When I Met the Doctor

The first time I finally went to the Renaissance Festival, it was magical!  We attended every weekend and most of the extra festivities that happened on Saturday evenings at an extra cost.  (If we’d known we’d go more than the first weekend, we’d have saved so much money by buying season passes.)  I bought a beautiful renaissance dress the second weekend.  (Which I later wish I had done a bit differently.  After last year’s purchase, I’m finally satisfied with that outfit.)

One of those nights was a masquerade ball.  The four of us who went had fun shopping for masks.  We were all Whovians, especially the two of us girls.  Before we entered the castle, still taking pictures outside, I saw a man walk by who was dressed as the Doctor.  David Tennant’s Doctor, to be specific.  I pointed it out to my friend, and we were both too excited.

The following poem is based on that night.  It’s the true story up to the asterisk (*), then my imagination took over.

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My Night With the Doctor

‘Twas two thousand eleven
at a Renaissance Faire.
The four of us dressed for the occasion
and did up our hair.

That night, there was a Masquerade Ball.
Everyone looked so neat.
We passed a man in a striped brown suit
and white Chucks on his feet.

My friend and I looked at each other in shock.
Could this be true?
Had we just seen the Doctor
with the TARDIS so blue?

As our men stopped to take pictures
of gargoyles and such,
she and I looked for the man
who saves the world with his touch.

“There he is! There he is!”
I excitedly whispered to her.
He was talking to another man
and we didn’t want to be a bother.

We finally headed back inside the castle.
We followed the Doctor closely behind.
When we caught up we said hello
and asked for a picture, if he didn’t mind.

She asked if he was with someone,
but he said he came alone.
It sounded like he’d just lost a friend
when he spoke with that tone.

We were too nervous and excited
to say more than “thank you” and “good-bye.”
But as the night went on,
we wanted to say another “hi.”

As he stood by himself,
on the other side of the room,
we decided we wanted to dance with him
and wanted to soon!

The men who were with us
were fine with it all.
So she finally got up the nerve
and walked across the hall. *

The Doctor accepted her invitation
and they began to waltz.
Not long after they start dancing
the music halts.

Another song began to play,
so they danced again.
I watched in anticipation for my turn;
the excitement hard to contain.

I walked over as the song came to an end.
The band waited for the conductor.
I couldn’t believe it was my turn
to dance with the Doctor.

At first, I was nervous
and stepped out of place,
but he reassured me
and encouraged my grace.

He swept me off my feet.
I utterly adore him.
Now I understand why
his companions fall for him.

I was having a fantastic time.
The music ended far too soon.
I planted a kiss on his cheek,
as it was very opportune.

Before he left, he asked our names.
We answered, “Sasha and Kuri.”
He said they were lovely and waved good-bye,
then a tear made my eyes grow blurry.

At the end of the Ball
there were fireworks outside.
We all chose the back of the crowd
at which to reside.

The show was brilliant,
and just before it ended
we noticed a blue box in the sky,
the man inside contented.

He waved us a farewell;
a new adventure to ensue.
This was my amazing night
with the wonderful Doctor Who.

Sadly, at the same time that Sasha (name changed, as usual) started toward the Doctor to ask him to dance, he left the building. We looked for him all night, but couldn’t find him :( . Him just being there still made our night, especially since that was the first time I’d seen Doctor Who cosplay in person. At the time, the show was barely entering main-stream-geek level in America.

I spoke with some other Whovian friends about it soon after, and they suggested that the Doctor seemed a bit off/sad because it was him right after he’d lost Rose :'( .  It’s so sad, but I’ve forever accepted that explanation.

My State of Being a “Grammar Nazi”

I’ve faithfully kept a diary since I was nine years old.  I read a lot.  I also grew up with a complicated last name that no one could spell or pronounce.  Mostly because of that last one, I quickly developed a need to know how to correctly spell and pronounce words and names.  This soon expanded into correct punctuation and perfect grammar.  I know I’m not perfect, but always learning.

Hubby actually bought me this patch.
Hubby actually bought me this patch.

I’ve considered myself, and been called, a “Grammar Nazi” for several years.  For a good while, I really was — to the point of correcting my husband’s everyday speech when he ended a sentence with a preposition or simile.  (Thankfully, I quickly realised I had to nip that in the bud.)  Yes, improper grammar tends to bug me.  (Especially when people say things like “I’m very particular about correct pronounciation,” when it’s “pronunciation.”)

In the last couple of years, some things have come to my attention about the language — it’s always evolving.  It used to bug me that Americans pronounce hummus as “HUHM-uhs,” when it’s supposed to be “HOOM-uhs.”  Or that even other Grammar Nazis would say “I’m good” instead of “I’m well,” or end sentences with prepositions.  However, in looking into not only the history of language, but the history and origin of words, I’ve come to realise that it’s all perfectly natural.  Yes, there are still intolerable grammar errors when it comes to professional stuff, like interviews and written work.  However, I think the only truly important part of grammar, when spoken in everyday language, is to make sure our children are taught what’s right.

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On one hand, I know that all the grammar aspects of English class in school always came naturally and excitingly to me, and that not everyone is like that.  I remember that when I was sixteen, even “the smart girl” was so confused by the things that were exciting me.  I also personally know people who have never had any skills in phonics, and still struggle with it later in life.  (I equate it to my absolute lack of problem-solving skills.  No matter how old I get, I still have to be told what’s wrong and how to fix it.)

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On the other hand, there’s no reason to be atrocious, especially on purpose.  For instance, spelling according to how you speak, except in a text.  Nobody wants to take extra time to have to slowly read your Facebook status.  “Wez gt lotz a dem tingz n hrr.”  (I have several friends who’ve done this sort of thing a lot.)  However, I understand people who have no spelling skills or have dyslexia.  One of my best friends has dyslexia.  (And it’s SO much more than reading backward; even more than just general reading trouble.)

In learning more about languages, I’ve learned that they have evolved through things exactly like this — made-up words, mispronounced words, slang, and altered grammar.  Thomas Jefferson himself was a Grammar Nazi.  It annoyed him how people were mispronouncing words that came to America from other countries.  “Balcony” is an Italian word pronounced “bal-KOH-nee,” but in America the accent was switched to the first syllable: “BAL-koh-nee.”  It made me giggle at first, thinking about him being annoyed at the pronunciation of a word about which no one thinks twice these days.

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The word “coffee” alone is a HUGE example.  It’s spelled and pronounced differently in pretty much every country (caffè, kahveh, kaffee, コーヒー, et cetera), but it all has a single source (“koffie” in Dutch).

My other two favourite examples are today’s “asshole” and “douchebag.”  (Excuse my “French.”)  Both started out with different spellings and completely different meanings than they have today.

Yes, certain things do annoy me, whether a little or to no end.  However, I’ve learned to accept so much.  As long as I understand what you’re saying, I won’t correct your grammar to your face.  (I’ll still do it in my head as a reaction, but it’s for me, not at you.)

“My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy” (Two Book Reviews)

–This round of free books has ended.–

FREE COMIC BOOKS! (Keep reading for more information.)

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I was first introduced to the Texan In Tokyo YouTube channel when they collaborated with another YouTuber I follow.  Both are American women married to Japanese men, and the video was about the cultural differences they’ve come across and had to work out.

Grace Mineta started blogging in university, and never stopped.  As she’s currently living in Japan, she has so much about which to blog.  Her blog (and her books) include everything from a comic about her coffee intake while blogging, to detailed information to help you have your best experience in a Japanese bath house.

Hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of these books.  They mostly contain her comics (as they’re “comic books”), along with a few of her blog posts related to some of the comics.  It’s a fun way to learn a few intricate things about Japanese culture, especially to help “soften the blow” if you plan on visiting or moving there anytime soon.

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I may have been on hiatus from blogging myself, but if you’ve been around awhile, you may remember that my posts usually appear on Tuesdays.  This one can’t wait.

My Japanese Husband (still) Thinks I’m Crazy was officially released this Monday, and is for sale on Amazon.  (All links will be provided at the bottom of this post.)  Today, the author posted a YouTube video saying that for four days the Kindle versions of both of her books will be FREE!

If you want these e-books for free, the last day to do it is 21 February, so get moving!!

I still plan on buying a paperback version of the second book.  The first one is a bit lonely on my shelf…


Book 1: http://www.amazon.com/My-Japanese-Husband-Thinks-Crazy/dp/0990773604#

Book 2: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Husband-STILL-Thinks-Crazy/dp/0990773698#

All the Feels For Robin Williams

No humour found in this post is unintended.


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I don’t want to believe it’s happened. I’ve been punched right in the feels. Feels about it and feels for him. (His family included.)

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I just… I can’t….

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I can’t even look at him while I write this, so I’m using other fandom GIFs.

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I think I was born knowing the name Robin Williams.  From Popeye and Mork and Mindy (reruns, obviously), to Hook and Mrs. Doubtfire, to his stand-up routines and Night At the Museum, he’s been a part of my life all my life.

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It’s been about 52 hours since I heard the news, but I still can’t get over it.  It’s not just that he’s gone, but also how he’s gone.

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I’ve been there with pain.  I’ve had depression; there were many times that everything hurt so much I thought death was the only relief.  I’ve also been just so stressed and overwhelmed with life that I don’t want to do it anymore.  I’ve had friends attempt suicide, and then there are those who succeed…

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He was the funniest man in the world, but his heart was breaking.

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I’m OK. It’s just too soon to watch videos/movies with him, and too recent to forget for more than a minute.

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And I’m just expressing myself here as therapy.

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SPLifeline

I Love a Good Cliché

I know, I know… I grew up in school being taught that one should never use a cliché in writing. (Although, there is the obvious exception of a character using a cliché in dialogue.) There was a humourous chart of grammatical no-nos that I never saw until I was a teenager in my grammar teacher’s class. My favourite, and regrettably the only one I remember, was “avoid clichés like the plague.”

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Die, evil clichés!

I, on the other hand, love a good cliché. Not necessarily in writing, but definitely when someone says it. (However, there are those which get on my nerves, such as “time is money.” Speaking such words in my presence will get you tar-and-feathered.) Clichés exist because they make sense and therefore people remember them for ages. Slang and parlance shall pass away, but a cliché abideth forever. (I know, I know… “*eyesroll*”…)

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Now, what’s all this talk about clichés? The thought of posting a Thanksgiving blog entry had crossed my mind, but then I figured it to be too cliché. I’m thankful every day, not just on a holiday that reminds me to be so.

Nonetheless, I am thankful for many things.

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I am thankful for Hubby.  We have helped each other through so much, and we’ve both become better people because of it.  He’s more wonderful than I could have imagined; he’s patient, loving, caring, and strong (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually).  Without him, I have no doubt I would still be a parent-/self-sheltered girl.  We’ve had ups and downs, and it’s all made us better people and a better couple.

I am thankful for my first nuclear family (parents and siblings).  It’s thanks to them that I’m a dorky geek, but also have become a strong woman.  I’m thankful Mum and Dad were a wonderful example of a loving husband and wife, and were (and are) the best at being united in parenting.  I’m thankful for Bro, who was basically my twin growing up (only 17 months apart), and helped me get excited about video games and wrestling.  (Also, without him I may not have met and married Hubby.)  I’m thankful for Sis, my easy scapegoat when she was little, and one of my best friends today.

I’m thankful for Hubby’s first nuclear family.  They helped stick in my mind an example of helping others at whatever cost.  Long day at work?  They will still drive you everywhere you need if your car’s in the shop, and never have a second thought about it.  (There are so many more examples.)  I’m thankful for my sisters-in-law, without whom I would likely have not become interested in fashion as I am today.

I’m thankful for the rest of my family (by blood or “adoption”).  Life would not be this fantastic without them.

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I’m thankful for the little (or not-so-little) things.  Making up “movies” in the backyard (stories of double-agents, war, Pokémon, etc.).  Making a fort with couch pillows.  (I believe that was last week…)  The big rubber band fight on my second day of work.  The Skittles I received via interoffice mail.  Puppy asking for attention.  Seeing Son in plays.  Coffee shops.  Books.  Do-nothing days.  Cooking and baking.  Christmas music.  Game nights.  Cuddling (people, pets, teddy bears, books,…).  Children.  Riding bikes.  Board games.

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Zombieland. I saw it for the first time yesterday.

To, um, save time? I’ll go ahead and finish in saying that I’m thankful for all things nerdy.  Science fiction, science, movies, books, glasses, YouTube.  A few specifics being Star Trek, Doctor Who, astronomy, physics, vlogbrothers (that might as well encompass it all!).  And though I hate it, I am actually thankful for all forms of social media; through them friends and connections are made which would never have happened otherwise.  I would have far fewer trekkie friends, and would have lost contact with dozens of friends ages ago.

Whether or not you’re in or from America, I hope you take time to think of all the things for which you are thankful.  I promise your day will brighten a bit.

Don’t Forget to Be Awesome

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Vlogbrothers and Brotherhood 2.0

DFTBA Records

VidCon

International fandom

Nerdfighteria

Project For Awesome (P4A)

Six YA novels

Crash Course and SciShow

SAVING THE FREAKING WORLD!!

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If you had told the Green brothers, John and Hank, back in high school that they would someday accomplish all this, they likely would have freaked out or laughed at you.

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I was first introduced to Vlogbrothers last year when an aspiring YA novelist posted a blog entry about them (it?). It was then that I was opened up to a whole new world of awesome.

I became a fan almost immediately. Immediately, my first reaction was simply, “OK, some really smart, nerdy brothers who share their thoughts on YouTube. They’re worth watching…” I soon learned that they’re so much more than that.

Nerdfighters and Nerdfighteria. This isn’t about nerds battling with light sabers; it’s nerds fighting to reduce “Worldsuck” — doing our individual small parts to together make a huge impact on making the world a better place. Such Nerdfighteria includes volunteering in your community, donating to causes in which you believe (if you can, as generally the targeted audience is teenagers), and P4A — a two-day period in December when Nerdfighters are encouraged to post videos promoting their favourite charities.

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Even if you’ve never heard of Vlogbrothers specifically, you may have heard of John Green separately as a young adult (YA) novel author. He has his name on six different books, the most recent being the New York Times best seller The Fault in Our Stars. (This awesome book is currently being made into a movie starring Shailene Woodley as Hazel Grace… and Willem Dafoe as Peter van Houten — so fitting, BAHAHA!)

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Beyond these accomplishments (and continuous strives), they have also established DFTBA Records, a record company for musical fans such as Chameleon Circuit. Launched in 2010 was VidCon, a convention all about videos — celebrating our favourite YouTube channels, learning about current technologies involving video-making, and of course making new friends who share your interests! Scheduled dates for VidCon 2014 are June 26-28 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. (Stay “tuned” to VidCon.com for updates, or follow @VidCon_2014 on Twitter.)

In accomplishing more than that which I’ve gone into depth, John Green and Hank Green are so much more than just two brothers doing their part in making the world a better place; they are huge leaders in the fight against Worldsuck. (If you feel inspired and want to donate to help them in their effort, you can by going to http://fightworldsuck.org/.)

So long for today, and Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.

Xbox One Revealed!

This entry will replace my usual Friday post for this week.  I’ll push that one ahead for next Friday.


I watched earlier today as Microsoft unveiled their third-generation Xbox — Xbox One.  While the name for the new console sounds cleaner, I think it seems too much like a reset.  I’m sure the name will grow on me, especially with how amazing this piece of technology is.

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The shape — again, not quite fond of it.  While the upgraded Xbox 360 was further curved and made sleek and shiny, the Xbox One is very boxy — the overall shape reminds me of the NES.  However, I am a fan of how clean it looks.  There are no buttons on the front; all you see is the nicely decorated slit for the disc drive and a black-and-white Xbox logo.  It also has sort of a checkerboard look with half-matte and half-gloss.

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The new Kinect is brilliant.  There are so many upgrades to this puppy!  It can now sense every movement: facial expressions, wrist twists, even your heartbeat!  Trouble with having enough lighting, or is there a lamp right in your face?  That’s no longer a problem.  The room can be bright or in total darkness and it’ll still see you perfectly!

Gaming with or without the Kinect will become a completely new experience with Xbox One.  The graphics are intense, the Kinect will bring new meaning to sports gaming, and with a constant internet connection you never have to wait for game updates to download before you play.  It’s always annoyed me that when I go to play a game I first have to download an update that takes forever.  Not anymore.  Live updates!

This isn’t just a gaming console upgrade; it’s a complete replacement of all of the boxes taking up space in your living room, minus the stereo system.  You can have your television service connected directly through Xbox One — it even has its own guide!

The voice commands and even movement options are fantastic.  There’s no longer a need for remotes, not even to turn it on.  “Xbox, on.”  Oh, hello, my Xbox is on and I’m already signed in.  No loading time!  “Xbox, movie.”  Star Trek resumes.  “Xbox, music.”  Maybe two seconds later, Deadmau5 comes through the speakers.  “Xbox, TV.”  Suddenly, you’re watching TV.

No.  Loading.  Time.

Snapping makes multitasking simple with Xbox One.  “Snap Internet Explorer.”  Watching sports?  Now you can see a live update of your fantasy team on your TV as you watch the game!  You can also Skype at the same time as watching television.  Movie night with your long-distance friends?  No problem!  Watching sports with fellow fantasy sports friends?  Again, not a problem!

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It seems so far that this console will not be backwards compatible (able to play Xbox and Xbox 360 games), but no official news from Microsoft yet.

The price has yet to be announced, and the release date is labeled “later this year.”  I fully expect to see Xbox One available for sale in the USA by, if not before, Black Friday.

More details about Xbox One will be released when E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) happens in three weeks.


A few sources for more information:

http://reviews.cnet.com/microsoft-xbox-one/

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/05/xbox-one/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/may/21/xbox-720-microsoft-reveal-console-live-blog

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/05/21/microsoft-reveals-xbox-one-entertainment-console/

“Is Star Trek Still Relevant?”

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This question came up in a Star Trek: Voyager forum of which I’ve been a part nearly since it opened in 2007.  The most recent poster had mentioned that because she didn’t watch or read as much Star Trek as she once had, she felt like she was losing her fandom and letting the franchise down.  I decided my response was worth sharing here.


I also sometimes feel as if I’m letting the franchise down.  It’s not that I don’t like Star Trek anymore… I’m just an adult with more –dare I say it– important things to do.  And there’s so much more of which to be a fan, too.  Stuff that’s happening now instead of re-watching shows that ended eight or more years ago (and which we’ve seen eight or more times, haha).  Once I got into the new Doctor Who it slowly started to outshine Star Trek as a main definition of my geekiness.  It took a few years, but I finally realised it sometime recently.

Yes, I do still admire Star Trek as a part of who I am (even right now I’m drinking out of a Star Trek tumbler I was given for Christmas).  I would even consider Star Trek as the foundation of my geekiness.

–Star Trek got me interested in astronomy, which in turn got me interested in other sciences such as quantum mechanics/physics.

–Star Trek is where my story writing ability really improved.  Even though, for personal reasons, I’m not allowed to write fictional stories anymore, I wouldn’t be as well off to be able to write for blogs and newsletters without it.

–I’ve learned a lot of my favourite “fancy” words from science fiction.  Most of them were from Star Trek, but one was from Stargate Atlantis.  If it hadn’t been for seeing Robert Picardo in an episode of Stargate SG-1 I would never have started watching Stargate Atlantis!

–Star Trek got me interested in science fiction, which is a huge part of my life whether I watch it, read it, write about it, talk about it, make music videos about it, or… I just exist :o).

So, no, I may not watch it very often or even think a lot about it anymore, but it still flows through my blood, empowering the geek I am to do whatever it is that I do best.  Whether it’s what I enjoy, what I do, who I befriend, or just being a geek and watching every season of some show in a week, I know that it’s all thanks to Star Trek.

But even the foundation needs a bit of maintenance every now and then :o).

Voices in My Head

I started writing a blog about this with a back story, but it got to be too long and I hadn’t even arrived at my point for writing it in the first place! So, I’m starting over here, without the back story.


Books.

I’ve always loved books, but that love hasn’t always shown itself by me actually, well, reading them. Sometimes I blamed my disinterest in reading on being forced to read in school. Other times I blamed it on my dislike for sitting still for very long or my waning attention span, thanks to technology and our ever increasing fast-paced world. I’d even found a comic on the wall of a book store with a “customer” saying to a clerk, “No, thank you. I don’t actually read books. I just like to be in their presence once in a while.” It described me perfectly.

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One day in the library, when I was about 15, I happened across an audio book copy of Wringer. I’d noticed a few other students reading that book throughout the year, so I figured it must be good. I checked it out and retired to bed early that night to get in some “reading” before I went to sleep. I loved the book. If I remember correctly, I finished the whole thing that night and stayed up even later because I was inspired to write a story (which I finished in one sitting).

That was the first time I’d received a 100% on a book test at that school. I was so happy that I’d found a way to read that got me excited about reading again. To this day, I still remember the first line of the book: “He did not want to be a wringer. That was one of the first things he learned about himself.” I can still hear it in the narrator’s voice.

It really wasn’t an amazing story, at least not when measured by my tastes. It was the fact that it was an audio book. “Reading” was no longer tedious.

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After that, with all the assigned reading and what not, I’d forgotten about audio books. More than ten years later, after taking a CD course on WWI from my library, I came across an audio book copy of The Hobbit. Being new to the world of LOTR, and completely in love with the new movie, I was excited to check it out. I also checked out a paperback copy to follow along whenever I wasn’t listening in the car. I loved it! I was so happy to have rediscovered audio books.

Less than a week after finishing The Hobbit, I wandered through the library where I was on holiday and came across The Fault in Our Stars by John Green; the audio book with a signed hardback copy next to it. Being a nerdfighter and fan of vlogbrothers, I’d wanted to read a John Green book for a long time. I finished it in two days.

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In the almost two months since I rediscovered audio books I’ve finished reading five (four with audio, one without) and I’m currently working on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. Before that, I’d read maybe 2-4 per year! (Not including required reading or group reading; that’s also only novel-length books because most fan fiction and Garfield comic books don’t count.) So, thanks to audio books I’m reading as much as or more than I’ve wanted. Yay!