Tag Archives: lists

Why You Need to Read More

Alright guys, time to fess up: when is the last time you read something that was not homework? I’m talking about for fun here, no one made you read it and you’re not getting marked on your understanding of it. No participation grades here.

If you can say within the last month then by all means I applaud you, especially if you’re a student.

However if you can’t think of the last time you held a book or periodical in your hands we need to have a little chat. Step into my office. These are some signs you need to tab over from Perez Hilton and shift your attention to something a little more beneficial to your overall life:

  1. You can tell me exactly how much weight Snooki has lost but can’t list one benefit of protein.
  2. You know what projects Kim Kardashian works on but draw a blank on what the Manhattan Project is.
  3. Your idea of catching up on the news is reading your Facebook timeline.
  4. You hurry to a restaurant if someone tells you to run like you’re in the Hunger Games.
  5. You get called a Muggle and don’t even understand what you’ve just been told (proving Muggle status).
  6. You think the only way to get a general knowledge of a topic is to Google exactly what you’re looking for.
  7. You can list off what LMFAO, LOL, ROFL, AFK, and BRB all stand for but acronyms like HIV, NASA, AM/PM, BC/AD, or even P.S. give you trouble.
  8. You know National Geographic as the magazine that had pictures of boobs.
  9. Your mind will be blown when I tell you Romeo and Juliet were teenagers who knew each other for merely days before they killed themselves.
  10. You know more about Anna Kournikova than Anna Karenina.

How’d you do? I know we all enjoy knowing what’s going on with our favourite celebrities but we can’t just settle with this information and call it a day. Perhaps you’re very busy and miss reading for fun or perhaps you just don’t enjoy reading period. Whatever the reason, it is truly in your best interest to pick up some literature and dive in. There’s so much out there you cannot possibly convince me that there is nothing you’re interested in. Its all just a matter of finding what you enjoy learning about.

It happens
It happens.

Below is a list I put together of reasons why you should blow the dust off those books you said you would read but haven’t yet. Maybe its the sapiosexual in me but I truly believe we can all improve ourselves with a little mental workout every now and again.

1. So you can understand cultural references. 

Do you know how many expressions/allusions originate from books? The answer you’re looking for is “countless.” From classic opening lines such as “call me Ishmael” (Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”) to 2013’s sayings-du-jour like “may the odds be ever in your favour” (from Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games”) there are few better moments of insight when you truly understand the reference someone is making and because you not only understand the meaning behind said allusion but also what it is they’re telling you becomes so much more clear.

2. So you can better connect with people.

How cool is it when you can carry on an actual conversation about something that interests you? Its a wonderful moment when you can discuss and debate your favourite book.

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3. So you can honestly understand what people are talking about.

You know that feeling you had when you told the teacher you did your homework and sat there silently praying they didn’t ask you a question about it because you did not actually do said assignment? Same applies when someone references a classic novel or important piece of news. You’d be surprised how often these references will appear in the most random places and when that lightbulb goes off you feel like you’ve been let into a secret club. Only those who read it will understand and this fills you with a great sense of power (just use it for good, not evil). Read “Pride and Prejudice” even once and you will find Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy everywhere. I know you already said you already have so just finally read the damn thing for real!

4. To keep up with what’s going on around you.

It is so easy to lose sight of the big picture and sometimes when you’re busy it does happen. I’m not here to judge. I’m simply saying you would better off in the long run to keep up with the world’s events than the Kardashians. There are bigger and more important things going on in your country and the world around you than your friend’s #SelfieSunday Instagram.

5. The books are always better than the movies.

As good as the movie can be, the books almost always hold so much more story to learn about and connect with. Why spoil the major plot twists by watching the movie first?

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6. Intelligence is sexy.

With the infinite number of things you can learn from reading you’ll become well-rounded and this is a highly attractive quality. Obviously you can have your areas of expertise but there is a magazine containing a mix of information on pretty much any topic you can think of. Magazines are basically scaled down textbooks on glossy pages. By the time you finish it you don’t even realize how much you learned. Easy peasy. If you doubt me just ask Ryan.

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7. To escape.

I read somewhere that a good book is the cheapest vacation you can take. How else can you wander the streets of Victorian London with Sherlock Holmes one week then end up in Middle Earth entering battle with great wizards the next? What if you wanted to live the life of  jazz-age flapper with Daisy in New York before making your way to war-torn Afghanistan and discovering how to kite run? Anyone who knows me knows how much I would love to go to Hogwarts and my ticket to Platform 9 3/4s comes via a book. Not only can you enter the world(s) of the book’s characters but you get to leave the troubles and stresses of your own life for awhile. All without actually leaving that cozy blanket.

8. Because Hermione Granger didn’t become so awesome by ignoring the wizarding world’s literature.

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Need more reasons? 

This guy knows what’s up.

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Top 10 Reasons Why I Wish I Went To Hogwarts

Dear Reader,

I am pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to my blog to read about why I wish I attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all the reasons why this is so. Reading begins once you have finished this paragraph. I await your comments and appreciation by owl no later than upon completion. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Jennifer,

Blogger and Potterhead

 

1. It appears to be free! 

No one who has ever been to a post-secondary institute in Canada can under-appreciate the free ride that Hogwarts students seem to get. While I am nearing the end of my degree, I am faced with the gut-wrenching task of coming face-to-face with my nightmare: student loans. While the Weasleys were not financially well-off, they certainly didn’t have to worry about tuition. A few cauldrons, books, and owls cost pennies compared to what we students have to pay just to go to these classes. So how do they do it? I have yet to read about wizard taxes going to the upkeep of the school – the students just seem to go! I could be wrong though, I haven’t read a Daily Prophet in ages.

2. You only need to complete your OWLs and NEWTs to get a career!

Now after you’ve sold all your limbs and spare organs to pay for your degree, you are still not guaranteed a job in the real world. You actually need to pass your classes in both high school and post-secondary. Once you’ve added all this decoration to your resume the best you can do is cross your fingers and hope you get a job you enjoy and have the credentials for. Not Hogwarts students! They seem to have a pretty clear idea ahead of time of what they want to do and the positions come with exact requirements. While it may suck to have to take another year of Potions, at least you know it gets you one step closer to becoming the Auror you’ve always wanted to be. None of this wishy-washy, unclear credentials business you find here in the muggle world. PLUS they attend Hogwarts from the age of 11 to roughly 17. Consider in the fact they do not need a post-Hogwarts school, they have not only saved a lot of time but a ton of Galleons too.

3. Practical and Interesting Courses!

I don’t care how creepy (or awesome) Snape sounds and how much of a jerk he can be, if I was taught how to make something magical from throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pewter cauldron I’d so be down! Learning to transfigure things? Who doesn’t need to know that?! “I’m sorry honey, we’re out of spare goblets for the Yule Ball tonight.” “Oh no worries dear, we’ll just use the rat that’s been running around the garden.” So. Many. Problems. Solved. I on the other hand struggled through high school math only to never use it again. And people say Herbology is lame.

4. Location, Location, Location!

Look at the Hogwarts grounds! Seriously. Look at it: 

How friggen cool is this place?! You’ve got not only the coolest-looking castle around, but a Quidditch pitch, a lake (complete with giant squid and merpeople), but also the Forbidden Forest. Think of the scholarly opportunities that the grounds alone provide: Meeting new species in the Forbidden Forest, learning about gillyweed in the lake, or the aerodynamics of broom-flying. This campus is ripe with resources just waiting to have primary research conducted upon it. There is also so much space to do things like read Hogwarts: A History, run from werewolves, chase unregistered Animagi, eavesdrop on Hagrid’s love-life. The possibilities are endless when your school is as bad-ass as Hogwarts.

5. The Castle Ghosts!

While Harry and his peers don’t describe having a ghost pass through you as the most comfortable sensation, it would still be pretty cool to befriend someone who lived in a different century as you. Think of all the information you could find out, all the Headless Hunts to watch, and Death Day parties to avoid. Ugh. I just wish my university had ghosts. Just maybe not the Bloody Baron. He seems little too intense for my liking.

6. Owl Post!

Everybody loves getting mail. Now add to that the excitement of getting your envelopes and packages dropped above your head from a great height! Not only will your hand-eye coordination improve (out of necessity) but having an owl buddy who brings you your stuff will make you feel that much more important. Heck, if letters regarding my student loans were dropped off in such a manner it might take away a few tears and soften the blow (probably not, student loans are comparable to Dementors).

7. Did I mention its a castle?! 

I’ve always loved castles. Since I was young I’ve been fascinated by them. My dream come true would be to run around a castle with towers, spiraling staircases, and a mystery in every room. If I went to Hogwarts I would run around like a sugar-fuelled child, springing from room to room absorbing the history of the 1000 year-old building. I just hope I don’t open the door with Fluffy behind it. Or the Chamber of Secrets. Or Umbridge’s office. *shudders*

8. Quidditch!

I don’t even have to make the house team, I would just be happy with an intramural Quidditch league. I wouldn’t even be upset with the fact that there doesn’t appear to be any other sports in the wizarding world other than this. It is simply a beauty of a game. On broomsticks.

9. School Spirit and House Rivalries!

Every year the Sorting Hat comes up with a new song about Hogwarts. This spirit is reflected in how far Hogwarts students will go to prove how awesome their school is (although it is pretty self-explanatory). Each student will also fight tooth and nail in a battle of “Which is the Best House?”. Every school year the houses compete for not only the Quidditch Cup but the House Cup. Students will duke it out all year to win although as long as Slytherin doesn’t win its all in good fun. Sorta. Not Really. If my house won I would join the rest of my house as we flashed our house-coloured ties in everyone else’s sorry faces. A little competition is great for a school and makes for rivalries that last a lifetime (I’m looking at you here, Harry and Malfoy).

10. The Food and Feasts!

Go all S.P.E.W. if you want but those house elves know how to put out a spread! Plates that magically refill themselves once empty? Its a student’s dream! And we’re not talking prison-food mush here – we’re talking about legit dinners with appetizers, various meats, and desserts. So much desserts. And on the Halloweens where no trolls find their way into the dungeons or on the Christmases that you couldn’t bare to go back to the Dursleys’ (all of them) you can just stay and feast under the unparalleled decor until you’ve had your fill of pumpkin juice and toddle off back to your dormitory. Or until Filch tells you to get a move on.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, I must return to my muggle homework. I do not have any enchanted quills that can write my report for me.

“Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home,” – J.K. Rowling 

My Top 10 Fav Famous (and Mostly Fictional) Monkeys

In December Toronto gained a new celebrity: a monkey named Darwin. Him and his fancy-dancy coat lit up Ikea and the Toronto media and this, paired with the academic burn out that comes with finals, inspired me to tell you about my favourite monkeys. Granted, this might be the weirdest article I’ve ever written but who doesn’t love a good monkey? Monkeys are everywhere  (in jungles, on your back, in barrels, jumping on your bed) so why not embrace them?

Note: I realize some of these are what we would technically call “apes” but for the sake of simplicity, I’m sticking to calling them monkeys.

10. Donkey Kong

Ahh good ol’ DK. Having grown up in the 1990’s Donkey Kong and I go way back. From the days I would steer him down the correct banana-filled path on my cousin’s Gameboy or to when the tv series took us on our own adventures, its been fun. I think I don’t rate DK higher because I’m mildly intimated by his overly large stature and massive jaw. That jaw can do some serious damage. I don’t care if he only eats bananas – that shit is terrifying.  Honestly though, its his tie that redeems him. You can always trust DK to show up lookin’ classy.

Thumbs up if you too want to get around via barrel!
Thumbs up if you too want to get around via barrel!

9. Diddy Kong

Not to be outdone by his uncle DK, Diddy too had his own game – the appropriately named Diddy Kong Racing. I for one am terrible at the game and am not afraid to admit it. I think it is my resentment of continuously losing that blackens my overall love for little Diddy. He seems to be an alright guy – he even has a woman named Dixie – but I just can’t love him as much as I do the other monkeys on this list.

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8. The “Hangover 2” Monkey

This monkey tells the story of the monkey underworld that we often overlook. While she (yes, the monkey is actually named Crystal and wore a pretty pink dress to the movie’s premiere) seems all free-spirited and rock n roll in her Rolling Stones vest, she has the unfortunate habits of being a smoker and drug mule. Despite her illegal employment, she is very well-trained and can get the job done – even alert her ’employers’ when there’s an issue. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I support a monkey’s role in drug trafficking. I mostly just love this monkey for the way Leslie Chow says “you ever see monkey go to jail?”

Aww look at the cutie...oh and there's a monkey too!
Aww look at the cutie…oh and there’s a monkey too!

7. “Grandma’s Boy” Monkey

This monkey has skills. Even Dante in the movie agrees with me by saying “Monkey, you’ve got skills.” The “skills” that this monkey possesses? Well it can drive, use heads as a musical instrument, play video games, and even takes tae kwon do lessons. It is in thanks to this particular character that I will state the philosophical saying “don’t judge me, monkey” when the opportunity presents itself.

Grandma's boy

6. The Evil Monkey from “Family Guy”

While Chris Griffon is perpetually terrorized by the Evil Monkey living in his closet, it would appear that this monkey was simply misunderstood for a long while. There is even a time when Chris and his simian companion become friends. Nonetheless, almost everyone will recognize the terror that is emminent when this monkey points.

God that's terrifying
God that’s terrifying

5. Jack from “Pirates of the Caribbean”

Named after the oddly sexy (Captain!) Jack Sparrow, Jack the monkey is also a pirate. In fact, he’s actually a bad guy and goes around stealing things and getting himself cursed like the rest of his Black Pearl shipmates. Ah well, curses and the life of crime aside, he does have one pretty snazzy outfit.

"You DON'T think Johnny Depp is good-looking?!"
“You DON’T think Johnny Depp is good-looking?!”

4. Curious George

How can you possibly hate on Curious George? He goes on all these awesome adventures and doesn’t even come back all pompous and arrogant. He probably doesn’t even have a mean bone in his body.

Bonus points for his book selection
Bonus points for his book selection

3. Darwin – the Ikea Monkey

The monkey that is responsible for this post. The star of the North York Ikea. Ladies and gentleman, this is Darwin. He hopped into our hearts as his owner shopped for Swedish sleigh beds (or meatballs). Maybe it was his cute face, maybe it was the coat that is probably more than my student budget could afford, but whatever it was let us just hope his custody battle ends with him and his fashion sense finding a good home.

He was sure to have his good side captured
He was sure to have his good side captured

2. Abu from “Aladdin”

Let’s get one thing straight here: Abu is a bit of an asshole. Let me explain! He gives Aladdin grief about helping out Jasmine, he’s a greedy thief, taunts palace guards, and just has a general attitude about him. Asking him for favours is like asking a teenager to help around the house – if they do it, they’ll be sure to tell you all about how helpful they are. Nonetheless, this little vest-wearing mammal stole our hearts early into childhood. He comes through for Aladdin and makes friends with Magic Carpet. For this, he has a special place among the great famous monkeys.

He can't even smile when surrounded by gold
He can’t even smile when surrounded by gold

1. Rafiki from “The Lion King”

Oh Rafiki. Who doesn’t love old Rafiki? We all have impersonated him in that scene where he holds up baby Simba (however we probably have to sub in pets, stuffed animals, and maybe a small child for a lion cub). He sets Simba straight, brings the news to Simba’s posse, and what might be the most impressive feat, gets to act insane and yet maintains being seen as one of the wisest dudes in the kingdom. For all his wisdom and that annoyingly catchy song he sings that none of us know the words to (something about a squashed banana?), he earns himself top spot on my list. Congratulations Rafiki.

If you say you've never struck this pose, you are lying
If you say you’ve never struck this pose, you are lying

What Got Me This Far in University – A Thank You

If you are currently or ever were a post-secondary student you know life can get hard. Like “I have 3 papers, a presentation, an exam, 2 tests, a sports tournament, and a bathroom to re-tile” hard. You know what it’s like to have university kick you right in the jaw and laugh as you lie in your pile of homework and debate why you didn’t just become a professional bohemian. Instead of spending an absurd amount of money to spend an immeasurable amount of time in front of a computer screen you could have been roaming the streets of Europe, spreading the message about peace, love and marijuana. But alas, such is not the path you chose. You chose to be an academic!

It is not an easy life, your peers and fellow classmates know that, but yet you have survived. We all have some sort of family and friends who have supported us, sent us funny emails on nasty days, sent us some “fun money”, or who were even just there to listen when you were 3000 words away from dropping out and becoming a lifer at the retail store you currently work at part-time. I am no exception to this support system, I owe an incredible amount of stress-relief and comfort to my family, friends, and fellow Human Geography pals. I may write them a separate thank you closer to April and graduation but for now, in this spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I would like to take the time to thank those who I may have previously overlooked until this moment, those passing beings who are hardly around for long and do not need much notice. These little things my friends, these also helped us get to where we are today – in my case one semester away from donning the iconic cap and gown shedding my student lifestyle (well, maybe not all of it – we’ll see about that).

*Gift Cards: I would like to thank gift cards for being a part of my student life. Every student knows how cash-strapped we can be and having someone send you $25 to a clothing store is like hitting the retail jackpot – you can buy some new clothes and not feel guilty about it! After paying tuition we as students are forced to live off a very small amount of pennies and a gift card? Well, that’s an escape from our sad financial reality. We can walk into that store and not just salivate over everything – we can buy things! Special Mention: Subway Gift Cards. Those little green bundles of joy allowed me to escape the typical fast food fare when I felt I had no time to make myself dinner. Or when there was no food in the house. Or when I was lazy.

*The Trent Express: Ah good ol’ Trent busses, we’ve had our ups and downs haven’t we? From the times you turned the corner just as I walked up to my stop, to the days you had better things to do than show up, its been an experience. Without your built-into-my-tuition fee I would have had to pay for parking or ride my bike in blizzards. My dear old West Bank, its been you and I almost every day for 3 years now. I don’t know how I would have got to Head of the Trent without you.

*Procrastination: Everyone has that one friend they aren’t sure why they keep around but can’t seem to get rid of. Procrastination, you are that friend. After first year I haven’t been very faithful to you – I’ve stepped up my game and did my best to get essays and papers out of the way at least a day or so before the deadline. Despite our on-again off-again relationship, you have been a part of my university career. I will never forget the experience of writing my Wilderness Resources paper or my 13-page essay with you the day before it was due. I don’t know if “treasured memories” would be too strong but I definitely felt your prescence on those nights.

*Overpriced Drinks and Grimey Clubs: Without the combination of you two, I would have spent much more time and money having fun out along George Street. When friends would invite me out the first step would be to check my wallet and mentally calculate my income. If all was financially sufficient step two would be to ask where we are headed. Sin City you say? Hmm my couch, sweatpants and readings just got a little bit more tempting. Don’t get me wrong! Going out has on occasion been a life-saver and everyone needs those nights where they just say “Eff it – I’m going out!” I’m just saying without the $6 beers and sketchy people, I may have gone out far too often and I may have spent more time with Procrastination (see above).

*iTunes/8Tracks: Alas, music. You might not realize how much you enjoy music until you have had to sit in uncomfortable, tension-filled silence while trying to write an essay or study. Whether you’ve created your own homework playlist or went searching for one on 8tracks, homework just feels a little less lonely when you are taken on a musical journey. Special Mention: Hans Zimmer. I would like to make a quick thank you to Mr Zimmer, the composer of a number of epic movie scores. Your work helped elevate my time writing essays from mundane to magical. I didn’t have to be sitting at my laptop anymore, I could be writing paragraphs while we embarked on a perilous journey.

*Sweatpants: Highly underrated by the rest of society, sweatpants might quite literally be a student’s best friend. My relationship with sweatpants has never waivered. Everyday, without fail, before I went to class or after I got home, I would ditch the jeans and unleash my inner slob. Embracing the sweatpants lifestyle just made homework and all those other tedious tasks just that much better. At the very least, you were comfy.

*Grocery Stores that are Open Late: As a student, life can be unpredictable. Often we find ourselves up late: late classes, late practices, or a mountain of homework. Regardless of the reason for getting ourselves into such a position, we all need to eat. On several occasions I am guilty of heading out to pick up some groceries at times when I know my mom is heading to bed. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in a day to concern yourself with vegetables until you look for a study snack and realize all you have left is olive oil and and half a carrot. Had all local grocery stores closed before 9pm, I would have been a much hungrier person.

*Novels and Sudokus: After reading plenty of dense, fact-based material for my courses, there is often no better feeling than just escaping into someone else’s world. Sudokus, while they lack plot and storyline, when paired with some non-homework-related music can be equalling relaxing, helping us forget about our homework, even if just for a break. Great distractions these have been. Special Mention: Harry Potter. Whether its the books or movies, whenever I get to travel to Hogwarts or Diagon Ally, I just want to stay there.

*Gym Membership:Everybody knows the benefits of exercise: good for the body and good for the mind. Nothing helps take the edge off a hard and stressful day than going to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class and alternating between getting beat up and doing the beating up. You get to leave exhausted and happy. Before I started BJJ though a good hard run or lifting weights would do the trick. If I didn’t have a physical outlet, I probably would have gone crazy by now.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it does cover some of the smaller things that slipped under the radar thus far, being denied the praise it deserved. I’m sure as I’m about to embark on my fall semester exams and complete the last semester of my undergrad I’ll find more to be thankful for and add to the list.

In the mean-time, what underrated things have helped you to get to this point in your university career?

You might be a student if…

Originally published January 4th, 2012

*You prefer to conduct your business mostly by email or texting to save on long-distance charges. If calls must be made, you always text your fellow student for their permission prior to commencing said phone call.

*”You decide to buy beer first instead of paying rent or other bills.. Haha” – Brittany

*You either know the TLC daytime schedule by heart or you don’t have cable at all.

*”You accept free items from family members that you probably wouldn’t want normally…” – Sara

*You know what bar/club will be the busiest based off what day of the week it is. Consider it a useful life skill you learned outside the classroom.

*”Your clothes are on the bed during the day and on the floor/desk at night.” – Besh

*One week you’re up from sun-up to sun-down with responsibilities, bouncing around from work to campus, and the following week you can be seen waking up at 11:00am, staying in pyjamas all day watching a Say Yes to the Dress marathon. You also might be drinking chocolate milk but only if it was on sale.

*”You live on kraft dinner and whatever is on sale.” – Alison

*”You eat lots of pizza, subs, and know which bars near campus have cheap beer and wings specials!” – Patrick

*The thought of actually graduating freaks you out but yet come exam time you long to just get it over with.

*”You’re too busy to have a job and too poor not to.” – Koby

*You know how to extend the life of almost anything. Whether it be clothes, soap, or iPod headphones. No one REALLY needs more than a drop of laundry detergent..

*”You do laundry by wearing clothes when you shower.” – Dad

*Your life gets instantly more difficult if you have OSAP issues. OSAP hasn’t come in yet? Looks like KD is on the menu for the next week..

*”Can’t wait for school to start so you can collect osap.” – Rebeka

*To avoid making more dishes you pick out the cleanest dish/tupperware lid. Afterall, you did only use that plate for toast.

*”You eat kraft dinner from the pot just to save yourself from having to clean another dish” – Callie

Thanks everyone who contributed! I had a great time reading your submissions 🙂

Have something to add to the list? Just let me know!