July Favorites

Wow this month went by fast! And I sure have accumulated a collection of favorites. From video games to books – let’s get nerdy this month.

Favorite #1 – The Wolf Among Us (video game)

When I was at the library, I was actually hoping to find Fallout because I started to have a hankering for a new game. Instead, I saw The Wolf Among Us – a story-telling game I had seen the YouTuber, Pewdiepie, play a long time ago. I remember really enjoying the story and wanted to give it a go. It’s a graphic-novel inspired video game, developed by TellTale Games that have already prospered off of other graphic-novel related games such as The Walking Dead. The gameplay is a variance of uncovering clues, fighting, and, most importantly, making choices that ultimately change your gameplay experience. The plot line isn’t an original idea – putting folklore characters in modern-day society. Shows such as Once Upon a Time explore that aspect of storytelling. But the way the creators decide to go about the story is unique.

After an exile of all folklore and fantasy creatures, these abandoned individuals moved to New York where they created their community, Fabletown. Unfortunately, they became worse off than ever. Financially struggling, the creatures of Fabletown hold resentment and distrust towards their appointed government and fall prey to scamming that seeks to destroy their foundation. A slaughter of magical creatures sets off a chain of events that start to uncover corruption and the true state of their community. The game is told from Bigby Wolf’s point of view which, surprise, is that of the legendary big bad wolf. Appearing human, he acts as sheriff to Fabletown. Unfortunately, his shady past doesn’t make the creatures trust him and he battles whether he wants to change or fall back in his ways throughout the entire game that’s ultimately up to the player. Based on what you discover and how you react to other characters, the story unfolds and you get to create an opinion of the events.

I enjoyed this game because of the ability to make decisions that can create my own unique story and the lovability of the diverse cast of creatures. The incorporation of folklore that spans all cultures makes it a true gem among the fantasy-world based plot lines out there. It never stops to amaze me how unpredictable it becomes as you unravel the story and the best cliff-hangers. The writers definitely knew what they were doing.

Favorite #2 – Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Being in Wyoming, the super volcano at Yellowstone is something that piques my interest. The fact that it could send us into another ice age is quite daunting. Ashfall depicts what could happen if this very thing happened. Told from a 16-year-old typical teenage boy, Alex, it spans a journey of what it means to be human, how it feels to lose it, and love. The day the eruption occurred, Alex was at home alone after snobbishly declining his uncle’s invitation to visit him in Illinois. Saying goodbye to his family, he didn’t know it would be his last. Determined to find his family, Alex crosses dangerous territory, facing the terror of other people and starvation.

I love this book because it really touches a spectrum of emotions in times of hardship that books rarely can do. It was such an incredible story that I stayed up well past midnight to continue reading it. I loved seeing Alex grew from a gloomy teenager to a strong young man. There were times I held my breath and times I wanted to scream in frustration and times I felt the utmost gloom about their future. But Mullin leaves just enough to always spark a glimmer of hope within the reader. It was hard but it was definitely worth the journey. Click here for Mike Mullin’s website.

Favorite #3 – Scola Dondo (YouTuber)

Scola Dondo is a personal trainer from the UK who has taken to YouTube to spread her infinite wisdom on fitness and health. Having lost 50 pounds, she now passes along great advice and shares fantastic recipes and products to improve one’s wellness. She also does workout videos that include dancing. I have never had as much as fun working out as I did attempting to shake my booty in the middle of my room with Scola pumping some good music. In her videos, she is light-hearted and not afraid to be a goof. She tries to make you comfortable and encourages body-love.

I love Scola’s video because they are unique and always inspiring. Doing videos like Motivational Mondays really remind me why I’m trying to become a healthier person. In my self journey to love my own body, Scola has helped me build the confidence I’ve always wanted. I would highly recommend her to anyone that wants to change up their current situation or get an extra cheerleader.

I hope that some of this might become your favorites as well


Real Mature #1

Numero Uno

A Second Glance

My first purchase as an adult, Sailyn thought triumphantly. She looked happily at the kawaii, pink plastic, panda cookie-cutters. You can do better than that, the back of her mind retorted. Buy a vegetable for god’s sake. Or at least a cake pan. 

Scowling, Sail slam-dunked the cute cutters into her basket and moved on. Leaning over the handle bars, she glanced at her list. Paper towels. She really didn’t need the panda cookie cutters but it was something personal, something that she felt that she had every right to hang onto in the next chapter of her life. Moving to the next aisle, she mindlessly searched. Finally, she was able to spot them – two shelves up from her head. The giant rolls of plush hand paper hung mockingly over her head. Pushing aside her cart to a safe distance, she approached the shelf. Placing her feet firmly on the bottom one, she grasped onto the next one and attempted to reach. Her fingers barely reached the desired shelf. Come on, I can do this. With a small hop, her fingers grazed the plastic edge but to no avail. I’m making more of a fool of myself than I’m actually getting anything accomplished, she thought irritably.

Suddenly, a hand reached out and plucked the paper towels from its keep. Surprised, she slid off the shelf and whipped around. As her eyes met the good Samaritan, her heart stopped. Time suddenly froze and she felt her insides collaspe. She was eye-to-eye with the boy who only occupied her daydreams in recent days.

The boy was now a young man. His face had lost it’s baby fat and his once lanky body exaggerated by his height was now filled out with muscles and man flesh. Coarse blonde hair ran from down his jawline and congregated on his chin. His hazel eyes were frozen with shock, too, as they stood frozen.

“Jace,” Sailyn managed to breathe and her world exploded into memories.

It was a normal day at Kindred Middle School. Sailyn sat at her sixth grade desk, writing in her English journal. Her thoughts were on her stories, ones that she would stay up late at night to conjure for the next day. The room was gently playing with some music and all the students murmured away in their journals. Like a slight twitch, she could feel the room shift curiously. Glancing up, she saw a young boy stand in the doorway, shyly, with the secretary’s hand gently set on his shoulder. In a small school like this, there are hardly anyone you wouldn’t know. She could feel the amounting excitement permeate the room as the teacher approached the boy. 

React: Youtuber Shane Dawson’s Sexuality and Bisexuality

Shane Dawson, YouTube personality, has officially joined the rest of the YouTube LGBTQ community. In the past couple months, we have seen YouTube stars such as the beauty guru, Ingrid Nelson, come out about their sexuality via video to their fans and the world. Last Tuesday, Shane Dawson decided to do the same as well and released an incredibly honest and excruciatingly beautiful video about his sexuality.

For those who are not familiar with him, he’s a comedic parody sort of Youtuber with a fan base of six million on his Shane Dawson TV. He has released songs, a movie (Not Cool), and recently a book called I Hate My Selfie.

I’ve been watching him since I was in middle school and it doesn’t really surprise me. But his video still brought me close to tears. His struggle and desire to live and let love is brutally honest. When he refers to not fully straight or gay, and how it would be so much easier to be so black and white, it made me deeply analyze bisexuality. I know it can be a deeply misunderstood and targeted color of the spectrum. I am not saying it is more special or harder than the rest of the colors of the spectrum, but I would like to clear up the air and gave validation to Shane Dawson through the insight my bisexual friends provided me.

“Some think we aren’t ‘gay’ enough to fit into the community. Honestly it just feels like I can’t fit in anywhere.”

A lot of misunderstanding stems from some people wanting to see things black and white – either your raging gay or straight as a ruler. So when they encounter someone who identifies as bisexual, they think a variety of things – they’re either promiscuous, trying to hide the fact they’re just straight up gay, or that their bisexual friends want to have sex with them. One individual I interviewed, Conor, said his hardest obstacle in his journey is finding a group of friends that understand he simply wants a platonic relationship, aka, a friendship, not sex. Another individual said she has even encountered people who have assumed she would be down for a threesome. Even parts of the LGBTQA community don’t accept it. Rosie goes as far to say, “Some think we aren’t ‘gay’ enough to fit into the community. Honestly it just feels like I can’t fit in anywhere.”

So what does bisexuality mean to these individuals? According to the UCLA, bisexuality is defined as, “a person emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to males/men and females/women. This attraction does not have to be equally split between genders and there may be a preference for one gender over others.” To Rosie, it means the willingness to date and go further with both men and women. So what’s the difference between that and pansexual? Conor clears that up by saying that pansexual covers more than just the two sexes – it covers gender fluid people as well.

“Just because I’ve only dated guys does not make me any less bisexual than a girl who dates mostly girls,” Hannah replies, “or a guy that keeps a very even balance.”

Both individuals have always felt that it was normal in their lives so they never felt like they had to come to terms with it like Shane Dawson is currently doing. From the start, Shane Dawson was told that it was wrong where the two weren’t told until they started coming out. But the struggle is still real. Rosie has been told that her identity was her desire for attention. She feels like she has to continually prove her sexuality because so far she has dated guys. “Just because I’ve only dated guys does not make me any less bisexual than a girl who dates mostly girls,” Hannah replies, “or a guy that keeps a very even balance.”

“The most exciting part of bisexuality would probably be being able to date like 60% of the population rather than just 50%.”

Don’t let this discourage you, though. When asked what was exciting about his sexuality, Conor said, “The most exciting part of bisexuality would probably be being able to date like 60% of the population rather than just 50%.” For Shane Dawson, he is ready is to let love in his life and live his life. If more people were true to themselves and had a similar mindset, bisexuality wouldn’t be so hard to understand because once we stop putting labels on ourselves, it becomes love. Although it is important to have an identity and bisexuality is a complex one by societal standards, all it is in the end is love. I applaud the individuals that were willing to talk to me and also I congratulate Shane Dawson on his coming out. The world is becoming a better place because of people brave enough to be themselves.