So it was about this day 7 years ago that I was visiting one of my favorite sites, YouTube, and on their front page were featured videos, for that day and the few previous days. And I saw one that had a young guy with glasses on and the video was titled: “July 18: Accio Deathly Hallows (no spoilers)”
Now, I wasn’t a huge Harry Potter fan. I did like the movies, and a I had a few of the books and (I think) began reading “Sorcerer’s Stone”, but not much beyond that. But the video title intrigued me and so I clicked on it….
…. little knowing what kind of magic door I was about to step through
I had landed in NerdFighteria!
Hank Green’s video is now legendary in the land of Nerdfghtearia, and it’s hard to say how many ripples it has cast.
I don’t remember if I watched any of their other videos that night, but the first one of his brother John’s I first watched–
July 25: Brotherhood 2.0’s Youtube Comments Are Answered!
or July 27: How Nerdfighters Drop Insults
Not sure. If I knew where my TARDIS is, I would take a step back in time, but I don’t have one handy :/ But it turned out to be a very helpful, and in some ways therapeutic, discovery. A couple days after I first watched Accio, I discovered that my then-husband was having an affair. John’s Shakespearean insults was a humorous way of my dealing with my intense anger and bitterness I had at that time (“carcass fit for hounds” (Julius Caesar Act 2, Scene 1)…. bwahaha!).
Back then I was working a late shift, ending at midnight, and what I would look forward to was watching Hank or John’s video from that day (Back then, they did one every weekday, alternating days). And that was a great help, one of several during that time in my life. I have always liked how they balanced their subjects of their videos varying from humrous vlogs, to educating their audience about world events/issues, sharing their traveling adeventures, whatever came up was well worth watching for me.
I moved out of a very stressful marriage in February. It was just too stressful and depressing with Mark and his fiance there in the same house. While I do miss the house itself, I *do not* miss the headaches. Eck!
It also brought me back to church and have enjoyed the sermons and fellowship since then. It was something I was not allowed to attend while with Mark. Not only did I attend a new congregation, but also a denomination, United Methodist. While I’m still a member of the United Church of Christ, I have enjoyed UM… it is *very* similar to UCC.
March was another Smothers Brothers concert at the Strawberry Festival… outside….in the rain (I’m a hard core SmoBro fan. Rain does not bring me down from one of their concerts). It was my 6th concert of theirs and even though I mouthed the words to the songs and comedy routines, I loved it! Kristi also came with me. She had never been to a concert before. Well, she went to a Blues Clues Live show when she was 3. But she was curious to see them live because she knew I was a huge fan. Mom also went with us and when it started raining, she took Kristi to a covered area and brought her back when it stopped.
The month of May brought the finalization of the divorce. My marriage to Mark lasted just over 10 years. Two wonderful things that came out of it was Kristi and Katie.
May also got me started on regularly (almost) attending Father Roderick’s uStream chatroom. In the beginning he had his web cam on almost 24/7, but after a while he switched it to just when he records his podcasts (Check out SQPN if you haven’t already! Although the podcasts are all Catholic, you don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy them, just like you don’t have to have an iPod to listen to podcasts :)). And with his popularity with regular listeners and being on the front page of uStream a number of times, he made a few people moderators to help take care of a few random troublemakers that would pop up. And to my surprise he made me one of those moderators!
August I got another surprise this year from another one of my favorite podcasters, Cliff Ravenscraft. He created a podcast network, GSPN. One of several podcasts he does is Family From the Heart and on one episode he was giving away a signed abridged audiobook CD. I was on his live page chatting with others while watching Cliff and his wife Stephine and he said the next person who called in would win the audiobook. I waited a few seconds and casually opened my phone, dialed the number, and then I hear Cliff’s voice on the other end! So I made an appearance on another one of his shows (he interviewed me last year). And winning that CD was very cool 🙂
August brought about this version of my site. I do like it better. More dynamic content than my other versions which would remain static for a couple years at a time.
And December was attending a small but fun, SQPN get-together with Deb and Fr. Bill Kessler at EPCOT! I have an upcoming post and pictures from that so I won’t go into to much detail about that other to say it was a lot of fun :).
What will 2009 bring? I don’t know, but I have a good feeling about it :).
The other day I finished reading Paper Towns. Great book! As I posted on Twitter & Plurk, it was funny, sad, and deep, sometimes all at once.
I liked all the characters, which may or may not have been John Green’s purpose. The morale of the story is that people are people. We have a habit of seeing people as almost godlike or as animals, forgetting that everyone has good and bad traits. In the video that I recorded of him in Orlando, he quoted Walk Whitman “I contain multitudes” and he went on saying that he is both ugly and hot, smart and stupid.
One cool thing that John did in the book was quote from a few past sources, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (a good amount of Song of Myself from “the Whitman” ), Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and T.S Elliot. A bit of Greek mythology.
Although it’s written for the young adult audience, I really liked it. It’s written in first person, about a group of teens, Quentin (written from his point of view), his best friend Ben, Radar, Lacey, and Margo Roth Spiegelman. Most of the story is about Quentin finding Margo after she goes missing. As he’s finding clues and figuring out where she is, he also finds out who she really is.
And I was able to successfully fight the temptation of jumping to the end to find out if Margo is alive. It was tough.
Does he find her? Alive? Ahhh… to find that out, I recommend reading the book 😉
I also will be letting Kristi read the book as well when she is old enough. As John told me, “not for a few more years”. Nothing really dirty, just a few teen related things that a 9 year old is not ready for yet.
Last Thursday, Kristi and I had a great time meeting John Green! He was doing a book signing at a Barnes & Noble in Orlando, which is not only where he and Hank grew up, but also where Paper Towns takes place.
I was not sure I was able to go that day, but things worked out and I a short work day. At the last minute I figure out that I will be able to go and I ask Kristi if she wants to go. She had no school the next day (it was a teach work day or something) so I thought it would be a great mom/daughter night out.
“YES!” she said excitiedly. She has been watching several of John and Hank’s YouTube videos and have loved them . And being at a book signing would be even better since she wants to grow up to be a writer the same as me :).
I told her that she had to finish her homework in order to go. And she stuck to it! She finished before the pizza guy came with the pizzas. She also made a sign for John and Hank that said “John Green and Hank….ROCK!!” and colored the background green (of course!).
I quickly ate pizza (I was starving!) but not too much because I did not want to have a stomach ache. Designated driver 😉
The event started at 7. According to Google Maps, it would take a little over an hour without going on toll roads. With it raining and windy, I added on a few more minutes. I virtually “drove” through some of the turns on Google Maps to get familiar with landmarks for specific turns. That saved me at least 10 minutes. In the old days (before the internet) I would do a dry run to find out where an event was because my vision is very bad. I can’t read the name of a street until I’m practically passed it. And this time with Kristi in the car, who has perfect vision, and who doesn’t need to be focused on the road so she could read the signs, we were just a few minutes late :).
The Barnes and Noble was part of a large shopping center. I didn’t see a mall, just rows of shops & restaraunts and a big Barnes & Noble that took up a big corner section. We carefully crossed the divided up parking lot (pretty busy for a Thursday!) and went inside.
We headed towards the back of the store where I saw a large crowd and the sound of John’s voice (Hank wasn’t there, darn it! 🙁 ). I had brought both a video camera and a photo camera, and turned on the video camera. Where I was standing, I could see John, but Kristi could not. I looked down while recording and saw Kristi looking sad while trying to peek though the people. So I moved down the right side in a book aisle. Still too many people. Down another aisle. That didn’t work either. Finally the last aisle worked. There were just a few people standing there, and it was closer to John! There was an empty spot a little ahead of me and I suggested to Kristi to stand there. It was perfect for her!
While I was doing all of the moving around, I had the camera recording because John was talking about the meaning of the book and how we relate to each other on how we think we see ourselves. He also talked about how a book by self has no meaning, it’s the reader that interprets it and puts meaning to it.
After his talk, he had a question and answer session. I was too excited to think of a question (of course later on I though of a few).
And then came time for the signing of the books! John said that in addition to him signing books and anything else “except skin!”, he asked everyone to sign a copy of Paper Towns that he would take with him.
We were really lucky standing where we were because that’s the area where they started the line for the signing. Kristi and I only had to wait a few minutes to get to John. While waiting, Kristi signed his book (wrote her name in bautiful cursive along with a message “John and Hank Green Rock!”) and I wrote “Thanks for coming to Orlando!” and just printed my name (no fancy cursive from me).
Up came our turn. I brought the book that I had bought the previous Friday. The woman who was preparing everyone for the signing asks me if I want the book inscribed.
“Yes!” I said with excitement
“What’s the name?”
I had Kristi hold the video camera while John signed my book.
“Would you like a picture?” another lady there asked me. She was the official picture taking person. I had tried to take still pictures during Johns’ talk and they either came out dark or fuzzy. So I had little hope that another one would work. But I thought “what the heck” and gave the picture taking woman my photo camera.
Meanwhile I’m standing in front of John.
“Hi there!” he says to me and looks down to get ready to sign. I couldn’t think of anything to say so I just introduced my daughter to him as he signed the book.
“Hi!” he says to Kristi. I could tell he was tired but was sincerely glad and surprised with all the people who were there.
We walk around the table to have the picture taken with him. I get by John and Kristi stands on my other side, so I moved her over in between John and me. While posing, I’m thinking “This will *not* turn out.” After the picture, I thanks him for signing the book and the picture, and then Kristi gave John her sign.
“Is this for me?” he asked excitedly.
“Yes” Kristi says with a big smile on her face.
“Thank you! It’s so sweet! Thank you very very much!”
“And make sure to show your brother!”
“I definitely will, I promise.”
We left the signing table and wandered around the store for a few minutes, and then I remember that I had wanted to get the other cover to Paper Towns. I excused my self through the line to grab the happy Margo cover and scooted out of everyone else’s way.
We went up to the check out desk. While waiting in line I was worried about the book I brought in, but then noticed the sticker on the back with the other store’s information. Whew!
After buying the book, we looked around at the other books. Kristi saw a couple workbooks that she wanted along with a couple Pokemon books. I told her I would buy the workbooks, but if she wanted the others, she would have to spend her own money. So she put the Pokemon books back.
Then I thought of having John sign the book that I just got, and have it inscribed to Kristi. While she is too young for his books yet (they are not really dirty but they deal with teenager subjects), I certainly would let her read them when she was ready for them.
While waiting in line, I met and chatted with Nichole who worked at the B&N but had that night off and she came in to see John. She said that she was in the back room talking with John while he was doing a live video stream on blogtv before coming out. She was waiting in line to have her book signed as well. She said she didn’t think of having him sign it while they were in the back room.
I had waited for a while after getting the book before getting in line again. I wanted to make sure that all the people who came in late (one person came in just as we were lining up the first time “You mean I missed his talk? Man!”) got to get in line before I stood in line a second time.
Nerdfighters don’t cut in line, especailly among other Nerdfighters! 🙂
There was a split in the line and Nichole called over to have the others in the other end to come behind us. No fighting or arguing, everyone just calmly walked over behind us and waited.
So we approached – again – and I told John that we were in line again to have anotehr book signed for Kristi.
“Hi Kristi! Thanks for standing in line again. That’s pretty awesome of you,” he says while signing
“Yeah!” Kristi says with a small giggle.
“I hope you enjoy reading this,” he says and hands her the book.
“I won’t be letting her read it for a while,” I add.
“Not for a few years yet,” John says looking at me with a serious look which surprised me for some reason.
So we left the line again and wandered around the store more. We headed over to the classic literature display where I named off the stories there and gave Kristi a brief description of them. She picked out Dracula and Frankenstein, I guess because of Halloween coming up.
It was a few minutes after 9 when I hear John walking past us with a couple of friends. Kristi calls out to him.
“John!” she says, not really yelling but a little louder than a normal voice.
He turned around. And I begin to get nervous, and afriad that Kristi might say something embarressing.
“Yes?” he says with his huge backpack that carried his laptop
“Can you show my sign in your next Brotherhood 2.0 video?”
“I’ll sure try to” he says says and laughs.
“And can you do your happy dance? Because I really love it!”
“I will. Thank you so much . You are so sweet!”
With that we thanked him and he headed towards the checkout desk (there was some talk of him buying something for his friend)
We headed out the door, across the parking lot streets and through sprinklers.
It was an awesome experince, and great to hear at the event that John made #5 on the New York Times Best Seller List! (I had not seen Hank’s video made earlier that day making the announcement) YAY for John! It was his first time, and as he said in other people’s videos who recorded the same event, it takes some doing to get listed.
And that was my Paper Towns Adventure, or rather Adventures! And who knows, maybe there are more adventures to come! 🙂