Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blog from class

Here is my newest blog for my Information Age class. I thought you might think it was interesting because I talked about how I got into HP Fan Fiction.

Blog #5: Wrap up ideas on Convergence Culture

Ah, well, we didn’t get to talk much about fan fiction, but that might have been a good thing for you guys.  I can go on and on about it.  Let me start by telling you how I started writing HP fan fiction.  I was in the summer of my sophomore year at UC Riverside and my apartment-mate and I were not speaking.  Thank goodness we had separate rooms.  Needless to say, we didn’t spend much time in the living room.  After surfing the net for things related to HP, I came across  This intrigued me and I began reading stories.  At the time I didn’t really care what I read as long as it was a Draco/Hermione romance and would look at every single post there was.  (I liked this pair because I knew that it could NEVER happen—Jo said it herself…and yes, Jo and I are on a first name basis.) 
Many times there would be a truly awful story where people would “flame” at the writers.  In these cases I usually responded with something positive to say even if I thought that the story was a load of crap.  I figured that they were young girls trying their hand at writing.  Seeing posts like “This story sucked” and “You shouldn’t be a writer” were not going to help motivate these writers. That was no way to encourage people to write.  Obviously, I didn’t have the authority to delete these responses before the writers saw them so I felt that I had to do something. So being the nice girl I am (har-har) I would try to encourage them. 
Like many fans, I truly wished that the wizarding world existed…still do actually.  But since I knew that it didn’t (I’m not that crazy) I began to pretend I was one of the characters.  I had just listened to the fourth HP audio book during my daily attempts to exercise and became even more engrossed with the world.  After a while I tried to make myself think more like Hermione.  I wanted to adopt her study habits and persistence.  If it wasn’t for her character, I don’t think that I would have ever passed Statistical Psychology.  So, during the day I’d go to my summer class for an hour and then sit in my room studying for five.  In the evening I’d let myself unwind and read fan fiction.  Somewhere along the way I decided that I wanted to start writing myself.  I think that I lurked for a good month and a half before that idea popped into my head. I could write something myself instead of criticizing others.  And so I did.  By the end of the summer I had 25 chapters of fiction-fiction. 
Now, when I go back to this story I think to myself, “What was I thinking?”  The grammar and style is horrible and my tenses shifts like the San Andreas Fault; I’ve thought of going back to edit my story, but didn’t really see a point.  I’m out of the loop now and if I’m going to write, I want to write something that is my own.  I can’t speak for all fan fiction writers, but in the back of your head you know that you can never pursue paid publication with these works.  We’re merely playing with someone else’s fantasies and dreams. 
I guess to wrap it up, Fan fiction is a good starting point for beginning writers.  I don’t think that I would have thought that I could be anything close to a writer if I hadn’t discovered fan fiction.  I would probably still be struggling to get my degree in psychology and be miserable if I hadn’t started writing.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that HP saved my life, but it definitely has prevented many fits of crying and frustration. 
As for the book burnings and banning, I can’t stand to think about it for more than two minutes.  It gets me so upset that I stutter even more than usual and can’t get my thoughts straight.  We aren’t living in the land of Fahrenheit 451,, people.  I would just love to force these people to read the books before they torch them.  What is the most infuriating about the whole situation is that in most of the instances the people haven’t even read the books!  Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. 
Anyway, HP has helped people become more creative all together.  Here is a link to a group of people who put on Potter Puppets.  This cheers me up whenever I see it and I’ve been known to go around singing this song.  Poor Beth has already had to see this, but it’s fun to watch if you’re into the fandom.  Potter Puppets

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hello hello!

Well, we've been back in Troy for a couple of weeks now and it's back to the same old-same old. I think that those ten pounds I put on during the break are gone again. I've been good about making dinner with the Crock Pot so that we don't go out so much, but we don't really have time during the day to eat much. I wake up so late that I have my coffee and then I'm not hungry until I'm at work. After that I don't come back until after class around 9pm. That's when we get to eat. So one meal a day and plenty of caffeine and sugar is keeping me afloat. Ed usually takes the left overs since he needs more to eat than I do.

Anyways, my eyes are already bugging out because of all of the reading I have to do. So far I've read five books in the two weeks I've been in class. Since I'm taking all Lit classes this semester I had to buy 29 books and post five blogs/discussion boards per week. It's a pain and A LOT more work than I'd really like to be doing. Ah, but that's the life of a grad student, right? This week I have to read a book and make a presentation by Thursday. I see lots of late nights in the near future. I'm trying to get my internal clock back on schedule. I've been going to bed around 4am and waking up at like 1pm. Today I woke up at 11am, which is nearly miracle. Hopefully I'll be so tired tonight that I can go to bed at a semi-normal time.

I think that's all for now. The Roomba is absolutely amazing. Ed and I are very impressed by the work that it does. It runs every night and it still manages to pick up dirt, dust, and fur. It does 100% of a better job than I do since I hate vacuuming. So with the Crock Pot doing my cooking and the Roomba doing some cleaning, all I need now is a machine to dust and I'm all set. Since I do all the prep for our weeks dinners on Sunday night I haven't had to do too much work. Ed has been helping out a lot more now, which makes me a lot happier. Maybe it's because he sees all of the reading that I have to do on my white board. Hehe, well whatever it is, I'm glad that he's helping out around the house more.

He's started to play inter-mural ice hockey on a team full of freshmen. It's funny and pretty frustrating because they all know what they're supposed to be doing, but none of them can ice skate well enough to get to their positions. Ah, well. They'll get better and I'll continue to be the obnoxious girlfriend in the stands cheering them on. Toodles!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hello everyone!

Well, I'm back in lovely Troy, NY. (I'm being sarcastic.) Anyways, one of my classes has started a blog thing so that we can post twice a week. I didn't give them this blog since you all read it and I figured you wouldn't want to hear every post I have about books that you haven't read. I figured I'd only post the class entries if they seemed remotely interesting. So as our first entry we had to talk about ourselves as reader. Hopefully the professor doesn't get mad because I totally forgot to post it last night. oops. I attached and apology and will understand if I don't get credit for this post. (Mommy, don't get mad.) Anyways, here's the post.

Blog #1: Characterize yourself as a reader of literature and as a reader in the information age.

I think that I am a below average reader in terms of speed and efficiency. Unlike my peers, I find that I read at a rate that puts me in line with a tortoise. I am a slow-mo type of reader when I think about it. I like to take my time and read every word, to the amazement of my friends. In high school my boyfriend told me to just read the important words and not worry about the little words like “a” and “the”. “Filler” words he called them. I tried this tactic, but was unable to understand what the text was trying to tell me. In essence, it took me even more time to read because I had to go back and figure out what it all meant!
Though I am a slow reader, I’m glad that I still do it. I have heard some of my friends say that they do not like to read because they are too slow at it or do not understand it. When I hear this, I think of myself and my “struggles” with time efficient reading, but feel proud of myself for plugging through it. After Tuesday’s class, I no longer will say that I love to read, but rather that I highly enjoy it. Unlike Josh, I do not enjoy reading anything that I can get my hands on. Though this is to my disadvantage, I will take what I can get. I can only wish, and maybe through enough wishing, I will be more like him and be able to pick up a Java book and read it cover to cover with pleasure.
As it is, I find that I enjoy young adult fiction the most. The carefree nature of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and The Princess Diaries make reading leisurely and fun for me. (Plus, since the reading is so easy I can read through a book in a day and feel good about my reading abilities.) Please do not get me wrong, I have read some adult fiction as well, but mostly books of a fantastical nature. I like to escape from my hum-drum world of school, work and missing home. Stories like Wicked by Gregory Maguire are among some of my favorites. I cannot say that I like all of his work. I got through half of his Cinderella story entitled The Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister but did not enjoy it. I was a little let down at the quality of the writing. Wicked posed some hefty questions of religion and prejudice, which I found pleasing to reflect on, where as I found no such writing in the latter piece.
Asian and African American literature are also areas I enjoy exploring. I figured since I am Chinese, my interest in Asian American literature stems from there. I like to read, even if it is fiction, about Asian families and their histories. There has to be little fragments of truth in there, right? I connect with the stories well, and they make me think of home. As for African American Lit., I am not exactly sure why I am so attracted to it. I particularly like The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I have not read any of Morrison’s other works, but they are on my list of books that I intend to read before I die.
I also am nothing short of obsessed with the Harry Potter series. I find the series utterly fascinating and can occasionally be heard muttering spells while in traffic or cleaning the bathroom. Harry Potter has lead me into a universe that is outside of my own. I have found that FanFiction has become a suitable outlet during the down time of book releases and now, the end of the series. I first started reading within this fandom one summer in my undergrad when my roommate and I were having a horrid fight and not speaking to one another. This lead to studying for five hours and reading FanFiction late into the hot, desert nights. As many will say, reading leads to writing, and that is what happened with me. At the time I was using my trusty desktop computer, but once I got my laptop I began to “cuddle” with it on top (not in) of my bed. Late into the night, my laptop and I would delve into the teenaged girl’s mind and fantasize about being in the wizarding world. I say teenaged girl because most of what I read sounded VERY much like a teenaged girl’s writing. In this case, I would read anything that I could find. As of late, I have been much more picky about my reading, which has made the hobby become a task.
Reading and writing of FanFicti is not something that I have openly admitted to any class before, but as it is out there, I’ll see it through to the end. “I am Allison Chin, and I write smutty Harry Potter fan fiction.”

A/N: I apologize for the tardiness of this blog entry. To be honest, I totally forgot about it until I saw the “pinkish orangish” syllabus sticking out of my folder. Also, sorry for my wordiness. Those of you who have had me in a class before know that I tend to ramble on more than I need to.

P.S. If anyone is really interested in reading the other blog, I've given them my old Xanga blog.

That's all for now. Emmy is doing fine, but we've noticed that she isn't as energetic here as she was in CA. She's been sleeping a lot more than usual. I think that she misses home as much as we do.