Saturday, 31 October 2009

Tightassery

So the response to my thing was generally pretty positive both here, on DailyBooth and Tumblr. But, like, who's really going to say "I can't believe you dyed your hair black! It looks so silly!" to my face?

Oh wait. My mother. My mother said that to my face.

Still, I'm sure that's to be expected right? She's my mum and generally she prefers me to stay au naturale. Just wait until I get a tattoo OH WAIT SHE WILL NEVER FIND OUT - I AM A NINJA.

Currently I am sitting on a half-completed assignment due the day after tomorrow at 5pm. Tomorrow I will be working all frigging day and yet here I am, blogging away because I love you. This bodes well for NaNoWriMo which starts tomorrow because, even though I'll have yet another 2000 word essay and a screenplay due, I'll use my novel as a procrastinating technique. My blog, however, may suffer.

This year I. Must. Win.

All winners get 50% off Scrivener which brings the cost down to about US$20. I desperately want this program but I want to pay as little as possible because I am half-Scottish and therefore I want my money's worth. Interestingly this is also the reason why I chose permanent dye over temporary dye for my hair. Yes, some people genuinely practice this brand of tightassery; I didn't believe it either until I realised I was one of them.

Today I went to work dressed as Harry Potter because it was Halloween. I mean, never mind that I've never celebrated Halloween before in my entire life, THERE WAS DRESSING UP TO DO. Thus, I came to work with black hair, round glasses and wearing an academic robe. I was voted best-dressed by the staff and I had more than one customer tell me that I was totally awesome - in those words. And good heavens! The girls! I don't know if you know this, but if you want nerd girls to flirt with you then all you've got to do is pretend to be Harry. Why I've never thought of this before is beyond me.

Now if only I could get such a reaction when I am playing myself.


Do not fret. I know in the picture I do not have the lighting-bolt scar but rest assured I got that sorted out once I got to work where there were girls with makeup pencils. I swear they forget to draw it on half the time in the movies anyway. Someone should look into that.

If you have decided to undertake the madness that is NaNoWriMo then please add me as a writing buddy. Oh come on! It will be such fun! I have only the faintest of ideas for a plot AND YET I WILL PERSEVERE! MY TIGHTASSERY DEMANDS IT.


Recommendation: Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick - not because it is actually good, but because, like Twilight, it is outstandingly lolsome! In fact, if the two chapters I read on my lunch break today are anything to go by, it is EXACTLY LIKE Twilight in EVERY SINGLE WAY! Even down to the little things! The monster and the moody-yet-ultimately-useless girl meet in biology class, for example. And the monster is at first standoffish but is set to develop an abusive-yet-for-some-reason-desirable relationship with the aforesaid girl. In fact, the product description on Amazon is a dead ringer for Twilight if you change just a few names here and there. Oh! But it's not like Twilight at all! The monster isn't a vampire, it's a HALF-DEMON HALF-HUMAN! A Nephilim! Isn't that catchy?

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Procrastinating

It is 11:22pm and I haven't actually written anything for the assignment I said I would write stuff for yesterday. I have it right here and I have all my materials. I even wrote a paragraph last week. Now I just have to finish it off! Just another 1750 words to go!

Ahem, so I sat down to write it and I was like I MUST DO A QUICK BLOG OR I'LL FORGET THESE THOUGHTS THAT JUST SUDDENLY SRUNG INTO MY HEAD SUDDENLY JUST NOW.

Basically I want to say two things and then I'm going to write a solid 500 words about the celebrification of Myf Warhurst. Okay.

Thing one:
Today I finally beat out the particulars of what I'll be doing next year. I'll definitely be going overseas to Peru for six months or so. This is happening. The particulars are decided. All the particulars besides when I come back, but I'll do that tomorrow after I do my sums. Anyway, I'm going again and I'm stopping off in New Zealand for a month in February. That is how it will go down.

I was talking to Mum about it and also talking about my more far-flung future. She asked me what my ideal job would be. I thought I was going to say working in television on the ABC but I searched myself and found that I actually want to use the online skills I have learned in the past few years to help charitable organisations better connect with their donors à la The Uncultured Project. I don't see myself out in the field the whole time, but I want to enable other people to go as well.

Um, there's also this thing that I won't actually publish online because it's a little early, but when I told Mum she was actually visibly impressed and said "that's exciting!" That doesn't happen very often. Usually she'll play devil's advocate to make sure I'm not getting ahead of myself. The first time I told her I was going to Peru she actually laughed. I don't want to give you the impression that my mother is not supportive of me, because that's far from the truth. It's just that her way of looking out for me seems to be by asking How are you actually going to DO that? Are you SURE that's really what you want?

So yeah. Pumped.

Thing two:
I made a video of me singing. I know. It must be the end of the world or something. Those horsemen are not far off. I don't actually sound GREAT in this, but it's actually better than I thought it would be. Plus I'm pretty sure that the things that weren't good can be fixed. Like, I can see where I haven't done a good job but I'm pretty confident that I could do a good job next time. Result: increased confidence. Thanks YouTube! (And Paige, who is wonderful and brought my idea into reality.)

Okay. So now that's done I can do this assignment. The mantra for this one is that it's my... SECOND TO LAST EVER SECOND TO LAST EVER SECOND TO LAST EVER.

I GRADUATE IN DECEMBER I GRADUATE IN DECEMBER I GRADUATE IN DECEMBER

I'm not spell-checking this, sorry.

Recommendation: These Penguin classics in gorgeous cloth-bound hardcover. Like, it's not just one book, and I may have talked about these before elsewhere but JUST LOOK AT THEM. Sometimes when I'm at work and nobody is watching I'll go up to the display table we have and just touch them. Because they are so lovely.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Punctuation Guide - Interrobang Tattoo

This morning I got up after six hours of sleep and an hour later I got in my car to go to work. The thing about having to get to work at 9 is that you can't get to work at 9. The traffic means that you either get there at 8:30 or at 9:10, so obviously I got to work a full half an hour early. I took this opportunity to get a coffee and read the Penguin Guide to Punctuation. As a result I spent my entire shift on a caffeine high and all my coworkers began to realise that I am not joking when I say I am a nerd. I am a freaking nerd. I read books about how to use punctuation because I think it's fun.

So anyway I was behind the registers today and I decided that I would out-happy anyone who tried to be rude to me. It totally worked. When people got all uppity about having to donate 10c to Coastcare before they could get a plastic bag I would give them this manic smile =D with the crazy-eyes O.O and they would just be like whatever and wouldn't complain.

Then Ellie (who is one of the full-time children's book specialists at my work) walked past me with a book of typographical tattoos.
"Ellie!" I said, "Ellie what is that book?!"
"It is a book of typographical tattoos!"
"May I read that book PLEASE?!"
"YES YOU MAY BECAUSE IT IS VERY AWESOME"

Then, because business was a little slow, I got to look at that book of words tattooed on other people's skin. They had this page where someone had gotten an interrobang tattooed on their arm. The more I think about it the more I want an interrobang tattoo. But I will think about it some more before I do anything. Seriously though just look at it - isn't it awesome? Doesn't it just scream DISCOVERY and EXCITEMENT and THE OWNER OF THIS TATTOO IS IN THE POSSESSION OF AN ENQUIRING MIND?

I stood there behind the registers for a bit and marvelled.

Later, because we were feeling rebellious/wanted to improve our product knowledge, my coworker Kim and I had a chat about books that had different sorts of typefaces and odd layouts. Then we found them and showed them to each other. Then she saw the interrobang tattoo and was like YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GET THAT.

All this put me in a euphoric sort of mood so every time a customer would come near I would try and spread the interrobang spirit. I think I was pretty successful.

I'm doing it all over again tomorrow.

Um, I have a few things to blog about in the next few days:
  1. Role models
  2. Derek Webb
They might actually just be one blog post together. Not sure yet.

Recommendation: The Thirteen and a Half Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers. It's my favourite book out of, like, all the books. It's also one of those books that use different sorts of typography to better convey the story. It's about a blue bear who wakes up one day nestled in a nutshell floating in an ocean. Then some minipirates adopt him and teach him how to talk, then he gets stranded on an island of ghosts who feed off his tears... it's just the greatest book in the world okay?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Wrangling

I'm reading Looking for Alaska at 1AM while listening to Sufjan Stevens, and that leaves me susceptible to a particular kind of melancholy. I haven't even reached After yet. What am I going to do once Before comes to its inevitable conclusion?*

The thing is, I'm not capable of collecting my thoughts tonight. Collecting is completely the wrong word to describe how I form arguments by the way. Everything I produce is an argument. Like, I'm trying to get you to feel what I feel. That might be outrage at my country's inhumane treatment of its indigenous people, or it might be that I was pretty stoked to hang out with some friends a couple of days ago. You might think I'm just telling you something, but really I'm arguing with you - trying to persuade you to come with me to where I'm going.

And so collecting is completely the wrong word, but it's the cliché that makes the idea easy for you to digest. In reality I've had this image that plays through my mind whenever I'm trying to make an argument. I'm not collecting my thoughts, I'm pulling them together. It's like each idea is a bird flying in its own crazy direction. Each bird has a long piece of string hanging from it and I'm wrangling them all together to make some kind of flock. The flock strains against the strings in a huge ball of feathers, but there it is. It is a complete thought, not a thousand individual ideas.

Wrangling. Wrangling is the word.

So I'm completely incapable of wrangling my thoughts into some kind of order tonight but I'm still possessed with this fervent need to blog something out, because maybe that'll make me feel... I'm not sure what— at peace I suppose. It doesn't help that something awful happened to someone I know, but I can't blog about it because it's all over the national media right now and publishing it online would be a massive breach of trust. I'm not great at dealing with other people's grief. I've never truly grieved over anyone.

Things I decided today:
  • The title of my screenplay will be The Sixteenth Minute
  • Tomorrow I will try my very hardest to revise said screenplay and email it to my lecturer
  • I will go to work on Halloween dressed as Harry Potter, even though everyone seems to think that is an outstandingly unoriginal idea. Well far out you guys I just look really hot dressed like Daniel Radcliffe dressed like Harry Potter. I don't want to deny you that privilege. You'll thank me for this.
  • I am going to buy Scrivener in time for NaNoWriMo and while I can still claim the education student/teacher discount. I could just use the 30 day trial during the November writing frenzy, but that feels really lame. And besides, if it's good enough for Maureen Johnson then it's good enough for me right? Plus, Craig from my church swears by it and specifically told me that I'd like it - twice. If Craig from my church says so then it must be worth it.
I get to sleep in tomorrow for the first time in a couple of days. You know you've got it easy when you can say that, but whatever. I'm going to sleep in and then revise that screenplay and then go to work and I'm going to enjoy it. Hopefully I'll be able to unite someone with a book they'll like so much they'll read it more than once. Or maybe they'll decide it's their favourite book. You can only hope.

Recommendation: Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller. I can't exactly express what each book is about, specifically, but I can attribute Donald Miller with making me think about God and Christianity differently than I did before I read his books. He writes with such vulnerable honesty. I know you can probably pick up Blue Like Jazz for about five or ten dollars in mass-market paperback because that book has been such a big seller. I read it again every year or so and think to myself this guy is on to something.

*At this very moment I am so painfully mainstream-indie I will greatfully accept any scorn you have with a nonchalantly cocked eyebrow.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Machinarium

I was going to do another blog today, but this game called Machinarium distracted me.

It's a point-and-click adventure game - remember those? It's a pretty straightforward, logical sort of puzzle game, and there are plenty of hints if you need them, so you never really get stuck. The soundtrack is nice too. Sort of ambient, but really good. It's interesting, but never intrusive.


The main thing for me are the graphics, though. Just look at them. I downloaded some wallpapers from the site and quickly realised that they are basically just screenshots from the game itself. Now they are gracing my desktop.


It is gorgeous!

Recommendation: This game! I know it's not a book, but c'mon give me a break here. You can play the demo before deciding if it's worth forking over the US$20 for the full game. I thought it was and I wasn't disappointed.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Manic Pixie Dream Characters

I have spent the past three days sitting around the house feeling sorry for myself because of SICKNESS. Yuck. This afternoon, for a bit of a change, I decided to go to the video store to get out Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. While I was there I saw Sunshine Cleaning had come out and Charlie Bartlett FINALLY made it to Australia (straight-to-DVD release, I'm afraid). I quickly devoured Nick and Norah and Charlie Bartlett (cannibal!) but I've decided to leave Sunshine Cleaning for tomorrow when the parents are in Brisbane.

Instead I will blog here in the dark, on my MacBook, listening to Relient K. Delicious.

Actually I'm having trouble concentrating on what I want to write because I'm rather awkwardly flailing my arms around in time with the music. I wouldn't say it if it wasn't true.

AMAZING NEWS: I've reached 100 followers on this blog. Surely that means I'm set for a book deal right? Right? And guess who the 100th follower is? MY HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER! Hello Mr Schwartz!

Charlie Bartlett was a great film, did you know that? You should watch it. If you've been following for a while you'll know I've been ruminating on the character archetype of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Well! I would like to argue that Charlie Bartlett is a Manic Pixie Dream BOY. Watch out, ladies, for he will RUIN YOU for real men. I am genuinely intimidated by him and one day I will go out and buy a suit coat so I can wear it over t-shirts just like he does. Then maybe if I keep my mouth shut I will be mistaken for him! I am certainly skinny enough! HELLO EVERYONE MY NAME IS ROHAN AND I AM NOT ALONE! DADDY I THINK I AM SLUFFING!

What a flighty character he is, and bad, but not too bad! He defies authority so he can help people, kind of like Robin Hood! And he makes friends with his enemies! And he is rich! And he is a good listener!

I mean, I think he works really well as a character, and the movie is great. I just want to point out that Edward Cullen isn't the only unreasonable character crush you could have. I mean, I'm pretty sure John Green summed it up better than that... something about that Edward Cullen is an idea and falling in love with an idea will not keep you warm at night. I spent an hour or something looking for that video, but do you think I could find it? *Sigh* Anyway, I think Charlie Bartlett is an idea, just as much as Edward Cullen is an idea (although Charlie actually has, you know, a personality and is, uh, actually likeable).

Maybe all characters in fictional works are simply ideas, and although emotional attachment is what gives them the power to move us, we should be careful about how much power we allow them to have.

I'm seriously considering exploring this idea in a NaNoWriMo novel. I wasn't sure if I was going to do it this year (I'm yet to win it) but Hayley, with her wily ways, convinced me to go through with it. I'm imagining a scenario where two Manic Pixie characters duke it out in a battle royale. WHO IS THE MOST FLIGHTY? WHO CAN MOST EFFECTIVELY UNDERMINE AUTHORITY? WHO WILL GO OUT IN THE BIGGEST BLAZE OF GLORY?

Now you will have to excuse me for I'm off to read Looking for Alaska by John Green.

Recommendation: Looking for Alaska by John Green. I've decided I don't like it as much as Paper Towns, but my word it's a close call. I'm reading this one for the second time and I am just as in love with Alaska as I ever was the first time around. It's just such an intricate book, and the characters are so personable. It has attracted some controversy, but the controversy completely misses to point of this novel. This is a book I'll probably own forever, just because I'll buy it again and again so I'll always have a copy on hand.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Family Things and Script Evaluations

I feel kind of obliged to blog again today, if only because I can only imagine that for the majority of you, coming to my blog only to find a somewhat-lengthy summary of the Biblical view of the treatment of women within marriage would be bitterly disappointing. I'll tell you about my weekend. Huzzah! And what a weekend it was.

Well! Last Wednesday my cousin Sam got married in a small beach ceremony involving only immediate family, but on Saturday the couple put on a wedding reception in Brisbane for extended family and friends. I love going to family things because my cousins are all made of awesome, and I don't get to see them all that often. I did some filming during the reception, but once that was done I was able to join in the general frivolity.

There where lots of people I didn't know there, I was wearing a name badge that said "Courtney Love" and there was the biggest bowl of Mexican food I will probably ever see. There was also a whole roast lamb, a hell of a lot of vegetarian curried salad things, two pavlovas, stacks of cake and a bar full of beer and various wines, including champagne. Considering the whole thing got started at 1PM and didn't finish until about 1:30 the following morning, it's safe to say a good time was had by all. I love that my family gets on so well with each other, and we have our own in-jokes. If I have kids and they follow the obvious genetic trend, they are going to be some of the best people I'll ever meet.

The next day we all had to get up early and help my sister Jenny and her husband Jaco move (I know right?) We where all exhausted and some of us where nursing hangovers, but we managed to get pretty much all their stuff out of their apartment and into their new house. It's a partially-renovated Queenslander - such a cute place, and it has one of the best decks I've ever seen. I think they have big plans for it in future.

Oh oh! In other news I had my screenplay for my screenwriting class evaluated today. Generally my assigned evaluator and my lecturers liked it, and they all fell in love with my characters, but told me I needed to better demonstrate how my protagonist had grown through his experiences. The moral of the story is that people should do things for the sake of being awesome. Nerdfighters has had an obvious impact on it. I should probably submit it to the Ning when I'm done.

It occurs to me that I haven't done my sign-off recommendation thing for my past TWO blog posts, meaning I owe you three recommendations right now:

Recommendations
The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick - A fascinating book about what the world would be like if the Axis powers had won the Second World War. It's one of the best sci-fis I've ever read, proving that Phillip K. Dick really is the master of that genre.

Jesus for President by Shane Claibourne and Chris Haw - The title makes it sounds like those Evangelicals are trying to establish a theocracy again, but this book is really a look at the early church and how its rocky relationship with Rome can and should be replicated in the world today. It's probably the best book about how Christians should relate to the political world I have ever read, and contextualises the New Testament in the culture in which it was written. You're likely to be surprised by what it says.

Devilish by Maureen Johnson - I didn't much like 13 Little Blue Envelopes (sorry Maureen!) but I enjoyed this one quite a lot. Set in a Catholic school, it follows a girl as she begins to discover her new friend is actually more sinister than she first appears.

Biblical Marriage

Okay so just to provide a bit of context, my friend John posted a tweet, I found it absurd, John was adament that at least one Christian academic took this stance and posted the relevant quote to Tumblr. I was still unconvinced and said I would write a blog about it. Here it is.

While I understand your tweet was supposed to be provocative, and wasn't entirely serious, I still think there's a general feeling around that agrees with your original tweet - that Christians are anti-feminist, or that we just generally do not consider women to be equal to men, especially in marriage. In some cases this is a fair assessment of how Christians treat women, but it would be unfair to say that all Christians - or even most Christians - act this way. I feel this behaviour is wrong and lacks Biblical support.

Richard Holloway's quote is interesting, but I don't think he was actually generalising the Biblical view of marriage. He was talking about the Law in the Old Testament, and the sentiment expressed in the quote was reflective of the culture of Mesopotamia at the time. Women are treated very poorly in the Old Testament, and there is no denying that. However, taking the culture of seventh century BC and broadly applying it to modern-day Judeo-Christian thought is absurd. Perhaps that is what you where going for. However, I get the feeling you aren't very familiar with the writings of Paul in the New Testament, which is where Christianity derives its views on marriage.

Ephesians 5: 21-33 is the main passage on this topic. Ephesians is a letter written by Paul of Tarsus and was addressed to the church in Ephesus. Interestingly, the church in Ephesus was largely administered to by Priscilla and Aquila - a married couple.

A quick glance at the passage will reveal that it contains things that have been used to put women down for years. However,"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord" isn't the end of what Paul had to say. He continues, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her". This is incredible and powerful. Christ died for the church (referring to the body of believers) and put himself last in all matters.

People have (and do) use this passage to disempower women, but I feel it is clear that Paul did not intend for that to be the case. Instead, we are to "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." This stance on marriage is incredibly empowering for women considering the culture of the time it was written in - Rome, AD 62 - when women had almost no rights in regard to owning property: thus making them vulnerable to divorce and subsequent poverty. Rather than showing marriage as a husband domineering over his wife, Paul paints a picture of two people working together for the greater good of each other and the greater body of believers.

So, far from Biblical marriage being about "women-as-property", I think (and I am certainly not alone in this thought) that it is actually much more ahead of its time, and functions well within a modern context.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

You and Life Remain Beautiful

I told myself I wouldn't blog about love here anymore. I have a diary for that sort of thing. Oh hell. Maybe I'll never post this anyway.

In musical terms, my week has been incredible. Two new CDs from two of my all-time favourite bands came out in Australia and I just couldn't be happier. David Crowder*Band's new album Church Music is epic in every sense of the word. Seriously. There are 17 full-length songs on there, and some of them are longer-than-usual, and pretty much every song is a winner. I'm not sure if it's better than A Collision (or 3+4=7) or not... I don't know. I really don't.

Then there's Relient K's new album Forget and Not Slow Down which has taken some time to grow on me. It all sounded very same-y at first, but I'm settling into the album well. One song, I Don't Need A Soul, was stuck in my head this arvo after listening to it in my car. I was kind of singing it to myself without knowing all the words and then I went and looked in the lyrics book (which is beautiful, by the way - a perfect example of how to reward people for buying physical CDs).

Turns out it's a song about lost love, but life going on. The chorus goes:
I don't need a soul,
No I don't need a soul to hold
Without you I'm still whole
You and life remain beautiful
I'm not saying I go around moping over things that never eventuated, but I guess it's time I let go of some things. I've been thinking about this for a while, but you know how sometimes other people sum up how you're feeling better than you can? This was like that.

In light of the rather spectacular non-event that is my love-life, I've often thought about singleness. I actually don't mind being single - it's really liberating being able to just go off and do whatever you want. I have friends who are in long-term relationships, and in December I'll be attending the wedding of my good friends Jeshua and Corinne. Sometimes I look at my friends in relationships and I'm consumed with jealousy. Still, they're the people who are settling down into stable careers, or wondering how they're going to be able to provide for their future families.

Maybe I'm just not mature enough for that yet. I graduate in November and I still don't really have any direction in my life - and I quite like it that way. It's how my life has played out so far: one step at a time, never really knowing what's ahead. It's all worked out wonderfully so far, but my friends in relationships just can't live that way. Sometimes I wonder if being single is what I'm supposed to do, but I struggle with that because sometimes I'm so lonely. And yet... I don't believe I need to be with someone to be whole. I am my own person and I will enjoy singleness as long as it lasts, even if it's longer than I'd like.

Yeah, this is directed at more than one person so... sorry it didn't work out. Sorry if I was too forward or not forward enough. I'm going to do my own thing for a little while and be happy. Actually, I have been happy, but I intend to continue on that way. I really hope you and I don't fall out of contact because you're a really good friend/I really respect you/I'm totally in awe of you.

Ha. This makes it seem like all I've done is mope over lost love in the last however long. No, that's not me. It's more like unreasonable flights of fancy have potentially been distracting me from the road ahead. Or something. Or maybe new music is making me write things that I'll later regret saying on the internet. Perhaps you shouldn't read too much into this.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Harry Potter

Today was my first day as children's book specialist at my job, and it went pretty well. Nothing over-the-top happened - mostly I was just reorganising the children's DVD section, but it was nice to be there y'know?

There was this one customer who was looking for recommendations for her advanced-reader daughter, and I was pretty stoked about it. Advanced-reader children are easiest for me to recommend for because I can basically take what I read at their age and tell them to read it too. Her daughter was ten or eleven or something. Anyway, this lady wanted me to find this other book she'd seen in the newspaper first so I went and did that. In the meantime one of the other women who works there suggested she give her daughter Harry Potter. No! the lady said. You can't expose my daughter to that! That is witchcraft!

My actual thoughts upon hearing about this where Oh wow I thought all of you guys died out about six years ago. Harry Potter used to be controversial in the churches I went to growing up, but now they don't even register. I was such a rebel for reading them back in the day though.

Anyway, then the mother went on to tell me that SOME books are just marvellous for children to read (she pointed to some fairy books in the early-reader section as she said this) but others are JUST DROSS. I was a little bit offended by her high-handed manner as she said this, never mind that she was actually right on this one. (There is more to reading than vamp lit!)

Thing is, I don't think she was really prescribing books that where too easy for her daughter just to protect her from the evils of Harry Potter. She was actually after a book that recommends other books for children, and was obviously looking to expand the things her daughter was going to read. It's just that there's such a missed opportunity there. My dad actively gave me Harry Potter to read as soon as he found out about the series (this was sometime during 1999 when I was 12). Instead of "protecting" me from the dangers of witchcraft by never, ever speaking of it, my parents actually used Harry Potter as a way to have a frank discussion about it. I was able to air my questions, they were able to express their concerns and I was able to make up my own mind.

I love the Harry Potter series but I wouldn't touch a ouija board with a ten-foot pole. I have my parents to thank for that. This goes for other topics that tend to get books banned too. Letting kids read about them (so long as the parents know what their kids are reading, of course) is actually better than locking away those topics forever and ever because it opens up the way to a real discussion, which leads to informed decisions.

Ignorance is weakness okay?

Recommendation: Harry Potter, duh. I mean, recommending Harry Potter is like saying HEY HAVE YOU HEARD OF THIS BAND CALLED THE BEATLES? but seriously c'mon. If you haven't read them yet, you are seriously missing out. Just freaking read them. I don't care for your excuses because they are lame. Even people who "hate reading" love Harry Potter. Just read them. Read them. Just read them. Stop being so proud and read them. Read them okay?