Week of Geek: Be it ever so humble…

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Hello Geeklings!

How was your weekend?  Fun, I hope.  Know how mine was?  I moved.  To my brand new home!  *happy sigh* New apartment!  Big bedroom!  Kitchen!  Living area!  Painting!  Unpacking after so much packing!  Buying things you never knew you didn’t have!  Figuring out which parking space, locker and mailbox is yours!  Adventures galore!

As you can tell, I’m excited!  I know a lot of you guys are still living with the families, but your day will come.  Be it moving out for school or getting a place after getting your first job, there’s nothing quite like having a space to call your own.  And of course, my very own space is going to be a fangirls dream.  ‘Cause it’s me!

So of course, this whole endeavor has got me thinking about houses and homes in pop culture.  A home can be many things in our favorite stories.  A base of operations.  A gathering place.  A sanctuary.  And just so much more.  Let’s look at some examples…

The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole, Devon, England: Home of the Weasley Family in the Harry Potter series, the Burrow is a mash-up of different houses with varying furniture and rooms all held together with magic and a prayer.  But there’s a big yard for Quidditch practice, which is always a selling point.  And though the Weasley’s may lack funds, they are never lacking in love, and their home reflects that so much.  I want them to adopt me.

Bag End, Hobbiton, The Shire, Middle Earth: As J. R. R. Tolkien himself wrote in the opening lines of The Hobbit: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”  The home of Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, and then Samwise Gamgee and his family, Bag End is filled with comfy chairs and delicious food.  Bilbo was reluctant to leave it for his great adventure, and who could blame him?

Carl and Ellie’s House from Up: There has probably never been a more versatile house than this one.  We first met it when it was an abandoned shack acting as a clubhouse for 2 9-year-old wannabe explorers.  It then turned into a restored home for those same children when they grew up and got married.  Later on, the home they built together would turn into a makeshift airship with the help of thousands of balloons, and launch skyward into an amazing adventure.   The house itself represents so much about what makes a home a home, and just what it can mean and what it can become.

Wayne Manor, just outside Gotham City, USA: Like it’s owner, Wayne Manor has many secrets.  Though on the surface it appears to merely be the stately home of the Wayne Family going back several generations, deep underground is a massive cave Bruce Wayne discovered as a boy.  That cave later turned into what is now known as the Batcave, the headquarters and base of operations for Batman and his partners.  Though the films and comics have often shown Bruce also owning penthouses and other residences that also act as Batcaves, Wayne Manor is the residence most utilized across all stories, and has been a home not only to Bruce, but to his butler Alfred and to several Robins over the years.

742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield, USA: Over the Simpson Family’s many, many adventures (about 27 years worth) Home, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie have always called this pink 2 story dwelling their home.  Sure they’ve moved a couple of times, but Evergreen Terrace is always where they end up again.  While hunting for my own home I often thought about Homer and Marge shopping for a new house in one of my favorite flashback episodes.  Thankfully I did not have to shop in any neighborhoods referred to as “Rats Nests”.

221B Baker Street, London: The stories of Sherlock Holmes have had many incarnations, many authors, many actors, many eras.  But one of the big things that has always stayed constant is the address.  When Sherlock Holmes first meets John Watson, they decide to rent a flat (which is like an apartment in England) run by landlady Mrs. Hudson.  Though John would move out on occasion, Sherlock would stay a constant presence, seeing clients in those very rooms, keeping experiments in the fridge and using the walls for target practice, much to Mrs. Hudson’s chagrin.  221B is as much a part of Holmes canon as any character.

So there’s a short list, but there are many more stellar examples out there.  I hope my new place can become as much of a happy part of my life as many of these homes have been.  What about you, Geeklings?  What are your favorite houses and homes from fiction?  Post away in the comments section.

May all your homes be as cozy as hobbit-holes, and until next time, End of Line.

LYDIA LOVELESS – real country

by  | Category: Hoopla, It's here!, New Music, Super Fan
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Lydia Loveless - RealI’ve said it before: we all should be listening to country music (if you already are, then perhaps listen to more of it). And if we’re not at all …well, there is just so much great country music out RIGHT NOW.

Really, there is no excuse.

Real – the new Lydia Loveless  – suits these priorities just fine. It’s good, gritty, tattooed, heart-breakin’, world-weary, butt-kickin’ country fun.

On Hoopla now.

Does Your Favourite Cartoon Show Have a Comic?

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Click the covers to get them from the library. (And let me know in the comments if I’m missing one dear to your heart!)

           Bee and PuppyCat Volume 1 / Various AuthorsAdventure TimeUncle GrandpaFuturamaBravest WarriorsSamurai Jack Classics, Vol. 1 / Genndy TartakovskyThe Amazing World of Gumball Simpsons Meltdown Sanjay and Craig Clarence Regular Show Steven Universe Rick and Morty Adventure Time Sugary Shorts Bob's Burgers



Week of Geek: Pokemon Go – An Noob’s Perspective

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So I’m sure you’ve heard about this newfangled thingymabob out there called Pokemon Go.  I think it’s a game you play on your phone or something?  Makes you go and walk outside?  Get some fresh air and exercise while still staring at your screen and potentially falling into a pond (or worse)?  You know the one.

Now, here’s the thing.  As far as your favorite geeky librarian (yo!) is concerned, Pokemon was never really one of my fandoms *shrug*  I remember when they first came out, about the mid to late 90s when I was still a teen.  I remember my youngest brother in particular was a fan, and still is to this day (he and his fiancee have their phones out all the time looking for them).  But aside from my brother watching the show and playing the games and collecting the cards, it just never really kept a firm footing in my orbit.  As far as anime goes I was more into Sailor Moon at the time.  That was my thing, and Pokemon was his thing (our middle brother must’ve thought we were both nuts).

I hadn’t given the pocket monsters much thought in my adulthood.  I noticed that kids were still asking for Poke-books in the library, so I knew it was still popular to some extent.  And I knew my brother was still into it.  But that was pretty much it.

And then this game came out a couple months back.  And I’m pretty confident that you’ve heard what the response has been by now.

While I admit this whole augmented reality is pretty awesome, the response to this game has been mind boggling.  This is all anyone seems to be able to talk about, in fandom communities and beyond.  Everyone is playing this game!  People are putting themselves in mortal danger (please don’t do that!  Be aware and be careful).  People are staying up to the wee hours of the morning in public parks hunting Pokemon.  People are trespassing on private property to find them (please don’t do that either).  And as the above video from Central Park in New York demonstrates, people are full-on stampeding to catch Pokemon.  Everyone knows about this and almost everyone is getting in on it.

And even though I don’t know my electric Pokemon from my psychic Pokemon, even I have downloaded the app.  So how’s it going?  After maybe six weeks I’m still on Level 4, which apparently is very sad.

I really only turn the app on if I think of it and have a moment.  It just ain’t my thing, not yet anyway.  And you know what?  It’s OK.  If I had listened to the majority back when I was younger I wouldn’t be the fangirl I am today.  I’m stoked that this is so big and awesome for so many people, and anything to get nerd communities on the map is always good, but I don’t think I’ll be a full fledged trainer anytime soon.  And that’s OK.  You don’t have to love everything.  We must not mock those who do not share our fandoms.

But if you want to (gently) tell me why I’m wrong, go ahead and post away in the comments section.

I will say this; Pikachu is my fave.  He’s so cute!  Look at that little yellow rodent!  With his red cheeks and his lightning tail!  Come on!

So if you’re looking for more Pokemon fun, we’ve got you covered.  We’ve got lots of DVDs, a Blu Ray, a video game and just… so many books.  Handbooks and graphic novels and yet more books.  And if all that weren’t enough, at the Civic Centre Resource Library we’ve got a Pokemon League happening.  Fans of all ages are invited to come and work your trainer magic with card decks and online games (if you have your own cards you are very much encouraged to bring them; if not we’ll let you borrow some).  The next meeting is August 25th from 6 – 7:30pm.

BTW, a lot of fans from other franchises have been vocalizing their support for a similar game for their fandoms.   One of the loudest group of cheerleaders is for a Harry Potter themed augmented reality app.  Could you imagine?  Dueling other players with your phone?  And it would tie in perfectly with this fall’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie.  You could collect your own fantastic beasts in your own bottomless suitcase.  NOBODY WOULD GET ANYTHING DONE WE’D BE TOO BUSY PLAYING THIS GAME MAKE IT HAPPEN!

*ahem* Be safe Pokemon trainers, be respectful, have fun, (also, don’t forget about TSRC) and until next time, End of Line.

There And Back Again: Part Four – Forth Eorlingas!

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Arise now, arise, Riders of Théoden! Dire deeds awake, dark it is eastward. Let horse be bridled, horn be sounded! Forth Eorlingas!“― King Théoden of Rohan

So now we have finally come to this, the climax of our little adventure. It has taken us a while to get to the fourth and final chapter in the There and Back Again story but we made it! I do apologize for the delay. This part of the story telling has always been the hardest to put into words. I…well you will understand soon enough. No need to go spoiling the ending now is there?

Very well. Are you ready? Let us continue on!

It has been quite the journey to get to this point so let us see what was waiting for over that last absurdly tall mountain peak. After all, what else could there possibly be left to do?

After a courageous but very foolhardy attempt at testing my ability to fall in a spectacular fashion it took me a day or so to recover my nerves. Nothing does the mind or body good quite like a quiet lake-side retreat out in the mountains where there is absolutely nothing for miles in any direction. Silence, snow, turquois waters, and plenty of tea in the vast wilderness of New Zealand is just what I needed.

The Southern Alps of New Zealand

It came as a bit of a surprise when I noticed something odd during one of my lakeside rambles. You see, it was grey and overcast that day but for some strange reason there was a bright flash of light on top of one of the nearby mountains. Do you see it? Sunlight off a snowcap perhaps? Oddly bright and strangely positioned for that. Or could it have been something else?
From where I stood it looked like a flash of a beacon of some sort. But a beacon on a mountain peak? Could that mean the beacons of Minas Tirith? Did somebody light the beacons? Because as everyone knows if the beacons are ever lit then Gondor was calling for aid. And if Gondor called for aid…I was going to need a horse. Where in Middle Earth do you get a horse?

One word: Rohan. So that is where I went.

Middle Earth is never more real then when it is experienced from the back of a horse of Rohan.

Film location for the Two TowersAs my travel companions and I made our way throughout the borderlands of the Riddermark Tolkien’s words sprang to life before us. Harsh winds screamed across the plains with such force they threaten to blow the bus away in an instant. We passed through the location where the Warg Riders of Isengard ambushed Théoden and his people as they fled to Helm’s Deep. I knew that place in my bones.

It is hard not to become emotional when you realize that everything you have kept locked away in your mind for decades suddenly comes into being right where you are standing. Seeing this, being here, knowing that it is real and not merely a figment of your imagination is what travelling half-way across an entire planet was for. It stopped being about New Zealand a few miles back and then Middle Earth took over in full spectacular force. This, my friends, is what Middle Earth is all about. This was horse country. The land of the Horse Lords of Erol. And it is very real.Theoden

When you reach this point there is one thing left to do. You must go forth on your own and fear no darkness. Take yourself to the very edge of the modern world and journey into the mountains. Follow the Dimholt road if you dare.

When you are well and truly lost, and you will be I can guarantee it, you will come to a green valley hedged by the ancient forests. These are the forests of Fangorn and Lothlórien, where Peter Jackson made trees walk and Elves sing. It is in this particular valley that the war horses of Rohan can be found. If you are very lucky you may be given the chance to ride one.

Picture of horses of RohanThese horses are nobody’s pack ponies. Most of them are fresh off the racing circuit and know only one speed. Fast. You need to be a prolific rider in order to be allowed to go riding out across Rohan and Gondor. There are no trails, no pit stops, nothing but the wildness of New Zealand, the mountains, and plenty of mud. You will get soaked. You will freeze. You will end up covered head to toe in freezing muck. If you are lucky you will still have the ability to bend your knees by the time you dismount.

Twice I rode out across that valley and both times felt like pivotal life moments, the point when all the threads of a storyline finally intersect at that one part that everything has been building up to for so long. You see it wasn’t about riding a horse across what is probably one of the most beautiful spaces of untouched nature on the planet. There was much more to it than that.

Horse and Rider in New ZealandAfter all this is an adventure. In every adventure story ever told the main characters always have to face off in some sort of a built-up major conflict where the stakes are high and the final outcome is unknown. This journey was no different. So off I went astride a Rohirrim warhorse named Tobias to do battle with an enemy that only I could overcome. Myself.

For years the idea of coming here, doing this trip, was a personal motto that I would mutter to myself over and over again when things went bad. And they did go bad.

With the help of Tolkien’s magical world and the unforgettable characters that existed in it I was able to wage a relentless internal battle against the darkness that I could arm myself against. It may have been all in my head but if that was where the battle lines were to be drawn then I was not going to go into the fight unprepared. You cannot fight ghosts in darkness because you cannot see.

So I gave faces to the names that would have meant nothing without them. Stress, Anxiety, and Depression became the whispers of Grima Wormtongue, the Nazgûl shadow screams, and the long hard-fought battle with the Balrog of Morgoth. Whenever the “Dark Times” broke out the battle cries of Théoden King and Gandalf the Grey became my own.

Forth and Fear No Darkness! Forth Eorlingas! You Shall Not Pass!”

Spending time venturing through the land of the Rings reinforced a valuable life lesson that I would share with you now. I learned it long ago but I will admit that there were times where I had forgotten it. Never give up hope. No matter how deep the darkness gets you are worth fighting for. Despite what your mind might try to make you believe you are loved and are never alone. Help will always be given to those who ask for it and there is no shame in asking. You are not alone in this fight.

Look to your local library as you would to Minas Tirith, a place of refuge and learning. There are a number of fantastic resources available through the library and its databases if you or someone you know is looking for answers to questions that are needing to be asked. Do not fear the unknown. The darkness can be terrifying and overwhelming but know that you are never alone in such times. There will always be someone with a bow, a sword, an axe, a staff, a shield, and a frying pan at your back to help you through whatever the deep dark of Mordor can produce.

If there is one thing to be said about journeying is that you have to always go in expecting the unexpected and hoping for the extraordinary. Because if you do you will never be disappointed. I set out as a bundle of nerves one problem shy of a breakdown but returned a little older, much wiser, and all the calmer for it. Journey taking does a person good I think. Facing lifelong fears head on does wonders to a person’s constitution and I can honestly say I now know how Bilbo, Frodo, Samwise, Merry, and Pippin must have felt when they returned home to the Shire after their incredible journeys. Things may appear the same but there is something a little different about the way you see things.

And with that we end this tale. It was a rather good one I think. Full of adventure, unexpected revelations, and plenty of good cheer. I hope you have enjoyed hearing it as much as I have in telling it. Until next time, I wish you all a good morning.

Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go! ~ Bilbo Baggins
Bilbo Book