Category Archives: culture

The Book Thief

I finished this one during Hurricane Matthew, one of the few times I’ve found time to read nowadays, and was crying by the end. I will tell you now this book comes with some of my highest recommendations. I haven’t cried for a fictional character in a while, and I’m sorry this review is so late because I haven’t had the time to write it, but I finished another book while I’ve been trying to get around to writing this review so maybe I’ll have that review posted soon.

The premise, for those of you who don’t know, is Death is fascinated by humans. None more so than young Liesel, who has lost both her parents in different ways and witnessed at the start of the book the death of her brother. This is also the first time Death sees Liesel., it will not be the last. The death of her brother also leads Liesel to steal her first book, just before she finds herself on Himmel Street where she spends the majority of the remainder of the book. There she is raised by the Hubermann family, Hans who she comes to call Papa and Rosa who is Mama. They are an odd pair who seem to hate each other more than they love each other, but that is just their way. On Himmel street Liesel makes a friend in Rudy Steiner, who is her neighbor, obsessed with Jesse Owens and wants nothing more than to be kissed by Liesel. Later Hans Hubermann will bring into the Hubermann home, Max the Jewish fist fighter and if I neglected to mention now would be a good time to tell you this is during Nazi Germany. This gang of people form a family. Liesel learns to read on Himmel Street, defies Hitler, even in the smallest ways, and steals more than just books. It’s hard to describe the premise of these book because I fear giving too much away, but I will say I really loved this story.

What I loved about it was that it’s told from the perspective of a young, blonde, German girl who isn’t Jewish. So often books told during the Holocaust are told from the perspective of someone Jewish, and while that makes sense because their stories need to be told, so do the stories of the Germans who didn’t support Hitler’s war or cause. I love that this story, is being told by Death. It’s such an interesting turn of events and kept me wondering how and when Death would meet Liesel again. I love how Death speaks of humans, and the tone he/she/it is given. I really fell in love with the characters. Max, Hans and Rudy were my favorites but they’re all just incredibly well put together and fully realized. I even found myself wanting to know what was happening to the smallest side characters. This is a really gripping story about a young girl, growing up poor in one of the darkest times in history. It’s about her life, the people she meets and loves along the way and the truly haunting aspects of being human. It’s a beautiful story and I would honestly read it again, even though it hurts my heart.

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Quidditch Through the Ages

Don’t hate me. As it turns out it’s hard to find a book that starts with Q and this is the only one I’ve read. I promise this post won’t be very long because explaining this isn’t hard to do, so let’s get to it.

QuidditchthroughtheagesThis is a book about the history of Quidditch, the sport favored by many people in the magical world. To explain it better for muggles, it’s at popular as soccer is for most of the world, except in America where they prefer Quodpot, which hasn’t been as well received around the world.  The book details out the beginnings of the game, how it grew and developed over the years and what the current rules are. The book also goes over the history of the flying broom and how it evolved into the racing broom we know today. It goes over the anti-muggle protection charms placed on Quidditch pitches around the world and the Quidditch teams of Britain and Ireland.

Honestly, even if you don’t care about the sport, the books pretty fun to look at. The cover claims it’s property of the Hogwarts Library and inside we see checkout dates and the people who withdrew it from the library. There are drawings throughout the book so the reader gets a better visual of what old Quidditch balls and goals looked like, not to mention older broom models. It’s super short so it didn’t take up much time to read and it was pretty fun delving a little deeper into one of the only sports to ever actually interest me.

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Proving

It is something every geek must go though when they meet another geek. Unfortunately this happens a lot more with female geeks than male geeks. It doesn’t help that geek has become chic. People often use geek as a fashion statement nowadays and do not realize that it is an actual way of life.

The Proving is different for every part of geek culture. A gamer might be asked how long they have been gaming, or a subtler version of that, such as what was your favorite game when you were younger? Any answer that is deemed too recent or any answer of a game widely known to be crap, will cause doubt among fellow gamers. The Proving will then continue, but the assumption that you are not truly a gamer will have already set in.

The Proving for a comic book geek is a series of trivia questions that usually begins with the question, “What do you like to read?” Upon answering you will be drilled will questions based off of the hero or universe you have named. Comic book geeks a usually pretty harsh when it comes to details. A lack of knowledge on the minute will earn you instant distrust. Answering based off movie facts will definitely get you a veto. Comic book geeks have some of the highest standards of all geeks, and not knowing some of the smallest details, such as where The Punisher first appeared or how Aquaman lost his hand will earn you disfavor. However, stating your honest lack of knowledge rather than professing great knowledge where you have none is more accepted.

The Proving for fandoms is much like The Proving for comic book geeks. You must first find the fandom you are trying to gain favor with and once you have professed your love of said fandom you will be presented with hidden trivia questions. Your reactions will be gauged and your worth measured. Hidden trivia questions consist of making excited statements about random moments throughout the book/show/movie and watching the reaction the other gives. If there is any hint of lack of knowledge or any facts they gush over are incorrect the fandom will not be pleased. In fandoms, however, there are layers of fans, sort of like a hierarchy. Those who know all the smallest details of the fandom are often looked to for confirmation during discussions. Those who know less are not necessarily looked down upon except by elitist which occur in every aspect of life. Fandoms are probably the easiest group to find favor with, though you should always expect in fighting.

Now, on to a slightly touchy subject. The Proving for females geeks, unfortunately, is different from male geeks. Usually a male geek is happy to find in another male geek similar likes. As such, and despite how hard I make it seem to be accepted by other geeks, there is a mindset of innocent until proven guilty. This means, if you say you like Naruto I will assume you like Naruto until you prove to me you are a bandwagoner and not a true fan. This is the true reason for all Provings, just so you all know. It is much like loving a sports team who is on the bottom for years and suddenly they get good and a bunch of people who never cared pretend like they do, you become defensive of that thing you loved before they were good or cool. This is why geeks invoke The Proving.

However, and this is truly unfortunate, that same idea stops for a lot of male geeks when they meet female geeks. If I say I like comic books, instead of looks of interest I get looks of instant doubt. The questions become more about who got me into them and if the answer is anything other than a parent they assume I only did it to be liked. Same goes for gaming. Do you know how tiresome it is to hear, “I bet you’re boyfriend got you into this.”? But the sad fact is, it’s other females who cause this trouble for us. It’s the girls in skin-tight R2D2 dresses talking about how awesome the prequels were, or the girls dressing up like sexy Link and thinking she’s dressed up like sexy Zelda, and it’s the girl who takes pouty lipped pictured while holding “her games” and getting finger prints all over them and making me want to scream…sorry, I raged a little.

Now, I need you all to understand, I’m not saying that dressing up like sexy Link or in a skin-tight R2D2 dress is the problem. I’m saying that when you do those things and don’t actually know what you’re talking about, it gives us actual geek girls a harder time. So, don’t claim the geek title just because it became cool, because at the end of the day The Proving is just us trying to find people like us.

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Klingon and Other Languages

Well, we could hardly have this list without touching on some of the languages that have been born from geek culture. It is a surprisingly decent list too. Some will be more well-known languages and some will be more underground. Some will very likely surprise you, but many of them will have people who speak the language, some fluently. I’m not ashamed to say that  I would like to learn one or two of these languages. I’m also not ashamed to say that I do know one. Anyway, here is a list of languages that have been invented for and by geeks:

  • Dwarvish- Brought to us by Middle Earth, or the world in which Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit take place. This is obviously the language of the Dwarves. Now, the technical name for Dwarvish is actually Khuzdul. It was influenced by Hebrew and very little vocabulary is actually known.
  • Dothraki- The language was invented for the show Game of Thrones and actually now has a book and disk set to help you learn to speak the language. Dothraki is both the name of the people and their native tongue. It is a relatively new language but people seem very keen to learn it, so I’d expect it to be popping up more frequently soon.
  • Elvish- Now, they actually have several different constructed languages, though the most in-depth and widely known would have to be Tolkien’s Middle Earth Elvish. Though in the game Dragon Age and also in Dungeons and Dragons the Elves have their own language and may speak a few words of it. Tolkien’s Elvish, however is a very well planned out language and would be the one people were talking of when they say they can speak Elvish. If you want to get more into that you’ll have to check the Wiki page.
  • Gallifreyan- The language of the Time Lords, from the show Doctor Who. I, one night, learn to write in Gallifreyan. It’s a bit hard but fun. This language is fan made, and is only a written language, not spoken so if you want to learn you’ll have to be okay with just passing secret notes between yourself and your Whovian friends. Also, since this language is, as of now, only a fan made language its rules might change over time, so we’ll see if this language grows or stays forever head canon for some fans.
  • Klingon- One of the most widely known constructed languages. This one started on Star Trek, so as you can imagine I do not know much about it. But the language seems to have strong Latin influences and was meant to sound very alien as that’s what Klingons are. This is one of two languages invented for the Star Trek universe. It is both a written and spoken language and has many fluent speakers.
  • Na’vi- A very new language with very little vocabulary known. Based on the language of the people called Na’vi from the movie Avatar. Obviously since it’s new there has not been much of a push for a dictionary of more from the language, but if you want to be able to say a random few words others wouldn’t understand, there’s a good place to start.
  • Simlish- Yep, that gibberish Sims speak is technically and language called Simlish. There is no official guide to the language because it was literally meant to be gibberish the player could imagine meanings for as they played, however, there is an unofficial dictionary that can be found online that give a good idea as to the means behind some of the more frequent gibberish phrases the Sims use. I’ve looked it over once or twice and I must say, as an avid Sims player, it seems like a pretty legit guess.
  • Wookiee- I bet you didn’t realize that those guttural noises Chewbacca was making were actually a complex dialect commonly called Wookieespeak. Well, they were. The technical name for the dialect would be Shyriiwook, which is their main trade language. This is a language that can, indeed, be learned for anyone who wants to, though i feel like if you aren’t a Wookiee you sound a bit ridiculous speaking it since no tongue or lip movement is necessary and we just aren’t used to talking like that.
  • Vulcan- Another language that was invented for the fans of Star Trek. The written and spoken language seem very complex though I believe still able to be learned. In fact, I’m almost positive there are geeks out there who can speak Vulcan, though my understanding is not in the same numbers as those who learned Klingon.

Alright, those are some of the most well-known constructed languages. If you’re feeling geeky, go out a learn a few. You might be surprised how many people know it too.

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Just Saying- A Public Service Announcement

Take cover!

Take cover!

I have done pet peeves before, but it was mainly just my pet peeves as a book nerd. These are some pet peeves some geeks, myself included on a few of these, have about non-geeks and geek adjacents. I’m going to put them out there because you might be doing something and not even realizing it’s rude or annoying. So, just in case you didn’t know, here are some things that might be annoying:

  • Spoilers– This should seriously be a common decency thing. I mean, if I haven’t seen the latest episode don’t tell me what happened unless I’ve asked! And thanks for not at least saying Spoiler Alert when you post crap on Facebook or Twitter! Really? Do you know how upsetting it is to stumble on to an important plot moment that i haven’t made it to as I binge watch that show I never got a chance to catch earlier? I mean, sure maybe there are some things it should be absolutely shocking to find someone still has not seen or read, but that doesn’t give you the right to be rude when I’m sad you ruined an ending for me. There are some people who don’t mind spoilers, but the decent thing to do is ask.
  • Fake Glasses– This is more of a pet peeve i have as a person who actually needs glasses. I hate the fad of wearing fake glasses to look more…I don’t even know to be honest! Are you trying to look geeky/nerdier? Are you trying to blend in to your hipster brethren? Are you trying to look smarter? To me, you just look obnoxious. Glasses are not a fashion statement! My glasses are a necessity…I am literally going blind and now people don’t even believe I really need them just because the lot of you out there trying to look cool or whatever! It’s annoying. I don’t want to have to prove my eyesight is bad because people are wearing fake glasses. Seriously, knock it off.
  • Geek because chic– We all know what this means. You call yourself a geek now, but back when it wasn’t fashionable to dress and act like a geek, you weren’t “gaming” or “reading comics” were you? No, you are just following the trend, and you know what, after the trend has passed I’ll still be here nerd raging and you’ll be off bringing fedoras back or whatever it is that’s considered cool now. I don’t like fake geeks. I’m sorry but I have no respect for someone who just follows the trend. I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to find your geek and join the culture, I’m saying if you are only here because it’s become socially acceptable by the mainstream, get to stepping. You don’t belong here and you know what? All us real geeks know it. That’s why we don’t invite you to our parties…and our parties are awesome!
  • Book Haters– Okay, now I’m not talking about people who hate to read because I am a firm believer that anyone who says that just hasn’t found the right books yet. No, I’m about to nerd rage about something else. People who don’t read the book because they “saw the movie”…AHHHHHHH! NO, NO, NO! IT IS NOT THE SAME! *breathing deep* Okay, I’m sorry about that. But, this is the worst thing for me because then they have all these opinions and I’m just like, “you don’t know what you’re talking about, read the book.” And they are all like, “No, I don’t want to, i saw the movie.” And I’m just sitting here trying not to scream in their faces because they are being stupid and their entire argument is invalid because the movie got that part wrong but they don’t know because they are annoying and stubborn and like have you never read a book whose movie got some stuff wrong???? AHHHHHHHHHHHH! (Next year I might do this challenge solely about books)

Okay, I have official annoyed myself just thinking of these things, so i need to be done for now.

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