Sunday, October 29, 2017

In Which I Shamelessly Generalize Generalizations

Real quotes from Art3mis Took's head: 

It's so annoying how modern YA novels are all dystopias with pointless love triangles.

I can't stand how modern music objectifies women.

Wow, every word that comes out of Tyler Joseph's [or insert favorite music artist's or author's] mouth is pure poetry.

Dear world, 
And most of all, dear me,

Please stop.

I know that generalizations are necessary. If we didn't have them we wouldn't have words--for example, if I didn't have a general idea of a computer, I wouldn't be able to say that my HP laptop is just as much a computer as a mac, and if I didn't have a general idea of what a Christian is I wouldn't be able to say that Lutherans and I have many theological differences but are still both Christians.

But I find myself generalizing so many things all the time, based on something I've read or heard, on my past experience, or on nothing at all.

A real-life history of Art3mis Took's generalizations

Everything by Justin Bieber is trash.
Everything by Justin Bieber is actually awesome--why do people keep hating on him?

Everyone who follows their religion to the t is trustworthy.
Um, actually my recent experience has made me an expert and no one who follows their religion to the t is trustworthy. Sorry, naïve younger self.

Liberal people are all pretentious jerks.
Conservative people are all pretentious jerks.
No wait, everyone is a pretentious jerk. Except for me, of course.


See, when I was younger I had a lot of generalizations, stereotypes, ideological clumpings, whatever you wanna call them, mostly borrowed from my family and friends, my own personality, and above all, the books that I read. I wasn't even conscious of these generalizations until events in my life started challenging them. And as my teen years have become increasingly angsty I've taken these dispelled generalizations and replaced them with...

...wait for it...

new generalizations.

Which aren't any closer to my own life experience.

What, you and I both ask, is my life experience?

A real-life history of Art3mis Took's real life

Well, Justin Bieber has some good songs like "Love Yourself," but that was written by Ed Sheeran so it's kind of a toss-up whether it actually counts to Justin's credit.

I've been hurt by people who are strongly religious but my strongly religious friends have also been the ones who helped me through that hurt.

And I don't think I've ever met someone who's really a pretentious jerk at real life, that is.

*waits for fallout from the Sherlock fandom*


The point is that real life is complicated, and I'm starting to realize more every day that where I'm tempted to think there's pure evil, there's always good in this world. And it's worth fighting for. (Why does everything always turn into a Tolkien quote?)

In conclusion:

Unwind, by Neal Shusterman, is a glorious modern young adult novel that handles pretty much everything, including a love triangle that is relevant to the story's themes, in an insightful and tasteful manner.

Sure, Ed Sheeeran has put out some objectifying songs *glares at "Shape of You"*, but his other hit "Perfect" is fairly clean and has lines like "I don't deserve this, darling you look perfect tonight." Interpret as you will but that's pretty adorable.

Actually I don't like all of Tyler Joseph's lyrics. For example...
*racks brain for a lyric that I don't like* 
...Never mind, Tyler's lyrics are, in fact, 100% perfect. 
But you get the point.

Your fellow citizen of this complicated planet, 
Art3mis Took

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tolkien Blog Party Tag

Thanks to the lovely Hamlette, each year we geeks have a chance to kick back, pour a cup of tea, and remember that The Lord of the Rings still exists and it is awesome. Even if we publish the tag late because we forgot about it until now.

1. How long have you been a Tolkien fan?

Ever since I read The Hobbit at the age of eight or so. 

2. Has your love of Middle-earth affected your life?

*goes to type, then pauses and frowns* 

Well, it's definitely influenced my reading life. As soon as I read The Hobbit I developed an appetite for sci-fi/fantasy, and books in this genre have greatly influenced the way I think about the world. These include Carl Sagan's Contact, Antoine St. Expert's The Little Prince, Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, and many others. Also, if I hadn't been introduced to this genre I would never have gotten into Brandon Sanderson's online writing lessons and I would have never met my friend Meredith, who got me into blogging, and I would be quite a different person than I was before and I wouldn't be here answering these questions. 

So yes.

3. If you had to take the One Ring to Mordor, which character would you choose for your sole companion?

Sam. Because he is adorable and he would carry me the whole way.

4. Which is scarier, Shelob or the Balrog?

Definitely Shelob, at least in the way they are presented in the books/movies. I've never thought big monsters were that scary; it's the little, petty, crawly, claustrophobic ones like Shelob that give me the creeps.

5. Which two towers do you think Tolkien was referring to in the title The Two Towers?  (i.e. Orthanc, Barad-dûr, Cirith Ungol, Minas Morgul, or Minas Tirith)

No idea. My head hurts.

6. Whose wardrobe would you like to have?

Eowyn. Her gowns are so soft and flowy, especially this one:

I also want whatever this warm, fuzzy thing is:

I love that she is a fierce, driven warrior who is also not above cuddling with a blanket on a duvet.

7. What do you think an Ent Draught would taste like?

Strong, leafy tea with a beer-like aftertaste.

8. Where in Middle-earth would you like to live?

The Shire, because anywhere else would be way too stressful. I am Sam at heart. xD

9. Do you have any Tolkien-related opinions that surprise other people?

I can't stand The Silmarillion and I enjoy the movies more than the books because the books are just so dang hard to read. Also I think the songs from the books are really annoying and unnecessary. And Tolkien needs to work on his pacing. 

*whispers* Sorry, everyone.

10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotations from the books or movies.

I've got way more than ten, but for the sake of time I'll just refer you to my reply from last year. This is my idea of time management. 

*pauses to reconsider my life decisions*

Let's go deep in this comments section, comrade: Has your love for Middle-Earth affected your life?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Random Things #8: Savory Scenes of September

-2Cellos' cover of "Now We Are Free" from Gladiator (and how cool they try to look in the music video)

-Sightreading an all-string arrangement of Linkin Park's "Numb" with a college string club and feeling like the Piano Guys

-Discovering that a girl who sits ahead of me in one of my music classes is super nice and from Russia (!!!)

-Peanut Butter Captain Crunch is surprisingly tasty

-Actually enjoying math class (???) because my math professor is so enthusiastic

-My math professor saying that the solutions of this one problem go from zero to infinity, and half the class adding "...and beyond!"

-Feeling satisfyingly exhausted from a full day of schoolwork

-Homemade pepperoni pizza

-Drinking a London Fog for the first time (Earl Grey with tons of sugar and milk, and some vanilla)

-The sudden transition between summer and fall which always triggers Halloween nostalgia

-So many new babies!!!

-The super intense conductor of the symphony orchestra actually praising my section

-Planning and executing Bilbo's Birthday Party (on the actual date!!!)

-Binging Stranger Things and being super excited for the next season which comes out in October

-Discovering an awesome Bible study on campus

-Having a completely random conversation with a couple of guys about religion, college, and video games

-Getting into the Newsies Broadway show and deciding that one of my dreams is to write a musical

-Having a twenty one pilots moment with a guy in my class

-Watching cheesy, completely not-PC 60's TV shows with my mom

-Incredibly satisfying twists in Agents of SHIELD

-The sense of progress that comes from going to school

-Discovering how amazing Goodreads really is

What were some of your September highlights?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Why I Chose a Secular College Over a Christian One

In the middle-class conservative Christian subculture that I've been born into, college is nigh a given. Going to a Christian college is highly, highly recommended unless you want to become a partying relativist who makes Cheese-Whiz towers in his or her spare time.

Thus when I chose to go to a local community college I did it to save money and perhaps to be a rebel.

But after a few weeks of commuting to classes (look at experienced me  :P) I think even if I did have the money to pay the steep admission rates of a Christian private school, I would still make the same decision in a heartbeat. I know this will come as a shock to many, so here are some of my reasons (in list format, of course, because my brain is too fried right now for a logical sequence of ideas):

1. Exposure

My college English professor is a somewhat angry liberal who pushes the PG-13 rating in every class, and I wouldn't have it any other way. As a homeschooler I haven't had much interaction with the rest of the world except for online, and it is SO different in real life. I think going to a Christian college would have been nigh similar to homeschooling because I would still be around people who have the same general beliefs and language and boundaries, whereas here I can practice appreciating and learning from people who are vastly different from myself.

2. Faith

Even thinking about God in college is SO HARD. I've realized that for my whole life I've been just going with the flow around like-minded people.

3. Practicality

Now for the obvious: this college is much cheaper than any private college. Not only that, but here I can actually major in the subject that I love the most: music. And the professors and students are all plugged into my hometown community, which means that getting a job in music will (hopefully) be relatively easy. Also the professors here are amazing at what they do, and chosen specifically for their abilities rather than for their religious background.

In conclusion, I figure that I might as well pay for challenging and practical lessons in my area of study than for a Christian community that I'm already plugged into for free.

So there you have it! A condensed version of my current thoughts.

*ducks a barrage of Bibles and VeggieTales DVDs*

What do you think about going to a Christian college? Feel free to disagree!