How To Procrastinate

Everyone procrastinates to a certain degree, no matter who they are. I have found that it is possible to procrastinate in any situation, no matter what types of distractions I have around me.

Option 1:

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Everyone knows that it is nearly impossible to get anything done on a laptop. Laptops are the main source of procrastination in today’s world. Instead of working, the cursor hovers over the Internet browser key. Without even realizing it, the Internet has become the center of attention.

  • Any website will do, but I would suggest catching up on twitter before doing anything else.

  • Then, maybe go to TV Tropes. This site can distract anyone for quite a while, but a website appears to be more productive than having a television episode playing on Netflix.

  • Pinterest has become pretty popular, and content is divided into categories matching your personal interests. However, I will admit the site is primarily used by women.

  • Arguably, tumblr is the most used procrastination site today, and, like Pinterest, users can find everything. Just beware of porn popping up every now and then.

  • For anyone who likes books and quotes, goodreads is perfect. I think I have “liked” over a hundred quotes, and I love rating books on the site.

  • Basically, any site will do.

 

Option 2: Somehow, while sitting at home, the Internet has been turned off. It has been decided that technology will not be used to procrastinate. Good job on trying to be productive, but it’s not going to work. Houses are full of so many distractions, it is a wonder how anyone is able to work at home. There are so many possibilities.

  • Get a drink.

  • Eat a snack.

  • Wake the dog up from its nap and make it play.

  • Paint a masterpiece.

  • Read a book.

  • Clean out the refrigerator.

  • Lay down and “accidentally” fall asleep.

  • Change clothes.

  • Take a shower.

  • Make a pie.

  • Knit a scarf.

  • Make pro/con lists on every single topic imaginable.

  • If all else fails, clean EVERYTHING.

  • I think I’ve made my point. Possibilities are endless.

     

Option 3: Okay, so the laptop is at home, and Starbucks is as good of a place to get work done as any, right? Everything needed to complete the task at hand is there, but… of course that won’t happen.

  • Of course, the first step would be to get a coffee. And it would be stupid not to get food with the coffee. After all, it’s somewhat hard to eat and be productive at the same time.

  • People watching is the easiest(and laziest) form of stalling when you happen to be in a room full of people who are too involved in their own lives to know that anyone else exists.

  • While people watching, listen to the music. Or pretend to listen to music. I’ve heard soundproof earphones are perfect for listening in on people’s conversations, because they only block busy noise.

  • If people notice the staring, buy a newspaper. Pretend to read the newspaper so that people stop staring back.

  • Then, when that gets boring, actually read the paper.

  • By then, the coffee is gone. Go to the bathroom, then get more coffee.

  • Either repeat the steps above or actually do the work. Either way is fine. After all, nobody can make someone anything.

Congratulations! Time has successfully been wasted. Now get off the Internet! The procrastination must stop, because there is work to be done… eventually.

The Casual Vacancy

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I know, I know. I’m becoming predictable. I swear, next week I won’t mention anything related to J.K. Rowling or Harry Potter. Also, this post isn’t quite what it seems. I’m not writing a book review, praising the book, or trashing it. After all, that would imply that I had actually read the book.

No, this entry is about my somewhat irrational fear. I can’t read The Casual Vacancy. I can’t even buy it. This isn’t because I spent entirely too much money on concert tickets, greatly diminishing my bank account. (However, that did happen.) I can’t buy my reserved copy of the book that is just sitting there on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, waiting for a home, because I don’t want to be disappointed.

It sounds silly. I’ve been anticipating the release of  The Casual Vacancy since before it was even announced. Now that I could actually read it, I simply can’t. I’m actually starting to freak myself out over this.

I’m pretty obsessive over things like this, so one part of me is saying, “Go buy the book right now! Read it! Finish it tonight!”

Another part of me, which is somehow the more dominant part of my brain is saying, “Don’t read it! The book won’t live up to your incredibly high expectations! It will destroy the way you view your favorite writer!”

I’m trying to hold back the obsessive part of my brain, and it’s giving me a headache. I normally have no choice but to give in, but I guess fear is a stronger emotion. I am terrified of this novel.

I should mention that I know The Casual Vacancy will be nothing like Harry Potter, and I am glad she went in a completely different direction with this book. I am simply afraid that I have imagined Rowling’s talents. What if she isn’t really as great as everyone thought?

I know that I will have to read the book eventually. Maybe I can somehow make myself read it without having unobtainable standards. Maybe it will somehow be better than I hope. I mean, she has had five years to grow as a writer since Deathly Hallows was released.

Or maybe my fears are justifiable.

If you’ve read the book, please take a moment to comment. Did The Casual Vacancy live up to your expectations?

Censorship

I believe censorship is a waste of energy. Before you completely judge me for that statement and say, “but little kids need to be protected!“, realize that I am talking about older children. What I mean is, once a child reaches a certain age, censorship is counter productive. By restricting media, parents only add to the curiosity.

When I was eight or nine, I was a huge fan of Britney Spears. I watched many of her live performances in which she danced around partially naked, but I didn‘t understand the controversy. I had neighbors who were appalled by my parents’ decision to let me idolize the pop star. I remember not being allowed to show their children my Britney calendar, and I didn’t quite understand why.

Around the same time, everyone was freaking out over Harry Potter being witchcraft. My best friend’s mother threw out my friend’s books, and expected my mother to do the same. Of course, my mom allowed me to keep the books. Then, my grandfather’s wife found out I was reading Harry Potter. She thought my parents and I were going to Hell, I am sure. So one night, I spent the night at my grandpa’s house, much like I did before he married that woman. The next morning, we went to her church, where the preacher talked about the evils of Harry Potter, and how anyone who read the series was on a straight path to Hell. Even at the age of nine, I recognized that I had been set up. I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. I wasn’t going to let that woman tell me what I could and could not read. When I got home, I read my books and loved them even more.

Children are typically restricted because many adults(falsely) believe children do not have the ability to separate fantasy from reality. As children get older, restriction is more based on mature content. When I was thirteen, I started to watch the reality show, My Fair Brady, which featured the marriage of model Adrianne Curry and Brady Bunch actor Christopher Knight. My mom advised me to stop watching the show, which only made me like it more. I was by no means a rebellious teenager, but I secretly watched the entire first season of My Fair Brady when it re-aired late at night. If my mom hadn’t told me to stop watching it, I would have probably gotten bored with it and stopped watching after a week or two.

By my teen years, my parents had no idea what I read. I mean, how could they keep track when I finished several books in one week? I primarily stuck to YA lit until I was sixteen, but you could say that I was greatly educated through more mature young adult books. When I was thirteen, my grandmother took me to Barnes & Noble to pick out books before I went off to summer camp. I remember picking out a few books on my own, and my grandmother picked up Kate Cann’s Mediterranean Holiday. Little did my grandmother know, she bought me my first book with a full-blown sex scene. My parents had no idea, but at that point, I read so much that it would have been impossible to censor anything I read.

The point is, once a kid reaches a certain age, they pretty much make those kinds of decisions on their own. If I’d been uncomfortable reading a book with a sex scene, I would have put it down. If I was uncomfortable and someone tried to stop me from reading it, I may have read it anyway. As long as the media is not negatively affecting a young person’s life, censorship only makes the person more rebellious.

Sweaters and Tea

Today is the first cold and rainy day of the season, which means I was able to wear a sweater today! I love wearing sweaters. I mean, you can’t be a stereotypical book nerd without loving sweaters.

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Think of Hermione Granger. Emma Watson always wore the cutest sweaters in the Harry Potter films. The Harry Potter wardrobe department showed the world that it is possible to be smart and attractive.

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Also, just look at Martin Freeman(John Watson in BBC’s Sherlock) in this picture. Isn’t that sweater fantastic?

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And then there’s this one from Sherlock’s Christmas episode after the creators of the show found out the fans were obsessed with Watson’s sweaters. It’s one of the best nerdy – yet wearable – Christmas sweaters I’ve ever seen!

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Another important component to a rainy day is an endless supply of tea and coffee. If you prefer tea over coffee, go with a black tea. My favorite black tea is Earl Grey. I don’t know if it’s just because the word “grey” is in the name, but I feel like everything about this tea makes the grey sky a million times better.

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If you are willing to spend $4 at Starbucks, I would suggest getting a London Fog(an Earl Grey latte with a shot of vanilla) on a rainy day. About a year ago, a friend of mine had me try a London Fog, and I have been paying for the overpriced tea with foam ever since. They are seriously addictive.

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Most importantly, rainy days are the perfect excuse to stay indoors, plop down in a comfortable chair next to a window, and read.

So put on your favorite sweater, brew some Earl Grey tea, and read a good book.

 

A New Harry Potter Generation

As I will probably mention a million times, I am a product of the Harry Potter generation. To say that Harry Potter was my childhood would not be an exaggeration. To prove it, here are pictures of my childhood bedroom:

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I am telling you about my obsession because I have very exciting news. My roommate just began reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone for the first time. She has no idea what happens. At all. Do you understand how rare that is? She mispronounced Hermione’s name, much like I did when I first read the book twelve years ago, and innocently referred to Voldemort as “You-Know-Who”.

I am beyond excited that my friend is finally reading the series, but I am also sad and jealous. Sad, because it is too late for her childhood to be impacted by Harry Potter. She will never know what it was like to-after so much anticipation-hold a freshly printed Potter book shortly after midnight. I may be an extreme case, but J.K. Rowling completely shaped my life.

I am jealous of her because, unlike me, she can still read a Harry Potter book for the first time. She doesn’t know who lives or dies. She does not yet know that her heart will fall through the veil, off the astronomy tower, and fly off a bridge. Oh, wait. That last one only happened in the film, and is completely irrelevant…

Anyway, if you know how I feel, lend the book to a friend who somehow missed out on a magical childhood. If you happen to be one of these people, it is not too late to join the party. Make all of your Harry Potter friends jealous by mispronouncing Hermione’s name. Tell them that you think Snape is evil. Ask them what a Hufflepuff is(just don’t expect a direct answer).

As a self-proclaimed Harry Potter nerd, I desperately hope future generations, as well as people like my friend, see the magic in J.K. Rowling’s stories. It is up to those who grew up with Harry to pass the story on to common muggles who are oblivious to the magic around them.

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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As a child, Jacob was fascinated by the photographs and elaborate stories his grandfather told of the peculiar children who inhabited the orphanage where he grew up on an island off the coast of Wales. Eventually, Jacob realizes his grandfather’s stories could not possibly be true. Then, at the age of 16, he witnesses the murder of his grandfather in the woods. The murderer fits the exact description of an inhuman monster straight from the stories. Jacob decides to visit to the orphanage where his grandfather spent most of his childhood to see for himself that the tales have been figments of his imagination. Once he arrives on the island, Jacob finds there was more truth than fiction in the stories his grandfather had told about the orphanage.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is Ransom Riggs’ first novel, and it is young adult fiction. The novel is a New York Times bestselling novel in the category of children‘s chapter books. It is an ALA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee for 2012.  Riggs is currently writing a sequel, which is rumored to be released in spring of 2013. As well as a sequel, fans anticipate a film adaptation. 20th Century Fox has purchased the film rights, but so far, a release date has not been set. Tim Burton has agreed to direct the film, which almost guarantees that the film will be a success. Jane Goldman, who is best known for writing films such as X-Men: First Class (2011), Kick-Ass (2010), and The Woman in Black (2012), will write the screenplay. A cast has not been chosen, but with Burton on the film, the selections are not likely to disappoint.

The story was heavily supported by vintage photographs of peculiar children, making it stand out from other YA novels on the shelves. I typically find photographs in novels pointless, but I thoroughly enjoyed the visual elements in Peculiar Children. Without the photographs, the book probably would not have had enough success to stand next to John Green’s The Fault in our Stars or Rick Riordan’s The Son of Neptune.

While I enjoyed the book, I did not read the novel that was advertised on the dust jacket. The plot was interesting, but it may have disappointed readers expecting a story filled with monsters. However, if you dive into the novel without expectations, the story will capture your attention. After reading the novel, I see that if the summary printed on the book had given an accurate description, it would have ruined much of the suspense.

Riggs’ novel had similar elements to those of Scott Westerfeld’s Midnighter’s trilogy. Without giving too much away, I would say Riggs and Westerfeld both play with the concept of time in ways that intrigue the reader.

The novel also has a style that mirrors Lemony Snicket, but for a slightly older audience. People who read The Series of Unfortunate Events as children will most likely enjoy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.