative and ask a character what you've always wanted to know. Why was Snape so horrible to Harry? Why can't America make up her mind in the Selection? Ask those tough questions and let us all know the answers.
  • Foreign Review
    • Give us a review of a book you read this week with an accent. I don't care if you can't do a recognizable accent to save your life (that's me, by the way), make something up. That will make it even better.
  • Travel Advisor
    • Give us a commercial for your favorite fictional destination letting travelers know why they should come there. Should I go to Mordor? How do I get there? What's the weather like in Forks this time of year?
  • Love an Author
    • This one might be my favorite. You're going to take a moment to really thank one of your favorite authors. Send them a nice email, or even an old school letter (bonus points!). Take the time to do something a little more than a nice tweet. 
  • Take it Outside!
    • Film your update outside in the fresh air. Bonus points for actually reading outside, too.
4) Get started! Now that you've got your dates and challenges, get to it! Let me know when and where you're participating so I can follow along. Use the hashtag #BYORAT across all social media to find others building their own read-a-thons. I'm adding all this info to a tab at the top of my blog for easy reference. We've also got a GoodReads group started here!

I'm so excited about this and hope you'll join me in building your own read-a-thon. I think it's going to be a lot of fun!

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