Thursday, September 18

letting my geek flag fly! [geek girl tag]

While I'm not a YouTuber (can you imagine finding out your eighth grade English teacher vlogs?  I'd never live it down), I am subscribed to a ton of channels and couldn't resist the Geek Girl tag after watching this video by Kristin from My Life As a Teacup.  I was definitely a nerdy kid, but I don't think I really started to see myself as a geek until eighth grade when I finally found some friends who thought it was cool that I was a girl who liked Star Wars and Redwall, and also started to find friends online who had similarly geeky interests.  In college, I found friends I could geek out about Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with. And now I have a wonderfully geeky husband who goes to all the Marvel movies with me.  I had to take the Geek Girl survey, and I really want to start sharing more of my geeky side here on the blog.

1. What is your must-have tech gadget?

My phone - ironically, because texting pretty much makes my teenage dream a reality: being able to communicate my ideas to my friends and family members in the way I am most skilled, via writing, rather than verbally.  AIM was my savior in high school.

2. Which house do you belong to in Hogwarts?

Hufflepuff.  Not only did my best HP-loving friend sort me into Hogwarts in college, pretty much every quiz I've ever taken, including the Pottermore quiz, had the same result.  As the Sorting Hat says, Hufflepuffs are fair, loyal, patient, and hard working.  I'm pretty sure those are all the qualities that make me a successful middle school teacher.  I'm not a super competitive person, I don't really get high on adrenaline, and I do feel like most of my success is the result of me working hard rather than being super intelligent.

3. Who (!) was your favorite Doctor?

I guess this makes me a bad geek, but I have never invested the time to really get into Doctor Who.  The only episodes I've seen had David Tennant and all I can think of when I see him is "Barty Crouch... JUNIOR!"  The show just seems cheesy to me, but my college friends and a lot of my students absolutely love the Doctor in all his incarnations.

4. If you could have dinner with any fictional character, who would it be?

I feel like Albus Dumbledore would be the most amazing conversationalist ever.  He could impart some amazing wisdom, tell some great jokes, and also make some off-the-wall nonsense comments, and I would love all of it.  Plus he's been alive for more than a century, so I could ask him questions about historical events and famous people he probably encountered.

5. What is your gaming system of choice?

I am not very talented at traditional video games.  When I was little, my friends made fun of me because I couldn't play Mario Bros. without actually moving my body the way the character would be moving.  Fast-forward to today, and I get to do that all the time - my gaming system of choice is my Wii!  I love dance games - Michael Jackson Experience helped me lose weight for my wedding and I collect the Just Dance series.

6. If you had a super power, what would it be?

In college, my answer to this question was being able to understand and speak all languages, and I still think that would be really cool!  However, now that I have had a few more difficult life experiences, I dream of being able to time travel and make situations better or just revisit certain people or moments again.

7. What is your favorite fantasy world?

Oh my goodness, this question is difficult, because all of the fantasy worlds I love also have some kind of horrible villain or evil force hanging over them and causing trouble, or scary monsters that I wouldn't want to mess with.  I have to say the Wizarding World created by J.K. Rowling, though, because I think she's such a genius.  I mean, I can tell you what the denziens of this world eat, how they travel, what they wear, what kind of music they listen to, what amazing animals they work with, what spells they use to do magic - and it all came from one woman's imagination coupled with an impressive amount of research and knowledge of folklore.  I'm also so blown away by the amount of creativity the Wizarding World has inspired - there is just a whole world of stuff inspired by Harry Potter's universe. It's definitely in the ranks with Star Wars, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings in terms of how passionate fans are and how much a part of popular culture it has become.

8. If you could be any fictional race, what would you be?

Can I be an Ewok?  Who wouldn't want to be a little bear-shaped person who runs around being adorable and singing and dancing around a campfire, but can also go Swiss Family Robinson on enemies when needed?

9. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Wars!  I resisted it for a long, long time and would roll my eyes at my dad when he tried to get me to watch his VHS copies of the original trilogy.  Finally, in the summer between fifth and sixth grade, it was like all of a sudden all my guy friends were into Star Wars, and I was like fine, dad, let's do this thing.  For the next two weekends, my Friday night plans were set - watching the original trilogy with my parents and loving every minute of it.  I love Star Wars because it describes a hero's journey, because it's a love story, and because it's a story about a group of stubborn, determined people coming together to form their own family.  I love the Force.  I love the idea of having a Droid.  I love the Jim Henson-ness of the original trilogy's practical effects.  I don't like the prequels, but I am excited to see what J.J. Abrams does with that rich universe now that he has the opportunity to put his own spin on George Lucas' creation.

10. List your top 5 geektastic movies or TV series.
  • Harry Potter
  • Star Wars
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • The MCU (Avengers, Thor, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. etc.)
  • Firefly/Serenity
Honorable mentions:  X-MenThe Fifth Element, Final Fantasy VII, The Chronicles of Narnia, Syfy Alice, Inception, J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies, The Hunger Games, John Carter, City of Bones, Sherlock, Pacific Rim.

What are your favorite "geeky" interests?  Do you consider yourself a geek girl?

Linking Up:

Let Your Light Shine

Tuesday, September 16

television shows I'm looking forward to this season.

fall tv premieres i'm looking forward to

Fall has been in the air for a few weeks now, with little signs like the pumpkin spice latte's return to Starbucks' menu, our Pinterest boards being taken over by apple everything, and of course, school starting.  However, I never really feel like I'm back in my fall routine until fall TV shows start coming back to the airwaves.  Today, I'm rounding up the shows I'm most looking forward to, along with their airtimes, networks, and premiere dates.


Brooklyn Nine-Nine (8:30/7:30c, FOX, Sept. 28) - I was skeptical about this show at first - I'd tried watching it when it first came on because I love Andy Samberg, and it just didn't work for me.  Then it won a ton of awards, I tried it again, and now that I've gotten to know the quirky, goofy characters, I love it.  The same thing happened to me with The Office- I think I am just really picky about comedies at first.  The second season should be interesting with Samberg's character going on an undercover mission and Kyra Sedgwick and Jenny Slate coming on as guest stars.

The Walking Dead (9/8c, AMC, Oct. 23) - Horror is so not my thing, but if I didn't watch The Walking Dead I wouldn't understand half the conversations my coworkers or students have, so I don't have much of a choice.  I don't watch or listen to most of the zombie scenes, but the characters keep me coming back.  I just hope the group can get out of their current situation and find Beth this season!

Mulaney (9:30/8:30c, FOX, Oct. 5) - One of my favorite comedians (his stand-up show New In Town is hilarious, and he wrote Bill Hader's "Stefon" skits on SNL's Weekend Update) finally gets his own show, which kind of looks like an updated Seinfeld.


The Voice (8/7c, NBC, Sept. 22) - I've missed my weekly dose of Blake and Adam's bromance, and this season Stevie Nicks will be advising Team Adam.

Sleepy Hollow (9/8c, FOX, Sept. 22) - I can still remember how dumb I thought this show looked when it premiered last year... and yet I still had to watch since it came from the minds of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.  This show is what would happen if Fringe and the National Treasure movies had a baby, and it's become one of Mr. Q's and my favorites. Being a Sleepy Hollow fan means forgetting everything about Washington Irving's version of the story except that there was a guy named Ichabod Crane and a lady named Katrina is it, and occasionally being willing to play fast and loose with American history and even the English language.  Do it.  Suspend your disbelief and let yourself have fun for an hour every Monday night.  Tom Mison's Ichabod and Nichole Beharie's Abbie Mills are the weirdest, greatest supernatural buddy-cop team since Mulder and Scully.

State of Affairs (10/9c, NBC, Nov. 17) - I haven't heard much buzz about this one, but it stars Katherine Heigl as a CIA analyst to LADY PRESIDENT ALFRE WOODARD so I feel that I must give it a chance.


Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (9/8c, Sept. 23) - The first season of this show took a while to find its stride, but after the Captain America movie hit theaters and "hail Hydra" became the most infamous slogan in the world of superheroes, it was on.  Season 1 ended with an insane cliffhanger and I can't wait to see what happens next.

New Girl (9/8c, FOX, Sept. 16) - Hoping this season will be less Nick-and-Jess centric and let the other characters have storylines as well - that's when the show really shines.

The Mindy Project (9:30/8:30c, FOX, Sept. 16) - I will be looking forward to 9:30 all day today.  In my opinion, Mindy Kaling is writing the funniest material on television right now.  The Season 3 premiere is called, "We're a Couple Now, Bitches."  What more do you need?


The Middle (8/7c, ABC, Sept. 24) - First things first, the Heck family is the realest family on T.V.  Their furniture doesn't match, their living room is a mess, and their dinner usually comes in a bag and/or bucket.  They're basically the Connors from Roseanne, updated for a new era.

Red Band Society (9/8c, FOX, Sept. 17) - There is SO MUCH HYPE around this show. When I saw the first commercials, I instantly thought, oh, they're trying to cash in on The Fault in Our Stars.  But since my favorite hospital drama, The Night Shift, is on hiatus right now, I need a medical show in my schedule, right?  And Octavia Spencer!

Nashville (10/9c, ABC, Sept. 24) - Will Rayna and Deacon be together?  Will Juliette be pregnant with Jeff's baby?  Nashville is totally a soap opera, and I love it.


Parenthood (10:30/9:30c, NBC, Sept. 25) - Bravermans, you are my TV family.  This is the last season, so I expect to be crying by 11:30 every Thursday night.


Constantine (10/9c, NBC, Oct. 24) - As a casual comics geek, and having been told over and over by true comics geeks that the Keanu Reeves film was pretty much nothing like the actual storyline of DC Comics' Hellblazer, I think that I have to check this one out.


Saturday Night Live (11:30, NBC, Sept. 27) - I've been watching SNL since middle school.  I'll watch it through good seasons and bad seasons because it's the show that brought us Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, Andy Samberg, and Bill Hader.  I'm always ready to see the next big comedy stars do their thing.  Chris Pratt will be hosting this year's premiere, which should be awesome since he's now extremely hot in addition to being hilarious.  Sarah Silverman and Adam Levine will also be hosting this fall.

What shows are you looking forward to the most this year?

Sources:  TV GuideBustle, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times

Monday, September 15

clicks of note: show the world the you inside...

get your week off to a colorful start...


  • If you like 20-year-old Meghan Trainor's radio single "All About That Bass," you'll love the super-positive "Close Your Eyes."  This girl has such a powerhouse voice!  I'm linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.




Sunday, September 14

sunday social: favorites.

Social Sunday

1. Favorite scent:

I've written on the blog before about how much I love lemon fragrance.  In aromatherapy, lemon is considered a mood-booster, and it definitely works for me.  Right now, I'm loving the Lemon Pomegranate Cream line from Bath & Body Works.  Some of my other favorite scents are the smell of coffee, pink peonies, green apple, and the eucalyptus spearmint candles my yoga teacher sometimes burns during class.

2. Favorite food:

Asian food in general.  I love lo mein noodles, I love sushi, I love miso soup, I love pho.  I was lucky to live with some awesome friends in college who showed me how wonderful and savory Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese food can be.

3. Favorite sound:

This question is a thinker!  Since I love music so much, my favorite sounds are musical sounds, and I think the instrument that sings to me the most is the fiddle.  Take any song, add a fiddle to it, and all of a sudden you're in the mountains.

4. Favorite picture currently on your phone:

I can't post them here for privacy reasons, but I love that my students stole my phone on the field trip last year and it has a bunch of their selfies on it. 

5. Best memory of the year so far:

Going along with my answer to #4, it was definitely the field trip to Washington, D.C. with a fantastic group of students including my self-proclaimed "daughter."  We had a great time and the girls reminded me why I love my job so much - they were asking good questions and showing off things they'd learned in my class while they toured the museums, and they reminded me that my real goal is not teaching students to use perfect grammar but teaching teenagers to be better people.

sunday simplicity: where all love is.

“For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary” 
―  from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Friday, September 12

my late summer in entertainment

books i read

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (Memoir) - Since this book is insanely popular (and for good reason), I'm sure you already know that Cheryl Strayed, aka advice columnist Dear Sugar, dropped everything and hiked the Pacific Crest Trail.  That's what I knew going in, anyway. I'm glad I finally got around to reading this one, because it kind of blew my mind and challenged the way I think about many aspects of life.  Before Cheryl hikes the PCT, she is in a terrible downward spiral following her mother's death.  In said downward spiral, she makes the kind of choices that would usually lead to me putting down a book, but her writing style is so honest, straightforward, and funny even when describing bleak situations, that I had to keep reading - I was rooting for her to turn things around even when I wasn't sure she was capable of doing so.  On little more than a whim, she packs her very heavy bag, puts on some hiking boots that don't really fit, and takes to a trail that will guide her through California, Oregon, and Washington in every climate imaginable.  The idea of doing something like what Cheryl did - hiking alone, as a woman, through unknown territory - absolutely terrifies me. But Cheryl proves that terrifying things can be done, one step at a time.  I can't wait to see Reese Witherspoon play Cheryl in the film version, especially since much of the dialogue in the trailer is straight from the book.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fantasy) - When I heard that a new television series was coming out based on a series of novels about a womanwho travels through time to 1700s Scotland and falls in love, I decided to check it out - I mean, how could you go wrong with a little bit of fantasy, a little historical fiction, and a lot of romance?  Unfortunately, I didn't pay attention to the detail that the show is on Starz, which we don't get, but fortunately, I did fall head-over-heels in love with the book.  Claire, the main character, is already feeling out of place in 1945 when she and her husband, Frank, are finally reunited after their years of service in the English army - Claire as a combat nurse and Frank as a spy.  She and Frank are on a second honeymoon of sorts in Scotland, and Frank, a history professor, is fascinated by the traditions they observe on their trip, especially the Druid ritual they see the local women participating in around a circle of standing stones.  When they return to the site of the ritual, Claire is transported to Scotland in 1743, where danger is a constant fact of life, feudal society is still in full effect, and her nursing skills come in very handy.  She is taken in by a highland clan, including dashing young Jamie McTavish.  While the love scenes in this book are a little more scandalous than what my YA-loving heart is used to, I can't resist the romance between Claire and Jamie, and it's hard to put the book down when someone is in danger of being murdered in basically every other chapter.  

Everneath by Brodi Ashton (YA Fantasy Romance) - I checked Everneath out of the school library because one of  my students said it was the best book she'd ever read.  The book reminded me pleasantly of other YA folkloric retellings I've enjoyed, like Carrie Jones' Need and Nancy Werlin's Impossible.  Everneath puts a modern, high school spin on the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades.  At the beginning of the novel, Nikki has just returned to her regular life after being, by all accounts, missing for six months.  Through flashbacks, we learn that reeling from her mother's death in a car accident and believing her boyfriend, Jack, has been unfaithful, Nikki had happily accepted her rock star friend Cole's offer to take away her pain - by taking her to the underworld, where he would feed off her energy for what felt like a century.  Nikki's return is anything but smooth, and she has only six months to smooth over the relationships with Jack, her best friend, and her distant father before she must return to Cole and the Everneath - unless she can find a way to remain on the Surface.  There were definitely some plot holes - her father, the mayor of the Utah town in which the book takes place, seemed to accept not knowing where his daughter had been for six months - but overall I enjoyed reading this new twist on a familiar myth.

movies i saw

Guardians of the Galaxy - As much of a geek as I can be, and as much as this movie was promoted, I still didn't really know what to expect going into the theater.  While I was basically familiar with characters like Iron-Man and Thor going into the previous Marvel movies, I really didn't understand how there could even be a successful series including (what look like) a raccoon and a tree as major characters.  However, from pretty much the first strains of 80's music, I was along for the ride.  My love of Chris Pratt is no secret, and he brings a lot of heart to one of my favorite storytelling tropes - a ragtag bunch of misfits saving the world.  Zoe Saldana is awesome as always, Dave Bautista is surprisingly funny as a warrior who takes everything literally, and the "raccoon" and "tree" ended up being my favorites after all.  There's so much quirky goodness in this movie.

The Croods - When I am home alone, I like to watch cartoon movies.  I don't know why, it's just my thing.  I remembered the previews for this one looking cute when it was in theaters, and Emma Stone voicing a cavegirl is kind of an irresistible premise.  What I did not expect was that a movie about a family of cave people escaping from catastrophic natural disasters would make me ugly cry.  The overprotectice cave dad/rebellious and independent cave daughter dynamic really got me in the feels.

television favorites

You're the Worst - A show on FX that has at least three different kinds of warnings on it is not my usual fare, but I guess I've really been mixing it up lately and I gave this comedy a chance this summer.  The show begins when Jimmy, a sarcastic and oblivious writer, and Gretchen, a public relations agent with self-destructive tendencies, meet at the wedding of Jimmy's ex - he's basically there to heckle the bride and Gretchen is stealing gifts.  Their "what could it hurt?" one-night stand gets complicated as they realize that they actually kinda like each other, at least better than anyone else.  The subsequent episodes have been less raunchy and way funnier than the pilot and the show has a weird sweetness that has really grown on me.

What's been keeping you entertained lately?  Do 
you have any recommendations for me to check out?

Linking Up:
The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup

Monday, September 8

clicks of note: standing by your side...

get your week off to a colorful start...

  • Odessa's song "I Will Be There" is probably familiar to you either from the Subaru commercial it's featured in or from The Fault in Our Stars' soundtrack.  I am loving the light, ethereal song - this is the kind of song I just want to wrap around me.  I'm linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos - and you should, too!


"I turn on the switch…write a post, then turn it off.  Whether blogging is your full time job, your part time job, or your hobby, you still must have that switch."