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52 Book Challenge (Week 3) The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Week Three: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury [145 Pages]

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So this weeks book isn’t exactly seasonally appropriate but I’ve been excited to read this book since I bought it purely because I loved the movie so much as a child and haven’t been able to watch it since. Ever since the collapse of Cartoon Network, I’ve missed out on a lot of the shows and films I loved growing up. Even those which came out on DVD very rarely come out for the British region. Which is kind of heart-breaking.

I recently watched the Nostalgia Critic’s review of The Halloween Tree animated film and was hit by the nostalgia of it and had a quick search to see if I could get the DVD and instead ended up with the book.

Unfortunately, I think that because I loved the film so much, the book was never going to live up to my expectations. It has a very similar tone to the film, but a lot of things were better represented visually. This is one of the very rare instances where I like the film more than I like the book.

For those of you who don’t know, the story revolves around a group of boys learning the different traditions behind their costumes. It’s by no means an accurate depiction of the whole history behind the modern day Halloween but for a story aimed at kids it does a good job.

The biggest downside for me is that it’s impossible to connect with any of the characters. You don’t learn most of the boys names until half way through the book and there’s a great deal of emphasis on how fantastic one boy Pipkin is. But we don’t learn how great he is through his actions, it’s just a chapter describing how absolutely amazing this one boy is.

What really saves this book for me is the artwork. Joseph Mugnaini has done a fantastic job sticking to the tone of the story with his illustrations and the book looks absolutely beautiful.

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All in all, I would only reccomend this book as a way to teach kids a simplified version of the Halloween traditions.

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52 Book Challenge (Week Two): Sports Chanbara- Samurai Sports by Tetsundo Tanabe

Week Two: Sports Chanbara- Samurai Sports  by Tetsundo Tanabe [236  Pages]

So I may be cheating a little bit with this one. It’s not a fiction book like the rest of the books I intend to use for the 52 Book Challenge, but it is a really interesting book that I want to show to people.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a black belt/instructor in Freestyle Karate. My Uncle (who runs my class) was just promoted to head of chanbara by the Chief Instructor and given this book as a guide:

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My uncles not a big reader, whereas I was fascinated by the book. So I volunteered to read it for him and give him the abridged version.

The first thing I noticed is the signature at the front:

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But not only is it signed by the author, but the author may be visiting at some point. So we’re suddenly under a lot of pressure to get his techniques right, which is hard to do when the only visual representations you have are small black and white photos.

The books itself is beautifully laid out, I love books that have the original text on one side and the translation on the other for comparison purposes.

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For those of you who don’t know chabara is kind of like fighting with swords. Except without the swords, what we use are more akin to pool-noodles on sticks. But the general principle remains the same. The book is focused on making the sport more accessible to people of all ages, genders and abilities which I really like. It also has a really iteresting history of the development of different swords for different functions.

If you can get your hands on a copy, I would definetly reccomend it.

52 Book Challenge (Week 1) ‘Too Much Information’ Dave Gorman

Week One: “Too Much Information. …Or Can Everyone Just Shut Up For A Moment Some Of Us Are Trying To Think” by Dave Gorman [332 Pages]

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Dave Gorman’s is surprisingly similar to what I expected from him. I’ve read a couple of books by comedians and it’s always interesting to see how the tone of the books matched up with their personalities.  For example, Miranda Hart’s book “Is it Just me?” is exactly how you would expect her to write. But Jo Brands novels could be written by an entirely different person and I never would have guessed.

I haven’t seen much of Dave Gorman’s work, but I have watched quite a bit of his TV show “Modern Life is Good(ish)” and the book has a very similar tone to the show. Unfortunately it can be too similar at times.

Like the show, Gorman makes use of pictorial representation. In the show this is displayed on a PowerPoint. The book similarly makes use of pictures in what is sometimes a very witty way. I particularly like:

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A lot of the material in the book is similar to what he has used in his shows. Which is forgivable, if it works in one format it will most likely work in another. However a few jokes fall flat in the book format. I pretty much skipped over the chapter where he discusses when newspapers use the word “matching” to discuss celebrities wearing outfits that don’t match at all. In the PowerPoints, he shows the photographs that the newspapers are using to show just how ridiculous the claims are. Whereas in the book, he just has to use words to describe them. Which doesn’t have nearly the same comedic effect.

It was still a good read nonetheless and definitely worth reading if you enjoy Dave Gormans comedic tone.

On “Dying Alone”

This post may verge on being too personal, but it’s something that I need to get off my chest (so excuse me if I post it then delete it later).

I see the phrase “die alone” a lot. It’s typically used as a way to discourage singledom. It’s a well-known fact that no-one wants to die alone. But it’s not dying alone that scares me. It’s living alone.

Let’s face it, even if you’re happily married and have been all of your adult life, you’re just as likely to die without that person by your side as you are to die with them nearby. Anyone could die alone, regardless of their relationship status. So that’s not what worries me, it could happen to anyone. Living alone however… this is where it gets personal.

So I’m in my early 20’s and I still live with my family. Not because I have to though, I’m actually looking at apartments right now. But what scares me is that when I do move out, my level of social interactions will plummet. I’ll only get sparse interactions when I manage to meet up with my friends and speaking to people in my secluded office at work.

So the answer to this would be to get a boyfriend, right? That would solve the social interaction problem and could give me someone to live with further along the line. Problem solved. However! I’ve never had a boyfriend. At high school age I pretty much hated the idea of having one. So when everyone else was doing practise runs of relationships, I was quite contently alone. But when I got a bit older and thought that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, I had literally no idea where to start and I’m pretty sure I blew the few opportunities I had with guys who might have been interested in me because I was scared. And the older I get, the harder it becomes to start relationships.

So there you have it.

I will not only die alone but I’ll probably go through life alone too. And I find that terrifying.

Where To Find Me

It feels like forever since I last posted on WordPress, I’ve been insanely busy with other projects but hopefully I’ll have time to start posting on here again soon.

In the meantime, you can always check me out on other sites:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyJinkies

Tumblr: http://kellisina.tumblr.com/

Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MyriadMarket

The Etsy store is one of my projects, I’ve been making Harry Potter themed potion bottles and jewellery for a variety of fandoms.

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Like I said, I should be back to WordPress soon, I have a couple of posts planned and even a guest post planned for Friday’s Feminist, so be sure to look out for that!

Zodiac Guide: Find your inner and secret animals

Happy New Year! As most of you will know already, today is the lunar New Year and the start of the Chinese year of the ram (sheep/goat). In case you’re wondering about the confusion over which animal the year is named after, it’s to do with the translation. The Chinese symbol 羊 can mean ram, sheep or goat, so any of the translations is correct.

Most people have a pretty good understanding of how the zodiac years work. if you’re not sure which zodiac animal you are, check out this travel site . You can pick your date of birth in the drop down boxes and it’ll generate your zodiac sign for you.

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What I didn’t realise before I did a bit of research is that you don’t just have one animal, you have four. One for the year you were born, one for the lunar month (called your inner animal), one for the day (called true animals) and another for the hour (which are called secret animals). Essentially, if it can be split into an increment of twelve, then you have a separate sign for it.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a convertor for the day breakdown, but I do have guide for the month and the hour.

Here’s a quick guide for the lunar months:
The year is divided into 24 two week solar terms and each animal is linked to two of these solar terms.

Tiger- February 4 to February 18 and February 19 to March 5
Rabbit- March 6 to March 20 and March 21 to April 4
Dragon- April 5 to April 19 and April 20 to May 4
Snake- May 5 to May 20 and May 21 to June 5
Horse- June 6 to June 20 and June 21 to July 6
Goat- July 7 to 22 and July 23 to August 6
Monkey- August 7 to August 22 and August 23 to September 7
Rooster- September 8 to September 22 and September 23 to October 7
Dog- October 8 to October 22 and October 23 to November 6
Pig- November 7 to November 21 and November 22 to December 6
Rat- December 7 to December 21 and December 22 to January 5
Ox- January 6 to January 19 and January 2 to February 3

The zodiac also represent times of the day, with 24 hours being divided into 2 hour periods represented by each animal.

Rat- 23:00 – 00:59
Ox- 01:00 – 02:59
Tiger- 03:00 – 04:59
Rabbit- 05:00 – 06:59
Dragon- 07:00 – 08:59
Snake- 09:00 – 10:59
Horse- 11:00 – 12:59
Goat- 13:00 – 14:59
Monkey- 15:00 – 16:59
Rooster- 17:00 – 18:59
Dog- 19:00 – 20:59
Pig- 21:00 – 22:59

(The times are based on Beijing CST which is apparently pretty hard to convert into different time zones)

So for example. I was born in 1993 which makes me a Rooster. I was born in February which makes me a tiger and I was born about 9:30am which (without conversion into Greenwich mean time) makes me a snake.

So that’s all for now. Let me know what your animals are in the comments and please let me know if any of the information in this post needs to be corrected (especially if you know how to convert the days into the zodiac, I’d love to know!)
Happy New Year folks!

The Doctors Slipping Asexuality

If you’ve read my post about asexuals in the media, then you’ll know how strongly I feel about the importance of there being asexual characters in the media. You’ll also know how few of them there are, the main three being Sherlock Holmes, Sheldon Cooper (from the big bang theory) and the Doctor.
So it probably doesn’t shock you to find out that when Moffat announced that the Doctor engaged in premarital sex with Queen Elizabeth, I was pretty annoyed about it.

The Doctor has had children in the past (he occasionally mentions his Time Lord family) however, the Doctor has historically never shown interest in having sex with humans, and therefore could be considered as being an asexual character.

This level of plot twist is like if Sheldon Cooper had sex with his girlfriend (something which the writers constantly hint at despite the fact the Sheldon openly states that he’s disgusted by the idea of sexual acts. That’s not how you do character development, that’s how you do erasure of different sexualities). However, it wasn’t even written into the show. In an interview with the Dr Who magazine, Moffat reportedly said: ‘I said the marriage was unconsummated – and so it was. You saw for yourself in The Day of the Doctor – he ran straight off after the ceremony. Would we have put that on television if it wasn’t true? But I never said – not once, not ever – that the relationship was unconsummated!’

For a character uninterested in sex, it seems like something like this should be addressed in the show, not a passing comment in an interview. It’s like Dumbledores sexuality not factoring in the books but being mentioned by JK Rowling afterwards.

People from minority sexualities need to see representation so that their own sexuality can be validated. As an asexual, the idea that even characters like the Doctor will eventually come around and conduct in “normal” sexual activity is pretty offensive. It’s a bit like how now the Master is female the Doctor can suddenly have a relationship with her. Strange that.